Listen up, people. Are you ready to take over the world? This is not a game. I repeat. This is NOT a game! Yes, people. If you are so interested and ever ready in world conquest, then go ahead and stay to watch Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda. Every potential members of our world conquest team needs to know the basics and history of our struggles and what no better way than to watch this propaganda film action-cum-comedy anime. For those who think not of joining our cause, I am afraid that you will still need to watch this series and before you know it, you will open your eyes to the truth and great light of the Zvezda ways that will shine upon this land far and wide! All hail and salute the great Zvezda! *Makes Zvezda hand salute gesture*.

So what does it take to conquer the world? A megalomaniac leader? A huge powerful and loyal army? Big and powerful weapons? Or just a modest dream? It seems a little girl who is the leader of a world conquest team only had that dream to begin her world conquest. Don’t laugh. Everything starts from a dream, right? Besides, nobody has ever achieved true world conquest before and so our little loli here will show us the way of how to do it! At least these are part of her exploits in her quest for world domination. No kidding. Little girls want to rule the world. Put comic book super villains to shame, doesn’t it?

Episode 1
Asuta Jimon is now homeless. Hungry too. He meets his classmate, Renge Komadori who is just fresh from buying loads of groceries. She reminds him about the curfew. Which is about now! All the shops close and not a single soul outside. No home, no money. This sucks. Trying to hide from military police, Asuta sees an unconscious loli. He offers one of his burgers but she deceives him and eats both. She introduces herself as Kate Hoshimiya and the leader of an evil secret organization, Zvezda. Her alias is Lady Venera. He saves her falling from her bicycle but gets punched and labelled a pervert. Thanks for nothing. She has him follow her and she will show him a grander dream: World conquest. An attack occurs nearby so Kate gives Asuta a gas mask and a bun (emergency food, she says). With this he is to join her organization or die now. Oh, his nickname shall be Dva. Kate is looking for friend, Galaktika in which she describes may be her stuffed toy. Asuta thinks she is just a lost girl and hopes they can play this world conquest another day. Because Kate continues to worry about her world conquest, Asuta chides her about her dream that she just want to be pampered by acting cute and feigning happiness while she lives her life like a joke. Now the loli is in tears, she beats him up and scoots away. Asuta felt guilty and goes after her. He almost got run over by a military truck but Lady Plamya cuts it in half and forces him to reveal the whereabouts of the loli. She is distracted by fellow comrade, General Pepel and this allows Asuta to escape. At the park, Asuta sees the army taking on a giant octopus alien. It then bursts into many cute little blobs. He sees the pink stuffed doll on the ground and wants this fellow in a gas mask, Yasu to go help him get it. But the coward runs away. I thought it was dumb of Asuta to stand in front of the incoming tanks to make them stop. Eventually he dives away with the doll, something he should have done it in the first place. All the tanks surround Asuta. That’s when Kate pops up and in her world conquest garb. She is telling the soldiers that conquest is the only way out but they call her speech a rip-off from Lincoln. She stops their missile with a barrier and then activates her doll which turns into a large iron gauntlet to smash all the tanks into bits. In the end, all the Zvezda members including Professor Uumu and her robot, Roboko are going to punish Yasu for his screw up. But they leave it to Kate. No dinner for a week! She introduces Asuta as a new member to the organization. He just realized the sh*t he just got into. He is going on a world conquest with these weirdoes?

Episode 2
White Robin and White Egret of the secret justice organization of White Light are being told by their commander about Zvezda’s recent quest for world conquest and their activities have been more active lately. He wants them to find their secret base and their plot. Asuta is still pretty much a hungry student at school. He sees a familiar girl, Itsuka Shikabane. Seen her somewhere before? That sword… That eye-patch… Oh sh*t! Plamya! He tries to run away but wherever he goes, Itsuka is always behind his ass. With fiery passion, she mentions her mission is to guide him of the Zvezda ways as instructed by Venera. He’ll be under her care. Just great. No choice. She drags him back to Zvezda’s secret hideout since he is hungry. Funny looking base sticking out like a sore thumb that even has a sign of its name. Inside, he meets quirky Natasha Vasylchenko (Uumu) who in turn introduces him to Kurukuru (those little cute blobs. Each has a number…). She warns him not to peep around. In the main room, he meets Odin (Yasubee Morozumi AKA Yasu’s codename). He acts tough like his superior but turns into an obedient underling when commanded to do petty errands. With Roboko, Natasha and Gorou Shikabane (Pepel) soon entering the room, Kate then makes hers and allows everyone including Yasu to eat dinner. But upon knowing the cook is Itsuka, most of them flee. Those left behind are Kate (too slow to run), Asuta (newbie doesn’t know anything) and Roboko (why would she?).

Asuta will know the true fear in Itsuka’s cooking. Those are hamburgers or vegetables? If Kate is shaking in her pants, what are the chances will he? The moment he pops it in his mouth, some sort of explosion goes off. Flashback to the formation of the universe? That bad, huh? I wonder if he can ever eat again. He collapses outside and White Robin finds him, thinking he is a victim of Zvezda. She calls for help and is just outside Zvezda’s doorstep when a large monster distracts her. Let’s say it’s Yasu’s fault again. Asuta in the nick of time changes the signboard to fool White Robin this isn’t Zvezda’s hideout. Team Zvezda quell the monster before White Light gets a chance to defeat it. They interrogate Yasu whose excuse is because he is hungry. Itsuka takes it as an insult and worse, Asuta stands up for him and says it right in her face that her cooking sucks. She is going to send him to hell but Kate punishes them with her iron gauntlet and forces them to make up. But they’re still at each other. Itsuka challenges him to cook. Certainly. Looks delicious. Tastes delicious! OMG! What were those guys eating before him?! A happy evil organization is a satisfied organization with a full stomach. Kate makes Yasu in charge of tasting Asuta’s cooking. Itsuka hopes Asuta can teach her sometimes. By the time White Robin leads her team to Zvezda’s base, the entire building is gone. Did it vanish into thin air? Actually it just went underground.

Episode 3
Yasu is lamenting about their organization’s purpose and dreams of a better dream. When he lights up a smoke, the base goes under full alert and the kitchen he is in gets expelled out! The Zvezda members know this is Yasu’s fault to begin with and orders a full search of him. But in the meantime, Kate approves eating out. Before they can dig into their meal, the customer in the next seat lights up. This agitates Kate as she lectures him about the poison and kicks him out! She also destroys all the smoke vending machines! Noting this is getting out of hand, she initiates a mission to put an end to this. So whoever lights up gets smoked out. But for Asuta’s side… He’s so gentle that the b*tch doesn’t even give a sh*t! Even when Venera tells her off, she just shrugs it off. However the non-smokers thank Kate for her efforts. Venera further encourages them and they get motivated to purge smokers from this town. Soon the word spreads and the non-smokers become violent groups, beating up those who just light up. Yasu is hiding in a toilet. He can’t light up in peace since Pepel is telling him to stop. Yasu doesn’t want to change and he joined this organization to continue his evil ways. So why does everything have to change? Flashback reveals Yasu was some struggling punk but Gorou picked him up as his student and even taught him how to light a lighter. Pepel tells him not to show his face around again.

Every last bastion of smokers is stormed by the non-smokers. Even when they enter their secret final paradise, it isn’t long before Zvezda and the army of 85,000 non-smokers descend upon the place to give them a last chance to convert. But those stubborn guys won’t. Venera has had it and uses her iron gauntlet to punish them but it has no effect. Too stubborn to change? Even Roboko is malfunctioning from second hand smoke! Pepel is going to deal with Yasu and the latter remembers their final fight together. Gorou stopped smoking (turned to candies?) and mentions the only person who can kill him is Kate. They saw Kate standing over piles of defeated bodies. With Venera’s exuding such an evil aura, Yasu feels so scared that he rejoins them and curses the smokers! White Light confirms visual of all Zvezda members and unleashes a bomb that only affects the evil heart. Pepel throws Yasu at it. I don’t know how he survived but all Zvezda members manage to get away. White Robin and White Egret see those smokers getting up like zombies. They deduce it is a reason why they cannot be persuaded since they aren’t humans to begin with. Days went by and the incident is blown over. Everyone returns to their normal lives including Yasu who is slacking off. Kate gives him a lollipop for his urge. But when he lights up, the usual pail of water drops over his head. Some things never change.

Episode 4
Natasha sleepwalks and sleeps with Asuta. Nothing funny happened, though. Except maybe Asuta got beaten up by Itsuka. Asuta couldn’t believe that Roboko eats and cooks udo for her anyway. But Kate says Roboko only takes it raw and has him resupply Roboko’s energy by harvesting udo beneath their base. Suddenly the power goes out. An emergency meeting is called and it seems without this power, they won’t have the cloaking device that hides them away from the world. From their mumbo-jumbo talk, they need to get some parent root at the bottom where the ancient Udogawa civilization is. Asuta, Natasha and Kate make their RPG journey to the bottom while Gorou and Itsuka remain on standby at the base in case of attacks. Yasu? He’s slacking off as usual. When Asuta thinks something else is down here, Natasha brushes it off as fairies. She explains her flashback that since her parents were scientists, she dabbled in mecha and made lots of such toys. Although she wasn’t unhappy, this made other kids stay away from her. One day her parents decide to bring her to the land of fairies and take her hand through several places till they reach some underground darkness. She couldn’t remember what happened after that. It felt like she was walking for years. All she knew was Roboko was with her and subsequently Kate found her and had her join her organization. Was it this tunnel that led all the way from Ukraine to here? Since then, Natasha swore her loyalty to Kate. Her parents went missing. When they lost the parent root’s signal, they see the giant udo dying. Those fairies turn out to be dark haze to Asuta but in Natasha’s eyes, they look like her toys. She will stall them while the duo hurry to make the pistil and stamen pollinate. Natasha is probably overwhelmed by her fear when she probably saw her parents among the haze. Roboko suddenly jumps in to help. When Kate and Asuta manage to get the pollination, weakened Roboko now powers up and saves the day. The udo is reborn and the gang are surprised that Roboko ate Asuta’s cooking to get energy. This proves that she learnt to eat something else other than raw udo. As Roboko puts it, Asuta went all the trouble to make it for her. They fly up the hole and emerge from some manhole in the middle of town. An udo overgrowth is seen all over their base. Plenty to sell? And Yasu gets punished for slacking off…

Episode 5
While White Egret fights Pepel and Plamya, a pathetic chase is going on between Dva and White Robin. Dva accidentally gropes her boobs and they end up in a 69 position. This has commander reprimand White Robin for this embarrassing act while he praises White Egret. As for Zvezda, they are in a meeting about White Robin. Despite her looking like a weakling, Kate recognizes her as a formidable threat. Her girly senses tell her that. She has her subordinates discover White Robin’s identity and the successful one will be given this medal. Asuta meets Renge on their way to school and she looks tired and discouraged, hinting it was from her ‘part time job’. They also see Miki Shirasagi who is a model student loved by everyone. When Asuta sees a cute character doll on Renge’s back, he remembers it looks exactly like the one on White Robin’s sword. Could it be that Renge is White Robin? He observes the clumsy Renge doing things and she looks like an ordinary girl. Heck, she is on his list as the 27th girl he wants as his girlfriend! Asuta is going to eat lunch but a Kurukuru ate it all. Trying to hide it from Renge, he hints about his ‘part time job’ and something about ‘conquering the world’. Against his better judgment, he sneaks into the girls’ locker room to find clues of White Robin. Probably he took too long and the girls are back. He hides in the close so Renge freaks out to see Dva sitting there! He runs but Miki throws him out of the window.

Then White Robin descends to punish him. Kurukuru sends a signal to the other Zvezda members and they initiate their plan. When White Robin corners Dva at the construction site, a large tentacle monster grabs them. I know how this is going to end. Even Dva gets one. New awakening? With Kate going to put this humiliation on the internet, the tentacle is going to unmask her too. He tries to reach for her sword but had to grope her butt. He manages to take and cut down them free. Oh, there’s a convenient self destruct button too. Dva tries to sound cool (but pathetic) in his reasoning for saving her and wants her to give up justice. Her mask cracks but her stupid face doesn’t look anywhere close to Renge. Even her doll is slightly different. Dva feels stupid and disappointed. And he runs off like a tsundere. Of course White Robin is actually Renge as that silly face was another mask she put on as safety. Some article in White Light that prevents members from knowing each other’s identity too. Renge feels much better and even gloomy Asuta is glad to see her back this way. Renge is confident Dva won’t get away next time.

Episode 6
Asuta is tired for doing donkey chores for Zvezda. It’s no wonder he finds his school as a sanctuary. Well, that sanctuary is about to be invaded because Kate and Roboko (in super shy mode) become transfer students in his class! Of course they are here on an infiltration mission (as with other Zvezda members) to look for a treasure believed to be buried in this school. At least that is what the poster says. You think Asuta believes this crap? They make good friends with Renge since Asuta covers up their relationship as cousins. Back at Zvezda’s base, from Yasu’s infiltration he discovers anyone who mentions about the Treasure Club (the one who did the poster) ends up mysteriously transferring. Next day at school when everyone is in awe with Miki’s presence, Miki talks to Asuta hinting that they know each other in some sort. Something like Asuta proposed to her when he was young and was rejected. They ask around and it seems nobody knows who the real members of Treasure Club are. Natasha mentions a Treasure Club meeting at 4pm. There, the supposed leader, Madam M makes her addressing speech and announces the Udo Bride treasure that is believed to allow its possessor to conquer the world. Then she pinpoints and forces Asuta to acknowledge he desires the treasure so much and makes him dance a silly treasure dance! Freaking embarrassing! But the rest thinks it’s really good! She dismisses everyone to come to the school grounds tonight to find the treasure. Later it is revealed that this is a trap to get Zvezda and Madam M is no other than White Egret. This mission is to prove her individual worth to her commander. Meanwhile Kate tells Asuta that Natasha has discovered some secret room near the udo greenhouse and part of her encryption revealed all this is going on as predicted. In short, they are close to finding the treasure and realizing her dream of world conquest. That night before the treasure hunt begins, White Egret unsurprisingly turns out to be Miki and her subordinates explain the talisman charms hidden behind the posters pasted all over the school wars that will reduce Zvezda’s fearsome scientific weapons into toys. When everyone gathers, Renge is seen stumbling in. Earlier on she was told to be on standby (orders from her ‘part time job’) and thus couldn’t join in the hunt. I guess she changed her mind but is looking like the odd one out wearing a typical explorer’s full gear.

Episode 7
Madam M has everyone pair together to find little udo stones. This is to pinpoint which ones have high UDO readings and weed out Zvezda members. Natasha becomes an expert to explain how the stone looks like so Madam M agrees. When everyone starts searching, her underlings wonder if that is how the stone looks like. She brushes it off as there are actually any treasures since this is an operation to catch Zvezda. Gorou, who has been impersonating as the principal’s bust, overheard this and sends a Morse code to Yasu and Itsuka about this trap. However she is having a hard time trying to decipher its meaning. White Egret calls Renge to tell her about disobeying orders and should stay home. Just as she is about to give up, Kate finds a stone. So does Roboko. Madam M tests its authenticity by breaking it! It’s fake. Natasha has an idea to test it. By dropping it in the pool, if it is real, it will react somehow. None did. Kate is utmost disappointed. Madam M leaves as with the other club members. Madam M sarcastically hints of doing that dance. Kate believes it and forces Asuta to do it! I think he is having some traumatic memories right now. The girls egg him on and he finally moves. Some sort of reaction is seen in the pool so Madam M changes the plan and commences the operation immediately since all those by the pool show high UDO readings.

By the time Gorou is able to communicate about this trick, the barrier is activated. Renge goes off to call White Egret but all communications are cut. An army is seen sneaking into the school. Kate takes Asuta as they jump into the pool. Asuta thought he is drowning but finds himself in the desert. Before him a ruined civilization. Treasure-mad Kate looks for it but Asuta hears her getting into some argument. Before he knows it, darkness starts to chase and corner him. It turns out to be a giant demon of Kate. She’s complaining about conquering and targets Asuta who in turns pretend to be Dva and runs. White Egret calls her commander about the turn of events. Due to high UDO readings have reached dangerous level and the operation is now out of her jurisdiction. Everyone is shocked to see the giant demon child chasing Asuta. Still blabbing about conquest, she uses her iron gauntlet to smash the school. No casualties, though. In the aftermath, the school is closed and Asuta loses his sanctuary. He returns to his daily chores in Zvezda and feels it isn’t too bad. Renge doesn’t remember what happened after jumping into the pool. Gorou has identified those army men. They are not from White Light but the Tokyo Metropolitan Army’s strike force which is a unit under the governor’s direct command. And the governor… He’s Asuta’s father!

Episode 8
Kyoushirou the governor lectures White Light about their failure after providing countless support and intelligence. He wants things done his way but the commander say it isn’t necessary. He is going to unleash White Light’s best guardian: White Falcon. Actually that’s the commander and she’s a woman???!!! Asuta isn’t going to enjoy his only day off since Kate is dragging him around especially she becomes infatuated with her favourite Robo Butler hero show that is starting right now. It is hosted by Kaori Hayabusa who is no other than White Falcon’s real identity and alter ego. Yup, she’s a famous voice actress! Part of the show’s attraction is that Robo Butler will visit your home if you win a hammer game so Kate definitely wants this. She cheats by using her strength. Of course Asuta is trying to tell Kate about the implications of bringing somebody to their secret base. She doesn’t care. What if Robo Butler finds out she cheated? Kate has no choice but to admit and refuse the house visit. But Kaori hypnotizes them with her microphone and the home visit continues. She hypnotizes Natasha too and uses her talisman to diffuse all the traps. Meanwhile Gorou is at a patisserie exhibition and meets an old friend, Pierre. However things aren’t going too well between them and Pierre has him leave. Gorou remembers Pierre was kicked out of his yakuza group despite his pleas.

As Gorou enters the elevator, several men try to take him out. No match for this big guy. Pierre and the other guys surround him and mention this is a trap by White Light to capture him. It is easier since he is separated. However Pierre betrays White Light to help Gorou get away. He owes it to Madam Tsubaki. Pierre sacrifices himself to let him escape. When Itsuka returns she finds Kaori suspicious. She raises her sword when Kaori bullies Kate that Robo Butler will never turn up in naughty girls’ house! Itsuka is no match for her as White Falcon sends a signal to White Light to confirm Zvezda’s base. However they are all taken out by Pepel who does an overkill to destroy the base too. Seems Pepel and White Falcon have a long history together. Their epic battle in the street begins. Pepel calls her a traitor and the one who gave him that scar. White Falcon explains her hatred for Zvezda because they tossed aside Tsubaki’s life and now they got him too. Pepel tries to correct her but she’s not listening. Pepel believes the world conquest is not a dream and has been reborn. The fight ends in a draw. Plamya though Pepel has taken some damage with his bleeding. But it turns out Pierre’s cake saved his life and got ruined. I guess this is their dinner tonight. And they can have it under the open sky. Isn’t it romantic?

Episode 9
Coincidentally, Asuta and Renge are on the same bus to the hotspring as their ‘part time jobs’ proposed. It’s a masked hotspring so everyone can relax without their identity being known. Mask might become a taboo word for Asuta… The old couple greets and takes them to their respective rooms. Granny is part of White Light as she leads White Robin to the room where White Egret and White Falcon are waiting. No formalities needed. Just relax. Similarly, Grandpa is a Zvezda member and takes Asuta to his fellow comrades. There are actually more Zvezda members? At least this proves their influence reaches other corners of the world. White Robin talks to White Egret while soaking in the hotspring. The former praises the person she yearns to be: Miki. Unknowing that White Egret and Miki are the same person. They leave when Zvezda girls come in. Thanks to the steam, they can’t see each other clearly. After the bath, Kate somehow wears Asuta’s robe and has him wear his Zvezda outfit. Dva bumps into White Robin and they talk instead of fight. Thinking that their organizations don’t know the other is here, they feel if they keep quiet, no untoward incident will happen. However White Egret sees this and isn’t pleased. During dinner, the other Zvezda members are getting some sort of attention from other patrons. Kate falls asleep so Asuta brings her back to her room.

Granny gives Dva a letter from White Robin saying to meet in the woods. However it is a trap by White Egret to kill him. An explosion occurs and Zvezda realizes something is wrong. However some of the patrons are White Light members. Is their doom imminent? Not quite. Some of the other patrons are Zvezda members so it’s a faceoff between the foot soldiers. Itsuka tries to go see if Kate is alright but is stopped by White Falcon. However she got her old wound and is forced to abandon the match. Granny is going to kill Kate but is stopped by Grandpa. They never knew each other’s secret identity and so their decades of blissful marriage end up like this. I wonder how Kate can sleep through the commotion. White Egret wants Dva to resign from Zvezda and stay away from White Robin as she symbolizes her as some hope and justice shield that will protect the people. Dva is not happy with her thinking because it reminds him of a certain adult trying to impose his ideals on his kid. White Falcon knows who Dva is. She takes off her mask to show herself as Miki and mocks his proposal to her. Although he says he doesn’t like her anymore, she continues ridiculing him that he might propose to Venera next. White Robin sees all of this and an explosion rocks the place and White Robin helps bring Dva away. His mask falls off and she is surprised to see his true identity. Next day, everyone leaves the inn. Yasu is seen leaving with Kaori. Asuta boards the bus with Renge but the latter is just keeping quiet. Asuta is shocked to see his town devastated.

Episode 10
As narrated, when Japan descended into a civil war. Only West Udogawa declared its neutrality and spared of war. But now looks like it has become a warzone. The Zvezda members are hiding nearby their base since the army is surrounding it. They think Yasu has sold them out. Kate is grumpy and crazy since she lost Galaktika. The army blows up the base. Now they’re homeless. Wanted posters of them are pasted everywhere. Kate isn’t enthusiastic anymore and getting crazier from her withdrawal. Worse, Natasha notes they can only transform one more time each. They can’t retreat now or they will never rise again. That night they hear a public announcement on the radio by White Robin to plead for Zvezda’s members to surrender themselves and give up on their world conquest. White Falcon leaves White Light’s commanding post to White Egret. Though, now she becomes a direct subordinate under Kyoushirou. Zvezda’s makeshift base in the park that sticks out like a sore thumb is surrounded by the army. Kate goes out to give them a lecture about what they are fighting for. They don’t give a damn and are given orders to fire. Pepel and Roboko stay behind to deal with the menace and let the rest escape. Kate is the only one who doesn’t know that the governor is Asuta’s father. But Asuta wants to remain with Zvezda because they accepted him for who he was and never questioned why he ran away from home. He thinks of turning himself in so that he won’t be so focused in catching the group. That won’t do for Kate since he is a vital part of her world conquest plan. Asuta beats himself up as a loser who only knows how to run away and has never conquered anything.

Next day, the Zvezda purge is in full force. White Robin is disheartened to see defeated and wounded Pepel and Roboko being mistreated. She discloses her report to Kaori and learns White Egret is cooperating with the government. She thinks they shouldn’t be cooperating but Kaori says she isn’t the commander anymore. Natasha is taking the gang to some place that will power up Kurukuru. The girls are fine as long as they have Kate but Asuta is being pessimistic that this brat can turn the tables. When they reach out of the tunnel, White Egret and her army are waiting for them. She gives them a chance to surrender but as expected they won’t. White Robin doesn’t approve of her method of using force. So she stands in between then while revealing her true identity. Although Zvezda has done many unlawful actions to disrupt the peace, White Light has lost its right to judge them. They no longer have the people’s might and only the military’s might. The world has become a twisted place so she asks Kate if she still wants to conquer it. Of course! Asuta can’t let Renge be dragged into this any further so he gives himself up. But Whit Egret mentions that the governor does not want his return. She simply puts it as his son who was kidnapped by a terrorist organization is killed in a crossfire. The army starts firing and Uumu is taken out. Kurukuru blows up to protect them and some time to escape. Renge takes Asuta and run as Kate reminds them not to give up too early as the world hasn’t changed.

Episode 11
Flashback reveals in some ancient civilization, Kate stopped growing when she decided to take on world conquest. Despite the long journey and sacrifices, she believes she will conquer the world. Asuta and Renge become fugitives. They are lucky enough to be a step ahead and escape from the army who are searching hard for them. A week has passed and Asuta worries what has happened to the others. Miki holds a press conference that West Udogawa will be annexed by Tokyo and renamed Tokyo D.C. Yasu is some big shot director but he is sending raised eyebrows to journalists about his odd policies. Natasha is captured and confined. She is only left alive because they are going to extract knowledge from her the advanced technology that they found after mapping Zvezda’s huge secret underground labyrinth. Natasha becomes even disheartened to see Roboko dismantled. Kaori sees Gorou’s motionless body in a capsule and remembers she was warning her sister Tsubaki that Gorou is being tricked by Venera. Unlike her, Tsubaki accepted Gorou’s decision but when she died, Kaori confronted Gorou who is in the midst of dismantling his gang. She stabs him in the back and blames him for her sister’s death. But Gorou can’t die then or else Tsubaki won’t forgive him. Kaori thinks he has got what he deserves. Kyoushirou makes a live broadcast to belittle Zvezda. He also intentionally abuses Galaktika knowing Kate is watching but she has to hold in her anger. He also announces that the martial law on Tokyo that has been in effect for the last 3 years will be lifted. Well, Tokyo is now almost the entire Japan. Kate and Itsuka are seeking refuge in West Udogawa’s mayor’s house.

Asuta and Renge are at the rooftop of their old school talking about old times. He explains how his father is a selfish man who only cares for himself. If he doesn’t understand how those closest to him feels, how can he understand the people’s feelings and run as a governor? Oddly, Asuta once looked up to him because he was strong. His mom eventually left him but was unfazed. The night before she left, she cooked the worst meal ever, even worse than Itsuka’s but Kyoushirou didn’t even flinch. He just ate without saying anything. Not because it was his wife’s cooking and he tolerated it, he sees there are many others who can replace her. Asuta adds that if he has a chance to relive his life and do what he wants, it is to tell others that they can become anything and everything they want to be. He wants to be by the side of those who won’t laugh at him for saying that. Renge snatches his gas mask and teases him to take it back. He teaches her how to do the Zvezda salute before going off. Renge takes it as a sign he rejected her. Kyoushirou and West Udogawa’s mayor is about to start the signing ceremony when Venera and Plamya crash in. Venera sees Kyoushirou in possession of Galaktika and tries to hold in her emotions. Meanwhile Natasha’s tears turn into… Kurukuru? Miki wants to cut all broadcast but Kyoushirou is fine with it. Let this stage be Zvezda’s public execution. Venera can sense that his smoke isn’t the ordinary nicotine and is something more malevolent since Galaktika goes up in flames when he lights up. She knows he isn’t human anymore.

Episode 12
Plamya and White Egret gear up for a fight while Venera charges at Kyoushirou but is blocked by his barrier. His smoke weakens her and Asuta returns to her side. When Plamya’s eye-patch falls off, she starts crying like a baby! Even worse, when Venera is giving her grand speech, she falls asleep! Before the guards could shoot to kill, all the Kurukuru gather to become a giant monster. Kyoushirou foresaw this and unleashes his secret giant robot that Yasu is controlling. Uumu who is controlling the monster is too weak to fight the robot and each blow turns part of it back to Kurukuru. Kaori continues to blame Gorou and wanted to beat him up. But he wakes up and breaks free from his chains. He explains Tsubaki wasn’t expendable and doesn’t want Kaori to follow her footsteps and find her own happiness. To shut her up, he kisses her. The monster is defeated and the robot seizes Venera in his hands. Kyoushirou sees Yasu having Galaktika. This means the one they destroyed was a fake. Some cute girl steals it from him and hands it back to Dva. That girl is actually Roboko. She didn’t really get dismantled. Consider her as ‘shedding her skin’. Do robots grow? Dva uses Galaktika to fight his father but the barrier still protects him. White Robin drops in to give Galaktika devour a vending machine. Galaktika starts dragging Dva around. Is this supposed to be a joke? Plamya continues to be sad but Pepel is back and he has White Falcon on his side. She remembers she was crying at her mom’s funeral when she met Kate. She thought cry-babies cannot become a leader in Zvezda but Kate told her to cry when she needs to. Kate recruited her into her team and gave that eye-patch. Galaktika returns to Venera’s hand and Zvezda regroups. Yasu senses something bad is going to happen so he flees. Typical coward.

Kyoushirou merges with the robot and everyone starts to battle with it. Including former tank army division who have converted to Zvezda. Venera shows off her cool motorbike riding skills and even has a licence that will never expire. She can ride this so well but not her bicycle? I guess they’re both different sets of two-wheelers. The smoke is choking them but their secret vending machine with milk replenishes them. Everyone has their turn hitting the robot with their power move. But for Dva… He’s only got a fly swatter? White Egret is confused so White Robin asks her what she is fighting for. A world where they can laugh together. That makes 2 of them. White Egret joins White Robin in taking down Kyoushirou. In the final showdown between the bosses, Kyoushirou mocks Venera’s conquest of meeting every single person in this world. Venera remains steadfast in doing that as that is the basics of world conquest. She won’t further reveal her world conquest details. Dva hopes it’s not because she doesn’t have a plan… Venera powers up with Galaktika and knocks Kyoushirou off the robot. He couldn’t believe he lost to a little girl and he stuffs a bun in his mouth. Yasu the turncoat cheers on for Venera but gets reprimanded he’ll never get dinner. With this, West Udogawa or in fact the entire Japan has been conquered! Asuta narrates the aftermath that their lives go on like normal. Everyone knows Venera’s name. White Light is sticking around but not too sure if they are friend or foe. Most likely still the latter. More shocking, Gorou and Kaori got married! The latter suddenly like a loving wife! Was it that kiss that brainwashed her? By the way, Pierre is still alive and seen making their wedding cake. Asuta isn’t happy Kate built a giant sized busty adult statue of herself. He wants to take it down but a baseball comes crashing and destroying it instead. Zvezda takes it as a threat of a new enemy and Roboko detects the attack from the other side of the world! New York? Another secret organization trying to take over the world? Hmm… Looks like Yankee freaks… Kate rallies her members if they want to go and conquer there but from everybody’s enthusiasm, it’s like they want to have fun in New York. Asuta vows never to let Kate conquer him but she smirks… Asuta’s conquest is underway…

Conquering Our Hearts: Almost!
One small step for Kate. One giant step for Zvezda! The world might look like a small place but when you are taking on the giant feat of world conquest, it looks like a vast and endless place. And so with West Udogawa and probably Japan in the bag, the road to true world conquest seems like a long way to go. But with Kate who seemingly never grows up, I think she’ll achieve that. But as for now, let us review the conquest that Kate and her members have achieved so far. Read: My thoughts on this anime. In a nutshell, this is a great anime thanks to its wacky and nonsensical nature. We got wacky characters and sometimes the plot to take over the world seems farfetched but that is what makes this anime funny. Especially the interactions between the characters of the world conquest team. It makes you wonder if they are really the bad guys and question the meaning of world conquest. Usually when you want to dominate the world, you’ll be instantly painted as a bad guy, right? It is not so clear cut in this case since Zvezda doesn’t even act like a typical baddie organization. So you might be confused as to who are the bad guys or the good guys. The lines are blurred that it there is no such thing as good or bad. Of course our Zvezda members are the ‘heroes’ in this anime and like all other heroes of justice, their fist will prevail in the end to all those who oppose. All hail and salute the great Zvezda! *Makes Zvezda hand salute gesture*.

There is great comical action as well as comical dialogue to enhance the nonsensical effect. For the latter, sometimes in the form of very exaggerated unbelievable explanations. Those like you can pluck out of thin air and string them together in a sentence to make it look like some legend. Yeah. Stretching it back to the early civilizations and have connection with aliens. Sounds like a load of bull that anybody can make up and even win first prize in a storytelling contest. But when you take into account that curious past of Kate, it may not be a load of crap. After all, with giant monsters powered but thousands of cute little blobs, an underground ancient civilization beneath the base and supernatural powers that are unexplained, you might start to think that all this nonsense aren’t really garbage or baloney to begin with and have a much deeper connection. After all, our puny minds can’t begin to understand such ancient and ‘high technology’ advances.

The weird, quirky and colourful characters make up much for the craziness you see in this anime. Imagine, a ragtag team consisting of a little girl as the leader, a swordswoman, a big yakuza dude, a professor who loves wearing skimpy bikinis, a robot with emotions, a coward smoker and a normal kid. You would never think that this would be a world conquest team but instead some Halloween party! Get your trick or treat candies ready. Uh huh. Those black leather suits that they wear may sometimes make you think that this is also some S&M party. It is hard not to find them lovable and as odd as their personality, they don’t act like typical bad guys. Only people like Kyoushirou do. Something tells me that they want to paint politicians as such evil beings. Oh what the heck. Aren’t they? Also, something tells me that this anime is also vouching for a no smoking campaign. Yes, people. Smoking is bad for your health! If only there was such an effective method of dropping a bucket of water on a smoker’s head the instant he/she lights up. Complete with the bucket dropping on the head as a sign to say “You dope! Please don’t smoke! Don’t you ever forget that!”. Haha!

Although Asuta isn’t really interested in world conquest, the only reason why I think he is hanging around Zvezda (aside that he was forced to) is because he had nowhere to go and is just doing their whims and fancies just to alleviate his boredom. Not to say he finds his normal mundane life boring. In fact, I think he would prefer it much that way. So how does one repay a group of strangers who take him in and provide a roof over his head? You become their underling and foot soldier as well as obey their commander’s orders. I think that is suffice at least for Asuta. Maybe along the way he’d understand Kate’s obsession for world conquest. Like other members, he doesn’t possess any super powers and I think the most useful skill he has as a member is his cooking! That’s important, right? Can’t conquer the world on an empty stomach.

As for Kate, there is more to her than meets the eye. At first you thought she is just some runaway little girl who wants to play world conquest instead of doll house just to get back at her parents. But that short clip of her flashback that looked like she was some sort of God in some ancient civilization may have something to do with it all. Her creepy looking doll Galaktika should be the biggest giveaway that it isn’t some toy but a world conquest tool with unexplained powers. It just feels odd that whenever she uses it, she sticks her hand into its anus… Perhaps world conquest is just a fancy name for something else because as we see, it is hinted there is some other creature possessing Kyoushirou (something that is of smoke based) and perhaps a natural enemy to Kate. Heck, it might get even complicated instead of just a simple world domination. Well leave that for discussion for another day. Roboko is another mystery since our perception of her is that she is a robot. However her actions feel that she is as human as her Zvezda counterparts. It is as though she is a girl just wearing a steel suit.

Other characters are likeable too and some of the Zvezda members have their own flashbacks that give us more insights of their past and how they came to join Kate’s cause. Though, I feel that it could be expanded to further understand how they came to pledge their loyalty to Kate. All we do know is that each one believes in Kate and this is important for her to carry out her world conquest. How can you conquer the world when you don’t have the trust of your subordinates? Yasu is the only exception that being the coward he is, the only reason he sticks around is because to maintain his bad boy image (but he looks like a wuss after everything we have seen) and his fear of the great Venera is making him stay. Otherwise, he’ll jump ship the slightest hint he thinks somebody is even more powerful than her. In addition, it feels like his role is to be the fall guy since he always messes up things. Oddly, for somebody like Kaori who hates Zvezda for all her life, suddenly she becomes Gorou’s husband and joins Zvezda’s cause. Probably she was blinded by the false fact that this organization caused the death of her sister. And with that gone (the kiss did it, I presume), she’s a much better person. I prefer her this goofy instead of somebody serious :).

White Light as a secret organization of justice too has their own quirks. Although always at the opposite end of Zvezda’s schemes, with people like Renge/White Robin on board, as long as she doesn’t lose her own sense of justice, this organization won’t go astray. It goes to show that despite being like cats and dogs, oil and water, fire and ice, White Light and Zvezda can still put away their differences and fight together for the greater good that threatens everything. They should cooperate like this more often. But then again, they might as well join up if that is the case. Which isn’t going to happen since both sides still have their own ideologies and beliefs. So it is like White Light is here to keep Zvezda in check. Like a big cat and mouse, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians tag game.

The art and drawing is quite bright and vivid, making the surroundings lively with its vibrant colours. Sometimes it makes everything looks cartoonish but with all the nonsensical stuffs happening, that won’t be the main issue. But I noticed that the backgrounds and sceneries they have this manila cardboard shading. You know those oak pattern tones in those thick coloured A4 papers? On a trivial note, the next episode preview is amusing and to some you might want to ‘puke’. Because it features Yasu as a great, hot, cool and handsome guy. A great picture of him either as a host guy, a prince charming, a millionaire bathing in his money, a Greek philosopher or some feudal lord just to name a few among them. The kind that would have girls drooling over or the fujoshi types start fantasizing with deep passion with (insert name of the current hottest hunk you would like to see gay with). He is narrating his lines perfectly and so coolly that you wonder if this dude is a different person. Of course towards the end, you’ll realize the idiocy and that he is just some loser and the same idiot we know all along.

In the voice acting department, Kana Hanazawa was recognizable to me as she voices Natasha/Uumu. It’s one of her characters that lack emotion like Noir in Dog Days and Roka in D-Frag! Misaki Kuno as Kate/Venera did a good job in making her character sound like a bratty loli. She also voiced other loli characters such as Mimi in Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS and Serara in Log Horizon. Other casts include Natsuki Hanae as Asuta/Dva (Hikari in Nagi No Asukara), Mariya Ise as Itsuka/Plamya (Stocking in Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt), Minoru Hirota as Gorou/Pepel (Mitsume Yazura in Nurarihyon No Mago 2), Erii Yamazaki as Roboko (Hibari in Inugami-san To Nekoyama-san), Kousuke Toriumi as Yasu/Odin (Kiba in Naruto), MAO as Renge/White Robin (Kazumi in Gokukoku No Brynhilder), Minako Kotobuki as Miki/White Falcon (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Maaya Sakamoto as Kaori/White Falcon (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji) and Takaya Kuroda as Kyoushirou (Capricorn in Fairy Tail).

Be Mine is the opening theme by Maaya Sakamoto. Sounds crazy and enthusiastic enough if you’re into the pace of world conquest. It is just funny to see everybody keeps falling onto Asuta who is trying to run away from everything… Eventually Kate got him. The ending theme is a slower pace and sounds like a space song. At first I didn’t recognize Aoi Yuuki’s voice in singing VisuMania as I am not familiar with her singing. Plus, she didn’t have a voice acting role in this anime, a rare occurrence as usually she would have a role in both singing the theme song and the main character.

Overall, this anime is fun and enjoyable to watch especially if you want some laughs. There is potential for it to expand given the developments of the characters, their past and the setting of the entire story but even if you are not into so much of all that, it still won’t take away much of your enjoyment. At least it makes you feel like a kid again because with a loli as the leader of an evil organization whose ultimate goal is world conquest, it brings back childhood memories whereby you played with your other childhood friends or school friends of such roleplaying. Do you not dream of taking over the world and ruling it your own way as a kid? Or were you the kind who always played the hero of justice? They’re making world conquest here sound like something fun and revolutionary but I guarantee you that the real deal is no fun. Harsh reality and the shackles of society are already enough to make you lose your enthusiasm. Then again, maybe I do need to join a world conquest group just for a change in pace. I hope Kate’s organization is still open for recruitment.  I have fetish for maids and my special skills are watching anime all day long and writing long-winded blogs about them. Yup. Conquest of animes: Still in progress.

Amnesia

August 23, 2014

Eh? There was such an anime? I can’t remember. Really. Haha. Just pulling a fast one. Amnesia came out in early 2013 but only recently I made my decision to watch this show. I wonder why. Can’t remember the reason either. Besides, I don’t even know what made me decide to go watch a reverse harem anime that is based on an otome game of the same name. A straight guy like me watching a reverse harem anime? I don’t know. Can’t remember. But that who cares about such trivial stuff. The synopsis is also intriguing and perhaps that was what caught my attention. Just like the title suggests, our nameless heroine has no slightest clue to where her memories went after a certain date. Only one way to find out. Interact with the other guys and rediscover her memories. Aha. A convenient setting for a dating simulation, right?

Episode 1
It begins with our Heroine having flashbacks of being involved in some calamity. A fire in the building and falling into the water. When she opens her eyes, she is in the staff room of the place she works, Meido No Hitsuji. August 4th. She cannot remember anything. Worse, she thinks she is seeing things when this little spirit boy, Orion talks to her. Shin and Toma are here to pick her up after hearing from her colleague Sawa that she collapsed. Who are these guys, she wonders. They want to take her to the hospital but Orion tells her not to. If that is her wish, they guide her home. Uh… Don’t recognize the place you live? Wow. This amnesia must be terrible. Inside her room, Orion explains that she lost all her memories prior to August 1st in an accident. Orion who hails from the spirit world has been by her side ever since but of course she doesn’t remember him. Only she can see or hear him. Orion feels bad because it is his fault that caused her to lose her memories. He bumped into her soul. Thus he is here in place of her memories. In short, he is trapped inside her soul. The reason he is against her going to hospital is because in order to regain her memories, she must interact and be around people. Staying in hospital means lack of that and she will rot away till the point she dies! Even forgetting to breathe! That bad, huh? No wonder people hate hospitals. Can she follow all these since she can’t even remember who she is? Orion also feels she shouldn’t tell people she has amnesia or it may worsen the situation. Oddly, all her data before August was erased so they discuss about Shin and Toma who might be her childhood friend from the way they talk.

Next morning, Heroine still doesn’t remember anything. Orion says if she runs into trouble, she can ask him anything. Realizing it is already 9am, she hurries to work. With fellow colleague, Ikki, the café’s manager, Waka speaks to them about customers recently behaving inappropriately. If there are any, please inform him because worst come to worst, he’ll kill them with his bare hands! Scary. Ikki wonders if she is able to return to work so quick considering what happened to her. She feels it is okay. Of course, she has trouble doing her job since she doesn’t remember what she is supposed to do. Even so, how is she going to do it? Ikki guides her to make a parfait but she feels awkward and accidentally breaks the glass. Ikki treats her bleeding finger. Fellow colleague, Kent lectures her on some Pauli Effect (whatever that is, I couldn’t really care less). Orion tells her to make an excuse so that she can stay but Kent is being poker face so she doesn’t know what he is thinking. Eventually she gets to and the rest of the day goes by with nothing bad happening. Once she reaches back her home, a picture of her face being blacked out falls out from the post box. A group of b*tches confront her. They were observing her since in the café. They accuse her of breaking her promise. Traumatic memories of her hair being cut floods through her mind before passing out.

Episode 2
She wakes up, the b*tches are gone. Nothing happened. What just happened? She feels she must have done something horrible for them to be this upset. Orion thinks she shouldn’t tell about her amnesia for fear they may take advantage of it. Later at work, fellow colleagues Sawa and Mine tell her about a meeting for an orientation trip the company is having. She wonders if it is okay to come considering her mental state. When she sees the birthday candles, it brings back vague memories of playing sparklers with Shin. What was that all about? Worst, he said something about killing somebody. With everyone gathered for the meeting, Waka explains the purpose of this trip to Shinano on August 8th is to strengthen to bond of the staffs so there is no need for formalities and everyone should enjoy themselves. While walking back, Heroine has too much on her mind that she crossed the road without looking. If not for this hottie, Ukyou, she could have been run over. It seems Ukyou knows her but since he doesn’t recognize him, he leaves. When the gang arrives at Shinano, Heroine again has flashes of memories. This time with Kent at the festival and something about some promise. As suggested by Orion to ask him, however Kent doesn’t seem to know what she is talking about. The staffs play air hockey as ice breaker with Kent-Ikki team besting Shin-Toma. Kent was just whispering his strategy to Ikki who is doing all the hands on work. Maybe this strategy is what made them win. That night, Waka leads the rest to watch the meteor shower. It must be a long way trekking through the darkness only equipped with a flashlight. Heroine might have worn herself out from the air hockey game so Shin offers his hand to help. He also wants to ask her something, something Orion thinks it’s a bad thing for them to be alone together. She tries to make excuse to return to the rest but trips. Shin catches her. The thought of him killing somebody rings through her mind. She panics and runs off. Too dark to see where she is going, she falls off a cliff!!! Next morning, she wakes up in hospital. Strange. August 1st. Shin comes in and kisses her! Did that wake her up? Also, she cannot hear or see Orion anymore.

Episode 3
Shin helps her to pack her stuffs to head home. He feels if there is something wrong, please tell him. Otherwise she can go back to the hospital if she feels sick. Yeah, she feels fine suddenly. After Shin leaves, she wonders if all that was a dream, including that trip. Next day, Shin comes to visit her again. He knows something is wrong because she has been trying to desperately match her story with his so it’s useless to continue playing dumb. He mentions they have been dating for 3 months. He will respect her decision not to go back to hospital and although he guesses her memories are mixed up, she would be a fool if she thinks she could fool him. He has her follow her as he explains they are childhood friends. He brings her to the university where she attends in hopes it will trigger her memories. Nothing. She is also a vocalist in her music club and used to practice here a lot. This was also the place where he first asked her to go out with him. Also the first place they kissed. He tries to force kiss her in hopes something will come forth but she is frightened instead. Then they go meet Toma and he too has heard about her memories being mixed up. If she ever runs into trouble, she can also rely on him. Toma isn’t fond that Shin hasn’t told her everything as the latter believes she needs to figure it out by herself. Later Shin asks if she remembers about her accident. She thinks she slipped. She also keeps a diary of the events that has happened since she was discharged. After Shin leaves her at Meido No Hitsuji, Heroine is greeted by a very different Waka. He seems less strict and very caring. A bit gay? Then talking to Sawa and Mine, it is confirmed there was a trip to Shinano however it was only for part timers. Meaning, Ikki and Kent didn’t go but they were there just by chance. There was also no meteor shower watch. Shin went pale when told the rest that she fell off a cliff so everyone went in search for her. There was also someone not within their group (a photographer) who helped search for her and they found her at the bottom of the cliff after an hour of search. Oddly, Shin wasn’t panicking unlike Toma who was running about. On the way back while waiting at the railroad crossing, she sees Ukyou again and he wonders if her injuries are okay. He is pretty sure they met at the trip. Shin comes running to Heroine because he was supposed to pick her up instead she left herself. At the park, Shin explains he said horrible things to her after her concert and made her cry. When she asks about the accident at Shinano, he apologizes he is not emotionally ready to tell her but can only say it is his fault. For that moment, she thought she heard Orion’s voice.

