Top Bishoujos of 2014

December 28, 2014

Here we go… Again. Another year later. Yes, people. Regulars would have come to terms and accept the fact by now that it is time for another last blog of the year. This could only mean one thing. The Top Bishoujos of 2014! Just like in previous years, the more I look back on them, the more kiasu I think I have become. Look at how many animes I have watched over the years and this year itself is no exception. With a lack of variety blogs (save for a handful of versus blogs but that don’t really matter), most of them are your typical anime series blogs that are so ubiquitous throughout the year.

That is why there is a record total of 72 bishoujos entering the list! HOLY FREAKING COWS!!! Seventy two 2D girls?! It is like almost every series there is a ‘leng lui’ in it waiting for me to discover or has my taste in what constitute a bishoujo become so generalized that they could easily enter the year-end list? And I thought this year I would slow down on the list but man, I was wrong. So without further ado, listed below are the top 10 bishoujos of 2014. Listed alphabetically of course.

1) Celestia Ludenberg (Danganronpa The Animation)

2) Celia Cumani Aintree (Walkure Romanze)

3) Chiko Shinmoto (Super Seisyun Brothers)

4) Kouko Kaga (Golden Time)

5) Krista Lenz (Shingeki No Kyojin)

6) Kurumi Isoshima (Mahou Sensou)

7) Saki Rukino (Valvrave The Liberator)

8) Sayaka Kirasaka (Strike The Blood)

9) Sayaka Watanabe (Bokura Wa Minna Kawasou)

10) Takao (D-Frag!)

A very big congratulations to the top 10. And as usual, it was a tough choice to pick and choose (well, almost – because some were a given). If not for the rest, they would not have been up there. So here is the list of the other 6 finalists who didn’t end up in the top 10 but gave them a run for their money. They include (in alphabetical order) Grenda-chan (Robot Girls Z), Kazuki Ferrari (Gallilei Donna), Mitsuki Nase (Kyoukai No Kanata), Petra Rall (Shingeki No Kyojin), Setsuna Ogiso (White Album 2) and Suzuka Dairenji (Tokyo Ravens).

That isn’t all to the list. Because of the large number of candidates, the selections were split into 2 rounds before the final list was drawn up. These are the 16 candidates that made it to round 2 but unfortunately didn’t go any further. In alphabetical order: Akemi Sumizome (Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha), Botan Oohagi (Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku), Chisaki Hiradaira (Nagi No Asukara), Claire Cruz (Tooaru Hikuushi E No Koiuta), Haruka Niimi (Photokano), Kaguya Yamai (Date A Live II), Kou Shuurei (Saiunkoku Monogatari), Marion Quin (Atelier Escha & Logy), Maxi Akizuki (Inu To Hasami Wa Tsukaiyou), Natsuo Maki (Love Lab), Noel Vermillion (BlazBlue – Alter Memory), Ren Kougyoku (Magi), Saya Miyoshi (Servant x Service), Tensai Ikkyuu (Ryuugajou Nanana No Maizoukin), Uka No Mitama No Kami (Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha) and Yuzuru Yamai (Date A Live II).

If you are still alive after reading that list and can go on, then let us not forget the rest of the 40 first round candidates. They are Ai Shindou (Kyoukai No Kanata), Aki Hiiragi (Inugami-san To Nekoyama-san), Ayame Reikadou (Noukome), Cosette Shelley (Seikoku No Dragonar), Elena Miyazawa (Sekai De Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai), Elle Karen (Blade & Soul), Elza Crucial (Yuushibu), Etia Visconti (Gen’ei Wo Kakeru Taiyou), Faye Valentine (Cowboy Bebop), Hana Isuzu (Girls Und Panzer), Hanabi Ayase (12-sai ~Kiss, Kirai, Suki~), Haruka Takayama (Sakura Trick), Hazuki Ferrari (Galilei Donna), Heroine (Amnesia), Honey (Hamatora), Io Nitta (Devil Survivor 2), Jeanne d’Arc (Makai Ouji: Devils And Realist), Karen Kujou (Kiniro Mosaic), Kazusa Touma (White Album 2), Kiyoko (Strange+), Komari Koshigaya (Non Non Biyori), Kyouko Hori (Hori-san To Miyamura-kun), Lenessia Eruarte Cowen (Log Horizon), Linca (Atelier Escha & Logy), Miki Shirasagi (Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda), Miranda (Ixion Saga DT), Miyu Okamoto (Wake Up, Girls!), Moa Torii (Imocho), Myusel Foalan (Outbreak Company), Nijika Kohinata (Niji-iro Prism Girl), Rin Haruna (Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-Bu), Rusty Nail (Strange+), Sakurako Sanjou (Hana Yori Dango), Sayaka Maizono (Danganronpa The Animation), Scar (Kamisama No Inai Nichiyoubi), Sharo Kirima (Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Silvia Lautreamont (Seikoku No Dragonar), Sumireko Hanabusa (Akuma No Riddle), Suzuno Kamazuki (Hataraku Maou-sama) and Yuu Naruse (Watamote). Also to note, the tally could have gone up by two if not for Kenjirou Hato (Genshiken Nidaime) and Mariandel (Ixion Saga DT) being a cross-dresser! The latter although did become a woman in the final moments but for every other part, he is still guy in a girl’s dress so definitely still considered a trap. Oh yeah. Traps. Fear how pretty they are.

Of course, the unforgettable duo of Suigin Tou from Rozen Maiden and Mai Tokiha from Mai-HiME will always take a permanent and special spot in my heart. (Note: Suigin Tou gets to ‘go first’ this year because of Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen. Although released in 2013, I saw it only this year).

 

 

And the cycle will repeat itself for the next year as expected. And it will be a special year next year. Why? Because it will be already a decade ever since this segment started! Oh my, how time flies. Can’t wait for it. Can it? So hope to see you next year when it happens. If I am still around (hopefully). But in the meantime, Long Live Anime Bishoujos!

Blade & Soul

December 27, 2014

The last time an anime was made out of a Korean MMORPG was Ragnarok. That was way back in 2004. Now, a decade later, another Korean MMORPG was given the anime treatment. Sorry, it wasn’t Ragnarok. Since I do not play such popular MMORPG games (because I spend all my time watching animes), I am not sure how many other of such games were turned into anime. Blade & Soul is currently gaining popularity and I guess it is no surprise that an anime had to be made. Just like how Ragnarok was. Trying to search for more information if the anime was based on some storyline in the game yielded answers I wasn’t looking for. So I concluded that the anime is something original but based on the workings of the Blade & Soul universe. To put the anime’s plot in a single sentence: A female assassin of a certain tribe goes on a journey to seek revenge for her murdered master and meets a myriad of characters along the way.

Episode 1: Path
Alka swiftly cuts the throat of her pursuers despite they have guns. A scavenger scavenges the weapons but gets killed off by this big fat guy, Ga Gante. Yoo Ran and Jin Varrel know the slit on the throat killing style belongs to the Clan of the Sword. And so the Palam Empire spreads the word around for a wanted murderer. She bears a pink butterfly mark on her shoulder. Elle Karen of Tomon Inn doesn’t want them to disrupt her customers but Jin Hazuki is eager to take the job since the bounty is huge. A couple of guys thought they could peep on this babe bathing. Masa almost got his throat slit and is so scared that he peed in his pants! Koga knows what he is dealing with and persuades her to be his bodyguard since his little village is having difficulties with Palam. They bring her back to their village as she is introduced to everyone (Masa shows off his wet pants to everyone! WTF?!) including the village leader’s daughter, Morii. She tries to test her skills and Alka’s quick reflex to point her blade at her neck scares and impresses her. As Morii guides her around the village, she explains about the flower called Heaven’s Spirit. It is said unearthly things appear when you are surrounded by its scent. They believe it gives you supernatural powers. Thus, Palam wants to buy their land and cultivate those flowers. Morii won’t hand it to them since their ancestors work hard on this land and hires Alka to protect her. Alka continues to live and hang around Morii.

One day, the Palam guys come to buy the land. Not selling. This time they point out their guns and are going to take it by force. When one of them fires, Alka cuts the bullet in half and the ricochet has the sliced bullet shoot into the forehead of the other Palam guards! Woah!!! Precision! She wanted to kill the last one but Morii orders her to stop. He sees Alka’s butterfly mark. Now that everyone has seen her ferocious killing style, they ask her if she has worked in Palam before. She doesn’t hesitate to answer she was once in their service. This has the guys discuss with Morii that Alka may be a spy and perhaps it would be wiser to sell the land. Morii will not sell this land. Okay. How about kicking Alka out? She might get them into deeper trouble. Because if they make the wrong choice, it is the same as failing their ancestors. The sole Palam guy reports back and Ganza happily volunteers to go on this excursion as he wants to try out his Heaven’s Spirit. That night, Palam launches an ambush. All the villagers are mercilessly slaughtered! I guess it’s too late to sell the land, huh? Besides, Ganza is here to kill Alka who is accused of murdering her master and since they are sheltering her, it makes them as guilty. Alka fights Ganza but despite his super strength, he blinds him first before killing him. In the aftermath, I think Morii is the only survivor. She feels guilty no one will forgive her. Alka suggests she takes revenge but Morii can’t. Alka cuts her hair and will be going to get hers.

