Toaru Hikuushi E No Koiuta

September 28, 2014

Long ago when I was young, I had this ambition to become a pilot. I don’t know if it was my earnest childhood dream or was it something imbued by my parents since I was the one among my cousins with the best eyesight. At least that was what we used to believe as the main requirement to become a pilot. Many years later, just like any other child with such big dreams, it all fizzles out to be just a distant memory thanks to reality and society. Yeah, just blaming on something, right? Although I never came close to being a pilot or even start taking the first step in chasing that dream, at least I can still watch some pilot themed anime, right? That’s like a consolation prize, right? No? Okay, whatever. Anyway having watched Toaru Hikuushi E No Koiuta (The Pilot’s Love Song) reminded me of this old dream. And no, it didn’t rekindle it either.

As I later found out, this is part of the Hikuushi (Pilot or more accurately, Airplane) light novel series by Koroku Inumura. There was a film called Toaru Hikuushi E No Tsuioku (The Princess And The Pilot) that came out in 2011 but I didn’t see it so I am not sure if this anime series has some sort of direct connection in the Hikuushi universe. I am sure in a way it does since how far do different worlds in an author’s work deviate? That’s just my hunch. As far as this fantasy and pilot themed anime is concerned, this story is about an ex-prince of a kingdom who leaves for a journey of no return. With only hatred and vengeance on his mind, the journey will have him meet several people and he will learn about love and friendship.

Episode 1
Kal-el and Ariel Albus are part of the many new trainee pilots embarking on a journey to find the End of the Sky. In a grand emotional farewell ceremony that sees families and parents parting from their beloved children, the pilots soon fly in formation accompanying the giant floating island of Isla. It is narrated about some old legend that some drop rained for 7 days and nights and spread across the flagstone. However it fell off the edge and into the abyss. The flagstone mourned and pleaded to God to save the rain. The rain again pooled upon the 2 flagstones and split once more. When it split a third time, it created the Holy Spring which shot water high into the sky. Part of the flagstone flew up with it and it became an island floating in the sky, Isla. To solve the mystery beginning the Creation Myth of Saint Aldista, thus a journey is set out for the End of the Sky which humanity has never seen before. Nina Viento gives the official signal to go forth. Kal-el is overcome with rage upon seeing her but Ariel’s distraction took all that anger away. Due to wind turbulence, Kal-el and Ariel had a bumpy landing on the pilot academy on Isla. Fellow pilot, Ignacio Axis had the same problem too but when Kal-el tries to cheer him up, Ignacio ignores him like he never existed. Such foul mood. Even among the trainees, nobles have better treatment than commoners in which Kal-el and Ariel belong to. Uh huh. They have to walk all the way to their dorm whom Shizuka Hazome is the manager. Kal-el and Ariel’s constant bickering feels like some sort of a running gag for the series because each is claiming the other as the little sibling. So who is really the younger one? Later that evening as Kal-el is in one of his frustration mode about this journey to the unknown, he meets this beautiful girl, Claire Cruz having trouble with her bicycle. At first she was afraid of him but he offers to fix it and accompany her back to her home at Van Whyl since she is under a curfew. He peddles her back as they admire the sunset scenery. Because Isla is flying among the clouds, it feels like as though they are flying through it. Felt good? Well, they can’t see where they’re going so they crash into the lake. Felt good? But you can tell that some sort of romance is blooming between them when they’re staring at each other’s eyes for too long. Once they reach the guard post, Claire has to go it alone as only nobles are allowed beyond this point. But it made Kal-el’s day. Happy to have met such a pretty lady. And then it suddenly turns to a big frown when he thinks about his late mother.

Episode 2
Nina is the provisional governor part of the Council of Four administrators overseeing the governing of Isla. They know this is going to be a one way trip. The trainee pilots assemble on their first day. Legendary pilot, Admiral Luis De Alarcon gives his speech that includes the 3 known continents occupied by the nations of Balsteros, Qi and Benares. The countries are separated by a great endless waterfall and the spring in the midst of the vast ocean is known as the Holy Spring. Luis is said to be the only pilot to have seen it. Legend says that sometimes flying rock islands appear from the Holy Spring and will cross the seas eventually reaching a place they know nothing of which they call End of the Sky. While Kal-el and Ariel are out in town, they make friends with childhood friends, Benjamin Sharif and Sharon Morcoz. Nearby, a commotion between a noble, Fausto Fidel Melze and commoners, Noriaki Kashiwabara and Nanako Hanasaki. Noriaki accidentally spilled his ice cream on Fausto’s shirt. Fausto wants to mete out discipline when big guy Wolfgang Baumann walks up to Fausto and wipes the ice cream off his shirt with his handkerchief. An untoward incident is averted. Back in the dorm, the boys and girls cook dinner and everyone is amazed at Ariel’s good cooking. Some introduce themselves and their reasons for joining this pilot academy. Juan Rodrigo Bandereas becomes their homeroom teacher and he makes them run to the hangar. Good workout? Kal-el is looking for Claire but she is nowhere to be seen. That’s because Countess Ulshyrra seems to be against her of going to school. But uncle Luis makes his decision that she will attend the aerial division of the school.

Bandereas and Sonia Palez explain to the trainees the basics of the plane they will be flying. Mitsuo Fukuhara is a plane enthusiast and eagerly shares his knowledge on it. However Benjamin questions Isla’s military might because of the heavy artillery and weapons on the island. What are they defending against? Well, he is told to shut up and focus on his training. Because the plane fits 2 pilots, it is essential for them to pair up with a partner they trust. So the pairings are predictably like this: Benjamin-Sharon, Mitsuo-Chiharu De Lucia (because chubby boy has a crush on this babe) and Wolfgang-Marco Santos (I can’t help think how gay this pairing is). Ariel is cock sure that Kal-el would end up pairing with her and is waiting for him to come ask her. When Claire finally arrives, Fausto thinks of asking her to be her partner but Kal-el beats him to it. Fausto tries to use his family’s connection and status to scare him but Kal-el hits back that the only reason his family is on Isla is because they are exiled. Fausto doesn’t think Kal-el knows about etiquette but on the contrary, he knows more about it than him. He gets down on his knees and takes Claire’s hand (like a proposal?) and requests her to be his partner in which she accepts. Shocking? In that case, who the hell will Ariel pair with? I guess she has no choice. Ignacio doesn’t have a partner too. The trainees take their planes to the sky as Kal-el remembers he told his mom he wanted to be a pilot and fly forever. Mom agreed to it and also doesn’t want anyone to tie him down. At the end of the flight, the commoners get to know Claire and some are surprised at her decision to pair with a commoner than a noble. But as Ignacio tells us, Kal-el is no commoner. He is watching Kal-el who was once the crown prince of the Balsteros Empire, Karl La Hire.

Episode 3
Claire is given a taste of Ariel’s curry. It’s good! So damn good that the rest of the guys start devouring it like as though there is some sort of drug in it. Really! Happy mood slightly ruined when Ignacio comes in and then leaves. Claire needs to go home since it’s almost her curfew. Kal-el wants to accompany her but Claire is fine of her own. The rest wonder if it’s a good idea. Shouldn’t he go after her? Next day in training, the reason why the plane carries 2 pilots is that one flies it and the other is a gunner. If you ask me, I thought it was pretty silly that the gunner had to carry a rifle. I thought there should be a gun stuck to the plane! How can you aim properly in such windy altitude? No wonder Kal-el is having a hard time till Claire tells him the best position to aim better. By that time, he is already out of bullets. Down on the grounds, Fausto tries to court Claire. It leads to a talk that a member of the Melze family, Leopold was a hero during the Wind Revolution. Nanako has heard a rumour that the ex-crown prince of Balsteros has snuck on this island seeking revenge against Nina. Of course everyone dismisses it since the crown prince died during the revolution. But Kal-el knows it better. 6 years ago when the rebels led by Frontier Duke Ameriano attacked the palace, with the help of Nina’s wind power, they brought down the royalty. The people were rejoiced when they were overthrown and no love lost. Karl was seething with anger especially with Nina who stood there staring at them with her cold stare. Karl’s father was beheaded and Balsteros became a republic. Karl and his mom were imprisoned. She wanted Karl to forgive because if he does so, the light will wipe away the darkness. Mother is taken away, paraded like a pig and that was the last Karl saw of her. Probably the prison security was lax (or the guard pitying the kid) so Karl broke out and tried to chase after her but to no avail. Because they cannot send a child to the guillotine, they had him rot in prison instead. Prison warden, Michael Albus decided to adopt Karl as his son while his colleague was to make the people convince that the former crown prince is dead. The trainees will be flying away from Isla for the first time. While flying in formation, Fausto and his lackeys decide to ‘bully’ Kal-el. They purposely try to ram him and although they miss, it sends Kal-el flying into the clouds. He starts to panic when he cannot see so Claire had to calm him down and guide him to read his instruments. They manage to get out of the cloud but are separated from everyone. They don’t know the way back to Isla so they land on sea to conserve fuel while sending SOS. However a big storm is approaching.

Episode 4
There is nothing much the rest can do but wait as the knights are out on a search. The surprising part is Ignacio trying to sneak back on a plane but was slapped by Bandereas to cool his head. Ariel takes this chance to tell the rest how Kal-el came to be part of her family shortly after the Wind Revolution. Her other sisters were thrilled to get a little brother but Ariel seems unable to accept him. Making it worse for her, they are of the same age but he is a day older than her. Because he is always gloomy and never said anything, Ariel told him off about his manners and that she should be the elder one. I guess this is why they always argue the other is the younger one. But Ariel understood his pain of not having a mom around. Hers died when she was born. But Ariel can’t tell the rest about his true identity. One day they were watching a play in the square about the Wind Revolution. A boy from the audience picked up a stone and threw at the ‘queen’. Karl became upset and wanted him to apologize to his mom. It was then Ariel knew he was the former crown prince. The storm has died down so Kal-el and Claire take this chance to dry their clothes and fish for food. No luck with that. Kal-el tells her how Michael took him for a test flight in his plane. He was amazed with the surroundings. He was shown the ocean. Nobody knows what lies beyond it and so Michael wanted him to go find the End of the Sky for him. On that day, he resolved to become a pilot. They talk about Ariel and despite they fight a lot and views cooking as her only good point, Claire believes she cares for him and is worried about him right now. Claire thinks about the rumours that the former crown prince is on board to kill Nina and how similar Kal-el’s circumstances are. She hopes it isn’t true. Next morning, the knights find them and fly them back to Isla. First thing, Ariel beats Kal-el up for worrying everybody. All he could do is apologize because there is nothing more you can do when you see your step sister cry and worry like that. Claire returns to her home and Ulshyrra isn’t pleased this incident happened, reminding her why she was so against about her going to flight school. She has her change into her attire… OMG! I wouldn’t have guessed it! After putting a wig, makeup and that familiar priestess outfit… She is Nina!!!!

Episode 5
It’s been 4 months since Isla left on a journey. The trainees are working hard in training. After that rigorous water training, they are left to their own device to relax. It would be a waste to go back so everyone follows Ariel lead to stay and play in the lake and even make camp. She even makes Ignacio join them. Kal-el and Claire are gathering firewood in the forest and suddenly realize they’re lost. This isn’t going to be something habitual, isn’t it? It’s getting dark. They run. They trip. Perfect setup for a romantic mood. Till it is ruined with Shizuka watching them with eyes so big. It’s her usual stroll. Don’t worry. She won’t tell. Claire leaves before her curfew and shortly Ignacio too. He tells Kal-el that he knows who he is and isn’t here to pretend to be people’s friend. This has Kal-el remember that last year the government approached him and knew the former crown prince was alive. Albeit only a handful knows about this. Even so, Kal-el refused to be their puppet. So the government told him about the Isla project that Nina will be on. Michael was against it since it is like exiling him but Kal-el was genuinely interested. Meanwhile the Council notes that they are fast approaching the Holy Spring. Even if they find it, they note themselves as outcasts from their home country and have no place to return. This makes Nina remember she too is an unwanted doll. As far as she can remember, she grew up in the outskirts of Balsteros and had this strange wind powers. However people accused her as a witch and her family was threatened with death. Before she was taken away, she killed all the villagers with her wind power. A cleric viewed her powers as the wind god Saint Aldista and hopes she can lend her powers. After the Wind Revolution when she saw Karl’s eye filled with angst, it was when she realized the sinner she was. A year before Isla project, Luis met her and showed her flying. Claire sees the similarity in Kal-el and Karl that she starts to fear him. Even in the mock dogfight class, the tension causes them to be not in coordination. So obvious that the rest can tell. Kal-el soothes her by saying he wants to be her partner and fly with her in the sky. Claire too wants these times to last forever. Now they’re back to normal and in sync, everyone is glad they’re flying well again. Suddenly airplanes believed to be guardians of the Holy Spring appear. The drill is put on hold and an order is issued to take every one of them down.

Episode 6
Isla has finally reached the Holy Spring. The Council which consists of Luis, foreign secretary Amelia, Leopold and finance secretary Marx discuss that the captured Sky Clan members revealed that they will attack those who enter Holy Spring. Although they are using obsolete planes, Leopold suggests using the trainees to fight them. Speaking of them, Ariel and co are serving special Ari-men noodles that have their customer falling in love with its delicious taste. With Claire accidentally hurting her finger over a broken bowl, Ariel takes her away to treat her. Funny, I thought Kal-el would want to do that but instead he stayed back to make Ari-men, thinking he has observed Ariel enough to make her special noodles. He flopped. Noriaki and Benjamin even tried but fail badly. Till Ignacio had his hands on them and they come out perfect. When Claire is able to serve again, she is surprised to see Luis among the customers. He is in disguised and is checking on her. He tells her he has spoken with Ulshyrra and shouldn’t have a thing to worry. She should continue to have fun. Bandereas and Sonia join Luis. The guys know each other since their naval trainee days. On to more important discussions, Bandereas isn’t happy Luis is going to use his students for the recon mission although Luis asserts it was Leopold’s idea. They hope it won’t turn into a war zone. Chiharu overheard this and feels sad. At the end of the day, Ari-men is a hit and they made a killing with the profits. Even so, Ariel probably is so fed up with it that she doesn’t want to make it anymore in her life. Otherwise she can’t be a pilot. This causes Chiharu to feel she isn’t good in anything and her misery compounded with Noriaki nonchalantly saying she might have got along with anybody who is good with anything. While everyone else frolics in the room, Chiharu and Mitsuo chat outside together. Although Mitsuo praises her improving piloting skills, she explains her mom used to tell her she is useless so the reason why she ended up here. It’s like she was running away. She is glad she came here and met him. They hold hands and hope they can fly these skies forever.

Episode 7
Sky Clan attacks Isla in little skirmishes so Leopold orders every available plan to attack and the trainees to do recon. Kal-el, Ariel, Claire, Ignacio, Marco and Wolfgang are to stay back and provide AA support. Shortly after the rest take off, Ulshyrra has Claire and Ignacio come back with them and the other quartet to remain on standby. As Claire is part of the government, she must keep in mind she is a figurehead and her presence is to inspire everyone from the centre. That’s why Ignacio was hired as her bodyguard since she lost her wind powers. Although Isla forces emerge victorious, Luis feels strange that the enemy sent a weak attack. Like as though something is waiting to ambush them ahead. Mitsuo and Chiharu fly higher ahead and spot a large fleet of enemy bombers and escort planes. Isla is running into an ambush alright. They relay the message back so Leopold orders all the planes to be equipped with bombs. Although the trainee pilots have returned and awaiting standby, Mitsuo and Chiharu continue to follow the enemy and keep tabs from a distance. When Isla forces arrive, the enemy shuts off their lights. Now they can’t see in the dark night and there is a chance they might collide. Mitsuo is in a dilemma to fire the flare for lighting. Doing so may risk them getting shot down but if they don’t, the mission will fail. Chiharu tells him to fire it since they want to protect Isla and are confident they will come back alive. Right after Mitsuo fires it, all the enemy planes start targeting them. The lighting isn’t enough so they pull off a daring move to fire it from the top centre to give Isla forces a better overall view. Isla forces attack but now enemy escort planes are hot on Mitsuo and Chiharu’s tail. Mitsuo gets hit by a bullet in the gut. He knows he won’t last long so he tells Chiharu to abandon ship and he will jump with her. But after he tells her never give up to be a pilot, he pushes her off and continues to pilot the plane. Then the enemies shoot and destroy the plane. Chiharu could have been shot too if not for Bandereas and Sonia arriving to dispose of them and pick her up. Chiharu breaks down now that Mitsuo is dead. Meanwhile Kal-el and the rest make a sortie as enemy planes are attacking defenceless Isla.

Episode 8
Isla is being invaded by Sky Clan’s fighter planes making progress inwards and destroying the town. Claire rushes off with Ignacio not far behind. Kal-el and the other pilots fend off the sky attackers but seriously, you think their rifle is going to stand a chance against those Zero planes with machine guns on board?! It’s no surprise they’re being taken down one by one. Even if they can fire accurately and take out some planes, how many can they shoot down? There’s like an entire battalion of reinforcements. The enemy is also dropping paratroopers to invade on land. Sharon almost had a close encounter with death when an enemy trooper advances but thanks to Ignacio’s sharp shooting from the woods, he takes out all the enemy and Isla ground forces regain control of the ground. Back to Kal-el, it took them long enough to realize that they’re sitting ducks and will be shot down at this rate. They try to head back to town but casualties are mounting when Fausto and Wolfgang are shot dead. When Ariel gets hit and lies unconscious, Kal-el becomes a mad and desperate guy. Heck, he is the only one left! He notices the silver fox emblem on the enemy’s plane. He probably never prayed so hard before and God might have answered his prayers when Ariel wakes up. But she can’t last long as she is losing blood fast. A single-seater plane with a seagull logo comes flying in fast and takes out all the enemies like how all heroes do it. When the main Isla air forces return, they wrest control back of their skies. Cleaning up is going to be messy in the aftermath. They have no way to receive new supplies either. All the more, the high casualty rate is the ultimate price they paid. Kal-el is blaming himself as he sits by Ariel’s bed. All that whining may have woken her up. They take a look at the reality at hand. It is sad some died but they fought to protect what they believe. Ariel teases him that he heard his prayer when he thought she was dead. He would become her little brother, would he? Can’t live without her too? But when she calls him her big brother, it’s like he is not used to it and wants to be called the little brother like always. So being the smaller one is better? Meanwhile Amelia deciphers a letter left by the lone fighter plane. It states that they are of the same blood and believe in the same Myth of Saint Aldista. They would like to work and solve the secrets of the world together. This is written by the Holy Levamme Empire’s High Consul, Fana Levamme.

Episode 9
In a sombre episode, an official funeral for the brave is held. Nina/Claire can only hold back her emotions each time a friend’s name is mentioned. Her heart is screaming and tearing to bits inside. The rest later pay their respects at the memorial. Chiharu blames herself for screwing up. Ariel calms her down but eventually it’s better to let all those tears flow. Nina has a meeting with the Council and currently as they are, they cannot defeat the Sky Clan without Levamme’s help. It is best they cooperate as they too are fighting against them. Kal-el cannot sleep since he is having nightmares for those deaths he saw with his own eyes. He runs to the memorial only to see Claire. She runs away but he catches her. He wants to see her and is glad she is okay. But it’s not the same for Claire. She thinks of quitting flight school and views herself a coward. She doesn’t want to see him again. Maybe it wasn’t the right time but then again, when would that be? Because they kiss and Kal-el confesses he loves her. But she still looks sad. She hints they have met before during the Wind Revolution and wants to confirm if he is Karl. Once she does, it is more the reason why they can’t see each other again. The enemy conducts a night bombing raid. The lighting and that expression of Claire’s face resembles very much like Nina. It was then Kal-el realizes. Can you imagine his feeling right now? It’s like God was trying to screw with his life. The woman he loves is also the one he hates and trying to kill. With every able body trying to rebuild the town, as suggested by Luis, Claire agrees to go down to the ground to talk to the people and boost their morale. She also decides to cast away this name and become Nina for good.

Now that she is close with the commoners, Ariel can tell she is Claire with all that fancy makeup and outfit. Know she understands why Kal-el locked himself in his room and has eyes that look like he hates everything in the world. She tries to approach her but Ignacio holds her back. However he has her push him so he could feign being pushed aside and give her time to talk to Nina. She wants her to come back but Nina can’t fly with everyone anymore and is sad that Kal-el will remember his past every time he looks at her. Ariel will handle Kal-el. So she goes talk to him outside his room and reveals her dad once had a son but died. Her mom died after she was born because they were too poor to go see a doctor. Poverty was the reason why the rebellion took place. By every right, Michael had the right to hate the royalty. But instead he took in their surviving son and raised him with love and care and even taught him to fly. To him, he will always be her dad’s son. If that didn’t convince him, Ariel mentions she has decided to quit flying school since her injury means she can’t handle the throttle like normal. She’ll be a mechanic. Kal-el covers his ears pretending not to hear. Ignacio can’t stand this and has heard it all. He wants Ariel or others not to interfere. He breaks down the door, punches him in the gut, then carries him out and throws him into the cold lake. You mad, bro?

Episode 10
Ignacio tells us he and his mom lived in a corner of the palace unnoticed because mother was part of the king’s concubine. Their peaceful life is shattered as the Wind Revolution neared and they got kicked out. Ignacio felt so pitiful for his mom who suffered so much so he wanted to kill the royal family and Karl and make them know what true suffering is all about. Back to those guys, Ignacio tells him off the girls have more guts than him because they’re doing their best unlike him he stays lock up and cry. He has him think back about what Ariel said about quitting flight school. Even Claire has made the same decision for knowing that it will only bring Kal-el pain now that he knows her true identity. Another alert for the enemy approaching is sounded. Ulshyrra lets Ignacio do what he wants for now and if he survives there will be another mission waiting for him. Because they do not have enough manpower and escort for the observation plane to gauge the enemy’s whereabouts, they have to use the trainees again. Sonia upon hearing this shuts the transmitter and tears off her badge. She quits the military and tells the trainees as an individual not to go on this mission. For they will be throwing away their lives just so they can judge the enemy’s distance. She will take responsibility on this and wants them to leave on a bus to a shelter. I’m sure those trainees value their lives and make haste. Except for Noriaki. He’s staying. Want to play hero? Don’t worry, Benjamin will come along with him. So he wants to play hero too, huh? Sharon disagrees but Benjamin wants to prove that he is stronger than before. He promises to come back alive. I hope that kiss wasn’t a goodbye kiss.

And latecomer Kal-el just came in late. Missed everything, huh? Oh, he too wants to be a hero and take to the skies. Uh huh. Using the excuse of not wanting to regret doing nothing. I guess once a guy makes up his mind, nothing can budge him. But who will be his partner? Ignacio! Oh yeah. This completes the line up of the guys playing heroes while the girls just sit back and play safe. Who are the smarter ones here? Hey, where’s Marco? I think he is too injured to even be part of the gang anymore. Besides, Wolfgang isn’t around so what’s the deal? Yeah, yeah. They’ll come back for sure. The enemy directly attacks Isla. Ignacio shows his superb skills as he guns down the enemy planes. He even teaches Kal-el to fly into the clouds to lure the enemies into a trap. While things are going well on their side, Noriaki is starting to panic. Not so good now, aren’t we? However he manages to dodge and escape and this impresses Benjamin. Because he is always good at running away, right? Sometimes your guts have the tendency to abandon you in the middle and that is what Noriaki is feeling about having the courage to do all this. He hears Mitsuo’s voice to believe in himself. That gave him enough courage to trudge on. Unfortunately the observation plane is shot down and the enemy soon releases smokescreen to hide themselves. They can see you but you can’t see them. So what will it be? They’ve already got one foot in the grave, right? They’re already up here so might as well. Let’s do it!

Episode 11
Nina tries to summon her wind power but there is no response. Benjamin relays the enemy’s position back to Luna Barco and they have a destroyer with equal firepower. But thanks to the smokescreen the enemy has the advantage. Leopold and his men wonder if they can trust information sent by those trainees so Nina tells them that they’re risking their lives to relay data. However their data is not accurate enough and they need to get closer. Kal-el and Ignacio will help take out the enemies so Benjamin and Noriaki can concentrate in collecting data. They get close enough to relay accurate data but the enemy gunners fire. Benjamin is in a daze. He realizes he lost his right hand. However, remembering Sharon made him get up as he has a promise to fulfil. Luna Barco fires directly and destroys the enemy destroyer. Unfortunately Noriaki and Benjamin’s plane has blown up. Thankfully they ejected. I suppose Kal-el wanted to pick them up but there is just no room. All he could do is just scream for them as they float down and disappear below. Kal-el becomes so mad that he turns into an ace pilot! Ignacio is disturbed that he got what it takes to be a great pilot. The enemy planes fire all they got at Luna Barco. Its main engines are hit and they cannot maintain altitude. Nina accepts her fate to die here when she sees Kal-el flying by. She goes out to the deck to speak to him (I wonder how they can hear each other at that altitude and speed). Casting away her disguise, she apologizes for the pain she caused to his family and doesn’t expect to be forgiven. However she has changed him and meeting him was the best thing that happened to her. Those are her treasured memories. So it’s I love you and goodbye. Kal-el finally understood his mom’s words of not letting hatred swallow him. His reply to Claire is to live. Just then, Claire could feel the wind power in her activating. Singing a love song, she unleashes a powerful wind to protect everyone and at the same time blow all the enemies away. Thanks to her wind power, Luna Barco is able to maintain altitude. I thought it was just too late because the Levamme Empire allies arrive to take out what is left of the enemy. Sure, wait till things get critical before coming in and steal the glory, won’t you? Some allies they are. The survivors make it back to Isla. Ignacio maintains his cockiness that it is his skills that had them survive. He won’t shake hands either. Now, before the girls could start crying that there more of their boys got killed, they receive a pleasant surprised when badly bruised Bandereas lands shortly and has retrieved Benjamin and Noriaki.

Episode 12
The Sky Clan was driven off after the battle. Nina and the Council welcome and meet Marcos Guerrero, a commander of the Levamme Empire. He explains this world there are some countries separated like isolated islands but all share the same roots and myths. The Sky Clan cannot be negotiated with as they have continued opposing anyone ever crossing the Holy Spring let alone to the End of the Sky. If they keep fighting, they will only exhaust their resources. An unidentified plane believed from the Sky Clan drops a message. They offer a truce but in exchange they want Nina. After witnessing her wind power, they believe she is some sort of messiah that will lead them to greater prosperity as told in their legends. They want her so much that they are willing to bend their policy of killing anyone who enters the Holy Spring. Luis is against Nina turning herself in but she has decided. She wants to do her duty. While the other girls find out Claire is Nina, Kal-el talks to Ariel and he hints that he still likes her very much. Since she makes him admit his love for her, she’ll think what she can do. Next day, they are outside Nina’s residence. The guards won’t let them in just because they are friends but thanks to Ignacio, they got in easily. Claire puts up a strong front but when Ariel hands her letters from everyone, she breaks down. Alone with Kal-el, he thinks they should just run away together. He realizes he is still in love with her and doesn’t want to part. What? You crazy? Where are you going to run away to? But Claire is going to do her job and not going to be just a sacrifice. She gives him her necklace as memento. They hope to see each other again. Before she boards the plane, Kal-el promises he will come back here to get her back no matter how long it takes. Ignacio says his goodbye too. He is part of the 20 guards who will accompany Claire there to protect her. He calls Kal-el his big brother. Is that some sign of approval? And so Kal-el leads his team to the End of the Sky. It is a light of rainbow. Everyone on Isla has been evacuated onto Levamme Empire. When Isla enters the End of the Sky, it starts disappearing. More like everything got vaporized. I don’t know. They say this is part of the legend how the floating island is supposed to return to the rainbow at the End of the Sky. This special moment is recorded on camera as they scatter sakura petals and celebrate with some aerial dance.

Episode 13
Back at Balsteros, there is a long line heading to the main square. Because tomorrow is the day where our heroes will return from their long journey. It must have been a long time since Kal-el and the rest have this matured and grown up look. We are told how this world looks. The world is flat! It sits on some huge floating rock and the ocean is like a staircase formation. The rainbow light blocks the water from falling off the edge. It gets temporarily destroyed before regenerating from the Holy Spring. Once the heroes return, Luis tells from A to Z what happened on their journey. He then introduces Kal-el who wastes no time in revealing himself as the former crown prince. He is here to request their help to save a person they love: Nina. He once hated her with all his might after the Wind Revolution. But after his journey on Isla, he learnt to forgive. This is the recipe they need to build a happy future. He announces he loves Nina and wants to take her back for she sacrificed herself so that their journey could be completed. Kal-el rallies the crowd to begin a second Isla plan. So now they love him? Oh yeah. To forgive. Shizuka takes a picture of the graduating class. Then she disappears. She meets up with suspicious people and wants them to contact their mother country. If there is a second Isla plan, they need to intervene. Kal-el and Ariel have an emotional reunion with their family. Kal-el will be leaving himself with the other military in their next journey. This time he is given a single seater plane used by the Aerial Knights. He is about to say his goodbye to Ariel but she punches him in the gut before he could say a word. She thought he would say something cheesy… So he takes off and they all wish he will come back and of course bring back Claire with him. Ariel sheds her last tears and wishes her prince goodbye. Not all love songs can be sung. In the aftermath, everyone returns to their ordinary lives. Chiharu visits Mitsuo’s parents to hand them his medal of honour. Isla and Levamme Empire cooperate to take out the enemy. Kal-el gets help from that seagull single seater plane again. He could hear Claire’s voice and remembers the sky on that day when they first met. So sit tight, he’s coming to get you.

Reach For The (End Of The) Sky
That feeling… It feels like a potential sequel is warranted for. But let’s not get too far ahead and focus on this season itself. Honestly, this little series itself is a pretty decent romance and adventure genre but there were a handful of things that I couldn’t really comprehend and connect the dots together and thus reducing my enjoyment level here. For example when Isla left on a journey to the End of the Sky, they were going on a journey with no return. To say that they are not expecting to come back alive? And all the families were happy enough to send their young children on their death voyage. Unless only those handful of people like those in the Council would know about this. They also did say that they are outcast and with nowhere to go. But Nina as the governor of Isla hated by others? I thought she was very much loved? And that mind boggling part at the end where everything decimates when they touch the rainbow. So people, remember you do not find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but total annihilation of your existence!

Seriously, why was the Sky Clan so vehement in preventing others from reaching the End of the Sky? What is it that they want to hide or don’t want others to know? I mean, if they wanted to destroy their enemies, just let them fly into it and get decimated lah! Why the need to go all out and lose your pilots and fighter planes in some meaningless aerial dogfights? They don’t know that the rainbow kills, right? And now that we know how the world looks like, shouldn’t those Isla people have gone to another direction where there is no Sky Clan? I mean, the entire world is surrounded by that rainbow, right? So why must it be that certain spot, right where Sky Clan is based? My guts tell me they don’t have the entire army guarding the entire perimeter of the rainbow. Another mind boggling factor is the fact that Balsteros sits in one corner of the world. Not to say close to the edge but at the opposite end of where Levamme Empire is. So doesn’t it make them close to that rainbow as well? Shouldn’t they have flown the other direction? And how did that flying island Isla came about? I don’t understand the legendary poetry so maybe I was already lost there. Besides, certain unexplained stuffs like the mysterious seagull airplane and why we have never seen the faces of a single Sky Clan enemy, I have a hunch this has something to do with the movie since I briefly read its synopsis that the setting is based in the Levamme Empire.

Aside all those stuffs and sometimes the general plot of the series having the Isla people trying to reach their goal but the enemy always blocks their path may seem thin, the focus is mostly on the characters but even that too I felt it was just pretty decent and bordering mediocre. The big bulk is of course Kal-el and Claire/Nina and to a certain Ariel. But not big enough that I feel that had to put in other supporting casts just to make up for the extra space. Those other characters I feel as though they are redundant and I had the feeling they would be killed off in the end. Yeah, everybody should have died. I don’t know if I should be happy or sad that some of them still lived. Because with Mitsuo, Wolfgang and Fausto biting the dust, taking out Noriaki and Benjamin would be just in bad taste because you don’t want to have the girls singing where have all the young men gone.

The most evident being Marco. He was Wolfgang’s partner and I don’t see how he actually survived even assuming if he manages to land the plane safely but during that chaotic battle, I was pretty sure the enemy was ruthless and not letting a single one of them get away. So when they show Marco alive but injured at Wolfgang’s memorial, that is the last you’ll see of him because after that, who knows where he’s been to. I hope he didn’t commit suicide. Because if his role is to be tossed into such obscurity, might as well kill him off in the first place and save us the trouble of us wondering about his whereabouts. Heck, he wasn’t even part of the group photo of the gang during the graduation part. So should he have been dead? Better that way, huh? Mind boggling note: Benjamin lost his right arm, right? It was clearly blown off. So how the heck did he get it back?! Mechanical arm? Super surgery to glue it back? Or just magic? At least they could do is explain this little bit or else people would start asking about his right arm. He is no Eren of Shingeki No Kyojin so I am sure he can’t grow it back.

Their development is shallow if you look at it and if they were cast as nameless extras, I think the storyline would still progress. They do have their little moments but like I said, it just fills like filling in the extra gaps. They can add another 100 more friends to the list and have them all killed in battle and in the end they wouldn’t matter anyway. So this journey did change all those on it. Especially Kal-el who turns his hate into love. How many would fall in love with the enemy who was responsible for killing your family? But Kal-el didn’t put up much of this hatred and vengeance expression on his initial arrival on Isla. Maybe he’s got a good poker face just so not to lose sight of his goal. Of course he met Claire and probably that feeling of love is much better than carrying on his life with hate. Until he finds out… But that is just something temporary. So remember people, the power of love and forgiveness. Not only popes and saints can do it but ordinary people like you and me too.

I don’t know about the naming sense of Kal-el or if it is just coincidence because many comic book fans would know that this name more popularly as Superboy’s birth name. Although I am not a fan of Superman comic books nor do I have extensive knowledge about him, I can’t see anything that makes them similar except that they are both young and they ‘fly’. Well, this Kal-el at least flies in an airplane, right? I don’t know how he came up with this moniker or more importantly how the author chose this but Kal-el isn’t just an ordinary name that you can just come up with by plucking out from the air. So is the author paying some sort of tribute to Superman or just some sort of fan?

Claire seems to have this guilty expression ever since the start of the series. Has she been reflecting her actions ever since she saw young Karl in the eye? Just like Kal-el too, she changes. She becomes the big ‘sacrifice’ in the end so that everyone could live. Yeah, it somewhat ruined the ending. A guy who doesn’t get his girl in the end? In the midst of going to get her doesn’t count. Because it still feels like unfinished business. If Claire isn’t around, Ariel feels like the person to fill that gap for Kal-el and someone who supports and guides him back to the right path. Ignacio is a tsundere. Not many guys have the honour of this tag. Seriously. He acts like as though he dislikes Kal-el and his gang but then eventually goes to help them out but with that moody face of his. Gradually, he seeks ways to help them in subtle ways and if not for this moody part of his, he could have been the best character of the series since he is quite resourceful and improvising. Most mysterious character goes to Shizuka. This dorm manager may look like your little sister but with her creepy ability to pop up just about anywhere unnoticed, you’d wonder who the heck she is. It becomes more interesting as it is revealed in the end that she is some sort of a spy. Maybe that is why the enemies know something about Isla… Her true goal is yet to be seen and definitely she is more than meets the eye instead of being some unimportant extra.

The romance part is also okay too but I don’t really quite feel it. Nothing spectacular. Yeah. The ending spoilt it all. There are a few scenes of Kal-el and Claire spending time together (some very close enticing moments too) but something tells us that this romance isn’t going to last especially once Claire’s true identity as Nina is revealed and you’d be wondering how Kal-el will be facing this. In the end, I thought it felt a bit rushed and cheesy for them to ultimately realize that they love each other more than they hated the other. There are hints that Ariel has feelings for Kal-el but I guess she hides it by being his sparring partner. Although they are not blood related, would it not be weird if you have your sister suddenly confessing she loves you? It could have been a love triangle but thankfully I don’t think this would have turned out well. The romance for the other supporting casts also feels fleeting. You can guess the pairing of Benjamin-Sharon, Noriaki-Nanako and Mitsuo-Chiharu. It’s just sad that Chiharu and Mitsuo couldn’t be together in the end. Will she move on? I wanted to think Wolfgang and Marco too but I am not keen on ‘new possibilities’.

I have mixed feelings for the aerial action. Certain scenes with the planes in dogfights are exhilarating and exciting but at other times it feels a little lame. Especially the odd part of the twin seater planes that the trainee use, I still cannot believe that the gunner used a manual rifle and have to take time manually reloading the bullets. Unless you’re as big as Wolfgang because he carried his big machine gun alone with him. But with most trainees the skinny kind, I don’t think so. I don’t know what kind of bullets they are using but a single one is able to take out a plane like as though it is equivalent to unloading an entire round of ammunition or using some thicker bullet.

On a trivial note, the next episode preview is the most amusing segment in the series. Narrated by Ignacio, it has that tsundere complaining and grumbling about that idiot Kal-el. It is like as though everything he does is just fail and he could have done it better. Maybe. But really, to put down Kal-el like that (although it is quite mild) makes it as though Ignacio is just one grumpy person who is never satisfied with what Kal-el does. The funniest part is how before he can finish his ranting or sentence, he is abruptly cut off with the next episode’s title. Hah! It’s like telling him to shut up and that we are not here to listen to his tirade. Doesn’t he get tired of complaining so much? We do. Kal-el may not be perfect like he is but cut him some slack, okay? Of course for the penultimate episode he manages to finish what he has to say before it all. Maybe he doesn’t have anything much to say and learnt his lesson to make it short. All those words and long sentences don’t mean anything after all and nobody is going to remember them.

The drawing and art for the sceneries may be okay and some are pleasing to the eye. However it is the character designs that I feel is a big time fail. They look so plain and odd at certain angles that I wonder if the producers did put enough effort in this department. In a way they look uninspiring and just boring too. Because I have seen too many animes, I believe I see shades of other anime characters here. The biggest one that struck my mind was how Ignacio looked so much like L-elf from Valvrave The Liberator! Heck, his personality is almost as similar! At first I thought what was this cool character doing in such an anime. Then there is Sonia. Doesn’t she look a bit like Annie from Shingeki No Kyojin? I was afraid she might turn into a Titan… And Noriaki, doesn’t he share some resemblance to Gon from Hunter x Hunter? Oh, Shizuka looks like Chibi Maruko-chan but with her eyes closed… What about Bandereas? Something tells me he was made in reference to that Spanish Hollywood actor, Antonio Banderas. See the near similarities? Leopold looks like a blonde version of Mario, doesn’t he? I might have seen the other characters from somewhere too but at this time my mind is just too cluttered to think about it. As for the plane designs, although I am not a plane enthusiast, they try to give different designs to different fighters and bombers. Some look okay and others looking mediocre.

At first I didn’t recognize Aoi Yuuki as the voice of Claire/Nina until much later because she wasn’t putting on her lively and spunky voice like Hibiki in Senki Zesshou Symphogear or Ichigo in Yumeiro Patissiere. She was very much toned down and soft spoken in this series. Ayana Taketatsu is recognizable as Ariel and sounds similar like Kirino in OreImo, Suguha in Sword Art Online and Sakura in Sekai De Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai. Other casts include Natsuki Hanae as Kal-el/Carl (Asuta in Sekai Seifuku Bouryaku No Zvezda), Kaito Ishikawa as Ignacio (Mitsuo in Golden Time), Saori Hayami as Sharon (Azuki in Bakuman), Shinnosuke Tachibana as Benjamin (Tomoe in Kamisama Hajimemashita), Hiro Shimono as Noriaki (Keima in The World God Only Knows), Yoshino Nanjou as Nanako (Kokoro in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Asami Tano as Chiharu (Rin in Toriko), Shinya Hamazoe as Mitsuo (Kojima in Aku No Hana), Teruyuki Tanzawa as Wolfgang (Genzou in Tayutama), Souichirou Hoshi as Fausto (Gino in Code Geass R2), Juurouta Kosugi as Luis (Arlong in One Piece), Yumi Uchiyama as Sonia (Nagi in A Channel), Takaya Kuroda as Bandereas (Capricorn in Fairy Tail), Yusaku Yara as Leopold (Shiba in Coppelion) and Hana Satou making her debut as Shizuka. The opening theme is Azurite by Petit Milady. Sounds like a typical anime rock pop. The ending theme, Kaze Ga Shitteru by Akai Kouen may have this fantasy-like and enigmatic feel to it. However it feels like an opera soprano building up her voice till the final part of the song whereby she just let it go. Feels odd. Even odder is the ‘screaming’ electric guitar in certain parts.

Overall, this series might not be standing as high up as its other fantasy adventure aviation themed animes like Last Exile, the classic hit movie Porco Rosso or even Allison To Lillia (all of which I have not seen!). It still provides some decent entertainment if you are looking for some simple fantasy adventure and romance and nothing too deep. Of course if you love airplanes, that will be a plus point. So you see, people can reach their dreams and achieve the impossible just with this flying dream. Not to say that you should go fly to make them come true but this serves more of an inspiration and motivation. The feeling of awesomeness when you soar in the skies. Of course unless you have phobia of flying. Sitting in a plane and flying with your own body are 2 different things. So after all that dreaming and fantasizing, it is time to get back down to earth with our own 2 feet. I know reality sucks but there is a reason why we can’t fly because if God really wanted us to fly, he would have given us wings in the first place.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha

September 27, 2014

Name an anime that deals with a school girl having deity powers and a fox familiar. If you answer Kamisama Hajimemashita, it is probably that show is perhaps more popular than Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha. (I wanted to mention Gingitsune too but I didn’t see that series). This show too has the same concept just that you take away the forbidden romance part between the human and deity and replace it with the forbidden friendship. Yup. If you are not into such glittery comedy romance genre with a hot looking fox familiar but something that explores the meaning of friendship and also a cute looking pet mascot fox familiar, you might be suited for this one. As the story girls, our protagonist is a shy middle school girl. Like many girls her age, it is pretty normal she has a crush on some popular guy. That’s why he is popular, right? One day after unknowingly helping a familiar of a deity, she is given part of her power that allows her to transform into a different person. Of course as a person new to such powers, you would be in awe and use it the way as you want it. But often, the outcome doesn’t necessarily equate to how you want it. And that is where the journey of understanding and exploration of her newfound power, friendship, the people she loves and ultimately herself begin.

Episode 1
Inari Fushimi is already late for school but she sees a dog on the verge of falling into the river. She tries to save it but she herself trips and gets wet. At least the dog is safe and dry. But the teachers and friends, Chika “Maru” Marutamachi and Keiko Sanjou don’t believe this dog excuse for her tardiness. She even used her handkerchief to tie its wound. During gym, Inari watches the guy she admires in basketball, Kouji Tanbabashi (which girl doesn’t?). Because she is clumsy, this stroke of luck has the teacher made Tanbabashi teach her how to play the basics of basketball. Unfortunately her clumsiness is also like a double edged sword for she trips and accidentally pulls down his shorts! Luckily he wears another pair of shorts underneath but he is so embarrassed. Inari hates herself but her friends cheer her up. She remembers kids used to tease her lame name which is the same as the local shrine. But Keiko thinks she is lucky because it means the deities are looking out for her. Inari feels better and wants to go apologize to Tanbabashi but every time that guy avoids her or makes his escape! Then she sees him handing some sort of letter to the cutest girl in school, Akemi Sumizome. Her heart breaks thinking he likes those kind of girls. She seeks refuge at the shrine when a couple of fox familiars lead Inari to a secret place where the shrine’s deity, Uka No Mitama No Kami resides. The dog that she saved is actually another of her fox familiar. As thanks for that and her love for this shrine, she will grant a wish for her. Inari wants to be like Sumizome. The next thing Inari knows, she looks exactly like her. That’s good, right?

Unfortunately it isn’t because now her parents think she is missing and all her friends begin searching around. Keiko confronts Tanbabashi and accuses him of not wanting to accept Inari’s apology that has led to this. He is shocked to hear she is missing and starts looking too. Meanwhile Inari is hungry and no money. A couple of guys want to treat her but she quickly runs away. Don’t want to be hit on if she knows what is good for her. Surprisingly Tanbabashi finds her but thinks ‘Sumizome’ is looking for Inari. As he treats her for dinner (because her stomach is growling so loud), he blames himself for avoiding Inari. It is not that he is mad but just embarrassed to look her in the eye. Inari feels bad and promises to pay him back. At the shrine she starts crying and the fox familiars are baffled she is not happy with her wish. Inari wants them to take her to Uka to reverse the wish. She catches her in the act of playing a dating simulation video game! Holy sh*t! However Uka cannot reverse the wish because granting more than one wish to a human would violate the Celestial Plains rules. And there are lots of humans coming to the shrine to pray for wishes so she just can’t cut the queue. But all is not lost. Uka gives her eat some magic peach which contains her power. This allows Inari to change her shape to any real live human at will. And so with a magical girl chanting and transformation, Inari is back! The fox she saved, Kon will be her familiar onwards and no other human would be able to see him. Oh, palm sized for convenience. She gets permission to visit her any time she wants. Inari is reunited with her friends. They call Tanbabashi to tell him she is alright. Her big brother, Touka brings her back. Next day, Uka notices Touka staring at her with this mean look. At school, Tanbabashi is absent and Inari is worried because tomorrow is his big game and she has got a charm for him.

Episode 2
Uka receives a letter from Amaterasu Oomikami. Inari is nervous outside Tanbabashi’s door so she transforms into his friend, Hajime Hashimoto. He lets her in of course. And also into his room. They’re guys, right? Seems he was absent because he had to take care of his sick mom. Inari is happy when he is able to play tomorrow’s game. Inari gives back the money as pretence it was for last night’s treat on Sumizome. Seeing Tanbabashi nurse his mother made her realize she doesn’t know much about him. She remembers he is the only guy who helped her when she was hurt and late on the first day of middle school. She might be taking this too far because in reality she is hugging his back! Looks so gay! As she takes a breather at the shrine, Inari comes to her but with a frown on her face. Suddenly weird masked men surround Inari. On orders of Amaterasu they are to escort them to the Celestial Plains. She thought Amaterasu is going to be some beautiful goddess. Let’s just say this ugly aunty didn’t match up to her fantasy… Anyway he is the sun goddess that rules over Celestial Plains and she is not pleased Uka has given part of her divine powers to Inari. As she cannot take away those powers, Inari must spend years here training as a new deity. Uka will also be married off as punishment. But Amaterasu will test Inari. She cannot transform into anything for tomorrow. Easy, right? So off she goes to Tanbabashi’s basketball game. Along the way she meets Sumizome who is also going there and she finds her quite friendly. Of course Amaterasu and the rest of the deities are partying and watching them. To make things interesting, several deities have gone down to stir things up. Because if Inari transforms, one of those deities will get to marry Uka.

So the deities come up with lots of tricks but Inari can tell it’s them thanks to their horrible face mask! She knows they are baiting her just to transform into something else but she doesn’t give in. The best one has got to be a man who is dying and wants to see his wife’s face the last time. So transform into her! After all that running around and dragging Sumizome with her, they find respite in the school’s storeroom. However the deities lock her in and Sumizome collapses. Nobody is around. There is a small window above that the size of a small kid can only go through. Inari weighs about transforming but decides to do it anyway to save Sumizome. She transforms into Tanbabashi’s little brother to crawl through the window and run to the court and yell for help. Although the game is called off, Sumizome is now fine as Inari gives him the charm. She hopes his love will be fulfilled. On the way to see Amaterasu, she laments what is going to happen but on the bright side, it gave her the chance to give Tanbabashi the charm. Still, she can’t help cry and the deities feel bad for going too far. Uka hugs Inari and is glad she is fine. She cheers her up that she used her powers to save a friend in need. Uka will take the punishment and hopes Inari will be spared. Amaterasu passes her. This is a test for her because had she blamed Inari, she would have punished both of them. This means they can continue to be together. In actual fact, Amaterasu can’t say she was bored and was just killing time. If this didn’t go down well, her approval rating would have dropped! Back in school, Inari sees Sumizome having her answer ready for Tanbabashi and will accept it. To her surprise, it is to be the manager of their team. How did she jump to a conclusion that they’re going to date? Tanbabashi thanks her for the charm and believes it really works. While Inari is with Uka, suddenly Touka pushes Uka away and wants her to stay away from his sister! WTF?!

Episode 3
Uka turns into some evil being as she fights out with Touka in a power battle! Actually that is just his delusion so don’t think too much about it. He brings her back as she wonders why Touka can see Uka. Flashback reveals he could already see Uka when he was young. He was made to bring Inari to the shrine when she wanted to visit it so much. That’s when he saw Uka and got freaked out thinking she was a ghost. Inari must have eaten something bad as she needs to go to the toilet. But she is stopped by some handsome guy asking about her transformation powers. Too bad her stomach can’t wait. Thankfully those bouncer girls stop him from entering the girls’ toilet. Once she is done, she is appalled to see this guy transformed into her and impersonating her lifestyle. Inari has no choice but to transform into the assistant principal and to ‘call herself out’. Before Inari can find out anything, this imposter gets the urge to chance into gym clothes since this is the next period. This time the assistant principal got stopped by those bouncer girls from entering the girls’ changing room. But the imposter looks disappointed that he couldn’t see girls changing as they’re being defensive and playing safe even when there are no boys around. Then he goes to hit on several teacher ladies in school before showing his true form. He is Ootoshi No Kami AKA Toshi and is Uka’s brother. He was away on a mission only to find her sister’s power had been ‘stolen’. From the way he paints his love for Uka, looks like he is a stupid siscon! Maybe that is why Uka didn’t like him and stayed away from him. He then takes Inari away to celebrate the welcoming of a new deity.

Meanwhile Touka is typing his fantasy novel when he hears sounds in the attic. Could it be a mouse? Yeah. A big mouse. Make that a fox. Inari is sleeping there?! Turns out she is trying to escape Toshi and end up here thanks to Inari’s smell. Touka wants her out but she wants to try out his video game. He lost. Then she sleeps on his bed and sleep talks about Inari and divine power. This makes Touka suspicious as he tries to get her to spill the beans. Oh, so now she wants to leave? Because he gets a little rough with her, she takes it the wrong way that he’s some perverted beast. At Celestial Plains, Inari is surrounded by other deities when Oomiyanome No Kami AKA Miya shoos them away. Inari is so glad to see a sane deity. Yeah. Everyone is cuckoo ever since she arrived. Miya explains that she is one of the few deities at Uka’s shrine. She views Uka’s fleeing from Celestial Plains as a right decision. Because she is a first rank deity, other common deities used to hound her with marriage proposals just for her position and title. This made her lose faith and lamented she doesn’t know how to have fun anymore. Miya introduced her to a dating simulation game and she got hooked. She never knew such gentlemen existed. Those words really took her heart. And now she’s a prisoner of 2D dating games. At the party, other deities pester and egg on Inari to transform. Although she hates it, she does so just to get them off her back. Her power is so great that it causes Uka to collapse. Touka is visiting the shrine at the same time because mom asked him to give some offerings, he sees Uka down and then for odd reasons she hugs him and wants to unite with him! Amaterasu dispels Inari’s power and then warns her about beginners trying to use it so casually. She still hasn’t figure out a way to return Uka’s power so it is suggested to wait till the power within Inari stabilizes before taking it out. Inari wonders if she can still be friends with Uka then. No way. Once the power is out, she’ll revert back to before and can’t see or hear her anymore. Uka is fine now and thanks Touka. He too apologizes for being rough. She has a favour of him. Can she drop by to play some games? He’ll think about it. Also, he doesn’t want her to tell Inari about this for she doesn’t want her friend to worry. She won’t know what to do with herself if she finds out. This makes Touka seeking answers but she still won’t tell and flies away. Back home as suggested by Kon, Inari should transform and see how long she can hold to see if the power is stabilize. She transforms into her mom when Touka walks in.

Episode 4
Thankfully he believes she is mommy since he didn’t see her transform. But when he sees mommy downstairs, he puts on a serious face and tells his parents that Inari may have gotten divine powers. They laugh it off! Too funny! Considering daddy is a manga artist… So Touka becomes like a stalker and watches Inari so close even during sleep! What the hell?! So she runs to confide in Inari about her recent trip to Celestial Plains and the power thingy if she is stripped she won’t be able to see her anymore. Uka reminds her of the festival tomorrow and that Tanbabashi will be there since his family always visits the shrine. She will tell Touka nothing is going on so she can live a normal life again. Inari dons her yukata and meets up with Sumizome. Along the way, they feel somebody watching them. Can you believe it that Toshi is about to pound on them? If not for Keiko’s flying kick, they could have been his rape victims. And I think he is a masochist too because he likes the kick. Oh, because that flying kick reminds Sumizome of a character from a manga she reads, she starts taking a liking for her. At the festival, Sumizome could guess Inari has a crush on Tanbabashi because the way she says her lines is pretty similar to a manga she reads. Fear the true power of shoujo manga! Speaking of which, here he is so Inari goes off to join him. Keiko wants a watch at the shooting stall but accidentally shoots the bunny toy. This is what Sumizome wants. She thought she could have it since Keiko didn’t want it but decided to give it to Inari.

Inari is having a nice time with Tanbabashi. Because she is fantasizing, she got lost in the sea of crowd. Before she can press the panic button, he grabs her hand and that’s how they walk along for the rest of the journey. Uka could feel Inari’s happiness but at the same time felt a little jealous. And then this scene… Touka watching and stalking them. He is just like her brother. Speaking of which, here comes that siscon hugging her! He is nose bleeding too?! She is shocked that her barrier didn’t kick him out and wonders if her divine power is declining. When Touka sees this, she accuses him that he also does the same thing with Inari! When Inari’s sandal straps break, Tanbabashi carries her and it reminds her just like that time. Only now he is taller. I don’t know how but thankfully Toshi is tied up. Yeah, he is into this kind of play too… And he’s telling Touka off not to lay his filthy hands on his sister! Look who is talking. Touka wants to know if Uka has given powers to Inari so she admits just to make friends with a human. I’m not sure if Touka is satisfied with that answer but he leaves her alone. Toshi reminds her about trying to be friends with humans. Do humans deserve to be friends with deities? As deities they must treat all humans equal and she knows it herself. He doesn’t want her to be so close to Inari. Uka thinks she has chosen the right path and only wants to look in on their happiness if it’s only for a moment. Likewise, Inari is grateful for meeting Uka because none of this would have happened. She feels it is her turn to help her find happiness.