Episode 4
Shin brings her home and asks what she is to him. As she has not sent any clear signals to him, he wonders if he is family or her boyfriend. He doesn’t want to go back being the former as they’ve only started dating. Sawa shows the fireworks display and Waka thinks it is a good idea and feels he should call the rest to come. Of course Heroine is made to call Shin but he declines since he has cram school tonight and won’t make it. So the gang are preparing their own little fireworks when Shin surprisingly turns up. You mean it was better if he didn’t? He has her follow him into the woods whereby he has her imagine this is the woods of Shinano as he goes on top of her. Remember anything? Shin gets a little aggressive in questioning her and it’s scaring her. She wants to go back to the rest but he stops her. He hasn’t done anything to scare her. He mentions her fall from the cliff was his fault. He blocked her way and wanted her to accept him as her boyfriend. He apologizes for being pushy because just when they have past being childhood friends, then this happened. He feels pathetic that he is supposed to protect her at times like this. After all, she saved him. Returning to the gang and playing sparklers, Shin reveals his dad killed somebody. Although it was in self defence against a drunkard, after that incident everyone viewed at them differently. Shin’s friends distance themselves from him but only Toma and her remained as they are and treated him the same. He gave up and went with the flow (explaining his cold exterior). Only recently he decided not to run away anymore and that’s why he is not giving up. Especially on her. Shin walks her home and despite being pushy and saying terrible things to her, he at least wants to protect and not hurt her again. She is glad to hear his story and thanks him. Shin asks her to go out with him and wants to forget this sense of distance between them. However she is not ready and he is not surprised because this was the same answer she gave the last time. He gives her a surprise kiss and will make her think of him as a man. Be on your guard because she will never know when the next kiss comes. Heroine is walking back and vowing to get all her memories back. But why the heck must she stand right in the centre of the road? To be hit by a truck???!!! She wakes up back home from a call by Ikki who wants to take her out. He gives her no room to decline. To her horror, today is August 1st and all that she has written in her diary are gone! Outside her place, lots of girls are clamouring over Ikki, including those bully b*tches. After he shoos them away, Ikki works his charms on her but she is still confused. A girl named Rika interrupts them.

Episode 5
Seems Rika was just checking if those fan girls were a nuisance to them before leaving. Heroine thinks she recognized her as part of those bullies. As Ikki takes her to the movies, he begins to feel that she is not her usual self. She is being quiet. During the movie, she thinks back that she has not forgotten but it seems time turned back. At the end of the movie, Ikki stares at her face and wants her to see his without his sunglasses because it seems when other people do, they fall into some effect. Ikki wonders if she has come up with the thing he wants to do for turning up late this morning. She wants him to accompany her to work. Heroine sleeps in her room and then suddenly she can see and hear Orion again. No, she’s not dreaming. He tries to explain that the world she is in now isn’t the one she was previously. How can we understand that if he himself doesn’t? Before he can tell the all important place she is right now, he disappears. Dang. Heroine gets a mail from Ikki, worried she is not her usual self. This is followed by a mysterious text asking for her daily report. Next day, Ikki walks Heroine to Meido No Hitsuji. They are colleagues. Waka is scolding her! He has got lots of anger! Heroine observes the girls falling into his charm while looking into his eyes. Yeah, they boldly confess they love him and want to go out with him. When they go off work, Ikki has to accompany those fan girls and wants her to wait at their usual place. Where the hell is that? So she waits at the back of her workplace. At least now she knows this isn’t it when Ikki calls her when she didn’t turn up. He heads to where she is and is certain something is wrong with her. He hopes as her boyfriend, she can rely on him. So he is her boyfriend? Don’t remember spending time with him. Ikki pushes Heroine to the wall and wants her to close her eyes so he can kiss her. She won’t. He was sure it would work this time. He backs off and notes there is a month left. Later when Sawa visits Meido No Hitsuji, Heroine is surprised to learn she doesn’t work here. But Sawa has something to say to her. She has checked the rumours herself about Ikki. Seems he dumps girls after dating them for 3 months. She doesn’t want her to seriously fall in love with him. Although Mine works here, she was away on a trip. She thinks Heroine was dumped by Ikki and asks for permission to make a move on him! That night, Heroine sees Ikki and Kent in a showdown. Are they going to kill each other? She tries to stop them but tripped. Back at Ikki’s place, she learns that they were going to do battle with some Sudoku puzzles. Kent thinks she must be fighting Ikki hard since this is her first time here. Heroine asks Kent about her relationship with Ikki and it is confirmed that he somewhat breaks up with all his girlfriends after 3 months. However he notes she is different from the rest. When Heroine is about to leave, Ikki wonders if she wants to stay for the night.

Episode 6
Of course he’s just fooling around and won’t force her. Back home, another anonymous mail asking for her daily report. Who is sending her this? At work, Heroine hears out Ikki complaining about girls trying to snatch him despite knowing he’s going out with someone else and even joked that it is more fun to date them. Sometimes he thinks he might come to hate girls. Heroine asks Waka about the daily reports but gets scolded. On her way back, she meets Ukyou who hopes she won’t make more enemies now that she is dating Ikki. Next morning, she becomes sick so Ikki comes to nurse her (he had to wear a weird mask so the girls won’t bug him). When she is back to work, Mine tells her about her confession but got rejected. She also mentions about the trip to Shinano organized by the Billiards Association and hopes she can come. That night, Sawa calls her and mentions she was part of Ikki’s fan club. And then a call from Ikki pouring out his heart telling her about another girl he rejected. It makes him so depressed so he came here to see and hear her voice to calm himself. Doesn’t it make him look like a stalker? Heroine joins the trip and of course Ikki is also there. Why else would so many girls be in it? Rika is the president of the Billiards Association and organized this trip. After Ikki awes the fan girls with his billiard play and let them have a competition among themselves (the winner gets to have tea with him), he goes to talk to Heroine. He explains he made a wish when he was young to be popular with girls. All the girls suddenly acted strange and nice towards him whenever their eyes met. He believed his wish was granted and since then is unable to feel close to people.

After dating a girl, for some reason she leaves him after 3 months. Because lots of girls like him, this creates enemies for her and she will get sick of it. If this continues, they are eventually destined to break up. So he limited himself to 3 months dating a girl for fun. He gave up on having a real relationship till he met her. At first he was interested that she isn’t affected by his eyes but not it’s different. He really wants to convey his feelings to her. Stay by his side forever. He loves her. Heroine is relieved he cleared things up and was wrong about him. They see a shooting star and he hopes she will fall in love with him for real. Later that night, Rika and the fan girls call Heroine out. They remind her that she was not allowed to hog Ikki all to herself as promised. Don’t remember? Well, it seems this fan club has this understanding of sharing Ikki. Rika was the one who sent Heroine the daily reports to document how she spent her time with him. This was the agreement for allowing her to date him. Should she forget, they will make her pay so be sure to submit all the reports from August 1st. The rest adds that they are only allowed to date Ikki for 3 months and warn her to stick to the deal or else they will make her break up with him at once. Besides, her 3 months are almost up. Heroine is still confused and thinking all this is wrong but the bullies take it as talking back and push her into the boat to cool herself down. As she floats adrift, Orion returns as Heroine explains about the fan club and their unusual dating terms for Ikki. At least now they know that Ikki truly cared for her and has had it rough up till now. The boat starts to crack and water gushing in. She panics and falls off. Orion tries to grab her but you know, he’s a spirit so nothing connects. Yeah, he vanished first before she vanished deeper into the lake.

Episode 7
The next thing she knows, she is outside her home and a message from Kent to come meet him at Meido No Hitsuji (Waka doesn’t talk much and Sawa is her colleague). Kent seems a little aggressive in wanting her to speak her mind and state her demands and dissatisfaction! When she apologizes, he feels odd because this never happens before so he too apologizes for being immature. Back home, she realizes the date has reset to August 1st and all that she wrote in her note are gone. She gets mail from him to meet at his university’s research room if she’s not busy. So she goes but sits there quietly. He thought this was her idea of them spending time together more often. He pats her head but it’s a little too hard and apologizes he doesn’t know how to control his strength. That night as Heroine waits for Kent to go to the festival, she waits and waits till Kent texts her he forgot all about it since he never had interest in such events. He rushes all the way and brings her to the festival grounds. He mentions she told him to promise one thing. When they planned to come here, they just started dating. He thought he would never find himself dating, that’s when she told him about this festival. At the end of the festival, Kent is surprised that he had fun with her. He thought their relationship would never work out.

Next day at Kent’s research room, when he points out this is the first time she brings coffee, it compels him to say she is not being herself. He has been observing her and from all the theories he deduced (including alien abduction), he concludes she has amnesia. Heroine can suddenly see Orion and he suggests telling Kent everything including the spirit. But Kent’s comments seem to piss off Orion because he thinks the spirit is possessing her, looking very human-like, acts human-like, probably not too intelligent and useless. Kent also has Heroine relay what Orion says. So it’s like they’re communicating, right? Kent learns the complicated stuff that parallel worlds exist and Heroine has been drifting from one world to another for unknown reasons. If this theory is right, this means she isn’t the same girl he knows. He feels sad that he thought her change in behaviour was because she had started to like him but alas it wasn’t. There is a possibility she might move to another world again. Kent explains the Heroine he knows always argues with him every time they meet. She told him to consider other people’s feelings more because he always sounded hurtful with his words. She replies the she in this world wasn’t able to be honest with herself and loves him. He hopes he can honestly convey his feelings to her next time. As he walks her back, while crossing the road, some guy bumps into her and their hands separate. Next thing she knows, Toma grabs her hand. Hey wait. Kent only gets one episode?

Episode 8
Toma grabs her hand before she gets run over by a vehicle. She loses energy and passes out. She is taken to the hospital and the doctors diagnose her with anaemia. She notices the date has reset to August 1st again. When she is discharged, she returns to her place. She sees a locked diary and a calendar with markings, especially to meet Ikki at the back alley. She checks her mail and it is filled with rotten food. Toma cleans it up but the next day nothing happened. She asks him about the back alley and hopes he could accompany her there. However she started feeling sick when they arrive so he brings her back and she has slept for an entire day. At Meido No Hitsuji, he asks understanding Waka for her to take some time off so he agrees to prioritize her rehabilitation. Talking to Toma at the back alley of her workplace, suddenly somebody (more like that bully) drops a flower pot, missing her by inches. Toma tries to go after her but lost her. Toma then brings her back to his place. She goes through his photo album and confirms that she is childhood friends with him and Shin. Heroine doesn’t want to make Toma worry and goes off herself. She bumps into Ukyou who is no longer mister nice guy this time. He grabs her hand and says she is going to die soon. Luckily Toma comes running to save her. In view of these unexplained dangers on her, he suggests he stays at his place tonight. Next morning, Toma is sleep talking and pulls Heroine close to him while she is checking on him. He wakes up and apologizes and explains she used to never sleep by herself and always came to him. Since she is going to stay here for a while, they go shop for some necessities. Toma probably has never shopped so much before so he feels tired. Heroine goes to buy some drinks when the bullies cut her hair from behind!

Episode 9
Toma is upset when he learns about it so he brings her back to his place. He tells her not to leave. However she can’t sit around and wait for answers to drop on her lap. Thinking back about the note to meet Ikki, if she asks him, he might know something. However he isn’t picking up his calls since Ikki doesn’t know whose number this is. She tries to go out but gets caught by Toma. He makes her go back him and warns that something worse than a haircut could happen. So for the next few days, Heroine seems to be sleeping. Each time she wakes up, she falls back asleep. Trying to be Sleeping Beauty? One evening, she hears Orion’s voice telling her not to drink or eat anything Toma gives because he laced it with some drug that caused her to feel sleepy. She follows his advice to also pretend to sleep. Then when he falls asleep, Orion cues her for a chance to escape. They see her handphone in his possession and are shocked to see nasty messages from the bullies. Someone has also been spreading her number and pictures about her. A message from Ikki reveals that she had something going on August 1st but Ikki couldn’t make it because Rika stopped him. Suddenly Shin is at the door so Heroine pretends to go back to bed. Shin is shocked that Toma is keeping her here and accuses him of wanting to keep her all to himself when he isn’t even her boyfriend. Say what? After Toma talks to Shin outside, the latter leaves. Toma becomes a little scary as he claims he setup those bullies just to keep her imprisoned here. Then he force kisses her that makes her feel drowsy.

When she wakes up, she is now in a cage!!! HOLY CRAP! This is serious! This is to protect her and prevent her from leaving for her own good? It must be real boring trapped like a caged princess. Toma also brings some of her dolls but I don’t think that’s going to make things any better. Maybe it’s a sign to say she is one of his toys… One night when they can’t sleep, seeing her in such pitiful circumstances, he lets her out for a while. He reveals because she seemed to have lost her memories, he took advantage of it and made her his girlfriend. He knows that Ikki’s fan girls have been harassing her and didn’t want her to see all the nasty stuff they left behind. However as long as she has feelings for Ikki, the harassment won’t stop. All Toma cares about is protecting her and he is going to do it his way even if it makes others and her think bad about him. He thinks she is starting to pity or forgive him so he gets back to his bad guy act and puts her back in the cage. His professor calls and informs him about the wrong data he sent so he goes off to the university to settle it. Heroine and Orion discuss Toma is acting weird and this isn’t the Toma she knows. She thinks the locked diary may have the answer. Somehow Toma forgot to lock the cage so Heroine gets out. She rushes back to her place, almost got hit by a car. Toma isn’t too happy to find her captive is out of her cage.

Episode 10
Heroine uses her hairpin to unlock the diary! Why didn’t she think of this? It seems she loves Toma and wants to confess to him and stop playing the role as his little sister. She went to see Ikki for advice and August 1st is going to be the big day. Toma comes in and he is mad that she doesn’t listen to him. Since she ignores his pain, he will ignore hers too. He isn’t going to let go of her hand and going to force kiss her when the diary drops. She makes him read it. The entry was written on July 31st, the day she collapsed. Toma felt guilty and dumb over what he had done. He was blinded with his own way of protecting her that he didn’t realize her feelings. He apologizes and doesn’t expect to be forgiven. Of course she will since it’s all clear now. It is probably too late for him to say this but he says it anyway. He loves her. Heroine is sent to the hospital to tend to her wounds. Ikki, Rika and the fan girls come in to apologize for the harassment. Late that night, Ukyou is seen holding Heroine in his arms on top the hospital roof. He mentions about him loving her and despite his constant warnings, she remained a fool. When she opens her eyes, he drops her! Heroine finds herself trapped in a building on fire. Ukyou can’t get to her. Next thing she knows, she is back in her room. Orion is with her. Definitely another world and it’s August 1st again. As she heads to university, she bumps into Ukyou. However he is not being the evil scary dude and wants her to not go to university. Although they remain suspicious, they decide to heed his warning. Arriving at Meido no Hitsuji, Sawa is glad she is alright because there was an explosion at the university. Then walking home, a metal beam is going to drop on her but Ukyou pushes her away. Ukyou continue to warn Heroine to stay away from certain places or take a longer route. Thankfully she listens because shortly, some sort of accident happened in that spot and she could have been a victim. One day when Meido no Hitsuji’s water pipe broke and Waka has to close the store, Ukyou walks home with Heroine. He tells her that he is a photographer and his passion in photography. He also mentions they used to walk down this road hand in hand many times. While crossing the railroad, her high heels get stuck in the tracks. Yeah. A train is coming and the brakes aren’t working. Ukyou tries to get her out. I thought it would be faster if she takes off her shoes but then again, it might not come off that easily. Eventually Heroine misses death by inches. I guess we are owed an explanation why does this guy accurate knows and predicts such disasters befalling on her. He thinks this world is trying to kill her. From now till August 26th, she will be caught up in many disasters. Heroine wants to know who he really is. He is her boyfriend.

Episode 11
Ukyou adds they just started dating and recounts the moment they met. He warns her of a dark well and not to approach it. He seems to be in sort of pain while saying that. He tells her the world will be out to kill her and must survive till August 25th. She will face many dangers but the most dangerous one is himself. Back home, Heroine and Orion discuss about Ukyou. Although he has warned and saved her on several occasions, there is a possibility he can move between worlds like them and need to find out more about him. Ukyou is trying to fight off with his other evil split personality. Next day after work, Heroine finds Ukyou sleeping on the grass. When he wakes up, he is upset he is stuck in this world and blames her for everything and that she should not exist. He tries to kill her when his good side takes over. He wants her to be careful around him. That night, she gets a call from him to meet him at the shrine. However it’s a trap by the evil side to kill this naive girl by dropping her into the well. In the nick of time, his good side cuts his own hand and pulls Heroine up before she falls. He tells her to run while vowing not to meet her again. Ukyou continues to text her places to avoid. Finally he calls her to confirm she is safe. He reminds her tomorrow is the day the world will kill her with all it has got and to stay indoors. He doesn’t want her to die no matter what. He hints this is the last time he will see her and has always been in love with her. She gets worried thinking he is going to kill himself (since he did say he just needs to vanish from this world) and tries to go to his side. But there’s a big storm. A real big one. You know her. She can’t leave him alone. Yeah. She almost gets killed a few times. Once she finds Ukyou in the university building, turns out that his evil side has taken over. He relishes this convenience that she came to him just to get killed. He is going to make sure he will kill her with his own hands. Where can she hide? Ukyou has set the place on fire. Yeah. The entire building is conveniently made of wood.

Episode 12
Evil Ukyou corners her but the good side takes over and realizes it was his mail that sent her coming here. He explains that she was caught in an explosion at this university on August 1st and remained unconscious for 25 days before she died today. That was what happened in the first world. Unable to accept her death, he travelled through parallel worlds to find one that she is still alive. His only wish is that she lives. Now his evil side takes over and continues. But if she dies, he lives. Because in worlds where she lives, he never exists. So when a person who isn’t supposed to exist forces his way into a world, he is treated as a foreign object and the world will try to purge it. Therefore in order to maintain the balance, she is supposed to die today. Heroine avoided all the dangers thanks to Ukyou’s advice. That’s because he was the one who caught it and died many times! This time he is going to kill her! Good Ukyou fights back and admits that many times he killed her to save himself from death’s pain. But each time he did that, the good side would feel guilty and move to another world. Evil Ukyou notes Neil doesn’t have that power anymore. Neil who? Orion says he is the creator of the spirits and gains power from people’s wishes. In order to grant Ukyou’s wish of seeing her alive, he was moved to different worlds. Evil Ukyou corners her and is going to stab him but stabs himself. Oddly, Ukyou doesn’t feel pain anymore. Could it be because he chose to die? But Heroine wants to save him and leave together. He continues he is supposed to die here. Each time he travelled to a new world and found her, he was a stranger. He felt lonely even though her smiles were for somebody. But being with her briefly here made him happy. That is enough. He is to pay for what he has done to her. When the clock strikes midnight, he dies. Then he revives. WTF?!

In a different plane, Orion explains both of them are saved, Neil speaks to her via Orion. He thanks her that because of Ukyou’s wish, he regained his power. Because Ukyou’s wish is not easy, he had no choice but to hurt him repeatedly. He also apologizes that her amnesia was his fault. Her meeting with Orion wasn’t a coincidence. Neil who had merged with Ukyou, searched for her in many worlds and was also responsible in moving her to parallel worlds. It all started when she fell from the cliff (Shin’s arc). Evil Ukyou wanted her to die but since his other side couldn’t bear to see her die again, Neil sent her to another world but it took him immense amount of power to transport her consciousness. Neil lost control of his powers because of that and Heroine ended up being tossed from one world to another. The date will always reset to August 1st since it would determine if she lives or dies. Because Heroine didn’t succumb to fate and fought back, it helped Neil regain his power. Now she will be able to regain all her memories and return to her original world. Orion blames himself for being useless and the reason she suffered a lot. She disagrees because on many occasions he encouraged her. They’re both grateful. But if Heroine regains her memories, the price to pay is that Orion will be separated from her consciousness. She can no longer see or hear him. Plus, she will forget about him. But she is confident that if he ever sees her again, try calling out to her and she feels she can tell that he is there. She walks through the door and returns to her own world.

Alone Against The World
I’m confused. I was ready and prepared for the final episode revelation but honestly, it was confusing that I couldn’t comprehend things and make sense of everything. For example, the original Heroine died, right? At least the one in the world where they were a couple. Therefore this Heroine isn’t Ukyou’s original girlfriend. So Ukyou travelled through different worlds just to find her. So… If Heroine isn’t supposed to exist in the world she is thrown in, what about Ukyou? If only one can exist, so what the heck is he travelling through worlds for? I know it’s just to find Heroine but get this. Heroine is supposed to be a foreign object not supposed to be in that world. But yet, how come she is the boyfriend of the other guys? Unless you tell me that there are 2 Heroines existing at that time. Or it could be just their conscious being transported and not their physical body. So the Heroine of the earlier world may be occupying the mind of the Heroine of this world. Same case with Ukyou. So could it mean that the Ukyou of subsequent worlds are evil?

Either way, shouldn’t Ukyou not be in any of this world? If evil Ukyou wants to live, he should just find a world where she doesn’t exist. Are you confused? There is something that I am not getting. In short, when the air of mystery that Heroine didn’t have her memories was around, despite the slow pace drama, at least there is something interesting thanks to that air of mystery. Now with this confusing revelation, I just feel worse off than before. It’s like things were better when I was in the blur just like her. Only difference is that now I’m still blur. And then I don’t know why she has to survive until August 26th. Does it really guarantee she will survive? If she does, will Ukyou die? Unless she is supposed to die in every world but good ol’ Ukyou took her place. Think about this. The world is trying to kill her and she manages to dodge it all. It’s like she ‘defeated God’, right?

Despite this being a romance genre, I just don’t feel the impact of the romance between the Heroine and the guys. Most probably it is because Heroine has lost her memories and this makes her so damn confused. She is not sure if that guy is really her boyfriend or not and can’t play along since she herself doesn’t know if she is the romantic, intimate kind or not. So most of the time she is like putting on that dumbstruck face that makes you think this romance isn’t going to work out anyway. Pity the guy. It must be hard for your girlfriend to not reciprocate your feelings. In short, the romance feels like a disappointment and a turn off with Heroine so wooden and a big blur case. Well, if she did give in and start kissing back or make love, that would be even shocking. I guess this will do. So having her travelling to various worlds is just an excuse for this reverse harem romance thingy. Although it is sad that she didn’t end up with one of the 4 main guys (at least during their arc) or nothing close to a multi-branching arc, hey, you can say that she has experienced the best and worst from all worlds, right? Can you consider her as four-timing?

There is an OVA released way back at the end of the 2013. It went largely unsubbed for some time and when it did, I lost interest in the series seeing how the ending went. I know it was a good ending with our heroine going back to the original world, and it even leaves it to viewers’ discretion of whose world she chose. There are pictures of her ending up with each of the 5 guys individually. Or maybe she didn’t end up with anyone and remained single. Yeah. Not after what she went through. Anyway I did watch the OVA but didn’t really sat there for the full length and was just fast forwarding and picking several scenes. From what I say, the OVA takes place in another parallel world. All the guys are working at Meido no Hitsuji and are being told by Waka to come up with some sort of theme to attract more customers to the cafe since I believe there is a rival cafe opened nearby. They tried animal suits to even Power Rangers style but it all ended up in some disaster. Also, Ukyou pays a visit and it seems the guys didn’t like him and spiked his food with something spicy. Of course he can handle it. Which brings up this inconsistency: Ukyou and Heroine cannot exist in the same world, right? And what do we see in this OVA? That’s why I don’t understand what is going on.

The characters feel uninspiring. With the convenient setting of Heroine not having any memories, she is always in the dark and has this worried look on her face. So much so I thought she was born with it and her permanent feature. If she smiles, better whip out your camera and record this rare moment. Without memories, how would you move on? She also feels weak and to a point submissive sine when the guys corner her, she is mainly unable to do things on her own. Because the guys take pity of her state, they back off. Orion I feel is being largely useless and only exist at certain times to help Heroine out. Even so, it was by a small amount. So when he admitted that in the end, I somewhat wholeheartedly agree. That explanation of how their meeting wasn’t a coincidence I do not understand so I can’t connect the dots why he hangs out around her and then suddenly vanishes at crucial points and then appears again as he likes. The other guys too aren’t anything much despite their distinct personalities and they only play a significant role in their arc. A lone wolf, ladies man, rational-cum-logic-FTW guy, social-cum-friendly guy and a caring ex-boyfriend. I guess each really love her. Some with their own twisted way. Lock her in a cage? Now I’ve seen everything. Otherwise, her acting would have turned them off and they would conveniently dump her and find somebody new. Hey, she’s got amnesia, right? Eventually, the guy didn’t get the girl in the end. Waka is the more interesting one since his personality changes in different worlds. I wonder if there is a world where Heroine and him are a pair. That would be interesting.

The drawing and art as I can consider to be beautiful. Why not? With your pretty protagonist and hot looking bishonen around, it is definitely a must especially in a reverse harem setting. Personally I think the art is quite smooth and vivid with lots of colours. Especially the harem guys whose dressing seems to be like dressed to kill. It is as though they have come out from some cosplay or comic convention. You don’t really see the practicality in dressing up like that in your everyday life. Also, something about the characters’ eyes that make it feels unique. The pupils and iris are like upside down rainbow with dual tone colours. Weird? Odd?

On a trivial note, the next episode preview is narrated by Orion but it feels like it has nothing to do with the next episode but something that has happened in this episode. For example, talking about the parfait in Meido No Hitsuji, wanting to be part of a band, fireworks, movies and the sky. Sometimes I think it serves to be some sort of a joke for the end card animation because like the time he says he doesn’t want to see 2 guys riding together in a swan boat, suddenly we see Ikki and Kent together (it did happen in that episode). Then there is a time Orion mentions about the different mineral bottle water brands. Then the next scene, we see the repeated scene of Heroine drinking a bottled water but each time with a different brand on it. And there is the case he is talking about stuffed animals being scary and the next thing you know, all those stuffed toys in the cage with their eyes glowing!

Voice acting seems okay and nothing to shout about with Kaori Nazuka playing Heroine and is probably her most soft speaking roles ever compared to Tsukasa in Amagami SS, Nunally in Code Geass and Yui in To Love-Ru. Other casts include Hitomi Igarashi as Orion (Hina in Papa No Iukoto Wo Kikinasai), Tetsuya Kakihara as Shin (Natsu in Fairy Tail), Kishou Taniyama as Ikki (Natsuki in Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 1000%), Akira Ishida as Kent (Hakkai in Gensoumaden Saiyuki), Satoshi Hino as Toma (Saito in Zero No Tsukaima), Kouki Miyata as Ukyou (Fujisaki in Danganronpa), Hidenori Takahashi as Waka (Nagayasu in Oda Nobuna No Yabou), Satomi Moriya as Sawa (Hikari in Aikatsu), Kana Akutsu as Mine (Minori in Minori Scramble) and Seiko Yoshida as Rika (Kyousuke in Mahou Shojo Madoka Magica). The opening theme is a rock outfit, Zoetrope by Nagi Yanagi and has this mysterious feel to it. Personally I don’t think it sounds that bad. The ending theme is also another rock piece, Recall by Ray. It also has this enigmatic and ominous feel (towards the end). The ending theme for the final episode is Shinshin No Watadori by Nagi Yanagi and sounds pretty normal and toned down, like a song for happy endings.

Overall, I feel that this anime isn’t a good adaptation even though I myself didn’t play the game. Mostly if you like reverse harem romance with hot guys, you might tolerate this but the romance is very lacking so you might be disappointed. You just watch this show to get from point A to point B to point C without that satisfied feeling of having completed whatever you’re supposed to do in the point you reached but have to go on to the next. And what awaits you at the end? Makes you want to forget that disappointment, huh? That’s why memories are so important so as to move forward and not make the same mistake again. Now you know why you shouldn’t forget your girlfriend’s birthday or your wife’s anniversary :). As for me, I am hoping maybe I should have some sort of amnesia about this show. But then again, if I ever did, I might end up watching it in the future and say the same thing over and over again. It’s like Groundhog Day but only in different worlds.

1+2=Paradise

August 22, 2014

One plus two equals… Three! Ah, simple mathematics arithmetic. Back in 1990, I was probably in primary school and perhaps mastered the basic of simple arithmetic problems and moving on to fractions and the likes of the syllabus. Also in that same year, 1+2=Paradise also came out and this double OVAs isn’t a show to teach young kids about mathematics. The title should have been a giveaway. Yup, it’s an ecchi OVA. As long as there is more than one to the equation, it will definitely be a harem paradise. But how can you have that when the main male protagonist of the show is actually afraid of woman? Yeah, it feels wasted. Perverted guys who dream of their own harem never gets it and the socially awkward guy who prefers living the boring life that you could die of boredom gets lucky with a couple of girls who have no shame in losing their modesty just to get this guy’s love. Maybe that it is why such odd equation is so interesting.

Episode 1
Yuusuke Yamamoto must love RPG his video games so much. He dreams about them. But there is this foreshadow that woman will be his undoing. Facing off with some boob monster is clearly a nightmare. He wakes up with a cutie girl next to him. What follows next is a weird mixture of fantasy of reality as he tries to run away from the girl and weird boob creatures. If you ask me, they’re more freakish than anything ecchi. A pair of twins is seen outside his door. They are for real. The Nakamura sisters, Yuka and Rika are here to stay in their home since they are studying as nurses but since Yuusuke’s dad is too busy to take care of them, he has Yuusuke do this. WTF. Actually this is part of daddy’s plan to help Yuusuke cure his phobia of women. Because if Yuusuke is going to be a gynaecologist like him, he must overcome that fear. One woman is already fearful enough, what about a pair? Can Yuusuke handle this? Seems his fear stems from when he was young. A pair of twins used to live next door and would love to be his bride one day. When they were playing doctor and patient, the twins strip him naked to examine his body. They think his little dick is some sort of boil and wanted to cut it off!!!! Yikes! Scary! So now you see what Yuusuke is so afraid? What more, there’s double trouble now. However there is only one spare room and the guest room isn’t big enough to fit them both. Yuusuke must choose either one. He has the entire day to do so and daddy hints he won’t be coming back and staying at the hospital. Uh huh. I saw this coming. A competition to seduce Yuusuke. So that Yuusuke and us can tell the twins apart, Rika ties up her hair while Yuka lets hers down. The twins try to do some cleaning to earn points but they blooper (with lots of fanservice for ‘unfortunate’ Yuusuke of course). So he does the job better than them and they decide to go cook instead. As expected, they make a mess of everything. Yuusuke makes a better cook. If you marry this guy, you’d be set for a happy life. Seriously.

During bed time, he is surprised to see Yuka wearing his pyjamas to warm it up. Worse, Rika warms up his underwear in her ass!!! I wonder if he can get a good night’s sleep. Hell continues tomorrow when he finds both of them sleeping by his side. He recalls his fear for twins before they reveal that they are those twins. Destiny? Ever since Yuusuke saved them from that stray dog, they only want him to be their husband. It is a promise they made. Of course, Yuusuke can’t remember. He just thinks somebody put a curse on him. The kids pay Yuusuke’s dad a visit at the hospital. He has a hunch he can’t choose between them and came to seek his advice. But since this is the last working day before the New Year holidays, the hospital is short on staff so he has the twins clean the toilet so this might help Yuusuke make his decision. As usual, more follies from the twins in seducing him especially Rika who is covered with soap bubbles and wants Yuusuke to scratch that itchy part of hers. Then in this mind boggling part, Rika is unable to hang the hose high up so she trips and somehow gets entangled with Yuusuke in the tub. They struggle and this causes the tap to turn on. Since the plug is in place, this means the water is filling in fast and at this rate they will drown. I’m not sure about this part of Yuka telling Yuusuke to crawl down to her lower anatomy and push his face through. I don’t even know how or why this happened but this allows Yuusuke who was at the bottom to have his face surfaced up. In exchange, Rika’s face is now submerged underwater. Adding to the complexity of it all, Yuusuke summons his strength to stand up on roll over. Now he is underwater while Yuka face is out. In the aftermath, they are both saved by Rika. Yuusuke’s dad wonders if he has made his decision. Because both of them saved his life, he can’t choose and wants them both to stay. Yuusuke’s dad has foreseen this so he is going to let the twins stay in his room while he lives in the spare one. Take this as his Christmas present for him. The happy twins glomp him and make him pass out. Hellish days are here to stay.

Episode 2
An airship flies over Yuusuke’s school, dropping roses and firework displays. Barako Matsubishi is the owner of the largest circus company in the world and makes her presence felt. She’s pretty enough for all the guys to drool over her. She throws her rose and the one who catches it will get a reward. All the guys scramble but it is lucky (or unlucky depending how you view it) Yuusuke who gets it. And he wasn’t even trying. Barako kisses him! That’s the reward? That shocking kiss passes him out. While the other boys are fawning over Barako in class, Yusuke isn’t. He fears her. The twins warn Barako about Yuusuke’s phobia of woman but she slaps them away and kisses his forehead, believing she has captured him with her charms. The twins want Yuusuke to kiss them otherwise they take it as a sign he likes Barako more. If he isn’t interested in her and that kiss was a misunderstanding, then all the more reason he should kiss them, right? He makes an excuse to go collect his sketchbook. However Rika is waiting for him in the locker and starts stripping. Don’t worry if nobody comes around. Because everybody is busy fawning over Barako outside. Rika makes him take his sketchbook between her legs. But since the class is coming in, they are forced to hide in the tight closet. The teacher wants to get something from it so Yuusuke is forced to keep the doors close. Yuka sees them in this ambiguous position and lies to the teacher that the stuff isn’t inside. The class pass without incident so the duo are finally let out but Yuusuke has already passed out after that suffocation. Yuusuke is made to be the TV host during the lunch time break. As he introduces Barako is the new student, the twins blunder to let all the viewers have nose bleeding fanservice of their crotch shot and nude boobs shot. Barako is not impressed as she thinks the twins are trying to interrupt her love story with Yuusuke. She vows to save him from their claws.

That night, Yuusuke is kidnapped by clowns. The twins here his scream. They realize a big circus built overnight next door and with a rose on the ground, they think that circus b*tch has kidnapped Yuusuke and sexually abusing him. They head into the mansion for a rescue mission but drop down into the dungeon. Not wanting to be eaten by a snake, they crawl through the vent. Meanwhile Barako tries to seduce Yuusuke in her room. She thinks he is just embarrassed and not honest to his feelings. Barako seems desperate to get his love. Or else she will have to marry some Egyptian. Since he still won’t be hers, she whips him into submission! I believe Yuusuke isn’t a masochist. The twins find them and at first they are sad to see them in a very ambiguous position. However he rushes to their side and hugs them, relieved that they are here to save him. So he chose them over Barako? Well, rich girl won’t let them get away and orders all the circus freaks to capture them. Even during the escape, the twins try to get horny with him. Is there time for this? If Rika trying to force him take a water gun between her legs isn’t enough, then this mind boggling move of how the trio trapeze and swing their way out has Yuusuke end up inside Yuka’s panties! How the heck did this even happen???!!! And how the hell can he run like that? It’s just so freakily ambiguous. Then they slide down the chute into a real live circus. But nobody is going to pay attention to them since Barako is here as well as her Egyptian lover wanting to bring her away to travel the world. At first she says her heart belongs to somebody else but after he shows his love of how he crossed the seas with his camels to get her, she jumps to his side and they kiss. So cheap. Hey. Did everybody come here to see a circus show or some soap drama? The entire circus turns into an airship and flies away. Yuusuke and the twins are left behind and they try to warm him up since he is feeling cold. Well, the less competition, the better.

3, 2, 1, Hell!
First and foremost, this is such an old anime that whatever I saw here I wasn’t that impressed but forgave everything because it was so old. Heck, it is 1990 for God’s sake. I wasn’t even 10 years old. (But now I am over 3 decades old and this makes me feel so old). Because of the old school anime, things look pretty silly. From the plot to the ecchi stuffs and even to the misadventures that our protagonists have. Compared to the standards of ecchi and fanservice stuffs these days, this is nothing compared to it and is considered mild. Very mild. Not even seasoned ecchi viewers or even casual ones would get turned on watching those naked boobs and panty shots that are minimally scattered throughout the series. You wonder if what those sexy twins are doing you would be asking yourself is this supposed to be turned on or something. Yes, they are kinky and in a way make them look like desperate sluts but like I said, old school anime so please forgive them. But back then, such nudity and fanservice are a big thing.

The only ‘real’ problem for me is the physics of the certain situations. I know it is for the sake of fanservice but it is just shown in an unbelievable way. Like that hose entangling incident and the panties bounded running away scene. Logic is tossed away like a ragged cloth in favour of that irrational fanservice moment. But can you complain about it since it is meant to be fun. Sure, they should have put it more realistically but I guess this is an old anime so… The art and drawing are also so old that the girls here don’t look ‘pretty’ compared to today’s standard. Forgive me. I thought Barako had such a big forehead that I could write one of Einstein’s equations on it… And I do find it unbelievably odd that her feelings can be easily swayed because I believe the Egyptian guy didn’t do anything much. And for her to go back to him means that she might just be running away from whatever tiff (assuming there was ever one) and temporarily using Yuusuke to fill that void.

At this rate, Yuusuke is either going to die of a heart attack from having too much kinky contact with the twins or he is going to get immune to it and perhaps turn into a little devil himself. Either way, women are going to play a big role in his life, right? He doesn’t fear the ditzy twins as much as the first time he met them except when they start to get horny. Thank goodness so far there are only the twins. Imagine how bad it can get if you throw in other stereotype tropes into the equation. The strict class monitor, the quiet classmate, the popular student council member, the cousin from the countryside, the sister you never thought you had, the long lost childhood friend, the tsundere girl across the road, the exotic exchange student, the rich oujo-sama, the nerd, the magical girl wannabe, the frail/weak with a tragic past/circumstances, the tomboyish or athletic, the trap or even reverse trap, etc. Did I miss out any? So perhaps to lessen the psychological impact, maybe Yuusuke can take this maths lesson and equation: Add a bed, subtract your clothes, divide your legs and multiply! Now do you see, maths is fun!

Hamatora

August 17, 2014

What do you get when you cross a hamster and a tiger? You get Hamatora of course! Eh… Say what? You mean that is not what this show is about? Some superhero who is a cross between a cute furry little hamster but with the ferocity and power of the roaring tiger? Or at least a team combo between a hamster and a tiger? It’s not?! Of course it isn’t but that was my first impression when I heard about the title of this anime. Of course looking it up further dispels this misconception of mine. Although there is no hamster, the tiger is still there because Hamatora literally means ‘beach tiger’. Sheesh. Wait a minute. What kind of tiger lives near a beach? Hmm… Well, the location of this anime is set in the port city of Yokohama.

Also in this action series, we have the setting of certain humans possessing super powers. These powers are called Minimum and those having such are called Minimum Holders. And just like many series with people with super powers, they are only restricted to one type of power. It would be greedy to have 2 or more or even all, right? To use their Minimum, certain conditions must be fulfilled to unleash that power in which you will observe in this anime. So what is the use of having power themed animes if you don’t have our protagonists as a bunch of freelance detective agency which bears the same name of this anime. They take jobs and go around solving crimes that are related to the use of Minimum. Hmm… Doesn’t this sound like a detective version of X-Men?

Episode 1
Nice and Hajime are at the bank unaware that a robbery is in progress. But before you know it, the robbery is solved and the day is saved. They head back to their Hamatora Private Eye Investigation office, which is actually just a table rented out by Master in his bar. The other members include Murasaki, Birthday, Ratio and Koneko. Koneko has a couple of jobs for the guys. First, capture the group responsible for kidnapping local college girls and the second, safeguard a safe of a wealthy family whose patriarch, Toyosaki has recently passed away. There is somebody plotting to steal the safe’s content too. Murasaki wants to go for the safe job since it pays a lot but Nice who is more on the virtuous side wants the first one. How can he still say that when he is poor and hungry? They both go their separate ways while Birthday and Ratio have their own job of bodyguard a girl named Azusa. Murasaki is at the Toyosaki estate and his son explains the secretive but strict man his father was. They can’t force open the safe because doing so will cause the contents to be destroyed by some safety mechanism. Nice tries to bribe his usual informant, Mao to get more information. He isn’t going to get much with just 30 Yen!!! Out of cash? Don’t worry. Police officer, Art offers to pay for it and even treats Nice to lunch. He lets Nice know some information and hopes he can make use of it. Nice puts the puzzle pieces together and realizes something. He calls Birthday to tell him that Azusa is an intern and that she is the girl who was in the earlier bank robbery. Suddenly Birthday and Ratio are being attacked by a Minimum Holder. Too bad about Ratio’s car. He got it last month and now it’s trashed. He forces some number out of Azusa. But once Birthday attacks with his electric power, he flees. Azusa is brought back to the office as she explains she doesn’t understand that number and heard it via sleep talking. Yup. This girl slept with Toyosaki. Ratio describes the symptoms of sleep talking of one who is very stressed in keeping things a secret so it is possible he revealed it during his sleep. Nice then realizes all the cases are not separated but related.

Toyosaki only had the safe’s code all to himself but that secret became his source of stress and began to unconsciously reveal it in his sleep. Somebody learnt about his condition and they believe his physician is the one who sold him out. The kidnappers also learn about the safe and begin to kidnap all the college girls he slept with just to get the number. Only Azusa wrote it down due to her intern job nature. Imagine Toyosaki’s son’s fury when he realizes his dad is a womanizer sleeping around with female college girls! He brought him up so strict and yet he did all this behind his back! Didn’t want to know his sex life, eh? His old maid was cool enough to calm him down. Yeah. She’ll wear a school outfit for him. WTF. Murasaki saves them before the baddie Minimum Holder starts throwing things into the mansion. Murasaki’s power is to harden his body and smash through whatever is thrown at him with ease. Meanwhile Birthday and Ratio take out the other small fries hiding nearby. Ratio’s power is seeing through his enemy weakness and his gold metal arms really pack a punch! When Nice comes into the picture, the baddie calls him his comrade since they are Minimum Holders who use their powers to find money and prey on the weak. Of course Nice isn’t that kind of guy as he uses his speed of sound to take him out. When Murasaki opens the safe, he finds lots of porn magazines!!! Better not tell the son… Burning them would be the best. Art and fellow officer, Gasuke are at the scene to apprehend the baddies. Art thinks it is time to tell them that there is a serial killer going around killing Minimum Holders.

Episode 2
Birthday wanted to show some girls his cool magic trick but coincidentally the building behind him blew up. He got arrested for suspected terrorizing. Theo and Rei turn up at Hamatora to request to look for their missing arts teacher, Kitazawa. Nice and Murasaki impersonate as a transfer student and teacher respectively to get more information. Nice thought he could beat the other students to get some rare bread during recess. He might have got there first with his speed but has not enough money. Curses! Murasaki discovers some site that everyone uses to post their troubles that they don’t want to say in public. Theo was once a bully victim though the bullies got expelled. He couldn’t do anything or else they will harm Rei too. It was Kitazawa who took notice and helped him out. But Nice finds it odd because it’s like he is procrastinating dealing with the problem to him. Murasaki and Nice get a call from Art. At a crime scene, Kitazawa is dead. He proceeds to show them a classified case whereby a serial killer is targeting Minimum Holders. Kitazawa is also one and graduated from the same Facultas Academy like them. All victims have in common is that their brain is removed. At Kitazawa’s funeral, Rei is inconsolable. Nice has got Kitazawa’s Smartphone at the crime scene and wants to look into him a bit more. Despite Murasaki’s advice to leave it as it is, Nice feels Theo can’t move on till he learns the truth. He doesn’t want people to be classified based on weakness because that makes them no different than Facultas. He will finish the job he takes. Nice gets the photos of the bullies bullying Theo from Mao that was posted on the internet. He also goes to check out Kitazawa’s home PC (Art made it an exception to allow him).

This is the result of Nice’s findings. There is something odd about the pictures. Five bullies bullying Theo and all 5 got expelled. What is wrong? Who is taking the photos? That person must be the ringleader. He discovered the ringleader’s home PC and IP address to post the photos are the same. Yup. Kitazawa is the ringleader. Theo cannot accept this crap but he is shown a website Kitazawa frequents. A site that suggests food tastes better at the misfortune of others. His detailed excerpts of the bullying are posted here. Kitazawa had the ability to turn words into pictures. His idea of doing this is to increase his reputation. Theo got so sick hearing this that he started vomiting. Now that he has all the pieces, what he does now is up to him. Birthday who is released from police custody somehow managed to get photos of the serial bombing sites. They notice they are the same place where Theo’s bullying occurs. Only one place left unbombed: The school. Theo and Rei are at school to get something when they see a bomb. Then Kojima, one of the bullies, makes his admits the bombings are his doing because thanks to his expulsion, his dream of being part of the elite went down the drain. The only way is to reset reality. So why not blow up the world? I don’t know about his ability to accelerate time to make the timer faster, but shouldn’t he just use a grenade or RPG? Anyway, Nice and Murasaki were fast enough to throw the bomb into the sky but Kojima has bombs strapped around his body. Of course he doesn’t see them coming at such a speed and Murasaki deals the knockout punch. Theo and Rei are at Kitazawa’s coffin. Nice hands him a baseball bat. Is this what he is looking for? Theo thanks Kitazawa for everything before smashing everything up. Now he can move on. Meanwhile Art discovers that the recent baddies they arrested aren’t innate Minimum Holders. Meaning, they aren’t born with the ability like all Minimum Holders should. Seems it is possible to plant artificial powers and it requires a Minimum Holder’s brain. And we see this Minimum Holder serial killer, Moral having rows after rows of brains whom he calls his lovers.

Episode 3
Shouko Itou from some government equality department (it’s really a long name…) seeks Hamatora’s help to investigate any scandal in Facultas. She believes in equality and that this Minimum thingy is causing preferential treatment to those with such powers. So if they uncover some big scandal, they can use it and crush the academy who develops those Minimum Holders from all over Japan. She pays in advance and they will get 3 times more when they’re done. Of course Nice rejects but since his tab is running up, Koneko takes the job. Get to work! Itou’s aide wonders if she can trust them since they too were from Facultas. She has checked them out and can rely on Murasaki since he graduated with the second highest score in the academy. The first is a mystery and kept classified. Murasaki is on the job alone since Nice is bumming around. He is more interested why Itou is being so extreme. Art interrogates Moral at his place. Moral is a professor at Facultas and he admits of purchasing large amount of drugs from overseas. Seems all victims have that drug in their nervous system. Moral also reveals he is doing research on non-innate Minimum Holders although it is incomplete. He also talks about equality, blah, blah, blah. Giving an example that the weak can never kill and weak men without power cannot cross the line. That is why they envy murderers who stepped out of the line and accomplished what the weak couldn’t. Art doesn’t want to hear anymore of this but Moral continues that the world will be reborn if the weak is empowered. Art wants to leave but Moral speaks of Art’s past in Facultas. He didn’t show any potential of any ability but he graduated by displaying superior intellect and herculean efforts as a distinguished member. He mocks him that he must be jealous thinking why he doesn’t have a Minimum like others. He could have killed Moral but a phone call stops him. Art assures he will come back next time with an arrest warrant.