Episode 2: Desire
Wandering in the hot desert, Alka meets Lyn the wanderer and he sells her a shoulder cloth to help her keep cool and also hide her butterfly mark. But she has no money. He suggests a nearby town where she can earn a quick buck. Also, Palam is there too. Alka enters this seemingly lawless and sin town. Guys try to persuade her to do some job but Alka ignores them. Her cloth slightly lifts when she bumps into someone and a mercenary caught glimpse of her mark. She stood in a prostitute’s place and got scolded and she too saw her mark. Hazuki thinks Alka is a fellow mercenary since she saw her staring at the wanted board. Hazuki takes a liking for her and as they go through town, they meet one of Hazuki’s buddies who happen to be an ex-soldier of Palam. Hazuki goes to her favourite spot at Tomon Inn and she starts drinking. I wonder if she has money to pay for all that. Or put it on her tabs. Alka just sitting there accompanying her. Karen begins her dance on stage that attracts lots of men. Once the inn is closed, Hazuki is still drinking. Care to pay up? Is one copper enough? Better than nothing. Better than Alka who has nothing! In that case, she’ll have her work here to pay her dues. While changing, Karen spots her mark and quickly changes her mind. Please leave. They never saw each other. She was never here. She won’t tell anybody about this and doesn’t want to get involved. As Alka walks through the dark streets, she is confronted by the prostitute. She is going to ring her in for the reward. Oh shoot. Here comes the ex-Palam soldier and mercenary too. They start arguing among each other that Alka is hers. Since they’re too busy doing that and are reaching boiling point, Alka makes the perfect move to slice the prostitute’s throat first and then have the guys shoot each other. Alka goes to the ex-soldier and wants to know his superior but he’s dead. Hazuki is about to snipe Alka but Karen gets in her way. Hazuki is not pleased but Karen warns her confidence will end up getting her killed. Outside of town, Hazuki chases Alka like a mad dog. She has some heat seeking bullets but Alka is swift enough to avoid them all. Hazuki lost when Alka has her blade at her throat. If not for Karen’s interference, she could have died. Still, Hazuki is most upset that she butted in. She could have won, you know. Oh really? She really wants the money. More than her life? Karen notes that somebody sold her out to Palam (Lyn?).

Episode 3: Revenge
The Pleasure Gang led by Dan Loana raids a tomb filled with treasures. Another bandit tries to usurp them but got wiped out. Hazuki’s battle with Alka continues but only to be interrupted by Pleasure Gang. Loana brings Alka back to her base as her men eat, drink and be merry. They are on her side since they are against Palam too. Loana knows that Alka is a wanted person. She asks if she knows her master’s murderer. Only their face. Loana reveals the person who spread the posters was the captain of Flower Monks, Jin Varrel, an Impurity user. That unsettling power of darkness may be the one who killed her master. Calling their meeting fate, seems Loana was the one who sold out Alka’s whereabouts (via Lyn) to Palam to use her as bait to lure them here. They want revenge against Palam for killing their comrades. Yeah, talking about this just made the guys cry… Talking more to Alka, seems she wants to take revenge for her master based on their Code. This has Loana question what is her master to her. She asserts it is the Code and her job. Loana adds that she is taking revenge because of her deep feelings for her men. They could have lived better lives. But for Alka, it feels like she is dead inside. So is she really human? She is just like another person she knows: Jin Varrel. Jin Varrel’s entourage finally arrives. Alka is forbade to fight them and kept out of their sight. The Pleasure Gang is willing to hand over Alka but on a condition that Jin Varrel must come get her alone. Of course they won’t either. Since negotiations break down, it’s time to fight. Let’s say that almost everyone got slaughtered. Oh, the big difference in their power… No chance. Once Alka sees Jin Varrel, she jumps down to fight her. However she got hit by her Impurity. The amazing thing is that although she is in pain, she can still get up and move. Anybody hit by it would have died instantly. Conveniently she falls off the ledge and into the river below. This is thanks to the sniping shot by Hazuki. She would have wanted to snipe Jin Varrel too but since she put on that scary look, better take your leave now.

Episode 4: Sword
A short flashback about the Code and the reason why the Clan of the Sword exist. Alka’s master, Hon Dougen asked her what does the sword mean to her. A couple of kids, Seto and Pia took Alka in. She looks like in pain. Her butterfly mark is black. Needing more food, Seto had to go to town and steal. Yeah, always pick on the same owner. For the umpteenth time already this kid got the better of him. Alka awakes for a while but even so, she has temporarily lost her sight. Loana is alive and in Karen’s care. Only 2 of her men survived. Seto needs to find a faster way to make money. He thinks of selling Alka’s blade since she has 2 of them. On his way, he sees a bandit killing others to rob them. Seto is about to meet his same fate but uses the sword to stab him. He then steals his spoils and trades them for loads of food. Alka dreams of Hon teaching her the meaning of the butterfly symbol. She was also taught about Heaven’s Spirits. They were used to connect with demons coming from the dark. They confuse and deceive the mind. As the Clan of the Sword does not poison people with poison, they poison their minds with impossible visions. The same can be said by the sword. It is not only for striking. It can also be used to live. She is also warned not to use the sword to kill and for her own purpose. Because if so, when the sword dies, she will also perish with it. When Seto comes back with more food than before, Alka could tell he is misusing the sword and doesn’t want him to use it for his own purpose. Seto doesn’t listen. By showing this, everyone obeys him and gives him what he wants. What is so bad about making a living like this? He thinks she does the same and tries to cut her but she stops it with her hand. Loana talks to Hazuki about that Impurity. It is an evil power that corrupts men. Alka and Jin Varrel are not human because they have no emotions. The Pleasure Gang report they saw a kid holding Alka’s sword. Soon, Karen’s men report a kid has attacked a contingent of Sedel. Alka’s vision and mark looks better now as Seto returns. Examining the products he stole, it is a load of Heaven’s Spirit. This isn’t going to make them money. Of course the men have surrounded the house. Seto tries to be a hero but gets shot. Alka did not lose her touch and slits them all. Hazuki investigates the scene in the aftermath and relishes that Alka is still alive. Pia and Alka pray at Seto’s grave. Pia wants to follow her but Alka won’t allow it. She then goes to Karen’s place and pleads for a job. She accepts. Alka remembers Hon’s word of living by the sword if she chooses to use it. Since she has the symbol, she must renounce the fact she was born into the sword.

Episode 5: Flower
Malna, the maid for the mayor wakes up in the middle of the night and sees Alka killing all the bodyguards outside the house! Next day, this guy whom I shall call Justice sees the mayor and seems he has hired Alka to do that as warning. He views Heaven’s Spirit as evil and wants this town purge of it but the mayor argues that the economy has been revitalized thanks to it and this puts food on their table. Can he do it? He tries to get Malna’s opinion but she feels scared and sides with the mayor. Justice leaves and knows this isn’t the end of it and wants Alka to protect him knowing the mayor will send men after him. That night, Karen arrives and sees the mayor. He requests for more soldiers. Karen hears out Malna who describes how Alka killed the bodyguards. Then she wants to see the bodies so the men have to dig them up. Once she sees the slash wounds, time to bury them back. WTF. Better do what she says because she’s the big boss around. Hazuki is also here and is going to make her move after spotting Alka. Justice goes to talk to Malna. It’s like he’s trying to make her feel bad and she knows what she is doing is wrong. Although scared, she thinks it is because of the mayor she gets to have decent meals and sleep. He assures her he can help her find a job if she leaves this village. Malna notes the only thing he thinks is what is right or just. Justice has Malna explain who Karen is. She owns this village and hired the mayor. Justice views her as the source of evil. Malna wants him to spare the villagers because they were saved by Heaven’s Spirit. Justice doesn’t believe this kind of fake peace.

Since this confuses Malna, Justice is going to correct this himself as he makes Alka watch Malna. She talks to Alka and wishes to be like her since she has no emotions. She thinks she won’t be in so much pain if she restrains them. This village took her in and she has nowhere to go. She feels dead although she is alive. Those words sound familiar? Loana, huh? She wonders if she can trust Justice. Alka’s respond: You must decide yourself. Justice confronts the mayor and is going to burn the Heaven’s Spirit fields. Luckily Karen shoots the torch out of his hands. Then Malna restrains him and feels she can’t let him destroy this village. She owes the mayor her life since he saved him. That’s why she is alive now. Justice loses all senses of rationality and is in rage. He wants to kill everyone and orders Alka to do it. Since she doesn’t move, he’ll do it himself. He is going to pick the mayor off first but Malna protects him. So now he is blaming everything and everyone although he is the one who stabbed her?! WTF. Since he is just screaming and raging like an asshole, Karen uses her hairpin to stab him. That should shut him up. Hazuki sees this and is in shock. She loses the mood to go after Alka. The mayor pleads for Malna to be saved but Alka just stood there.

Episode 6: Dream
Yuu is recruited into a rebel force fighting against Palam. The Flower Monks have their base next to theirs because Palam borders the Kulum Kingdom as well. They receive some of Palam military men for help but they’re not putting much hope on them. Jin Varrel orders the attack to be at dawn. That night, the rebel leader rallies his force by introducing Yuu who was a student on Hon and also they will receive reinforcements from Kulum. They’re going to destroy Palam and get their revenge. Later Yuu sees the rebel leader in cohorts with someone from Palam. He confronts him about this and is told they need all the help they can get. If Palam betrays them, they’ll pull one over them in the end. Easy talk. Yuu is reluctant to fight and didn’t want to be part of the war so the rebel leader says that although he came from a neutral country, it is naïve to think that nobody will end up fighting. His presence alone brings everyone together and he plays a vital role in their rebellion. So how? Yuu goes to speak to Jin Varrel! He warns her that the rebels will attack before dawn and wants Palam to withdraw since they aren’t open to reasoning and crying for blood. Jin Varrel will not listen and will proceed with their attack. I guess negotiations failed so they attack Yuu. Though injured, he manages to escape. Jin Varrel announces a change in plans but the military men accuse Yoo Ran of secretly exchanging message with someone as one of the men saw. Jin Varrel tells Yoo Ran to stay back. Jin Varrel leads her men to attack. The military men turn on her army since they have orders to eliminate anything suspicious in Palam. So they think they can best her? Well, all Jin Varrel needs to do is imagine those blokes as her other self and she kills them without ease. All the rebels don’t even stand a chance. Yeah. I suppose the rebel leader got the worst one because Jin Varrel imagines him as Alka! On the other side, Yoo Ran and Ga Gante dispose the advancing Kulum army. Piece of cake. Heck, not even enough for them. When Yuu returns to the base, it is already a ghost town. Yeah. Everybody has died. Flower Monks return to Palam and threaten the guy who sent his military men to finish them. Loana leaves Tomon Inn and her men have recruited several new guys. She also tried recruiting Hazuki since their target is the same. Alka is after Jin Varrel and vice versa. Find one of them and you’ll definitely find the other. I’m not sure if Hazuki really joins Pleasure Gang or just travelling with them. Because hell she isn’t going to wear those spike costumes that she deems silly. Karen notes revenge is a useless thing. Finally for the first time this episode, we see Alka. She’s traversing the dangerous cliffs till she reaches the seaside.