Episode 5
Happy Inari goes to the shrine. But her enthusiasm takes a dive when she sees Toshi still tied up… Anyway she is here to tell Uka that she will be away tomorrow. She will be going to the beach with her friends and parents (Touka passes because he is more of an ‘indoor’ person). Hot girls like Sumizome and Keiko attract attention of other guys but luckily Keiko is there to fend of those muscle brains. And the not so hot girls like flat Inari and fat Maru go swim together. Maru reveals that she doesn’t like Sumizome because they are in different leagues. On the other hand, Sumizome could also tell Maru doesn’t get along well with her. She noticed during the festival, Maru has never looked at her in the eye. As Sumizome reveals she never had friends who invited her along on trips, Keiko explains Maru never had friends before till Inari talked to her. It didn’t take long for Maru to open up and before they know it, the 3 of them became friends. But Sumizome notes she’ll never become like Inari. During their stay in the cabin, there is an awkward silence between Maru and Sumizome. Keiko is tired and goes directly to bed so it’s all up to Inari. Not even her sunshine spunkiness can cast away their gloom. After Sumizome goes out to buy drinks, Inari talks to Maru. They argue and this causes Inari to be upset and leaves. Meanwhile that same muscle brain tries to bug Sumizome again. Inari sees this and transforms into Keiko to scare that bugger away. Sumizome hugs her in her relief. Meanwhile Keiko talks to Maru and believes Inari will never let anyone feel left out. Maru just realized Sumizome can be quite a pretty nice girl too. Inari realizes the problem of heading back to the cabin with Sumizome. Keiko’s there too, right? Don’t want to be seeing twins. So she rushes off with pretence to go to the toilet. She comes back as Inari who then tells her that Keiko went back because she was dead tired. This causes Sumizome to fall into depression. She can’t go back and face her. When she helped her earlier, she felt like they had finally become friends. But she misunderstood and is embarrassed. Sumizome explains she doesn’t know how to interact with others as she is always alone. Furthermore, Keiko always talks about Inari. She feels jealous of her. Inari is shocked because she thought she was the one who was jealous. Even shocking, Sumizome wishes she was her! Inari’s power starts to go berserk.

Episode 6
Uka starts feeling the pain. Inari feels the need to do something. Should she change Sumizome into her? Experience dictates it won’t solve anything. Once she is more composed, the power simmers down as she reveals she too wanted to be like her and has everything she doesn’t have. Since they’re the same, they should talk to each other if they have something on their mind. Kon wonders how she dispelled the divine power. She didn’t. It went away on its own. She figured Sumizome wasn’t asking a deity for a favour but merely opening up to her. When all the friends meet, they save for Keiko start apologizing and blaming themselves as the one at fault. Maru and Sumizome made up and become friends. Meanwhile Touka gives Uka some deity abuse because she has been following him! Lonely? Well, she just wants to come and play games. She might feel better. He tells her to come tomorrow since it is already late. Besides, Inari will be back tomorrow night. And here she comes ringing the doorbell at such an early hour… Since she is already here might as well invite her in. Back to Inari and co, when Sumizome watches how cool Keiko is as she plays badminton, she reveals to the rest that she likes her. It is a secret she has told no one. Maru approves because she is a big yuri fan! The girls later buy souvenirs to commemorate this trip and Maru teases Inari if she is going to get one for Tanbabashi. As for Uka, Kon says anything from her would make her happy. Meanwhile Inari is having fun playing video games with Touka. Really. He loses again so he quits and continues his novel. When he notices her sifting through the photo album, he takes away some suspicious photos before letting her browse. She mentions she is so close to him all the time and yet knows nothing. He might not remember that they have met before. When he was lost in the mountains, Inari changed into her human form to guide him back down. When Inari and her parents return, she is surprised to see Inari as her guest. She tells her about the fun trip they had but stops short of revealing about the power awakening as not to worry her.

Episode 7
Inari is praying so hard to land the role of Tanbabashi’s lover in the cultural festival play. And she gets it! Lucky girl! She tells Uka about it but Miya brings a letter from her mother, Kamu Oichi Hime. Seems she is furious that Uka has not attended many marriage interviews and wants her to do so or else she will burn all those video games!!! She doesn’t think there is anyone whom she enjoys with but visions of Touka flashes through her mind. Inari stays positive that if there is something she wants to talk about, she is always here. Hashimoto the director wants to add a kissing scene to have more impact although technically they won’t be kissing. This causes Inari to fluster and then when she sees Toshi flirting around with other girls, she ends up arguing with him and the other guys think he is her boyfriend. Uka talks to Touka about the gathering of all deities at Izumo in October and asks him about love, especially those who want to marry her only see her rank. This ends up with them quarrelling that they don’t know the respective heart of men/women. Inari seems to be screwing up that very same line. Always. When Kon tells her that she unconsciously used her power to pick that part of the play, she becomes drenched in guilt. Tanbabashi could sense her pressure and says that they don’t have to do the kissing scene if she doesn’t want to. More woes for her when a girl, Minami Momoyama goes up to her to request she send this love letter to Tanbabashi on her behalf. Geez, why not send it yourself? This causes Inari to feel even more guilt and think she has been shoving aside the love of other girls with her power. Tanbabashi is quite a popular guy, right?

And so Inari with a heavy heart decides to quit the play. At this time? Will there be a replacement? Well, some girl volunteers. So when her friends find out, they are not very pleased especially when they hear Hashimoto’s reasoning that Inari may not be able to do the kissing scene because of her boyfriend. This makes Sumizome snap as she corrects them Inari has no boyfriend. They are her friends and know better. Inari’s guilt reaches boiling point. And how convenient the letter got blown away by the wind. Or is it her divine power that makes it so? She transforms into Momoyama and is going to confess her love even if she knows this will not work out. And then here comes Tanbabashi but he is looking for Inari. However Inari starts confessing she likes him and ironically feels how easily those words come out when it is from someone else. Unfortunately Tanbabashi apologizes and even asks what love is. She explains from her experience but basically it is something like an obsession. He thinks that is quite spot on and reminiscing his times spent with Inari, he concludes that he might be in love with her. Inari tells Momoyama that she has been turned down and although disappointed, it was expected. At least she knows she needs to try harder. Inari talks to Uka that she has dropped out of the play but Kon reports the real reason that it is because she felt guilty for using her powers. Uka blames it was her power’s fault. Inari becomes part of the backstage crew instead and running around like mad. And this Touka… He can’t stop thinking about Uka?! It is just irritating him! On the night Uka is to leave for Izumo, she has decided to attend some marriage interviews (because she said she would show and prove it to Touka) even if she was so against it. Even if she gets married, they can still be friends as long as her power is still inside her. Touka heard it and accuses Uka of deceiving him that she didn’t do anything to Inari. Time is up and she is force to leave.

Episode 8
Touka has said nothing since but out of the blue he wants Inari to follow him to Izumo so that they can ask her directly about everything. Uka is still against Kamu’s wish to attend marriage interviews. They struggle so much that Uka accidentally hits Touka. Toshi’s presence makes it even worse so mother forces him to babysit the humans instead of stalking his sister! At the cafe, Toshi is ranting how mother is forcing Uka into this just because of her rivalry with Kushinada Hime. Inari doesn’t think that is a very good reason and is bent on stopping this marriage. While Toshi will help her, Touka doesn’t give a damn about it all. He just wants to know the divine power inside Inari. But Inari has to go it alone since Toshi’s crow familiar brings him back by force to spend time with the family. When Uka goes out for a while, Inari transforms into her to take her place in the meeting. Unknowingly this causes the real Uka to collapse somewhere. I thought she could only transform into humans? She tries to put an end to this marriage interview but each time those deadly stares of Kamu makes it so impossible. Now you know why Uka can never run away? Just when she is able to blurt out to hell with the interview marriages, Kamu becomes so mad that you can feel her aura is more demonic than of a deity! She blames Uka for spending too much time with the humans and orders the deities to bring Inari and Touka here now! Touka is being chased by deities when he stumbles upon the real Touka. He deduces her exhaustion has something to do with giving her power to Inari. She admits that she grows weaker each time her power is used. For every time Inari uses that power, eventually she will become a deity. She brushes off what will happen to herself if Inari becomes a deity so Touka hugs her! He wants her to tell him everything. Doesn’t she trust him? Or is it because he is human? Uka feels so happy that she starts crying. She doesn’t want to fade away. Although getting her power back would solve everything, but not being able to see Inari anymore would be even worse. Touka lets her know Inari is trying to stop the marriage interview. Uka doesn’t want her to worry and mustn’t let her know about her diminishing power.

Inari is hiding and couldn’t believe she has stumbled upon Susanoo No Mikoto, Uka’s father and Amaterasu’s brother! This punk looking guy is a deity???!!! WTF?! He won’t help her out unless she convinces or do something to stop it all. What is she afraid of? Is she afraid of the thing that they will do to her if she gets caught? When Kamu and the deities find her, Inari questions her if this marriage is so important. Is it more important than Uka’s feelings? If they are this clueless, how could they appreciate her? The deities blame Inari for being too long with Uka and thus making her so human-like. But Inari fights back. They can’t do anything unless they marry someone with power. Doing nothing on their own and letting others handle things without trying for themselves. She will not allow her beloved friend to get hurt. Susanoo is convinced with her courage and suggests they hear her out. He works his charms that send Kamu and Amaterasu flustering like a high school girl in love! Because Susanoo says the marriage interviews must stop, so be it! Yeah, the happiest one has got to be Toshi. He is so deranged. Uka thanks Inari and notes her life has been nothing but happy ever since they became friends. After Inari and Touka leave for home, Amaterasu speaks to Uka and knows she has found a way to get her divine power back. When Uka felt Inari’s hatred and desperation to return that power, she felt the sensation it had returned. In that instant, Amaterasu locks Uka in a cave mountain in the Celestial Plains. She will be staying here for a while and will only bring her out if the time calls for it. If that ever comes. This isn’t to pull them apart but to give them a cool off period.

Episode 9
As Amaterasu adds, she needs to do some soul searching to remember who she is. Don’t want her to just suddenly disappear, right? Inari still thinks Uka is in Izumo when she isn’t back at her shrine. When Hashimoto could guess Tanbabashi likes Inari and the latter wants to keep this a secret, Momoyama heard it. She apologizes to him but is shocked to hear that he never got the letter. She sinks into depression and it is very obvious. Touka must be thinking too much about Uka that it is affecting his grades. Seriously. On a day when the school is to clean the shrine grounds, Tanbabashi gives Inari a charm in return for those she gave him. The friends are cleaning up the areas as usual but they notice several girls ignoring them when spoken to. It is revealed that Momoyama’s friend, Kyoko Kangetsu told them to. Wait a minute. Without a valid reason and they just obeyed it like that even though they don’t want to? I don’t think this Kangetsu girl is as scary as Keiko. So Inari confronts Kangetsu and her friends and whatever grudge she has against her, please don’t involve her friends. Inari learns about Momoyama’s letter that they mistakenly thought she had thrown away and is accused for doing so to hog Tanbabashi for herself. Inari feels bad that because she recklessly used her power, others close to Momoyama got hurt. When they get rough with Maru and she gets hurt, Inari’s power starts to work up. Once she feels how much she hates them, the place starts to tremble that everyone thinks an earthquake is happening. Uka could feel Inari using her power. She too felt some power surging inside her as her spirit bursts out from the cave to Inari’s side. She calms her down that she will protect her. The quake simmers down and Inari returns to normal. Uka is shocked to see she is gradually fading.

Momoyama confronts Kangetsu to chide her for telling everyone to ignore Inari and co when she clearly did not ask her to. Inari apologizes that she threw away her letter and seeks her forgiveness. Momoyama can forgive her since she did tell him how she felt as he was flattered upon hearing the letter. In a way she is impressed because most people couldn’t tell someone they like that another person has feelings for them. Sumizome’s cute but creepy smile forces Kangetsu and her friends to apologize to Maru. Touka then rushes to Inari since he had a hunch that earthquake was Inari’s doing. She confirms the divine power within her surged out then. Miya comes down with distressing news. This is when Inari learns Uka is fading and Touka further confirms it with the talk he had with Uka at Izumo. Obviously she didn’t tell Inari because she didn’t want her to worry. All she wanted was her to become a normal girl. Learning that she is locked in Celestial Plains, how will she get there? The fox familiars start howling till the pathways are lit. Inari makes haste and didn’t know Uka was protecting her all this time. Now it will be her turn to protect her. She is going to give her power back. Amaterasu notes humans cannot handle divine power and Uka herself should know this well but in spite all that, why did she hold her mortal ties with such high regard? Does she think Inari can respond to her feelings?

Episode 10
Several fox spirits follow Inari and the fox familiars start running with them. The fox familiars turn into a giant fox to let Inari ride up to the Celestial Plains. You know, I thought they should have done this in the first place instead of making the poor girl run halfway up the stairs. Unless those foxes gave them the power to do so. Meanwhile Inari’s friends cover for her when the teacher takes a roll call. Toshi is cutting the ropes that bind the cave. Suddenly he is overrun by the pack of fox. Yeah. He thought he could be the first to see his sister, no? Inari beat him to it although they’re still stuck outside at the cave mouth. It might seem silly but what else is Inari going to do than try to pry open the boulder with her tiny bare hands till it hurts. She is not alone. Kon, the foxes and Toshi help to push it open till there is enough gap to see Uka. Inari won’t give up yet and everyone continues to push. Susanoo thinks they have shown their persistence enough so Amaterasu helps open it just a little so Inari can squeeze through. Too bad her bum couldn’t fit in. Touka could even quipped her top is flat but her bottom is fat! Haha! Too bad you’re not going to be the one to see Uka. When she finally gets through, they can’t even tough since well, she’s fading, right? Inari is mad she never told her everything. It was not to let her worry, remember? But Inari also never told her about that power surge. Why? Not to let her worry too, right? So in this case they are even. Inari says she has grown closer to Tanbabashi and can speak to her friends freely, all thanks to her power. However she disagrees because divine powers can’t move a person’s heart. She did it all on her own. Inari returns the power to Uka. They thank each other and the next thing Inari knows, she is back at the shrine. She can’t see the supernatural now. Her friends are waiting for her and worried to see her bruised. To make it even more special, Tanbabashi is waiting too and as worried. Inari can’t help cry. I guess it is okay for Uka to let Toshi hug her after he’s been holding it for a while. But wishing for a kiss is just too much. Back off! Uka sees Amaterasu and is being told the lesson this is why humans and deities cannot mix. Uka notes humans as an interesting species and she finds love to be of special interest and would like to continue watching over humans. Amaterasu gives her the green light but hopes she can drop by Celestial Plains once in a while. Inari resumes her normal life. Although she cannot see Uka now, she knows she is there and watching over her.

OVA
I think this OVA takes place before Inari loses her powers. Inari leaves some snack offering for Uka at the shrine. Toshi although criticizes it decides to have a bite but gets zapped by Uka’s barrier. Inari is looking for Kon but it seems that little fox is training in Celestial Plains. Because Inari is frolicking around dreaming of dating simulation games, the other fox familiars have to rush and go get them so he wanted to become excellent familiars like them. Miya thinks Inari hasn’t done any training in Celestial Plains but yet has excellent controls over her powers lately. Could it be her human virtue? This gives Kon an idea to disguise himself as a human being and copy her. However Kon bumps into Shiro, Tanbabashi’s little brother. Kon is going to be very bothered by him since he starts crying and using his tail as tissue. Seems he got into a fight with big brother. Similarly, Tanbabashi runs into Inari and explains Shiro ran away. It all began when he wanted to play fireworks with mom. Which is impossible since she is busy and he will play with him instead. He insisted and this led Tanbabashi to scold him and be patient. The rest is history. Inari offers to help find him. Kon is forced to be at Shiro’s whims and fancies from getting him a cicada and a cat. Or else his tail… Then at a store, he is going to buy a fireworks set but doesn’t have enough money. Thankfully Inari is here and uses her limited allowance to buy it. Kon panics. Would she recognize him? Kon’s panicking allows Inari to identify him. With Shiro hungry, they go to the supermarket to buy food. Does Inari have enough money to buy all those stuffs? Coincidentally, this is where Shiro’s mom works. Little kid bugs mommy to play with him and of course she can’t because there is a long queue at her counter. He starts crying. Tanbabashi comes by and scolds Shiro. He runs away. Inari wants to transform into their mom. Although it might not solve anything, if she can stop Shiro crying, she’ll do it. When she does, Shiro starts crying and apologizing. Tanbabashi wants ‘mom’ to return to work and will handle this. Shiro calms down. Inari notes Tanbabashi knows how to stop Shiro’s tears without using divine power. Later as they play fireworks together, Inari and Kon watch over them. They note her best virtue comes from her subtle generosity. Uka also notes if Kon learnt a lesson from running away, it would be good too. She knows because Inari was looking for him and Miya told her. Tanbabashi will pay back what Inari paid for the fireworks but she declines because she had fun too. Tanbabashi could feel his heart at ease each time he is with her. Their mom comes by since her colleague managed to relief her on her shift. They all have a good time. Uka adds that she didn’t make Kon as Inari’s familiar because of his skills but rather she thinks they could get along fine.

The Power Of Love Not From Magic But From The Heart
This is actually quite a heart-warming and simple series despite in the end it may seem Inari couldn’t continue to be with Uka again. But it is better for Uka to become invisible to her rather than disappear for good. Instead of continuing to become her physical friend, at least Uka can be her guardian angel or something like that. Watching and protecting her like always before. So I suppose this is considered quite a good ending because it would have really sucked should Uka just disappear. Unless they put in some twist like Amaterasu injecting and fuelling up Uka so she doesn’t disappear and at the same time Inari remains her power so that she could continue to talk and be with Uka. This one sounds like stretching it so I personally don’t think I would prefer that kind of ending. Either way, Inari and Uka’s close bond and friendship should pave a new way and thinking about the relationship between humans and deities and open up new possibilities. It is something that those gods should think about instead of sticking to the age old tradition of status quo.

Compared to Kamisama Hajimemashita, this one can be considered more down to earth although with the existence of deities and supernatural powers, at least when it comes to dealing with issues in life, it is more realistic in this sense. Inari is just a normal girl who just wants to live a normal life. Just like any humans given powers, they are at first in awe with what they can do and would experiment around. Some getting it to their head and misusing it but some like Inari trying to take great care to protect what she considers important. The power is both a blessing and a curse. A double edged sword. Had she not obtained it in the first place, the events like getting closer to Tanbabashi and her friends might not be possible and life would have been drearily the same. The power changed her in a way and for the better good. But sometimes she goes a little astray thinking what she is doing is for the best when it turns out the other way round instead. Something about her transformation power that still boggles me is that if she was told she could only transform into real live humans, how was she able to transform into Inari at the marriage interview? Unless she actually could but Uka didn’t want her to because it might take up a lot of her powers. As seen, Uka’s collapsed there was more serious than before.

Just like Inari herself, the other characters are not perfect and have their own issues to deal with. Like Sumizome whom everyone stereotypic will cast her as the perfect girl who can have it all. In fact she is no better than Inari herself when the truth about her is revealed. Or Maru who initially can’t bring herself to like Sumizome just because she has the looks and feel of a different ‘status’. Like they say, the grass is always greener on the other side. Once everyone is able to open up their hearts, the problem is seemingly solved. There wasn’t supposedly any magic barrier or any magic spell to lift it. It all boils down to your heart. Now everyone is great friends with each other. So you see, the power of friendship lesson as we can well learn indeed does come from our own hearts instead of magical powers bequeathed by deities. One thing that bugs me is about Touka’s ability to see spirits. Does anybody else know about this peculiar power of his? Is he the only one besides Inari who can see Uka? Unless you tell me that he is one of those specially born with ‘special veils over the eye’ who can ‘see things’. It is very rare for a guy to be tsundere. I wanted to call him a siscon but he acts more like a tsundere than anything towards Inari. Because if you’re siscon, you’d be acting creepily lovey-dovey like Toshi does for Uka. But I don’t know if he is also being tsundere for Uka because lately he seems to be thinking a lot about her like as though he can’t get her off his mind.

Oddly, I view the other deities in this anime as no different from human beings in terms of their attitude and workings. Only difference is that they have power, longer shelf life and live in a different plain than us mortals. And some looking uglier and funnier than they already are. Really. So when it is said that deities want to marry Uka just for her first rank power without regards to how Uka feels, I thought that was pretty similar to us humans because they only want to something for their own selfish reasons instead of thinking about the other. And having a middle school girl telling them off like that, well, it really puts the shame on them. They call themselves deities but yet have no power of such sort. No wonder Uka is so disappointed. No wonder she is disillusioned about love. Just like otaku geeks, she seeks solace in dating simulation games! 2D love is the best, no? I guess that is what makes Uka fun. Besides being trying to be a responsible deity and a best friend, she has this weird obsession of playing video games and it makes her funny and odd since you know, a deity taking a huge liking for something man-made. Now, you can’t complain if she starts playing the game and goes into God mode, can’t you? Haha!

Then there is her brother Toshi who feels like the joker of the series. If such siscon behaviour even exists among the deities, I figure there are even worse behaviours. The funny thing about this guy is that despite he loves his sister so much to a point he doesn’t want others to lay a finger on her, this guy womanizes others! And look, he has his own deity harem if I am not mistaken. So is he a hypocrite? Does he consider Uka to be a possession? I believe this deity must one day learn the true meaning of letting go. Amaterasu tries to be fair but sometimes you need to crack the whip a little. Susanoo may not look like it but he is superbly cool. But wait a minute. He smokes? Another lesson to learn: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Amidst the drama between the friends for friendship, humans and deities, there are some decent comical moments that break the tension. Especially with Inari becoming a little joker herself when she panics. Looks a little cute too. There is also Touka’s online fantasy novels. He might not look like it but his imagination is damn creative. Hollywood film makers might want to buy his script and adapt it to the silver screen. Of course as said, Toshi is like the joker of the series with his siscon ways so seeing him around is like a cue that something funny is going to happen and most probably at his expense. Uka’s passion for several human stuffs makes her funny especially how she loves to play video games. Look at it this way, she’s cooked up in the shrine and doesn’t want to go back to the Celestial Plains where she’ll be bugged by annoying and useless marriage candidates so what else better than to lose some steam by indulging in human fantasy? What did I say about deities and humans being so alike?

Romance wise, I don’t think it is strong in this department since we are more focused on the friendship thingy. From the looks of it, despite Inari making some progress with Tanbabashi, they’re just being friends. Because if they do end up as a couple, it will bring more trouble like jealous b*tches. But that is another story. Another interesting love development is Sumizome and Keiko but this is just mostly a one-sided crush. Needless to say, they might be trying to hint all sorts of love because like I have said for the third time now, Toshi’s siscon and unholy-cum-unhealthy love for his sister. Yeah, there is that kind of love too. There is a hint that Uka may have something for Touka. Remember that hugging scene? Something about that feels very curious. Unless it is just one of her delusions from playing too many dating simulations. But there are a few instances which may prove that it is more than just that. I’m sure she isn’t hanging out at his place just to play his video games. She even confides in him in topics such as love and marriage. So what does this hint?

The art and drawing of the series feels fine and but the designs of the shrine location looks detailed and certain sceneries do look good. The characters look decent too and in a way better than Kamisama Hajimemashita because despite both shows having good looking bishonen, the latter feels a bit cartoonish. As there are many deities and gods, some look funny while some look ugly. To a certain extent that you wonder if this is some sort of a horror or freak show. It makes you think that if the producers are just throwing all their creativity in the designing department into this area. I know they are gods of something but I thought they should look better than say, an insect. But then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I’m just probably saying it based on my personal stereotypic likes and dislikes. Therefore Uka stands out from the rest with her pretty looks since the others look somewhat ‘ugly’ with Miya coming in at second place. As for Kon and the foxes, they’re like the animal mascots of this show. I can’t help feel that in certain angles when Kon perches on Inari’s shoulder, he sometimes remind me of Pikachu! Just turn it all white instead!

In the voice acting department, everything sounds okay. Veteran Houko Kuwashima lends her voice as Uka (Sango in Inu Yasha) while newbie Naomi Oozora plays Inari (Suzy in Genshiken Nidaime). Other casts include Youji Ueda as Touka (Usui in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei), Takehito Koyasu as Toshi (Kururu in Keroro Gunsou), Masako Isobe as Amaterasu (Company President is Koisento), Hiroshi Okamoto as Tanbabashi (Wataru in La Corda d’Oro Blue Sky), Iori Nomizu as Sumizome (Haruna in Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka), Kumiko Ikebe as Keiko (Tamao in Anyamaru Tantei Kiruminzuu), Kaori Sadohara as Maru (Tamae in Date A Live), Takaya Kuroda as Susanoo (Capricorn in Fairy Tail), Asami Sanasa as Kamu (Kanako in Maria+Holic), Shiori Mikami as Miya (Krista in Shingeki No Kyojin) and Sayuri Hara as Kon (Rhythm in Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream). I am not sure about the kind of accent the characters speak because if they speak long enough or sometimes if they get mad, you’ll hear them in a funny accent tone.

The opening theme is Kyou Ni Koiiro by May’N. It is a lively piece and those who recognized May’N’s style in anime pop would definitely find this familiar. The main ending theme is Saved by Maaya Sakamoto. It is a slow and lovely piece befitting the calming pace of the series very well. I am starting to form a stereotype that Maaya Sakamoto is best suited for such slow and calming songs after hearing her perform in the Tamayura animes although she does perform faster ones like those in Kobato and Linebarrels Of Iron. Dare Yori Mo Taisetsu Na Hito E by Houko Kuwashima is the special ending theme for episode 9 and is yet another slow lovely piece although I still prefer Saved. There are a number of nice background music but the main theme is still the better one to my preference (and perhaps played too much in the anime).

So perhaps that is why humans are not given powers to begin with since we usually end up abusing them. Not to say Inari did that but another moral of the story is be careful what you wish for. Very often it is not what we expect and we find ourselves regretting what we wished later. And I don’t need to remind this superhero quote that with great powers comes great responsibility. Tired of that line? Even so, humans don’t need such deity powers to grant wishes. Because each of us have that little miracle power within our hearts to make it come true. That itself is already power. Now do you not think that humans are especially an interesting species that even fascinates the gods?

Tamayura ~more aggressive~ OVA

September 26, 2014

Ah yes. After all that ‘toxic’ animes of mindless violence, slapstick comedies and shameless fanservice. It’s that time again to ‘heal’ myself with a ‘healing’ anime before the vicious cycle repeats itself. That is why Tamayura ~more aggressive~ OVA couldn’t have come at a more timely manner. Heck, even if it was a few months late I suppose it would still work out. So what is new for this second season’s OVA that takes place between episode 8 and 9 (thus sometimes being dubbed as episode 8.5)? Well, the usual. But something interesting I note. It isn’t Fuu going around taking snapshots with her camera. In fact, I don’t think she has her camera brought along.

A One Day Field Trip, That Is
Fuu and friends are having their school field trip at Okinawa. They had lots of fun but their fun is a little dampened because Maon is not with them. She is back home as she is sick. Sick enough to have this dream that her friends are leaving her. Gosh. That won’t happen, right? Her friends return when she is well and they show her the clay lions they made during their trip. When Norie is going to make some tea, she spots a memories sketchbook from Maon. It is empty simply because she didn’t go on the trip. Now everybody starts feeling sad. Oh Norie, don’t ruin the sketchbook with your tears! See, you are infecting Maon too. Fuu suggests that Maon too can go on a trip. A trip that encompasses of only 5 of them. They can plan their trip and do fun things. Since they have school, they can only stay for one night the most and needs to be somewhere close. And so Onomichi is chosen. Fuu has designed their itinerary and included some pictures of the places she visited with Harumi. It would make it feel like a proper field trip. During their train ride, Maon takes out her sketchbook and fills in the first page with her sketch. The more places they go and have fun, the more pages Maon draws. There is this rock that Norie suggests climbing although it is a little bit ‘dangerous’. Maon seems she is struggling a lot but eventually reaches the top. They have a great view of the town below when Maon realizes she is down to her last page. Didn’t bring any spare? Then they talk about the fun things they did and they hope to discover more things together. Before Maon realizes, this sketchbook has become so much more important to her. She thanks Norie for being very thoughtful for her on that day. This will be an unforgettable trip. When everyone returns to their inn and fall sound asleep, Maon looks through her sketches. Her last page notes that she wants to make many more memories with them. When they return home, Sayomi is not happy. She is not pleased she has been left out of this trip and thus will definitely be there in part 3 of their trip. They can’t refuse her this time. Thing is, there is no part 3. Phew. Thank goodness…

Memories Are Made Of These…
I am… Cleansed! Okay, maybe not entirely since this is just a single episode. But it is better than nothing. For this OVA, Maon takes most of the spotlight but that doesn’t mean the rest are pretty much left out. Only Sayomi… There isn’t anything new or any shocking twist that will blow your mind because that would have defeated the purpose of this being a calming anime. Another memory making trip for the quintet that would soothe your heart or make you fall asleep in no time. Now that I’m done with this, let me go back to my ecchi high school romance comedy animes! Wohoo! Geez, it’s like I learnt nothing…

Saiunkoku Monogatari

September 21, 2014

When was the last time I watched a very Chinese themed anime? I can’t remember. Even the earliest that came to mind was that cooking themed anime called Chuuka Ichiban. And for some reasons that I couldn’t understand, I decided to check out Saiunkoku Monogatari which is totally a Chinese setting. Except for the fact that this isn’t set in real ancient China but a fictional land of Saiunkoku that is so Chinese influence. It was weird at first to hear Chinese characters speaking Japanese. It’s like having your Taiwanese period drama serials and dubbing them into Japanese. Odd, right? Hah. That is just my mindset. Perhaps the thing that got me to watch is to see how this commoner girl entered the Imperial Palace as a concubine just to motivate the young emperor in doing his job. Guess what. He’s gay. Oh sh*t! This I got to see. Of course as women are discriminated at such times, our young lass will learn to handle and traverse the dangerous game of politics and power that is dominated by men. I know, I just want to see how this woman kick ass. Oh, for your information, this isn’t going to be some action flick where punches and kicks will fly everything like those Chinese kung-fu shows. There are some fighting bits but that is just minimal. Mostly just lots of drama.

This series spans 2 episodes each having 39 episodes per season. So that is 78 episodes in total. As you know me, I don’t really blog episode by episode for animes that last longer you’re your usual 26 episodes. Yeah. Just plain lazy to keep up with everything. That’s why you have the good ol’ reliable Wikipedia to rely on the episode summaries or even Star Crossed Anime Blog just to refresh my memory as well as the list of characters to keep track of who is who because you know in such a world and setting, there is going to be plot over plot when the plot thickens and with so many characters to keep in mind that it takes a genius to keep track of everything including the story. In this case I am not :’(. So here are those that I think are ‘important’ for me to remember.

Kou Shuurei – The main protagonist of the story. Hardworking, optimistic, kind, beautiful and all the good qualities that every man would love to have in their woman. Her only sin is to be born poor. But that’s a blessing in disguise because she has become adept with household chores. Oh, her other sin seems to be born as a woman in the wrong time and era.

500 gold – The amount of money paid to her to be the emperor’s consort.

Shi Seiran – A young man picked up by Shuurei’s household 13 years ago. Becomes their personal retainer to repay his gratitude.

Kou Shouka – Shuurei’s father and Seiran’s adoptive father. Works as a librarian and despite being a kind and gentle person, he makes horrible tea.

Shi Ryuuki – The current emperor who isn’t interest in politics and governing his country. As the youngest of 6 children of the previous emperor, he was mistreated by all his brother except Seien who was mysteriously exiled. The other brothers killed each other in succession to the throne and Ryuuki became an unlikely candidate to succeed. However as seen he isn’t anything but a fool but just acting as one. He spread rumours about being gay because he fears producing an heir would cause conflict and bloodshed.

Ran Shuuei – General of the Shaolin army with exceptional swordsmanship.

Ri Kouyuu – The Vice Secretary of the Department of Civil Administration. Has no sense of direction, gets lost easily. Even in his own home.

Ran Ryuuren – Shuuei’s eccentric but genius younger brother. Plays horrible flute and his actions are most annoying to everyone around him. He is only allowed to do as he pleases with a condition that he takes the top3 spot in the official exam.

Poisoned – Somebody seems to be targeting Shuurei because her tea is poisoned. Although it is not lethal, it will be in time when it is accumulative. Ryuuki drinks the poison on her behalf. What boggles me is that it took them very long to figure out who put poison in the tea. I know they don’t want to cause panic but shouldn’t they suspect the cook or Shuurei’s lady-in-waiting? Who else could get closer to her than that?

It’s closer than you think – I didn’t expect this revelation to come so early just like Ryuuki’s gay rumour. Well, Seiran = Seien.

Kidnapped – After poisoning, now Shuurei gets kidnapped. Turns out to be one of the 3 Grand Palace Officials plot, Sa Enjun. From what I understand from this convoluted power grabbing and jealousy plot, he always wanted to best his other Grand Palace Official, Shou Yousei. Eventually his scheme fell apart because he was just a pawn in Yousei’s bigger scheme. He is killed as a necessity by the man himself. A number of revelations too: Shouka is the mysterious Black Wolf assassin working under Yousei, just as Shuurei’s lady-in-waiting, Shusui. Kourin, Shuurei’s other lady-in-waiting was the one poisoning her drink due to her loyalty to Enjun. She is sent to live with his widow after his death. And needless to say, Ryuuki rescues Shuurei from the kidnappers.

Farewell kiss – That’s his parting gift to Shuurei once her consort mission is done and she goes back living to her usual life. I know he is emperor and can do anything but does he have to kiss her in front of everyone?

Woman in the force – Ryuuki works hard to make it so that women are allowed to take the official exam. Probably it’s his lonely heart that is making him do so.

Rou Ensei – A man found lying outside Shuurei’s house. Her good nature has her take him in and he turns out to be Seiran’s old friend. Something Seiran isn’t too happy about reuniting with this shaggy fellow.

Part time job – Due to the heat wave, many officials are calling in sick. To cope with the lack of manpower, Shuurei disguising herself as a young boy has been invited to assist in the Ministry of Taxation under the eccentric Ko Kijin. He always wears a mask and never takes it off. Then there is also Kou Reishin who is Shuurei’s uncle. He doesn’t want this revealed to her yet.

It’s hard to find a good official – Bandits were after Ensei’s head because he rejected corruption and bribes in his province. Yes, he is the governor of Sa province, once rife with corruption and bribe. Officials were assassinated or bribed, thus reducing good officials around till Enjun announced whoever could foil assassination attempts would be made provincial governor. Ensei did that but because he did not take any official exam, it would be hard for the people to accept him as a proper governor. Ensei gives back his governing seal to Ryuuki.

Kouchou – Madam of a local brothel. Shuurei works at her place part time.

Santa – Not, not Santa Claus, mind you. He is Shuurei’s childhood friend and son of a wealthy merchant. He has a major crush on Shuurei but because she always sees him as a childhood friend and her ambition and duty always comes first, safe to say it will never be reciprocate.

Tou Eigetsu – A young lad and another official exam candidate Shuurei picks up from the street after he is seemingly robbed by bandits. However when he is drunk, he turns into his aggressive alter ego Yougetsu. Oddly, they both know about each other.

Stealing – A local crime gang has been going around stealing plaques of official exam candidates for ransom. Their thieving days are over when they had to pick a fight with Kouchou and her district.

The top 3 – Eigetsu claims Jougen, the top spot for the official exam and becomes the youngest person in history to do so (beating Kouyuu’s record). The second spot called Bougen goes to Ryuuren while Tanka as the third place goes to Shuurei. So this year we have a kid, a weirdo and a woman taking the top 3 spots, causing all other ‘normal’ candidates below them fuming with jealousy. They’ve only got themselves to blame…

The mysterious sponsor – Reishin was Shuurei’s sponsor for the official exam.

Cleaning toilets and shining shoes – That is what Shuurei and Eigetsu have been assigned to do. Just because one is a woman and the other rejected offers from families who want to marry off their daughters to the smartest kid this year. It’s all about money and politics, isn’t it? Despite being mocked and bullied by other officials and successful exam candidates, they persevere and carry on. They’ve come this far and it would be so wrong to just throw in the towel and let those losers win.

What’s eating Kouyuu – Seeing Shuurei and Eigetsu being bullied around sure makes those with a heart feel sad. He can’t do anything about it due to his position. This has him remember his past how he was adopted by Reishin. He thought he was just a stand in because it was also the same time Shouka took in Seiran. Then he learns he never adopted the Kou surname was because Reishin didn’t want him to get involve with the dark politics of the Kou family. He was given Li as his surname because it refers to his favourite plum blossoms.

Heki Hakumei – The fourth placed candidate. Somewhat bitter over his placing and blaming the top weirdo trio for ruining it all. A big fan of Kouyuu, the reason he delayed taking the exam just to respect his record of being the youngest person to pass the official exam. Till Eigetsu came along and broke it. Just when he is to sit that year’s exam and ace the top spot, that’s when the trio came and ruined his ‘plan’. Although he does not bully the trio as much as other arrogant officials, eventually he indirectly helps them out by taking more chores upon himself. He is like what we call today as in tsundere…

The lost ring – The original and real official ring of the Sa clan goes missing. Lots of fakes start appearing. And as Enjun’s death already complicate matters, the Sa province is undergoing one hell of a messy state with power struggle and in-fighting without any proper governors to rule the place.

Conspiracy – Rumours quickly spread that Reishin rigged the exam so that Shuurei could pass. Being the cool guy he is, he accepts his ‘arrest’ but this is only the start of the consequences they have to face for messing with the Kou clan. For instance, the Kou clan goes on strike and cripples the economy. Shuurei is purposely confined by perpetrators so that she cannot attend the official hearing to prove her innocence (to show that she is guilty by running away). Eventually, with the entire town backing Shuurei, she manages to attend the court hearing and clear herself and at the same time expose the corrupt Sa official behind the plot who has been busily lining his pockets with a fake Sa clan ring. It was odd that the corrupt official who dared Kijin to unmask himself got more than he bargained for… He became a vegetable after seeing his face while everyone and the emperor turned their backs… Was it worth the look?

Appointment – Ryuuki appoints for the first time co-governors for Sa province: Shuurei and Eigetsu. Seiran will be their official bodyguard and Ensei along with Tei Yuushun (the assistant governor when Ensei was holding the governor post and still is) will be their assistants.

The confession – Before Shuurei departs on a long journey and duty that will part them for a long time, he confesses his love to her and will wait for her to come back. He’ll take no other women during her time away. It’s going to be lonely. Well, the emperor has made his feelings clear but why can’t Shuurei…

Ghost! – I thought Enjun’s appearance ended when he died. Seems he’ll make future ‘returns’ in the form of a ghost in some container that Yousei keeps! At least he takes on the appearance of his youthful days. I didn’t know this series had a supernatural theme to go with it…

The real ring – It’s in Yousei’s possession all along. That scheming old bastard…

The long and dangerous road –Shuurei, Eigetsu, Ensei and Seiran depart on their journey to troubled Sa province along with Kourin. There are attempts to rid of the new governors because of some ruling that states if the governors do not take their seats within 3 months, it will be automatically vacated and you know what this means for the power hungry Sa clan.

I know what you did last summer year – Kourin confesses to Shuurei about her poisoning but the latter already knows about it because Kouyuu told her beforehand. Nevertheless she forgives her.

Separated –While resting at a hotel, guards come to arrest the group. However Shuurei was made to hide by Ensei and was the only one not caught. Kourin is mistaken to be as Shuurei and her lady-like appearance fits the bill to deceive the perpetrators. While Kourin and Eigetsu are held in captive, Seiran and Ensei are thrown into prison.

Kinka – The commercial city of Sa province that the gang will meet up next while travelling separately.

Chuushou – Enjun’s younger brother and currently the acting governor of Sa province who seized power after his death. As part of his plan, he imprisoned Enjun’s widow, Eiki. He also planned an arranged between Shuurei and his second eldest grandson, Sakujun. Because killing Shuurei who is a direct descendent of the Kou clan would enrage and spark off unimaginable consequences-cum-backlash from the clan, the political marriage is also to gain a foothold in the clan as advantage.

Soujun –The eldest grandson of Chuushou with equally ruthless ambitions as his grandfather to be the next head of the Sa clan.

Satsujinzoku – A ruthless band of thieves that Ensei and Seiran was once part of. Now it is currently led by Meishou who was once the band’s second in command and policing Kinka.

Prison break – Thanks to the third grandson, the weakest but kind Kokujun, Ensei and Seiran are freed and this saves the need for them to break out.

Lin Senya – Shuurei seeks the Merchant Guild’s help to travel to Kinka and thanks to her Kou pass, she gets absolute respect and wish. But the one who will take her there is no other than a pretty but mysterious merchant in the name of Lin Senya. Instead of making haste to Kinka, all he does is laze around, making Shuurei play the erhu for him and flirt around with her. Hell, he even steals a kiss from her! Oddly, he only moves when news of Ensei and Seiran escaped. It’s like there’s more than meets the eye… Oh, he resembles a lot like Ryuuki too. So similar yet so different.

The real emperor seal and jade – Knowing that the Sa clan will try to seize these important items to prevent the new governors to do their duty, Ryuuki has hidden the real emperor seal and jade without even telling Shuurei or Eigetsu where it is. But he knows they can tell right away and it will arrive at the same time when they enter Kinka. Nobody could have guessed where it is… Because Ryuuren is the one delivering it! I guess in nobody’s right mind would like to deal with this eccentric. Perfect hiding place for anything.

Betrayal – Soujun thought he could have Meishou make an alliance with him. Instead he got betrayed and killed by Meishou’s band of thieves instead when the former thinks of killing Eigetsu and Kourin for deceiving him. Because Meishou had a better deal done with no other than the scheming Sakujun.

Slaughter house – Shuurei is supposed to meet Senya at his Kinka’s residence, Chrysanthemum House. But she was told by Kinka’s Merchant Guild’s leader, Sai Shou that the Lin clan had been massacred recently by Satsujinzoku. So who was the dangerous man Shuurei travelled with? And the Chrysanthemum House she arrives at is devoid of people, blood everywhere…

You should have guessed it by now – Guess who is Senya’s true identity… He is… Sakujun! Why am I not surprised? I can’t tell if Shuurei is in shock of this or paralyzed by his beauty when he flirts with her after revealing his real name. So much so the ‘farewell’ kiss I wonder was it deliberate to make Seiran mad. I’m sure he wasn’t jealous. Hope Shuurei doesn’t fall for the bad boy. Sakujun ‘borrows’ Shuurei’s hairpin and keeps it as memento or rather ‘hostage’ so that it serves as ‘motivation’ for her to travel to Sa province’s capital of Koren to meet him and get it back.

Staying back – As Satsujinzoku is driven out of Kinka and the mayor released from prison, Shuurei and co stay back to restore order and work things out with the mayor and Shou in the city before moving ahead.

Blockade – Suddenly there is an order to block entry paths into Koren with excuse to safeguard to new governors. This means Shuurei and co have to leave Kinka as soon as possible but Kourin is left behind so as not to drag her further into danger.

The emperor is coming – It may seem that Ryuuki secretly goes on a journey to Kinka to see Shuurei but the reason of wanting to see the situation at Sa province with his own eyes and to show he is not forsaking the place would sound better. Even if Shuurei is in trouble, he won’t interfere because it will be meaningless if she doesn’t overcome it herself. He is accompanied by Shuuei and Kouyuu. They missed Shuurei and co because they departed the day earlier. However they get to meet up with Seiran and Ensei to help take out Sa clan’s private army and clear the path for Shuurei’s carriage through. Even though Ryuuki didn’t get to see or meet Shuurei, knowing she is alright and doing her best would be suffice.

Home visit – Although Shuurei and co manage to ridiculously break through the block, the pay a visit to the home of Sho’s sister, Ran. Though she is not home, there is a couple of letters left for them and one of them being Shuurei’s invitation to the ceremony of appointing the new Sa head, which is the day before the new governors take oath.

Trying to be the hero – Kokujun tries to find a way to restore his clan and goes to confront Chuushou. However grandpa is not swayed and has him thrown into prison where Kokujun’s father has been spending his years.

Guest of honour – Shuurei visits the huge manor of Sa clan to meet with Sakujun. He allows her to do as she wishes. The place is so huge that it’s like a mini kingdom of its own. You can get lost. That’s what Shuurei got when she tries to find where Kokujun is being imprisoned and Eiki’s whereabouts. So many secret rooms and paths… At times Sakujun wants her to play the erhu, tie his hair and even make him her special Gan Lu tea but for the latter request, she turns him down despite his excuses and childish threats (he is going to kill himself if he doesn’t drink that tea of hers).

Shunki – Enjun’s granddaughter who has been living in exile and hidden, being taken care of by the brothers of some chivalrous thief group, Shourin and Youshun. She has some sort of special power and thus her voice was sealed by Eiki. I don’t remember, one night like as though she felt like destiny was moving or something so the brothers carried her and run all the way to Koren and meet up with Eigetsu and co. She’s never had a ride like this in her life… Along the way, they meet Ryuuren who gives them his family pass that allows them to enter Koren.

The map – Thanks to Shunki’s awesome memory, she is able to reproduce the map of the Sa clan’s little kingdom and has Shourin deliver it to Shuurei.

The big meet – Shuurei is brought to meet Chuushou. He wants her to give up being governor and marry Sakujun and live a luxurious life. However she refuses to give in to him despite his threat of burning down the province and will continue walking the path she believes in.

The voice – This is the reason why Shunki never speaks. It’s because the words she says becomes absolute. This proves useful when she saves Eigetsu and co from Sa clan’s little army. I find it rather odd because from this point on, she talks like normal and frequently like as though there was no curse at all. If she had this much control over her voice, shouldn’t she have spoken instead of keeping quiet?

A good old man is a dead old man – That is what is happening to Chuushou. He reaped what he sew? Shuurei and Shunki find him clinging on to life outside the entrance to the underground prison where Kokujun was held. He was stabbed. Guess who did it? Anyway the old fart died of his wounds.

Taking responsibility – Though Kokujun is released, he is still cowering in his lack of power, etc, blah, blah, blah. Shunki had to slap some sense into him that if he is unwilling to be the next head, she will. Can’t let a girl do it, can’t he? And so Kokujun sums up his courage to wear the ring and be the next head of the Sa clan.

Massacre plan – Chuushou’s initial plan was to lure all the Sa people into a building where the ceremony to appoint the next head will take place. They fail to realize the poorly built surroundings because a single collapse would have crushed and killed them all. If not for the sharp observation of Eigetsu and Ensei, everyone would have been pancakes. The idea of this massacre was to free the Sa clan from all the problems by killing everyone of them, the same act that Enjun did many years ago. With Kokujun as the new head, he will bear the heaviest responsibility and sin for the Sa clan. All the old farts of the Sa clan are arrested.

Drinking to death – Seiran and Sakujun enter a Russian roulette drinking game as they talk. Some of the liquor is poisoned and they take turns rolling the dice and drinking it. In the end after many rounds, Seiran is overwhelmed by the strong liquor and the signs that Sakujun have drank the poison began to show.

Game over – Shuurei looking for Sakujun finds him slumped by a tree. His mouth is bloodied and his body is weakened. He returns the hairpin to her as promised, kissed her lips with his bloodied lips and in the end, he realizes his love for her will never be returned. Shuurei is frantic to find him a doctor because death would be just too good for him. I’m pretty unsure if she does harbour feelings for him… Anyway Sakujun’s body was never found…

Can’t get you out of my head – Shuurei just can’t get Sakujun out of her head. Was it because she felt responsible and guilty over his death? So she does care for him in that sense. Although Ensei and Seiran did try to cheer her up, I think it is Ryuuren who was more effective. Maybe the warm hug did the trick. Not. Maybe it was his confusing words. She was the only one who could save him and thus the only one who could kill him. What? WHAT?! And with that, Shuurei cries her heart out in his arms. Ryuuren you lucky bastard!

The new governors, finally – Shuurei and Eigetsu take their oath to become Sa province’s governors. With the Sa province’s long outstanding issues solved, they also meet Yuushun for the first time. Well, actually their second. The first time was at Kinka when he was masquerading as a city mayor.

Work like a horse – Shuurei and Eigetsu waste no time in trying to bring Sa province back to its feet. I’m sure every country would love to have such dedicated governors like them but please, take care of your health. You won’t do the province any good if you’re both dead.

Research centre – As agriculture and other industries do not suit Sa province for long term revenue, it dawned upon Shuurei that it could be made as a research and academic centre where experts in all fields can gather and share their knowledge.

Yuushun x Rin – They’re getting married.

The return of the king governor – For the annual palace celebrations, Shuurei is advised to return to the capital as every province’s representatives will be there as part of the new year greetings to the emperor. Accompanying her are Seiran, Yuushun, Rin and Kokujun (the 7 heads of the coloured families will also be having their own gathering). When Shuurei and Yuushun finally get to see Ryuuki after a long absence, she doesn’t waste time in proposing Sa province’s future. Since everyone is eager to hear her plan, Ryuuki allows it.

Back home but… – Although Shuurei is back home and many earlier characters revisited, she doesn’t really act like she’s back home. Maybe she’s a governor now so she needs to act like one. But still, she manages to thank everyone for their support and makes a late announcement that she has returned home. They’re glad she has grown so much. Also, Ryuuki is acting more like an emperor so he didn’t really have that eager beaver meeting to meet Shuurei although she is back. Trying to make work as an excuse?

Reunited but does it feels so good? – Shouka sends Shuurei on a delivery mission but it’s some sort of setup to meet Ryuuki at the place where they first met. I’m sure they’re glad to finally see each other personally. I’m sure Ryuuki is so happy to see her that he again confesses his love and wants to kiss her. However Shuurei had to spoil it and won’t let him have it. Instead she reprimands the emperor for this and that. Even so, Ryuuki will wait for her no matter how long as she wants to continue moving forward. Yeah. Even that means forever. Forever… Forever… Forever… I don’t know if I can be that patient…

Season 2

After around a month’s break, the story of Saiunkoku continues. Was this single month break even necessary?

The proposalKurou, the proxy head of the Kou family and the younger brother to Shouka and Reishin talks to Kouyuu that if he is willing to take over the head of the Kou clan, he is willing to throw every support behind him but with a condition: He must marry Shuurei. This is also to help them grow and reach greater heights as Kurou opines they support each other greatly. I think he needs lots of time to think about it. But it’s making him so awkward each time she is around. Oh, how can he face her?

I want her for all myself – Because Reishin is still keeping his status Shuurei’s uncle a secret from her, looks like he is being bugged by the fact that Shuurei is now at a marriageable age and doesn’t want her to marry any of the colour clans. So? In fact, he is desperate enough to even think of marrying Shuurei himself!!! Well, it’s all up to Shuurei to decide. Boy, she’s really in demand.

So many to choose from – Even Ryuuki is not spared from being bugged from those old buggers who wants him to choose a wife. His response? Run away! I guess he knows this is the kind of responsibility he doesn’t want to shoulder. In no time we’ll start singing, Son you’ll be a bachelor boy and that’s the way to stay…

If you want something done, do it yourself – Yuushun and Rin intend to visit Shuurei’s home but she remembers the mess it is in. Roping in the guys made things worse. They made a mess out of things and only give more work for her to do. By the time she kicks them out so she can clean it herself, her guests are already here. There’s a side of Shuurei you don’t see often.

Gathering support – Trying to realize the dream of Sa province as a research centre is a mammoth task. A substantial amount of funds are needed and it’s something the treasury department isn’t willing to invest despite the plan being long term. So Shuurei has been going around collecting permissions from government departments and clans as support.

Kijin unmasked – Well, we didn’t see how he looks like but as he shows it to Yuushun and Ran, they didn’t become stunned or a vegetable but merely describes such beauty cannot even be replicated via painting… Somebody hand me a camera…

Doushu – Eigetsu reveals his past that he was taken in by this kind man. Otherwise he could have been killed by his own family members to cut their losses thanks to poverty. Under his wing, Eigetsu learnt about love and despite Doushu being betrayed and deceived sometimes, he still continued his ways of helping those in need. For he is a person who loves life! Is it no wonder Eigetsu admires him? Seems Doushu is living on borrowed time and when he passed away, it’s like Eigetsu knows of his passing and is saddened. Are their hearts really connected? Before Doushu died, he made arrangements of documents to be delivered to Shuurei. Because he knows Eigetsu has not much time left to live!

Fan of the flute – Guess what? Kokujun loves Ryuuren’s sound of the flute!!!! Serious! Has this guy ever heard what a flute is supposed to sound like?! Yeah, and they become like best buddies. I don’t even know what Shuurei can say more about this.

Alcohol kills – Because Eigetsu has been spending too much time in his work and somewhat neglecting Kourin (methinks she likes him), I don’t know why she had this idea of putting in his meal just to awaken Yougetsu. Then she is told the horrifying truth. The more Yougetsu is awake, the shorter Eigetsu’s life gets. So does that make Kourin an accomplice in killing him? So to keep him alive, keep alcohol away from him. See people? Alcohol kills! Eigetsu’s name was given by him and Getsu is his real name. Anyway, Yougetsu doesn’t care if he disappears forever.

Outbreak – In the Sa province village of Koringun, there is reportedly an outbreak of a mysterious epidemic spreading. Just the mention of the sighting of the white snow fox in that area has sent Eigetsu shivering. I suppose he has had deadly experience in the past.

Jasenkyou – Taking advantage of the epidemic, this mysterious cult blames Shuurei as the cause for the epidemic because coincidentally this never happened before a woman became a governor, right? Gullible people are led to believe that joining their cult will help them cure their disease but it would be even better if Shuurei’s head is called. Oh, the leader of this cult is named Senya… Curious…

Hyou Riou Sr – The mysterious head of the Hyou family makes contact with Shuurei at the palace grounds. The silver head is interested in her (as she reminds him of Bara Hime) while Shuurei is unaware of who he is but her guts makes her feel uncomfortable around him. Those who know this dangerous guy like Seiran, Shouka and Ryuuki, aren’t really keen of letting him near Shuurei.

Going at it alone – Because Eigetsu has not much time left, he heads to Koringun village alone to do what he can after bidding goodbye to Kourin. Hey wait. These 2 were in love with each other? Oh heck, there were signs but I didn’t really give much attention. But what are the chances of Kourin staying put and doing nothing? Yup. She goes looking for him too.

Half-life? – Seems Doushu died once before but Eigetsu pleaded with Yougetsu to transfer half his life to him, thus shortening his own even further. Because each time Yougetsu’s appearance means shortening Eigetsu’s life, he made a condition that he will only come out when called or being exposed to alcohol. Despite Yougetsu’s cold personality, Doushu still loves him as much as Eigetsu as they are both his precious children. But once Eigetsu dies, Yougetsu will take over as promised.

Kai Yuu– The old but handsome governor of the Koku province came all the way to deliver medical notes left by Doushu to Shuurei (Kai was also Eigetsu’s caretaker and sponsor for his exam). Kai wanted to be the next governor for Sa province but due to his age and distance, he wasn’t allowed to. However Shuurei is willing to resign and pass on her governor post to him if anything happens to her.

Parasites – Seems the disease is caused by worms and the snow foxes are carriers. People must have drank contaminated water containing the worms that hatch inside their bodies. Ugh. That’s why, always remember to drink boiled water.

Doctor! Doctor! – Learning about the epidemic at Koringun, Shuurei wants as many doctors as possible to head to Koringun. One of them includes the legendary doctor, You Shikou.

Practice makes perfect – Because the doctors have no experience in performing the surgery (the only way to save those infected by the disease as it swells the bladder), the doctors need to practice on cutting up livestock such as pigs. There is going to be lots of meat going around.

Court summon – Shuurei’s drastic actions does not sit well with some of the officials (some to the extent believe that she is the cause of the disease too) so she is summoned before the palace court to justify them. She argues valid reasons why she skipped so many protocols and procedures. Once everything has been approved, they’ll be dead, right? What’s the use of having such powers if you are not going to use them? Those words Shuurei used… Respect, man! Tell it those useless Imperial Court officials! Ryuuki is going to mobilize the use of the royal army but Shuurei refuses it, arguing that Jasenkyou may hold the people hostage. Military force and might is sometimes not always the answer.