While Itou is giving her usual equality speech, suddenly the Incredible Hulk (only purple) emerges from the sewers and goes on a rampage. Itou is so desperate that if they can’t find any scandal on Facultas, just pin this monster blame on them. So she’s going to fabricate if she can’t find any proof? Nice is just sitting there, nothing how carefree the Hulk is. Then the Hulk turns to Itou. He calls her his mom. Itou realized it’s her missing son, Takahiro. Hulk runs back down the sewer when Art and his police team arrive. Moral then calls Art about a certain junior high school kid coming to see him a few days ago complaining he lacked any abilities and thus wasn’t respected. He felts sorry and would have wanted to save him. But seems good will led to this because if a subject lacks aptitude for the Minimum in the extreme, he will turn into a monster instead of a Minimum Holder. Moral sees him having lots of fun. The video is already viral on the internet. Itou is just in distress, lamenting how she shield him from this world and raised him with care. However Nice sees it as she views her son as weak and called him a loser. He tells her off if his mother didn’t even believe in him, who else would he trust? The police track down the Hulk and it seems he is travelling in sewers due to being sensitive to light. But he emerged that one time probably due to wanting to hear human voice. They corner him but he is too strong to be netted. Nice confronts Hulk. He deduces he showed up in public just to tell everyone how strong he is and how he surpassed Minimum Holders. This wasn’t an accident. He chose this path. Nice puts on his headphones and uses his speed to beat the Hulk up. Moral burns down his place to stay a step of the police before they could arrest him. He notes Nice is the top graduate in Facultas whose existence is classified. He wants to save him.

Episode 4
The police are investigating Moral’s burnt down mansion. All evidence are also burnt. Seems he escaped through a sewer. Hulk is now known as Outsider. Minimum Holders, Honey and Three foil an assassination attempt on some politician since Honey’s laptop, Mighty Script and her power is able to see 10 minutes into the future. The Hamatora guys and Koneko are in some Yokohama tourist advertisement assuring that the city is safe. Sounds like a hero gig… Murasaki must be regretting it a lot. How the heck did he end up doing it? Yeah, yeah. Complaints, complaints. Their video is uploaded the net and is gaining popularity. But not as popular as some handsome guy, Yuuki Katsuragi. So popular that he already has his own fan site. When Koneko receives a job to be actors at a nursing home, Murasaki of course vehemently wants her to refuse it! Meanwhile Honey and Three are at the airport. Her luggage is switched with totem poles. They have to get it back since Mighty is in it. While Three is reporting it at the lost and found section, Honey is kidnapped by MIBs. Of course Three goes after them but the car he is hitching is driven by a grandma! Go granny! Three jumps onto the baddies’ car and rips open the roof. That should scare them. They find lots of gun parts. Meanwhile Art and Gasuke are in another case whereby minors are attempting to rob stores with a real gun. All of them relate they got a gun from the internet. A question popped up asking them if they wanted a gun and a threat to do it or else. Also, they were given a chance to attack a convenience store or participate in an insurrection although none of them knows where the location is. Those who opted for the uprising are told of the location right beforehand via phone.

Nice meets Art to talk about this. But Art doesn’t tell him about Moral because he doesn’t want both of them to meet. Nice gets his usual info from Mao. All the victims had one thing in common and that they are heavy users of a video sharing site. All of them had seen that Yuuki Katsuragi video. There is a hidden message in the video using a certain frequency that only minors can hear. They are going to visit the uploader nearby. Speaking of which, he is actually an ugly person but his power makes him look handsome. Moral is with him and he is upset about his video being used for criminal acts. Moral disagrees he has done anything wrong and gave him power to grant his wish. He is going to report to the police but Moral shoots him. Honey and Three enter a room where the baddies are based. Though she finds her Mighty, she also discovers that they are smuggling guns and it would be easier to avoid detection if they were in parts and then smuggled in to be assembled. The totem poles are filled with the parts. Since she is already involved in this case, she contacts Art and he wants her to scan if there is something going to happen at Yokohama. Although her powers cannot predict such a huge place, Nice has a hunch where it is going to happen. Soon all the police apprehend the minors with guns at the amusement park before anything happens. Art wonders how he knew. Already at Yuuki Katsuragi’s place, a doll is seen placed on his head. Nice deduces this attack was probably just a game and if so, it’s more fun if it’s a big show.

Episode 5
Hajime wins the grand prize to the hotspring. She actually wanted the burger prize… So only the Hamatora girls including Honey are set to go there. Birthday tries to seduce his way in but his sexual harassment on Honey has her ordering Three to rip his guts out. But just in time, Ratio calls him for a job. Meanwhile Nice and Murasaki are undertaking a job from a rich female pimp to find the whereabouts of one of her boyfriends, Arata Hasuda who is a masseur at the hotspring. The Hamatora girls are at the hotspring. They see Rei and Theo working there as they have used up all their money on the Kitazawa case. All the guys are here too but on a job. Suddenly the hotspring is being taken hostage over by gay guys! Since they’re not interested in women, they let them go. But our heroines felt insulted and hid behind to solve this case. Especially Hajime who is bent on getting her deluxe dinner. Honey sees into the future but gets disappointed in only seeing gay guys everywhere. At least we know she isn’t a fujoshi. The guys on the other hand encounter Arata who starts doing sit-ups. WTF. His sweat will mix with the steam and cause people to fall for him. Birthday doesn’t believe and goes near him. Suddenly he loves this dude! A new possibility opening! Ratio could have been his lover too if everyone didn’t take them and dash out. When they take refuge, Ratio and Birthday relate that they lost their target. They are supposed to be bodyguards of a crown prince from some kingdom. He is apparently pro-Japan and loves visiting this country. Of course he didn’t bring his bodyguards. How can you relax when you have your guards around? That prince is hiding in the toilet but Arata finds him.

The girls are crawling through the ventilation and drop down in the locker room. They see in Arata’s locker lots of pictures of a famous male idol, Seiji Hijirikawa. But due to his scandal of sleeping with lots of women, this made lots of haters and forced him into retirement. Say, isn’t this the guy Art and Gasuke caught at the convenience store trying to steal a magazine? So when everyone confronts Arata who is in the midst of hypnotizing the prince, Honey deduces this is part of his revenge. He pretend to be that rich pimp’s boyfriend to steal all her money and assets to fund this plan. The plan is to hypnotize the prince with his Minimum to have Japan reinstate Seiji as an idol. Because that kingdom has helped Japan a lot, the government cannot turn down his request on this small matter. Then he talks about loving everything about the idol, blah, blah, blah. Because his Minimum doesn’t work on women, Arata floods the area with some slippery liquid. Then his gay underlings slide like hell to give him time to escape as they know how it feels like on unrequited love. When he escapes to the rooftop, the police already surrounded the area. Arata reveals he is the mastermind to save his fellow underlings and that they were just obeying his orders. He wants to jump down but Hajime catches him. Actually he got the ticket to the deluxe dinner. Arata is arrested and Seiji is brought to tears at the police station after being told that fans of him still exist. But Nice is baffled because Arata isn’t a Facultas graduate and shouldn’t have such powers. Somebody is pulling the strings. Meanwhile Gasuke and some scientist have discovered from the latter’s analysis that the Minimum factor can’t be harvested from brains of non-innate Minimum Holders. Because based on the last case of Yuuki Katsuragi, his brain was not harvested. Then Gasuke stabs him with a knife!!! HOLY Sh*T!!!

Episode 6
A famous illustrator, Chiyuu gets a big collaboration with a Hollywood director. In the dressing room, she gets kidnapped. So her manager approaches Birthday and Ratio for help instead of the police since Chiyuu made a personal plea not to do so if something happened to her. This means she might know this would happen and who the kidnapper is. Honey wonders why Art won’t tell Nice about Moral. Since she is persistent, he blows his top so Gasuke tells him to get some time off. He visits the grave of somebody and Nice is also there. Signs of other Hamatora members were there too as they left their gifts. But they don’t know this cosmos flower is from whom. Another illustrator, Misty is having a book signing event when Birthday and Ratio haul her up. She is a suspect of Chiyuu’s kidnapping since she would have been the candidate for the collaboration if Chiyuu wasn’t around. She disagrees since her works sell 5 times more than her and even though they are rivals, they are friends. Birthday seems to be agitated. He won’t let her leave, claiming that their friend is being abducted. Back at Hamatora, everyone is surprised that Torao, top illustrator is at their office to seek their help. Somebody knocks Birthday out and kidnaps him. Ratio gets a call from the kidnapper to come to a certain place and bring Misty too. But Ratio knows where the kidnapper is. Or rather, was. The place: Chiyuu’s manager’s office because of that parakeet’s voice he heard in the background. They find Misty’s works in his place. From what Ratio and Honey deduce, Misty is the true target. Also, the kidnapper tipped off the place where Ratio is to bring Misty because if he had done that, he will be blamed as the kidnapper. Then the story will sound like Chiyuu abducted her friend and thus the collaboration will be off and Misty will get it. The kidnapper’s goal is to get a hold of her once her market value is increased and that it seems Hamatora was hired not to save Chiyuu but to kidnap Misty. Birthday wakes up and sees Misty tied up alongside him.

Flashback reveals Ratio is able to see when people will die. This causes others to think that he might be some death ringer. However Birthday didn’t fear him and didn’t like how he tried to look like a prophet, which of course wasn’t Ratio’s intention. Ratio saw Birthday had an incurable disease and will die soon but Birthday won’t run and asserts he won’t die. He then made a bet that if he fails to die, Ratio will die instead. A week later, Birthday undergoes a surgery and because of his strong will to live, he survived. So will Ratio die as promised? What Birthday meant was his fake prophet is now dead. Although Birthday’s disease is not cured and can relapse anytime, he won’t let death get to him that easy or else his prophecy will come true. Birthday makes his way to the electric box and trips the wire so that the huge current can reveal their location. Once Ratio and Misty arrive, so does the true kidnapper who is Chiyuu’s manager. Seems he wants Misty for the collaboration instead of Chiyuu because her work sells more. He hardens his body to fight. Neither Birthday nor Ratio’s power can stop him but with Chiyuu tipping them off, they combine their powers to win. But he escapes via boat. It is short-lived as Murasaki and Nice got it all covered to bring him back. Speaking with Torao, he explains his manager overheard his plan. Since they are good friends, they want to resolve this internally. Torao will take it from here. The manager laments he got the power for nothing. Nice than approaches Art and wants to meet that serial killer named Moral. So he knows… And it seems Moral has this shape shifting ability because he disguises as that scientist to enter some high security lab.

Episode 7
All the non-innate Minimum Holders’ statement seems to have the same thing. They surfed the internet and found some website that promised them power. They feel threatened since it’s like the perpetrator knows everything they do. The next thing they know, they have the power. Also, they have never seen the perpetrator’s face. Nice explains his deduction how he pinpointed Moral. But mostly it was a guess and wanted to see his reaction. Art doesn’t want him to get involved when he gets a call that a forbidden specimen in a hidden facility is stolen. Because Nice becomes like some sort of detective, deducing the culprit may have entered the facility via disguise and distributing a photo of how he looks like might get people to be boxed by that, this causes Art to blow his top. Mr nice policeman gets mad? Nice, Gasuke, Honey and Three are in a discussion of how the culprit snuck in. Coincidentally, all logs or surveillance cameras were cut off after midnight. Later Gasuke talks to Honey about Art. Although all of them entered Facultas at different points, one by one our Minimum Holder protagonists quit and the only ones who actually graduated were Honey and Art. The latter because of his exceptional hard work despite no Minimum materialized. He holds the record as the first, last and only graduate to do so. Meanwhile Nice and Murasaki are talking to a guy, Kouichi Shiratori who has had sexual relations with many idols. Hey, this is a free country so anyone is free to love, right? But a group of otaku fans are demanding his apology. Shiratori maintains he did nothing wrong and even turns the tables on the otakus because they’re blaming him for what they couldn’t do themselves.

Art has a judo lesson with Three who was his teacher at Facultas. Three wants him to have faith in himself. After the workout, Art feels better and goes back to the basics of investigating. At Moral’s razed mansion, he sees the black cosmos and some of them are recently cut. Then he heads to the graveyard and sees Moral there. He didn’t waste time to point his gun at him and accuse him as the culprit. But just as Moral told him, it was all for equality. Art doesn’t believe his crap because he stole some forbidden specimen and wanted power for himself. Moral says he is greatly mistaken. He desired that too but was for equality. He wants to desperately save someone from solitude: Nice. To save him, he needs power. Because Nice is so powerful, he is unrivalled. So not only the weak is unequal but the strong too. Moral’s reasoning is that to achieve that, he needs to be Nice’s equal. Art won’t allow that because he will protect Nice as his friend. Moral laughs at his statement. Then he demonstrates his shape shifting ability and beats him up in great speed. Meanwhile Shiratori is being tailed by gangsters with dangerous weapons. Luckily he is saved by Nice and Murasaki and they find out those otakus hired them to do the job. Both sides blame each other and Nice beats up both sides. Feeling fed up, he decides to go see Art. Back to the graveyard, Moral views what Art said as an insult because without a Minimum, he cannot be his equal or his friend. He suggests if he desires, he can make him a Minimum Holder. Art rejects so Moral stabs him. Art crawls to grab an incoming call from Nice but Moral whispers something into his ear and plants several bullets into him.

Episode 8
Moral impersonates as Art to answer the call but doesn’t say much so as not to give himself away. He leaves it to his assistant, Momoka to clean up the body. Nice and Hajime get to go to Okinawa on a business trip! Yeah! They’re coming along with Theo and Rei’s class too since it’s cheaper that way. Previously some government guy approached them about some energy drink called Ideal. Those who drink it fall into eternal slumber (but not die) and never wake up. However Ideal doesn’t contain any ingredient to cause that effect and he believes it is manifesting its effects through some special mechanism. The man who manufactures this, Shuuichi Hiiragi is his brother and is based in Okinawa. Rei and Theo are having fun on the beach when a bunch of delinquents don’t like outsiders come to challenge them. They’ll settle it fair and square via some triathlon meet tomorrow and they can bring representatives to square off each other. Nice and Murasaki got a lead on Shuuichi but when they arrive at his house, he himself as taken Ideal. He is dreaming that he is some super strong cool dude and all the girls love him. Yeah. We guys love that, don’t we? The duo have investigated his background and it seems due to not having a proper job or he couldn’t stand the job’s condition, he flew back to Okinawa. They realize he is also a victim of that website. Later Theo pleads to Nice to join the triathlon on his behalf. He didn’t want to till he realizes the first prize is a year’s worth of bitter melon. Then they have a showdown with the delinquents who also hired other people: Birthday, Ratio, Honey and Three! Oh sh*t! Murasaki stays by sleeping Shuuichi. He narrates about Shuuichi escaping into the dream due to the hardship he experienced in reality. He knows his intention to save others like him but that didn’t change anything for him. No matter what great dream he is having, he still ran away while reality continues to be messed up. But Murasaki knows how he feels like. Because he was number one before a certain guy came along. Then he went on a losing streak. That became his hard reality.

Next day, the triathlon begins. This isn’t your usual triathlon because after those 3 usual sports, we have a battle royale using bitter melon! Last one standing wins! Honey deceives others that her swimsuit comes undone so all the perverts start looking for the boobs to give her a head start. Birthday wants to electrocute the water but Three won’t allow him. This causes Birthday to be disqualified. Not because of his electrocution plan but they think Three is his pet dog! Pets are not allowed in the race! Yeah, Three gets disqualified too. Oh, Three says he is more of a cat. Ratio withdraws because he ends up tending to injured participants. Even that delinquent boss pulls out because he ate too many bitter melons before the finals start. Honey is out when she gets taken out by Nice while being distracted that her Mighty isn’t sea water proof. The final is between Nice and Murasaki. The latter wants to be number one again. Without using their Minimum, they duke it out as Shuuichi’s brother brings the comatose guy to see. Eventually Murasaki loses. Shuuichi is so touched by the scene that he wakes up and starts crying. However kidnappers kidnap him but Nice and Murasaki quickly save him. The brothers end up in a petty sibling argument. When everyone leaves Okinawa, Theo and the delinquent boss are like so good friends. He didn’t even do anything… Meanwhile Moral and Momoka get ready to do operation on several people and turn his ideal into reality.

Episode 9
Hamatora receives an advisory notice from Minimum Agency to minimize the use of their Minimum. Meanwhile Three is at an orphanage he runs. Flashback reveals he was a mercenary fighting in a foreign war but was loved by the children. He was like Rambo, singlehandedly killing all the enemy troops. But when they took the children hostage, Three rushed to save them but was too late as the building exploded. ‘Art’ calls Honey and Three to tell them they have been assigned to another case for their own safety. Although Honey is not happy but Three respects his decision since it was him who called them back to Japan. Momoka then calls Moral to tell him Nice is at her flower shop. He seems to be hinting that she is some sort of super hacker but leaves without doing anything. Nice explains that Moral needed to find people to achieve his goal and to do that, he needs an internet provider or a super hacker. That person is someone likely close to Moral. Moral suggests Momoka to refrain coming to his lab for the time being and minimize contact. Though, he thinks wearing Art’s face won’t be enough to fool Nice despite it was convenient enough to stop the police investigation. When Nice returns to office, Koneko is trying to chase out a sleazy reporter. He wants them to look into Three and already pays upfront. Can’t refuse the money, can’t you? On the news, there is a talk show trying to paint him as a notorious killer. Reporters are swarming outside the orphanage trying to get answers. Nice sees Mao and confirms that all the children in the orphanage are orphans of war and he took them in. Birthday and Ratio disguise as fruit delivery guys to deliver fruits into the orphanage, as well as Honey. That’s the biggest fruit? Honey is not a fruit… Honey is not happy that Three is resorting to this so the kids throw a durian at her and spew some sort of vengeance line like as though they’re brainwashed to say that.

Nice deduces that this isn’t just about Three seeking redemption. It is some sort of atonement and punishment because he is teaching the kids basic combat too as it is not a sin to seek vengeance. In short, when the kids learn who killed their families, they will kill Three as this will be his punishment. But turning kids into killers? Honey cannot accept this because what about the promise they made? About him to always protect her. She is going to have a part in raising the kids and teaches them about warmth and kindness. That night, several mercenaries sneak into the orphanage but Nice and Murasaki knock them out. The leader of them all, Helenlee Masayoshi who was a guest in the talk show reveals Three is his idol. He became a mercenary just to be like him but when Three took in children and run an orphanage, his ideal image of him shattered. He wants to bring Three’s bloody reputation back. So he exaggerated the facts in the news to make him sound vicious and the plan is to frame him for raising these children to kill them himself. Three angrily takes on Helenlee while the rest go protect the children. Helenlee loves this anger in his eyes but it’s time for Plan B. He sets his comrades’ vests on fire and this spreads throughout the orphanage. Three is filled with anger but thoughts of how he met young Honey flood his mind. It gives him the power to ditch this dude and go save the children. He bursts out of the rooftop and all the reporters start snapping away. Nice breaks the sleazy reporter’s camera and returns the upfront money as compensation for it when he says he has found what he needed and doesn’t need Hamatora anymore. Meanwhile, Moral unleashes his army of newly operated people with powers.

Episode 10
People dressed in black with a black cosmos flower go around killing others! Three is chained like a pet. The rest thinks others will relax if they see him like this. No way… But there is a commotion not because of this. It’s the Hulk. Or Outsider. Or just Takahiro. He is here to apologize for the trouble he has caused. Yup, he seems very apologetic. As the news spreads that Minimum Holders exist among the people, while Takahiro was in prison, those black cosmos people released imprisoned Minimum Holders. Takahiro is here with a request. He wants to return to his normal body since his mind and voice did so and thus he thinks there is a chance. However Nice refuses to take this job. Why? He isn’t interested. He finds it odd that Takahiro wanted to be strong so back and now he doesn’t want the power anymore. Birthday tricks Hajime that she is getting fat to take her pudding. She believes it and decides to go on a diet with Takahiro. Maybe it will slim him down and look better. Murasaki agrees and will help them out. Honey goes around looking for a place to rent but gets rejected since the real estate agencies have this policy of not dealing with Minimum Holders. Itou ramps up her campaign against Minimum Holders. A street interview is held to seek opinions about Minimum Holders. Some support, some against and some don’t really care. When it is Nice’s turn, he notes there isn’t any difference if humans have power or not because it shouldn’t affect a human’s worth. It doesn’t matter if you’re confident about yourself and he is mad that people look down on each other. The internet forums are rife with postings against Minimum Holders. But after that posting, each get a nasty link that reveals their exact location. Shortly, they get attacked! Effective! This is all part of Moral’s plan to make those weaklings realize their place. Once they are faced with reality, they will seek power to get stronger and he will provide power to those who desire it. Yokohama is under riot. Itou takes away Three’s orphanage kids despite their plea to stay with him. He cannot lift a finger and must hold in his anger because one wrong move and he’ll fall into their game. Birthday and Ratio hurry to help Chiyuu but it’s too late as she gets beaten up badly. Nice goes to see Art but is not in office. He notices something strange. He never drinks black coffee and there is a black cosmos on his table. He goes to the rooftop but it is Moral who is waiting for him.

Episode 11
Surprisingly, Nice brings Moral back to the office. Koneko thinks he is such a nice guy till she learns he is the one responsible for everything. Nice explains how he used Honey’s Mighty to look for him and that looking for Moral won’t have him find him since he wasn’t ‘wearing’ his face. Moral demonstrates his shape shifting Minimum and his plans of making everyone into a Minimum Holder for equality. The riots aren’t totally his fault because he merely answered their call and people are just expression their newfound powers. Better to let it out than pent it up inside, right? He also mentions his goal to save Nice and to be his equal. He will become a messiah for that. But Nice laughs it off that he didn’t ask for that. He also doesn’t like his attitude of going around deciding who is strong or weak. Before Moral leaves, he tells them a side show is going to happen at the civic centre. Nice is forced to let Moral go because he has a sharp wire around Koneko’s neck. One wrong move and her head will fly. Meanwhile Murasaki is beating up other Minimum Holders who are misusing their power. He’s like taking out all his frustration. Takahiro sees this and laments he is still weak after transforming. He really wants to be strong. Itou at the civic centre is surrounded by Minimum Holders who want her blood. Takahiro jumps in to protect her with Hajime and Murasaki helping to keep the other small fries at bay. Takahiro screams and transforms into a hideous monster. Is this the result of getting more power? He narrates that all he wants is to live together with her like normal again. Even if mommy doesn’t acknowledge him or love him anymore, he will always love her and wants to protect her. He will never compromise that. Nice shows up like a hero to take out the remaining baddies. Itou hugs Takahiro and feels proud of him. Moral feels so sad after seeing this tragic scene so he is going to save Takahiro from this humiliation. A bomb inside Takahiro rips him apart. Mommy cries like mad. Nice is mad. Even Hajime is going to explode.

Episode 12
I’m not sure if Hajime is hungry, the reason she is feeling all the rage. You don’t want to mess with her when she is in this mode. But she can’t rage for long and passes out. There is an ad telling those who want to seek Minimum powers and to come to a certain place. People in droves make their way there, ignoring police orders. All because they want the power and claiming self-protection. However there are those still ignorant about this so hideous robot ladies are seen firing and injuring them to ‘wake them up’. But thanks to Honey’s Mighty, Birthday and Ratio go around stopping these robots. Momoka who is monitoring all these events from her home is arrested by Gasuke and taken in for interrogation. Nice and Murasaki board a ship to face off with Moral. Obviously Nice is not being Mr Nice and is going to beat the crap out of him. To his surprise, Moral can move faster than his speed of light and beat him up! Nice deduces that this Minimum power of his isn’t about speed. It’s teleportation. Moral admits this forbidden Minimum he got makes him anywhere within a 10 metre radius. It’s like he is everywhere but yet nowhere. Get it? Of course, he continues blabbing about being his equal, blah, blah, blah. Then he reveals his plan. The chaos in Yokohama is being transmitted to all the social sites throughout Japan. Everybody watching this must be judging based on their arrogance, stereotypes, whatsoever. He reminds Nice of a Minimum Holder he defeated last year, Hibiki. His ultrasonic waves can destroy people’s brain within a 100 metre radius. Now, this ship is heading closer to a tower and this will trigger a mechanism to stab Hibiki whom is captured and tied up. His shriek will be transmitted and everyone who hears it will have their brains pop out or at least permanent loss of hearing. So this will have them realize their weakness and powerless existence and thus lead them to seek power. Of course Nice can put this to a stop. All he has to do is defeat him.

Moral is happy that he has already rattled him with deaths of certain people like Takahiro and Art. He continues to outpace Nice and beat him up. Murasaki joins in but gets beaten to a pulp. Moral hints that because of him, people will die. Nice goes to Murasaki’s aid in which the latter says he isn’t acting like himself. It is not like him to avenge others. Nice gets back up and starts snapping his fingers to a certain rhythm. Theo and Rei who are watching the chaos on news (as with the other minor characters in the series) feel they want to support him and send him a mail. However Nice throws his handphone into the ocean and curses the people who are trying to disrupt his concentration!!! Your goodwill is not appreciated! Nice then explains. He doesn’t care about all those innocent people Moral is going to kill. Because he was never a hero of justice. Never will be. He uses his Minimum for himself and doesn’t have a grand purpose like him. But he still won’t let him get away with this for one simple reason: Because he doesn’t like him. The next time when he moves, Nice is able to avoid being touched by Moral. Although he misses at first, gradually he is able to tap into his rhythm and touch Moral! It must be so damn fast that if this was played in normal time, you wouldn’t see a thing. Murasaki steers the ship away from the tower as Nice finally lands the defeat blow to Moral. Moral is impressed but he starts coughing blood. A sudden shock entry by… ART!!! HE LIVES???!!! He explains that Moral is paying the price for having 2 Minimums and he knows it well that the human body cannot withstand it. Art pulls out his gun and shoots Moral. Revenge served? Nice feels he shouldn’t have done that for he was already incapable to fight. But here’s another surprise in store. Art points his gun at Nice’s head and apologizes for being late. Bang!

It’s A Sin To Be Weak
If that sudden abrupt ending is well, too abrupt, then bear in mind the 3 magical words of ‘To Be Continued’ flashing big and bright right at the end indicates that there will be another season. Yeah. Just taking a one season break before its resumption. By the way, the second season is in the midst of airing by the time of this blog. Overall, this anime was quite interesting although I felt that the build-up was a little slow (since the first half was about Hamatora getting into random detective jobs) and was in danger of writing it off as an okay series. When the pace starts to pick up after halfway and especially after Art’s supposed death, it was getting interesting as all hell breaks loose. Then the sudden ending disrupted my flow and pace of watching this, which is actually quite annoying. It is like you are having a nice car ride, cruising along at a comfortable speed on the highway when suddenly you jam on the brakes causing that sort of backlash when everything comes to a crashing halt. This is my exact feelings of the sudden ending of this season in which otherwise it could have been really great. I am just worried that those feelings might be diminished by the time I get around watching the second season. But with the mysterious return of Art, it could mean more than meets the eye. I mean, Nice did hint Art isn’t acting the way he usually is so there is a chance this might be another impersonator. Or the real Art himself and the one we know is just a fake. With Nice’s fate hanging by a thread, I am sure that is enough suspense to last till the next season comes around.

The colourful cast of characters is one reason why this series is interesting as well as their interaction with each other. Don’t mind them with odd names like Nice, Moral or even Birthday because certainly with these kind of names, it would have raised an eyebrow or two if this was reality and the first thing is that people would certainly ask them if that is really their name. For Hamatora as a detective agency, they are not perfect nor are they some sort of superheroes that we perceive them to be. Despite being casted as the protagonists, they aren’t your usual heroes of justice. Take Nice for example. He is certainly the most impulsive member in the team. He does what he wants and when he feels like it although it might look like utmost justice that he doesn’t take on a job for money. Cool. But who is going to pay for the bills? He is also quite perceptive in a sense that it might seem that he is selfish and doesn’t give a sh*t about friendship and the likes (at least not our rendition of it). Take for instance Takahiro’s case. You think he would feel a little sympathetic about that kid’s case of wanting to turn back. Wrong. Instead he feels wary because he wanted the power so much and even though it is not what he got, don’t tell me he doesn’t want it anymore? True enough, he admits he is selfish and does things for himself. But maybe all that is just his way of justice.

Other characters in Hamatora are cool too and they have their short episode in focus to help us understand their past a little better. But more could be done and I hope the next season would delve into it a little more. Sometimes I feel that the behaviours of the other Hamatora fellows are like a running joke. For example, Ratio whose brand new car always seem to get hammered in such situations. I wonder how he can afford to pay off the 10 year loan. Maybe that’s why his other job is a doctor. Oh, you know how doctors charge… Then there is Hajime who is mostly seen stuffing her face with some sort of food. It’s like she is on an endless streak of hunger. If she feels pity for you, then she offers you her food. Food is what defines her. The last episode reveals her Minimum which has something to do with her injuries and going berserk. This might be interesting and hopefully I could see more of her mysterious power instead of just some girl who bums and hangs around doing nothing but eat. Although Master isn’t part of Hamatora, the only thing I see him do is grind his coffee beans. That is besides him giving advice to the rest. And there is Three sometimes reading his sports or romance manga. Looks weird, though. Big cat guy with a small little comic book in hand… There is also something mysterious about Chiyuu whose lines only consist of colours. It’s like she is a friend of Birthday and Ratio but these guys don’t even know that she is a Minimum Holder (or at least that is how I viewed their relationship).

Most amusing character is Birthday because of his carefree personality. You could say he is the troublemaker of the group but that is what makes him so likeable. It is like everything is fun to him so he laughs, he mocks, he plays and he has fun while he can. Murasaki is the most serious and reserved among the gang, even surpassing Ratio. You could say that Murasaki and Nice make a nice pair because the former is like the voice of reasoning and rational thinker to counter the latter’s impulsiveness. Something tells me that Koneko is for the moe factor, Honey the fanservice factor (the clothes she wear somehow makes her boobs protrude and stand out a lot) and I have a feeling Three is like a pet mascot. Oops. Big scary lion guy as a Hamatora mascot? Can’t say. Besides, there is this mysterious tiger mascot that keeps popping up randomly in each episode either in person or as a symbol or logo. I do not know the significance of this as I thought this tiger mascot is related to the Japanese baseball team mascot of Hanshin Tigers. Nope. I thought Hanshin Tigers’ mascot looks more like a mouse… Oops, sorry! Unless they are just screwing with our minds, I was hoping that some sort of revelation would come forth, say, that Art was hiding inside them all along and observing everything! I know I’m stretching that but so far nothing about this tiger mascot that plays a pivotal role in the anime. It could be just some Easter egg that I am not familiar with.

The voice acting is acceptable with some familiar seiyuus in the line-up. Like Jun Fukuyama as Birthday, he is partly why he makes his character sound so amusing. Just like how he voiced Grell in Kuroshitsuji and Kakeru in Akikan. Other recognizable seiyuus include Hiroshi Kamiya as Art (Trafalgar Law in One Piece), Eri Kitamura as Honey (Cana in Fairy Tail) and Megumi Ogata as Momoka (Shinji in Evangelion). Yuuichi Nakamura as Ratio wasn’t recognizable at first since he wasn’t in angst mode like Gray from Fairy Tail or Tomoya of Clannad. Part of the other large set of casts include Ryota Ohsaka as Nice (Haruto in Valvrave The Liberator), Wataru Hatano as Murasaki (Gajeel in Fairy Tail), Emiri Katou as Hajime (Kagami in Lucky Star), Katsuki Murase as Three (Masa in Seto No Hanayome), Kiyono Yasuno as Koneko (Sakura in Aikatsu), Yuuki Ono as Moral (Kiyotaka in Da Capo III), Atsushi Ono as Master (Edward Rutherford in Unbreakable Machine Doll), Yousuke Akimoto as Gasuke (Robert Reynold in Stratos 4), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Theo (Accelerator in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Ayaka Ohashi as Rei (Uzume in Fantasista Doll), Takuya Eiguchi as Mao (Hikigaya in Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru), Takahiro Mizushima as Takahiro (Furuuichi in Beelzebub) and Miki Itou as Itou (Taiga Fujimura in Fate/Stay Night).

The songs are mostly rock based with the opening theme, Flat by Livetune featuring Yuuki Ozaki of the rock Japanese band Galileo Galilei. They seem to make this a point in the credits. Maybe there are lots of people named Yuuki Ozaki out there? The style of the song somewhat reminds me of Kamisama No Memo-chou’s ending, Asunaro. The opening credits animation feels like it is paying tribute to that astronomer because of that world globe in it. The ending theme is Hikari by Wataru Hatano and the insert song for the final episode, Nowhere Living Now by Kishou Taniyama (voice of Torao). With so much testosterone going about, no wonder this anime feels like a guy series.

The action is not too bad but it could get a little boring since each Minimum Holder is only bequeath with one power. How much variety can you have with that? Unlike One Piece’s Luffy whose Gomu-Gomu move can be stretched (pun intended) to several variations in which personally some look like the same to me, here we see them punch and kick their way and there is hardly any excitement to that after a while. For example, Nice just zooms past his enemies and takes them out before he knows it. Birthday is always relying on his taser to use his electric power while Ratio relies on his good old gold metal arms to give that metal punch. But the unique thing about this is when a Minimum Holder starts using his/her power, the colours of everything go into psychedelic colour. It is as though you have taken some drugs and it causes your vision to see such distorted colours. Cool, though. I thought I was going back to the hippie and flower power era.

The comical bits are spontaneous and in that sense it makes certain scenes quite funny. It can be serious or solemn at first and then a joke is cracked and it at least makes you break into a smile. Though the dramatic and tragic pace of the show at the end of the day overwhelms the comical bits because in almost every episode, somebody dies. And even if nobody meets their maker, you can see the chaos or the kind of crime that they pull off out of desperation or for their own selfish means. The detective work too isn’t too shabby with the clues and connection placed out well throughout the episode but I won’t consider it anywhere near Sherlock Holmes material. They keep you entertained enough, though.

I believe the main issue in this season is about Moral’s equality in humanity. Perhaps the other best character in this series because of his twisted logic that makes him a psychopath obsessed with his one true goal of equality. For better or worse, can you say he is living up to his name for his actions? Despite his noble intention to bring equality to all humans, perhaps he is doing this the wrong way and it makes him this season’s antagonist. Every one of us wants to be equal but yet unique. It is not wrong to wish for that. However basic human nature means that it will be an impossible dream and can never be achieved. Humans will always exist to judge others, to look down upon others, to feel superior to others. That’s why personally I think that even if Moral does succeed in making equality come true, it will only worsen everything than before. Because to be imperfect is human and to human is inequality. When you have perfect human beings, you are no longer human. So better to have all the fighting and differences than a peaceful and boring world? Yeah. That makes life so interesting. No wonder people continue to fight. It’s so much ‘fun’ that way.

Therefore, partially it is not Moral’s fault that the chaos in Yokohama escalated. Because selfish people see it fit and their right to obtain more power just to stay ahead of the rest. We all tend to have this thinking and herd mentality in such situations. At the end of the day even if the chaos is quelled, people in general will not learn their lesson and the inequality and persecution continues. So the moral issue (pun intended) is that everyone is weak and nobody is perfect. Including those with Minimum powers. They might be different but not entirely perfect. We see how Moral bested Nice’s Minimum before the latter finds some sort of a counter attack. Therefore no power is absolutely 100% perfect. Each power has its own flaw and weaknesses. Whether you have super powers or useless powers or even God-like powers, it doesn’t make you any different than other men in terms of being a human being. That is what everyone should prioritize and look at first.

This show may not be perfect or for everyone (blood, gore and death included although I consider them to be mild) but I recommend casual viewers to have a go at this one. Unless you don’t like sudden cliff-hangers, then you might as well see both seasons at one go to stem the waiting in between. After all, it is up to you and everybody else who has at least the power to decide what you want to watch and what you want to do with your life. I am very tempted to say this and since I can’t hold it anymore, watching this anime makes me want to say, “With great power comes great responsibility”! Or you can just don’t give a damn about everything. Because who cares? If people like Hamatora or Moral do, then you’re screwed. Have a Nice day!

Lost Universe

August 16, 2014

Retro time. Need something funny. Maybe a bit of some sci-fi action too. Let’s see. Aha. Lost Universe. And so that is how I came to pick up this anime. What? Don’t believe me? I’m trying to be the best anime viewer in the universe. Apparently even though I have never watched the Slayers series or having any intention to watch that show, while watching this series something in me hinted that this is so Slayers-like. Subsequently I found out that indeed that Lost Universe had some connection with Slayers since they are written by the same author. As I said, I am not familiar with the Slayers universe so I can’t really compare nor will I spot if there are Slayers references throughout the series. Though, from what I read that certain characters in Slayers do have some sort of appearance in this world. For this anime concerned, our hero and his mini team work as Trouble Contractors. Call them the odd job workers of the future who take on anything from finding your lost cat and fighting off space pirates to earn a living. Of course, having that as the premise itself won’t be interesting to last 26 episodes so along the way, they discover some sort of super evil that is bent on spreading darkness throughout the universe and take it upon themselves to stop it. How is that for originality? No? Just watch it anyway.

Of course being such a retro anime, there is this thought of mine too that there is a chance I may find Megumi Hayashibara on board this anime. True enough, she voices one of the main characters! It got me thinking that she is truly the ‘queen of voice acting’ in the 90’s and early 2000’s because it seems that almost every major anime needs to have her in it. It is like they need to have her or else the anime won’t be good. Aside Slayers, there is Ranma 1/2 , Shaman King, Nuku Nuku, Detective Conan, Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, Love Hina, Saber Marionette J, need I go on? And do you know she is also the voice of the titular character in Hello Kitty as well as Musashi in Pokemon? Musashi who? Well, the English version named her as Jessie, the other half of the dim-witted Team Rocket. Yeah. I don’t know how Lost Universe fared as compared to Slayers or any other animes that Megumi Hayashibara voiced but it is sure fun to hear her voice in such retro animes. You can’t ‘run away’ from her. Although you may have thoughts that having hearing her in almost every old anime would be boring that you would go, “Oh no. Not her again. Dang”, but since I don’t watch retro animes that often, you can say it’s just the right tonic for me. Oh yeah. Now I can add another anime with Megumi Hayashibara to my list. Lost Universe. Check!

Episode 1
In Dugole Castle, there is a secret illegal auction organized by the Dugole Connection crime syndicate run by Darles. Anything illegal and stolen is auctioned here. Millennium Feria Nocturne AKA Millie is a detective wannabe so she is recording the illegal activity secretly in hopes this will make her the universe’s greatest detective. Counting her chickens? Then dropping in to ruin her big moment is the idiotic duo of Kane Blueriver and Canal Volfied. Their petty argument attracted the attention of the guards so the girls pretend to be lost show girls. They could have gotten away if not for Kane who started picking a fight because the guards started mocking his beloved cape as lame. The fight their way through and escape via dump. More petty arguments between Kane and Millie especially how the former ruined her chance at stardom. Yeah. Blame everybody else. She is not thrilled that he somewhat knew her because he ‘stole’ her ID card she dropped. Their argument is put on hold when more guards come into the fray. Canal disappears when she goes out of range. Yup. She’s just a hologram. Then down the duo go when the dump empties. Millie continues to remind us why she wants to be the best detective in the universe. She hates being second. Oh? I thought there was a more complicated reason to that. And yeah, after blaming him, they part ways. Because she was so obsessed in thinking to become number one, she didn’t realize she got slapped unconscious by one of Darles’ men! WTF?! Kane uses Canal to hack into the system and sees Millie captured and being auctioned off. Millie is resigned to her fate and at least want to be sold off expensively. But she is started off with a paltry 10 credits! Insult!

Kane doesn’t care about her but since he’s found what he want, he returns to his ship and begins the operation. Part of it looks like turning this place upside down because a single battleship can cause so much damage. Or the baddies are just useless. After saving Millie, one of Darles’ men without permission uses his mecha to tear the place apart. He is bragging about the high tech equipment this and that, blah, blah, blah. All Kane did was just unleash his light saber and slice him in half! So much about big and strong, eh? Millie notes Kane is using a psi-blade, a sword of light powered by psychic energy but those only with strong spiritual energy can wield it. She is baffled this idiot can use it. Maybe he’s not an idiot after all. Soon the intergalactic police arrive and apprehend everyone. Kane leaves so the police wonder why Lieutenant Rail Claymore isn’t going after him. It’s because he is a Trouble Contractor and he will take on any job and is good at it. Millie wraps up her investigation and yes, she definitely wants to blame him this time. It is included in her report too. Because she’s sitting in prison! How did this even happen? Kane returns the stolen tea set heirloom to his contractor. Canal is relishing this part because this is where they get paid for their services. However Kane only takes a meagre 100 credits (I guess he wants to play the cool hero) and this upsets Canal. So she threatens to half his oxygen, meal, washing his cape and no using the bathroom!

Episode 2
The scientists revel in the completion of some phase drive that allows spaceships to jump at the speed of light without something. And then it goes berserk and out of control with the spaceship disappearing. As I expected. Canal buys some big weapon and makes a great bargain with her cutie act. Then she has Kane haul it back to their ship, Swordbreaker. Along the way, they see Millie getting fired as a cook. Bad day for her, huh? Then she continues to blame them. Oh God. She got fired from the detective agency after the police arrested her thinking she was part of Dugole Connection. There goes her dream. However her scolding has to be put on hold when there are more pressing matters to attend. Rail contacts Kane about one of the spaceships going out of control and lost in hyperspace. Kane initially doesn’t want to do it but since Rail threatens that Dugole Connection and that they are on collision course with Lilienthal (the lost spaceship), they have to get their ass moving and do it for free. Why not Rail and his police do it themselves? Something about busy with space pirates. Millie wanted to continue her scolding (goodness gracious, is there anything else she can do?) but she panics upon hearing Swordbreaker is going into overdrive or something. She is surprised that everything is stable and with Canal as the master computer, she calculates where Lilienthal will reappear. They almost collide into it and Canal sarcastically blames Millie that her weight may be the extra factor that threw them off. I’d like to see her complain about that.

So the plan is for Kane to enter Lilienthal and take out the main computer to stop its acceleration. They need to be careful because it’s filled some micro black hole energy and any shockwave can cause many nearby planets to be destroyed. Canal tries out her new weapon to make a hole in the airlock. Can you believe it, she missed! Millie is more precise and only needs one shot. Oh, the irony. As Kane makes his way inside with Canal providing directions, Lilienthal begins to accelerate and warp. Millie wants them to get out (complain, complain, complain…) or else everything blows up but Kane reminds her that they are Trouble Contractors. They do jobs that nobody else could. Kane uses his psi-blade to disable the main computer. Now it’s Canal’s turn to latch Swordbreaker onto Lilienthal and control its path. She missed colliding into a colony by a mere inch. Not over yet. There’s an asteroid before them. No problem. Canal shoots her leap railgun to make a big hole and they barely avoid collision. Must be a scary ride for Millie, huh? Now that Lilienthal is safely disengaged, they’ll leave it up to Rail to pick it up since they’re not getting paid to do extra anyway. But Millie wants to hear some explanation. Observing how Swordbreaker works and the way it can alter the path of a big ship, she deduces Swordbreaker is a Lost Ship, legendary spaceships said to be relics of a superior ancient civilization. Kane admits this is indeed a Lost Ship and hopes she will keep it a secret. They are about to send her home but Millie changes her mind and will stay here. They are after all responsible for the lost of her job. And now that she knows their secret, it’s safer that she hangs out with them. Here’s the start to the best partnership in the universe. Oh no…

Episode 3
Suddenly an internal explosion rocks Swordbreaker. Kane rushes to the scene and as reported by Canal, Millie is believed to be in the area. Upon arrival, he sees Millie fine and smiling. She was just cooking and proud of the meat pie she just made. So… Every time she cooks, the place goes boom? Yeah. I wonder. Canal is upset this ruined her kitchen and to piss her off even further, Kane is enjoying her pie! Millie’s reaction? This is a pretty damn good hologram programme because it has emotions! Soon, Rail boards the ship to request them of a job. For 5000 credits, they are to escort a witness to a trial before a deadline. Wow. That’s generous. Sign me up, says Millie. But Kane is cautious and knows the deadline is just a ploy to throw him off because such escort mission is only about half the prize. He wants to know the person on trial. Ripp Rogers of the Dragon Bombers organization. If this witness testifies, he won’t get out of prison and his men are of course will be trying to intercept this witness. Swordbreaker is known to be the fastest known ship. Kane doesn’t want to accept this dangerous job but Millie has already signed the contract! You bimbo! Kane argues Millie is not an official crew but it seems Canal already registered her to avoid problems with the customs. Looks like they have to fulfil their contract. And so it is Kane’s turn to lecture her about contract this, contract that. Of course Millie isn’t going to take all this lying down and is going to do the job and prove she is the universe’s best bounty hunter.

Millie picks up the little girl witness but Dragon Bombers men are hot on their trail. It’s mind boggling that all their shots missed and Millie can even shoot one while not looking back! WTF?! Then she even has the girl take the wheel as she stands up and fire! WTF?! Shouldn’t crouching do a better job?! Kane comes to help and slices the back half of the car to take out a big bunch of those stupid guys. And they’re not even tailgating. So this car is front wheel drive? WTF?! They end up at some plant so Kane’s plan is to distract those guys while Millie takes the girl to the court since it is her responsibility as she signed the contract. Because those baddies are dummies, Kane can best them with his psi-sword and steel bars around him despite the villains having unlimited ammo. WTF?! I guess Millie and the girl ran too slow so they got captured. They then bring them to Kane and are going to blow the brains of the girl in front of his eyes. However the girl suddenly unleashes space cockroaches and scares the daylights out of them. The girl turns into Canal! WTF?! Then the police surround the place and arrest those goons. As explained the witness was escorted by Rail and should be at the trial giving her statement now. After Millie signed the contract, the duo came out with this decoy plan with Canal masquerading as the witness to capture the baddies. It worked like a charm and they even get the reward. Millie is so pissed that everything (including the cheesy lines she said) were for nothing that she takes out her frustration via cooking! BOOM! And she’s going to eat her heart out! Oh Canal, you can’t kick her out because she’s your official crew member…

Episode 4
Millie shows off her several trophies from the numerous contests she won. Don’t even ask what kind of contests are those. The point is, she wants to participate in some contest called Miss Coconut Crab on planet Sanzania. Don’t ask. Here is Canal’s analysis: Thanks to a certain freeloader using up their resources, they are running low so it’s a big no. Eventually, Millie’s ‘best in the universe’ attitude wins over her and here she is on this resort planet trying out her swimsuit. She tries to help fix Kane’s psi-blade by putting in a lot of guts but couldn’t handle the recoil. Kane senses somebody targeting but brushes it off as his imagination. True enough, there is this sniper lady, Kali who backed off because she felt Kane sensed her. As the contest begins, Kane sees Rail there. The police are being called by the organizers to protect the place. But why is Rail happily filming away? Especially Millie. Yeah, you can say he is really watching on his job. A fireworks distraction attracts attention of everyone. Kane goes to put it out but he hears a rocket launcher heading away and slices it in half with his psi-blade! No sweat. Sniper girl notes he isn’t going to be an easy target. Millie wins the contest by collecting the most crabs (don’t ask) and qualifies for tomorrow’s finals. At the bar, she is having her fortune read when Kali sits by Kane (drowning his sorrows in liquor?). She offers to read his fortune but Millie grabs Kane to hit the next place.