Episode 7: Time
Look who is back? Remember Morii? What’s with that knife throwing greeting to test if Alka still has her edge? Currently she is living in a small secluded place called Boat of Cleansing. Learning she is still on her revenge mission, she wants Alka to meet Mother and hopes her wisdom will do her some good. There are a handful of family members in this place as Morii pleads to Mother to save Alka. Mother sees Alka for the first time and calls her impure. She would like to cleanse them. Lyn makes his stop to sell things and sees Alka. Rumours of Alka’s whereabouts also reach Karen’s ears. Loana and her Pleasure Gang have found a new base. The new members do not know who Jin Varrel is and thought there would be easy money in grave robbing instead of revenge. Hazuki suddenly attacks them just to prove to Loana that they are useless. They can’t even hold a weapon properly. Morii talks to Alka that revenge is a bad thing and hopes she will change. The cleansing ritual begins when Mother rings a bell. The cacophony sound sends Alka in pain before collapsing. When she wakes up, she finds herself tied up and Mother gives Morii the honours to kill Alka. So this is requiem for salvation? If you don’t know it by now, Boat of Cleansing is some weirdo cult. Everybody goes crazy. Morii goes crazy. But before she can kill Alka, a rain of Molotov cocktails barrages the place. Alka uses this chance to break free and escape. She meets Lyn on her way and it seems he was the one responsible for setting the bombardment. He’s not doing it for free, though. What’s with this miserly pay? Not even a word of thanks. Thanks, girl. Pleasure doing business with you. But now Alka has another business to attend to. Morii is still bent on killing her and blames her for turning her life upside down ever since they met. Alka is still weak and cannot do much. Karen comes to her aid while warning what Morii will do makes her the same as Alka. Murder is murder no matter what logic you use. Revenge is a silly thing. But Morii is mad. Can she do it? Nope. She keeps stabbing the sand as she descends into insanity. Karen wants to confirm something from Alka. From the way it is hinted, it seems Alka was the one responsible for some assassination 3 years ago.

Episode 8: Sky
Alka remembers Hon telling her she is like a cup filled with water. She might not be empty but easily disturbed. It is difficult to remain static if she is filled with emotions. However he doesn’t want her to be empty because that is his wish. Yuu finds Alka and wants her to take him to Hon. However he is still infected with Impurity and passes out. Alka takes him and thankfully with Karen nearby, they take refuge in Pleasure Gang’s hideout (thank Lyn for the info). Hazuki wants to shoot Alka but Karen stops her. Not today. As Yuu recuperates, he tells the ladies of his encounter with Jin Varrel. He is still alive even though he got hit by her Impurity because he uses his spirit energy to hold it back. That’s why he wants to see Hon to heal it completely. As he was Hon’s disciple before he left to teach somebody from the Clan of the Sword, the reason why Yuu seeks Alka. However she says Hon is dead. Jin Varrel got them all. Based on the Code, she will exact revenge. Yuu is not pleased because if it’s not for the Code, it’s like she doesn’t care about him. As for if Hon taught her how to defend against the Impurity, she was told to think about it. She’s still thinking about it… Later Alka talks to Yuu and wants to know about Hon. Ironically she was with him all the time and knew nothing. Alka notices he is filled but yet remains undisturbed. Yuu was also taught the same thing. He imparts to Alka that if she only thinks of 1 thing, you forget yourself. Just think about that 1 thing and nothing else. Alka senses Jin Varrel nearby and she goes to fight her. She gets hit by her Impurity but Yuu uses his spirit energy to drive it out. He vows to protect her. They both cooperate to fight her but Jin Varrel views him as a nuisance and blasts him with her Impurity. I guess his body has taken in too much of it. Alka becomes mad when she sees this. The fight continues and she manages to stab Jin Varrel. She turns white before disappearing into Impurity. Yuu knows his time is up and wants Alka to kill him as he doesn’t want to die via Impurity’s corruption. But Alka can’t do it. Is she feeling pity for him? Well, she won’t have to. He’s gone.

Episode 9: Moon
After Alka buries Yuu, she goes off herself instead of staying with Pleasure Gang. It’s going to be hard for Hazuki to find her now. As she wanders, there is an old guy who wants her to take up his request. However she refuses and this had him unleash his scathing comment that as a Clan of the Sword, she will do anything as long as she receives appropriate compensation. Refusing so means she has lost her way and is useless. While she is bumming around, Karen picks her up and lets her work at Tomon Inn to take her mind off things. Well, she’s not so hard to find now but I suppose Hazuki is too drunk to be in the hunting mood. Pia and Miharu are assigned to teach Alka. Looks like she has a lot to learn. Miharu is glad someone like Alka came. She was alone like her too. Miharu was being chased before since she has killed. Karen saved her and took her in. She advises Alka not to give up on living just because she killed. Miharu promises to protect her and in return she will protect her as well. One night, Karen calls Alka to her room and narrates her story about the person she loved. She met an injured wanted man while selling flowers in the streets. She took him in and in no time they fell in love with each other. Together they constructed Tomon Inn and he gave this establishment to her. Despite having a bounty on his head, they continue to honeymoon together. He even jokes if he dies, he can cut and keep any parts of him. She quips back if that happens, she’ll destroy that which his killer loves most. And he did die.

When Alka sees the picture of her late husband, suddenly she is overcome with panic. Have you ever seen Alka frightened so much before? This is the man she killed 3 years ago. Karen shows her a box in which she keeps his parts and comments on the worthlessness of revenge against somebody who doesn’t have anything worth taking revenge for. She lied about it. Alka feels so sick that she can’t even walk straight! Miharu could sense something amiss and calms her down. But that night will be the last time Alka sees her. Next morning, her body is found murdered outside the establishment. When Karen notes people who kill will receive their just eventually, it’s that panicky feeling for Alka once more. She runs away from Tomon Inn and as she wonders, she starts hallucinating that the dead start killing her. The pain feels real. Is she going crazy? I guess to keep her sanity, she decides to take up the old man’s request to go kill somebody. I think Alka must have lost it. Because she came charging to her target screaming! Of course the target is ready for her and even knows her style of slitting throats. The target turns out to be Karen in disguise. She wore a metal plate around her neck. Karen beats up Alka who is looking very much like a useless chick. She notes that when she was in despair, Alka was the void. That’s why she was not worth taking revenge. But now that she has changed and has emotions, she won’t kill her and make her suffer. She will continue to feel painful feelings. This is the revenge she has decided. Karen leaves feeling victorious while laughing like maniac.

Episode 10: Sin
Assassins are chasing after Alka who is cracking up a sweat trying to fend them off. She continues to run and hide from them. Feeling miserable? Yeah, the wolves are also gunning for her ass. She’s breaking into cold sweat just fighting them and even takes some damage. She finds refuge in a cabin belonging to a couple in the snowy mountains. The husband doesn’t trust Alka but the wife treats her good. Then he sees the butterfly mark. They remember 3 years ago their daughter Yuuri was killed by the person with this mark. Although the husband wants to get revenge and kill her, the wife is more level headed. Don’t you see how scared Alka is? Why, even accidentally dropping and breaking a glass bottle freaks her out! The husband believes they should avenge Yuuri but the wife again stays reasonable. Nobody asked them to do that. If he does, he will turn into a monster then. Would Yuuri be happy with what he did? Killing her won’t bring her back. The wife gives Alka a jewel made of glass shards from that broken bottle that her husband made. As Alka calms down and opens up, the more things she does, the more it reminds them of Yuuri. The wife invites her to stay if she has nowhere to go. Alka ponders about Hon’s words about finding her own path. The husband is still having it hard. He doesn’t know if he could forgive the person who killed Yuuri. Alka heard this. Now she is back to scaredy girl. She runs away and her abnormal breathing I thought if I close my eyes, I’d imagine something kinky… They catch up to her and the wife forgives her. Alka is fine after hearing that. Now the husband has something grand to say too. You can fix something broken but not fix a lost life. That is why killing is a sin. Since the sword is her life, if she wants to atone herself, throw it away before Yuuri’s grave. He thinks this is the best when his jewel cracks… Meanwhile Karen is burning her personal things at her summer villa. I guess it must be bored back at Tomon Inn so Hazuki and Loana pay her a visit. I suppose Alka is not here so Hazuki vents her anger on her because she doesn’t know what she is thinking and hiding in her mind. So what’s the problem? Why care so much for her? The husband believes Yuuri is signalling to him she won’t forgive him if he doesn’t avenge her. So here he is aiming a sniping shot at Alka as she prepares to throw her swords off the cliff. The wife doesn’t think she should do it and stops her. In the right timing, she walks into the path of his shot and dies an instant death. Oh no! What have you done! He is so remorseful that his beloved wife is dead, he turns on the gun himself! Well, this only traumatizes Alka further. She’s going crazy. Meanwhile Jin Varrel is almost close to resurrection courtesy of Yoo Ran.

Episode 11: Punishment
Is Alka back in her groove slitting throats of her targets?! Oh… Just a reminiscent of her past. Here she is sitting solemnly in some dead town that even the old flower lady notices she has been sitting in that same spot for 3 days! Alka’s heart stirs when she hears her say how everyone died and she is the only one left. She is given flowers but it’s not going to be free. Alka takes this chance to trade her swords. She has grown so pathetic that the assassins don’t think it’s her! I mean, the Clan of the Sword without her weapons? She must be some homeless girl trying her luck to have someone take her home! Well, it spared her life if you think about it. Meanwhile Jin Varrel is resurrected but since she is on some mindless killing spree, Yoo Ran kills her and repeats the resurrection process. And I’m not sure what is happening since Jin Varrel is like in some trauma killing her other pale self. And then when it’s done, she bursts out with so much Impurity and escapes the facility. Alka is at a mansion (like the one in the flashback). There is the flower lady again. She mentions the master of this place received his punishment for dealing with lots of Heaven’s Spirit. Yeah. Alka was the one who killed him. The lady gives back her weapons since she has no use for it. Karen, Hazuki and Loana are on their way to the Clan of the Sword’s village. How sure is Karen that Alka will be here? Where else is there to go? True enough, she is standing in the midst of the field of Heaven’s Spirit. The sight of Karen sends Alka scared and running! WTF?! Hazuki is going to shoot her but to her surprise, Alka tells her to kill her. Hazuki obliges but Karen pushes Alka down. Hazuki lost interest in her seeing the person who kills is asking to be killed. Where’s the worth in that? The person she is gunning for is gone. Karen is here to see how much she suffered as part of her revenge. Loana is kinder. She is here to thank her for what she did for her men. While they burn the field, Karen asks Alka what her sword means to her. The same words Hon said to her. Karen starts attacking and beating her up and Alka is reduced to dodging. In the end, Alka takes out her sword to block. So is she back? Karen says her past does not disappear and will shoulder it for the rest of her life. Loana’s advice for Alka is that she doesn’t need to wait for someone’s order. She just needs to figure out what she wants to do. But here comes Jin Varrel on her steed. Surprised that she’s alive? She’s a monster now and is going to have her revenge. Oh, the poor horse died so she could have a grand landing. WTF.