Abducted – While Eigetsu is treating the sick people of another local but outskirt Sekiei village, he thought he saw a man resembling Doushu. He tries to follow him but gets knocked out. Seems whoever this crazy dude is, he is borrowing Doushu’s dead body (his real body is hidden somewhere) and imprisons and tortures Eigetsu in the cave where Jasenkyou’s base is. He doesn’t want Eigetsu but his other half. He is also used as a bait to lure Shuurei. Kourin has also arrived. However she gets mistaken to be Shuurei (again) and is imprisoned in a different part of the cave. She sees many sick villagers believed to have joined the cult by fear. I guess it proves that joining them doesn’t make the disease go away. And the body count is mounting every day. Thus Kourin takes it upon herself to cook and prepare clean water for the villagers but of course this is part of her plan to locate where Eigetsu is.

Kill me baby – I don’t know what’s going on in Shuurei’s mind because she has this absurd request to ask from Ensei. If she really is the source of the disease, she wants him to behead her!!! Does she really believe in that?! Why him? I guess when she narrows down all the likely people who would behead her, Ensei proves to be the ‘best’ choice. Huh?

Unruly mob – Although Shuurei and the doctors have arrive at Koringun, first they have to face the obstacles of soldiers not wanting her to get in as you know, she’s the cause of the disease. The soldiers almost killed their Mayor Hei when he goes out to greet them in a dangerous fashion. If the guards are one problem, the villagers are another set. Armed with farming tools, they are out to get Shuurei’s head. Like mobs who don’t think with their heads but their emotions, they refuse to hear any rational reasoning and continue to believe unfounded rumours. Selfish and stupid, they can even make statements of getting rid of the people of Sekiei too for fear their disease will spread because the entire village was brought here to seek treatment (it is known that the disease does not spread from human to human). Not even the tears of an innocent little girl, Shuuran could sway them. Shame on them, ironically it took their wives to give them an earful and back down. So stop resisting and get back to work!

The real thing – Although the doctors have been putting countless hours into their practice, when faced with reality, some cannot stand the sight of blood or cutting up real humans… Definitely not for the faint hearted.

Settling it once and for all – Once the doctors are in their grove to perform the surgery and the wives doing the job of stitching the patients back up, Shuurei and Ensei head to the mountainous cave to settle things with Jasenkyou as well as rescue Eigetsu. Tagging along with them are kids Shuuran and Riou Jr since they know the area like the back of their hand.

Ryuuren, unmasked! – Well, well. Ryuuren without all his fancy flamboyant accessories and dressing, he looks very plain! But handsome too. In this sense, he looks very odd. So to say we prefer him in his weird costume? He is at Koringun to rescue Eigetsu and from the looks of his face, he looks very worried and concerned about his soul friend #2.

Visions of you – I think Eigetsu is on the brink of death that he sees visions of Sakujun. He even scolds him for throwing his carefree life away because there are so many people dying who would want to live longer. Like himself.

Rescue mission begin – Kourin is being told by Shuuran (small enough to sneak into the crevices of the cave) where Eigetsu is being held. On pretense of changing water, she manages to locate him. Cue for emotional drama… Eigetsu: Don’t rescue me, rescue the villagers. I can get out myself. Somehow. Kourin: I won’t listen to you anymore… Sealed with a kiss?

Entrapment – Shuurei and Ensei enter the cave to face off with fake Doushu/Senya or Ren as we find out his real name is. She doesn’t know who this guy is. Apparently he used the Senya name to get her attention. Some flashback that he is doing this to please mother (females rule the Hyou clan with the exception of a certain guy). I thought I find it funny that he drew a magical circle in the middle of the cave and is trying to lure Shuurei to step into that trap. So close yet so far… Just a few more steps… Damn it, come closer… Whatever trump cards Ren had, he doesn’t anymore because the sick villagers in his captive are shipped out and Seiran and some of the army have infiltrated the cave and impersonating themselves as Jasenkyou members. Game over. But when Shuurei finally does step into the trap, her body is paralyzed and cannot move. But she is somehow freed with Riou Jr’s interference. He shows Ren his real decapitated head, meaning he is no longer useful. Game over for real. He drops dead.

Eigetsu dies – Right after Ren’s death, now it is Eigetsu’s turn, after saying goodbye to Doushu’s body. The rest thought he resurrected shortly but apparently it is Yougetsu.

Oops! Sorry, Eigetsu lives – Since when is this moody guy so kind? Because Yougetsu decides to revive Eigetsu enough for him to live till ripe old age. Till then, Yougetsu remains in comatose state. But it’s happy news for Kourin because she gets to be together with him. Unless…

The third wheel – Unless that damn Ryuuren stops hogging Eigetsu for himself! I know that guy is eccentric but he’s some sort of invading Eigetsu’s space, sticking so close to him like a leech. And Eigetsu is okay with it! Can this guy tell that his girlfriend is seething with anger that some guy is cutting in between them of some quality time? Get a hint! Go away! Is there some sort of adventure he should be getting into now? Maybe he doesn’t want to part with his soul friend after almost losing him. And so the battle to be with Eigetsu continues… But Ryuuren always seem to get the upper hand and unfazed…

Disappearing act – Those remnant members of Jasenkyou who are supposedly from the Hyou clan somewhat vanished from their cells. Magic? Don’t rule that out. Supernatural powers have always been associated with them.

Demotion – Despite the outbreak has been contained, some Imperial Court members are not happy. WTF is wrong with these people? Before they can move to discredit Shuurei whatsoever, Ryuuki moves in by relieving Shuurei and Eigetsu from their post for taking measures into their hands. Kai has been appointed to be the next governor of Sa province and Eigetsu will become his student studying under him. As for Shuurei, she will be immediately summoned back to the capital after the transition and given the rank of Joukan, an official without any government post.

Promotion – Yuushun has been promoted to Prime Minister.

Inspiration – Thanks to Shuurei’s efforts, not only she has the thanks from the people of Sa province, Shuuran is inspired to become an official just like her when she grows up. She wants to save people too. The fruits of her labour are starting to bear indeed. Hei becomes her guardian till she passes the exam.

Joker emperor – There was this recap episode in the guise of Shuurei’s report to Ryuuki, that emperor becomes like a dramatic joker while reading it out ever since the part Eigetsu died. WTF… I guess emperors need to let their hair down once in a while. In the shadows of course.

The Ten Commandments Conditions – Yuushun’s provisions to Ryuuki before he accepts his Prime Minister post. He must be one powerful visionary dude if he is in such position to make such demands.

Fakes and forgeries – There seem to be fake painting and counterfeit money circulating around.

The return of Santa – This guy may have leveled up a little and was bold enough to hint to Shuurei he wants to marry her. You might have guessed it by now. Shuurei is married to her job/ambition.

The melancholy of Santa – Santa said something that really got Shuurei thinking. She has been dismissed as an official, so why is she working her ass so hard? What is she trying to achieve/prove? Because the Imperial Court will still function and go on with or without her. Think about it. Despite those stinging words ringing so true, Shuurei isn’t a person who would just sit down and not do something. She must do something. Simply because Shuurei is Shuurei.

Heki Karin – A guest of Kouchou seems to be running around town verifying if paintings are fakes or not. Lively, energetic but a somewhat rude and brute to men. Beware, guys. She finds Shuurei cute. Is she some sort of piece of artwork too?

Shin Suou AKA Tan-tan – A lazy and carefree guy was asked by his father to go marry Shuurei because he will be promised some sort of government position. WTF. The idiot fails of course since he doesn’t try hard enough. Shuurei rejects him and he is okay with that. Besides, he did what he was told to but mission failed, right? What do you expect from a guy who buys golden ornaments including a tanuki (hence the Tan-tan nickname many calls him) and gets flushed away by the drain water. Despite looking like an idiot, this guy is quite perspective as he observes Shuurei’s behaviour and actions.

Heki Yukoku – Karin’s alias. Yukoku is believed to be the best artist around but the trouble is nobody ever sees this person as he moves from place to place. Ryuuki and co wanted to find him to get a portrait of him drawn. Imagine their surprise when they realize this crude woman is that said legend.

Locked child –With Shuurei and the gang figuring out and putting the pieces of the puzzle of the counterfeiting case, Tan-tan leads everyone back to his shed whereby they see a child making those drawings. He is Banri and Karin’s son and was somewhat duped into reproducing those paintings. Tan-tan’s dad seems to also be involved in the fake painting (unknowingly he brings them home since he is from the arts department and loves paintings) but not the counterfeit money. There is also a mould to make counterfeit coins and it is a serious crime punishable by death regardless of who the person is. In view of this, Ryuuki proposes that he had them made a mould for new trial coins.

Imprisoned – Due to Tan-tan and his dad’s involvement in the counterfeiting, they are thrown in prison. Shuurei and Seiran went to great lengths and procedures to bail Tan-tan but his dad isn’t so easy. Upsetting Shuurei more was that Tan-tan didn’t say anything to defend himself. Since Tan-tan is an official, Shuurei believes if he renders himself with some distinguished service before his father’s execution, it might save him as well. From time to time Tan-tan visits his father in prison and brings him handmade rice balls. Not the best but it tastes good if you’re stuck in prison especially if it was made by your own son.

Go get a job! – There is a proposal that joukans that are not useful will be dismissed within a month (Shuurei and Tan-tan are part of it). This is part of those against Shuurei to get rid of her once and for all. Worse, all the other joukans are being so pessimistic and lazy that it just pisses off Shuurei. Uh huh. You guessed it. She goes out of her way to help them out (since they pathetically begged her too). It’s not even her problem and yet she goes out her way to help them. Isn’t she the best or what? At this rate I think Shuurei is going to have wrinkles on her forehead. It’s very tiring trying to just keep up with these bums. She’s helping them so much that she didn’t have time to think about her own circumstances. Time is running out and she’ll be dismissed for real if she doesn’t land a job.

Riku Seiga – Unlike other joukans, this one is more helpful and helps out Shuurei whenever he can since he views Shuurei’s personality as interesting.

Inflation – Prices of salt seem to be rising as well. Not only that, salt is mixed with some other impurities as well. Shuurei thinks that this must have something to do with fake paintings and counterfeit money and that same person behind it must be pulling the strings. Those were perhaps just a distraction for this. Shuurei and Seiga work hard to trace the source of it and come to discover that many of the salt transactions pass through the Chin clan.

Too late? – Wondering why Tan-tan has not showed up recently, there is a rumour that his father has died. Shuurei once again becomes worried and recalls Tan-tan’s odd behaviour during the last time they met (he had her play her erhu).

The big break? – Shuurei with Seiga’s help finishes up the report and findings of the salt case. She spent the whole night writing it so it’s no surprise she is tired in the morning and sleeps on her desk. The next time she opens her eyes, her scroll report is missing. Who took it? That’s where Seiga’s true colours are revealed. He is an underground inspector of the government inspection section. He was on this case for months and had a case building and going till Shuurei and Tan-tan had to show up. He despises her and is the kind of guy who would sacrifice others to achieve his goal.

The big surprise? – Shuurei and Seiga never expected Tan-tan to pop up at the Chin’s residence when the guards are arresting the inhabitants of the manor and seizing their property. This place actually belongs to his mother or at least to the man she remarried. He is working under her as her servant but it seems she doesn’t even recognize her own son! Tan-tan found the real mould that made the counterfeit coins and this will prove that there is another person involved and his father’s sentence is uplifted. By the way, he isn’t dead yet since he managed to get him out of prison and let Seiran guard him.

Ki Kouki – The strict and no nonsense head of the government inspection section who also isn’t too fond about Shuurei. Although he still doesn’t hold favourable views about her, he ‘invites’ her to come work under his department to see whether she has got what it takes to meet his high standards. Tan-tan is also ‘invited’ since he views his idiocy to fool agents like Seiga a talent itself. Yeah. Having no talent is like a talent itself.

Riou Jr returns – First seen returning to the capital’s library with Ryuuki even confiding him for advice for his love for Shuurei (little kid thinks he should give up on that hard to get woman), he is later appointed as the head of the mystic studies department.

Passed – No joukans are dismissed at the end of the probation period.

Time to settle down – Ryuuki finally has decided to take on a wife. What?! Is he serious? After all that dodging and now he thinks it’s time to settle down? However he is going to maintain being monogamous. Hope he won’t regret it.

Juusan-hime – The princess of the Ran family is going to enter the imperial palace as Ryuuki’s wife. See Ryuuki? Don’t you wish having not made that statement so at least you can still get your hands on Shuurei?

Pseudo wife – Because Juusan-hime is going to be part of the imperial palace, there may be assassination attempts so Kouki assigns Seiga and Shuurei who is to pose as Juusan-hime and she must protect her with her life.

Prison warden – Since Shuurei is part of the government inspection department, she is given a prison to be in charge with. Ever since, the system and hygiene of the place improved so much so the prisoners don’t want to leave! Yeah. Even a hardcore prisoner who was mistakenly convicted didn’t want to. Life is so good with free food and accommodation, why leave?

Tousen Court – The annex of the imperial residence that Shuurei and Juusan-hime are going to live in for a while till Juusan-hime officially becomes Ryuuki’s wife. Oh, they’re like best friends now.

Fishing – Juusan-hime doesn’t exactly like fishing but she did fish one out just to let it eat the imperial palace’s food. Guess what? The fish turned belly up. Holy sh*t! What boggles me isn’t why the fish was eating human food, but rather how lax the security is. Didn’t they learn the last time? Or is the lenient security on purpose to draw out the assassins? Looks like it’ll be safer to cook herself.

It’s just a game – As Shuurei confides in Juusan-hime, she entering the Imperial Residence may just be a game set up by the Ran triplets to test the emperor’s reaction and capabilities. She deduces that the game is set with only one way out and if he fails to reach that, it’s game over. If he succeeds, the reward must be worthwhile.

Doing time – Shuurei investigates the deaths of 5 high ranking officials when she spots Ensei sitting in prison. Something about saving a woman and getting caught in a misunderstanding scuffle. Who cares? We know he’s back.

Tanned one eyed man – The mysterious man who waltzes in coolly to take on Seiga and the guards protecting the Vice Minister of Arms. He and his fellow assistant assassin leave when Ensei arrive in the picture, noting that half his mission is done.

Vice Minister of Arms – Deduced to be the culprit of what is currently happening. Because he offered to guard Juusan-hime, he made the security lax to facilitate the assassins’ work and let them in. He has a daughter of marriageable age and wanted her to enter the Imperial Residence. If Ryuuki did not do away with polygamy, he wouldn’t have resorted to assassination. Also, Juusan-hime was attacked while on her way to the capital but he failed in his attempt to assassinate her before so because it would mean a noble or official didn’t want her to enter the Imperial Residence. He also setup this failed assassination attempt on himself. However what if the assassins had other orders to kill? She looked into the dead officials and all had nothing in common except for one thing: They were related to the Vice Minister of Arms. Seiga’s mission is not to protect him but to arrest the man plotting the assassination attempt and was just protecting him from being killed off. Shuurei senses something amiss since if this was supposed to be a failed assassination attempt, the damage taken is too serious. Unfortunately prior to it all, an assassin stuck a poison blow dart in the minister’s neck so all that was for naught.

Shiba Jin – The name of the tanned one eyed man. Or is it Shun?

Hotaru – Juusan-hime’s real name.

The story so far – I’m confused. This is what is happening so far. Apparently Juusan-hime and Shuuei know who Jin/Shun is and aren’t happy he is now an assassin. He claims he is no longer a member of the Shiba family and that Jin is ‘dead’. Juusan-hime is Jin/Shun’s former fiancée. If everyone finds out that the chief assassin behind the killings was the son of the Shiba family, the leading family among the subordinate families of Ran, it would affect the Ran family. His masked assassin turns out to be Shusui. She is under some hypnotism and now that she is activated, she’ll never be free so Jin/Shun takes her under his care so that she can assassinate no more.

Case closed – Kouki closes the case after reading Shuurei’s report that someone has been quietly removing condemned convicts over the years and trained them to be assassins. The Vice Minister of Arms may be involved but somebody else did the hiring. He was murdered to ensure his silence and so it’s not over yet. But Kouki believes those low level assassins won’t know who the ring leader is and Shuurei’s emotion is clouding her judgment (since the leader of the assassin is somewhat related to the Ran family). It is set that the Vice Minister of Arms used assassins to murder officials so his daughter could enter the Imperial Residence. He failed and died. Case closed. If Shuurei can’t accept that, then resign or become more powerful than he is.

Leaving your majesty – Due to some circumstances that Shuuei has always been a member of the Ran family, thus the dilemma to stay by Ryuuki’s side. He has made his decision to leave him and they have a final dual in which I think he purposely lost so that he could replace somebody better and let him marry Juusan-hime. He returns his iris sword and returns to his clan. Although Ryuuki lets him do as he pleases, he still wants Shuuei by his side and will go and get him back.

Shuuei has left the palace – With Shuurei’s help, Shuuei manages to ride safely out of the capital since all the guards on duty become drunk and before Seiga could come interrogate him.

Honeymoon? – Probably to stave off certain people who are still concerned whether Ryuuki is going to marry Juusan-hime, his plan is to take her to Ran province as his guide. It backfired causing some to think he chickened out on his decision to take a wife and worse, it’s like they’re going on a honeymoon.

The art of persuasion – After failing to do her own snooping around in the office of the Minister of Arms (that guy was pretending to be absent to avoid interrogation) and after all that pleading, Shuurei manages to get Kouki’s permission to head to Ran province since she still hasn’t given up on investigating the Vice Minister of Arms’ case (along with the other minster murders and salt prices).

Last of the nobles – Kouki is the sole survivor of his distinguished Ki family. The previous emperor ordered the family’s execution.

Ou Ki – As described by Ryou Anju to be a noble among nobles. He desires the throne.

What’s eating Shuurei? –Ryuuki has Juusan-hime to confide to and accompany him through lonely nights. So why is she looking so sad?

Business trip – In addition to her trip to Ran province, Shuurei is tasked to bring Ryuuki back and investigate this guy called Jin. The clan expected great things from him but he murdered his father 5 years ago. He was supposed to be executed but somebody helped him escape. Was the Ran family involved? If so, Kouki can drag them out into the open and can impose death sentences if they are the ones pulling the strings and the order on Juusan-hime’s assassination. Oh, don’t forget to bring back food souvenirs for him too.

Kyuusai Cove – Seems many parties are heading here. Legend has it that Emperor Sou Gen and his sister Sou Youki battled and sealed 108 monsters in a mirror. But it cannot contain them and shattered. Youki played her erhu and the fragments turn into lakes in which they were sealed. Youki became the founder of the Hyou family.

Sea sick – Tan-tan seems to be vomiting throughout the voyage on ship.

Job division – Shuurei delegates the investigation with Ensei to investigate on salt, Tan-tan on personal management records of government and military officials and herself to look into Jin.

An eye for you – Jin was sent to kill Juusan-hime but they sat there staring at each other straight for 3 days and nights. Longest staring contest ever… She feels sleepy and allowed him to come closer if he gives her his eyes. Without hesitation he did it! He could have been blinded in the other eye had she not stop him. They ran away and spent time a lot together with Shuuei. She thought he was joking when he told her she was the only wife for him. And then he committed that murder. She blames herself for robbing Jin of everything.

Valley of the Lost – Basically that is what Kyuusai Cove is. People who walk into it get lost. Only the true emperor can reach the Hyou family’s shrine on its mountain. Oddly the Ran brothers never get lost in there. Ryuuki was told to stay away from it but since he is here…

Lost – Ryuuki tries to be a hero going to Kyuusai Cove alone. Needless to say, he is lost. Maybe the effect is in place… But heck, he has got 3 freaking cute pandas to keep him company during campfire!!!! While he thinks about Shuurei’s achievements and wondering the decisions he made as emperor was right as he feels he has been running away from his responsibilities. Yeah… Basically a big recap of the entire series so far… Don’t worry. With 3 cute pandas by your side, what can go wrong? So okay… He collapsed after walking for too long!

Walkthrough guide – After that horrifying waterfall ride (at least it cuts their journey to Kyuusai Cove by 3 days!), Shun offers to take Shuurei to where Ryuuki is. Oh, he is under orders to only bring Shuurei so she delegates them to gather duck eggs and mushrooms as per requested by Kouki for souvenir.

Hyou Ruka – When Shuurei finds sleeping Ryuuki in a dungeon, she is knocked out by Shusui. Actually Ruka, the older sister of Riou Sr who is currently possessing Shusui’s body.

I won’t give up! – Ruka mocks Ryuuki for not being a good emperor and wants him to abdicate the throne. He won’t. Enough said. In that case, die.

The lamest trick in the book – While Shuuei takes Ryuuki to escape from Shusui’s assassination, he is forced to use this lame trick to bring her to her senses. He calls out Shouka’s name. She stopped dead in her tracks. To totally snap her out, he slaps her.

You’re mine – Ruka thinks that having Shuurei’s body who shares the blood of Bara Hime will have Riou Sr look at her.

A father’s love – Ruka won’t be doing that so soon because Shouka won’t let her. He even goes as far as to break the mirror just to save his loved one. By breaking it, Ruka’s spirit is forced to return to her original body but also risks of freeing a terrible monster. Is a kaijuu manifesting?

Soothing the beast – Shusui plays the erhu to calm everything down. Sorry, no kaijuu.

Soothing the rain – Can you believe it? Ryuuren’s horrible flute is able to simmer down the rain!

Not going – Shusui decides to stay by Shun’s side instead of going back with the rest. She is tired of running and hiding in fear. She has decided to take care of her own problems. Even if she has no chance of succeeding, she can’t make others do this for her.

Shuurei’s wisdom – Juusan-hime is going to tell about everything about Jin. But Shuurei won’t hear any further. As she is not the official involved in this case, there is no way of knowing what truly happened. She deduces someone circumvented the law to save Jin’s life. Because Seiga once came here before and yet couldn’t do anything because of that someone who is a very powerful political figure who might be the Ministry of Defence, Son (who was Ran province’s governor then) or Ou Ki (who was the head of the government inspection then). She won’t make a move against them till she is sure she can bring them down. As for Jin’s case, if she was the official in charge, she would have executed him in accordance to the law. She won’t make any exceptions either. But if she had reflected on the circumstances before she passed sentence, she would try to change the law to stop the execution. She would have done everything she could to save Jin’s life so that everyone can walk in the sun again.

I choose you! – Ryuuki wants Shuuei back by his side. And he is saying this as his emperor. He wants an ally and not a friend. Shuuei reveals he won a bet against the Ran family’s triplets. He was finally able to tell which is the eldest. As a result he is disowned by the family and cannot use the family’s influence anymore. Despite Shuuei back by his side, the Ran family still does not intend to obey him. Even so, that is more than enough for Ryuuki. He returns his iris sword to Shuuei as he swears his loyalty and devotes his life to him.

You’re fired! – Shuurei learns that Tan-tan had reported on her to Kouki about entering Kyuusai cove. Because she unheeded his warning, she is to be fired. However Tan-tan resigned and took the fall on Shuurei’s behalf and he accepted it. Shuurei isn’t pleased that Kouki used Tan-tan’s father as hostage to use him to keep surveillance on her. Before Tan-tan and his family leaves the capital, Shuurei makes him promise to return the ransom money she lent him.

Promotion – Tan-tan’s firing was just a big lie because he actually got promoted to some supervisor position in a rural area.

The new chief lady-in-waiting – With Shusui no longer around, Ryuuki makes Juusan-hime her successor because he knows he can’t remain a bachelor for the rest of his years. Getting married is an emperor’s responsibility too, no? So if Shuurei cannot be the woman he marries, Juusan-hime will take her place.

Betting on marriage – Of course Ryuuki is still going to give Shuurei a chance. But they make a bet. From now until the promised time, if the time comes and she runs away then it is Shuurei’s win. He will not bring up the subject of marrying her anymore. Otherwise if she agrees to marry him within that time frame, he wins. It might seem disadvantageous to Ryuuki but don’t you think Shuurei has got a good deal?

Behind Every Success Is A… Shuurei!
Honestly, sitting down and watching the entire 78 episodes of drama isn’t really my cup of tea. While this series is not bad but personally it started to get a little bore on me. Uh huh. You can blame me about my odd tastes or something but as each episode dwindles down, I find it hard to keep up with the plots. Sure, I can generalize what happen in each arc but if you ask me to go deeper and explain it like those who love this series that this might turn into a piece of literature, sorry fans of the series, I’m just not into it. I’m more of into high school harem ecchi romance comedy kind of thing :p. It started out well at first (because it was something new) with Shuurei overcoming the odds and obstacles to do what she does best. Frankly, the first season and the start of the second season weren’t so bad. After the closure of the epidemic case in Sa province, that’s where I felt my attention span waning. And then the final arc about Shuuei heading home to his Ran province with their own brand of family power and politics was just too confusing for me to understand. To me that was the biggest downer and the end a series like that, not really impressed in my books.

Even though we have come a long way, it only seems that it is just the beginning of everything. Ou Ki trying to seize the throne and this is going to be another big arc. But nobody made another season out of it so it’s a big relief for me? With so many characters in the play, things can only get more complicated with plot over plot and twist over twist. Just like those Taiwanese dramas. Heh, haven’t watch those but I have a feeling it would be something like that. So with that last arc, many characters I feel sidelined like all those back in Sa province (Eigetsu, Kourin, etc) and even those back in the capital (Kouyuu, Reishin, Seiran, etc). It was just an arc trying to bring Shuuei back and partly make Ryuuki discover himself and his true responsibility as an emperor. I didn’t read the manga or the light novel it was based on either. But I did skim through the summary of what happened in the end. I think. Let’s say it’s something tragic and bittersweet. Perhaps more bitter.

The plot development and flow of the story feels okay although there are certain events that are left unexplained or left to your own imagination. For example, Sakujun’s body. Common sense dictates he is dead but who was the wise guy that moved his corpse? Unless Sakujun himself dug a hole and buried himself. Hah. Anything is possible. Because of the supernatural elements present in this anime, I thought sometimes they might just want to stretch it. Like how Yousei and Enjun can turn into their young handsome form. I know Chinese mythology is filled with lots of supernatural and mystical power stuffs but I feel putting it in this anime somewhat feels unsuitable. Especially with the Hyou family that dabbles with such mystic arts. Then there’s the part where Yougetsu who was so waiting for the day to take over Eigetsu when he dies, and when the time comes, he just go into indefinite coma so that we could have our little happy ending on his side.

Shuurei does well as the main character and even better especially it is because she is female. She is something that all of us should strive to be. Not many people in this world are as selfless as her and for her to overcome the odds stacked against her and all the barriers placed before her one after another, she doesn’t give up easily and holds firm to what she believes in. She may have an easier time if she was living in this era but considering back in those ancient days where women’s rights are never heard of, she does well to stave off the stereotypes and negatives cast upon her. Although there are many more out there who are willing to bring her down instead of concentrating to do good for the benefit of the people. Therefore I can say that Shuurei really does put some men in high ranking position to shame because she speaks via her actions and takes them on the best she can. Heck, she even did lots of odd jobs before her stint as official. From doing accounting work at a brothel and being teacher at a local school, she is going to have an impressive resume. So do you not see why she is the perfect woman/housewife that every guy dreams of? The only question is, are you good enough for her?

The only minus point about her is that she has no time for romance. I mean, we are watching this kind of genre and how do you expect not to see love especially between an emperor and his ex-concubine? It is good that she puts the people first and there is nothing wrong with that. It shows that she is dedicated and true to her ideals. But before an official or a statesman, she is still an ordinary woman, right? How can a woman her age not be interested in love and romance and instead would prefer to be some sort of hardworking geek? Then again, only shallow minded people like me would think so :(. The point is, it is sometimes annoying to see her pushing away Ryuuki when he tries to make an advance on her, giving all sorts of excuses. I believe he may not be a perfect emperor and still inexperienced but I think his love for her is really genuine. There is always that danger that they may get distracted and not get their job done if they fall too deep in love. The way I see it, I can’t even tell if Shuurei has romantic feelings for Ryuuki. Yes, she likes everybody. Like how she likes everyone else. But that kind of romantic feelings which makes you feel like you want to dedicate yourself to him wholly doesn’t feel there. Unless she’s a good poker player. Anyhow, even if Shuurei didn’t get to marry Ryuuki, let’s just take heart that she is at least married to her job :). Haha!

Ryuuki too is trying his best. Nobody is born a genius and you always start out as an amateur or rookie. So I don’t actually see what the big fuss was that he wasn’t doing his job properly or running away. Maybe I couldn’t see the big picture but I thought he was doing a decent job in trying to be fair to everyone and rule fairly. If they’re comparing him to the great previous emperor, maybe. But Ryuuki is Ryuuki and the ex-emperor is an entirely different person. So let him do his job and I am sure everything will be just fine. He may act a bit childish at times but hey, he’s the emperor. And he is still human no matter how you put it. Don’t worry, we see he has lots of support to go around so he is not alone. Whenever he is lost, there’ll be somebody to bring him back.

As said, there are many other characters too. Some major roles some minor and some you tend to forget if you don’t go back and do your revision like how you did for your school homework. I don’t think I want to blog on them all. Because that will be major boring, right? You know guys like Eigetsu, Seiran, Ensei, Shuuei, Kouyuu and everybody else are good people and they do what they can in their roles. Tan-tan makes a major impact in the second season since he is a complete opposite of Shuurei and sees things more objectively so in a way he is there for her own good. Some characters I don’t know what their roles are when they return like Riou Jr and Shusui. Maybe it’s just foreshadowing of something later. Therefore I would like to say that the best and most amusing character goes to… Ryuuren! You can’t beat this guy because he is in a world of his own. He is in a pace of his own. He does what he wants. Nobody can drag him down. Even enemies would rather not get involved with this eccentric guy. Like the shadow, he appears anywhere, any time and may even spring a surprise or two. Even though in the final arc he casts away his fancy feather cape and flamboyant outfit, he still is as peculiar as ever. The funny part of him playing his horrible flute seems to be the running joke of the series. Ironically, he is so good at everything except playing the flute. Feels like as though it is not like he has no talent to master it, he is just playing horribly just to piss us off! That is his love to us! Oh Ryuuren, this series should have more episodes on you.

Despite the entire anime mainly revolves around drama, there are a few comedy bits too but nothing major that would generally categorize this anime as a comedy genre. Like Ryuuren’s flute playing and everyone’ reaction to it. That’s funny, right? How about Kouyuu the master of getting lost and blaming the place moved itself without telling him?! Shuurei getting annoyed or panicking or flustering, that’s funny too, no? Or in a handful of episodes after Seiga’s true devil personality is revealed, in the next episode preview sometimes Shuurei is so angry, upset or stressed that she would really want to take it out on him! That’s okay, right? So unbecoming of her. Fighting scenes aren’t this anime’s forte so don’t get your hopes too high up when you see the army or mob clashing their weapons. It just feels one kind. Makes you feel that they are better off sticking to the drama types. And of course the romance part. I already touch on the when-is-it-going-to-happen Ryuuki x Shuurei that would leave many frustrated. The same case with Eigetsu x Kourin but they are taking theirs slowly and since they aren’t the main stars, once the Sa province problems are over, that is so much you’ll hear from them. With so much hot guys in this anime, sometimes it is hard not to wonder if there is going to be a yaoi moment especially between Ryuuki, Shuuei and Kouyuu. It might have been if the emperor was really gay.

The drawing and art really depicts the very Chinese style from their clothes, hairstyle to the buildings so you might be mistaken that you are watching a series set in China instead of Saiunkoku. Of course the characters are given the bishonen and bishoujo treatment as many of the young men do have that handsome look and the women pretty by themselves. Sometimes I can’t help feel this is a reverse harem series since Shuurei is surrounded by lots of gorgeous men. Why not? She seems to be the only female official around, right? Just too bad that romance isn’t in her books. Madhouse Studio produces this anime. They also did Ace Wo Nerae, Cardcaptor Sakura, Black Lagoon, Death Note, Galaxy Angel, NANA, Paradise Kiss and Tenjou Tenge among the many other series under their belt.

In a long time, I have never heard of a long running anime series to never change its opening theme song. That’s right. For 2 full seasons, the breathy Hajimari No Kaze by Ayaka Hirahara remains the opening song from start till finish for every episode. Though, the opening credits animations for both seasons change but essentially the song remains the same. That saves a lot of costs, right? Anyway, I thought this song sounded a bit like Mr Big’s To Be With You (at least the chorus part). Saikou No Kataomoi by Sachi Tainaka is the ending theme for the first season and is a slow lovely piece. For the second season, Asu E by Teruya Miho. Another slow piece but slow enough to make me think that this kind of song is those you sing during your graduation ceremony or when you part with somebody. Like Auld Lang Syne? Uh huh. It has this sad feel that you might cry… I noticed the various background music and a big majority of them have this Chinese feel since they are using Chinese instruments like erhu and flute. However during certain scenes I noticed that they play non-Chinese type of music ranging from Latin flamenco, Indian or Arabic tunes and even Hawaiian strings! Because those kind of tunes stand out in such a Chinese themed anime, I thought it sounded plain weird and a mismatch. Sampling the original soundtrack with some tracks having modern music from piano and violin solos, it made me wonder if this is truly for the Chinese themed anime. But of course that is just me and the music isn’t all that bad actually.

Overall, despite the reasonably lengthy number of episodes (heck, it is better than a certain ninja and pirate series that are still running. In another decade, I speculate they could even breach four digits!!!), this is still a worthy drama to check it out because mainly Shuurei is a good lesson for all of us to learn. At least I know I don’t want to become like her because I don’t want to be burdened with so much hard work and worries XD. Leave it to somebody who cares XD. Therefore we can only hope and dream if every politician these days are like her, definitely guaranteed a peaceful and prosperous world! But then again, life would have been boring without all those controversies, scandals and antics. Somebody needs to be the bad guy and looks like they get highly paid to do a ‘good job’. So the biggest lesson and moral of the story… For behind every success, there is always… Yourself! For behind every failure there is always… Yourself! Because you decide your own destiny with your own hands.

There is a story to be made out of everything and anything. Interesting stories and boring stories. Real stories and fictitious stories. Stories about life. Stories about death. Long stories and short stories. And so as far as this series is concerned, the stories continue. Monogatari Series Second Season as said in its title is the continuation of the mind blowing Bakemonogatari but it isn’t actually the second season of the entire anime. Lest you have forgotten about Nisemonogatari and Nekomonogatari (Kuro). This is a second season because it continues off where Araragi’s harem girls left off at the end of the first season. Not to say that the stories for these girls ended on some sort of cliff-hanger but because there is more to tell and for what is to come. Are you ready to spend the next 23 episodes listening to stories?

23 episodes? Why the odd number? Actually the entire sequel has 26 episodes. Three of them are dedicated to episode summaries in which I skipped. My reasoning is that if you really want to watch this series and understand it to its fullest, might as well go watch the entire thing instead of just watching the summaries to get an idea of what this series is about. I do not know if the summaries are narrated in a good way but I have a feeling that having a single episode of ‘the story so far’ won’t do any justice. I mean, you’re not trying to catch a flight, aren’t you? So… Do yourself a favour and watch everything right from the start till the end. Watching summaries are just for lazy people, no? :). That said, shouldn’t I be watching the summaries too just to be complete? I’m a busy person since I have got lots of animes to watch… :).

Nekomonogatari (White) – Tsubasa Tiger

Episode 1
Hanekawa is on her way to school when she chances upon Hachikuji. Seems Araragi is ‘missing’ and hasn’t come back to his home after he left last night to do ‘something important’. Hanekawa continues her way but this time she comes into an oddity. A tiger. A talking tiger. So white and crystal clear. At school, she tells this to Senjougahara but she thinks she will be better off talking to Araragi. But he’s ‘missing’, right? The girls talk about him and his personality to help others even if they don’t ask. From class, Hanekawa notices smoke from her house’s direction. Wait a minute. Her house is on fire! Homeless, Hanekawa now makes the abandoned school her temporary home. She looks comfortable sleeping in the makeshift bed of cardboards and newspapers. Till that night she is rudely awakened by Senjougahara’s slap! She was worried looking all over for her and her phone was off. And so Hanekawa is invited to stay at Senjougahara’s place for tonight since her parents are not home. Senjougahara lies that they have the flu so as to skip school. Then Senjougahara wants to take a shower with Hanekawa and assures there is no ulterior motive. They’re both girls, right? This can’t be good. But good for us? Simultaneously, they both received mail from Araragi that he can’t come home tonight either and he sounds quite serious this time. What does this mean? It means they may have to deal with the tiger themselves as Senjougahara feels it was the one responsible for burning down Hanekawa’s house. Senjougahara asks an impulsive question if Hanekawa still loves Araragi. Without hesitation, she answered yes.

Episode 2
We see some frolicking of the girls in the bathroom and some casual chat before they hit the sack. I don’t know if they’re too excited to sleep or what. Then they talk about cooking and somehow link it to Araragi. They got the idea of instead talking of thinks they like about him, let’s talk what they hate about him! As Hanekawa can’t stay in this crammed place for long, it is suggested she needs to find a place of her own to rent. While Hanekawa was asleep, her alter ego, Black Hanekawa came out to play and as we know, she is the incarnation of her master’s stress. Possibly because the house she lived in for many years burnt down to the ground. During her prowling, she came face to face with the tiger. She doesn’t care his purpose here but if the tiger plans to hurt her master, she will kill him. Of course since Hanekawa has seen him, he has no choice but to do so. There is a short fight between the oddities although Black Hanekawa tries to escape, wherever she jumps, the tiger is always there and warns her it is already too late. He has already begun. When Black Hanekawa returns home, Senjougahara sees her and she even shakes her hands despite knowing the risk of her energy being drained. She hopes Black Hanekawa can take care of Hanekawa. Come morning, Hanekawa and Senjougahara get involve in some breakfast debate regarding flavouring. What Senjougahara is trying to indicate to Hanekawa is that she accepts and tolerates everything. Because of that, she looks straight in Hanekawa’s eyes and wants her to tell her again if she really likes Araragi.

Episode 3
Senjougahara now discusses how similar but yet so different Hanekawa and Araragi. In conclusion, Hanekawa isn’t a nice person but just isn’t perceptive of the dark. In school, Hanekawa meets Kanbaru who receives a mail from Araragi who wants to see her. Why didn’t he just call her? Back at Senjougahara’s place, Hanekawa is puzzled and thought Araragi and Kanbaru are the only ones who had an oddity residing in their bodies. She didn’t realize she still had one, eh? Then the Fire Sisters come by to pick up Hanekawa. Apparently when Senjougahara met Karen in the streets, she somehow persuaded her to let Hanekawa stay at their place. The Fire Sisters are glad to have Hanekawa over and allows her to treat this place as her home. She stays in Araragi’s room, wearing his pyjamas and sleeping on his bed. In the middle of the night, Black Hanekawa emerges and talks to Shinobu hanging around in the room. I don’t really understand the unusual circumstances that made Shinobu separated from Araragi’s shadow whatsoever. Shinobu notes that Black Hanekawa may have different personalities from her master but in her eyes, humans and oddities aren’t that all different. Black Hanekawa asks about the tiger oddity but as much as she describes his traits, it doesn’t help in narrowing down the number of tiger oddities she knows. However learning that the tiger can talk makes her unsure of what it is. She finds it odd as there is no oddity she will not notice loitering in this town. And since they both saw the tiger, it could mean that only they can see it. Because Araragi is at the abandoned school to meet Kanbaru, Shinobu hopes Black Hanekawa can send her there. In just a leap, Black Hanekawa arrives at the destination but they find the place totally burnt down.

Episode 4
Hanekawa wakes up and feels something is going on while she was asleep. Looking for clues around, she finds cat hair on her bed and realizes she still transforms into her alter ego. As she leaves for school, Araragi’s mom talks to Hanekawa. It’s not that she is not welcomed here and would love to treat her as her children’s friend, they can be her host but not her family. She adds people can run away from bad things but averting their eyes from reality doesn’t count as running away. An outsider can’t interfere as long as they are fine with their current situation. On her way to school, she stumbles upon vampire hunter Mr Episode (from Kizumonogatari movie). He is here on a job so Hanekawa wonders if he exterminates tigers. I thought he is a vampire hunter? His client then appears, Izuko Gaen. She is Oshino’s senior and claims to know everything. Everything. Even what Hanekawa doesn’t know, she knows. She knows what she doesn’t know. Confused? However she cannot help Hanekawa with her tiger issue because it is her problem. Hanekawa tries to do more research on this Hystery Tiger that Gaen called but couldn’t find anything. Asking Senjougahara, she thinks Hanekawa is being manipulated by Gaen. But what Senjougahara notices is that the places Hanekawa stayed for the night burnt down after she met the tiger. But doesn’t this mean Senjougahara’s place and Araragi’s home should have also been burnt down? Hanekawa returns to the Fire Sisters’ home and in their casual chat, she learns the meaning behind their nickname, have boyfriends in which their big brother believes doesn’t exist, and that they even provide love advice in addition to fighting for justice. It makes Hanekawa realized of the word jealousy. She and Araragi may be similar in that sense as they both avert their eyes and escape from reality. Hanekawa has this feeling she may not see Araragi again and does her ‘marking’ on his belongings with the faint hope that he will remember her just a little. As she doesn’t have memories of Black Hanekawa but the latter does, she intends to write a letter to her for a final request and show her gratitude for carrying the burden of her dark sides.

Episode 5
Hanekawa is asking for help. She knows Hystery Tiger was born out of her envy when she saw her parents trying to get back together. She also laments she never told how much she loved Araragi and ended up with a broken heart. She hopes Black Hanekawa can help bring back her ‘little sister’ who loves playing with fire. Black Hanekawa reads the letter but points out it was a mistake to call them her family. For she feels like her pet cat. Though as an oddity is fated to disappear someday, she thinks there is no need for her master to pursue it and could have an adverse effect. But since she asked her to do it, Black Hanekawa confronts the tiger who is just about to burn down Senjougahara’s home. He doesn’t care and wants to burn down everything that brings him envy like his raging heart. Black Hanekawa wants to bring him home but he disagrees and doesn’t view Hanekawa as anything special. Although Black Hanekawa will let him get away for the houses he burnt down, she won’t for hurting her master. For he is going to burn down the house of her master’s friend and this will make her sad. Hystery Tiger says it’s only a coincidence he is about to burn down Senjougahara’s house. Besides, he knows she won’t be sad because he knows how she has lived her life. She’ll cut off those feelings and stay pure. Black Hanekawa calls him to come home again but the tiger attacks. She grabs onto him despite knowing it is burning her to death. Even if she knows she can’t beat him, she is doing this because her master begged her to. Black Hanekawa loses and notes everything she did was futile. Was she only able to hold him off for 10 seconds? She laments never getting the chance to confess to Araragi. Suddenly the demon sword, Heart Span fatally stabs through the tiger. It’s Araragi! He’s back after missing for 4 episodes. He dismisses her actions as futile because had she not hold the tiger long enough, he wouldn’t have made it to rescue her. He has read that letter and wants Black Hanekawa to finish the job to absorb him. She fears she will no longer be herself. Will he be okay with that? Don’t worry. He won’t treat her any different. She confesses she loves him and if he would marry her. Sorry, there is someone he loves more right now. She absorbs the tiger and reverts to herself. And then she cries her heart out. At least she knows she can be sad. Ten days later, Hanekawa doesn’t see the tiger anymore but notes she has black and white stripes for her hair. Though, she dyes it black. She rents a room of her own and remembers all this happened after she met Hachikuji. She got lost and went round in circles. But she was able to meet new people, friends and family and see different sides to herself. That’s how she became the person she is now. Her past is part of her and so is her future self.

Kabukimonogatari – Mayoi Vampire

Episode 6
Araragi is having a conversation with a junior of his school, Ougi Oshino. Weird creepy eyes she got… They talk about traffic lights and something about the world is safest when it is in danger, vice versa. This made him remember about Hachikuji’s case, the loli who died a decade ago while crossing the road. He stumbles upon Yotsugi who insists she is not lost but just asking for directions. Noticing Hachikuji’s bagpack he is carrying, seems the loli was at his place earlier in the day but forgot to take it when she left. So now he is going after her. This leads to the topic of ghosts. Yotsugi views herself and Hachikuji as dead. However Yotsugi came back alive and was reborn unlike Hachikuji who technically stayed ‘dead’ so she’s a ghost. Araragi can’t be categorized under this as he is an immortal so he has not died in that sense. Wondering about the happiness of their existence, Yotsugi hopes he can ask Hachikuji the next time he meets her. If she’s happy being a ghost. Araragi thinks a lot about this back home but Shinobu tells him just to do it instead of moping around as it will bring him nowhere. Realizing he is behind time in finishing his homework, he requests to go back in time. Shinobu might not have a time machine but she can warp time. She may have lost her powers so she uses all the energy that was gathered in the shrine to open a time warp. Surprised? Heck, oddities are in this anime so going back in time should also happen. Before they leap in, Shinobu wants Araragi to give her his wristwatch. When they arrive, Araragi thinks she screwed up because it doesn’t feel like they’ve gone through time. Don’t panic. They just went back to yesterday. It causes Araragi to bring up the topic of time paradox and meeting his own self. He fears from the way Shinobu puts it, they can’t go back to the future. She couldn’t even answer back and needs a full 5 minutes to think of an answer. It takes less energy to go back to the future since you’re not going against the flow of time, so going back will be easy. Sci-fi… As they make their way, they stumble upon a group of girls and he asks for today’s date. It wasn’t yesterday but 11 years ago from today!

Episode 7
Shinobu says that all she needs to do is drink his blood to power up and she can open a portal to go back home. But first, Araragi wants to save Hachikuji. There is a reason why they are thrown back 11 years and 3 months back in time, right? Because tomorrow is Mother’s Day, the day Hachikuji dies in an accident and became an oddity. Araragi too thought of saving Senjougahara and her family’s problem but realized that it is too deep for them to solve. Same case for the other girls. As said by Oshino, saving others is impossible. Only they can save themselves. Shinobu warns saving Hachikuji may be futile and just delaying the inevitable. She might get killed in an accident a day or two later. He doesn’t mind. So long as she gets to meet her mother, Tsunade and not turn into an oddity. Even if this means changing the future that they will never meet. But where are they going to find Tsunade’s place? They see loli Hanekawa and this pervert Araragi starts chasing after her!!! WTF?! Shinobu reminds him to restrain himself or he will be thrown into prison and can’t save Hachikuji. So while doing his best holding himself back, he asks loli Hanekawa for directions. Then they wait outside Hachikuji’s place so they can stop her next morning. But when that time comes, it seems they have been waiting forever. Hachikuji’s father approaches them to ask if they have seen his daughter. Seems she has run away from home and left a note. Judging from it, she has left since 5am! Instantly Araragi starts rushing to find her. Is this destiny interfering? Will she really die today? They find her at the park. Seems she didn’t get far despite starting out early is because she is lost. I don’t know what’s going on in lolicon Araragi’s mind because he flips her skirt! Hachikuji is scared sh*t and bolts. Because of that she runs across the road without looking! HOLY SH*T! Incoming truck! ARARAGI, DAMN YOU ARE THE CAUSE OF HER DEATH???!!! Luckily he was swift enough to push her away. So she lives. She is thankful for him as he plays the decent hero who came to save her (liar!). He guides her to Tsunade’s place and everything ends well. When it’s time to go home, it seems the shrine is in an even more devastating state than in the future. Shinobu doesn’t need to drink his blood as this place is full of spiritual energy. This place is clearly a den for oddities and pone to gather spiritual energy even way before. But it’s a good thing since Shinobu doesn’t have to turn into a full vampire or she will betray him. She is docile because she lost her powers. They leap into the portal and from what Araragi narrates the future changed. The world is destroyed.

Episode 8
Checking out the entire town thoroughly, it is confirmed that the world is indeed destroyed and everyone he knows is missing. Based on the last published newspaper 2 months ago, it seems the world didn’t end gradually but fell in one big swoop. Shinobu feels uneasy as her memories of the timeline start to come back. They think of going back in time to find the cause and restore history but at the shrine, a different talisman from Oshino is there. Instead of spiritual energy gathering, this one absorbs so when Araragi touches it, he is blast away. Suddenly they are surrounded by… Zombies?! They can’t get close thanks to the talisman but Shinobu takes Araragi to escape by jumping high into the sky. To their horror, they see the entire town crawling with zombies! Araragi laments this is his fault but Shinobu disagrees. It is hers. Those aren’t zombies but remains of what used to be vampires! They maintain their altitude in the sky and waited till sunrise when those vampires return to the darkness before landing. Shinobu has Araragi remember that important day of June 14 in the original timeline. A lot of things happened. Black Hanekawa went berserk and Oshino left. But the biggest one was Shinobu ran away. Although it was solved in the original timeline when Araragi came to fetch her at the donut shop, what if he didn’t make it in this timeline? Because if Araragi didn’t come to pick her, originally she felt she wanted to destroy the world. Hachikuji was the first girl who spotted her who got lost. But in this timeline, because Hachikuji never became an oddity, Araragi never met her and might have been killed by Black Hanekawa. As Araragi and Shinobu bonded since spring, if one of them dies, the other would be freed. This means Shinobu returning to her cold blooded powerful vampire self. She bit some people and turned them into vampire servants and they in turn bit other people till everyone became infected. Yeah. The world destroyed by vampires. As the only way to become human again is to kill the vampire master, Shinobu thinks she is dead in this timeline by suicide. Thus her death didn’t revert them back to humans but became walking corpses instead. Shinobu feels sorry for destroying his world but Araragi doesn’t want her to feel that way. For the next few days, they gather supplies and shoot-cum-play fireworks in hopes that this will attract other survivors. But they attract those vampires instead…

Episode 9
The vampires are scared away by scattered rice. Thanks to this pretty survivalist babe who saved their skin. Who is she? Hachikuji! She confirms there are lots of survivors but she is the only one in this area. She also somewhat knows him thanks to a guy named Oshino. She is to pass a letter to him. From what I can understand written in it, Oshino’s explanation of the parallel world, Shinobu of this world is still alive and because her suicide failed, it created lots of imperfect zombies. He and his friends are on a futile journey to launch a final attack and wants Araragi to save the world and the girl before him. Hachikuji wonders if they want to follow her but Araragi declines. She is being kind because a stranger once saved her when she was young. As they leave, she wonders if she has seen him before. Nope. Just a passer-by. Araragi and Shinobu talk about their next action, which isn’t entirely saving the world but add their own twist to save this world and girl even if it means they both will die. Inseparable in life, inseparable in death. At the shrine, Shinobu gives out a loud shriek that attracts her other grown self, whom I will identify as Kiss Shot (some long ass name which is her real name). Shinobu can see her trying to burn herself but failed. Kiss Shot laughs like mad upon knowing there is another future possibility like Shinobu exists. She can’t believe the world was ruined by her pathetic jealousy. Shinobu doesn’t think the difference between them should be this great, so where did she go wrong? How would she know? How did Shinobu succeed then? Kiss Shot hints of sucking her blood to get the needed energy to return to their timeline. This might kill her but heck, she is already half dead. Once Shinobu bites her neck, the next thing Araragi opens his eyes, he is back in his normal timeline. Shinobu returns to his shadow, warning him to take extra care of his life. We all now know what happens to the world if he dies, right? Suddenly Hachikuji tackles Araragi. Tosses him, hugs him, touches him and licks him! Feels like revenge after all the harassment he did. Did Araragi return to the wrong world? Nope. She was running around looking for her backpack and thought she could get it back before he looked inside. He asks if she wants to come back alive. Never. She’ll die one day, right? Even if she became a ghost and couldn’t meet her mom, it is because of this she got to meet him. So if you look at it on the whole, she is happy.

Otorimonogatari – Nadeko Medusa

Episode 10
Sengoku is telling us her biodata and favourites. Hmm… Favourite big brother and person she loves? Araragi. But of course. We see a white snake talking her down and that she is the one who hurt Araragi. Despite he has regenerative abilities as a vampire, he is not healing. Shinobu notes Sengoku has become an oddity and is no longer the person Araragi knows. They both agree to take her down but Sengoku with Medusa-like hair attacks back. Shinobu is defeated and Araragi pierced through his heart. How did it end up like that? We go back in time when Sengoku met the snake. One day, Ougi almost crashed into her on a bicycle. She introduces herself and knows who Sengoku is. She is Oshino’s niece and heard about him talked about her. She talks about being the victim in which she believes Sengoku has been playing one. Sengoku had no reactions to what she said. In school, Sengoku narrates about the incident Kaiki’s scam of swindling students by selling fake charms that caused her life come crashing down. Because from time to time she is seeing visions of that snake, she calls Araragi about it. He thinks of waiting till night fall to meet so that they can get Shinobu’s expertise on this. After putting the phone down, she sees another snake vision but this time the snake also talks to her, accusing her of playing the victim and not knowing how many lives she has trampled. He wants her to come see him at the shrine. Sengoku sees lots of dead mutilated snakes there and is told this was her doing. If she wants to atone for her sins, look at him. Once Sengoku looks at the giant white snake, this means she has become his partner. Sengoku is scared so the snake tones down and rephrases himself that if she has regret killing his fellow snakes, please help him out on a little favour. Although Sengoku knew what this will get her into, she still accepted it because no matter what she does, the destiny of her killing Araragi won’t change.

Episode 11
Sengoku lies to Araragi that the oddity is gone. Of course the snake is still around and he wants her to find his corpse. It would have been easier if he knew where, when, how, etc. Yeah. Snakey doesn’t know anything. Although Sengoku continues with her normal life, the snake hangs around her like a scrunchie and continues to talk. The snake learns she is a class rep and more like she was forced to be one and all the problems shoved onto her since she was the only one in class who didn’t get involved with the charms. Late that night, Sengoku sneaks out of home to go find the snake corpse. It’s like a needle in a haystack and the only clue they have is when his body tingles like a spider sense if his corpse is nearby. Well Sengoku, you’re in luck. It might be underneath the sandbox in the park. She digs many holes but none. Then snakey says it might be a false alarm. WHAT?! She’s too tired to continue searching but she has the energy to make a sand castle? That’s when Araragi found her. Seems her parents realized she was missing and called Tsukihi. Araragi happened to eavesdrop and didn’t want Sengoku to go ‘extinct’ and rushed out to find her. Back in his room, she is trying to hide that she still has the oddity while Araragi tries to persuade her to talk about her problems because he is willing to listen. But since it’s late, he suggests she sleeps over here. Sengoku tries to avoid reaching that conclusion about sleep but Araragi already hints his bed is big enough to fit both of them! Shouldn’t somebody suggest she sleeps with one of his sisters? Anyway Shinobu suddenly pops out from his shadow and knocks him out via Vampire Punch! Shinobu lectures her about her habit of staying silent and that she may be privileged. Because by staying silent, it makes people feel sympathize for her. It makes people act nice towards her. It makes people think she’s smart. Sengoku seems like running scared although she thinks she is being discriminated. Because of this, Shinobu thinks she is more of a monster than an oddity. But she couldn’t care less about it so she should go live her life like this, die like this and make Araragi worry about her for the rest of her life.

