Space Dandy

November 30, 2014

Fancy travelling the vast universe and discovering different types of aliens? And while you are at it, why not make some money and register aliens that mankind that has never seen before? Not possible, you say? Then I guess we can all just be content in watching Space Dandy. In the distant future where man has been able to travel the galaxies, it also led to the discovery many aliens and thus mankind’s mission to ‘register’ them. Think of it as cataloguing and recording them. The rarer and uncommon the species, the bigger the payout. As such, our main protagonist is known as an alien hunter and goes around in search for rare aliens to sustain his dandy lifestyle. But with his easygoing personality, can he get the job done? It’s not as easy as you think it is, baby.

I don’t think I have heard of the word dandy for a long time or even used it for who knows how long. As there are many definitions that go with it, a person who is dandy is said to be placing importance and styles and fashionable appearance. Well, if you have a main character that is also named after this term and his pompadour hairstyle sticking out like a sore thumb, I guess it must be it. Doing my minimal research on Wikipedia, the last time dandyism was in fashion was during the 18th and 19th century in Europe, mainly England and France. Trying to apply this dandyism concept into some modern sci-fi adventure comedy? Well, let’s say the character goes strictly by the definition rather than that past culture. Sporting a jacket and casual t-shirt, pants and boots, he seems more like a modern fashion man, doesn’t he?

Episode 1
Dandy is ranting about a woman’s butt which is a better measurement for a fine woman rather than her boobs. I don’t think his fellow crewmate, QT some vacuum cleaner looking machine would understand. Dandy is an alien hunter and his job is to scour the galaxies to find rare or undiscovered alien species for registration. As part of this mission, he makes his usual visit to Boobies, an intergalactic restaurant with sexy babes as waitress. Camouflaging on the job, huh? Why does he look like he is flirting with the waitress Honey? Weird aliens abound. Sexy scanty babes abound. Because QT is an old model, he doesn’t have an updated database and have to resort to reading a book. They spot a Betelgeusian alien. It is a common species but something there is something different about him. There is some weird mark on his face. Could he be another different race? They go speak to him (who is in the midst of taking secret perverted shots of the waitresses). He flees so Dandy gives chase and brings havoc to those around them. Then he realizes the mark on his face is just a sticker that one gets when one orders some special drink. Dandy got one too. We take a slight detour about some narration, a battle between the forces of Gogol Empire and Jaicro Empire to conquer the universe. Dr Gel is a scientist of Gogol Empire and with his assistant, Bea, they are under orders from the ruler of Gogol Empire, Admiral Perry to hunt down Dandy. Because that guy seems to hold the key to Gogol Empire and perhaps the entire universe. That carefree guy holds the key? What are the chances? And speaking of which, they have just discovered his location. His Seventh Fleet has just arrived on scene. Dandy and QT discuss if they can trick the registration department to register this Betelgeusian whom they call Meow. He messes around with the warp instruments and their spaceship, Aloha Oe goes into warp drive. Dr Gel thinks they have been spotted and thus initiated their escape. The crew is in some space-time distortion. They grab hold of the comic string which warps them to some other part of the galaxy. Dr Gel is forced to admit defeat since he lost track of Dandy. Try again next week? Dandy and Meow go down to check out the planet below. All I know is, there are lots of ferocious aliens who want to eat them. They fight, they run and there is even some mecha who bursts out of the rocks to fight a gigantic alien. An alien is accidentally transported back to Aloha Oe. Dandy tells QT about some last move manoeuvre. A super powerful explosive switch that is enough to blow the entire planet to bits. WHAT?! Just great. Now everyone gets to die. BOOOM!!!

Episode 2
Ignoring what happened at the last episode, Dandy’s aliens are rejected at the registration department. Desperate, he tosses Meow in but the database has 58.6 billion registered Betelgeusian! I guess this means no reward money. Dandy is going to seek solace in some ramen of his but finds it missing. Worse, Meow the freeloader just ate it. Dandy is going to suck him out to space so Meow tells him about some legendary phantom ramen. Since he is not sure of the exact shop, looks like they’re hopping from one restaurant to another just to find its elusive taste. Eventually they run out of money. How are they going to pay for this? Dandy sees this pretty babe, Scarlet and tries to charm her into lending him some money. WTF. But the army of Dr Gel storms into the place. Scarlett kicks their butt and puts that idiot Dandy to shame. So the pattern gets like this. Each ramen place they visit, Dr Gel’s army would surround them and they would have to run for their lives. Rinse and repeat. How do they know of their position every time? Well, Meow posted a selfie of them eating at the place and uploaded it on a social website. No wonder. Dandy throws his handphone out into space. So when Dr Gel has his latest position, he realizes he has been bamboozled since he only sees the handphone floating in space. Then in some place, they finally discover that phantom ramen taste which has that other-dimensional flavour. It should be since they’re making it from another dimension! Dandy and Meow barge into the mysterious chute that sends them into another dimension. An old alien guy is serving ramen in his lone stall. Something about how the taste came about because it went through the wormhole but got stale. He barely remembers about his youth. He was some punk and accidentally killed his girlfriend. He wandered around till he ended up on Earth and some nice guy introduced him to ramen. He was touched by this flavour. To atone himself, he ran away to this dimension to sell ramen and cannot go back. The special taste is from his teardrops. Because the wormhole is closing, they have to finish up quickly. Dandy has with his but Meow hasn’t. Dandy offers the old guy to come back with them but he is staying. I don’t know why Meow can’t eat while he is running so much so he spills everything. They make it back in time. Dandy teases Meow he didn’t get to taste it but he accepts him as part of his crew.

Episode 3
Dandy might have passed this registration had he not blooper. Yeah, trying to put Meow in some suit and disguise to pass him off as a rare alien. Rejected! No reward money. This means no food, right? Don’t worry. QT has mail ordered some food from the other end of the universe. It has expired 10,000 light years ago! Care to eat it? Plus, it is a bargain. But 1 get 365 free! Wow! You won’t find such a good deal anywhere. Dandy has saved up his Boobies point card for some special service. However it expires in 2.5 hours. Just great. The nearest Boobies is so far away (almost three hours to get there, that is) so Dandy is desperate and activates the warp despite it being broken. It has them emerge and crash land in some alien world. Are there Boobies on this planet, is his first concern. They go check it out only to find a pretty babe, Mamitas being chased by scary ferocious aliens. Dandy tries to show off and become a hero but I guess fighting these guys head to head isn’t such a good idea. So run! The guys try to appeal to her as she tells her sob story of her ship broke down nearby. Dandy suggests she can come aboard theirs so perhaps they can scour her ship to for parts to replace theirs. Dr Gel and his fleet have surrounded the planet. But Bea points out the most dangerous man-eating alien on it. Dr Gel orders everyone to retreat and feels relieved he doesn’t want to be eaten alive. That alien is… Mamitas! Literally a man eater, no? Dandy sees those aliens hanging outside the ship and goes to fight them. However his ray gun ran out of batteries. Something feels odd about them so QT has him set the translator to hear what they are saying. They are actually trying to warn him of the Deathgerian alien who will eat them. When they get hungry, they will change into their other form. Speaking of which, it is that time. Bye. Mamitas approaches Meow and turns into a boobs monster! Too bad the dim-witted cat got eaten alive! Dandy and QT rush and escape in their mini ship, Little Aloha. Are they fine leaving their friend behind? Because Meow has the Boobies point card with him. Instantly Dandy turns back and is going to be a hero to save his fellow crew member. Little Aloha turns into Hawaii Yankee, some dandy mecha to fight off the Deathgerian. But the Deathgerian sucks and eats everything it could get its hands on. Including those bunch of expired food. Not even the stomach of a mighty alien could stand the staleness of food past its expiry date. They slam the rest of it into its throat for ultimate victory. Now that the Deathgerian has become palm size, they register it and it is approved. With the reward money, there is no need for the Boobies point card anymore. Heck, they can’t even remember the other thing they lost…

Episode 4
The gang has captured a Stiltonian alien but notices something different. It is much opposite of the species they know. Could it be a rare one? Time to send it in to the registry department. Little do they know that something sinister will happen after Meow gets bitten. He looks pale, slow and is groaning. Dandy thinks he is sick rather than suspecting anything. They send him to hospital and the doctor finds it fascinating since he is like dead and will be admitted for observation. Dandy wants to be hospitalized too only wants to flirt with the sexy nurses… That night, Meow bites the nurse. Perry has given mercenaries to Dr Gel to capture Dandy. Next day, when Dandy and QT visit the hospital, there is blood everywhere. Everything’s messed up. Everyone is so zombie… Still don’t suspect anything? The mercenaries barge in but are overwhelmed by the zombies. Even Dr Gel gets bitten as he thinks Dandy set this up. Finally it dawned to Dandy that everyone is a zombie so he uses QT as a shield! Robots don’t turn into zombies, right? Wrong! QT is now a zombie! He makes his escape to the rooftop and flees in the helicopter in the nick of time. However the pilot is a zombie too… We hear a narration of Dandy and co’s zombie life. They love eating raw meat and watching zombie movies. Slow. Despair. Groaning. Since they don’t know how to find a way to turn back, they ask somebody who has been one for some time: The Stiltonian. Life as a zombie isn’t that bad. He advices them to take yoghurt and ironically it enhances their life quality. However being a zombie has its downside. They are too slow to capture rare aliens so they are running low on cash. Dandy remembers he signed up for a life insurance policy and bugged the company till they approve he is dead. Yeah, how can you be dead yourself when you’re talking to them? With the money, they can go patron Boobies. Honey hasn’t seen them around for some time that she heard rumours that they were dead! You don’t say… Too slow to grab her ass… But thank goodness zombies are not discriminated in space. As for Dr Gel, because Perry couldn’t understand a singly zombie word and the money wasted on this operation, he blows the ship up! With the rise of zombies, it also emerges zombie hunters hired by insurance companies to take them out with a single shot to the head. Naturally Dandy is targeted but he is one lucky bastard since other aliens walk into the path or he slips. Eventually the zombie hunter turns into a zombie and infects the insurance company too. Peace for zombies reigns again and soon the entire universe is united into a single race of zombies. Zombies for equality! No more differences! Have you become one too?

Episode 5
Yet again ignoring the aftermath of last episode, this time Dandy is to apprehend a Gentooan alien. He is surprised to see a little girl but this little Gentooan, Adelie switches his body with her stuffed doll (this alien has this capability although only once every 1 day). However Dandy fights back. Soon he reverts back and he is going to register her and make some money. But where the heck is Aloha Oe? Towed away for parking violation. QT and Meow are stranded as they cannot pay the fine. The only way is to take some transport to the registry department, get the money and come back here. Adelie wants to cut a deal. If he brings him somewhere first, she’ll go quietly to the registration centre. Or else she’ll cry pervert. And so begins the duo’s road trip. Initially they hated each other but gradually got along. They even do road shows to earn some money. One night he heard her crying in her sleep calling for her mother. The place she has him bring is her grandpa. But a different person occupies it. She feels sad as she explains that Gentooans lived isolated for fear baddies would take advantage of their power. She only lived with her mother but she died. Her only other known relative is her grandpa. That night, Dandy is adamant to go to Boobies and leaves Adelie home alone. Actually he goes out to gather information on her grandpa’s whereabouts. Next day, he takes her to a train station and thinks of buying her a present. Adelie thinks this is goodbye and is tossing her away since she is a bother. She is upset that she uses her power on him. She goes off to cry alone but a couple of alien hunters whom she humiliated earlier on are going to kidnap her and get some payback. Dandy in the stuffed doll tries to chase after them. Adelie’s call for him made him push harder as he propels into the train to knock out one of them. However time is up and they switched back. The other alien hunter is going to get nasty but grandpa knocks him out. Later he explains to Adelie that Dandy found and contacted him to meet up. Dandy leaves them tangerines for their journey and says goodbye. What about the registration department? Isn’t he going to take her there for some reward money? Well, he’ll just have to find some other alien. She hopes she can come aboard Aloha Oe one day but he only admits busty adult babes. What if she is grows up? If she’s big boobs and curvy assed sexy. In that case, she’ll grow up fast.

Episode 6
While QT is cleaning Dandy’s room, he sees his surfboards so he starts ranting about his romance of who knows what. They arrive at their target planet, a planet strife in war for 10,000 years. Aloha Oe gets hit and crashes. As Dandy and Meow search for aliens separately, they get kidnapped. An alien strips Dandy to his underwear and finds him a comrade. Likewise, another alien trusts Meow because he is wearing a vest. Going back and forth between both sides, we learn that both sides hate each other just because one wears underwear and the other only dons a vest. This is the 10,000 years worth of war? Oh, they are the last ones remaining. Dandy and Meow want to register them but they won’t leave the planet fearing the other would take advantage. Heck, they even have a designated time to start their battle and accuse each other of bringing help. I understand they hate each other to the point of wanting kill the other but why does Dandy and Meow even need to fight each other?! And when time is up, they go home. WTF. They report to QT who suggests that they should do a peace treaty. And once the ship is fixed, they can bring them both in to register. Great idea. So at their respective aliens, they try to convince them to come to terms. Heck, they can’t even remember why the war started and they each have a secret bomb that will blow the planet apart. But the aliens like their idea and give it a shot. The peace treaty is signed but now the tough moment is to have them exchanged their prized possession. Reluctantly they take off their underwear or vest but eventually couldn’t put them on. Negotiations break down when they resume fighting. They start shooting each other. There goes the treaty. But why does Dandy and Meow have to fight too? Once the ammo runs out, they resort to throwing rocks. They got crushed by its weight. Before their last dying breath, they initiate the bomb. The planet is going to explode… Yeah… You guys can stop fighting now. Because QT is escaping himself. Going to leave those guys to their fate? I don’t know where they can run since the planet is crumbling. QT throws the surfboard down and Dandy rides it like the wave into space with Meow clinging on as they leave the collapsing planet.

Episode 7
Dandy is thrilled that all the babes at Boobies are happy he has returned. Actually they are in love with Prince, a genius racer. Jealous Dandy decides to race too and narrates his life as a racer. I thought he was a surfer? Before this no-holds-barred race starts, not only Prince mocks Dandy but his companions to who seem to be better looking counterparts of Dandy’s. Like this Mickey Mouse clone, Squeak and the high specs robot, Z. As the race is televised, Dr Gel sees it and is going to hunt him down. The race begins with favourites Prince in the early lead. Dandy ‘cheats’ by using blasts from others to propel him faster and further. As they go through checkpoints after checkpoints and battling other racers/obstacles along the way, Dandy manages to catch up and even gives Prince the middle finger, distracting him and getting him temporarily stuck in a trap. During the pit stop, Dandy is first but since Meow is a klutz, he is just slow in filling up. Putting everything inside as fuel? Squeak puts a bomb under Aloha Oe. Prince might have come in last but with his team’s efficiency, he comes from behind to leave first. Now Dandy is dead last. He accidentally sets off some explosion that sends him propelling further. Dr Gel has finally caught up and when he surpasses Dandy, he is so happy. What was his mission again? Then he crashes. Try again next time. Dandy and Prince are neck to neck to the finish line. So fast and furious that they cut a planet in half! Prince has never felt anything like this before… He thinks… He is in LOVE???!!! Squeak then presses the detonator. Combined with the weird fuel ingredients that Meow put in (siew mai?), whatever mumbo-jumbo ‘scientific’ explanation the narrator said, it caused some reaction that hurls Dandy faster than the speed of light. So fast that he arrived in the future. 5.67 billion years to be exact! He sees a Buddha version of himself. WTF?! Is this victory?!

Episode 8
Bea shows and demonstrates to Dr Gel some DJ mixer that doubles as some missile shooter. Dr Gel is worried because of the claims they will get and Perry will blow his top since he is such a cheapskate. Too late. He’s got the claims. Dandy is detected so Dr Gel makes this excuse to go warp. See ‘ya. Oh, did Perry fire them? On this junk planet, Dandy is looking for new aliens but stumbles upon a dog. He thought she is an alien in disguise but turns out to be a real dog. They become best friends. Taken in by those puppy dog eyes? Anyway Meow isn’t happy and is quite jealous. A new crew member? Better than that freeloader. They play a lot and the dog feels satisfied with their company and dies. Surprisingly the most emotional one is Meow because he too likes her and wanted to play with her too. Tsundere? Just then a couple of fleas hop from the dead dog onto Meow. Dandy creates a rocket to launch the dog’s body into space. Back on Aloha Oe, Meow is scratching like mad. But the fleas had to abandon Meow since he is too smelly. QT spots them and tries to get them. They escape and try to latch onto Dandy. One of them gets killed when Dandy combs his hair. The other brother possesses QT and goes on a rampage. They throw everything they’ve got till the flea drops out. Dandy then stomps on it. QT is too late to explain he can’t kill it. Because if the flea dies, this planet will fall apart because their suits were holding things together. But the planet falling apart can’t be that bad, right? Well, if you consider turning into a black hole and sucking every damn thing in as not a bad sign. So better warp the hell out of here! Dandy even had time to fantasize all the beautiful busty babes he met. In the warp, Aloha Oe passes by Dr Gel’s ship. And that poor baddie just got sucked into the black hole. He thinks Dandy set this up. Not even the DJ mixer could save him. Curses! Aloha Oe comes out somewhere safe. Dandy is appalled that Meow stinks like hell.

Episode 9
The gang arrive at a planet filled with plants. They believe there is a rare alien named Code D. QT initiates the upgraded transporter. However it causes them to land randomly. Dandy is being brought by plants to who knows what this strange place is. He meets some plant, Dr H who thought he was an unusual plant. Dr H also has a daughter called 033H. As explained, the plants evolved to a point it overruns the planet and there are several plant countries. Dandy hangs out and explores the place with 033H while Meow seems to be given the best treatment by some little plant blobs. Trying to fatten him up? So when Dandy decides to go get Code D who is located at the dangerous north, Dr H and 033H tag along. They get arrested by some plant friend of Dr H who governs this area for trying to do something this dangerous. Seems they were once in a group that researched Code D but when Dr H reported Code D is dangerous, he was taken off the group. However a friend of theirs helps them escape and they continue their journey. More strange places, more strange plants. Just totally weird. Like you’re high on drugs on something. Finally they reach the north and Dandy can only go it alone. He sees Code D is just some rock and after he hauls it out, the entire planet starts to devolve. As explained by Dr H, Code D was a meteorite that crashed here and they were unable to control it. Now they are going back to their original form. This is not the end but a new beginning. Dandy is back on his ship, I guess he is lamenting he can’t trade a rock for the reward. Yeah, he’s sick of plants.

Episode 10
Since Aloha Oe is having some problems, they land on the nearby planet to get it fix. This happens to be Meow’s home planet. Against his wishes, Dandy and QT go pay his family a visit. Seems like a pretty normal family but Meow feels like he doesn’t want to come back despite the nostalgic memories. They bum around all day and hang out at the bar where Meow’s school’s most popular girl, Katie is working as a hostess. The next scene seems to repeat itself and before we can cry that Haruhi rip-off, the narrator tells us that we are in a loop thanks to this planet’s strong magnetic field that twists space and time. So every day is the same day. By the 108th loop, our heroes could sense and tell what is happening next. They think they have super powers! He narrator had to tell them off and remind them it is a loop. So the trio are the only ones aware of the loop and at this rate, they’ll be stuck on this planet forever since Aloha Oe won’t get fixed. Dandy quickly tries to find a solution. They meet Meow’s junior high friends and borrow their super car that could ride into space. Unfortunately it exploded. And so the loop continues. They find out Meow’s dream was to be like his dad who is a metal worker. Meow even goes to help him out in his factory. Will it be okay to live like this forever? Better find a solution quick. His friends suggest looking up at Yahoo but it tells them to Google it! But really, just tear off a page in the calendar? Hmm… Seems pretty tough. Can’t even rip a page. Since there is some electromagnetic coming out of it, they think this is the cause of the loop. They do all sorts of ridiculous stuffs to break it but it’s tougher than diamond. I guess anybody would be discouraged by it. So when they’re drunk in the bar, Meow even think living this boring life isn’t so bad. He could marry Katie and have a family. That was a joke, right? But Katie says she is lesbian! Motivation to break the calendar? It’s still not coming off. Meow’s dad offer to help and using his metal equipment to drill it, it finally comes off! Hooray! The loop breaks and the gang is now about to leave but why is Meow feeling reluctant? Dad tells him to go with them and live the life he wants. And the ironic part is that now they’re back in space, they’re doing the same thing of procrastinating to find rare aliens and bumming around. They don’t need any time loop for this…

Episode 11
Scarlet who is working at the rare aliens registration counter wants Dandy to open this box that he claims contains a rare alien. He can’t. Because they’ll forget. Oh, really? So how come they remember that they forget? Once she opens the box, the alarm goes off for a short while before things return to normal. Everybody doesn’t seem to remember after that but inside that box is a book. Dr Gel is so engrossed in his science theory that he didn’t realize Perry called. Anyway he wants to attack the library planet of Lagado since they charged him for failing to return a book. So why not just returning it? It was stolen. But their surveillance captured the thieves (Dandy and co?) stealing that book which is entitled Secrets of the Cosmos for Dummies. Dandy goes through the book and finds a ticket voucher to Lagado. Thinking it is some free meal and stay, he decides to go there. They appear right in the middle of Gogol’s attempt to invade Lagado. Bea has taken control since Dr Gel is still engrossed. But Aloha Oe wipes out almost all their ships! When they land down on the planet, Dandy thinks he is being duped because the all-you-can-eat could be just data, something that QT enjoys. He is going to rip the book but the alien guards surround him. As explained and revealed, the book itself is the true and rare alien. The book is the ruler of this planet! Her wish is to travel the galaxies and learn, it stores away all information in its bodily form, which is the ticket. Her chance came when Perry stole her. Well, Dandy doesn’t remember doing everything because their memories are erased. Since her biggest disadvantage is unable to move, she controls the minds of others to move around or do things. She even has others think and solve problems for her because thinking herself would use up too much energy which she uses to sustain her life. Suddenly all Gogol ships are under attack. Dr Gel has finally solved the puzzle. Now we know why the truth of the universe is never known because it means death for those who understands! And now they are going to meet it! All the theories that Dr Gel wrote teleports into that book. She thanks Dandy for everything and as token of gratitude, she gives Dandy this box and warns not to open it too early. So it’s déjà vu again because Dandy is arguing with Scarlet about this box. Same thing happens. Only this time a video tape is inside. This loop continues to floppy discs, laser discs, CDs and drags the entire galaxy into some war. Of course, we don’t remember it, do we?

Episode 12
Dandy is appalled at the paltry reward over this alien so Scarlet tells them off about the fees to pay them for their reward. They should go get a real rare alien instead of bringing in trash like this. Say, a Chameleonian. This one is worth millions! Better get started, baby. However as warned, nobody knows its true form since it always shift shapes. So they go fishing for one and it seems QT got hooked (no pun intended) on this sport. QT becomes a fishing expert and even fishes up some rare black tsuchinoko while our guys think they’ve hit jackpot when they get a real chameleon. Of course it is just a real chameleon as Scarlet ticks them off again. That night, tsuchinoko evolves into something… Next day, the crew accuses each other for using their stuffs. Dandy deduces there is another person onboard and even takes a roll call. Heck, they didn’t even realize that suspicious old guy following and imitating them! Only when QT realizes his tsuchinoko is missing and they’re freaking dumbfounded to see that old guy. Now the chase begins. Dandy feels odd there are 2 Meows and captures the later one. Scarlet analyzes he is just a normal Betelgeusian. Back to the hunt on Aloha Oe, each time they got tricked because they didn’t realize the Chameleonian could change into their furniture. Don’t they realize they never had such furniture? Now there are 2 QTs. Catch them both! At the registration, the Chameleonian escapes and this has Scarlet ticking them off for yet another prank. But there is another Scarlet coming by. Could she be… They get rough with her. Turns out she is the real one and now they are banned from coming. Back on Aloha Oe, there are 2 Dandys! Which is which? How can you tell? The only way is to do a pop quiz. Seems both of them are getting correct answers. So it descends into an argument of who-are-you-I-am-you. In the process, the Chameleonian loses track of who he really is and the real Dandy couldn’t care less because no matter how many of himself there is, it’s no problem for him. Yeah, conclusion not reached. Dr Gel has developed some super weapon that will get Dandy once and for all. When both Dandys are out walking, Dr Gel used his machine to pick one of them. As you would have expected… There are 2 Dr Gels now! Who are you?! This causes Dr Gel to descend into a spiralling madness to question who he is. Dandy and co are at their usual at Boobies. The crew wonders if he is the fake one. And the narration leaves us in a teaser as it tells us that everyone including ourselves could be a Chameleonian.

Episode 13
Finally. An episode where QT is the star. Do robots fall in love? Well, this is what happened when QT meets this cute coffee maker, Maker. Can you say he got short circuited? So every day he makes a frequent visit and even sneaks her out one night to go see town (Maker can’t really move). I don’t know, is a coffee maker that heavy? QT seems struggling unless he isn’t fully charged. One day, QT finds Maker along with the cash register called, well uhm, Register, gone. As he found out, there are special police in this town and a law that states that machines that have been found to have emotions will be rendered useless and dumped into a huge floating island. While Aloha Oe is a mess without QT around, the vacuum cleaner sneaks on to the island in hopes of finding Maker. He finds Toaster who shows him some secret dance party that all the dumped appliances are doing. This isn’t any ordinary dance but a revolutionary dance. There is Register manning the DJ and making music like no other. QT is happy that Maker is here too. Toaster then makes his revolutionary speech. In short, they are going to show those life forms that they are not garbage. The age of appliance is here! Toaster along with Register merges into a giant robot that is going to terrorize the city and wipe out all living things. Maker starts crying and laments she couldn’t stop Register. She begs for somebody to stop him. QT feels heartbreak for the first time and realizes Maker is in love with Register. Nevertheless QT rushes to go stop the robot but is of course is no match. Then whatever secret weapon Dr Gel has been preparing-cum-trolling us as seen throughout this episode, suddenly starts malfunctioning dangerously (maybe he spilled his water) and its beam hits QT down on the planet. It turns QT giant size. Now we can have our giant mecha battle. Both robots smack, grapple and pummel each other till they’re a total wreck. Well at least they’re still alive. And so are the living beings. So QT is back on Aloha Oe all busted up, enjoying a cup of coffee. Well, he got short circuited.

To Infinity And Beyond, Baby!
I figure that with everything so random and without a proper storyline to follow, there are going to be lots more crazy adventures. This means more room to have ‘creative’ and no-brainer adventures for our Aloha Oe crew. That’s right. A sequel as mentioned in the final episode and by this time this blog is up, it’s already done and dusted. Needless to say, I’ll be catching the second season too and just for the time being I will be taking a little breather just to let things settle down before starting up again. Sometimes it is good to give things a rest instead of going on and on and on and on and on and on and on like certain 3 digit anime series that will probably never end. Uh huh. You’ll have a higher probability of finding an end to the universe than these series. Haha!

Many would think this series is some sort of successor for Cowboy Bebop even if that series was created by the same person, Shinichirou Watanabe. Just that this one is more of dandy compared to the bluesy Cowboy Bebop. Besides the space theme, another obvious point is how each episode stands alone by itself, just like the format of Cowboy Bebop. And I suppose this is what prevents it to be an epic anime too? However unlike my feelings for Cowboy Bebop in which the episodic feels of each episodes diminishes its epic-ness, I don’t feel the same for Space Dandy perhaps at the back of my mind I was thinking this was going to be some funny nonsensical series. Yup. I didn’t take many of the things seriously and stopped after realizing that what happened at the end of each episode doesn’t have some sort of consequences in the next. It’s like they hit the reset button and left it there as it is. It was displeasing at first but as I said, once I stopped caring and get into the flow of it, somehow everything just feels fine. Because deep down in my heart, lady luck would always be on Dandy’s side no matter the outcome. If not, que sera sera.

Thanks to the random and episodic nature of the series, character development is hard to see. I mean, everybody could guess by the end of the first episode that Dandy is going to be your annoying dandy hero, right? He loves to flirt especially making his frequent visits to Boobies and when it comes down to his job, he is a failure. Well, sometimes he doesn’t fail but generally speaking if you want to measure him for his success, there won’t be much of any records to speak by. However Dandy has shown a caring side of him like when he decided to forgo a reward just to let Adelie reunite with her grandpa. Touching. So all is not lost. There is some decent humanity in him. But don’t hope to much either ;p. Similar to him is Meow who sometimes feels like his partner in crime whenever he is not his sparring partner. He has got to be the best sidekick or crew member ever since all he mostly does is just bum around like a freeloader. Yeah. That’s why ‘best sidekick in the galaxy’. Lastly making up the trio is QT. Although he seems smarter, responsible (the only one who does a lot of things) and more rational than the living duo, sometimes he is a little goofy but that is because if you based it on robot logic. They can never understand humans or how living things act or think. The trio could be the new space age Three Stooges the way they go about with their antics.

Then there is this mysterious antagonist, Dr Gel. As far as this season is concerned, the reason for wanting to capture Dandy or how he plays a key role in whatever their plans are is not cleared. Maybe it is something I hope to see in the next season. Therefore, Dr Gel and Bea’s role in this season seems to be more comical than menacing. At first it starts out like they have this serious, grand and ‘never fail’ plan or weapon that will capture Dandy once and for all only to be comically beaten in the end. Because just like Wil E. Coyote, he ends up always on the losing side no matter what. The best part is Dandy does not even lift a finger to get Dr Gel into such screwed up predicament! Even better, Dandy does not even know who he is! It never really crossed his mind that somebody is out to get his ass. I don’t know if Dr Gel and Bea are the only ones assigned by Perry to catch Dandy. After so many failures and money spent for nothing (hey, Perry is a miser, isn’t he?), he should have cut costs or hire somebody who will get the job done. Or like they say, if you want something done, do it yourself. But then again, it defeats the purpose why you are the big bad boss in the first place. You get to order people around, though the results may leave you seething in anger…

I thought Scarlet was going to play some major role somewhere towards the end since her kung fu ass kicking babe in an early episode made it look like she is just more than a pretty face sitting behind the register counter inspecting all sorts of aliens brought in. And when she had a couple of cameos in the end, she turned into an annoyed register ticking off Dandy for his un-seriousness. Where’s the ass kicking babe I want to see? The other minor characters that don’t recur only appear for that single episode and although it doesn’t seem much, in a way it helps to further develop the Aloha Oe trio. Otherwise, we wouldn’t know that Dandy has a soft spot to help a lonely child reunite with her grandpa or Meow and his family back home or even QT falling in love and doing incomprehensible stuffs (from a robot’s point of view, that is) in the name of love.

Action wise, they are rather good and some of them are pretty outrageous but of course in the name of comedy. Even if they don’t make sense or set your hearts thumping and pumping with adrenaline, at least they are worth a good laugh. Because it’s just incredulous. That’s what being dandy is all about? And there are a few moments of fanservice especially with the girls at Boobies. Well, human girls at least. Alien Boobies girls don’t look very appetizing… However to Dandy as long as they got boobs and ass, they’ll do. Good thing he doesn’t discriminate but on the other hand it just shows his true colour as a womanizer. But anyway, that is what I thought Honey is all about. You got a sweet dumb blonde-like girl to smile and serve you while you smile and try to take quick glimpses at her cleavage or curvy ass. Mmm… You know why they keep coming back to Boobies now, don’t you?

The art and drawing is passable and decent. Sometimes with so many aliens around, I have this feeling that the producers were just trying to get creative in designing all sorts of weird aliens. Some really looking so odd that it boggles your mind. It’s like as though they have some competition who can design the aliens and those rejected ones are casted as background extras. It’s like anything goes. So if I submit my horrible drawing of some alien, chances are it can be featured here even if it is just a 5 seconds cameo. Really. With so many vast alien worlds, there are some that would look like our own and even share the same culture. While the quality is consistent, I thought that some of them aren’t. Like that plant planet episode, everything was so abstract and it feels like as though they didn’t put enough effort or had enough time to complete it and passed it off as it is. It was weird although at the same time refreshing because it is just different. But overall, the visuals are okay with lots of flashy stuffs during certain action scenes so it’s not that all bad. The mid-intermission is also interesting as in each episode there are different designs on the series’ title. One was even a spot the difference!

Junichi Suwabe is cool as the voice of Dandy. Just like how he voices many cool guys like Atobe in Prince Of Tennis, Ren in Uta No Prince-sama series and Archer in Fate/Stay Night. At first I thought Mika Kanai was the voice of QT because she sounded very similar to Galaxy Angel’s Normad. Just without the computerized sounding voice. To my error, it is Uki Satake instead. So far her only other roles are Mikia in Soredemo Sekai Wa Utsukushii and Kite in Hunter x Hunter (2011). Hiroyuki Yoshino as Meow sounds familiar since he is the voice of Bossun in Sket Dance but without all that screaming. Other main casts include Houko Kuwashima as Scarlet (Tomoyo in Clannad), Yurin as Honey (Nana in Bokura Ga Ita), Unshou Ishizuka as Dr Gel (Bunta in Initial D), Kousuke Hatakeya as Bea (Ginkaku in Uchouten Kazoku) and Banjou Ginga as Perry (Zaha Torte in Bakuretsu Hunters).

Due to the random adventures in every episode, there is a large casts for other small roles. Some cameo by other seiyuus I recognized include Kana Hanazawa (as Adelie), Ayana Taketatsu (Mamitas), Mamiko Noto (Z), Yuuki Kaji (Prince), Aya Hirano (Maker), Tomoko Kaneda (033H), Rikiya Koyama (one of those flea brothers) and Kappei Yamaguchi (one of those Lagado aliens books). The opening theme is Viva Namida by Yasuyuki Okamura. It tries to give that dandy feel with some psychedelic colours and that funky beat. Well, it’s not bad but won’t end up as one of my favourites. The ending theme is Welcome To The X Dimension by Etsuko Yakushimaru. Despite having this disco feel to it, it feels odd as the singer feels more like whispering than singing. Even weirder are the odd equations in some of the scenes. Later I found out they are references to some American physicist’s quantum physics theory of many worlds. Whatever. Not like I would understand it anyway.

Overall, this series is a pleasant watch if you can get by the little shameless fanservice (because it makes you think men are just thinking about boobs and sex, which is partly true), the nonsense, the randomness of each episode and the big reset factor at the start of each other, ignoring all that has happened before. Well, this is supposed to be something fun to watch instead of cracking your brains over some convoluted plot that will leave you more like a zombie in the end than anything. Strange things already happen among us humans, what more even stranger and weirder things occurring throughout the galaxy that don’t make sense. At least I know this one can make me laugh. I hope the next season will bring in bigger laughs and even more outrageous adventures. Then I can laugh all I want because in space, nobody can hear you laugh.

Bokura Wa Minna Kawaisou

November 29, 2014

Not another anime about the wacky residences of a boarding house/inn/complex. Well, actually it isn’t that bad since there aren’t that many animes about that. Bringing back my earliest memories from Mahoraba to the most recent Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo, Bokura Wa Minna Kawaisou is yet another series which doesn’t have any real plot except for the fact that it chronicles the lives of those living in the complex. And you know, the usual formula of a new kid moves into the new place, meets the crazy residence with all sorts of crazy personalities, puts up with it (all the time), have fun together, become part of the gang, becomes family, life goes on, etc. Yeah. Life is never boring and dull that way. Oh, did I mention the prospects of romance and falling in love? Life indeed is never boring. Just going to get crazier.

Episode 1
Kazunari Usa is just like any other normal kid who dreams of the normal and peaceful life. And perhaps a little romance as well because he fell in love at first sight with Ritsu Kawai at the library. Thanks to his parents’ job transfer, he is going to get a taste of freedom by living by himself. Actually he is going to be living at a boarding home. Along the way, he meets a weirdo, Shirosaki AKA Shiro looking through the fence of a school. Shiro seems to know his name and seems he is trying to drag Usa into whatever he is doing. The police arrives from a tip off and arrests Shiro while Usa makes a run for it. Better not have anything to do with that pervert. Arriving at the boarding complex, he meets the manager, Sumiko. He thought his room was a little big but it seems his actual space is only half the size, separated by a flimsy curtain. Guess who is his roommate? SHIRO! Sumiko assures he is a harmless pervert and a masochist. That doesn’t sound so assuring especially if you are going to be roommates with this sicko! He is not going to stay at this place but what made him change his mind? Oh. Ritsu also lives here. He tries to talk to her but she forbids him from going any further. He is explained the complex is split into female and male sections and of course there is the common section. How come it feels the facilities in the male sections get discriminated? Usa calls him mom to complain about this but she told him to quit being fussy since the complex cut them a good deal. I mean, Usa can’t cook, right? Better put down that phone if you don’t want to hear your mother’s nagging. Later having tea with Sumiko, granny gives ambiguous hints to Usa to get to know Ritsu better and at the same time don’t get to know her. Huh? So he is stealing glances at her reading a book in the female section when Shiro had to butt in. Ritsu gets disgusted when their talk seemingly has lots of sexual subtexts. He tries to explain but accidentally steps into the forbidden area and gets whacked by her bamboo sword.

Usa isn’t sure if his life is going downhill since Ritsu avoids looking at him, ignores him at school and doesn’t smile. This has Shiro mentioning Ritsu has her expressive side when she talks to her other roommates, Mayumi Nishikino and Sayaka Watanabe. Mayumi is a working lady who is away on a trip while Sayaka is a college student. He shows a photo of Mayumi and she looks very pretty. That evening when Usa goes to buy some fish, he sees a lady with huge boobs by the seaside. Lots of alcoholic bottles. Drunk. Screaming out her screwed love life. Trying to throw her ring into the sea but it wouldn’t come off. Trying to kill herself? Do you want to further get involved? I think he is just being nice trying to tell her to be careful so she thinks he is hitting on her. She tries to seduce him and before their lips could meet, Ritsu knocks her head. Usa realizes who this babe is. Photos can be so misleading. Mayumi… So disappointed in you… Since she is still drunk, she tries to slide down the rail. Ritsu tries to catch her but Mayumi gives up before she started. This makes Ritsu mad as she goes to hit her but she slips and they crash into Usa. That hit to the face has got to hurt. And so back at the complex, Mayumi is bawling her tears that her lover was two-timing her but the rest doesn’t seem sympathetic. Like it has always been the normal thing. Since Usa’s mouth still hurts when he eats, he gets to see another of Ritsu’s expression. She’s not so expressionless after all. Blessing in disguise?

Episode 2
Sumiko will be away for a while and since Ritsu is her niece, she puts her temporarily in charge so that the rest won’t do something dumb. First thing in the morning, Mayumi is already depressed and trying to tempt over Usa. I don’t even know want to know what her problem is except it has something to do with relationships. They go join Shiro playing bubbles. Again, what the heck is her problem because when the bubbles pop, it just reminds her how fleeting her life is. Ritsu seems interested but she gives excuse that she rather read her book, although her body reaction indicates that she is itching to join in. Eventually she does and Usa sees for the first time her happy expression. Classic. Unforgettable. This actually turns him on so he can’t really stand or his ‘little buddy’ will ‘stand out’. Mayumi and Shiro tease him about this and I think Ritsu got the idea what is happening and smacks him in the face. Yup. One big mark there. Sumiko wonders if he did something wrong and due to the rule Usa made that roommates cannot be implicated, I guess Usa can’t blame him. His plan to protect himself just backfired. While doing the laundry, Usa sees a piece of clothing on the floor and his mind goes wild thinking it is some panties. But Shiro nonchalantly picks it up to reveal it as a scrunchie. Ritsu and Usa do the curtains together. The silence is so awkward. When they return, they see Shiro making odd poses in the wind. Usa quips something artful about this and this has Ritsu bursting into laughter! She can’t help herself! Another classic rare expression you don’t see every day. Shiro doesn’t know what is going on but he likes this feeling of shaming… Usa feels more confident about himself. He sees another scrunchie and picks it up and wonders whose this belongs to. It unveils to be panties… Before he knew it, he was ‘blown’ 10 steps back by Ritsu.

The guys are in a very awkward position. Seems Mayumi is forcing them to watch a horror movie. What is the occasion? When she was out drinking with her colleagues, a younger colleague announced she was getting married… Oh… To have that horror feel, they decorate the complex with talismans, candles and creepy stuffs. Well, aside the movie, Mayumi may be the scariest one. But the one most afraid is Ritsu. Trying to give an excuse that she is sleepy? Usa tries to coax her to watch some but she peeps at the wrong time and got the fright of her life. Once the movie is over, she has Mayumi accompany her to the toilet. Suddenly somebody attacks them. The rest rush over after hearing their scream. Seems Sayaka is back and is fondling Mayumi’s boobs. Sayaka is introduced to Usa and it seems he finds her quite normal. In fact, cute. Only Mayumi is pissed off over this cutesy act of hers. Who could blame Usa? He has to live with a pervert, drunkard and an unsociable girl so can you blame him for fawning over her? Something indicates that Sayaka too may not be as normal as she seems. Dark aura?

Episode 3
Usa bought a new bicycle. You bet Shiro and Mayumi want to steal his maiden ride. Sayaka suggests Ritsu should ride with him but when they see the bondage rope tied on the backseat (thanks to Shiro), I guess that’s a no. Next day, Shiro gets another chance to ask her but she says she would rather die. That hurts, right? So after that heartbroken boy peddles away, you might be hearing things about Ritsu confessing she actually loves him, which is actually cheeky Sayaka adlibbing the whole damn thing. The rest proceed to tease her and this pisses her off so much that she warns them that she could use her position as the landlord’s daughter (her mom holds the real ownership of this place) to increase rent by 50%! Holy cow! At school, Ritsu tries to apologize and explain for what she said but it ends up confusing herself. Back home, Usa witnesses more weird stuffs. Sumiko jumping on Shiro’s back and Sayaka molesting Mayumi. But the one who caught his eye is Ritsu. Is she crying?! Something feels wrong. Mayumi gets a call from her ex. She tries to feign she is the dominant one or that the guy is the one who needs her but we can tell she is just playing into his hands. See that big smile on her face when he texts wanting to hear her voice? Again, Usa notices Ritsu quite sad. She knows how she feels? Could it be she has a previous boyfriend? No way! That loner? Not possible. That evening, Usa sees Mayumi dressing up very nicely (she’s quite pretty if she looks like this) and going to meet her ex. Meeting up with him, it seems he is trying to make her come to his place and she very well knows he has no intention of talking things out. Besides, she hates the Italian food here so she ditches him and that she is not getting back with him. Once she returns home, Ritsu feels so relieved that they hug. Turns out the book she was reading has the protagonist exactly like Mayumi. She tends to get influenced easily with her books. Big relief for Usa.

When Usa is about to leave the complex, he sees Sayaka being harassed by a guy, probably her boyfriend. Upon spotting Usa, Sayaka quickly hides behind him and all we know is that sh*t is going to hit the fan. She’s making it sound that Usa has got something to do with her and this makes that guy mad and is going to beat him up! Thanks to Ritsu’s book throwing (she blames it that the wind blew it off her hand), Usa didn’t get damage to his face. Besides, they’re blocking her way into the complex. That guy wants to continue beating him up but the police is here to return Shiro (trying to sneak out discarded porn magazines). Sayaka is forced to apologize because Sumiko warned her about bringing trouble to this complex. Besides, you don’t want your rent to increase, don’t you? Promise this won’t ever happen again? Hope so… Usa goes to thank Ritsu for saving him but this causes her to blush. She gets so embarrassed that she yells at him. But did Usa find it cute? Sayaka then stirs up more trouble by telling him that Ritsu is actually lonely and please be there for her. Hope that trouble won’t come because Sumiko reminds her again… Granny looks pretty serious this time. Sweating in your pants?

Episode 4
Taking up Sayaka’s advice, Usa goes to talk to Ritsu. He lights up when she stops reading her book and walks home with him (his bicycle has a punctured tyre). Mayumi receives a call from a friend. Something about a failed mixer. I’m not sure if she is happy or sad about it because she didn’t like her that much. On this same topic, Sayaka notes Ritsu doesn’t like making friends. Ritsu narrates that it’s not like she wanted to be alone (really?). Just that nobody from her junior high enrolled in this high school with her and that she never had a chance to approach her classmates. How could she? She is always engrossed reading her book. Usa continues his streak to not take the hint as he goes to talk to Ritsu. From the conversation, it seems Usa thinks Ritsu needs his help or something and is happy the way things are going. As for Ritsu, she feels he is a weirdo. So you can see the contrast of their moods when they get back. Usa so happy and Ritsu just gloomy. One day at the bookstore, Usa sees Ritsu’s old friends giving her a surprise greeting. They talk a while and exchange phone numbers. Then her face turns to horror when she realizes Usa was watching. She leaves quickly but he catches up. Trying to cheer her up and stay positive, this only makes things worse as she tells him off to quit worrying about him. Instantly his heart sank like a rock. He is so depressed that he wants Mayumi to step on him?! I don’t think he inherited this fetish from Shiro. So he learns that Sayaka was fooling around with him and although the hint she gave him was true. What he should have really done was maintain status quo but instead he went ahead and dug his own grave.

Shiro spots Ritsu sitting alone in the garden. He also knows she is depressed and something to do with Usa because that guy is down too. She explains the conversation she had with her friends. It’s not like she hates them or wanted to be friends with them. She went with the flow just to end the conversation early. She doesn’t mind being alone. But she feels bad she contradicted herself and took it out on Usa. Shiro for once gives some cool advice about this teenage angst she is experiencing. He believes along the way she will learn that she is just fine the way she is instead of trying to be perfect. Usa heard all this and never realized Ritsu’s feelings. At first he thought she likes Shiro! But since he becomes an idiot and Ritsu chides him, man, that is a big relief. What were you thinking? The next time Usa sees Ritsu, he doesn’t greet her. But she is so engrossed in her book that she didn’t cross the lights after several times! She didn’t even move! So he greets her but tells her she doesn’t need to close her book. He tries to make amends, he says something funny that makes her chuckle and I suppose this is good enough for him. He points out to the beautiful rainbow ahead and she murmurs a thank you. She thought he didn’t catch it but his you’re welcome reply made her embarrassed that he might have heard it.