Episode 12: Soul
Why is everyone so afraid of Jin Varrel? They should be. Because everything her Impurity touches dies! Holy sh*t! Although Jin Varrel is only targeting Alka, the trio of Karen, Hazuki and Loana cooperate to fight her but is still no match. Not even when Hazuki points her gun point blank. She can dodge them and also return her bullets right back at her. Yeah. She resurrects each time she takes a hit. Did somebody leave the God cheat code on? And what the hell are you doing Alka? You still scared? When her Impurity works up, she remembers a little flashback. After she escaped from the facility, Yoo Ran and Ga Gante tracked her down. As Jin Varrel has regained her former self, Yoo Ran is going to kill her since she is nothing but a puppet, an empty vessel for Impurity. However Ga Gante felt pity and held back Yoo Ran. He gives the signal to kill them both (at least for the first time he spoke a couple of words even if that is just Jin Varrel’s name). Jin Varrel didn’t hesitate to slice them as they fall off the cliff. When Jin Varrel has had enough of the trio and is going to kill them, Alka jumps in to protect them. Now this is the Alka we know. She’s back. The super blade clashing fight goes on till Alka gets hit by her Impurity. Jin Varrel is going to kill her because when Alka killed her, she didn’t have the tranquillity of death. Suddenly Alka’s butterfly mark powers up and as it glows, it’s like giving her some God-like status. She is ready to kill Jin Varrel, something that she is going to accept but Alka stops inches before her throat. Jin Varrel is now the emo one as she pleads for her to kill her or else she will revive again if her form remains. Alka realizes she is the same as her. Alive but yet dead. But since she is alive now, she is not dead. She won’t kill her and wants her to walk her path. Her butterfly mark disappears. Jin Varrel cries out loud in frustration. Yoo Ran still lives as she reports back to her emperor that Jin Varrel cannot be used anymore. But no matter. All they need is a replacement. As for Alka, since she has become human, she is no longer a threat to them. Posters of her bounty are taken down. In the aftermath, we see flowers on the grave of all those minor characters that have died. Alka must have been here. Lastly, Lyn is now a beggar. Beaten up badly and penniless. He has nothing. Lost everything. Alka appears before him and gives him a coin. Is this payment for her shoulder cloth? Late payment charges… Just kidding. Lyn wonders what she is doing now. Living. Oh gosh. Alka’s sweet smile! Priceless!

Episode 13: God
In this very disappointing episode that could have been released as an OVA but did not because Alka is not featured here! When Hazuki wins a drinking bet, she is given a treasure map that leads to some eternal youth hotspring. Likewise, Loana and her Pleasure Gang are raiding tombs. She has no luck in finding treasures unlike her men and due to her stubbornness, she believes this treasure map she found is worth something and they should go check it out. And what do you know, Karen and Pia are also on their way there. Suddenly their boat is being attacked by fish people. This next scene is really WTF. Karen and Pia jump off to swim to the island. They literally abandoned their crew who in turn are too dumb to follow them because they stood there just to get eaten by the fish people. Oddly, why aren’t any fish people chasing Karen or Pia as they swim?! Don’t tell me they are gay?! When they reach the island, the fish people surround them and are going to attack. Karen is going to fight back when her makeshift shell bra comes undone. Instantly the fish people blush and bows down before her. She is God! WTF?! Perverts! Pia seems to understand what they say as their language is similar to her native tongue. The fish leader apologizes for their violent conduct and wants to make it up by showing them their village. Meanwhile Loana and co are lost in some underground. They realize too late above them is the ocean when conveniently they are flushed away by the current. They end up before some tiger people who take them to their village and have them clean themselves. They thought they were going to get some welcome dinner at their village but realize something amiss. All the tiger people are waiting eagerly for their meal. They are the meal!!! Time to fight back. And then Loana’s bandage bra comes undone. Oh God… Tiger people are perverts too. They worship her as a goddess. What the f*ck is wrong with these animal people?!

The fish people are having trouble bringing their live fish as food to Karen. She shows them who is boss as she cuts the fish in half. But Hazuki is inside! Saved? Apparently she was on her way here but got swallowed by this fish. It’s a miracle she is still in tip top condition. Pia heard rumours that Karen is to be married away but Karen doesn’t mind as long as they view her as pretty. Then Pia stumbles upon something sinister. The fish people were making fake copies of the map to lure women here as their species lack female. This explains why they are love big boobs. However the eternal youth hotspring is not a lie and the fish people show them there. Loana and the tiger people are also there. They won’t allow them to use this place. As you have guessed, both sides hate each other and have been fighting for ages over this hotspring. Since Loana has recruited the tiger people as part of her Pleasure Gang, she is going to fight the rest. And so all hell breaks loose with the fighting here and there. When the ladies fall into the hotspring, it seems they start seeing visions. Hazuki becomes infatuated with money and starts chasing the fish people (because their eyes look like gold coins). Karen becomes traumatic because when she was young she hated being poor while Loana starts fearing fish people because when her mother told her to eat her fish, she secretly threw it away and lied about it. WTF. And now for the saviour of them all… Alka! Finally here she is putting them out of their misery with a quick jab to the back of their neck. It is revealed the reason why the ladies saw those illusions was because the source of the hotspring water locates a field of Heaven’s Spirit. But why Alka is here? The map… In the aftermath, both sides make peace and they enjoy their island life. Don’t they even worry about going back to the main land? Oh God… So disappointed…

Specials

After all that blood and violence, it is time for some fun and laughter albeit only 2 minutes per special. Personally, these chibified specials feel like one of the most boring specials ever. No doubt the short randomness that do not have any bearings to the story are supposed to make you laugh but I have this feeling that they just let a 5 year old do the script and they just go with it. Certain scenes especially very short ones make you go WTF or what-the-heck-is-that-for instead of making you chuckle.

Special 1 – Alka introducing herself but doesn’t say much. Hazuki random shooting causes its ricochet to hit herself. Hazuki is drunk and blabbing about things as Alka tries to tease touch her while she is out. She gets caught but Hazuki is too drunk to do anything and instead invites her to drink with her.

Special 2A freaking long standoff between Alka and Jin Varrel. Nobody makes the first move. So they’re just going to stand there all day? Alka catches Jin Varrel yawning and the latter is not too pleased to know that. Alka getting caught in a sand dune. Jin Varrel asking for Alka’s name but she won’t tell. Jin Varrel misunderstood “Won’t Tell” as her name.

Special 3 – Loana is asked what is underneath her eye-patch and she hints death if you really want to look at it. If you really want to know… It shoots a ray beam! Boom! Turns out this is just a story she is telling to Hazuki. Loana wants Hazuki to call her as “onee-sama” but when she does, she feels disgusted. Loana believes Hazuki is catching a cold thanks to her inappropriate dressing and suggests her Pleasure Gang armoured uniform. Hazuki won’t be dead caught wearing those. Thus Loana tries to entice her with the money and lodging benefits of joining the gang. All seems good till she hears about the complimentary uniform… A trick just to get her to wear it? No way!

Special 4Yuu and Alka share manjuus but when it comes to the last one, the fight over it and Yuu wins. Just as he is about to eat it, he decides to share with her. However it is a teasing trap as he quickly devours it to leave her in depression. Alka jumps over a cliff but her landing is less than perfect. Does it hurt? Lastly, Yuu decides to share a manjuu with Alka. For real this time.

Special 5 – Karen throws her fan thinking it would ricochet and hit her enemies. However after hitting the first person, it ends there. She picks it up and throws at the second person. Alka watches a video of Karen’s dance and tries to imitate it. It starts out as some Hawaiian Aloha dance before turning into something weird and sending her into depression. Karen tries her fan throwing ricochet again. Same thing. But this time the second guy prevents her from picking up her fan. What are you going to do now? She takes out another fan and throws it at him! She has more from where that came from… In fact, a closet full of it! Drunk Hazuki is just complaining so Karen knocks her out with a pan. That should shut her up.

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold
This could have been a pretty decent and grim show if not for that nonsense no-brainer final episode that somewhat ruined my sentiments for this anime overall. I know it is not right to judge and anime by its last episode only but I felt that this filler episode didn’t do justice to what this anime series is really about. Like I said, if it was released separately as an OVA by itself and from the final Blu-Ray volume whatsoever, it wouldn’t be that bad. Actually I would still condemn the silliness of it all but at least I wouldn’t have lumped it in together in one go and analyze it with the entire series. Uh huh. It was that bad. If you don’t think much about it, it would be fun but I guess despite that, this show is nothing without the emotionless cold blooded assassin Alka.

Back to the series proper, I don’t actually get the plot overall because when I think about it, the more confused I become. So the whole anime was just about Alka running about here and there to find Hon’s killer (read: random standalone episodes). And then when she did kill Jin Varrel the first time, I thought it was too early and there must be some mistake. Yeah well, I don’t know if that side distraction to turn Alka with emotions was a good thing or not. Then Jin Varrel got resurrected for the second time and a rematch was needed. And when Alka finally got the guts to ask why she killed her master, what was her reply? Because it was destiny. WTF is this kind of answer?! It would have been better for her just to not say anything and leave us pondering why the heck master Hon died in the first place. And then I would have complained about not getting a real answer. Haha!