Episode 12
Next morning, we have Sengoku and Tsukihi talking. Sengoku is trying to paint herself as someone uncute. Because Tsukihi is pressuring her with her deadly aura (or something like that), it makes Sengoku admit that she loves Araragi and wants to do all sorts of things with him. But she does realize he already has a girlfriend, right? What proceeds next is a girl to girl talk but from what I see it’s like Tsukihi dominating and pointing out the flaws in Sengoku’s perception about her love for Araragi. Since Tsukihi has become tired of Sengoku’s behaviour, she is going to end it. She cuts her bangs. So Sengoku becomes a little traumatic. She doesn’t really remember what happened. The snake can make her bangs return provided if she finds his corpse. She may find it tonight because after Araragi took care of her, he has an idea where it is. The teacher didn’t recognize Sengoku without her bangs! He asks about the progress of the work she was left entrusted with. Normally Sengoku would just stand there quietly and say nothing. For some reason, she suddenly snapped! She’s telling the teacher to f*ck off!!!!! Nothing was done! Is this really the Sengoku we know???!!! She’s really mad! She’s really upset! She’s really talking back with her maximum volume! Then she goes to her class and gives them a good f*cking lecture about being depressed and get over it! Oh, she hates them all too! To nail her point, she destroys some furniture. Take that! Now you guys understand? How is that for Sengoku? Later, the snake explains that he didn’t take over her body and screamed her head off. It’s because they have been together for so long, it’s like her shackles she normally put on came off. Sengoku wants to put an end to everything and find the corpse. It is in Araragi’s house. How did it end up there? Somebody must have found it first and entrusted it to Araragi. Most probably it’s that Oshino guy. While searching through his room, Sengoku discovers a drawer full of porn magazines and is more interested to see what kind of woman he likes! Hey, maybe the corpse is hidden somewhere in the pages. Yeah, right. Suddenly a talisman falls out and the snake recognizes it as his body. Seems it was preserved in this form. He wants to eat it and with his powers returned, he can grant her wish. Is there any wish she would like a god to grant? Yeah. She wishes her love for Araragi will be requited. But Araragi says that won’t happen.

Episode 13
He is trying to tell her to put the talisman down but Sengoku panics. Shinobu doesn’t want Araragi to go easy or feel pity for her. Sengoku begs for the snake to come to her defence but it is just staying there quiet like a real scrunchie. She did the unthinkable by eating the talisman! She turns into Medusa and stabs them both. Araragi goes to save Shinobu and this got Sengoku mad like hell. In a stabbing spree (I thought it looked comical), Sengoku is pissed he went to save the vampire instead of her. Because she loves him, you know. Ah, there’s a word for that. It’s called yandere! And so this is how the story came to be. Back to Sengoku killing the duo at the shrine what follows next is a conversation between Sengoku and the snake. It seems Sengoku has only herself to blame for everything because from the start till now, everything was just a fabrication of her mind. She cooked up stories and excuses that led to this. Amazing delusions. She couldn’t remember them because she somehow forgot them. It all begin (or ended depending on how you view it) when she met Ougi, she was pointed out how she visited the shrine often (something about Sengoku being jealous that Araragi had a girlfriend so she started praying to God). Ougi mentions that shrine is dead and has no God unless she can get back its body in which is in Araragi’s possession. As thanks for listening to her, Ougi gave Sengoku a scrunchie. That spurred Sengoku to fabricate stories to the point she could hear the voice of God to revive him. Whenever Shinobu throws comments to her (like being able to switch easily between victim and aggressor), Sengoku shuts her up by stabbing her multiple times. She has gone crazy enough to think that having Araragi die would be more romantic since if he lives he’ll get more girlfriends and heartbreaks. Yeah, she’s going to kill him. But he is saved when his handphone rings. Sengoku picks up on his behalf and it’s from Senjougahara. Looks like she called in time to find out he is still living. She tries to make a deal to spare Araragi and Shinobu and kill her instead. No deal. She’ll kill them all. Fine. But Senjougahara warns her of the order of killing because if she kills the Araragi before the vampire, the link will be cut and she’ll be more powerful. Also, it will make Senjougahara mad and she’ll kill everyone. So this is the suggested killing order : Senjougahara -> Shinobu -> Araragi. However in return, she hopes she can wait 6 months before killing them. Why? Graduation. So fast forward 6 months later, we see the trio confronting Shinobu but she killed them off so easily and stuffed Araragi’s body in the donation box. Is this a joke?!

Onimonogatari – Shinobu Time

Episode 14
This takes place after Araragi returned from the time slip to alter Hachikuji’s past. Here he is with her to go retrieve her backpack since without it, she doesn’t look in character. Suddenly they see an evil darkness and in that instant they dash and escape on his bicycle like their lives depended on it. I feel like Araragi is having an ulterior motive when he tells her to wrap around him for balance but yet doesn’t want her to toss away her backpack. The darkness is catching up, you know. Eventually they are thrown off the bicycle as the darkness swallows it but thankfully Yotsugi was there to save them. Without making any drastic moves to make the darkness launch any sudden attack, Yotsugi then makes a huge jump with them to escape. With Hachikuji out and recuperating back at the abandoned school, Araragi and Yotsugi talk. Araragi thinks of waiting for night fall so that Shinobu can appear and analyze this oddity because even if she doesn’t know what it is, her role as the king of oddities means she can just devour it. Also on the agenda is that Yotsugi’s sister, Kagenui is not around and Yotsugi’s dismay that Araragi depends on so many people. So when she is about to leave, he is surprised she isn’t going to stay here and keep him safe forever. Dream on. To repay the favour for saving him, she kisses him!!! How is that for repayment? Heck, it isn’t. That is just another favour he racked up. How is it like to feel to be in debt? After she leaves, he becomes a monster trying to do something impure to Hachikuji! Thankfully Shinobu pops out to beat him up. Vampire Punch! We know she is showing a tantrum when she mentions she saw him kissing another girl. How will he get out of this one? She’s trying to act all dominant (or jealous perhaps) when he suddenly kisses her!!! Didn’t see that coming, didn’t she? Now that she is all ears, he explains what happened. She replies that darkness isn’t an oddity but a phenomenon without a name. She did encounter it 400 years ago, the last time she was in this country and made her first servant. She got swallowed by it. Now that it has popped up again, worst case scenario means this town can be destroyed entirely.

Episode 15
It starts when Shinobu jumped from Antarctica and landed in a lake in Japan. The locals thought she was a reincarnation of some water God. She was treated like one and she lived a happily with her own palace under the lake. One day, she met this guy who carried a sword, Heart Span and he is more of an oddity slayer. Although they did fight once, he never hunted her down for her status was a God so he dare not challenge that. He also had a shorter sword, Dream Span which is used to restore oddities unlike Heart Span which kills them. But a big problem soon arose and it was due to Shinobu staying in a place too long. She attracted other oddities which bring negative element but never realized they gathered. Then slowly one by one, the villagers disappeared like as though they’ve been spirited away. Even odd, there was no negative energy in the vicinity which made it more eerie than the disappearances. Didn’t give it much thought, she went to sleep but was rudely awakened by the oddity slayer as his subordinates start to disappear mysteriously too. They searched around but found nothing. That’s when they saw the darkness. It swallowed them but Shinobu was able to escape with 1/4 of her body and jumped to Antarctica where she stayed there for centuries. Although the oddity slayer was swallowed first, only his hand that was reached out clung to Shinobu’s wrist when she jumped. As time passed, she felt lonely and decide to revive this hand and make him her first servant by biting it and drinking his blood. However he committed suicide. He was furious when he learnt she was a vampire and that she had been deceiving everyone she was a God. He blamed her for everything that has happened including the darkness before he jumped out into the sunlight and burnt himself into ashes. As a memento, a replica of Heart Span which was made out of his flesh and bones was given to her. She thinks he made it to slay her one day. Since then, she resolved never to simply make servants and drink blood only for nourishment.

Episode 16
They need to do something to counter the darkness or else everyone in this town will be devoured. That’s when Yotsugi pops up to give her differing views. Could have descended into a catfight and they force him to answer which of the girls he likes best. When Hachikuji comes to, Araragi becomes so happy, he starts harassing her. And then the girls bite him. Anyway, Yotsugi’s reasoning is that the darkness is not an oddity but something else, the reason why the oddity slayer and Shinobu couldn’t deal with it as it is operating on a different set of rules. She suggests asking Gaen since she knows everything. Suddenly the darkness is here. Lots of them! Araragi grabs onto Hachikuji and has Yotsugi jump away. They are safe in the mountains (for now – Araragi has been out for 12 hours!) and they need to at least contact Kagenui. But they notice something odd. It is night time and Shinobu isn’t out yet. Araragi thinks she hates Yotsugi and suggests to kiss since that excitement would bring her out. Too bad Hachikuji had to ruin that moment. No, she doesn’t want his kiss. She thinks Shinobu is not in his shadow and Yotsugi checks and ascertains that. Hachikuji mentions she saw Shinobu being swallowed by the darkness. However she is still alive because Araragi is still a vampire although very much weakened as their link is disconnected. Furthermore, if Shinobu had died, he would have returned to being a human and cannot see Hachikuji as she is an oddity. Araragi feels guilty that he left Shinobu back there but there is no use beating himself up as they need to regroup with Shinobu. They have to walk down the mountains to get a decent signal and Yotsugi can’t use her super jump anymore since in Araragi’s weakened state, it might kill him. Once they get down, Araragi sends a message to Kagenui and the rest of the other girls. No response. While carrying on their walking, they talk about Occult Research Club that Gaen was a member of and knows Oshino and Kaiki. Araragi knocks the door of somebody’s house to request for food. But what do you know? It’s Gaen at the doorstep. She really knows everything, does she?

Episode 17
Gaen seems like boasting when she explains she knows everything (Kagenui is in a tough job, the reason she didn’t bother to reply). Before she helps them out with information, she wants Araragi to do 3 requests: 1) Introduce Gaen to Kanbaru. Although Kanbaru is her niece, their relationship is complicated and she doesn’t want to be introduced as her aunt; 2) She sent Yotsugi out on a job but since she wasn’t able to complete it (because she got involved with Araragi) once this case is closed, help her finish up that job; 3) Ask Kanbaru to help her out. Since Shinobu’s safety is utmost important to him, he’ll do 100 jobs. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Gaen tells them to stay here and not go home as this is the safest place. Because Shinobu is not the target of the darkness but Hachikuji. Explaining the darkness as something non-existent, it cannot be defeated, killed or eaten and it is some sort of law that goes after oddities that have gone down the wrong path. 400 years ago, Shinobu was targeted because she pretended to be God. Although it was part of the people’s misconception, she didn’t clear up the misunderstanding and that basically is like lying. So when she jumped to Antarctica and returned to her vampire ways, that’s why the darkness did not follow her. Now the question is, what is Hachikuji lying about? She is supposed to be dead, right? Instead, she is still wandering on this planet. But that is not the issue. As an oddity of a lost cow, she is supposed to make people lost. Ever since meeting Araragi, she has not done her job of making him lost. Araragi believes she did not lie to him. Perhaps. She was likely lying to herself then. Even now, when they escaped the darkness and ended up in some mountain, they are technically lost, right? That’s why the darkness didn’t go after them. So if they return home, that is where the problem begins. Is there any way to defeat it? Gaen says it is simple. Just play by the rules.

After Gaen leaves, Araragi and Hachikuji had one long talk like as though it is going to be their final. Hachikuji believes she should disappear to solve this but Araragi won’t accept this. She is being cool accepting her fate while Araragi is like a child trying desperately to think a way out of this. She is even staying positive that she isn’t disappearing but ‘going home’. Albeit technically it means the same thing. So desperate Araragi had become that he thinks he will spend the rest of his life getting lost with her! Hachikuji rejects that because what will the implications be on the other girls? She doesn’t want him to waste his remaining years on someone who is already dead. She is happy that the 3 months spent with him made up for the 11 years she spent wandering alone. As a parting gift, Hachikuji kisses him on the lips and confesses she loves him. It would have been a heart wrenching and romantic farewell scene if not for Yotsugi who looks so comical trying to support Hachikuji sitting on her shoulders so she could reach Araragi’s lips. 4 months later, Araragi narrates his story to Ougi. Hachikuji has passed on and he did all the requests that Gaen asked of him. Ougi notes he made the right decision because it is better for her to pass on herself instead of getting eaten by the darkness. Despite Shinobu back in his shadows, he is still depressed. He doesn’t want to let the other girls know Hachikuji is gone for good and wants to pretend she is still around. Sure he isn’t having sentiments of her and not wanting to let her go? Araragi finally realizes the thing he forgot to say to Hachikuji before she left: Goodbye. Glad to have met you.

Koimonogatari – Hitagi End

Episode 18
This is the love story as narrated by the swindler Kaiki. Mixed with truths and lies, choose to believe at your own risk! When he is at the shrine on New Year’s Day, he gets a call from Senjougahara to meet him because there is somebody she wants to deceive (Araragi doesn’t know about this meeting). He tries to worm his way out with lies but eventually has to go with it or else she will kill him! Don’t want to mess with this woman. They meet at a café at the Okinawa airport. The person she wants deceived is Sengoku. It seems that Senjougahara and Araragi are to be killed by her on graduation day so she wants him to deceive her to save them as well as that blonde loli slave of his. For Sengoku has become some sort of a god and no longer human. Kaiki doesn’t exactly know who Sengoku is but as she points out, she is an indirect victim of his scam. Of course Kaiki can do it and save them (although he feels odd that his hated rivals are asking help to save them) but whether he will do it is another matter. But what does he stand to benefit from? Besides, he only deceives people of their money. Senjougahara is willing to pay him but he doesn’t believe the amount she offers would be enough. Go ask Oshino and pay him the same amount. She would have but is nowhere to be found. She is willing to pay him upfront and the balance later since there are enough days to make that money. In the event if it’s not enough, she is willing to sell her body. He splashes his coffee in her face. I guess she is that desperate. In the toilet, he does a thorough thinking why he should accept this job. Whether it is for atonement or as a favour or desire to make up, he will still be at a loss. So a big no. Then he remembers Kanbaru. She is Senjougahara’s friend and the first time he met Araragi was in front of her home. There might be a link between them. So could the reason to save them if it’s to help Kanbaru? To deceive Sengoku for her? The answer is yes.

Episode 19
Kaiki accepts the job and Senjougahara pays him what she got. He doesn’t need more because the amount he demands won’t be enough for her even if she sells her body. He tries to find out the history between them and Sengoku and the wrath incurred. Senjougahara gives him permission to return to town (he was banished the last time). She will frequently keep in touch with him and warns she still doesn’t trust him. Fine. Being suspicious is better than trust. Oh, she needs some advance money for the plane home. When he gets back, he visits Sengoku’s home under the pretence that he is one of Sengoku’s missing classmate friends and her parents let her in. He tries to learn more about her but it seems her parents know nothing. At least not the dark side he wants to know. He gets permission to look into her room. All nice, tidy and clean that it’s just creepy. He looks through a photo album containing pictures of her. Cute and pretty. So much so it looks so forced and fake. He wants to open a closet but the parents advise him not to as told by their daughter. He finds it odd that their daughter is missing and yet they kept her room clean and obeyed her orders not to touch her closet. He calls Senjougahara to find out more and learns she hasn’t even met Sengoku in person. He is amazed she is still sane in this incomprehensible situation but seeking his help could mean she already has lost her mind. He then goes to the shrine to try and talk to her. Maybe this could solve it. In an instant, Sengoku bursts out happily to greet him. Was it his 10,000 Yen bill as donation? He made the mistake of telling his name since she should know the person who deceived her classmates. However she doesn’t remember. He concludes she forgets things that are impossible to forget while remembering stuffs that don’t matter. Sengoku shows the true meaning of yandere as she mentions she is looking forward to March so she can kill the person she loves! Yeah. She loves him so much that she wants to murder him. She prefers being god instead of turning back into a human who would be guaranteed of Araragi’s love because being unrequited forever is much better. Kaiki plays along but felt pity and couldn’t shoot her down. She is worried there are no visitors. At first there were but soon there were none. He is the first in a long time. He notes because of her creepiness and scary hair. Surprise, she is happy! Because people always say how cute she is, etc. He concludes that word doesn’t compliment her and in fact placed lots of restrictions. That is why insults bring her joy. Masochist? He wants to leave but she insists he stay and talk or she’ll feel lonely. He gives her a string to play cat’s cradle and promises by the time she masters it, he’ll be back. After all, he is her first believer and would never lie. Yeah. You better believe it!

Episode 20
Kaiki calls Senjougahara to talk. She is surprised that he actually met Sengoku in person. He admits he felt pity for her but now it doesn’t matter because it seems she is having fun. He assures deceiving her is easy because she is an idiot. Although not so easy that Senjougahara can do it herself. His plan is to visit the shrine and talk to her till he wins her trust and then tell her Senjougahara and Araragi’s death in a car accident. He is confident she won’t check it up because of her pampered and spoilt life that makes her unable to expect people to deceive or lie to her. As she is unable to believe in people, she will have no reason to doubt her. The issue now is to tell Araragi that this problem is solved. Senjougahara will handle this and will convince him to give up Sengoku. Kaiki agrees and adds she should become an annoying woman make him choose between them. She excuses herself to the toilet and when she comes back, Kaiki could see her eyes red like the aftermath of crying her heart out. In a shaky voice, she thanks him. Kaiki gets to work by learning cat’s cradle. He is visited by Yotsugi to relay a message by Gaen. He doesn’t want to hear it but she proceeds anyway. She wants him to back off as the town’s irregularities have been stabilized and doesn’t want him to mess it up. Something about Sengoku wasn’t supposed to be God but Shinobu. Due to someone intervention, this happened and Gaen is trying to fix it by having Shinobu be that role as she thinks she fits it very much. If he refuses to back off, she will sever all ties. Kaiki starts thinking. Senjougahara’s rare gratitude and his relationship with Gaen at stake. Not to mention the 3 million Yen sum too. He agrees to back off but that was just a lie. After taking the money, he visits the shrine. Probably the huge donated amount led Sengoku to barge out and welcome him. He mentions he wants a wish to make his business prosper and will visit the shrine 100 times (98 more to be exact). He will let her know the details slowly. No rush. He wants her to show the cat’s cradle. After practising so much, his string snapped so she used her snake! He is amazed that she is not only an idiot but also insane. On his way back, he could feel somebody tailing him. Most probably Gaen’s subordinate but didn’t attack. However this isn’t his concern. He calls Sengoku’s parents on pretence he has a clue that could lead to his missing daughter and wants to meet. Once they leave the house, Kaiki sneaks in to take a look into the forbidden closet. Boy, he looks surprised.

Episode 21
Back in his hotel, he calls Senjougahara if she, Araragi or any other people who may be involved in this got some sort of a warning note to stay out. Because he got one. She doesn’t think so but the most she remembers Hanekawa got was just a caution although it did not force her to do anything. Same thing for Kaiki. He thinks Gaen fears he would fail in the sense of the aftermath if he fails to deceive Sengoku. He also lets her know about the money he received from her. So the question was how someone was able to sneak into his room and left a note to stay out. Simple. Anybody could have just slipped it under his door. Senjougahara wants to look at it thinking she can recognize the handwriting but Kaiki has torn it and flushed it down the toilet. She wonders if he really intends to go see her every day 100 times. Not really. He’ll see her every day till the end of January. You know the cost of each visit, right? Yeah, it’s like visiting a cabaret. To him Sengoku is an idiot but because Senjougahara has never met her, she finds her dangerous and thinks it is not a good idea for him to visit her so often. The next time he visits her, he wonders what happens if he doubles the donation. Here comes happy Sengoku but clumsy! She couldn’t believe the amount doubled. Did he make a mistake? Is it for tomorrow’s share? He gives her sake and new strings for her cat’s cradle. Yeah, she can occupy herself while waiting to kill Araragi. Yeah, killing time, isn’t she? On his way out, Hanekawa meets him. Wasn’t she supposed to be overseas looking for Oshino? So did Senjougahara lie? Not exactly. It was her part that she wanted to believe Hanekawa is overseas. This trick would also serve as a camouflage against Sengoku to make her think she was on a wild goose chase. Though, she still will be going overseas. However this trick has also made Senjougahara move easier and contact Kaiki. In the hotel she resides, Kaiki wants to know if really wants to save Senjougahara and Araragi. Of course. Perhaps the more accurate way to put it is she doesn’t want them to die and doesn’t care who saves them. He is curious that she doesn’t ask him any questions. Isn’t she suspicious and asks stuffs like why he accepted this job, if he is going to betray them or complete this job? She won’t. It’s like she knows everything, huh? Uh huh. She knows what she knows. Putting this aside, Kaiki suggests they exchange information.

Episode 22
With Hanekawa’s explanation, Kaiki has a much better understanding of the situation. He has her describe Sengoku. One of them being her world was closed and she won’t let anybody in. Not even Oshino’s. Despite saying she loves Araragi, Hanekawa feels she doesn’t actually love anyone. She wonders if he can deceive her. Of course he can. As for Hanekawa wish to save her, she can do that after he deceives her. She asks about the closet in Sengoku’s room but Kaiki lies that he doesn’t know about it. Kaiki continues to visit the shrine and teach Sengoku cat’s cradle. He even brings her more sake that she now loves. Also, he visits the abandoned cram school that is reduced to a rubble. He met an old friend, Rouka Numachi and thought doing this may be beneficial in the future. Like, getting to know Kanbaru. Once the month becomes February, Senjougahara calls Kaiki. Today is the day he will play out his deception. Once he is done with it, she is to make sure Araragi doesn’t come near the shrine and ruin everything. He asks what she sees in Araragi that makes her like him. At least he is not like him. It is because Araragi is for who he is. Senjougahara makes one last assurance if he can pull off this job. He sounds so confident that it’s like counting his chickens. She then reminds him once this is over, he is never to set foot in this town ever again. As long as he lives, she will always hate and never forgive him. At the train station, Yotsugi comes to talk to him. Seems Gaen has severed ties with him and she thinks the 3 million amount was cheap for him to go up against her. He is confident all he has to do is to deceive but Yotsugi thinks he has experienced this sort of failure before. Like how he stopped a cult that Senjougahara’s mom was in. Although this only made her join a bigger cult. She continues the things he did for Senjougahara may seem like it was for her but he failed to realize her feelings for her mom then. Gaen is worried about his failure and he might do something that is unlike himself. That’s why she knows he will fail this time too. At least that is what Gaen thinks. He goes visit Sengoku and she wants to know what his wish is so she can make it true. But he tells her about the dangers of telling it to others and the reason why wishes won’t come true. Noting that she has taken the bait, he continues this is the reason why her wish of killing Araragi won’t come true. Because she has said it out loud in words every day, now she will never get it fulfilled since he has come to relay the bad news to her today. Araragi and Senjougahara were killed in an accident last night. Sengoku just smiles and wonders if Kaiki is just trying to deceive her.

Episode 23
The fact she can see through his lies so easily means she hadn’t placed any trust in him and he had no chance of deceiving her in the first place. She surrounds the entire shrine with snakes and calls everyone a liar. Kaiki calls her a bigger liar since she can’t grant wish and under a mistaken impression that she’s special just because she is a god. She explains her own twisted version of loving and hating herself while Kaiki tells of this one woman he knows who rejected any sort of salvation from God or happiness. This has Sengoku blaming Ougi as the one for letting this happen to her. It made Kaiki wondered how she knew the location of ‘god’s core’ that Gaen had entrusted Araragi with. Did somebody turn her into a god or lead her there? Was there someone else trying to deceiver her? Sengoku continues to blame Araragi shouldn’t have deceived her. As penalty, she is going to kill everyone else close to him like his harem girls and sisters. When Kaiki says she didn’t want to be god but a manga artist, this causes her to scream in embarrassment and start beating him up with her weak punches and kicks. He opened her closet to see all the manga she had drawn. He comments on her pretty drawing, good story and some explicit content. So killing him won’t do her any good because sooner or later her parents are going to open it and find out. So she can stop being a god and turn back into a human, go back and destroy them. She still won’t quit for that silly reason. Kaiki spoke to everyone and the fact they don’t know this hobby of hers shows how much she kept it a secret. He thinks it is her real dream. Although she is now a happy god, it’s not like she wanted to become one. Besides, what is she going to do after killing Araragi? Sengoku calls her manga as embarrassing doodles and didn’t throw them away because she was too ashamed. Kaiki doesn’t want to deride her own creations. Becoming a manga artist isn’t possible by just having desires but not having them definitely can’t make her become one. In fact being god prevents her being so and she must be human to do so. He talks about his love for money and Senjougahara who has taken the tiresome role of being Araragi’s girlfriend. So take all that donation money and buy proper drawing tools.

She doesn’t want him to talk like he knows everything. She is right. Only she herself knows her own true value. Only she can make her dreams come true. They are after all humans. They can start over again from scratch. She never thought of becoming a manga artist or god but there was a manga artist people called “God”. He thinks she can pull it off so Sengoku lets him deceive her. By that time Araragi comes by the shrine (again, another late entrance) and is shocked to see what Kaiki is doing to her. He covers up that he is sent by Gaen to do a job not as a scammer but a ghostbuster to exorcise Sengoku. He reaches into her throat and takes out the talisman, turning Sengoku into human once more. He passes it back to Araragi. He doesn’t want him to ever associate with her again because she will grow weaker. There is nothing he can do. Love can make somebody strong like in the case of Senjougahara but in Sengoku’s case, it was the total opposite. Whether she will be happy or not he isn’t sure. It’s not like being happy is a human’s only goal. Even if she doesn’t, she can at least become what she wants. Good things will eventually come as long as she is alive. Kaiki leaves and calls Senjougahara that his job is done. Now he’ll be getting out of town. He ponders the note that was sent to him was by Senjougahara. For who contacted him to take up a job and only telling him to back off was because she knows his personality well. His character makes him lose the desire to back off when told to do so. He also wonders how much of this was part of Gaen’s plan. He may even be strung along by her. Even more mind boggling is the no-show of Oshino. At such a crucial moment, he is nowhere to be seen. What is he up to? Suddenly somebody bludgeons Kaiki’s head. He lies motionless in the snow. It is one those middle schoolers he deceived as she blames him for coming back to this town and that Ougi was right. He thinks this kid might be the root of everything and the one who put a curse on Sengoku. Was it this person who was tailing him? Can’t think. Losing blood fast. Anyway he is glad to make some pocket change right at the end.

Mayoimonogatari – Ming Blur
If you’re wondering why Kanbaru is left out from this season, it is because she will be getting her own special feature called Hanamonogatari much later. Just like how Hanekawa got hers with Nekomonogatari (Kuro), right? Other than that, this season is still interesting but the only problem that I have is that the drama added to the stories. It is like expanding the story to a point where there are many instances that I just couldn’t understand what was going on. I know I didn’t read the original works but it feels like sometimes it makes me wonder if all of those are relevant or not. Sure, there are some diversions in the topic during the conversations and it is most welcomed to take away the ‘pressure’ from trying to understand what is going on (at least for a dumb guy like me). So if you ask me what is happening in detail, I would be in a very blur zone. But generally, I think I have an idea of what is going on. I think.

So okay, as far as this season is concerned, everything was still okay and the stories are pretty much fascinating in its own right except that I have said the added plots and long-winded conversations were a turn down for me as I couldn’t really comprehend and piece things together. I couldn’t be bothered re-reading my previous blogs again because it was already confusing enough and with my brain at its limit, I just couldn’t risk it being exploded ;p. Also with the animal oddities attached to some of the girls’ names as the arc, I thought the oddities they faced are going to be somewhat ‘levelled up’ with Tsubasa’s cat becoming a tiger and Sengoku’s snake turning into a Medusa. Though, I can’t see how Hachikuji’s snail could be a vampire. But I was really puzzled about Shinobu’s Time and Senjougahara’s End because I wondered what kind of animal is that! Heck, the final arc didn’t really belonged to Senjougahara and I feel it was more of Kaiki and Sengoku. It is just unfortunate that he got killed off in the end. Or so it seems. After being such a notorious swindler in the past seasons, it is hard to feel something for him despite what he did to save Sengoku. Divine retribution for his bad deeds? Therefore it was with mixed feelings that he got butchered in the end and this was a part of the little shocker that some of the arcs end.

Therefore in terms of how the arc ends for this season, I guess they really tried out something conventional instead of the same ol’ happy ending. Because for example, Hachikuji finally went to the other side for good in Shinobu’s arc. You thought that loli girl would always be around and suddenly here she departs to another world. Killed her off? I don’t know, maybe she’ll return one day? Or never. Then there was this WTF part at the end of Sengoku’s arc where she killed everybody. Thankfully it didn’t end like that although that really served as some sort of premonition if nothing was done to stop it. And for 2 arcs, Araragi as the main star didn’t show up till the last episode of that arc. Where the hell was he? At least he didn’t go completely missing like Oshino who is still the biggest mystery ever since he left town in the first season.

I had this impression that there would be a lot more stories for this second season. But who knows, the added drama and dialogues could really stretch the story to 4-5 episodes. I thought 3 episodes would be the most. My reason for this is because I was wishfully thinking that there would be stories for the other girls to tell. For instance, Yotsugi, Ougi or even Kagenui. Maybe Gaen too. (Last time I checked, there are story arcs for these girls and in later novel volumes). With Shinobu replacing Kanbaru, I thought this might happen but alas, it didn’t. It would be interesting to see these girls in focus and their interaction with Araragi. However Yotsugi’s ‘more-than-enough’ cameo appearance in a handful episodes makes it as though she has enough screen time already. Besides, what kind of animal would she be? A doll, maybe. Kagenui just like Oshino does not make any sort of appearance here. Gaen and Ougi are just mysterious enough that you just want to know more about them. The other usual characters are also well developed especially you see a side that you thought you would never see like Sengoku’s yandere behaviour (you’d never guess she could snap like that and be this crazy) and Senjougahara having an emotional side underneath it all.

The visual art and presentation remains to be stunning and unique. All the trademark visuals that you remember from this series are still present. It’s like they have never lost their touch. Or everything has been so warped that we’ve lost our touch? But the head tilt, head zooming in shot and eye focus are the typical trademarks you can still see from SHAFT in this season. Even the stylish and creative backgrounds are still abound. A big change that everybody should notice is that many of the girls swap hair lengths. For example, Senjougahara and Hanekawa who once had long hair now have them cut above their shoulders. Tomboyish Kanbaru who used to have short hair now spots twintails. The same case for the Fire Sisters. It is like the sisters reversed their hair lengths for each other with Karen now having it short while Tsukihi letting them grow. Needless to say, Sengoku has got the wildest hairstyle change since you know, she became something like Medusa. It’s like giving them a whole new image just to show that time has passed and things have changed. Even Kaiki has a hairstyle makeover. From once a Jim Carrey straight up hairstyle, he tones it down so much so I thought at certain angles he looked pretty much like one of my uncles! Serious!

There are several opening and ending themes. Unlike in previous seasons whereby there are multiple opening themes and only a single ending theme, this time around they have several ending themes. The first ending theme is rock based, Ai Wo Utae by Luna Haruna. Another rock theme for the second ending piece, Sono Koe Wo Oboeteru by Marina Kawano before a slower pop piece of Snowdrop by the duet of Luna Haruna and Marina Kawano as the final ending theme. Just like in previous seasons, the seiyuus of the particular girl in the arc sings that opening theme. So we have Yui Horie doing Chocolate Insomnia for Hanekawa’s arc, Emiri Katou singing Happy Bite during Hachikuji’s arc and Mousou Express by Kana Hanazawa for Sengoku’s arc. I guess Shinobu had none for her arc since there wasn’t even an opening credits animation to begin with. Senjougahara’s arc has got to be the most interesting and my most favourite song for this season. Kogarashi Sentiment is a duet sung by Chiwa Saito and Miki Shinichirou and it is largely refreshing to hear them sing a song that resembles so much like the 90’s! It really takes you back in time to that era. Well, if you are that old. Even the animation is old school although it mixes with current style but that is what makes it largely interesting.

In a nutshell, if they may more Monogatari stories and seasons, I would still want to watch them no matter how confusing or a dumb guy like me couldn’t understand. Because in a way it is interesting and refreshing from the way it is told and represented. It is still awesome in that sense. This anime might not be for everyone especially with the long dialogues and the kind of bizarre humour that comes with it but I recommend that even if you aren’t into this kind of anime, perhaps give the first season that started it all a try. Who knows, you may be hooked and craving for more. But I’m not that crazy to go read the novels. Because they may not be translated. Yet. Hah. An excuse for me not to do so. After all, I’m just being human. Unlike gods, we can dream, have desires and fulfil them as long as we put our heart into it. That’s why Monogatari Series is such a success story. Care to repeat it?

Girls Und Panzer OVA

September 19, 2014

Oh yes!!! It is finally here! I remember I was really disappointed when they cut out one of the important matches in the TV series. I was really looking forward to it. And then it’s like they answered my prayers (or rather they might have planned this all along) because Girls Und Panzer OVA is the much awaited second round match of the Senshadou championship between Ooarai and the Italian Anzio! Hooray! Now I can be extremely satisfied! I’m not going to bore you (and myself) with whatever introductions because I’m so eager to hop in and watch the tank battle. Let’s go!

This Is The Real Anzio Battle!
Anzio’s Senshadou captain, Anchovy addresses her mates and is confident about defeating Ooarai. Hooray! Counting their chickens? Well, they barely scraped through the first round. As she is going to unveil her new tank, seems the clock strikes noon and all the girls don’t want to miss out some special lunch. Food is more important than tanks, right? Oh yeah. Italians… Back at Ooarai, they are discussing their strategy on Anzio when Yukari returns with yet another infiltration at Anzio. Seems they are having a food festival. Yup. Italians do love their food. Everybody is so merry that Yukari could even record Anchovy rallying the girls on her new tank. Miho goes to visit rekijo team’s house to get more details on the Italian tanks. One of them has a friend in Anzio and she would love to face off with her fair and square. Ooarai practice by having heroine team and volleyball team acting as Anzio. Loli team chasing volleyball team feels like a joke… Rekijo team tries to practice firing at heroine team at long range but they couldn’t hit them. A single shot from heroine team eliminated them. Need more practice? At the end of the day, they feel hungry. What are they having? Italian of course! Nekota tries to talk to Miho to join her club but seems she fails again. A new tank has been discovered and being uncovered by automotive team. Because some time is needed to make repairs, they won’t be joining in their next match. In exchange for fixing it up good, automotive team wants to ride this one.

The match day is here. Anchovy meets Miho before the match as greeting. I won’t say Anchovy is cocky but she is brimming with confidence. Also, Caesar meets her other friend, Carpaccio on the other side and is glad to see each other again. The match begins. As usual, Ooarai has only 5 tanks compared to Anzio’s 10. Loli team and volleyball team go ahead and scout and spot the enemy tanks. They are ordered not to engage them. However something doesn’t add up. How come there are 11 tanks not including the flag tank? Miho orders them to fire a test shot and those tanks are just cardboards! A decoy! Miho realizes Anzio’s goal is to surround and ambush them from the back. Their tactic now is to use their flag tank to lure the enemy out. Loli team thought they have spotted more fake tanks and fire. Oops. Real ones. Now run! Volleyball team are on the run too as several of Anzio’s tanks are hot on their tail. Anchovy is waiting nicely when she realizes her comrades had screwed up the number of fake tanks since Ooarai has figured out their plan. She makes a move but comes into Ooarai. Rekijo team and Carpaccio’s team engage in close combat. You think it is odd for them to miss at this range but manoeuvring a tank like that isn’t easy. The flag tanks chase each other.

Volleyball team despite firing and overturning many Anzio tanks, it is like they are on some God mode because they keep coming back. Those Anzio tanks may lack firepower and despite being overturned, they are light enough for them to flip it back up and continue as long as the white flag doesn’t pop up. Plus, they have great mobility. Miho advises them to take out its weakness in the engine radiator. Volleyball team aims and fire. They hit not 1 but 4 of them! Wohoo! Also, loli team stops their tank so they could aim better. They manage to get 1. Not bad! Suddenly Anzio’s tanks are halved! Anchovy presses the panic button and wants all tanks to protect her flag tank. By the time reinforcement has arrived, they got taken out (it’s like they came just to get shot) and eventually Anchovy’s tank. Ooarai wins! The close quarter combat between rekijo team and Carpaccio’s team ends in a draw. They took each other out. In the aftermath, Anchovy congratulates Miho for a great game and now they will be rooting for them to win the championship. Now it is time to party! Anzio rolls out a feast for everyone to enjoy. See, what did I tell you about Italians loving their food? It’s so extravagant! If only they put more passion into their Senshadou as much as their cooking. In the final scene, we see Anzio coming really early in the wee hours of the morning to book their spot for the finals between Ooarai and Kuromorimine. No way they can be late, eh? Yeah. Whoever said starting early could kill? So they party all night… Morning comes, everybody is sound asleep. Safe to say, they miss the entire match! They only wake up when it’s over. You call that oversleeping! It’s already evening for God’s sakes! Now you know why they’re missing?

Mama Mia! Tank You For Everything!
Despite this OVA lasting around 38 minutes, it felt like it was only its usual 24 minutes worth of screen time. That was how engrossed I was, though the beginning may be a bit slow since it wasn’t the action part. The tank battles did not disappoint as usual and it is still thrilling to watch our girls go into battle. This battle gives a little more prominence to the volleyball team and loli team since we see them owning a few Anzio tanks. Because in the TV series they usually are the ones who get owned and lack the firepower compared to the tanks of other schools. So it’s nice that heroine team and student council team didn’t really hog much of the limelight. Rekijo team is also rather okay and I suppose the friendship of one of their comrades was just to give us a little development although it won’t be that deep. Though, Momo’s poor aim is still the best running joke ever.

Although it is sad that with this OVA, it brings a closure to the series, I am not sure if there is going to be another season or spin-offs or OVAs for these girls. I may not be into tanks for real or online games, but if there is I will definitely be there to root for my favourite tank girls. This series has been so far very awesome and even the bad points turn into good ones (were there any?). So girls, once again, t(h)anks for the joyride and for everything that you have provided me for this series. It was unforgettable. It was superb. It was fantastic. It was awesome. It was… Well, everything! In that sense, they really did aim and strike my heart. Three cheers and let’s tank up to that!

Shingeki No Kyojin

September 14, 2014

Have you ever known true fear and oppression? The kind that makes you feel that you could be killed the next very second. Even the sanctuary and protection of whatever that keeps you safe isn’t enough as much a guarantee that you will see tomorrow’s sunrise. Or even tonight’s moonrise. Have that feeling of helplessness that there is an all-powerful enemy with seemingly no weaknesses that threatens your very survival? No matter what you do, you’ll never have a fighting chance. Yes, people. Happiness is only a false sense of security if you think you are living in a cage protecting you from such predators. Because if you look at it from another point of view, you are just a caged bird or cattle livestock in the enemy’s ‘farm’.

The caged bird and cattle are humans. The predators: Titans. The cage: A huge impenetrable wall that serves as the last bastion of mankind. Yes, everyone. Know thy true fear as you see it in Shingeki No Kyojin or Attack On Titan. As you could have guessed it, humans lived their puny lives behind great big walls from the threat of huge giants who seem to have a taste for mankind. Humans get to go on living happily like as though Titans never existed. And just true to our human nature, we eventually forget. We take things for granted. Happiness is only fleeting and lasting because the wall is doing a great job. What happens if it doesn’t?

The idea of giants terrorizing and craving for human flesh make some feel like this anime is very similar in many aspects to the Hollywood version of Jack The Giant Slayer. As I have not watched this movie, I can’t really compare it but I can’t find any sources over the internet to say if the American movie copied the idea from the Japanese manga series. Obviously the manga came out first (published in 2009) while the Hollywood movie was released in early 2013. However as I read, development of the movie began back in 2005 and was of course based on the English fairytales, Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer. So did the manga creator get the idea from this? Or is it just a big coincidence?

Episode 1
In the district of Shiganshina, Eren Jaeger and Mikasa Ackerman are carrying wood back when they meet Garrison unit leader’s Hannes. Eren is not pleased they are slacking off and getting drunk in the middle of their job despite peace reigning for 100 years. It is like as though they have no resolve to fight back and even though everyone is eating and sleeping peacefully within the confines of the walls, it just feels like they are cattle. They then witness the return of the Survey Corps. Sombre mood. One of the mothers of the men wants to know if her son is alright. Well, here is his arm. That’s all that is left of him. Heart breaking. Mother thought her son carried out his duty significantly but the leader breaks down. He screams out that after all the sacrifice and years of venturing out, they have learnt nothing about the Titans. Eren wants to beat up a guy who badmouthed Survey Corps but Mikasa brings him away to cool down. She hopes that after witnessing what happened, should change his mind to join Survey Corps. When they return, Mikasa tells Carla (Eren’s mom) about Eren’s dream. Mom is of course against it but his father Grisha was calm. Learning that Eren wants to know what is happening to the world outside instead of living in cages, he understands his son’s inquisitiveness. When he returns, he will show him the basement that he has always kept a secret. Eren ends up arguing with Carla before storming out of the house. A group of boys are bullying Armin Arlert. They see Eren coming to help but it is the sight of Mikasa that scares the sh*t out of them that they pack and flee! Armin was bullied because he too would like to go outside the walls. Peace has reigned for 100 years only because the walls have been doing their job. Suddenly they hear a loud explosion. Before their eyes, a Colossal Titan! Its head is peeping out from the highest wall! With a big hole in the wall, other Titans start streaming in. The people run helter-skelter in panic. Eren realizes one of the walls that were sent flying flew in the direction of his home. To his horror, he sees Carla pinned under the rubble. Mother wants the kids to run but Eren is going to pull her out despite her leg has been crushed and cannot run herself. Hannes comes by and Carla orders him to take the children away. However he wants to play hero and slay the Titan so that they all can be saved. But when he sees the approaching Titan, he chickens out, makes a u-turn, take the kids and run! Eren sees before his eyes his mom being devoured alive by the Titan.

Episode 2
Eren is upset Hannes didn’t save his mom. Hannes bluntly puts it Eren couldn’t save her because he lacks the power and he himself couldn’t because he lacks the courage. The people are panicking to get onboard a boat to the inner walls. Some desperate to get onboard despite being full. Women, children and old folks get priority. To make things worse, an Armoured Titan runs and smashes through another wall and sends all the soldiers flying. Within hours, the southern Wall Maria has fallen and news spread like wildfire through all the human districts about the fall of Shiganshina. Eren is so upset in seeing this and that his last memory with Carla is that petty argument, he vows to eradicate every last Titan on the face of this planet. In the aftermath, the central government has reduced mankind’s territory to Wall Rose. 10,000 lives were lost. Because of the refugees, this means there is food shortage. Eren is still hot-headed. He is not happy to hear some guards commenting that they have to share their food with outsiders and should have been devoured by Titans. Had Armin not stepped in and quell the tension, who knows what might have happened. Eren even wants to head back to Wall Maria and doesn’t accept the argument to live like a cattle and coward. Mikasa beats him up, telling him they were no different. They were just as powerless and had no chance. Survival must be their main goal. Although the refugees were made to cultivate the land for food production, the food shortage was still an issue. Thus under the guise of capturing Wall Maria, 250,000 refugees were sent to ‘war’ and only hundreds survived. That solved the food shortage problem. One of those refugees was Armin’s beloved grandpa. Eren is still adamant to defeat the Titans so he wants to join Training Corps next year. Mikasa will also join to keep him from dying. Armin too.

Episode 3
Under the strict guidance of Keith Shardis, the new recruits experience the tough military drills. But among them, Sasha Blouse was brave (and dumb) enough to eat a potato right before Keith and has the cheek to share it with him! She is made to run laps till sunset. As Eren was the witness during that fateful day, everyone is all ears to his story. He is still adamant of joining Survey Corps to rid the world of every Titan. But fellow Jean Kirschtein has a different ideology. He wants to become the Military Police Brigade and live inside the inner walls of the city. Both of them butt heads but back down since it’s futile to fight against each other. They’re not the enemy. Sasha is on the verge of collapsing from all that running, Krista Lenz helps her but Sobakasu thinks it’s stupid to be kind. However she also helps Sasha to put her in her debt. She can count on her stupidity for that. Keith trains the trainees how to use the basic Three-dimensional Manoeuvre Device (3DMD) but it seems only Eren has problems maintaining his balance. This is a blow to his aspirations. After talking big of slaying very Titan and he can’t even do this simple stuff? It’s just embarrassing. If he can’t pass this, he might even be dismissed and drop out. He tries to seek tips from the rest but they can’t help much since using 3DMD is somewhat of a ‘feel’ kind of thing. Even top students Bertolt Hoover and Reiner Braun can’t do much. However they understand Eren’s feelings because they too experienced firsthand the terrifying invasion of the Titans. Unlike many others here who do not know such fear, they are mainly enlisted just to abide by society’s expectations. It’s D-Day for Eren to show he can handle 3DMD. At first he seems to finally get a hang of it before flopping shortly. Does this mean it’s over for him? Keith wants Eren to switch his gear. Seems Eren had a defective equipment all along. Usually such equipment is never faulty (how sure are they?) but this made everyone think that if Eren was able to stay up for a while even with this faulty device, it means he is a talented guy, right? Eren is so relieved that Mikasa sees in his victory eyes like as though he doesn’t need her anymore.

Episode 4
As the trainees continue their training, Keith makes remarks on each of their character, skill and progress. Among them include, Armin, Bertolt, Reiner, Jean, Sasha, Annie Leonhart, Connie Springer, Mikasa and of course Eren. Eren and Reiner are in hand to hand combat training. Because Annie has been slacking off while eluding the instructor’s attention again, Reiner wants to teach her a lesson as a soldier. He makes Eren fight her and he instantly loses! Of course Reiner himself has a go. No chance! Annie hints to Eren the irony of this world. The more you can fight against the Titans, the further you can get away from them. Because she is not stupid enough to go play soldier. It dawned to Eren that those enlisted in Training Corps are perhaps those who want to get away from Titans by living in the inner walls. Eren and Jean get into another argument. This time a fist fight was inevitable. Eren uses a move that Annie did on him to put him down. They are stopped when Keith comes in after hearing a commotion. Mikasa quickly blames it on Sasha’s fart! As the Training Corps will soon graduate. They are told they have 3 options. 1) Garrison – responsible for wall fortification and defending the towns; 2) Survey Corps – venture outside the walls into Titan territory; 3) Military Police Brigade – governs the citizens and maintains order. Only the third option is available to the top 10. And the top 10 are (from top to bottom): Mikasa, Reiner, Bertolt, Annie, Eren, Jean, Marco Bott, Connie, Sasha and Krista. Eren maintains his ambition to join Survey Corps as his goal is to fight Titans. Some are being pessimistic as they think humans have no chance of winning against them. But Eren remains optimistic. Mankind has been losing because they lack information but now they can use that obtained through fighting and bring hope. He is not going to wait for Titans to devour them. Mankind has not lost yet. He will exterminate them all and escape these walls. This is his dream. Of course Armin and Mikasa also will join him. They don’t want to lose anymore friends and family. Thanks to Eren’s moving speech, some even changed their mind and want to join Survey Corps like Connie and Thomas Wagner. Sasha is still causing trouble since she stole precious meat for them to eat! As the graduates are cleaning the cannons, suddenly the Colossal Titan appears and smashes a hole in the wall! Where the hell did it pop up from? Ah well, there goes 5 years of peace…

Episode 5
Eren is ‘happy’ to see the Titan and goes into swinging action to kill it. However it suddenly vanishes into thin air! Just like how that Titan did came and go so suddenly back at Shiganshina. Eren notices this Titan has a mind on its own because it destroyed all the cannons in one swing. The soldiers scramble to their posts as panic spreads of another Titans invasion. Armin becomes a nervous wreck but Eren calms him down. Meanwhile the noble marquis of the Trost district, Bart is drinking with a high ranking military officer, Dot Pixis. When word reaches them that the Titans have invaded, Bart panics but Pixis wants to go into action. Bart doesn’t want him to leave his side and couldn’t care less about the other soldier. Pixis doesn’t pay heed and leaves. Some of the soldiers especially the newly graduated ones are feeling scared. Especially when they learn the vanguard squad are the front has been eliminated. Jean is upset that the Titans had to pick today to invade. For tomorrow he would have been in the inner walls. Eren gives him a pep talk that they survived hell and made it. So he is going to survive today and be in the inner walls by tomorrow. Mikasa is on a different squad from Eren (her top skills means she is needed to protect the elite and other residents). She wants Eren not to die. Duh… Eren and his team await the incoming Titans. He remembers those Titan lessons at school. Their origins unknown, have no reproductive system, show no interest in any other organisms except humans. Because they have survived without humans for 100 years show they do not need sustenance to begin with. It could only mean that their goal is to slaughter humans. However defeating a Titan is not easy. Even when a part of their body and their head is blown off, they can regenerate. It’s like they are immortals. However they have a weakness. If there is substantial damage to the back of their neck, they will die. That’s why it is essential to hack through their flesh with 2 blades. Now that it’s time to go into action, the horrors of reality sink in. They see Thomas getting devoured by a Titan. Eren is upset and tries to go after it but was slammed away by another Titan. Slowly, every team member gets devoured and Armin is about to meet the same fate. Eren remembers Armin telling him about the fascinating world outside as read from a book he ‘stole’. Seems they have never seen what an ocean is. Eren gets the strength to pull Armin out from the Titan’s throat but he himself gets devoured.

Episode 6
Armin is the only survivor of his squad and is reeling from the trauma of seeing Eren devoured before his eyes. He thinks a useless person like himself should have died instead. Elsewhere, a selfish merchant is blocking the entrance simply because he wants to get his overloaded wagon through the narrow passage. Obviously it won’t go through but he remains stubborn and reminds the people that his resources are what makes them survives. An Abnormal Titan comes rushing into the scene like a crazy madman. The crowd panics and starts pushing. However Mikasa swiftly cuts it down. When Mikasa sees the lagging evacuation due to his selfishness, she wastes no time to prepare cutting him down. After all, what is one sacrifice compared to the hundreds of lives that can be saved. Instantly the merchant becomes scared and withdraws his wagon. An earnest thank from a little girl brought back memories she doesn’t want to remember. She lived a peaceful life with her parents till one day kidnappers killed them and kidnapped her. Because of her rare oriental looks, she would fetch a high price to those with such fetish in the black market. Though, it was her mother who would have been their fine catch had not for a panicking kidnapper who killed her when she tried to attacked back. Grisha and Eren visited their home for the usual check-up but find the dead bodies. Although Eren was told to wait at the base of the hill, Eren went to the kidnapper’s base and killed them to free Mikasa (they were animals and not humans he reasoned). He was unaware there was a third one and was ambushed. Eren is on the verge of being killed. He tells Mikasa to fight. If she doesn’t fight, she cannot win. It was then Mikasa realized the cruelty of the world. Even in nature, a mantis eating a butterfly or her father shot a duck for dinner. It’s kill or be killed. Mikasa never hesitated since and took up the knife to kill the kidnapper. As Mikasa has no home to return to, Grisha suggested living with them. Eren gives her his scarf to keep her warm, something she wears till today.

Episode 7
Although there were no civilian casualties in the evacuation, the fighting squads are stuck. Their equipment is out of gas which makes them unable to climb walls. They’re like sitting ducks. Worse, the Titans are swarming the supply building and killing everyone there. Those trapped, some killed themselves as not to be devoured alive. Mikasa arrives and asks Armin about Eren’s whereabouts. He emotionally reports his squad’s death. Mikasa was calm. She thinks they can win if they eliminate the Titans swarming the supply building. The rest think she’s crazy doing this suicide mission. She can. Because she is strong. Stronger than all of them cowards. So sit back and watch her defeat every single one of them. This motivated the rest to not lose out as they follow her lead. But Armin knows Mikasa is not her usual self. She may look calm but her rash actions indicate she is taking out her emotions via her actions. At this rate, she will run out of gas and true enough it happened and Mikasa crashes below. Armin and Connie go to her aid and leaves Jean with responsibility in leading the rest. However Jean is paralyzed in fear when he sees some of his comrades get devoured. He questions himself if he has the right to shoulder such responsibility. Meanwhile a Titan approaches Mikasa. She is on the verge of giving up when her body suddenly moves by itself to avoid the Titan’s slam. She realizes that if she dies, she cannot remember Eren anymore and vows to fight and live on. She is about to get into action when another Titan approaches. However, this one beats the crap out of the Titan and smashes it till it died! OMG. Never heard of a Titan fighting among themselves?! Not only that, it ignores Mikasa, Armin and Connie to go fight and kill another Titan! Armin switches gear with Mikasa because his has some gas left. He wants to be left at least a blade as he doesn’t want to be devoured but Mikasa throws it away. Mikasa notes the awesome scene of a Titan killing another Titan was uplifting. She felt a great morale booster like as though that Titan was the embodiment of humanity’s rage.

Episode 8
Armin has an idea to make use of that ‘friendly’ Titan. As it attacks other Titans and shows no interest in humans, they should guide it to the supply station where other Titans are swarming. It’s a risky move, either they all end up being saved or be eaten but it’s better to do something than to wait to be eaten. Jean is still in a dilemma about his leadership. As he is paralyzed in fear watching his comrades get eaten, an idea suddenly hits him. While the Titans are busy devouring his dead comrades, he yells to the rest to take this chance and move to the supply building. Everyone follows his lead and but only a few land safely into the building. However Jean is left feeling guilty once more as he ponders how many died on the way. Mikasa’s group also arrive and tells about the ‘friendly’ Titan. While it is taking out the other Titans, the smaller ones are inside wandering around the supply room. Armin hatches a plan to fill the elevator with people armed with guns. They are used as bait to lure the Titans close. Once that happens, they will fire and temporarily blind them and the best soldiers will swiftly jump down to cut their back necks simultaneously. It is a big gamble as everyone must succeed in this one shot. Everyone gets into position. It is nerve wrecking for those in the elevator as the Titans get close. Once close enough, they fire and it is signal for the rest to jump down and cut. Most succeed however Sasha and Connie blunder theirs. Sasha is on the verge of being eaten but Mikasa was quick enough to cut down the Titan. Connie’s is done in by Annie. Sasha feels bad that she almost surrendered to a Titan. After everyone resupplies, they are surprised to see the ‘friendly’ Titan being overwhelmed by the rest. It cannot regenerate anymore. Mikasa thinks of saving it since it might be the weapon that may pull them out of this hopeless situation. When the Titan that devoured Thomas appears, the ‘friendly’ Titan becomes enraged, breaks free and quickly bites it to death. But the most shocking revelation is that when the ‘friendly’ Titan collapses, they see Eren emerging from its back!!! Mikasa dives down to retrieve him and is surprised-cum-relieved that he is still alive. However Armin is baffled. His limbs are still intact when he clearly saw his leg severed and his left arm bitten off.