Episode 5
Usa is now able to walk home with Ritsu with pretext of keeping her safe. That’s about it. When they come home, they see Sayaka trying to rape Mayumi! Seems when she went drinking with her circle yesterday, she met her ex. She tried to be friendly as not to ruin the mood. He took it the wrong way and talked casually with her. The last straw was when he tried to kiss her. Let’s say his crotch suffered the most damage. Then they all talk about how each of them stores their love stories in some imaginary folder. Sayaka tries to kiss Ritsu but Usa jumps to her defence. He uses his hand to block but it touches her lips. Embarrassed Ritsu gets up and quickly leaves for her room. Sumiko advises him that while Ritsu doesn’t mind being alone, she doesn’t always want to be alone. So during dinner, the silence between is so awkward that it pisses off Mayumi to just get it done with. Next day, everyone plays water pistols. Ritsu is geared up and serious… After that she spots Usa reading a book she left on the table. She also saw him giggling. Realizing he has been seen, Usa mentions expresses that this book is interesting and thinks the reason why she is quite happy today. He gives the book back but since she has finished reading it, she lends it to him. Little does he know she puts up a very bright smile. Next day, she sees him reading again but Mayumi interrupts him. Since everyone is bored, it is suggested to do some relay storytelling. I don’t know. It seems like a story to insult Shiro and Usa. Only, Shiro wants to be tormented like in the stories. Yeah. Shiro peeled away into… Usa! Anyway it doesn’t end well. At least for Usa. S&M grandma and yaoi grandpa fight to have a piece of him. Sick. Ritsu and Usa discuss the book they just read and it seems their answers are similar and very in sync. Sayaka and Mayumi have this devilish thoughts about ruining this but angelic (or the biggest devil) Sumiko won’t allow it. Usa is so embarrassed by the synchronicity that he didn’t realize Ritsu’s cute smiling face.

Episode 6
WTF?! This is not a dream! There is this loli, Chinatsu confessing she loves Shiro!!! OMG!!! It all began when the police called him. Uh huh. Previously Shiro returned a lost purse, which surprised the police. Because he thought he was going to turn himself in. Now that the owner is found, they want to visit to say their gratitude. Chinatsu notices Shiro making some huge bamboo contraption and after some talk, he allows her to come by and visit anytime she wants. They thought that was the end of it but surprisingly she did come by to check if he has finished his contraption. He gives lots of excuses that he is busy but Chinatsu says she will come here every day to help complete it. So as they bond together making it, that is where that shocking confession came. Even Shiro says he loves her! If she was 9 years older. He might be a pervert but he keeps his girls over 18 years old. Somehow that doesn’t feel like a compliment… Mayumi feels the need to keep this loli away from that dangerous man and approaches her to give all sorts of reasons including that Shiro is her boyfriend and dog. Not convinced. Mayumi is so pissed that she starts shooting her mouth and causes Chinatsu to cry and runaway. Oh dear. What have you done? Who is the bad guy now? As you would have expected, she too has a mentality of a child so Mayumi starts throwing tantrum and such. Chinatsu stopped coming over ever since so Sayaka the devil hints somebody in this room made her cry. At first Mayumi tries to shift the blame but how far can she run and hide? Next day, Usa and Ritsu see Chinatsu at a corner. When her friends pass by, they ignore her. Telling this to the rest, Mayumi is feeling even guiltier because she did tell off Chinatsu in that rant she will be excluded.

Chinatsu’s mom comes by because her daughter hasn’t come home yet and thought she came here. She didn’t. So they go look for her but she is closer than everyone thinks. She was sleeping in the bushes in the compound. Back inside, Mayumi tries to reconcile and make up. We think she should have just kept her mouth shut because it feels like she is making things worse. She even tries to implicate Ritsu like how she is a loner (risking raising her rent by 3 times!). Chinatsu reveals she wasn’t doing well in her studies and was edgy. So when her friends talked to her about anime, she told them off and made them cry. Although Ritsu gives some good advice, Chinatsu still feels down to a point she wants to die! Can’t have a young girl committing suicide, can’t you? Sumiko cheers her up that she can come here anytime for pudding. When she’s down, she should eat something and it will make her feel better. Shiro promises to complete the machine and when weekend comes, she brings her friends and they enjoy this huge elaborated contraption that turns out into some flowing noodles. Only it isn’t flowing in the end… Chinatsu makes friends with Ritsu and they have extra large servings of pudding. With Chinatsu getting back with her friends, she rarely shows up anymore. Shiro thinks Chinatsu confession was a form of escapism. She did say that looking at him did make her feel better and that a social outcast could still have fun. Kids should be fine the way they are. He sounded quite cool in that statement till he had to ruin it with his masochistic fantasies.

Episode 7
There is a notice going around warning about a molester. No, it isn’t Shiro but that guy has that look on his face that he would love to be the victim… Because Sayaka and Mayumi relate their experience that they have been molested before in a bookstore, Sumiko puts her feet down and doesn’t want Ritsu to read while she walks back home. Not wanting to waste a single precious moment to read, she assures she has Usa as her ‘bodyguard’. Well, it’s a good thing he gets to be with her. But the way he comments and looks at her makes him realize he could turn into a molester any minute. Soon the molester is caught and Usa’s ‘bodyguard’ days are well over. It has to end sooner or later. And Ritsu is so glad she could read as much as she wants. One evening, a couple of kids come rushing to Sumiko and Usa outside the complex because they saw a molester in the train station. Actually, this one is a flasher. Because Ritsu is so engrossed in her reading, she didn’t realize she has been flashed! Totally ignored. The rest of her mates come to her rescue before the flasher could do anything and Shiro puts his S&M bonding into good use. Shiro lectures Ritsu that she was being careless. Not only she was not paying attention, she didn’t even yell for help or run away. Not amused when he tests her into saying something embarrassing, she lures him into the women section to beat him up. That’s legal, right? Since Sumiko feels lazy to do anything today, the gang will go out to eat at her friend’s cafe run by Tae Shinohara. I know Usa wants to bring control to the weird bunch but it makes him look like a control freak. Tae tries to recruit Usa to work part time but he doesn’t want to, fearing that this place has equally weird people. Not till Sumiko reveals about Usa’s embarrassing middle school nickname that has the girls laughing and teasing him like mad. Even Ritsu is snickering. I guess she wasn’t really engrossed in today’s reading. To cheer him up, they tell their own stories of other people with weirder nicknames. Next day, Tae visits the complex and has him wear a traditional apprentice outfit for her cafe. I thought he didn’t want to work at the cafe? He didn’t. Well, this might change his mind. Ritsu looking and fawning over him (his uniform, rather) and since she is giving him that puppy eyes look, safe to say Usa accepts the job.

Episode 8
Usa will go by the nickname of Anekouji at the cafe. Now here comes his weird colleagues. There is Houjou (nickname Yamamoto) who can’t stop ranting and is a history freak and Kurokawa (Saionji) who loves the spirit world. Back at the complex, Mayumi is at her bad temper again because her junior organized a mixer and kept her in the dark. In that right timing, Usa’s friend, Tagami texts him about an invitation to a mixer. Mayumi is turning into a demon lord… Anyway Tagami is with this girl who planned the mixer whom Usa knows from middle school. Looks quite the cutie but Usa doesn’t remember her. When our ‘experts’ remove all the fake makeup accessories, Usa remembers her as that plain Jane spirit freak, Hayashi. A follow up mail states that Hayashi refuses to go ahead with this mixer if Usa comes. Mayumi feels great because this is not as bad as being left out from a mixer. When Usa is working in the cafe, Hayashi and her mixer come in. Small world, huh? But Hayashi feigns she doesn’t know Usa much (in contrary she used to report every spiritual reading to him back then). Sumiko suggests that they go visit Usa since they have nothing better to do. Ritsu didn’t want to come along till she was told there are lots of old literatures. She is also made to wear the traditional outfit. Usa’s mixer seems to be rude by making fun of Houjou and Kurokawa when they serve them (just to impress the girls?). Then when it is Usa’s turn, they start mocking and badmouthing him but Usa just sat there. He is embarrassed and hurt deep inside but couldn’t say a word. His thoughts are only about Ritsu when he hears her voice. It’s like an angel came to him because here she is. Everyone is stunned by her beauty. The guys they could further tease her when Ritsu personally requests for Usa. But Ritsu being Ritsu, she makes it serious that she wants him now. She’ll be waiting downstairs. Once she leaves, it is Mayumi and Sayaka’s turn to turn up the heat. They cling on to Usa and make it seem as though he is such a popular guy. You guys jealous? While Sayaka wrecks havoc with the mixer, Mayumi brings Usa away and lectures him about his Mr Nice guy personality. Too bad Ritsu didn’t wait and has already left. Usa believes it is because she felt embarrassed after standing up for him to strangers. He is so happy that he could die. On the contrary, Ritsu is so embarrassed that she could die. Back at the complex, Usa gets his ‘reward’ when he gets to eat next to Ritsu. Their conversation goes fine till Mayumi had to interrupt because she won’t let it end on a good note. No happy ending yet for them.

Episode 9
Tagami calls Usa and seems he is interested in Mayumi! Oh sh*t! Usa tries his best to make him stay out of this. Speaking of the devil, here is Mayumi in one of her bad moods again. Drunk. Sitting on Shiro’s shoulder. Whacking his head with the sake bottle. You sure you want this kind of woman? So what is it this time? One of her b*tchy colleagues got a boyfriend. You can guess the rest from there. Uh huh. It’s like Mayumi needs someone below her to feel superior. Sumiko finds a guitar in the closet and this brings back unwanted memories for Mayumi because her first love was a loser and this sets the streak-cum-curse for the rest of her life. She climbs up to the roof and starts singing her song, strumming her pain away with the guitar. Trying to spread the despair? Since she’s already in this state of mind, the rest just play along with her. Eventually they manage to coax her to get down. Can’t stay up there forever, can’t you? That night, a loud scream is heard from Mayumi. Usa rushes out to see what is happening but Ritsu crashes into him followed by Mayumi. Seems while Ritsu was reading on her bed, a centipede fell down. She freaked out and slammed it with her book. She ran to Sumiko’s room for help but got freaked out by her Japanese dolls so she went to Mayumi’s room. She slipped and crashed into her. Because Mayumi can’t see well without her glasses, she thinks Ritsu was holding up a centipede when it was her black string panties (unused) and thus the scream. Shiro reveals the many methods to get rid of it (which feels like a horror story) and since Ritsu is begging oh so pitiful, I guess this is the one time Usa gets permission to go into the women section.

Mayumi wants them to check her room first but it is so messy that they don’t even want to look. Usa is motivated to enter Ritsu’s room. Feels like a mini library. He has to fight his raging horniness when he can’t help think about Ritsu’s bed. Even so, Ritsu’s ambiguous words she doesn’t mind wetting the bed (they’re going to pour hot water on the centipede). When Usa flips the book, the centipede is not there. Ultimate horror because it might have run off somewhere in the complex. So the horror search begins. Usa thinks he saw something. Could it be his imagination? And then… And then… it’s right on Ritsu’s back!!!!!!!!!! He tries to take it quietly and swiftly but Ritsu already felt something wriggling. She panics and shakes like mad to get it off. In the process she risks getting scalded by the thermos flask but Ritsu blocks it with his arm and got minor burns. Usa catches her and this looks like a seemingly romantic situation before they got embarrassed and realized this. The centipede is before Mayumi. Oh, what to do?! Suddenly Sayaka the saviour kills it. Her old place has lots of them so she is used to it. Nobody could kill centipedes and look as good at the same time. Now they can sleep in peace. When Ritsu notices Usa’s scalded hand, she takes the cool pack to treat it while trying to eke out a thank you. Usa feels so good that he probably could upgrade from sleeping in peace to dying in happiness. Next day, Tagami makes his surprise visit because he really wants to get to know Mayumi. Usa tries to make him go away but here comes Mayumi in her sexy pyjamas. Tagami tries to hit on her and this only serves to increase her dominating confidence. All that gloom just blown away, huh? After Usa shoos him away, Mayumi is starting to feel real good but learns that Tagami isn’t the legal age yet so she loses interest.

Episode 10
Usa wonders if he should continuing working here after summer ends. With his weird colleagues around, definitely he is going to quit. The cafe is also stocking up on old books and since Ritsu’s room is running out of space, they plan to store some here. While Shiro is enjoying the heat stroke (yes, he is), he sees Hayashi trying to peek into the cafe. Seems she felt guilty over that day and wants to apologize. Flashback reveals she overheard girls in her class badmouthing him. However they also noted that Hayashi would have been bullied left and right if not for him always sticking around her. When Usa spots Hayashi, she musters her courage to thank him for everything and then apologize. It would have ended great had she not cried so much and end up looking like some horror ghost because her makeup melted. Hayashi wonders why he could forgive her so easily. It’s because he had others supporting him. Had Ritsu not been there that day, he might not have been able to forgive her and thus wasn’t hurt that bad. She should go thank her too. Kurokawa returns Hayashi a handphone strap she dropped the other day and tells her to take care of her good spirit guardian. She starts taking a liking for him.

One day Chinatsu pays the complex a visit. It’s been a long time and she thought she should spend some time with those lonely people. You don’t say… Also to help complete her summer project, Shiro helps her make shiny mud balls. Because Sayaka is away to her hometown, this prompts Mayumi to as usual berate her trying to grab a boyfriend. This interests Chinatsu since she loves talking about romance and thinks Sayaka has a boyfriend or is a popular girl (both of which Mayumi denies). She then asks if Ritsu and Usa are dating. Ritsu starts feeling uneasy but like young children who don’t know about reservation and just being honest to goodness in your face, she is sure Usa likes her. Ritsu dismisses it that Usa is just a guy who is used to taking care of strange people. She isn’t special to him. Chinatsu could tell she is jealous since Usa is ‘taking care’ of a girl from his junior high at his work place. She’s mad because he is just as nice to other girls. No? So Chinatsu boldly asks what if Usa dates her. What would she do? Call the police. What if Usa dates Mayumi? Call the police. When Usa returns from work, he sees Chinatsu trying to apologize to Ritsu. As he couldn’t read the atmosphere fast and talks like normal, this causes Ritsu to be upset and giving him that death stare before she abruptly leaves. When Sumiko returns, Chinatsu is amazed by the decorative bread she made and will make this her summer project. Nobody cares about the mud balls now, eh? Poor Usa is still left clueless…

Episode 11
Talking about pets, Mayumi refuses to have one but changes her mind when Sayaka teases that it may help cool her head and choose a better guy. On second thought, Sayaka takes that back. The girls continue to tease Usa and he would love to plot his revenge if he knew their weaknesses. Sayaka’s friend, Miharu Tsuneda shows up. Sayaka is not thrilled she is here (her high school is holding a reunion so she thought she dropped by). She tries to make her leave but it seems for the rest, the more Tsuneda opens her mouth, the more stuffs they get to know about Sayaka and gladly allow her to stay. Among the things she reveals include the time she was locked up in a shed and how she busted out of it. And this… Sayaka is into BL?! Holy sh*t! Sayaka couldn’t do anything till Tsuneda passes out after drinking a bit of alcohol. Good riddance? At least she doesn’t talk in her sleep. Next day when she leaves, the gang are shocked to see Tsuneda’s total makeover. It’s like she’s a different person only 10 times cuter! One day a rabbit accidentally enters Sayaka’s room. She freaks out and dashes to Usa. She makes one big hell of a threat if he ever tells this to Mayumi, he is screwed forever. Seems this was part of Usa’s prank as he learnt she hates rabbits. Despite finding her weakness, it opened up a can of worms because he gained another weakness of his own.

Usa walks back with Ritsu just like any other day. One day at the library a girl named Maemura talks to her and shares the same interest of reading. Instantly they become friends. Usa is happy for her but also feels sad because his time to walk home with her is now gone as Maemura hogs every moment to be with her. Maemura asks where she stays and if there are any boys she likes. This of course sends the bells ringing. She wants to visit the complex. Usa hides himself in his room thinking she wouldn’t want Maemura to think they live together. More heartbreaking is that Maemura got her email address when he himself doesn’t. He laments he means nothing to her. So Ritsu the beginner learns how to text a message back. Slow. But it might become a chore since she is forced to reply every message and this interrupts her reading. Maemura continues to spend more time with her and Ritsu is getting more annoyed although she still tolerates it all. One day Maemura invites Ritsu to meet up with her friends who also share the same hobby. She thought they were meeting up somewhere else instead of the library because they’ll be talking. When Sayaka returns home, she tells the rest she saw Ritsu with a bunch of girls meeting up with guys. To Usa’s horror, he realizes the signs and fears the worst. Likewise, Ritsu realizes she has been duped because here she is in this mixer at the karaoke joint and is feeling more than just uneasy.

Episode 12
This handsome guy in the mixer is being pushy. Ritsu tries to push him away but he loves playing hard to get. Oh no. Is Ritsu done for? Good news: This was Usa’s concerning fantasy. But how come this guy suddenly turned into his face midway?! He wanted to be the one, eh? In reality, Ritsu is still uneasy but as Maemura points out, all of them are bookworms. This guy, Mitsui shares the same interest with her. Things seem to be going on fine till he somewhat ridicules other types of readers including those beginners who pretend to read hard stuffs. This makes Ritsu snap at him. That didn’t stop him from trying to get his hands around her. Thanks to her handphone ringing, she leaves to answer it. Although it’s from Mayumi, the text itself is from Usa (he doesn’t have her mail address). As expected, he is quite concerned and probably hoping that she would allow him to come to her rescue. However from the way she says it, despite not alright, she’ll find a way to deal with it herself. So he is not needed? Ritsu leaves the group and returns home but to her surprise finds Usa waiting for her at the bus stop to walk her home. Next day, Maemura apologizes for what she did but her intentions were good as she feared she would back off if she told her guys were coming. She still wants to hang out with Ritsu but when she finds Maemura has been distributing a picture of her unauthorized, that is the last straw. She chides her that she is just looking for someone to hang around. Maemura reveals maybe that is the case because she got into a fight with someone so she may be overcompensating it with her. Soon any form of communicating from Maemura stops. Good riddance to those annoying handphone ringing? Maemura also stopped meeting her at the library. One day Ritsu and Usa heard Maemura meeting up with her friends. She said that she didn’t really click with Ritsu and is trying to maintain some distance. In a way, Ritsu felt bad and started crying. Though she blames the book she is reading. Then I suppose the book must have got Usa to be emotional too, huh? Too bad they can’t be the saddest around because hell Mayumi is going to let them be. Uh huh. Again being kept in the dark for another mixer. Yeah, yeah. She is always the worst case, right? Ritsu couldn’t give a damn…

Ritsu gets drunk when she accidentally drinks something alcoholic. Well, all the unexpected things you never expect her to say are now out. From hating those b*tches to be happy and even calling Sayaka a b*tch 3 times in a row! Surprisingly the ‘relationship experts’ dispense good advice like how Ritsu isn’t to be blamed entirely. It is just because they don’t click. That’s all. Either way they will drift apart eventually. As no two people are compatible, the important thing is to accept that fact and still want to get closer to each other. Thinking about Mitsui continues to rile Ritsu up. So she takes it out on Usa about him being a nice guy especially to Hayashi. It makes him like a masochist. So does she want him not to be nice to Hayashi? Ritsu changes the subject and feels hungry. Since she is prohibited to go out to buy snacks in this state, Usa has a few snacks in his room and will go get them. But the devil women read his intention well of wanting to let Ritsu into his room and won’t let him have his way. So the ladies are at his room trying to find the best ‘snacks’. Nude pictures are only worth 20 points but 50 points for finding a porn DVD? Ritsu wakes up in Usa’s room all sober. She exactly remembers what happened last night. Oh sh*t… Thankfully nothing horny last night. She notices a tough book he is reading and the comments he has written. She takes the liberty to put some of hers only to be interrupted by Mayumi. Usa feels embarrassed the comments have been read as Ritsu dashes out of his room. When he catches up to her, she couldn’t stop laughing at some of the comments he made that just sounds plain funny. She hopes he will show her his notes again when he reads further in. She blushes when he points out this feels like writing a diary exchange. Then he did it. He finally asks her for her mail address. Just in case that mixer incident happens again. She sends it to him. Gladly received. Gladly saved.

Lovely Complex, Complex Love
I actually didn’t thinks about it because despite the very normal and nothing-much-happens ending, it feels like the goal of getting Ritsu’s mail address has been achieved and therefore the ‘good ending’ for Usa and thus the end of this series. I mean, there wasn’t any real sort of plot for this series in the first place so at the back of my mind I was wondering how this anime is going to end. Then it hit me (hinted, rather) that Usa did not have Ritsu’s handphone number or email address so if he is able to get that, it would be a big step and improvement in their relationship. Although from the way I see it, it is a very long way to go. But I guess for a guy like him to get Ritsu’s handphone, it is unlocking the hardest and toughest achievement ever in a game. Beats everything else. I hope he doesn’t continue to annoy her with mails and texts.

The characters are the strongest points of the series although it may seem a little cliché that the complex residences have wacko personalities. Is it a must? I mean aside from the compulsory normal guy as the protagonist (Usa’s normalcy is just like Mahoraba’s Shiratori and Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo’s Sorata), we have the unsociable (Mahoraba’s Sayoko and Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo’s Mashiro), the drunkard (see the similarity with Mahoraba’s Megumi and Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo’s Chihiro?), the predatory college b*tch (a mix of Mahoraba’s Megumi and Tamami), the nice landlady (Mahoraba’s Aoba and Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo’s Chihiro except that she is nowhere near nice) and the perverted other guy (except these guys are not perverted – Mahoraba’s Haibara and Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo’s Jin). Well, like Mayumi says, everybody is different. Some are just more different than others…

Despite their very strange personality, somehow the chemistry between them works out well and it makes them lovable despite some of their very questionable behaviour. For Usa (whose name sometimes reminds me of the initials of a great super power country), I guess lots of guys could relate to him. Wants to be independent, live on his own and trying to get the girl he likes to notice him. He even fawns and fantasizes about her in certain situations. Most guys are like that, right? Some may find the romance development between Usa and Ritsu to be painfully slow especially with him only getting her email address as the ‘biggest’ development. However it isn’t good to rush things and as they are poles apart in their personality, all the better to take their relationship slowly and tread carefully. It would be unrealistic to see them end up as a couple by the end of the dozen episodes. I mean, for a shy girl like Ritsu who does not open up her heart like she does for her books to suddenly throw herself into Usa’s arms. Can you imagine that? No can’t do. It might be a feel good factor for the short term if their relationship blossomed that way but once that is over, you’d realize that would just spoil everything that has been built on so far. I mean, you can’t compress love into just 12 episodes, right?

I don’t know if this is how complex residences have fun but I’m sure it isn’t so fun for Usa as he is usually the object of teasing from the rowdy ones. Despite so, I don’t think he hates it and somewhat accepts part and parcel as his daily life. Because if he really despises all that mockery, he would have moved out or get so pissed off that the sky would fall. Really. Or maybe he just doesn’t have enough money for another place, has not enough living skills to live on his own and wants to be with the girl he admires. That is why sometimes I am somewhat tempted to make this pun for this guy because as the complex is called Kawaisou which could also mean pitiful or sympathetic. Yeah, pity that guy. But respect him for putting up for what he had to go through.

Ritsu so far has been the best character (because Usa is just too plain and the rest are just plain crazy). Despite being the shy introvert bookworm, she isn’t necessarily always that monotonous robot and if you push the right buttons, you’d find that she shows a different side that you would never normally expect to see her. Especially when she tries so hard to stop herself from laughing but couldn’t and just giggles anyway. Her different expressions from being awed to embarrassed are a rarity too. It makes every moment of seeing her do such expression as a priceless gem. Ritsu might not become a sociable person overnight but I’m sure with Usa by her side, she’ll eventually open up a little. At least I’m hoping not as bad as before. I believe Maemura’s intentions were good and was trying to help Ritsu to be more sociable (Maemura even admitted she likes interacting and mixing with boys). But she was being hasty and rushing it a bit, making Ritsu scared. She didn’t try to understand Ritsu like Usa (he got some painful lessons in the process) and in the end it costs them their friendship. But as noted, it might not have lasted since their personality varies a lot and perhaps reading is the only thing they share in common.

The rest of the complex inhabitants feel like for comic relief because of their strange behaviour. But they don’t feel very much like unimportant secondary characters because their relationship helps grow and develop Usa and Ritsu’s relationship in the process. Shiro for one may be a masochist and would love to forever be the receiving end of just about anything. But there are times he displays his big brother side and it shows that he isn’t just a masochistic pervert after all. He could have been much a cooler guy had he not always ask for some pain treatment. Any kind of seemingly painful stuffs, he wants. In fact, almost anything and everything can amount to that. And thus this becomes one of the funny moments of the series. Don’t be surprise if Shiro always ends up as the punching bag.

Then there is Mayumi who is like that typical archetype of a single woman not getting younger by the day who will always b*tch about the hits and misses (mostly the latter) in her failed relationships. Alcohol is probably her best buddy to drown out her sorrows but I think it only aggravates her situation. Because for her, it’s like if she can’t be happy, nobody else can. The reason why she despises any rom-com situation developing between Usa and Ritsu and would come between them if it ever arises. Her ‘sparring partner’ would be Sayaka because if they aren’t busy teasing Usa, they’ll be busy at each other’s throats, ridiculing, mocking, scorning and poking fun. But not to the point of wanting to kill each other, that is.

Sayaka feels similar but different than Mayumi in this context because although she is single, she isn’t a desperate case like Mayumi. Instead, I think she gets the thrill of dumping her boyfriends. Sometimes I get the feeling that she has that yandere looks… Of course these girls aren’t just useless troublemaking b*tches and like Shiro they have their nice and good side to them. Life would have been better if they show more of that side but I guess it wouldn’t be interesting that way. Can you imagine Mayumi not drunk and having a steady relationship and a Sayaka who isn’t a sly schemer? We’ve already got a plain guy at the complex and we certainly don’t need another.

Other side characters add to the fun like Sumiko. If Mayumi and Sayaka are the devil, Sumiko is definitely the angel. But I think she would love to see something developing between Usa and her niece since from time to time she would be dropping ambiguous hints to him. Partly I believe is to help Ritsu break out from her shell and be more sociable. I wonder if other characters like Maemura, Hayashi and Tsuneda will continue to stay relevant because it feels their roles might have ended somehow with Maemura trying to keep her distance, Hayashi reconciling with Usa and Tsuneda won’t be back in town since she lives far away from her best friend. Well, sadistic loli Chinatsu did return once. Future sadist in the making… As long as Usa continues to work in the cafe, you bet Houjou and Kurokawa will still be in our sights.

On a little trivial note, there is something refreshing about in seeing a girl like Ritsu compared to others these days. She is reading a book! Not just an e-book but the physical cold hard bounded pieces of papers! Ironically she doesn’t even know how to use her handphone unlike kids her age these days who are such ‘pros’ (because you can type and send messages faster than the speed of light) and stuffing their face at their iPhones and iPads checking their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever social network that is trendy now. Seeing such a scene is a rarity these days and maybe in the near future when people have become tired of too much wired and technology in their life, perhaps being such an old fashioned geek isn’t so bad after all. Yeah. Maybe there is some hidden potential for a new type of moe here. However I still can’t bring myself to read. Not even manga.

The drawing and art are another of the strong points of this anime. Although mostly like conventional Japanese animes these days, they are pleasing to the eye. Unless you prefer those edgy and unconventional art styles and odd angles (think SHAFT), the art won’t be much of a surprise in this department but certainly any reasonable anime viewer won’t be complaining about it since the quality is consistent throughout the episodes and sometimes it goes even into more detail especially when you have those close ups on Ritsu, the detailed effects that make her look so cute and adorable despite being a bookworm. Speaking of which, because of Ritsu’s short haircut, sometimes she looks like a girly cross-dressing boy in certain angles. You know, animes have lots of characters that have that androgynous looks. Bringing unfounded horror yaoi thoughts if Ritsu and Usa becoming a couple. Yikes! She definitely has that very uncanny resemblance to Ouran High School Host Club’s Haruhi (which happens to be cross-dressing as a boy under a certain circumstance).

Therefore it is also a lesson to learn to watch this anime: Never judge a book by its cover. Yeah. I think that is pretty apt too. Not all bookworms are nerds. They are human beings just like you and me. Then there is the makeup aspect because we see the tremendous transformation of Hayashi and Tsuneda from their geeky look into hot beauties. If they entered some reality TV, I’m sure they would win the grand prize. Of course most importantly, don’t be deceived by the looks because despite Mayumi and Sayaka looking like Miss Universe potentials, they have a dark side that the devil would shiver in his pants.

Increasing Ritsu’s cuteness up another notch is made possible thanks to the talented Kana Hanazawa who voices her. Despite Ritsu‘s character usually displaying a monotonous and emotionless tone, unlike her other expressionless characters like Roku in D-Frag!, there are parts where Ritsu does go into other forms of other expression like embarrassment and trying to keep her laughter. This is played to perfection and makes the character more believable. In short, adorable. Moe gap? What happens when you turn To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s tsundere Mikoto into a luckless mood swinging eternally single woman? Yeah well, Rina Satou definitely sounds like that when she plays Mayumi. Likewise, what happens when you turn a naïve gullible squid girl into a b*tchy college woman? That is how I thought Hisako Kanemoto sounded like. Just no “~de geso”… I haven’t heard Ai Shimizu in a long time but recognizing her making her cameo as Chinatsu certainly does bring back memories way back when I first heard her as Mikoto from Mai-HiME and Karen from Onegai Twins. That cuteness in her voice is still there.

The other casts in the line-up includes Yuuichi Iguchi as Usa (Mitsuki/Sariel in Hataraku Maou-sama, Gou Shinomiya as Shiro (Mao in Jormungand), Sanae Kobayashi as Sumiko (Lucy in Elfen Lied), Manami Numakura as Hayashi (Riko in Love Lab) and Ayaka Suwa as Tsuneda (Tokaku in Akuma No Riddle). The upbeat opening theme is by fhana entitled Itsuka No Iku Tsuka No Kimi to No Sekai while the ending theme is My Sweet Shelter sung by the trio of Kana Hanazawa, Rina Satou and Hisako Kanemoto.

Overall, this series might have some typical overused cliches but there are many parts of the slice of life romance that feels realistic and people can relate to. Some of the comeback lines are spontaneous, witty and funny without going overboard too much on the dirty stuffs. Despite my initial mistranslation of the series’ title as “We Are Being Pitied By Everyone” or “Everyone Being Pitiful”, thus making me think that this would be some sort of slapstick comedy or some tragic unrequited love story, once you get into the flow of the story and know the characters, you’ll find that this is a pleasant and decent anime to watch. You’ll be rewarded with Ritsu’s classic expressions. You won’t regret that. Otherwise, it would be a pity and pity for you if you don’t give this anime a try.

Atelier Escha & Logy

November 28, 2014

It’s time to go on another fantasy adventure. But this time no dragon slaying or dungeon exploring for hidden and rare treasures. Imagine in a world where land has become scarce. Make that fertile land. Because the soil and earth somehow just couldn’t be used to grow food or crops anymore and thus the ‘creeping’ deserts and wastelands that would eventually spell mankind’s doom. Therefore in order to survive the “Dusk End”, mankind must use their known technologies as well as infuse it with the ancient and lost technology of alchemy to stop the advance of “Dusk End”. Sounds pretty similar and scary in real life too, huh? But unlike in Atelier Escha & Logy, we don’t really have the power of alchemy in reality.

As I found out, this anime is based on the Japanese RPG of the Atelier series for the Playstation. I never knew it had so many sequels spanning way back to 1997! So far there have been 16 instalments already and can be further broken down into 6 sub-series. Confused? Well, this is not counting the side games and other remakes as stated in Wikipedia. Scary, huh? Yeah. Sequels. Fear them. This anime is based on the fifth sub-series and the second of Dusk sub-series which is sequel number 15. I have never heard of this prior to the anime what more even played them. But I guess for a series to span this long and have so many sequels, I guess it is not that bad, huh?

Episode 1
Escha Malier is excited because today will be her first day working in the R&D department of Corseit as an alchemist. She meets Marion Quin the R&D chief, Solle the accounting and provisions manager and Colland Grumman the branch general manager of Corseit. Marion introduces Escha to her other new alchemist colleague, Logix Ficsario AKA Logy from Central City. Escha gets a little startled when she accidentally bumps into his sword. He is carrying it as defence since he has to explore the countryside from time to time. Marion brings them to a cauldron where they can put to use their alchemy skills. Escha tests it out and makes a great apple pie. Marion then has them go on their first job, which is to fix the windmill at the apple orchard. Wait a minute. R&D does this kind of job? But Escha is surprised for another reason. This is where she lives. As they make their way through, Logy notices everyone in town knows Escha. She explains this area used to be a desert. A large portion of it still is and as Central calls it, Land of Dusk. A land where no crops will grow and this uninhabitable area is spreading throughout the world and could spell the end of humanity. Escha is positive because they’re still living. Just like how her ancestors did. Adding on, there are 2 reasons why Corseit was built. First is for its apple orchard although it took them hundreds of years to cultivate the soil. It’s their specialty product. Escha lives in one as she introduces Logy to Clone, her automaton maid (she quips Escha got fired because she got back early!). After giving Logy a tour of the place, Clone explains that Escha’s mothers and her mothers before her help cultivate the land and she helped tended to them. Thus the windmill is important to this little village as it pumps up water from underground springs. Logy takes a look and finds the axel broken. Escha suggests letting her cousin, Awin Sidelet have a look at it since he is in the mechanic and maintenance department. Awin in turn suggests the parts he can get for this rare cog. After getting all the parts, Escha uses her alchemy to create a new one. While waiting, Escha tells Logy that she learnt alchemy from her young but was only taught the basics as she died when she was young. She learnt the rest from Clone. Logy also studied alchemy at Central which has a university that only allows the best alchemists to work. His goal is to uncover ancient technology and invent new machines. The axel is repaired and fitting it back in the windmill works like a charm, as though it is brand new. Escha now mentions the second reason Corseit was built. There is this unexplored floating ruins in the sky that nobody has set foot upon. Not even any vehicles could get close to it. Corseit’s balloon docks were built because of the ruins. Escha’s dream is to go to those ruins one day.

Episode 2
Escha is glad that fellow R&D colleague, Linca is back from an expedition. She is the swordswoman of the division. But she gets reprimanded by Marion for eating her rations now instead of during the expedition. After Marion shows Logy a forge, an equipment that brings out latent powers in weapon, she has a job for them. A northern town has its source of water deteriorated and they need to go bring water to them. They go see Awin for a blimp but it’s broken. It needs more time to repair since they have limited budget and Solle is such a miser. They then go request a wagon from Solle but it is no go either since he has given the budget to repair the blimp so wait for it. Since Escha cannot wait, she does her research to help out the villagers. Maybe a teleport door will open somewhere? They’re alchemists, right? I don’t remember alchemists being magicians. They see a store manned by Katla and Escha finds a book containing a purification bottle. But they need a bitter leaf among the other ingredients to purify the water. Duke, the owner of the pub knows where to find it since he was once in Corseit’s military. It can be found in some ruins in the desert but it is dangerous as there are monsters and bandits. The duo make their journey there by foot and once they reach there, Escha’s enthusiasm to find the bitter leaf has them separated. She spots a strange flower and touches it. Nio calls out to her too late. When Logy finds Escha, he thinks Nio is doing something funny and tries to attack but was smacked by Wilbell. Nio gives Escha drink some liquid that allows her to move again after touching that poisonous flower. Nio introduces herself as a travelling doctor while Wilbell Voll Erslied is her bodyguard and Great Witch. Escha tells them about their mission so Nio knows where they can find it and leads them underground. They find the bitter leaves but it is high up. Can anybody fly? Don’t witches fly? Anyway Logy as the only guy starts climbing. He reaches it but falls off. Wilbell uses her wind power to save him. She isn’t supposed to show off her magic and hopes they can keep it a secret. Escha is grateful but also very emotional since Logy is safe. The duo head to the northern village and begin their purification process. It works like a charm and the villagers are very grateful that they have a clean drinking water source now.

Episode 3
Although the water is pure, the source from upstream is still muddy. This means in no time the lake will still be ruined. The muddy source stems from the ruins ahead but the villagers dare not investigate it. As the quartet make their way there, Nio explains she could hear a voice in her head telling her to stay away from time to time. Inside the ruins, they see archaeologist, Threia Hazelgrimm reprimanding a couple of grave robbers to stay out till she finishes her investigation. Actually they call themselves treasure hunter. This cowboy dude is Reyfer Luckberry while Harry Olsen and adventurer and mayor of Vierzberg who is a rare item collector. Logy requests their identification but they make excuse that they leave it back at their inn and leave. This leaves Nio sad because she remembers about her sister who was attacked in Central. Actually she is a grave robber although she never stole anything and just wanted to enter a large ruin as part of an investigation. Her curiosity got the better of her when she entered an old and off limits ruins. It caved in and the place was destroyed. They meet Threia and explain their mission. In turn, she tells them there was an ancient civilization that possesses alchemy far more potent than theirs. These machines made their cities which are still in working condition. Escha gives a lithograph she found at the bitter leaves ruin to her.

When they enter a room, Nio could hear that voice again. This time it tells her not to wake her. But the door locks and a giant golem awakes to attack them. Normal weapons cannot harm it. Wilbell is confident that her pumpkin bomb can do the trick but it only serves to aggravate the situation. Now the golem is going for an all out attack. Logy gets smacked around. Then Linca and Awin busts in to help (the treasure hunters led them here). Everyone cooperates to take it down. Wilbell wants Linca to distract it for 10 seconds as she needs to recite her spell. Who the heck wrote this long ass spells?! I could finish reading a volume of Harry Potter by the time Wilbell finishes. And after those long winded words, what does she summon? Something that looks like Pokemon?! But will it do the trick?! Nope! What a waste. Escha remembers she created some self defence bomb and throws it. A-bomb explosion?! WTF?! Not a speck of golem is left. Way more f*cking effective. All you need is just a durian bomb. They manage to find the source, something was blocking the water flow and causing the water to be muddy. Once removed, the water flows freely and pure again. Once more, the villagers are grateful and happy but as Threia points out, the ruins is not producing as much water as before (there is a visible water mark) and in no time it will run out of water again. But not to dampen things, everyone rides the fixed blimp back to Corseit. Nio and Wilbell also tag along since Nio wanted to go there and hope to find the reason of hearing those voices. Finally, this girl, Flameu awakens from her slumber and wonders who did it.

Episode 4
Escha sucks at writing her report. Not as bad as Linca, though… Marion shows Wilbell and Nio where they can live. Marion pays them a visit shortly and is not pleased they are here. But she’ll close an eye on this. Nio wants to know if she has any information on her sister. She says even if she has, she won’t tell her. But she hints she is looking for her in her own way. The duo plan to make this place their clinic too and with Escha and Logy’s help, they clean up the place. Wilbell notices Escha’s tail accessory so the latter explains it was her late mom who made it. Nio has them go out to get a big table. Along the way, they met Katla who mentions she can even sell them that. Really? All w see are knick-knacks and groceries. When a girl keeps pestering her mom that she wants a tail just like Escha, money faced Katla wants to sell her tail! Once Wilbell realizes how much cut she could get, she tries to persuade her to sell it! Escha blows her top since it is the only memento left by her mother. Logy suggests they could use alchemy to make one but Escha isn’t happy because alchemy isn’t for profit but to make people happy. Oh, they agree alchemy makes ‘everyone’ happy. Anyway they head off to go find the table. The craftsman can finish their custom order table in 3 days. Escha tries to find ways to make the tail. She couldn’t remember much except that her mom made it for her when she was sick. Asking Clone about it, she believes there is a small chance her mom, Miria might have left some notes behind. After going through an old fairytale, Escha suddenly remembers everything and what is needed to make it. But it’s not moving. Katla is so disappointed… Where’s the money in that? Wilbell infuses some spell in it. I think she just overloaded it because now it has a mind of its own and possessing the other girls and turn them into some temporary animal! See Linca howling like a wolf on the roof? Or Marion licking her face like a cat? Wilbell is not spared either. She becomes a rabbit. Katla a squirrel, Clone a deer and Nio the dog. Yeah, the guys are not spared too as the tail goes on a possessing spree. Solle, Colland and Duke got ‘infected’. In the aftermath, it stops after Wilbell’s magic runs out and Marion gives them a good scolding. Now Escha has to write an apology letter… Escha laments she still can’t remember her mom but Logy believes she still has her love. Because she made the tail when she was sick so she won’t feel lonely.

Episode 5
Escha and Logy will be getting a new colleague, Lucille Ernella. The duo are tasked with showing her around and Escha loves being her senior. Lucille learns fast and is a hard worker. Could even surpass you, Escha. Lucille’s dream is to eradicate all sorts of illness in this world. They pass by town and see Reyfer trying to sell Katla some toy. He claims it is rare. Lucille knows about it and wants it. How much? 10,000 Cole! Freaking expensive! But Lucille doesn’t mind paying for it! Oh sh*t! Another loss opportunity for Katla… Lucille sees several fox homunculi seeking payment from Solle but he will pay them later. Solle explains about their special ability to replicate stuffs and usually pays them candies he made in his spare time as compensation. When Lucille is outside and sees them, the sound of her candies attracts them. They become friends. Colland announces that Central has announced an illness is spreading and is looking for a vaccine they can mass produce effectively. Lucille wants to take up this assignment but wants to do it herself. As the days pass, Lucille burns the midnight oil and it has become apparent that she has bags over her eyes. Still don’t need help? Then one day when she didn’t turn up, they look at her research and realize her work isn’t anywhere close to a vaccine and can’t meet the deadline. Escha and Logy rush to her house and find her sick. Lucille explains she overworked to prove that she could do it herself. Although she is the only daughter of the Ernella Pharmaceutical Corporation (which means this rich girl doesn’t have to lift a finger and work), she wants to work hard and help everyone. She regrets she couldn’t make the vaccine in time. Logy tells her she has failed because she didn’t rely on others. They can’t give up yet but first she needs rest. While Lucille is doing so, Escha and Logy go get a medicine book from Nio and has Threia translate the ancient text. Logy and Linca go to get the ingredients and once Lucille is well, she puts them all together for her vaccine. In the end, Central decides to use her vaccine and there is a letter of thanks from her father to her. Lucille is overwhelmed with emotion and couldn’t have done it without their help. Escha brings her to Nio’s place where they celebrate while the rest have their drinks at Duke’s place. Marion getting drunk and complaining she worked so hard and has no boyfriend… When Solle is going to give his payment to the foxes, they remember Lucille and go find her. He is confused and was sure that his sweets were the best.

Episode 6
Escha’s father, Faul has a request of her. He wonders if she can come up with a way to increase their apple production. With Logy and Lucille helping out, they watch Faul and Clone cull some young apples to help harvest more apples next season and to prevent next year’s harvest from decreasing. They pick up those apples but their bitter and sour taste makes it inedible. It is suggested they should come up with some new recipe using them. So they go look at cookbooks by Katla but she is selling them for 10,000 Cole. There has got to be a cheaper way. Duke thinks it is a good idea since most of his customers are man. Besides, the annual eating contest he has only attracts men. So he suggests a dessert making contest in addition to that and the winner will get free meals. The girls are up for it. Duke makes Logy enter the eating contest and has him recruit other participants. Escha notices explosions coming from Nio’s house. Wilbell trying to infuse her magic again. The day of the contest is here. While the ladies (Solle is also participating) are making the desserts, the eating contest starts first. We have Logy, Awin, Reyfer and Linca (because Marion prohibits her from making sweets – she sucks big time!). Linca puts the guys to shame when she finishes large servings. Still got room for more? She is also made the judge for the dessert contest. This is proof why women have another stomach for desserts. She picks Wilbell’s dessert as the best due to its unique flavour. I hope she didn’t cheat or something. Escha gets inspired and soon comes back with soil as fertilizers that would help increase their apple production. She got the idea during the dessert contest. Although Wilbell won, everyone made wonderful and unique desserts. It made her think from her own unique perspective and to be open minded. Clone takes Escha to a hill. The grounds are of different colours because each portion was created by a different alchemist. Some flourished, some failed. She shows her the tree Miria created. Since she passed away young, she couldn’t experiment with many trees and hope Escha could help contribute and use her individuality to make the orchard flourish. Escha, Lucille, Nio and Wilbell have a dessert party after that with Wilbell refusing to sell her recipe to Katla or Duke for mass production. Because she put her magic in it to taste different, she can’t make enough for mass production. Lastly, Flameu keeps murmuring she hates humans.