The Heaven’s Spirit also feels somewhat underutilized and I thought they were going to be a major theme of the series. It didn’t. Because Alka and Jin Varrel already posses their own great power and don’t need to resort to such cheap tricks. Even the other side heroines don’t use them since they have their own trusted weapons they can rely on. Besides, nothing good comes out of those from those who used them. It’s like this series version of drugs in our world. Only minor characters who will be disposed of get to use them. The Code that Alka lives by also feels fleeting. A flimsy excuse for Alka to go on this revenge quest? Does she fully understand it considering she is like an emotionless being? I thought there would be some instances that will give us more about her Clan of the Sword but mostly it is just flashbacks of Alka in one of those lessons of Hon’s teachings.

Alka is a cool assassin babe. No emotions. No nonsense. Sharp. Survival material. You do not want to mess with her. So being her best friend is the best thing you want to do because you’d be safe with her blade protecting you. So don’t get on the wrong side of her. But the most disturbing part was when she started to have emotions. It doesn’t make sense. She killed countless of targets and when she remembers she killed Karen’s husband, her world came crumbling down. She became such a chicken that to see her in that state is just not worth it to kill her and get your revenge. It wasn’t the Alka I know. Like as though she has turned into an innocent girl who made her first kill. It was really the turning and defining point of the series. She’s spacing out so much, she’s terrified and she’s confused. So scared that it is just It’s like they transplanted a soul of another character into her body. Maybe it’s because she has been thinking about Hon’s words why he wanted her to leave this assassin lifestyle. So now you see the dangers of why people like her think too much? So is this emotion thingy a good thing for Alka? That depends. It is bad because of how we see her turned pathetic and defenceless. In the end it did her some good as she controlled it and is back to the cool cat we once knew. But the damage is done knowing that she was in a pathetic state for a while. Nevertheless it is great to see Alka back and who knows what path she has taken, whether she continues being an assassin or just wandering.

I don’t understand what the deal is about Jin Varrel and all that Impurity and resurrection stuff. What I can see that there is something sinister going on for Yoo Ran and the emperor of Palam. Even with Alka completing her quest, it is not like it is the end of Palam’s rule or anything. I don’t feel that they are the biggest threat to Alka since it is mostly Jin Varrel who is in hot pursuit of her and vice versa. The rest of the other ladies were just rather okay. Except perhaps for Karen who was just cool in bidding her time and her revenge plan on Alka was just perfect and devilishly sweet, Hazuki and Loana felt redundant. It’s like they are tagging along and hanging around because there is nothing else better to show. Hazuki is always obsessed in hunting down Alka’s ass and she doesn’t have another good chance after the first bout. Always interrupted or lack the mood. So what is she hanging around for besides her past time of getting drunk? Loana’s role is even more redundant. After Loana’s failed mission to get revenge on Jin Varrel for her men, I don’t see why she needs to hang around.

The action part is perhaps the main draw of the series. It doesn’t disappoint because it is violent! In the first few episodes whereby Alka was a cold blooded assassin, you will see a lot of throats being slit and blood gushing out like nobody’s business. Literally cut throat business if I should say. Because of that it makes it cool but at the same time very gruesome. So if you cannot stomach this kind of bloody scenes, go watch Sesame Street and Barney and Friends. Some ‘bloodless’ scenes like Hazuki’s gun firing bout with Alka and also the ultimate sword clash with Jin Varrel also are quite exciting. Also to reflect the melancholy of this world, in almost nearly every episode there is somebody that dies, whether it is a minor character that you couldn’t care less or a character just for that episode. You thought a young boy won’t die, right? Wrong. He’s dead. A timid girl who tries to do what she believes is right. She died believing that.

Then there is Yuu whom I thought was going to play a major role despite coming in halfway through the series. He only lasted for 2 episodes before he gets killed! WTF. And I thought with him being the main host of the next ending preview which also doubles as an information segment to explain about the workings of things (which helps a lot because for example it enlightened me why Alka’s butterfly mark was important because it can activate and withstand the Impurity, the reason why she lives after getting hit), he would be a regular. Alas, this is his only section where he gets to shine.

The art and drawing is of course heavily based on the MMORPG design. So I figure that players who are familiar with the game will find some of the character designs to be familiar. The sceneries are also not bad and the cities have this gloomy and depressing feel, which gives off a realistic setting of this wretched fantasy world. The only grouse that I have is the nose. What do I mean? Notice that every character has this light shade of grey on their nose? It feels like some sort of blemish and it makes them look weird. Makes me think that they were sneezing or rubbing it too much.

There is also some fanservice element especially when you have the main characters as sexy babes. I suppose playing the MMORPG itself has such sexy class characters. Which RPG doesn’t? Alka is already dangerous with her sword skills and it is even more dangerous that she cuts a busty figure. It is a wonder that those boobs never get in the way of her assassination. I think I figure out why dead weights like Hazuki and Loana are hanging around despite having not much roles: Fanservice! Yeah, busty babes. Hazuki’s bikini top dressing is already enough to give you a boner because it makes her seem she just jumped out of some swimsuit cover photo shoot. Karen I suppose has the biggest bust among them and the way she dresses makes them stand out even more. Then you have Jin Varrel and Yoo Ran, ladies in tight black outfits. Sexy, isn’t it? There might be a case of sexualisation of such women in such games and animes but I guess lots of us wouldn’t really bother with it since we are happy to get to see some boobs jiggle even if there are no bare tits.

I wasn’t going to bother with the voice acting since the only ones I recognized were Sayaka Ohara as Karen (Erza in Fairy Tail), Cho as Hon (Brook in One Piece) and Rina Satou as Malna (Misaki in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun). When I found out that Aoi Yuuki was the voice behind Jin Varrel, I became dumbfounded. This girl is the voice behind Jin Varrel? Senki Zesshou Symphogear’s Hibiki and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica’s Madoka is the voice behind Jin Varrel? I never thought she would voice somebody with such a low voice. Well, that’s the bad thing when you start identifying somebody based on that single voice. Other seiyuus that I didn’t recognize but should have were Rikiya Koyama as Gagante (how could I since he was just roaring all the way), Shizuka Itou as Yoo Ran, Marina Inoue as Yuu and Ryoko Shiraishi as Lyn. Others that I am not familiar with are Yuki Takao as Alka (Nanami in Kimi No Iru Machi), Sora Amamiya as Hazuki (Akame in Akame Ga Kill), Ayahi Takagi as Loana (Henrietta in Log Horizon), Rumi Ookubo as Pia (Kazuki in Galilei Donna) and Megumi Han as Morii (Sumire in Chihayafuru S2).

The opening theme Sayonara Usotsuki by Mimimeme MIMI sounds quite epic and gets you into the pace of the series. I especially like the opening background music of the piano. It is quite exciting to hear it. The ending theme, Rainbow by Lego Big Morl doesn’t sound too bad either. A bit of a slow rock and techno mix together. Something compels me to sing along with it although I personally feel the male voice singing it sounds a little flat. Yeah. Just like mine. The only other thing odd I find in the ending credits animation is Karen’s dancing. It is so elegant, so smooth, so CGI-like…

As usual, watching this anime didn’t make me want to jump and play the actual game. I doubt any sequel will be made since there is already closure unless they make a story on another character or some other force trying to bring Alka out of retirement. If you like your fantasy shows with blood, action and macabre stuffs and don’t mind seeing sexy women (and some furry animals) taking fore, this should be a fun and entertaining watch. Yes, a fun and entertaining watch because you get boobs amidst the bloody action (if you’re a guy and love some violence kind anyway). Fanservice and gore. Not a usual combo we see every day. But I know that if I ever live in such a world, I want a person like Alka to be my bodyguard all the time. And even in the event if I do get hook in playing MMORPG, I want to choose a class called Alka. No, not just some assassin class but Alka. That’s all I need in a party.

Noir

December 26, 2014

I read the mixed reviews about Noir here and there on the internet. Some were praising how good this show was while others were harping on its weaknesses and the missed opportunities and the what-ifs and what-nots. And since it is that time for another retro and old school anime, the best and only way that would determine that is to watch it myself. At least the enigmatic synopsis was partly responsible for making me decide to check this out. Two female assassins (one of which is an amnesiac) embarking on a journey to seek answers and mysteries from their past. Of course there is more than meets the eyes as they find themselves digging deeper and deeper and the dangers that await them from enemies of a secret organization.

Episode 1
Mireille Bouquet receives an email from Kirika Yuumura to make a pilgrimage to the past with her. She doesn’t believe but soon changes her mind. She finds and confronts Kirika but the latter runs and thus begins a cat and mouse game in some building under construction. By the time she corners her, several MIBs start shooting at them. You know they’re going to be useless because all the shots they fired at Mireille, they missed. Unlike this hot chick who only needs to pump 1 bullet into them. Yeah, they’re dumb enough to stand out in the open. The chase continues again and it seems the agents are also after Kirika. Mireille is tricked to let her guard down when one of the agents pretend to surrender. She is going to be killed off but Kirika shoots and kills all of them. Now it is her turn to show us some acrobatic action of hers. Once she disposes the last of them, she notes that she can kill this easily but wonder why she doesn’t feel sad. But she’s crying… Doesn’t that mean she is sad? Kirika takes Mireille back to her home to bandage her arm. As Kirika introduces herself, Mireille knows that name of hers isn’t real. She has done some research and everything about her is fake. All documents she handed in were fake. Including the story of her family who is supposed to be transferred to USA for work and thus she is living alone. They were actually missing after they moved overseas. Kirika explains she doesn’t have memories of herself. One day she woke up in this room and the only thing she remembers is Noir. Mireille knows other than her gun, Kirika is hiding something else. A timepiece. It also plays some music that reminds Mireille of something she doesn’t want to remember. She knows Mireille is a hired assassin and the reason she contacted her since MIBs have been hunting her ever since. Mireille tells her 2 things. One, her jobs is to kill people and not help them. Two, she works alone. Kirika pleads to help her so she eventually she agrees to team up with her because now that she knows what she does for a living, she cannot let her live. Knowing the baddies will come after them again, there is something she wants to ask them. Once this is over, she will kill her. They both take a flight to France.