Kane and Millie get into an argument who should sleep in this single room. Well, there won’t be a place to sleep since small assassination drones start to blow the place up. If not for Kane’s quick intuition, they could have been fried meat. They make a run since there are too many of them. Kane wants Millie to do a diversion and lead it to some building. Why must she do it? He uses the best line that will get moving: She is the best in the universe. Inside the building, Kane realizes the drones are not to kill him. Like as though it was to lure him into a trap. He realizes Kali is the culprit when she shows her face. There are lots of easier ways to kill him but she finds it a thrill that he possess a challenge. She’ll kill him with her electric whip. Kane is no match for her. Even with Millie trying to be a hero since she is so bloody convinced she is the best in the universe, Kali is still superior. I don’t know why Kali just put her aside and begin her whip spinning move to kill Kane. Shouldn’t she take her hostage or kill her? Kane gets the idea of using his psi-blade as propulsion. With the speed, Kali cannot react as he slashes and injures her. Her whip breaks and she escapes. She wants him to remember her name, the woman who will send him to hell next time. Thanks to this incident, the contest is cancelled so looks like Millie’s quest to add another trophy is put on hold. However there are a few more contests she would like to participate. Canal is not thrilled and the women end up arguing with Kane telling them to shut their pie hole. Meanwhile, Rail uploads the recorded video to an eager client. Is he moonlighting?

Episode 5
A carpenter blaming his tools. That is what is happening for Millie. She blames Canal’s kitchen not good enough for her cooking. Canal is interested in buying a new weapon and bugs Kane but he is busy sewing his cape. Then the kitchen explodes. Aha. It’s time for dinner. Kane seems to have accepted this but not Canal. The girls end up in some argument (as usual) over kitchen and weapons. Because the next job has them to be security guards on an arms factory while the system is being shut down for repairs. Millie doesn’t want to do it as she doesn’t see how it can make her the best thing in the universe. Kane has the final say because they’ll do it. On the factory planet, since the panel is not working, Kane kicks it to get the door open! Must have watched too many TV. They meet their hirers, an old couple and it seems they are hard on hearing. Or are they just pretending? Because it seems they can’t hear their discussion for compensation… Anyhow, they have to get the job done. Canal can’t follow the duo underground and gives an excuse it will be out of range. In actual fact, she wants to take some weapons… I guess this will do as compensation. And after she loads one, she is going back for another when a laser beams fires down and destroys their mini ship! Kane and Millie get trapped underground when the lights go out. Seems the security system has turned back on and Canal is trying to hack into in but still can’t access it.

Kane sees an old guy on the monitor. He is Glen and is the one responsible for setting up this trap. Kane thinks he is here to steal the arms while the system is down but in actual fact, Glen wants to see if Lost Ship will save him. Everything will go as planned. Kane and Millie fight their way through the security lasers. Kane is distraught his cape got torn. No time for sewing! When they eventually reunite with Canal, she vanishes back to Swordbreaker. Glen has begun the next phase of his plan. He traps Swordbreaker in a barrier and is going to drop the big satellite on where Swordbreaker is anchored. The satellite will also crush the planet below. Kane realizes that Glen is after Swordbreaker when he sees their mini ship destroyed. His next move sees him suiting up in a space suit and riding a missile back to Swordbreaker. Thanks to this planet’s low gravity, flying back up will be easy. Millie is worried if his body can take all the force. He assures her he is an immortal. He’s joking, right? So when Kane gets back to Swordbreaker, he and Canal begin their process of amplifying their psi-energy and fire at the satellite. Glen is dismayed that he didn’t foresee that pale blue light and his plan in ruins. When the duo go back down to pick up Millie, the old couple would like the pay them as much as they want. However they fear them and insist doing it for free and flee back to Swordbreaker. Really? They don’t want to get paid? Then the old couple realizes why… The satellite is gone! I guess with their poor financial status, they can never replace that in a million years.

Episode 6
Psycho shower reference? Anyway she didn’t get killed but is traumatized and the word “Bitch” written across her forehead. Victim number 8. So the teacher of the nursing school Stella contacts our Trouble Contractors to guard the students. Since there will be a graduation exam soon, she only wants females to do the job. I thought it was to keep lecherous men away (although Kane doesn’t look that kind) but it seems it’s for their own good and not to get distracted. Is she saying the trainee nurses are deprived of men? Canal accepts the job because it pays well. However suddenly she refuses to come. Due to some holographic error, she has become fat. And since they have received the advance and can’t turn the job down, I guess Kane will have to do it. Oh God. I knew they were going to make him dress as a woman and name him Francois but he looks so manly! Just putting a hair band and a skirt makes him a woman? Heck, he sounds like his usual manly voice!!! The nurses must be that dumb to be fooled… Anyway even among the nurses there are rivalry, especially between Julie and Rumy’s group as they’re both accusing each other for everything. When Millie’s nose itch and sneezes, all the nurses become alerted and think she has got some influenza. They compete with each other to do lots of analysis and experiments. Yeah, they look like crazy desperate sadistic nurses who really want to operate on somebody. Say your prayers, Millie. Kane sees a nurse trying to get rough with Rumy’s group so he goes teach that nurse a lesson. Late that night, he notices Julie studying hard but she is attacked by unknown assailants. Kane saves her and notes whoever the attackers were, they’ve gone too far. Throwing scalpel knives to kill? Both groups continue their animosity (I suppose they are the ones responsible for the attack on each other) and Stella is at her wits end to stop them. Heck, she can’t even intervene. Then she gets this idea. For the exam, she has hired an outsider to judge them: Francois!

Kane confronts Stella about dragging him into this. She explains that Julie and Rumy were once best friends, kind and good girls. Before she knows it, they turned out like this and it’s like they’ve both forgotten who they really were. After hearing such heart warming statement, I guess Kane is going to have to complete his job. The nurses will have to perform their nursing skills in real-life simulation. Both Julie and Rumy have set up traps and can’t wait to see the other’s face when the time comes. Kane observes the nurses performing their life saving skills on the dummies. They make lots of comical blunders… How the heck did Millie end up being one of the dummies? They also have to make haste because as more time passes, the air becomes thinner just like in reality. In the last room, Julie and Rumy want to let the others to do the honours. Yeah. They both somehow set their trap there. While arguing, the bomb traps explode causing the system to break down. To Kane’s dismay, there are injured nurses and those who aren’t are doing nothing because they have never done this on a real person before! Worse, Julie and Rumy are fighting each other! Kane had to tell them off the kind of nurses they have become and takes control. He uses his psi-blade and whatever resources to manually activate the sprinklers. The nurses apply what they learn and it seems they can do it if they put their mind to it. In the end, the nurses decide to stay back for another year and learn everything from scratch. They have also put aside their rivalry and work for the better. They aspire to be a brave ‘sister’ like Francois. But Kane has no time to correct his true identity because all the nurses now are in love with their onee-sama! Kane doesn’t like those loving nurses? I take it… Kane is gay…

Episode 7
Kane loses another chess match to Canal. What do you expect? She’s a computer, right? The gang take up a request from Mr Lassen to find his old friend, Bobby. This leads them to Planet Gambit. They split up to ask around. Seems the bar Kane went to ask people about Bobby, they just get scared and run away. Canal on the other hand impersonates as a beautiful woman or handsome man to get her information but eventually hacks a computer database for leads. Kane and Millie are being attacked by snipers and are completely surrounded. I don’t know how they turn the tables on them so when everyone is taken out, Kane interrogates one of them. They were being hired by some mysterious guy under Nightmare to take out those looking for Bobby. Before he can reveal more, he experiences some sort of seizure and dies. Kane very well knows this is Nightmare’s work because he sacrifices his own pawn for his own goal. When Canal finds Bobby, he is already dead but in his hand are a diary and a disk. Seems he has found something during his archaeologist stint but decided to abandon it for humanity’s sake. He has no regrets for what he did otherwise he would have helped those who wish to spread their nightmare across the galaxy. It made Canal remember about Alice. Canal is attacked by the snipers but she’s a hologram so she’s okay. Canal deduces those guys were digging for a Lost Ship and when Bobby found out about this secret, he ran away and they tried to kill him. Since they can’t kill her, they’re going to destroy the disk. Canal uses some microwave to zap them but due to some radioactive magnetic waves, she is on the verge of disappearing. She tries her best to protect the disk but is cornered. An antenna relay booster is dropped by Kane and this returns Canal’s power to normal and zaps the baddies back at full force. They want to interrogate this last guy left and Millie seems to have this trauma about Nightmare, a huge criminal organization that runs rampant throughout the galaxy and not even the Universal Guardians police can stop them. However the guy starts screaming in pain and seeking forgiveness as this failure wasn’t his fault. He becomes a vegetable spouting about spreading nightmare across the galaxy. The gang deliver the disk back to Lassen as Canal relays Bobby’s last words to him. The disk contains chess moves as Lassen plays with it. He uses the same moves that Canal used on Kane. He mentions Bobby learnt everything about chess from someone who loved reckless moves: Alice. It’s as though Bobby has come back and continues to live on.

Episode 8
Kane waits for Rail’s arrival on an airport on Planet Chicken Earth. Because parking in space is prohibited, this is the only way but parking is very expensive. They hear a loud crash through a glass window. Turns out to be Nina Mercury, Rail’s assistant. Was she excited or something? I guess so. Because this is her first mission ever. Their job is to escort Minister Blanco Magma back to his home country of Trevin. If you’re wondering why a low officer like Nina is on this important job, it’s because she is the only one in Universal Guardians who speak the Trevin language. Why doesn’t a super computer like Canal even have this language in her database? At first they thought this is going to be an easy job. Till they learn all the annoyance that come with it. Call it culture… Like how Swordbreaker must have horns due to Trevin’s culture not to ride anything without the sacred horns. Canal feels insulted and breaks down… So they have to take the normal airplane and go through security check. Kane has to take off his cape and all weapons are handed over to Nina for safekeeping. Nina is not good with machines so Canal starts having a bad feeling. Nina and Blanco fly first class unlike the Trouble Contractors as they’re on a budget… Discrimination! Millie also can’t eat chicken since it is the second most sacred thing on Trevin. Yeah. The plane feels like a chicken coop with all the chickens running around freely. Canal understands why Rail left them this job because Trevin is in tumultuous state. Tribal wars, anti-government movements, terrorists, VIP kidnaps, economic collapse… Big trouble indeed. Once the plane is in the sky, the Red Cock’s Comb faction forcefully takes everyone hostage. Chicken headgear? They want to make the comb the official sacred headgear instead of horns?! Oh yeah. This is what tribal conflict is all about.

Kane’s plan is to have Canal dress up in a chicken suit to head to the first class to get their weapon from Nina. I guess all those Red Cock’s Comb members are dumb. Just seeing one of them even in a full chicken suit, they think she’s one of them. Nina is tied up but she doesn’t want her precious handbag destroyed. She bought it with her first pay cheque. The key is in her cleavage so Canal had to get rough with her. Feels like ecstasy? Before Canal could go back, the lone hijacker in the first class feels suspicious of her. He wants her to do the Amore dance that all members are taught. She searches the database to pull off a close one. Once she returns, she throws the weapons back to Kane and Millie as they neutralize all the hijackers. They thought of impersonating in a chicken suit but the lone hijacker knows they are fakes. Why? Because cape is a sign of worshipping the devil! Damn culture… The pilot captain is also a member as they want Blanco to relay his message to claim the comb’s supremacy. He won’t do it. Nina needs to do something quick and crawls into the cockpit but gets roughed up. Accidentally she touches the control panel and it causes a short circuit. In this commotion, Nina bites off Blanco’s horns to throw it to the pilot while Millie bites Kane loose (was her bite this strong?) so he can take out the other hijacker. But what about the falling plane? Don’t worry. Let Nina touch it again and everything goes back to normal. See? Fixed. Although the plane lands safely, Blanco is furious because Nina bit off his sacred horn. This could become an international issue… Nina is so worried that she touches Canal. Fatal error! Error! Error! Error!

Episode 9
Kane has a beautiful dream of his grandma. And then he gets involved in a stupid race with Millie to use the toilet. Millie the cheater wins of course. Say, a big ship like this and it only has one stinking toilet? Well, Canal doesn’t need to use it and it was fine before Millie came aboard, right? They receive a signal that they are entering a restricted zone that contains a Lost Ship that has been missing for many years. Millie didn’t want to investigate it but after hearing that best-in-the-universe title, she’s all for it. They investigate the strange structure of the ship. Toilet in the ceiling? They extract the data and leave while Millie is so infatuated with best-in-the-universe this and that so much so she names a crystal she thought she discovered. Millie Stone? Canal brings back the crystal for analysis when suddenly it works up and disappears. As explained, her analysis concludes the crystal is some sort of ancient weapon that can rearrange space. In short, the rooms in Swordbreaker are being rearranged as they speak. Yup. It’s like a random room generator. So this booby trap weapon is must what have caused the weird layout in the ghost ship and the crew panicked and caused an accident. They are worried in trying to catch this crystal which is believed to be in some hyperspace cage. But Millie is more worried about the toilet… Because the humans have to hold it in. Must be feeling like an eternity, eh?

They’re playing shiritori to pass the time? But Canal seems to be unintentionally making them say synonyms of toilet… They really think of doing it right now but Canal warns she’ll self destruct! Don’t do it! Then the power goes out. This means Canal is no more to nag them and the duo rush off the find the toilet. But did Kane find it? Because it’s just the toilet door that leads to another room. Frustrating! Meanwhile Millie finds herself in a strange room with a large orb before entering a room she has never seen before. On the table there is a recorder. She plays it and the incomplete sentences don’t make sense to her. Lost Ship, 6 Demon Lords, fear, nightmare across the galaxy, Canal as their only hope and a boy named Kane. In the corner of the room are toys. She picks up the orgel before the crystal appears and absorbs her into hyperspace. Kane is tired but he could hear the orgel. He remembers about grandma asking him what he wants to be when he grows up. A space pirate. He wants to be strong and cool like her. Using his heart to find the location of the orgel, he unleashes a powerful blast from his psi-blade in that direction to strike the crystal. Millie is freed when the crystal is destroyed and the rooms return to normal with power back online. Millie asks Kane about the orgel and he puts on a sullen look when he learns she entered that room. But no time for that now because they start fighting to use the toilet.

Episode 10
On a colony ship aimlessly drifting in space, Kane watches a few young boys play basketball in the slums but are challenged by some teens over the usage of the court. The winner of tomorrow’s game gets right to use it. Kane is reminded by Millie that they’re on a job so he heads back to her and protects an old guy who was watching the ship’s neutron anti-matter from the Rando family punks who want to steal it and sell it for a high price in the black market. They chicken out when they see Kane’s psi-blade and plans to head for the main computer control room. However due to population spurt and over building, no one seems to remember where it is. The old man laments how he has seen this ship from its glory days to a pitiful state. Perhaps they should have given up and sell the anti-matter for everyone’s sake and the best course of action. Those teen basketballers continue to taunt the little ones. The kids hate to admit that those teens are good and don’t stand a chance in tomorrow’s game. When Kane throws a shot, the kids become impressed and beg him to be their coach. He agrees but in exchange they must give it their all. Kane is a decent coach and the kids figure he isn’t from this ship because he is different. They wonder if they’ll be able to leave this ship too because it has been drifting for 40 years in search of an inhabitable planet to settle down. You won’t know if you don’t try. Rando contacts his boss and he seems impatient but wants him to do what is needed. Next day, as the basketball match begins, the Rando family is going to make their move for the control room which so happens to be under the basketball court. Kane and Millie fight them and won’t let them interfere with the match. Rando’s boss also launches an attack on the colony ship but thanks to Canal and the superior Swordbreaker, they’re driven away. As Kane beats up every Rando guy there is, the kids win their basketball match by a mile. Hope those teens learn their lesson. This is what happens when you’re cocky. So it’s a win-win situation for our heroes. The colony ship then changes course and lands on an inhabitable planet. Everybody gets out of the ship, some amazed and some stunned. What will they do now? Are they cut out for this after 40 years? It took the kids to hint to them about never knowing if you don’t try. And Canal too wonders if they can settle down. Same answer from Kane… Oh yeah. Quote of the episode, “If you don’t shoot, you can’t score”.

Episode 11
Kane and Millie are relaxing down on a resort planet before their escort mission in 3 days. However Canal contacts them that there has been a change in assignment from their client, La Guld Company and that the mission will start tomorrow with reinforcements from Universal Guardians. This doesn’t sit well with Millie since she can’t do her fishing as planned. So I guess this means going out for a meal to compensate for it. At a bar, a group of guys seem interested in Millie and the boss, Jess goes up to her to ditch this effeminate guy with a cape. Seems he said the taboo word, Kane is going to fight with him. Millie expects the worst but their punch stops halfway. Turns out it was a greeting and they know each other as they work for the same client. They have too much drink and even bet on switching their escort jobs. So when it is time for departure the next day, Kane has a bad hangover and Millie has to drag him back to Swordbreaker. Don’t say she didn’t warn him. Jess contacts him and looks like he too has a hangover. All the new missile gifts that Canal got was from him so it means that Jess had contacted Canal prior to Kane’s meeting with him. Kane wants an explanation so she conveniently goes into system error mode. Since they have switched jobs and their escort distance is the same, Jess suggests a bet to see who can finish their mission first. Drinks will be on the loser. Rail then contacts Kane about a particular band of pirates usually targeting La Guld’s ships and to be careful. He has also sent some patrol ships for reinforcements.

Right after that, they receive signal of an unknown ship. They think it’s a space pirate since it is not responding to their hail or ID identification. Plus, this cargo looking ship looks fishy. True enough, the ship turns hostile and is preparing to fire at them. Kane and co go into action to do what is best to protect the ship and cripple it. Meanwhile, Jess’ fleet is under attack by some unknown enemy. All the patrol ships got wiped out. He makes an emergency call to Kane. He knows he is done for and laments he couldn’t have one last drink with him. Kane wants to turn around and rescue him but Canal calculates they won’t make it. All communications from Jess go blank soon after. Seems the unknown enemy that killed Jess was Glen. He was pretty sure Swordbreaker would have turned up but vows to get him next time. I guess you can say the job switch saved Kane. Later Kane meets the director for the Space Cargo Safety Division, Marigan Howell. He congratulates him on a fine job and hopes he could continue working with them. He views him better than the other useless Trouble Contractors. Suddenly a hot chick comes up to Marigan and slaps him! WTF?! Kane is probably drowning his sorrows at the bar when he sees that hot chick running into trouble with a group of punks. Since he is in a bad mood, he goes to beat the crap out of all of them. But the hot chick isn’t grateful. She doesn’t want help from a friend of murderers like La Guld.

Episode 12
Canal’s investigation reveals that woman is Merina Concense. An ordinary woman with no criminal record. Kane is still reeling from Jess’ death but he isn’t going to sit around and mope. He wants Canal to investigate further La Guld since it is suspicious that space pirates are only targeting the company. Kane finds Merina but she doesn’t say anything. So he has to gather information from others. Asort, Merina’s boyfriend was killed by space pirates 2 months ago while riding in a cargo ship by La Guld. Also, there are rumours that La Guld and the space pirates are in some sort of deal. When Canal comes back with shocking information, Kane rushes to go save Merina in hopes she hasn’t done anything stupid. Seems La Guld didn’t suffer any losses from the space pirate attack. In fact they are benefiting it from the insurance money paid out. As for the space pirates, they get the cargo so it’s a win-win situation for them. Merina has found out where the pirates are holing up and tries to take them on. Dumb move trying to be the hero. She got captured and even if she now knows the pirates’ boss, Alzas and Marigan are in cohorts, it won’t change a thing. They’re going to kill her when Kane arrives like a hero to save her. Alzas and some of his men flee. Kane won’t allow her to go after them and throw away what is important so she throws a tantrum what he is going to do. Seek revenge for her? Expose their wrongdoings? Kane has got support from Rail so the Universal Guardians’ patrol fleet are moving in. What is Merina going to do? Kane gives her a diskette containing all the illegal records from La Guld. What she does with it is up to her.

The Universal Guardians hail the space pirates to give up. No response? Fire at will! Unfortunately the space pirates disappear from their radar and then exterminate every one of them out from radar range. Yup, Alzas and co have a Lost Ship, Death Cloud in their hands. Handy. When Swordbreaker enters the scene, Death Cloud vanishes before their beam can hit them. Kane guts tell him that this retreat was too easy and his guts were right as he commands Canal to dodge the incoming laser from afar. To Canal, Death Cloud is just an ordinary Lost Ship. Convinced they are the ones who killed Jess, they are going to ascertain its coordinates and jump there by letting it fire at them. The space pirates fall for their bait and hit their psi-barrier with their laser. Swordbreaker hyperjumps to Death Cloud’s location and activating their plasma blaster to the max, Kane fires and blows away Death Cloud for good. Jess’ death avenged. Kane receives message from Rail that Merina has handed him the diskette and with the evidence they have arrested Marigan. But right after that, a mobile exterminator Lost Ship, Nezard turns up to greet Canal. It’s a sign that Nightmare is moving and will meet again. Seriously, he just showed his face just for that? But it left Kane and Canal sweating in their pants. Meanwhile Glen reports to his boss, Alfred Stargazer about the destruction of Death Cloud as planned although it is unfortunate they couldn’t do the same to Swordbreaker. Stargazer feels the need to take out Kane and Swordbreaker who are always in his way to claim the universe.

Episode 13
Some hot villain (only known as Spreader of Darkness) just wakes up after 87,000 over hours in sleep! That’s what you call beauty sleep! Haha! He plans to pay a visit to that woman. Meanwhile Kane has obtained some Holy Drink of Heaven that made Millie cry because of the unbelievable price he whispered to her. It’s just some booze but don’t let those Arabs hear you or else they’ll blow off your head! Kane bought the drink because he is going to visit grandma on his home planet. They bump into an old man, Jill (a man with a woman’s name?) whom Millie recognizes as the legendary space pirate that gave the Universal Guardians the run around. Outside Kane’s home is the grave of Alicia, his grandmother. He’s going to drink with her now that he’s back. Millie felt so bad for not understanding him so she runs away before she can get emotional before him and talks to Jill instead. Kane also revisits his house and this brings back lots of childhood memories. Jill is now retired and works as a gravekeeper. He recounts his meeting with Alicia a long time ago. During his heydays as a space pirate, he was undefeatable. Nobody could stand up to him till Alicia came along. The psi-blade user put this legendary space pirate into his place. He didn’t kill her because he fell in love with her. But one day Alicia rushed off into some doomed battle and put Kane in his hands. That was the last he saw of her. Kane was mad because he failed to protect her. Just like Kane is now fighting a battle, there will come a time he cannot win. He hopes somebody like her will be there by his side when that time comes. That night when Jill’s life support system is about to go offline forever, he is visited by Canal (in her mature form). Seems she hasn’t told Kane about it yet. She hopes he will forgive her. Meanwhile Kane faces off with Darkness. The latter can tell he is Alicia’s descendent due to his psi-blade stance and smell of blood. Kane is mad with him and wants to kill him since he is Alicia’s murderer. However Darkness’ aura was too overwhelming that Kane starts weakening and can’t maintain his composure. Darkness isn’t here to kill him but pay his respects to Alicia. He hopes her soul will dwell in eternal death and despair. Back on Swordbreaker, Kane is one upset guy because he ‘lost’.

Episode 14
Kane is still reeling from his face-off with Darkness. At the bar, he meets his old partner, Atlas McMahon. They remember the good times they had together as he was once the best Trouble Contractor that every rookie looked up to. But an accident that left him a vicious scar on his arm forced him into retirement and he’s been drinking ever since. However he thinks now is the chance of starting over again because some abandoned plant 3 years ago is showing up. Kane teams up with him to complete this job. Their job is to retrieve the rare chemicals that the automated underwater plant collects from the acidic sea to resurface and launch it into space. Though, it has lost its ability to launch. They enter the tumultuous weather on the planet and had a hard time locating the plant’s location. But it’s no smooth ride inside the plant as the security system still works. They also have to finish their job fast as the plant will only be resurfacing for 40 minutes before going back into the sea. More woes because everything in the plant is old, explosions start happening and this cut off their only escape route. Atlas has an idea to do something and overflow the buoyancy tank and make the plant float. It’s a dangerous job that requires precise timing. Atlas reveals he chose this job to overcome his fear. To conquer it, he came back to the place where it all started. Although Kane does his part well, Atlas still has the jitters and his trauma comes back to haunt him. Kane gives him the much needed push so he regains the confidence to finish the job. Kane goes back to Swordbreaker and he has some explaining to do to the ladies. Millie is less forgiving but Canal knows he did a good job in overcoming his own fear.

Episode 15
Glen is being chided by the bigwigs of Gazer Konzern Corporation for failing to produce results after putting in so much money. Of course he is not going to take it sitting down and has a trump card that he has perfected over 3 years. At Gazer Konzern’s head office, the president, Kali gets a call from Glen. She knows he has been backed into a corner that’s why he’s asking for help. He shows her a matter transporter that can teleport to any coordinates using one’s will. He has stole data from the ToAru Company and perfected it. His favour is that he wants her to hack into the ToAru’s system to get a boot programme but since their main computer is isolated (not connected to internet), he cannot access it from his place. In exchange for this, Kali will get the best prey ever: Kane. Meanwhile in ToAru, Millie has infiltrated the company in pretence to install a new updated OS system. Yeah, the guys are so trusting to leave her to her own device. Seems that their aim is also the matter transporter. Canal hacks into the system to tamper with the data because there will be no point if the unrivalled psi-barrier can be penetrated. A short while into it, a blackout occurs. Canal detects an extraordinary hacker has hacked into the system. The jamming system causes interference. Kane and Millie are on the run because laser beams are firing at them. Thank goodness they all miss. From the tactics, they deduce this must be the work of Gazer Konzern who was planning a takeover on this company. Of course Gazer Konzern as the biggest corporation in the galaxy is just a mask for Nightmare so it won’t be any surprise if they are after the matter transporter.

Kane and Millie rush to the space port to get back on Swordbreaker but everywhere they go, bad guys are waiting to take them on. Safe to say, those goons aren’t even on par with them. They come face to face with Kali. Glen and his men get ready to make use of the matter transporter which uses a life source. Although Canal has set up a psi-barrier around Swordbreaker, the matter transporter exactly transport the missile within Swordbreaker and makes an internal explosion. Kali and Kane’s fight has to be abandoned because Kali realizes Glen has set her up as a bait when the place starts collapsing. I don’t know how but Canal manages to upload a virus of herself into Glen’s ship and wreck havoc by destroying lots of systems. Glen does a desperate move to teleport a missile but the missile exploded in his ship. Canal destroys all the small fries but Glen gets away. Kane and Millie get back on their ship as Canal assures them that she has tampered with the data so much that it will take years for ToAru to find the changes. Just years? Millie wants to know why Nightmare is after him so he says he inherited his battle from grandma. Meanwhile Kali confronts Glen about setting her up but he feigns ignorance. They are surprised to see Darkness awakened. He will have them work for him as he needs more power to spread darkness throughout the universe again.

Episode 16
Canal gets another bargain buying weapons. Yup. Kane acting as her mule again to bring it back to Swordbreaker. Can’t even afford a cart? You’ve got to save while you can so we can buy more weapons! Millie also wants Kane to buy her a huge cannon. He refuses. She sulks. He ignores. She decides to test the cannon after being assured it isn’t loaded. Too bad that dude forgot it was and it nearly destroyed the market. Millie gets scolded for acting like a kid so Kane tells her off if she really wants it, charge it to her own ship. What does this suppose to mean? It means he wants Millie to get out! Serious? Yes. Serious. Millie acts tough as she packs her stuffs and leaves. But we know she wants some sympathy from them. No tears from Kane although Canal is more sympathetic. When she returns home after a long time, she is shocked that her entire place is cleaned out. Empty. There’s a letter saying that all her stuffs are auctioned to pay for the rent she defaulted. And the balance to be paid into this bank account before this deadline. This sucks. She tries to call her friends for help but nobody answers or this line is not in service. All too familiar. She only has her recording with the ‘arguments’ with Kane and she keeps playing the one Kane tells her she is the best cook in the universe. Oh yeah. With nowhere else to go, she heads back to Swordbreaker. As Kane is servicing his ship, he thinks Canal came in and tells her he doesn’t feel wrong in his decision to unload Millie as he doesn’t want to get her involved in their upcoming battle. It’s heartbreaking for her so she goes back into the ship and waits till Kane pops up. Blaming him for turning her into a Trouble Contractor, now she has no home, this is the only place she can return to. Besides, she can fight too and can help him take down some Nightmare battleships. I guess they have to give in because they saw the cleaning tools Millie made for them. To welcome back, Kane has her make the best dinner in the universe. For once Canal isn’t complaining. He even buys her that cannon and as she happily tests it out, her trigger happy ways might get them into trouble because she just shot down a patrol ship! What now? Run! Meanwhile the top brass in Universal Guardians think there is a traitor among them leaking information to criminals. Investigation reveals the culprit to be… Rail!

Episode 17
A planet is being declared martial law and a city has its city evacuated by Universal Guardians as there is a suspected bomb. But it is just a cover up as a Lost Ship is discovered. Oddly, the Universal Guardians has called Gazer Konzern to head this expedition. Meanwhile Nina is being called by the higher ups of Universal Guardians and she cannot believe Rail is the mole. Kane has also caught wind of this Lost Ship and heads down to inspect. He confirms those Nightmare people excavating the site and is about to relay it to Canal but Kali attacks him. It’s like she’s been waiting for him. She doesn’t care about the Lost Ship and just wants to finish her prey. Soon, electricity at the site goes out. Rail notes leaking information has paid off as he makes his way into the Lost Ship. Nina is being given a mission to keep an eye on Rail since she is quite close to him. She is of course in a dilemma. When Rail is inside the main deck, the Lost Ship awakens and starts flying off. The excavation is abandoned and so is Kane and Kali’s fight. Kali still wants to hunt him down even if they’re dragged to hell because she wants to prove something to Darkness. Millie saves Kane and Darkness informs Kali to withdraw. They will settle their score another time. Once the duo return to Swordbreaker, Canal recognizes this Lost Ship as Ragudo Mezegis. She isn’t too thrilled to see him. Swordbreaker initiates the first attack but Ragudo had some sort of legendary barrier and had no scratch. It took all of Swordbreaker’s power to shield from his beam that even destroyed the asteroid nearby from the ricochet. Kane is surprised to see Rail onboard. Is he working for Nightmare? When the other small fries of Universal Guardians arrive, Rail is going to show he too can get serious. Swordbreaker puts up the most powerful barrier and within a second, all the small fries are vaporized. Swordbreaker is the only survivor of this massacre. Kane believes Rail is acting on his own considering Kali’s behaviour. What is he up to? Thanks to that, the inhabitants of Swordbreaker are now on Universal Guardian’s most wanted list. Meanwhile Nina is acting some solo play about believing in Rail. I don’t even know what to say about this.

Episode 18
Swordbreaker changes its ID to land at some port. Millie goes down shopping for ingredients and decides to use her secret account. She couldn’t understand why the machine rejects it till the alarm is sounded. Looks like Universal Guardians have frozen all their accounts and this gave them away. Millie runs away from the guards till she is cornered. In great timing, Kane saves her and brings her back to the ship. As Universal Guardians is on their tail, they can’t do anything to attack them back as they’re just doing their job and will just have to shake them off. Intelligent homing missiles are fired and Swordbreaker will have to outrun them before their hyper dimension jump is activated. Meanwhile Glen is upset he is not part of the assassination team to kill Kane. Then he realizes it could mean he is no longer of use and will be disposed. He tries to get away fast but before him is Kali and that Stargazer wants to see him. He is brought before Stargazer and Darkness. The former feels disappointed he failed to complete a simple mission and have no longer use for him. He lets Darkness to take care of the rest. Glen is running scared and he should be because now he is fused with some machines. Once Swordbreaker is in a safe distance, they hear another explosion. Don’t worry. It’s Millie in the kitchen. She has cooked Kane an extravagant meal. Tastes great too and he finishes plate and plate. This is part of Millie’s plan to cheer him up. But ice cream dessert is interrupted when Canal detects many Nightmare ships locked on them. There are no Lost Ships among them but strangely there are no strategic movements too. Kane isn’t taking any chances and fires all they’ve got to wipe out the fleet. Seems too easy that it’s fishy… Suddenly a heavy artillery Lost Ship, Gorun Nova appears before them. This is the ship that spreads darkness.

Episode 19
Kane begins his attack. Sounds like he is desperate. Yup. He is. He thinks Darkness is onboard. But every beam they fire has no effect on Gorun Nova. Whatever he does, the big mother Lost Ship is still there. Gorun Nova only needs one single big blast just to disable a lot of things on Swordbreaker and if they get hit the next time, they’re toast for good. Then the stress got to him. He got a heart attack. Okay, some sort of mental attack as Gorun Nova was just a decoy to exhaust him. In the deep dark recess of his mind, Kane becomes paranoid and fights some blob creature while his real self is just screaming like a maniac. Millie is left to pilot Swordbreaker’s defence while Canal tries to bring back Kane. Gorun Nova attacks, the situation becomes even dire, lots of things aren’t working, Millie panics and doesn’t know what to do, Kane is still screaming. This is a fine mess we’ve got into. Darkness appears before Kane and wants him to make a choice. Be baptized by the darkness by drinking from this chalice or die by his hands. Kane throws the cup away and gets ready to fight. He has decided. But can he really fight Darkness in such a weak state? He is no match of course and Canal who has dived into his mind, brings him away in the nick of time. Canal then relays to Millie to use the leap railgun to send Swordbreaker into hyperspace jump to escape. Although badly bruised, they arrived safely far away. Everyone is picking up the pieces. Swordbreaker is getting fixed. Kane tells Millie this is what a battle between Lost Ships is about. He stands no chance. But all Millie cares about is her cooking that he finds delicious. I guess no use moping on something gloomy so they replenish their food supply. While Millie is down shopping for ingredients, she suddenly sees Swordbreaker leaving before her eyes. I suppose this was Kane’s plan all along. For her own good?

Episode 20
Nightmare is rampaging throughout the universe. They even boldly cast away their Gazer Konzern image. If this is the quality of Universal Guardians or Universal Forces, they deserve to get owned. I think Kali even takes control of the Universal Guardians HQ. Millie has to sell her favourite gun to get some cash. She has a makeover to hide her fugitive status. I think this make her more suspicious. She sees a big traffic jam and pile up and turns out Nina is having a hard time controlling traffic. The girls talk things out about how their man ‘dumped’ them. Nina has been moved from department to department ever since Rail’s betrayal and hasn’t been doing well. Instead of complaining, they decide to do their own investigation. They find a ship to leave this planet and Millie has brought with her all the files pertaining to her investigation. It may be a crime, but at this time, who cares? Swordbreaker is still in the midst of self repair when Nightmare forces including Nezard appear. Stargazer is pleased with the chaos spreading throughout the galaxy as they will become Dark Star’s sustenance. In order to gain even greater power, they will devote all their energies in destroying Swordbreaker. Kane continues to fight recklessly. Till Canal had to really tell him the situation he is in so Kane is forced to retreat. But they are faced with Ragudo Mezegis and Rail is serious in attacking them. Ragudo Mezegis and Nezard make some encrypted communication with each other. Rail’s vision starts to blur at the crucial time so he is forced to retreat since with his current mental state, he cannot chase Swordbreaker. Kane also uses this time to escape although Swordbreaker has taken quite some damage. Stargazer talks to Darkness that Ragudo Mezegis has obtained quite a good sustenance in Rail. And Nezard is getting his from Glen.

Episode 21
While Swordbreaker is taking refuge on some icy planet, Kane wants to shut the main system and this means Canal will go offline. They can’t fight nor can they escape so it’s best to get some rest while auto repairs are being done. Meanwhile Millie and Nina land themselves on some space port. Millie is devastated all the documents she snuck out were just police salaries. Nina is worried about Rail but at a distance they see a fleet battle and Nightmare is overwhelming the pathetic Universal Forces. Kane packs his bags and leave Swordbreaker. He causes an avalanche to bury it under the snow and sets up false tracker and jamming devices all around. Maybe he’s just fooling himself. Nightmare drones drop in and Kane tries to get them as far away from Swordbreaker. Nezard has discovered Swordbreaker’s location and fires down. Due to interferences, Nezard cannot confirm if Swordbreaker has been hit but is sure it cannot survive. Yeah. Big mistake baddies always make. Kane’s leg is injured so he prepares his mini artillery and bombs to fight the drones. Darkness comes down to duel him and he likes the hatred and anger in him (it’s making his psi-blade power big as hell). He is worth fighting now. Swordbreaker’s repair has finished and it’s time for Canal to wake up. Seriously, she needs an alarm clock? Swordbreaker comes to pick Kane up and as they blast into space, they have a dogfight with Nezard. With Swordbreaker functioning at 100% and a psi-energy at full capacity (possibly powered by Kane’s hatred), Kane gets aggressive in making all those reckless moves. Nezard takes a direct hit and gets destroyed. Kane really wanted to finish Nezard off for good but is exhausted. Darkness now understands why Dark Star is interested in him. After witnessing this, it is only a matter of time he will give himself over to darkness just like him. Now that he has recognized that power, he will withdraw for now. Canal hopes Kane won’t repeat what Alice did. Millie and Nina have discovered Ragudo Mezegis and Rail’s coordinates. Even if that place is under martial law, they’re heading there to find Kane’s whereabouts and ultimately what he is up to.

Episode 22
Stargazer is surprised Nezard is defeated and must make haste to destroy Swordbreaker. Meanwhile Canal puts Kane to sleep. No, she did not kill him. Can’t have him running around and lose energy like that again, huh? Elsewhere, Rail seems to be having some sort of ‘confrontation’ with Ragudo Mezegis. He claims Lost Ships are troublemakers and his quest is supposed to destroy them. He thought some corrosive metal gas would do the trick but Ragudo Mezegis analyzes it quickly and uses a counter agent. There, back as new again. I don’t know what secret password Rail whispered but it actually paralyzes Ragudo Mezegis! WTF. Can that really happen? He escapes in a pod but not long before Ragudo Mezegis regains control of himself although his systems are still a little off. Rail has been floating in space for who knows how long and is close to being dead. Luckily Nina and Millie were passing and pick him up. Nina is so glad and would like to see his handsome face before he dies! Is that all he is worth? The ladies nurse him but he is like in some vegetative state, only talking about Lost Ships and Swordbreaker being destined to fight. No matter how much Millie questions, she’s not going to get an answer from him at this state. He continues spewing about darkness and light which is represented by Dark Star and Volfied respectively. They’re always locked in some eternal battle. Also about Dark Star’s goal of spreading nightmare throughout the universe. In exchange of giving those in contract temporary powers, in return fear and rage result. He adds about Lost Ships devouring human minds, bodies, lives and are like death gods. Becoming one with a Lost Ship means the death of the master. Canal remembers Alice’s final attempt to sacrifice herself to protect Kane. She was running away from Darkness and has taken all the blows she could. They then combine and become one and blow Darkness away. Canal had sad emotions programmed in her and she’s crying hologram tears? When Rail finally wakes up, he is going to finish his task. Devastated Nina shows Millie about the letter he left behind. But Millie knows which planet he is going from his speech. The twin stars of Tora Alpha and Beta. Meanwhile Kane has awakened and he is ready to get into the final battle. He is already at the Tora planets and the scanners reveal the processing plant of Gazer Konzern on it is actually Dark Star. Inside it is lots of unusual energy. Canal asks one more time to change his mind but it’s already too late for that. He knew about the memory bank and that Alicia took her enemy with her. He is bent on winning this despite it will cost him his life for this is the fate of those involved with Lost Ships. Ragudo Mezegis returns to Darkness.

Episode 23
Darkness gives Ragudo Mezegis to Kali. Swordbreaker hitches on an asteroid to get to Tora Beta. Meanwhile Nina and Millie steal a junk cruiser since security has been lax thanks to Nightmare as Universal Guardians focused all their attention on them. Millie might not be smart enough to get the ship going but as long as she has Nina touch the machine, it goes into operation. She’s so bad with them that she makes them work? Heck, they even shoot the gates open with their missile. They’re really getting good in stealing ships, aren’t they? Kali destroys a planet and transmits this footage all over the universe. Then she relays a message to a certain man she is chasing down. In short, if that man ignores this message, she’ll continue destroying planets. So what is Kane going to do? Because Ragudo Mezegis is away from Nightmare’s HQ, defence there is basically weakened. It could be their chance to destroy Nightmare although Kali will be going on a planet destroying spree. I guess being heroes, destroying the big boss can always wait. So they head to Kali’s position to face off with her. However she is hiding among the rubbles and out of Swordbreaker’s radar. Swordbreaker is being like a sitting duck and barely miss all her beams thanks to the gas clouds slightly throwing off Kali’s target co-ordinations. Then Swordbreaker puts up its strongest psi-barrier and takes a direct hit. Kali thinks she has won but to her surprise, Swordbreaker still lives and fires back to destroy her graviton cannon. Kali doesn’t think she can win but Ragudo Mezegis reminds her about his power that can turn the battle tide as long as she opens herself to his will. Because she wants to stay by Darkness’ side, she is willing to give Ragudo Mezegis her soul. That’s basically fusing with the Lost Ship, right? Since Kali is taking too long to make her move, Kane fears she might have done just that. An energy anomaly is detected inside Ragudo Mezegis.

Episode 24
Swordbreaker makes quick attacks but Ragudo Mezegis has a few tricks up their sleeve. Just when Swordbreaker cannot dodge a direct shot from them, they divert all their energy to the shield. But they are surprised when the beam bends and becomes a light whip to grapple and bind them. Meanwhile Millie and Nina are on their way. Nina must be scared to death of Millie’s horrendous piloting. Anything that doesn’t work, Millie just let Nina touch it and everything is authorized. Simple. When the psi-system is overload and won’t respond, Swordbreaker takes a direct hit and Kane is blown off his chair. He dreams of the first time he met Canal and became Swordbreaker’s master. Kane gets back up and continues to rage. His hatred makes him continue to attack Ragudo Mezegis. Darkness explains to Gorun Nova that Kane’s hatred that is flowing out of him is what is making him being able to fight on par with Ragudo Mezegis and overcome fear of death. Kane will soon understand that it exists in every human mind and once he accepts that, the real battle begins. Kane wants to initiate a self sacrificing move that Alice did. Canal is against it but Kane doesn’t listen. After this, he wants her to find a new master and go defeat Dark Star. Ironically, it is the machine that is getting emotional and desperate. Kane is cool while Canal is so traumatic. Millie and Nina just arrive. They get onboard Swordbreaker and desperately try to stop the countdown to the death move. Everything they do cannot work. They should go back to basics. Yeah. Let Nina touch it! System error! Countdown aborted! WTF?! Oh heck, nobody has to die. After some scolding and encouragement from Millie, Kane is calmer now as he exudes pure psi-energy. It fills Swordbreaker and this power destroys Ragudo Mezegis in a blink of an eye! Darkness is not worried because the more energy he has means the more easy it will turn negative. All the conditions have been met. The one with the key to it is someone of his bloodline. He wants that person to come back where she belongs: Millennium Feria. That’s Millie, right?

Episode 25
Rail hijacks a pod to head to the final showdown. Stargazer is preparing his army when suddenly Dark Star starts shape shifting into something else. Swordbreaker blast through several small fries without sweat. Nina wants to help but Canal prefers her not to do and touch anything! Oh, Canal becomes a cheerleader to give our heroes a morale booster. Is this necessary? Kane sees a vision of Darkness again. Once more he tries to persuade Kane to join his dark side. This time Kane has full control of himself and he won’t join him nor throw away his life. Because the best meal in the universe is waiting for him if he survives. Then he repels Darkness out of his mind and they make their way to Tora Beta. Stargazer finds out Darkness is the one responsible for making Gorun Nova one with Dark Star. However Darkness kills Stargazer as he is of no use. Old geezer tries to fight back but it’s useless. He thought Darkness was his clone but to his surprise he is actually the embodiment of Dark Star and used this body as a good vessel. Darkness then ‘melts’ Stargazer for good. All that is left now is for Kane to come and set Dark Star in motion. When Swordbreaker arrives, they are shocked to see Dark Star in its awakening form. Kane is going to go alone inside to disable the energy barrier or else they can’t even touch it. Kane faces off with Darkness and they have a light saber dual. Meanwhile Canal talks to Millie and the former knows she is related to Stargazer, though Millie asserts she never met or seen him. She doesn’t care about her past family. Wondering if Kane knows about this, they receive a message from Rail. He is a moment too late because he reasons Kane must not meet Darkness because Dark Star will be fully awakened with the clash of strong negative psi-energy. Canal believes is different now and understands. Once the time is right, Darkness summons Millie and teleports her into Dark Star. Swordbreaker takes direct hit from Dark Star.

Episode 26
Darkness throws Millie a gun. Against her will she fires at Kane each time he tries to get close to Darkness. He wants Kane to unleash his anger and hatred. Rail informs Canal that there is no such energy barrier device. The energy source is Dark Star itself. He knows all this since he was almost eaten alive by a Lost Ship. You somehow gain some sort of knowledge in exchange for your devoured soul. He wonders how Canal has been feeding off Kane and this has her slap him. She objects she is not like other Lost Ships and will prove it. Canal can’t wait for the barrier to be disabled so she makes some adjustments and forces her way in. After Rail tells her the secret chant words to paralyze the Lost Ship (the reason he came here), Canal ejects him and Nina. She does a kamikaze taking direct attacks from Gorun Nova before crashing into him. Her memories are being affected the more damage she takes. Gorun Nova thought he had won but he didn’t see this coming as Swordbreaker fires point blank. Gorun Nova is destroyed. A very badly damaged Swordbreaker trudges forward to find Kane. I’m not sure if Millie can’t take it anymore that she jumps off. Luckily Kane saves her. Kane seems like he is going to resume his fight with Darkness. Millie quickly gets up and holds him back. She pleads it wasn’t her fault to deceive him. She knows she can’t be trusted anymore but please don’t hate her. Kane believes her because her bullets missed his vital parts despite under Darkness’ control. It proves that she is indeed the best sharpshooter in the universe. He isn’t going to fight for revenge or hatred but to protect those he loves. Kane and Darkness enter the final showdown. Just in time for Rail and Nina to join in and watch. Their stances are the same since it was Alicia’s brother who taught her that move. In the final strike, Kane emerges victorious because he predicted Darkness’ move. Kane made this move by himself because if he had followed the textbook, he would have been dead instead. Darkness disperses into thin air. Dark Star tries to activate despite not fully awakened. Now Swordbreaker comes into the picture. Canal truly believes Kane is the true light for he has defeated Dark Star himself without her help. The duo then go off to finish Dark Star. Rail chants those lines to buy them some time and also for themselves to escape. I don’t know what Kane and Canal did but Dark Star is effectively destroyed. Who cares? 6 months later, Nightmare’s spread has stopped. Rail and Nina note that the search for Swordbreaker has been called off. They are missing. But Rail is confident Kane will be back because there are still 2 Lost Ships out there. As for Millie, she waits and leads a simple rural life on Kane’s home planet, waiting patiently and believing they will return. All that waiting paid off because Swordbreaker returns!