Episode 7
Everyone is cleaning up since the inspector from Central is coming to inspect. Escha and Linca are cleaning when Reyfer apologizes for trying to hit on her yesterday. However she doesn’t remember meeting him then. When Escha takes a break, she brings Linca to Nio’s place. She is reluctant because Wilbell is mad about her. She thinks she is trying to pick a fight. Seems last night, Wilbell fought Linca at an alley and boy, does she look like some bloodthirsty killer. The R&D department lines up before the inspector, Micie Sun Mussemberg. He hints that Linca should behave better or she’ll hurt her co-workers. The rest wonder if she has done something wrong and Linca is as blur as them. Shortly, Escha and Logy see Linca getting drunk at the bar. Also that night, Wilbell has her rematch with Linca. Next day, Micie summons the R&D staffs and there are complaints that Linca is destroying public property. Katla was a witness and is sure she saw Linca using her sword. Marion could vouch that Linca was with her then. When Logy notes that they saw Linca drunk at the bar, Marion quickly understood. Seems there are other Lincas that look like her but have very different personalities. There are other 8 Lincas and could be wandering around this town. Long ago, the Lincas did horrible things and were caught by authorities. Marion saved her and as a result made it harder for herself to get promotion. She fears if the rest finds out, they’ll hate her. They go around looking for other Lincas. Logy and Lucille find the drunken one at the bar. She is Linca #3. The one we all know is Linca #9 and the violent troublemaker is Linca #1. Speaking of her, she almost attacks Nio but Escha and Wilbell was there in time. When the 3 Lincas converge outside the bar, they start fighting each other. Linca #9 wants them to get out but Linca #1 tells her she is part of her and will take everything she holds dear. She then leaves. Linca #3 also leaves since she has no intentions of helping anyone from Central. She continues her mission to find their mother. Our Linca wonders if the rest hates her since they know about the other evil Lincas. It makes her wonder why they are fighting and so different since they look the same. They don’t hate her because Linca is Linca. Each of them is distinct individuals despite looking the same. Marion is about to treat them but Duke shows her the bill for the alcohol… Oh God!

Episode 8
Surprise! They have finished their assignment for this season! This means they can have a break till the next period. Marion is going to sleep ever day (what the heck is this imitation of SHAFT’s head tilt?!) when Wilbell announces a hotspring trip. Marion doesn’t want to go till she hears how it will rejuvenate her youth. How old is she? Oops! With Awin’s blimp, they head to the hotsprings located at the volcanic crater. While the guys make camp, the girls soak in first because Marion can’t wait and the long trek is already making her feel old. I didn’t expect this little fanservice but that is to be expected when you have a hotspring episode, right? Escha gets the wrong idea that Lucille wants to know how to grow her boobs big when she was asking about her height. Duh… Linca thought it was her muscles… Suddenly the water gets hotter and Wilbell realizes it is time. The Fire Lord returns and is upset they are using her sacred grounds without permission. Wilbell’s goal is to make a contract with the Fire Lord. Thus all this is a ploy to bring them here to help her defeat her. No wonder Escha was carrying a heavy bag of bombs… Well, her great grandma called her recently and was worried she has not submitted her reports recently when she got this idea. Can you not blame the rest for being mad at her? But look out. The Fire Lord is even madder. She hates humans. She accuses humans of stealing her sacred fire from the altar. They visit the altar to see it in a messy state. The sacred jewel that humans once offered to her is believed to be stolen by grave robbers. Escha wants to help out by making the jewel again. Awin and Logy send her back and gather the materials needed for her alchemy to recreate it while the rest stay back to rebuild the altar. Once done, they return only to see Wilbell entertaining the Fire Lord with her magic lights show! WTF?! It’s over… And Escha really wanted to see it. After Escha inserts the jewel, the Fire Lord could feel her fire power returning. As gratitude, Escha may call upon her strength if needed. As for Wilbell, she won’t make a contract with her yet. She vows to become strong enough to come here alone to defeat her. Now they have her permission to use the hotspring. The girls didn’t expect it to be a mixed hotspring… If they kick the guys out, where are they going to dip in?

Episode 9
Escha and Logy help Threia explore a ruin. Reyfer is also here but accidentally sets off a trap. Though they survive, they find themselves in a room with a mural and a notebook left behind by Keithgrif. He is Threia’s uncle and was an alchemist-cum-researcher and researched many ruins. However he always destroys them and this has Central put a bounty on his head. She believes the notebook details his exploration and it could help them understand why humans before fell into ruin. He thinks war and destruction of nature led to man’s downfall. Even with the super powers and advanced alchemy combined with everyone’s cooperation, the civilization still failed. Man must have gone wrong somewhere. She thinks the need of more information and the only place to explore is the unexplored ruins. She has collected pieces of a lithograph although it is not complete, it shows a girl floating above the ruins. Threia wants the duo to hand in her request to investigate the unexplored ruins. But when they get back, Colland has everyone in an emergency meeting. It seems Central has decided to investigate the ruins in the next term. They are not to disturb the ruins in any matter and must find a way to get there. Escha is so shocked that her dream is dashed that she falls into depression. She’s walking in the rain like she doesn’t feel anything. Till she catches a fever. Logy talks to Clone about Escha’s obsession to go there. When she was young she thought her mom lived there. That ruins must seem like heaven to her. Logy is going to persuade Marion about Threia’s request but she already read it and says no. They already have their orders. Instead, she has already written a request how they can go explore the ruins. As Central wants the ruins not to be disturbed, they need to go inside and discover what needs to be preserved, right? So in that sense they can explore it before Central does. Neat, huh?

The trick is now to convince Colland since they can’t fool him with a simple letter. Instead of thinking some beat-around-the-bush way, Logy just takes the request and asks him upfront. Although he agrees to send it to Central, he still won’t allow them to go even if it gets approved. Logy is bent on fulfilling Escha’s dream but Colland warns doing so might disband Corseit’s R&D team. Till Duke gives his piece of mind to him that everyone who came here has a dream to explore the ruins. That is why this town is built in the first place. He talks about their youthful days whereby they took any challenge head on and even mentions about their moments of getting naked in the morning and taking girls every night (do we really want to hear this?!). So the guys end up in a big brawl. Everyone is scared to stop them. How do you stop ‘monsters’ from fighting anyway? Escha feels much better and goes to work. But since nobody is in the office, she heads to the bar right in the midst of the fighting. Thank goodness they stop right in time before her head gets squashed like a melon! I guess this is the guys’ way of making up. In addition to sending this proposal to Central, he allows Marion and her team to investigate the ruins. He will take responsibility for everything. Now that Escha gets to fulfil her dream, her face is light up and so grateful she is to everyone that she gets emotional. Nio could hear that voice again saying the world doesn’t need humans because they are untrustworthy, deceiving, indecisive betrayers, broken promises… I think the list can go longer…

Episode 10
Everyone brainstorms on how to get there and it seems the best way is to build a strong airship that could weather the thunder clouds and debris. Awin shows them that they have been building an airship secretly because it is his dream to go see the ends of the world (plus, Solle is a b*tch and won’t approve such budget to build something). It is about 70% complete but as Logy inspects it, he believes there is not enough buoyancy and the engine is not powerful enough. Also, they have to mix alchemy with advanced technology to make it work. Something which is of very high calibre. Logy seems pessimistic and would rather find another way because building an airship is very dangerous and it could lead to failure. Katla heard they are going to explore the ruins and wants to sell them a book that shows them a way to make lighter gas. I don’t know how much she is selling but they can’t afford it as usual. Luckily Harry passes by. He found that book in the ruins and had no time to decipher the ancient language. Learning about their situation, he gives the book to them for free. See, this is what happens when you are greedy. Yet another lost opportunity… Next challenge is to request for additional materials but Solle mentions they are low on rare metals. Some metal eating dragon has built its nest there and they have to wait after its mating season which could take several months.

Escha learns about Logy’s past when Micie talks to them. Logy was part of Central’s R&D division and built an airship. However it ended in disaster when the airship crashed in flames. Back then he was in charge of making an airship with alchemy and worked hard. He didn’t believe the warnings of the maintenance department and this led to the accident. Although his best friend survived, he could never fly again. That is why he ran away to Corseit and couldn’t dare face him. He feels he doesn’t deserve to manage an R&D division or fly through the sky. Ironically it is Escha who is the one getting very emotional, denying he is such a person. Because he is a great person. Because he worked so hard. Because it’s his dream. So don’t give up easily. She can’t do this alone. He agrees to give it another shot. Linca and Reyfer go hunt for the dragon. Reyfer thinks putting some incense that will make the dragon sleep but it was wide awake and chased after him. At least the nest is clear for Linca to retrieve the rare metals. Logy works with Awin to create the airship. Since they need a powerful fire source, Wilbell seeks Fire Lord’s help. Then leave it to Escha to mix everything and make whatever that glowing balls are. The airship is completed and they test fly it. It works! Big success. Next stop, the unexplored floating ruins. Micie hands Logy a letter from his friend. It is a reminder for him never to give up. This time Logy gets emotional. Better than always Escha, right?

Episode 11
The airship braves through the stormy weather. How long more can it take? Thankfully they breakthrough and reach the ruins. It’s a dream come true! As they venture inside, they see it resembles like a lab and the containment units are trying to grow plants. Flameu appears before them and mentions about her promise to make everyone’s dreams come true. She will make spring bloom and thus won’t let humans interfere or have this facility. She orders her pet, Kuu as it transforms into a ferocious dragon to purge them. Tactical retreat! Once they return to Corseit, they report back to Colland and Marion. They have received word from Central that they are cancelling their investigation so they are free to explore it at their leisure. Chicken out? Escha feels she has seen Flameu somewhere but can’t put her finger on it. The lithograph, remember? Timely entrance by Threia to show the complete lithograph. At the bottom there is a figure that resembles Clone. They go ask her and it seems she knows. Heck! It was right under their nose and they could have asked everything in the first place. The unexplored ruins are actually an experimental lab called Geosys. Flameu was an alchemist born in the same era Clone was created. As the environment was destroyed back then, Flameu and her friends conducted research to revitalize the land. As the facility cannot be maintained by the most powerful alchemy, Flameu chose to remain behind. As she conducted her research over the centuries, she concluded humans were the main problem. She opposed to what they were doing and decided to float Geosys into the sky. As long as she lived among humans, her research will not succeed. As for why Nio could hear her voice, it is because the descendants of original researchers should be able to. Nio relates she was taken to a research facility years ago but her sister rescued her. As for whether they can free Flameu, Clone believes it is impossible as she is imprisoned by her own powerful emotions. Nothing can free her unless she wills it herself. She has been up there for so long that her body has transcended that of a human.

Escha remembers that fairytale, The Hummingbird Princess that also makes her recognize this. Clone affirms the story is related. She reads the story about a girl who was crying because the land wouldn’t grow. Then came this Hummingbird Princess who gave a mysterious watering can to fertile the field again. But not before long, the crops couldn’t grow again so Flameu went on a journey to find ways and when she returned, the land is worse than before. She gave all the tools she found on her adventure to the villagers but the land still didn’t grow. She realized the land is tired of drinking of the same water and wanted the villagers to leave the fields empty and uncultivated but they don’t believe her and continued. This left her in tears. End of story. Escha remembers there is an end to it and not a tragic one. They go to the attic and find the remaining book. A girl noticed Hummingbird Princess crying and helped her out. They make a new watering can and soon things start growing again and everyone is happy. End of story. It is confirmed that Miria wrote this story (because of her handwriting) as Clone’s tragic ending would make Escha cry. The gang wants to give Flameu the ending she deserves and hopes Clone can come too. She disagrees since she doesn’t think she would be of much use. Besides, Flameu may have forgotten her. After being reminded she is just as important, Clone remembers when Flameu left. The Malier family didn’t want her to leave so Clone grew the first apple tree for the family. She watched the descendants grow, tend and pluck the fruits and realizes the time she spent with so many people. She agrees to come along to save her. As everyone packs their bags for the big trip, Logy hands Escha a piece of paper that is the key to save Flameu.

Episode 12
Everyone is onboard for the second trip to the floating ruins. When they reach there, the machines for the labs are being activated. Clone believes Flameu is trying to activate Geosys as the machines aren’t working as they should because time has taken toll on them. This time the gang is ready and expects Flameu to attack. Of course they try diplomacy first. Flameu is still stubborn about keeping her promise and doesn’t want them to interfere despite they offer to help her. Here comes Kuu’s attack. Their coordinated attacks help stave Kuu off. But Flameu unleashes her other set of weapons. Laser beams! Clone gets hit. Don’t worry. Nothing seriously damage. Another round of talks. This time Logy tries to drill it to her that she is useless alone just like everyone else. Yeah. She doesn’t understand. How could she? Then she attacks again. Logy’s special weapon destroys her shield and Wilbell calls forth the wind and Fire Lord to do her bidding. Moments before Flameu is defeated, Escha saves her. She wants to be her friend. You almost got killed just to be friends? Now she can have a heart to heart talk with Clone. At first she doesn’t remember but the memories slowly come back. She thought Clone abandoned her to live with the humans but it is the other way round. She abandoned everyone and left on her own journey. I don’t know what Nio did to speak to her in her heart but it made her more remember a little more. Clone reminds her Geosys cannot revitalize this planet and they must work together with humans. She also explains about the apple tree sapling she left behind and how many raised it. Flameu remembers she wanted to learn why the world was dying and left for her journey. However at that same time she lost faith in humanity and flew into the sky and never came back. Flameu’s promise is to eat delicious apples with her again. So now that they have remembered, reconciled, missed each other, etc, Flameu is now at peace and disappears. Erm… What does this leave the floating ruins? It’s going to crumble!!! Holy cow! They never thought of this?!

Everyone scrambles to the airship. Of course Escha had to trip and fall so that we can watch this magnificent stunt. Once everyone is in the airship and it hovers closely to the collapsing ruins, Logy stands at the very edge and has Escha jump off into his arms. It looks so perfect… Don’t ever try this. Everyone manages to get away safely. As for Flameu, Clone explains she has merged herself with Geosys and probably teleported herself to another similar ruin. Nio has seen such a ruin before so she believes Flameu is somewhere out there. After the ruins crash to the ground, Threia concludes her research that although plants are growing around the ruins and the soil revitalized, Flameu’s research still did not work as the desertification has in fact worsened everywhere else. Everyone returns for apple harvesting. Escha and Logy are surprised to see Clone and Flameu talking by the first apple tree. Clone’s best quip: They’ve been talking so long that they got tired. They don’t look the part… Flameu feels odd that she and humans never see eye to eye and yet so much has grown. Sure, they fought and misunderstood a lot but in the process they help and did their best to revitalize the world. She gives Escha new seeds. I don’t know what is happening now because it’s like she can rewrite the storybook. Once Escha gives her an apple, the scene rewinds to when Flameu began to leave. The girl called out to Flameu to come back and work together. She listened and turned back. She wasn’t alone anymore. In the end, everyone made a new watering can and lived happily ever after. Flameu disappears, making Escha slightly emotional. She is then awarded a medal while Logy has been invited to join the R&D team at Central. Of course he is going to take this chance and go back there. Oh my. Another emotional round for Escha. So as he leaves, she promises to be the best alchemist in the world and hopes he works hard too. Clone tells Escha that her story is not over yet. She is going to write a story that never ends and a fun one that everyone will love. She will call it “The Alchemist of the Sky”.

Dusk Maiden Of Alchemy
Well, the adventure was rather okay. Just that a few things that boggled my mind and made me think it was for convenience especially the final episode’s ‘fight to bring back Flameu’. Like how it was rather convenient for her to get her memories back when she has been living for ages. The risk of forgetting them is so much higher than remembering them. So is she some sort of robot like Clone? I don’t think so. And then her ability to teleport to other ruins. What the?! It suddenly made me go, “She can do that?”. It’s like she could have done it in the first place but of course since she hates humans who live on the ground, she’s not going anywhere to touch her feet on that soil.

Despite these minor things, I would still rate this anime as passable. Nothing grand but nothing too mediocre too. My guess is that if you want to fully understand and appreciate this series as a whole and not only this particular one, it is best to play the entire series. Me? 16 sequels are a lot… So I’ll pass… Besides, the final episode shows Escha and Logy ‘passing the baton’ over to a couple of new characters whom I have found out are the new heroines for the sixteenth and latest instalment of the Dusk series. So definitely this story isn’t over by a long shot. Mostly the episodes in this season feel episodic in nature in the sense that the episodes can serve as a standalone until the last handful of episodes which turns into a final mini arc. What prevents it from being completely a standalone is that in each episode they throw you a bit of something that adds or advances the plot so you’ll still have to watch it in chronological order. I think that’s a no brainer since we all would naturally watch it that way. As far as this season is concerned, the overall story is easy to follow and understand instead of complicated twists and turns. Although there are a few side stories which serves like distraction. More on this later.

One of the good aspects of having quite a number of characters is that you don’t get spammed by everything done by the hero and heroine. Here, everybody plays a part in achieving their goals because simply, no man is an island. Of course there is this downside in short animes with so many characters is that some aren’t fleshed out properly especially a handful that are introduced much later into the series. Like I have said, perhaps you need to play the game to understand a lot of things. From the characters to the world’s setting and even the mechanics of how things work (equipment, spells, etc). Overall, most of the characters have a pretty adequate screen time. Of course Escha and Logy would take the lion’s share. Otherwise why would their names appear in the title? It just feels bittersweet that they have to part in the end but I guess now that part of their dream has been fulfilled, it is time to move on to the next. Yeah, they try to squeeze in what seemingly looked like potential romance between Escha and Logy in the final parting scenes (that long stare into each other’s eyes…) but don’t get your hopes up with that false alarm. I think everyone will end up being single like Marion… Haha! Just kidding.

Character development feels weak since given the dozen number of episodes and the multitude of characters. Escha for one is your typical caring and kind heroine from start till finish. She’s good at alchemy but you don’t feel she has gotten better in the end because from what we can see, whatever she mixes into the cauldron, it comes out fine and working. So it is hard to tell whether she has undergone any major improvement and since she always says she wants to become the world’s best alchemist, maybe that is just herself being modest and understating own abilities. She could already be one. Because the way they show her throwing everything into the cauldron makes it looks like child’s play and then voila! You get whatever solution is needed. Oh, and I find it a little annoying that she goes a bit emo from time to time especially after she hears someone’s story. I mean, everybody has a story to tell, right? The sadder it is (by Escha’s standards), the higher the chance she will get emotional. I mean, it is good that it shows she is a human and a girl after all unlike automaton Clone whose trademark “Ara, ara” feels both monotonous and funny. I suppose with Escha being a little emo, it tries to give us some drama and pull some heart strings in otherwise what would have been a rather bland adventure.

Speaking of Clone, sometimes I thought her revelation in possessing the answers to the past felt like a slap in the face. It could have been easier for everyone if she has just told them from the start but hey, nobody asked, right? I mean, she’s been there for so long, generations after generations so she must have got a lot to remember and record. Notice how she takes a few seconds to access very old data? I wonder how much memory space she has because it feels like she knows a lot. A lot. She could be the world’s walking library and encyclopaedia for all we know.

Almost the opposite of Escha is Logy who is more reserved and mature. Well, he still is one at the end. Sometimes it is hard to feel the chemistry between Escha and Logy working as a pair. Forget in the sense of romance as I have said. Because with their other friends chipping in to help (because the universal theme of this anime seems to be cooperation and you can’t get anywhere by doing things yourself), it somewhat feels like it has diluted their chemistry as a partner so the things they do together feels lacking of any great impact to put them up there in the list of greatest partners, say, Starsky and Hutch?

The rest of the other supporting characters are rather okay and although some are given insights about their past, it is left more to be desired. For example, Nio and her search for her sister. It feels like a side distraction to everything since we won’t get to know more about it except her sister is missing, Nio is looking for her and there is something about their past which feels like it has a connection to something. Also, Linca and her other clones. It is intriguing that there are 9 of them each with different personalities. It would have been interesting to know all of them or how they will be related to the story but given only a single episode dedicated to this, that is why it feels like a distraction and my initial reasoning why the episodes are episodic in nature. Some characters like Lucille have their single episode of focus while other characters just feel under-utilized like Threia who is an archaeologist whose presence is, erm, I don’t know, what is her role in the anime for again besides pointing out that important hint in the lithograph? Also, the discovery of her uncle’s handbook felt convenient and although it sounds like it holds a lot of potential of uncovering what went wrong in the past, again this makes it feel like a distraction because there is nothing more to it. Even if they skip this part out, I believe that the story will still go on, at least suffice for this season.

Wilbell, what can I say about her. She’s a little spunky because even though she says she can’t be flashy using her magic and thus exposing her identity as a witch, from the way I look at it, she’s like having a blast and in certain ways do like she could attract attention. I mean, she is already dressed like a witch so normally ordinary people would already have that perception, right? And I don’t think cosplay exists in this world. I don’t know if there is a bounty on her head or Central is after a person like her since Marion did tell her to keep a low profile. But it feels she didn’t really abide by it especially with that tail possessing episode. She says she is travelling with Nio as her bodyguard but that even feels suspicious. Something more than meets the eye? Rounding up the other varied side characters include Marion who is always swamped with paper work and it feels like she needs to have a break (or work will break her) but when it comes down to it she is a good superior and dedicated worker. Solle who looks like a b*tch at first thanks to his miser attitude and expressionless face but has a softer side once you know he makes candies for those cute homunculi. Colland and Duke, the big tough daddies of the series. Enough said. Reyfer… What is he here for again? Same case with Harry. Well, I suppose they do play a very minor and important role but so minor that they could have put a nameless extra and do it instead. Lastly, Micie’s introduction was late and his presence felt so brief that it doesn’t matter. Heck, nothing major would have happened even if he was not introduced.

Probably the most amusing character for comic relief purpose is Katla. She is a funny girl although her character doesn’t actually feel related to the overall storyline. Making money is only on her mind. But how she goes about it is another story. For a handful of times we have already seen her greedy side get the better of her but this only ends her up as the biggest loser. I mean, she has been selling merchandise in this town for so long and I am sure she would have known that many of the locals cannot afford at such a high price no matter how valuable or rare. She could have made a few bucks instead of trying to be greedy and selling it at a high price that nobody could afford. In the end, it might seem like a lose-lose situation but as seen only Katla is the one who loses as she doesn’t get anything in return because an alternate solution would have dropped on the lap for the rest. So people, a gentle reminder never to be greedy. Unless you want to end up like a running joke like her here.

The action sequences here don’t feel much. The first big team fighting scene with the golem feels forced and somewhat mediocre. The golem smacks everyone around and makes it look like it is the most invincible thing in the world. Then they try to make a joke out of Wilbell’s arsenal because her bombs don’t work and her magic chanting lines are so long and even when she’s done, the spell doesn’t work. It makes you go WTF. Then when it feels like it is time to end it, they use Escha’s durian bomb to blast everything to bits. It’s like they’re plucking this solution out of thin air. Is this part of alchemy too? Oh yeah. Durians are a real golem killer. Funny, only the golem gets destroyed but not the ruins. In the first place, I don’t even know how they activated the golem. Unless you tell me stepping into the room which is forbidden activates it. Which mean to say that nobody has entered here for a bloody long time, right? For the other characters who can fight, they too don’t feel much and lack any sort of variety. Because all Linca does is swing her big sword around, Awin on occasion uses his hammer, Reyfer firing his rifle and Logy uses his sword or whatever weapon he forged but it feels nothing extraordinary since we usually skip watching his forging like how everything is fast forward during Escha’s alchemy mixing.

The art and drawing are pretty decent. It follows closely to the original game but without that 3D CGI effect of course. The character designs are also good but I feel that some of the monsters or beasts (though they do not appear much in this anime) look more cute than menacing. Sometimes I thought they were an alternate version of Pokemon. But I suppose that some Japanese RPGs have creatures looking cuter than threatening as part of their selling points. The sceneries are also okay but since it is mostly the desert or ruins (or Escha’s apple orchard), don’t expect to see any extravagant backdrops. Even the unexplored floating ruin feels a little bland. This anime was produced by Studio Gokumi who did other animes such as A Channel, Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru, Dansai Bunri No Crime Edge and Kin-iro Mosaic. There is artwork at the end of each episode as well as during the mid-intermission. For the latter, there are a handful of statistics information for the characters (including minor ones) in the series albeit it isn’t much and only confined to age, height and blood type. My hopes were dashed when I was wishing to know how old Clone and Flameu are. I guess nobody knows how old they are since it is listed as “???”.

For the voice acting part, I only recognized Kana Ueda as Marion (Rin in Fate/Stay Night). Maybe my memories are getting old so I was having a hard time trying to figure out the voice behind Linca. Sounds so familiar but cannot put my finger on it. Believe it or not, for some unknown reasons I was daydreaming about Dog Days when it hit me that instant. I finally realized. Ami Koshimizu is the voice behind Linca! Took me long enough. (She is the voice of Leo in Dog Days). Hibiku Yamamura as Clone (Kikuri in Arata Kangatari) sounds befitting of her role as an automaton. She sounds funny sometimes when she talks like a robot. I know Clone is supposed to be an automaton but it’s the way she sounds overall. I thought Yukari Tamura or even Aya Hirano was behind Flameu’s voice. But instead it turned out to be Kana Akutsu (Mine in Amnesia).

Other casts include Rie Murakawa as Escha (Hotaru in Non Non Biyori), Kaito ishikawa as Logy (Tsumugu in Nagi No Asukara), Mariko Honda as Lucille (Z-chan in Robot Girls Z), Asami Seto as Wilbell (Chihaya in Chihayafuru), Mariya Ise as Nio (Levi in Fairy Tail), Kenji Akabane as Awin (Takashi in Star Driver), Chiharu Kitaoka as Threia (Taketo in R-15), Chihiro Uno as Katla (Eir in Ozma), Tsuyoshi Koyama as Duke (Kurou in Utawarerumono), Yasunori Masutani as Reyfer (Gazelleman in Kinnikuman Nisei), Tomo Muranaka as Micie (Iwata in Kuromajo-san Ga Tooru), Kento Fujinuma as Colland and Daisuke Matsubara as Solle (Mutsu in Sekirei). The opening theme is Asuiro by Rie Murakawa. Sounds like a generic lively anime pop. The ending theme is Fuyudori by Haruka Shimotsuki, which is a slow and calming piece. Personally I think it is quite soothing on your soul like those themes you hear in Aria The Animation. There are a variety of other background music too ranging from slow pieces to fast paced action to light hearted ones. Sounds rather okay but nothing that memorable or make me want to go get them.

Overall, this may not be the best anime to recommend as there are other better fantasy animes out there. But this isn’t exactly the worst of its genre either. It is still a decent watch if you want to watch something along the lines of fantasy and not get too deep although the other ‘side distractions’ as mentioned may tantalize you to further explore the world or turn you away. I am not sure if fans of the game would appreciate the anime but like I said, if you truly want to love this series, better to play its original game form. Oddly, watching this anime made me hungry to go eat some apples. With the setting of this anime, it gives a new meaning to an apple a day. Hope you don’t get tired and sick of it…

Mekakucity Actors

November 23, 2014

Sometimes being minimal has its good points. You don’t expose too much but yet it keeps you intrigue of what is happening or going to happen. That is why in the case of Mekakucity Actors, reading the main synopsis may not reveal much and thus the reason it got my attention and interest to go watch it. All that it is being said is that strange incidents occur between August 14th and 15th that brings a group of boys and girls together. Each of them has a secret power involving their eyes as they try to unravel the mystery and truth surrounding the strange incidents. Doesn’t that sound intriguing enough to take a peek? Well, I hope I’ll be able to stomach the truth because you know, they say some truths are better not known.

Episode 1
Shintaro Kisaragi must be real tired after hearing his computer avatar, Ene blab and complain about whatever. It’s like a never ending nag. He remembers downloading it from an unknown email and ever since she started living in his PC. She throws a tantrum to buy some stuff she wants but he doesn’t need. She continues to tease his otaku NEET status and this causes him to accidentally spill Coke on his keyboard. As the computer is the very essence of his life, he needs to find a replacement but all online stores are closed. Looks like he has to head out to the real store to buy one. Along the way, a grenade catches Ene’s eye and she wants him to buy it. No way! Accidentally he bumps into a hooded girl, Tsubomi Kido but she doesn’t mind. However she gives him a piercing stare. Suddenly the mall is being hijacked by terrorists in joker masks as they also seize the security and computer control. All the unfortunate shoppers become their hostage as the boss makes his demands for a ransom of billion yen to be transferred into his account in 30 minutes or else… Shintaro fears what will happen if the mall owner fails to pay. I mean, a billion yen is hell lot of money. Then there is this carefree guy, Shuuya Kano next to Shintaro who has time to joke around. But Shintaro assures if they can distract the guards and free his finger cuffs, the odds they can escape is 100%. Sounds good? He and his friend, Kousuke Seto find him interesting. Soon the boss beats up one of his henchman thinking he hit his head. Since Kano is laughing, Shintaro blows his top at him so the boss gets rough with him. He mocks Shintaro a shut-in so Shintaro tells this bastard off he should shut himself in forever. Then all the shelves and electronics start to tumble and fall. This is Shintaro’s big chance as he plugs his computer into some terminal to let Ene take control of everything and save the day.

Episode 2
Super idol Momo Kisaragi is running late. I suppose with the crowd in her way, she misses the bus. If that is not bad enough, she did very badly on her recent test. Scoring a mere 2 marks?! Even her teacher Kenjirou Tateyama doesn’t even know how this happened. Uh huh. She put manga-like answers in her test! Even worse, she tried eating her notes because she believed it was the fastest way to help memorize! He reminds her at this rate she will have to repeat another year and since she fears that, she will study for real. This means studying this stack of papers during the holidays… After Momo gets a call from her manager of the change in her schedule, she remembers her past. She thinks it was her fault that daddy isn’t coming back because she almost drowned. When she won first prize in some drawing contest, a talent scout came looking for her but mommy won’t have her daughter into this idol business as she is still young. There are others jealous about her achievements because she always raked in top awards, the rest feels sidelined and their efforts go unrewarded. They hate her for always being in the centre of attention. When her mother gets hospitalized, that’s when Momo decided to make the call to the idol agency. Back in real time, she catches glimpse of a store selling items on promotional offer. She bumps into a kid, Hibiya Amamiya who has the same intention. Because he keeps calling her a granny, she punches his gut! This attracts the attention of others. Recognizing she is the idol, they start chasing her and she drags the kid along. I don’t know how far she ran but eventually they got separated and Momo ends up in some strange place. She laments she can’t win. All she wanted was to be normal and relax but it turned into a mad house. Kido spots her and reports back that the target is spotted.

Episode 3
Kido confronts Momo and wants her to come with her since she is like them. She scares her a little by turning invisible. Momo faints and wakes up in the base of Mekakushi Dan (Blindfold Gang). The gang includes Kido the commander, Kano, Seto and Marry Kozakura. They explain each of them have special powers within their eyes like Kido who can turn invisible. They believe Momo also has because of her idol posters, they know she doesn’t wear contact lens to make them red. She admits she had them when she was young but couldn’t remember how or why. They want to help her control it so she won’t mess up like today. Marry’s clumsiness causes her to spill the drinks. Momo’s handphone is busted. Because Kano laughs his ass off over her clumsiness, Marry freezes him. That is her power. So here they are at the mall and Momo feels embarrassed to see spot big brother, Shintaro. Kano again laughs like mad as they note the resemblance. Thanks to Kido’s invisibility, Momo doesn’t attract attention. Suddenly the mall is hijacked and since Momo is worried about her brother, Seto and Kano will go see him and want the girls to stay put. Kido gives Seto permission to use his power. Kano sends a photo back that they and Shintaro are fine. Kano’s power is to deceive the eyes and allows him to alter how he is perceived by others. He made it look like they were being tied up by the terrorists. Kido explains Seto’s power to read people’s minds. He hates it and rarely uses it. The girls need to do something to help too. When Kano replies back about Shintaro’s 100% distraction success, Marry gets clumsy with a ‘weapon’. Kido grabs it in time but it hits the terrorist boss’ head (she is invisible). Momo gets an idea to create a distraction. By that time when the boss gets rough on Shintaro, Momo runs around the aisle and once the time is right, they shove the shelves and drop the electronics. Marry is natural with her clumsiness… That was how the day is saved. Marry freezes the terrorists. Momo sees her brother unconscious.

Episode 4
Hibiya thinks he has seen Momo somewhere before… He thinks she is a wanted fugitive trying to kidnap him! Look at the posters behind, will ‘ya? Hibiya thinks this dinosaur keychain will please his cousin whom he has a crush on, Hiyori Asahina. However she is a pure b*tch. She doesn’t care the least bit about him and runs her mouth. I wonder how he can take all of that. Hiyori instead prefers the sleepy blur head Konoha. Yeah. He doesn’t even remember her despite being introduced many times. Sad? Anyhow Hiyori still loves his cool mysterious dreamy side. What does she see in him? Now that he is awake, she forces Hibiya to go shopping for dinner. During dinner, Hibiya is surprised to see Momo on TV and for the first time realizes she is an idol. Because Hiyori is a big fan, she wonders if he got her autograph. Sorry, didn’t. Time for another round of scolding that he is useless, etc. Hibiya says it can’t be helped since it’s his first time in the big city. She is going to tell his dad he came here with her but he pleads not to. He lied to come here. Seems when Hiyori called him to go to the city to be her porter or something, Hibiya won’t let this chance slip but his father wouldn’t allow it. Each time he begged, he is thrown out of the house. The wild dogs look hungry… So he lied about some prominent Indian guy is coming and he could learn some Indian culture. Hibiya needs to tell Hiyori his feelings. He meets her at the park but she follows a black cat. However she gets run over by a truck. A dream? Next time, he takes her hand and run but she breaks free and runs away. The concrete beams fall on her as that cat is looking again… Uhm… Another dream? He is going to do it right this time. He takes her hand tight but when he gets on top the pedestrian bridge, there is that cat. She slips and falls off. This is getting annoying. Another chance? So once again at the park. He lets her go after the cat but before the truck can run over her, he pulls her back and gets hit instead. He gives that I-have-won-and-screw-you look to that cat.

Episode 5
Shintaro is in this dream with Ayano. She reminds him he can only see her and will wait till he remembers. He wakes up in a bedroom thinking he has been kidnapped by the terrorists. But the room feels so girly. Ene knows everything and is willing to tell him provided if he strips down to his underwear and begs. Marry just happen to come in and sees this unholy position… Tied up and explained the real situation, not only he is painted as a pervert and an otaku with no sex appeal, he realized he has become part of their gang because Ene agreed to join them. I don’t understand Ene and Kano’s challenge with each other. Ene throws Shintaro’s secret leg fetish collection photos while Kano exposes Marry’s embarrassing sunfish poems… As Shintaro leaves himself, he sees Konoha bugging everyone as he is looking for Hibiya and Hiyori. He looks like a retard asking questions. He doesn’t even know what the police is… The rest of Mekakushi Dan members are taking a walk. Kido is worried that Shintaro went out by himself and there is a danger he might expose their group. They explain their relationship with Seto and Kano growing up in the same orphanage and Seto recently found Marry and brought her into the group (the reason she sticks close to him). Kido might be the leader now but she was not the one who found it. The original founding leader died 2 years ago via suicide. She decides to bring them to her grave and ‘introduce’ the new members. Shintaro is just annoyed with Konoha. Really a retard… Giving vague descriptions of the kids do not help. Oh look. There they are right before their eyes. Just that they’re being kidnapped!!! Since that is a bad thing, Konoha springs into action and lifts up the truck before breaking open the door! Those kidnappers better run for their life. Suddenly a truck is going to smash into them from behind but it gets engulf in some void. When Kido and co reach the graveyard, Ene is shocked to see the founding leader is Ayano.

Episode 6
Before we knew Ene as Shintaro’s annoying email buddy, she was a moody high school girl named Takane Enomoto. I’m not sure what club is this but it seems Haruka Kokonose (before we know him as Konoha) is the only other classmate in Tateyama’s class. She isn’t thrilled that they need to do something for the cultural festival but until dreamy and positive Haruka suggested a shooting gallery. Takane beats a veteran pro in this Dead Bullet game and they think she is that awesome person although she tries to hide that fact. Kido and Kano come in to try. Although Kido looks meek, she is really good and despite the bugs suddenly showing up in the game, Takane wins by the skin of her teeth. Of course Kano knew Kido was cheating and wants her to apologize but she runs away. Word spreads that Takane is indeed that Dead Bullet genius and scores of players come to just play with her. She cowers in fear inside the room and explains several stuff like how Ene is her online nickname. Haruka is pretty impressed with it and this gives Takane the motivation to play and beat all those guys flat! 20th consecutive win! Till she met her match with Shintaro. He derides her sloppy style and weak in reading the situations. This riles her up and she makes a bet with him. However Takane lost and Shintaro scores a perfect game. Unbelievable. Making deals for winning isn’t his thing so he doesn’t want to go through what was betted. Later Ayano goes to apologize to Takane for Shintaro’s behaviour. Takane learns she is Tateyama’s daughter and will be enrolling in this school next year along with Shintaro. They become friends. Although Takane’s booth somewhat won first place for the cultural festival, the duo failed their exams and have to sit through summer vacation with supplementary classes.

Episode 7
On the day Haruka collapsed and is admitted into ICU, Takane couldn’t stop blaming herself and felt he would hate her. Ayano subsequently learns of this and lectures her to go be by his side because it feels like she is ignoring him. She encourages her to confess her true feelings and in worst case if she is rejected, she can offer her shoulder to cry on. So after much pondering and Takane wants to go see him, she suddenly collapses. Before her body disappears and became what we see her today, she last saw Tateyama before her. It would have been better if she said I love you to that person in front of his face. This is what Ene pretty much remembers and her memories were a little fuzzy and didn’t think about Ayano for a while. Kido realizes she is Takane and similarly, Ene realizes she is that girl who played Dead Bullet with her. What a small world. The gang considers Ayano their big sister. Kano deduces that they are all the same because of the big clue of what Ene said about collapsing and having a new body. That happened to them too. Suddenly Seto calls them to say that Shintaro and his ‘friends’ are in trouble. If it was a big shock to Momo that Ene was Shintaro’s senior, what more this otaku has got ‘friends’. So they leave to go see what is happening as Kano cleans up the grave. He ‘updates’ Ayano of the development but still laments her death. He realizes Ene is eavesdropping. Ene explains Shintaro was close to Ayano and she blames herself for not being able to save her. He shut himself in after Ayano’s death 2 years ago and he regrets it so much it gives him nightmares. She is worried he will fall to pieces if he is left alone. He doesn’t know she is Takane and if he does find out, she fears it might dig up other unpleasant memories. This is what she can do for him and doesn’t want to lose anybody anymore. Kano hints Ayano wasn’t the only person she lost that day. That other person who meant more than anybody else to her also died. It seems Ene had started to forget about Haruka, the same she is trying to do to make Shintaro forget about Ayano. Flashback to Haruka on that day when he collapsed. No thanks to the weak body he was born in. As Tateyama watches him, Haruka laments he hates this body of his because he wants to continue having fun with everyone. He is shown a strong body (Konoha) however he argues he just wants to be normal. In that case he will become a living husk that has lost all his memories. Haruka didn’t want it either but there is no turning back now. He disappears. He wants to see Takane.

Episode 8
Meeting Shintaro at the hospital, he is frantic trying to explain what happened especially with that void suddenly popping up and swallowing things before his eyes. Hibiya rushes out from his room to go save Hiyori. Shintaro wants to know about Konoha’s disappearance and Hibiya instantly knew he wasn’t dreaming. However he suddenly collapses and Kido understands what Shintaro saw. They bring Hibiya back to their base to rest. Kido explains his eyes were red and it’s a sign his ability is starting to manifest. Till they know what it is, they can’t let him walk free. Kido tells the Kisaragi siblings that she along with Kano and Seto come from the same orphanage and were very close. Ayano’s father took them in and it was mostly to get rid of them troublemakers. They also discuss that something must be happening to bind them all like this. Everyone had a little run in when they were young and almost died. Kano got attacked by a robber, Seto nearly drowned with his dog and Kido who lives with her sister and their house caught fire. Momo remembers she nearly drowned at the beach but her father saved her. Oddly, they resurrect with strange powers. However the void seems to swallow up other people too and unlike them they don’t return like Momo’s dad. They aren’t sure what it is but they haven’t given up hope yet and need to get all the information and partners they can get. That’s why Kido approached Momo. Kido tells Shintaro that Ene is Takane and he is pretty shocked to know the truth. They don’t want to tell all this to Hibiya because it might be confusing. However he heard everything and is adamant he can’t leave Hiyori in that crazy place. As the girls go after him, Shintaro stays back to watch the house. He goes to Marry’s room and sees her sleeping. He sees a group photo with Ayano in it and his eyes turn red…

Episode 9
Tateyama just adopted Kido, Kano and Seto and with Ayano they became well acquainted. It was a happy time where they felt they were like a real family. But tragedy struck when their parents got caught in a landslide and their mom went missing. Years later, Ayano accidentally entered her dad’s forbidden lab and saw a journal recorded by her mom. It details some fairytale about a monster that ends in tragedy as she is forced to leave her family and vanished into an isolated world. Her children gained abilities when they nearly died and felt like a bad dream as something swallowed them up. She needed to continue her research on this new world the monster created and why it swallows children and gives them power. She has also been trying to locate missing people but there is not enough information to locate them and the fear that the children’s bodies might undergo some change in the future. Also at that time, Ayano seems to have taken a liking for Shintaro. One stormy night she notices her father is acting strange so she consults the journal. It is believe the children’s power source come from the countless snakes on a serpent’s head. This serpent is also the one who suggested the monster to create a new world. Since Kano is around, Ayano felt the need to tell this secret and also help her out. While she goes through her dad’s lab, Kano had to impersonate as Ayano and attend her class! Seems Tateyama has an ability that only manifests itself during night. You can call it his split personality. He is possessed by that serpent and it has been using his body to raise money from various sources to gather all the snakes here. It is believed it is trying to create a new Medusa in this world by summoning snakes over to this side. That is why people like Haruka and Takane became sacrifices. Because the snakes cannot come here without physical bodies, that’s why they had empty husks that were devoid of life swallowed into the other world. The snakes that have their bodies will begin gathering around their queen. One of them is the vessel for the queen. Guess? Ene is surprised to see her body in a lab tube.

Episode 10
Azami and her daughter, Shion are waiting for husband and father, Tsukihiko to return. Little do they know that a group of people have gathered outside their house to kill the monster as they believe she has brainwashed Tsukihiko to attack the village eventually. They ambush the place and shoot her. As they are about to kill Shion, Azami revives and uses all her various Eye powers on them from creating fear to killing them and reading their minds where Tsukihiko is held. Then she realizes her family will only be hurt if she is around and decides to disappear so that they could be happy. She laments her selfish dream and hopes Shion won’t use those powers. Seasons passed and Shion has a daughter named Marry. They too are living a happy life till one day Marry is being tormented by a couple of guys. Shion uses her power to turn one of them into stone but it causes her to cough out blood. I think she got clobbered. In the other world, the snake mocks Azami that she dragged her children into this mess and she is the source of their tragedy. Try as she might, she cannot escape her binds. The snake says something about the order she gave to this world to swallow up those who die on August 15th, cannot be changed. When young Seto was lost in the forest, his mind reading starts to act up. He heard voices pleading for help as she is always alone. This leads him to a house where Marry lives alone. She fears him at first because looking into her eyes will turn him into stone. However it didn’t and he approaches her to give her some earphone. They became acquainted since. Back in present time, Marry wakes up but Shintaro isn’t around. She spots Konoha sleeping outside and brings him in. Seems he cannot remember things. The only thing he remembers is that he wants to make friends. Marry decides to introduce him to her friends after she sees a commotion on TV that a crowd is building up and chanting for Momo. At midnight.

Episode 11
Shintaro hears a voice who tells him the dreams he has seen are actually memories. Long ago, he and the queen made a vow to each other that this tragedy will never repeat again. Now that he knows the story, what is he going to do for the future? He takes a scissors and stabs through his throat! Momo and Kido finally catch Hibiya but they are captured by the same people who tried to kidnap Hibiya and Hiyori earlier. Kano remembers what happened. Ayano told him the snake is possessing dad and keeping him alive to grant his wish to see mom again. It is possible if the monster is created here and it is also believed anybody could be reunited with anyone sucked into the other world then. But to create that monster, they need to gather all the snakes that are acting as surrogate lives. In short, those kids must die. Remember, their power = snake. All snakes must fuse into one. Kano disagreed with this but Ayano thought he could talk her way through the snake. She tries to convince him that the kids don’t want to die and be together but the snake views humans and fools and all that matters is the human wish. Ayano has a theory. Since he needs all the snakes, what happens if she has a power and kills herself? What if she doesn’t return from the other world? That would foil his plan immediately. There would be no further need to kill all the other kids. Ayano gets swallowed much to Kano’s dismay. But it seems the snake doesn’t seem fazed. Kano cannot raise his hand against him or kill him because he keeps reminding that he is the one keeping his dad alive. But the snake isn’t going to abandon his plan despite Ayano sacrificing herself. All he needs to do now is restart everything and start from scratch. Shortly after Ayano’s death, Kido becomes sad but changes the way she talks to be strong. Kano suggests forming a group. Back in present time, Seto comes by the grave to pick up Kano. But Kano has become tired of everything. So sick of everything. So pissed of everything. Seto allows him to cry on his shoulder and knows he has been shouldering the burden by himself ever since. Hibiya, Momo and Kido are put in some cell. Since Hibiya is very desperate to save Hiyori (but short of calling her his girlfriend), Momo has an idea to send the message out to others that they are here. She is going to sing while Kido will hold back her power as much as possible. Her voice permeates throughout the city and this attracts everyone to their place. They are soon reunited with Konoha, Marry, Kano, Seto and Takane. They welcome Hibiya to the group.