Episode 2
An average guy goes home to his average family. His home explodes!!!!! OMG! At his funeral, the vice chief of the police talks to Jean Jacques Legrand the director of France’s National Public Peace Department that his is already the third case of the killing of national anti-terrorist unit called GIGN. Their identities are supposed to be secret and the only thing that this could happen is there is leak of information. Of course this Legrand guy turns out to be the biggest mole as he meets the key officer, Pierre Cressoy of People’s Armed Alliance (basically a terrorist organization) to get his payment. Mireille already has this info that Legrand sold the roster to Cressoy and is on the case since their client is from another faction of People’s Armed Alliance who is out to finish Legrand and Cressoy in one shot. They stake out their meeting, their huge base and even have the blueprints to chart the exit and entry points. Heck, they even have time to do some shooting practice in the sewers and assemble their guns. Cressoy calls Legrand to the base to inform he caught an opposing member and made him spill the beans. All he knew was some codename called Noir. Legrand knows something about it. It is quite well known in the past and the National Public Peace Department once engaged their services in the 70’s. He wonders if they have been revived or somebody is impersonating that name. Mireille and Kirika ambush the place and kill all the guys including Cressoy. I don’t know how Kirika allowed this guy to creep behind her and strangle her with his wire but she was smart enough to break his glasses and use the temple to stab his neck. Legrand sees this and fears she is Noir. She shoots him. Easy peasy. As they leave, Kirika once again laments she makes a living by killing and is like her daily bread and yet she cannot feel sad. But she’s crying… Mireille’s reply: If they could find that out, she’ll be able to kill her and be done with it.

Episode 3
Albert Dux is their next target. Vanier’s young president died in an accident in which nobody close to him believes it is so. Their client is his widow. Marielle might have seen her before because they go to pay their respects at the same grave. As Dux is remodelling his hotel and staying there, this is the best opportunity to get him. They sneak into it and when Marielle enters the room where he is, it is like they were waiting for her and she is forced to drop her weapon. She is surprised to see the widow with him. Thanks to Kirika, that distraction was enough for the ladies to escape. Dux is surprised that Noir is a team. Marielle is sore since everything was a trap and setup. Wondering why they are targeting them, Kirika deduces that since they are pros like them, somebody else must have hired them in this little game that deals with lives. Their enemy might be the same people who took Kirika’s memories. Because the duo are living up to the Noir legend killing everyone efficiently in their escape (I thought the baddies were just being noisy running everywhere), Dux cuts all power and with his men they use night vision goggles to snuff out the duo. Thankfully in the bar where the duo are trapped, Kirika has laced the place with popcorn and broken glasses so whenever the baddies step on them, she knows where the sound comes from and just shoots in that direction. Cool! All the baddies including Dux get killed this way. The widow creeps up on Mireille and could have killed her if not for the machine gun flashlight and Mireille saw her in time to take action. Once Kirika reactivates the power, the widow is in her dying breath. They even have time to chat about graves and death. Mireille wants to know who hired them but she won’t tell. Would she if she was in her place? Nope. As she asks her name, the widow doesn’t think it matter because it won’t be carved onto their graves either. And now she’s officially dead. In the aftermath, Mireille can’t help wonder if the enemy hired Dux to kill them, why didn’t they reveal their identity. Maybe it was all a game and they are just pieces. The enemy is always watching them from somewhere and they have no choice but to keep winning this game.

Episode 4
Mireille and Kirika infiltrate some party and kill members of a company responsible in providing the necessaries for coup d’état. Yeah. There’s business in war. The most WTF moment was Mireille flirting with one of the men, going up real close to him, run her hands all over him, takes his gun and shoots him! Was that guy really stunned by her beauty? There are 3 targets left, Hammond the boss and his 2 henchmen, Burke and Wellman. Of course Hammond is not going to let this plan fail after planning it for years and will crush those who stand in the way. The ladies stake out Hammond at the airport and they see his daughter, Rosalie. He slaps her for coming uninvited and wants her to board tomorrow’s plane home to New York where her mom is (the parents are divorced). Can it be the day after tomorrow? Because it’s her birthday. No can do. This sucks… Subsequently he changes his mind and she can stay here for a week. Yippee! Burke and Wellman receive a strange note that pinpoints Noir’s location. Hammond thinks of utilizing the mini army nearby. Mireille and Kirika realize they are surrounded and it must have been them who sent information of their whereabouts. Kirika goes out unarmed as the army frisks her. They have searched the house and there is no one. As they start asking her questions, they are shot one by one. Yeah. They never checked the roof, huh? This is the best ironic part. The army in panic and calling for a retreat! WTF?! They can’t even beat a girl on a roof with s pistol compared to their machine guns?! Screw this! Kirika just picks up their machine gun and slaughters all of them! Cool! The ladies are heading to Hammond’s place as the henchmen receive word the scouting army has been annihilated. As they are going to take action, Mireille kills the henchmen before they can start their car. Kirika walks into Hammond’s room and he doesn’t panic. He knew this was coming. Kirika shoots him. He messed up the table… And Rosalie’s present… On the way back, Kirika bumps into happy Rosalie coming in the opposite direction and helps pick up her dropped orange. Then she walks away like nothing happened.

Episode 5
Mireille receives message from Vanel to meet as he has some information. However she was too late because he and his entire family got killed. She blames herself that because she tried to do some research after Dux’s incident, she asked Vanel for some information. He must have found out some clue and as a result he and his family paid the price. She goes to visit a bar master who was Vanel’s old superior. He left a bottle in her name. Seems there is a location of a cathedral written on it. On her way back she has a feeling somebody is following her but looks like the coast is clear. Back home, they find mysterious circles and triangles on the bottle’s label over certain alphabets and numbers. They do a brainstorming and they realize it is hidden in the catacombs. Mireille follows the clues on the bottle which are directions to a specific chamber. Beneath the bones is an envelope. Great. The photocopy is all in French. As she leaves, an agent points a gun to her and takes the document. She knew she was being followed and set this up. Kirika fires the gun off his hand. What she wants is information for him. The hidden snipers begin firing so Kirika goes to take care of them while Mireille chases the agent into the cathedral. She corners him and wants him to spill the beans. He is confident she can’t shoot him because only a few know about their existence. But after thinking of Vanel’s death, probably her rage got the better of her. She shoots and kills him. He wasn’t going to tell anyway, right? Anyway from the document, there is this name called Les Soldats. This is the name of their enemy. Mireille explains that back on her hometown of Corsica, her parents and older brother were killed. She doesn’t know who or why they were killed. That was the last time she saw that timepiece. Therefore it was like Kirika brought it from her past. Kirika says she doesn’t have anything but apologizes anyway.

Episode 6
Mireille and Kirika enter a poor USSR community. There is an old charitable man serving food to the poor and doesn’t seek compensation. The local people who idolize him as a saint might not know his name but he is Yuri Nazarov and was formerly from the KGB. Many decades ago he ordered the execution of the ethnic minority Tashkil. Maybe he is doing this out of atonement. But the survivors of Tashkil are the duo’s clients. Hatred and grudge cannot be erased so easily. Kirika seems to have found a lost stray cat (alien eyes?) and takes it in, wondering about its name and how they are alike. Yeah well, the only way is to ask Soldats. One day as she is out with the cat, Nazarov comes by to say its name is Prince Myshkin. It is his cat that went missing a few days ago and thanks her for taking care for it. As he leaves, he starts collapsing in pain. The doctor diagnoses him as pushing too hard and without regard for his own health. He has warned him before but he paid no heed. He has not long to live. The other people visit him and are very grateful to Kirika who saved him. Kirika sees his family photo dated 1951 from Balkutsk. She thought of carrying out the mission tonight but after seeing him with a couple of children, she didn’t have the heart. Mireille searches for the Balkutsk region but couldn’t find it anywhere. She also learns something new from Kirika. Despite her excellent assassination techniques, knowledge of the underworld and fluent in many languages, she doesn’t know anything about Russian literature. Myshkin is a character of some author labelled as an idiot which signifies pure and innocent. She wonders if Kirika can do her mission since whatever the man Nazarov is today doesn’t have anything to do with them. Whatever he is trying to atone now doesn’t resolve anything. Nazarov remembers watching his family being killed. Mireille after doing extra research has found Balkutsk used to be the home of another ethnic minority, Norga. During Stalin’s era, Tashkil assaulted the village and its name doesn’t even appear in today’s map. As Nazarov is a Norga, both ethnic minorities hated each other for centuries and kept killing each other. Mireille says Kirika doesn’t have to do anything since he is dying but she will carry out the mission. She enters his room and points her gun. He knows his time is up and closes his eyes. Before her heart wavers any further, she pulls the trigger.

Episode 7
Balsan, some great revolutionary leader in some Middle East country is dead. His men ring out the betrayer and all the info they got was that he hired Noir to kill that man who defiled this land in the name of revolution. Too bad the betrayer got shot too. Mireille is driving through the desert and looks like Kirika is injured. They need to make it to a designated spot or they’ll miss their ride out. Seems Mireille was careless in her assassination. She let her guard down when she left and let the target fired a few shots through her stomach. More woes because their jeep just ran out of fuel. And all Kirika could think of is her student ID she lost despite everything on it is fake. Taking refuge in some building, Mireille looks like she is going to shoot Kirika. Cutting off her liabilities? Go ahead. Well… She missed! How could she miss at that range?! Actually, she won’t let her take the easy way out. Her main concern is Soldats and once she has them answer her questions, then she’ll kill her. Meanwhile the revolutionaries find the empty jeep. Oh yeah. Easy trail of blood… So while Mireille is out, those guys barge in and are surprised to see a young girl as the assassin. They bring her back to the base and one of the men found her ID card in the hallway. Since she is ‘infatuated’ with it, the boss beats her up and isn’t going to let her die a painless death. After spamming us the same scene with Mireille’s young past of her in some room, we are now shown a little more. Everybody else is dead! Night fall, Mireille infiltrates the base and those guys really aren’t doing their patrolling job well. It took a single woman to take all of them out! Kirika then mumbles about the definition of Noir (something about being double deaths of an ancient fate). The boss is stupid enough to put his face close enough for her to slice his neck! Mireille jumps in to take care of the rest. And to know these guys were fighting for some revolution… As they leave, Kirika can’t help ponder who she is. As Mireille best summarizes, a very deep and pitch black thread that binds them.