Trying Their Best In The Universe
Hmm… Because this is such a retro anime, I always tend to forgive whatever shortcomings the series have because I’m basing and comparing it to today’s standards. Therefore you can’t really complain and might even think good of it like as though it was ahead of its time. Since I am not a fan of the Slayers’ series, I am not sure if watching this one separately as a standalone would affect my comprehension and appreciation of the connected universe. But solely on this anime alone, I think everything was pretty okay. The first half of the story felt like little fillers because you see the gang taking on random jobs with little developments on the real storyline that can be seen more prominently in the second half. That is whereby Darkness has awakened and things get more serious with the introduction of other Lost Ships and Kane’s past. Though, I thought the ending felt a bit rushed. Darkness felt like an untouchable supreme villain. He is cool and calm and always a step ahead of Kane. But to have him lost in the final fight in just one strike, somehow that felt cheap. I know I shouldn’t be hoping for battles that lasts for episodes after episodes but just when I thought there was going to be a decent light saber showdown between the guys, here our Kane uses his original unconventional move (which I see nothing special in) to seal the victory. And then we have a slight cliff-hanger whereby Kane and Canal went missing for a while probably to tease us viewers whether our heroes are coming back to Millie who has been waiting for them. Ah well. Thanks for the ride.

It is amusing to see the interaction between the characters especially Kane, Millie and Canal. I suppose the first half establishes their relationship and you know how it will grow and bond when you stick with each other for so long. What else can I say about Kane? Your typical hero with his own brand of justice, a tragic past and responsibility to shoulder on a universal scale. So in the end, it is just a simple story of good triumphs over evil, no? Although he loves his cape a lot, in later episodes I don’t see him harping so much about it. Maybe it doesn’t get messed up as much. Not that we noticed anyway since perhaps it has become like part of his body. Millie is amusing herself too. Initially annoying because of her penchant to complain and her aim of becoming the best in something in the universe, the more she gets deeper with Kane’s past and mission, the more solemn she becomes. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not. Then revealing her as some sort of relative to Stargazer somewhat felt unnecessary. She could have been some runaway princess of some kingdom planet but it won’t change a thing. I don’t know what history she’s got with the old family since she said she haven’t meet them for so long so perhaps it isn’t as important. Probably that revelation is to give us some tension to see if Millie would go to the dark side and ultimately lead Kane there too. Or that she is some sort of spy planted and planned all along by Darkness. This kind of retro anime? With this kind of plot? What are the chances?

I am not sure if there are any romantic feelings harboured between them although it could be just me who is feeling something like that. But then again, it could be because they’ve been together long enough that they develop that sort of bond. Besides, so far I think Kane is the only one who appreciates her best cooking in the universe. Because if there were really feelings from her, then I can guess her final goal is to be the best wife in the universe! Haha!

Then there is Canal whom I feel is so much more human than a computer. She might be some super computer programme and her hologram is installed with the highest technology that allows her to feel and touch and others to do the same, but that is the reason why I think she feels more human than a machine. So much so I thought she would be better off being casted as the ship’s human assistant. So real Canal is (in terms of this anime, of course) that it never occurred to me she is machine except maybe she is about to go offline and you can start to see those interference lines. In terms of her character, I think she did play a good job in supporting Kane through thick and thin. After losing Alicia, she doesn’t want to lose anymore of those she holds dearest. See? What did I tell you she is so human-like? Another odd thing about her is her penchant to buy more weapons and missiles to load it onto Swordbreaker. I suppose as a battleship, your worth and pride is in the weapons you invested in, right?

Other characters feel okay too but I don’t see them having a great impact on the overall. Like Rail, some hot guy in the Universal Guardians who eventually betrays them just to destroy Lost Ships he detests? Then when he found one, it’s like he crossed over to the dark side for a while before realizing he can’t handle the pressure and that his life is more important and goes back to our heroes’ side. I don’t know how he got that paralyzing chanting spell because I am pretty sure the Lost Ship would not have something that reveals their weakness if those they suck the life force from are going to know everything. But then again, if they’re going to die and become one, does it really matter? So maybe, that is just Rail’s little part but honestly I think even if Canal doesn’t know this trick, I believe Kane can overcome the darkness himself. The antagonists of Nightmare are okay too but nothing that would make them sound like nefarious villains by today’s standard. They just want to spread darkness across the galaxy but you don’t see the intensity and how evil their ways. Partly Universal Guardians are such wimps too. Stargazer who thought he should be the big final boss got killed off by his clone, Glen outlived his usefulness and was killed off by putting him into Nezard, Kali who is somewhat obsessed with Darkness and hunting her prey eventually gets killed off in this method too and Darkness the coolest of them all as explained in my earlier paragraph.

I feel that Nina’s character is some sort of a comic relief and what her role is usually for I consider it to be a running gag of the series. When Rail was in Universal Guardians, she used to serve hot coffee or tea to him but each time she ends up spilling them all over his lap or clothes. After Rail’s betrayal, her bad relationship with machines becomes the running joke. All she needs is to give the slightest touch and the machine will either work or malfunction, a total complete opposite of what it is supposed to do. So people, if you need somebody to fix your TV or your home computer that is being stubborn and not working, you should just call Nina and she’ll just give the ‘Midas touch’ and get it working again. No need to spend hundreds on technicians. So you see, Nina? You still can get some sort of a job if you’re fired from Universal Guardians. And of course, the final episode shows her still hasn’t lost her touch in spilling tea all over Rail for nothing. Best spiller in the universe. The other running gag I feel is Millie blowing up the kitchen on Swordbreaker every time she cooks. It’s like each time she is making a bomb. I can’t remember if the explosion gets less frequent as she improves but Canal doesn’t seem to mind it anymore even if such explosions occur. Come to accept it as part and parcel of Millie?

Action wise, I don’t think it is fair to compare it by today’s standard but I have no choice since it is my only way to best describe it here. The action feels a little lame although not entirely. Partly because of the animation too. Sometimes when Kane fights with his light saber, the action can be a little lame but as I said, this is a retro anime so it is forgivable in that sense, no? Well, at least the space battles between ordinary battleships and Lost Ships seem to fare better although I won’t go so far to say it is awesome. Just okay at the most. Although the Lost Ships are CG rendered, it isn’t the coolest in terms of graphics since it’s you know, dated. On a little side note, the thing that turned me off was the jargon and terminology that Kane and Canal communicate to just activate barriers, fire beams, etc. It’s like they pulled out those words from thin air and made that up to make it sound really high tech. Maybe my sci-fi interest and knowledge are low but I thought by saying “Activate all shields” or “Load up those beams!” would just suffice. The comedy factor is also okay and is mainly between the interactions of the characters and their quirky traits as mentioned above. It’s funny that they are Trouble Contractors out to solve troubles but get into some sort of trouble themselves. Thank goodness things work out in the end.

The art and drawing style are of course retro style with the characters having that kind of look from animes of that era. Heck, you may say they look closely from Slayers too. Duh? The so called high technology stuffs seem dated from where I watched now but at that time it was really cool to see space ships and futuristic equipment. Especially the Lost Ships they give it some unique design of their own although other non-important ships like those from Universal Guardians feel uninspiring and sometimes just look weird. During battle and action sequences, the laser ‘light show’ and other beam effects seem cool. Only if you were watching during that era. Of course like I have said, it feels so dated but I am not complaining. But it sometimes feels funny too to see that certain futuristic items are now obsolete. Uh huh. Can you believe the mode of carrying or transferring data in a compact device around in this anime is a diskette? A DISKETTE!!! Not even a CD! That’s how retro this anime is. Yeah, 1998 feels so long ago. Also, you see all those funny charts, graphs and diagrams on the screen in the main bridge of Swordbreaker, I can’t help think somebody just designed them in a rush. Or just simply design. Who is going to decipher and understand all those, right? You’re not working on Swordbreaker either. So when Canal analyzes the energy of this and that, calculates the projection of some incoming this or that, it felt a little funny that those ‘diagrams’ really tell something.

As usual with Megumi Hayashibara on board, it would be such a waste not to take advantage of her singing abilities. Just like in some of the other animes she voiced, she does both the opening and ending themes and well, erm, it’s so like Megumi Hayashibara-like. It’s so like her style. Really. Brings back nostalgic memories of the kind of anime songs I used to hear when I was young while watching the anime she voiced in. Infinity as the opening outfit isn’t bad with blazing electric guitars and synthesizers and its similarity somewhat reminds me of that Slayers song she sung, Breeze and Don’t Be Discouraged or even Saber Marionette J’s Successful Mission. Extrication on the other hand is the ending theme and plays to a slower pace. This song isn’t bad too and has this funky and jazzy tune to it. Makes me want to sing along with sexy passion just like her Shaman King’s Omokage.

In the end, I believe that fans of the Slayers series would appreciate and understand this anime better than casual viewers. Ultimately, that is what almost everybody will tell you if you ask their opinion. Provided if they know about Slayers too. Yeah. Space version of Slayers. If you also love sci-fi and not into a very deep plot, then you should check out this series as well. For a casual viewer like me, to be fair and give this old anime its dues, I still find it fun and enjoyable in the overall, though. Even with a few drawbacks, I still think this is a pretty decent anime. It is not like I didn’t like this anime nor regretted watching it. Oh, I don’t know. I’m just trying my best to be the best otaku and anime viewer in the universe. Looks like I have got a million more light years to catch up.

Here is another short shoujo anime that I coincidentally stumbled upon. What is with me and such genres these days? Despite Kobayashi Ga Kawai Sugite Tsurai is only 2 OVAs long and worth 16 minutes each, it is bundled with the limited edition of the manga volume. Sounds like a marketing and promotion ploy to me. But I thought the storyline is fairly interesting although it might not be original. Twin brother and sister, Mitsuru and Megumu Kobayashi are attending separate single-sex high schools. One day, they decided to exchange places without knowing what fate had waiting for them. Cross-dressing, love triangles, romance and confusion. Ah, such familiar ingredients for the shoujo genre.

OVA 1
Megumu and Aoi Sanada are too close to each other. The former wants to be by his side and confesses she loves him. And then they kiss. Aoi pinches her cheeks and calls her a fool for getting hurt like that. Then the kissing continues… Change of scene. The school’s queen, Azusa Tokugawa is stuck in a hole! What the hell?! 2 hours ago, she saw Megumu and Shino together. She got jealous thinking they’re close enough to be in love with each other. As such, she starts digging a hole as a trap to make them fall in. However she dug too deep that she herself cannot get out! It starts raining and everyone has gone home. Will she be stuck here for the rest of the night? Thank her lucky stars somebody has passed by. Too bad it is Megumu. She forgot something and turned back. Seeing Azusa’s predicament, she jokes that she might have dug a hole as a trap. See Azusa’s mad face? Spot on. Megumu helps her out since it would be in bad taste if she leaves her down there. Azusa could feel her warmth and such strong arms she has despite putting on her tsundere attitude. As she struggles to climb out, they fall back into the hole. But Megumu’s wig fell off. OMG… Megumu is a boy???!!! Or is that her twin brother, Mitsuru?

Meanwhile the real Megumu is in Aoi’s house as she gets treated for her injury. She wonders if that kiss meant anything or was he just licking the blood of her lips. Aoi actually thinks Megumu is a guy and is pondering why the heck he kissed ‘him’. Don’t know. His body felt so natural and moved on its own. Each time he looks at Megumu, he can’t help fawn over ‘his’ cuteness. Does it mean he likes boys? His inner consciousness starts fighting among themselves over this argument. He is thinking too much that he breaks the cup’s handle. Seeing Megumu’s cute face again, he can’t resist it and hugs Megumu. He wants to stay this way a little longer in hopes he could understand how he feels. The longer they hug, the harder their heart beats that they can’t breathe. Finally they pull apart. Aoi comes clean. It is not like he is into guys but whenever he is around ‘him’, he gets emotional and his heart pounds faster. Megumu wanted to say something important too but she sneezes. What a way to ruin it. Megumu is forced to take a shower and she must do it fast and get back to looking like a guy. Otherwise her real identity will be revealed. As she ponders of Aoi’s words and how happy she heard him say that, Aoi comes in to give a towel. And she was just pondering what she will do if she is found out. Yup. Now is the chance. Because that shock look on Aoi’s face just indicates he realized Megumu is a girl. That same panicky expression with Azusa for Mitsuru.

OVA 2
A black cat, Shigezane is totally in love with Mego, Megumu’s affectionate name that he calls since she takes care of him. However she is in love with Aoi. Shigezane likes this guy once but now he is his rival. Today they are meeting up so the cat is going to put a stop to their plans! He bumps into Aoi’s head and the next thing we know, they swap bodies! Yeah. Perfect chance for Shigezane to go on a date with Megumu. Megumu is pretty excited to see Aoi and especially the different way he talks. Meow? But she finds it odd. Walking through small holes and on walls? Besides, Aoi who was never good with girls will get a seizure when touched and now he is alright. Meanwhile Aoi wakes up in a cat’s body and realizes something amiss. That bump must have caused them to switch bodies. Because Megumu is not at the meeting place, he fears the worst. Mind boggling fact: How the heck is Aoi wearing an eye-patch seeing his original body also wears one? Anyway Mitsuru is on his way to sneak into a supplementary class when he sees the cat. It’s hard for Aoi to communicate so he uses sign language. Oddly, Mitsuru could understand and although he brushes it off at first, he realizes this cat is Aoi. No, you’re not dreaming. Meanwhile Megumu and Shigezane are at the park. He lies on her lap and has her touch his face a lot. A lot. So much so she is bleeding a fountain of nose bleeds. Seriously. She’s loving it. He’s loving it. What a happy world. Shigezane gets poetic. He says he only once likes cats but after meeting her, he realized she is the only one and will never make her cry. That’s why right now he wants to make babies. SAY WHAT???!!! It took Megumu long enough to understand after all that echoing of ‘making babies…’.

Since Aoi has no idea where Megumu is, Mitsuru texts her. I don’t know how she can reply that she is in the park and ‘Aoi’ is forcing her to make babies with him in such a short time. Because this ‘Aoi’ is on top of her! Getting ready to… But in the nick of them, Aoi charges in and their heads bump into each other. Safe to say, they return to their original bodies. Aoi apologizes he wasn’t himself. Mitsuru realizes he is late for supplementary classes and rushes off with Shigezane. Megumu learns about the body swapping and believes him because of his funny act and besides, he would never lie to her. Of course she had to deny that they went that far in making babies. She thinks it would be nice if they could hold each other close like that again in the future. Megumu says she loves him and Aoi says the same reply. They start feeling embarrassed over what they said. In the aftermath, Aoi holds Shigezane and ‘speaks’ to it. When they swapped bodies, he could read what was on his mind. He knows he treasures her a lot. Aoi won’t give up Megumu to anyone. Shigezane admits his defeat and says Megumu is all his for now. Aoi talks like a cat and Megumu wonders if they switch bodies again. Just kidding. Phew. That scared her for a little while.

So Cute That It’s Funny?
It feels that the OVAs were like prologues and serve as an introductory to the manga series. The episodes are standalones and feel like fun side stories. Even if you do not read the manga, these episodes may give you a good idea on what the series is all about. So those who are interested by what they saw may just be interested in checking out the manga itself. Judging by the looks of it, it is hard to say whether it will get a proper TV anime adaptation in the future or just like many shows that follow this pattern, they just fade into obscurity (example: Suki Desu Suzuki-kun).

As far as this little series is concern, I guess it was rather okay in my books seeing the first episode deals with the cross-dressing ways, the building up of their romance and how they are eventually discovered. While the second focuses more on the relationship between Megumu and Aoi but the damn cat stole the spot. I know it feels really weird to have a cat falling in love with a human being but I guess this is being unique since how far can you stretch the plot and drama after so many shoujo series around? So having a cat and body swapping may seem odd for a shoujo genre but I think it gives a little refreshing pace in this genre.

Something strikes me when I learn that Daisuke Ono was the voice of Aoi and Ayumi Fujiwara voicing the twins. They voiced the leading characters in Kaze No Stigma. There was this thought of mine that they might burst into those characters since Aoi was almost (but not) similar to Kazama although Megumi wasn’t a bit tsundere like Ayano. The drawing and art are okay too, pretty much in line with the shoujo standards. Yeah. Cute. Their chibi form makes it look funny (in a good comical way), though.

Because this is such a short anime, the character development isn’t there although both OVAs concentrate heavy on Megumu and Aoi. Especially with Megumu who is so heavily in love with Aoi that it’s so… Annoying? But that is what makes her cute, no? My guess is that there should be more interesting characters and the plot when their cross-dressing secret is revealed to some. So if they adapt this into a TV series, I would love to take a look at it. A question to ponder: If you’re cross-dressing as an opposite gender but fall in love with a person who is totally opposite your real gender, would that make your relationship yaoi or yuri? Likewise, would it be yaoi or yuri it was the same gender? Argh! It’s so confusing…

Wake Up, Girls!

August 10, 2014

Having troubles waking up early in the morning? Not a morning person or you have just pulled an all-nighter finishing your assignment, watching the finals of a football game or staying up playing a video game marathon. Don’t worry. There is a service that will have cute girls coming over to give you that much needed wakeup call and I am sure after hearing “Onii-chan, okite! Okite!” (Big brother, please wakey-wakey up!), you would feel much better when you wake up… Eh… What is that you say? You mean this is not what Wake Up, Girls! is all about???????!!!!!!!!!! EEEEEEHHHHH???!!! You mean this is an idol theme show???????!!!!!!! Man, I would never have guessed it if I just solely based it on the name of the series and taking it too literally. I mean, what kind of a name is Wake Up Girls for an idol unit? Couldn’t it be something sweet and nice? So okay, there are lots of funny names going around but I guess you have to be unique in your performance and even in your group’s name just to stand out since there are quite a number of idols out there.

Of the very few girl group idols that I have seen, Wake Up Girls (WUG) as I can see isn’t the kind that could rival its flashier counterparts like AKB0048 and Love Live. Firstly, there is no sci-fi element and idols kicking ass so you can say this anime is more down to earth like Love Live. However WUG isn’t as flashy or cutely sweet as Love Live as it chronicles the struggles of that small idol unit based in the Sendai countryside. The road to being an idol is always tough. You have to put in hours into your practice and your performance to stay relevant or else you’ll become yesterday’s news. Yes. Today will become yesterday like for every day. Haha. But seriously, I thought this series was going to be a little interesting after reading the short synopsis of how the idol group and its agency are on the brink of going bust due to some troubles. This is much more serious than say, your beloved school closing down. Thus, there is somewhat something interesting that attracts me to see how this unknown small fry would face such obstacles and triumph in the end. We all love a good humble beginning to great success stories, don’t we?

Episode 1
On Christmas Eve, WUG did a debut concert but on Christmas day, internet forum boards are rife with postings that Mayu Shimada was spotted as part of that group and further speculating her return to idol work. However many remain sceptical as they see her as past her prime. On New Year’s Day, manager Kouhei Matsuda wakes up to a bad start. He had nightmares. After Mayu pays her respects at the shrine, she meets with Kaya Kikuma as they walk together to the agency, Green Leaves Entertainment. They talk about their future and the direction they are heading, the reason why they are here. Miyu Okamoto is also here for the same reason. Although they worry that the agency may close down since it does not have money, Miyu remains positive that hard work will pay off just like how she currently does in her maid cafe. When Matsuda arrives, he calls the rest of the girls, Nanami Hisami, Minami Katayama, Airi Hayashida and Yoshino Nanase to the agency. There is a famous producer, Sudo who has seen their Christmas debut they are interested in helping manage the group. Some are happy but the rest remain sceptical. Matsuda explains he used to work under their president, Junko Tange. Let’s say she is very bossy, pushy and rough but she had connections. It made Matsudo feel like a loser. By the way, Tange ran off with the money. Now he has a chance to improve things and hopes the girls will work with him again. The girls leave with high hopes but the few remain pessimistic. At the cafe, they discuss about this and Miyu remains optimistic and acts out her maid cafe greeting example to the rest. Another idol group, I-1 is making its public announcement on their nationwide concert tour. Mayu was once a member of this group. Flashback to WUG doing their debut gig on stage to a handful of audience who probably had nowhere to go on that day. Come the weekend, Matsuda and the girls anxiously wait for Sudo to turn up. A few false alarms. Who the heck keeps ordering these food deliveries? Or do they get the address wrong? And then Sudo shows up. Uhm… He looks like a yakuza… The first thing he asks the girls to do is to put on a skimpy bikini.

Episode 2
Sudo has also found them a stage to perform. That’s great, right? Yeah. The public bath for men. Seriously, the boring men here seem to have no purpose in life. It’s like they’re half dead. Serious. The girls put on their courage to wear the white bikini (because Sudo saw them during their debut performance where they ‘flashed’ their panties so they shouldn’t be shy about this) to perform in front of the guys. I think they know nothing about idols and just love their nice asses. That’s why they’re cheering. During the break, Matsuda tries to talk to Sudo about the inappropriateness about it all but got lectured back about resolve and that the super popular Shiho Iwazaki from I-1 is also doing it. He also views Matsuda not fit to be their manager as he doesn’t even give try putting his girls on stage. Later Matsuda and the girls discuss and it seems this rookie left the payment dealings to Sudo and didn’t even know the contract he signed them up for! Yes. ‘Photo shooting’ means the loser guys get to take pictures all they want with the girls. They also need to serve the customers. Even if some of their hands go wandering, they can’t raise a finger back. ‘Participating in various attraction’ means playing games with the customers and Miyu certainly had her last straw when a customer ‘earned the right’ to kiss her. Who would want to kiss this ugly f*cker?! She pushes him away and runs away. This made Miyu rather quit than continuing with this. If they abandon this now, they have to return the money the host paid upfront to Sudo. Miyu still leaves while the rest are in a dilemma whether to go ahead.

Suddenly Tange barges in and lectures Matsuda like hell. With her is Sudo being beaten to a pulp. She threatens this shady producer and you can guarantee he won’t be showing his ass around them anymore and pay the cancellation fee. Yeah. She’s scary. But the girls are saved. If Matsuda thinks he can lecture her about running away with the money, think again. She’s still dominating. Apparently her darling needed some money so she took the agency’s money and went gambling. She lost it all. That’s the only apology you’ll ever hear from her. Noting that Miyu is not around, she has the girls go look for her. Not going to break up so fast, aren’t we? They find her at her maid cafe as she explains maybe she did lack the resolve to perform on stage. Because back here, she feels comfortable with her fans who truly love her and it made her want to be surrounded by them even more. They would never do anything to hurt her. Since her performance time is now, she invites them to watch. Oh God. That Nyaruko song… At the end, she thanks her fans and they in turn support her with all their might for her to be part of WUG. Their positive encouragement brings tears to her eyes. Now that the group is a whole again, Tange already has got a job for them and they’ll be appearing in a small segment on TV.

Episode 3
The girls will be split into 2 groups. One will be doing local gourmet and the other weather report. However the latter one also has scalding water. WTF?! It’s obvious all want to do local gourmet so it is decided who goes where via drawing sticks. The ones who got the short end of the stick to do the weather report are Kaya, Miyu, Airi and Yoshino. For this quartet, not only they have to enter hot water but during the weather report, they have to wear animal suits. I don’t even… It’s much better on the gourmet group since Minami is a big eater, she wallops everything. Even if Mayu and Nanami may put the show in jeopardy since they’ll be tasting lots of weird local delicacies, thanks to Minami the show is saved. The director’s only concern is that she expands her vocabulary instead of just saying it is delicious. How does “Tasty, meow!” sound? Both the shows get good reviews and this gives them the chance to promote their upcoming concert at Sendai. Minami’s grannies at the old folks’ home are glad to see her lively as usual and they think of crashing and surprising her by turning up at the concert. But first, they need to make something for her. Mayu notices Minami always holds a charm. She explains it is from her grandma and she used it during the audition. She believes this charm soothes her when she is nervous and protects her from making mistakes. Ever since she passed the audition, the grannies have been supporting her. She knows they’ll continue to do so. But it’s a different case for Mayu because her mom isn’t impressed that she is doing this again. She won’t listen to what she has to say. The day before the concert, the grannies show her a big yellow banner they made for Minami. Yellow like the bright sun that Minami is. However bad luck strikes because on the day of the concert, grandma experiences chest pains and had to be rushed to the hospital. Minami loses all confidence and can’t sing and is very worried. Once her pals get wind of this, Tange wants them to go ahead without Minami and cover for her part while they go make rearrangements with the producers. Minami is by grandma’s side at the hospital. She is doing fine. After her words of encouragement, Minami rushes back to her pals. She is okay to be here since by performing, grandma will be happier. The concert is a success and thanks to that, Mayu’s past of leaving I-1 due to some internal conflict may start to creep back up on her.

Episode 4
A Mayu fan posts the good stuffs he saw at the Sendai concert. However the forums are filled with naysayers who are badmouthing her. Tange relays another good news that the girls will be doing a regular radio programme though it lasts a minute before midnight. Anna and Karina from Twinkle are also here since they will be writing a new song for them. The girls try their hand in practising to speak in limited time. 60 seconds among 7 girls. That’s like around 8 seconds per girl, right? Tange and the other adults discuss about Mayu because she seemed trouble. Similarly, Miyu talks to her but she doesn’t say much and only wonders if she shouldn’t have come back. A publisher from Tokyo, Suzuki calls Tange to set up an interview with the group. Of course with this big chance, she wouldn’t let go. However Suzuki has an ulterior motive especially about the former I-1 idol Mayu. Meanwhile at the training room of I-1 where every girl is training hard. There are so many members that I think it’s like a mini army. The president, Tooru Shiraki (who looks like a typical baddie) gets straight to the point in selecting the best members for their nationwide concert in Sendai, rejecting those who failed the cut and admitting new ones to the team. Some members who know Mayu saw her stint in Sendai and are puzzled she is working in the countryside. I-1’s Megumi Yoshikawa contacts Mayu to tell her about their concert in Sendai. Suzuki and fellow cameraman, Yamada are at the agency to interview the girls. Suzuki seems like he is hurrying the interview of the other girls and when he gets to Mayu, he spams her questions of her departure from I-1 and wants to know the truth. A scandal about her seeing some guy. Tange kicks his ass. Wasn’t this supposed to be an interview on WUG and not Mayu’s past? Indeed. But WUG cannot exist without Mayu, right? When he shows his project about the struggles of a fallen idol that will have people making fuss over her, Tange punches him. He’ll sue! She doesn’t care! Try it! While Tange talks to Mayu about healing her emotional scars, the other girls discuss the malicious postings on her. Welcome to the harsh reality of show business, girls. Meanwhile the true Mayu fan continues to fight for her online. Mayu bumps into Shiho.

Episode 5
Shiho is not impressed she is back and she definitely won’t forget how Mayu caused them trouble. The new song for WUG is ready and Tange thinks of doing a live concert. However everyone else is not so sure because something like this happened before Tange ran away with the money. This time it’ll be different, she guarantees. But there is another bad news. I-1’s concert is scheduled on the same day with theirs! Yoshino takes the lead in organizing the songs they want to sing and since they have only 2, she feels they need to sing more. Of course with the other music genres the other girls suggest, it’s not going to cut it. Till Yoshino accidentally suggests singing songs from I-1. She apologizes but Mayu is okay with it. But she thinks they should show their own colours and there isn’t any need to sing their songs. Meanwhile the I-1 Spartan training regiment continues. It’s like they’re under the watchful eye of some MIB and they even have recording of those who are out of sync with the rest, immediately replay that part and tell her she’s out! You want to be part of this idol group?! Whereas out WUG are more casual although their practice seems to be ‘lonely’. They even have Anna and Karina point out their mistakes in which their dance choreography is indeed in a mess. Their promotion isn’t going too well either because the crowd snubs them unlike the I-1’s fancy promotion. Even if they aren’t there in person, you can see I-1 banners dominate. On concert day, I-1’s concert as expected is to a huge sell-out crowd. Compared to WUG… They can’t even fill a mini room. I think those fans are mostly Miyu’s maid cafe fans. Unlike I-1 giving a professional and entertaining performance, WUG make some silly mistakes, dropping the microphone, bumping into each other and Yoshino being nervous with her lines. At the end of the day, it was just depressing for them. You think Tange isn’t reading their atmosphere as she is feeling happy over their great performance. But she tells them off who are they to think they can compare with I-1? Those are pros. They aren’t ready yet. So don’t ruin the celebration mood. I think this just makes them more depress. Next day, she has them tour the theatre where I-1 is giving fans a handshake. The girls are in awe of their professionalism and feel dumb for getting depressed. Mayu goes up to shake hands with Megumi and ultimately Shiho who seem reluctant to extend her hand but does it anyway. Mayu tells her that she can finally come to like idols.

Episode 6
Tasuku Hayasaka approaches Tange and wants her to let him handle WUG. She is suspicious because he is the composer for I-1. However he claims that idol group doesn’t inspire him anymore. Matsuda is watching an interview of Hayasaka on TV, probably saying a few bad things when Tange brings the real person back. Oh sh*t! Tange and Matsuda remain suspicious and have him sign a contract for they do not want trouble despite assurances that he is willing to do it for free. He hasn’t told I-1 about this because he thinks it is best when somebody catches that guy off guard. It’s like everyone is always worried about how he feels. Besides, Hayasaka doesn’t belong to him and can work for whoever he wants. Tange doesn’t want this to look like they’re picking a fight with I-1 but he assures her that it is he who is the one who approached them. So the girls undergo Hayasaka’s own Spartan regiment. Weird poses to build their stamina. Can you seriously listen and reply in that pose?! There are a few conditions, though. Hayasaka will be their teacher and train them for free. This means they will have long trainings during weekends and for the second and fourth Saturdays, they will perform 3 live concerts to gain experience. Lastly, nobody can complain how he handles everything. In short, he is in full control of the girls. It is no surprise the girls are dead tired and at their limit. Maybe not so bad for Mayu since she got a little idol training previously. Hayasaka talks to Tange and Matsuda and he thinks of cutting off Airi from the group. Speaking of her, she is getting more tired by the day and spaces out during her jobs.

One rainy day after their usual lesson, Hayasaka has Airi stay back. Mayu waits for her while the rest who are already at their limit, leave first. Hayasaka tells it bluntly to Airi that she doesn’t have talent and may be suited to be part of the audience. If she wants to reconsider, now is the time. When Airi leaves, she wants to be left alone instead of walking back with Mayu. Meanwhile Shiraki explains to his army of idols about the small WUG concert held on the same day as theirs. How did he know? He analyzed the sold out tickets for I-1 and 3 didn’t turn up!!! THREE PEOPLE DIDN’T SHOW UP AND HE KNOWS! HE KNOWS!!!!!!!!!!!! However this is no laughing matter. He can see in no time this local countryside group will be a threat and wants them crushed. This guy is really insane. WUG is in their first back to back concert. Only 4 people turn up. Pathetic. Well, this is to gauge how much audience they can gather for the later show. But the first gig was a disaster. Airi knocks into the amplifier. It is no surprise Hayasaka doesn’t mince his words that kindergarten kids are better than them. Then he hints to Airi ‘there is still time’. On a lesson day, Airi didn’t turn up and her friends are worried since she is usually the early one. Plus, Hayasaka won’t conduct his lesson if all of them are not here. So when the big teacher comes in, the girls tell him Airi isn’t here yet. He gets it straight to them that the group doesn’t need Airi and is thinking of dropping her. Although the girls don’t like it, they are reminded that he has absolute power. He gives them a choice. If they are willing to cut Airi, the lessons will go on. Otherwise, they are all fired. Your answer in 10 minutes. And Airi is sitting all alone in her room. Still thinking…

Episode 7
Matsuda confronts Hayasaka that he has gone too far but Tange seems to agree with him (although she may not like it) that if the girls crumble under such pressure, they aren’t worthy to be idols. The girls are in a big dilemma. Furthermore, Yoshino as the group leader is forced to make a decision. Finally they decide. WUG is incomplete with Airi. Yoshino and Mayu will go bring her back while the rest go talk to Tange who in turn tell them they should go talk to Hayasaka since he is the one in charge. So when they find him playing the crane game, he has them get 3 dolls for him. It’s going to take some time but they won’t give up. I wonder how many coins they’re going to spare. Damn machine. Game over so fast. Airi helps out her dad’s confectionary store, which is of course a little weird. She’s never lend a hand before and suddenly here she is. Isn’t she always busy with her lessons? Dad knows… Yoshino and Mayu arrive at her doorstep. Airi’s confidence is rock bottom as you can tell from her speech that she’s beating herself up that she’s the lowest and most untalented among the group. She really thinks of quitting WUG so as not to trouble them anymore. Mayu feels the group is not complete without her and that thanks to Airi, she tried to become an idol again. Yoshino too give her piece of mind. Airi was the one who came up that if anyone of them had troubles, they should discuss them together. If they don’t, what is the purpose of this group? So after much discussion, they decide to bring her back at all cost. As her first order as leader, she wants her back. So emotionally charged that somehow I felt it turned into a crying contest between Yoshino and Airi. Meanwhile the other girls already complete their crane task. Because of that, Hayasaka changes his mind and will accept Airi back and continue their lessons. Although he is sick in watching amateurs pretending to be friends, that is the very think that he likes about them. Yeah, the close friendship thingy. You hardly see that in I-1, right? Now that Airi is back, she promises to make Hayasaka acknowledge him. However he says doing that won’t do her or them any good. They must make the ordinary public acknowledge them. And to do that, he has entered them in the Idol Festival 2014 contest.

Episode 8
Hayasaka has also written a song for them. They should learn it by their next lesson. Meanwhile Shiraki and I-1 are in their usual ‘training’. He mentions to them about the Idol Festival and wants them to crush them all. Then the usual cull list of those who make it and giving a stern warning for those who greeted him when he came in because they shouldn’t be distracted but focused on their singing and dancing. Some of the I-1 girls are talking about Hayasaka working for WUG and the amazing part is that he is working for free. Meanwhile Shiraki talks to Hayasaka and he knows that he is handling WUG. They know Mayu is the one pulling the other members along and if all goes well, WUG can turn out to be interesting. Matsuda and WUG are reading the ‘prize’ for winning Idol Festival (some big contract with a big record company). They need to practice their choreography while Hayasaka is away since he is busy with I-1 events for this few weeks. Later Nanami talks to Matsuda alone. She shows him the requirements for some hikarizuka music genre entrance exam. She doesn’t bat an eyelid saying she is just using WUG as a stepping stone for this and always intended to stop working with the group by then. On short, she won’t be able to participate in the Idol Festival which is held around this time. Matsuda is so dumbfounded… Oh no, what should he do? The other girls are at a cafe when the I-1 girls also patron it. Shiho talks to Mayu and knows her group is entering the festival. She reminds her that she was part of I-1 and if she is going to produce embarrassing results, she’ll damage I-1’s reputation and it’s better she don’t participate at all. If she’s coming, bring all they’ve got and she’ll crush them with all she’s got too.

Although there are many other smaller idol units, WUG receive quite an attention on the forums due to Mayu who was once I-1’s centre. After the girls practice their dance, Airi stays back to continue practising. Nanami asks her why she is working so hard. You know, not good at anything, trying to change who she is, not running away, being half-hearted, wanting to be a proper member instead of just a fan, etc. The girls show the results of their practice to Hayasaka. He isn’t impressed a bit. Even if Kaya notes they’re working hard, that’s where he tells them off that everybody is just doing that. What matters most is the result. After learning the average of 20 hours of practice they put in each week, he thinks it is appalling and nowhere near half of I-1’s practice hours. Of course putting in the hours isn’t just what counts, they must work 100 times harder. At this rate, they won’t even make it past the preliminaries. Mayu thinks they should continue practising and review their practice menu. She is worried because doing these half-hearted practices aren’t good enough and at this rate they won’t beat I-1. This causes a friction with Yoshino who thinks she joined WUG to beat I-1. Even so, it’s like she’s dragging them into it. Mayu denies that but Yoshino wants her to tell the truth why she quit I-1. Kaya breaks them up but the damage is done. Matsuda talks to Tange about Kaya’s suggestion for an overnight training camp. She thinks it’s a good idea to let off some steam but he is worried the group is falling apart at this rate.

Episode 9
Kaya’s aunt runs an inn at Kesennuma. Kaya talks to Mayu about her secret. She lost her parents when she was young and her aunt is like her mom. She lets her read some letter that hoped she would return. Kaya couldn’t make that decision and ended up idling around Sendai. She saw the audition for WUG and applied thinking it would be work-cum-fun. Of course it stopped being that since there were difficult and frustrating times. She also tells her about her childhood friend who kept telling her to challenge people stronger than her. In no time, she improved enough to beat him. That’s why she can’t walk away after losing to strong opponents and doesn’t think WUG can end up like this. Something in her keeps telling her to keep trying and she wants to work hard for those who can’t. Now it’s Mayu’s turn to tell her secret. When she said she wanted to make herself happy at the audition, it was probably because she couldn’t make others happy so at least that is what she wanted to do. Four years ago when she became part of the first generation of I-1 (starting out as a really small and modest club although Shiraki’s tough rules are still enforced), everything was exciting because it was a new experience. But the strict rules became harder to take and many girls would secretly cry. They felt restricted. When Mayu’s friend was dropped because she had a boyfriend despite she never neglected her lessons, Mayu went to confront Shiraki. That guy was uncompromising. He believes once you love other people than your fans, you stop being an idol and become some subhuman trash. Such existence is not needed in I-1. Remember, they are idols first and humans second. Probably Mayu was too rash that she broke his prized record. He then tells her the group will be releasing 2 singles simultaneously. Mayu will be the centre in one while Shiho handles the other. Whosever sales is the lowest will be fired. Mayu’s mom became upset that she angered Shiraki since everything will be lost if she is fired as she sacrificed everything for her. Of course Shiho’s sales top the charts that week and the rest is history. Then the scandal about Mayu seeing a guy was a trap to cover up. Her parents divorced subsequently. Mayu came back to her mom’s home in Sendai. She couldn’t give up on singing and dancing, the reason she wanted to give another try. Though she still holds a grudge against I-1, after learning a lot from everyone in WUG, she believes she can finally make herself happy. By this time everybody else has heard her. Naturally they reconcile and even good news, Nanami is touched by their resolve that she shreds her hikarizuka entrance exam requirement and will put all her effort in WUG from now on. But does she have to litter around? Now they have to pick it up…

Episode 10
WUG passed the initial screening for the Idol Festival and are under the Tohoku Block. Checking out the other competitors in their block, some look more like comedians. Oga Demons… Are they some sort of demon exorcist?! Don’t laugh! Tange warns them that such groups are the real threats because they have something unique that makes them stand out. This has her ask WUG what is it that makes them unique. So the girls ask various people at their jobs and fans at the concert but the answers are mostly on the individual. One night, Yoshino and Mayu stumble upon Oga Demons who are in town to check out their rivals. I’m not sure if they’re making a threat or just fooling around. I think it should be the former. Mayu goes back and wants to talk to mommy about how she feels. Basically, she’s saying she’s happier at WUG compared to her days in I-1 and is sorry for hurting dad and her. She tries to invite her to the festival but mommy doesn’t seem enthusiastic. She doesn’t care what her daughter does. Anna and Karina drop by to give WUG their outfits. About their question of their uniqueness, they think it’s best left decided to the people who see them perform. On the day of the concert, fans of all idol groups turn out in full force including those hardcore WUG guys. Not forgetting Minami’s old folks’ ladies too. Before the competition starts, Shiraki greets everyone via video conferencing and tells us about how it works. The winner of each block (the one with the highest votes from judges, online and offline polls) will get to compete in the final in Tokyo. All the idols strut their stuff on stage. Mayu sees her mom in the crowd and from her smile and tears, you can bet she is happy for her daughter. After all the votes are in, the winner of the Tohoku Block is… WUG! But of course. Oga Demons acknowledge their victory and hopes they will win the finals for them. Back at the agency, Tange gives Mayu the contract her mom came yesterday to sign Mayu to formally join the group. It’s a good sign that she has approved! Matsuda turns on the TV to see any news of Idol Festival. But what he sees is I-1 announcing their new single going on sale today. But isn’t that WUG’s song that Hayasaka wrote for them?

Episode 11
They think they’ve been had, since they can’t use this song anymore as there will be copyright issues. Then here comes that sneaky Hayasaka. He claims he has written a better song for them so he gave that one to I-1. But do they have time to learn a new song? He puts it this way. If they win this festival, they’ll be acknowledged as I-1’s rival and possibly be the best. Top idols can learn new songs and choreography in a day. Whether they win it is up to them. He appoints Yoshino to be the centre for this song. I guess there is only one way. Put in more hard work. I-1 girls are talking about WUG who made it through the preliminaries. Shiho thinks it is good because that way they can crush them and it won’t be much of the competition if WUG doesn’t do the same. As they talk about their new single that Hayasaka supposedly written for WUG, Shiho sounds like a paranoid that it didn’t give I-1 and advantage. In fact it might mean WUG doesn’t need that song anymore and have something more amazing for the finals. WUG has a sizeable amount of fans now. At least their mini theatre is filled. Even some of their classmates ask their autograph. WUG perform their new song and show to Hayasaka their effort. I’m not sure if he’s being sarcastic or something. But he delivers good advice because their job is to convince the audience and that no idol performance is ever perfect even though they strive for that. Yoshino made scrunchies for her members. That night, everyone packs up their stuffs, ready to leave for Tokyo. You wonder if they’re running away or something since their luggage… Anyway they have firsthand experience on how crowded Tokyo is. But the arena they’ll be performing in is damn huge! During rehearsal, nervous Yoshino trips on a wire. Then they see I-1 record their live performance. Just amazing. This is the reason why they are top idols. During the break, Yoshino checks her feet and her worst nightmare comes true. It is swollen! OMFG! I thought it was some sort of critical disease. Looks painful.

Episode 12
Yoshino panics but maintains her calm among her pals. However she spaces out a lot and during rehearsal she is off tempo. The others know something is wrong with her especially with her odd feet movements. She then lets them know and of course Yoshino’s choices are either she can continue or they go on without her. But she’s the centre… Mayu suggests they withdraw because WUG isn’t a whole without all 7 of them. Shiho heard it all and walks in. She won’t let them quit and calls a couple of nurses to bandage Yoshino’s leg. They did a good job to make it last for a few hours. Although not optimum, at least she can move better. WUG make some changes to their dance routine. As the finals begin, Shiraki starts ranting about America’s September 11 and its relation to entertainment and idols. I don’t give a f*ck about that and just start the show! When it is WUG’s turn to take to the stage, the entire arena is quiet. Everyone isn’t impressed that Mayu is back. But the small hardcore WUG fans didn’t give up and continue to cheer on them. So quiet the arena that their cheers sound so loud that it’s resonating. Slowly as WUG performs, everyone sees how good they are and start to cheer hard for them. See, you don’t judge a book by its cover. Yoshino may not be perfect in the jumping part may but the girls are ready to catch her when she almost loses her balance. At the end of their gig, the crowd is so impressed that they start chanting their name! WUG! WUG! WUG!!! It just brings a lot of tears to their eyes. Of course they do this at the backstage. Feel free to let those tears flow. Before the announcement of the results, I-1 performs as the special guest. Miyu notes that was where Mayu once stood but Mayu disagrees because her place will always be in WUG. So the results are in and the winner is… Not WUG! WTF?! Who the hell is Akamiso All Stars?! I guess they’re the better idols tonight. Mayu narrates about herself being happy because if one isn’t happy, they cannot make others happy. Back at the agency, Tange is scared to answer the phone because she counted her chickens and signed up for a bigger office. That call must be the real estate agency. Matsuda picks it up but it turns out to be a major recording label from Tokyo, Bivex. After watching them perform at Idol Festival, they like their performance very much and want to sign them up. Tange revives and the future looks bright for them.

Rise And Shine
Okay… That’s my verdict. Not the best there is but I suppose it was entertaining enough for me to sit through a dozen of episodes. At least they didn’t turn it into some musical where they will break into a song after every few minutes. That isn’t my type of show. For the first half of the series, it somewhat felt a little boring. Maybe it’s because we see them do small time gigs and not going anywhere that is going to make them epic megastars and overnight sensations. It is only when Hayasaka came into the picture, things finally picked up and got interesting since his very unusual ways start shaping WUG to the idols they become now. And now that they have become the best (almost), what is next? Maybe that is why the ‘cliff-hanger’ ending so that if there are lots of WUG converts in real life, they may make another season. I thought that the ‘consolation prize’ for them not winning the Idol Festival was that in return they caught the eyes of the people in Bivex. It could have been icing on the cake but you can’t be greedy and have your cake and eat it. In conjunction to the start of the TV series, this anime also had a movie released simultaneously and it chronicles how the girls of WUG were assembled (and how they got this name too). But as usual, I didn’t see it so I can’t really say much.

Characters play an important role in such genres but with idol units these days consisting of so many members that they can qualify to be a team of some sport, it is hard to say that all of them equally stand out. That is why in each group, there is a coveted centre position. You get all the attention. For this series, from what I can see it is mostly Yoshino and Mayu, the former being the group’s leader and the latter being the ex-member and centre of a currently popular band. Not to say that the other members do not stand out, although there are some episodes that give a little more focus to these other members such as Miyu’s maid cafe and Airi on the verge of being cut from the group, basically I feel that Yoshino and Mayu are the ones who hog more of the spotlight. It’s also great to see that each member isn’t perfect and have their own issues to deal with like Airi who feels she is the least talented, Nanami who puts her hikarizuka music first and of course Mayu’s own ghost of the past and bitter grudge against I-1. At the end of the day, they realize that all 7 of them make up WUG and no more, no less. Something that I believe Hayasaka saw in them because when you have an idol group so big and with enough members to form a mini country, you lose that tight close knit friendship and bond. It plays a vital role why they are able to perform and coordinate so well together not because the songs Hayasaka wrote are damn good. It is partly what the girls put in and their hard work pays off.

Speaking of Hayasaka, I think he is the best character in the series because of his uncanny approach in training the girls. His advice and words are very true and inspiring. Probably he is bored and lost interest after working with the best for so long so he needs to find something challenging. Why not raise and bring up a group of unknowns and let them shine on stage? That seems to be more challenging and interesting, right? Who cares about money and fame when there is nothing to motivate you anymore? Heh. I think only rich and famous people can say that after they have achieved that. Would Hayasaka be doing this for free if he isn’t loaded? My guess is that he won’t even be looking at any other idol groups if he isn’t wealthy as he is now. But I think Hayasaka really cares about WUG and when he threatened to cut Airi from the group, it was just his way to test them. I believe he wasn’t really going to drop her. Tange is quite a brash woman but I guess if you do not have such attitude in this dog eat dog world, you can kiss your agency goodbye. Otherwise she is surprisingly quite a good president with some well connections. Maybe she just needs to give up smoking. Unless that really calms her down in tense situations. I just can’t fathom how she really did ran away with the money at first and then come back again. She really must have such a thick skin. As for Matsuda, I feel that he is like for comical relief. In the sense that the way I see it, he is mostly useless thanks to his timid and inexperience as an idol manager. It’s like he is blur on just about everything as he relies on Tange for those decisions that are critical. Sometimes I feel the series can do without him.