Episode 9
We are told about the Survey Corps and how 30% of those sent out never make it back. Also introduced are some of the greatest elites of the military of the Survey Corps. First there is Commander Erwin Smith. Then there is Lance Corporal Levi Rivaille and the crazy Hange Zoe who is always excited wanting to meet an Abnormal. We see Levi’s unrivalled skill and agility in taking down Titans like as though it is child’s play. Each of his comrade’s death spurs him on despite putting a brave strong front. Meanwhile Eren is in a pool of blood. Possibly inside the Titan’s stomach. He sees dead bodies floating everywhere. He cannot accept this reality and the fact Titans have robbed them of everything. So upset that he vows to kill them all. That’s when he emerges and breaks through from the Titan who devoured him as that rampaging ‘friendly’ Titan. When Eren wakes up from his daydream, he is shocked to see Armin and Mikasa by his side and the rest of the military pointing their blades at them. It’s like they’ve become a villain. They heard him mutter he’ll kill everyone. The squad captain, Jesus (I can’t remember his real name but because he looks like a crazy version of Jesus Christ…) wants to know Eren’s true identity because everyone saw him emerged from the Titan. He thinks he is another version of a Titan and will not risk more of their kind to breach beyond the walls. Mikasa defends Eren and warns them that her special ability is to cut flesh. Those who want to experience it personally, please feel free to approach her. Eren feels weak and he doesn’t have memories prior to what happened. He thought all that was a dream. When he answers back he is human, Jesus isn’t convinced and orders his men to fire. As Mikasa takes Eren away, he remembers about the key and basement his dad wanted to show him. He was told he must survive and recapture Wall Maria to go to that basement. In tears, Grisha injected some drug that would affect his memories. It is some power that should prove useful then and his memories will teach him how to use it. The path is tough and harsh but he must succeed and master this power if he wants to save his friends and everyone else. Eren bites his thumb. Though the cannon fire hits them, what everyone sees next leaves them in true shock. Eren has turned into a Titan to protect his friends!

Episode 10
The soldiers’ morale are low, the reason why Jean and the rest can’t let the word that Eren turned into a Titan spread. Then they hear the cannon shot and swing over to see what’s happening. But the thick smoke is blocking everything. Eren is able to get back to his conscious and break out from the Titan, though it’s bones are starting to crumble. He thinks the mystery in the basement will contain some useful information on Titans. If so, he is upset his dad kept it locked up instead of sharing with the rest. So many lives have been lost. There are 2 options now. One, he goes solo from now on and will leave this place and try to get to the basement. Armin feels he has been a useless coward and will die as one when Eren explains the second option. Armin must convince that Eren is not a threat, he will stay. Whatever his decision, Eren will respect. Why him? Because in dire situations, it is always Armin’s decision that brings them back alive like how he called for Hannes’ help 5 years ago. Otherwise they would have been Titan’s meat. The choice is obvious. Without hesitating, Armin drops all his arms as he goes to convince Jesus. He believes he was always convincing he was powerless and a burden. He can’t doubt himself now as the most trusted people are trusting him with their lives. Armin suggests having a Titan as an ally but Jesus is too scared and has abandoned all reasoning. He wants to eliminate the ‘threat’. Armin is willing to lay down his life for mankind’s revival but before Jesus can signal the order to shoot, Pixis stops him. He heard from a messenger what’s going on and wants to hear what they have to say. Survey Corps once predicted the Titans will attack from the south. Wall Maria of the southernmost district, Shiganshina was attacked. Based on this prediction, next will be the south wall of Trost. Pixis is the executive in charge of all southern territories and is given full authority to implement whatever defence tactics for it. Pixis hears them out on this Titan power thingy. But Armin too wasn’t sure. He said it out on both believe and an act of desperation. What he wanted to say was to suggest Eren trying to move the boulder to seal the broken wall where the Titans broke in. Hence Pixis asks Eren if he wants to seal the gate. Eren is frank that he is unsure about his powers so Pixis rephrases his question. Will he do it or not. Eren notices him overlooking his shoulder. Behind him is mankind’s civilization. I guess he got the hint. Whether can or not, he will do it.

Episode 11
Pixis is going to execute the plan now and assembles the soldiers. He reveals Eren’s ability to transform and the plan that in his Titan mode, he will lift the boulder and seal the hole. Because Titans are attracted to large groups of people, the soldiers are to lure them to a corner while Eren and a small group of elites tasked in protecting him get their mission done. However there are some who are still afraid. One in particular is making a fuss that he is going to quit this suicide mission and return to his family. Although the officer threatens to cut him down for treason, he doesn’t mind it and prefers to die this way then being devoured. This fear spreads to the other sections of the soldiers. They’re having doubts now. They begin to leave in droves when Pixis tells them those who want to leave can do so. He doesn’t blame them after coming face to face with a Titan. But if they want their loved ones to experience the same thing, go ahead. Instantly, everyone turns back. Pixis continues that the operation to reclaim Wall Maria 4 years ago was just a sham to reduce their population due to limited resources. The rest survived thanks to their sacrifices. Mankind including himself bears that sin. Nobody made a fuss since the population of Wall Maria is small but if Wall Rose falls and mankind is driven back to Wall Sina, not even half the remaining population can be supported. It is not Titans who will end mankind but themselves as they will kill each other over limited resources. Pixis assigns the best elites of the Garrison squad to protect Eren: Jan Dietrich (squad leader), Riko Brzenska and Mitabi Jarnach. But they question if this plan can succeed as they are relying on a vague factor called Eren the Titan. Pixis wonders if they love losing to Titans that much. He wants to win so badly even if this vague factor is their only chance. Eren is not amused that Mikasa continues to be a worrywart over him. Yeah. She wants to come along with him despite being assigned to the luring squad. However that changes when Jan wants Mikasa on his team. Happy? As Eren’s team head to position, Riko talks to him how everyone here is willing to die for him although if this mission succeeds, nobody will die. So she wants him to fulfil his duty with his life on the line too so as not to let those deaths be in vain because they too like everyone else aren’t just disposable pawns. They have families and feelings too. The operation begins and Eren changes into this Titan form. Instead of lifting the boulder, he suddenly attacks Mikasa!

Episode 12
Riko fires a flare to signal the plan has failed. Mikasa’s persuasion to Eren also fails. Because Mikasa was like a fly on his face, he punches himself and gets knocked out! Pixis sees the flare but he wants everyone to maintain their position. The mission continues. Although there have already been casualties, he has given the elites a task. They are the best of the best so conceding easily is not an option and must struggle till their last breath. Mikasa still clearly wants to protect Eren but Riko and Mitabi are against it and want to retreat. Jan as the leader is in a dilemma. Worse, bigger Titans are coming in. Jan decides that they stay back and protect Eren. For he is valuable and may hold the answer in defeating Titans. He is irreplaceable unlike them. As they know no other way to defeat Titans, the only way left is to become brave sacrifices to this questionable human weapon. Riko does not agree with him but will obey his command. They head off to cut off other Titans approaching. Mikasa thanks him but he doesn’t need it. It’s to protect her lover. Mikasa blushing? Mikasa then notices Eren not regenerating. Will it affect the real Eren? Speaking of him, he is inside still in a daze. He sees a vision of his family back in his comfortable home. As Mikasa cuts down Titans, she wonders why there are so many more streaming in. Could it be they are attracted to Eren? Armin has rushed all the way here and heard from Mikasa. Armin will try and get Eren out. He remembers how Eren emerged the last time and carefully aims his blade so as not to hit his vital part. He stabs through and the pain jolts Eren. He tries to convince Eren to wake up but why would he? It’s comfortable back here… But the question of why he wants to go outside makes him realize something. Meanwhile Jean’s team is supposed to handle stray Titans that aren’t at that corner. Jean’s 3DMD malfunctions so he is forced to run away from hungry Titans on foot and take shelter in a shop. He sees the 3DMD equipment of a dead comrade nearby. Can he reach it in time? Armin continues his ‘sweet talk’ about their goal of going outside. He asks why he wants to do that even if it means death. Eren in a fit of rage now awakens from his slumber. His response is because he was born in this world.

Episode 13
Jean tries to take the 3DMD but the Titan is closing. Marco, Connie and Annie jump back down to distract the Titans and from heart stopping action and manoeuvres to another they amazingly manage to climb back up to the safety of the wall. The ground is felt shaking. It is Eren the Titan. He is in control, picking up the boulder and making his way to seal the hole. Jan orders the rest to keep the other streaming Titans away from him. Their best bet is to stay low on the ground. They will put their lives on the line just to let Eren complete his mission. As Eren trudges on, he sees the deaths of many of the soldiers including Jan and Mitabi. He finally drops the boulder to block the hole. Riko fires the flare indicating success. Pixis orders a team to go rescue the elites. Armin is having a hard time pulling Eren out. His body is burning. A Titan is approaching. It wasn’t Mikasa who cut it down but Levi. As narrated, the Survey Corps and Garrison annihilated the remaining Titans crowding at the wall, though it took the entire day. Over 200 soldiers died and close to 900 were injured. As they have reclaimed Wall Maria, corpses are being identified and picked up to avoid epidemic. Jean is shocked to see Marco’s body. He cannot accept it is him but was told by the emotionally-numb nurse to do so or else disease will break out. There is no time to mourn. Jean with a heavy heart identifies him as Marco. Also all over town are giant spit balls believed to be from Titans containing devoured soldiers. As they have no digestive system, once they are ‘full’, they will be spit out. Eren wakes up in prison and chained. Erwin and Levi are here to interrogate him. Erwin has his key and knows about the basement. What he wants to know is Eren’s intention as it may be the key to mankind’s freedom. Eren’s answer is that he wants to join Survey Corps and slaughter every Titan. Levi likes the looks in his eyes and will take responsibility of him. Not because he trusts him, it’s so that he can cut him down when he goes berserk. Welcome to the Survey Corps, kid.

Episode 13.5
Recap episode! Although no new scenes, it is basically a recap of important scenes that involve Eren. So you can take out all those boring drama parts and see Eren in swinging and slashing Titan action. Okay, for most of it. From when the Colossal Titan first broke through the wall to his mom’s devouring to the second attack again (thank goodness they skipped the training arc) and the intense battle between everybody and himself as a Titan to seal the hole. And it’s like they prepared all this beforehand because the first scene of the first episode has young Eren waking up from such long dream and in tears. A premonition of things to come?

Episode 14
Different people have different ideas about Eren. Those living in the inner walls think Eren will turn into a Titan and attack them. The rest believes he is mankind’s saviour. Pixis and Erwin talk. It seems the Military Police Brigade wants custody of Eren and kill him as many among the soldiers still fear Eren’s power. Currently Eren is in the custody of supreme commander Dallis Zacklay, the big boss over all 3 of the army factions. A trial will be held to determine whether Eren lives or not and Zacklay is the judge, jury and executioner. Eren is brought to the trial and he sees lots of odd faces, new faces, fearful faces and familiar faces. Mikasa and Armin are also summoned as witnesses. With Zacklay entering the courtroom, he wastes no time in telling Eren what the trial is about: His continued existence and which faction will take custody of him. Military Police Brigade is represented by Nile Dok. He proposes to get rid of Eren once they have squeezed every information about him. So much about gratitude. Erwin representing Survey Corps proposes using his power to recapture Wall Maria. That is all. Of course those fearing Eren’s power quickly jump to conclusions he should be killed. Levi had to tell those bastards off that the Titans won’t just sit around for the wall to be resealed. He hints people are starving due to lack of land and you know what capturing Wall Maria means, right? Zacklay has read reports about him in Titan form attacking Mikasa. To Mikasa’s dismay, Riko didn’t lie in her report. How could she? Mikasa tells the truth but also how Eren saved her on 2 occasions.

Nile rejects her argument and adds that their investigations show they killed kidnappers when they were young. Although it is self defence, their basic human nature needs to be questioned. Can they be trusted? When everybody starts thinking Mikasa is also a monster, Eren blows his top. He tells off those f*ckers that they’re just cowards. What are they so scared off if they haven’t even seen a real Titan? So just shut the f*ck up and bet everything on him! Nile’s side get ready to shoot him but Levi beats up Eren till he loses a tooth! This is training? Mikasa is so mad… But she have to hold it in… Levi continues to beat him up till the opposition feels pity. Shouldn’t he stop now? Levi says Eren in this form is no match for him. But can you bastards kill him? Erwin adds although Eren’s power has lots of uncertainty, he wants Eren to entrusted to Levi and venture outside the wall. He will be judged based on results of the expedition. Zacklay wonders Levi can do the job. He is certain he can kill him. The problem is that there is no other alternative. Zacklay has made his decision. And so Eren gets to live and in the custody of Survey Corps. Erwin thanks Eren for holding out so long, otherwise they couldn’t have gotten that proposal through. Hange has collected his broken tooth as experiment sample. Glad Eren isn’t going to be dissected by the other side, eh? But now he has to put up with weirdoes of the Survey Corps. Like Mike Zacharias who loves sniffing people… Hange takes a peek into Eren’s mouth and finds that missing tooth has already grown.

Episode 15
Eren and the Survey Corps are making their way to the outskirts where an old abandoned castle will serve as their base of operations. Oluo Bossard thought he could be cocky giving Eren some ‘advice’ but when his horse trips on a stone, he accidentally bites his own finger!!! Comical! Eren notices the elite members under Levi’s squad, each with their own impressive record of Titan kills and assists. They include Oluo, Petra Rall, Erd Gin and Gunter Schultz. As they clean up the castle, Eren is being told his quarters will be the basement. In case if he turns into a Titan, they can better restrain him underground. During dinner, everyone talks about the new recruits that will be joining them. Some want to know about Eren’s power but he himself is surprised he somewhat knows what to do to be a Titan. When did he know something like this? When Hange comes in, this crazy woman hopes Eren can come with her tomorrow for a Titan experiment. A what? Everybody starts leaving when Hange starts explaining what it is. Oh no… It’s about those Titans they have captured and she’s using them as experiments. And so it begins… Her long story… There are a couple of Titans pinned down with pins and wires. Hange begins her once-upon-a-time story about some cannibal tribe, blah, blah, blah, which turns out to be some naming ceremony of hers. Yup. She names them Sonny and Bean!

She also narrates the various experiments done on them like cutting out sunlight to see their reaction since they are less active at night. The result differs. Sonny became less active after an hour while Bean lasted a full 3 hours. There are many more experiments she wanted to try but had to be careful so as not to kill them like how it happened to some. There were also experiments to test their pain reception! Hange was crying as she stabbed them! I think it hurt her more than it hurt the Titans! Eren wonders how she can stay so cheerful before mankind’s enemy. She entered Survey Corps to avenge her friends but one day she realized something. She kicked a decapitated Titan’s head and finds it very light. Even cut off parts are lighter than they seem. So when she heard Eren became a Titan out of thin air, she thinks the essence of what they see and think are completely different things. She wants to view Titans differently from her comrades. Eren realizes Survey Corps is a home for weirdoes but also people who want to change. He is interested to hear more of her stories. She couldn’t be happier. Yes, every one of them… And it lasted till morning… Oh those bags under Eren’s eyes… Regret? Don’t sleep yet, there’s more! Suddenly there is a report that Sonny and Bean have been killed! They rush to the scene and Hange goes crazy. Seems the attack was done before morning and witnesses saw a couple of guys in 3DMD fleeing. Erwin whispers to Eren and asks what does he see? Who is the enemy here?

Episode 16
Everyone has their 3DMD equipment checked. Although the culprit is never found. This has Connie remember when everyone learnt about Marco’s death. Jean seems distraught that if he had known this was coming, he would never have become a soldier. Even though he is scared, he told them he was going to enlist in the Survey Corps. He asks Annie for her opinion but she tells him to decide himself. She has already decided a long time ago. It was to save herself. The day all the trainees are they choose where they are to be enlisted, Jean tells his pals about his reason of joining Survey Corps. Well, sounds more like he-is-not-joining-because-of-this-because-of-that. Erwin makes his speech and gets straight to the point to recruit soldiers for Survey Corps. He lists down all the facts that would easily scare them off from the mortality and survival rate in Survey Corps and the basement in Eren’s house that holds the key to mankind’s victory. He wants them to ask themselves if they can offer their lives for mankind and those who do not want to enlist here can leave. Soon, droves of trainees start streaming out. Jean and the rest are having doubts to stay. This is their chance to escape. But why aren’t they moving? In the end, with the exception of Annie, everyone stays back. I hope they won’t regret their decision. I just thought they were too scared to move so they got stuck. Haha… Eren finally meets up with his friends (though Mikasa has a bone to pick with Levi for going too far with Eren). He is surprised everyone has joined Survey Corps. Even more surprising, Jean is here. He learns the shocking truth of Marco’s death. Nobody knew how he died. As everyone gears up for the next expedition, Jean asks Eren about him attacking Mikasa in his Titan form. He doesn’t deny it. Mikasa wonders why he is driving Eren to a corner. Jean replies that everyone else isn’t ready to die blindly for Eren like her. They need to know what they’re risking their lives for otherwise they’ll waver at the moment of truth. They expect something out of Eren and whether it is worth their lives. That’s why Jean is seriously counting on him. Soon, Erwin leads the next expedition to Shiganshina.

Episode 17
As the expedition gets on the way, Survey Corps maintain their long distance scouting formation created by Erwin. Some support units act as diversion for Titans as the big group makes its way out of the wall and into Titans’ territory. We learn the different smokes fired by the formation when encounter a Titan (red smoke) and formation of a new course (green) to avoid facing off with Titans so they can advance to their destination. Of course Abnormals can cause such formation to break as we see in Sasha’s case. She’s a damn lucky girl to have escaped one by the skin of her teeth! Or its teeth rather. Squad leader, Ness and Sys protect Armin from an Abnormal. They thought they have to quickly deal with another one but this Female Titan surprises them. It is running at full speed heading their way and when it is aware they are going to cut her nape, she smashes them away! Armin flees for his life. He notes this Titan has intelligence. It cannot be an Abnormal. It must be someone like Eren who can control a Titan. Armin is smacked off his horse and he thinks he is going to die. But Female Titan takes off his hood, stares at him and continues her running. Jean and Reiner rendezvous with Armin as they chase the Female Titan. They relay to him that the right flank has been entirely wiped out. This Female Titan was the one that brought hordes of fast Titans with it. Seems she came from the direction they came from and Armin wonders if she was leading the Titans here and for what purpose.

Armin explains his analysis about the Female Titan who is no ordinary Titan like how she flung and crushed Sys when he wanted to cut her nape. Also, she didn’t come to consume humans but came for the sake of killing. When the Colossal Titan destroyed the wall, she must be the one who brought the hordes of Titans and their goal has always been to attack mankind. Armin thinks Female Titan is looking for somebody and it’s Eren. Jean plans to get her attention so that the formation can withdraw so Armin suggests to put their hood on because she won’t mindlessly kill them until she knows who they are. When Jean is about to cut her heel to slow her down, it’s like she knows when he is about to move and slaps Armin off his horse. Jean closes in trying to cut her nape to save Armin. However she covers her neck back! Jean is forced to swing around avoiding her punch but knows the next blow will be fatal. He is only seconds from death when Armin yells out to avenge that reckless idiot. This causes the Female Titan to completely stop. Armin continues about his death in the right flank. Reiner thought he could finish her off in this distraction but she grabs him! Jean fears he has been crushed to death but Reiner breaks free from her grasp. There are other exceptionally capable soldiers other than Mikasa, you know. Reiner grabs Armin and calls for a retreat since they have bought enough time. Female Titan continues her running but Armin realizes that she is running towards the centre rear, the safest spot in the formation where Eren might be.

Episode 18
Reiner tends to Armin’s little injury as they take a rest. But Jean is very worried. They have only 1 horse and the thought that somebody must be left behind is weighing on his shoulders. Armin volunteers to stay behind but in exchange he wants a message to be relayed only to Erwin. Thankfully nobody will be left behind since Krista saw their smoke and came with a couple of extra horses. As they continue their journey, they see green smoke and this means the operation is continuing as normal. They are appalled that a retreat order wasn’t issued and wonder what Erwin is thinking. Soon Eren’s side receives word that the right flank has been annihilated. Eren is worried because he thinks Armin is there. A black smoke is fired (signalling an Abnormal) nearby. It is the Female Titan and she is massacring all the soldiers who try to cut her down. Squashed by her foot, smashed like a fly, tossed like a rodeo rope and even kicked away like a football! There’s no stopping her! The formation now enters the Forest of Giant Trees and the soldiers aren’t too happy of entering this place which was once a tourist hotspot. Because there is no room to see if a Titan is approaching. Erwin orders the centre line and supplies are the only ones allowed to enter the orders. This means the rest have to go around it. However a squad leader orders everyone to be on standby on the trees and take out any Titan that approaches it. So the soldiers are just standing there, doing nothing and wondering what the heck is going on because hell they didn’t even get an explanation about this. But it seems they don’t need to fight Titans as they’re high above the ground and the Titans without any climbing abilities are just ‘stuck’ at the bottom. Eren questions Levi about the tactic to run into the forest. He hints about the best place of using their 3DMD. Eren admires these experienced Titan slayers but when he looks at the faces of his other comrades, they have this freaking scared look! Does it mean they don’t know what is going on? More importantly, does Levi know what is going on too? Then a black smoke is fired right behind them. Levi orders to unsheathe their blades and when this Titan appears, it will be over in a second. But when the Female Titan appears, the backup squad quickly gets terminated. Her swiftness stuns everybody as she closes in on Eren’s group. The comrades are panicking and scream to Levi for orders to switch to 3DMD but he remains silent. Finally he speaks. Everyone, cover your ears.

Episode 19
Levi fires a sound blast that does little to slow down the Female Titan. He reminds everyone about their mission and getting overwhelmed by emotions isn’t it. Their job is to guard Eren even if it costs them their lives. Eren is distraught seeing more backup reinforcements getting massacred. He wants to prevent more deaths but the rest tell him to move forward and obey Levi’s orders. Eren wants to turn into a Titan and surprisingly Levi tells him to do what he wants. He calls him a monster not because of his Titan abilities because holding him down into submission is impossible. So he has to decide to believe in himself of the Survey Corps. Even when Levi believes in himself and the outcome comes out a mystery, that’s why he wants Eren to do what he believes is the best and leave no regrets. Petra reminds Eren to believe in them. Flashback to before the expedition when Levi has found a way to not kill him in Titan form although it will severely injure him (cutting him out him from the nape). Hange has Eren enter a well for an experiment. She wants to see if Eren will be trapped when he transforms into a Titan. As they wait, nothing happens. Then they go check it out. Eren has bitten himself many times but didn’t transform and his wound doesn’t heal. So Levi orders him to do something about it or sealing Wall Maria is nothing but a dream. The other comrades seem to be relaxed and don’t want Eren to worry too much about it. But when Eren accidentally drops his spoon and decides to pick it, he suddenly transforms into a partial Titan! His comrades are ready to slice him for transforming without orders but Levi orders them to back down. Emotions are running high as they want Eren to prove he is not a hostile. Hange is ecstatic of seeing a partial Titan but when Eren pulls his hand out, it disintegrates. There goes her hope.

Back in the bunkers, Levi tells him that based on popular survey, his comrades don’t consider him as one of them till he completes a mission, thus it’s reasonable that they had little faith in him. Therefore quick action and extraordinary determination are emphasized. Hange points out to the spoon Eren’s Titan’s hand was holding. For some reason, it was not deformed from heat or pressure. It could be the reason why he couldn’t transform before. Because when he did, he had a clear goal in his mind before transforming. It is unlikely self injury will trigger it on its own. The rest realize he didn’t act against orders on purpose. So they all bite their own hand as form of apology. Petra explains they want to rely on him but also on themselves. That’s why she wants him to trust in them. And so, Eren decides to believe in them and move forward. But the Female Titan is picking up speed. When they pass a certain point, Erwin orders to fire and all the spears simultaneously strike into the Female Titan, immobilizing her in an instant. Though, she is still alive. Levi is going to act separately for a while and has Erd lead the squad to hide Eren at a good distance from that Titan. Levi meets up with Erwin and reports all that happened, including the backup reinforcements that gave their lives to buy them time to reach here. Now they’re going to find out who is behind this Titan.

Episode 20
Outside the forest, some Titans show learning ability as they’re trying to climb the trees albeit with not much success. We hear the similar conversation among Eren’s group as well as Jean with Armin about Erwin. Because if his trusted aides weren’t even told about this operation to capture the Female Titan alive, it could only mean one thing. There might be a spy among them. Only those survivors from 5 years ago were informed of it. Assuming the enemy slipped inside when the wall was broken for the first time, he might be narrowing down the suspects. Perhaps the same person who killed Sonny and Bean. Eren now understands what Erwin meant when he asked who the enemy is. Also, Erwin is entrusted the commander of Survey Corps because he is able to abandon everything including humanity. That’s why many died in this operation. Because those who are unable to abandon everything cannot change anything. Levi and Mike continue to try and cut the Female Titan’s hands but each time she armours part of her body. Though with each attack, the armour weakens. Erwin knows he has no time to experiment this and wants explosives set to sever the wrists. Levi is provoking the Female Titan that she enjoyed killing his subordinates. Now he is enjoying this moment subduing her. He wonders if he should sever her real hands and feet because it will be a pain to kill her.

Suddenly the Female Titan starts to fear. She screams a loud deafening voice enough to shake the entire forest. Even more shocking, all the Titans turn into Abnormals and start rushing to where the Female Titan is. All soldiers waiting outside are ordered to engage to prevent them from getting in but there’s just too many. They even ignore the humans and go straight to attack her. Erwin orders everyone to defend her but seeing the overwhelming numbers devouring her, he orders their withdrawal and retreat to base. He realizes they’ve been had and this proves the enemy was prepared to abandon everything and devoured themselves to avoid leak of information. Erwin also orders Levi to resupply his 3DMD even though his current supply is more than enough to get back. The smoke signal to retreat is fired. Everyone prepares to withdraw. Eren’s group sees a green smoke signal and thinks it is from Levi telling them to regroup with him. Hange wonders why Erwin ordered Levi’s resupply. He explains when the Female Titan was devoured, he didn’t see anybody inside. If the enemy is a type that can move to the extent even after transforming, furthermore assuming they even have a 3DMD and wearing the same uniform as them, the one controlling the Female Titan could have slipped through their ranks. Gunter thinks he has spot Levi but he realizes this hooded person isn’t him. He is attacked, slashed and killed!

Episode 21
Erwin thinks the person inside the Female Titan had prepared 3DMD for escape but from Hange’s observation when Eren emerged from his Titan, his uniform was burnt and he barely had enough energy to stand. Erwin notes if the Female Titan had the ability to call other Titans, then Eren is an amateur if powers as Titans are commensurate with one’s skill. Armin continues to talk to Jean as they withdraw. He thinks Erwin knew the Female Titan was targeting Eren based on the Titans suddenly stopped attacking during the last incident. When The Colossal Titan broke through Trost, the Titans stopped attacking. The same when Eren transformed into a Titan and sealed the hole. Was there something more important than destroying the walls? It could mean that there was somehow who saw Eren’s transformation and could be the one controlling the Female Titan. Though Eren is distraught with Gunter’s death, the rest tell him to keep moving. The enemy is in sight again and as Erwin fears if the enemy had conserved enough energy, he can transform into another Titan again. And true enough, it happens. Erd, Oluo and Petra want Eren to head back to HQ and believe in them to stop the Titan. Eren watches as the trio trick to slash and blind her. In the span of 1 minute, they are going to kill it but she covers her nape and leans back against a tree. They cut her shoulder muscles to weaken her arm muscles. Once they are going in for the kill, suddenly she has an eye regenerated. She sees Erd coming in and bites him into half! Petra couldn’t believe that it isn’t even 30 seconds and is it possible to prioritize to heal a part? Petra gets stomped. Oluo cut have cut off her nape but she armoured it. He got kung-fu kicked.

With all his comrades down, Eren becomes so mad that he now transforms into a Titan to kill her. Eren’s Titan screams resonate throughout the forest and everyone recognize this Titan shriek. Mikasa heads back into the woods. Clash of the Titans if I should say. Eren beats up the Female Titan who is no pushover either. Whenever he strikes, she dodges. When she has a chance to fight back, she punches and kicks. Eren still feels guilty only if he had believed in himself and acted faster, many would never have died. There was no need to even capture her. Probably the punches are tiring out Eren. The Female Titan wanted to use this change to escape but turns back and throws a powerful punch that severs his head! Then she devours Eren. Right before Mikasa’s eyes. Now she is a mad girl as she tries to cut this giant b*tch down. She’ll follow her to hell if it what it takes to bring Eren back. Despite continue to cut her here and there, the Female Titan armours her important parts. Mikasa is taken away by Levi. He saw the bodies of his comrades and thinks Eren is dead after being bitten out from the neck. But Mikasa believes he is still alive. They maintain their distance following the Female Titan. Levi notices she is tiring out as her pace is getting slower.

Episode 22
The plan is to get Eren out assuming he is alive. Mikasa will distract it before he goes in to cut her vital parts. The Female Titan knows Levi is coming and turns around to punch but Levi saw it coming and does some fast cutting manoeuvre to take her by surprise and blind her. Her muscles weakened, Mikasa thought she can cut her nape but Levi recognizes this pattern and saves Mikasa before she gets slammed by her hand. After Levi cuts her muscle jaws, Eren is seen covered with slime in her mouth. They rescue him and quickly evacuate. Levi sees tears streaming down the Female Titan’s eyes. The Survey Corps are outside the forest and have done a herculean job to recover dead bodies of their comrades or part of them. Those who cannot be found will be listed as MIA as ordered by Erwin. But one of the soldiers, Dieter is not pleased. Because his friend, Ivan’s body is not retrieved and wants to head back to get it. Levi says confirming his death should already be sufficient and it doesn’t matter if there is a body or not. His death is final. This causes Dieter to accuse them for not having a shred of human emotions. When Survey Corps continue their return to the wall, a couple of Abnormals are seen. Seems Dieter defied orders and went back to get Ivan’s body. Eventually he had to drop the body. The dead body or you life. One of his buddies got eaten and it took Mikasa to save him before he gets devoured. Meanwhile the other Abnormal is gaining and there is no choice but to dump some corpses to outrun them. After a safe distance, Dieter regrets his decision but Levi gives him Ivan’s badge. He breaks down. When Eren wakes up, Mikasa is by his side. She tells him the mission has failed and the Female Titan got away. He isn’t pleased that she saved him again. Once they return behind the walls, if their defeat wasn’t bad enough, they had to hear hurtful comments from others that this expedition is another failure and wasted tax money. Eren is seething with anger but when he sees a couple of kids admiring them of how brave and strong they are, they remind him of how used to be, admiring from a distance. Survey Corps is in gloomy mood. Petra’s father keeps talking to Levi about her daughter’s bright future while many others hound Erwin for answers about the sacrifices. Was it worth it? They didn’t say anything and trudge on. After this humiliating defeat, Erwin and those responsible are summoned to the capital and Eren gets a new supervisor.

Episode 23
Annie gets in line along with the new recruits of the Military Police Brigade. Their job will be escorting several Survey Corps passing through the streets to the capital. One of the recruits, Marlo wonders about taking precaution of petty criminals but the superior shoves the responsibility to him. He’s busy, you know. Busy drinking and playing poker with his buddies. With the recruits bumming out, Marlo mentions about his goal to change the Military Police Brigade and his brand of justice. Of course this is laughed off by his fellow colleagues. But Annie surprises everyone by talking (she normally doesn’t). She views if there were more ‘good’ people like him, that would hardly be the end of them. She knows there was this idiot brave enough to go against the system and respected him. Marlo knows who she is talking about and doesn’t want her to categorize him as the same. As they patrol, they see several corrupted seniors misappropriating government equipment by selling them to the black market. He goes to tell them off but they give him some money to shut him up. Marlo refuses to do that and gets beaten up. Annie stops the fight and hopes he will leave it there because their commotion has caused quite an attention. Marlo thinks of taking the gun and shoot so Annie wonders if he can do it. She doesn’t mind helping him out. Marlo bitterly remains a ‘good boy’.

Once the Survey Corps’ carriage passes through the gate, Annie is called by Armin in the alley. Surprised? He hopes she can help to assist Eren in escaping. This in turn he hopes will overturn the commission inquiry’s decision. Annie denies to at first but after Armin begs that a Military Police Brigade is crucial to pass the Wall Sina inspection and something about being good guy or bad guy, Annie agrees. She leads Eren, Mikasa and Armin through the streets. Seems Eren swapped places with Jean. Yeah, they don’t look alike except for that evil glint in their eyes. Annie wonders why they’re going through all this trouble so Armin explains that it is better to feign obedience than openly defy to decrease suspicion. As they are about to enter the underground ruins, Annie seems ‘afraid’ and won’t follow. If they’re not moving above ground, they’re on their own. She also notices that this section of town has been void of people for a while. Armin asks why does she have Marco’s 3DMD (he recognized the scratches and all). She somehow picked it up. Armin seems to be hinting that Annie is the one who killed Sonny and Bean and that she is the Female Titan!!! The guys are getting desperate wanting Annie to come with them but Mikasa can’t hear anymore of this and will cut that Female Titan down. Annie laughs like a maniac and is glad Armin’s gamble paid off. Now she wants to see if hers does. Before she can bite her finger, he fires his gun to signal all the guys hiding in the corners to jump in and restrain Annie. However she has a ring with a spike on her finger and uses it to cut herself.

Episode 24
A few days before when Erwin and the rest of the Survey Corps meet, they are planning an operation that they will put all their bets on because they have a suspect of who the Female Titan is. As they pass through Stohess district, Eren will lure the suspect into the tunnel to restrict movement. Eren could not believe when Annie is named as the suspect. So the trio are now running underground and Annie is stomping the ground above to bury them. Eren bites his hand but doesn’t transform. Mikasa thinks he is not resolved to fight Annie. Don’t tell me he is still thinking they were mistaken that Annie is the Female Titan. Eren remembers how Armin deduced it was her. She reacted to Eren’s nickname that only their group would know. She was the one who probably killed Sonny and Bean as she is highly skilled with her 3DMD. Although she passed the inspection test, it was because she was using Marco’s equipment. The big hint: Doesn’t the Female Titan look a lot like Annie? Still can’t believe, Eren boy? What’s more, when Eren was fighting her in his Titan form, she was using a unique martial art stance. So… Shouldn’t Eren be fighting? Or is there some sort of emotions hindering him? Mikasa’s staring eyes are scary! Armin has a plan. He and Mikasa will simultaneously exit one end of the tunnel. Whoever Annie chooses to be distracted with, Eren will escape with the other. Yeah, one of them may die but it’s better than all of them dying. So you have any other bright ideas, Eren? Annie goes with Mikasa and she toys around with her. However Eren is still reeling from everything and almost gets stomped. Though, the building debris is crushing him. Armin tries to pull him out.

As the explosion is heard, Erwin initiates his men to go into operation. Jean gets out of his disguise and makes his way to Eren. Along the way, he sees the citizens panicking while the Military Police Brigade just standing there watching in shock. Is this what he would become had he joined them? Erwin loads his gear but Nile and his men arrest him for treason. When Jean reaches Eren, he learns that he cannot transform due to the fact that Annie as the Titan is hindering him. Jean gets upset and lashes out about him being entrusted mankind’s future. But they can’t stay here and lecture half dead Eren and need to go settle Annie. Armin lets Eren know one last thing he told Jean. Something about tossing aside humanity in which Annie was capable of. Those who can do so is victorious. Armin and Jean go lead and distract Annie. They lead her to where Hange and her men are hiding. Once Annie crosses them, the same spear traps are fired to pin her down. It works like a charm but Hange had to go say something that scares the sh*t out of Annie as she uses her strength to break free and runs like the wind. Eren thinks back at all the deaths he has seen and the vow to exterminate all the Titans. There’s no time to think about ideals because this world is a cruel place after all. In his rage, he finally transforms into a Titan and runs up to Annie to payback the favour. Eren Punch! Go, Eren Go! Woot!!! Man, he is one mad Titan!

Episode 25
Stohess becomes a giant playground for the Titans playing tag. Yeah, better get out of the way if you don’t want to be stomped of the debris smashing onto you. Eren continues to fight Annie and he is so mad this time that whatever punches and kicks she throws at him, he just gets back up and returns the favour. Nile is ready to execute Erwin at where he stands but Erwin doesn’t mind. As long as Nile takes over the operation of not letting the Female Titan escape, he is willing to die. Not willing to take responsibility, eh? Erwin is taken into custody and Nile will let the law pass judgment on him. Annie pounds Eren hard but even her armoured skin isn’t enough to put him down. She remembers something between her and her dad. When Annie realizes she cannot win against this rampaging Eren, she is going to climb the wall. If she does, the operation to capture her will fail. Mikasa swiftly cuts her fingers to send her falling. Her head is torn off and Eren seems like as though he is going to tear the real Annie apart too. Annie remembers her dad telling her even if the entire world turns against her, even if everyone hates her, he wants to know he will always be by her side and promise that she will come back. Eren although rips out the Female Titan’s neck flash, he stops short of killing Annie after seeing her tears. Then it’s like he is trying to fuse themselves so Levi cuts Eren out to stop him from killing their important witness. However Annie has been crystallized in a hard crystal and in a coma state, she is practically useless. They can’t draw any information out from her this way. The costly operation may have failed. Erwin is being questioned by the higher ups and he didn’t waste any time to spill the truth. Even if this operation may be all for nothing. He believes he has grasped a great potential to save mankind. Compared to the time they couldn’t fathom humans transforming into Titans, they have come a long way in restraining their enemies. This time it is their turn to attack the Titans and bring all the enemies down to their knees, all the Titans within the wall. Eren is recuperating with Mikasa by his side. Annie may have given them the slip but it’s partly thanks to Eren who ‘aided’ her in that. When he saw the real her, he froze. All Mikasa cares is that she is glad he is back. In the aftermath, the Survey Corps and Eren’s summon to the capital is put on hold, Annie is given to the Survey Corps and is held deep underground. Lastly, a wall cracks and we see a Titan’s face lying beneath it.

OVA 1
Taking place while Eren and co are still in training, this chronicles the Survey Corps during their 49th expedition. Hange’s suggestion to capture a Titan alive is shot down by Erwin simply because they have no manpower to spare. When a Titan is sighted, Hange disobeys orders and goes off herself. She runs into a Titan in the forest and the Titan seems dumb enough to chase her and crash into trees. But halfway, the Titan gives up and runs back. Hange follows it to a tree where it bangs its heads on a giant tree. Hange approaches it but was it a feign by the Titan just to get her? Hange isn’t so stupid to be Titan chow and avoids in time. Much to her dismay, Levi kills it or it would have devoured Oluo. Petra is terrified to see a decapitated soldier inside the tree hole. Based on the emblem, Ilse Langnar is from the 34th expedition and died a year ago. A little notebook of his is seen on the ground. It chronicles Ilse’s journey during his return. He lost all his comrades and even his horse when they ran into Titans. His 3DMD malfunctioned and he had no choice but to run on foot. Chances of him reaching the wall are slim but he vows to carry on and keeps writing all that he experiences. Wow. He can write and run together. Then one night, he runs into a Titan. He is backed into a tree and shivering in fear in his last moments of death. But oddly the Titan didn’t straightaway devour him and stared at him. And then it spoke! It said something about Ymir, Ymir’s people and welcoming her back. It even bowed to her in respect! Ilse tries to ask questions but it remained silent. Then he snaps about devouring humanity. The Titan goes crazy as it rips its own face flesh. Ilse panics and runs but the Titan goes after him and grabs him. It bites his head off. That’s the end. It’s amazing that he is still writing describing this even when his head is being crushed!!! The note ends there and Hange assumes the Titan stored Ilse’s body back into the tree to worship it or something. Hange then writes a letter to Erwin about her goal to capture a Titan alive. It shows how little they know about them and have a responsibility to use all the information they get even from Ilse’s little notes. Hange returns Ilse’s stuffs to her parents. A few days later and with Levi’s support, Erwin approves of Hange’s suggestion and they captured their first Titan alive using Hange’s method. Not a single soldier’s life was lost.

OVA 2
This episode is about Jean. And he is full of angst. He isn’t particularly fond of his loving mother, though. Taking place after they have completed 2 years of training and returning back to the city, during one of the mock Titan battles, Jean leads his team but everyone cuts in on him to slay a Titan each. This causes Jean to be pissed especially with Sasha. He wants them to settle in a battle to see who can take out the most Titans but Pixis heard everything and has a better idea. They will battle it out in a cooking showdown. Jean is shocked but meat lover Sasha is rejoicing it. Because of his pride, Jean is forced to accept it. Jean and his little team of Armin and Annie go out hunting for ingredients. Same case with Sasha along with Connie and Gunter. Though they get lost, it is Sasha’s team who finds the colossal boar first. Soon both sides engage in combat to get the boar but Sasha wins the right to it when she fires an arrow into its head. That evening, Jean’s mom comes looking for him as she is worried he didn’t come home. Jean is probably embarrassed by his mom so he scolds her and tells her to get the f*ck off. I can’t believe he chased her away after she was so nice to bring apples and pleaded to everyone to be his friend. Jean is desperate and plans to steal meat in the officer’s pantry. Armin panics and he ends up hurting himself. He is out. Annie doesn’t want a hand in this too so Jean is alone. While he is at it, an officer finds him but is to give him a meal his mom left for him. It is an omelette dish that he loves. Memories of them flood through his mind. Nostalgia. He gets fired up to cook. Sasha is crazily fired up cooking. And Mikasa is fired up training. Check out her abs! That night, Sasha goes first in the showdown. Her meat is so delicious that an earthquake occurs! Heck, I thought a Titan was attacking!!! Hell, it is Pixis’ super exaggerated reaction to how freaking awesome this meat is that he becomes a rampaging Titan! Now it’s Jean’s turn. A simple omelette? Pixis finish his dish without any reaction whatsoever. Sasha is confident she has won when Pixis declares Jean the winner! How could this be? He asks her what meat is. Meat is meat. Exactly. Nothing more, nothing less. Sasha breaks down believing those words. She forgot to put carrots and potatoes? Woah… She’s getting emotional… Enlightened? But Jean is humble in victory and extends his hand to her. New friendship? And this cooking contest was probably Pixis’ intention to get a decent free meal… Anyway Jean has his mother to thank and thinks of visiting her tomorrow.

OVA 3
Taking place sometime during the Training Corps, to say this is Marco’s big episode is a little misleading. We all know that guy died and this had to be some sort of tribute to him for some screen time, right? Well, not really. Our trainees are split into 2 groups for an exercise that has them ride into the woods and record everything and anything. Yes, this includes the behaviours of the teammates and evaluating their ability to sustain themselves in the absence of a crisis. The first group has Marco as the leader while Armin as the record keeper. Eren, Jean, Connie, Sasha and Krista are part of this group. Everybody else is in the second group whereby Thomas is the leader and Mikasa the record keeper. Because Sasha says she can cook and Jean spots a lizard, he tries to go catch it for their food but somehow Eren had the same idea too. Their swords clash and the lizard got away. And then you get Sasha screaming how delicious it would be. I wonder how Armin is going to record this. Meanwhile at the other group, they realize somebody stole their 3DMD. Deducing their tracks and all, there could be several bandits who have stolen them during the night. Their priority now is to speed up the exercise, tell Marco’s team and return to base.

That night as Marco’s team eat the tasteless rations, Jean and Eren get into another useless argument. Krista thought she saw somebody moving in the woods. When everyone is asleep, Krista couldn’t and is alone by the pond. The bushes rustle. Before she knew it, somebody jumped on her. Eren and co get a rude awakening when the bandits point their guns at them. They want them to hand over their 3DMD because it will fetch a high price in the black market. They don’t believe the trainees will survive Titan attacks anyway and better off selling those ‘useless’ equipment. Eren won’t take this sh*t so he fights back. He tells everyone to do the same but since they are in disarray, one of the bandits fires and the bullet grazes Jean’s cheek. Back to square one. Though the bandits let them live, all their equipment are taken and are warned not to come after them or they will really kill them. Krista is taken along as well. Everyone especially Marco doesn’t know what the next step is. Do they report back to base? But will they make it in time? Eren won’t accept this and will save Krista. Jean won’t either. Everyone feels the same. But their horses have been released, how are they going to find where the bandits are? Sasha shows her brilliance by suggesting climbing to a higher place. They spot the bandits’ resting spot and need to cut them off before they reach some wide exit. Although without horses, they still can get ahead of them by leaving the forest. Everyone wait at their designated position. To tell which carriage is carrying Krista or their equipment, Marco waits for the rattling sound their equipment made when the carriage hits the bump. Once he identifies it is the second carriage, Eren and Jean jump into it and throw out the baddies. The bandit in the first carriage starts shooting but since Krista was freed during the commotion, she distracts him. Although the second carriage crashes, the gang retake their 3DMD. Armin gets an idea and shoots the flare. Eren and Jean go after the first carriage and cut the horse loose till the carriage crashes.

The bandits hold Krista to hostage and tell the kids to throw their weapons. Krista could hear the bandit murmuring about his fate. He laments he should have taught her daughter something about taking risks. The gang is about to drop their gears when suddenly Mikasa and Annie drop in to slice the weapons off the bandits’ hand. If not for Krista’s quick plea not to kill them, Mikasa could have slit their throat. In the aftermath, the bandits were arrested. Although the exercise is suspended, Armin is still required to submit his records of the incident in all honesty without pretence. He asks Keith if they should have turned back when their gear was stolen or continued pursuing the bandits. Keith doesn’t think there is a need to answer that because it doesn’t matter what you are, everyone responses to crisis differently. He asks back, between those options which would he considered as important. Armin couldn’t answer. He even thought that meeting the bandits during the process was imposed as part of the exercise. Marco talks to Eren that he wasn’t fit to be a leader. He thinks Jean would make a better one. Eren isn’t confident about that. Marco wonders what kind of soldiers everyone will be in the future.

Specials

Was it too shocking for you? Is something scaring you? After all that tension, it’s time to loosen up with 10 minute specials of the DVD: Shingeki No Kyojin: Chimi Kyara Gekijou – Tondeke! Kunren Heidan. With everyone in their chibi form, expect funny gags from the gang to bring in the smiles after heartbreaking frustrations against Titans in 9 short specials. Oh, somebody will always get devoured by a Titan in the end… And they do a South Park by coming back in the next episode unscathed…

Special 1
Eren is late for his class and tries to sneak in through a hole but gets stuck. Mikasa and Armin wonder why he is late and Armin thought Mikasa would have woke him up since she shared a ‘deep relationship’ with him. Deep relationship as in being family. Disappointed? Once Eren arrives, he blames Mikasa for not waking him up so she replies weird rumours will spread if she enters the boys’ dorm. Eren dismisses that they are dating and this breaks Mikasa’s heart. A Titan appears and swallows them! Next day, Armin passes out during Keith’s speech. Because it was long and boring so he fell asleep! But Mikasa is more concerned about Eren if he could remain standing in that speech. Eren wants to go back but Mikasa won’t let him go back to that hell and punches him out! He wakes up and starts crying after knowing Mikasa did that. Then the Titan swallows them! Armin is too lazy to come up with a plan to escape in such notice while Mikasa is happy as long as she gets to be with Eren.

Special 2
It’s the first day of training. Keith is ‘interrogating’ the newbies. Eren is thinking hard what he wants to say. Very hard indeed. As Keith questions Mikasa, Jean is smitten with her. Then when Keith goes up to him, he had to say he loves girls with long straight black hair. WTF. Head butt! When it’s Eren’s turn, he is really looking forward to it but Keith passes him! So much for the build up. Jean mocks him and they get into an argument. This has Keith reprimand them that they should be food for Titans. Speaking of which, here comes one and devours them! The blame game continues… Next day, Jean sees Mikasa cut her hair. Was it what he said? He thinks of pairing with her for cleaning duty but apparently she paired up with Eren and Armin. Since all other groups are fully taken, Jean is the odd one out. He tries to act cool and leaves but since nobody gives a damn, his heart breaks and shows his uncool side. During dinner, since Eren had trouble with his 3DMD training, Jean offers to show him. Impressive jump. But it has nothing to do with 3DMD. The rest aren’t impressed and his heart breaks when Mikasa also shares this same view. If that is the case, might as well be eaten by a Titan! You don’t say… Here comes one now!!! Into the tummy they go again…

Special 3
When Reiner lost his lunch money goes missing, Sasha becomes the first suspect. Obviously. But do they have proof? Howzabout that bread you’re holding and eating right now? Armin becomes a detective but eventually pinpoints Sasha since she was the one who stole meat from the officer’s room. This has Keith reprimand her. Just when they found Reiner’s lunch money in the dustbin (Armin threw it away thinking it was rubbish), the Titan devours them. Next day, Armin finds a porn magazine and reads it with the guys. They know they’ll get in trouble if Keith finds out. True enough he does and ‘confiscates’ it. Because Eren is the last to deny, Keith thinks he is the owner of this book and will reprimand him. After he is gone, Armin revs up the guys with his speech to convince them to retrieve the book. They manage to distract and knock Keith out. Then they argue about reading the book when the Titan swallows them. Still got time to argue in the stomach? Yeah, porn is important. Next day, right from the start Armin gets devoured. Eren wants to save him but Mikasa seems reluctant and giving lots of excuses. So she has him ask Keith the Titan’s weakness but he is in trouble of going through the entire lesson about Titan habits! Then he is made to complete his cleaning duty (which takes like forever) followed by food since they can’t fight on an empty stomach. Just when Eren had his fill, Mikasa stuffs him with more and has him prepare for bed. Next morning, looks like Armin has been forgotten. They only realize it when the Titan swallows them. Since they needed time to ‘prepare’ to get ready (Mikasa’s answer), Armin has been enjoying the hot bath in the Titan’s stomach.

Special 4
Eren is late for class so when he barges in, he didn’t realize the girls were changing clothes and got kicked out. Mikasa thinks Eren wanted to look at her body so badly… Armin pesters Eren to tell the guys what he saw and not keep the memories to himself. Sobakasu decides to take advantage of the situation, accusing Eren of making Krista cry (in which she didn’t). The shock makes them unable to do cleaning duties. Get what she’s saying? Mikasa stands up for Eren and that he wants to see her body. Eren disagrees. Mikasa disappointed. Titan swallows only Eren. Next day, the canteen is serving pudding and unluckily for Eren he is not around. This means an extra pudding so Sobakasu decides to take it for Krista. Mikasa vows to protect this pudding that she believes rightfully belongs to Eren. Sobakasu suggests deciding via rock-scissors-paper. Armin teaches Mikasa a trick. She announces out loud she will put rock. Only dummies like Sasha and Connie put scissors. Sobakasu won’t be fooled and puts scissors. In the end, Sobakasu wins. Mikasa is going to resort to take by force so Krista doesn’t want them fighting. She thanks Sobakasu for her feelings and gives the pudding to Mikasa. But that is not to be because the Titan devours them. Maybe the Titan wants some pudding too? Next day, Krista and Sobakasu want to go shopping in town but Krista think of asking more people to come. Of course Sobakasu dislikes the idea and argues why that person isn’t suitable. Jean? He is a Mikasa stalker for Christ’s sake. Reiner? He always looks at Krista with dirty eyes. Besides, he is closer with Bertolt. Sasha? That glutton? No way. Armin? That weakling can’t even rescue them from burglars. So it has got to be Eren, right? Definitely no. Mikasa the stalker… Besides, those guys always attract Titans. And so that is how they decide not to call anyone and go alone together. Just as they’re about to leave, they see Eren and co outside. Nice timing. Here comes the Titan to eat them all up. There goes the date Sobakasu wanted so much…

Special 5
Eren wakes up in the middle of the night screaming he’ll kill those Titans again. Armin thinks he should stop talking about this since he hasn’t even defeated Mikasa once. He suggests asking Reiner for advice. So Eren sits next to him and tries to copy his every move. Who can eat the fastest? Eren thought he won when Reiner vomits but he didn’t realize Mikasa already had several servings. Of course nobody could beat Sasha. She’s a monster. Speaking of that, here comes the Titan to devour them all! That is the undisputed fastest eater, right? Next day, Bertolt seems depressed because nobody notices him so Reiner to be more confident and his presence will show naturally. So he tries to be a punk hogging the seats but when Eren tells him nobody else can sit, he apologizes and runs away. Then he tells Eren and co about his problem and Armin gets this bright idea to give him wear a red cape. Keith sees this and is appalled he remodelled the uniform and takes him away for punishment. Hey, in this sense it is a success because the instructor noticed him, right? But then the Titan devours them! Armin laments the plan is a failure as the Titan didn’t notice Bertolt but devour them instead. Next day, Eren trains with Annie but cannot best her. Mikasa is giving that death stare. She views Annie is hurting him more than necessary and wants him to train with her. She gets pissed when Eren wants to continue his training with Annie instead. This causes the ladies to enter a showdown to see whose technique is stronger. They’ll each take it out on Eren and let him decide. But he is out cold after taking in Mikasa’s punch and Annie’s kick. No response. Looks like they’ll have to settle it themselves. The Titan eats them and all Mikasa can think of is whose technique is better. Neither! Being at the receiving end is definitely not it!

Special 6
Because Connie and Sasha seem like fooling around, Keith reprimands them. This has them thinking that they’re being discriminated and feel that they are in fact more serious in training than others. Yeah, right. They want to get back at him. So the old trick in the book of putting a duster on the door. Too bad Eren comes rushing late in and got the duster fall on his head. He thinks a Titan has attacked. Next trick is a trap in the woods but Eren gets tied up. Why him? Lastly, they dig holes but as usual Eren and co fall into it. Since they dug too many, they too fall into their own trap. Easy pickings for the Titan to eat them, eh? Next day, the guys are abuzz because of Krista’s braided hairstyle. Only Eren is oblivious. So what? They comment on Connie’s buzz cut in which he thinks makes him a better soldier. Look at its practicality. Hygienic, aerodynamic, no vision blocking and certainly Titans can’t easily grab you, right? Eren is disheartened that this makes Connie a better soldier than he is so he gets Armin to cut his hair. He would gladly to if not for Mikasa stopping him. If Eren insists, she too wants to cut hers. The guys argue she is a girl, blah, blah, blah. Armin’s concern is that if 3 of them have buzz cuts, how can they tell them apart from Connie? The Titan doesn’t care and swallows them! Next day, Keith hangs back the test results and those who do not pass must take a supplementary test. Those who failed: Connie, Sasha and… Eren! How can this be? He got the worst score: Zero! WTF?! So Armin becomes their teacher but why is Mikasa here? Worried about his grades? How will that help him? At the end of the lesson, Connie and Sasha become like goldfish. Eren is bored with the basics but why did he fail in the first place? Reviewing his test paper, they find his answers are off by 1 question. Otherwise he is mostly correct. This means he can ace the supplementary test, right? What about Sasha and Connie? Don’t care about them. Sasha is upset and hopes they get devoured by a Titan. You don’t say. Down the throat they go! Hey, at least they don’t have to sit for the supplementary test now.

Awesomeness Of Titanic Proportions!
No words can describe how awesome, epic, cool, amazing, exciting and superb this series is. Even that is very much an understatement. In a nutshell, this series has done a very good job in execution of just about everything and is definitely one of the best series there is. In fact, it could be one of my all time favourites too. It had kept me glued to the screen for each and every scene. Including scenes that are slow and those that are non-eventful. I don’t think there are many animes out there and in my entire history of watching them that has kept me glued so intensely to the monitor like this. Because time really flew by while I was watching this. By the time it ended, I was really amazed and in awe, partly disappointed that such awesome episode has ended and time has already zoomed past me. There was this feeling in me that I wanted the episode to continue further and hoping that this isn’t the end, please oh please but alas, 24 minutes is the usual duration for such weekly series, right? The only downside to this series is that it ended! Yes! With so much things going on, I thought it was really sad and a shame to just end it with just 25 episodes. So far I haven’t heard of another season but I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be one. Yup. This is how much I really liked the series.