Episode 8
Noir just finish disposing some mafia head, Don Lucio Greone. They are doing this to get some ancient contract which contains clues to Soldats. The family’s big head, Don Salvatore quickly summons Intoccabile. He is pleased once Silvana who is also his granddaughter has arrived. He calls her worthy to lead the family because she killed her own father when he broke the family’s code. He entrusts the family to her and gives her the knife she killed her father with. First order of business? Kill grandpa! He accepts this fate for taking away her freedom. Funny, is this how the mafia call love? Meanwhile Mireille gets to know that Intoccabile has been contacted. She once met Silvana when she was young since her father was on friendly terms with the prominent men there. She views Silvana as a very brutal princess. Silvana has snuffed out the traitor, Rizzo who sold the family out and joined forces with the Mexicans. She has her men torture his woman into revealing why he hired Noir for the job. They want this ancient contract but he doesn’t know why. Silvana hires 3 mafia ‘saints’ (Paolo, Dominique and Francesco) but doesn’t want them to hunt Noir down. She knows they’ll come since she has the contract and is going to make it easier to lure them. They kill Rizzo by making look like a suicide. Noir knows it is a trap and although Mireille is shivering in her pants for she knows she cannot defeat Silvana, she still has to go do it. They infiltrate the place that night. Kirika has a tough time with Paolo and Dominique and got slightly injured. Mireille distracts Francesco by shooting the fire extinguisher before ultimately extinguishing his life. Then she enters the room to confront Silvana. For the first time she sees the face of Noir. Francesco hanging on to his last ounce of life barges in and fires all the way. Mireille takes him out and then flees. When Paolo and Dominique return and wonder if Silvana has seen how Noir looks like, she says she didn’t. Noir escapes and Kirika wonders if Silvana has seen her face. She doesn’t know. All she knows is that she blew her chance.

Episode 9
Mireille makes her way to Sicily. Funny, Silvana too. But she is going to investigate about the contract and some father priest that this contract was drawn up by the founder of the Greone family and a noble who gave the family stewardship of the land. In short, this is the origin of the Greone family. Though it is puzzling why Noir would want this. Besides, Greone family only spans back 200 years compared to Noir’s ‘thousand year history of darkness’. We are shown a clip of Mireille and Silvana. Looks like they were friends and played together. When Mireille was close to the cliff, she felt scared. However Silvana says she has no fear, took out her dagger and sliced her flower hair wreath. I supposed it scared the sh*t out of her. In Sicily, Mireille really gets a big surprise when Silvana is there too. Looks like she saw her face after all. Mireille didn’t think she would remember her because they only met once that one time. Silvana clearly remembers her because she was shivering. Just like now. Then she kisses her. It’s not a sign of love. It’s the kiss of death. She’ll be waiting at the temple tomorrow with the contract. It is the place where she killed her father. Kirika squares off with Paolo and Dominique. Another tough battle. She manages to trick Paolo by hiding in the waterfall and then shoot him dead. Dominique keeps firing as Kirika climbs the spiral stairs. He thought he got her when she falls straight down. Actually it was more like bungee. The moment she is the same level with him, she fires her gun. Now it’s Mireille against Silvana. Mireille must be scared sh*t because despite holding a gun, she can’t shoot it as Silvana charges with her knife. She could have been fatally stabbed if not for Kirika firing a shot to break off the knife tip in time. Phew. Then it’s a race to get each other’s weapon. I think the blade must be cursed because now despite Silvana picking up the gun, she’s scared stiff when Mireille charges at her like a mad bull with the broken tip. Yup. Stabbed her this time. Before she dies, she gives the contract. It is believed that the witness on the contract is a member of Soldats. Mireille wonders if the organization has existed this long.

Episode 10
A court case of a corrupted police officer, the judge drops all charges against him. Of course we know this isn’t really justice… However that guy isn’t going to get the last laugh because Noir is on the job to take him out. Surprisingly, somebody else beat them to it. Even all his police escorts are taken out. Noir receive half payment and it seems their client thinks they are the ones who did the job. There is still another half and that is the judge. They go investigate around the black market and it seems that the people think Noir really did a good job on this corrupted officer. But Mireille wonders if they are referring to them or another person impersonating as them. When the judge returns home, he is surprised to see this girl, Chloe warning him that he is on Noir’s hit list. That made him sweat in his pants? Noir goes to confront the judge. I thought it was rather dumb of them to confront him in the face. Shouldn’t they have snipe him from the shadows? Sure, they want to draw the other party out but looks like the judge has surrounded the place with his corrupted police. Now what? Thanks to Chloe’s distraction in killing one of the cops, the duo go into action and start shooting every one of them. If those are the capabilities of those officers, they were never a threat in the first place. Especially this one who just shoot with his eyes close till he ran out of bullets. Then when Kirika pops out coolly before him, he picks up his dead colleague’s gun and fires away. He missed all of his shots!!! Kirika only needs to pump one bullet into him. Now that all the useless cops are dead, Chloe faces off with the judge and kills him. Looks like she beat Noir to it again. I thought his death scream sounded like a monkey. Mireille and Kirika point their gun at Chloe and demand her identity. She calls herself the true Noir. It is wise for them to let her leave because her hand is faster than theirs.

Episode 11
Mireille receives a call saying that he has left something in her post box. It turns out to be another copy of the contract. This has them note that it is taken from the same book but photocopied at different times. Then the mysterious caller calls again and wants to meet them. This elderly guy says he is a loyal Soldats member and is acting under their will. He will reveal the book’s location in 3 days. Before Mireille can further question him, he disappears. No matter how they chase, they lost him. Back at some place, that guy is surprised Chloe visits him and assures he was given permission to make contact with the Noir duo. He cannot understand why she is watching him and deems Altena dangerous. He is going to report this but Chloe mentions it has been decided. I guess it’s the curtains for him. Scores of agents are hunting down the Noir duo but as usual, they kick ass and make them die like ants. Back at Mireille’s place, they ponder if Soldats really wants to kill them when Chloe suddenly drops by. Who the heck invited her in? She’s very sharp too because she knows all the sneaky tricks that they plan to do including all the hidden weapons. And why the heck did Kirika have to invite her to stay for tea?! Mireille is giving that what-the-hell-you-do-that-for-you-b*tch look. Oh, they have tea in the dark because the moonlight is beautiful. Mireille tries to ask some serious questions but isn’t getting any answers because as Altena always told her, the answer you must always search it yourself. Who the heck is Altena anyway? The only thing Chloe says is that the book inscribes everything including why she calls herself the true Noir and is different than them. After that, Chloe leaves like as though she had a fun tea party and keeps a fork that Kirika kept hidden in her sleeve. Kirika could tell that the old guy who is supposed to tell them the book’s location is already dead.

Episode 12
Conrad Zellner punishes and kills his men who failed. A retired German general, Reimann has been living in the Alps when Chloe comes to see him. He knows his time is up so he has Chloe take a stroll with him. He tells her about his days in the German army and did lots of morally questionable deeds. However he has learnt that Soldats is absolute and to never disobey them. Suddenly several men from STG are here to kill him but Chloe dispatches them all with ease. Chloe’s intention isn’t to save him but because nobody shall hinder her task of killing him, she will kill all those who get in the way. Over wine, Reimann tells her that STG used to be East Germany’s national security bureau. After the Berlin Wall came down, Conrad used it to build a criminal organization and smuggle narcotics. He and Zellner although were in the same team, they never liked each other to a point they killed each other’s family. He only realizes it all when Zellner killed his daughter. Chloe also explains she is Noir and he is surprised because he has heard of them but never seen them in person. Now it’s time to die. He hopes she could spare his bodyguard since they know nothing about Soldats. She promises and he gets a swift death. His bodyguard isn’t happy and wants to shoot her but she warns him she would rather keep her promise. Zellner gets word that Reimann is dead but confused that somebody else did it and not his men. He wants to launch an investigation when Chloe comes in and kills everybody. And that’s the end of that. Chloe happily returns to Altena and has so much to tell her. She mentions she has met Kirika and gives the fork to her. Hey… Mireille and Kirika didn’t make a single appearance!

Episode 13
Ever since Kirika sees a guy painting by the lake, she got interested in sketching and bought some tools to do the same. She might be a good assassin but her art… Ah well, it’s art. Meanwhile Mireille gets her hair done and the hairdresser informs her that Christian Galle has returned to Paris. He was Morgan’s right hand man which Mireille done in a couple of years ago. Despite he was serving time in South America, he has been pardoned and back gathering men to get his revenge. Kirika continues to draw with that guy who even shows her where to buy the best drawing tools. Mireille sees this and since she doesn’t even know his name, she warns Kirika not to see him again. Well, not likely. Because the next day she sees him resting under the tree. When she picks up his coat, a medal falls out. He tells her to keep it as he was once part of the Foreign Legion. He introduces himself as Milosh Havel from Czechoslovakia. He is painting and thinking if he should rejoin the Legion. He asks about Kirika but she seems hesitant. He doesn’t probe further. That night after dinner, Mireille and Kirika know Galle’s men are tailing them. You should see the surprise on their face when they realize the ladies ambushed them. Galle is cornered but luck is on his side since he got away when his man drives by to pick him up. Next day, unheeding Mireille’s advice, Kirika continues to see Milosh. After they part, she sees a rare tile in the paint shop that he wanted and goes to buy for him. As she is about to give him, Galle drives by and opens fire, Mafia style. Kirika is quick to hide but Milosh took all the hits. Kirika for once displays more emotions than her robot face. Milosh sees her gun and understood. That’s it for him. Later, Mireille has got a tip off of Galle’s hideout so the Noir duo head there to get their revenge. Everybody dies. Kirika shoots Galle. In the aftermath, Kirika has this pensive look on her face (isn’t it like always?) while Mireille has this I-told-you-so look. She’s not too happy about it either.