Shiraki may look like the antagonist of the series since he does not show any emotion, which makes him look like a robot. At certain angles, I thought he looked like that character from the Three Stooges thanks to that haircut. Just an unfunny and perhaps ‘evil’ version of Moe? His guidelines are strict and to a point it may be considered inhumane enough to warrant human rights group to protest but if you think about it, he already laid down the rules to be followed strictly. So if you do not adhere to them or do not live up to his standards, out you go. There is no point wasting time on the weak because this way, stronger and better idols can be produced. That is why I-1 which started out as a modest unknown, now becomes the biggest popular idol group in Japan. Every girl who joined this group has their dreams. Some dreams come true but many others are just crushed. Just look at those auditioning hopefuls at American Idol. You’ll get the picture. Imagine if he is the lenient and happy smiley guy, you think the girls will take him seriously? If that happens, what will eventually be of I-1?

But the one thing that I still personally oppose is that idols are still human beings no matter how super or awesome they become. Sure, you are some perfect idol in the eyes of many but that is just in the entertainment industry. As the individual you are, you are still human no matter what deep down. Also, I do not believe that idols cannot have their own romance life. As long as they don’t shirk their duties, what is wrong with falling in love? Not to say that this is an issue in this series but there seems to be this perception that idols must stay single and pure. Sounds like the idols are some sort of possession and belonging by the fans? That’s why I find it baffling that people will come to hate an idol if she ever gets into such relationship. If this was the case in Hollywood in America, you have lots of single celebrities who can’t afford to date somebody or even get married because you might just earn the ire of your fans. Heck, maybe it’ll stem the high divorce rates too. Haha! So now Mayu has come back, I am not sure if Shiho is willing to bury the hatchet. From her expressions, it is not likely. As I can see, she won’t be satisfied till Mayu is out of this industry. But let them settle their battle and differences on stage.

I shouldn’t be touching on this subject but I thought this series was going to have fanservice when the first episode shows the girls flashing their panties in their debut concert. Here I am watching the episode and pondering if this is going to be a boring paced anime when suddenly, pantsu! Different coloured panties!!! WTF?! It’s like this stunt was bait to catch viewers’ attention and make you stay. You’re watching this show nice and quiet and suddenly the flashing makes you stop and go “Woah!” and you want to rewind that scene just to make sure that your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. But take note, this is the only panty flashing fanservice you’ll ever see for the rest of the series. If you don’t count that sleazy swimsuit one, that is. So it’s like teasing us with that first episode and the rest of the episodes are void of any fanservice whatsoever. In this sense, I guess they’ve done it well just to capture our attention. So sorry ecchi fans. Idols are supposed to be pure, remember? So don’t get your hopes up if you want to see some slips.

One thing that is a minus point for this anime is the art and drawing. It just feels plain and simple and sometimes uninspiring. WUG and the girls of I-1 of course look like your bishoujo idols but other minor characters like WUG fans and Minami’s grannies look plain. I did mention that Shiraki looks like a certain Three Stooges character, didn’t I? I guess it is for realism. Sometimes it is odd when you have pretty girls in the idols (maybe that is why they stand out) but the normal common people are somewhat ‘ugly. Of course if you compare to AKB0048 and Love Live, these animes are much flashier and vibrant in their colours whereas WUG is just, well, dull. Sometimes I get confused between Mayu and Yoshino because they look closely similar with nearly same hairstyles but thanks to their slightly different hair colour which makes them ‘distinguishable’. This anime was jointly produced by Ordet and Tatsunoko Productions. Maybe the art is plain because animes under them like Fractale, Senyuu and Black Rock Shooter have their art styles so. As for Tatsunoko Productions, they have been in the anime industry for quite a long time so they have many old titles (Tekkaman Blade series, Time Bokan series and Metal Fight Beyblade series) as well as new ones (Sket Dance, Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream and the new Yozakura Quartet series).

Just like the idol animes I have seen, the seiyuus of the characters in this anime are based on real idols in real life. Prior to the production of the anime, there was an audition held to find potential members of WUG. Therefore, the characters are named after their real life counterparts, at least their first name maintained and with all of them making their debut in voice acting in this anime (a handful did voice acting in one or two other animes). Some also looking close like their anime character. Duh? The other supporting characters are voiced by veteran seiyuus like Kana Hanazawa and Haruka Tomatsu as Anna and Karina respectively. Kenichi Suzumura as Hayasaka feels so much like his other sadistic anime character, Sougou from Gintama. So I thought he was really at home voicing this talented songwriter. Other casts include Yuka Ootsubo as Shiho (Kyouko in YuruYuri), Noriko Hidaka as Tange (Akane in Ranma 1/2), Shintarou Asanuma as Matsuda (Tsuda in Seitokai Yakuindomo) and Minami Tsuda as Megumi (Tsubaki in Ro-Kyu-Bu SS).

Music plays an important role in such genres as well as in real life. Honestly, although sounding like typical idol songs (cute, lively and filled with dance choreography), I just find them okay. I won’t go so far to say that they don’t sound appealing but it is one of those songs you hear for a while before you move on to something else. Enjoyable for the time being. Obviously the cast of WUG sings all the opening and ending themes with Tachiagare being the first opening theme while 7 Girls War as the second opening outfit. The ending theme felt a bit out of place. Kotonoha Aoba is a slow ballad and sometimes I thought there was some sort of high school graduation ceremony or maybe a funeral (touch wood!). Perhaps it is good that idols bring in a variety of music styles into their mix so it isn’t always the sunshiny cheerful type where you can dance and fans screaming their head away in support. On a trivial note, the real seiyuus and idols of WUG are seen reading their lines for the next episode preview. While a couple of them are reading at the might, a few of them behind would be doing some funny signs and gestures like as though they’re just fooling around.

As said, this idol anime may not live up to its flashier counterparts but at least this anime shows us some of the real life difficulties and issues faced by idols wannabes. Nobody said being an idol was a bed of roses. Just like anything else, it takes hard work and perseverance to reach that height. The real idol unit itself may have difficulties in maintaining as a group or stay relevant for a long period of time. Sometimes I feel being kawaii isn’t just really enough. Just like how having the passion to sing and dance aren’t enough although theoretically those are what is essentially and fundamentally needed. After all, idol groups are a dime a dozen and they come and go so fast that you hardly ever notice them. Some becoming one hit wonders and then turn into a distant memory of the past. I’m not sure if I have the right to say that since I am not really an avid idol fan. Maybe WUG in the anime did reach some sort of success but I am not too sure about that translation in real life. Can they sustain in the long run? I certainly hope that after rising and waking up nice and fresh, they won’t fall back to sleep again. Worse, an eternal deep slumber.

After the 3 episode OVA that came out in 2010 and 2011, I didn’t expect a TV series to be released. Maybe it is because I wasn’t such a huge fan of the series that I didn’t bother looking it up. But for old time’s sake, I decided to give Yozakura Quartet ~Hana No Uta~ a try. However this is not a continuation of the first season that went on air in 2008. In fact, it is an alternate retelling of the series. Although the big major points are still intact (humans and demons living together peacefully in a city that contains 7 huge pillars and somebody threatening to destroy that peaceful balance – yeah, I’m still familiar with that general storyline. I think), I am guessing that there are a few minor changes to the series that will stick true to the manga since the first season somewhat deviated from it. Thus this isn’t exactly a reboot of the series. But does this mean we have to go through the entire story again? Honestly, I do not remember much about the original series and did not go rewatch it (ultimate excuse: no time) so even if they do repeat certain stories or scenes, I wouldn’t really spot it. But as said, this is a retelling of the series, which means there is renewed hope to redo things from the start again so it is best for me to also have that same feelings while watching it.

Episode 1
A blonde girl, Lily is seen skipping through Sakurashin City. She is met with Kotoha and Touka who think she is lost and they accompany her throughout the festival. While playing the goldfish saving game, Hime the mayor and her ever complaining Kyousuke learn about this lost child. She also learns this place is a melting pot for humans and demons and some of them are in the latter category. But Hime is completely human. Meanwhile the villainous Enjin is going to rev things up. Akina is handling a centre for lost kids at his office. Lily is brought here so that Ao can use her mind reading and check who her parents are and how they look like. It may look like Ao’s drawing suck but are these cute little demons Lily’s parents? Before they can go on, a lightning strikes a goldfish to turn it into a huge monster. Touka panics trying to get everybody to safety. But everyone is calm since they know their heroes will do something about it. Kotoha saves the day and contains it in a huge poi. But it’s not over yet. Enjin continues his mischief and unleashes more lightning. This means more giant goldfish. Our heroes have their hands full in trying to contain the monster goldfish across town. The final one appears at Akina’s office. Hime and Akina engage it while Lily is puzzled that a normal human like Akina is emitting some sort of strange power. Finally Kotoha traps it in a giant tank. Lily’s parents finally arrive to pick her up. But after a distance, they return to their true form, a pair of cute little demons. She meets Enjin who asks her opinion about them. They were just decent. As for whatever planning they need, Lily doesn’t feel the need of any and transforms into her true form. A busty sexy witch named V Lila F.

Episode 2
Juri hands Akina the health certificates for the new citizens. Ao helps out with Rin’s ramen delivery. Shidare Morioka and Noriko Shiina drop by the office to get the certificates. Kyousuke doesn’t trust them because to protect humans, they handle info of demons. He asks a provocative question if it comes down to saving humans or demons, which would he choose. Shiina didn’t mince her words that she would pick humans. Kyousuke gets riled up when Shidare warns about him unable to control his power and go on a rampage like his sister. No war started because Akina hand the certificates to him and they leave. We go back a few moments earlier in the day when Hime stopped by a ramen shop after school. Kyousuke’s instincts made him rush to the scene just to reprimand Hime for eating too much. Then he too is forced to eat bowls after bowls of ramen. Since Hime needs some exercise after all that intake, she hopes Kotoha could spar with her. She is forced to agree or else Yae won’t stop her boobs fondling. A barrier is made near the office so Hime and Kotoha can fight to their heart’s content. Unknown to them, Lily is watching as she chants some lines that cause Kotoha to remember some traumatic memories. This causes her to materialize lots of weapons of mass destruction. They could have been done for if Yae didn’t slice up the barrier. And she didn’t even know she did it because she was half asleep. Yuuhi had to reprimand and take Yae away (reducing her into a harmless chibi form) because what she did could upset the balance of the world. Once they’re gone, Shidare and Shiina just left the office and greet Hime and the girls.

Episode 3
Touka’s leg is in a cast because she got injured after misusing her strong powers. She gets scolded by big brother but Yae had him drop the subject or she’ll reveal all his confessions were about his sister. Sister, sister, sister. Nothing but his little sister. Touka is made to go home instead of cleaning up the mess of she flusters about a meal cooked by Akina. On her way home, she sees twins, Mina and Kana Tatebayashi (they think she got dumped by Akina because of her sullen face). Shidou Mizuki, the cop who is always a second late picking up the adopted twins or losing them, sees them at the junction but then the brakes stop working and he is going to crash into them. Touka protects the twins and uses her strength to stop the car. In the process, her strength also crushes the twins! I know it’s not a laughing matter but I can’t help it that the way the twins coughed up blood due to the strong hug seemed bloody comical. Serious! Kyousuke hears Touka crying that she hates this power and quickly blames Akina that if he was only Dutybound, this wouldn’t have happened. Thankfully the twins are recuperating in hospital and are doing fine because they are vampires. Yeah, they would have been dead kids by now if they were human. Kyousuke and Akina aren’t on talking terms and the former keep harping on that Dutybound issue. We learn the meaning of Dutybound just like the twins. Apparently this world has 2 dimensions existing simultaneously. The human world and the demon world. Although in the same place, both sides cannot see each other. Demons who live in the human world lose control of their power and start aging. Technically it is better for them to be in the other world but because those who were sent there can never return, they don’t know what it’s like. For demons who want to go to that dimension, they need to be in tune with the same frequency just like in a radio.

Tuning demons is a Dutybound’s job. And because an exact location is needed in order to tune in, that is what the 7 pillars called Nanagou is for. It is featured in both worlds and the famous landmark in Sakurashin City. Thus this town is also famous for returning demons to the other world and this is the duty of the Hiizumi clan’s head. They have the power of Tuning. That responsibility has been passed down to Akina. Because demons really disappear after Tuning and never return, they akin their duty to murder. When Akina’s grandpa, Makiharu Tuned Hime’s grandma, Machi back to the other world, he was asked if he had the resolve to kill. When Kyousuke is carrying Touka home, Akina comes by to settle a score. Kyousuke still believes that the siblings and the rest of the demons could have lived peacefully in the other world if Akina had done his Dutybound. Akina takes Touka as hostage and wants to know where he heard he has not inherited this power. He wants Kyousuke to take of his shackles and punch him with all he has got or he will really send Touka to the other world as he wished. After provoking Kyousuke as a big siscon, he punches Akina that sends him flying. Akina claims it was nothing. Sure? He claims his power is nothing special and if this is all he’s got, he can handle it by himself. One day if he is unable to do anything about it, he’ll send him over instead. But now, he doesn’t want to part with any demons in this town. Akina punches back a Kyousuke. Kyousuke couldn’t believe he was reckless in his Tuning but what if something really happened? Touka hopes Akina would take responsibility and this causes Kyousuke to misinterpret Akina has gone this far in seducing her. Now he really turns into a demon… Now he’s even scarier. The rest who are watching don’t really get it about them beating each other up to make up but are glad they’re just back to normal. As for Enjin, he is satisfied to learn Akina has inherited Dutybound.

Episode 4
In a meeting with all the district mayors, one in particular, Kazuyoshi Morino isn’t happy with this farce because one didn’t turn up and Hime is doing her homework. Plus, he is faced with an election next month and his rival is a 9 year old girl! So can you see why this baldy is so pissed? Soon we see the usual gang splashing at the pool party which was originally supposed to be a hanami event to reward their hard work. Mina accidentally pours sake into everyone’s drink. Some passed out, some drunk and if you’re Hime, you’ll be depressed and eating like a glutton. At the end, Yuuhi tells Akina that there is one more spring to go before Nanagou blooms. He warns that there is somebody trying to hasten the bloom and in worst case scenario, the entire city can be sacrificed. Hime is practising with Kyousuke and hopes one day she can use the dragon spear, the symbol of the mayor. She remembers Machi’s words about the 3 things needed to be a mayor. Love from the town, people and dragon. For the last one, she must keep polishing herself to achieve that. An arrow message is shot into the room. Hime and Kyousuke head to Akina’s office to relay the news of this. But we get the idea of what it is when a loli named Kohime barges in and Kyousuke takes the biggest fall. This spunky energetic girl is running for mayor in the next town and is here to train under Hime who is her cousin. Hime brings her around town to meet the other people but a particular old man, Jinroku doesn’t like them. Probably he didn’t like kids who break his fine arts. Plus, he doesn’t acknowledge Hime as a mayor and is nothing compared to Machi. Only his wife, Okiku could stop him from shooting his mouth further

Morino is still worried about his rival so much so he has hired some shady people to take care of it. It will be done tonight. After another party at Hime’s place, she is still worried about what the old guy said but Akina and Ao’s words assure her. Akina makes an announcement that Nanagou will soon bloom. History time. In the past, the success rate of Tuning demons was extremely low and it ends in true death. The Hiizumi clan decided that there will be no more such deaths and needed to establish absolute coordinates. Two men volunteered, Oushuu who is the current head then and Enyou the head of a branch family. Enyou volunteered to be sent to the other world. A year later, 7 gigantic trees appeared. Because they were only half tuned, Nanagou exists in both dimensions. Although Tuning demons have become successful, Enyou never returned and the clan had no choice but to give up on him. Humans and demons gathered near Nanagou and created a town that we all know today as Sakurashin City. So when Nanagou blooms, it would mean both dimensions will merge and demons living on the other side will flood here. It will have effect on demons living here. Some might lose control or even die. Hime is not pleased that she is the only one who doesn’t know about this. And she’s the mayor. Why? Because she’s human. Not a demon. At least Kotoha is half-youkai. Hime feels Akina thinks she is a failure who just inherited this post. Although he did want to tell her, he thought it could be best settled with just those from the office.

Episode 5
Somebody is at the door. Not just anybody. A huge hostile alien dinosaur! Kyousuke gives Hime the permission to use the dragon lance. She’s doing fine till she trips on her scarf. When Mysterious Man (we’ll call this evil old dude this name) makes his entrance, Hime is not too happy to see Morino and his aide, Eiji Shinozuka having Kohime as their hostage. Mysterious Man makes a call to activate some anti-demon field that causes all the full demons to paralyze. When Hime also goes down, the rest are shocked to know that she is a demon. However Hime gets back up to fight and demands Kohime’s release. She gets slammed by the dinosaur and Mysterious Man calls it a day. Besides, her dragon lance has broken. He will give Kohime back on 2 conditions. First, Kohime is to withdraw from the mayoral election and Morino must be elected. Secondly, Hime will relinquish her mayor post and give it to him. He gives her the rest of the night to think about this and will be waiting on the main street. Yae did something to lessen the effect of the anti-field and warns that they will be back since the demonic powers in this town have been weakened. Also, Akina’s memories from 6 years ago will return. Akina pleaded to Yae to turn her into a demon. This is so she can see things from both humans and demons’ perspective. In turn, she wants everyone to forget that she became one. Hime is at a lost now. She can’t do it alone and hopes Akina can help to save this town. Juri whisks Hime away (bandaged like a cocoon?) to tend to her injuries. The rest see the memo that Hime writes down about the town every day. She loves this town in short. Akina adds his own to leave this to them.

The gang split into 2 teams. Ao, Kotoha and Touka will ride in Shidou’s police car to go stop the anti-demon field. Easier said than done. Where the hell is that field? The other team, Kyousuke and Akina are going to take Kohime back. Akina calls Juri to check up on Hime. She’s doing fine. Juri doesn’t know much about the enemy they’re going up against but they can’t ask Yae too because she is busy getting punished by Yuuhi for interfering. But looks like trouble has found them. Shinozuka and his men are before them. As both sides aren’t going to comply, they start throwing things. Seriously. Everything they can grab like scooters. Hime is in a dilemma and wonders if she should resign as mayor. It’s her fault the dragon lance broke too. Juri lets her look at all the mountain of presents for her in the next bed. They are from the townspeople and prove that they love her as mayor. Tomorrow will be the seventh anniversary of Hime as mayor. Kotoha’s side is also having problems. They’re being chased by the dinosaur. Yuuhi then calls Ao to tell her to find the field fast because Mariabelle is not feeling well. Hint: It’s somewhere in this city. Oh sure, that was a big help. Think about it why he calls her. Because it’s something only she can do. Ao gets the hint. She is going to read the minds of everyone in this town! 12 million people! Can she do it? She will. It uses her up all of her energy and she could eke out the source of the field originating from a high place. So where in this town is a place suitable to transmit filed waves over a wide area? A telecommunications tower, right? Tokyo Tower.

Episode 6
However a barrier is preventing them from getting out of town. Kotoha has an idea. All she needs are lots of cough medicine. This is going to be big. Kyousuke and Shinozuka’s fight is getting physical but Shinozuka is much more superior. Kyousuke tells Akina to stay away from the fight between demons because if they both fall here, who is going to protect this town? Shinozuka questions Kyousuke’s loyalty to Hime. Is she worth dying for? He can only think of thoughts about her goofing around. I think Akina Tuned the van to buy them time to escape but the dinosaur knocked out Kyousuke while they’re running. They’re picked up by Shidou (Ao used all her powers to find them). But where is Kotoha? She has summoned a giant train cannon and fires at the Tokyo Tower to destroy the barrier. Akina alone faces the baddies. No one left to fight? What is he going to do? Tune them? If he can touch them, that is. I’m sure the dinosaur and Shinozuka would have owned him had not Hime come to his rescue. In fact, her cool entrance was ruined when she jumped off the building and landed hard. She could’ve died… But she too isn’t enough to stand against the might of the dinosaur. Touka is trying to wake up her brother. Memories how they were running away and Kyousuke was trying to protect her. However he was being forceful and hurting her instead. So Hime had to tell him off he can’t do a job of protecting others if he doesn’t learn to protect himself. She invited to come live in her town and will protect him until he is strong enough. That woke Kyousuke up and slams the dinosaur away with a pillar before Hime and Akina are squished. Mysterious Man uses his magic to turn more lizards into dinosaurs. Hime and Kyousuke are sufficient to handle them and want Akina to rest because of the effects of Tuning too much. The duo are no sweat in disposing the dinosaurs so Mysterious Man summons more dinosaurs for them to fight. Surprisingly, Jinroku helps out using his giant mechanical crane. He hasn’t evacuated because he doesn’t trust the current mayor and have to defend the town himself. Isn’t that sarcasm? Hime and Kyousuke defend his precious shop, much to his surprise. She loves this town and will protect it even if it destroys her precious scarf. Can’t stand to see this sight, Jinroku self destructs his entire shop. Hime feels power flowing through her body. He reveals that there are powers flowing through the earth called Dragon Vein. Machi entrusted him and now he wants her to use it. Hime draws the raging earth power and materializes the true dragon lance, Sakanade. She easily blows the dinosaurs away.

Episode 7
Mysterious Man uses his trump card: Kohime as hostage! He turns one of the dinosaurs into a huge monster. Kyousuke throws lots of extinguishers to create smoke so Hime could deal with it. In that mean time, Akina sneaks up on Mysterious Man to try and grab Kohime from him but he disappears up to the building and threatens to drop her down into the monster’s throat. Morino is against this since this wasn’t part of the plan but Mysterious Man says if he doesn’t go through with it, his re-election isn’t guaranteed. Hime chides Morino for stooping this low but it seems he jumps in to grab Kohime after Mysterious Man drops her. Then he spouts something learning to protect others by protecting themselves and would have gladly stepped aside if there was someone more qualified than him. He orders Shinozuka to come save him. His loyal servant doesn’t hesitate and welcomes back the old Morino he knows. In exchange, Shinozuka gets swallowed in their place. Morino pleads to Hime to save him. Kotoha drops down from the sky and lands a drop kick on the monster. After asserting Shinozuka is alive (he won’t get easily digested), she materializes swords to cut open the stomach to save him before Akina Tunes the monster. The rest are baffled when Mysterious Man knows about Akina’s power. He notes using too much of it can make him fall out of alignment with this dimension. When Ao says she cannot read this old man’s mind, Mysterious Man reveals his true identity: Enjin! The rest recognize him as Gin (Ao’s brother who was on a journey) but Ao feels his evil aura and believes this is not the brother she knows but someone else. Enjin is the descendant of Enyou.

Akina reveals the fusion between the dimensions started 2 years ago. He, grandpa and Gin tried stop and tried to get in contact with Enyou’s branch family descendants for help. Akina Tuned Gin to the other side. Enjin is ‘amazed’ that he Tuned people based on his own terms and assumed he is dead while carrying on with their selfish lives. He reveals the truth that Enyou did not on his own free will volunteered to be Tuned. He was made a sacrifice along with the rest of the branch family. Thus he is the one trying to fuse both dimensions and Nanagous aren’t landmarks for the sake of tuning but vital tools for the fusion. They are the embodiments of hatred. Since the Hiizumi think that using them are guides for Tuning, thanks to that the dimensions were distorted to a considerable extent. But it still needs the family head’s body for one last push. That is, Akina’s body. All Enjin needs to do is to push his soul out from his body, like how he did to Gin. Also, the extra ears that Ao and Gin have aren’t just for antenna purposes. They can make illusions too. Enjin demonstrates as he summons a dragon lance. Akina won’t be cowed into that fake and fights back. But hiding beneath that illusion is a little blade that stabs Akina in the heart. Everyone is mad. The ogre siblings start throwing things at him. Kotoha uses force to send him through a building and Hime is going to kill him. Yes, kill him! Shidou stops her as there are things he needs to ask him. Yuuhi puts a stop to this charade and wants Hime to leave things be. He can’t be serious? In that distraction, Enjin escapes. Everyone is relieved that Akina is alive since he had Hime’s memo hidden underneath his shirt. Then they beat him up because he should have gotten up instead of playing dead. Morino apologizes for everything but Yuuhi says Kohime is disqualified to stand as a candidate since she is only 9 years old (Sakurashin City is an exception) so Morino is re-elected for another term. Everyone is just so duh after what they went through. In the aftermath, everyone chips him to help rebuild Jinroku’s shop. He sees Kohime sad so he gives her his prized bowl which cheers her up.

Episode 8
Shinozuka is going around on an apologizing spree. First with Ao (talking about Gin whom Ao still believes his soul is in intact), Kotoha (he is a half-youkai like her) and Kyousuke. Akina wonders if Hime is still mad at him. Not really. Since she didn’t tell him she was a demon too, they’re even. With Shinozuka arriving, Hime wonders if he wants to stay in this town and can make some arrangements. Since Morino and Kohime are here to pick him up, Shinozuka has to decline the offer since he hasn’t repaid his debt to him. He hands Akina his personal card and will do everything he can to ensure their towns will cooperate in every aspect possible. Hmm… Morino and Kohime getting along so well. This scene… Old man riding on a bike and a loli on his head…What does it look like? Yuuhi tells Akina that the elders want to see him. Akina is not thrilled because their different ideals put them at odds (they are willing to sacrifice this town just to prevent Nanagou from blooming). Although Yuuhi can’t side with either one of them, he mentions that the anti-demon field was created by them. And so Akina and Hime go see the elders, led by Usuzumi Iyo. The old fart maintains his dominance over Akina. He clarifies this world is theirs and not the demons. The problem now is getting rid of all 7 Nanagous to prevent the fusion and since Akina cannot handle all 7 together, that’s why the anti-demon filed was prepared. He doesn’t have to sacrifice himself and use the powers of the demons in this town. That is one way. Another way if he can’t sacrifice the demons, tune every one of them. He does not bat an eyelid to view demons as alien and poison to their world.

Akina realizes they knew the branch family became unwilling sacrifices. If he knew, why didn’t he say? Because it would make them use their Tuning even less. Iyo thinks this is a good time to use his Tuning. Tune Hime now. Akina becomes so furious that he displays his Tuning power that creates a huge crater till several floors below. Akina and Hime leave but Iyo tells them one more thing. Enjin has teamed up with the Youkai Hunters which consist of a dragon slayer, vampire hunter, exorcist and necromancer. They can be considered natural enemies to demons but they are not on their side either because they are half-youkais and possess demonic powers too. Shidare notes that since Akina can’t Tune demons to the other side because he doesn’t know what is there, if demons view Sakurashin City as 80% ideal, why not look at it as that side as 100% complete paradise? In that case, Akina will make Sakurashin City 120% Hime tries to cheer Akina up on the way back. Does he still feel guilty about it all? No use moping over it. Getting over it is likely but still he needs to find a way to deal with it. He believes everything will be alright and there will be a way if everyone put their heads into it. They return to office only to find lots of udon that Hime bought. They need all the help to finish it. Does Akina have a friend he can call? Shinozuka’s private number… And there is Enjin and Zakuro making some sort of deal

Episode 9
If you’re suddenly wondering why the villainous necromancer Zakuro is part of the gang, you need to see the earlier OVA, Yozakura Quartet ~Hoshi No Umi~ before you jump into this episode. This episode takes place after the events of that OVA. We see Zakuro trying to do her delivery debut but because Rin’s map is so horrible, she got lost. She passes by Shinozuka and thought he is an evil half-youkai till Kotoha clears things up. Zakuro learns Kotoha and Shinozuka are the only known half-youkais around. Such breed are not born but are struck. She is brought to a memorial ground that contains those who couldn’t be cleansed and Tuned so half-youkais like them are a rare breed. Kotoha’s goal is to be happy and enjoy the moment because happiness in this town won’t last. At least not till the Nanagous bloom. Though she doesn’t like the concept of happiness built on sacrifice of others, she thinks half-youkais will play a pivotal role when the time comes. Over at another memorial site, Akina is paying respects to his grandpa. Juri, Morino and Kohime also pay their respects. Especially Morino who views Machi as his mentor and has taught him the basics about being a mayor. Just when they are talking about the possible fusion of worlds, Enjin pops up to tell them it will happen. Just that he is just the impatient kind. He wants Akina’s power but Akina wants him to tell all he knows about the fusion instead. Because Enjin is the only one who has been on the other side, he is going to show Akina what it is like. Heaven or hell? Nothing. Darkness. Hatred. In Akina’s weak moment, Enjin tries to seize his power. Morino does all he can to protect the grounds from being defiled but there is not much an old man can do. Enjin is stopped dead in his tracks when Iyo and Shidare appear. Enjin attacks them but he cannot even get close or touch Iyo. That old dude just stands there and deflects charging Enjin with his pipe. Cool! Enjin grows madder by the second but it’s time for Juri to show us some fanservice as she gives Enjin a throw with her thighs. Shidare then uses some high tech talisman based on the sciences of Esoterism to pin demons like him down. Enjin claims none of them are human anymore and Akina agrees because they have to deal people like him, they can’t be pure and good and are monsters alike. If that is the way it is, Enjin is going to make preparations for that and escapes. Akina thanks Iyo who insists he is not on his side and is only here to pay his respects. Enjin is at a dam and he plans to take both the Hiizumi and Esoterism as they work well together.

Episode 10
Hime is sick so Ao takes care of her. Ao wants to go back to school after this fusion incident is over. She believes Hime is doing a fine job as a mayor. Because her other friends are being too noisy, Ao tells them off. It’s rare of her to get this mad. One of the elders, Uzu Kibune pays Hime a visit. As he is here on behalf of the elders, he gets straight to the point. Due to her difference with her predecessors, it is clear she has her limits. They want her to resign. Due to the special circumstances of this town, the elders cannot force her and she must do it voluntarily. Her friends tell Uzu off that Hime is doing a good job. Of course Uzu was just a messenger. Now personally as a person and the vice principal of her school, he believes she has done a good job. After he leaves and the rest of Hime’s friends arrive, Hime feels grateful to have such wonderful people around her. One day when Hime, Mina and Kana visit Juri, the nurse is sleeping only in her underwear. She is dreaming of the first time she came to this town and doesn’t like adults very much. She wants to grow up fast. Her distrust is compounded when Yuuhi harasses her when he picks her up (Yuuhi and Yae switched body sizes?). She gives him a judo throw. She is brought to see Machi. She lets Yuuhi and Juri spar with each other so they don’t have grudges later. Yuuhi is still harassing her so Juri is even madder. Machi spars with her and learns she is a descendent of Dr Frankenstein. She wants to be an adult because a child’s voice is ignored. When her ancestor’s town was plagued with a disease, he turned his daughter into an immortal to save it. However the people branded him a criminal who turned to human experimentation. Juri wants to grow up so she can tell everyone with a loud voice that they are greatly mistaken. Machi replies that it is her own energy and hatred that is hurting herself. Adults and children can never become like the other. What she should strive for is to be an adult with a small but clear voice. Machi brings Juri to Frankenstein’s descendants who have opened a clinic in this town. However it is now an empty plot of land. It was torn down decades ago when Machi was still a child. Juri is resolved to learn medicine and become a respectable doctor like him. Machi introduces Hime to Juri and they can be sisters from today. However she doesn’t seem comfortable when Machi asks if she has a little sister back in her own town. Juri wakes up to find Hime sleeping next to her. On the way back, kana thinks she has spot a ghost but is actually Lila.

Episode 11
Yuuhi is in his adult form much to Mariabelle’s dismay. So he turns into a shota just for her. He leaves Hime with a warning to take care of Juri, especially tonight. Kyousuke was just being yelled by Touka. Lila who happens to hear everything cheers him up with several magic tricks. Lila returns to Enjin and she makes a joke about him changing his name to Engine since he wants to rev things up. She threatens to cut his ears but he stabs her. Nothing happens. Magic trick? Illusion? Lila is part of the Youkai Hunters and is told to do her job. Hime sees Juri for her usual check-up. Since it finished too fast, she talks with her to keep her company. She asks if she has a sister. Juri used to have one. Little sister seemed obsessed in wanting to amaze Juri with her magic tricks. To a point where her magic tricks become self inflicted pain and torture like stabbing herself and burning a flower mark on her cheek. And she’s laughing like crazy! True masochism? All Juri did was avert her eyes despite shaking in fear every time she sees it. Then one day, she just died. Just like that. Cause of death unknown. I thought all those self inflicted wounds would be a plausible explanation. Kyousuke comes in to tell them that the citizens have spotted several sightings of a ghost around town. He thinks it is a Youkai Hunter. Kotoha and Ao are already patrolling the area. Hime’s friends seem enthusiastic to catch the ghost. Seriously, with a net? They get caught instead and almost got tentacle rape if not for Zakuro saving them. They chase after it but lose it. Lila is outside Juri’s place and is feeling good since she gets to see her sister again. Then her interest is pique and anticipating in baited breath when Hime asks Juri if her sister was alive, would she want to see her? No. I guess Lila snapped. She makes her ghostly entrance while pinning Juri and Hime down. Look who is back, big sister?

Episode 12
When Lila was young, father used to show her magic tricks and she was impressed. She practised hard every day and prayed hard every night in hopes of becoming a magician one day. Lila is glad to see Juri again but the latter remains silent. She is going to show them a magic trick. Zakuro explains how she was struck and turned into half-youkai. She was painfully thinking to be with Rin forever when something like a comet crashed into her and she felt like her wish being granted. Everyone sees a giant sword floating in the sky. It is part of Lila’s magic show to stab Hime as she is trapped in a box. Will this get Juri to admit she wants to see her sister? Nope. Lila stops short of stabbing the sword. Still won’t admit? Lila thinks she must be wondering how she is alive. Lila adds all she did was study back then and never paid any attention to her. Just like how Juri studied to become a doctor, she did the same to become a magician. And then one day the shooting star crashed into her and she felt her body receiving the wish she had always wanted. When Ao, Kotoha and Zakuro arrive on scene, Lila keeps them busy by throwing swords at them. I wonder if they are getting tired deflecting every sword. They are. Lila remembers Zakuro since the last time they met was when all the Youkai Hunters gathered. Unfortunately Zakuro doesn’t. When Zakuro launches a counter attack, Juri pleads not to attack her little sister. Lila stops in her tracks and thinks she is concerned over her. But it is odd that she doesn’t even say she is happy to see her.

The room they are in turns out to be a stage in a car park as Lila flies away on it. The rest give chase but Akina calls them. Hime is facing off with Lila but eventually ejected through a trapdoor. She says it is not Lila that she doesn’t understand, but Juri herself. Now that the sisters are alone, suddenly Lila is zapped by a stun gun from Shiina and Shidare. But since she is showing so much pain they realize she is not a half-youkai and a human instead. Lila is sad that all she wanted to hear was Juri’s voice that she is happy to see her but yet she won’t. The stage falls but luckily Hime catches it (who the heck threw a flying witch broom to Kotoha?). Hime doesn’t understand what is going on but blames Juri that this is all her fault. Juri explains that she knew Lila was trying to cheer her up but she kept pushing her away. Before she can say she is happy to see her, there are lots of things she needs to apologize for. So much so they may grow old and die before she finishes! Wow. So much to say sorry? But after Hime lectures her about a simple thank you and sorry, Juri did just that. All Lila wanted was to make her relax from her studies and she was happy that she enjoyed it. She didn’t hate her but loves her with all her heart. That was tearful enough for Juri to blurt those words Lila wanted to hear. However as Lila made a contract with Enjin, looks like it’s the end. Enjin fires a devastating bolt at their direction, only to be stopped in the nick of time by Akina. So, he has been missing for this entire episode and suddenly he shows up like the hero? Oh yeah. He is.

Episode 13
Enjin explains that if Akina’s power is to Tune, his is to Strike. Meaning, he can summon things from the other side. Another little story told. When the Hiizumi was just one family and before the Nanagou was formed, all is well till the birth of a son. More accurately, twins. Their powers split. It was then it was decided whose powers are better and thus the establishment of the head and branch family. Enjin wants Akina to join him because even if he takes over his body, he cannot utilize it well. They can rule the world, humans, demons and even Gods. Sounds good? You know Akina’s answer. He rejects it. As they fight, Akina is losing energy the more he uses this Tuning. Uzu helps out using Esoterism that Shidare researched on. Akina is baffled that Uzu showed no signs on tiredness despite using more power than him. To his horror, he learns he is using Esoterism combined with Hiizumi’s power. There is a whole lab of that research in Shidare’s lab, you know. Enjin is going to show what it is like for those who have been summoned to the other side. A giant hand slams into Akina. It may just be his imagination but he is dumbstruck. He becomes disillusioned and in disbelief. Enjin won’t have Akina die now since ‘obstacles’ are coming their way. That flying stage zooms pass them almost killing Akina. Uzu throws Akina to Hime and Kotoha to take care of him.

Touka and Kyousuke use their strength to stop the rampaging stage. Juri uses her touch to heal and restore Akina. Kyousuke and Touka made up with big brother handing her a bouquet of flowers. It might not be fresh after all that commotion but Lila does her magic trick to freshen it up. Enjin thinks of retreating for now since he has done his part of showing Akina what he needed to know. He is satisfied of showing him the truth if it will make him worry a little and instil feelings of guilt and suspicion. Enjin also reveals he has Tuning powers but it is insignificant. This means that Akina too has latent Striking powers. He warns that there are other monsters out there who can destroy the world and another one well lurking out there. While Lila recuperates, she remembers the wish of wanting to become a magician. Juri pushed her out of the way before she was struck. Lila is happy to hear that Juri had always been looking out for her. Simple. She is her little sister. Although Akina is still grumpy that the fight ended indecisively, Juri makes him smile since his frown is making Hime worry. He then cheers her up that they did a good job and the town is safe. Lila states her intention to stay in this town and she becomes Juri’s nurse assistant. Although on occasion, she still becomes the entertaining magician. The rest wonder if she isn’t a half-youkai and all those illusions were just tricks, how does she do her magic tricks? As if a magician would tell. Everyone enjoys the festival that night.

All Quartets Lead To Say What?
Nothing special. Nothing that would make me yearn for another season. Because if there should be another continuation, I might go watch it for nostalgia’s sake but as far as this alternate retelling season is concerned, it is nothing extraordinary. Feels somewhat generic in moving the storyline about the basic stuffs like the Nanagou and the fusion but I feel those are basic things that Yozakura Quartet fans would already know. Therefore I wouldn’t want to go so far that this season is pretty boring but somehow it lacks that oomph to make it fun. Sure, the characters have their own quirks but it feels there isn’t enough time to properly flesh them all out and I am sure each one of them have their own story to tell but were just told in pieces and that is it. Also certain stuffs like Esoterism and the elders doing some sort of research which may be some foreboding of things to come in the possible future was a turn off because I didn’t really understand them.

Thus the most ‘interesting’ character goes to Enjin because even though he is the antagonist of this series, something in the end tells me that he isn’t all that bad and was just playing the villain part to make Akina realize something. His threat to merge the realms could be just an empty threat. He is always hanging around here and there, watching over this, watching over that like as though he has so much free time (which I think he does). Then he gets involved when he feels like it and his powers are so awesome that I think everybody’s combined cooperation won’t be able to defeat him (unless he is fighting against Iyo of course). Beat him up maybe but from the way I see it, they won’t win against him. So much so he just has to resort to retreating and fight another day. Although I am not familiar with this series and perhaps a lot of points I may have forgotten from the first season, I just can’t help baffle about a few things especially if Enjin’s ability to summon and bring things from the other world. In that case, why doesn’t he bring his clan back? Unless he is the only one left. If not, why not others who had a change of mind and wants to return to this side. Something tells me that something more sinister lies beneath the nature of the Nanagou and both realms. Just like how Akina found out the true purpose of Nanagou, maybe that itself is another cover up for something even more.

The other characters feel ordinary and somehow I don’t feel the impact of them in the series. Hime is your typical happy and responsible mayor but has a big appetite. I thought there is some potential about her using the dragon lance but ever since Lila’s appearance becomes centre stage, it feels like Hime has been sidelined. And here I thought she is the star of the series alongside Akina. Speaking of that guy, he too has his flaws. Burdened with the guilty and heavy responsibility of his ancestors so he is really reluctant to use his Tuning powers unless necessary. From my view, he looks weak and needs a lot more training since he tires out after a few rounds of energy releasing. He is going to need more stamina if he is going to fight enemies far powerful than Enjin. Completing the quartet are Kotoha and Ao and again I feel that their presence wasn’t leaving any great impact. If Hime and Akina are already having this much screen time, you can imagine theirs.

But not as bad as Yuuhi, Yae and Mariabelle. It boggles me that despite Yuuhi being a local god who just observes and does not get involved, that itself I find it odd. It feels like the town doesn’t need him and he is only around just for formalities. What good is a god if he can’t help out and just watches? Besides, I’m not sure what kind of a god he is since he loves harassing Mariabelle whom he loves putting in cosplay outfits and in turn she loves the perverted kid in his shota form. More disappointing is Yae. I thought she was a pretty cool and sexy nun slicing with her sword back in the first season. Now she ends up just like a joker and worst still, in her chibi form she looks so helpless, cute and funny. Not forgetting Kyousuke and Touka but my comments on them are the same as Kotoha and Ao. Too bad I thought with Touka’s obvious crush on Akina, I would see something of the likes but alas, I was just hoping too much. Morino, Kohime and Shinozuka in the end feel like odd bedfellows because they hang out together like a glue and to those unfamiliar, they might misinterpret the scene. Especially a bald elderly man and a cute loli having such a good relationship.

Ever since Zakuro has become a citizen of Sakurashin City, she has left behind her grudging and hateful behaviour and now somewhat feels like an airhead. She also has that blur feel to it. It is like as though her role in this season is to be a comic relief character. The deadpan type. Each time you see her, you can expect something ‘funny’ happening to her or something that she says or does. Rin didn’t make much of an appearance here and you might forget all about her if she didn’t make her 15 seconds of cameo most probably because she already had Hoshi No Umi focused on her. So I guess that for this season, Lila is the one taking the spotlight as another of the Youkai Hunter but the drama between her and Juri just felt odd. Lila was just probably desperate to get her sister’s love and acknowledgement and who knows where she has been all this time before finally turning up. Something strange too about how Juri explained how she suddenly died. If she didn’t get struck and she’s still standing here (assuming those aren’t her magic tricks), then I don’t understand how all this came about. It just feels suspicious. When Lila first appeared before Juri’s eyes, I thought her shock felt unconvincing. It’s not like as though she sees her ghost. I mean, she thought her sister died and then suddenly she pops up before her. Shouldn’t she be more surprised than that? Instead of staring so dumbfounded whether Lila was real, I thought she should have just shouted out in disbelief, “Oh my God! OMFG!!! Lila is that you?! Is that really you???!!!!”. But that would have ended the tension since those were the words Lila longed to hear and you probably wouldn’t have seen it end this way.  Oh yeah I forgot. This town is a melting pot for humans and demons. But ghosts and spirits are not demons…

The art and drawing remain the same as Hoshi No Umi’s style. Meaning that it is closer to what the manga looks like and less refine and ‘beautiful’ than the original series. Uh huh. I still prefer the first season’s art where the characters look better as compared to this season where at certain points and angle they just look cartoonish and comical. Maybe that is why some call this to be a supernatural comedy. I guess with the bunch of oddballs like Hime around, you can expect them to be funny while doing their job. That’s a compliment, no? During action scenes, because things are moving so fast, the producers maybe thought that you wouldn’t catch how simple the drawing goes. I mean, it’s moving fast enough, who is going to catch it, right? Wrong. I thought they didn’t put enough details into it and felt like a rush job. But the action is entertaining enough with each of the characters having their own forte like Kyousuke and Touka’s super strength as ogres, Kotoha’s ability to materialize what she says (so far personally I still like this power of hers) and Ao’s ability to read minds I thought doesn’t really make her suitable in the front lines and serves more of a support. The power fights are okay since it’s packed with lots of supernatural powers. That’s a given.

Also, although this series isn’t supposed to be one filled with fanservice, there are a few scenes just for that. But it is the case of blink-and-you’ll-miss kind of panty shots fanservice. Out of the blue, suddenly there is an unsuspected panchira shot that make you go, “Hey, wasn’t that supposed to be on purpose or not?”. I mean, get this. Some of the girls like Ao, Kotoha and Juri wear a skirt so short that the slightest bend or wind blow can flip them up. You can’t help wonder if Ao’s fashion sense of wearing a one piece dress that is so short or just a t-shirt long enough to cover her butt. So much so you might be waiting for that chance where you get to view her shima pantsu or exclaim that haitenai phenomenon. I suppose Ao is the one responsible for much of the panty shots that you’ll see. But those who have fetish for nurses can now rejoice since the Frankenstein sisters are donning the same white very short nurse outfit. Gives you more motivation to go get your check up, eh?

All the seiyuus for this season are retained even way back from the original series. So it’s a good thing that there is some consistency in the voice acting department. However the opening theme, Sakura No Ato (All Quartets Lead To The ?) by Unison Square Garden, I personally feel it is a bit odd to have it as the opening song. There is some hip hop in this rock song and with the opening lyrics that go “All quartets lead, lead to say lalalalalala…”, I don’t know, I just find it weird. However the song itself is fun and not that bad. Kid, I Like Quartet is the special opening theme for episode 9 and is taken from Hoshi No Umi’s opening. I suppose it’s a reminder why the series suddenly had a jump in the storyline. I thought that this fast rock piece should be more like it for the series. The ending theme, Tsukiyomi by Phatmans After School although has the lead singer feeling like as though he had a few drinks last night. You know how Rod Steward sounds like? Yeah. I thought it was something familiar like that. I won’t say the voice sucks or anything. Just weird. Otherwise this song doesn’t sound too bad either. Sampling some of the OST music, I notice the better sounding ones are the hip hop and jazzy style. The mid-intermission is a good idea of the hip hop music style of the series. The next episode preview background music sounds so comical and casual that it made me wonder if it is going to be a serious episode. Even if it does, that kind of music just made it feel weird.

There is still the other OVA that I haven’t caught yet but planning to (Tsuki Ni Naku, that is), but I’ll let this one sink in first before I start watching that. In the end, I always thought that this season could have done better since my main gripe was the art and drawing that seems to take away my enjoyment as I still prefer the first season’s art style. Although the plot may be incomplete and there are some parts that are not explained, this is still an enjoyable anime in its own bizarre way. Yes, bizarre. Because if you have a bunch of kids running the town, a young mayor who spends as much time stuffing her face with ramen and patrolling the streets, the possibility of a loli running for mayor, a perverted kid as a god, half the denizens are youkais, nothing more can surprise you. Otherwise, just tune into something else.

Kimi No Iru Machi OVA

August 8, 2014

First thing, this Kimi No Iru Machi OVA is not to be confused with the OVA series that came out prior to the TV series as both have the same number of episodes too. This OVA in fact comes out after the TV series ended and continues from there instead of those first OVAs. But to say it as a continuation isn’t accurate because as those who have seen the TV series, there are certain gaps in the storyline and it feels like for those who want to full understand and appreciate this story, should go read the manga (these OVAs were released and bundled along with the limited edition of the manga). Unfortunately like yours truly who didn’t so at certain points I was left puzzled over what happened. The double OVA episodes are no different either since the first one focuses on Akari and the second one being on Rin. And you thought it would be something straight between Haruto and Yuzuki. Well, love between them is already complicated enough, how bad can it get with a couple of more episodes that don’t really focus on them?