Episode 12
The octet are making their way through the lab. They discuss the snake’s plan to remove their snakes which is in the form of their special powers. If that happens, they will die. Because Marry is the queen, the reason why the rest gathers around her. They encounter several guards who try to stop them. Nothing a little use of their super powers would fix things. The snake is expecting their arrival because as long as he can keep granting wishes, he will continue to exist in this world. Thanks to the complexity of the maze, they get lost. Kano suggests Hibiya to use his power of clairvoyance to see things far away (he knows about it since it was stated in their mom’s notebook). He manages to activate his power but how will they get to the room beneath them? Obviously the fastest way as Konoha does is break a big hole! Meanwhile Shintaro and Ayano see Haruka lying in his bed and are here to pick him up. The octet faces off with the snake who is in total possession of Tateyama’s body. Since there is time, he tells them the monster story. The monster who lived alone in the forest met a young boy who brought her away. She made many friends and for the first time knew what happiness was. One day they were all killed so the monster out of desperation prayed and wished to live those days again. In short, Marry is the one who is creating and wishing this world. If not for this wish of hers to see them, this tragedy wouldn’t be happening. Each of the tragedy occurred so she could see her friends again. This in return allows the snake to exist again and again. Despite this, Marry cannot let go of her wish. So what does she do? Wish again. Thus the never ending loop.

The snake then shoots Konoha’s body and takes over it since it is the strongest. He starts picking them off one by one and this causes Marry to activate her wish. But her friends assure her that they’ll be together forever and don’t have to say goodbye. Yeah, don’t listen to that jerk. The snake is surprised when Ayano and Shintaro enter the scene. He never expected this. Ayano mentions her power is the project what she feels into others. With Shintaro remembering everything now, Ayano gives Marry every last of her feelings. The snake tries to stop everything but it is too late. Now Marry has remembered everything and the wish the snake had granted for so long ends today. Tateyama is before the snake and thanks him for everything. His wish of being with his wife is already granted. So they’re going to the heavens together? Marry believes the future will no longer be some fantasy. It will be their reality. The snake desperately wants her to make a wish. Haruka has one. He wants to keep his word. Let’s say it wasn’t the kind of wish he was hoping for. With that, he disappears into the abyss. Shion appears before Marry and assures her everything is alright. Noting that she has made lots of friends, she asks if she is happy now. See that big smile on her face? That’s your answer. In the aftermath, Shintaro meets Ayano in the hot summer as they meet up with the rest of Mekakushi Dan. Marry narrates if she went back to that time, it is possible a future like that could have happened. Had she not met him, the world might be a dull place. She is sure Shintaro will still remember all of them tomorrow.

Slithery Deception…
Despite the slow and confusing pace of the series, once you are able to put the pieces of the puzzle together and see the bigger picture, everything starts to (almost) make sense. Everything seems to be happening and taking place in just a day as we are mostly thrown flashbacks and the past of the characters that led up to this day. I would say that the execution of the plot and revelation are nicely done (but not necessarily perfect) although as I have said it may be a little confusing at first. I may not understand the deeper aspects to everything but eventually even if dumb guys like me pay a little attention, I’ll ultimately figure out what is happening in general (if I don’t really b*tch about going into details, that is). It could have been worse if they executed it like that looping arc in that Haruhi series. Because from what I understand, they’ve been looping and resetting for who knows how many times. Until Shintaro remembers everything and they break the pattern. Something like that. I think.

Although I have to admit that I am still trying to figure out and put together the revelation that is revealed in the final episode. I’m going to take my time in digesting that. I hope I can understand. Without resorting to make some sort of wish that ends in tragedy… As usual, there are a few things that are left unanswered. The biggest one of them is what happened to Hiyori? Did she really die for good? I thought they were going to bring her back like the others who were swallowed? But Ayano came back, didn’t she? (As I found out later, Hiyori did die and this brought a lot of depression to Hibiya). And how did Takane exactly get her body back? Therefore reflecting back on how the series ended, sometimes I feel the ending is a little bit rushed.

I have mixed feelings for the character development part. There are 9 main characters (10 if you include Ayano who is the former member of Mekakushi Dan) and with only a dozen episodes, there isn’t any major development for them and sometimes it feels like how their destinies intertwine and their pasts are just convenience for the events that happened. We have a few episodes that give them some prominence but that is just about it. Take for instance, Momo. After her prominent second episode, she seems to have slipped into the shadows of Mekakushi Dan as though she is just some side character till the penultimate episode whereby she gets to use her power to attract everyone. Feels as though it is to remind us that she is still around and useful. Hibiya and Konoha feel like late bloomers since they only come into the scene and make their overall impact later in the series.

Same case with Marry. She’s supposed to be some big revelation, right? Instead she spends most of her time as a shy character and probably the group’s cutie mascot. So when her powers start awakening in the end, it ended so fast that it hardly made any impact at all. So much so I thought that her character’s story has been relegated to that play as an epilogue right after the ending credits in most episodes which depict the ‘full’ story of the monster right as an epilogue. As more episodes pass by, you’ll definitely put the pieces of the puzzle of this monster fairytale together. From how it all began due to her loneliness and time in darkness, her journey to the human world, her interaction with humans but only learnt the negative emotions of pain, fear and despair, till she met someone and they fell in love with each other and started a family, and the tragedy that starts pulling them apart when she created a new world thinking they could live happily ever after.

Instead of Marry being the heroine or turning point as I thought-cum-expected she would have been, we have an otaku NEET for who knows where the hell he has been and a girl who is long thought to be dead, to show up and save the day. Even the last minute revelation of their powers still feels confusing. Still trying to make sense out of that. The rest of the other characters stay mostly the same as they are (not counting their flashback before they died and got their special powers) like Konoha who feels like a robot thanks to his emotionless expressions, Kano the carefree one, Kido the serious leader, Seto’s kind-heartedness (which in a way makes him pretty boring since he doesn’t like using his power) and Ene’s cheeky personality as opposed to her grumpy one when she was human. Therefore trying to spread out the focus of each character may have done more harm than good in this case making it hard for them to be memorable individually.

I feel the supernatural powers they possess are somewhat lacking. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. Because it would be bad if they keep spamming the use of their individual eye powers and it would turn this series into some sort of super power show instead of trying to focus on the story, drama and the characters. However the scarce use of super powers means it doesn’t feel that they are connected to the series. Besides, you don’t really see the effects of the super powers like Kano’s visual deception, Seto’s mind reading or even Kido’s invisibility. Some only were used once like Hibiya and Shintaro (in which I realized much later that his ability is to remember everything he sees and that includes the different routes undertaken in the past – so how did he forget in the first place? Perhaps every reset or loop makes him lose his memories?).

The first thing that struck me was the very unique animation, art and drawing style. Instantly it brings to mind the SHAFT studio. The creative and unique angles and visuals definitely add to the intriguing watch. So much so I thought I was actually watching another Monogatari Series episode! Yup. There is that SHAFT trademark head tilt and face zooming in. All there. Sometimes the characters may look awkward and the animation a little off and even reusing some of them. So if you can’t really take all this ‘inconsistency’, you’ll find lots of faults in this department and be annoyed rather than impressed. Also, the colouring and hues may seem jarring and ‘inconsistent’ but this is all part and parcel of the unique style. It may give a feeling as though the producers didn’t feel like completing the colouring for this scene or simply put in colours they feel like according to their mood. So if you are the kind of person who prefers to watch consistent colours in every scene or character, you’d be pulling out your hairs till you are bald with this one. In addition, you not only get one end card illustration but two of them at the end of each episode. All are illustrated by different people. Mostly are good (but of course) while some have that comical effect and a handful feels a little abstract. Come to think of it, doesn’t Marry look a bit like Alice In Wonderland?

As I later found out, this anime was based on a Vocaloid song series called Kagerou Daze created by Jin. No wonder for every opening, ending and insert theme song has this guy featuring another singer singing it. Songs play an important in this show. Furthermore, I noticed that every insert song sung is like as though they are singing what is happening, the story so far, etc. What I mean is that instead of putting it in dialogue, they turn it into a song. That’s like partially making it a musical, right? So it was quite refreshing in a way to hear the story in the form of a song. Some of them sound really good especially episode 9’s opener, Ayano No Koufuku Riron featuring Aki Okui. The main opening theme is Daze featuring Maria from Garnidelia. Headphone Actor is the special opening for episode 6 featuring Lisa. The slow paced Days featuring Lia serves as the main ending theme. The other special ending themes are Yuukei Yesterday featuring Lisa (episode 6), Lost Time Memory featuring Kouta Matsuyama from Byee The Round (episode 8) and rock based Summertime Record featuring Takuro Sugawara (episode 12).

Voice acting is pretty good with Kana Asumi in her very identifiable lively trademark voice as Ene and Takane. Kana Hanazawa may be voicing Marry, another one of those retard character roles but she makes this one look cute. Heck, I think all her retard character roles sound cute. Other casts include Yuko Kaida as Kido (Ryoumou in Ikkitousen), Takuma Terashima as Shintaro (Stone River in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Shinnosuke Tachibana as Kano (Taito in Itsuka Tenma No Kurousagi), Souichirou Hoshi as Seto (Son Goku in Saiyuki series), Nanami Kashiyama as Momo (Utae in R-15), Misuzu Togashi as Hibiya (Origami in Date A Live), Mamoru Miyano as Konoha (Light in Death Note), Mai Nakahara as Ayano (Juvia in Fairy Tail), Keiji Fujiwara as Tateyama (Sven in Black Cat), Kotori Koiwai as Hiyori (Iwai in Dansai Bunri No Crime Edge), Satomi Arai as Azami (Shirai in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun), Akemi Okumura as Shion (Nami in One Piece) and Takehito Koyasu as Tsukihiko (Takasugi in Gintama).

Overall, this series just like any other animes, isn’t perfect and has its own flaws. Despite some of the setbacks and a handful of mixed reviews I read online (briefly browsing through Google, of course), this series is still interesting on its own. Those not familiar with SHAFT’s style of anime or into this kind of stories might find it a little difficult to digest and may take some time ‘deciphering’ what is going on. Not to say that I could really understand everything. But that’s the thing. The mystery was interesting enough for me to look forward to the next episode and what happens next. So I suppose that counts a lot, right? So give this series a chance and sit through a dozen episodes (it is a hell lot better than 3 digit animes that are still ongoing. Looking at yous, pirate and ninja…) instead giving up after the first or second. But I’m not going to rewatch it again and again like as though I’m going through some eternal loop only to break out once I understand everything. I think I’ll then lose my eye power for staring at the monitor for so long.

The nameless assassin with super powers from the future still lives… He has never really gone away and was lurking in the dark, ready for the right time to make the right move… And now that time is here. It is time for the revival… HOLY SH*T!!!! What the hell am I saying???!!! I thought I have done away with it for good and here it comes back up to freak the hell out of me???!!! Well… It would have died down and never to surface again if not for the sequel of Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai! Ren. Ah yes. That anime. The girl with the chuunibyou syndrome and living out her delusions way past her age. Embarrassing? Different? I didn’t really expect this to have a sequel since Rikka’s issue with the Unseen Horizon was somewhat resolved. But even if that was, this doesn’t mean her chuunibyou syndrome was. Uh huh. I guess that will never go away even if she seeks psychiatric help. So what is next in this season? We’ll be keeping an eye of her relationship with Yuuta and hope to see if there is any progress. Pray hard that this won’t be just some delusion… Because it is already hard enough to have a girlfriend with chuunibyou…

Episode 1
Yuuta should know better that waking up Rikka the ordinary way won’t do. Put on your Dark Flame Master act! The duo are living together for the time being. By right Rikka is supposed to live by herself since her mom moved away for her job. Due to a misunderstanding, her grandpa accidentally the lease. With nowhere to go, Rikka ends up in Yuuta’s place. It has been a week and Yuuta doesn’t’ want Rikka to let anyone in school know about this. The new school term starts and Shinka is trying a new image. She dyes her hair black. Even more shocking is Makoto’s blonde Goku Super Saiyan hairstyle. It’s like getting his revenge after that baldness last season, huh? Anyway nobody recognizes him. And don’t forget Kumin. Instead of being the sleepyhead she was last time, she’s trying out jokes? Let’s say she’s got a lot to learn. I take back what I said about the most shocking thing in Makoto’s hairstyle. The most shocking one is Sanae giving a speech as first year representative! So shocking that Shinka just fainted. Of course it is back to the usual Shinka-Sanae spat. Sanae lose out to her cheese. Don’t ask. Yuuta and Rikka need to solve their living problem fast because this might come to haunt them as Nanase is puzzled she cannot call to Rikka’s home. Each time the phone sounds disconnected. So the duo go to look for a suitable living place after school. Since they couldn’t find it in time, this makes Shinka and Kumin wonder if she has moved since her place was empty when they visited. Even Touka wants to know what is going on. Haven’t left for Italy yet? To get out of this sticky situation, the only way is for a fantasy battle! Here is your first delusion fight. Everybody gangs up on Touka (even Yuuta and Kumin). Too bad they get owned easily. You can’t beat this sister. And so the cat is out of the bag that they are living together in addition to dating. I’m sure the girls want to hear the juicy details but seriously, nothing much happened. Touka does not approve of a boy and girl living alone together. Do Yuuta’s porn magazines convince you? Either Rikka finds a place of her own or she follows her to Italy. Just then, Kuzuha returns. Didn’t anybody hear that she is supposed to start the new school term back in Japan instead of following mom and Yumeha overseas? Maybe not because mommy forgot to send that message. And with little sister around, I guess this is rather okay since she will be keeping an eye on Rikka. Later Rikka unpacks her stuffs and realizes she never gave Yuuta’s notebook back. Yuuta notices a new tenant moving in upstairs and thus the reason why they couldn’t un-cancel the lease.

Episode 2
Kumin and Shinka are discussing the things that Yuuta and Rikka might be doing alone but this has embarrassed Sanae knock them out. And so the trio end up spying outside their apartment trying to catch any sort of scandal. Meanwhile Yuuta sees Rikka bought a cool night vision goggle. Wait a minute. How much did that cost? Almost her entire monthly allowance! How the heck is she going to live?! He is so mad that he spanks her! The trio continue to stalk the duo at the supermarket. After Rikka goes off on a ‘mission’ with Sanae, Shinka approaches Yuuta about their no-progress in their relationship. What’s the problem? It’s not like she’s dating any one of them, right? Upset that they didn’t even hold hands despite the big events like New Year’s Day and Valentine, she takes him to see her friend, Kazari Kannagi who is somewhat a pro in relationships. She reveals everyone in class knows about their relationship because it’s so obvious. She takes Yuuta’s handphone and forcefully makes a date with Rikka. Come Sunday, Yuuta prepares to go on a date he never asked for. Rikka rides on his bicycle to the aquarium. Since he mentions that they’ve been dating and never even touch her pinky finger, she gets up and allows him to hold her hand. Rikka is ecstatic when she gets to ‘control’ the dolphins during a dolphin show. At the end of the day, the duo try to reflect what it means being a lover. Rikka doesn’t understand and is filled with confusion. She even researched about this ‘contract’ but still doesn’t know what to do. Although she is currently happy with their current contract, she feels something was supposed to change but didn’t. But what she does understand is that it is the end of another fun day. She will return to the same home as his and this makes her happy. He acts out his Dark Flame Master to add icing to the cake. Yuuta talks to Shinka about their date over the phone and she isn’t sure what really happened. She warns if they keep dragging out, something troublesome will come between them. Meanwhile Rikka is outside on the balcony when a weird girl, Satone Shichimiya starts abseiling down and asks if she wants to see her magic.

Episode 3
If that steamy dream Yuuta had of Rikka isn’t bad enough, he wakes up only to see her hanging on the ceiling and in her failed attempt, she falls onto his gut. You mad, bro? In the clubroom, Rikka has made some embarrassing t-shirt for him to wear to bring out his Dark Flame Dragon. Wait. Isn’t that his t-shirt she made a mess off? Yuuta makes a deal with her that if she scores higher, he’ll wear it. And she did! Eat your words! However they force him to wear a magical girl outfit! Complete with a magical girl act! What is Shinka’s reaction when she sees this? Take a photo! He throws her handphone out of the window! An announcement calls for Rikka to come out and do battle. Satone who identifies herself as Sophia Ring S.P. Saturn VII starts her battle with Tyrant Eye. Let your imagination run wild, girls. The battle ends when Yuuta recognizes who Satone is. As revealed, Yuuta first met her in middle school and she was the one responsible for his chuunibyou then. He was taken aback by her cool ‘fighting’. Looks like just like Rikka, she never grew out of it. He tries to tell her he is no longer that hero and she looks disappointed. She then brings him to her place, which is just exactly above his apartment and Rikka’s former room! Shinka learns about Satone from Kumin. She feels suspicious about this girl. Could she be his ex-girlfriend? For a girl from a different school to sneak into theirs and go home with him, isn’t it suspicious? Satone will be having dinner at Yuuta’s place since her parents will be working late. So put away your rivalry and be good girls at the table. Learning that Yuuta has Rikka as a new partner for his journey (that’s a fancy way of what we call dating), Satone will support them both in their new quest to awaken Dark Flame Dragon. She then rubs his nose with hers that sends shocking sentiments to Rikka. Satone couldn’t understand what the fuss is all about since they used to do it a lot when they were young. Anyway just don’t. It makes him remember she never really did say goodbye. Like when she transferred and disappeared back then. Her reason is that if she did say so, it will mean they have parted. As long as they are somewhere in this world and haven’t utter that word, they haven’t parted. Yuuta goes to explain to Rikka about that nose rubbing was some form of greeting of theirs. To cheer her up, he forms another contract with her, promising he won’t get closer to other girls than her. He rubs his nose with hers to bring a little relief.

Episode 4
Shinka narrates she has a dream to fulfil in high school no matter what. That dream is to become the student council president. Thus she reminds Yuuta not to bring up her past especially her ‘abuses’ to Sanae in her bid to run for president. She also pleads to him to take care of Sanae while she is out campaigning. Otherwise she knows better this nerd is going to sabotage it all. Yuuta won’t help her out no matter what till she mentions some magic word that sends shivers to his spine. Rikka told her about it while she was reading his notebook. That embarrassing, huh? Just for that, he puts up his Dark Flame Master act but Sanae already slipped past him. While Shinka is giving her speech from classroom to classroom, she is appalled to see Sanae hiding underneath the desk, tickling and drawing on her leg. The students must be wondering about her freaking funny shrieks. And so while Shinka and Sanae continue to torment each other and the former blaming Yuuta for not doing his job, that’s when Satone enters the picture and hugs Shinka. Uh huh. Another follower of this Mori Summer. Just embarrassing bringing up the past of how she joined, eh? Satone shows a picture that she still keeps of them together. Sanae still doesn’t believe this fake when she realizes the hand ornaments. Ever since, Sanae has been treating Shinka like her master (she was her first master before Rikka)! OMG! She loves Shinka so much now! At least it is better when they are at each other’s necks. Good girl Sanae is happily willing to help her in her presidential campaign. Shinka’s popularity shoots up thanks to her and Sanae even had to reject a mission with Rikka just to attend Shinka’s conference. Shinka shows Sanae her room. The latter made cookies and this made Shinka feel bad that she might have misunderstood her all along. Since she is such a nice girl, she dresses up as Mori Summer just for her sake and plays along. Sanae is overcome with emotion and snaps a picture of her for memories. During the candidates’ speech, Sanae goes up to the podium to read Shinka’s manifesto. But Shinka realizes too late where this is heading as Sanae takes out Mabinogion and reads out the chapter and verses to spread the gospel!!! She couldn’t stop squirming in embarrassment. Safe to say, her dream ends there. In the aftermath, Sanae and Shinka return to their old rivalry. Sanae couldn’t believe she was fooled that Shinka was the real Mori Summer since the genuine one wouldn’t act so tormented when words from the holy book is read out. Sanae returns to her one true master, Rikka but Shinka is obviously upset and struggles to take Mabinogion back from her. Kumin quips she likes it better like this. It’s more peaceful. You don’t say…

Episode 5
Nanase summons the gang. Due to the boom of lots of hobby clubs, there aren’t enough clubrooms to go about. There will be a meeting to discuss which club will be most deserving. Of course, Rikka is the representative but she chickens out by giving lots of excuses (the public can’t see her Tyrant Eye?) and passes the leadership to Sanae! In the end she is forced to join but acts like her usual that nobody could understand. She is forced to read the note Yuuta wrote for her but she murmurs all the way and feigns sickness to get out. Nanase even visits the clubroom as she was asked by the student council president what the club does. Yeah, she doesn’t even know. They are in risk of losing their clubroom since it doesn’t look like they’re doing anything useful. That’s the norm, right? Kumin says their club does napping activity. This prompts Nanase to remember that there are societies in Europe that take their napping seriously. Look up the website! A friend teacher of hers happens to supervise such a club so she emails for them to participate in a practice match. That way, they have a legitimate activity and won’t be disbanded. Since Kumin is the only pro, she shows it how it’s done. Uh huh. Fell asleep halfway while talking. They are greeted by Sui Nemuri, the president of the siesta club they are going to face. She really does have this sleepy aura. She is here to greet them since it will be their first battle. However seeing how they are fooling around and not trying to pursue the true art of napping, she wants them to pull out and not just request a match just for fun. Kumin counters it and says the club takes their activities seriously. Everyone pushes the hat around till it ends up with Rikka. She is willing to bet everything and if they lose, the club will be disbanded! Oh dear. What have they gotten into now?

The first order is to practice sleeping since it will be a team match. Not easy, huh? We’ve got Rikka having some paralysis cram thingy and Sanae and Shinka in their usual spat. How to sleep peacefully. Oh, Kumin the pro… Then they try sleeping outside and even at the pool. Makoto tries to show he can sleep (because he got word Kumin is doing it) but everyone ignores him (sorry, buddy). Back to square one. How to sleep? Yuuta gets a great idea. On the night before the competition, everyone parties and plays games throughout the night. No sleeping! Even Satone joins the revelry. Before they know it, they’re already sleeping. Rikka gets a rude awakening when she sees Satone lying next to Yuuta. But what is more shocking? Kuzuha pointing out that they fell asleep. Now they have to rush to school. They’re going to lose this one. See how wide awake they are compared to their opponents who are just dying to get to sleep. Sui is glad they will lose since the world needs less joker nap clubs like them. But Kumin is adamant they will win because she met Rikka. She might have chuunibyou but she is always serious in that and gives it all. That’s right. This is how they’re going to do it. Enter their delusions! So our friends go on their super delusional attacking spree and scare the heck out of their opponents till they wake up and get disqualified! Of course they too get their fair share of bloopers. In the end, it is Kumin against Sui. Kumin’s chuunibyou must be so good now that she is able to defeat Sui! Can you believe it they won? Kumin sounds like she just had a good nap. Sui admits defeat and leaves. With the club saved and everything back to normal (nothing changes, that is), Kumin is still able to sleep with all that ruckus since sleeping here makes her the happiest person in the world.

Episode 6
Yuuta and Rikka are going on a class trip. This means Sanae is bored to death… No master to be with and no fake Mori Summer to abuse… Worried what her master is doing with Dark Flame Master… Kumin is just sleeping right through it… Rikka has brought along her night vision goggles as part of her plan to awaken Dark Flame Dragon. Don’t ask how. Shinka seems to be worried that their relationship isn’t making any progress. This causes Rikka to be embarrassed and it’s like she’s avoiding Yuuta (their classmates tease them since they all know about it). Shinka talks to Yuuta about this and it seems Rikka doesn’t handle romance well as it doesn’t mix with her delusions. Each time it comes down to this, she doesn’t know what to do. She hopes Shinka can take care of Rikka during the trip. Of course he would love to be with her but he knows Rikka cannot handle it. The guys want to drag Yuuta to peek on girls. Dumb Makoto already get caught. Shinka’s friends talk about her because despite being a love guru, she doesn’t have a boyfriend or involved in a love triangle. Thanks to somebody, her Mori Summer webpage is uploaded again although Shinka denies it is her. Now this is the odd scene. The girls are fast asleep while the guys are telling ghost stories! However they are more interested in knowing how far Yuuta has gone with Rikka. They don’t believe that they haven’t done anything yet. Suddenly they freak out upon seeing some ghostly red eyes! Yuuta knows better it is Rikka in those goggles so he goes to check it out. With the teacher coming, everyone quickly goes back to pretend to sleep. This means Yuuta has to hide Rikka underneath his blanket. This sets up a romantic atmosphere with their face close enough for them to kiss. They would have if Shinka didn’t call out to the teacher. She distracts him so that Yuuta can bring Rikka back to her room. Rikka blames some barrier and dark denizens, the reason she can’t approach him. It wasn’t her intention to ignore or avoid him. Yuuta knows she is just embarrassed. He is too. He suggests they go sightseeing together. Just the 2 of them. After they part but halfway back to her room, Rikka turns around just to kiss him on the cheek. Shinka saw it. And so the duo won’t be joining their friends as they have their own plans together. Trying to seal the mountain?

Episode 7
The class trip continues. I don’t know why Shinka calls Sanae to wake her up from beauty sleep just to tell her to delete the website. However Sanae knows nothing about it but if she didn’t put it up, then who did? Sanae thinks it is the real Mori Summer! She puts up some question only the true one will answer correctly. Be surprised! Yuuta and Rikka are having a nice time together (nothing fishy lah) when they bump into Satone. Coincidentally she too is on a class trip but got lost and lost her wallet. Although it might seem she is like a third wheel interrupting their precious time, Rikka agrees to go help look for it. They finally find it but a monkey is examining it. Yuuta wonders if Satone remembers that formation they did before. Of course. What Yuuta does is he slowly approach the monkey and then suddenly kicks the wallet to Satone. Now they run like hell since the mad monkey is after them. They fall off a slope but it did lose the monkey. Satone explains her reasons why she still remembers as she refuses to change. She hands him an arcade coin. Rikka sees how close they are and starts crying before running away. Oh dear. Satone feels bad for letting this happen but Yuuta says he’ll be fine handling this by himself and that she should return to her class trip. Satone calls Kuzuha to check up on something. Yuuta then gets a call from Shinka because she spotted Rikka alone. She reprimands him after Rikka told her what happened. How could he let this happened? Fooling around with Satone while Rikka was around? However Rikka received a map and blasted off somewhere. Right after that, Kuzuha calls him for the same thing. Rikka follows the map to meet Satone alone. She thinks she wants a challenge but she is just here to talk. She explains why she will never change and forever remain the same since she felt her gradual decline in power and that she may not be some magical devil girl. She leaves at the right timing when Yuuta comes by. Now that she is enlightened, she feels shame to have doubted him and apologizes. Yuuta gives her an umbrella as her birthday present (he knows because it is on her old email address). She is happy and impressed with it. Then she confesses she likes him with that sweet smile.

Episode 8
Coming back from the class trip, they are surprised to see Sanae dressing up as a follower of Mori Summer. They tail her to see her meet up with the ‘real’ Mori Summer but find it creepy because she has Sanae close her eyes and in that moment she starts fawning and take pictures of her face. Indirectly they talk bad about the fake Mori Summer (that’s you, Shinka) and Shinka can’t stand it anymore and goes to confront them. She hates others using her name. However if Shinka is the real one, why does she hid her true identity? Can’t reply. So Shinka is going to bring proof that she is the real deal. However she has perfectly erased her past that there is no solid evidence. The next time they meet, Shinka admits she has no proof. Sanae waxes lyrical for the ‘real’ Mori Summer as she herself mentions she is the embodiment of Mabinogion. Yeah, whatever. But don’t you think this works in Shinka’s favour? I mean, she was working hard trying to forget her past. She is grateful for this because now she is finally free. And it feels great. But why isn’t everyone happy about this? Even Sanae isn’t happy about it. Tackling her at school and spewing the usual teases did not work. It’s like she has given up on it. Of course the rest of the gang also doesn’t feel right because as Kumin notes, that girl seems creepy like as though she is in love with Sanae. They talk to Shinka as they think Sanae wants her to be the real Mori Summer instead. Shinka doesn’t care and the reason she is mad is because that fake used her name and that idiot easily believed her. Then they see her fawning over a picture of Sanae. Isn’t this enough proof?

As suggested, the only way to end this as to fight her in a challenge and defeat her in front of Sanae. Yuuta can vouch for it from his embarrassing experience of getting Rikka on his side. Rikka somehow can’t unleash her magic so they call Satone over. Because she was once her follower, she starts saying all the embarrassing things that makes Shinka squirming all over the ground in embarrassment. This is training? It’s going to be a long night. Sanae is still worried about the development of things. ‘Real’ Mori Summer wants to purify her heart. She gets close enough to kiss her and this freaks Sanae out. So much so she calls out to Shinka to save her. And here she is. Dressed as one. They are going to settle this real or fake issue once and for all. Entering the delusion world, Shinka is able to best her with her determination of not allowing others to use her name for their own nefarious ends. However she bounces back, claiming she has found her true love and angel and won’t let her go. Shinka starts talking about the bad traits of Sanae and warns her of making this idiot her follower. Despite all that, she has the cutest smile you’ll ever see. ‘Real’ Mori Summer didn’t like the way she badmouths Sanae and launches an attack. Sanae protects Shinka. She believes in her because she is being true in being a fake (?!) unlike her whom know she knows is not the true one. Because the real one will never do something like this. Sanae finishes her with her hammer. In the end, this fake admits how she fell in love with Sanae at first sight and views her as a pure girl who has never dated guys, hold hands or even kiss. However the rest break it to her that she already had her first kissed last Christmas (remember that blooper last season?). This breaks her heart as she flees in tears. Sanae and Shinka are back to normal with each other. Scorning each other and not really wanting to remember that blundering first kiss experience they had.

Episode 9
Yuuta finds a coin in a letter. Rikka is acting strange. He couldn’t understand it since she touches his finger and is in gloomy mood. The gang is at Kumin’s aunt beach café to help out. Even Satone is here since Rikka called her. Shinka is getting really motivated to bring in the money. Everyone works hard but Rikka fools around. Touka makes her surprise visit. Even more surprising, she brought her 7 year old daughter with her. WHAT???!!! Just kidding! I’m sure those guys didn’t get that Italian joke. She is Cento, her head chef’s daughter who loves Japanese samurai and drama. So I suppose this visit was because she bugged her to bring her here. Learning that Rikka is the true Tyrant’s Eye, they have a showdown. Rikka will show her true power by catching her wooden sword with her hands. After all that build-up, the sword reached her head first. That night, Touka talks to Yuuta. She finds things are still the same but he disagrees. At least Rikka pecked him on his cheek. He is also playing along with Rikka and maybe they’ll find what he gave up on searching and to see where she goes with it. Touka doesn’t really follow all that but she is both disappointed and relief. Rikka is practising alone when Satone comes up to her and mentions about her losing her power, the reason she called her. Rikka becomes desperate that her powers are vanishing so Satone suggests she takes off her seal and in exchange her lovers’ contract will grow stronger. Rikka is still in a dilemma to revive Dark Flame Dragon or restore her Tyrant Eye’s power. Satone spots the coin Rikka found in Yuuta’s room. Satone wants her to show her true feelings and she’ll give back the coin. Just like she did, she must snuff out her feelings for Yuuta. She will wait for her answer tomorrow. Next day, Satone and Rikka are in some battle in the middle of the crowded beach. Satone is disappointed by her resolve. Rikka thinks about her memories with Yuuta and grows stronger. She is able to revive and reborn as a new Tyrant’s Eye called Full Armour. She realizes she nearly lost her powers to Dark Flame Master’s kindness and what they struggled long to find. Now that they believe in each other, her power is restored. Satone returns the coin and says if she gathers 3 of them and awakens Dark Flame Dragon, she may be forced to live as Tyrant’s Eye forever. Rikka disagrees their special contract means she is both eternally Tyrant’s Eye and his lover. She is going to make it happen. At that moment, Satone felt a little sting in her heart. Static discharge? I don’t think so. Satone thinks back if she didn’t take Yuuta’s medals but his hand, would they have been together? She cannot stop thinking about him and this causes her to fluster-cum-panic.

Episode 10
Satone cannot stop thinking about Yuuta. She flusters like a girl in love each time she sees him. Oh wait. Isn’t she? I don’t know about her training to stem this at the water park, but it’s not working. Maybe it’s because Yuuta is here. Shinka and Kumin are to man a booth for tonight’s festival. It starts at night so I don’t know why they are there so early. Shinka is bored but it won’t be since Sanae is here to attack her. Boredom alleviated. Shinka accidentally throws the water balloon into Touka’s face. Punishment… Anyway she is going back to Italy soon and wants the trio to do a favour. Satone talks to Rikka and it seems the latter is still searching for the final coin. She has not asked Yuuta about it because based on their contract it would not befitting. Shinka, Kumin and Sanae stake out Satone and they notice she is looking gloomy. They realize what Touka said is true: Satone is in love with Yuuta. They confront her about this and she tries all sorts of excuses but eventually her embarrassing body reaction is a dead giveaway that she likes him. She admits she once liked him but has sealed those feelings away and will eliminate it for good this time. They have to hide when Rikka and Yuuta come by. Shinka asks what Satone is going to do. She won’t change. At the festival, Rikka went off on her own so Yuuta goes to find her. Satone is going to face Yuuta head on. It starts raining so the duo take shelter at a little shrine. She makes him answer embarrassing questions like if he likes Rikka. Don’t worry, she has trained her mind to be strong. But I think she needs way more training after the way she reacts when Yuuta admits he likes lots about Rikka, although they never kissed but held hands and nuzzle their noses, the way Rikka believed in him and viewed him as something special although he was going to give it all up. Yuuta goes off to get Rikka when she texts him. Satone then dances in the rain, rejoicing that she didn’t cry. She has done it. She is victorious in this personal battle. Suddenly Yuuta returns to hand her an umbrella. She is not happy with this surprise attack. Everything in her starts falling apart. She cannot stop crying and runs away.

Episode 11
Yuuta could tell the reason why she asked those questions and cried. He suddenly realized she likes him. He did find Rikka but she got sick and had to nurse her the next day. The others are here to visit here but Rikka is concerned about Satone. She couldn’t contact her many times. Shinka then confronts Yuuta. She tells him they know about the love triangle thingy (because Touka told them). So okay. What should he do? How should she know? Then keep your nose out. She’s trying to help. He didn’t ask for it. Fine, you’re on your own. Shinka then does Sanae’s trademark slide tackle on him! They see Satone rowing her boat in the middle of the river. They pick her up and Yuuta scolds her how dangerous it is. From Satone’s conversation, she sounds like she is okay with everything. Shinka knows this is not okay. It is far from over. She pokes Yuuta’s eyes when he thinks everything is settled. Guys just don’t get it. Kumin explains about love like a dream. If it’s the latter, she’ll wake up after some time. Shaking her up will only hurt her. As for Shinka being nosey, Kumin believes she loves everybody. She also loves chuunibyou. Kumin would love to have chuunibyou like them then she would know how they all feel. Shinka then dresses up as Mori Summer to impart some advice to Satone. She must fight her other self and another door will open. On the night of the blue moon, Satone then challenges Yuuta to a fight. However Kuzuha alerts them that Rikka has gone missing. Because Yuuta doesn’t remember what all the fuss this night is about, she makes him read a note he wrote long ago in Rikka’s notebook. From that mumbo-jumbo, it is about the revival of Dark Flame Dragon on this night and having 3 keys. They go look for Rikka and it seems there are signs that she has searched the suspected areas (those beneath the electric pylons). It is then Yuuta realized she had been searching for it all this time. All of them. He has a feeling which pylon she will be and finds her. She thinks some leg cast he buried is it. However she gets scolded for doing something so reckless when she is sick. She mentions about being his eternal contractor, blah, blah, blah but Yuuta hugs her. Yuuta remembers where he stores the 3 keys. Under the bridge in a suitcase still left untouched are 3 coins and also an ordinary stone. They perform a ritual to awaken Dark Flame Dragon. Satone requests to fight it. And lost? Once Rikka is well, she is under strict supervision of Yuuta to finish her homework. Sorry, you can’t traverse space and time to finish this. Yuuta notes Satone has changed although she puts it in a roundabout way that she didn’t and just destroyed what built up in her. Then she says goodbye.

Episode 12
Not only their pet cat is acting weird but so is Rikka. Oh wait, has she always been? The school term resumes. Shinka trying to sound and look different again? Italian girl? And there is this Makoto. Still remember him? If not, it’s okay. Because he is so tanned that he could well pass off as an African! And he is crying about Kumin being the only one for him. Nobody cares, right? Yeah. Nobody even remembers him. Kazari notices Yuuta staring longingly at Rikka. She misinterpreted his summer was filled with ignited passion. But why are Shinka and Sanae eager to know too? Yuuta dismisses Satone had anything to do with it. In fact, they both became good friends. Cheeky Kazari goes up to Rikka and says Yuuta wants to whisper something sweet in her ear. Embarrassed, check. Fluster, check. Run away, check. Sanae and Shinka go talk to Satone to find out what is wrong. They both get the wrong idea when she mentions about Rikka thinking of forming a higher contract with Yuuta. They accuse the other of thinking dirty thoughts. It’s just a kiss… So the girls invite Rikka to the public bath house where they can talk their hearts out but all Rikka does is complain about nothing happening between them ever since and that he is just bossing her around (for her own good). She is careful enough not to go into details. Meanwhile Yuuta and Makoto are also at the bath. Yuuta congratulates Makoto when he mentions a person named Chihiro confessed to him. But he doesn’t look happy. He took up summer jobs to buy Kumin a present and look at the trouble he got into. Suddenly a handsome guy walks in. He is Chihiro. OH SHIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!! HOLY COW!!!! OMG!!!! OOOOH MAH GAWDDDDD!!! No wonder! NO WONDER!!! Makoto, we all wish you happiness. Chihiro caressing his chest… So freaky…

The girls set up Yuuta and Rikka to meet under the bridge. Rikka still has doubts and is nervous to go through this but Satone gives her enough encouragement and needed strength. The girls go into hiding (and spying of course) when Yuuta arrives. Rikka while greatly blushing, wants Yuuta to form a higher contract with her. Yuuta could understand Rikka wants to kiss (heck, she even Google what boys wanted in a kiss) and when he is ready to do it, she backs out and puts on a defensive barrier. Does she want to do it or not? Okay, take two. He sees her shedding tears. Scared? He calms her down by saying that they don’t need to rush. But she insists Satone entrusted her with this and must see through it. Yuuta mentions his happiness comes from spending time with her. It makes him happier than hugging or kissing or anything lovers do because he could feel her heart close to his. He only has eyes for her. Well, now Rikka is full blown emotional. Crying and hugging him like he is the best guy she’s ever had in her entire life. Heck, he is the only one :). She pecks him on his check. He returns to favour. But now are they ready for the big one on the lips? From pinky swears to holding hands and now a real kiss. Yup, they’re slowly changing alright. And the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Yuuta and Rikka finally… OH! WHOSE GODDAMN HANDPHONE IS RINGING! Freaking interruption!!!! Kuzuha says their cat have given birth to 7 litters! Looks like their family has expanded. As for our spy girls, they are not happy it ended this way and want them to continue kissing. Especially Shinka. They’ve worked so hard to get them to this point and hell they better finish it. Guess what? Run! Maybe next time have better luck. Catch them if you can.

Episode 13 (OVA)
When Yuuta is seen receiving a pen drive from Makoto, the girls feel suspicious of its contents. So they tie Yuuta up and are about to check it out but Shinka and Sanae seem to fluster that it might be ‘dangerous’. Rikka doesn’t care and opens it. Pictures of a woman? More precisely an ex-idol that he was once a fan and Makoto got some visual data on her. Of course Rikka will not allow this despite all that delusional terminology and crap she is spouting about contract breaching, blah, blah, blah, we can summarize it into one word: Jealousy. Ah. Jealousy rearing its ugly head. Delete it now! Sorry it’s not his. Return it now! Tomorrow. Why tomorrow? Maybe he wants to see it first? Shinka gives an example what if Rikka starts looking at pictures of other men. Instantly Yuuta rebukes he won’t have it! See? It’s the same. So if he understands, he better return it quickly. As Yuuta meets up with Makoto, the latter knows what is happening and secretly slips it back into his pocket. The girls do see it is over but they can feel something is not right. Is it really over? Rikka seeks Satone’s advice and learn more about this woman who ‘stole her beloved’s heart before they made their contract’. It is making her heart feeling tight. Satone notes that is a good thing. That night Rikka wakes up from a nightmare that Yuuta is two-timing her. So she sneaks into his room to check his laptop. Pictures of random stuffs. Then she checks his cabinet where he keeps his secret stuffs (as Touka told her) and finds the pen drive. She returns to her room to take a look at it and there it is, all the pictures of that woman. She almost screamed out loud in her rage and this causes Yuuta to come check on her. She manages to pretend to sleep in time. But when morning comes, she realizes she slept on and broke the pen drive! Yuuta can tell something is off with her behaviour and with a little trick, he sees the broken pen drive.

Thanks to that, the duo end up fighting and not talking to each other, blaming each other for theft and not fulfilling one’s promise. Eventually the rest finds out and looks like they have to intervene and mediate. Since talking won’t do, Sanae suggests that they fight. Time to enter into those delusional modes. Rikka and Sanae hammer Yuuta with all their might but there is no effect since Yuuta is so used to it. Yuuta throws the ultimatum that he won’t forgive her until she apologizes. With Rikka seething in frustration, the girls gather in Satone’s room to discuss their next move. They even plant a spy camera and have Kuzuha help out. Kuzuha shows a note from Rikka saying she won’t come back. Yuuta is not fazed because she knows she will return. Even during bedtime as Rikka hasn’t come back, Yuuta didn’t bother go looking for her. This causes the rest to worry if their love is over. Then they see on the camera Yuuta comes back and puts Rikka’s dinner portion on the table. Rikka reflects on herself that she doesn’t want to fight with him but this nagging feeling tells her to not give in. Kumin advises her to tell the truth. Because they have been together for over a year, they understand each other better than anyone. She is sure Yuuta wants to talk to her again and if they end up fighting, it will lead to something good. So it is something like the more they fight, the more they get along. Sanae and Shinka immediately rebuke each other because definitely they’re not going to get along ever. Rikka goes to see Yuuta and talk. They apologize but also blame the other that what they did was wrong. The only way left is to ‘fight’. I don’t know what kind of fighting they had but it seems they tire out themselves. The girls leave our reconciled lovebirds alone, sleeping and lying on each other’s back.

Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai! Ren Lite

Just like last season, this season also has short webcasted clips (again this means grainy and low quality video), Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai! Ren Lite that last for around 3 minutes or so. As usual, the random antics of the gang for us to giggle and laugh and nothing much serious.

Lite 1: Kotatsu Snail
Shinka is trying to get sleeping Kumin out of the kotatsu. But each time she approaches, she goes back in and pops out from another corner. She then tries to lift the kotatsu but Kumin grabs her leg. Thinking of chopping her head, she hurts her hand when Kumin avoids it. Is she really sleeping? Once Kumin rolls out and to a corner, the kotatsu moves away by itself! WTF?! Ghost?! Shinka then lifts it up only to see Rikka and Sanae beneath it. Lots of snacks and comics too…

Lite 2: An Infection Called A Stye, A Hordeolum Or Perhaps Just Beauty
Rikka has an eye infection but gives excuses (her delusions, what else?) not to use the drops and claims she can perfectly see well despite now she has eye-patches on both her eyes. She seems to be doing great. Is she really using the eye of the heart? Then Yuuta realizes the eye-patch is slightly crooked and allows her to see. So he covers it properly and now she is all clumsy. Since she gets discouraged putting the drops, Yuuta will put it for her. Thanks to their ambiguous dialogue, Shinka and Kumin are eavesdropping outside getting the wrong idea… “I’m not ready yet”, “Hold still, it won’t hurt”, “I can’t do it with my eyes closed”…

Lite 3: Tyrant’s Eye – Before The Storm
Back in middle school, Rikka tried to develop he ESP senses. Yeah… That book looks fake! So she tests it out with her friend Tomo but fails to predict the random cards she picks. So she goes into her most natural relaxing form (sleeping like she always does in class?) and finally gets it right. Now she is going to work on her foresight and tries predicting the next person who comes through the door is a boy or girl. More wrongs than rights… Can’t feel your intuition? Finally she pinpoints the last person wrongly. She is their teacher. Rikka panics and says she is friendless too. The teacher takes this as an insult and is not too happy. Punishment time… Since then, Rikka stopped practising her ESP development. Good for her.

Lite 4: Dekomori Vs Nibutani 2
The gang are playing old maid and it all boils down to Sanae and Shinka. Because the loser has to go out in the rain to buy snacks. It is a tense match. Depending on how you view it, you can say they are lucky or unlucky as they keep on picking the joker. Yeah. How long is this going to drag? Each time they pick the joker, the other will taunt. And when it’s time to choose, they’ll resort to their ‘power’. Guess it isn’t working, huh? When Shinka seemingly picks the right card, Sanae won’t let go of it and tries to convince her to take the other one. Since both won’t give way, the card rips. Yuuta calls them both losers and they both have to go buy snacks. Now they’re arguing over the small umbrella space…

Lite 5: My Brother 3 – Camping
Back when Yuuta is still Dark Flame Master, his family are out camping. Geez, does he still need to act like that? Anyway he fights in the monster’s lair which is actually just chestnuts. Kuzuha can’t stop being a worrywart. You don’t know what he is going to do with the chestnuts… Later on he comes back bleeding! OMG! Seems he fell from the tree. Though nothing serious and bandaged up, he continues to act like a lone wolf, eating by himself instead with his family. Kuzuha’s friend really thinks he is such a cool guy. Kuzuha is on the verge of thinking that too when the chestnut he is roasting shoots to his forehead and he squirms in pain. She prefers her normal brother…

Lite 6: Angel Summoning
When Shinka was in her Mori Summer delusion, she and her friends (including Satone) make preparations to summon an angel. She draws an insignia in the sand, has them eat herbs (chrysanthemum?) and then say some chanting for the angel to descend on the vessel (paper human?). A wind blows, which is a sign that the angel has arrived. Isn’t it because they are outside? And you’re supposed to see the angel with your other eyes, not your earthly eyes. Then a bigger gale blows away the vessel. The angel has left. Yeah, it’s quite windy today. In present time, Satone is telling this to Kumin while Shinka is squirming with embarrassment. Final bonus: Satone’s magical girl transformation!