As much as I hate animes to end with such a cliff-hanger and questions go unanswered, the awesomeness of everything made me forgive it. Although I would have been more satisfied if it did. But then again, you can’t just end such awesome series in just 25 episodes and you need time to flesh everything out and tell the story slowly. That’s how you narrate a proper and good story. So it is just sad that we’ll never get to know about Annie’s reason for doing so and more importantly how she was able to become a Titan. That is the most curious question but given her situation as of now, the mystery of the Titans continues. There are so many other mysteries and questions surrounding this anime but the way it is presented makes it good instead of leaving you feel awkward. Things like how the Colossal Titan and Armoured Titan show up and disappear into thin air and even their very quirky traits shows how much human knows nothing about them. Even the mind boggling fact of how the walls were made and withstand Titans could be left unanswered. Certainly you don’t want to think this is just a convenient setting that everyone should accept, right? I am sure the Titans didn’t wait just for humans to complete making the wall, right? So was it really a God gift? Or something even more nefarious? Perhaps even the narration of how humans were made to remember they were living their lives as cattle is the biggest him. It is just one big farm where Titans go to harvest their meal. But that is just me thinking too much.

All the characters play a great part in this series no matter how small their roles are. Although I feel that there isn’t enough prominence given to the other trainee corps of the same alumni with Eren as this season focuses its lot mainly on Eren himself. Despite having not as much screen time and sometimes to a point of being reduced to mere supporting characters, I feel they have a lot of potential in driving the story and plot and especially the direction of where mankind is heading. Like Jean, he was such a stuck up guy who wanted to become part of the Military Police Brigade. Then he changed his mind after meeting Eren and Marco’s death spurred him further. It’s like he is so much facing a dilemma after his death, wondering if he had chosen the right path or not. The best character among the trainees is definitely Sasha. She’s just crazy. Only food occupies her mind. She has this crazy look on her face like as though she’s afraid she is starving even when she has food stuffed in her face. Sometimes it looks so funny that in real times of danger it just looks comical to see that kind of face when she just escaped from being devoured by a Titan by the skin of her teeth. If I should classify her, she is the joker of the pack. Put her together with Connie and you might have a manzai comedy duo. Not much is known about the other characters in this alumnus especially Reiner-Bertolt and Krista-Sobakasu pairs. Especially the latter with Sobakasu having this weird obsession with Krista just like how Mikasa does with Eren. Always sticking around her.

Eren as the main character isn’t perfect. He has got his quirks and weaknesses but he is still hanging on to grow stronger. His obsession with taking down Titans might get him killed as seen in certain situations. But I suppose he has lady luck with him that he can’t die that easily. The power of transforming into a Titan is also another big mystery. Something in his home’s basement may be the key to victory or failure. It doesn’t help that Grisha is currently missing. I hope he hasn’t become Titan’s food. Every soldier’s death spurs Eren to get stronger (and madder) so theoretically once he becomes the ultimate Titan killing machine, nobody will die? Impossible, right? Yeah. Then maybe I’ll term him as Eren The Giant Slayer.

Mikasa is a great character. Stoic, strong, independent and to some she’s like the cool beauty but with no emotions in her face. Maybe she shows no emotion just to hide her sadness. Now that she is the top graduate of her grade, if she breaks down, what will others think? It would be a big demotivation. Her goal in life is to be with Eren. Not so much about cutting down Titans. He is her reason for living so what good is this world for her if she doesn’t have him around? That’s why she became so good just to be able to protect him. But I think obsessive isn’t just the word to describe her. Add possessive to that. It might seem that she wants to do things with Eren or do not allow him to do certain stuffs just for the sake of his safety but sometimes I feel it is because she considers him as hers. That’s why I think she is a very possessive woman and won’t let go of Eren. It’s not like she does not believe in him either. Just crazily possessive and obsessive in him. But then again, maybe she doesn’t. Worst than a controlling mother or wife. I can’t imagine if she ever gets married to him. I don’t know if deep down inside her heart harbours some sort of romantic feelings or not but I guess it’s not the time for that when Titans can just waltz into your town and make a meal out of you. Likewise, I don’t know if Eren truly likes Annie in a romantic sense, the reason why he couldn’t face her head on initially. Or that he really puts his trust a lot in his fellow comrades of the same trainee division. Armin although the weakest of the lot, he has the brains to make up for it. Whenever this guy comes up with a strategy or reason, you better listen to him because it could be the difference between life and death.

Members of the Survey Crops are probably the quirkiest but the bravest of the lot. They dare venture into unknown territory risking their lives. People like Erwin, Levi and Hange are probably what mankind needs to make a difference because you have to be different and think outside the box to survive. Wait, on second thought, they may not be thinking outside the box as there is not even a box! Because by doing so, you are already establishing there is a box. Erwin’s exceptional strategy, Levi’s unrivalled skills and Hange’s fearless and even perverted obsession with Titans make them a truly formidable force. It is sad that the other elites had to bite the dust because they too are funny in their own ways like Oluo, he likes to talk tough like he knows everything to Eren but usually ends up biting his own tongue or finger due to a little trip. I thought this was going to be his running joke. Looks like it won’t be anymore. Pixis isn’t bad too but he is more in charge of the Garrison section. Speaking of Garrison, what happened to Hannes? Not relevant for now?

So many mysteries surround the Titans that it makes them both fascinating and deadly. The lack of knowledge about these giants is what makes us fear them. It is as though the Titans are there to put humans in their place. Despite this is just a show, sometimes I could feel the fear when the brave soldiers or the common people have a close encounter with them. I know it is just me being engrossed in the show but besides proving that this series is damn interesting for me to be so fixated on every frame, sometimes I feel that the Titan’s face is too close that it might pop out of the screen and devour me! Can’t say. There are lots we don’t know about them, right? Any small characteristic that deviates from the norm of what we know generates more questions than answers. Think they can never do that? You’d be surprise. It got me even thinking that maybe the Titans are the good guys and we humans are the evil pests that need to be eliminated. Why not? Titans are painted as villains because we seen it from humans’ perspective, no? That’s why Titans are truly fascinating yet deadly. Ultimate killing machines if I should say.

Besides Titans, the other true enemy is humans. As seen even living among ourselves is such a big pain in the ass. Limited resources only worsen the relationship. It makes you think that if the Titans really do make mankind extinct, it will be doing us a lot of favour. In fact, sometimes you just wished that the Titans just gobble up these arrogant and ungrateful bastards living in their ivory towers (how long would this last anyway if you consider the Titans are making progress in breaking down all the walls). It is ironic that people try to climb as high up as possible of the hierarchy just to avoid Titans. That is what the Military Police Brigade is for, right? And look at how some of them become? Therefore it is such a great dilemma. To live a safe life in your comfort zone or build character and risk your life. I’m glad that Eren and many of his comrades chose this path. Personally, I think that everyone should undergo military training so that in times of crisis, everyone can help kill some Titans instead of just panicking or evacuating to safety instead of leaving it to the young ones. Whether they want to do it or not is up to them but don’t you see at least if they receive military training, there is a better chance for them to survive instead of becoming sitting ducks waiting for Titans to snack on. It’s such a good idea so why won’t everybody do it? I speculate that there isn’t enough equipment and supply to go around. As said with the limited resources, not everybody can get to wear such sophisticated gears and wield cool blades. Besides, I don’t think old people’s muscles are flexible and shouldn’t be swinging around that much. But still, I think everyone should get some military training like how people when they reach a certain age, it is compulsory to be drafted into the military.

It goes without saying that the action is super awesome, nail biting, heart pounding, nerve wrecking, excitingly cool and each time the humans engage in a life or death battle with the Titans, some will die and you can’t help feel sad about the way they get crushed, smashed or even devoured. You want to root for them so badly but because the Titans put on some near-eternal cheat code of being in God mode, you can’t help feel the sense of helplessness each time one of them bites the dust. And each time a Titan is cut down, I can’t help but cheer out loud (in my heart of course) like as though your favourite football team has scored the winning goal. I want to sing out loud to Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust. However seeing the numerous Titans takes away all that joy because they pop up like cockroaches. How many more can you take down? Just depressing, isn’t it? But I really love to see them swing into action with their 3DMD because it feels like they are flying. Just like Spiderman but without shooting those sticky webbings from his hands. Even if they don’t use their equipment, riding on their horses and trying to outrun the Titans in the vast lands is equally good action stuff. In short, the execution of the action is done superbly well. You won’t be disappointed.

The drawing and art seems pretty cool too. Gritty, if I should say. Sometimes the art is cell shaded so I think it gives this unique feel. But the most outstanding part of the drawing is the eyes of the characters. They are so damn real! Especially when you look into the iris, you can see all those lines in it which makes it very real. So real that it is sometimes scary. The characters too look good and okay although the Titans may look comical and funny. However having said so, it isn’t any laughing matter because despite their funny looks and odd shapes (oversized heads), it makes them scary. It is like a clown. Some see them as funny but those with phobia would definitely see them as something evil, right? So it’s the same case. The Titans’ surreal look may want to make us laugh at their stupid facial expressions and grin but that is what makes them scary. As they are not dressed and fully naked too, thankfully as they lack any reproductive system, you don’t get to see any anatomy parts down there. Just imagine a human stripped of his skin and walking around only in his exposed muscles. Scary, right? Speaking about the scenery, the setting gives off this medieval feel with the houses and buildings having the European design and feel. On a side note, when the characters go into depression, typical animation would be your top face blackens, right? Somehow this effect looks comical even though it isn’t supposed to be. Like when Erwin and Levi returned from another failed expedition and the people hounding them for answers, that depressed look makes them look funny (though I know it is not). It’s like they may burst out into a joke or something. Speaking of jokes and puns, there are lots of them circulating around the internet. Just Google them. Some are just so ‘creative’ you’d really want to laugh… Attack On Puns, literally XD.

On a trivial note, the mid-intermission is a very interesting section because it lets viewers know about the ‘currently disclosable information’. From how the 3DMD works to the walls protecting and acting as mankind’s last bastion to even certain facts about Titans (as what we think we know about them), it gives a deeper sense and feel to everything instead of making things up. Just like obsessed Star Wars fans have a complete guide to everything they need to know about the Star Wars universe. I’m sure they can do a good compilation of this and turn it into an encyclopaedia guide for fans who hunger to know more about such stuffs. Although the one for the final episode seems to be like some long-winded fairytale-cum-myth-cum-legend about the wall. Not that it answered anything, though.

Thanks to the epic of everything else, even the voice acting department is great. Everyone truly fit their roles well. Yuuki Kaji once again is casted as the heroic kid of Eren like he did in so many other animes like Haruyuki in Accel World and Alibaba in Magi. This is my first time hearing Yui Ishikawa as Mikasa (though she had a handful of voice acting roles, they were from animes I didn’t watch like Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor and Gundam Build Fighters) and she does a good job bringing out the stoic and level-headedness in the character. The rest of the extensive casts include Marina Inoue as Armin (in one of her rare boys’ role like Wataru from Hayate No Gotoku), Hiroshi Kamiya as Levi (Trafalgar Law in One Piece), Daisuke Ono as Erwin (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji), Romi Paku as Hange (Hitsugaya in Bleach), Yu Shimamura as Annie (Hare in Guilty Crown), Kishou Taniyama as Jean (Natsuki in Uta No Prince-sama Maji Love 1000%), Yu Kobayashi as Sasha (I thought it was a waste that she didn’t go into her crazy voice like Kaere in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Reiner (Arata in Chihayafuru), Hiro Shimono as Connie (Keima in The World God Only Knows), Shiori Mikami as Krista (Ecarlate in Ixion Saga DT), Saki Fujita as Sobakasu (Ao in Yozakura Quartet), Tomohisa Hashizume as Bertolt (Mithrenes in Fate/Zero), Ryota Ohsaka as Marco (Jun in Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen), Shinji Kawada as Oluo (Shino in Naruto), Natsuki Aikawa as Petra (Baker in Gundam Build Fighters), Susumu Chiba as Erd (Kondo in Gintama), Kouzou Mito as Gunter (Kanon in Code Geass R2), Kenta Miyake as Mike (Sydonay in Shakugan No Shana), Masahiko Tanaka as Pixis (Kyouichi in Initial D), Keiji Fujiwara as Hannes (Sven in Black Cat), Hiroshi Tsuchida as Grisha (Daikichi in Usagi Drop) and Anri Katsu as Nile (Tsuchimikado in To Aru Majutsu No Index).

The opening theme, Guren No Yumiya by Linked Horizon is also epic. With all those choir voices in the background like as though they’re singing a song for going into battle, it just enhances the awesomeness of what is to come. Although the second opening theme, Jiyuu No Tsubasa also by Linked Horizon is equally epic, but I don’t find it as good as the first one since I thought the opening choir voices sounded like some national anthem or a victory anthem so it feels a little odd. The first ending theme, Utsukushiki Zankoku Na Sekai is a slow rock ballad with a hint of sadness and struggling to survive in it. Oddly, despite sung by Youko Hikasa, she doesn’t have a voice acting role in this anime. Maybe as a very minor background character but not that I noticed it as the credits didn’t even list it down. The second ending theme, Great Escape by Cinema Staff is a rock piece but I still prefer Guren No Yumiya anytime. There is an insert song, Call Your Name by Hiroyuki Sawano but this slow rock is sung totally in English. Needless to say the various background music from the OST are good with some heart pounding scores to exciting battle themes, fitting the scenes well. Most of them employing the use of choir voices and drum covers. The rock pieces aren’t too bad either and usually employed during fight scenes.

I don’t know what else more to say. Even if there were stuffs that I missed out in this blog, probably I have forgotten them due to the awesomeness of everything. So my verdict (and everyone else), this anime is totally the best and it is no wonder why many would consider this the best anime of 2013. I know it is not perfect and has its flaws but like I said, the awesomeness of everything overwhelms and overshadows everything else. Therefore people, don’t just sit there. Go watch this anime! Highly recommended. Except maybe not so appropriate for your 2 year old kids in the midst of trying to learn his/her ABCs. Don’t want to scar and traumatize them about the scariness of Titans for life. That would be much worse than being devoured by one, bob around in its stomach undigested before finally being spit out. Ugh! I guess they like their meat raw without any sort of seasonings, huh? And remember people, always eat your vegetables ;p. (Sorry for Attack On Lame Jokes).

Sakura Trick

September 13, 2014

Hold on a minute! Wait a second! Why on Earth am I watching a yuri anime?! First it was mecha and now yuri?! Am I a closet yuri lover?! I hope not! Even though I know very well that Sakura Trick is going to be an obvious lesbian series, what was I thinking to even approve myself into watching this?! Maybe it was my experience with Sasameki Koto. Yuri but with some comedy. But compared to Sakura Trick, that anime is quite mild in its yuri element. Well, another reason was I thought the yuri elements wouldn’t be so bad or extreme since it is listed together with other animes for the winter season of 2014. I mean, it’s like all those ecchi shows that are churned out but stopped short being hentai and thus make it only available in the underground market. So yeah. Pretty much the same thing. Although there are obvious yuri elements (otherwise, why would it be categorized as a yuri series in the first place?), it is still manageable and noting very explicit. Unless you view girls kissing girls as lewd. Be warned. There are lots of such scenes here. Heck, if you thought that was already lewd, in fact you should consider the act of kissing between straight couples to be lewd. So having said that, you can pretty much guess what the general storyline for this anime is about. Heck, I don’t think I can properly say this series has one in the first place except the ‘special’ relationship between 2 female friends. And the kissing part they enjoy so much with each other. XOXO.

Episode 1A
Tomorrow is the first day of middle school so Haruka Takayama is getting some shut eye. Who knows her friend, Yuu Sonoda calls her in the middle of the night to remind her about this and that. Thanks to that, she is wide awake. Because of that too, she is late for school and Yuu has the cheek to tell her about time management. Thankfully they end up in the same class and Haruka thought they can be seated one after another alphabetically. Unfortunately due to the arrangement, Yuu is at the end while Haruka is right at the front. They also meet other classmates, Yuzu Iizuka, Kaede Ikeno, Kotone Noda and Shizuku Minami. During the assembly when the principal gives his speech, Yuu falls asleep! If that is not bad enough, Haruka falls asleep with her! When Haruka sees other classmates linking their arm with Yuu’s, she got jealous and ran away. Yuu goes after her and they talk in an empty classroom. Yuu suggests doing something they won’t do to others. A memory that they’ll never forget. Haruka proposes a kiss. Yuu is embarrassed that they shouldn’t be doing something like this in a place for learning but Haruka mocks her that the word learning came from her. Could it mean she is bad at learning and is also bad at kissing? Reverse psychology works. Let’s kiss! Once they summon their courage, it becomes a long passionate yuri kiss so much so they forgot to breath. That good, huh?

Episode 1B
As Yuu and Haruka go to buy yakisoba for their friends, they stumble into an unlocked classroom. This is the place they had their kiss. But Yuu doesn’t remember it! Does the kiss mean that little to her? The teachers are coming so they need to hide. Haruka thinks of the closet or underneath the teacher’s desk for close yuri proximity but Yuu takes her hand and rushes out the veranda where they trip and subsequently hide. Out of the blue, Haruka kisses Yuu. She thought she would remember if she did so. Haruka becomes a cry-baby and doesn’t want Yuu to hate her. So desperate that she wants Yuu to marry her! To shut her up, Yuu kisses her. Sealed with a kiss. Given an inch, want a mile. Haruka asks for another kiss otherwise she’ll throw a tantrum. Another long passionate kiss… When it’s time to go back, they find the teachers have locked the door. They panic and Yuu blames Haruka for the kiss that took too long. But Haruka deflects back at her saying it was her who decided to hide here. Yuu feels guilty so Haruka suggests escaping via veranda. But there is a gap between it. Jump? Yuu grabs her boobs just to hold on to her but Haruka calls Yuu a pervert. She denies and Haruka apologizes since she was the one who started that kiss so it makes her a pervert. As Haruka is about to jump, she slips. Yuu grabs her but thanks to this unbelievable (and unnatural) motion and force thingy, they somersault like a circus acrobat-cum-trapeze and end up in the next veranda. It’s a painful landing, though. Don’t try this anywhere! This is the veranda of their class. Seems she didn’t exactly get the yakisoba as they wanted. It is yakisoba but a yakisoba flavoured snack stick instead of the bread.

Episode 2A
Yuu thanks Haruka for lending her maths book. Unfortunately she wrote the answers in her literature book! Shizuku seems not to be herself today. A little angrier. Kotone reveals she is freeloading at her house as it is closer to school. While she was sleeping, Kotone kissed her! So they’re currently fighting. Yuu and Haruka realize the duo too have their own secret like them. When they stumble into Shizuku, they talk it out. Too bad the teacher pulls Yuu away for not completing her homework and she in turn drags Haruka along with her. When Shizuku returns to the classroom, she is not amused to see Kotone distributing the workbooks back. Shizuku won’t approach her and this means her book is the last one to be given out. Kotone smirks and takes it away with her. Shizuku thinks this is part of her prank to tease her and follows her out. Kotone apologizes for the kiss but that isn’t Shizuku’s problem. It isn’t the proximity of her house to the school or her mom being kind to her. She feels ignored. Those tears didn’t make Kotone feel bad. Instead she gets curious. Shizuku backs off till she falls over the stairs. Kotone is brought down with her. Yuu and Haruka see Kotone on top of Shizuku and think their relationship has progressed this much. Shizuku hints she wants to do over a certain part and they kiss. I suppose kissing is infectious because Yuu and Haruka too did the same thing after Yuu went hinting-hinting and closing her eyes. They think Kaede and Yuzu would be lovey-dovey too. Not exactly. They’re fighting over a snack.

Episode 2B
Yuu wants to copy Haruka’s work so the latter warns that at this rate she might have to stay back a year and she’ll have to be her big sister. That actually doesn’t sound like a bad idea till Shizuku points out their school is closing in 3 years so they’re the last batch. Which means Yuu is more likely to drop out. Yuu teases she’ll ask to borrow from other friends so this has Haruka organize a study session. Unfortunately Yuu falls right asleep. Haruka notices some funny animal on Shizuku’s bag. She guessed it all wrong. It’s a hedgehog. Really? That is a hedgehog? She draws it in Yuu’s book to motivate her but it looks ugly. Since Yuu wants to go outside and play, a change of pace is needed. All studying makes Jack a dull boy. However their modified volleyball game is interrupted when the teacher reprimands them for playing so close to the exam. As we tend to remember every detail of embarrassing stuffs, Haruka thinks of the embarrassing things to do to Yuu just to make her remember. Haruka is such a naughty sensei… Eventually Haruka and Yuu are left to study alone and the latter moves further away from her thinking her kissing intention to get her remember is just her perverted goal. But when Haruka blurts out she doesn’t want her to drop out and want to be together for the rest of their school lives, Yuu returns to touching distance. Their shoulders bumping. I don’t know about this studying technique because for each problem, Yuu answers after a kiss. Oddly, Yuu wants more! The kiss or the question? She even gives her a thank you kiss and then one more for the road. During the test, it is easy for them since they have reviewed their stuffs. But Yuu remembers those embarrassing things as well and it is very obvious written in her face. Haruka squirms in delight how adorable she is.

Episode 3A
Yuu tries to wake up her elder sister, Mitsuki but slips and bumps into her head. As a result, her glasses are damaged. Yuu knows of an optician Haruka told her so this has Mitsuki remember this is the name of her friend. Oddly, she has never seen her before when she came over because either she is sick or away on some trip. The most she saw of this Haruka girl is just her shoes. Yuu’s bad day continues because she learns the sports festival will be scaled down a lot and this dents her dreams of being a cheerleader. Plus, there is a supplementary class for her after this. Everyone realizes Yuu’s sister is the student council president. But they don’t remember how she looks like despite the one giving speech during the assembly. That’s because they’re all asleep! Anyway, they need volunteers for class representatives for the festival. As Kotone suggests, Haruka can join to bring up Yuu’s cheerleading thing. She’s in. But the rest join in too after hearing those who do will get their gym grades boosted. In the meeting, Mitsuki has this chance to see who this Haruka girl is. Unfortunately she can’t see anything without her glasses. Haruka wants to make her suggestion but sees Mitsuki putting on a serious face (she’s squinting) and feels scared. Kotone guides her to repeat what she says but she was just fooling around. “Give me your sister!”. Anyway Haruka manages to say what she wants and even to the extent of dressing in a cheerleading outfit. But Mitsuki shoots her down saying the budget has been severely cut back since their school is closing down and everything will be run at low cost. Haruka feels embarrassed she joined for nothing but Kotone tells her when she lived in Shizuku’s house, everyone was opposed. She never gave up and now everyone approves it. So Haruka runs to go beg to Mitsuki. Seeing she is willing to go this far for a friend, Mitsuki will talk to the teacher. Then she realizes this girl is Haruka and freezes… Haruka comes over one day and teases Yuu about sharing her cream puff. As thanks for helping to get the cheerleading thing back, she kisses her. This dessert must taste better. Mitsuki realizes Haruka is over and ponders of going to see how she looks like. It’s now or never. But when she walks in, she sees the girls in their unholy activity! Suddenly somebody reaches boiling point.

Episode 3B
Yuu is disheartened that Haruka stayed up all night just to sew embarrassing labels on their swimsuit. A love umbrella and an “I love you” statement? She rips it apart! The friends are cleaning the pool but they’re in the mood to play. Because Haruka accidentally squirts water all over Yuzu, the latter gets her revenge by pouring a bucket of water over her. This causes her swimsuit with that embarrassing label to show. Though, all she ever notices is Haruka’s huge boobs. That’s the most prominent things, right? Yuzu thinks it is taking too long to clean the pool when Kaede thinks she is getting fat and better slim down faster. Now Yuzu is moving at lightning speed. Yuu and Haruka lost out in a rock-scissors-paper game so they have to clean the pool shed. To get some ventilation from the window high up, Yuu climbs and sits on Haruka’s shoulders. They see sakura petals floating in but realize those are fakes created by the past members of the club. As Yuu is dense not to realize there is a petal on her nose (flower and nose sound the same in Japanese), Yuu thinks she wants to kiss and gets ready but Haruka blows it off, much to her annoyance. Now she is sulking. To make it up to her, she says there is one more on her face. This time a real long kiss. Mitsuki comes to check up on Yuu but doesn’t see her. Since Haruka is not around, she thinks they’re in another unholy activity. She feels bad of thinking like that when she sees a litter which turns out to be that love umbrella label… Going to blow again?

Episode 4A
Yuu is kissing Haruka all over because she can’t get her lips?! So Haruka is pretending to be asleep just to get that treatment? While in another of their private passionate kiss, Yuu wants to stop in fear somebody might see them. The last time Mitsuki did, they manage to brush it off as they bumped into each other in an accident. Ever since, Yuu gets ‘lectured’ by Mitsuki every morning. Heck, she’s asking her plans with Haruka! Mitsuki seeks Kaede and Yuzu’s help to observe Haruka and report anything unusual. So they just literally do their job of writing down whatever they see. Looks so normal but when they’re not looking it’s actually more to it. They also follow her to the convenience store. Now they look like a pair of stalkers. Kaede thought she can bump in the ice cream and make her pay for her portion but Haruka notes to the cashier that they’re paying separately. When they get back, they see Yuu sitting on Kotone’s lap! Haruka is so mad that her hot boiling anger may just melt the ice cream. She tries to bait Yuu to sit on her lap but it’s not working. Till she threatens to eat her ice cream in which Yuu turns to her. Yuzu and Kaede hand their report to Mitsuki but she is appalled that it tells her nothing and wants them to redo it. Haruka sulks and doesn’t want to go home so Yuu sits on her lap and they end up in a make out session.

Episode 4B
The friends meet for to play fireworks but Kaede and Kotone are not around. Seems they were here earlier and were seen carrying lots of stuffs. Thinking this is going to be some sort of kimodameshi, they draw lots to pick partners. Haruka isn’t thrilled Yuzu is her partner and since she is being such an annoying girl if she can’t be with Yuu, Yuzu decides to trade partners. Mitsuki also followed them to see what they’re up to. Luckily Yuu’s glow in the dark flower hair pin makes her easy to tail. However being alone herself feels spooky so she decides to dream of something fun while she tails them. Haruka feeding her? Because Mitsuki also has glow in the dark flower hair pin, when Yuu turns around, she sees this ghostly thingy! Worst, ‘the ghost’ is calling her name! They make a run for it till they tumble into the bushes. Yuu is so scared that she wants Haruka to kiss to calm her heart down. Really? Big chance for Haruka. But it’s not working… Then they hear the ghostly call before Mitsuki stumbles into them. At first she didn’t like how close they are clinging to each other but when Yuu mentions about the ghost calling her name, Mitsuki also starts to feel scared. Haruka suggests walking together but Mitsuki doesn’t want to. She fears her heart can’t take it if Haruka is this close to her. So you want to walk home alone? Guess not. The fireworks lead them out as they reunite with their friends. This was just about fireworks and not kimodameshi since they have time to prepare. However the big question remains: Who was it that was chasing Yuu and calling her name? Oh sh*t… All Mitsuki thinks is that Haruka is a nice girl.

Episode 5A
Yuu wakes up in class only to find Haruka has left with Kaede and Yuzu to the cafe. She didn’t like that and starts crying. Kotone and Shizuku bring her there. Meanwhile Haruka and the rest with Mitsuki find themselves in the crowded cafe. Since the big boobs of Haruka and Mitsuki are in the way, they keep getting bumped in the crowd and go nowhere near the counter. Unlike the flat chests who can just swerve through without grazing anyone. Good, right? Haruka notes how Mitsuki resembles a lot like Yuu. Including how she turns red when their faces are close. Care to explain that? Haruka thinks Mitsuki is jealous when she mentions Yuu always talks about her whenever the sisters are together. Anyway they are here to discuss the Snow White play they’ll be doing for the cultural festival since this would be their last festival together and it was suggested by Yuu. So Kaede and Yuzu expect Mitsuki to help as repayment for last time’s favour. When Yuu arrives, we see her in sour mode and acting all bossy for Haruka to get her drinks. Mitsuki didn’t want that and offers hers. Instantly Yuu jumps ship and Haruka gets the wrong idea this is a declaration of war that Yuu is hers and vows to get her approval. Since Yuu is here, the element of surprise is gone so they decide to call off the discussion to another day. Later Yuu confronts Haruka and doesn’t want to be left behind like that again. To make it up to her, Haruka lets her kiss as long as she wants.

Episode 5B
Which character in Snow White does Yuu wants to be? The witch! Unfortunately Shizuku also wants to play that character. So they both perform to see who gets the part. Yuu is cute while Shizuku is realistically scary. Both don’t fit the bill anyway. The notice Mitsuki spying on them. She runs when she thinks they spot her but the teacher reprimands her for running in the hallway. The friends suggest Mitsuki join the play. But with Yuu and Haruka pleading and squeezing her, this freaks her out. As Kaede hints, by joining in, she gets to keep an eye on them and be less suspicious of their activities. Good deal. She can talk to Haruka more that way. So that’s her true intention. Which character does she want to play? The hunter. Haruka misinterprets this is a sign to back off from her sister. Mitsuki is made to practice as Snow White while Haruka the prince. Yeah, jump right to the kissing scene. Mitsuki drops down like the unconscious Snow White while flustering and hoping to get over with this quick. However everyone wonders what the heck she is doing because they’re supposed to only be verbally practising their lines. Well, nobody told her. When Haruka is about to really kiss her, Yuu bumps her head and tells Mitsuki the speech-only practice. Embarrassed? In the end, Mitsuki agrees to become Snow White. Yuu messes with Haruka using her hood. She might be still sore about that but at least the hood is a good cover up for them to kiss under wraps as long as they want even though there are still people in class.

Episode 6A
Preparations of the cultural festival is underway. Since everyone is rushing to finish things up, they are allowed to sleep over at school. Shizuku is tense since this would be her first time. Kotone tells the rest that they are close since they have been together for nearly their entire lives. Close as in Kotone always plays pranks on Shizuku. This has Haruka starts fantasizing her married life with Yuu and they even have a daughter! Ironically they will be sleeping over in the room where Haruka and Yuu had their first kiss. Everyone stares and watches as hardworking Shizuku moves the tables and brings in the blankets. That night, Kotone and Shizuku spend a little time together or else we’ll get sick of Haruka-Yuu love spamming. Shizuku explains she always left early in middle school because she was too shy to talk with other schools. She doesn’t understand why Kotone is trying so hard to have fun. Because when she’s with the girl she loves, everything she does takes on a shade of fun. Cue for them to kiss. Meanwhile Yuu can fall asleep right in the middle of a conversation with Haruka. Yeah, it was an important promise to go tour the festival together. Haruka ‘threatens’ to give a wake up kiss but settles to sleep with her. This must have woken them up or they’re still in dream land because now they’re passionately kissing each other, rolling and tossing on the floor.

Episode 6B
The cultural festival is here. The friends are acting out their Snow White play. Guess what? Both Yuu and Shizuku are the witches! Can’t decide? Oddly too, this is just a reading play so they just stand dressed up in their characters there and read their lines. At the end of it, Mitsuki flusters so much that it raises her hair when Haruka compliments how much she suited her Snow White character. Mitsuki then ‘hijacks’ Yuu to tour the festival. Haruka is devastated. Has she forgotten about the promise? Let them be as this will be Mitsuki’s last festival. I guess she’ll have Kaede and Yuzu for company. Since Yuzu doesn’t know why Kaede always ends up being the class rep, Haruka thinks of telling how much she knows about Yuu. Surprisingly Yuzu knows it too! Probably even more. Yuu is quite the blabbermouth, isn’t she? Kaede reveals the reason. When Yuzu fell down the stairs because she couldn’t see her way while carrying books, she decided to prevent her from getting hurt again and shoulder some responsibilities. When they go back to class, they see Yuu eating nicely on Kotone’s lap. She was waiting for her. So Haruka starts sulking and Yuu had no choice but to bequeath her hair pin to make up but Haruka really believes it is her family heirloom. The duo reconcile while watching the band gig. What is a reconciliation without a kiss? They kiss for so long that they’re still at it even after the performance was over and the crew cleaning up. Yeah, they’re still going strong. Imagine they’re so passionate and focused that all they could hear was each other’s heartbeat and breathing instead of the loud rock music.

Episode 7A
Yuu prefers eating her bread rather than change back into her school uniform and go home. This has Haruka forcing to strip her and in their struggle, their meets lip and Haruka falls over her. Then they realize Kotone and Shizuku are still around. Could they have witnessed what they have done? Everyone has a pool party at Kotone’s mansion. Yes. She’s a bloody rich girl. Even underwater, Haruka and Yuu are kissing! Will they run out of air? Of course. Kaede and Yuzu tease Mitsuki’s great body style and push her into the pool. Till Yuu screams she can’t swim! She manages to get out but lost her glasses. She goes back under and fortunately finds them. But in exchange, her top was undone. Because Haruka admits she is not a good swimmer, Kotone will whip those non-swimmers into good shape. Now start paddling! With Haruka whisked away, Yuu bugs Shizuku for company. Because the learners lack motivation, Kotone summons her maids that if they do well, they get this icy treat. At the same time, Kotone’s little sister, Shinobu walks in and is not pleased with everything. She went to live alone and now she’s back. She blames Shizuku as the cause. It goes way back. Every time Shizuku came over, Kotone stopped messing with Shinobu and turned her attention to her. Shinobu lectures big sister about the things she does that includes delaying her engagement talks. Haruka stops them, wondering if they are fine with this since the sadness in their face is so obvious. Shizuku is fine with it. She reasons no matter how much time they spend together, she won’t be able to make Kotone happy. If there is someone waiting for her, she should properly go meet that person instead of just kissing her and fooling around. She runs off but trips. Shinobu asserts she won’t hand over her sister to a home wrecker like her. That’s when Mitsuki (still paddling?!) suggests to have a swimming showdown. Shizuku reveals a secret… She can’t swim! This float going to help? At least better than Shinobu’s idea of strapping her stuffed doll to her back for buoyancy. As they start, Shizuku can’t help think about Kotone. She paddles harder and reaches the end. To her surprise, she won! What happened to Shinobu? Her stuffed doll absorbed water and got heavy… Kaede wonders the kiss Shizuku was talking about but Yuzu thinks it’s just a peck on the cheek.

Episode 7B
Yuu has got a running nose since she doesn’t want to wear her scarf on this cold day. She gave it to Mitsuki. Why the heck is she wearing 2 scarves? Seems Yuu didn’t want to wear this hand-me-down and gives it to Haruka who is disappointed that it didn’t belong to her in the first place. There is a cute scarf at the shop she wants to get. However it seems Shizuku has bought the last stock. Haruka suggests they could go shopping after school or have back this one. Yuu hates it so much that she wants to go shopping as soon as possible. While Haruka tries out clothes, it doesn’t fit her since it is small. Yuu blurts to the shop clerk that Haruka has gotten fat and needs a bigger one! Haruka suggests asking if there is still stock of the scarf. The way Yuu describes it sounds like the person is never going to get it but surprise! She comes back with the right one. However Yuu spots another cuter one and wants it. She feels so happy that she kisses Haruka in the dressing room. Mitsuki sees Haruka wearing the hand-me-down scarf and experiences a series of inner explosions!

Episode 8A
Yuu studied late into the night with Mitsuki so she’s a little sleepy during gym and gets a ball in her face. Haruka takes her to the infirmary and suggests a kiss to heal her. Don’t worry, they’ll do it quietly so the person next door won’t notice. But Haruka doesn’t think it is enough and needs to administer more kisses. This causes Yuu to fluster and to their horror the person next door is Mitsuki! Haruka’s mom mentions daddy will be away for a business trip so Haruka can invite a friend as replacement to a friend’s wedding. Mom notices it may be Haruka’s turn soon but daddy vehemently objects that he’ll never give her daughter away to a random guy on the street! I wonder if he is okay with a girl? So Haruka calls Yuu and the latter gets the wrong idea they are getting married! She has doubts to talk to Mitsuki about this but before she could open her mouth, you can see Mitsuki’s hair rising on its end! Better not say. Haruka calls again wondering if they should just go in their school uniform or rentals. Rentals are good but it’s going to cost them. A week later, Yuu is still unsure if their wedding is for real. They’re at the wedding dress store so it must be. But why are they wearing normal dresses? When Yuu messes up her lipstick, Haruka kisses her. It is then Yuu finds out they are attending a wedding as guests. She feels disappointed and wonders if Haruka wants to marry her in the first place. Haruka drops several kisses as their wedding oath. They have to stop since mommy just came in. The wedding proceeds fine. It is Haruka’s mom who gets the bouquet. The bride thinks Haruka will be next to get married. Haruka doesn’t dismiss this possibility. Later Haruka tells Yuu that her dad will approve her marriage as long as it isn’t some random guy from the streets. Sure he said that? Yuu hugs her.

Episode 8B
Mitsuki is in the middle of homework and is annoyed when somebody calls her. But can she be annoyed if it’s Haruka?! She invites her to some Christmas light show. She’d be dumb to pass this up. But she feels something odd. Shouldn’t she be contacting Yuu first? Though it shows that their relationship is progressing, she thinks they might be fighting. So on their way, big sister advises Yuu about not to be stubborn and be honest with herself. The best way to deepen a friendship is to be the first to compromise. Mitsuki thinks they are really fighting since they are walking ‘far apart’. Really? Is this the problem? The last time she was worried about them being too intimate. After they kill some time shopping, they wait at the light show area. Yuzu thinks they shouldn’t be here since there are lots of couples. Kaede points out that families and friends are also here and that there are different kinds of love. This causes Haruka and Yuu to fluster as they run off in different directions. Mitsuki takes this chance to get them back and has the rest go ahead. However Haruka comes back to her first so Mitsuki flusters and runs away. WTF. Yuu is lost but eventually meets back with Haruka. Yuu feels the awkwardness between them when the light show begins. Remembering what Mitsuki told her, she tries to reach for her hand but this startles Haruka. Both reconcile and decide to indulge in their passion like they always do. Who cares about the rest! They’re probably too engrossed in the light show to see a couple of girls kissing. Oh by the way, Mitsuki got lost.

Episode 9A
Haruka calls Yuu on New Year’s Eve just to hear her voice and be the first one to wish her Happy New Year. She doesn’t want to hang up even when Mitsuki calls her to come down and eat soba with the family. This causes Yuu to label her SBJK (Shitto Bukai Joshi Kousei or conveniently in English: Super Bad Jealous Kid). Mitsuki comes back to remind her again but feels jealous that she is hogging the line with Haruka. She tries to get Yuu off the phone but the girls are in no cause for worry since Haruka will be footing the bill. That’s not the problem. Even Haruka suggests that Yuu go eat her soba while she talks to Mitsuki. Nice idea but Yuu shoots it down. Desperate, Mitsuki lies that she already has finished hers and this sends Yuu screaming and running down to the dining hall. Now that Mitsuki has the phone, she doesn’t know what to say. Rather, she screws up. Haruka feels lonely she’ll be graduating in 3 months so Mitsuki cheers her up that they have to make the most out of it since their year will be having a closing ceremony. Just when the conversation is going nicely, Yuu storms back about big sister lying. Their parents are still waiting. Haruka feels bad and will hang up for real. Now Yuu doesn’t want to! Make up your mind! They exchange kisses via phone.

Episode 9B
Mitsuki thinks hard on what Haruka said about being lonely. She thinks too much because she believes Haruka would really be lonely. I guess you know what that means. She is surprised that the duo pass her. Then she grabs Yuzu and Kaede to ask them about walking with linked hands. She saw Yuu doing it with Haruka and wants to test it out. Let’s say she could almost break Yuzu’s hand. Because they see them turn off in some alley which isn’t the direction of the school, they feel something suspicious and tail them to the playground. Okay… Were they making out inside that shelter? Can’t see. But when they are busted, Haruka notes that their secret to plan a thank you party to Mitsuki is ruined. Mitsuki flusters and walks away but trips. Haruka was fast enough to cushion her fall but this causes Mitsuki to peck her forehead. Now see her run away faster than The Flash. On the way back when Kaede sees the duo chuckle, she could guess that their conversation was fake and hinting they went to the playground to make out. Otherwise, why have such important discussion at the playground? Bull’s eye!

Episode 9C
Yuzu rides a scooter to school while Kaede has a rubber mouse to play a prank on Haruka. Yuzu is reluctant to tell how she got her driving licence till Kaede thinks she ran over somebody. During practice, the instructor nicely guides them but Yuzu couldn’t contain her excitement and revs the accelerator. The instructor could hold down the bike and tell her off! Kaede shows her homework spilled with orange juice. Apparently her siblings went to play house with her but she wasn’t interested and wanted to finish her homework. They offered to do it but messed it up. The walk to the convenience store to get a new notebook. Sorry, they’re not riding so as not to get into some illegal traffic trouble. They meet Haruka and Yuu there too. Haruka sees something falling out of Kaede’s pocket but screams when she realizes it’s a rubber mouse. Success. Just the reaction she was looking for.

Episode 10A
It is snowing and Haruka wants to go play in the snow outside. Shizuku too. But Yuzu, Kotone and Yuu want to stay in where it’s warm. All that is left is Kaede. Since she’s got a meeting, she can’t. Majority wins. In that case, Haruka and Shizuku just go outside themselves. Everything is cool at first but it gets too cold to eat. Shizuku thinks of giving up but Haruka thinks a possibility like this may never come again. This has Shizuku remember she said something similar like Kotone. Something about cherish every second they have. It makes Haruka realizes that Kotone is engaged so the days they have together are limited. Haruka rushes off to bring the rest here while Shizuku starts crying that she doesn’t want these days to end. How about a kiss from Kotone to make her feel better? So what is a snow day without having a snowball fight? Everybody gets owned. Meanwhile Mitsuki and her student council have just finished handing the positions over to the next in line that includes Kaede. Later when Kaede talks to Mitsuki, the former didn’t understand what she is implying till she blurts out that Haruka and Yuu are seeing each other. Shock?

Episode 10B
Kaede seems to be a little off today but Haruka doesn’t view good about her due to her recent pranks. Speaking of which, she gets freaked out by a spider toy now! Because Haruka can’t wait to get back at her during gym, Yuu nicknames her SBJK. This has nothing to do with jealousy but rather Shuunen Bukai Joshi Kousei – Spiteful Bully Jerk Kid. During gym, the girls skip ropes. Haruka is still bent on defeating Kaede but she screws up every time. EVERY TIME! Can’t she just jump! Another SBJK nickname in line: Shinjirarenai hodo Bu-sama na Joshi Kousei – Seriously Bad at Jumping Kid. By the time she gets the first jump, Shizuku fouls. And time is over and the loser group has to clean up. Yeah. All Haruka’s fault. She offers to clean up by herself as atonement. How bad could it be? Lots of ropes to put away. And here is the cliché part. The teacher accidentally locks her in. Well, there’s her fantasies of Yuu to keep her company. When the friends realize the teacher thanks them for the fast clean up, they realize Haruka is trapped. Yuu rushes off like a worried wart like as though it’s the end of the world and Kaede notes she is acting like the girlfriend. Or is it the other one? Calling out Haruka’s name outside didn’t work. But when Yuu does it, you can see her hand slamming on the window! Worried Yuzu climbs the ladder to check and looks like everything is alright. They start kissing but shouldn’t they be worried about the rest seeing? Well, it seemed like Yuu trying to pull Haruka out. Their kissing stops when Shizuku gets the key to open the door. Though everything ends well, Kaede is left to wonder. She remembers Mitsuki denied that they’re going out and that they’re just very close to each other, blah, blah, blah. But Kaede is perplexed because her speech seems awfully fixated on Haruka. Hmm…

Episode 10C
Student council vice president, Rina Sakai seems to only have her speeches in smiles. Heck, she doesn’t even have one except flashing those smiles. And everybody understands her! Except for Yuzu. So when she bugs Kaede about it, she was told to give it up. Or else… Would you like to see her creepy smile?

Episode 11A
Sumi Otokawa is the next student council president. Kaede introduces her to Haruka and Yuu whom she mistakes Haruka as Mitsuki’s sister and Yuu a changed Mitsuki. They discuss the farewell party they want to hold for Mitsuki and Rina so Haruka asks Yuu what does her sister likes. Let’s say it’s nothing concrete. Shizuku suggests to go take a look at the seniors’ classroom to see what is popular. They notice everybody studying hard for the entrance exam and each one eating pudding. Then Sumi becomes like some sort of serial molester, groping Haruka’s boobs like as though it belongs to her and Yuu joins in too. Yeah. They argue she is a C-cup or D-cup. Sumi leaves after having her fill. Haruka is seething with rage since she hates people to touch her boobs. This scares Yuu so crafty Haruka corners her and wants her to finish her sentence of who does she like. You know it’s just an excuse for them to have a deep passionate kiss. Once they’re satisfied and head back to class, they are surprised that Mitsuki and Rina saw them! OMG! The secret’s out!

Episode 11B
Haruka cannot come close to Yuu anymore as Mitsuki is always by her side. And that stare too. Seems Mitsuki reprimanded about what they were doing (although Yuu didn’t bat an eyelid to pinpoint Haruka as the one who started it) and should reflect on their inappropriate behaviour. She forbids Haruka to kiss Yuu. Ever! So Haruka confides in Kotone if people found out about their secret and told them not to do it, would she still do it? Of course. Just don’t get caught. Too bad Kaede mentions she is commissioned to keep an eye on them. So much for doing things discreetly. During gym class in which they are doing creative dance, the teacher wants them to pair them up with their old partner. This means Haruka can legally be with Yuu, right? Yuu accidentally trips and kisses her but this gives Haruka a devilish idea. Yeah. Accidental trips = accidental kiss. Kaede can’t see a thing since Yuzu is jumping like a monkey blocking her view. During recess, Mitsuki is going to protect her sister and stops by to buy pudding. She notices Sumi keeping track of the pudding flow as seniors are buying it more than other years. Mitsuki explains pudding helps one concentrate better during study. It was a rumour started by Rina but everyone took it seriously. Actually for most girls, they’re eating pudding to match what Mitsuki eats so as to grow boobs as big as hers. Mitsuki flusters when Sumi notes she is easy to read. And speaking of boobs, Sumi fondles hers like it’s her own. As she can compare hers with Haruka’s, Mitsuki is shocked she has touched hers too. Sumi notes Mitsuki’s edgy behaviour. She just says she was meaning to tell Haruka something. And it’s not about touching her boobs. She thinks that all she wants is Haruka to be normal friends with Yuu. Is that it? There is something more. Then it hit her. She wants to become Haruka’s lover! She couldn’t believe she was in love with Haruka all along! Duh… We figured it out like episodes ago. Mitsuki goes into meltdown.

Episode 12A
Mitsuki brings Rina to her home where a surprise congratulations party is held for them. They’ve made a bucket filled with pudding but Rina can’t say she is sick of them now after eating too many while studying for the exams. The girls give the seniors their gift. Moustache from Sumi? A fancy chandelier from Kotone? Impersonation gig from Kaede and Yuzu? When Rina feels like eating something with garlic, Haruka quickly goes to the kitchen to make a meal with that. Yuu goes to help so this sets the alarm bells in Mitsuki ringing. The duo will be together all by themselves! She barges in and jumps the gun about their unholy act. Uhm… Is cooking together an unholy act? The sisters argue so Yuu couldn’t care less about Mitsuki and wants to kiss Haruka now! Haruka even gets tussled around. But why does she look so happy? Mitsuki breaks up the duo kissing so Yuu tells her off they do this because they decided it and it’s something special. If that is the case, Mitsuki says she has a chance too. She turns to Haruka and confesses she likes her. And please go out with her too! Biggest shocking bombshell ever!

Episode12B
After the graduation ceremony, Haruka sneaks away from her friends to go meet Mitsuki behind the tennis courts. This is what Mitsuki told her and not to tell her friends. Of course Yuu notices her missing and goes looking. When she finds Haruka, she is about to call to her when Mitsuki is seen approaching so she hides and eavesdrops. Mitsuki wants her answer from yesterday. But why does she seem surprised when Haruka says she loves her? Didn’t expect that? However Haruka doesn’t seem to understand it all and wonders what does dating even require when suggested by Mitsuki. Let’s see. Hold hands, stay at each other’s house… Oh, kiss too! Hey, that’s what she does with Yuu, right? Can it mean that they are dating in this sense? It dawned to Mitsuki that Haruka doesn’t understand the meaning of love. Haruka wants to think this over with Yuu but believes what Mitsuki told her were her true feelings. Mitsuki concludes that because she always thinks of Yuu, it is probably why she fell in love with her in the first place. Just this once, Mitsuki kisses Haruka on her forehead. Rina calls to Mitsuki so she has to go. To her surprise, she sees Yuu. Heard everything. Saw everything. Rina feels there is some burden lifted off from Mitsuki’s shoulders because she noticed she looked lost and worried after yesterday’s party. She can also tell Mitsuki hasn’t been able to tell Haruka about her application to a university away from town. But since Rina is going to that same university, at least they’ll be together. Meanwhile Yuu and Haruka discuss this meaning of love. Since words can’t really describe it, they thought kissing might do the trick. Mmm… Maybe need more of it. Hold on, almost got it? Nah. What the heck, who needs to explain what all that means when you can just enjoy the passion. At the start of the new school term, the friends walk together to school. And of course, a new start means a new kiss for our serial kissing duo right outside the gates. Good luck charm for the year?

The Way To A Girl’s Heart Is Through A Kiss
Kiss, kiss, fall in love… (line from Ouran High School Host Club opening theme). Well, I can’t say that I am impressed but I won’t say that I am sorely disappointed too. Yeah. It feels like the same reason why Haruka and Yuu can’t describe Mitsuki’s love. It’s probably the same for me for this anime. Essentially, although I am not fond of seeing girls kissing each other, I can tolerate them but having seen too much of it, I may have grown immune to it. Though, I’m not saying that I would love to see another moment of girls kissing. Hell, every episode guarantees at least a kissing scene. Each episode is further divided into 2 parts, right? It would not have been called a yuri genre if it lacks those scenes. Suffice to say, I am not really into the yuri genre so I can’t say much about this series whether this series contains the standard bar that all yuri animes should have. You know, something like Strawberry Panic (note, I didn’t see this show too). But I have a feeling yuri fans should enjoy this one because seeing the protagonist girls kiss every now and then should satiate their craving for such scenes.

There are some funny and comedic moments too although I won’t go so far to say that the yuri elements overshadow the funny parts but perhaps slightly dominates over the comedy sector. After all, I did laugh at some of their silly antics. But not to the extent where it made me ROFL (internet slang for Rolling On Floor Laughing). If not for the yuri theme, this anime series could have been easily classified as those ubiquitous group of cute girls doing cute things and without any proper plot or storyline to go with. Doesn’t it feel like that when you take away the yuri theme? I have imagined the entire series without being yuri and taking away the kissing parts. It could have been boring so I suppose all those kissing scenes somewhat add a dramatic effect to it all. And thankfully we just have kissing scenes because if we really have those girls stripping naked and then getting down and dirty, this title would have been stamped as hentai in the first place. So all we’ve got here are seemingly innocent high school girls kissing.

The characters are rather okay with the big focus on Haruka, Yuu and Mitsuki. It’s was like as though a big love triangle was going to form in the end but eventually it’s back to Haruka-Yuu relationship like we always know. Speaking of the duo, I don’t know but I view them as being childish at times. I thought Haruka was the more childish of the duo since she used to tempt Yuu into kissing and the likes but since Yuu has the insecurity and often goes into that high pitch squealing, it makes her sound more childish than Haruka sometimes. Eventually with their pondering over the meaning of love, it makes me wonder if they actually understand what they are doing is in the name of love. Maybe, maybe not. Love isn’t something we can understand so easily. Because if it was, some of us wouldn’t be furrowing our eyebrows in watching a couple of girls kissing. So they kiss because it makes them feel good. Love or not, not too sure. What do you mean it must be love when people kiss? Perhaps another example would shed some light. Sex. People tend to have sex not because of love, right? See?! Therefore I think Haruka and Yuu’s kiss is somewhat falls in this line. So can you say that they are ‘colour blind’ in terms of love?

Mitsuki almost turned into a hypocrite when she forbade her sister and her friend from kissing but she herself harbours thoughts of dating with Haruka. Once again, how can she not know this is love? Like I said, love isn’t an easy subject so I believe that Mitsuki doesn’t have a boyfriend and thus can’t blame her not knowing what it means to fall in love. It’s a good thing she got this off her chest. Otherwise, it would be annoying just to see her get alerted every time Haruka’s name is mentioned or that girl is in mere sight. Yeah, call it insecure if you want to. Was it just lust or love? The rest of the other characters are okay too, each with their own quirks. I believe Kotone and Shizuku have their own story to tell but since Haruka and Yuu hog the spotlight in this anime, theirs feel like a distraction. I am sure that if they want to expand another side story, this duo can be a good ‘diversion’. Hmm… I think Shinobu might be the same case like Mitsuki for her sister. Just brattier. Then there is Kaede and Yuzu who doesn’t seem to be in a yuri relationship but they are close enough to make fans fantasize that there could be a possibility of one. Kaede seems to be quite perceptive and knows what is going on between Haruka and Yuu unlike Yuzu who is oblivious to any yuri relationship around her.

The art and drawing of the series feels like standard cute and moe anime girls. But something about the visual effects and presentation remind me that it is a little similar like Hidamari Sketch. For example how certain scenes use trademark objects to represent a character like that flower hair pin to indicate Yuu and the words of ‘big sister’ on it to point out it is Mitsuki. Though, this anime was made by Studio Deen, a veteran in many famous animes like Fate/Stay Night, Jigoku Shoujo, Full Moon Wo Sagashite, Fruits Basket, Rave, You’re Under Arrest, Hetalia Axis Power, Higurashi No Naku Koro and even another yuri themed anime, Maria-sama Ga Miteru. Heck, they even did yaoi themed animes such as Sekaiichi Hatsukoi and Junjou Romantica! Note, Hidamari Sketch was produced by SHAFT. There are a handful of fanservice scenes (Sumi loves fondling boobs, doesn’t she? And why does Yuu always insist that Haruka’s boobs are C-cup unlike others who claim it is D-cup?) and a couple of episodes that has a short segment at the end that ‘dedicates’ that extra time to it (Shizuku bathing in the bathroom. the girls parading in their swimsuits) but it is nothing to shout about since the focus is much on the yuri romance so this feels like an ‘added bonus’.

I think this may be just coincidence because I thought there was some kind of a ‘conspiracy’ (is that what I call this?) when the seiyuus are coincidentally named after the main characters. At least only for Haruka Tomatsu as Haruka and Yuka Iguchi for Yuu. I mean, this anime was based on a yonkoma series of the same name so they can’t just be making up the names of the main characters, right? Haruka Tomatsu is in her very girly voice as it reminiscence Lala from To Love-Ru while there is no doubt Yuka Iguchi is just being in her trademark bratty voice like Index from To Aru Majutsu No Index and Maria from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai. Other casts include Saki Fujita as Mitsuki (Ao in Yozakura Quartet series), Mai Fuchigami as Kaede (Miho in Girls Und Panzer), Megumi Toda as Yuzu (Amana in Hunter x Hunter 2011), Yuka Aisaka as Kotone, Hiromi Igarashi as Shizuku (Orion in Amnesia), Yurika Endou as Rina (Aina in Z/X Ignition), Momo Asakura as Sumi (Rin in Witch Craft Works) and Asuka Nishi as Shinobu (Shinobu in Kin-iro Mosaic).