Episode 1
When Akari first moved into this sleepy boring town, her classmates were abuzz over her blonde hair and blue eyes (her dad’s a Russian). Because Haruto and Takashi continue to be ‘amazed’, this irritates her and their first meeting got off to a bumpy start. That’s when their rivalry began and because the guys didn’t like her arrogant attitude, they challenge her to a match in which the loser must do a thing the winner says. Of course Akari aces in everything they suggest. They thought she wouldn’t be so good in fishing but surprisingly she beats them at their own game. Soon all the other students start ignoring her but Haruto and Takashi are the only ones who ‘interact’ with her. Their challenge continues way into the autumn festival and this time it is some local sumo match in which a winner will also receive a plaque if he/she wins 5 times in a row. Something that seems to interest Akari. And so the boys’ losing streak continues with Akari winning the sumo contest and even the plaque. As for what she will have them do, she will think about it. After the match, several boys confront her. One of them was the contestant she defeated. He got a little hurt from her sumo slap and they want her to apologize. Since she won’t, you can guess what happens when 3 boys gang up against a foreigner girl, right? But what breaks her heart most is the broken plaque. When Haruto and Takashi see this, they are furious and ran over to beat those boys up. Of course they lost. They even scold Akari for not coming to help them. They assumed she would when they started fighting. Why would she? Because she is their friend. She is so touched that she started crying.

Back in present time, Akari isn’t quite pleased with Haruto’s decision to head to Tokyo just to go after Yuzuki. In fact, she is against it. But you know, that guy’s mind is already set. She tells him off to face reality, that he has already been dumped and going to Tokyo like a hero would make him end up dying like a dog instead. Akari is through with him since he still refuses to listen. Later as the guys fish and talk things out, Takashi mentions he too is quite irritated about him leaving. At least he should have come to talk to them and leaving for Tokyo seems like he is cutting ties with them and making their friendship look so cheap. Of course Haruto never intended that so Takashi suggests he go talk to her and maybe she’ll even support him despite her objections. So she’s not in talking mood either at her home. He wants to go to Tokyo, right? Who is she to stop him? Haruto requests to stay at her place for tonight because there are lots of things he has forgotten. Like the river where he almost drowned, did he jump in or did they push him in? Or what about the time she moved here and when was it they started becoming friends? He wants to bring these memories to Tokyo and that way even everything is in vain, he’ll get by somehow. Better start now. Who knows how long it is going to take. Where to start?

After Takashi falls asleep, the duo continue to talk more. Despite Akari winning those matches, she didn’t impose anything on the guys to do for her. They considered her their friends so why should they be punished for that? Akari continues to keep that plaque and treasure it because she was really happy when they called her their friend. They remember beating up those boys the next day and how Takashi confessed to a girl and got rejected. His rejection spree continued that he earned some notorious status, so much so Akari pitied him and made him a Valentine’s chocolate. Obligation of course. It was his first chocolate from a girl. Creepily, he still keeps it and will only throw it away once he gets a girlfriend. If that ever happens. When he does, Akari will inform Haruto about it. Before they tug into bed, Akari kisses Haruto. Consider that her farewell gift. Hey, he’ll remember that, right? If he has any difficulties, just remember this.

Episode 2
Yuzuki is now a teacher reading to her students some sad love poem. I’m sure she can relate a lot to it. Nanashiki, a student of hers talks to her about a love she has for her sickly friend’s boyfriend. She feels bad coming in between them. Yuzuki listens to her and gives her some advice. Meanwhile Rin is in some plushie giveaway job, wearing some hideous crocodile mascot. She doesn’t take her job too seriously and her senior, Kitajima had to constantly remind her about her pay’s worth. Something hints that Rin likes this guy. She doesn’t want to be seen by those she knows but who knows, here comes Yuzuki with Akari and Nanami. Big sister could immediately identify her. Rin introduces Kitajima to the girls. She gets motivation to do her job when Kitajima will treat her to dinner. Yuzuki and friends continue along themselves. They are surprised to hear that Nanami’s boyfriend had proposed to her. This has them wondering about Yuzuki’s relationship with Haruto. Well, you could say it is strained as they haven’t been talking lately. As Kitajima treats Rin to dinner, she teases him that he likes her sister. But she gets a little nasty hinting that her sister is getting older and will wither away. At this point, she might have drank too much so she’s starting to say things like how Yuzuki in order to avoid getting hurt, she turned down the feelings of the person she loves. She gets drunk enough that Kitajima had to take her back to her place. However she intends on staying at Yuzuki’s place. Once Rin is sober the next morning, she irks Kitajima that he may be hitting on Yuzuki while she was out. He however notes Yuzuki as a more diligent person than her. After he leaves, she just feels bad for doing something horrible again.

Yuzuki listens to Akari’s monologue about the parting kiss gift she gave to Haruto before he came to Tokyo. She reveals she wasn’t angry about him keeping this plan to himself but rather she was in love with him. Maybe that is what that kiss symbolized too. One day as Yuzuki goes out to meet Rin to treat her, there is Kitajima too. He wants to treat them as thanks for the tea but Rin isn’t amused and wants him to go away. The sisters talk about love and their life is heading in no direction. Rin is afraid she will end up hurting people and not being honest with herself. One night after Kitajima treats Rin, they end up in an alley with lots of lovers making out. This makes Rin want to take something off her chest but she feels nervous. From that roundabout saying that she is trying to hint to him, we get a feeling she is trying to confess she likes him. When he gets close to her, she pushes him away. He accuses her of leading him on and also wants to confess something but she wouldn’t hear it. He leaves by himself as Rin notes it is hard being honest with herself. Shortly she could hear Kitajima getting into trouble with a couple of punks. She dives in like a hero but the punk slaps her! Not cowed that she will call the police! Kitajima steps forth and takes over being slapped and do nothing to fight back. Since there is no fun in this case, the punks leave. In the end, Kitajima tells Rin to stay away from him. Hearing this hurts her a lot inside.

Rin talks to Yuzuki about how hard it is to convey her feelings. Yuzuki asks how strong their feelings are for each other and by now they should understand each other well. This makes Rin feel a little better. Yuzuki hears out Nanashiki that she admits her defeat in love to her friend since he has always been in love with her friend. Her feelings were much stronger than hers. Finally, Yuzuki is seen rushing to Haruto’s side. They hug and kiss. And the final scene that ends it all: A picture of Haruto and Yuzuki married and surrounded by their friends. They both run a restaurant under the name Kirishima Restaurant.

Absence Makes The Heart Grow… Forgetful?
Well, I couldn’t say that I am impressed with the OVA. There were a lot of gaps in the story that as I have said at the beginning of my blog, only those who have read the manga would fully understand what is happening. At least that is my assumption of why this couple of OVAs doesn’t seem to do any better than the TV series. Not to say that this entire series did badly, just that the discontinuity and the gap makes it somewhat a turn off. For the first OVA, we have a blast from the past having telling the tale from Akari’s point of view. Although it is good to hear a story from the perspective from a supporting character and knowing a little about her past. Come the second OVA, suddenly there was this tremendous time skip whereby Yuzuki is now working as a teacher. Although this OVA features about Rin, it just feels odd that the main guy Haruto didn’t even show his face until the final scene.

Even so, that final scene feels like so rushed. Here, we were led to believe that their relationship is strained and that a couple of OVAs or even another season won’t be able to fix it. And then suddenly, woah! Hugs and kisses from the main protagonists themselves! Am I dreaming? Also feels like they are adding insult when they end the series with their marriage. Another huge time skip in between? I don’t know. It renders all the problems that they went through were for nought when they came up with this ending so fast. It’s like they wanted to end this series for good. Of course there is a reason why the ending was kinda ‘abrupt’. The long running manga series just recently ended early this year in February 2014 so in a way it is time to close the chapter.

I always long thought and suspected that Akari had feelings for Haruto so when she did finally reveal the truth, it wasn’t really shocking. What was more shocking was the change in Rin’s behaviour. I remember her as a spiteful little sister who hated Yuzuki so much. Although her spiteful character is still there (at least traces of it), she has changed quite a lot that she can talk to Yuzuki about sisterly problems. It’s like that hatred never existed to begin with. And what a big change this girl is because she too is having her own love problems with the senior she is working with. Not easy, huh? Well, you don’t know how something feels like till you experience it first-hand. Now she knows what it is like to be in love and hurts when it is not requited. So is it the end of her and Kitajima or will she continue to persevere? I’m sure it would be interesting to see other stories from the other characters like Nanami and Asuka (or even Nagoshi) but my guts tell me that it would turn out to something like this and being unimpressive.

One thing I would like to note is that very obvious art and drawing in these OVAs. While the characters still look okay and consistent, I tend to notice that the backgrounds have become very water colour-like. It wouldn’t be so bad if they had at least make it look nicer but this one feels like as though they didn’t put much effort t in it and did a lazy job just to complete it. This is very evident in the second OVA and I thought the characters were living inside a painting instead. The ending credits animation feels like a big summary over what happened in the TV series since it is just a big montage of several scenes crammed into 3-4 minutes of ending song. So if you have forgotten what the TV series was all about, here is your big chance to refresh those memories. If you still remember them anyway. Koko Ni Iru Yo by Nana Kouno (voice of Akari) is the rock outfit ending theme for the first OVA while the more anime pop-like Nijiiro Calendar by Megumi Nakajima (voice of Yuzuki) is the ending song for the second OVA.

Overall, if you like this kind of complicated love drama romance genre, this should be for you but it is advisable to read the entire manga first and then watch all the episodes from start to finish (although I read many comments that stated the anime wasn’t as good as the manga – you know the reason). Since I didn’t go into the reading, you can feel that my blog on this series is somewhat half-baked. There is some realism in which ordinary people facing such love issues can relate to in life so it is not all that bad. One simple almost ‘fool proof’ solution on how to avoid the pangs of love: Don’t fall in love in the first place! Easier said than done, right?

Nourin

August 3, 2014

Where do idols go when they retire? Fade into obscurity. Haha! Okay, call it a bad joke but don’t you think with so many super idols around and new ones coming up faster than productions of commercial vehicles, do you think this just pushes the old ones out of the scene unless they do something really relevant or unique to stay mainstream? But we aren’t here to talk about idols retiring nor is this anime is about that. Have you ever thought that some idols who have retired from the scene end up farming and in agriculture? Woah. Sounds like something that would never happen as both careers can be considered as at the opposite end of the polar. But then again, it isn’t quite shocking that many of us in the real world studied and took up something in college but end up in a totally different field when we are working. But seriously, idols going into agriculture? This is something that I have not heard of. What more an idol. I know idols do lots of ‘work’ but not the kind that breaks your back under the hot sun all day long. Can they really withstand that without hurting their good skin? if so, I need to see this for myself then.

Nourin is however not to be mistaken as an anime about an idol trying to glamorise the agriculture and farming sector. Since you might be thinking that if an idol is doing farming, it could only mean one thing: To increase brand awareness and make your product sell like hot cakes. That is what idols do, right? I mean, don’t you want to buy the product that your favourite idol endorses on the TV advertisement? Instead, Nourin isn’t about the former idol at all. It’s about the ex-idol and a group of other students in an agriculture school as she learns the farming ways and how it can be applied in your everyday life. Because the modern world has grown into such frenzy technology (want to bet how many of us cannot go by a minute without the internet or our Smartphones?), sometimes going back to basics and looking at things and the world from a different perspective may bring about some refreshing views.

Episode 1
Super idol, Yuka Kusakabe is strutting herself on stage. After her song, she introduces Kousaku Hata, the most important man in his life. They proceed to kiss. I’m not sure if the fans are roaring in approval or horror. Suddenly it was just a big dream of Kousaku. Needless to say, this guy is her biggest fan although currently he is just a student in an agricultural school. Cultivating plants with his fellow friends, Minori Nakazawa and Kei Kamatori, he talks about forming a trendy farm just for Yuka in Tokyo. They are distracted when the cow goes berserk so Minori strips naked just to put her red clothes on him and make him the matador. I don’t know how he survived it. In class, they talk about their future career and of course Kousaku wants to go to some private high school in Tokyo that Yuka goes. Minori seems to want to get a ‘permanent’ job as a bride-cum-housewife. Then here comes Kochou Yoshida (booooooooobs!) and eh cow. This arrogant b*tch views the vegetable cultivating division a lower class compared to her elite livestock division. Then there is also their teacher, Becky Natsumi (spunky magical girl?) whose mouth is ranting like a motor whom nobody seems to care what she’s talking about. Because the vegetable and livestock divisions are arguing about bringing their products to class, this has Becky tell her story about her and her boyfriend having a nice romantic time in a restaurant. The catch is, she doesn’t have a boyfriend. Suddenly everything just feels so gloomy and all the students become obedient. Don’t want to worsen that, don’t you?

During the break, Kousaku is having his usual Yuka-is-God thoughts when suddenly the TV news reports the abrupt resignation of Yuka from the idol world!!! OH NO! God is dead!!! Kousaku locks himself up in his room as his friends try to bring him out and back to class. Time to face reality. I don’t know what is he doing covering himself with the body pillow cover of Yuka. Trying to be one with her? Face reality, please! He doesn’t care about his trendy farm dream anymore since he only grew vegetables and sent to Yuka. Now that she’s gone, it means nothing. Yup, this guy really sent vegetables to her but anonymously. Of course his friends think he might be purposely sexually harassing her seeing the choice of vegetables he sent. Eggplants and cucumbers among the many. Since he wants to stay this way forever, Minori crosses the line and calls Yuka a b*tch. Kousaku gets furious and launches an attack but Minori kicks him in the crotch. Ouch. Say goodbye to descendants. A familiar loli is making her way to this agriculture school. Becky once again rants like hell about the cream she used this morning. Till she found out she was just covered in grease and looked like some porn star. Gloomy aura again… But on the bright side, she introduces a new transfer student, Ringo Kinoshita. However Kousaku recognizes her as Yuka despite the disguise. Too pretty, too angelic, too cute and too magical to be just an ordinary transfer student, no?

Episode 2
The gang asks Becky to confirm if the new girl really is Ringo. Yes and no. What? Although she was an idol under that name, she has discarded it and is now enrolled as a student here so speaking of her past is forbidden. It’s all good news to Kousaku since as the dorm leader he gets to show her around. Yeah. This is Heaven. However she seems to be putting up that boring look. Is his talk that boring? Even explaining how his wallaby pet, Wakadanna came to be didn’t move any emotions. Is this girl’s emotion broken? Even talking to Yoshida about chickens and eggs but Ringo felt bored because she couldn’t understand a damn thing. And then it turned a little like sex education about birth control and repeated cultivation issues. I didn’t realize agriculture had such sex innuendoes too. When they have a little party at the dorm, she is the usual tundra queen. Kei tries to break the ice with his lame doll imitation but it didn’t work. Kousaku won’t let him do some chicken laying egg imitation. Yeah. It would be just gross. Surprisingly, Ringo wants to play King’s Game. Kousaku’s friends hint the number they are but Minori keep sending the wrong signals to him so he as the king ends up having her do silly stuffs to him. Each time, Ringo seems to be breaking the stick! Hmm… So when Ringo becomes king, she forces Kousaku to tell his number. With that, she wants him to call her by her first name casually.

Kousaku thinks everything is just a dream till he sees Ringo trying to do laundry. A transfer student did happen yesterday. Kousaku gladly teaches her how to separate her clothes to wash but he is a little surprise that she separates her undies before him. He seizes the chance to wash her panties but Minori beats him up. Ringo asserts he hasn’t done anything wrong as she was the one who asked him. A strange standoff between the duo… Minori claiming to know Kousaku longer than her. But that guy interrupts about handing the panties back since he doesn’t want it stained with impurities. Minori thinking he wants a girl’s panties so much, gives hers to him but he throws it away! So it becomes a 3 way fight to get the panties when Kei seizes it. He’ll be holding on to them. To settle this, he shows his collection of panties!!! WTF???!!! He wants them to choose one and it will show them how much they really know about it. Minori picks a simple and cute one but Kousaku won’t pick any as they are not used! A worth of a panty is in the value of its wearer!!! Kei passes Kousaku and gives the panties back to him. But when he sniffs it, Kei mentions it doesn’t belong to Ringo but his. Since when was he under the impression it was hers? Kousaku is freaking out of being deceived so here is some words of wisdom from Kei about the value of panties. “Panties stop being panties once they are seen”. Yes. Panties are valuable because they are unseen. Enlightened? Kousaku apologizes for calling Minori’s panties a filth and he too has his own words of wisdom: “Everyone wears their own personal panties in their heart”. Before they can celebrate their panties enlightenment, Ringo calls them idiots and takes back her panties. What was all this about again?

Episode 3
Suddenly all of Kousaku’s Yuka’s posters and items in his room are gone! Looks like an empty room, eh? Courtesy of Minori who is his acting mom as she feels having such things will creep Ringo out. Yeah. She burnt them all! NOOOO!!!! Plus, Minori won’t accept Ringo as a student of this school till she proves herself. Smell a childhood friend-idol battle coming up? Kousaku wonders if Minori is just a big bully for making Ringo wear an armour bikini. Test to see if she can focus on the job without being embarrassed? Well, Minori herself wears a sexy leotard. And here is Kei looking like a paladin in his armour since he is fresh from his welding class. Yeah, they look like some sort of RPG party. The test is to see which of them can finish checking a line of cucumber plants to make sure it is not diseased or no bugs. I guess this is a setup by Minori to send idol girl crying back to Tokyo because cucumber plants have this prickly feeling and as a beginner you might find it hard. Minori builds a big lead and when Ringo hits trouble with bugs on the leaves, she isn’t scared of them and picks them up in her palms! Deluded fans conclude she is too pure that she doesn’t even know insects are disgusting. Ringo catches up and the match ends in a draw. The next match will have them clean the chicken coop which is dirty and smelly. Minori is waiting for this moment where she’ll open the closet and all the cockroaches will fly out and it’s game over. However… Ringo is not afraid of them as she stomps them all and cleans up!!! Perfect! Ringo is definitely the winner but Minori won’t acknowledge defeat as the next match will be planting paddy.

Come Saturday, before the big match, we’ve got Kousaku commenting on their dresses. I believe I haven’t seen such abominable swimsuit since that butterfly guy in Busou Renkin. Looking at Kei’s ‘fearful’ swimsuit brings back memories of knowing the true meaning of fear. Then there is Minori in bloomers and even Becky in a wedding dress! Speaking of that corrupt teacher, she’s hinting sexual innuendoes of wanting to get dirty and planting seeds in her. Just ignore her! Ringo isn’t going to lose out and reveals her old fashion swimsuit under her jersey. Ringo blushes when Kousaku comments how cute she is. But it somewhat descends into a boobs pushing showdown between them. WTF. So let’s start the match already. Because Ringo is a beginner, Kousaku teaches her how to plant rice, much to Minori’s dismay. Ringo even gives Kousaku the green light to be in touching distance and guide her with his hand. Of course jealous Minori won’t have it and simply bumps into them. Just start the match… Minori will start further back as she is more experienced. When it begins, Minori is planting fast while Ringo seems to be doing it slow and steady. But her paddy is lining up perfectly. And the guys are happy to see such fanservice. Isn’t that what they are here for? When Ringo’s foot gets stuck in the mud, she pulls it out and accidentally crashes into Minori. Oh sure. That’s an accident. Minori also has an accident by bumping back into her. You know what? It now descends into a mud fight. Ultimate dream wrestling! The guys would love to watch but they’re ruining the paddy. Unfortunately none of them can stop the might of the girls. In the end when everything is just messed up (their clothes, the field), seems some sort of friendship was born between Minori and Ringo. Whatever. As long as they’re getting along.

Episode 4
The gang finds the crops destroyed and Yoshida saw last night it was a child who did it. However further analysis shows a monkey might be behind this and so the operation to tackle this issue begins. Minori suggests electric fences but it won’t work since they have no money. Yeah. Those things cost a lot. Ringo suggests feeding it so it won’t ravage their crops if it isn’t hungry. But that won’t do either since the monkey is also destroying non-edibles so it is clearly doing this not because of an empty stomach. What is this plan of using Super Hitoshi-kun by Kousaku? That’s the name of his Gatling gun filled with fireworks. He demonstrates but you know at times like this, it won’t work unless you put your face near the barrel to check… No go! Yoshida wanted to begin ranting about her big family plan but it was shot down before it could even take off! So the only possible solution is Kei’s hunting plan. Does this mean they have to kill the monkey? Sometimes you have to be cruel in agriculture. And so this hunter Kei got… Is he some sort of an otaku???!!! Oomori specializes in blowpipe in which are made out from his anime posters… But is he a real hunter in real life? Nope. He is unemployed. But thankfully Oomori tranquilizes the monkey and when the gang goes to check, the see its injured arm. Ringo is worried that they really have to kill it. Fortunately they don’t as Yoshida has friends in the zoo that will take care of the monkey. That night, Kousaku wants to talk to Minori. She gets the wrong idea and wants an hour to prepare. An hour… Her place now looks like a love hotel but dumb Kousaku thinks she renovated it. Minori’s dream comes crumbling down when Kousaku says he invited Kei to come talk too. She just lost interest… Anyway Kousaku shows a video of Yuka in concert. What is the difference? She is smiling. Ringo hasn’t been smiling ever since she came here. So the friends agree to help make her laugh.

Kei thinks his jokes are good. But just like Ringo, I don’t get his ‘hairy dark matter’ joke unless it’s some sexual innuendo about his pubic hair. Must be…Minori tickles Ringo but no reaction. Ringo tickles her back and out Minori goes. Kousaku gets frank. Doesn’t she like it here? He apologizes for trying to force a smile. However she says she cannot smile. At first she thought she was just tired but soon it became permanent. Now she couldn’t no matter how hard she tries and just like that monkey, she has nowhere to go now. Probably this is why she retired early. The friends feel bad for her especially Kousaku who has a dream of Gaia (Wakadanna in a long dress. Don’t ask) telling him to think back what humans have done to her. Kousaku thinks of showing Ringo that land. It is a tomato field but there is patch in which the soil is dead due to repeated cultivation. Also, chemical fertilizers were used to cover the drop in production which in turn leads to spread of diseases and harmful insects and in turn causing them to use even more chemicals. Nearby is a soil with tomatoes growing that started out with the same dead soil. Although not perfect, these crops are still doing their best to live in this soil. Ringo wonders if this place will be reborn and requests to eat a tomato. It tastes bitter since it is not ripe but it made her smile! The rest hand her better ones to eat as Kousaku explains that raising crops brings joy and those grown with care can satisfy the body and soul, bringing happiness. So people, be thankful for your food.

Episode 5
Ringo tries her hand at dry farming soybeans. Because the gang are out of miso, the guys dread going to Class B (Biotechnology) to ask from them because they are just weirdoes. But they don’t have a choice since they’re hungry. They meet one of the Big Four (those top students with unusual talents), Akari Suzuki and she gladly gives them miso. Of course there is a catch. She wants them to test out some botanical lactic acid bacteria called ANaL BB. That’s All Natural Lifescience Bio B. The guys will have to cover themselves with it. Not just simply cover on their skin, but shoot at each other with water pistols. You know… Suddenly it seems like a yaoi scene and Suzuki is furiously taking pictures of them! I don’t think it’s for scientific records. Heck, she has a bunch of cronies suddenly snapping away and like in the movie if they don’t play a part right, they have to redo it again! But Kei seems to enjoy it… Oh sh*t!!! As thanks for that big part, Suzuki hints to them that Class F has made their move. I guess there is something about that forestry department that scares them. So here they are in the woods as we are explained that these guys possess military skills and physical abilities thanks to their training in the woods. Rintarou Woodsman Miyamoto is one of the Big Four and he isn’t pleased with Kousaku. Because he gets to talk to girls normally. I guess you can’t blame them when this department is deprived of girls. Uh huh. They want to sit next to girls and experience things with them. He’s being jealous that he has been childhood friends with Minori whom they all adore as the ideal wife. Even more jealous to a point of wanting to kill him when he learns they both have bathed together when they were young. So when Minori and Kousaku get into an argument about bathing together later, all the forestry guys got ‘defeated’.

But suddenly Ringo emits a very deadly aura!!! Jealous about the bathing too? Rintarou collapses even further because he cannot take love triangles! And then he revives with his vow to make this department into some Forest Girl which the rest view is an outdated idea. F for Females! But Kei gives them more inspiration and a new motivation to take it to the next level. Make it Mountain Girl! F for Fuji! And so those wood guys start running up the mountain. When Ringo is attending to her soil, she is taken away by one of the Big Four, Rose Hanazono, the prettiest and hottest guy in this school. Kousaku sensed something wrong when she didn’t turn up at the library and when he sees her dropped book at the soil, he knows who took her. He confronts Hanazono of Class E, the landscaping division. To add to his shock, Ringo easily followed him because he lured her with snacks. He blames Hanazono that this womanizer tried to hit on Minori last year and thanks to that, she couldn’t stop bragging it to him. To settle this, Hanazono suggests the Pocky (Pockin?) game. They have to bite their ends and the first one who breaks off or lets go loses. Their faces are getting closer and Kei is too late to stop them as Hanazono kisses Kousaku!!! It seems Hanazono is gay and he baited Minori and Ringo was all part of his plan to lure him! Suzuki and her men are taking pictures of this gay scene like mad and plan on selling it at Comiket. Rintarou and co are rejoicing that there is new hope since Kousaku is gay. Minori can’t believe he is gay. Amidst the commotion, Ringo points out a more pressing matter. Who is the fourth member of the Big Four? Oh gosh. We’ve run out of time. Maybe next time, eh?

Episode 6
The gang are talking about Moerice that became a big hit with its own mascot character and sold online. Tarao Kanegami suggests they should do the same. Who is she? The last of the Big Four (also the big fish who rules them all) and from Class D of agricultural business. Mind boggling thing: If Yoshida is also part of the Big Four, doesn’t that make them the Big Five? Anyway Kanegami was suspended due to some fund incident but is now back. She has got some famous illustrator, Kippu to help draw their mascot character so it will definitely sell. Now they need something to sell in large supplies. Kousaku tries to plead to Yoshida about helping out with her eggs (no sexual pun intended. It means what it means). Initially she refused but smooth operator Kanegami mentions how they will reach everyone across the country and that it is not about the money or fame but for the people! Ah yes. That got her on board. So they’re marketing their new product called Moetama. With the mascot called Innocent Peggy, her lines sound so sexually suggestive… Business is picking up and doing so fine that you have to wait 3 months to order and the server crashed because of too many orders! Subsequently, Kei tells Kousaku that he is dropping out of this. Because they should be focusing on product quality instead. Despite this is what people want but that is missing the point. With Moetama now a very recognizable brand and Yoshida getting her own interview (nervous, isn’t she?), Kousaku and Kanegami are having a little grill meat party to celebrate their success. To Kousaku’s surprise, she mentions Moetama is over and they’re withdrawing from it as a local chicken business company is acquiring its rights. What comes next are words of wisdom that we could all learn from her. Kousaku must remember that they are students and school isn’t a place to make money. It is a place to learn and you can make money all you want after graduation. What is important is that they explore as many opportunities as possible in a risk-free environment. The connections they made are much more valuable assets than the money.

Kousaku is surprised that he always thought she loved making money only. That’s true but there is more to life than that. Money is only part of it and even if she knows there are more things important than money, that is precisely why she makes money. Enlightenment! Respect! She suggests moving to another product and target a different consumer. How does the women demographic sound? Uh huh. BL. That’s where Suzuki comes in. How are they going to link BL with agriculture? You know Class F cultivates logs and mushrooms, right? What anatomy do they look like? Get the picture? Oh yeah. Suzuki just wants to add ‘yoghurt’ to them. Kanegami says a high impact hit and run strategy is the key in a venture. Make quick cash and then withdraw. Kousaku goes to persuade Rintarou and clearly that guy rejects. But leave it to Kanegami to do her smooth talking. Imagine if her logs and mushrooms that they are targeting for those fujoshi females become a hit, their department will become famous and who knows, there might be more girls joining his department next year. And suddenly Rintarou is all ears. Easy. He just took the bait. And so the quartet plan their strategy into this unknown territory. They got busted. Kousaku is lucky he got the lightest punishment with suspension of 3 days. Kanegami got 3 weeks due to her past records and was the mastermind. Rintarou and his men got disciplinary action. However Kanegami plans o start another venture when her suspension is over. She invites Kousaku to join but this time he has learnt his lesson and is wiser. He declines. But he had fun, though. Everyone writes their wishes on Tanabata festival and hangs them up. Kousaku sees their wishes and realizes that unless everyone else is happy, he won’t. This will be his wish.

Episode 7
Minori cooks a lot from leftovers and being in agricultural school, they can’t waste. Eat ‘em all up! Kousaku’s stomach is fatter than a pregnant lady. Once is okay but all the time they can have such big meals? Yeah. Those aren’t muscles from the toil in the farm. It’s fats! They can be sumo wrestlers at this rate. So with Ringo blaming Minori over the rich food, I don’t know how it ends up as some tummy pushing showdown. It’s not as exciting as the mud wrestling, though. Oh, they tire easy. Burn those fats out! Thankfully they slim down to before as Kousaku cheekily threatens to send fat photos of Minori to her family since she was the last one to be thin. But Ringo mentions some mould growing in her soybean’s soil. When Kousaku checks it out, looks like it is serious enough that he has to call the teachers. As explained, it is a disease called southern blight that contaminates the soil. If they do not get rid of it to the last bid, it will also affect net year’s crops. Sadly, all affected crops must be destroyed. Ringo feels depressed and wants to spend some time alone. As suggested by Minori, Kousaku goes to talk to her about the harsh realities that farming has unstable income despite it is fun and enjoyable, the reason why there aren’t many who take up farming. For him, he doesn’t know the answer yet. Later Kei talks to Kousaku that he suggested soybeans to Ringo was hoping that she would change and that she wouldn’t regret coming here. Big Four pop up not because there is some yaoi bonding going between the guys (Suzuki is hoping for it) but also give some ingredients to them for Ringo to cheer her up. Amazingly Rintarou is the one being tsundere. More woes when it rains heavily that night. Every able student is gathered to save the tomato crops. As it has been a dry season, the continuous downpour means the tomatoes will absorb the water and subsequently rupture. Thankfully, the ruptured ones can be saved by making it into some preserved jam.

Ringo ponders how everyone can still be so calm and lively after crop failures. Kousaku takes her to the rooftop to show the scenery of the town. It might look natural but they aren’t true nature as mankind’s predecessors have built things up slowly. Perhaps this is what they imagined this town would be in the distant future and that is what kept them going. When someone eats their vegetables and feels good, it gives them the will to make them become amazing in the future or simply gives them enough energy to go on another day. Those are the kind of crops he wants to grow. Ringo reveals she knows it was him who sent her the vegetables. Back then she was really tired so her staffs let her eat some vegetable sent by a fan. She forced her first bite and tasted it strange. Bitter, hard but gentle. It made her feel like as though someone was supporting her to carry on and it made her kept going. From that day on, she ate whatever vegetables he sent and looked forward to reading his letters. But there is a catch. He didn’t write her any letters, leave his name or address. Ringo shows proof of it and even pictures that was in the letters. Kousaku knows what is going on. He confronts Minori about this. She admits writing it on his behalf because naturally nobody is going to just accept anonymously sent vegetables, right? It would have been disposed. Minori apologizes to Ringo for using Kousaku’s name but Ringo doesn’t mind since the contents were true. And then something disturbing happens… Ringo hugs Minori and mentions she has always wanted to meet her and this school. Since she was also hiding her true feelings, they are even. They become best of friends. Hey, wait! WTF?! Don’t tell me… Say it isn’t true???!!! Did something yuri just happened???!!! Kousaku is one devastated kid!!!

Episode 8
While tending to the crops, they sense something not human running wild. BECKY!!! Yeah, she’s a monster and is targeting girls in love! Quick! Hide the girls! In the end, Kei on his goat defeats Becky on her scooter in some jousting and she is sent flying into the mud. In class, the boys talk about boobs as they wonder about Yoshida’s humongous boob size. Could it be the World Cup? Of course there is the other faction of flat chest lovers. So Kei and that Lolita guy descend into some ridiculous argument why boobs or flat is the way of being the true man. Kei lost. As for Kousaku, he is more into feet than boobs. When Becky comes in as her usual annoying self, the class tells the ‘granny’ to shut up. This causes her to go berserk and will make everyone feel what it’s like to be lonely. Yeah, the psychological visions must be horrifying, eh? For home economics, it’s like Kousaku and Ringo are hosting some cook show with Becky. As usual, everything Becky says or does have some sexual meaning to it. What’s more, she’s trying to irritate Ringo. The former idol cannot hold it in and really wants to kill her but thankfully there is Kousaku to restrain her. So why spite her? Simple. She’s jealous. She was the idol here before Ringo came. Now that both girls are in battle mode, the only way to settle this is via cooking competition. The judges have a taste of Ringo’s seemingly normal miso soup. Only Kousaku the weirdo will taste something good while others feel it’s bland or weird. So what did she put in? The sole of the shoes. Can they stomach this? Becky made plain rice. Where are the other toppings? That’s the catch. She is the topping! I think everybody lost their appetite. She wants everybody to eat her but the boys aren’t impressed and throw away the ‘bad food’ out the window! Good move! In the evening, the gang notice a poster of a local rock festival and discuss if they should enter when they hear the next participant taking the stage, AKB40! Actually it’s Becky. Aged Kooky Becky 40 years old! And you can guess what she is singing about. Men and chasing them down… Do we want an encore?

Episode 9
Because Minori has never been to the beach, she wants to go and Ringo agrees. However… After freeing up their schedules, it suddenly rains! More accurately, a typhoon! Minori is so desperate that she’s throwing a tantrum. Kanegami seeks shelter at their place since her ride home got cut off. Seems she was trying to cultivate some flowers in some bus. For money of course. Because outside looks like the sea, Minori goes crazy and ‘swims’ in it. Having fun in the mud? The rest tries to go stop her but gets hypnotized by the ‘fun’. Uh huh. They can’t resist and join in too. However all the beach things they try to do get blown away and for the BBQ, they pour all the kerosene onto the BBQ grill and turn it into a bonfire! Have some music too! Yoshida comes running to tell them to stop because it’s scaring her cows but they force her to join in. A couple of volleyball guys join in and beg them to play with them but Kanegami mentions something more urgent that needs to arrest now. The rice fields are in danger as the water level is going to flood it. With Kei using his super human strength to open the water gate, the rest rope the rice field. However Class D’s rice field is in extreme danger thanks to Kanegami planting some breed of rice that could fetch a high price. The result is that they are much taller and won’t stand a chance against the wind. It’ll be over if they fall over. They need something to block the wind since they can’t move the field. Kousaku gets the idea to use the bus to shield the wind. He seems to be handling it fine since it is quite similar to driving a tractor. But since mud is kicked up on the wind and he doesn’t know how to use the wiper (because tractors don’t have any), Ringo sits on his lap and becomes his eyes. No time to fantasize. Concentrate. Kousaku knows he is risking getting scolded by the teacher by doing this but Ringo assures him she will be by his side. When they make a final sharp turn, Ringo falls out but Kousaku grabs her with one hand. Wow. Holding a girl with one hand and driving with the other? How does he do that? We know they succeed because the next scene shows the gang on a bus trip to the beach. This is the reward the teachers gave them for saving the rice fields. Thankfully Kousaku and Ringo are lucky to have gotten off the hook with just an earful because they could have been suspended. Ringo doesn’t mind it if that happened. Just when Minori relishes going to the beach, the radio reports a bigger typhoon is coming. Somebody is going to throw a tantrum again… What is this? Is there some sort of conspiracy trying to keep Minori away from beaches?

Episode 10
Late one night, Kei gets a call from someone familiar who wants him back. Of course he won’t as he has nothing to do with him anymore. Becky calls the gang since the principal has gone nuts. He wants eggplants. That’s it? The farm is full of them. Sure, she did feed him but he rejected them all claiming they aren’t true eggplants. Kei agrees as they are manufactured. Comparing his and Becky’s eggplants (no dirty minded thoughts here, please), Becky’s are better looking like how you would find them in supermarket as Kei is… One word: Ugly. The gang taste Becky’s and find it worth the expensive eggplant it is. Before they can taste Kei’s, the principal hijacks and swallows it. Universe! This is what a true eggplant tastes like! The big difference is because of its seeds. Most eggplants nowadays are F1 hybrids, meaning that its taste is sacrificed for its shape, texture, etc. This also means the large use of fertilizers, pesticides and chemicals in a very unnatural environment. In short, Kei’s eggplants are 100% organic. The principal mentions of an overseas agriculture programme over summer and offers Kei and Yoshida to study there. However he declines since he is not interested in agricultural overseas and is here to learn what is needed for organic pesticide-free farming for local consumption. Suddenly Hajime Menjou enters and wants Kei to quit this school and return to him. Minori recognizes him as the president Hexa Techs, a large company that does everything from growing to shipping and selling vegetables. And yes, he is Kei’s father. He doesn’t want him to be in a place like this. That statement irks Ringo as she mentions that this school grows the best vegetables in the world. He finds it funny and wonders if they can grow something better. He throws down a challenge to see who can sell more vegetables. If Menjou wins, Kei must quit school and come with him. Otherwise, Menjou will leave the agricultural business forever.

Kei shows the gang his secret garden of growing vegetables the traditional way, free of all those pesticides. Kamatori is his aunt’s name. He views his dad a scum because he may be a good entrepreneur but lacks ability in agriculture. They once had a melon farm. The crops are prone to pests so excessive chemicals are used. His mom was sensitive to them but he continued using them. His greed caused his mom’s death. That’s why Kei believes chemicals shouldn’t be used in farming. Though he apologizes for getting his friends involved, he hopes they can help him out. During the big sale, the one with the most sales (not profits) will win. So it doesn’t matter if you set your price dirt cheap. Kei will match Hexa Techs’ price then. With Kanegami, she brings in lots of techniques that bring in the customers compared to Hexa Techs who seem to be only giving out samples. Kanegami introduces techniques that make their ‘ugly’ vegetables looks fresh, wrap them up for merchandising, advertising using girl groups (NOL48?!) and poster girls and sandwich tickets to pull in male customers. Even the guys start cross-dressing! With all Big Four helping out, there is no way they can lose this one, right? Becky wants to help too but since she’s just being an annoying pervert, the lock her in. Too bad she won’t be ‘harvesting’.

At the end of the day, Hexa Techs wins as all their vegetables are sold out! How can this be? Menjou has everyone taste their sample and they find it super delicious. He questions them how much time they spend on their vegetables. One? Two? At most 6 hours? Hexa Techs spends 24 hours on them and there is no way kids who grow vegetables in their spare time can compare. Kei calls his methods dirty but Menjou argues what is wrong using advanced techniques in agriculture to create safer, cheaper and tastier vegetables? Is he saying that naturally grown vegetables are not better than vegetables improved via research? Saying that is an insult to all farmers and consumers. Kei though he has always been thinking about the consumers by growing pesticide-free vegetables. However he is just forcing his superficial ideals on the consumer. Can you grow better vegetables without them? You need advanced cultivation techniques and experience too. Hexa Techs has them and people buy them not because of their brand name. Kei admits defeat and will go to wherever he is taken. But Menjou has changed his mind. Hexa Techs hasn’t fallen so low that she needs someone who can grow crops of this level to succeed. He lets Kei do whatever he wants because if he thinks he can prove him wrong, then grow better vegetables than him. The eye opening and bitter defeat left Kei to accept the overseas agriculture programme. He intends to broaden his perspective and needs to know his enemies if he is to beat them. Of course Minori can’t waste this chance and goes with him. But she dresses up like as though she is going on honeymoon…

Episode 11
With Kei and Yoshida gone overseas, could it be the start of the catfight between Minori and Ringo over Kousaku? One can only hope… Anyway the trio return to Minori’s countryside hometown of Aioi. They are greeted by her older sister, Tsukasa as well as the little twins. When Kousaku returns to Minori’s home, he is baffled to see uncle and aunty dressed up in ceremonial gear for an engagement gifts exchanging ceremony! Holy sh*t! What just happened?! Kousaku realizes he has been had. This is a setup by Minori! No wonder she got Wakadanna to tag along and hide in her makeshift clothes to look like pregnant! No wonder she made him come back with her. I wonder how Ringo is taking all this? See her deadly aura? Not good. When her parents find out it’s a scam, Minori breaks down under the pressure. Yup. It’s disappointing the pregnancy was fake and there is no progress in their relationship. So what gave them the impression there was some progress? The photo Kousaku accidentally sent when Minori was fat. Yeah. She looked pregnant. Tsukasa mentions about some non-profit hook-up project to revitalize the village. In short, a gathering of 200 men and women and it needs Kousaku and Minori being a married couple to work. If they bail, they’ll incur millions of losses. So after a hard day pretending to be engaged, Minori’s mom leads Kousaku and locks him in a room with Minori! Just the 2 of them! Minori thinks they should have children since it would stop her parents from nagging. But just like any other guys, Kousaku doesn’t want to take responsibility so he is giving all sorts of excuses to say no. But he could have fallen for her charms if not for the twins rushing in to sleep with them. How did they get in? I thought it was locked?

Next morning, Kousaku sees a note. Minori and Tsukasa have left for town to plan for the wedding. OH SH*T!!! But the rest of the episode sees Kousaku taking Ringo out for a stroll. He lets her taste the fresh delicious tomato and hopes the techniques he learnt at school will continue here. Because he views that with the population decline, people are leaving farming. However Ringo sees it from a different perspective. People left because farming has lost its charm. If it was attractive, people would come back. Then they overhear the village chefs lamenting about Tsukasa’s new project wondering if it will work. They worry that even though it might bring in hundreds of amateur farmers, they will eventually leave. This has Ringo wonder about Kousaku’s family. He doesn’t want to talk about it but she insists because Minori knows about it and doesn’t want to be left out. His home is now dilapidated and abandoned. When his parents first moved here when he was young, they view farming as awesome. However their tomato crops failed and they incurred massive debts. They took up other jobs and mom fell ill after overworking. Dad left farming to pay for the medical bills but when mommy died, he left the family and village. That was when he last saw of him and was brought up in the care of Minori’s family. But the important question Ringo wants to know is Minori’s relationship to him. Too bad it won’t be answered as the twins come bugging Ringo as she looks like a princess. From which country? Yukatan Kingdom. Where? In the hearts of the adults. Her job? Being the cutest in the universe. I guess kids are gullible to believe. Yeah, they want to work for her! So they have fun for the rest of the days and one night they head to the river for the festival to set their paper lanterns afloat. Ringo mentions she likes the countryside because of the nature although it might be tough. Then she sings him a song. Not as Yuka but as Ringo.

Episode 12
Tsukasa hosts the hook-up project. She lets Kousaku know there is a creepy and troublesome participant: Becky!!!! Oh God… I think we all know what she wants. Yeah. He is entrusted to ‘handle’ her. So Kousaku approaches this dried up mummy and since he has had enough of her charade, he tosses a tomato to revitalize her. Super refresh! She joins in the crowd but finds that the gap in their topic too large. I mean, Becky only knows stuffs from the 80’s. Just depressing. Then she becomes some kind of desperate monster and chases one of the guys. Kousaku talks to one of the female participants. He wonders why she is interested in farming since it is boring and lame. On the contrary, she views it is a trend that girls are trying to get into farm families. Kousaku paints a gloomy picture of the countryside compared to the city but she argues back she hates all those traffic jams, packed trains, sexual harassments, overtime, etc. Just when she is about to find comfort in him, Kousaku senses a deadly aura… Minori and Ringo are watching! The pregnant wife and master are watching! Tsukasa hosts a game for the participants to play. All they need to do is point to the person they think fit the description such as the cutest and kindest. Minori and Ringo first point to themselves and then force Kousaku to point which of them he thinks is the best. It’s like the devil or the deep blue sea, right? He’s screwed. For bad points, the girls point to each other. For the final point, who do you want to get married to?! The girls are awaiting his answer… What would it be, Kousaku boy? He runs away!!! Unfortunately for him, the village caught him and now he is tied up in his white wedding suit. Looks like it’s inevitable. Kousaku asks Tsukasa why she came back here. Didn’t she hate this village and left once? She replies that no matter what she did or where she went was all the same. She thought she could live her life running away but for once, she wants to face this head on. Kousaku walks around the village as he thinks back of the times he spent here during his younger days.

That night, the wedding ceremony begins with Ringo and Becky becoming the bridesmaids. Becky is already starting to murmur some sort of curse… Thanks to Oomori’s blowpipe, she got sedated before she can be a desperate male grabbing devil. So the wedding, mix of traditional and modern influence gets well underway. But one of the twins isn’t happy about this. She is worried that with Minori away, she is going to take care of them less. Plus, she wants to be Kousaku’s number one! She flips Minori’s skirt up to reveal her fake pregnancy and the crowd screams in horror seeing the wallaby. Heck, I thought they would believe that this is their baby! Didn’t. Anyway they are very upset that they have been duped. Tsukasa is at a lost as they believe she has been tricking them since the start. Kousaku calmly goes to the front and then gets on his knees and screams his apology. He apologizes that it all started out as a joke and went too far to a point of no turning back. He thought of carrying it through to the end. Then he explains how much he hated this village because he was brought here against his will by his parents who thought farming was attractive. It would have been a different story if they were successful. But it wasn’t so his family was in shambles. Left behind, he had no choice but to take up farming and for a person who hated it, it was excruciating. Truthfully, he wanted to run away. That’s when he saw a certain idol on TV. The way she sang and acted in the big city gave him hope. It was that dream of thinking of her that gave him the strength to go on. Despite he hated this village, that idol told him she liked it here. That’s when he realized the village he hated so much was the village that raised him. The natural surroundings and crops he grew made him who he is. He wanted people to love this village. He doesn’t care if they insult him or get mad, but please do not take it out on the village. The speech is well worth of everyone’s applause. Minori feels bad and asks if he likes Ringo and the city more. Kousaku doesn’t want to look it that way. Instead of saying one is better, why not like both? Because both depend on each other. The crops grown in the countryside can soothe the city while the city dreams can inspire the rural areas. Just like a bird, it can’t fly with just one wing. It needs two. Therefore both the girls are his wings.. If thisis his answer to not pick a girl, I’ll give him huge points for his convincing argument. Or excuse. However it is not convincing enough and not what the girls want to hear so they uppercut him to the moon! However Frontier! When summer break is over, everyone returns to school and continue learning more about agriculture. When the cow runs loose again, Kousaku is made to become the bait again. See? How deep a woman’s grudge can run? So now you better run for your life!