From Delusions To Real Love
To be honest, this season feels just rather okay. That is being me just sympathetic because mediocre would be the better choice of word. This season is mainly about Yuuta and Rikka trying to push forward their relationship but that would not have gotten anywhere if not for those meddling kids friends. It could have been status quo all the way. Therefore, in terms of if there is anything special about this season, to me there isn’t any. Even I feel that the chuunibyou effects are greatly diminished. Especially in the closing episodes as Rikka starts to ponder about love, those over the top exaggerated awesome fantasy magic summoning power battles stopped. Or at least lessen. It’s all in your head. So if you are here to see delusion battles from Rikka or Sanae, you might see more of it in the first season where their chuunibyou runs rampage. Come to think of it, this season’s delusions feel tamer than the first season although it still packs with its awesome punch.

Although Satone is the new character for this season, I feel that she hardly has an impact overall. Firstly, although she shares her chuunibyou past with Yuuta, she is from another school. This means she hardly is in the picture joining our usual gang in doing things together. It felt like she is just a side character for the first half of the series. And when it is confirmed that she truly does have feelings for Yuuta (we all could have guessed this from the start), it was a little too late and the series was coming to an end. Satone may not have a great impact on the series but she plays a pivotal role in helping Rikka and Yuuta come together. PS: I find her trademark laughter a little annoying… Cute but annoying…

Rikka still feels socially inept. She only comes alive whenever she goes into her delusional mode. Otherwise you can see her obvious reaction that she is a meek, unconfident and full of insecurities if it comes to matters in real life. She may make roundabouts about it but usually Yuuta will force her to come back. At least the OVA proves that she too has some human emotions. Getting jealous although she doesn’t know about it or want to admit it. I don’t know but Rikka looks cute whenever she flusters. She does it a lot this time. So for a girl who has spent her entire life living in delusions, it would definitely be hard for her to send the message across over what she wants. Thankfully there is Yuuta around to hold her hand and guide her through. Speaking of Yuuta, he may still be embarrassed by his past but he has learnt to adapt to it and use it whenever the time calls for it. Like getting Rikka to do something or spill the beans. So having a little chuunibyou isn’t that bad sometimes. You just need to know the right moment to use them. Of course preferably for him, he prefers not to have this brought up.

I am guessing Shinka loves hanging around with them. Even after her dreams of becoming student council president is shattered and to live a normal life and discard her embarrassing Mori Summer past, why the heck is she still with them? This proves she really likes to hang out with them, right? Or maybe she has given up hope that she will ever become normal and perhaps no other ‘normal’ girls want to befriend her and thus the only place left to hang out is with these weirdoes. Yeah… What to do? She can be as equally weird as them. So much so I think she loves watching the romance unfolding between Yuuta and Rikka. Sometimes getting frustrated that they are not progressing anyhow. See how she tries to play matchmaker and drop hints for Yuuta? Yup. Life is more exciting for her that way, doesn’t it? Though Kumin feels like her partner in crime…

And I am guessing that Sanae too likes Shinka a lot because ever since the first season, these oddballs have been at odds with each other for whatever reasons. Eternal enemies they may seem but don’t you think that this is a sign that they like each other’s company? That fake Mori Summer episode just proves it. Uh huh. If there is a fake Sanae wants to challenge, there is no other better faker than the fake Shinka. The fakest of the fakes. I really thought that when they made up and with all that emotional stuffs tossed in, this could be it. Finally they have made peace and will be able to move on as friends. No more meaningless tackles and fighting. How naïve I was… Though we won’t know if that would turn out better for them in the long run but at least we are all back on familiar ground now that they are back at annoying the hell out of each other. Yeah. In that sense they both share a special bond, right? That is why they had their unwitting first kiss with each other, right?

I feel that Kumin has spent less of her time napping this season and instead she is somewhat trying to carve herself as some sort of a stand up comedian. Although it is a good thing that she is not wasting the youth of her life, but you’ll find that the puns she makes are not impressive especially with her friends. So much so you think that she would be better off by sleeping and not opening her mouth. Really! As for Makoto, his presence and role has been reduced so much that I can hardly call it a running joke. But it still is one. Last time he was a joker and a comic relief. This time he doesn’t even command so much presence and was just forgettable. Heck, the running joke is that nobody remembers him! His presence is so minimal that the show can actually do away without him. It’s like he doesn’t matter anymore. Oh wait, did he? And when he actually has more than 5 seconds of screen time, I thought at least the producers were showing some pity and at least give this guy his dues even if it is just short and unimportant. Who knows he got the most screwed up ‘ending’ and attracted the attention of a guy!!! FFFFFUUUUU!!! Absolutely screwed!!! Well, at least he is a hot handsome guy. Good luck, Makoto. Our thoughts will always be with you. If we remember you, that is ;p.

The rest of the other minor characters were just okay and nothing more since they don’t really make a big impact in the overall show. Like I thought Cento is going to play some sort of important role too. Too bad she’s just a slight distraction since she went back to Italy with Touka. Then there is that fake Mori Summer. So is her case over for good? I hope so. Because this world doesn’t need 2 Mori Summers. She was just to let Shinka and Sanae hog a little of the spotlight. The same case with Sui just to give Kumin to take the lead for once. Otherwise, that sleeping contest was totally unnecessary and contributed nothing much to the plot. And certainly Yumeha doesn’t even make much more than that single cameo in the beginning. This means no more funny scenes of Touka playing reality house with her and in the process corrupting her young innocent mind about divorce papers and divorce attorneys.

All of last season’s seiyuus are retained. Juri Nagatsuma (Ichika in Onee-chan Ga Kita) is the only new addition for the main cast as she is the voice of Satone. Mai Nakahara (Mai in Mai-HiME) makes her cameo as Sui and Yuri Yamaoka (Choi in Tamako Market) as Cento. This season’s opening theme is also done by ZAQ, entitled Voice. It still has that lively exuberance of the first season. The good thing about this season’s opening credits animation is that it doesn’t have that annoying blinking effects. My eyes are saved! Black Raison d’etre, the quartet who voiced Rikka, Sanae, Shinka and Kumin who sung the first season’s ending theme does the same for the sequel. However Vanishment This World despite being an anime rock pop, lacks the oomph and excitement compared to first season’s Inside Identity. I still prefer that one over this many times over. For Lite, Shinen Ni Mau Senritsu Shanikusai by ZAQ dances to a samba beat. Festive mood? On a trivial note, the end card is as still as cute as ever, showing chibi Rikka in her various thoughts and actions.

Overall, I can’t say much since if I start thinking back and compare about last season, this sequel doesn’t quite live up to its mark because the comedy bits feel a bit weaker this time, the plot and pacing didn’t go anywhere and the mind boggling inclusion of Satone which doesn’t bring much impact. I read over the internet (translation: briefly skimmed through Google) that many didn’t like the sequel and feels it is worse off than the first season. Despite this is supposed to be a light-hearted comedy but those funny bits weren’t impressive. For example, I don’t really get Kumin’s jokes. Rikka’s embarrassment and socially inept ways may be cute and when she prances around in her delusions but that isn’t enough to save everything. I think the producers are under a delusion that they must have made a hell of a good sequel and could be a milking the cash cow dry. Dream on! I mean, if there is a need to make a sequel, it means the first season is a hit, right? Yeah. But not many animes can make the transition that a second season is better than the first. Sadly, this one doesn’t.

So it goes to show that for some people, such delusions are hard to die out. Even those who outgrow it will mostly continue to live their life in embarrassing each time such delusions are remembered. In a way, you are never freed from your past. And I hope that I can get over mine. It’s time to kill off that nameless assassin from the future and close this chapter once and for all. An epic battle that would result in his sacrifice just to save the world and the future. The long battle will finally come to an end… Oh sh*t! I’m just reliving those delusions right now! Oh heck, who cares? Nobody is reading this except me, right? RIGHT?!

Mujaki No Rakuen

November 21, 2014

Are you a loser in life now? Everyone in your class has been successful except for you who aren’t exactly doing too well? Especially those pretty girls whom you admire, secretly have a crush or just being b*tches, they’re all doing better than you. Way much better. I don’t blame you if you have this wish of going back in time just to redo things or get back at some of them. This is the case of Mujaki No Rakuen. Our male protagonist is a NEET. Mocked by his former female classmates who are now successful in their own ways for being such a loser. And he will have a chance to deal with them when he is thrown back in time. Oh, did I mention that this is an ecchi fanservice OVA? Nothing to do with vengeful revenge. No blood but lots of panty shots. Oh yeah!

Paradise of Miracles
Shouta Handa is in his class reunion. All his female classmates have become gorgeous babes. So freaking pretty! But still calling him a loser. Then there is this crush of his, Konomi Harukaze who is now a successful commercial actress. Pretty mature looking and beautiful too. So as he takes a smoke outside, he reflects the pathetic guy he is. Two different worlds. No money, no talent. He wishes to get away from it all. Suddenly he trips and falls into the pool. In some time warp, he finds himself back in fifth grade. I’m not sure if this is a dream because there is this scene whereby adult Shouta is making out with adult Konomi. Then he realizes he is in class while excitedly thinking about that kiss with Konomi. Till the teacher hits his head to pay attention. Shouta ogles at all the girls in their bloomers during PE. He has to put away the stuffs after the lesson with Konomi. While he holds the chair and she tries to put the stuffs back, he got this heavenly view of her boobs and crotch shot. Dog’s eye view is the best, eh? He’s like beating himself up for enjoying this but shouldn’t do this anymore and wants God to punish him. Konomi accidentally drops the chair on his head. There’s your divine punishment. He falls and got his face in his crotch. I don’t know how they end up in this position of Konomi on top of him. A metal bar is pinning her leg down. She feels down that she didn’t make the cut to become an actress but Shouta knows she will be in a few years’ time and gives positive encouragement. She feels better and this reminds her that they used to play ‘audition’. Want to play it again? F*ck yeah. Let’s see who can play the better lover. Hell yeah!!! They start kissing and his hands are all over her. Too bad the bell rings. They need to get back to class but Konomi’s foot is stuck. Even worse for Shouta is that his crotch is ‘blocking’ her movements. She’s trying to move (in such a rhythmic action) and he could explode any time! Finally she is free but I’m not sure Shouta has also been ‘released’.

Captured In Paradise
Shouta must be a lucky guy because some girls are giving him their pudding. They can’t stand sweetness? Oh, come on. What kind of girls hates sweet things? Suddenly a group of naughty boys come in to do their ‘jet stream’. Flipping up girls’ skirt. Rio Kaneko didn’t like how they are acting and as punishment, the girls will confiscate their pudding until they apologize. Too bad Shouta is also affected since this is collective punishment. So the girls are wondering why the boys are going to apologize so easily but they take out their water guns and demand the girls hand them over. But the girls know they’re going to pull this stunt and have come prepared. They have water balloons! Bombs away! Retreat! As the guys have their dumb pride, they’re not going to back out now. Shouta has got expired milk as ammo! The boys attack again and fire away. Shouta charges in but falls into a pit. With the commander down, the boys retreat. Thanks a lot for abandoning him. He is captured, tied up and blindfolded. Rio and the girls start tickling him to make him confess. Shouta remembers Rio became a policewoman and holy crap if this sadistic woman actually got some power. Then the girls start smelling something that stinks. The expired milk is taking effect now? So they take off their clothes and start changing. Shouta realizes this is their moment of weakness. Completely defenceless. Their only chance. He runs out to yell to the guys to attack now. Rio and the girls pull him back. Part of his blindfold comes off and he could see some of them butt naked! While some girls defend against the advancing guys, Rio and the couple of girls pin him down by sitting on him. I guess this is the only way they could hold him down. But since Shouta is struggling and Rio is in a 69 position with him (especially her boobs rubbing on his dick and her ass in his face), he can’t take it anymore. He’s going to explode! Rio thinks he is hiding a hidden weapon down there and shoots the water gun at it! In the end, the boys ran away, the girls contemplate of eating their pudding portion and Shouta is still tied up.

Insects And Paradise
Shouta thinks this is it. Konami calling him out means she is going to confess, right? The moment he has been waiting for! Yes! She really wants him to go out with her! Actually to do an observation on insects as part of her assignment. Well, I guess it’s not half that bad. She’s scared of insects and since Shouta hasn’t begun on his assignment, it’s a win-win situation. I think. So there’s one time a ladybug entered her dress, Shouta had to run his hands through it but couldn’t understand why there are 2 ‘ladybugs’ on her chest. Then they see a rhinoceros beetle mating but Konami thinks the beetle is just stabbing the other. What? They have to head home since they got bitten by mosquitoes. As he puts the ointment on her, she notes he is good acting like a doctor and suggests they play one. For real? No Shouta. You’re not f*cking dreaming. So he examines her and she really wants him to get rid of the itches. Those itches on her thigh. Gulp. It’s moving warmer and warmer to… Can he rub the ointment there without exploding? Konami notes he is really a good actor (was he really acting?) and now it’s her turn to return the favour and rub some on him. Another moment of paradise as she gets really close to him. Her face is like in touching distance of his lips. Just as he has resolved his mind not to be tempted, I don’t know how this happened but Konami’s legs clutch his dick! WTF?! Just how big or long is his pecker?! Now his face in her boobs. Faceboobs. Can he maintain his sanity while her legs are squeezing his dick? She is about to pour liquid ointment on his head but accidentally spills it on him. Divine punishment he believes.

Daydreaming In Paradise…
I’m not sure if I should be satisfied with this kind of ending, which isn’t exactly an ending. Because I don’t know if this magic time trip is just a figment of wild imagination of Shouta as he is drowning in the pool or something for real. If it is the latter, is he going to live through his younger school days again? Can he change the future and satisfy his lust with those girls? So it was a little misleading that the synopsis says about him being thrown back in time to give him a chance to deal with them. Is this how he deals with it? Unless he never got into such ecchi chance in the original timeline.

Ecchi and fanservice element is the main motivation why you watch this show. However I can’t help find that the ecchi parts aren’t really that impressive. Woah. Don’t get the wrong idea that I am such a perverted maestro or something. Season in and season out, after viewing lots of ecchi shows, this one just feels mediocre. There are enough cheap panty shots to get you a little excited but that is about it. There is also some body nudity but their tits are covered so it’s somewhat safe. Besides, the big problem is that Shouta has returned to his younger school days and being a fifth grade student means he is like 10 or 11 years old. Having more aggressive fanservice on them would actually make everything look like child porn. It would make us viewers look like paedophile or lolicons in this case. So in a way I guess it is good the ecchi bits are toned down because if it’s too wild, it would be borderline hentai, in which I would still be complaining. Sighs. It’s just hard to please perverted people like me, eh?

The art and drawing also feels okay. That itself is already an overstatement because mediocre should be the right word. At first looks, the characters and the girls look okay but when you take a closer look, they have this one kind look especially Konomi. And when Shouta is at his limits trying to hold it in the erotic sensation, he looks like a cartoon character. The animation also feels a bit awkward especially some of the steamy shots and the close ups. It is only good because we use our imagination to compensate for it. Get what I mean? And the mind boggling part is the size of Shouta’s dick because from the way it is shown, it is just freaking huge! So did his adult size dick is the only thing that remained when he went back to the past? As for the storyline, I don’t think a single OVA would do it justice as some I read would recommend you to read the manga. Mainly because I believe there are many other girls in his class that Shouta would want to get even and here Konami takes the lion’s share while Rio just feels secondary. So how can it be satisfying if it’s just teasing us like this? And there are lots of hints that tells us Konomi has something for Shouta. Does she in the original timeline?

Overall, if you like some ecchi stuffs, this OVA does little harm but hardly does anything to satisfy that deep craving (if you’re a heavy ecchi lover, that is). I suppose guys will still be guys. It’s hard to resist that kind of sexy temptation. So if you really resist it, would it be like cheating on yourself? I guess once in a blue moon, it is okay to watch such shows as a little guilty pleasure. No harm in having a little cheap fun once in a while. It’s only human nature to dream about your fantasies and wishing for them. Yeah. How I wish I had done the same too. Oh heck, it’s much faster and more satisfying to daydream. Mmm… Suddenly I feel like a loser… :'(

Fuuun Ishin Dai Shogun

November 16, 2014

Once more, how do you get a guy like me to watch an anime that has genres that I am not very interested to watch in? Namely, period dramas like feudal Japan and mecha? One sure way is to turn them into females. But if that gets too old, what else do you do? You turn it into some sexy harem romance of course! And that is how you bait me to watch shows like this as in the case of Fuuun Ishin Dai Shogun. Uh huh. I am such a sucker for this kind of things. At least this anime didn’t use Nobunaga that has seen countless reincarnations and retellings over these few years. This is an original anime production (not based on some manga, light novel or game) which sees an alternative feudal Japan whereby the Meiji restoration never happened.

For those who don’t know their Japanese history (like yours truly), the Meiji restoration was what happened at the end of the Tokugawa era, signalling the end of the Shogunate era and there were political and social changes made. So for this anime, without the Meiji restoration means our Japs drove away the foreigners and secluded themselves from the world. Yeah. But that doesn’t explain how the heck they get big giant futuristic mecha robots that pack so much destructive firepower. It’s like somebody from the future didn’t want them anymore and to prevent being charged by some disposal penalty law, he dumped it back into the past. Just kidding about that bit. But really. Mechs in alternate feudal Japan? Not the first anime to do so but it is quite ironic when you think about the fact that there are some people who can pilot these heavily mechanised machines (seen them reading a manual on how to operate it?) when you don’t see a decent washing machine or coffee maker around. Yeah…

Oh, right. Don’t forget about the harem part that got me deciding to have a look at this too. When you already have huge gigantic powerful mechs in such feudal era, why not go the extra mile by putting sexy buxom babes into the picture too. Uh huh. And this guy, our typical hero and main protagonist of the story, the kind that is destined to change the future of Japan, blah, blah, blah, you get the point… You bet these girls are going to be part of his harem and help him pilot this incredible mecha. Wow. What better way than to get you into this anime. Did I mention that everybody is a virgin too?

Episode 1
Keiichirou and his buddy, Hyakusuke are about to get into another brawl to unite Nagasaki when the enemies surrender. They throw a party and call him their leader but Keiichirou isn’t pleased. Is this all there is to unify Nagasaki and Japan? He laments there are no more enemies left for him to fight. Oh, he forgot all but one. Otomi, the hostess of the greatest public bath house and the one who raised Keiichirou. She’s here to remind them to get their asses back to work. Of course Keiichirou won’t. His entire life he has never worked and only entered fights. A near naked man seeks help because this busty sexy babe, Kiriko is going to slice off his ‘ugly’ thing. It doesn’t help when the police head accuses Keiichirou of being the troublemaker and into raping men! Well, that woman is no longer around and that guy is crying… I don’t know how he got out of this one but hell he is going to find that woman in the red kimono to clear his name. Hyakusuke remembers her from the party and Keiichirou is desperate enough to barge into the women’s section just to look for her! Hyakusuke has a safer method but doesn’t this make them look like peeping Toms? Eventually they see her thanks to that trademark huge boobs but she wipes out the binoculars after sensing they are watching her. Meanwhile another murder case takes place and the police head firmly believes it is Keiichirou behind this despite witnesses saying they saw a woman in red kimono. His conclusion? Keiichirou is cross-dressing and sleeping-cum-murdering them! He really wants to blame him, huh? Kiriko confronts Keiichirou and confirms he has been living in this bath house since young under Otomi’s care. She makes him touch her boobs and because he is such a virgin, he passes out. He comes to inside the bath house after Hyakusuke wakes him up. And here is that dumb police guy coming in to arrest him but Otomi won’t allow him. Otherwise she will reveal his disgusting habit and ban him for life. Better back down for now.

Another sex-cum-murder takes place and it hits one of Keiichirou’s buddies. There is a dagger stab wound on his chest. Stupid police head again accuses him but Keiichirou sees Kiriko outside and dashes to confront her. He wants to settle things now but Kiriko kills all the hidden ninjas and reveal the real culprit, another sexy buxom babe, Houkouin. Realizing Kiriko is protecting him, Keiichirou must be the one. She couldn’t find him so was killing every young guy he could get her hands on. If being sexy and busty is one thing, wait till you see this freaking huge mecha she rides! The police now believes Keiichirou thanks to this revelation and comes to his aid. Kiriko brings Keiichirou back to the bath house and reveals she is an Iga ninja sent to protect him as the Shogun in Edo has fallen and there are parties after him. Otomi in her ninja outfit (I never knew she had boobs this big!!!) throws him a Tokugawa seal. She explains the attacks have something to do with his secret birth. But save the details for later, they have to stop Houkouin’s rampage. Because Keiichirou is a true virgin of the Tokugawa bloodline, he is can pilot this Onigami called Susanoo. There is a huge mecha hiding underneath the bath house? He gets into it and uses his beginner’s luck to pilot it. Houkouin would really love to enjoy this fight (it’s like sex to her) but she has to escape and report back to her master, Shigeyoshi Hitotsubashi.

Episode 2
Some masochist pervert is begging for Chiharu to step on him. She gets mad and transforms into her true demon fox form to give him some pain. That’s what he wanted, right? If fixing the bath house is one big pain in the ass for Keiichirou, what more Kiriko’s lecturing especially about him being a virgin and his curse of breaking into hives and then passing out when coming into contact with women. She views his ability to pilot Susanoo crucial and is here to protect his virginity. Otomi knows that Kiriko was sent here to also help pilot Susanoo. Although a man’s virginity is needed, its true power is revealed when he is nestled in the crotch of a female virgin in the back. So does she have what it takes to make him sit down there? Speaking of virginity, Keiichirou and Hyakusuke enter a red light district to lose it. Learning Chiharu is the top girl around, they request for her. Is it because Keiichirou prefers flat chests?! Chiharu gets steamy with him when Kiriko barges in. While they’re arguing about her more concerning about his virginity than his body, Chiharu stole his wallet. But outside the police head is going to arrest her because the pervert reported her for stealing his money. She beats up the cops with her nunchakus (and steals their wallets too) and before she can do the same to the pervert, he takes out a knife. Keiichirou cuts in and doesn’t like what he sees. The pervert rants about Chiharu being a monster who will do all sorts of nasty things to get your money.

Chiharu is going to kill him in her true demon fox form but Keiichirou stops her. Surprisingly he won’t raise a hand to her and dares her to come at him. She takes up his offer but it is a ploy to take back all the stolen wallet. He returns the wallets to the rightful owners and tells the pervert to get everyone out of here. Chiharu laments about her sorry state of affair. Born between a human and animal, for the last 250 years people has always looked down on her and hated her. Everyone who approached her always plotted something. So she decided to live in the shadows and do this kind of stuff. Keiichirou lectures her about doing it wrong. She might not be able to do something about the curse when she was born but if she curses the way she lives, she’ll just be miserable. He doesn’t care about curses and she should live with her face held high and someday the sun will smile upon her. He gives her his wallet if that is what she wants. Well, it’s empty anyway. So back at the bath house, now it is his turn to get lectured by Kiriko (despite she was praising him earlier on). Suddenly Chiharu pops up and is all over him. Hives all over him. She quit her red light district job and is now going to work here as a maid (Otomi hired her). She might not look like it but she’s a virgin too. This is the least of his problems because there is going to be a showdown between the women. Especially Kiriko with her deadly aura ‘warning’ the sly fox not to get too close to Keiichirou because her actions are seemingly ‘corruptive and unhealthy’. Chiharu isn’t cowed. Let the fight begin!

Episode 3
I think Houkouin is more interested in molesting her fellow comrade, Tsubaki than listening to her report with orders from Shigeyoshi to kill Keiichirou before he masters Susanoo’s power. Chiharu clearly loves flirting with Keiichirou but there is always Kiriko in the way. She even admits she likes Keiichirou and doesn’t care about his bloodline or the fact he will be Shogun someday. Because Kiriko continues to lecture him, Keiichirou tells her off he likes Chiharu better because she doesn’t keep reminding him about Tokugawa this, Tokugawa that. That stings, right? Chiharu tricks Hyakusuke to keep an eye on Kiriko so she can have her chance with Keiichirou once she is away. Seems Kiriko goes out to meet him as he wants to talk. Then how come he is sleeping in his room? Chiharu takes this chance to flirt with him. Since he still resists, she wonders if he hates her because she truly loves him. She explains when she was around 100 years old, she fell in love with a guy but worried about showing her true form. When she did, he ran away. Ever since she was scared of transforming. However he is the first person who doesn’t freak out about her transformation. I wonder how long his hives can hold. Meanwhile Kiriko knows this imposter impersonating as Keiichirou. Tsubaki is sent to stall her but she succumbed to Kiriko’s ultimate molestation technique which even got her to spill the beans. By that time, Houkouin attacks the place in her mecha. Not again. The bath house was just fixed, damn it.

Houkouin wants Keiichirou to summon Susanoo but he isn’t going to rely on that mecha again. So will his hammer suffice? Apparently not. Also, Chiharu finds out he is a virgin. Kiriko throws him the seal. Time to call for Susanoo. Yeah. Why do they keep it under the bath house? Don’t they have any other place to put it? After all that flashy entrance and preparation, Keiichirou can’t make this mecha move. Best sexual subtext quip from Houkouin: “No matter how big it is, it is useless if you can’t make it stand up”! Kiriko realizes it needs another power and pleads to Susanoo to take her. Well, the robot scans the area and takes Chiharu instead. I think she is going to love this. Once they are in position (no pun intended. Oh wait, maybe it is), Susanoo transforms into its Exploding Passion Beast God form. Uhm… Armoured Godzilla? It is powerful enough to pack a powerful punch. I’m sure Houkouin would love to stay and fight but she’d rather taste the fruit best when it is ripe. I guess this means she is going to back down for now and let him ‘ripen’ even more. So all is well for now? Even if Otomi notes Chiharu may be the woman destined to be Keiichirou’s partner, Kiriko doesn’t look okay with it. Despite saying her mission is just to awaken Susanoo and is alright if she is the key, blah, blah, blah, you can’t mistake that look on her face. Gloomy and disappointed.

Episode 4
Keiichirou is trying to hit on girls and has failed 50 times in a row! Houkouin’s words must have gotten to him, huh? Any woman with boobs, he’ll ‘attack’?! Till this woman who dresses in a man’s outfit, Hyougo Asai stops him. They are going to fight but Otomi wants Keiichirou to get his ass back to work so the lazy boy runs away. Hyougo faints because she hasn’t eaten in days so Otomi takes her in. She will do anything to repay her kindness. Anything? I suppose she has to eat her words since she’ll be working in the bath house too. Keiichirou doesn’t recognize her and tries to hit on her. Since Otomi has them work together, I guess this is also motivation for him. Hyougo observes how Keiichirou brings in the smiles. Later she apologizes for misjudging him and explains she was on a journey to hunt down her father’s killer as he was believed to be killed for trying to investigate Shigeyoshi. It was hard travelling alone as a woman because lustful men were chasing after her. This made her start hating men and it reached boiling point when she saw what Keiichirou did. He also admits his fault since he was hitting girls as he was in bad mood. This makes them even. She adds her father’s killer bears the seal case of the Tokugawa. Suddenly air pirates led by Maika Yurihara steal Susanoo to sell it to foreigners. The bath house again… Kiriko and Chiharu go fight them but are no match. Because Hyougo sees the Tokugawa seal in Keiichirou’s hands, she believes he is the killer. So now they have time to fight each other? Better hurry otherwise Kiriko and Chiharu will become dead meat.

Hyougo is obviously stronger than him and she can’t believe this weakling killed her father. Then doesn’t it prove he isn’t the killer? Because she calls him weak, it is like a taboo word to him so he gets up, gets stabbed by her sword in the arm and fights back. A pillar is going to fall on her. Keiichirou saves her from being crushed. Because she still believes he killed her father despite all the overwhelming recent memories of him being a nice guy to the guests of the bath house, she is going to kill him. Suddenly Susanoo activates and breaks free. It rushes down to Keiichirou and deflects Maika’s bullet. The ship takes a direct hit and the pirates have no choice but to flee. All this without Keiichirou controlling it. Before Susanoo can crush Hyougo, Keiichirou inserts the seal and orders it to stop. Phew. No squished woman. Later Otomi explains Susanoo has a will and soul of its own and will move to protect him if needed. Hyougo once more apologizes to Keiichirou for jumping to conclusions. She realized it wasn’t the one with the Tokugawa seal was the killer. It was a hint that the person who has Susanoo has also the blood of Tokugawa and is in Nagasaki and was told to find him. After learning he too is fighting Shigeyoshi, she decides to stay put and work here as part of her atonement. She may need his help when the time comes. As for why he saved her despite her trying to kill him, it is because it is a manly thing to do. Now that she is part of the harem, Chiharu strips Hyougo naked and to the ladies’ surprise, her boobs even surpass Kiriko’s! Furthermore, she is a virgin! Oh no… The competition just went up by one…

Episode 5
Kiriko sees Otomi coughing out blood. Later Otomi is trying to kiss Keiichirou!!! WTF?! She says being kissed by a virgin will break his curse. This granny is a virgin?! Well, she considers herself one since she hasn’t done it in decades. HELL, NO! He would rather kiss somebody else. Meanwhile the pervert bugs Chiharu again as Hyakusuke comes to her rescue. The pervert threatens he will tell everybody about her true form and cause them to not come to the baths anymore. Chiharu agrees to meet him tonight but she actually doesn’t intend to. She doesn’t care about the bath house and plans to beat him up and scram. Otomi tells Kiriko about the virgin kiss and hopes she’ll be the one. Or would she rather have somebody else he kisses? For more dramatic effect, she starts coughing like hell. Keiichirou seems desperate when he comes up to Chiharu and wants to kiss! Normally she would have accepted but since she is in a bad mood, she declines. Besides, where’s the fun in that? Kiriko stops them so he turns his attention to her. He will kiss anybody to break his curse. This breaks her heart as she slaps him. Later Keiichirou tells what happened to Hyougo and she tells him about not understanding the woman’s feelings. Like a typical man, he doesn’t really get it. She won’t let him kiss her since she is saving her chastity till she gets her revenge. Kiriko also goes to see Otomi and tells her what happened. She asks why she decides to break the curse now. It is because of a promise she made to Keiichirou’s mother, Keiko.

Taking Kiriko to her grave, Otomi explains they were good friends despite their gap in age. It all started when Shigeyoshi used his Onigami called Takemikazuchi to drive away black ships. He was imprisoned for that and lost his chance to become Shogun. Munetsugu became Shogun but before he ascended the throne, he fell in love with one of his concubines. That person is Keiko. At that time Otomi was working as a ninja in the Shogunate and eventually Keiko became pregnant with Keiichirou. She couldn’t tell anyone but her. A high ranking councillor, Sadachika Matsudaira found out. He is the guy who also ordered Kiriko to revive Susanoo. He believes if Shigeyoshi returns to Edo, the world will plunge into chaos and to prevent that from happening, he placed his hopes on Keiko’s unborn son and put a curse on him. If the child remained a virgin, he will be able to pilot Susanoo one day. Otomi was tasked to hide Keiko and her unborn son in Nagasaki. But shortly after Keiichirou’s birth, Keiko passed away. Before she died, Keiko wanted her son to live a normal life and Otomi promised her that. Now that he is old enough to decide, he must choose how he will live his own life. Meanwhile Hyakusuke fends of the pervert and his minions. He takes a beating but Keiichirou comes to his rescue and ultimately Chiharu scares him off. Kiriko sees Keiichirou floating a lighted lantern for his mother he has no recollection of. Otomi told him she was a kind person. He also says he won’t kiss her because he wasn’t thinking about her feelings. He has lived his entire life with this curse so living with it a little longer won’t hurt. Kiriko replies even if his curse is lifted, she will give up her life to defend his virginity. She then tells him about grandma’s condition and they rush back to see him coughing badly. Turns out there was a fish bone stuck in her throat and she tried to take it out. Now she feels much better. Keiichirou is going to beat her up for nearly causing him heart attack but granny doesn’t think so. He can’t even kiss a girl and he thinks of beating her? Oh grandma… That night while Keiichirou is sleeping, Kiriko sneaks in to kiss him. Next morning when Chiharu is all over him, he doesn’t break into hives. At first he thought it was Otomi who kissed him but seeing Kiriko’s blushing reaction, he wonders if she is the one.

Episode 6
21 years ago when the foreign black vessels attacked the coast of Japan because the Shogunate refused to open up trades, Shigeyoshi piloted Takemikazuchi and defeat them all in one strike. And now there seems to be an uproar within the Shogunate because as the chief minister, Naosuke Ii mentions, the Shogun is going to take on a new concubine instead of the one from the 3 families. Matsudaira talks to Ii about this and it seems Ii has made a partnership with a foreigner, Verbeck to trade the Onigami for their cannons that is said to be able to pierce through the armour of those mechas. Also, with the new concubine pregnant with the heir, it means when the heir is born, they can form closer ties with the foreigners and don’t need to fight. Souji Okita of the Shinsengumi heard this and reports back to her comrades Toshizo “Toshi” Hijikata and Isami Kondo. They are not pleased they are doing this behind Shigeyoshi’s back. Houkouin also pays them a visit and mentions if this deal goes through, the Shinsengumi will go overseas and Ii will rule Japan. The Shinsengumi report this to Shigeyoshi but he could only feel the country being ruled with emptiness and the demon raging within his heart. Souji tries to sneak in as a concubine to assassinate Ii but that fat ass was faster with the gun and has his ways with her. The new concubine’s escort arrives but Shigeyoshi cuts her down. He is arrested and brought to Ii who is going to execute him but Shigeyoshi remains cool and calls him a monster who deceives the Shogun and the people. Matsudaira thinks the banquet to welcome the new concubine should be called off since she is dead but Ii is going ahead with it. Because the concubine survived the assassination attempt. Actually, he’s going to put a new woman as a face of the concubine. It’ll be okay as long as everyone sees it. Also, he will have Shigeyoshi executed. Later Matsudaira goes to disband the Shinsengumi because of Souji’s assassination attempt on Ii. As Matsudaira hosts the banquet, he also announces Shigeyoshi’s attempted assassination and thus to be execute. He will die by these foreign firing cannons. Suddenly Shigeyoshi screams the top of his voice for everyone to listen. About the country being ruled by evil apparitions. He reveals the Shogun is already dead and that Ii has been hiding this fact. If what he says are lies, the Onigami will remain silent. Otherwise, it will answer his call. The place starts rumbling as the Shinsengumi go into action to free Shigeyoshi. In turn he cuts and slices up Ii and takes the Tokugawa seal. They slaughter everyone including Matsudaira. With the blood of everyone flowing like a river, Shigeyoshi calls forth Takemikazuchi, rising up from the grounds beneath.

Episode 7
Keiichirou and Hyakusuke are about to enjoy themselves in the red light district when Kiriko and Chiharu show up to take them back and punish them. Keiichirou feels frustrated he hasn’t been touched by a woman. Can’t he wait till peace reigns Edo? Yeah. The fate of this country rests on his virginity! Kiriko accidentally reveals she was the one who kissed him and the situation gets a little awkward. Suddenly this hot Iga ninja guy sweeps Kiriko off her feet and wants her to come with him. He is actually the prince of Iga, Sutemaru. He is on official business here. Speaking to Otomi, seems Shigeyoshi and his Shinsengumi has annihilated his village. His people are scattered. The Shinsengumi has become brutal and killed many including Hyougo’s father (what are the chances she heard this?). Their goal is to kill Keiichirou and take Susanoo. They will be here soon and the reason they attacked Iga was because it was along the way. Nothing like a good practice, eh? However Otomi knows he is also here for another reason. Keiichirou is in bad mood thanks to Chiharu describing Sutemaru as that cold woman’s ex-boyfriend. True enough, Sutemaru wants Kiriko to abandon Iga and leave with him to spend their lives together. It was a silly pledge they made as kids but she is not interested in loving anyone now and cannot leave Keiichirou’s side. Later he talks to Keiichirou and asks how much he knows about her and the thorn in her heart. Kiriko had a brother and they were brought to the Iga village. However some law prevented them to be together so big brother turned the blade on himself. Ever since, she closed her heart and stopped loving others. She thought it would be better to love no one than to love someone and lose them. Can Keiichirou say he loves her? Can he protect her? Sutemaru can.

Suddenly a big airship passes over. It is the Shinsengumi and they are here on their own thinking this would please Shigeyoshi if they bring back Keiichirou’s head and Susanoo early. Maybe they’re just itching to fight. Sutemaru ties up Keiichirou because this was Kiriko’s request to not let him fight. Keiichirou is of course not happy that someone else is going to get hurt for his sake and his rage breaks free from the ropes. Kiriko isn’t going to be the one facing Shinsengumi alone but Hyougo too. Revenge time. However the girls are no match for the bloodthirsty trio. This is where Keiichirou comes in. His hammer got sliced in half. Kondo orders him to bring out Susanoo if he wants Kiriko’s head to be kept. No choice he summons his Onigami. The bath house… He pilots it along with Hyougo and it transform into another version, Susanoo Light Flash Wind God. Kondo and Souji pilot their own Onigami to fight him. Sutemaru seduces and drugs Toshi to rescue Kiriko. Susanoo bests both the Shinsengumi’s Onigami. I guess at this rate the only option for them is to retreat. See you next time. Later that night, Sutemaru is going to leave without saying goodbye to Kiriko but Keiichirou caught him. Sutemaru explains Kiriko’s cry-baby behaviour when she was young and would always follow him and never leave. Now she has changed. She has the look that she is not interested in him anymore. It wasn’t the Kiriko he used to know and that he was the one who didn’t understand her. He asks if Keiichirou loves her. Since he couldn’t answer, he takes it as his love is so great that he can’t put it in words. See ‘ya.

Episode 8
The foreigners (Verbeck, Glover and Ryouma Sakamoto) are using Hyakusuke’s telescope to peep into the bath house. And it is Hyakusuke who gets punished by Chiharu. Life is so unfair. When Keiichirou bumps into Ryouma, he realizes his seal has been stolen. He confronts them frolicking with women in some inn and when Kiriko comes into the picture, it is made as though Keiichirou is the one at fault for losing it and that Ryouma was here to return it to him. Care to hand it back and fight like a man? Well, how do you fight like a man with a gun pointed in your face? They’re going to play rock-scissors-paper and let luck decide their fate. It would be a strip version and Kiriko will have to strip and Keiichirou loses once she is totally naked. Kiriko puts her faith in him since she is the wager. However… He sucks in it! She is down to her last cloth! Oh God… I don’t know if that gun finger movement is legal bur Keiichirou lost. Samurais barge in and demand Ryouma to live up to his promise of supplying them gun powder. Seems he also cheated them of their money and other things. So Ryouma flees with Keiichirou close behind. Glover and Verbeck kidnap Kiriko. Well, technically she is theirs, right? Once Ryouma and Keiichirou get away from the samurais, Keiichirou learns that Ryouma isn’t part of Glover and Verbeck’s group. They are selling weapons to anybody who wants to buy them. Be it the Shogunate or the samurais against them. He feels this country is in chaos and knows this seal will bring it back together.

That night, Ryouma and Keiichirou head to Glover and Verbeck’s base. After all that talking, Ryouma makes it as though this is Keiichirou’s fight. They play a one round rock-scissors-paper over Kiriko. He has to accept since Ryouma threatens to expose some doctored photo of Verbeck with the samurais. If Keiichirou wins, Kiriko is given back to them or else Ryouma will give his ship. Keiichirou wins his game but Glover pulls out his gun. Ryouma sends out a signal and this has his men fire warning loud shots from the ship. The next shot can decimate this entire island. In the end, Kiriko returns to their side and she learns the truth of how he lost the seal. They’re going to play another one round another rock-scissors-game for this. This time Keiichirou will bet his life. Keiichirou wins but don’t you feel Ryouma may have let him win? He warns of Takemikazuchi’s revival and this seal will determine this country’s fate. As the sea is wide and connected with other countries, Japan can’t shut itself forever and others may come to take it. Keiichirou isn’t sure about all that complicated stuff if he rules Japan. But he is not going to run away like before. He will face his problems head on and destroy them. He wants Kiriko to follow him.

Episode 9
What is this? Keiichirou wants to kiss Kiriko? No, you’re not dreaming. But he remembers some work he needs to do before he gets it from Otomi. Kiriko talks to Otomi about her problem that she hasn’t been chosen to pilot Susanoo yet. Could it be Keiichirou doesn’t want her? She should know better. Also, Hyakusuke confesses to Chiharu but that girl rejects him despite showing signs of being tsundere. And so our ladies have this love dilemma. One wishing the other would say and the other wishing he hasn’t said it. Houkouin patrons the bath house to talk to Kiriko. I guess with her different hairstyle and without makeup, she is less recognizable. Plus, Kiriko’s heart is very much occupied with you-know-what. Houkouin advises her to go make the move if that guy doesn’t do it. So Kiriko takes up her advice to go talk to him but it seems he doesn’t want to go to Edo yet as he cannot abandon this bath house. This is more important than ruling Japan. But if Shigeyoshi takes over Japan, this place won’t be spared. His answer is simple. How can he protect Japan when he can’t care of the people right in front of me? Even the reconciliation between Hyakusuke and Chiharu feels awkward. So annoying… Just say it already! Because things are moving too slowly, Houkouin pilots her Onigami to blast everything and destroy everything Keiichirou loves. Time to summon Susanoo. Kiriko pleads to be his co-pilot. Good news. She gets her turn this time. Susanoo Heavenly Thunder God is its version of their combination. Keiichirou says that this might not be what she wants but when he goes to Edo, he definitely wants her more than anybody else. So believe in him! Sign of approval? Just when Kiriko thought she got a much needed morale booster, here comes Houkouin with her reverse psychology. She is saying she has not helped him much because she doesn’t even realize his problem of staying in this place. All she does is complain he didn’t understand how she felt and in the end it is her feelings that are more important than his problems. That is why she was never able to pilot Susanoo. On some level, Keiichirou recognized her selfishness and let her in. In actual fact, he doesn’t need her. She only slows him down and it is best she leaves him. Kiriko is so mad at these ‘lies’ that Susanoo stops functioning. When it comes back on again, Keiichirou cannot control it and it goes berserk destroying the surroundings. Keiichirou is forced to pull the seal out and it zaps him out cold. Kiriko is devastated. It stopped Susanoo just inches from smashing Otomi! Even that granny is feeling scared! Houkouin is pleased the hatred has finally blossomed and the inner demon awakened.

Episode 10
Keiichirou is lying in bed and in pain. Chiharu is very upset and blames Kiriko for everything. Feeling guilty as well, she takes some time alone when Ryouma meets her. Seems he knows what has happened. He takes her on a ride on his ship for a detour. Going to America? Also on his ship is Maika but since she is mostly seasick, she isn’t going to be any threat. Ryouma shows Kiriko the globe of the world and how small Japan is. Since the journey to America will take 6 months, he assures he will make it fun for her so that time will seem to fly by. She slaps him. Cue for advice that no matter where she runs, she’ll end up back where she started and no matter how many detours she takes, she’ll have to face it herself. Otomi feels Keiichirou may not be suitable to pilot Susanoo. At first she did it because it was her mission but now she isn’t sure if she is doing the right thing. Hyougo will continue to believe in Keiichirou. Ryouma explains his past. He was one of those people who wanted to see how big the world and also see how Japan has progressed ever since it closed its door to foreigners. He was on board the black ships 21 years ago. He realized too late the foreigners’ intention. They wanted the Onigami and Ryouma barely escaped with his life when Takemikazuchi attacked. That’s how he got his scar on his arm. The foreigners view the Onigami as messengers of God because of its mighty power for the Onigami was used to end Japan’s civil war and once peace reigned, they were sealed away. When he hears the Onigami in Edo was revived, he wanted to see the man who could control the other Onigami himself. He believes Keiichirou will clean up this soiled country. Kiriko also believes in him and looks like the journey to America is cancelled. I think Ryouma never intended to take her there in the first place. Souji is here to assassinate Keiichirou but Hyougo is there to protect him. Souji is more powerful than Hyougo and could have won if not for some illness she is suffering. Uh huh. Her time is up. She’s coughing blood. Souji wants her to kill her but Hyougo puts away her sword because she now doesn’t seek revenge but fight to protect Keiichirou. Souji’s Shinsengumi comrades come to pick her up. At the same time, the black ships start shooting their cannons at Nagasaki. Keiichirou dreams of Takemikazuchi and finally wakes up with Kiriko by his side. He knows it was her.