The opening theme is Won *3* and sung by the seiyuus of 6 girls. I just thought that this song sounds very dramatic despite a handful of funny moments like how Haruka and Yuu try to secretly kiss behind Mitsuki’s back and back off each time she turns around… Until they got caught in the act! And yeah, lots of kissing scenes too. The weirdest part is that in certain scenes of the opening credits animation, those girls are seen doing a group dance that has them shake their upper torso. This makes it seem like their boobs are vibrating. Really. The ending theme is Kiss (And) Love only sung by the duet of Haruka Tomatsu and Yuka Iguchi. The special ending theme for episode 8 is Sakura Sweet Kiss and sung by the trio of Saki Fujita, Momo Asakura and Yurika Endou.

People who are not open to different types of love that are apparent these days may not appreciate this type of anime. Although this genre might be heavily yuri themed, at least from another perspective it goes to show that love transcends all kinds of boundaries and that the stereotypes are just in our heads and limiting us. Perhaps in time to come, there’ll be more animes open to love romance with animals, with plants, with your parents or grandparents, with inanimate objects, imaginary people, etc. Is the world ready for this kind of love? Oh, what about 2D characters and aliens? Nah, those are pretty normal :). Despite the yuri factor, there is some substance to the romance between the characters as each has their own flaws and issues to deal with. Better than having some ecchi romance fanservice series without substance, right? Well… Since I am not much of a yuri fan, I think I’ll go for the latter any time. Yeah, we’re all perverts in one way or another. I guess for now it is okay and tolerable for me to see girls kissing girls. But definitely not yaoi, guys kissing guys!

Hori-san To Miyamura-kun

September 12, 2014

Sometimes the way a series’ synopsis is written could be the reason why it attracts people to watch it. Never mind the contents. The words alone in the summary could be the deciding factor for people (especially yours truly) to go watch an anime. Provided if I don’t judge it by its poster first. And so this is the case for the double OVAs for Hori-san To Miyamura-kun. It went something like this:

“People say that the youthful days are always bittersweet, but maybe it’s just bitter? Kyouko Hori is a flashy high school girl, who, despite her ostentatious appearance, excels in academics and has a family-loving character. Izumi Miyamura is a bland high school boy, who, despite not wanting to stand out in class, secretly wears piercings outside of school and has a large body tattoo. One day, Miyamura finds Hori’s little brother injured and helps him back to Hori’s house, where the relationship between Hori and Miyamura begins with Hori’s discovery of Miyamura’s secret”.

It might sound very normal and ordinary but for me at that time, it was enough to make me decide that I should give this a try. Besides, I didn’t realize there were actually 2 OVAs for this and I only recently got to know about this series when the second OVA was released back in March 2014. The first OVA was released somewhere in September 2012 and that is like one and a half years between the OVAs! I don’t know if they’re going to wait another 3 years to decide for another OVA but let me watch this couple of OVAs first.

Episode 1
It starts off with some comical short clip of Hori wanting to cut Miyamura’s hair. I don’t know how much she cut off… On to the story proper, it is the start of the new term. Hori, Tooru Ishikawa and Yuki Yoshikawa find themselves in the same class. Also with them is Miyamura whom Hori’s friends think is an otaku. Hori and Miyamura seats are close to each other. This has Miyamura remember their little secret. When Miyamura saved her little brother Souta after he fell down due to being startled by a dog, he brought him back to his home. Hori is shocked and surprised and cannot believe this guy is Miyamura. I mean with all that ear piercings, no glasses and different hairstyle, he doesn’t look like that geek. He too thought Hori was unrecognizable since she dons a different hairstyle and is without any makeup. She feels embarrassed when he praises her how she keeps her house clean by herself. Even more so when he comments she looks cuter without her makeup. He thought this would be the last time he would come to her house but because Souta always asked for him, that is when he started going to Hori’s house on his days off. On another day, he saves Souta from being bullied from another kid. But I guess he forgot to buy Hori’s coffee from Starbucks so he lets her have his (indirect kiss?). It wasn’t to her liking and scolds him. However her body action later reveals that perhaps it wasn’t the drink she finds it frustrating… There is a physical examination at school so Miyamura is at a loss on what to do and seeks Hori’s help. Why? Because he has this big tattoo over his body! This is going to be troublesome. Shortly, Ishikawa confronts Miyamura that he has been pretty friendly with Hori lately. Are they going out? Of course not. He thinks they won’t be a good match. Miyamura asks if Ishikawa likes Hori. Naturally. Miyamura is naturally an insensitive person so he couldn’t see Ishikawa embarrassed and continues asking. Ishikawa notices Miyamura wearing his jersey despite it is summer. Does he have a scar? Miyamura tells him his secret and shows the tattoo. Ishikawa pats his head and finds him interesting. Upon closer look, he realizes he has piercing holes on his ear.

Ishikawa requests to walk home with Hori because Miyamura is acting all fidgety and nervous, she suspects something is wrong. More so, he couldn’t look at her in the eye when they talk. Actually Ishikawa told him he wants to confess to Hori. He just wanted to check if he is okay with that. Miyamura feels grateful since she is nice to him. He then ponders if they actually became a couple, what will happen to him? Will he be in the way? Will he be alone again? If so, it is okay since he is used to it just like before. When Hori comes back, she talks to Miyamura that Ishikawa had told her. She is not happy that he thought they don’t match and that she was just being nice to him. He admits it but because he doesn’t want to blow her cover. She isn’t impressed with that and doesn’t want him to do it again. As for whether he can still come over, of course he can. Because Souta would be lonely and it would be hard for her to carry the groceries alone. As for Ishikawa’s confession, she turned him down. Miyamura couldn’t understand why she turned down such a nice guy so Hori says if he likes him that much, they can date each other. Wait a minute… Miyamura doesn’t discount it?! Ever since, Ishikawa feels heartbroken and somewhat avoids Hori. Though, he hasn’t had any problems talking to Miyamura. When the teacher tells the class to form a group of 4, Miyamura becomes part of Hori’s group as he wonders if this is how it feels to have friends. He remembers people always leave him out and in the end he was always alone. Miyamura and Ishikawa talk. Hori treats him the same as always. Does it mean she thinks nothing of him and just a friend? He feels irritated that he is close to Hori. But because he is too nice and gullible, he can’t leave him alone. They try calling each other by their first names. It sounds weird but I think it’s passable. Hori reprimands the guys for not doing their report. Miyamura thinks he’ll be okay with friends like them.

Episode 2
Ishikawa’s weird dream of Miyamura as his little kitten? Miyamura didn’t do well in his test unlike Hori who almost got perfect. Hori declines Yoshikawa’s invitation to hang out after school. Miyamura could guess she wants to rush for some time limited sales. He helps her out and they bought a lot. Hori is tasked by the student council to do a welcoming party for the freshmen since she is an honours student. This makes Souta ask the meaning of it. Miyamura explains all the cool qualities of being an honours student. But that doesn’t include shooting beams from their eyes! One evening, Hori SMS to Miyamura about some sale of cheap eggs that will only be available till 4pm. That means he only has 15 minutes! He makes a quick dash and jumps over the fence. He almost bumps into Yoshikawa but she couldn’t recognize him as he wasn’t wearing his glasses. She never knew such a cool guy exists in her school. Back home, Miyamura tells Hori that Yoshikawa saw him in that coincidence but she doesn’t mind about it although she would prefer nobody else sees him in that appearance. Miyamura also mentions the side of Hori that he would love to see and not let others see so she scolds him. Because Miyamura is such a frequent visitor, Souta thinks he should just live here. But Hori says he can’t be here all the time. Especially when he chooses his path after graduating from high school. Souta throws a tantrum that he doesn’t like it. It won’t be fun if he isn’t here. Is Hori okay with this? Of course she prefers him around too. Souta gives off a big smile. In class, Yoshikawa sees the resemblance between Miyamura and that hot guy but couldn’t guess they are the same person. So the friends try to cover up like he looks like some character in some tokusatsu show. When Hori is called by the student council for work, the friends talk about the student council president, Kakeru Sengoku who is quite popular with the girls. However he has a cute girlfriend, Remi Ayasaki whom they believe doesn’t do the work and pushes it to Hori. While Miyamura is at the vending machine trying to decide, he sees Sengoku and Remi coming by lovey-dovey. He overhears their conversation (it’s like they act he doesn’t even exist). She wants him to cover up a big mistake she did and he agrees to do it.

Hori feels stressed since she needs to think how to receive a female guest Souta will bring home. With Miyamura’s idea, they use the leftover eggs to make some bread cake. While washing the dishes, Hori requests Miyamura to bring her scrunchie in her room. He sees a crumpled future survey form with lots of cancel marks on it. It was when he realized she was always stressed out and never noticed about it. He feels sad about it and goes back to pat her head (?!). He even leaves a message that he thinks she must have cried. Did she? Not even she herself knows. In class, he gives her an extra copy of the form to fill out. Hori is called again by the student council. They thought she has finished all the work. They hear them accusing her of faults in the materials so it can’t be published. Hori denies it since it is under Remi’s job but they continue to blame her for blaming others instead of doing a proper job. Also, the people around are starting to badmouth about Hori. She just stood there in silence… After a while, Miyamura comes back and he has Ishikawa hold his glasses. Then he head butts Sengoku!!! What was that for?! He was mad. And then he shows the proof of Remi’s miscalculations. They disperse the crowd and everything is settled for now. Seems Miyamura went to find the proof and perhaps they are just like the lazy bums they are, they didn’t even properly burn away the evidence and left it in the garbage. On a rainy day, Hori forgot her umbrella but Miyamura lends his jacket and they make a dash in the rain. She spams him with questions like why is he being so kind to her. Why does he always appear when she needs him? Why?! He says something inaudible and he whispers “Baka!” in his ear. In the aftermath, the head butt incident didn’t spread and Ichikawa thinks Sengoku might have taken advantage of her weakness. Flashback reveals Sengoku lost a bet and became her lackey. He promised to change when he enters high school and wants to have high grades and become the student council president. He is appalled to find she is enrolling in the same high school with him. He wants her to leave her alone then. Otherwise the next time she makes fun of him, he will spill her secret. Not the one where she hates stew but where she arm wrestled 5 guys and won. Hori couldn’t believe she once bullied him. Likewise Sengoku too can’t believe he once bullied her. I suppose he has some sort of trauma seeing Miyamura even if he is just greeting him normally.

Averagely Normal…
I have good news and bad news. Which do you want to hear? Oh, let me start with the bad news first. First of all, there is nothing really exciting going on in this series. You have got the main protagonists who are looking normal but have their own secrets. You don’t see them trying hard to hide it because all they have to do is just act normal with everyone else and you won’t even suspect a thing. There is nothing special in the romance either and it might bore you to death as we don’t see any progress. My guess is that just like this anime’s title suggest, the main pairings will be between Hori and Miyamura. I have a gut feeling that they like each other but just keeping their distance and status as friends. I mean, how long can you use the house visit all for Souta excuse? Therefore the plot is nothing special and nothing that extraordinary because it is just about these bunch of people and their interaction among themselves. Although I didn’t read the manga, the way the episodes show feels like they are putting snippets of certain chapters into the episodes. It’s like cramming everything or just showing the so called important bits.

Even more so, the animation is nothing special and is ordinary. In fact, I would say that the art and drawing are the biggest downside (at least to me) because the characters here do look simple and general. It is like they didn’t put enough quality into them but then again, this might be the series’ uniqueness. But still, I find it a major turnoff. If you want to have handsome guys and cute girls, it is best to have them looking like the standard bishonen and bishoujo instead of going for something simple and plain. Though, I feel the second OVA’s quality was a much better improvement than the first one although the art of the character designs still remain generally the same.

So average this show is that it might even turn into a bore fest because with the lack of everything, it also lacks everything else. It has no great music, with no grand plots means it has no filler scenes. And as said the lack of any extravagant animation or complicated plots that involve the confusing love relationships, love polygons makes everything else feels so normal and in a way uninteresting. Despite all that, what is the good news? All that too. Yup. The bad things are the good things as well because it shows that it is just a simple show and that you don’t need all the fancy and extravagant stuffs to pull in your audience. Therefore despite there is the danger of it being uninteresting, if you toss away all your high expectations, you should find this series to be decently good and satisfying. Because, there is nothing wrong being normal or average, right? Whoever said being that was bad?

Witch Craft Works

September 7, 2014

Witches still exist today. They blend into society of course. Otherwise if they were ever found out, the people would have burnt them at the stakes. Or have riots, like today’s trend. But what I am about to blog today isn’t about the history of witches or the possibility about witches in society. In Witch Craft Works, we have our seemingly ubiquitous normal male protagonist character. Then we also have the popular, smart and beautiful female that everybody adores to death in school. What happens if you put them together, say, make them a pair? You get a feeling that World War III is about to explode any time. But wait. The popular girl harbours a secret. Doesn’t every girl have a little secret or two of her own? Not just any secret. She is a witch! I know, looks can fool. We have been brought up with the perception that witches look horrible with pimples, wrinkled skin and just ugly. Nowadays, witches tend to look like Miss Universe and who knows, they might even be disguised as your favourite idol. When you do find out such beautiful girls are witches, feel like burning them on the stake? The boy too has some secret and latent power but we’re not interested in that for now, aren’t we? Anyway, here is the plot of this anime summarized in one sentence: This normal boy is being protected by this popular witchy girl from surrounding witches who want what is inside him . Holy cow! A girl protecting a boy who now plays the damsel in distress role? More girl power!

Episode 1
Honoka Takamiya is an ordinary kid. Like they always are. Unlike Ayaka Kagari who is swamped by lots of crazy fan girls. He always gets pushed aside. Whether he is in the bus or in his classroom. Yeah, she sits next to him. When he accidentally drops his eraser and she picks it up for him, later a group of extreme fans beat him up for plotting this. WTF. One day he is taking out the trash, a school building falls on him!!! However he is not dead because Ayaka in a witch outfit saves him. She’s floating too! It doesn’t get any weirder when mechanical bunny knights start attacking them. She burns them all. Takamiya got distracted in the back and is captured by the rabbits and on the verge of being beheaded. He thinks all of this is a dream. Ayaka burns them all in time and assures she will do her duty to protect him, her princess. Did I hear that right? Takamiya must be feeling weird right now. So for some reason, he chides her about taking better care of her hair. Then he pathetically gets hammered by a rabbit in which Ayaka continues to burn them. When he wakes up, he is in her private quarters in the school. Since there is no point protecting him secretly, she wants him to walk home together. Hmm… So all those times with her around weren’t a coincidence? Now that she is hanging out with him, all the fan girls are crying blood and complaining. I wish those b*tches would just shut up. Yeah. He becomes public enemy number one. Ayaka doesn’t seem to even give a hoot about it all. Those extreme fans are about to beat him up again but Ayaka steps in, hinting she will burn those who hurt him. Cue to back off.

Even during lunch time, there is this awkwardness. All the fan girls gathering and Takamiya is the odd one out sitting next to her. It’s like one wrong move and he will die. Since it is his decision, he wants to go back to the classroom instead of joining her. The fan girls continue to badmouth him so Ayaka burns their lunch! On his way back, he notices the courtyard back to normal. No damage. He is greeted by Tanpopo Kuraishi who was the perpetrator in yesterday’s illusion attack. She was just testing to see his threat level. Now that he is not, the reason she is appearing before him. She is of the Tower Witches and is here to kidnap him. Before she can do that, Ayaka comes to his rescue. Again. But Tanpopo has come prepared. She unleashes an entire army of bunnies onto them. Takamiya is not amused that Ayaka used her body to protect him. He is upset but realizes this isn’t as important in getting her treated. It was his own fault for running away from her and preventing Ayaka from doing her duty. He needs to believe in her. However she is fine as her body is made of flames. She has him close his eyes so she bursts into flames and destroys all the rabbits. So powerful that Tanpopo is shaking in her pants and forced to retreat. When he opens his eyes, everything is back to normal. Next day, 5 new transfer students in their class. Aside Tanpopo, they are Rin Kazari, Kotetsu Katsura, Mei Menowa and Kanna Utsugi. They make look like weirdoes but actually they are witches called KMM Group.

Episode 2
Unknowingly, Takamiya walks into the Torture Research Club’s room (they have this in school?) and sees Ayaka burning KMM Group (minus Mei) gagged at the stakes!!! Well, Takamiya did say they were troubling him, right? Nipping the problem in the bud… Takamiya wonders why he is targeted so Tanpopo mentions it is not him they are after but his body. More accurately, the white stuff inside him. Erm… That could be easily misconstrued. Mei pops up to cut her comrades free and let them deal with Ayaka while she kidnaps Takamiya. However they lost in an instant! Mei attacks Takamiya but to her surprise, it is Ayaka who takes the injury instead of him. Knowing they can’t win this battle, the Tower Witches flee. Again. Later in her private room, she explains she would have preferred him not to know all of this but as things are now, he’ll only be attacked by Tower Witches. They’ll need to take the initiative to return him to his previous life by defeating the mastermind. The problem is they don’t know who it is. Takamiya feels guilty that she is doing this to protect him. But rather becoming a damsel in distress he wants to be her disciple.

And so the next day he gets a call from her to go out with her on the weekend. I’m sure his little sister is very much interested to tail… Along the way, Ayaka explains the world has 2 types of witches. Workshop Witches in which she belongs to are witches who want to protect this world and ensure magic is not abused. They create workshops around town and blend into society. The other is of course Tower Witches. Their goals are unknown but they seek to use magic as they wish and don’t care about the world or people. If Takamiya falls into their hands, the world will be in chaos. Taking a break at the maid cafe, hyper active Touko Mio who seems to be an obsessed comrade of Ayaka starts blabbing. Part of it includes Tower Witches are seen gathering in this town including the notorious Chronoire Schwarz VI. Takamiya thought Touko looks like the student council vice president but Ayaka thinks he shouldn’t bother or even know her. This can’t be good. Takamiya wonders if this is a date because now he is accompanying her shopping. He sees a kind person helping a lost little girl. But when that person, Ai recognizes Takamiya in the wanted poster, she becomes a villain and attacks him. Her comrades, Mai and Mii (Ai, Mai and Mii???) also go into action but are blown away by Ayaka. Ai knows she is no match for Ayaka after she has burnt down the entire shopping floor! Escape is always the best solution. Ayaka then brings Takamiya to her workshop where her mom Kazane is the chairwoman. She chides her daughter for using her magic since she got a complaint call from the mall. What did she say about Workshop Witches again? That aside, since Takamiya is to become her disciple, it is their custom for a superior to check the apprentice taken in by a subordinate. And those clothes she bought are actually for his witch costume…

Episode 3
KMM Group is going at it again against Ayaka. We know how this is going to end. Ayaka wants Takamiya to sit and learn. Then she blows them away in an instant. Did you catch all that? In school, he has got a set of people who want to kill him. Ayaka’s shoe box might not have a single love letter (because fans vetted them) his is filled with death threats! That will probably pile up since Ayaka becomes his personal tutor and his tennis partner. If he doesn’t die of exhaustion, he would be by those jealous fans. On the way home as they ride the bus, Ayaka realizes they have walked into a trap when the bus turns into a magic dimension. Chronoire makes Ayaka unable to move. Takamiya throws himself in front of her to protect her but Chronoire has proven that Ayaka cannot die no matter what she does to her. But when she stabs him, the pain and injury in him is quickly transferred to her. She explains Ayaka took in all the damage because she made a contract with him. She borrowed the power within him to become an invisible witch and in exchange swore to serve and protect him. She doesn’t know about their past but it seems they share a strong bond. If he wants to save her, swallow this sweet that will release that white stuff inside him. She is confident he will swallow it eventually, whether he likes it or not. Ayaka pushes herself and sets the area ablaze. Chronoire’s barrier has reached her limit so it’s time to retreat. She hopes to meet again on Walpurgis Night. When Takamiya wakes up, he is at the bus stop and Ayaka is out cold. He takes her to the infirmary and keeps the ball (wrapped in a sweet) in his drawer while weighing heavily on Chronoire’s words.

Next day, Takamiya dons the witch outfit and at the school gym begins his witch training. Ayaka couldn’t help snap a few shots of him. Cute? She teaches to jump high and then has him embrace her. She feels as light as a feather but the guy is slow on the uptake and thinks she hasn’t been eating well. He is also taught how to summon a broom but this will take practice. Meanwhile KMM Group is getting a rival gang. Ai Mai Mii of Star Gang have transferred to this school for the same target. They brought their llama too… When time is up, people stream into the gym but they cannot see Ayaka and Takamiya as the witch robes provide stealth. She takes him fly around town on her broom. In the evening, he sees a girl getting bullied in the streets and wants to save her. But Ayaka explains their job is only to fend off bad witches and they can’t use their magic on normal people. Leave this to the police. Takamiya can’t just let this slip by and drops down. He manages to summon the broom but cannot control its speed and crashes into them. The bullies are going to make him pay but Ayaka burns them! What did she say about using magic on normal people? Actually as Ayaka explains, the enemy knows his personality and setup a trap using troublemakers to lure him in. That girl they just saved, Yoshiko Tanuma turns out to be a friend of Takamiya’s little sister, Kasumi.

Episode 4
Medusa, some super witch is locked up in some high security containment unit. The guards are talking the threat that she is if she was ever released: The world would come to an end. I guess that’s why it is taboo to talk about things like that. Because the glass cracks! Meanwhile KMM Group is discussing their strategy to attack Ayaka and Takamiya separately. They have a higher chance in winning but the problem is the duo are always together. Chronoire wants to join in the discussion. Takamiya wakes up like any other day but Kasumi seems to be interrogating him about that outing. I don’t think he is a good liar. She gets dead serious in wanting him to tell the truth with Ayaka since she reveals she followed them that day and because she goes to the same school with him, she received lots of harassment just because she is his sister. As he tries to catch a bus on his way to school, Tanpopo traps him while the other witches corner Ayaka and are ready to pound her. As mentioned in Chronoire’s plan, Ayaka is invincible only if Takamiya is within certain range since the source of that invincibility is his mana. The best time to attack them is when they are separated and that time is when they catch the bus. Chronoire won’t be joining in since she used lots of her mana to create that sweet and is tired. Besides, it will not be pleasant if their master Medusa finds out they are working together.

Before Tanpopo can take Takamiya away, a super huge teddy bear arrives. Kasumi is a witch???!!! Now you have a fight between a giant bear and a giant rabbit. The town is getting destroyed… Even if Rin’s giant dinosaur skeleton enters the fray, they are still no match for the bear since Kasumi is going to show them her will to protect her brother and this town. By destroying it? Yeah. Kazane thinks it is going to be a good day till she sees the new of the destruction. This isn’t going to be good. As usual the often used escape strategy by the Tower Witches. In the aftermath, Takamiya although surprised his sisters is a Workshop Witch, he is more concerned with Ayaka. Don’t worry. She is fine an unscathed. Kasumi starts chiding them that she is the one who saved him but yet he is concerned about Ayaka. Then there’s this agreement about them taking turns taking care of Takamiya. All that frustration out in a single sentence without a full stop. Kasumi admits this morning was just a tease and all those harassments… You don’t want to know what she did to them. Kasumi is about to warn them a message from Kazane that 30 Tower Witches have gathered in this town and to lay low. However Ayaka ignores her and continues her romantic antic with Takamiya. Since he was this worried about her, she will devote herself to protect him 24 hours. So come live with her or they can elope together. Say what? Meanwhile Star Gang who was caught in the crossfire is wandering around when they meet Chronoire’s crocodile familiar. They lost. Chronoire sees the Tower Witches who lost to Ayaka left hanging on the signboard. Looks like the plan didn’t work out. She needs to take another approach. The crocodile has returned and gathered all the Tower Witches as per instructed. Kazane gets a call that Medusa has escaped. As for the Tower Witches quintet, their strategy review seems to be having a karaoke party… It’s good to relieve all that stress…

Episode 5
Ayaka introduces herself to Takamiya’s mom, Komachi. She instantly accepts her. Kasumi is not happy. This is Komachi’s explanation. Long ago, she was very good friends with Kazane. So close that they wanted to get married but couldn’t because they are girls. So they agreed that their children get married instead. WTF… But Takamiya can’t object or say a thing about the Tower Witches. Kasumi won’t accept this but mother just tells her to let go of her big brother. She restrains her just to let the duo get away. Along the way, Takamiya mentions whenever he is with her, he feels at ease. Like there is something between them. There was something between them in the past. But she can’t remember those vague memories. All she remembers is her duty to protect him. Takamiya seats in her limo, arrives at her 41 storey mansion with lots of maids at her call. Can he get used to this life? But upon reaching the top floor, Medusa waits for them. Ayaka wants Takamiya to wait a floor below while she fights her. Of course that guy won’t sit back and do that. He puts on his witch gear and is going to help out. Ayaka is blasted away and turned into stone. Even in her last moments, she wants him to escape. She never actually taught him how to fight, right? Yeah. That was all she ever taught him. Medusa is going to kill them both since their souls are connected. Takamiya is desperate and remembers the sweet. No time to think. He swallows it and in an instant, the white princess Evermillion pops out. She is so powerful that the entire tower gets decimated! And Kazane thought she is going to wind down and relax after a hard day’s work and looking at her magnificent tower. And it all comes crashing down!!! Even the school is not spared! The rubbles become some sort of a landslide and take out KMM Group who is going to this room their base. Kazane is so mad that she orders the summoning of all Workshop Witches here now!

Takamiya wants to know a way to free Ayaka but Evermillion won’t do it for free. Not money or his soul. She wants his eyes. He didn’t hesitate to give it to her! Of course she lost interest. Plus, that was just a joke. She whispers him a method but he seems hesitant. She blames him as the reason she turned to stone. As Medusa is a Gorgon, not only physical things turned to stone but thoughts and concepts as well. But as he has seen Medusa, she is still bound by the barriers. Thus the only way she could have gotten her power was via substitute. Takamiya had reservations in believing in Ayaka. His lack of faith put her in this state. Medusa is going to attack again and Evermillion’s time is up. She disappears but knows they’ll meet again since the first seal is broken. Takamiya kisses Ayaka to wake her up. Then she blasts away KMM Group (as usual) and takes down Medusa. The net thing Takamiya knows, he is in the school infirmary. He thought all that was a dream but Medusa and KMM Group are in the next room! Don’t worry. They’re harmless for now. Ayaka kisses Takamiya as repayment and warns him not to offer his eyes like that again. Later they see the assembly of Workshop Witches in the area. Ayaka is going to prioritize Takamiya first and so they go live in his house. Komachi is more than happy to accept. Just as Chronoire has brainwashed all the Tower Witches suddenly all the Workshop Witches barge in and attack. Chronoire is under Kazane’s interrogation for that incident. What incident? Poor Chronoire… Scream fest…

Episode 6
Kasumi comes home in the morning and isn’t happy that last night hunt for Medusa yielded nothing. Though, she is happy the plan for her brother to live with Ayaka is now off and that she can see him. Boy, is she going to be surprised. Ayaka is on top of big brother in his room!!! So little sister snaps. To a point she scolds mommy! Komachi is in shock and sinks into depression and apathy. Meanwhile the student council president is also scolding her team for not doing their job of exterminating pests that approach Ayaka. She even chides the supervisor teacher, Kyouichirou Mikage and threatens to fire him! So against his will, he summons the duo to talk. He explains to Takamiya how Ayaka was chosen as the school’s role model and thus her status now. It’ll be troublesome if the rumours spread and that she doesn’t belong to him but the school. So can he back down? Ayaka is adamant nothing can pull them apart so Mikage hints that Ayaka’s position is the second most powerful after the chairwoman’s. He is relieved she has got a plan. Then he ‘borrows’ Takamiya and whisks him away into another dimension. Despite being a scientist, looks like he is dabbling in magic and has made a replica of that sweet. He explains there are 5 seals in him and they have been broken. Or in time all of them will be. Those seals are to seal Evermillion and it won’t be long before Kazane turns against him. The reason he gets to live a peaceful life was that HQ entrusted him to her only on condition that all seals are in place. Now that they are breaking apart, the only way to stop it is to seal him as a whole. The only person who can do it is Kazane but since she is so focused on catching Medusa, she hasn’t noticed the crack yet. But it will only be time before she does. Speaking of Medusa, seems Ayaka is hiding them. Mikage calls him special and wants to help him and offers to be his guardian. But Ayaka breaks through and takes him away.

As part of her plan, she summons all the students to the hall. They must really love her when she talks. It’s like a political rally. In short, she points out she has ultimate authority and it is up to her whether they live or die. She fires the student council and installs Takamiya as the president while she is the vice. Now nobody can tear them apart. So in the meeting, the others want some explanation (Touka is reduced to this deputy vice president – whatever this role is). Ayaka has pre-written some fiery words to counter them but Takamiya prefers to say it in his own words. Although he was chosen by Ayaka, he wants them to give him a chance to do prove his worth. Kasumi is still not going to accept this and plans to bring her brother back. While they are out shopping, Kasumi kidnaps Takamiya and throws a car at Ayaka in a shop! Then she injects tranquilizers into her. Kasumi is serious in running away with him and live in a different town. She heard his conversation with Mikage so this means they can’t trust the chairwoman and her daughter. Suddenly Ayaka has caught up. She’s very pissed. So mad that she doesn’t care blasting the town just to take Kasumi out!!! In the midst of the chaos, Kasumi crashes into a building. They are falling. Takamiya wants to save her sister so Ayaka catches them both. Everybody is shocked by the suddenly devastation of the town as Ayaka quietly brings the duo back (Kasumi is dragged all the way back). Although Ayaka is upset (her face doesn’t show it), she can feel the siblings’ bond. She wants to be his little sister but he notes she is more suited to be her big sister. Now she wants him to call her as onee-chan. Kazane leaves a message that she is coming over to see Takamiya and her daughter. Komachi instantly revives! Medusa and KMM Group are bored waiting in a room.

Episode 7
Komachi reveals another revelation. Right after she got married, she cheated on her husband and had another child. She is Ayaka and please welcome her as your older sister!!! Thank goodness it was just a dream. Much to Kasumi’s dismay, she isn’t allowed to stay home together with her onii-chan and is forced to go out. This leaves Takamiya and Ayaka alone together. It seems KMM Group and Medusa are taking refuge in Ayaka’s room. Medusa is being obedient because she underestimated Ayaka and lost. She’ll betray her once she gets bored. Besides, it’ll be far worse if Kazane finds them. A short rewind 6 hours ago reveals KMM Group disobeyed Medusa’s orders to stay hidden and wanted to catch Takamiya. But they stayed outside the room till they fall asleep, not even bothered when Kazane came over to drink with Komachi and got drunk. And they realized they failed when Takamiya woke up from that silly dream. Takamiya continues to study under Ayaka’s tutelage and realizes this isn’t the witch lessons she’s supposed to teach. Her point is so they can attend the same university together. He gets caught up in the rain while trying to keep the clothes. That’s when the rest comes back and he goes to take a bath. That’s when he sees Kotetsu and Mei. When the truth is out, Kazane knocks out Kasumi and Komachi to prepare to fight them. To her surprise, Ayaka turns on her. Remembering Mikage’s words, Takamiya tells Ayaka not to hand them over. Ayaka summons Medusa since there is a change in plan. They both fuse. Takamiya sees visions of Ayaka making a deal with Medusa when she hid them in her place. Medusa is impressed Ayaka has the Apple of Discord which has to power to fuse 2 witches. As Ayaka is willing to sacrifice her own body for him, she finds it interesting to agree to her plan. Kazane realizes Medusa wasn’t after Evermillion but a successor. Who other to be complete and perfect witch like her daughter? She is bent to take her in for questioning.

Despite being petrified, Kazane is able to break free and fight back. She explains Ayaka is not getting her invincibility from Evermillion anymore because she is no longer pure. She has become weaker fusing with Medusa. Takamiya wants to save her and concentrates to use his power to switch places. Unfortunately this means he gets punched instead. The duo find themselves trapped in a torture chamber. Medusa is ripped from her. Ayaka explains the worst possible scenario. Kazane always stressed to her the seal must never be broken. As long as it remains intact, their school life is guaranteed. She hid Medusa and co so that they wouldn’t find out about this because her underlings will definitely spill everything if they get tortured. Blaming herself for letting her guard down, the only solution is to fight and defeat her. Running to another town is not another option despite Kazane having no authority over them there. Because he has a power that every witch yearns, it is just wrong to have it and live in secrecy. She has a plan. Meanwhile stressed out Kazane is having a shogi game with Chronoire. Before she could interrogate Medusa, Laurent and Vine from Rothenburg Workshop came to take Medusa away since they were chasing after her. Oh, she let KMM Group go since they are no threat. That useless, huh? To add to Kazane’s stress, Ayaka and Takamiya bursts out from their cell! But Kazane isn’t going to fight them. It’s been a crazy day so she tells them to go home. At least she still didn’t find out about the broken seal. Takamiya remembers Ayaka telling her plan. When he kissed her then, she felt powers she never felt before. She wants to do something similar but yet a different approach. Instead of kissing, he is given an ear digging treatment and lap pillow. It powered her up to break them free. Back home, Komachi introduces to KMM Group. Their family just got larger. Just great. Just what he needs.

Episode 8
Flashback during Ayaka’s middle school days, Kazane introduced Touko and Kanae Hoodzuki to her. Despite Ayaka being like useless idiot standing around doing nothing, till Hoodzuki tells her how to go about it, she does it amazingly. It’s like she’s some sort of her manager. Ayaka becomes popular in many girls but the seniors are jealous. They wanted to teach her a lesson but Ayaka puts them out by increasing their body temperature, short of boiling their blood. Over the year while the trio did things together, Ayaka also staked out different middle schools looking for Takamiya. It took a year for her to find him and the first sight she saw was Kasumi clinging onto his hand. Kasumi, who is already so stressed that she was suddenly knocked out last night, finds KMM Group as part of the family. That’s not the end of it. She sees Ayaka in a nurse outfit on top of Takamiya. Extreme shock. This is her method of checking up on him to see if any other seals are broken? In school, suddenly a group of girls in animal outfits start destroying the place. Total anarchy! A rumour has it that Mikage got (censored)! If you are asking why Kazane is letting this happened, it is because she is on holiday and left authority of the place in charge to Chronoire. Yup. She allows it. The girls view this as rebellion and Takamiya is the source of it. Nobody likes him being student council president and has been receiving many death threats for him to resign. The leader of the rebellion, Rinon Otometachibana hands him a challenge letter to come to the gym alone. Touko thinks she knows why this is happening. While working in her part time bartender job, she saw the former student council president coming in with Rinon. She exaggerated Takamiya assaulted and used her body to steal her position. Rinon was so pissed and vowed to get this Takamiya guy. Of course Rinon has this legendary status of defeating every delinquent and even a tiger who escaped from the zoo.

Takamiya goes to meet Rinon in the gym. It suddenly becomes like an MMA fight. The crowd is cheering when Rinon lands all her hits. Takamiya is just like a sitting duck. She is about to finish him when he remembers Ayaka’s words on how to defeat her. Something about her finishing move that will open a window of opportunity for him to strike back. She knows this because they went to the same middle school. Takamiya manages to take this chance and overpower her. He is supposed to hit her back but decides not to. Just then, the lights go out. KMM Group drop into the arena. Rinon thinks this was a setup and easily defeats the quintet. Those girls are really useless. Then Ayaka comes swooping down and beats her up for bullying her beloved Takamiya. When the lights come back on, everybody sees Takamiya the victor. Thank to the witches in their robes, they are invisible. In the end, Rinon became pissed and went after the former student council president’s head after learning she tricked her. Kasumi picked up mommy from work so she didn’t hear about this. Mikage just fell instead of getting (censored). Former student council president explains she did exaggerate but was about to tell her it was a joke but this already fired up Rinon and thus decided to play along. She feels so guilty so Touko and Hoodzuki cheer her up how they did secret things behind Ayaka’s back and were found out. Even after all that, they still remained friends.

Episode 9
Takamiya and Ayaka at her beach house… Damn, just another dream! Ayaka has decided to train him in battle after what happened last time. What’s with the change of heart? Instead, she accuses him of hiding something. She knows he has been training himself nightly and more importantly, Kasumi is spending more time with him! So here comes her Spartan training. He must fight off her fire familiar. Since he is a wuss and gets lightly bruised, she wants to call it off but he insists carrying on. Okay. Ayaka drops him off the building and wants him to summon something other than his broom to fly. He maintains focus but materializes a giant nurse outfit Ayaka?! It goes a little out of control and KMM Group who just got a new hideout got caught in the crossfire. Bad luck. Mikage and Chronoire are watching this. They realize this power can only happen if the second seal has broken. It could be during the fight with Rinon. Kazane is in some strange room with some strange thing. Rinon is here too. She informs her that a Tower Witch came to relay a message that the entire town is her hostage. Later Takamiya learns how Ayaka and KMM Group rushed to his aid against Rinon. She says the school contains something important. She remembers when she was young, she dreamt that Takamiya told and predicted the things she will do now. She vows to do all that. This dream is her only hint and by doing so she may get a clue.

Kazane meets Tower Witch, Weekend. The latter explains that strange thing is a weapon of mass destruction. A bomb. Only she can disarm it. Kazane thought this was going to be a negotiation but Weekend dismisses it. She will take Takamiya but the bomb has a different purpose. She talks about the Workshop Witches’ system of magic to protect this city. Only its leader can place a large barrier over town and protect its civilians from magic danger. Each time a magic attack occurs and the barrier protects, it uses a little mana. Kazane of course has tremendous amount of it. But what if all citizens were to be attacked simultaneously? This is Weekend’s plan. She sets the town exploding. Can you believe that Ayaka is so focused in her test instead of evacuating? She only did so when her test paper was burnt. Weekend is glad her plan is working. Chronoire and Medusa were just her pawns. Now that Kazane is weakened, she is thrown into a cell. It will take a week for her mana to replenish and during this time if Weekend captures Takamiya, she wins. Ayaka leads Takamiya to a secret place underneath school. Other than Kasumi and Touko, they meet other Workshop Witches like Rinon, Natsume and Atori. As Natsume explains what is happening in the city, she suddenly takes out a gun and shoots at Takamiya. Although Ayaka knocks her out, she soon falls unconscious. Takamiya realizes their plan to put Ayaka to sleep (she absorbs the tranquilizers). After Kasumi is knocked out, the duo are placed in a cell to hide them away from Tower Witches. Rinon warns them, escape and she’ll kill them. When Ayaka wakes up, she reveals during the test she felt a strong power from Tower Witches. It could mean Kazane found out about the broken seals or she has been defeated. But if she had known about the seals, she would be here. But there is no reason for them to worry because this lock up is just temporary. They’ll win if they are unable to capture them before Kazane recovers. A doll drops in containing a holographic greeting from Weekend. Ayaka crushes it. Wise decision. It contains a tracker but Weekend already knows where they are and is heading there. Thanks to the doll’s explosion, a hole in the wall is created. They’re going to escape and fight Weekend. How are they going to do it without magic?

Episode 10
When they reach the exit, the entire town is destroyed. It’s like Apocalypse. He blames himself for this to happen and even though she agrees, they must move on if they do not wish for harm to come. She wants him to remember that feeling when he freed her from Medusa’s petrifying. They are going to a place where Tower Witches cannot enter. A place Workshop Witches made a contract to place a barrier to protect citizens. Don’t they have a safer route? Along the way, they face off with Tower Witch, Gibraltar. Although Ayaka has no power, she easily defeats her with her brute flying knee kick. You can thank Kazane’s harsh training for that. Natsume, Rinon and Touko are discussing the current situation. Although no casualties, the barrier only protects civilians and not witches. Therefore there are lots of injured Workshop Witches. Suddenly a comrade comes in with bombs all over her body. She is told by Weekend to bring Takamiya in 30 minutes. Natsume analyzes the bombs and they are quick simple even an inept can disarm it. But it takes simple magic, something they don’t have. Also, Weekend is waiting with more bomb hostages outside. Rinon wants to use Takamiya as bait but it seems he is not answering in his cell. We all know where he is. Going to check that place is a 45 minutes’ walk. So Rinon and co go face Weekend outside. Weekend is not pleased that they need more time so she threatens to blow a hostage in every 5 minutes and even mocks them she herself is so weak and can be defeated. But even that doesn’t mean it will disarm the bombs.

Kasumi has the KMM Group work for her (as rent repayment). She overhears this and realizes that the witch planting the bombs is somewhere else. She goes off to find her. Rinon relays to her comrades that when time is up, to go an all out attack. They might die. They have to be prepared for that but at least they’re not going out without a fight. Takamiya and Ayaka are at the city’s core and Workshop Witches’ sanctuary. A place with large tree roots. She guides him how to make a contract and even though his body will feel strained, he must not pass out as this will enable Workshop Witches to use their magic. Takamiya gets into position as the time starts ticking down. Once it runs out, Weekend is about to press the button but all the Workshop Witches feel power flowing through their body and quickly disarm all the bombs. Rinon punches Weekend in the face. She is quarantined in a chamber that prevents her from using magic. But Rinon feels uneasy. Like as though this was too easy. Because a witch who defeated Kazane can’t go down this easy. Weekend mocks them for being naive and lack experience. Do they think she is powerless without magic? She shows them underneath her clothes contain bombs. She blows the place up although she is very much alive but now free from her captivity. Rinon and Natsume are out. Takamiya could see that and Weekend knows he is watching. She is coming for him. He also sees the place filled with her bombs and they all went off. He wants to use his power to save them despite knowing the magic only protects civilians. Ayaka knocks him out and won’t have him risk his life for that. Now it’s her turn to fight.

Episode 11
Ayaka puts Takamiya in his decimated house to rest. He dreams of his mother being bullied in school but she remained smiling. That’s when Kazane beat the crap out of all of them. He also sees Ayaka telling Kazane that she has found Takamiya. She wants her to become chairman and put them in the same class. The next thing he knows, he is with Mikage. Because he has made the contract, he is able to enter this dream world and what he saw was Kazane’s memories, whom he is connected a little since she held the contract previously. Mikage explains Natsume is his niece and then brings him to the safe haven. All the stars represent each person’s life in this town. So rest assured they are safe. Once this is over they’ll be transported back with their memories erased. Yes, he specializes in erasing memories. Kasumi is facing off with one of Weekend’s underlings in a big bear fight. She almost lost when she decided to save Rin. Thankfully Medusa petrifies the enemy and breaks her apart. KMM is glad she is back but she is not amused they remained hidden in the shadows without even trying to fight that weakling. She’ll beat some sense into them all. This can’t be good. But for now she takes them away to hide because the Rothenburg duo are hot on her heels. Atori visits Ayaka and gives her the information she need on the enemy. She also reports Chronoire has been going around torturing Tower Witches who attacked them so it saved them lots of trouble as the army is halved. Ayaka heads off to the chapel where Weekend is waiting and doesn’t waste time attacking her. However it is not easy as the place is set with bombs. Just when Takamiya learns Mikage had a hand in erasing his and Ayaka’s memories, a Weekends’ subordinate has broken through this place and attacks them. Mikage sends Takamiya back into the real world while he takes care of this small fry.

Weekend is impressed that Ayaka remains uninjured despite not having invincibility. This is because she is using her own mana. She is also impressed she has quickly figured her bombing timing and pattern. Just when Weekend thought she had finally cornered and defeated her, she goes up close to her. This was what Ayaka was planning as she burns her at close range. Weekend thought she was out of mana. Her portion, that is. She borrowed Takamiya’s shirt and wore it for additional mana. Her boobs look like it is going to break out any time. Weekend still has an ace up her sleeve. A big bomb sends Ayaka flying away. When Takamiya wakes up, he finds himself naked and Atori next to him. Don’t look! She forces him to stay in bed to rest before answering a call from Mikage. Although he has defeated the enemy, he heard something weird. The haven is packed with bombs and it seems Takamiya is not their target as thought. Although they must bring the kid to Weekend in 30 minutes otherwise it’s boom time. He doesn’t want Atori to let Takamiya know otherwise it’s game over if he falls into the hands of the enemy. Too late. Quickly he has Atori take him there. Ayaka is restrained by Weekend’s familiars. She realizes she can heal herself too. Weekend further explains that her regeneration spell automatically activates. Although it requires mana and she doesn’t have lots of it, she spent half a year setting up bombs in the chapel and over a year over this town. Because of that, she needed to expend mana for healing. Now she is out of mana and defenceless. She blows up her familiars but knows Ayaka can’t die so easily since she is a descendent of the White Princess. She hopes she’ll still be in one piece, though. She is going to rest while letting her underling finish up. Ayaka is surprised to be in Takamiya’s arms. But he wants her to use his power since the haven is in danger. After he faints, Ayaka powers up and burns the subordinate and ultimately subjugates Weekend. But she is too late to take the switch as Weekend has already pushed the button.

Episode 12
Tanpopo got strayed from the group and sees unconscious Kasumi and carries her back. When she wakes up, she thinks she was being kidnapped and orders her familiar to defeat them despite the bear tries to explain otherwise. But bunny familiar sees this coming and allows itself to get hit to satisfy its master. I don’t even know what this is for… Back to serious stuff, the bombs start blowing up the safe haven. This is a trap for Takamiya to use his power and break his seal. He could feel the people disappearing and tries to use his power but suddenly drops powerless. As Evermillion warned, he should stop calling her out like that. Sure, she can help him but this time he must give his life. This is not a joke. I’m sure he is willing to do that. The only thing stopping him is that if he dies, Ayaka will die too. But the lives of the people are more important so he requests her to lend her powers. In an instant, everything in the city returns back to normal and all those injured are instantly healed. He apologizes to Ayaka but she commends him for doing what was right. Besides, she can’t live without him. Then she calls Evermillion to exchange the sacrifice. Take her life instead of fulfil that promise. In an instant, she drops dead. Takamiya has no time to be sad because Weekend stabs him with a knife, blaming him he should die with her since she used up all her mana just to fight Ayaka. Takamiya is so mad that he pushes her away and takes out the knife. He could have really stabbed her back. He reminds her he won’t throw his life away to save the people and that she must have lost for relying on this knife attack. Takamiya is still weak from the stab so he couldn’t have the last laugh. She lets him know that as long as he is alive, she will come back for him. Now she goes off to rest while setting another plan in motion. As she leaves, Chronoire is waiting for her and wants to her to follow her. Seems Chronoire is going to let her choose a place she wants to die. Time for another epic battle?

Mikage calls Atori who relays the message to Takamiya that everything is alright. He learns the odd situation of the sacrifice exchange and the promise she said. Ayaka is not exactly dead since her body is warm. He wants to try something. Putting Ayaka on the floor and drawing magic circles around her, Takamiya is to drip his blood and kiss her while they chant. Kiss? He still got time to hesitate? Her life is on the line and you’re worried that you can’t kiss her because you’re unmarried?! WTF. Mikage thinks Ayaka isn’t dead but the contract was revoked. They are doing a ritual to reinstate that contract. He chickens out with a kiss on her forehead. His reason is that a kiss anywhere on the face would suffice. Nothing happening. So? What are you waiting for?! Suddenly there is a slight movement from Ayaka. Then she opens her eyes. Big relief he doesn’t have to kiss her. Big disappointment for us.

Weekend is easily defeated and crucified. When the town was healed it also healed those Tower Witches she beat up. Weekend laments she spent years on this plan but it gone awry with him gaining powers instead of dying. Chronoire chides her ‘perfect’ plan. Her mistake was using her to make the candy and had Medusa deliver it to him. Besides, she misjudged Takamiya’s strength. Ayaka may protect him but he also acts like his restraint. That is why she lost. Here is another reason: Kazane. Weekend is surprised she is supposed to be imprisoned and unable to move for a week but this is where she misjudged it. She already fully healed in 20 hours and only sat back and did nothing because she lost. She thought of letting those kids handle it. Now she’s doing the clean up job. Kazane wants Chronoire to hand Weekend over. She isn’t keen on doing it. This means they’re going to settle their score right now for the umpteenth time. You don’t want to know how often they fight. But the outcome has always been the same. This time is no different. When Chronoire begins her attack, Kazane pounds her without giving her any chance. She lost. Oh, the surroundings are destroyed. Just when the city is back to normal. Evermillion tells Mikage and Takamiya that Ayaka made a promise with her that if he ever asks for her power and is about to die, cancel the contract with her and return the power in her back to him. Evermillion now regrets agreeing to that deal. Because of that, Takamiya didn’t need Evermillion’s power to save everyone anymore and the sacrifice was annulled. Takamiya wakes up in his room and Ayaka alive. They walk to school together, talking about the recent events that felt like a dream. He wishes peaceful days like these would go on forever. Right after he said that, KMM Group drops down seeking to beat the crap out of them. Ayaka lost her mana, right? Who cares if they play dirty? Let’s get down to it! I think Medusa might be shaking her head because after all that whatever training, Ayaka grabs Tanpopo and Mei’s face with her bare fist! She doesn’t need magic to fight, right? Seeing her ferocious power, the other 3 instantly give up and bow to her supremacy! Takamiya agrees that this is a peaceful day alright.

Bitch Crap Derps
Despite there are some potential storyline and other developments, I just can’t see past myself to be further interested in it. I am not sure if I’m too dumb or what (which I think I am) because I didn’t really understand that whole contract thingy that Ayaka and Evermillion made. Perhaps it is because there aren’t enough details in it all and not enough explanation or I’m just too stupid to understand. What? Who? How? What? When? Why? Don’t ask me. Therefore the only thing that I find amusing and look forward to in this anime are the comedy and humour. Yes. This anime is scattered with them and some even spontaneous that could turn a serious scene instantly into a light hearted one before back to being serious again. The funny parts are the more interesting. Oh, and that kind of ending? Not the best ending but I thought it could have been better. Sure, the day is saved. Takamiya and Ayaka are back together again and peaceful days reigned once more. Hooray. I suppose we don’t have to worry what happened to the other Tower Witches because Kazane is just too strong for those b*tches witches to do anything to her and you can bet your safe ass that she can just wallop anybody any time without breaking into a sweat. That’s how the town stayed safe for so long. Even the most powerful ones will only get their temporary victory before reality comes crashing down. Funny, right? Yeah, the funny parts are indeed more amusing. I’m bewitched by it :).

KMM Group is a good example of this. When they first appeared, I thought they were going to be major antagonists. At least subordinates to somebody even more powerful and thus driving the battle between good and evil witches further. Instead, they have become a laughing stock and a running joke of the entire series! Their role is to ultimately lose to Ayaka or anybody else if so. They have never won once and are always on the losing streak. It is either they get beaten up badly or employ their most used strategy which is to run away. So when there were the quintet of KMM Group became transfer students in Takamiya and Ayaka’s class, I was already having the thoughts that they were going to be badass. Besides the furry girl, we have a badass pirate wannabe, one with that eternal annoying dead looks, a librarian and an extremely shy girl (so okay, the last 2 may be questionable). But nooooo… If Tanpopo herself is already so limited, imagine what it would mean for the rest. It’s like they are just redundant and just around to make up the numbers and tells us that they are good jokers as a group.

In the end, they are certainly characters that can be done without in this anime but I have to be thankful that they still are somewhat ‘relevant’ because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to laugh at their misfortune. Hey, it’s their job to get their butts kicked, right? Instead of powering up or training to improve themselves, the go karaoke and party hard instead. How not to lose? Then there is another Tower Witch group who also has fallen into this laughing stock category: Star Group. Their appearance and role are much more limited and lamer than KMM Group. After that fiery debut and first attack, they descended into mediocrity, bumming around with their llama for God who knows why. Pet? Every witch seems to have some sort of animal. This show definitely can do without them but if so, where would we get our laughs? They could have introduced more lame and useless Tower Witch groups who debut with a goal to get Takamiya’s ass in each episode. But eventually this would get old and no longer funny. So you can say KMM Group and Star Group are like this anime’s version of Pokemon’s Team Rocket.

Ayaka is also another amusing person because of her deadpan poker face (which reminds me a lot like Ichika from Onee-chan Ga Kita). You cannot tell what she is thinking since she puts on no emotions on her face. Because of that, you can’t tell whether the things she says are a joke or not. Of course if it is, then that itself would be funny and I didn’t know that she has this potential to be funny. Who’d know that being deadpan for a big majority of this series could make her such a funny girl? She has a strong desire to protect Takamiya makes her a great and loyal protector but sometimes I feel that it is borderline obsession. Heck, she may already cross that line and well deep into that obsession zone. In one scene, notice the many chibi dolls of Takamiya she made?! That just proves it. Feels just like how Mikasa is for Eren in Shingeki No Kyojin. Yup. I can feel the similarities. Despite she always beats the craps out of many of her enemies, it is somewhat fun to see her in such mode because as pointed out, she is like Super Mario in God mode. You can’t harm her in any way or anyhow. It’s like she has this cheat code on forever and to take her on means imminent defeat. And I think that doesn’t stop there. Because if she does other things with Takamiya like cleaning his ear and lap pillow as seen, she’ll power up even further. At that point I think she can become God.

When you have a popular girl hogging all over a guy who happens to be your big brother, this won’t sit well especially for a little sister who thinks having a big brother and using him to do her stuffs and things is her absolute right! Isn’t that some sort of abuse? And so Kasumi as far as I can see falls under this category to give more laughs especially with her extreme brother complex. But ultimately she cannot win against Ayaka. Speaking of this, I thought we might see some harem sub-genre in this. Not directly at least. Ayaka and Kasumi are the only 2 girls known to express their ‘interest’ in Takamiya. A normal guy like him even has a girl or pursuing after him. He might have become the most hated guy in school but when you have the most popular girl by your side, everything else doesn’t matter. It is just like being a winner and a loser at the same time, huh? I thought Ayaka should have just shut those jealous b*tches and bastards to leave them alone. Threaten them that she’ll hate them or something instead of letting Takamiya feel the evil jealous aura that they emit. Note: There is a minor character student named Obama who is part of the Ayaka fan club enforcer which I feel is like a joke despite not looking or sounding anything close to that US president. Although Obama seems like a valid Japanese name if you consider the kanji and hiragana, but you know… Oh, his only line in the series “The best is yet to come!” while giving Takamiya his Street Fighter combo. Are they trying to hint something here?

I do not know the past that Ayaka and Takamiya shared but as always, the more time you spend with each other, well, the closer you become. But if you’re expecting some sort of romance development, you would be disappointed. We know Ayaka would be the first to make a move if this ever happens because Takamiya is just being a wuss. So there are no worries when it comes to love for him from Ayaka’s part. Just worry that she may go overboard. The dream that Ayaka has feels fleeting and murky since she herself doesn’t remember much thanks to Mikage’s memory erasing ability. I wonder if that memory is even manipulated and made to believe.