Where Getting Down And Dirty Is Fun!
This anime is actually not bad at all. Just like any other typical human being, I too had my sceptic views that this anime would be boring and all about farming. Besides, how can they make farming look fun? I guess that is where I was wrong. This show didn’t exactly focus everything entirely on agriculture and farming but put in some bits of comedy, drama, romance and a little fanservice. Although I must say that the biggest comedic factor are the sexual innuendoes laced throughout the dozen of episodes thanks to a certain depraved teacher. So maybe that is why I didn’t find this series to be such a bore as they kept me ‘entertained’ with the dirty innuendoes. Yeah. Who knew that farming and agriculture could be such a ‘dirty’ business too. I won’t be surprised if there are porn themes surrounding agriculture and farming. Heck, as the rule says, as long something exists, there is always porn to it. But let’s not go over that and get back to the anime. And perhaps it is those sexual innuendoes that made some viewers feel that this series wasn’t really worth it and there is nothing other than this that stands out.

This series although doesn’t delve very deep into the agricultural and farming business, at least there are some basic and simple farming explanations for certain crops like tomatoes and cucumbers that enlighten us for those who knows nothing about agriculture, let alone know how to plant a flower. Like yours truly :(. Therefore the explanations of these prove to be quite interesting even though I would have probably forgotten all about it by next week. It’s a good thing that they didn’t spam us with more agricultural facts and the likes or else it could have been boring (I think) at the expense of those sexual innuendoes. I guess that’s why farming in this anime works. Yeah. Sex sells. But it goes to show that agriculture is a risky business if not managed well. Chances of failure are high and only hard work and perseverance are the guaranteed (though not fool proof) formulas to ride through tough times.

The characters look like ordinary kids just that they have passion for agriculture and farming. But passion and hard work isn’t all that is enough to keep them going in farming. They need the experience and all the other techniques and expertise in this department if they want to continue growing crops that bring higher yields. It is great to see Kousaku and Kei have their own family and background issues to deal with and this anime was just enough to scratch the surface. Needless to say that after Kei’s bitter but well learnt loss, there is much they need to improve on and it shows the different in level of the students and the adults managing the business in the real world. Despite they may not improve so much in a short time, at least they learn something valuable and they can use what they have learnt to improve themselves. Had Kei not lost to his dad, he would probably have continued his dream world enforcing his ideals on consumers and what he thinks is the best for consumers may not be entirely the best for them. The loss opened his eyes that things are not as simple as you think. So we can definitely see that Kei will grow into a wiser and much more productive man when he comes back armed with more knowledge. As for Kousaku, he might not love farming 100%, but there is no use b*tching about it. The trip back to Aioi is an eye opener for him. It made him think about his future thanks to the past he was built from. People back then supported him so now it’s his turn to support them back.

Taking into consideration that Ringo is an ex-idol, although she seems to be fitting well with agriculture and farming and now that she is at least smiling (she could still at least work on her monotonous voice, though), it still bugs me that why isn’t the media hounding her? I believe she is quite famous so when she announced her retirement, didn’t the media make a lot of noise about it? Even so, shouldn’t they have tailed her to the countryside and ‘stalk’ on whatever she’s doing? Even if the media didn’t, I believe she has hardcore fans that would. If you noticed, Ringo is able to adapt well because the lack of the pesky media and obsessed fans from the city. Nobody flashing cameras and microphones and cameras stuffed in her face asking stupid questions about her decision. It’s like she has her own private life here. That is why I find it boggling that there is nobody who came bugging for Yuka. Unless you tell me that everybody got disinterested in her knowing that she went into agriculture. Where is the fun in that? Unless there are hotter and newer idols that got all their attention. So much about loyalty. Unless this isn’t the real idol Yuka… Yikes! More plausible is the fact hinted from Ringo that she is like that injured monkey. Nobody cares about a faded star, right? A curious case is about her emotions. Are they really ‘broken down’? Reminds me of that case of that stony cat in Hentai Ouji To Warawanai Neko. If this is really the cause of her early retirement, it goes to show that show business is just cruel. Personally, I would prefer Ringo to be livelier instead of some deadpan robot. Minori is okay too. She grows with the rest of the gang and supports them with her incredible cooking in addition to her lively character.

Best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) character definitely goes to Becky. She is a big riot. One wonders how she ended up in this agriculture school when men and getting married are the only things that occupy her mind. So if she doesn’t get what she wants, she’ll just snap and go berserk like a monster. Tells you how deprived and desperate she is. Isn’t that a reason why men don’t go for her? I don’t know, it is like they’re trying to paint women who are still unmarried at 40 years old are just sex crazy or will develop into a sex fiend after being deprived of ‘love’ for so long when ironically people reaching middle age should have experienced diminishing sex drive. Trying to hint to women to get married young? Seriously, so how did she end up as a teacher? More importantly, you worry if she is teaching the wrong things in class. Even her students aren’t too impressed with her. Maybe that’s why the students can do well in agriculture. Each time they see her, they are reminded not to become a sex starved b*tch like her. She could have easily made it as a porn star and possibly get done in as many times as she wants. Heh. She can make every sentence in farming sound so dirty so much so that after spending a dozen of episodes hearing her spout sexual innuendoes of farming, I am starting to think negatively of words like harvesting and seeds. Thanks Becky, for corrupting my mind even further. The Big Four are bigger weirdoes since each have a really peculiar behaviour and because it stands out so much, it makes you think that if they are really agriculture students. Suzuki is a fujoshi, Rintarou a lonely boy loser and Hanazono a narcissist. Of course the best on is Kanegami because of her uber cool perceptions about money and life. It’s no wonder is the leader and greatest of the Big Four. I should take note and learn from her too.

I think there is potential for romance but of course with the choice that Kousaku decided in the end, you’re not going to see him end up with somebody too soon. Could it boil down to a race of the first girl wins? Right from the start I could guess that Ringo is in love with Kousaku because of her certain actions and reactions that make it all too obvious. The same with Minori too. Getting into constant catfights are rare since they are best friends-cum-rival. But I think Kousaku sees them as an idol and a childhood friend so I figure that kind of love isn’t the kind where you take responsibility and settle down as a family. Yeah. Every guy doesn’t want to shoulder that kind of responsibility. If that catfight ever escalates into a full blown war and Kousaku gets caught in it all, I would say that it would be FARM-ageddon for him! Haha! I just really wanted to say that. Obviously tsundere Yoshida also harbours feelings for Kei but it is unknown if that guy is just playing dumb or being truly dense to see it. Yoshida’s body reactions are so obvious whenever she gets close to Kei. She suddenly has speech impediments or murmurs like a cat whenever she blushes. I hope the romance part will bloom in a straight fashion because I definitely don’t want to see Minori-Ringo yuri fanservice or even the horrifying Hanazono-Kousaku pairing! Yikes! I’m glad nobody made a big deal about Kousaku’s first kiss. I can imagine the reaction if the girls remember about this. Speaking of Minori-Ringo yuri part, for a short time I believed that they really had feelings for each other and was ‘panicking’ that if this love triangle would turn upside down. Unless their patching up just seemed yuri and sending the wrong signals to us guys. Thank goodness no such thing because if both girls really end up as lesbians, Ringo wouldn’t subsequently really have that kind of jealousy reaction towards Kousaku or compete with Minori for him.

The drawing and art seems plain but not to the point where it is bad. Just that I find the character designs and the details to be plain and simpler than your conventional anime bishoujo and bishonen type of art. Personally the oddest I find is Minori because she looks so plain that I sometimes can’t make her out as male or female. Too plain that it looks a bit cartoonish. Like as though she is some sort of cartoonish character that came out from some comic strip or something. Then the pupils and eyes of the characters that had me raising an eyebrow too. It’s like you take a pencil and sketch a few lines in it to be their eyes. Because of that, sometimes when I look at it, the characters look like ‘dead’. Suzuki’s pupils are slightly different because they resemble like a cross. Then you have Yoshida’s huge boobs. So big that it makes you wonder if she underwent some boobs transplant and but real watermelons in it. Serious! Hmm… Are they trying to hint something since her prized pet is a cow. Those huge breasts… Those udders… I guess that is fanservice for you. Speaking of which, there are a handful of them besides those jugs (that panty selection episode was just mind boggling) but some are censored out with those milk bottles…

In the voice acting department, the best one goes to Chiwa Saito as Becky. She’s running riot with her character and I believe I haven’t heard her sound this lively and crazy for such a long time. It’s like Taokaka from BlazBlue Alter Memories but only much crazier. Make that sexed craze crazier. I have a suspicion that they may be paying tribute to her Pani Poni Dash’s Rebecca since both character’s names are similar and Becky did imitate that signature “Hauhau~” cry once. It is also been quite some time I have heard Yukari Tamura in a leading role as Ringo. Although her trademark voice is still recognizable, I still prefer the ones where she goes squeaky lively high pitch like Yamada in B Gata H Kei. As a character that has no emotions, I thought it was a waste not to take advantage of that cute voice of hers but it can’t be help since the character is like that. I was also waiting whereby the character would burst back into that lively genki-ness. Alas it did not. Kana Hanazawa is as lively as her many other anime roles (from the titular character in Kobato to Nessa in Fractale) so it is no surprise she befits Minori like a glove. Other casts include Shintarou Asanuma as Kousaku (Tsuda in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Wataru Hatano as Kei (Gajeel in Fairy Tail), Marina Inoue as Yoshida (Armin in Shingeki No Kyojin), Yuuka Ootsubo as Suzuki (Kyouko in YuruYuri), Nobuyuki Hiyama as Rintarou (Madarame in Bleach), Kishou Taniyama as Hanazono (Natsuki in Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 1000%), Rikiya Koyama as Menjou (Kiritsugu in Fate/Zero), Rina Satou as Tsukasa (Misaka in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun) and Mariko Higashiuchi making her debut as Kanegami (so far this is her only voice acting role).

The opening theme is more like it. What I mean is that Yukari Tamura displays her cutie voice that we all are familiar of and love. Himitsu No Tobira Kara Ai Ni Kite sounds like your usual lively idol anime pop but only its cuteness enhanced thanks to Yukari Tamura singing it. I’m not sure if this song is the right motivation for you to get into farming work but it sure wants to make you shuffle your feet. The main ending theme is Mogitate Fruit Girls by the duet of Yukari Tamura and Kana Hanazawa. Lively and fruity if I should say. Fruity fanservice too. Feel like eating them? Other ending themes last for only an episode and are solos from the seiyuus of the main girls of the series such as Minori no Zokkon Mirai Yohou by Kana Hanazawa in episode 3, Ponytail No Yon Juu by Chiwa Saito in episode 8, Kimi To New Days by Marina Inoue in episode 10 and the slow but lovely Cordless Tere Phone (how cleverly named for a blushing telephone) by Yukari Tamura for episode 11.

Definitely I am not drawn into the world of agriculture and farming after watching this anime. It is a back breaking business of long hours in the sun and field in which your income is not completely certain thanks to natural climatic threats of floods and draughts. I am sure that this anime is just being anime. They’re trying to make it seem more appealing (sexual innuendoes, what else?) and make it look like agriculture and farming are fun (I know this is just an agriculture school but if you look at the characters, they aren’t weather-bitten at all – a sign that they may not be spending lots of time outside – or it could be just that anime makes everyone looks good). But my guts tell me the truth and reality are far more different than what it is portrayed here. However you can’t deny the fact that we should be thankful for all kinds of food that was grown, naturally or GMO, they still feed the ever growing population. More importantly, don’t waste them. In view of that, all farmers and people involved in the agriculture line should be given their utmost due respect. In the meantime, I can’t see myself going into farming in the near or distant future because I won’t have any time for my animes :). Besides, every guy knows how to ‘plant a seed’ or two, don’t they? :p. Thanks Becky for those unwarranted lessons.

Maken-Ki Two

August 2, 2014

Looks like it is finally here. The much awaited second season, Maken-Ki Two has arrived. That means more boobs fanservice for those who remember watching the first season. Yeah. I can barely remember the plot of it all despite the first season aired more than a couple of years ago. The biggest thing that stands out and that we remember most are the boobs fanservice and panty shoots that make up for everything else that it lacks. So viewers who are back watching this second season are thus only here for that unholy reason. New viewers might even be wondering what the heck this is. Because it is filled so much with mind numbing fanservice that it doesn’t matter if there is any plot to advance or not. Because we are all happy enough to get our boob shots and panty shoots every 10 seconds. If you still need a synopsis what this show is about other than fanservice, it’s about a school that houses people with special Element powers. But you’d probably don’t find that as interesting as the fanservice, right?

Episode 1
First scene: Girls for fanservice + Takeru getting beaten up for it. This has become a daily affair so aren’t they bored of it? Even almost late for school but made it in time. Nothing like using their Maken to cheat a little, eh? But they’ve got their first case. Somebody is stealing bras from girls and pinning them up and their face on the notice board. There have already been 6 cases so Furan calls forth an emergency meeting. The culprit must be a male with a twisted perverse nature. All the victims had their statement taken and it seems they don’t remember what happened except for seeing some black blob thingy. Each attack happens in the toilet or changing room. Furan assigns her fellow Maken-Ki girls to guard and keep watch on those areas. Of course the guys will be on patrol as usual since for obvious reasons they can’t be on this mission directly. Then another victim. A teacher this time. Takeru thinks he knows the pattern. From the first victim to the latest, the victim’s bra size increases by one. But how come they all look so humongous? The guys have been observing the boobs of the victims from several angles and their complicated (perverted) software in their brains analyzed they were just padding up. So with 7 victims and cup size A to G, who the hell has boobs size of H-cup? Haruko and Chaha… OMG… Be even amazed that there are bigger ones too. Minori is I-cup and the biggest of them all, Aki is K-cup! Definitely king of cups. Although Inaho doesn’t want her friends to become bait to catch the pervert, Haruko volunteers to be it as she is confident her friends will protect her. So everybody is hiding at all the possible entrances and exits while Haruko and Chacha are changing.

Takeru and Kengo are watching from afar again. Kengo feels somebody dropped his porn magazine and goes to take it. Then he goes off on pretence he has received a call from the others. Haruko and Chacha see a black blob entering through the air vent. It turns into a cute monkey. The monkey turns into a flasher but this effect hypnotizes them. The culprit is disguising himself as Kengo as he passes the ‘security’ to go give the girls lunch. He makes them take off their bra. Takeru hears Kengo inflicting some self pleasure and realizes the culprit has made his move. So when he barges in (how did no one notice or at least come in with him?), he gets tied up and learns about this pervert’s twisted nature to follow his perverted instincts. He is made to watch it all but Takeru gets the strength get up and to defend Haruko despite being tied up and lecture him about laws and the true perverted path he is walking down. He is going to teach him a lesson with his fist. Something odd about his Drive Duo punch. If he can destroy the entire roof and the beam probably halfway to the moon, how come the pervert’s face isn’t destroyed seeing he landed a clean punch? Oh, who cares? The case is solved. Haruko wakes up in Takeru’s arms and she is happy and glad to have believed that he would come save her. The moment is ruined when Takeru’s starts nose bleeding since he has a full view of Haruko’s bare boobs. Who is the true pervert now? Time for him to be taught a painful lesson.

Episode 2
Former Tenbi student, Mahiru Shimoyanagi is the culprit behind the theft in the academy. Maken-Ki members are on her tail to catch her. However with her wind Element, Azuki and Inaho are blown away (including their clothes). Next are Haruko and Takeru. Noticing she wields Murakumo, after blowing their clothes again, she steals her memories. The next time she wakes up, she doesn’t recognize Takeru or anybody else. Aki analyzes her and although there are no other injuries, besides her stolen memories, her Maken and Element are also taken. She’s like a normal amnesiac girl now. First thing she says is she wants to be Takeru’s wife because he saw her partially naked then. Inaho objects since she is his wife so Haruko settles to be his lover. This is acceptable? While the others are running around trying to catch Mahiru, Himegami is tasked to watch Takeru, Haruko and Inaho (playing house?) so that nothing funny happens between them. Takeru has Haruko see their photo albums but she remembers nothing. Think about it. Her memories are stolen. So how can she remember? That night she can’t sleep so she talks to Takeru that she was thinking about him in the sense that when he showed her all the photos, it means he was her only childhood friend when she had her memories. When she saw them, she somehow knew she had feelings for him since. She views this amnesia as a blessing in disguise because she gets to fall in love with the same person all over again.

Next morning as Himegami fears, Haruko is sleeping with Takeru! What’s with those love bites on his neck?! It seems Haruko has decided. She will not be satisfied to being just his lover. She will become his proper wife. And with the convenience of memory loss, despite being a second year, she joins Takeru’s class with excuse that she forgot everything and needs to relearn everything from the top. But why sitting on Takeru’s lap? Oddly, Inaho isn’t the one crying blood or emitting a deadly aura. It’s those jealous loser guys. Hah! Haruko pecks Takeru on his cheek!!! No reaction from her still? At this rate, Takeru knows he will die. So the others better hurry up and get her memories back! Azuki spots an explosion from afar. Mahiru is misusing Murakumo to rob a bank. Although Mahiru is defeated, she won’t give Haruko’s memories back. That is when Yuuka takes over. She gives Mahiru the best S&M bondage treatment ever. She may even come to like it… Mean time, Haruko calls Takeru to the gym. She takes off her clothes and gets on top of him. She wants to be filled up. So cliché. By the time Mahiru climaxes, it causes Haruko’s memories to return. She realizes the indecency she is doing and punishes Takeru. I’m sure he is more than happy to welcome her back. Her retribution included. That’s the Haruko he knows. Haruko apologizes to her friends for making them worry. Although she says she does not remember anything during her amnesia, it is one big lie because she is now reeling in embarrassment about her confession to Takeru that night.

Episode 3
Inaho brings her pet cat, Monji to school so that they can play with him. However they are swamped with work and backlogs of it. It’s going to take a while. Make that a very long while. When the guys comment how Monji has it easy, Monji releases his Element and turns all the girls into real life cat girls! Meow! Otaku’s paradise? As explained, Monji probably got this ability naturally after being with them so long. Every morning Takeru gets his taste of the girls’ Element punishment, right? Now that the girls are cats, no work is being done and other students are swooning at how cute they are. Uh huh. They’re acting like cats. CUTE!!! Inaho tries resisting but eventually succumbs to her feline nature. When Inaho and Haruko start seducing Takeru, he realizes that it is mating season for cats. Yeah. An excuse to turn those girls into horny cats and satisfy our perverted fantasies. So basically… Our cat girls want to go f*ck somebody. Uh huh. They’re terrorizing the guys. Some like Gen are having it ‘good’ since it’s a 3 way fight between Aki, Furan and Yuuka. Takeru splashes water on those seducing girls and it did bring them to their senses. They need to find Monji but as Inaho explains, she hasn’t seen him since yesterday and could be missing. Takeru and Inaho run around the school to look for him and Inaho gets a feeling he might be on that Amanohara mountain, the place where they first met. They find him there but how are they going to get him to change everyone back to normal? It’s like Inaho and Monji have this telepathic bond between them because without saying anything, after they reunite, Monji’s Element power returns everyone back to normal. Some caught in quite embarrassing situations. Thankfully, nobody got done in. Inaho explains that Monji probably turned everyone into a cat thinking they would play with him if he had done so. Next day, with everyone back to normal, they have tons of work to finish. But some can’t stop talking like a cat still. The lingering effect? Kengo has captured on video Himegami as a cat. Upon seeing it, she throws it away. Shouldn’t she delete it first? Takeru guesses that the guys didn’t transform into a cat most probably is because Monji himself is a guy. Notice his paws on Inaho’s boobs? Yeah. Cats are perverts.

Episode 4
Flashback shows Kimi was always a loner. She became friends with Chacha because they like the same manga. Haruko and Azuki catch Kimi and Chacha in some compromising yuri position. What’s this? Himegami is in and making it a threesome?! It’s not that they have turned into lesbian lovers but they are preparing for Tenbi Manga Festival (TenMan), a doujin convention where there is cosplay and manga. What they were doing was masquerading, acting out skits while dressed in cosplay. Seriously, what were they trying to act out? Kimi wants to use the guys as naked models but I guess there is objection from certain parties. Because the duo have been working so hard to participate in this, everyone decides to help out. Then there is this sketch that Kimi is doing with Haruko and Himegami, Haruko’s bikini is slowly becoming undone because of her voluptuous figure. She can’t move an inch since Kimi is working. In the nick of time she finishes and Haruko manages to grab and protect her modesty before the guys can see anything. Yeah. Too fast to see Himegami’s fist and kicks coming too. Oddly, Kimi’s sketch turns out horrible… Only nice letterings and sound effects… Everybody works hard till the last day. TenMan opens with a blast and is packed with people. Would you believe it? Kimi’s manga was sold out. There are deeper things I suppose that we won’t understand. As the masquerade competition is about to begin, suddenly the cosplayers feel their clothes tightening to a point that it’s strangling. Monsters come out alive from the manga and cause a rampage. I guess this is time for our Maken-Ki people to show off some Maken moves and go into action (other than fanservice). They free the cosplayers from their choking dress and evacuate everyone. Kimi and Chacha won’t forgive those responsible for ruining everything but the culprits are easy to find. A bunch of guys watching it all calmly instead of panicking. They’re doing this to see the faces of those cosplayers in pain and couldn’t care less about others as long as they are satisfied. Of course with such cocky attitude, it goes without saying they get whacked by the justice Maken powers of the duo. Once they’re out, the monster rampage ends. Kimi is sad that all their hard work went to waste but Chacha puts it that this isn’t the last event. And so they plan to enter another one and this time it’s a foursome masquerade between Kimi, Chacha, Himegami and Haruko. Man, they’ve got to find a better masquerade topic to practice or at least do it somewhere else instead of right at the entrance of the clubroom when the guys can just waltz in and see a free show.

Episode 5
When Aki was young, she wanted to become a great wife. If she had boobs this big when she was small… Fast forward present day and her mom is calling her about her boyfriend. To stop her nagging, she figured out the convenient victim answer: Takeru. That guy came in to seek treatment and little did he know that the selfie pose they made will get them into trouble. Or rather, him. He gets knocked out by some MIBs and the next thing he knows, he is handcuffed to Aki’s hand on a bed in a resort island bungalow owned by Tenbi. Aki’s mom even left a note saying she doesn’t mind them having this illicit teacher-student affair as long as she can get a grandchild. Hint, hint. And that handcuff has some Element on it so it won’t come off till 2 days later. In the mean time, Takeru has to put up doing things together with her like going to the toilet, cooking and bathing while trying to keep his ‘son’ from ‘acting up’. I wonder if he is using his Element to keep his ‘son’ from doing that. If so… Respect! Of course, staying indoors would be boring so they take a stroll in the beach and the sudden rain has them take shelter underneath a tree. The lightning scares her so Takeru plays the role of the comforting man. Aki wonders if she’ll be a good wife and Takeru was kind enough to tell her she’s got all the good qualities that a woman would have and that every guy at school including himself admires her. Seriously. She really wants him to kiss her just for this time when a lightning blast blows them away (causing Takeru’s lips to touch her cheek). It’s not nature’s wrath. Rather, Himegami and Haruko just arriving! When they learn Takeru has been suspiciously missing at school, alongside Aki they investigate and find it strange that somebody is occupying the bungalow at this time. True enough, it was them. Takeru tries to explain himself (that he didn’t do anything) but I think loves seeing what is going to happen to this guy. Because she didn’t bat an eyelid telling them the things they did together. Bathing and sleeping. When Takeru tries to show the Element handcuff they are tied together, it’s gone. What handcuff? Good news: Takeru is free to run like the wind! Bad news: He can never outrun the lightning strikes of Murakumo! Who says lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice or thrice or quadruple times? And so back in school, our girls are sulking while Takeru is having a hard time pleasing them. Aki is grateful to Takeru that she is able to experience being a lover for the first time and keeps that selfie as a memento.

Episode 6
Furan thinks it is time to choose new members for the student council. Among the first years in their group, the guys are definitely out. Wise choice. As for Inaho, she’s too airhead for the post. That leaves Minaya as the only possible candidate. When she is told about this, she is ecstatic that she can be closer to Haruko and starts fantasizing all the delusions with her. Looks good, no? As the next step to be part of the student council, she has to undergo a study camp. Erm… How come it looks more like a torture temple? Yuuka is to train Minaya in the ways of the ninja from bungee jumping to riding a ‘rodeo machine’ among other ‘torture devices’. You should see the one with the paintbrush stroking her lower anatomy… Don’t even ask why this was necessary. But each time Minaya gets through as long as she fantasizes about Haruko. It’s like having pleasure and pain together. But the focus part is difficult because she needs to think about nothing but blankness. Haruko seems to always ‘invade’ her mind… Though she does well, Furan has an assignment for her and that is to secretly observe Haruko and submit a report. And so she becomes like a stalker hiding in various places observing Haruko. She gets upset whenever Takeru comes into the picture. She even has this hand puppet of Haruko and acts out her fantasies with her. As the more she observes, one day she sees Haruko acting out with a Takeru hand puppet just like her. It makes her feel sad that the real Haruko won’t ever do or say things she fantasized. Even if Takeru is a useless pervert, she understands and accepts him completely. It made Minaya think about Haruko’s feelings. And so she decides to withdraw her candidacy because she realized that her feelings for Haruko are one-sided. A person like her who cannot think of the feelings of others has no right to serve in the student council. But Furan says that because she came to realize that fact, it means she is qualified to be a future student council member. This motivates Minaya to work hard and do her best. Sure she said that? Because, this means more study camp training. Uh huh. Tomika isn’t as soft as Yuuka. Is training going to be S&M theme this time? This is what you’ll have to endure just to reach the person you love. Is it worth it?

Episode 7
Himegami spots a rare teddy bear at the shop and buys it. She calls it Rudolf and while changing, she notices Rudolf trying to take a peek whenever she changes her stand. Is there something creepy going on? Himegami gets the shock of her life when Rudolf talks! Worse, he is a big pervert! Although he is very disappointed that his new master in 70 years is a flat chest. Attempts to lock and chain him fail because it’s like he is some sort of magician and can get out of any binds. Even when she orders Nozuchi to eliminate him, instead she fell for his charms! It was pretty wild stuff that his crotch area got torn off! It gets worse when Haruko and Inaho come back because this teddy is in full swing and loving those big melons. The unsuspecting girls hug Rudolf but his caressing makes them fall into ecstasy! Is he this good?! Himegami gives him one last warning but we know he will never sit still. He dirties himself so that the girls can wash him. That was the last straw. Himegami returns Rudolf to the store and doesn’t even want a refund. But the shopkeeper refuses! Yup, she knows Rudolf’s habits. Uh huh. She must have fallen into his wiles too. Himegami is forced to take him back since Rudolf is molesting her boobs like a water bed and is in danger of succumbing to him. Himegami is one disappointed girl. Shouldn’t teddies do nothing and look cute? But Rudolf notes that being loved and doing nothing is tiring. 70 years ago when war ravaged his country, he could do nothing but watch his young master die. Himegami is about to tear up on his story but it was a distraction to flip her skirt.

Then he goes on a caressing spree and you know where he is because he leaves a trail of satisfied women on the ground! Himegami finds him in the midst of molesting Aki (the best boobs ever!) but Yuuka calls her to search for a culprit running wild with his Element. Himegami finds the dude who seems to be breaking the fourth wall about wanting to replace her and become the next star of this series. Himegami used up all her Element for Rudolf throughout the day and can’t fight back. Before she gets hammered, here comes Rudolf to the rescue. Spewing back his guest star status that he is, he is going to teach that small fry a lesson as he summons the power of his brethren from around the world. He then rubs the culprit’s crotch to send him into ecstasy. I guess this confirms this teddy is good with his hands. When Himegami wants to thank him, Rudolf is on the verge of losing all his Element power. In his final moments in emotional Himegami’s hands, he is glad he is able to do something for his master instead of being loved. Say, doesn’t Himegami look very much like his previous master? And then he goes silent forever. Himegami laments that if he was really a guy, she would fall in love with him. Seriously? Where does that put Takeru then? In the aftermath, Rudolf sits in Himegami’s room like a normal teddy. But it’s just that perverted bear using all his might not to move so he can watch them change and get naked all he wants. Uh huh. Better to stay silent for a while.

Episode 8
Minori hears several girls badmouthing her about her boobs and all. Infuriated, she resigns as principal and will let those students get a taste of their own medicine. She is going to appoint a student to be a principal. But who? Kengo so happen to turn up to hand in his essay apology. Next thing we know, Kengo becomes the principal and his Gestapo guys are ruling with an iron fist under the impression that principal’s orders are absolute! Don’t believe he is the big boss? Well, there is Minori’s public announcement of retiring and leaving everything to him. Of course this is part of her plan to make the school fall into ruin and will force those ungrateful students to appreciate her. So first thing, he initiates some limbo thingy that all girls must do to pass through the front gate. Damn those boobs got in the way. Azuki. Chacha. Haruko. None passed. They need a flat chest… Himegami! She breaks the limbo stick instead. Throughout the day, we see Kengo and his men asserting his authority in classes. Lessons are substituted with something erotic or horny. Like how Haruko is reading from an erotic novel for modern Japanese; Calculating breast size for maths class (Eureka!) and since Himegami has none, how is she going to calculate hers? She doesn’t. She punches Kengo; Using your own body as a sushi plate in home economics; Skipping ropes as warming up in gym followed by Greek wrestling; The cafeteria is replaced with foods like mushroom, sausages, popsicles and banana.

A field trip that involves visiting a tumbler factory that resembles penis; Body art for art classes; Takeru joining the ranks of the Gestapo claiming peer pressure (yeah, right. More like he didn’t want to be left out of the fun); Naming erotic places for geography; The last straw has got to be a strip rock-scissors-paper tournament that all girls must participate after school. The girls are furious as they start a rebellion to bring down the principal! With many of the guys taken out, Kengo is in his last fort and still complaining about this insurgency that has to take place before his ultimate paradise. Even if he is captured, he can still run his mouth so Himegami challenges him for the principal post via strip rock-scissors-paper that he wants so much. She is confident she can beat him as she has never lost. True to her words, Himegami is on a winning streak and possible flawless victory. Kengo is down to his last pair of underwear when he has this twisted thinking. Could it be possible that Himegami is so passionate about this because she wants to see him naked? So he gladly loses the final round and sends all the girls screaming. Nobody wants to see his ‘elephant’. Fast forward to around 100 years in the future whereby old Kengo is on his death bed surrounded by his family. He sees Himegami as an angel coming down to get him but she turns into a devil stomping her foot on his face. He then passes on with the most satisfying smile on his face. That’s it?! This is how this damn random episode ends????!!!!! WTF???!!!

Episode 9
Azuki is fresh beating up some delinquents. Since it began to rain, she borrows the delinquent’s cap and jacket and makes a run. She bumps into Furan. Trying to hide her face, Azuki holds out an umbrella for her since Furan looked a little in pain. But thanks to that misunderstanding, Furan has fallen in love with this ‘guy’! And her friends can tell since she is swooning like mad. Of course they are disappointed when Azuki explains who that ‘guy’ was. She is going to clear it up by telling the truth but Yuuka thinks they should go on a date. Imagine if Furan finds out her first love was a girl, imagine the trauma she will have to face. She already has this disdain for men and it would be even worse. Do you really want her to live a lonely life? Everybody agrees to this plan except for Azuki who has no say in this. Masquerading as Kazuki (I wonder how they restrain her boobs so well since hers are much bigger than Furan), they meet up on their date. Furan looks girly in her frilly dress. Azuki is made to go through the plan that involves getting close to each other on a crowded bus and playing Twister that has them ending up in very ambiguous positions. Then they get to be a model dressed up as a bride and a groom. Azuki accidentally trips on Kazuki’s gown and their lips met. Their first kiss… Next thing we know, the duo are both naked in bed and Furan wants to do last night’s passion again. WTF?! For real?! Did it really happen?! Next thing we know, they’re in a maternity hospital and Furan has given birth to a healthy girl. Only thing is, she looks so much like Yuuka! Damn this was just a nightmare!!! From the sex part at least.

Furan is so happy that Yuuka can tell. She feels like all this is like a dream and Yuuka expresses her wish for her to find happiness. Furan gets a message from Kazuki to meet and talk something important. This is Azuki’s plan to tell her the truth because she can’t take anymore of this. However Furan is a step ahead. She wants to elope! She came prepared for it and will follow ‘him’ to the ends of the earth. But Azuki says if she is willing to abandon her friends. Suddenly those delinquents show up for payback. Azuki cannot fight back since they take Furan as hostage. Azuki’s real identity is busted when the delinquents rip her shirt apart. Furan becomes furious seeing one of her students getting beaten up so with her powerful Maken Habaya, she breaks free and teaches those losers a big lesson. Azuki is ready for any punishment but Furan plays it cool. She thanks Kazuki for showing her a beautiful dream despite it was a short-lived one. It’s time to break up and they part ways. But the next day in school, Azuki gets punished for fighting with delinquents from other schools. What about Furan herself? Oh, she wasn’t with her yesterday, right? Uh huh. Her pride will not allow her to admit she was on a fake date with her. So much about the beautiful dream. Although Furan is back to normal, the rest wonder if that experience has lessened her scorn for men. Time to put it to the test. Chacha throws Takeru as the guinea pig into Furan’s breasts. She screams. Haruko comes running for divine punishment! Oh well. At least Furan is her usual self. The biggest loser: Azuki. Because… She wants her first kiss back!

Episode 10
A blast to the past when Minori is still a student of Tenbi and the student council president. Along with Aki and Tomika, they force Gen to join them since he is the one who creates the Maken equipment. Although he reluctantly joins, he won’t make Maken for them, which pretty much defeats the purpose. While cleaning the pool, they see this handsome guy, Akaya getting involved in a showdown with another guy over some hot girl of the school, Nohana Saku. Before Minori could quell this, Akaya shoots the guy with his Maken gun. Minori misunderstood and was upset but as Gen analyzed the bullet, it has Element with hypnotizing effects and the guy is just asleep. Minori wants him to join their group but he refuses. Later Aki shows that the camera in the principal’s room shows the safe is being opened. An invisible person? Normally the camera could have picked up what kind of Maken ability the person is using and since there is none, they conclude it can only mean some long distance concealing is being used. Plus, the safe contains documents pertaining to the Tenbi’s foundation. As this school is a secret government project, if the public knows about it, there will be a scandal and the school might be shut down. Of course those in the safe are fakes but this made Minori feel the need for Akaya to join the team even more. So she tries again and despite knowing his background as an overseas agent sent to maintain order, Akaya once again declines because although they have the same goal, it doesn’t mean they need to work together.

Late that night, a human thief enters the principal’s office to steal. But Tomika and Aki are waiting for him. They know he is being controlled by someone else as no ordinary humans can enter the barrier protecting Tenbi. Gen happened to stumble upon Akaya ‘taking a night scroll’. But they’re both targeting the same culprit who turns out to be Nohana. Actually she too is being controlled. But they can’t fight her as the culprit warns she is her hostage and doing anything funny means she will make Nohana kill herself. Suddenly bright fireworks light up the place and the girls are wearing sexy cosplay outfits. This is part of their plan to have Akaya join the group and also nail the culprit. Thanks to Aki’s theory, the culprit is hiding in the shadows of Nohana. The bright lights limit her movement and thus doing her crime at night she is able to hide in the shadows. They might be celebrating too early because the culprit unleashes her shadow swamp that has everyone sinking inside her shadow quicksand. She doesn’t reveal anything much except that many people want to nip their powers in the bud. Gen manages to take his Maken ring out of his pocket and throw it to Minori’s free hand. Her fire Element is so powerful that it breaks her free. She says that because of her Element powers, she cannot go to normal school. Tenbi is her special home and if she had to choose between her life and her school, she’d pick Tenbi any time. Minori’s super Dragon Ace fireball knocks the culprit out. Then she invites Akaya to join the student council in which this time he accepts. And so this is the story that Minori is telling our Maken-Ki people. Uh huh. It’s the 37th time and it doesn’t get old. The alert is sound that a pervert is on the loose so our gang go into action to stop that pervert from the first episode. I guess some never learn. And so powerful their Maken they unleash that it could have turned the tower into a local Leaning Tower of Pisa! So Minori, you worry of leaving the future to these kids?

“Boobs Are Number One!”
After taking a brief look at my previous blog on the first season of this series, I was suddenly at a lost. Yeah. There were some other ongoing that contributed to the plot and since there are none in this season, this one is highly and purely a filler second season. It is like as though each episode can serve as a standalone and what’s more, each of the main characters of Maken-Ki have their episode of focus like Furan’s date, Minaya’s training, Kimi and Chacha’s TenMan, Himegami’s annoyance with the teddy bear and Inaho’s episode (although it is mainly Monji in the limelight) having everyone turned into cats. Heck, even Kengo had his own nonsensical turn of becoming a principal. What the heck was that all about? That episode clearly signalled to me that this entire season was just crappy fillers. Although the final episode does give viewers a view on Minori and co’s time during their heydays, it still cannot save this overall season which is a bunch of fanservice filler crap. That’s why I thought that there are only 10 episodes this season instead of the usual dozen. Not many fillers to put in, eh?

Which is to say that some of the characters that we have seen back in the first season did not make a damn appearance in this sequel. Remember that group called Venus? Uh huh. I remember there was an idol girl whose name sounded like a country from the Middle East. And there is pair of twin lolis too. Oh, an arrogant Chinese chick and… Uhm, the other girl. Yeah, can’t remember that strict serious babe. So where the heck are they? Maybe they’ve gone back overseas and never returned. You might also remember about Otohime and Kamigari who seem to be possible antagonists but you don’t get to see them here at all. Maybe they made a cameo but I surely didn’t notice. Certainly stuffs that got me wondering since the first season like “Takeru is the son of Sensei” thingy is non-existent here. Thinking more about it only gives me headache so I better drop it. So really. This anime had stuffs and plots or developments like that? Can’t believe it.

Because they wanted to give each of the Maken-Ki members a spot of the limelight, in a good way it is good that none of them are singled out but it makes it feel so filler-like. I’ve already said that, didn’t I? So there isn’t much of a development in terms of the story and the characters and whether it is a good or bad thing, there isn’t much focus on Takeru or the catfights in his harem. He now feels like a side character equivalent to Kengo. I don’t know what the deal with him is because at the end of every next episode preview, he is always saying “Now we’ve done it”. Done what? Being too clichéd and overwhelming this season with mindless fanservice? Yeah. Maybe. Speaking of phrases, I think “Japan is number one!” is the phrase of this season because that is what the guys will say before they get hammered by the girls, fly high into the sky or in some deluded fantasies that the girl is having some sort of orgasm. Really. If those happen, then you go say that. Yup. Japan is number one for bringing us exposure to all sorts of fanservice. We love you Japan! Since many of the filler episodes end just abruptly, you’ll wonder what kind of impact it has on the overall story. None. It’s like everything reset itself like it never happened. Take a good example, Kengo’s stint as principal. You think that will really happen? Not if the story becomes a Kengo route. What about that teddy bear in Himegami’s position? Speaking of him, I feel he is the best and coolest character this season but it’s a shame that he doesn’t appear anymore. Stuck in her room?

If you are an ecchi enthusiast, you might say that the fanservice doesn’t disappoint. This is what this series is all about, isn’t it? Yeah, it ‘shines’ in this department. Some girls like Haruko and Chacha already have boobs so huge that you think it can only exist in anime (which it does) and that it is an outright fantasy and delusion for guys who love big busts. Even bigger than them are Aki and Minori whose boobs are so big that they look like they come straight out from some hentai flick and teasing us viewers with their big bouncy ‘water balloons’. I am not sure if there are any other aired versions of this series but the one I watched has a mix of censorship. Some scenes will have that black hole censorship while others like as though it slipped through the censor’s hands. Makes you wonder if they are being half-hearted in wanting to censor or not. Of course as goes without saying, buy the DVDs and you can get all those delicious scenes unhindered.

I don’t feel much about the action here. It feels like it is pretty much reduced since this season felt like fillers. It is like the action part is to take a break from the fanservice. It is like the girls pull off their Maken moves just to make us remember once in a while that they are power users. Even so, there is hardly anything exciting or any variety in their moves since of course we are pretty much focused on the fanservice. Even if they do without the action parts or the girls summoning their Maken equipment, I figure we can get by a lot without losing much.

And so in the end, I’ve said it too often that this season is a waste of potential for the series by filling it up with filler craps and making it up with excessive fanservice to please a certain target audience (read: single otaku perverts). It could have been slightly better if they advance the plot even just a bit but I guess they chose to take the easy way out and make some fast bucks. I know that may sound critical but sorry, that is how I feel. Uh huh. Don’t believe that I am here for the story development instead of fanservice, do you? Thus I am a bit sceptical if there is a third season in the making and the series is already infamous (or famous if you’re a fan for the series) for its fanservice and this season just enhanced that effect. Just to be fair, although I am not drawn in by the fanservice, thanks for it anyway. Because no matter how much fanservice this anime has, we are still perverts for watching it. Japan is number one!

GJ-Bu@

August 1, 2014

I thought they were going to do another season when they announced GJ-Bu was given the green light for another production. And then it turns out, GJ-Bu@ is just a special (it wasn’t even termed as OVA or OAD) that lasts 46 minutes or 2 episodes lump into one, whichever way you want to look at it. After all, what is more to tell when the seniors of the club who happen to be the main characters for the show have graduated? They can always go back in time for some flashbacks but I think it would be too cliché.

New York! New York!
* As usual, the GJ Club members are doing nothing. But wait! Something feels different. Why are there New York skyscrapers suddenly outside their window?! Why the hell are they in the Big Apple?! As explained by Mao, since the club never had any graduating trip, this one is it! Call it their lost time. So Mao and the other graduates of the club just came back just for this? But how the heck did they end up in New York? Did somebody teleport the clubroom here? They say Mori did it. That’s all the explanation you’ll ever get.
* Okay, so why New York? Because like their club, GJ. New York can also be shortened to 2 abbreviations, NY. But Kyolo mentions shouldn’t they pick Los Angeles as in LA? Besides, it would fit their theme of lost time, as in Lost Angeles. Geddit? The girls ignore him…
* Tamaki explains the reason why she wears bells as her hair accessories because she views automatic doors as her enemy. They never open for her. Wearing bells never did too and she thought is she was heavier and stepped on the doormat, the door would. But it never. So she always had to wait for somebody to walk in while she follows the person closely. Same case if she wants to exit.
* Mao gets excited with everything American and tries to Americanized everyone and get them into the American groove. Talking all about American food makes them hungry and it is decided they’ll go for hamburgers. This sets Shion into some hamburger drooling mode. She can’t wait to taste those meat and buns. Mori rides her Harley bike around New York to get those burgers.
* The gang dresses up in so called American outfits. Cowboys, Red Indians… The younger sisters of Kasumi, Jill and Seira too make a stopover.
* When Mori returns, she does the obligatory maid twirl for Kyolo. Ah… Happiness… It comes with a price that has the other girls beat him up.
* Everyone digs into their hamburger. Shion is so excited that she forgot to take the wrapper off as she eats them!
* As for desserts, Mao suggests to do a Halloween event. Is that really a New York culture? It’s not even October… Their plan is to nab all the candies in the city and to do that, they force Kyolo wear some sexy cat outfit. So uninspiring that you can see the dead annoying look in their eyes…
* The girls are happy they got a large haul of candies (I want to eat them!) although Kyolo is the sad one because they didn’t do any sightseeing despite all that.
* Mao notes they can retire in peace and this means Kyolo is now the president of the club.

Grumpy, Grumpy, Gloomy…
* Kyolo stumbles upon Mao at the tea shop. But she ignores him and doesn’t utter a word. What gives? Megumi, Shion and Kirara are closely spying on them.
* Seems Mao and the seniors have graduated. Kyolo wonders if she is still keeping in touch with them. No answer. She calls Shion and is furious she is late. Shion’s handphone rings but the girls go hide in the tree.
* Kyolo still seeks answers to why Mao is avoiding him when Tamaki comes by. She wonders why they still hang out with each other even after graduation. She wants to know and doesn’t want to be left out. This makes Mao mad and blows her top. She tells her this is the last time she’ll ever see her and leaves. Right under Kyolo’s nose, the other girls kidnap Tamaki. Time for change in plans.
* Kyolo gets call from Megumi to meet at the park. There, he sees Mao sulking alone. Trying to be nice didn’t work. She leaves. What’s with the sour face? That is when the other girls show up and say they won’t let her go home tonight.
* GJ Club members are going to have a sleepover at their clubroom. Of course this is illegal as prior permission is needed for this. But Megumi reasons this is Sunday so school rules do not apply. Really? Mao is still sulking in a corner, mentioning graduates cannot come back. The girls talk about nostalgia and the places they usually sit at when they were in the club.
* Kyolo thinks they should tone down a bit or the guard will catch them. This leads them to discuss what might happen if they are caught. They’ll get scolding, be expelled and of course the club will cease to exist. Shion stands up and says doing things by the rules isn’t fun. They’re having fun because they’re breaking the rules (kids, don’t try this anyhow). This is at least what Mao would say. But Mao is still gloomy. Why the heck is she doing this when they are not part of the club anymore?
* Kirara hears the guard passing and they all keep quiet till he passes. Mao starts to cry. She was scared that if they all got caught, the club would have to disband. Kyolo promises the club will never disappear/ because GJ Club lives in their hearts. They are GJ Club. So don’t worry about it. Guess what? Mao bites him!!! Back to normal?
* Mao wants Kyolo to take responsibility for tonight. If they are caught, he must shoulder the blame and die with honour by committing seppuku. Does he need to go that far? She is going to bite him again but the other girls hold her back. They are glad Mao is back to normal since she was depressed lately. This was part of Megumi’s plan that if she met Kyolo, she would think about the GJ Club and be somewhat revitalized. Instead, she was stubborn and won’t talk to him.
* Kyolo says they are free to come here whenever they want. They’ll welcome them with open arms. But Mao reminds that graduates cannot come back. That won’t change. Because from now on, it is they who will be creating a new GJ Club. Even if they are graduates from GJ Club, their bonds are eternal. In that case, Kyolo also encourages them to contact him when not in the clubroom. Keep in touch.
* Mao suggests having fun outside so they get dressed in their school uniform. They run riot throughout the night (where the heck is the guard?) drawing “I-wuz-here” graffiti on the blackboard, running in the hallway, drinking from the vending machine, playing baseball and finally diving into the swimming pool. Who cares, right? Let’s have fun for tonight!

Good-Bye Club?
Well, it was pretty okay especially for those who have watched the TV series, this is just like icing on the cake and a grand farewell to the seniors who would no longer be around. But then again, they can always come by to hang out any time, right? Rules are meant to be broken! There isn’t much to expect from this special since it mostly remains the trademark formula of the series with its type of comedy and interaction between the characters. Even the art style and the calming pace of the story is also as consistent so there is nothing shocking that will jolt you out of your seat. In the end, nothing much really changes because you can still expect them to be what they are as they were back in the TV series. Just that some of them have moved on to another higher institute of learning. Therefore this special may be a bore to some but a pleasure to others especially if you are a big fan of the series. One thing ‘sweet’ about this special is the food. Yum… I would love to get my hands on those American foods and candy bars… Dang, if I was only in that club. So it is all about the bond and special memories that they spend together. Just like in life we have to move on to make new memories and sometimes we think back and cherish on the old sweet ones that we made. Good times may not last forever but as long as you keep it close in your heart, it will never disappear. Always there. Like it was just yesterday.