Episode 11
Verbeck and Glover are going to take the Onigami by force. Keiichirou wakes up and despite his condition he is going to pilot Susanoo because he saw in his dreams Nagasaki became a sea of flames. However here is Takemikazuchi. Shigeyoshi proves to those foreigners who is boss as he wipes them out in a single blow! No chance! Then Takemikazuchi squares off with Susanoo and Shigeyoshi wants Keiichirou to be devoured by the darkness and demons to unleash his true power. He even destroys the town to make him do that. Sorry, Keiichirou still won’t be taking Susanoo’s power. So Takemikazuchi beats Susanoo up till Keiichirou goes unconscious. Houkouin fights Keiichirou’s harem and the trio are no match for her. Houkouin kidnaps Kiriko. In the aftermath, Ryouma brings Keiichirou back. Although he is lightly injured, he is out again because the demons have ‘devoured’ him. Otomi thinks something is amiss because why didn’t Shigeyoshi finish off Keiichirou and abducted Kiriko instead. Seems it is part of his plan to enrage Keiichirou because Susanoo’s true power awakens with the negative feelings. They are going to kill Kiriko before his eyes. Hyougo receives word that a big ship is docked at a nearby castle. Possibly where Kiriko is being held. She is going to save her. Chiharu couldn’t understand why she is doing this for that ice woman. Isn’t her goal to avenge her father? Because this is what Keiichirou wants. He is straightforward, dumb and never worries about the details. Is the very reason she fell in love with him. Chiharu also remembers how Keiichirou helped her and decides to join Hyougo on her quest. Hyakusuke also wants to come but is made to guard Keiichirou. Can’t let granny be alone by herself, can’t they? Kiriko wants Houkouin to kill her since she doesn’t want to be a burden to Keiichirou anymore. However she won’t and tells some miko priestess tale. She was connected to the gods and loved by them. However as a human, she also fell. She eventually connected with a demon and drove his heart mad. Why is she telling this? Because Kiriko doesn’t know enough about herself. Keiichirou wakes up and forces himself to pilot Susanoo to go save Kiriko. There’s the demon look in his eyes…

Episode 12
Keiichirou must face the Shinsengumi’s Onigami. 3 against 1. No special woman by his side. Will he win? That is why Ryouma and Maika are here in their airship to fight them off and let Keiichirou go rescue Kiriko. Maika’s new super gun can penetrate their armour and she also fires at their boiler compartment to knock them out. However they too are at their limit so they load up the entire ship with gun powder and crash it into the enemy’s airship. Don’t worry, they won’t be doing any kamikaze. The collision causes fire debris to rain down on the base. Enough distraction for Hyougo and Chiharu to sneak into the base and not fight those low level Shinsengumi guards. However Houkouin is waiting for them and beats them up just to rile Kiriko. Now it’s the showdown between the Onigami. Keiichirou is filled with rage. So much rage that the eclipse is happening! I know Shigeyoshi is superior and beats up Keiichirou but what the f*ck is he ranting about Onigami, darkness, rage, hell and the likes?! I mean, who gives the f*ck about that?! Shigeyoshi wants Kiriko to be by his side but she rather die than betray Keiichirou and turn to the dark side. In that case, her death will be his sustenance. He crushes Kiriko and Keiichirou’s anger reaches boiling point. He is zapped in one big blow as Shigeyoshi believes he has obtained eternal power and become the best man in Japan. In some dream, Keiichirou and Kiriko unite. I don’t know how this happened but the next time they return to reality, they are together inside Susanoo. What the hell is this convenience? And since they both believe in each other, blah, blah, blah, they power up and even have their own lecture for Shigeyoshi. Uh huh. Onigami doesn’t seek anger but a warm heart. He will also save them from hell and this is what it means to be the best man in Japan. Susanoo’s true power awakens and reaches its maximum and defeats the enemy with its power of light. Yeah, powerful enough to blow away the eclipse. In the aftermath, Shinsengumi recovers Takemikazuchi and head back to Edo. The war is just beginning. Keiichirou and Kiriko reunite with the rest and it seems Keiichirou and his harem are moving to Edo. Because he has finally decided to become the next Shogun.

The Power Of Virginity!
Not another rushed ending? Hero awakens his power, saves the girl, kicks ass and ultimately the baddies’, finally decides to take up his responsibility to become king. Wow. How unique is that? Okay, to be fair, I suppose this series was entertaining enough. If you can see through the fanservice bits, that is. So as long as Keiichirou doesn’t screw around with women, he will still be able to pilot Susanoo and have its ultimate power? Good luck in staying a virgin forever. If the battle rages on and on because Shigeyoshi and his Shinsengumi are just so badass, they don’t look like the kind who will give up after twice or thrice and this war could well last for decades. That means Keiichirou won’t be having any heir if he wishes to use Susanoo to help fight them. Yeah. The one time that having this kind of virginity sucks. The plot and pace of this series is decent although it leaves you with a few questions like Souji’s illness and what the heck is she suffering from because it feels like something convenient to end her fight when her coughing kicks in. Then there is also the mind boggling last scene whereby Keiichirou and Kiriko end up back together in Susanoo. Because clearly I saw Kiriko being crushed in Takemikazuchi’s hands. Unless somebody used some magic to teleport her to where Keiichirou is. Who then? Who cares?!

Character development isn’t really the best thing since if you’re watching this show, you don’t really want to see how the characters grow, right? What else would you be watching this show for? I mean, we all would somehow know that Keiichirou would be the man, the hero, the saviour and the new Shogun, right? Therefore we don’t really worry about how much he has grown because for a wild kid filled with angst, never worked so hard in his life or even touch a woman as long as he is breathing, just like many other imperfect protagonists, they don’t make the cut at first but somehow with the support of others and his deep belief, he’ll make it. Definitely. You can count on that. Oh yeah. Despite his behaviour, he cares for everyone. Enough said.

So safe to say that the other characters too just lack the oomph because mostly you see is Keiichirou and Kiriko in a dilemma about their fate and mission. You know, Keiichirou has his mind mostly preoccupied with losing his virginity while Kiriko ponders about her usefulness to him which is just a disguise to hide her indecisive feelings for him. The rest feels like they are just hanging about and biding their time. Hyougo certainly doesn’t have the desire to avenge her father anymore. So what does she do now? Become Keiichirou’s protector. How often do you see her do that? Chiharu? What the hell is she around for other than to snag Keiichirou? How often do you see her do that too? Houkouin? From what she said, she looks like a very bored woman and got her thrill when she managed to see the big bad fight and some chaos. I guess some people love disorder so much. Then there is Shigeyoshi whose rage feels like the passive kind compared to Keiichirou. Because the latter is more of the expressive kind whereas Shigeyoshi would just tell us how his heart could feel the rage and give us that evil smirk. Basically Japan is now without any ruler since he slaughtered the whole damn Edo castle. That’s why Keiichirou is now coming into the picture. But how did he know the Shogun was dead? Maybe not. Just coincidence he is going there now.

There is something more than meets the eye to Ryouma. Most of the time it feels like he is trolling around but with some hidden good intentions. Whatever it is, it is a good thing he is on Keiichirou’s side. Maika, I didn’t expect the pirate to come back but I suppose for her to appear in the early half means that she must also have some sort of importance. Or maybe not. I don’t know how Ryouma swindled her to team up with him. Yeah, she lost her ship in the kamikaze act. Then there is Otomi who looks like she isn’t going to retire soon despite Keiichirou now walking his own path. If she is not working in the bath house, she is ‘busy’ trying to match make Keiichirou. I suppose even grannies need some sort of kick before they kick the bucket. Lastly, the Shinsengumi trio. They’re just mad killer b*tches. They sure do love taking the initiative to go ahead and attack. I figure if Shigeyoshi does give them orders to attack, they’ll really let their hair down and go wild with the blood spilling. Hey. What happened to Tsubaki? After she got owned by Kiriko’s seduction technique, you’ll never see her again. Sutemaru too. This one-episode-only guy says he has got lots of ninja babes back home so he can afford to leave Kiriko in Keiichirou’s little harem.

The action bits are okay. Mostly they are the Onigami mecha battles and you have your usual big destructive mecha power fights. Enough to entertain you for the duration of this series but if you want to watch really cool awesome mecha fights, there are veteran series like Gundam around. Not to say that I have watched them and endorsed them being great mecha series. But after being around for so long and having so many sequels and spin-offs, they must be doing something right, don’t you think? Also, there is hardly any variety in the Onigami moves. Not that I can tell the difference anyway. What do you expect when Keiichirou only pairs up once with each of his harem girls and twice for Kiriko (second time for redemption?). As though that moment was just for show… I just can’t help wonder if there are any proper place to keep the Onigami besides underground. Because you know, each time Susanoo is called, it destroys part of the bath house and it will take some time to repair. It feels like a running joke. Keiichirou summons Susanoo and then the ground shakes. Cue for me to roll my eyes and quip, “Oh no. Here we go again…”. Can they just leave it out in the open? I know it would be more susceptible to be stolen but unless they like repairing the bath house all the time, that’s a different story. Aside the Onigami, there are a few limited sword fight scenes, gun battles or skirmishes among the humans. Nothing that impressive, though. I wonder if Keiichirou will get any replacement hammer after his got sliced so easily by the Shinsengumi.

Fanservice. Where do I begin? Not to say that this series is riddled with lots of them but enough to make you think that when you talk about this anime, fanservice is one of the main ingredients to describe it. I mean, look at a town like Nagasaki. There are curvaceous women walking all over! I’m sure this is not even the red light district. With Kiriko spotting huge boobs and Houkouin equally as large but this sexy babe feels like she is taunting us because she loves to caress her own boobs or stick her fingers into her mouth (complete with saliva trails…) when she gets turned on. Don’t even mention the way she dresses. Looking more like a slut than an assassin. I know, seduction techniques but… Speaking of butts, I don’t know if Houkouin likes to bare her ass because each time they show her back despite in her usual sexy outfit, there seems to be a white censor around it. To satisfy loli lovers, that’s why you have Chiharu. For those in between and love the thrill of the ‘hidden’, perhaps Hyougo fits the bill because despite dressing like a man and wrapping her boobs, once it comes undone they will possibly be the biggest melons in town. With bodacious babes and foxy flat chest surrounding Keiichirou, it is hard to believe his chastity is still intact.

The harem factor feels a bit lacking. Maybe that is just being me and getting ahead of myself and expecting something like that. Despite having Kiriko, Chiharu and Hyougo, it feels like it would be Keiichirou x Kiriko all the way. Obviously. Because even though Chiharu has been working in the bath house, gradually she starts inclining towards Hyakusuke although she still asserts Keiichirou is her main man. As for Hyougo, she is mostly missing in action and when she is around, she feels more like Keiichirou’s bodyguard than to be part of his harem. I thought Maika would be part of the harem too but since she didn’t get to pilot Susanoo with him, I guess it is safe that she won’t be his woman because women who like him must pass through this ritual of combining with him in Susanoo, right? Therefore it all boils down to the one and only Kiriko. Now that they’re going to Edo, I wonder how the catfight will take place… Maybe that will be another story to tell and the greatest battle for the greatest man in Japan will ever face. Haha!

This anime is a joint production by J.C. Staff (Ai Yori Aoshi, Bakuman, Kare Kano, Kaichou Wa Maid-sama, Little Busters, Kill Me Baby, Shakugan No Shana, Nodame Cantabile, To Aru Majutsu No Index, To Aru Kagaku No Railgun) and A.C.G.T. (Freezing, Monochrome Factor). The art and drawing seem pretty okay. I just thought that those who look like gangsters have this silly look on their face that it makes them look more comical idiots and jokers instead of fearsome and dangerous. Hyakusuke is a good example… Besides, with his pompadour hairstyle, it makes him look more like a clown, which is what his role in this anime is mostly about. Besides, the Shinsengumi when they are in their crazy killing mode, they look much dangerous and insane. You don’t want to mess with them when they look like bloodthirsty killers. For the mecha, well, with only a handful of Onigami in this entire series, the design also feels somewhat uninspiring. Susanoo in its usual form looks like some big white blob. In his transformed version, it looked like some monster that Ultraman would have fought. And Takemikazuchi I thought at certain angles it made it look like some Transformers…

In the voice acting department, I suppose the best one goes to Miyuki Sawashiro as Houkouin. It’s like she is having fun voicing this vixen villain. Make it 10 times more sexy and evil than Fairy Tail’s Ultear. Besides, don’t both characters look almost similar? It’s been such a long time since I have heard Yukari Tamura playing one of the main characters. As Chiharu, she still hasn’t lost her squeaky trademark voice. Likewise, I haven’t heard much of Ayako Kawasumi in leading roles too and it was pleasant to hear her again as Kiriko. Other casts include Tetsuya Kakihara as Keiichirou (Natsu in Fairy Tail), Youko Hikasa as Hyougo (Mio in K-ON!), Takehito Koyasu as Shigeyoshi (Kururu in Keroro Gunsou), Hideki Ogihara as Hyakusuke (Itsuki in Shuffle), Mari Yokoo as Otomi (Hiroko in Skip Beat), Hiroshi Tsuchida as Ryouma (Yamazaki in Honey And Clover), Yu Kobayashi as Maika (Ayame in Gintama) and Ryota Ohsaka as Sutemaru (Haruto in Valvrave The Liberator). I thought Mamiko Noto was the voice behind Toshi. Sounds very close but something sounds a little off. I later found out Toshi is voiced by Sarah Emi Bridcutt (Asuka in Mondaiji-tachi Ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu Yo).

The opening theme is Tamashii Rises by Kyoco. The hard anime pop rock feel of this song fits very well with the pace of this series. Unfortunately it does not appeal very much to me. The ending theme is Upon A Star by Saeko Zougou which is a slow piece and something ‘refreshing’ after all that hard rocking action and fanservice stuffs. I noticed that the handful of background music, most of them are rock based but there are some that have that funky acoustic guitar feel, which doesn’t sound entirely that bad.

Overall, this anime falls into that pitfall like many other animes. Lots of potential going to waste in exchange to make a quick buck. In the meantime, it desecrates the Tokugawa era despite being told that this is an alternative Japan. Because you know, sex sells. Heck, every gender bender fanservice period anime does that. If you aren’t into serious stuffs and just want to watch something to pass time (if you have lots of them) and is into mecha + fanservice, this series should be entertaining while you wait for the next big thing (if that ever comes – and no pun intended). So next time think twice about wanting to lose your virginity because not only it is something you’ll never get back once you lose it, it may also be the big difference that changes the fate of the world! It gives a whole new meaning and outlook to the term of getting screwed…

Saki: Zenkoku-hen

November 15, 2014

Oh my God… They still have another season of this? More importantly, why am I still watching this?! I know I don’t even understand a single thing about mahjong , never bothered to go look up the terms (I am discouraged by the ‘scary’ scoring system anyway) and not planning to even pick up this game, so why am I even watching Saki: Zenkoku-hen? I know it is my policy of finishing series that I start but in that case I should have continued with Naruto… Maybe it is that discrimination loophole I have. Just because cute girls are playing a sport, I am all into it. Look at my past records. From Bamboo Blade to even that baseball theme of Taishou Yakyuu Musume. Oh God. That must be it. Because animes with guys in the entire team I completely sit it out from my list. I instantly knew I didn’t want to watch that volleyball Haikyuu, that swimming anime called Free or even Ping Pong The Animation. Don’t even talk about Kuroko No Basket. But you can’t say I never watched a guy sports anime before since I have my share with Slam Dunk and Prince Of Tennis. However that is from a long time ago… Anyway, with the third season of this loli playing mahjong anime, the focus is now back on our underdog team of Kiyosumi and just like the title suggests, the Nationals. I think I know how the end will be but the journey of getting there…

Episode 1
We are shown the magnificent and awesomeness of Shiraitodai as they thump their opponents to reach the Nationals. What else is new? We also have a glimpse of potential teams that will be making their appearance here. Some enough to make you go WTF. For instance, a team from the mountains that consists of miko priestess!!! WTF?! Miko priestesses playing mahjong instead of devoting their time to the gods?! WTF indeed. Oh, and one of them loves to strip her top just to show her tanned lines. And she also wears that voodoo mask? WTF? Then there is another team which seems pretty normal except that one of their returning members is a very tall girl who dresses up like a mortician. Is she going to make some sort of killing? Oh, there has to be this mixed nationality team too. It’s fine they have the Japanese and Hong Kong girl and it isn’t too bad too they have an American. But get this. They have a French. What is her name? Choe Myeononghwa! WTF! Isn’t that Korean? So okay, she maybe under the circumstances her dad is a diplomat or something. But the most WTF one is this girl in the team. Guess where Nelly Virsaldaz is from? Where the hell is Sakartvelo?! So now they are making things up?! Later as I found out thanks to my ignorance… Sakartvelo is the native name for that little Caucasus country of Georgia. With the Nationals looming around the corner, all the teams including our underdogs, Kiyosumi have arrived in the big city of Tokyo. Heck, even the teams they defeated are here in town just to support them. It is going to be one heck of a crowded place. Yeah. High school mahjong girls. At the draw, team representatives pick a number to see which opponents they draw. They are in the same block with one of the powerhouse, Himematsu High School representing South Osaka. I thought it was pretty duh because since Kiyosumi is the underdog, most teams that they will face would surely be superior than them, right? Although the Kiyosumi girls are free to do what they want before their match day, Hisa thinks they should have some minimal regimen and some rest.

Episode 2
Our Kiyosumi girls get some morale booster when their little school and town folks record a little video of encouragement and support. Kiyosumi also undergoes a mixed training camp with all the other schools they defeated in the prefectural tournament. Yuuki and Nodoka’s old middle school friends, Maho Yumeno and Hiroko Murohashi (thus known as Muro-Maho combo) are also part of this training and play against Nodoka and Saki. Oh sh*t I can’t believe my summary for this episode is just so short! Is that all I actually think it is worth remembering?! Personal world record…

Episode 3
It starts with Nodoka’s flashback on how she met Muro-Maho. Maho has this ability to mimic other player’s hands although it doesn’t last long and she will soon turn into some annoying anxiety ridden loli. This will help increase Mako’s repertoire as she is able to remember a table’s layout as well as cast some caution for Saki. So the matches for the first round begin and thankfully we skip this part. Needless to say, our heroines end up tops. The schools that Kiyosumi will be playing in the next round include Himematsu, Miyamori Girls’ High School (tall mortician girl’s school) of Iwate prefecture and the seeded Eisui Girls’ High School from Kagoshima (the miko priestesses). Yuuki is the first player. What’s with the cape? Tacos not enough? A guy wants to interview her but his colleague pulls him away saying they don’t have time. Yuuki hears them whisper that they don’t want to interview anybody on Kiyosumi except Nodoka. Because they think if an underdog like Kiyosumi has defeated powerhouse teams in their prefecture, it probably means the standard of mahjong in that prefecture has dropped and not worth talking about. Yuuki is upset that they are ridiculing everyone in their prefecture but instead of telling them off, she is going to show them at the mahjong table whether they are weak or not.

Episode 4
Yuuki’s opponents are Komaki Jindai (Eisui), Suzu Ueshige (Himematsu) and Shiromi Kosegawa (Miyamori). Suzu remembers her captain, Kyouko Uehara explained to the team about the threat of Yuuki. Something about her power when she is being the dealer. Suzu witnesses how Yuuki goes on a roll for 3 consecutive wins. Then there is Shiromi who whenever is indecisive, she will start to show some habit of hers. This is dangerous because the more hesitant she is, the more expensive her hands will accumulate. Huh? We’ve been hearing narrations from Suzu all the time (and some from Shiromi), you wonder why Komaki is so quiet? Actually she was sleeping! WTF?! You mean she has been sleep walking all the while?! So when she really wakes up, so does her whatever power. However it is Shiromi who breaks Yuuki’s winning streak and snatches her chances twice. Although Kiyosumi still leads the table followed by Miyamori, Himematsu and Eisui, Miyamori is able to close the gap with some big points.

Episode 5
We start off with a flashback 15 months ago at Himematsu. The temporary coach is talking to the captain Kyouko Suehara about the mahjong teams and didn’t put Suzu in since she is weak. Kyouko admits she is but if they go by the standard rules. They explain about her having the highest points and her wins are like explosion. Huh? Back to the match, Komaki turns the tables by unleashing some god mist power. Yuuki makes a bad call and this allows Komaki to capitalize on it and thus ending the first round. This causes Eisui to hit hard on Kiyosumi and they lose some points. Yuuki is sad due to her blunder but her mates think she did well. Eisui who was in last now jumps to second. Miyamori takes the lead while Himematsu is dead last. The second round opponents for Mako will be Yuuko Mase (Himematsu), Aislinn Wishart (Miyamori) and Tomoe Karijuku (Eisui). The highlight of this match is the Kiwi girl Aislinn who is able to conjure up the hands of her opponents with her whiteboard. Although this one is pretty much confined in her head. However her predictions start breaking apart when the other schools break her pattern (or that the tiles she predicted turn up differently). Mako takes off her glasses and applies her ability to remember the layout and launch a counterattack. Aislinn must be devastated at how things aren’t going her way. Big blow. Big shock. Tomoe and Yuuko are just playing it cool without making any waves especially with Yuuko putting on her cute eternal smile throughout the game play. I am surprised they only have this second round match for half an episode! Because it ends with Mako avenging Yuuki as Kiyosumi leapfrogs and takes the lead. Miyamori falls back to second place although technically they didn’t move since Eisui drops to third and Himematsu continues to occupy the bottom. Third match is going to start but don’t get too excited yet. Because it’s lunch break.

Episode 6
I think I’ll skip the lunch break follies that includes the one with the commentators. So for the third match, Hisa is going to have for company Hiroe Atoge (Himematsu), Haru Takimi (Eisui) and Kurumi Kakura (Miyamori – I believe she is the smallest girl in the school who happens to have the tallest girl). When Hisa steps into the room, it’s like she experiences some sort of mind blowing space dimension warp. I don’t know how many minutes she lost there but it made her nervous and not herself. Those who know her are very worried. So nervous that she makes the first blooper of accidentally revealing a tile and gives Hiroe the chance to call her an idiot or airhead. So nervous that she gets caught in some trap and loses a lot of points. So nervous that she starts worrying about the stronger opponents Saki and Nodoka will face and that this is her last year she gets to play. But when she remembers Hiroe’s comment about how boring this will become, she realizes she is just trying to have fun and all those others supporting her. She gets back into the groove and regains her self confidence with her nerve wrecking plays. At half time, Kiyosumi and Himematsu trade places while the other two remain status quo. Haru offers Hisa black cane sugar. Sugar to replenish the tired brain? Time for the second half to start.

Episode 7
Let me just skip the rest of the second half and go right to the end of the round. Not that I understand anything anyway. Thanks to Hiroe’s play that snatches lots of points, Himematsu jumps from last to first as everybody else drops a rung. Perhaps everyone got nostalgic that they don’t want to leave their seats till the fourth players arrive. Accompanying Nodoka in this fourth round are Hatsumi Usuzumi (Eisui), Sae Usuzawa (Miyamori) and the sister of Hiroe, Kinue (Himematsu). I know this series had lots of exaggerated stuffs but I wasn’t prepared for this because Hatsumi enters the scene via some teleport magic!!! WTF???!!! Then, Kinue got freaked out by Nodoka’s Etopen that she gives it a good football kick! GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!!! Penguin abuse! Hey, I noticed everybody brought in something for this match. Nodoka with her Etopen, Hatsumi with her voodoo mask, Sae with her monocle and Kinue with her, erm, spectacles? Then it gets more outrageous because the girls are not imagining things when they see Nodoka’s angel materializing behind her for a short while! It’s some mode that she is supposed to be when she gets into her style. With Kinue reminiscing about how she was put in this team and getting to play aside her sister and the need to protect the points, before she knows it, the other teams start hitting their hands. Don’t daydream, please. And then… Hatsumi’s power starts awakening because a breezy mist just flows into the room.

Episode 8
Before Hatsumi can unleash her whatever power, Sae puts some seal over her. For the entire first half of this series, Nodoka is just irrelevant. It is about Sae and Kinue trying to keep tabs on Hatsumi’s power from awakening. Yeah, voodoo stripper girl is reduced to tears. At the end of the first half, Eisui lost lots of points. Himematsu maintains pole position and widens the point gap. Kiyosumi maintains second place and Miyamori still in third although they lost some ground. During the break, tired Sae remembers. Sae, Kurumi and Shiromi were the only members of the mahjong club when they received a new teacher, Kumakura. She becomes their fourth player and they relish in playing a real mahjong game after a long time. Noticing the club needs a fourth member, Kumakura remembers an interesting girl (tall mortician girl) she saw on her detour and would like to introduce her to them. The second half is about to start. Sae’s pals notice the weariness she is. That’s because using her sealing powers drains her energy. The stronger the opponent, the more stress she puts on herself. And looks like Sae has to continue sealing Hatsumi due to the sitting arrangement again. But this time Nodoka ‘wakes up’ and goes on the offensive. Now they have to watch out for her too.

Episode 9
Sae is tired. She wonders if she should continue blocking as she observes Nodoka might just get a direct hit by Hatsumi. She is hoping for it to happen but it is Hatsumi who got dealt into her hand. She is moments away from turning into a cry-baby. Kinue then goes on a winning streak when suddenly Hatsumi revives. Now it’s a devil’s grin. I don’t know what astronomical play they are playing but Sae again targets Nodoka to play into her hand. Then Hatsumi scores big and Nodoka takes a direct hit. To the surprise of others, Nodoka seems unfazed. Is she a robot? At the end, Himematsu still hangs on to the lead as with Kiyosumi in second. Eisui goes up to third and Miyamori is rock bottom. And here is the final match. Saki makes her debut on the National level. She’s got Eisui’s Kasumi Iwato, Himematsu’s Kyouko and Miyamori’s tall mortician girl Toyone Anetai for company. At first Kyouko is on a winning streak. It breaks when she becomes the dealer and all the others target her. Especially Toyone whose specialty seems to be ‘chasing’ Kyouko’s hand. For a few times it happened like that. I suppose Kyouko is testing if this is coincidence or not and tries it out one more time. And yeah. Here Toyone comes after her again. Uh huh. Now she feels like Toyone wrapping her arms around her neck and strangling her! No wonder they don’t call her Toyone Right Behind You for nothing.

Episode 10
Kyouko falls into her trap again and the first half ends. Miyamori goes up to third with Eisui now occupying bottom. Kyouko feels the need to rethink her strategy. With the second half beginning, Toyone surprises everyone by calling every hand they made and wins it with some naked wait move. This effectively puts Miyamori in second place. Now it’s time for the big flashback that occupies much of the rest of this episode. 6 months ago Kumakura introduced Toyone to the Miyamori mahjong girls. Toyone came from a remote village and spent most of her time watching mahjong on TV. They play several games together as she unleashes her special move. At the end of the day, she starts crying because she was having so much fun now she has to leave for home. But the rest know that Kumakura only brought her here because she sees her as a potential team member. Conveniently all the necessary paper work has been done for her transfer to this school. They also realize why Kumakura had begun doing it for some time. It was so they could participate in the inter-high tournament. But who is going to be their fifth member? Conveniently too, Aislinn the exchange student who knows nothing about mahjong began drawing about their victory. I don’t know if the drawing is just like counting their chickens. I suppose the rest can drill her about the rules but seriously, can she improve that much in that limited time? So that is how they got the team? Now it is tears of joy for Toyone. So back to the game, Toyone continues to call everyone’s hand for that naked wait. And she wins it again. Because she has been on a winning streak since the start and amassing the points, Miyamori finally goes up to top spot and dethrones Himematsu. I’m sure they’re not going to let Toyone have her way so Kasumi is going to make some super move too…

Episode 11
There is this flashback from Kasumi when the head priestess told her about some living talisman doll. I don’t know. It looks creepy. And now she is going to use that power. I don’t know if this is like cheating because it’s like she called for spiritual intervention that allows her to break Toyone’s winning streak and now it’s her turn to win. Because of that, Eisui is now in the lead. We hear a lot from Kyouko about her analyzing about this hand, that hand, the discards, etc. It’s like she’s been a worry wart for a great duration of this match. At least she breaks the streak and wins one hand. Just one hand. Because now it’s Saki’s turn. Yup. She’s been quiet for so long so I guess now it’s the time. I don’t know about dead walls and all that crap they said and I certainly can’t joined the dots together when they tell me that Saki didn’t actually negate the other’s power but accepted it. Now that Saki has turned into an amazing player, the rest are just dumbfounded each time she makes her call. Uh huh. It’s like they didn’t expect it. And this is what Saki continues to do as she surprises them with the hands she calls till Kiyosumi is now in the lead. Yeah. It’s like playing musical chairs because everybody has at least taken their turn leading the group. Everybody is running scared now that Saki is warming up and building up her power. So powerful now that Sae’s monocle breaks!!! WTF???!!! What the hell is this demonic aura?! Is Saki a demon?! Don’t be dumbfounded over the hands she calls or not! Look at her freaking damn aura!!!

Episode 12
Kyouko thinks Saki’s goal is to change some drawing order and that she is not afraid of Himematsu since this will also give them an advantage. Because the difference in points is close, the team’s position changes quickly. The tension is building up especially Toyone who feels that if they don’t make the cut, everyone’s festival will end. So finally Saki wins the last hand and ends the game. Toyone immediately cries out loud. Kiyosumi in first place and Himematsu in second will qualify for the semi-finals. Kyouko returns to her teammates. They talk about Saki pulling off her specialty of plus minus zero twice. Thinking she wants to get stronger than her, they cheekily give her a makeover. New change, new outlook? They also called in a pro mahjong player (who was also part of the commentators) to understand Saki better. At Eisui, they’re blaming themselves for not doing a good job. They think their plan of summoning stronger gods they were saving for the semi-finals backfired because they summoned weaker ones. And a Miyamori, Toyone has collected signatures from her opposing teams. It is an emotional reunion. With Eisui paying them a visit, I guess the individual tournament is in a few more days so what better way for loser teams to head to the beach to relax? See Komaki already has a float ready around her waist. Now back to Kiyosumi, Saki pours out her troubles to Hisa. She felt uncomfortable playing with her opponents as she could only used the playing style she used when she was young. She feels if she plays them again, she cannot win. The top 8 teams for the semi-finals are decided. In block A, we have Shiraitodai, Shindouji, Achiga and Senriyama and in block B, Kiyosumi, Himematsu, Usuzan and Rinkai. Three of the seeded teams made it and 2 are debutants. Usuzan being one of them and a comment from one of the players is that this is a team she wants to avoid playing.

Episode 13
Nodoka, Yuuki and Saki slept so well that Hisa didn’t have the heart to wake them up to watch the first semi-final match. When they do wake up, Nodoka and Yuuki’s old middle school friend, Kirame Hanada is already starting as the first player for Shindouji against Shiraitodai’s Teru. Nodoka did not realize Achiga is also in that block as she never paid attention to the tournament bracket. They head over to the tournament hall but it is packed with people. No space. They stumble upon a magazine editor who wants to interview her. Along the way, they bump into the Achiga girls and it feels like it has been a long time they have seen each other. Nodoka’s interview starts and surprisingly is quite short. You expect it to last for hours? Anyway she shows proof of their blog of their time together. A picture of them in summer 4 years ago comprises of Nodoka, Kuro, Shizuno and Ako who has this very uncanny resemblance to Yuuki then. Nodoka and Yuuki manage to pass their package to Kirame after her match is over. I’m sure if you have seen the Achiga’s arc (which is technically the second season of the series), you would know who made it in the first semi-final. And now here comes the second semi-final. Our girls are ready to give it their all. Especially Nodoka and Shizuno’s promise to meet in the final. Once again we are introduced to the teams who will be accompanying Kiyosumi. Aside Himematsu, they are the international and seeded team of Rinkai and the dangerous newcomer Usuzan. Yuuki dons her cape and goes into battle. I suppose this is the ‘fastest’ summary of an entire match ever because we see short montages of the girls in battle, some unlocking their super power fury. WTF. Safe to say with Kiyosumi gets through to the final even if this is just a big speculation. But you know they will, right?

It’s Still Not Over!
Oh God… You mean it hasn’t ended yet?! This means that if they make another sequel, I am very much obliged to watch it?! Just because I want to ‘complete my mahjong series’?! Heck, I still don’t even understand the terms and season in, season out, this is my very main gripe and yet I am still watching this. What is wrong with me? Yeah. If they do a marketing ploy on this, I bet I will become a sucker and go for it. Back to this season. No wonder I had my suspicions when it is only 13 episodes long. As of now I have not heard if there is a sequel or even additional episodes (like how they did it for Achiga’s arc last season). I thought they were going to zip through the entire Nationals. Boy, was I naive. Seeing Yuuki and Mako’s game was considered ‘fast’ enough, I thought this would be the case for the rest. Well after the fourth players’ match, there is like 1/3 of the series left. I never knew it was going to be focus on the fifth players’ match all the way. I should have seen it coming. I mean, Saki is in it. Otherwise why would they name this series after her in the first place?

Of course the most ‘interesting’ and amusing parts in seeing them play mahjong are the ‘special effects’ that the players summon so as to have the edge over their competitors or to turn the tables. Though, I feel that this season’s ‘supernatural effects’ have been toned down partly because there aren’t enough episodes and earlier matches ended quite early. Still, even if I don’t quite understand the basics of riichi, kan and pon, what more will I even understand other terms used here that I can’t possibly remember. They sound so alien to me. That is why I take so much pleasure in watching those exaggerated special powered moves because that is the part that truly smile even though I couldn’t care less if it makes sense or not. After all, if this series was void of such effects, it would have been such a drab and boring show and perhaps I wouldn’t have continued watching it after the first season even if there are some cute girls and plenty of it in the subsequent seasons.

With so many characters, it is hard to keep track of them all. Old ones that show up feels like it is for the sake to remember them and that they have not been forgotten at all. Of course they are here for the individual tournament but that is another unrelated story. With 3 new schools Kiyosumi faced in this round, it is not surprising that some of the characters would be given some flashbacks albeit it won’t be deep enough. To me, it just feels it is for the sake of passing time since it would be goddamn boring to sit through the entire match watching them like that. Heck, everything is just boring because I don’t really get it. And also, some flashbacks are perhaps to explain why they can unleash such supernatural godly/ungodly move. Oh God. Is this even legal? Might as well call God of Gamblers, Chow Yun Fatt to come help me out. The new characters have their own little quirkiness. Some really do leave an impression (mostly visually) like Toyone because of her odd dressing and the Eisui girls which is the biggest irony because miko priestesses playing mahjong is like seeing a priest gambling in Las Vegas. But I bet it is just for this season and most probably you won’t hear of them again.

But for Kiyosumi themselves, it feels that nothing is further developed on them because as said they spread the character development for the other schools Kiyosumi is facing. The yuri relationship between Nodoka and Saki seems to have been forgotten (at least to me) even though it is a mild one. Then there is the only guy in the mahjong club, Kyoutarou. His existence is so unimportant and trivial that it makes you wonder if there is a need to even animate him around. Therefore my guess is that the only role he was given in this season is to serve as Yuuki’s tacos provider. Uh huh. Not even a side comic relief provider. Now he has perfected to art of making tacos for Yuuki to give her a much needed motivation to do well in the first game. Otherwise, do you see any relevance for this dude to even be part of a tournament that only has all female competitors? Sure, there is the individual tournament, but that is another story. Thus the other schools that Kiyosumi defeated in the prefectures like Ryuumonbuchi, Kazekoshi and Tsuruga feel like irrelevant despite their short cameo appearance and are just a reminder that they are still around. They may not be in the team match but the individuals so you can say that they are just rooting for the underdog team that beat them.

New Sparks by Miyuki Hashimoto is the opening for this season. It is a lively piece and feels cheery too. She also sings one of the ending themes, True Gate. This rock piece feels a little dark. The other ending theme is Kono Te Ga Kiseki Wo Eranderu. There are different versions of it albeit sung by either the girls from Miyamori, Eisui or Himematsu. Sounds like your typical all-girl group pop song. Just like in previous seasons, the animation here has the characters in chibi format and doing pretty funny stuffs in mahjong. Perhaps this is the other amusing. Depending on which version, you would see the characters of that school as the ‘main stars’ in this ending theme animation. All wanting the coveted cup, eh?

Subsequently I found out why this season was just so and instead of wrapping it up. The manga is still ongoing and currently Kiyosumi’s semi-final battle is not over yet. Therefore if they are to make a sequel, I am very sure that they are going to cover this part too instead of jumping right to the finals where Achiga and Shiraitodai are waiting for them. Will I still be watching it? You bet. Because girls playing mahjong… I don’t even know how I got into this… So for those who really want to watch this series, it is best to start from the first season. Also, you need to be a mahjong enthusiast and perhaps a pro to even enjoy the series. Or else you will be constantly scratching your head like yours truly and eternally asking the same ol’ question of, wait for it, what the hell is a riichi, kan or pon again?

Minna Atsumare! Falcom Gakuen

November 14, 2014

Mishishi. Nostalgia. Ruined. Don’t get the wrong idea. I have never played the video game series made by Falcom so when I jumped into watching Minna Atsumare! Falcom Gakuen it was because each episode is just 2 minutes long and it was something to do with video games. I thought I could identify a few. At least that’s what I thought. Unfortunately I couldn’t and thus I couldn’t get the deep meaning of the jokes spewed in this short series made to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary. But what do I mean when I opened this blog by mentioning ruined nostalgia? Because at the end of every episode there will be a ‘reminder’ that the personalities of characters depicted are not of the actual game and differs very significantly. The change is for laughing purposes. So don’t go crying for blood or screaming of someone’s head to roll if you find your favourite nostalgia character has been portrayed so differently and so comically to a point that character is unrecognizable. Of course I didn’t play any of their games so I have no idea what their personalities are.

Episode 1
Adol Christin from Ys series won’t wake up and begin his adventure till he is awakened by a beautiful girl! Good luck and wait till that happens. We are also introduced to other characters from other series like Estelle Bright, Joshua Bright and Olivier Lenheim from Trails In The Sky series (by the way, is Olivier who is such a pretty boy qualify to be a pretty girl to wake Adol up?), Lloyd Bannings and Tio Plato from Trails Of Zero series. Joshua seems to be obsessed in putting maid uniform on others but is knocked out by Rappy. It only gets worse because Joshua wakes up to his true awakening and starts cross-dressing as a maid. Because the technique doesn’t work, Rappy believes re-education is the only way. That’s right. Welcome to Falcom Gakuen, which also means paradise in ancient language. Is he sure about that? And Joshua is still causing a ruckus trying to put maid uniform on everyone, including Renne and Tita Russel (Trails In The Sky series) and Dogi (Ys series). Everybody run! Paradise this is not definitely.

Episode 2
Adol continues to lie waiting for his beautiful girl… Olivier plays his guitar in the nude while Joshua is still obsessed about maids. Estelle cannot take anymore of this and sends them flying into the sky. Literally, you could say they left trails in the sky? As more people are mysteriously appearing in this town, meanwhile the dark lord of the Ys series, Dark Fact is having a nice bath when suddenly he is teleported right into town. Since he is totally naked and it is against the law to be an obscene exhibitionist, he is thrown into prison along with the other weirdoes. Can somebody at least put some clothes on him?

Episode 3
Dark has been acquitted thanks to Rappy. Seems he wants Dark to be a teacher of this school to rehabilitate the distorted minds of these warriors. A bad guy teaching good guys on how to be proper? The irony… Even more ironic that a minion of Dark is now the vice principal and he is going to relish Dark ranks below him… Dark goes around the school and sees all the weird students. When a girl crawls out from underneath his robe as she was playing hide and seek, the police arrests him for kidnapping. Not again.

Episode 4
It is Dark’s first day as a teacher and he is worried. He should be because those crazy students are just going to kill him! Thanks for the warm welcome. And big thanks to Adol who spread crazy rumours that Dark is such an evil person. He really wants to have a piece of him now. First lesson has Dark wanting them to discuss their future dream. Adol wants to be a free adventurer but Dark points out he is already one. But you don’t get to meet pretty chicks, right? The argument escalates into a battle and as Dark is about to activate his magic, some parts of the floor become a trapdoor and the students fall through. Guess what? Back in prison for assaulting a student and destruction of property (trapdoors appearing = property destruction?).

Episode 5
Dark informs he will be throwing a surprise quiz next week. Uhm… Then why the announcement? Duh… Lilia invites Adol to study with her but surprisingly he turns her down because as an adventurer, this quiz thing is just like any other adventure and he can take it on without any preparation. Lilia finds him so cool. Not Estelle. On quiz day, Estelle finds the question of returning a dropped wallet to be of common sense. Piece of cake? Then why does Adol look like he is struggling? Dark mocks him he doesn’t have common sense so Adol takes out a wallet and won’t return it. How the heck did he get Dark’s wallet? Since there is proof this wallet belongs to Dark, for once Adol is thrown into prison while Dark relishes in his victory.

Episode 6
Tio and Dark host a lunch broadcast whereby they answer several questions from viewers. I don’t know why their it’s-too-late answer whether it is about the cure of Joshua’s cross-dressing, Olivier’s nudity, how to kill a certain teacher that is a demon, the certain looping lines in the opening song and that creature that always keep saying Mishishi. I guess it’s too late for everybody and everything.

Episode 7
Dark is telling to a couple of his students about the Darm Tower he lives in. To his horror, it is now called Adol Tower and he is the master of it. So if he wants it back, come get it! Dark can’t stomach to hurt his minions but he won’t be. Because Adol sends his cute little doppelgangers… Dark brings the other heroes and adventurers back to fight Adol. They’re itching to beat the crap out of this dude. Besides, didn’t Adol do something illegal like trespassing? Yeah, he wants to rent this place out as an apartment. Before they could attack, Adol has gathered lots of books that allow him to fly off to live in some temple in the sky. But it was rather inconvenient so it was placed back on the ground. Which means…

Episode 8
It’s been a week since Adol flew away. However the school is now filled with his doppelgangers! They are trying to roast Rappy! It seems that all of them are from different time periods and they are lined up based on age. They all look pretty the same. Except for this one. So manly. So tough. So heroic. Even with a different voice! Rappy warns Dark of pointing it out. There is another Adol that is slightly grown up. This one is more bloodthirsty and wants to kill all demons! He starts chasing Dark around.

Episode 9
Another week has passed since the Adol clones show up. The original Adol is back and since the doppelgangers are looking up to him as their senior, he can’t even take all the attention! Tio wishes to meet her future (busty) self to ask if Lloyd gets stabbed. Rappy plans to send the clones back since they are not distorted and corrupted unlike Joshua and Olivier – That’s why they can’t go back! Better hurry because Adol is trying to corrupt them with his thoughts that all you need in adventuring are beautiful girls, rich generous people and this winning-cum-deceiving smile! Dark has an idea on how to lure them. Roast Rappy over a fire!!!

Episode 10
To solve the problem of warriors not bringing lunch to school and especially save Rappy’s ass from being cooked alive (???!!!), thus Mona Shop is established and run by this cute little yellow blob. No, not Pikachu. Mona. Rappy thinks there is no more reason to be target when suddenly Adol grabs him and is just buying salt and pepper! Estelle isn’t going to save him and in fact tells Adol the right way to deep fry this critter! To get out of this predicament, he transforms into a rare monster. But like they say, out of the fire and into the frying pan because as a rare monster it is a chance for the warriors to kill him to gain more experience points. Yeah. His ass targeted again…

Episode 11
Since the re-education isn’t going too well, the vice principal asserts his fearsome authority that sends Dark begging on all fours! Dark eats with the rest of the teachers (who are depicted from Kiseki series) and they worry about being disposed when they are unwanted. There is this joke that nobody remembers Grant’s name I think only Falcom fans would understand… Not me. So it is decided to hire new teachers, Kevin and Ries from Kiseki series. Adol believes his new adventures will start here and plays dead for Ries to take notice. But she walks by without giving him a hoot. Why is she ignoring him? Because he is not food! So she only picks up food? Speaking of food, she is suddenly staring at Rappy with those eyes. Oh no. Not again. Oh yes it is. He is her type! Drooling… Here we go again. Don’t worry, Tio will stop her before Rappy becomes fully cooked.

Episode 12
Dark walks into class and finds kids running around? Eldeel is the culprit because he made everyone drink it because being the only child is boring. However there are some like Renne and Tita didn’t change. Eldeel explains that it doesn’t affect those who are small. But Aisha is not small and yet she is unaffected. Renne points out it’s because her boobs are already small! Tita tries to assert her authority over Agate because he has turned younger than her. Joshua wants Tio to arrest him because since he has become young again, he believes it is a crime. Huh? Olivier and Prince Fan Freddy think they can run around naked because their kiddie dicks are safe and don’t even need mosaic censoring! Suddenly poof! Everyone returns back to normal. Now they are arrested and thrown into prison for indecent exposure. By the way, Tio notes ‘those’ are still as small as little children…

Episode 13
The tower has disappeared and as Tio investigates, some blocky pixel character called Dragon Slayer admits he is the one. Tio mistakes Dark for confessing that and throws him into prison! I can’t believe he is so easily framed like that. Dragon Slayer leads our heroes to a place where the tower and the rest of the buildings are ‘dumped’. His logic is that it is common knowledge to shove aside things that get in your way. He shows them the ring that allows them to move anything. Suddenly Adol steals it and reorganizes the buildings. He is calling it Adol Town and makes it only beautiful girls can live here. Tio throws him into prison for unauthorized construction. We can’t get some peace and quiet since Adol and Dark start fighting and blaming each other. Tio zaps to shut them up.

Heroes: The Gathering
Well, it was all over before it hit me or I knew it. As said, the jokes are more appreciated by those who are familiar with the Falcom games despite the extremely different character personalities. For a casual person like me without any prior knowledge of anything, the jokes are only funny because on the surface level. Like how Dark is thrown into prison on suspected abduction or assaulting charges. That itself is funny, right? Anything deeper to it I don’t know.

Sometimes it feels like the characters are turned into comical idiots because they act too funny and silly. Extremists may call it an insult because it is like closely designing the character and then throw away their actual serious personality or whatever past they have and input those silly stuff. Tragedy in that case. Everyone here is so comical. The biggest idiot award goes to Adol since he is acting so desperate for some sort of attention (from pretty girls of course).

It feels like roles reversal when Dark is the one trying to be a good teacher but Adol is just being an ass and annoying jerk just because he is the hero. I suppose that is why this school exists because everyone here is just twisted in their own ways and before they go back to their original world, they must re-learn everything again. I think this will take an awfully long time considering how Olivier hasn’t overcome his nudity, Joshua with his maid cross-dressing (personally I think this isn’t that bad – Maids! Who doesn’t love them?!) and Adol’s beautiful girl awakening desire.