Talking about Takamiya, nothing special about him. A normal kid who has powers. Tries to help everyone he can with whatever powers he got. Yeah, fine. I guess after tired of playing the damsel in distress for the earlier parts in the series, maybe there is something he can contribute. Like his life. That’s the manly thing to do. Remember, a harem anime cannot function properly nor have a good happy ending if the main guy is dead. Seeing he has some sort of past with Ayaka in the past life, I’m sure that will bring up something interesting if they ever come up with another season. Other characters are okay too but nothing too deep at least for this season concern. Kazane is the most powerful Workshop Witch in town and you shouldn’t mess with her. No wonder she gets stressed up after seeing unexpected things go awry like her mansion being blown up. Yeah, that feels like a running joke in this show for her. Atori’s hand puppet in which she uses to communicate (or does the puppet have a life of its own?) also feels like some sort of joke. It is like as though the lively puppet is used to convey her true self or what she wants to say to her otherwise quiet demeanour. Mikage seems like he has his own plan for Takamiya but it remains unknown for the time being.

Tower Witches like Medusa and Chronoire feel like they have some potential and power but the lack of more screen time on them since the final episodes were focused on this ever-smiling (maybe it’s just her lush lips) villainess Weekend. Medusa just became a runaway after her lost to Evermillion and Chronoire is just bumming around hoping some sort of chaos would reign. Weekend feels like the weakest in terms of mana and magic. She thought she outsmarted everyone with her plan, bombs and confidence but maybe that is why she failed too. She thought her hard-thought plan was fool-proof and made some of assumption seeing it goes her way at first. There is more than meets the eye for Evermillion. How she is sealed inside Takamiya’s body and the pact she made with Ayaka is left to be desired. Other characters are left more to be desired too like Touko, Rinon, Natsume, Hoodzuki and the Rothenburg duo. And then there’s the Walpurgis Night as mentioned by Chronoire, remember? What happened to that?

Action wise, the fights are rather okay and nothing that spectacular. You get your big magical explosions that give an epic impression but with Ayaka in super God mode, you will usually be assured how it will end. Even without magic, she still has her bare hands to take you on. It is a good example never to put all your eggs in one basket. Because if you run out of a certain weapon you are fond of using, you should have another backup weapon. For Ayaka’s case, I have a feeling that her bare hands are stronger and scarier than when she is with magic and on fire (literally). Sometimes I feel there is a fine line between what constitutes Tower Witches and Workshop Witches in terms of how they use their magic. As we know, Workshop Witches swear by the oath to protect the citizens and not use their magic carelessly. The latter doesn’t seem to be adhered strictly to. In fact, with Ayaka running wild just to protect Takamiya, the entire place gets blown up. Wouldn’t the citizens find it freaky that buildings explode by itself? So that is why in this sense I thought both sides of the witch divide isn’t any different. Also, how should I put this one. The effects of devastation seem inconsequential. Because of the super powers of witches like Kazane, Ayaka and Evermillion, each time a building or a part of the town and eventually the entire town is destroyed, magic is used to restore it back to order like it never happened in the first place. It’s like hitting the reset button and you don’t have to worry about seeing the people in pain. Just like how the convenient memory erasing trick works.

The drawing and art is rather okay but just that I thought I find some of the characters to be plain and simple. Like Takamiya and Ayaka, I thought they look very plain. And at some angles, I think they look chubby. Really. Kasumi doesn’t look anywhere near how a younger sister looks like (based on my stereotypes). She might not be the loli kind but I thought her face looked slightly mature for her to look like a little sister. And of course in the anime world where looks can be so deceiving, Komachi looks so young enough to be Takamiya’s big sister. Heck, better than having a loli mom! This series also employs the use of CGI a lot. Like when they are flying through the streets on the broom, Ayaka’s burning flames and all those rabbit familiars of Tanpopo, the CGI effects become quite apparent. Speaking of those rabbit familiars, they somehow remind me of those yellow Minions from Despicable Me. Don’t you agree? The way they move and act. It all looks suspiciously familiar.

There are quite a handful of popular seiyuus lending their voice to this anime. One, Aya Hirano as the voice of Weekend. I haven’t been hearing about her lately ever since that awful scandal a few years back that earned the wrath of fans and somewhat almost ended her voice acting career. She hasn’t been taking up many or active voice acting roles lately so with Weekend, I wasn’t able to recognize her at first. I’m not sure if this marks her comeback since the new season of Fairy Tail started a few months back and although I haven’t started watching it yet, I read that she was retained as the voice of one of the main characters. Other recognizable and ‘popular’ (in my books) seiyuus include Kana Asumi as Touko, Ayako Kawasumi as Komachi (I thought she was going into Nodame mode), Miyuki Sawashiro as Medusa (she sounds like having fun playing this badass witch), Sayaka Ohara as Kazane, Rie Kugimiya as Chronoire (haven’t heard this tsundere pro for some time. At least not in the animes that I have watched) and finally my ever favourite Mamiko Noto as Evermillion (I wonder if her character is a cross between Fairy Tail’s Mavis Vermillion and Uchouten Kazoku’s Benten).

The rest of the extensive casts include Asami Seto as Ayaka (Chihaya in Chihayafuru), Yuusuke Kobayashi as Takamiya (Kazuki in Selector Infected Wixoss), Ai Kayano as Kasumi (Inori in Guilty Crown), Kazuyuki Okitsu as Mikage (Shion in Futari Wa Milky Holmes), Shiori Izawa as Tanpopo (Sodoko in Girls Und Panzer), Noriko Shitaya as Rinon (Haruko in Maken-Ki), Ikumi Hayama as Atori (Shinobu in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun S), Mai Ishihara as Natsume (Orangepekoe in Girls Und Panzer), Momo Asakura as Rin (Sumi in Sakura Trick), Yuko Iida as Mei (Saki in Aiura), Natsumi Hioka as Kotetsu (Ikeda in Oda Nobuna No Yabou), Shiina Natsukawa as Kanna (Anna in The Idolmaster Movie), You Taichi as Hoodzuki (Sayori in Love Lab) and Ai Matayoshi as Ai (Rin in Yozakura Quartet). The opening theme is Divine Intervention by Fhana and it doesn’t sound that appealing to me. The more amusing one is the ending theme, Witch Activity by the seiyuus of KMM Group. Besides the amusing lyrics and pi-pi-ko beep sound, we see the chibi versions of KMM Group being tortured in various torture instruments. It’s like overkill even if you’re just doing witch hunt. Adding to that, they also sing hard. Real hard. Amusing, no?

Overall, this anime isn’t too bad actually with a decent plot (but can’t say for some of the explanations), lots of comical stuffs (but not so much that you can classify it mainly as a comedy anime), lots of ‘interesting’ characters and bright colourful visuals and animations with some scenes that look like paintings coming out from some fantasy setting or water colour underwater world (Chronoire’s magic space). I would still give this series another chance if they make another season. Provided if they put up more of Ayaka’s deadpan humour, some harem love triangle romance and more comic relief of KMM Group (at least they’re good in this are so technically they are not that entirely useless). Please don’t witch hunt me for that unorthodox wish of mine. If you like some fun with all sorts of witches, good witches, powerful witches, evil witches, badass witches and dumb loser witches, check out this anime. You might be bewitched at the fun pace of this anime. At least they don’t have witches born from magical girls who fall into despair.

Unbreakable Machine Doll

September 6, 2014

I am a benevolent and tolerant guy. But there are 3 things that I cannot stand when it comes to anime: 1) Animes with plot that are hard to understand; 2) Animes that seem promising at first but failed to live up to the hype towards the end; 3) Animes that ends abruptly. Oh dear. Did I just give away my sentiments for Unbreakable Machine Doll (otherwise known as Machine Doll Wa Kizutsukanai in Japanese)? Sounds very much like it but let’s try to keep things positive first. Firstly, the plot. People can use dolls or automatons powered by their magic to fight in combat. There is school in England just for that. A kid from the Land of the Rising Sun enrols here with his goal of revenge by taking part in an exclusive tournament that the top 100 can only take part and attain the best title coveted by all puppeteers (term for people who use automatons – they’re basically like dolls, right?). Secondly, the doll of our hero is close to being like a sex doll. Seductive, flirty, sexually suggestive. If ever our protagonist is of a perverted nature, she might turn into one. In which he isn’t. Say what? A doll that wants to seduce her master? This I got to see. Really.

Facing Cannibal Candy Arc

Episode 1
Raishin Akabane and his automaton, Yaya are heading towards Mechanical City from London by train. However the train won’t stop at the next station and continues to go full steam ahead. Raishin and Yaya jump out and head towards the front to stop the engine. With Yaya’s incredible strength, she becomes the brakes before the train smashes into the final stop. Because of Yaya’s obsession of being Raishin’s wife and equivalent (read: the perverted kind) to not let get other women near him, it makes other girls feel disgust with Raishin. I know what that dark swirling feeling inside him now… The duo arrive outside Walpurgis Royal Academy of Machinart, the world’s greatest education institute of magic. Once they go in, they won’t come out for a while. Raishin is here to seek revenge and his goal is to be the top 100 for the Evening Party and be Wiseman (title for the greatest puppeteer). However when he gets his aptitude test, he is ranked 1,235th and this makes him the second last in the rankings. There goes his plan… Because he keeps ranting about Shouko this, Shouko that, it’s like a taboo word for Yaya and she is about to kill him when the academy’s advisor, Kimberly becomes their homeroom teacher. She advises him to start earning credit points but all he is interested in getting admission into the Evening Party. It is where the top 100 scores are invited in a mad conflicting cut throat competition against each other until one is left standing. Being Wiseman means getting special treatment and you’ll get to learn even forbidden techniques and will be coveted among the military from other nations. Because in wars, men are now able to use mechanical magic, expanding military use of magic by producing talented puppeteers in large numbers is the purpose of this academy. Thus the same reason the Evening Party is held. She hints that a guy like him can still enter if he defeats any one of those in the top 100. Raishin is thinking who he should target but all Yaya wants is to get horny with him.

And so Raishin chooses Charlotte Belew AKA Tyrant Rex and ranked number 6 and challenges her to a duel. You know, I thought he should have picked a lower ranked number like 99 or 100… As Charlotte and her automaton, Sigmund begin their attack, they are rudely interrupted by attacks from others. It seems there are other guys who were planning this for some time but Raishin jumped the queue. Raishin and Charlotte cooperate to make those guys know their place. Charlotte wants to resume their fight but Raishin has lost interest and won’t continue. Seems Sigmund realizes Raishin has noticed his injuries and cannot battle like normal. He needs 2-3 days of rest. Yaya is slightly damage so she takes this sly chance for some physical activity with Raishin, using the excuse that automatons recover faster in direct contact with their puppeteers. I don’t know why Raishin seems to be eating with Charlotte now (perhaps she’s being a tsundere and he likes it? Oh wait, she is). Then Raishin spots Magnus, the academy’s number one. Instantly he and Yaya break through the window just to confront with him.

Episode 2
Raishin believes Magnus was the one who burnt down his clan and killed his sister, Nadeshiko. Though, Magnus thinks he has got the wrong person. Before Raishin can give him something, all of Magnus’ automatons move in. He didn’t see them move. What Raishin wanted to give was a little bottle. Yaya is distraught that Raishin got a little wound on his neck. Yeah, he is in no mood for her horniness. Next day, Raishin meets Felix Kingsfort, the academy’s disciplinary officer. He wants to discuss something with Raishin and it involves qualifying entries to the Evening Party. Raishin got even the guts to not pay attention in Kimberly’s classes. He is certain Yaya is the best automaton in the world because she is built by Shouko. That name again… Later Raishin meets Felix and as the latter explain, 26 students have gone missing from the academy in an incident known as Cannibal Candy. Some of their automatons were completely destroyed and magic circuit stolen. He wants Raishin to track and take down Cannibal Candy because Raishin cannot be the culprit and he is very strong. Felix’s assistant, Lisette Norden comes in to report another case of a half-eaten automaton by Cannibal Candy has been discovered. As they investigate on scene, Raishin notices that this automaton was one of the guys he fought during Charlotte’s match. Speaking of which, Charlotte is there too. Felix mentions he did try asking Charlotte out many times but was rejected. He’ll try again once this case is closed. Raishin is willing to help but will do it his way.

Lisette speaks to Raishin alone (Yaya not happy about this but is made to wait back in their room) and wants him to be careful around Charlotte because her automaton is a Ban Doll, automaton that was built using organic parts. Because she believes Cannibal Candy is also a Ban Doll user. Back in the room, insecure Yaya is accusing him of adultery and wants to get horny with him when Charlotte knocks on his window and requests to go on a date. He agrees. Yaya is so pissed. So on their ‘date’, this is part of Charlotte’s plan to use him as bait so when Cannibal Candy appears, she’ll ambush the culprit. But why ask him? Does she have any other friends? Guess not? And because she’s being tsundere, Raishin is done playing detective and wants her to take responsibility of asking him out on a date. Yup. They need to go out for one. So this leaves Yaya reduced to tears (little beads?) and is being left with Sigmund. During the date, Raishin explains of targeting her to gain entry instead of an easier foe. Because he was trying to steal qualifications, it would be unacceptable unless he put himself at risk. Raishin also possesses some martial arts knowledge and he only became a puppeteer 2 years ago. When they return to the academy, they think Cannibal Candy has made his move and Raishin fears Yaya may have fallen victim.

Episode 3
Thankfully it’s not Yaya but Felix had to hurt Charlotte’s feelings that she chose Raishin over him and doesn’t want to see her till the investigations are finished. This way he hopes she will stop acting recklessly by herself. Raishin gives Yaya a big hug when he knows she is alright. The moment she has been waiting for? Everything was going fine till he had to say that name… Also, he disagrees he has fallen for Charlotte and that the date was to make her have an alibi. In such case, she can’t be Cannibal Candy. Plus, Sigmund’s magic doesn’t do such damage. He feels the incident was too convenient, like it was to occur while they were away. Lisette calls him because her roommate Charlotte is not back yet. She thought they are together involved in some carnal desires but apparently not. Then here comes Shouko in the flesh! Her automaton, Irori too. She learns about the Cannibal Candy case and despite Raishin can still walk away from it, he feels he wants to help out Charlotte. Shouko then removes some barrier on Yaya as this automaton has unparalleled super human strength. She warns no matter how powerful the enemy may be, Yaya’s natural enemies are wind and water so take care out there. After Raishin and Yaya left, Irori wonders if it was a good idea to let them go. Flashback reveals Shouko picked Raishin up as he was the sole survivor of his clan. She gave him Yaya, created by Karyuusai, a leading doll manufacturer. Because Shouko had a respectable reputation among the military, she can grant him his wish and even locate the person whom he hates most and dying to kill. All he needs to do is to be hers.

Raishin and Yaya stumble upon Lisette in the woods. The latter reports that the disciplinary committee has discovered lots of magic circuits in Charlotte’s room (though they have yet to match it with the stolen ones) and now she is missing, it makes her the prime suspect for Cannibal Candy. Raishin wants Lisette to cooperate with him. She takes them to a facility housing large number of automatons. Yaya is made to wait outside because of her super power, she can destroy many in a blink of a second. As Lisette takes him inside the lab, Raishin wonders what kind of automaton Felix has. Lisette doesn’t know or seemingly dodges the question. Raishin remembers the talk he had with Lisette. There were some holes in it and Lisette wasn’t too happy he was trying to accuse her as the culprit. Then Raishin rushes off himself to Felix’s locker. He sees Lisette’s preserved corpse and starts to realize. He gets knocked out by Lisette and she reports Raishin is working with Cannibal Candy. Charlotte stumbles into Felix. Yaya seems to be activated and unleashing lots of super power. Felix needs Charlotte to be Cannibal Candy and to have Raishin take her down but he got involved too deep and had to be dealt with. Charlotte breaks down upon knowing Felix is the real Cannibal Candy and framed her so he could eliminate rivals to be Wiseman. Felix is about to kill her but here come Raishin and Yaya to the rescue.

Episode 4
Charlotte’s past is revealed. Her family was a high noble and had many Machinart achievements. But an incident that had one of their dog automatons attacked a young boy noble got them stripped of their title and everything, including all their automatons. Her family went missing while Charlotte was in boarding school. Charlotte’s goal to become Wiseman is to reunite her family and to restore her family to its former glory, she used her scholarship to buy back ‘hearts’ of her family members (those magic circuits in her room). Felix maintains Charlotte is Cannibal Candy but Raishin explains the way Charlotte controls and uses Sigmund that took her a lot of great skill to ensure she doesn’t kill anyone. Felix’s automation is revealed to be Lisette or Eliza her real name. The real Lisette was human but was murdered and replaced. Eliza isn’t fond of Raishin and attacks him. Seems Eliza can use different skills of the automaton she devoured. Raishin and Yaya take a lot of beating but they fight back. Raishin deduces Felix can only use one magic circuit at a time and has been discarding them every time he changed types. He cannot re-use those that are discarded. Felix wants to make a deal with Raishin. Cooperate with him for the Evening Party and he’ll overlook all this. Rejected. He doesn’t want to be his subordinate. Felix then has Eliza turn into her ultimate attack, a mist that corrodes everything it touches. Yaya is going to be done in when Raishin orders Yaya to activate. She counter attacks Eliza and all her fluid is over her. The secret to this attack is Yaya’s blood. When Eliza turned into mist, she absorbed Yaya’s blood with magic. Based on some theory, an automaton cannot have 2 or more magic in its circuit or there will be conflict as the magic will interfere with each other.

After Eliza is defeated, cornered Felix tries to warn him about laying a finger on him. But Raishin doesn’t care and punches him. Raishin apologizes to Yaya for hurting her but she is more concerned about him as she is unbreakable unlike him. He then helps up the tsundere. Kimberly and Magnus have been watching the match. They think if there is any upset in the Evening Party, Raishin will be the one to cause it. Magnus thinks the bottle contains ashes and it is perhaps a custom like throwing down the gauntlet to seek a challenge and revenge. Kimberly notices Magnus’ automatons are Ban Dolls but he replies there are no rules that prohibit the use of such dolls. Raishin has been given a pair of gauntlet by the academy’s headmaster, Edward Rutherford. With these, he is now qualified to take part in the Evening Part, although he is ranked 100. Raishin isn’t fond of this grand celebration of him as a hero but as Kimberly puts it, it is to divert the academy’s attention from Felix’s actions that would create suspicion and doubt. Charlotte continues to be a tsundere as she hands him a charm as gratitude for saving her. And then there is Yaya’s “I’m his wife” attitude to deal with…

Facing Sword Angel Arc

Episode 5
There is this clumsy girl, Frey AKA Silent Roar getting caught in her own net trap outside Raishin’s room. And Yaya is accusing him for cheating on her, etc. What? Frey even tries to give him eat sandwiches with sleeping potion but thing is, it was laced with salt since she ran out of sleeping potion. When that doesn’t work, she wets herself and lies on his bed to seduce him. This is her attempt to assassinate him? As Charlotte explains, Frey is ranked 99 in the Evening Party so it’s no surprise after Raishin’s battle with Felix (who was ranked number 4), everyone is quivering in their boots. Then they see Frey trying to fix an iron cage. So filmsy. So painful to watch. She gets trapped in it. WTF. Frey is approached by her brother, Loki AKA Sacred Blaze. Because she refuses to bow down to him, they send their automatons, Ravi (Frey) and Cherubim (Loki) to attack, only to be stopped by Raishin and Yaya. Both the guys are cocky and you can tell they hate each other. Could have fought if not for Charlotte joining in. Although Charlotte didn’t want to help Raishin investigate more about the siblings, she did. Blame it on her tsundere. Their conversation diverted to boobs. Charlotte was happy that Raishin feels size doesn’t matter when you fall for someone. But jealous wife Yaya had to be the troublemaker and asserts he loves them big and bouncy like Frey. Charlotte slaps him. Raishin is being told of the Evening Party fight format. It is like a royal rumble. The first night begins with 99th and 100th ranked participants entering the fray. The participant is eliminated when their gauntlet is stripped. Regardless of the outcome, the match ends at midnight and the next day, the 98th ranked participant will join in and so forth. The burden will be on Raishin because as the lowest ranked participant, he must fight at least an hour a day so the key is to eliminate opponents fast and limit the number he has to face at once. Meanwhile Frey sees her father who seems to have faith in her in the Evening Party. If she is successful, he will live up to his promise of having them all live together again.

That night, Raishin thought Yaya is again being horny and tries to stop her. But it turns out to be Frey in a sexy catsuit and trying to assassinate him with a knife in her cleavage! All Yaya could see is her master cheating on him. For nothing he gets beaten up by Yaya and then she locks herself up in the toilet crying beads. So Raishin calls Charlotte for help to investigate since he can’t take anymore of these nightly raids. Charlotte tells him about Divine Works, a company nominated to design next line of automatons for the British army. They have some prototype magic circuit designs in which Ravi and Cherubim have as the company are their sponsors. Ravi seems to have gone out of control and attacks Raishin. He uses a stun grenade to knock the dog out. Frey feels guilty for causing Raishin to be injured and tends to his wounds. He is about to question her why she wants to assassinate him but here comes that b*tch Yaya (clad only in a bath towel this time). She is going to massacre every vixen that comes after him to save Raishin from being overwhelmed by those ‘twin lump of fats’. However Frey flees the scene. Before Yaya can continue with her accusation, Komurasaki pops up. She is Yaya’s little sister and this loli too takes a liking for Raishin. Oh brother. Yaya can’t raise a finger to her because Komurasaki knows how she works. If she gets violent, Raishin won’t like her… Plus, Shouko ordered Raishin to carry out the next mission only with Komurasaki. So Yaya, be a good girl and wait in the room. Raishin and Komurasaki apply some stealth to sneak out of the academy and investigate some orphanage. Yaya talks about her troubles to Sigmund who becomes some sort of her counsellor. She wants to be a normal girl but he thinks if she did, Raishin won’t be able to protect her like always. What he needs isn’t a normal girl that you can find anywhere but her. Yaya vows to continue being a doll but still can’t bring herself to terms with Raishin flirting with other girls. As Sigmund puts it, Raishin does treat humans and automaton equally and oddly she is so human-like and the reason she hasn’t won him over is because of her warped personality. Suddenly Yaya is blasted away.

Episode 6
Raishin and Komurasaki meet a talking dog, Yomi who can sense their presence. She admits she is part of the Garm series project and equipped with Sonic circuits. She is also a Ban Doll because she is able to use magic despite no puppeteer nearby. However she has been ordered to be dismantled as she has outlived her usefulness and it is costly to be kept alive. When Raishin mentions Frey wants to kill him and thus came here to look for clues, Yomi has them follow her. She is going to show them something so be prepared. Meanwhile Yaya still lives. Charlotte uses her mana to heal her. Because the shell bullet that struck her didn’t have any markings, they think the enemy is trying to make Raishin withdraw. This means Raishin is also being targeted. Elsewhere, Kimberly sees Doctor and asks for his opinion on Raishin. Seems his recovery rate is slow and his life force being eaten away as he is diverting it towards repairing his automaton. Kimberly makes him sign an exclusive contract with her to mark Raishin. From now on, this academy and the British government will be his enemy. Choose the money or a sniper’s bullet. Yomi shows them Frey’s room. Her parents were part of an American troupe performing mechanical puppet performance but got killed when an automaton went berserk. Frey is a kind and nice girl and they were all attached to her. It is that kindness that consigned her to walk a thorny path. In the next room, they see lots of clones or siblings that look very much like each other. They are Promised Children, those with high affinity for high mana. More shocking in the next room, test tube babies. The alarm is sounded so they have to escape down the sewer. Yomi now understands why Frey tried to kill him. Had she failed, the Garm project would be suspended and all of the series’ automatons will be dismantled and a different model, the Angel series in which Cherubim is will take over. Although the new series has better combat ability, it is harder to control.

Although Raishin gets flesh wounds during the enemy’s attack in the sewerage, Yomi takes a fatal shot to protect him. As they climb up to escape, Yomi wants him to drop the excess baggage. She has had her fun and wants to rest here with the rest of her ‘children’. She drops back down and explodes herself with the enemy. Frey waits for Raishin but wonders why he didn’t turn up. Loki mentions he was snooping around too much on their secrets so father had eliminated him. If so, this Raishin before them must be a ghost, right? Raishin apologizes that Yomi is dead but Frey thanks him that he let her out of her cage. What’s this? Raishin is upset she didn’t get mad with him? But why he didn’t have the same sentiments when Yaya does it? Because although Komurasaki has been left at the military safe house, Yaya is suspicious that loli may have done something to him and wants him to take his pants off! But Shouko is glad he is back. He knows she used him as a decoy to further her investigation on Divine Works. He still feels guilty that someone died but Shouko thinks he is conceited. Even if he had Yaya, it would be unbelievable if he thinks he could save something that was meant to die. As Ravi is a Ban Doll, it is difficult to keep it human parts in it for extended periods. Unless you use it as vessel to sustain the parts. Though Sonic is an excellent circuit, the mana cost is too heavy for normal use but if you can lessen that burden the puppeteer bears by using live parts, then why not? Raishin fears the army plans to wage a war on global super powers but Shouko reminds him he is just a pawn and all he needs to do is obey his orders. His next order is to steal Ravi’s circuit without being noticed. He’ll have the Evening Party for this convenience. Raishin is not too keen because it means killing it. And so the Evening Party commencement ceremony gets under way but Raishin-Yaya faces off with Loki-Cherubim. Yaya is only reduced to dodging since Raishin isn’t giving her his mana to fight back. Since he still feels guilty over Yomi’s death, he uses his own back to protect Yaya from being cut by Loki’s blade.

Episode 7
Raishin remembers he was thrown out of his house by his father. Nadeshiko was sad but he acted like he didn’t care and this made her hate him. Loki reports to his dad that he cannot kill Raishin or he will be stripped of his qualifications. He couldn’t take his gauntlet because of Yaya. This means the longer he stays in battle, the longer Raishin risks losing his life. Apparently higher ranked members can jump in to participate although this means Loki has to continue fighting till the end or he goes out. He jumped into the battle because Frey is weak and didn’t stand a chance to win. So squaring off with her will show the difference in strength of their different series. Yaya is like a girl in distraught, blaming herself that Raishin got hurt trying to protect her like before. Irori had to calm her down because being stressed out like this isn’t going to do anybody any good. So Yaya prays to God to save him and promises she won’t get jealous if he flirts around or gets a girlfriend… She sounded so jealous in saying that… Raishin is being operated by Doctor and thanks to his devil’s luck, he misses death by millimetres. The Evening Party continues with Loki facing off with Frey. Of course Frey is weak but before she is defeated, suddenly she emits lots of mana. Ravi goes berserk and attacks them. It seems Frey’s mana is being forcibly extracted and at this rate she will die. Charlotte wanted to stop this match but Kimberly tells her it is rude to do so. Besides, there is someone else more appropriate for the job. Here comes Raishin to the rescue. Looks better now but his injuries are still there. The guys start arguing they will be the one to put a stop to this. Do we have time for this? Ravi is like a mad dog. Loki intends to kill Ravi to save Frey but Raishin will save them both. In the end, both cooperate and Raishin makes Frey unconscious so to return Ravi to normal.

Shouko operates on Ravi in the aftermath and extracts the magic circuit. Raishin thanks her for not killing Ravi but it’s too early for that. She explains it was Frey who went berserk and supplied Ravi with more mana than he could handle. Frey has a magic circuit fitted within that allows her mana to be drawn out. She and Loki are those Promised Children, manmade mediums and Divine Works’ guinea pigs. It would be great if they are easily mass produced but the failure rate is high. Just like all those test tube babies he saw. Shouko knows Raishin is mad but won’t let him leave the academy. Besides, he is no match for the chairman of Divine Works, Bronson. He became Wiseman 20 years ago. She reminds him about their bet and won’t let him die a pathetic death. Raishin checks up on Frey and Ravi. They’re both doing well. Frey still blames herself for being weak and useless, the reason everyone dies. Raishin of course doesn’t believe she is the cause. Looks like he is going to visit the orphanage again but Charlotte stands in his way. He views she doesn’t stand to lose anything no matter what happens to him. Oh, it does. He saved her so it is only fitting for her to repay the favour by keeping him safe. I think there is more to this reason. Get the hint? Raishin shows the charm that saved him once so please continue to believe in it and not him. Eh? What? Thanks to Komurasaki, Raishin and Yaya manage to sneak out of the academy and head to the orphanage. The shed is empty so they think they have been dismantled. They are attacked by Angel series automatons. Loki turns up for a showdown.

Episode 8
Kimberly and Frey sneak out to the orphanage. Loki turns on his comrades and fights alongside Raishin. They’re still throwing insults at each other, though. Loki then comes face to face with his father, Bronson and his automaton, Lucifer. Seems Loki has just been pretending to follow his orders all this while. Of course Bronson is still superior as his Lucifer pins down Cherubim. Bronson hints he had a hand in Loki and Frey’s parents’ death since he went all out just to get rare children like them. Bronson also explains his deception to Frey as part of mankind and science’s advancement and progress. That is what the academy, and Wiseman are for so a few lies along the way is acceptable. You think those guys care? Loki follows Raishin’s method to seemingly fuse Cherubim with Lucifer and then scatter heat and make Lucifer go into meltdown. So when Lucifer is out of commission, the guys collapse due to exhaustion. I thought the part they ‘drop dead’ looked funny. But they have enough energy to move their mouth and insult each other to the max. I think this is the best part so far… Bronson knows he is defeated and thinks he will just end this by killing Yaya. Unfortunately he is put to a stop by Kimberly and her fellow hooded friends. They are Cruzada and the watchdogs of the Magician’s Association. She arrests him for illegal experiment and attempted murder and kidnap. She knows about his past. He was once dubbed Angel and when he grew up, he went from wielding swords using telekinesis to relying on a machine. He named it Lucifer for old times’ sake. Thus he is Sword Angel. Bronson thinks if he had become Wiseman then, he wouldn’t have been arrested for such petty crime. Kimberly disagrees because despite Wiseman stands above the magic code, it doesn’t spare him from the arms of the law. Since he forcibly performed experiments on children, not even Wiseman can get away from it. Raishin and Loki are recuperating back at the academy’s infirmary. Yaya as usual playing the naughty nurse and desperately trying to take off his pants. Frey comes in to thank them and looks like she has won her matches so far. She doesn’t want the guys to fight and hints that Raishin could be family one day. I think this just escalates the misunderstanding. Yaya is so going to kill him. As he hides on the rooftop, he sees Charlotte jumping off the edge! He grabs her but because he is still hurt, he falls with her. Just by calling Yaya, his automaton comes rescuing them. And she’s still not happy about it. Charlotte is acting strange. She wants Raishin to take responsibility to kill her or pound her with his might via his carnal desires. WTF. Why do chicks always have to say things that make Yaya want to kill Raishin? Before she can do that, they see Charlotte riding Sigmund blasting down the clock tower. What just happened?

Facing Elf Speeder Arc

Episode 9
While celebrating the clock tower’s anniversary and before Edward gives his speech, that’s when Charlotte blasted it down. Raishin speaks to Frey and the girl who was going to commit suicide is Henriette or Henri for short, Charlotte’s sister who transferred to this academy. She tried to commit suicide 6 times but all ended in failure. Good or bad luck? Also, Charlotte has been missing since yesterday. Meanwhile Charlotte is seen talking to Cedric Granville. He reminds her that less than 40 hours remain till the promised time. Frey helps Raishin to look for Charlotte. She has her dog automatons smell Charlotte’s panties. It’s for her scent. This causes Yaya to get that insecure attitude again. The dogs find Henri trying to hang herself in the forest. They stop her and Raishin questions her about Charlotte’s whereabouts and if she remains silent, he’ll let the dogs loose on her. She misinterprets he wants to rape her with bestiality and you know, this sets of a domino effect that the girls think he is really a pervert. Oh, Henri got away while Yaya is strangling him. That night, Raishin stumbles into Charlotte who wants him to stop talking to Henri and stay out of this or else she will kill him for real. Funny, didn’t she say she wanted to protect him? Of course he isn’t going to back out after seeing her crying face. Yeah. The foolproof method to get this guy involved in anything. Flashback reveals Sigmund was talking to Charlotte about not being honest of her feelings for Charlotte. Of course she still denies she has feelings for Raishin because if she did, it would make her feel like an easy woman. That’s when Henri came back and Charlotte is glad to see her and finds out her mom is still alive. However Henri is here to play her part: To bring Charlotte unhappiness.

While Raishin waits for his opponent at the Evening Party, Henri tries to slit her throat but Charlotte stops her. How could she bring her unhappiness when she got to see her little sister and know her mom is still alive? She promises once this is over, they’ll live together again. Raishin sees Kimberly for answers. He knows Charlotte isn’t doing this on her own and must be manipulated as she won’t use Sigmund as a murder tool. Although there were no casualties during the attack, it is speculated her target was Edward. Could she have a grudge against him? To only person they can think of is Felix. His family would gain nothing from killing Raishin but if they kill Edward, they might get reinstated with Lord Walter returning to politics and reclaim their honour. As we know, the Belew family had one of their automaton dogs almost killed a boy who turned out to be a royal prince and was stripped of their title. The royal still sees them as enemies. Because public opinion always swings towards the popular, if Charlotte carries out the assassination, Kingsfort family will be able to return to their former status. Telling Raishin to stay out of this isn’t going to help even though what Kimberly said is merely speculation. But there won’t be a problem if he brings proof. That night Raishin talks to Yaya about why he wants to help Charlotte so bad. He doesn’t know it himself but it’s not like he is in love with her. The topic turns into one that has Yaya becoming a horny monster, forcing him to take her as his wife or do it with him now! Next day, Raishin hears rumours that Charlotte being branded a criminal for going against authority and possibly in cohorts with Raishin too because he managed to slip into Evening Party last minute. Raishin sees Edward and his men investigating the clock tower. Charlotte and Sigmund appear and attack. Raishin rushes to save Henri from being killed but the ground collapses.

Episode 10
Charlotte is being attacked by automata but Cedric’s butler automaton, Shin kicks their ass and brings her back to his master. She claims she has kept her promise that she has killed Edward but Cedric argues that is not certain yet. He shows her an interesting surveillance footage that Raishin and Henri are still alive underground. Meanwhile Kimberly brings Yaya to discuss with her fellow Cruzada members about investigating Sanctuary of Fools and protecting the headmaster. They also view Raishin could be the promised one as Father mentioned. Raishin and Henri trek through the dark tunnels but since she is injured, they stop to rest. Don’t worry, they’ll get out alive because Yaya will find him till the ends of the earth as long as he is alone with another girl. Scary. Suddenly one of Magnus’ automatons, Hotaru pops up before Raishin, asking if he is friend or foe. Her mask lifts a little and Raishin could see her face. Isn’t she Nadeshiko? He remembers Magnus took her apart to create a God. Magnus and Edward are also down here as Edward clarifies that Magnus is his bodyguard and wants Raishin to refrain from doing anything rash. Kimberly sees Loki and makes a deal with him. If he can guard a certain man, she will give him this De Organum book. Raishin is attacked by Shin but Hotaru under orders from Magnus fends him off till he withdraws. Once the rescue party finds them and brings them out, Yaya is so happy crying in Raishin’s arms. Not because he is safe but he spent countless hours with that vixen!

So it’s no surprise that back in their room, she’s throwing a tantrum to get him naked and do it with him or it’s a sign that he hates her. I don’t know how Frey outside interprets this. Even more surprising, Raishin has a fiancée! He’s not lying, isn’t he? He never told her as he never had a chance and was afraid. Also, it wasn’t because he didn’t want to ruin the relationship but didn’t want to risk being beaten up. I guess it doesn’t make a difference now that Yaya is pulverizing him. Of course he isn’t going to agree with the marriage as it was arranged by his parents. Although his family is no more, the engagement isn’t officially broken off yet. Cedric shows Charlotte an interesting clip that Raishin and Yaya went into Henri’s room to kidnap her. Charlotte becomes enraged when Cedric insults Henri but was slapped by Shin. He orders Shin to go retrieve Henri and kill Raishin if he wishes. Charlotte wonders why he is doing this. Because it’s fun. Felix is his cousin and he would please him greatly by messing with her. Charlotte feels he isn’t the Cedric she knows and some shadow who altered his appearance to look like him. While Henri is screaming rape, Raishin knows she doesn’t want to die and had no choice. He explains Charlotte was probably coerced to kill the headmaster to keep her alive. Henri breaks down that she tried to kill herself but they always stopped her and can’t escape her surveillance. Raishin doesn’t intend to escape from them. They ‘kidnapped’ her to lure them out as they surely want to take back their hostage. And true enough here comes Shin. Let’s get this party starting.

Episode 11
Raishin takes a beating and Yaya is no match for Shin. But Shin is forced to retreat when Frey and Loki join in. Frey pecks Loki in his cheek for protecting Raishin. Didn’t see that coming, huh? Shin reports his failure to Cedric but he mentions it was just an act. What the Granvilles want is to back up the Kingsforts but what they want is to show off Shin as to the academy’s brass. Preparations are going as planned as they even revealed the Sanctuary of Fools. Cedric knows Charlotte cannot assassinate Edward since Magnus is his bodyguard. Not even an entire army. So why send Charlotte to do the job? If she succeeds, it’ll be great but if she fails, the blame will be pinned on the Granvilles. As of now, he knows they’re trying to make a secret pact by teaming up to research the 2 forms of God. If a Granville butler were to show up at that time, it would raise suspicions. But it brings happiness to Cedric to see unhappiness of others. Raishin is recuperating with Henri by his side. She’s still blaming herself, please kill her to save Charlotte, blah, blah, blah. Also, she envies her sister, hates her and all that crap. As usual Raishin disagrees and wants to know her true feelings. Which is of course to save her sister. That’s enough for him to help out. But he runs into Shouko who is in foul mood. She gives him 2 choices. Go back to bed or sleep where he stands. He won’t have either. Shouko orders Yaya back to her side but she truly wants to help Raishin. Shouko gives him a slap and warns him never to show his face around her again. Charlotte and Sigmund are preparing for another attack with Sigmund warning her to stop this as there is still hope. She doesn’t need to throw away the happiness she sought in life. And here comes Raishin telling her to stop because if she carries out the assassination, she can kiss goodbye to her family’s revival. Still not convinced? Well, time to fight it out. Raishin wants her to stop confusing her enemies and to let him help her out since she did say her enemies are stronger. He doesn’t care how much of a burden she is to him. All she needs to do is believe in him. I guess those words nailed it. Charlotte feels Raishin is burning up but have no time to help him since Shin is here to remind her about her mission. Raishin gets back up and fight but is still no match. Charlotte thinks a puppeteer is nearby but Shin reminds her automatons cannot produce mana and even if they are Ban Dolls, there is a human part implanted which give them mana. So how does he fight all by himself? Divine Mechanics. A Machine Doll.

Episode 12
More flashbacks on Raishin past. When Shouko found him left for dead, she also gave him a choice to die by freezing to death here or fighting against Tenzen Akabane. If he defeats Tenzen, he wins. Otherwise, she will take his body. Frey sees Henri trying to slit her wrist and stops her in time. She also lectures her about trusting him since he puts his life on the line and never abandons his duty. Back to Raishin and co, they’re having a tough time fighting Shin who claims he is both a machine and a doll, the latter meaning to be human. What? Eventually, they find his flaw and take him down and no matter what kind of doll or automaton he is, his mana will sure run out. Pretty soon, one of Frey’s dogs sniff out Cedric as part of Raishin’s plan. Because when an automaton is low on mana, the puppeteer will be nearby to replenish and the dog will be able to pick up the puppeteer’s smell. Raishin knows Cedric is the Evening Party Executive Committee Chair and wants him to spill everything. But Cedric although impressed, remains a step ahead and counter attacks. Before Shin can kill Raishin, distraught Yaya bursts into flames and turns into something super to fight on par with him. Cedric and Shin had no choice but to escape, though Cedric isn’t upset about this failure as he got to see something interesting. Cedric turns out to be Alice Bernstein in disguise and her nickname is Elf Speeder. She is ranked 87th in the Evening Party and is to take on Raishin in the next round. Charlotte reconciles with Henri and from what I understand, it stems from Charlotte’s jealousy that Henri’s breasts are bigger than hers by an inch. Don’t even ask… Kimberly talks to Magnus about somebody trying to make a Machine Doll 2 years ago although Magnus still considers a Machine Doll as a Ban Doll since it uses human parts. Tenzen is Magnus. Kimberly advises him that creating humans is the greatest taboo for a magician.

Raishin is recuperating in bed. Henri the maid is feeding him. I wonder how Yaya the nurse is holding in. Doctor tries to flirt and fool around with Henri but once he learns she is Charlotte’s sister, he leaves disappointed. Don’t want to mess around, eh? Charlotte is here to apologize but it descends into a misunderstanding that Raishin loves women with big boobs (even Frey got dragged in). Little sister consoles big sister that Raisin loves small ones too and will shower women of all sizes with his lust. That just makes him sound like a sex maniac. Before Loki can kill him for the ruckus and Yaya going to lose her cool, Kimberly comes in to explain Edward’s verdict. The clock tower is to be rebuilt from scratch and the Belew family’s assets are frozen will cover that huge cost. Basically the government will be paying for it and taking the fall. She doesn’t know the entire story either but from what she heard, a certain millionaire negotiated in Parliament about this and his daughter is a student in this school so make sure they don’t get on her bad side. Since Henri’s applications were fabricated, her enrolment is rejected. However Kimberly personally hires her as her lab maid assistant. So that is what the maid outfit is for? Raishin knows this case is far from over but he is sure they’ll be alright in this messed up world. And then cue for Yaya to bug him about making her his wife. Here we go again. The road to recovery is long…

Specials

5 minute specials you get when you buy the DVDs. There are 6 of them in total although I only saw the first 5. Light hearted. No relation with the plot and some for fanservice.

Special 1
Raishin just got off the phone with Shouko at the train station. He thought he saw Nadeshiko. As usual, Yaya is trying to be the flirtiest and most seductive sexual predator to lure Raishin in. Whether it is conquering his ‘Big Ben’ or making every part of him hers or even going to be the main course (he was talking about the Evening Party you dimwit), Raishin won’t fall for her tricks. He remembers he saw the fireworks in Tokyo with Nadeshiko many years ago. Once everything ends, he hopes once this is over, they can return to Japan and watch the fireworks.

Special 2
First bare tits! Shouko, Irori and Komurasaki are soaking in the hotspring. Irori is feeling edgy, worried that somebody may be watching them. But what is such scene if you don’t have girls fondling the boobs of others. That’s what Shouko is interested with Irori’s grown melons. And then something starts molesting them. Could it be somebody is using some high level magic that goes undetected? Shouko won’t get out since she thinks it is a ploy by the peeping tom to see their naked body. But when Irori cannot take it anymore, she freezes the entire hotspring into ice. After the girls go in to get warm, we are left to our imagination what that strange creature that molested them was.

Special 3
Frey wants to borrow Charlotte’s bath since hers is clogged. Although Charlotte likes one of Frey’s automaton dogs, she is not too pleased with Frey’s super nice body and huge racks. And then Frey feels something on her boobs. It’s making her feel uncomfortable. Charlotte thinks it is some magic spirit and casts a spell to ward it off. But this only reveals her humongous boobs. Not happy? Frey says she put on some weight but when she whispers it to her, it’s that sour face again. Not happy too? Charlotte sulks as Sigmund tries to reason with her that muscles are heavier than fats. Which means if they weigh the same, her muscles are more developed than Frey’s. That’s not what she wants to hear and tosses him right into Frey’s boobs.

Special 4
Flashback to Raishin and Nadeshiko kiddie days. They were watching the fireworks when Nadeshiko got lost. Luckily Raishin found her but this means they got separated from their parents. To soothe her, he gives her a sparkly marble he found. Nadeshiko thinks she saw a lost girl too but it turns out to be a spirit and Raishin can’t see it since he has no such powers. She wants to help her look for her parents but is told that she is looking for a sparkly marble. Nadeshiko gives that marble to her. She doesn’t need it since she has Raishin. The happy spirit girl disappears. As they go back, Nadeshiko hopes they can come back and watch this next year. He promises. She likes him. Happy ending when they are reunited with their parents.

Special 5
Despite the title as “Private Lesson: Alone In The Nurse Room With A Pretty Lady”, it is misleading enough to make you think something steamy is going on. In fact, this entire special is just talk. Kimberly brings Shouko to talk to Doctor about magic force. So as he explains about force of gravity and force of attraction as well as other factors such as electricity, Doctor and Shouko are slowly making out a hot steamy passion (nothing explicit for your information)! Unfortunately that was just his imagination and he is snapped back to reality where the talk continues about personification of fairies and its reason of existence. When Doctor mentions about childhood disorder that may bring about the possibility of this case, Shouko goes into foul mood and leaves. Sorry, Doctor. No dinner date for you. And Kimberly could guess right that she realized he was fantasizing about it.

Insecure Machine Doll
I am a benevolent and tolerant guy. But there are 3 things that I cannot stand when it comes to anime: 1) Animes with plot that are hard to understand; 2) Animes that seem promising at first but failed to live up to the hype towards the end; 3) Animes that ends abruptly. Yeah. Back to square one. Unfortunately that really is my sentiment for this anime. I was somewhat looking forward to the Evening Party since it was a royal rumble style. I was expecting Raishin as the underdog to meet and defeat higher ranked opponents as each night passes. However, we only see one proper match in the Evening Party and that is during the Sword Angel arc. Otherwise, smarty pants Raishin goes off and gets involved in other issues, playing detective over a serial killer of automatons, exposing some conspiracy of genetically modified children and trying to save somebody’s sister from killing herself and indirectly foiling the headmaster’s assassination. So you see? How not to get disappointed? Of course there is the problem that if this series was really going to be battle royale style and every episode is a fight with opponents, it would have become a boring and repetitive pattern without any back story, plot, etc. Even so, I personally thought it was better than what was given.

Thus the only thing which I find very amusing is Yaya’s insecurity. Yup. Despite being such an annoying b*tch in bugging Raishin to be her wife or getting down and dirty with her, somehow it never gets tired. At least for me. At least it beats all those confusing distracting storyline which I am struggling to comprehend. I’m not sure if I even do in the end. And thus Yaya is the most amusing character in this series. If she ever really becomes Raishin’s wife, it will be game over definitely. I don’t know if this is really love or lust. Imagine, she already is so insecure of the slightest thing and going paranoid over the silliest things, its exaggeration superbly enhanced and magnified if it involves another girl, by becoming his wife, she will already be even more controlling! Raishin would be a dead man by then. You’re supposed to control your automaton not the other way round. She is so suspicious of him running away with other girls, cheating her, it just shows the level of trust she has of him in terms of their relationship. Besides, she has been with Raishin for so long, she should have known his habits and believe in him. Instead, all sorts of accusations and suspicions are grabbed out of thin air and thrown at him while that poor guy is probably tired of going to great lengths to object.

The other amusing part is Charlotte’s tsundere. I suppose she is fast in establishing herself as the tsundere archetype of this anime. To a point that she is really annoying but we like it. Like a true tsundere, she won’t admit it but we know she likes Raisin a lot because of the numerous times she helps in out in subsequent arcs. With Frey in the fray too (can I consider Henri too?), at the rate this series is going, I thought it would turn into some harem cat fight. Who am I kidding? Raishin has built up a very high resistance to Yaya’s extreme sexual flirtation and with him pretty occupied with helping others in addition to his own goal, romance is the biggest lacking factor in this anime. That guy has no time for it. He’s unbreakable in this sense. But thankfully if you think about it this way, it would be just disgusting to see a human having some sort of sexual relations with his automaton no matter how close she resembles to a human being. In a way, it would make him sound like an otaku loser. Another amusing bit is the spat between Raishin and Loki. It is like they have this tendency to outdo each other’s insults. They want to show he is tougher than the other but I think they’re both just the same hot-headed stubborn guys.

Looks like Raishin’s goal of defeating Magnus will be a long way and from the ‘adventures’ we have seen in this anime, it is likely he will be sidetracked with more other ‘side missions’ before reaching his goal. He isn’t such a bad guy and has his kind and cool side to it. Probably because of that, he has become the target of the girls making fun of him by being accused as a pervert. Yes. It is like as though they are doing it on purpose just to tease him as they can’t be honest with their own feelings so might as well call this guy a pervert. For example, Frey is a good example of being guilty of this and the other girls like Charlotte and Henri (don’t even mention Yaya’s name) would gullibly believe it. They believe this instead of Raishin’s own mouth that he is not some sex maniac? It’s like they have lots of pent up frustrations and want to take it out on him this way. I can understand Yaya’s sexual frustration but let’s not even go there.

The character development feels okay (sometimes I feel the fanservice that of Yaya makes up for it). Each one had their own personality and back story to tell. Each has a dark and tragic past that made them enrol in this academy with the ultimate goal to be Wiseman. Feels a bit like a shonen anime because opponents that Raishin and Yaya defeated somewhat become their allies (or not a foe if you want to put it in another way) as seen in Charlotte, Ravi and Loki. Can I consider Henri to be part of the gang too since she has been saved countless times from suicide. If this formula goes on, I can guess that Alice would also become part of the gang. Hey, you’d think Raishin would lose in the next Evening Party round? If that really happens, the story would end and there is no way that kid is going to take on Magnus who occupies the very top seat. As the character development mainly surrounds the kids, it makes the adults have this mysterious feel. Like Kimberly and her secret Cruzada organization, Shouko with her Karyuusai name and Magnus’ seems like he has something more than meets the eye. Then there are other automata like Irori and Komurasaki just making their cameo but didn’t contribute anything too much yet.

The action part feels decent. Though they are of decent entertainment value, somehow to me it feels like the spells ordered from puppeteer to the automaton is like as though they pull it out from thin air. I don’t know. It sounds like a lot of mumbo-jumbo. Especially with Raishin whose favourite is some 36 or 48 Fiery Thrusts that sends powered up Yaya into some attacking frenzy. Looks the same to me. Otherwise, each automaton has their own unique combat arsenal. But of course that is limited to just a few variations. I mean, take for instance, you’re not going to see Sigmund breath destructive beams from his mouth via Lustre Cannon and Lustre Flare. Because many of the fights happen at night (it’s called Evening Party for a reason), it may get a little too dark to see anything.

The art and animation style feels different. There is something about the character designs that make them look like standard anime style but yet unique on its own. The characters’ face looks plain and simple enough to easily pass them off like they came out from some cute kawaii moe themed anime. Something like the style as seen in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka but half the moe-ness. Lerche, a relatively new anime production studio has only produced a handful of animes such as Carnival Phantasm, Danganronpa and Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai. CGI is heavily used during the fight scenes as certain automata like Sigmund and Cherubim are fully computer generated. It is smooth but you can still see the difference between the 2D and 3D movements which might be jarring at certain angles.

Although Kana Asumi as Frey is recognizable, she does a decent job making her character sound insecure, weak and in a way monotonous. There is nothing wrong, though. I just thought it was a waste for her not to use her lively ‘joker’ voice like the titular character in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san. Hitomi Harada is Yaya (Himeji in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu), I like her voice when she goes into that jealous b*tch rage. She sounds so funny… And dangerous. Other casts include Hiro Shimono as Raishin (Keima in The World God Only Knows), Megumi Takamoto as Charlotte (Himea in Itsuka Tenma No Kurousagi), Asuka Nishi as Henri (Shinobu in Kin-iro Mosaic), Jouji Nakata as Sigmund (Giroro in Keroro Gunsou), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Loki (Accelerator in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Shizuka Itou as Kimberly (Hinagiku in Hayate No Gotoku), Yukana as Shouko (Cecilia in Infinite Stratos), Ai Kayano as Irori (Mei in Sukitte Iinayo), Yui Ogura as Komurasaki (Hinata in Ro-Kyu-Bu), Yuuki Ono as Magnus (Moral in Hamatora), Risa Taneda as Cedric (Mirai in Kyoukai No Kanata), Takahiro Sakurai as Shin (Suzaku in Code Geass), Yuuki Kaji as Felix (Alibaba in Magi) and Atsushi Ono as Edward (Giriko in Bleach). My favourite Mamiko Noto plays a minor role as Lisette while Kana Hanazawa is Nadeshiko/Hotaru.

Anicca by Hitomi Harada is the opening theme. The rock pop anime song isn’t bad. But it is the ending theme that feels weird. Maware! Setsugetsuka by the trio of Ai Kayano, Hitomi Harada and Yui Ogura (basically the voice of the 3 automatons of Shouko) is such a strange song that you wonder if it is really right for this show. Just imagine a traditional Japanese song singing at a rap pace! Or you fast forward it twice the speed. Try singing the lyrics like rap too. You have to be close to a robot to pull off those lines without biting your tongue. Then you have the characters spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning… Oops! Got caught in the endless spinning trap, which I think is the highlight of it. And then you got the background voices going “Ah, ah, ah~ Pon!”. But if you cast away your suspicions, this song is fun to hear.

Overall, unfortunately as far as this season is concerned, I prefer to see Yaya and the other girls make silly accusations that Raishin is a serial sex offender instead of seeing some progress in the storyline. Well, if this season actually wrapped up the Evening Party, it shows that there is nothing great about it. Or maybe something more nefarious will take place. So for a great tournament, it takes greater time to get around. Perhaps a second season would do justice to this. In the mean time, have more of Yaya’s amusing sexual harassments and probably a personal wish of mine to see her become a psychotic yandere and kill everyone with her blood. Shameful. But when you have a life-like automaton who can tell you to drop your pants, force you to make love with her and make jokes about breast sizes, for an automaton like her she should be shameful. I know I should be ashamed of myself for wishing such things but I am a benevolent and tolerant guy…

Miss Monochrome OVA

September 5, 2014

The only reason why I can think of Miss Monochrome OVA was released in the middle of June 2014 is because FIFA’s World Cup Brazil 2014 edition. Uh huh. That’s because this time our Monochrome girl is trying her hands at football. What better way than to garner support for your favourite Blue Samurai team (if you’re a Japanese anyway) than to have a cute idol voiced by one of the cutest seiyuus in Japan. And since it is aired on her official YouTube channel, I guess that just says a lot, huh?

Supporter
While sweeping outside the convenience store, Monochrome spots a boy juggling a football. She then decides to go cheer for the national football team by uploading her performance on to YouToob (not type error). She is going to make the football team stand out alongside her as well. She is going to make a big wave and stand out more, so much so she doesn’t mind becoming Bluechrome instead of Monochrome. So the video starts off with Monochrome and Maneo telling us supporters the dos and don’ts for the supporters to cheer on their team. Like not stripping naked or using a big laser cannon to disrupt the game or even shooting down some crow (the crow is the symbol and part of the Japan Football Association’s emblem). Monochrome begins her footwork action by dribbling past her opponents, a leopard and lion. Ole! Ole! Ole! I’m sure she could have best Messi and Ronaldo or any other super star world football players you can think of. She shoots! She scores! GOOOOOOOOAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!!!! And here is Monochrome doing her cute victory dance (if only she had more facial expression it would have been the best). After uploading on the video sharing site, her effort draws the attention of a sports company and was selected as a model for a new pair of sneakers. Okay, that’s a start.

Ganbare! Nippon!
Well, I’m sure by the time my blog came out, we all know the Japanese football team’s performance, right? But as far as this mini OVA is concerned, it is still fun as a standalone itself. Even more fun if you are a football fan and a Japanese supporter so this little OVA serves its little part to cheer on for the national team more than anything else. Monochrome’s victory dance could be the next Gangnam Style if it was ever expanded and put behind a catchy dance song. If it does, then Monochrome would have really achieved her goal of being a popular stand out idol. Then maybe she can really give some real support for the Blue Samurai. Yeah, we know how they’d fare in Brazil, right? Uh huh. Forgettable… As always, they can always try again in another 4 years.