I guess Rappy has become a running joke that he is the much sought after meat to be cooked and eaten. Yeah. I’ve always wondered how this furry little creature tastes like. Tastes like chicken maybe? I guess he is the best school principal to have around because how often do you have a principal that has a potential as a food supply? I wonder if that mysterious Mishishi cat mascot would also be a good food source. Oh sh*t!

The opening theme, Go Fight by Falcom Sound Team JDK only consists of, well, “Go Fight!” as its lyrics. Hardly anything. It makes it sound like the opener is some sort of rallying battle cry. Yeah, fight on, weirdoes. The artwork and design seems okay for a short anime series and from my very brief checking over the internet, the characters do look close enough to their original counterparts that you’d be able to tell them apart. At least for some of the main characters that I have briefly Google.

Since I never played a Falcom series game in my life before, I guess if this is also part of the series’ attempt to promote and make one get nostalgic and go play their games, then it had no effect on me. And oh. Can you believe it that this short series is getting another season? Yeah. Too fun to be too short. I am guessing we’ll have more of Dark being thrown into prison, Adol’s idiotic antics and maybe Rappy being roast over a burning fire. That will be fun, right? Yeah. Some paradise this turned out to be. And don’t forget to say “Mishishi”. Why? Oh, just for the heck of it. Mishishi out.

A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go, heigh-ho the derry-o a hunting we will go… Keen on doing some treasure hunting, that is? Well, if you feel it is too risky and troublesome to go globetrotting like Indiana Jones or like me just plain lazy to get out of the chair and find little treasures in the backyard, maybe it would be suffice to just watch Ryuugajou Nanana No Maizoukin then. What defines a treasure? Is it something platted in gold or some other precious metal? Is it something that is odd and rare? Is it something that contains mysterious and special powers? Is it something that you hold precious and dear in your heart? Whatever it is, everyone has their own definition to what constitute to be their personal treasure (mine is animes!!!). Well, I’m sure it will be worth all the effort if you find it. Finders keepers.

This anime isn’t just about a boy and his team who goes on a treasure hunt on a manmade island. Life is already one big adventure once he got disowned by his father, no money and broke, moved into his own room that is haunted by a ghost (a cutie pie ghost, that is. Thank goodness), promising to help find the ghost’s killer and at the same time trying to find those special powered treasures scattered all across the island. If that is not bad enough, there are other parties out to find the treasure for their own purpose. So it’s a race to see who gets it first. First come, first serve. Finders keepers.

Episode 1
Nanae Island is a manmade island in the Pacific Ocean and is mostly occupied by students in which this island was made for. Think of it as Academy City… Juugo Yama is a happy kid transferred to this island. Because he gets to live his own life. His freedom. Actually he got kicked out by his dad. He meets the dorm master of Happy Dorm, Shiki Maboro and is told about the rules and regulations. She shows him to his room and he is shocked to see a girl, Nanana Ryuugajou there. Wrong room? Shiki insists there is no one there. Then who is she? Nanana is a ghost! Well, he was told that this room came with extras. Besides he paid in advance a year’s rent that is not refundable. Can’t afford to move out… Juugo tries to shake Nanana’s hand and true enough he goes through it. However she can touch him! WTF?! I don’t understand! Seems she was murdered 10 years ago in this room and doesn’t know who the murderer is. She wants to challenge him to a no-holds-barred fight to decide who should be the master of this room as she is a ghost who cannot leave this room. Juugo would prefer a lovey-dovey cohabitation instead of a fight so Nanana agrees to be his in-house girlfriend if he wins. That sure serves as a motivation for him to get going. But how is he going to win if he can’t touch her? She has got him in a submission move and his arm will dislocate at this rate. Juugo gets this thought that he might be able to touch her boobs. I don’t know how, he managed to do so. Hurting his arm is just a small price to pay, right? In class, Yurika Yumeji the class rep is tasked to show him around. Might be his type of girl too because she has glasses and dark hair. And she hints she is attracted to him… Living with a ghost isn’t easy since all Nanana does is eat her pudding and play online games. Ghosts don’t need sleep, right? One day in the toilet, Juugo discovers a note called Nanana Manual by Kasumi Konjou. It warns him to return this note where he found and leave the room if he has no interest in Nanana. Reading on, the note tells about Nanana’s likes and dislikes and also Nanana’s Collection. If he is interested, go find the Adventure Club (or it will find you). Juugo returns and seems nicer and talking to Nanana because the end note mentions to be nice to her as she is the same lonely girl 10 years ago and hopes she can be saved.

Next day, Juugo does his research and finds out 7 young genius students known as Great 7 started this project to create Nanae Island where students can pursue their dreams in which their profits are channelled to develop the island. Nanana was the leader who proposed this island. Shiki’s name is also part of the Great 7. He goes to ask her questions and you know from her looks we can hardly believe she is part of Great 7 as she spends her day downing cans of alcohol and currently finding a boyfriend who will sustain her that way. Serious. She explains when this projected started, they didn’t have enough funds or sponsors. Nanana went out to find treasures and fortunes of unknown origins. There are photos of their adventures around the world. Juugo asks if they have ever thought of having Nanana move on. They tried hiring exorcists but it didn’t work. Even tracking down the killer didn’t yield any results. So why still rent out that room? She doesn’t want to lose money keeping the room because there is a ghost. More importantly, she doesn’t want her to be lonely. Then she should stay with her, no? Nanana doesn’t need her she says. As for Nanana’s Collection, it is rumoured her buried treasures are worth up to trillions of yen and some contain unique powers. After she was murdered, nobody knew its location (why not ask her?). Over the years, people have been trying to find them and a few were found in various places across the island. Many are still hidden throughout the island. Meanwhile the phantom thief group known as Matsuri strikes again.

Episode 2
Juugo found some jewel in a weird box parachuted down when he came back from the convenience store. Nanana says it is some sort of lie detector and you can tell if someone is lying through it. She knows because this is part of her collection. Apparently it is supposed to be in the hands of Matsuri’s Yukihime Fugi. She is scolding Shuu Todomatsu that he failed in his job to retrieve it. How can their perfect plan be ruined? Somebody must have taken it. D’arc Hoshino, the assistant of great loli detective, Tensai Ikkyuu wonders why she is sleeping in the garbage. She has solved the mystery of the missing jewel. She found a parachute and a tracker device that was supposedly to be dropped at this place but since the garbage is thrown all over, it means they were trying to find it but couldn’t. Somebody must have coincidentally passed here. The only reason why that person would do so is to take a shortcut. This leads to them entering Juugo’s norm (she baits Juugo by having D’arc wearing in a maid outfit). Since she stinks, she uses his bathroom to clean up and has no shame in stripping before him. She accuses him as the thief and shows video proof he was at the store. Looking at a magazine with sexy maids. He wants to stop the video but D’arc is ordered to restrain him. Juugo felt something strange… D’ARC IS A TRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So disappointed… Especially Nanana. Not on talking terms from now on? Tensai continues to deduce about everything else and then takes the jewel into her custody. Next day on the news, it is reported that Tensai is the thief who came to return the stolen jewel. I can imagine the commotion… Uh huh. Nobody believes her nonsensical ranting that she is some master detective… Juugo thought he has seen the last of her but his troubles are only beginning. For Tensai and D’arc have transferred into his class! Everyone laughs at Tensai’s declaration that she is a master detective. Tensai isn’t bothered because although she isn’t a real pro yet, one day when she does and her name is famous, they will be astounded and feel ashamed for looking down. That would be her ultimate victory. Whatever. Yuu Ibara dressed in maid comes looking for Juugo. I guess all you need to get this guy’s attention or approval is to dress up like one. She brings him to see Isshin Yuiga who is the president of the Adventure Club and wants him to join. He isn’t interested and is about to leave but Yuu the vice president beats him up for disrespecting Isshin! Bloodied! Violent girl. Another maid dream shatters… The duo seek his permission to visit his dorm.

It has been a year since they have seen Nanana. They state their intention to recruit Juugo into the club. It has been a tradition for everyone who lives in this room to be part of it and they’re just paying their respects especially to the club founder, Konjou. Nanana’s mood is better seeing they brought her favourite pudding. Juugo wonders if she is bothered other people trying to take her treasure. As an adventurer she understands and would rather have people looking for it. The true value of happiness comes from sharing it with everyone. Nanana isn’t interested in moving on for the time being but would love to find the person who killed her. The only clue is a dragon mark on his back neck. Juugo wants to help find the killer if possible not because he wants her to leave but rather he finds her interesting. However she won’t tell him her hidden collection because it takes away the fun. As part of tradition, Juugo is required to take an entry test before he can join Adventure Club. Tensai and D’arc joining too? There is a room that houses a Nanana’s Collection. He must conquer it although he can fail many times. The room transforms into a twisted space of desks. Juugo becomes the guinea pig to go first while the rest watches. One wrong step, Juugo is thrown out of the building. He doesn’t give up but the results are the same. Tensai and D’arc notice he has strong stamina, quite well build, knows how to fall and doesn’t have bruises. It’s time for her to solve the puzzle. She notices a shelf of books, a weekly timetable and a note that warns not to leave anything behind. Figuring out today’s day, she packs all the books required on that day and put on other school stuffs. The correct tables to step on are lit up (seems like a pretty straight line to me) and it is an easy path to conquer the treasure. Juugo is amazed she can solve it fast but she says this is just elementary level. Juugo quips just like her outfit, causing her to fluster.

Episode 3
Isshin officially welcomes the new members to the club. Tensai asks who hid the treasures in the first place. Nobody knows. Isshin only knows somebody who goes by the name of Leprechaun hides it and in places called Ruins that are scattered all over Nanae Island. Isshin has a favour of Juugo. He first undergoes some ‘wife abuse’ by Nanana. Once he withstands the allotted time, she hints to him a place where he can find a treasure. As they head to some shopping mall tower, Juugo asks Isshin about Nanana not revealing the location. It’s part of her rules to be neutral to everyone. She will not tell any solutions but hints you enough to get there. As for who Konjou is, Isshin considers her a brave leader and it is her wits that got them out of many predicaments. Tensai has found the room. Based on her deduction of some pass code lock and the mirroring of the shop lots, they are outside the room where the treasure is. Isshin keys in a birthday of one of Nanana’s friends as the password to let them in. Isshin wants Tensai and Juugo to go with him while the rest stays outside in case anything happens. Because from now it they are in unknown territory and can lose their lives. As they trek into the transparent pathways, it seems at certain times a pathway is cut and replaced so they have to be quick on their feet. Juugo uses all his strength to pull Tensai up before she falls to her death. Tensai makes Juugo run around to deduce the pattern of the pathways’ creation and destruction. Once she figures it out, she has Isshin run through a path that leads him to the treasure. The hostility then stops.

Isshin is happy when he sees this cane inside the treasure box. Then he uses it to freeze Juugo and Tensai while teleporting himself to the exit. The pathway collapses as he leaves them behind. Reuniting with Yuu, he puts D’arc to sleep and then has Yuu contact Shunjuu Ikkaku that they have the treasure. He contacts Kagetora Tsurezure about the collapsing of the Ruins. He reports there are no changes outside thus nobody notices anything. As for Juugo and Tensai, he believes they are smarter and more skilful than him to find a way out. The duo are hugging each other. Too close proximity. Not enough space for any movement…  Juugo has called the cops so as they wait for their rescue, Tensai talks to him why she wants to be the greatest detective. When the cops find them, Tensai is not amused her assistant is happily sleeping. Since they are not going to let Isshin get away with this, Tensai wants Juugo to convince the officers to let her go so she could investigate Isshin’s whereabouts. They agree. Juugo goes with them to answer their questions but the cops turn out to be Yukihime and Shuu and they will have him answer everything… Nanana is surprised to see Juugo bruised and only in his boxers. Don’t ask. He asks about the cane as she explains it to have magical powers used by a sorcerer during the Middle Ages. It can grant the user any wish. Tensai then contacts Juugo as she has found out about Isshin’s deal with Shunjuu, the head of the Great 7.

Episode 4
Nanana remembers Konjou leaving her. She saw through some future mirror that the killer would kill her if she finds the culprit. She apologizes for not being able to grant her wish but is sure the next person who moves in here will. Juugo meets up with Tensai who reveals Isshin is going to sell the cane for a whopping hundred million yen. Then she wants him to hug her. She hasn’t fallen for him, mind you. She notices his height is off by 3cm and knows he is an imposter. He is Shuu and once she learns he is a phantom thief, she gets all excited to get him. Playing tag? Juugo has actually made a deal with Yukihime. In exchange to help him retrieve that cane, he will give her that lie detector she seeks. This collaboration is not so much to keep Tensai out of danger but rather he doesn’t want her to know his real identity. So they go meet Isshin and Yuu. Yukihime accompanies Yuu fighting while Juugo is not amused to hear Isshin’s ambition of world domination. He plans to conquer Shunjuu first and then this island. Juugo avoids all the magic Isshin shoots out from his cane. After Isshin gets hit by one, he gets really upset and chides him about his dumb dream, just like a certain detective wannabe. He hates those kinds of people. Isshin tells him back off about people having dreams. The only way to settle this is to kick each other’s butt. Juugo has the last laugh when the cane stops working. He explains the cane no doubt can grant any wish but does not have eternal life span. In short, you can’t use it limitlessly. He mocks Isshin that he was so concerned about its power that he never thought about its shortcomings. He could have asked Nanana how it works but was overridden by his guilt of betrayal. Since he is unable to keep his pride and dream in the end, this basically shows his dream didn’t mean as much as he thought. Juugo stands there in despair, allowing Juugo to punch him but the latter just couldn’t. He felt he was once the same. Instead he asks for the cane but Kagetora knocks him out.

The trio escapes to the beach but they are surrounded by the military. Did Tensai call them?! Actually she did some favour for Shunjuu and he is returning it. Isshin wants to hand the cane over for their safety but Tensai has a message from Shunjuu for them. He does business and not theft. She hands him the cheque and takes the cane. The trio goes scot free. Later Isshin calls Juugo just to talk to him. He’ll find some other treasure that will grant his dream. But he can’t guarantee he won’t betray them again. When he returns to the dorm, he is surprised that Tensai knows that he is collaborating with Matsuri. Because she hacked his handphone. Then by some deduction during the time he was at the convenience store, it seems he set some timer and knows when the parachute will drop. It is like he knows in advance about the crime and the only way he could do that is if he is working with Matsuri. Juugo is impressed she saw through him but she won’t arrest him because every detective needs a rival. So she and D’arc will be moving next door in this dorm. Later Juugo’s dad calls him as Yukihime filled him in. Seems Juugo didn’t want to have anything to do with Matsuri and thus his ‘exile’ to this island. He helped Yukihime out of coincidence. Juugo once wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a phantom thief but got disillusioned about stealing from the wicked for those in need. Juugo pretends girls are all over him here and that a certain blonde is in love with him. Father makes him describe how much he likes her but since he only respects her as an amazing person, he notes this is only how far he will go for her an won’t throw anything away for her sake. If she ever needs him, will he be there for her? That is why they are unable to love each other. He has the strength but doesn’t use it for others. Juugo yells back that he’d rather die than become a noble thief and that he and his buddies can have Matsuri for all he cares. Nanana notices Juugo holding the real lie detector. Did he give Yukihime a fake? Too wasteful to give the real one away, eh? Whatever it is, Nanana believes it will be used for something good as long as it is in his hands. Juugo could see she is telling the truth.

Episode 5
The gang are having grilled meat. Because Juugo is worrying so much about that trap, he didn’t realize everyone finished the meat. Isshin announces an overnight trip next weekend at the hotspring since he might have discovered possible Ruins. Since he is paying, skint Juugo wants to go. This time Nanana won’t give him clues since she already gave him the last time. He receives mail from Yukihime to meet. He is probably showing it off to Nanana but she doesn’t really care except to buy her pudding on his way home. At first Juugo is surprised to see Yukihime dressed so sexy and showing her cleavage but he knows it is just Shuu in disguise. Too big her boobs? Insult? Well, we see the real one wiping blood off her hands… Anyway Yukihime wants Juugo to return to Matsuri if he wants his allowance. Since their goals are the same it is better for them to be working together. Juugo stubbornly refuses so she asks what she is to him. Like a helpful big sister. She leaves and doesn’t want to see him ever again. When he goes back, Tensai and D’arc are playing video games with Nanana and Shiki slaps him with utility bills. Costly. What do you expect? You have a ghost playing games for 24 hours! Get the money by the end of the week or out you go. And the rest don’t even give a damn about his predicament… So he goes to some secret place to get some secret job. To his surprise, Tensai is also there and teasing him with her black twintail hair wig.

I don’t know what delivery job he took up but it couldn’t be that bad, right? Not unless you’re in some decimated warzone… Shuu happened to be there and mentions about the fake lie detector he traded them. Their boss claimed it was his doing but Yukihime stood up for him and believed Juugo is still trustworthy. You know what they say about curiosity and the cat? Juugo shows him the contents of the suitcase to make him an accomplice. However Juugo is left to fend for himself when the guards take him in alone. He is brought by this brooding hot guy, Tetsunoshin “Tetsu” Tsujimi to a waiting area. Juugo loves teasing this cute loli, Saki Yoshino AKA Yun, no? So adorable to tease… Be careful not to let Tetsu cut you up… So the real big sister comes. Looks menacing enough to make Juugo sweat in his pants! He lies he never looked inside the contents and she teases him by trying to throw some arrow of truth that hurts liars. Instantly he baulks and hides. She laughs but remains suspicious that he somewhat knows about Nanana’s Collection (he also lied he didn’t know anything about them). She becomes nastier when he accidentally indicates he might have looked inside the suitcase. Suddenly a raid happens so she goes into action and has Tetsu show him the way out. In the end, Juugo never got the money and he really doesn’t want to go back to that scary place again. He has scraped all the cash he could get and is only 3,000 yen short. He apologizes to Nanana.

Episode 6
Somehow Juugo managed to pay off the bill and now he is heading to the hotspring. Yukihime is also there with her friend, Shizuka Kisaragi but she ignores them like as though they don’t exist. So after their meal (Kagetora teasing D’arc that he wants to lick his master’s saliva?), they discuss their next step. The Ruins seem to be in a large abandoned house. Next morning, Juugo, Tensai and D’arc realize Isshin already has a head start on them when he left early. Upon entering the house, they see Kagetora and Yuu all drenched and in a defeated position. Isshin is eager to get this Nanana’s Collection. Inside a big room filled with movable pillars, they have to step on the right ones to reach the treasure. The temperature of the water increases the closer you get to the treasure. In this simple puzzle (so simple like as though he knows it like the back of his hand), they reach the treasure and find a stuffed doll cat. Everyone relaxes at the hotspring. Yuu is having wild fantasies eavesdropping Isshin on the other side so much so she can’t stand it anymore and pokes a hole in the wood just to peek. Too bad Juugo blocked her since he had the same idea. When he moves out of the way, Isshin already leaves. Frustrated Yuu calls Juugo to come back just to poke his eye. When they are about to leave, they find the treasure missing. With only them as the guests and a handful of employees, the culprit is among them. Yukihime is the first suspect. Tensai puts her detective mind to use when D’arc returns with the cat. D’arc found it in the laundry. Aside the guys, the employees (who are all females) can enter the men’s section. Tensai pinpoints one of the employees. She turns out to be Shuu in disguise. How did she know? She was only guessing! He lets loose a smokescreen to escape. Later Tensai reveals to Juugo about her deduction. He was in cohorts with Matsuri. She felt something strange when his odd job didn’t work out and somewhat managed to pay the utility bill. So he got the money in exchange for giving them information. He had them both stand-by at the inn to steal the treasure once they had it. Yukihime was the decoy while Shuu slipped in unnoticed to steal it. She didn’t accuse Juugo or Matsuri as she has no material evidence. When they bring back the cat to Nanana, she says this isn’t part of her collection. She doesn’t know what it is. They deduce somebody must have beaten them to the treasure and put a dummy. Isshin looks so disappointed. When everyone leaves, Juugo could feel the room starts haunting. He knows Nanana is very mad.

Episode 7
Juugo buys some rare pudding as apology to Nanana. Hard to say no, eh? Here is actually what happened. Juugo sold her video games to get the money. He then shows the real Nanana’s Collection, a mini sceptre he got from the hotspring. Since Yukihime was there, he worries she might eavesdrop on them so he went out himself to the Ruins and got the treasure and replaced it with a dummy. He never expected it was Isshin who tried to get a head start rather than Yukihime. Tensai heard this and is impressed with him. Juugo isn’t going to let the rest know because he doesn’t want them to find out about his connection to Matsuri. Later as Juugo seems down, Nanana goes to talk to him. He reveals Yukihime is the sole daughter of the family who has supported Matsuri for generations. She is his martial arts instructor and despite being strict she always held his hand. At least he thought this was part of her that won’t change until she broke some unspoken law of trying to steal the prey of others without negotiation. He felt betrayed. Nanana thinks it isn’t like him to sulk like this. If he doesn’t like it, try to change it. If not, he can come cry in her bosoms. Really? But we know he isn’t going to let it happen to that stage. Later he goes to meet Matsuri and offers her a wager. If she can beat him up, he will return Nanana’s Collection but if he wins, she must apologize. And he means really, really apologize and swear never to oppose him again. She has no obligation to accept that till he points out she is running away and would rather make up some excuse. Yukihime easily beats him up but Juugo uses the sceptre to lock her down with chains. He has this perverted look on his face that he is going to do what he wants with her now. Because she said she didn’t want to see him again, it’s like she doesn’t care. So he isn’t going to care for her and violate her. She starts crying about his betrayal instead. She thought they would succeed Matsuri together but he betrayed her trust. She has him do whatever he wants to her so she could hate him. He frees her.

Juugo scolds her about making important decision on her own. She didn’t like how the way he calls her his thing (teasing her about never having a boyfriend but she says she has one?). But he replies that if she ever betrays him, who is he to believe in then? She asks him again what she is to him. First love. Slap! I thought that was a pretty serious answer. How about a comrade then? Not impressed. He tried deceiving her with a fake jewel, right? She wants to know why he is searching for Nanana’s Collection. It’s a secret he hopes she won’t tell anyone. It’s for the sake of a girl. Yukihime is not even impressed because it felt like he is being a hypocrite because he never wanted to do things for others. Does he expect her to stay by his side for this selfish behaviour? He promises he won’t betray her. He thinks. At least he can promise he likes her. She rejects him. Anyway if he doesn’t come back to Matsuri, she cannot be by his side. He gives the sceptre as apology. She also apologizes for lying she had a boyfriend. He felt relieved so she punches him. Later Yukihime meets Yuu who knows she somewhat made up with Juugo. Shuu thinks she should drop that guy because he will slow them down. Although he likes Juugo, seriously he doesn’t want to work with him. Yukihime realizes Juugo has more information sources than the Adventure Club because he knows far too much about this Nanana’s Collection alone. She is going to search for the informer, Fumika Sanada. She remembers Juugo’s promise to her that they will work hard and help people in the world and make them happy.

Episode 8
After Tensai receives some letter from a girl, she is in foul mood. She throws the letter to Juugo and the content is money. What’s her problem? Tetsu becomes a new transfer student in the class and he is not pleased Juugo is in the same class. Since he is here, so must Yun. They see her being harassed by a bully so Tetsu becomes rage and jumps down a few storeys! Juugo follows suit but to stop him from punching the ‘bully’ because he is a teacher reprimanding Yun for her uniform. Kagetora questions Isshin’s motivation because he jumped on the newbies at the hotspring when he thought they were supposed to be helping each other. Isshin is suspicious about them looking for Nanana’s Collection. He narrates some line about winner takes all from a man he hates. In that case Kagetora wants him to make them enemies as well. However he trusts them better than he trusts those newbies. Kagetora thinks he is under pressure. Especially the cane he wanted got confiscated and that hotspring incident. Yuu sees a photo of old Adventure Club members. One of them is Hiiyo Ikusaba whom Kagetora has heard lots of bad things about him. Speaking about his Orochimaru guy, here he is paying a visit to Nanana. She is not pleased to see him. He seeks her opinion in this bell treasure he got. As she explains, he calls this useless treasure garbage. Juugo realizes Nanana is shaking in fear. Time is up and Ikusaba leaves. That’s because Shiki is rushing in to kill this bastard! Because he didn’t pay his rent! She actually chases him down and fights him but because she had too much drink, she couldn’t keep her balance.

Later Juugo finds out from Shiki about this baddie. He was the person living in Nanana’s room before Juugo and he neglected her. He talks to her about refusing to tell such people about her treasure. She can’t because it’s a rule she made. If you ask a treasure in hand, she tells. Otherwise there would be no meaning in being herself. Her decisions are proof of being her. This has Juugo ponder a lot about himself. What is he? Why is he doing this for her? He thinks the notebook might have been written for Ikusaba. When Juugo hangs out with Yun and Tetsu at the arcade, he sees Ikusaba there and they talk. When asked about staying in that strange room, Juugo replies he likes it. Ikusaba talks about these games about player involvement, their actions affecting it and some strategizing to it. Asking Juugo’s opinion about the kind of players who win, seems there are many other factors other than physical. One of them being refusal to compromise. After losing his horse bet, he goes over to meet Tetsu and Yun. Yun cowers in fear behind Tetsu. Then he goes to visit Isshin in the clubroom. This guy is so imposing and cocky that Isshin can do nothing except to answer his question while trying to keep his composure. Learning Isshin still keeps Konjou’s treasure as memory, Ikusaba says he sold his off. Useless garbage should be disposed of. He continues to mock his manner like as though he is imitating someone and has no feelings for a phony like him. Isshin regrets he is once more speechless against him. He wants Kagetora to follow him as he suspects he might be plotting something involving this school. He also wants him to avoid fighting and run if he is spotted. Because Ikusaba is the most proficient than anybody in using Nanana’s Collection.

Episode 9
There was this confrontation between Isshin and Ikusaba. The former wasn’t happy about some ethical method he used but was told off about last one standing wins, the resolve to throw away everything and that he is free quit this game like the rest. Ikusaba felt the club lost its value after Konjou left. Juugo goes on another date. Sort of. This time with Yumeji, Yun and Tetsu. He felt a killing aura and quickly pushes Yumeji down. Looks indecent. Could that killing aura be Yukihime watching him? She doesn’t look so happy… Meanwhile Kagetora tails Ikusaba but is spotted. Wherever he runs, Ikusaba is always there. He uses his ring to paralyze him and then kicks the daylights out of him. Juugo goes back home but realizes he had so much fun he forgot Nanana’s pudding. Here comes the pain! Yun bumps into Ikusaba on her way home. She becomes afraid of him. However Ikusaba talks as if they knew each other although Yun clearly doesn’t. Tetsu comes to her rescue. Ikusaba notes his sword and could have come from the Tsukuyomi district and under the Three Skulls group. He finds it troublesome since Sansa Kurosu might be involved. They fight but Ikusaba is clearly more powerful. Yun pretends to call the cops so they break it up. Tetsu goes to request Juugo’s help to keep Ikusaba away from Yun. He is tasked with protecting her so he can’t slice him. Juugo agrees but wants to know what is going on. He admits this request comes from Sansa although he doesn’t know why.

Juugo goes to see Isshin to ask about Ikusaba (Kagetora is like a mummy!). They are surprised he knows him. As explained, Ikusaba was the original vice president of Adventure Club and also the one who ruined it. After Konjou graduated and left the island, he took over but because he uses force, it caused many to resign. Then a terrible incident whereby he sacrificed a student to get a treasure. Although she survived, she was badly hurt and filled with regret joining this club and has left the island since. Ikusaba claims the treasure for himself and subsequently abandoned the club. Only Isshin was left and he roped in Kagetora and Yuu to revive it recently. They agree to help Juugo but the question is why Ikusaba attacked Yun. This is where Tensai comes in to explain after missing for an episode. She accepted an underground job to look for a missing student but that student turned up and thus she is not happy the mystery solved itself. She felt humiliated. That missing student is Yun. Even when she was found, she continued her investigations of her whereabouts during her absence. Before she went missing, she took up a job to investigate a certain building for Ruins. The employer was Ikusaba. Most probably she doesn’t know about Nanana’s Collection and took the job for the money. They know it is Ikusaba’s style of discarding someone after using them so they think she must have seen something she shouldn’t and thus being targeted. Assuming if she did, where was she when she was missing? Juugo thinks she was under the care of Three Skulls. She might have returned due to that group’s backing. Juugo believes something is off because when Ikusaba and Yun met at the arcade, it is really as though it was her first time meeting him. The only solution is the clear the Ruins themselves and in turn save Ikusaba from targeting Yun. Since the place is at Southred Mall, a pretty damn big place, Juugo is needed to seek Nanana’s help again. She won’t, Juugo begs and begs but cannot say Ikusaba’s name to prevent her from worrying. She agrees but with 2 conditions: Some rare pudding (but of course) and never to use a treasure for himself if he finds it. As Juugo ponders what Nanana meant by that, he realizes that she might not want him to find her killer and pass on to the next world.

Episode 10
The gang finds a series of alpha numeric codes hidden almost everywhere in the mall. With Juugo sneaking in to obtain some key and combining with those codes, they are able to pinpoint the door to the Ruins. However they have to wait till the mall is closed to avoid public suspicions. After walking through a corridor and a door that contains 13 zodiac symbols, the treasure room turns into one with many criss-crossing beams, each with a zodiac logo on it. Juugo being reckless almost gets impaled each time he steps on the beams. Thanks to that, Tensai has figured out some pattern. I am not a genius but based on the panels in the corridor and zodiac, it follows some Fibonacci sequence and you need to step in that sequence to avoid the spikes. They see a bloodied bag while on their way. Kagetora and D’arc keeping watch outside are forced to back off when they see Ikusaba coming. Tensai falls but luck is with her. She didn’t get impaled. Only her hat. So Juugo carries her in his arms and takes the fastest route down. Heck, he is faster than the spikes so he doesn’t need to follow, right? Dangerous. But no same treatment for Yuu who is hoping she would get the same from Isshin. Once they reach the bottom, for the first time they see a picture puzzle as a lock on the treasure chest. Too bad Ikusaba is here. This is the part he was stuck. Juugo asks about him hiring Yun to stake out this dangerous place. He did. That’s why he paid her a large sum of money and also the job is illegal. Juugo is mad that he doesn’t give a damn about how risky this put Yun in but Ikusaba tells him off if he finds her that precious, might as well chain her up and keep her in a box. Juugo is so mad that this is getting personal. He is going to kick his butt.

Yuu is first to lunge at him for insulting Isshin but Ikusaba is as fast as the shadow thanks to his boots that is a Nanana’s Collection. It allows him to ‘swim’ through shadows. However it is not a total lost for our friends since Isshin’s glasses are also part of Nanana’s Collection and is able to mimic abilities of others. He helps out by fighting back. Ikusaba continues to mock him and then beats him up because since the lens is only able to mimic abilities but it couldn’t do anything about his physical strength. Tensai has finished solving the puzzle. She has memorized it in her head. Ikusaba thinks she is mocking him and punches her. She isn’t that dumb to get punched and it seems she stunned him with a taser. Now that he has difficulties breathing, it will be hard for him to breathe and use the boots effectively. Juugo attacks and wherever Ikusaba pops up, Juugo is waiting to beat him up. To his surprise, Isshin’s lens can also read his mind. He never knew that, didn’t he? Yeah well. Nanana although tells them the basic of the item, I guess the rest is up to you to figure out its other uses. Of course reading minds with this lens has a price. He feels his head is about to split open. Ikusaba thinks of getting Isshin at the back but he is greeted with Yuu’s super payback punch. Juugo is about to finish him when Ikusaba mentions his lungs is about to collapse and will have trouble breathing. Instantly Juugo squirms in pain and couldn’t breathe.

Episode 11
Before Ikusaba can finish him, Tensai points her gun with rubber bullets. She has a proposal. They should stop this and call this a draw. He won’t seeing he has gotten this far and will see it through. Tensai threatens she has deduced his power and if she reveals it, it will give Juugo one chance to wallop his ass. He thinks she is bluffing as she refuses to say what it is and Juugo wants her to cut the crap and say it since he wants to kill this bastard. Tensai still won’t because she doesn’t trust Juugo. Back to her proposal, she drops the gun and pleads he should let them go. She would rather settle things on a grander stage. He agrees. It is not worth dying here. Tensai adds that he is also to stay away from Yun. Agreed. He asks her name and she also does the same despite knowing it because it will be the first time they properly introduce themselves. Isshin also has something to say to Ikusaba. When Konjou was around, he never had any goals till she handed a Nanana’s Collection to him. Now it is to surpass everyone and become number one. He wants a world in which no one stands in front of him. I guess you can call that world domination. Ikusaba has no intention to stop his goal so do as he wishes. A sign he acknowledges him? After he leaves, Tensai reveals she was just bluffing. She doesn’t know about Ikusaba’s ring power. But it was effective. Think about it. If it was such a powerful tool, why didn’t he use it in the first place to beat the crap out of him? There must be some sort of weakness that makes him use it as a last trump card. Therefore in this bluff, he had no choice but to accept her proposal. She also lied about not trusting him. She won’t let him die because every great detective must have a rival. Back in Nanana’s room, Tensai talks to her and laments that recent puzzle on the treasure was fake. This means there was nothing for her to solve. The treasure box wasn’t even locked! When Tensai mentions they went up against Ikusaba, Nanana could understand why Juugo acted. She then suggests a bet.

After Juugo is discharged from the hospital, Tensai hands him the Nanana’s Collection that is able to look into one’s past. She doesn’t need it because she prefers to use her great detective mind to work. Juugo also doesn’t need it as he made a promise to Nanana. Tensai tries to persuade him like using it behind her back since she can’t step out but he stands by his decision. That’s when Tensai admits she lost the bet to Nanana whether Juugo would stick by his promise. She also lied about its power. This treasure contains some magic shard of a lance to ward off evil. But not knowing what Nanana wants still bugs Juugo. He is going to ask her. Asking about if she wants to pass on, she says she’ll leave it to his decision. WTF. He challenges her to a no-holds-barred battle in which she must tell him if he wins. Of course Nanana is at an advantage and in a position that could break his hand. However he dares her. Why is he being stubborn? Because he wants her to tell him what she wants. If she were to pass on, she would be gone and he will feel sad. But if this is what she wants and he hesitates and put off helping you for his own reasons, that would be like feeding his own ego. Even if he loses today, he will come back and challenge her tomorrow and the day after till she tells him. She admits defeat. What she wants now is to find her killer and kill the culprit with her own hands. However there is something else she can’t leave behind now. She wants to see how the island change and how the people coming here are affected. This includes him. She never imagined this island would turn out to be more fun than imagined. I guess this means she is staying. Hypothetically speaking, he asks if that last treasure really could look into her past, would she allow him to use it to find her killer? Nope. It’s a promise between them even if it means never finding her killer. But she believes he won’t need that to find her killer. The way she worded it convinces Juugo that such item exists and is going to find it. He won’t ask her because she won’t tell, right?

Treasure Hunting At Your Own Risk
I suppose this series was okay and had some potential. As usual, leaving us with that cliff-hanger ending that indicates to us that Yun is under some sort of mind control spell in yet another dangerous mission and another treasure box beckons us. Yeah well. The adventure never dies. It feels like it is setting up and building the foundation and groundwork if they ever wanted to make a sequel. Which isn’t actually such a bad thing. Well, if they don’t, then in a way it would be because you know, it’s not nice to leave ‘puzzle’ half baked, right?

I don’t remember watching any puzzle themed animes because right now I can’t recall if I did watch any but as far as this series is concerned, the puzzles may seem impressive but it lacks the oomph that would impress casual viewers like me. Perhaps the main focus of the series is not the puzzles but I just thought that it would have been better if they placed in interesting puzzles with equally interesting but simple clues or solutions. Some of the puzzles here feel like as though it is just thought up for convenience and some were just uninspiring (especially the one in the hotspring). The final puzzle at the mall was just too complicating for me despite the genius trying her best to briefly explain the theory and clues surrounding it but I was already at a lost when she opened her mouth from the first sentence. Because I tried doing my own research online about this Fibonacci sequence and I still couldn’t understand a damn thing (except for the adding the last 2 numbers part). My maths must be that bad, huh?

Even more so the final episode’s puzzle felt like a big troll because there was no real puzzle to it and just a sham to mislead challengers. It is just like a big slap in the face. For example, you see a locked steel door. You search around the compound for a hidden key, if not take out your lock picking tools, if not try out some soldering equipment, if not use some bazooka to blast it open. And when everything else fails, you realize the door wasn’t locked to begin with and all you need to do was just turn the handle and voila! Open sesame! Yeah. That is how I felt for this last puzzle. Big troll.

Also puzzling me is the very large space that the puzzle rooms take up. For every puzzle room that I have seen (including the entry test Juugo and Tensai took), there are huge and complicated machinery and mechanism activating it into an elaborated piece set. Whoever constructed this must be a real genius and world’s greatest architect to have the floors, walls, pillars or whatever is in that room to move around in such perfect synchronicity. I believe the sensors must be in perfectly good working condition for it to sense challengers coming in and then the room starts shifting. Hey, it is not like there is some guardian watching over the place and then when the visitors come, he flips the switch to activate the puzzle. I mean, I figure that the puzzle rooms have been built a very long time ago and with Juugo and co venturing into it and succeeding to take the treasure, it means they are the first ones here after a long time of dormancy. And all obstacles work perfectly like as though they are brand new.

Another point to ponder: Once a puzzle room is cleared, will the room be playable again? Because for some like the one in the tower mall, everything collapses and subsequent players won’t get to play it. But the one at the hotspring, it seems Juugo managed to troll everyone by putting in a dummy. This means if other players come to hunt for the treasure, they will be sorely disappointed to find that the treasure chest is empty or filled with something else. Besides, how big is this Nanae Island? So big that new Ruins are constantly being discovered? And we have seen the technology advances on this island so it boggles me that such puzzle rooms cannot be easily found (say, use some sort of x-ray scanner, damn it) despite their absolutely ridiculous huge space for you to play. Or the ordinary people aren’t smart enough to decipher clues around the island or not into treasure hunting. Therefore the island must be that big, huh? Okay, to be fair, it will be like searching for a needle in a haystack if you don’t have a place to start. Just for argument’s sake, even if there is a treasure hidden in my small town, I don’t think I will be able to find it despite being right under my nose because seriously when you think about it, even though my town is small it looks huge if you are trying to think where the treasure could be hidden.

The characters are rather okay although some of them feel like they don’t really matter because they did not expand them further. At least for this season is concerned. Juugo is a mixed baggage. He is like a character that puts on several expressions instead of just sticking to one. Starting out like your seemingly ordinary plain protagonist, you will notice that there is more than meets the eye to him. Sometimes he is like a pervert because just like other perverted guys, he won’t hesitate to do something pervy (his expression also looks perverted) or go on a date. Sometimes he is full of angst (screaming about his ideals and such) which makes him look like a baddie. You’ll also notice his tough exterior and stamina because ordinary high school kids don’t have that kind of sturdy endurance. Like as though he is some sort of trained mercenary or something. Of course. Thanks to Yukihime as his martial arts instructor and coming from a band of ‘noble thieves’. Despite all that, he is still the usual kid who cares. To a certain extent. Otherwise he couldn’t have been bothered with Nanana in the first place. Now that he has made his promise and resolve with Nanana, I guess there is now a purpose in his life. At least a better one than for whatever reasons he decided to leave Matsuri and come to this island.

Nanana despite as the titular character is one of those characters that feel like a secondary but it is because of her circumstances. Can you name a main character that stays put in one place and rarely moves? Can’t, right? How often do you have a ghost as the main character? It’s like having a ‘ghost member’ as the protagonist which feels like an irony or something. Although mostly her interactions with Juugo can be seen as some sort of friendship bonding thingy, that is just about it for her role other than explaining the treasures shown to her and its uses. I am sure there is some trivia to spot especially in the video games that you see Nanana play. However I can only identify Virtua Fighter. Is it me or does Nanana love to pick that Jeffry McWild character? Other games as I found out are the action-adventure sandbox of Terraria, MMORPG Phantasy Star Online and the side scrolling platformer Spelunker HD, all of which I am not familiar with.

Point to ponder: If the dorm is torn down, will Nanana pass over to the new world? Because you know, she says she is stuck in this room. So what happens if there is no more room? Will she be stuck in that confined but open space? Or even if you don’t break down the dorm but tear down the walls to make it so that the room is one big continuous space. Then extend it to the entire island. How about that? Besides, a lot of things surrounding her are a mystery. She died without knowing her killer and even that only hint she gave feels like a red herring (at least for this season) because whether you remember it or not, it doesn’t matter. Then there is this mysterious way she gulps down her pudding. It really brings a new meaning of now you see, now you don’t. Don’t blink or you’ll… Oh wait, the pudding is already gone. Even odder there is this vacuum thud sound each time her pudding ‘disappears’. What about that mind boggling phenomenon whereby she can touch you but you can’t touch her? If this was a video game and she is the final last boss, I am very sure you’ll be very frustrated trying to defeat her. If you know what I mean.

Tensai is perhaps the most amusing character in the series. I believe she is truly a smart girl and a genius despite a couple of times she trolled us with her bluffs. And she admits it with confidence. You know what they say about those who hide their cleverness, right? I guess that is why she is so aptly named. The reason she trolls and puts on a poker face is because she believes that this is the best method to solve. It is like reverse psychology. However during times of solving real puzzles, she does have a keen sense of observation and can right away figure out the workings. It is as though she is reading from some script. But even a genius detective wannabe like her isn’t perfect and has her own quirks. She is a bad loser and hates to lose (hey, nobody likes to lose). But she can even admit that with a big poker face and find some excuse not to go through it especially how she lost her bet to Nanana. Being positive is one thing… Then there is this other peculiar habit that she does when she asks someone’s name. After that, she will ask your real name. Unless you are under some alias, of course you would assert that is your real name. And then she will agree and remember it. Huh? Is this another sort of trolling? Unless Tensai isn’t actually her real name either…

Yuu is an amusing side character. The only time that she truly ‘shines’ if something concerns her beloved Isshin. Otherwise she’s like a secondary character that perhaps nobody would care to notice. Her behaviour is simple and predictable. Anybody who badmouths Isshin, she will want to beat the crap out of you. Like as though Isshin is her untouchable idol or even God. At times she gets this monkey-see, monkey-do idea when she observes Juugo doing ‘something seemingly of romantic possibility’ just to get close to Isshin. She puts on her fail acting in hopes of convincing Isshin to do the same like Juugo but usually he isn’t swayed a bit and calmly tells her to get serious or that she seriously doesn’t really need such ‘service’. Then she gets disappointed and cries silently. I’m sure with those special powered glasses, Isshin could have read her mind and knows what exactly she wants and couldn’t be bothered to play her game. Isshin just like Juugo, you can’t tell if he is an ally or foe because given the chance he would want to use that advantage and stay ahead of the race.

Then there is Kagetora who feels like aside from his ability to stay hidden (visually), ever since we get to know D’arc is a trap, he doesn’t hesitate to troll around with him like trying to be imposing and dare his fetish of tasting his master’s saliva. Like as though he is turning into some sort of bully. Or maybe, he has taken some sort of liking for D’arc?! Say it isn’t so! Because in the final episode montage, it hints to us that he is somewhat ‘stalking’ him! Say it isn’t so! Speaking of D’arc, he feels like excess baggage and does nothing particularly useful except playing the fool for comic relief purposes. Although a trap, it is like as if the producers know about my maid fetish, the only reason why I am tolerating this trap thingy…

Some characters do not feel sufficient especially about the Matsuri duo. As though they exist just to show us that there is some sort of connection with Juugo. And once Juugo somewhat settles his stuff with Yukihime, that will be the last you’ll ever see of them in action. There must be something big about Matsuri especially Juugo’s dad. Then there is this Sansa lady and Three Skulls which I believe is also more than meets the eye. Same case with Yun because I don’t think she is just some innocent looking loli and something deeper lurks. As for Tetsu, it is also a shame that he his role feels unimportant. Hot brooding guy with a sword… Too bad not much screen time. Of course it is not fair to label such characters so since as said everything in this season felt like building things up. You don’t want to suddenly see a new character that pops up out of nowhere in the sequel, won’t you? Lastly there is Yumeji. That last scene where she stalks Juugo from afar greatly hinted to us that she does harbour something for him. Or maybe something more… Thanks to the nature of watching this anime, I started to doubt and suspect everyone is more than meets the eye… Even Shiki could be more than just a bimbo who spends her time drunk and chasing after default rents…

The romance is greatly hinting between Juugo and Tensai. There are a handful of moments of them together like when they were hugging so close for such a long period in that tower mall, Juugo carrying Tensai like a princess, etc. Probably Tensai’s way of considering him her rival is actually some sort of disguise to hide her true feelings for him? Other girls may suggest they have feelings for Juugo too. Yukihime might be tsundere. Yumeji might be a possible secret admirer. Yun may be the little loli sister type. Nanana is the playful kind. Shiki? Maybe she just wants his money. Haha! D’arc? Remember that’s a trap!!! The only other girl who doesn’t have a shred of feelings for Juugo is Yuu. Her love is one-sided as we all know. But the biggest romance has got to be the treasure hunting, right? Well, with Juugo, Yukihime and Ikusaba having good martial arts background, the action bits seeing them trade blows or move around with their athletic agility, the action parts do not disappoint.

A-1 Pictures produces this series and they have done several popular series including Fairy Tail, The Idolmaster, Sword Art Online, Ao No Exorcist, Ore No Imouto Ga Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai, Kuroshitsuji and Ookiku Furikabutte. The art and drawing overall look pretty decent. Pretty basic and conventional Japanese anime stuffs with the character designs looking. I give them points because they put in a maid despite being a trap :). The animation is also smooth especially during the puzzle action despite heavily relying on CGI effect (though it can be a little jarring side by side with the 2D drawing). The design of Nanana’s Collection items seems okay too and it does seem to give off that ancient and mysterious feel to it and doesn’t look like your everyday item that could be found in some souvenir shop. There are a few fanservice scenes (Shiki sleeping in her undies, the hotspring, Nanana’s thighs…) which eventually don’t amount to anything alarming.

Kana Asumi does her best as Tensai and probably this is how I like her to sound. More of the joker type like the titular character in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san instead of serious or no expression characters like Lily in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes Alternative or Frey in Unbreakable Machine Doll. Also recognizable are Kana Hanazawa as D’arc (sounds more dreamy than anything), Ayako Kawasumi as Konjou, Tomokazu Sugita as Ikusaba (bad ass mode), Kanae Itou as Yumeji and of course Mamiko Noto as Yukihime (feels like I am hearing lesser and lesser of her these days). Other casts include Yuuki Ono as Juugo (Zenkichi in Medaka Box), Rui Tanabe as Nanana (Cecil in Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil), Kazuyuki Okitsu as Isshin (Shion in Futari Wa Milky Holmes), Eri Suzuki as Yuu (Sanae in Rokujyouma No Shinryakusha), Yuuki Hayashi as Kagetora (Kowaku in Shikabane Hime), Misaki Kuno as Yun (Serara in Log Horizon), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Tetsu (Arata in Chihayafuru), Yumi Uchiyama as Shiki (Momiji in Binbougami Ga) and Kousuke Toriumi as Shuu (Kiba in Naruto).

The opening theme is Butterfly Effect by Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku (this is the name of the all-girl pop idol group despite the band’s name sounding like a private middle school nor do they make up of middle school students). Sounds like a pretty generic pop piece. The anime pop ending theme is Kasukana Hisokana Tashikana Mirai by Sphere.

Despite its shortcomings, this show is still enjoyable to watch if you love the combination of treasure hunting, puzzle solving, bits of action and little comedic and awkward moments between the characters. Nothing too deep, too complicating or too confusing. Just that it is just a tad too short a season to cover the necessary stuffs needed to leave viewers with that satisfied feeling once the series is over. In spite all the interesting treasures found and those waiting to be found, I don’t think the same can be said for this series. Maybe wait for a thousand years for it to be in limited print. Then you’ll see how much this actually fetches at the auction house. Oh what the heck. Animes are timeless treasures no matter how you look at it :).

Kamigami No Asobi

November 8, 2014

In a reverse harem, what is even more ultimate than having a group of handsome and hot young men surrounding you? Why, having a group of handsome hot young gods around you! And so that is the case for Kamigami No Asobi. Another reverse harem but this time taking it to a godly level. Oh my. Who is this dang lucky chick to have gods flocking by her side and at her whims and fancies? Having god under your control? That is like an insult or making them so low as to be cheap guys around a single girl. Anyway this series is not that bad as I have mentioned. You know how the various gods of different mythologies are in a world of their own? And you know how gods think highly mighty of themselves? Yeah. Because of that, they are deemed to be ‘disconnected’ from mankind and thus a human girl is sent to teach them all about humanity. Uh huh. Doesn’t it feels odd and like an insult? A mere mortal woman trying to teach high and might supreme beings about what it is like to be human. I mean, how can 2 very different beings actually understand each other no matter how much you explain or teach? Take for example in real life, men and women! Hahahahahaha!!! Oops… Ahem… And so under the guise of teaching those gods about humanity as an excuse for some immortal-mortal dating simulation, well, you won’t know if you don’t try.

Episode 1
There is a battle among the gods. I hope they aren’t fighting over a girl. Yui Kusanagi is the kind of girl who loves training with her sword. It is no surprise since her family runs a dojo and has not thought much about her entrance exams or even love. She hears a voice calling her name. Following it to a storeroom, she finds a beautiful sword and touches it. Before she knows it, she wakes up in a strange place. Her handphone has no signal (because you’re in Heaven, baby!). She comes across handsome guy #1, Hades Aidoneus. He is mean enough to tell this chick to stay away from her because he brings misfortune. She then follows a cute white bunny to hottie #2 Tsukito “Tsukuyomi” Totsuka who seems kind of expressionless. Then comes in his brother, hot guy #3 Takeru “Susanoo” Totsuka who is being rude to her. I think he has a brother complex since he wants to bring him somewhere and warns this cutie pie not to follow. Yui makes her way to the rooftop and realizes this is not Earth. A strange but beautiful place. It isn’t normal either. Does Pegasus prove it? The big horse scares the sh*t out of her. She runs down and bumps into good looking but mischievous guy #4, Loki Laevatein. He is in a hurry looking for someone. More wandering and she bumps into gorgeous hunk #5, Balder Hringhorni. Ah, at least this guy is polite and kind. Someone she can talk too. Although he is a bit clumsy. Clumsy enough for him to trip over her and their face close enough for a kiss. That won’t happen since Loki keeps them apart. This naughty guy doesn’t like her too and won’t tell her what is going on. He leaves her with a candy smoke bomb. Yui hears the voice again and is transported into a room where she meets Zeus. Yes, that Greek God of Gods. I didn’t know Zeus was blonde… She is summoned here as part of his plan. Since ancient times, gods have been worshipped by humans but the connection between the heavens and humans grow weak (I can see why – everyone is paying and worshipping their iPhones more!). He has brought together the gods who struggle the most with their connection to them and to be educated. Yui is to teach them about humanity. Oh sure. A cute young girl to be their teacher? Why not get some old experienced fart? Yui has no choice but to educate them so a terrible future can be avoided. Yui scoffs off at this ridiculous thing since she was kidnapped against her will and leaves. Thoth Caduceus wonders if Yui is the right choice but as Zeus says, she has been chosen by the Sword of Heaven’s Gathering Clouds. That sword? So to say if I touched that sword I can be the teacher to all Gods? I’m going to corrupt them with my otaku knowledge MWUAHAHAHAHA!!! In the garden, Yui meets the final attractive guy #6, Apollon Agana Belea. Another nice dude but he is trying to flirt with her and aiming for a kiss!

Episode 2
Just a peck on the cheek and that was just a greeting. He hears out her problem and since he doesn’t know about this place either, he summons his Pegasus to have a bird’s eye view. It’s a huge floating island in the middle of nowhere? So once everyone gathers in the hall, Zeus introduces everyone (including 2 new hot guys, Thor Megingjord and Dionysus Thyrsos). Takeru and Loki didn’t like each other’s guts already and want to have a go. But Zeus stops them and puts on shackles (earrings, anklets, bracelets, pendant, etc) to seal their power. Otherwise this academy he created will be destroyed. He also shows a pot that must be filled. Each time they understand the human heart, it will be filled. Only then they can graduate. They have a year to do it or be trapped in here forever. I don’t know the rational of materializing several spirits so it looks like the place is occupied with other students instead of looking barren or a reverse harem paradise. Thoth as their instructor further speaks to Yui. Zeus has modelled this academy like humans. She can find any facility here. He assures her once they graduate, she will return back in time to her family. Since she is still against this, Thoth puts his foot down. Zeus has the future of both humans and gods in mind so don’t be a b*tch. Plus, eventually that sword will guide her. In her room, she is greeted with an ‘ugly’ little doll named Melissa. He is her senior and supposedly someone she can talk to if she has any troubles. Basically a pet mascot to look after her. Instead of b*tching about it, Yui looks on the positive side and is going to do this and graduate. Next day during the opening ceremony, only she and the nice gods turn up (Tsukito, Balder and Apollon). Since they are not familiar with the entrance ceremony, they ask and she explains. I don’t know, the way they misunderstood it makes them look dumb… A ritual contract? A sacrifice? And why does Tsukito need to take down everything, and I mean everything Yui says?! So they go try to persuade the rest to come. Either they are not interested or like Loki and Takeru, they’re just interested in pissing each other off. You call that fun? Eventually only Dionysus gets onboard and they make preparations for the ceremony. It begins with Thoth taking attendance followed by Apollon as the representative of the new students giving his speech and oath that they will do their best to learn, study, work, live and graduate together.

Episode 3
The bad gods are playing truant while the good gods are just messing up class with their own klutz. Thoth leaves since nobody is really paying attention to his lesson so Yui pleads for him to stay. He reminds her that time is ticking and unless they understand about humanity and love, they’ll be trapped here forever. Suddenly the season changes into summer. Looks like Zeus has a hand in this. Good timing. He announces summer vacation starts tomorrow. So Yui and the good gods think of ways to make the bad gods come to school and it is suggested a trip to the beach would be a good idea. That night Apollon sees Yui practising her sword. She finds out Zeus is his father and he never listens to them and does things his way. Hades is his uncle while Dionysus is his brother. He hopes all of them can graduate. Amazingly all the bad gods were convinced to come. But they’ll have to walk all the way to the beach. It’s the journey that counts, right? Thanks to the seal, they have to experience the limitations of a human’s body too. Finally at the beach, the guys take off their clothes to reveal their swimsuits for our much needed fanservice of nice body and nice abs. Suddenly the season chances to fall before they can go into the sea. It’s freezing. Zeus trying to see them overcome the obstacle together? Apollon and Tsukito try to maintain positive and won’t lose out so they go into the ocean. Freaking cold! And they caught a cold. At the rest house, Loki and Takeru find this ridiculous and want to leave but Apollon tells them to wait as he will find a way to make this more fun. He goes out to the bird bath to try some prediction. Flowers? Thanks to the shackle, his prediction is unclear. Yui gets an idea for it when Balder and Tsukito report Loki and Thor are leaving because they don’t have obligations to listen to a fellow student. This makes Yui appoint Apollon as the student council president and explain what it is. He is the perfect candidate since he is trying so hard to make this work. So he has everyone wait in the rest house while he and Yui head to the store. Loki thinks Apollon as Zeus’ son is pretending to be their friend and working to ensure his plan goes well. Hades denies because he knows Apollon has love more pure than they can imagine. When Loki’s patience runs out and is about to leave, Apollon and Yui return just in time to start the fireworks. Amazing sight, isn’t it? So this is the ‘flower’? Little trivia: Humans created fireworks! In the end, everyone had fun with the sparklers and warmed up to each other (at least it’s a start). On their way back, Apollon becomes frantic when he thinks Yui has gone missing. She just stopped to look at some flowers. He comes rushing and hugging her. He was scared thinking she had disappeared. He regains his composure and they head back with the rest.

Episode 4
Yui talks to the gods about clubs. While some have the decency to join, others won’t. Especially Hades who doesn’t intend to participate in group activities although he seems to like astronomy. Yui is at a lost and seeks Thoth’s help but why does he need to get rough with her and tell her to think about it herself? She goes talk to Hades who maintains she should stay away and that he is happy to do his club activities alone. She continues to follow him but it suddenly rains (Hades’ misfortune instead of Zeus’ doing) and she got swept away in the river. Hades saves her and reminds her again. Next day, she continues to talk to him but it seems his misfortune is affecting her when the accidents of other gods’ club activities befall on her. Do I hear “I told you so” coming up? Later Yui talks to Apollon and Dionysus about this and they explain Hades is the king of the Underworld, the realm of the dead. They think of doing something nice for him and remember his favourite foods of daifuku and strawberry. Yui gets an idea of combining them both into a single snack and brings them to Hades who thinks she is trying to bribe him. He accepts her kindness and finds happiness in the snack. Very rare for the Underworld king to put up such an expression, eh? He then shows her a hideous scar on his chest. All those who died with regrets have their grudges engraved in him. The grudges pile up into misfortune that not only affects him but others as well. Again, stay away from him because he can never be happy. Yui starts thinking he avoids people not because he is a cold bastard. He is thinking of others and what is best for them. Along with the good gods, they follow him to go stargazing. But it soon starts to rain and he is immediately going to leave. The guys stop him and strip to their swimming trunks. It’s a waste the last time not being able to show off and they won’t lose to this misfortune this time. Funnily, the rain misses Balder since nature loves him so much. What? Yui talks to Hades while the rest plays in the rain. She says that there is a blessing in the misfortune. If she had never fall into the river, she would never have felt the happiness of him saving her. However he still knows what happiness is despite all the misfortune because there are others who care about him. When the rain stops, they see the starry sky. Hades adds that he used to gaze upon the stars from the Underworld and saw those glimmer of hope. Had he lived in the Heavens, he wouldn’t have known this joy. He agrees with Yui that he mustn’t wallow in misfortune.

Episode 5
Because Takeru is the only one not in a club, Thoth orders Yui to do something about it. Heck, even Loki and Thor are in the going home club although it isn’t a real club but technically… You get the point. She tries talking to him but he accuses her of only thinking of herself to graduate and doesn’t care about him. That night he sees her practising her sword and she again reminds him to join a club. He challenges her to a sword fight in which he will do so if she wins. Otherwise she will never bug him about this again. Yui actually lost the fight but Takeru decides to postpone it till next time as he views her as weak. She needs more training till she is strong enough. More training like running. Uh huh. He hints she can join him in morning and night running. And so Yui joins him in every session till the point she sleeps in class. One rainy day, she thought the session is cancelled but is surprised to see him doing it. She tries to follow but falls off a slippery cliff. This brings tragic memories for Takeru so in his desperation to save her, his shackle breaks and he transforms into his true god form to save her. However Zeus considers this a violation and will suspend him till he repents. What the heck, he doesn’t want to listen to reasons that he was trying to save her? If Takeru fails to repent, he will be expelled. That means, turning into a statue for eternity! Later Takeru apologizes to Yui that it is his fault because he didn’t think she would come. Tsukito then explains when they were young, Takeru witness a goddess who took care of them fell off a cliff. Everyone thought he pushed her and didn’t believe him thanks to his uncouth nature. Zeus discusses with Thoth that the gathering of gods in his garden makes this place unstable, that is why the shackles are in place. The gods must learn to control their emotion. Takeru is about to go apologize but Yui tells him not to for he has not done anything wrong. As he only wanted to save her, his desire to that causes the shackles to break. The desire to save someone is a natural human emotion. The other gods support Takeru because they feel a class without him isn’t the same. Isn’t this enough proof that they are learning about humans? Because Zeus still disagrees, Yui points out that he is the one who least understands about them and should also study them. Humans can recover from their mistakes. Saving their friends in trouble is normal. That is what it means to be human. If he still didn’t get that, he is an a$$hole so thankfully Zeus tells Takeru to continue his studies. Heading back to class, the gods discuss the kind of ‘club activities’ Takeru was doing all the while. There is no such thing as a no-club club… Yui thanks him for saving her. He admits that he thought humans are weak but she is pretty strong.

Episode 6
Thoth has made Totsuka the discipline officer. He is taking his duty-cum-mission seriously and inspecting everyone and everything. No stones left unturned! And then he collapses. Seems he has been doing this job since 5am! Thoth of course is unforgiving as he says he has abandoned his post and will not graduate at this rate. Since Totsuka is in charge of organizing tonight’s moon viewing, he vows to make it a success. Loki then has Yui and Totsuka wear a lover’s ring each. Instantly their fingers are attached to each other. They cannot take it off and anyone who attempts to do so will get zapped. The only way to have them off is to tacitly understand each other. Like becoming a couple. Totsuka will accept this new mission and overcome it. Loki will teach them how to fall in love and explains what a kiss is. Totsuka is actually going to do it but several of the concerned gods pull them apart. They got zapped in the process. With them glued together, it becomes hard for them to concentrate in class. Thoth doesn’t even want to continue teaching and furthermore, he doesn’t want to help out since this is their mess so why should he clean it up? Totsuka then begins preparing for the moon viewing and according to this magazine, he is going to have Yui fall for him. This guy really does it by the book. But you can guess why it is not working… Anyway it is hard for them to get things right. Failure rate very high. Whether is making the wooden benches or preparing snacks for tonight. The other gods keep a close watch on them. Especially those who are very concerned at their close proximity (looking at you trio, Balder, Apollon and Takeru). As they continue to do things together, Yui learns that he is so devoted to his job because it gives value to his existence. It would be meaningless if he doesn’t fulfil them. Yui disagrees because he is who he is and the missions he does has got nothing to do with it. He still doesn’t quite understand. Basically he isn’t really interested in doing things and just doing it because it is his mission. Yui explains from her side that she enjoyed every moment with him preparing all this. They manage to get everything done (I wonder how they even change into their kimonos). The highlight of this is Loki playing his wasabi snack on everyone… As they Yui and Totsuka, although he still doesn’t understand, he felt tonight’s moon is much prettier. Yui agrees. In that instant the ring breaks. But they haven’t become a couple. Who says they needed to become one? Tacitly understand each other… They figure Loki played them out and the concerned gods are relieved but also worried as they misunderstand they might have become a couple.

Episode 7
With winter coming, Yui and Balder have to come up with the winter cultural festival. Lots of students clamour around Balder for who knows what. Yui helps him get away. She learns of his ability to attract people. Because his mother loves him so much, all harm avoids him. Except if he hurts himself. He feels Yui as someone special as he has not being affected by his charms. Loki sees how close they are and isn’t impressed. Yui suggests that they do a Christmas market and for their booths, they should divide themselves based on their mythology origins. This doesn’t sit well with Balder because this means him being separated with her. This stalker even tells her he has counted how many times she smiles and he talked to her! As punishment, she must have dinner with him every day. Loki purposely barges in seemingly trying to break them up. Yui joins them in BBQ but Loki tries to give preferential treatment to Balder. I suppose Loki is the only one who doesn’t know because he is really shocked to learn Yui is human and not a god. He can’t believe it. She is here to represent humanity? All the more reason why he needs to break them apart. Over the next few scenes, Loki is always cutting in between them till Balder had to tell him off about his cruelty to Yui and not disappoint him any further. Thor tells Yui that they are close to each other since young. Loki’s mischief has everyone ostracise him unlike Balder who naturally attracts other. They are poles apart but that is what attracted them together. Loki tries to avoid Balder’s question so he asks back why Yui is so special. Well, Balder is pretty special to Loki. There’s that promise they would do anything and everything together, right? On the night of the festival, Loki confronts Yui and this time he is serious in wanting to make special memories together till they graduate since Yui hopes they can create good memories from now on. That scary face… However his plan backfires when Yui thinks positively. She is glad he will join them till they graduate and wants to be his friend because she thought he always hated her. Balder sees this from afar and is not amused. So as the lighting ceremony gets underway, now it is Balder’s turn to confront Yui as he gets the wrong idea she is in love with Loki. In that case he will only make her look at him. By kissing? Loki gets in between just in time and couldn’t understand why Balder won’t just look at him. He belongs to him!

Episode 8
Loki lets Yui escape. Back at her booth, Thoth buys all their red bean soup. Egyptian god likes red bean? She sees Balder coming and runs away as she doesn’t know how to face him. She ends up in Apollon’s booth as he is selling life size candle Santa Claus. See when they melt… I didn’t know it was Halloween… Then she sees Thoth forcing people to buy his mummified dolls. That’s how he got his money… And then at Loki’s booth (because Thor made her stay in his place), he pretended he never said about the special memories and Balder belongs to him. He won’t tell her what is going on too but warns her not to get too close to Balder for her own sake. Well, Balder heard this. He looks very much like a yandere now. He believes Loki is in love with her. The more reason he will never let her go. He takes her away and in some isolated place, he explains about people being attracted to his inborn light power unlike her who is not charmed and says what she feels. In fact, Loki is the other person like this. However he won’t give her up. Loki comes by and this riles up Balder. His light power goes berserk (light cuts!) so Loki braves it and eventually hugs him to calm him down. Balder becomes unconscious. Loki will tell Yui everything provided she doesn’t tell Balder what happened. As Balder’s power attracted people, he wasn’t surrounded with real love. He was lonely. Till Yui came along to fill that loneliness. When his emotions go out of control, he turns into a different person. A different Balder hurts others and himself. That is why he was trying to keep them apart. As she is unaffected by his light power, he understands why he finds her attractive. Loki was hated by the gods since young and they treated him like the enemy. No one cared about him and he could have turned into a hateful being until he met Balder. No matter how much he hurt him, his love for both good and evil changed him. One day a god tried to kill Loki. Balder jumped into his defence. Let’s say that everyone got hurt. He couldn’t remember what happened buy Loki assured everything would be alright. Balder wakes up not having memories of what happened. He asks if Loki likes Yui. He denies but blushes. With that, they made up. They manage to attend the closing ceremony of letting go lanterns into the sky. Balder apologizes he caused trouble for everyone because he rushed into things. He feels fortunate to have such people around him. Later on, Thor reminds Loki and the latter assures he will kill Balder himself.

Episode 9
Yui dreams of Apollon and a mortal woman, Cassandra. As their different beings cannot make them together, he gives her his power to make them the same. It has been 6 months and Thoth has organized a major event: Midterm exams! Yui is freaking out because she never thought there would be exams in this place. I mean, gods taking exams? Yeah well, seems none of them really paid attention or took down Thoth’s notes. They’re screwed. As they study together, Yui finds Apollon acting weird. He is murmuring he doesn’t deserve happiness. Then she gets whisked away into some dream. She sees Cassandra opening the box Apollon gave her but falls into great despair. Apollon realizes Yui is not with him and quickly looks for her. He clings on to her like as though he will not let her go, screaming like a frantic kid. It took the other gods to separate them. Yui starts to ponder about this as she sees yet another dream. Cassandra drowned herself and Apollon was devastated when he found her lifeless floating body. That night she sees in a trance heading out. She follows him and tries to stop him from drowning himself before Cassandra’s ghost. Hades and Dionysus help bring them back to Apollon’s room. They explain Cassandra killed herself when she saw the helpless future. Apollon cried for days. Despite that, Cassandra’s soul never came to the Underworld most probably she had lingering grudges. Hades cautions Yui that Cassandra as a ghost may try to cause her harm. Apollon starts going crazy so Yui rushes to see Zeus for help. He continues Apollon’s story that he blamed himself for Cassandra’s death and became trapped in his thought he must never find happiness. That is why Zeus brought him here. If there was a way to save Apollon, he would have done so. Yui is still adamant to save him even with Thoth being the ultimate pessimist that there is nothing she can do. Because if Zeus can’t, what are the chances of a human. Don’t underestimate… She sees Cassandra before her and pleads to her. Surprisingly, Cassandra says her words don’t reach him. The harder she tries, the more he is hurt. She wants to save him and possesses Yui’s body to confront Apollon. She regrets she realized too late when she saw death will do them part even if he became a mortal, all the more reason why mortals treasure their limited time together. He still blames himself for causing her death. However she doesn’t wish to see him suffer and is happy for the times they have spent. She wants him to find his own happiness. Her words reached, she is now able to pass on. Goodbye. Things return to normal and Apollon’s shackle breaks. So to say that if they work hard enough, the shackle will come off in no time. Motivation and hope for the rest. But they forgot one big thing: The midterm exam!

Episode 10
Thankfully everyone did well in their test so as a reward, they will have to do a play. In 3 days! Seems they are fixated in doing Cinderella. Because with Yui as the princess, naturally who is going to be the prince? Uh huh. This is where your male catfight begins. Each claiming they are fit for that prince role. Even Hades. But he is being ignored… The only way to solve this is via lottery. So this is how it went: Cinderella = Yui; Prince = Apollon; Fairy = Balder; Servant = Loki; Step sisters = Takeru and Totsuka; Fathers = Hades and Dionysus; Various roles = Thor. Thoth may seem like he hates it but from the way he reacts, he might actually be looking forward to do the narration. So the play begins like as you would expect. Some I thought are so wooden in their acting… Dionysus’ role ends fast so he goes to gather his wine. A mysterious and mischievous lad, Anubis Maat test tastes and somewhat likes it and steals the bottle. Dionysus is appalled to see his wines missing and goes to hunt the wine thief. Heck Anubis even accidentally spills coffee on Thoth’s script so he has to improvise and adlib. Yeah, notice all the cursing lines he identifies everyone with… As the play nears the end, Loki too goes adlib. Because he feels he should be the star and kidnaps Cinderella. Then it twists into some sort of battle royale because the one who gets to give Cinderella wear the glass slipper gets to marry her. Everyone is in! Including Hades. But he’s being ignored… Just then Dionysus who is chasing Anubis end up on stage. In this frantic chaos, everyone slips and gets knocked out cold. When it’s over, it looks like a murder scene! Unconscious bodies with red ‘blood’ all over! And when everyone wakes up and is going to finish the play, Yui accidentally drops and breaks the glass slipper. Thoth improvises and ends this on a happy note. They are given a standing ovation! I bet they never seen the original Cinderella before. Later everyone is happy how fun it was despite the chaos. Then gloom falls on them when the thought of everyone will be separated once they graduated. Yui tries to maintain positive that they can still meet up and that they should have fun as much as possible. Suddenly Balder collapses.

Episode 11
As Balder lies in bed, the rest think he must be tired from the play. But something feels wrong because he collapsed during Christmas market too. Later Yui and Apollon heard Thor talking to Loki that things are not changing for the better and the only way left is to kill Balder. They are shocked and thought he was joking. Sorry. Loki also lied about Balder changing into a different person in his rampage. As the God of Light, he also attracts darkness. In short, he is also the God of Destruction. Zeus enrolled him here in hopes learning more of humanity would help him suppress his darkness but it is not working. At this rate he will be a weapon of mass destruction that will not only destroy this academy but all the worlds! Wow. That destructive, huh? The only way left is to kill him. But how can he when harm avoids him? Well, there is always exception to the rule. There was a mistletoe that broke free of the vow when his mother made. Thus this mistletoe blade is the only thing that will kill him if pierced through his heart. Because Balder is his precious friend, all the more reason why he has to kill him and can’t let him do something he wouldn’t want. Balder wakes up and he doesn’t know what is going on. Everyone pays their visit as usual. Yui feels so bad because all this feels so wrong. To kill the person you love to protect him just feels so screwed up. Apollon promises to find another way to save him and also to trust in them. He has told the other gods about it and they too share their concern. They will not abandon their friends so don’t treat them like strangers. Too bad they have to cut short this warm fuzzy feeling because Thor breaks the bad news that Loki and Balder are missing. Seems Loki brings Balder to the edge of the land (nice sunset). Balder gets nostalgic about the past. He hints he knows what Loki is trying to do. Actually, he does. He now understands what is going on and encourages Loki to kill him. Of course he couldn’t. Loki breaks down. Blah, blah, blah. You saved me. Blah, blah, blah. I can’t save you. Blah, blah, blah. Loki was hoping Yui and the others could do something or there would be some other way but it doesn’t look like it. Thor shares his sentiments too and that he isn’t wrong. At that point, Loki and Thor’s shackle break. Balder is glad they have no more regrets and apologizes for making them take everything upon themselves. He will end this by falling off the cliff. Hey, he is the only other thing that can hurt himself, no? Is this where the term drop dead comes about. Oops. Just kidding… BALDER!!! NOOOooOOOooOOOooOOooOOOOoooo!!! :(.

Episode 12
Well, what do you know? Balder turned into a God of Destruction. How convenient. Now his light is just zapping and destroying everything. Not even Zeus can prevent this. Loki and Thor could see that Balder isn’t completely taken over yet and plan to save him as they transform into their god form. Apollon joins in. Hades and Dionysus are helping to evacuate the students. They want Zeus to help them too but he is too busy trying to protect the place. Not only until Hades and Dionysus use their bodies to protect the students did Zeus finally turn them back into spirit form. Safer that way. Nobody has to worry minor characters will die. With Hades and Dionysus’ shackles coming off, they head to save Balder. Loki sees a small gap that could reach Balder. He fails to get in and becomes discouraged. Takeru had to lecture him to believe in them that they want to save Balder too. And with their shackles off too, it’s time for more gods to save Balder. Yui notices the pot filled. Her sword reacts to it and absorbs them. She could feel everyone’s heart wanting to save Balder and must bring this to Balder. Before she gets crushed by a slab, for once Thoth uses his intimidating move to save her to get her ass going. She is sad to see Loki trying to sacrifice himself to save Balder. Riding with Apollon on his Pegasus and the other gods making a clear way for them, they manage to enter the core. She gives her sword to Loki and in turn he stabs Balder in the heart. He returns to normal, the place returns to normal, everything calms down and everyone happily reunites. Just when Balder’s shackle comes off, the place starts crumbling down. I guess Zeus was already at his limits. The gods combine their powers to protect Yui and send her back to her world. Yui is in distraught. Can no longer be with hot handsome hunky-dory gods ;p. The gods have their final thank you or I love you words for her before she vanishes right to where it all began at her dojo. As if it was just all a dream but her memories retained. She rushes to the storeroom but couldn’t find the sword. She weeps uncontrollably that she cannot see the (handsome) guys anymore. Yui becomes gloomy for the rest of the few scenes, thinking about the times she spent with them. If this was going to happen, should have erased her memories as well. But do not be in despair. Because one day she hears the gods calling for her. It’s not her imagination. Here they are right before her! In the flesh! They want her to teach them again. Gladly.

Playing With Gods
Hah. I take it that the gods flunk their part in Zeus’ garden. Otherwise why be sent down to Earth to continue learning? Or it could be that they really want to be with Yui and purposely head down to Earth and continue learning with her. I can imagine the chaos that will now take place because suddenly our dojo girl has 8 hunks by her side, what more I assume they are going to transfer into her class. And definitely all the guys will stay away from them because you know, you don’t want to mess with gods, right? Definitely. And so I thought the ending although was a little cheesy, was to make us feel good because it would have been such a disaster for Yui to end up alone crying by herself so might as well have the gods be with her again with whatever absurd reason for them to reunite with her again after some time.

I can’t help feel the irony that gods actually need to learn about humans because I thought they were supposed to be omniscient. But then again, different gods in different cultures have their different roles and perhaps personalities. Speaking of gods of different mythologies, I thought they should have added a few more mythologies like Indian, Chinese or even Roman gods. But then again, if they were to increase the number of gods just for this, the entire place would be just damn crowded and we won’t be able to focus on anything. So learning from Yui is indeed a blessing in disguise because as seen they get to understand the human heart well and even be humane (saving your friends in trouble is a human trait, I suppose). I just thought and snickered when Zeus was told off a little that he should also joined in the class. I agree. He thinks he knows everything? Maybe. But ironically that makes him the least who understands about humans. He sends other gods to learn with Yui but he himself hardly understands about them. I guess it is different when you are the big boss. For whatever reasons he have for saving the future of mankind and gods, looks like at least it is starting to bear fruit with Yui and the gods building a close relationship with one another.

And thus getting close to Yui is one reason and excuse for us to have the romance drama. You can tell from their reactions (because most of them have 1 episode personally in focus with them and Yui) that they take a liking for her. It feels like it is more than just-because-I-am-a-god-and-you-are-a-mortal-woman-I-find-you-interesting kind of feeling. It is because Yui is mere human that she is perhaps different than other gods they interact and thus the attraction. Now we know why forbidden love attracts and is so tempting but usually never works out. Although the romance drama for this series is quite okay, you won’t really feel that the gods are actually competing with each other to get Yui. I suppose that is one trait in all reverse harem animes (think Uta No Prince-sama, Amnesia and La Corda d’Oro series) unlike harem animes targeted at guys filled with mind numbing fanservice and catfights. They focus on the drama and developing without resorting to such cheap tactics (I figure girls don’t like to see guys fighting each other over a girl).

Despite Balder and Apollon are the ones who clearly much daring and bold in confessing their feelings to Yui, you don’t feel that there is the danger of Yui going to choose to be with any one of them. Because she is more concerned in building their bond and graduating together as friends. In this sense you could say that she fulfilled her role magnificently. To make those gods to even come back for her, that is something. It’s like she’s god! Haha! Something ironic that I feel is that as they gradually bond with each other, the feelings of separation are something they dread. Well, I thought if they wanted to stay together, they could always not fill up the pot and they can be stuck in this garden forever, right? They can be forever and ever together that way. Heck, Yui didn’t even feel homesick when she seems getting along fine with the other gods. But Balder had to go berserk and destroy it. Can’t Zeus make another one? So it seems they might be working towards graduation but do they really want that?

Just like in reverse harem genres, each of the guys has their own personality. From cheerful and nice guys to brooding and taciturn guys to those with lots of angst. Like they say, variety is the spice of life. It would be boring if everybody was as happy and polite like Apollon or Baldur or everyone is just as mad as Takeru. So with different gods and their personalities, there are different approaches to them but eventually all of them fell for Yui’s charm. Thanks to the shackle that limits them to their human form, the more reason and excuse why those gods are acting like humans, even more so like young adult guys. At least they know how tough it is being human. Weak and fragile but yet strong.

Totsuka I feel is the retard joker of the group despite he displays no emotion. Because among the rest of the gods, he is the ‘dumbest’ one. Ah well, in every group there is bound to be one who isn’t too intelligent and a retard. Remember Snow White’s 7 dwarves? Yeah… It is like a running joke that Totsuka literally takes down notes everything that others say. Even when they tell him not to, he still takes it down. I don’t know. Has looking at the moon all the time caused his brain to be retarded?

Hades is a little funny himself. I thought as the ruler of the Underworld, he would be somewhat menacing. I mean, a place where you govern dead souls isn’t a place for cheery gods. Okay, so the Disney adaptation turned him into some cool antagonist-cum-joker equipped with his own witty lines. But as far as this anime is concerned, Hades is much toned down and sometimes I can’t help view him as the worrywart of the group. He fears his misfortune will affect others. That is a good sign to show that he cares but to see him this down and gloomy? Maybe being the ruler of the Underworld has made him so. I wanted to think it is the shackles that suppress his power but when I look at Takeru so filled with angst and Loki being the mischievous little devil, I thought those limiters couldn’t be it. It is just him.

Oddly with half of the series having at least an episode dedicated to one god, I find it odd that Thor and Dionysus don’t have theirs. It makes them feel like they are just supporting characters. Well, 6 gods are already too much for a mortal girl to handle, what more 8? I thought it would be more the merrier but I suppose there is just a limit. Besides, Thor doesn’t talk much and I figure Dionysus is happy with his gardening and wine. Besides, Dionysus is the God of harvesting, winemaking and wine. I thought it would have been ‘complete’ if he had wine and women ;p.

Thoth has this habit of cornering Yui and then slamming his palm against the wall or pillar. Is this a sign to intimidate her? He acts like he is tough or knows it all but something tells me he is as lost as the other gods. Because he doesn’t want to help out, giving excuse that they should clean up their own mess, etc. It is like he may not know a thing. Sure, it encourages them to be independent and think for themselves but I thought he should have put it in a better way. Because it makes him so arrogant. I mean, some hapless mortal comes to you to seek a little help and what is this? You turn this poor little girl away? And he is supposed to be the God of Knowledge… Even odder, he has this liking for red bean soup. Do they serve those in Egypt?

I feel Melissa doesn’t play any sort of vital role in this anime. He is sent to take care or aid Yui but I figure he must have helped her behind the scenes or those short scenes where he gives her advice and encouragement. But overall I think the show could be done without this doll. Otherwise I feel his only role is to be some sort of mascot. Heck, I think Tsukito’s pet bunny should make a cuter looking mascot. Same case with Anubis. In the first half, he makes very short and mysterious cameo appearing here and there just to keep us viewers guessing who the heck this animal-like kid is. Could he be some future antagonist in the end or something trivial. He looks like a retard only second to Tsukito. His most prominent episode was that Cinderella play and after that he becomes some sort of ‘pet’ to Thoth as seen hanging out by his side most of the time. Oddly, Anubis is supposed to be the Egyptian God of the Dead…

Those who love the bishonen type of art would definitely find the art and drawing for this series to be very pleasant to the eye. Sometimes I find it odd that the gods here lean more towards anime bishonen guys (duh!) instead of being the mythological gods that they are. I mean, can you imagine Norse and Greek gods looking so much like hot Japanese anime studs? It feels weird. As if they are just borrowing the names of those gods but everything else differs. But then again, in Latin countries, some men are named after the son of God, Jesus. Even in their god form, it feels like they are somewhat in some fancy cosplay with some of them baring half their top.

In the voice acting department, I don’t know, I somehow feel that nice cheerful guys sound so gay. Like Miyu Irino (Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicle) as the voice of Apollon and Hiroshi Kamiya (Trafalgar Law in One Piece) playing Balder. Especially Apollon whose nickname calling penchant (he doubles the names of those he calls, for example, Bal-Bal, Loki-Loki or Thor-Thor) makes it sound so gay. So one kind. Maybe it is better (or not) than gods who are filled with angst such as Toshiyuki Toyonaga (Shun in Kimi To Boku) as Takeru. Yuuto Uemura (Rokusuke in Mushishi: The Next Chapter) does Totsuka and really makes him sound like a retard. Quite the irony for a god. Daisuke Ono (Sebastian in Kuroshitsuji) proves he is best voicing gentleman kind of roles but as Hades he is just gloomy. Better than being angry, no? Other casts include Saori Hayami as Yui (Ikaros in Sora No Otoshimono), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Loki (X-eins in Valvrave The Liberator), Hirofumi Nojima as Dionysus (Yuusaku in Toradora), Noriaki Sugiyama as Thor (Sasuke in Naruto), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Thoth (Naraku in Inu Yasha), Hochu Ootsuka as Zeus (Shiro in Arakawa Under The Bridge) and Tomokazu Seki as Melissa (Chiaki in Nodame Cantabile).

The opening theme is Till The End by the sextet behind the voices of Apollon, Balder, Loki, Hades, Takeru and Totsuka. Looks like another reason why Thor and Dionysus aren’t really part of the harem and makes them feel like they are just supporting characters. Anyway this opening piece sounds like your typical boy band group. Imagine if your hunky gods are singing this. Definitely heavenly… Imagine this as a godly version of Uta No Prince-sama. The same sextet sings the ending theme, Reason For. Although sounding like another boy band group, this one has a little techno in it. In the ending credits animation, they depict those 6 guys as 6 golden apples. Trying to hint something about the forbidden fruit?

On a trivial note, the next ending preview is more like a theatre for the gods to just rant their nonsense. Usually it lasts only for 10 seconds. Memorable ones I like such as Balder looking forward to the kind of food he is going to eat net (but Loki doesn’t give a damn), Totsuka and his retard-ness, Thoth intimidating us viewers because we are staring at him (you’ll be forgiven if you give him his favourite red bean soup) and Thoth couldn’t understand a thing Anubis says (because he has no proper dialogue lines!). And my personal favourite one is how Zeus keeps trying to correct Melissa in pronouncing Yui’s name. Because Melissa is a little lisp, he always pronounces it as “Kutanagi” and the doll always insists he does pronounce it in that corrected way. Eventually the correction goes awry because Zeus too starts pronouncing “Kutanagi”. Infectious? A good reverse psychology on how to screw with people…

It seems like a very strange joke to send a human to teach gods about being humans. During their absence ‘taking time off’ while learning about humanity, I wonder who is in charge of their respective roles. I mean, if Hades is in Zeus’ garden, who is it is keeping an eye on the Underworld? I don’t know if he has some assistant or appointed somebody temporary for the job. I might have watched a handful of reverse harem animes recently but I can’t really judge if this one is the better one among the rest. It is still pretty decent to watch since there are decent character developments (never mind the plot about gods learning to be humans from a human). Even if you aren’t into reverse harem genre, this series should be okay because I don’t feel there are any strong elements that would try to convert and ‘corrupt’ you into a reverse harem lover. So the important we learn is that regardless of the kind of status you have, it is essential to understand each other so that we can cry and laugh together on the same footing. Now you can’t say that would be an act of God, would you?

Let me guess. By choosing to watch Ore No Nounai Sentakushi Ga Gakuen Love Comedy Wo Zenryoku De Jama Shiteru OVA means that you pretty love the TV series and decided to get more sadistic kicks by watching our poor Kanade make humiliating choices, right? Yeah. Imagine if you don’t have the free will to make choices and must make painfully embarrassing choices called Absolute Choices that makes you the biggest loser in the end or else the pain in your head will never go away. We’re so fortunate not to have Kanade’s situation. And we’re fortunate enough to see his misfortune continue. And now that you have been warned, choose! 1) Continue watching this OVA; 2) Continue watching this OVA without blinking your eyes.

One-Sided Love Maiden
As usual, Absolute Choices are making Kanade’s life hell again because he needs to do some dirty joke and stance in class. Everyone must have gotten used to it, huh? Then here comes Chocolat telling him about a couple of boys getting homo with each other. So? She wants Kanade to join in! Ouka comes in to show him several spin-offs from the OSL Maiden game. It is your typical harem anime whereby the typical protagonist is romantically insensitive and never takes note of their love for him. The spin-offs include a grandma and a gay homo type. And then here comes Absolute Choices: Decide which game he wants to be in! Well, obviously. Kanade finds himself in the game world of OSL Maiden. He bumps into the new transfer student in a cliché affair. Nozomi Katakoi is one of the heroines of this game and is rushing to school with a bread in her mouth when this happens. Noting the choices here are mild and that he has played this game, he thinks he will get out of this game by making a good impression of her. He has played this game and knows it well. This is going to be a piece of okay. Till Absolute Choices interfere, that is. Screw it! Shocking Nozomi with going to a hotel or having sex, this is followed by yet another Absolute Choices of letting her stroke his ass or lick his dick. Nozomi is shocked and runs away. I guess that’s the end of her flag. Next he sees Saki Dokumamushi surrounded by delinquents. Actually she looks a lot like Ouka. He confronts the delinquents when Absolute Choices work up again. Yeah. He makes that guy touch his crotch! He freaks out and they leave. Kanade talks to her and it seems she doesn’t know who this Ouka girl he is talking about. He is going to give her some bread since she is hungry. Leave it to Absolute Choices to ruin it to take out some panties. Of course she gets embarrassed and runs away. Not before beating him up. Looks like her route is done too.

Kanade knows this is where the next heroine, Starry Sky Milk makes her entry. She’s an alien by the way. Okay, she looks a lot like Furano and her sick character resembles a lot like her too. In the original game, he has a choice of not getting involved with her but Absolute Choices won’t make that happen. Get hit plentiful or be obliterated. So Kanade becomes her punching bag. Then she leaves after losing interest in him. Then this character appears before him, Yoh Haruhara. From what I understand, this hidden character route only appears if she has a delicate but superb impression of him. But because Yoh is born a guy but voice and behaviour are very much like a girl, he believes Yoh is now a guy. But he is a bald ugly guy! And Yoh wants to kiss him! Suddenly Chocolat (calling herself Parfait) pops up. She wants Kanade and Yoh to get down with full homo with each other. Absolute Choices want Kanade to decide whether Yoh turns into a girl or loli. Of course he can’t pick the latter. And here she is, a cute and charming girl that he might even fall for! Oh, that smile that will melt your heart! However Chocolat will not allow this to continue because Yoh has turned into a girl. Kanade realizes why Chocolat is doing this and she herself admits she is in love with Kanade.

That’s when Milk and Saki pop up and notice him flirting with other girls. Because they sound jealous, Kanade knows this is going to be a bad end route. Uh huh. Everyone is going to turn yandere and end it in a bloodbath! Kanade is just like the protagonist. He was insensitive to their feelings, right? Milk strangles him while Saki starts punching his guts. Yoh is going to stab him with the knife and Chocolat trying to spread his ass open! WTF?! And then Kanade gets sliced open! Nothing inside… Is he such an empty person? He wakes up from this nightmare back in his classroom. The other girls wonder if he is alright and as usual Furano teases his horny dream. Kanade makes the mistake by telling his dream that all of them had this one-sided love for him. Ridiculous, right? Ouka and Furano start feeling upset. See their deadly aura? Furano punches him and runs away with that heart wrenching cute face ever. Ouka pinches him, calls him an idiot and runs away. And Kanade still couldn’t understand why they’re mad at him! See, isn’t he just like the protagonist? He even asks Chocolat what is going on with those girls so she tells him off he can’t handle girls and is better off doing homo. Oh sh*t! But I think she’s got a point! It’s like saying if you can’t get a girl, might as well go gay. Kanade blames Absolute Choices for it and then here it comes… Let a few drops leak from his crotch or have it shrink smaller… FFFFFUUUUUUU!!!!!

You Live With The Decisions You Make
Hilarious as always but I guess not to everyone’s taste thanks to the perverted, screwed up and freaking horny Absolute Choices that Kanade is forced to make. If you can put that aside, the comedy is fun. Too bad that this OVA is just like any other OVAs after the TV series. Instead of finding out more about his weird condition or a way to stop this, this serves like another standalone and filler episode. But we can confirm a little more that his harem girls definitely do like him and thus this dating simulation episode is somewhat befitting for a guy like him. So it is no surprise that he gets what he deserves in the end? So many choices made and yet the important choice of which girl is still undecided? Ironic. And the best thought provoking issue is Chocolat and her gay tendencies for Kanade because it sure made me think that if otaku losers can’t get a decent girlfriend, might as well turn homo! Oh sh*t! I don’t want that to happen! I thought Yuragi would be part of this since she is of the little sister trope but like many of the other girls (Ayame, Konagi, Utage and Seira) do not appear at all. I believe all of them have some sort of feelings for him one way or another. But what the heck, the decision has been made. Just too bad that life isn’t like your dating simulations where you can return to your save point and redo something again. So Kanade better watch his ass tightly or else some homo guy would just come screw it…

P/S: If you don’t like this anime, then choose!:
1) Re-watch the entire anime series again from the start.
2) Watch porn with your family and in-laws.
3) Do full-on gay sex in public and upload it on YouTube.