Episode 14
Mireille is thrilled to see her uncle, Claude Feyder in Paris. Her uncle?! Heck, he looks young enough to be her brother! They talk about things especially how if his brother, Laurent didn’t die, they would have not been kicked out of Corsica. When Mireille was young and after her parents were killed, the Bouquet family and syndicate collapsed to a rival syndicate that eventually took over Corsica. Claude fled with Mireille to Paris and has been taking care of her till she becomes independent. Out of the blue he asks if she knows about Noir. She pretends she doesn’t know. She wants to know why he is asking so he says it is okay if she doesn’t know. Claude goes to see his friend Dupois. He wants to hire him to find out the killer who has been going on a high profile killing spree recently. Actually, Claude is that killer! Dupois thought he was joking but I guess it isn’t since Claude shoots him. He was on their hit list too. Claude invites Mireille to his greenhouse but she knows there is more to this. He tells her of a big job he has now. She thought of helping but he wants her to sit back and watch. His next target is Kirika. Mireille realizes Soldats hired him and he is surprised she knows them. He can’t tell her more for their sake as he must finish the mission or he’ll be crushed. This was why Laurent and his family were killed. They were going against Soldats. Because Claude swore loyalty to them and followed their orders without question, it’s the reason he was able to leave Corsica alive with her. He warns her that once Soldats gets a hold of anyone, they’ll never let go. Mireille agrees to bring Kirika here tonight. Mireille’s target practice is off since her heart is troubled and tears welling up in her eyes. That night, Kirika insists she come with Mireille to Claude’s greenhouse. After Mireille goes to see Claude, Kirika knows the bodyguards are laying an ambush for her and kills them first. Claude sees Mireille and realizes what is going to happen after seeing Kirika is still alive. They both draw their gun and fire at the same time. I’m not sure if Claude missed on purpose but Mireille’s shot instantly killed him.

Episode 15
After Minister Song leaves the temple, this woman, Shaoli bumps into him. He notices a scratch on his hand and soon after he dies from the poison. When Noir returns to their home, they see a letter. It’s from Soldats wanting to go to Taiwan for a job. Hong Yiban is a powerful triad organization and their job is to kill their elder, Wu Jihua. Mireille takes on the job but not to complete it. Rather, she will go unmask Soldats. Altena is sad when Chloe left a farewell note to her. Seems Altena was the one who gave the job to the Noir duo. Could it be Chloe is worried about them? Altena will be watching over her. Wu Jihua discusses with his man that they took out Song because he was acting on behalf for Soldats. However Soldats have discovered them behind this and are now out to eliminate them. They are not going to sit back and let them do that and are going to fight back. They have information that Noir has entered Taiwan and that Soldats isn’t unified. There is a picture of this man sent by Soldats and if they keep an eye on him, they’ll eventually catch Noir. Shaoli is assigned to kill Noir. Mireille and Kirika meet up with the Soldats’ man who tells them about Shaoli and also someone leaking information. But Mireille is not interested in that and wants to know more about Soldats. Kirika realizes the place is surrounded so everybody starts shooting and running for cover. Mireille goes after the guy but loses him. Shaoli faces him instead and scratches his face with her poison. Mireille is not pleased her only lead is dead when she is ambushed by Shaoli and falls a few storeys off. At least she missed her poison nails. Meanwhile Kirika almost got bombed and is about to get her brains blown off but Chloe saves her in the nick of time. Mireille continues to struggle against Shaoli.

Episode 16
Mireille is captured as Shaoli runs her fingers through her face and body, teasing like she might scratch her any time. But she won’t kill her and is going to use her as bait to lure the other one out. When they leave the grounds, Kirika is before them. Begins one of the biggest WTF moments. Kirika walks slowly up the stairs as everyone pulls out their guns. Then when she whips hers out and starts firing, it’s too late for them to counter attack. Why the heck didn’t they shoot in the first place? What were they waiting for?! Every shot counts for Kirika while those stupid bodyguards miss each one. Feels like you want to scream at them and go take some shooting lessons but don’t bother because they’re going to die. Yeah. Dropping like flies. Kirika runs off into the bushes. Kirika gets help from Chloe in dispatching the morons and Chloe’s presence throws them off because they didn’t think there is another Noir. Mireille has her behind saved by Chloe. I don’t know how many bullets Kirika pumped but it felt like forever, unlimited ammo cheat code activated. The chicken leader gets away and contacts his buddy to regroup. He is confident they can find a way since they know how Noir looks like. Little does he know his buddy is dead and Mireille picked up the phone. Next time, don’t just start ranting off. You might not even know if it’s the wrong number. Thanks to that, they sneak into their base and shoot everyone including Wu Jihua. No chance! But not everybody is killed by them. Shaoli killed their informant. Later she goes to see Yun Shutong who is the one who also hired her to kill off Hong Yiban. As he is a member of Soldats, he is also the one who leaks information about them for the purpose of allying with the strong. You might have seen this betrayal coming when Yun dies after inhaling the incense. And he thought keeping his distance was enough. But why did Shaoli survive? I don’t see her wearing mask. Does she not breathe? Mireille and Kirika make their way to Yun’s place when they see Chloe who leaves her trails for her to follow. Chloe meets Shaoli who believes she killed Yun to gain entry into Soldats. However Chloe isn’t impressed and only tells her Soldats has no use of her. Shaoli is so mad that I thought the way she clenched her fist, she would have poisoned herself. Anyway, she made the mistake of trying to attack Chloe. She is fast to avoid and slices her. That’s the end of that. Mireille and Kirika now point their gun at her as Kirika asks Chloe if she knows about her. Le Grand Retour. Some great return that they must endure its trials in preparation for it.

Episode 17
Mireille returns to Corsica alone after a long while. She visits her old mansion. The rubbles are still standing. Bringing back those dreaded memories? Her old servant, Mary is surprised to see her and invites her to her home but Mireille soon have to leave because she knows that many old people who saw her got this uncomfortable feeling and she doesn’t want to get them involved. The bodyguards of Bertonie pick her up to see him. She assures she is not here for revenge but to visit the graves. She asks about her parents and he assures he didn’t kill them. There are rumours that some colossal power eliminated Laurent and that power came from outside Corsica. He advises her to see George Madelin, Laurent’s old right hand man as he may know more. Mireille thought he is dead but according to Bertonie he is still alive. His other advice is to leave this island quickly. When Mireille goes to see George, he has this big shock on his face and rushes back into his house and wouldn’t let her in, forcing her to leave. But she doesn’t give up and sees him while he is in the bar. She asks about the timepiece that belongs to her father. George is again surprised but won’t say it here. He will tell everything tomorrow at their old mansion. The Bouquet family held power in Corsica for generations because of their link to a big organization. Can you guess? Yup. Soldats. Her parents are member of Soldats and the timepiece is proof of their ‘membership’. Mireille finds it hard to believe since Soldats killed them. True. Suddenly a sniper shoots George. In his last breath, he reveals they were killed because of trying to protect her. Mireille goes after the sniper and plays a cat and mouse game till she gets him. Surprisingly Chloe is here too. She mentions the sniper’s mission to eliminate all those who tries opening the seal to Corsica’s past. She is not here to help or hinder him. Sightseeing? You wish. Corsica hols a special place for her and Kirika. She has a request. If Kirika wishes to return home, please do not stop her. For Chloe will make the journey with her. Otherwise she will kill her. Of course she won’t want it that way as she would love to be friends with her. After all, she is a child of Soldats. Mireille returns home and tells Kirika what she has learnt and starts crying.

Episode 18
Mireille must be under a lot of stress. She points her gun at Kirika, asking who she is about being true Noir and the likes. Yeah. This even makes Kirika cry. Despite she acknowledge her assassin skills which could even be better than hers, she calls her a disturbing enigma. She needs time for herself so she tells Kirika to leave. Reluctantly (and heartbroken?), Kirika did just that and starts thinking about who the hell she is. Then she gets picked up by a Soldats messenger. He is not here to kill her or anything despite the order of sanctioning Noir has been given out. Also, Chloe is not the one to sanction them as she is under Altena’s control. She only listens to her. She is an influential person in Soldats and wishes for Le Grand Retour. However some believe her methods are dangerous. He tells her the address where she can get more information. But when she arrives, that guy is already dead. In his hands are photocopies from the book. He contacts the messenger from his handphone and asks for the copies. He is reluctant since he senses he is in danger but soon agrees to meet up one last time. On her way back, Chloe stands before her. She is here to warn something is about to happen to Mireille. You know those sanctions? She is sure Mireille will not miss this opportunity to meet but this is a trap. Normally Chloe won’t give a damn but felt compelled to tell her since Mireille is Kirika’s friend. Mireille is already waiting at the square at the designated time. Kirika is rushing as fast as she can. Mireille is being cautious but she couldn’t have guessed who in this crowded area. Before she can be shot by an old man, Kirika stabs him in the neck with something sharp. Right on time. In the aftermath, Kirika lets Mireille see the copies. Probably it is sarcasm when she quips she decided to save her instead of following up on the lead for these copies. But I guess that’s her way of saying thanks and they’re back on good terms again. Mireille knows Kirika’s pain is deeper than hers that it’s unbearable but Kirika needs to know what it is.

Episode 19
Mireille gets mail of another clue. This leads them to a historical documents researcher who tells them the photocopy is from a reference book of ancient documents from the Middle Ages. It is called Langonel Manuscript since it was transcribed secretly in a Langonel Monastery. However nothing is known about the original. There are books in Paris and Berlin but were burnt down during the war. However the proof of these photocopies indicates that the manuscript still exists somewhere. The duo continue their research and it leads them to an old multi-millionaire in Austria. Meanwhile the higher up of Soldats lament they have to kill the Noir duo although they would love to have them join their ranks. It’s because Altena’s influence is growing and they sent orders to their best knights under the pretence of a trial to sanction them. Mireille and Kirika hit another dead end because the Austrian dude tells them the manuscript was burnt down in his library. Feel free to examine the remains. As they rue another dead end, here comes Chloe. She hints that Noir has roots and origins in Soldats. Noir is supposed to be the blades of Soldats. Through time, the ritual of accession to Noir was lost and only terror elicited by that name remained in the underworld. Many outlaws claim themselves to be Noir while not knowing its true meaning. Mireille remembers she coincidentally picked that name as codename for them but from what Chloe says it seems their twisted strings of fate is entangling all over them. Suddenly agents try to kill them. Chloe is also target. Perhaps this is what this trial is all about. To see if they are fit to become Noir. Of course the girls kick ass while those guys are just useless. As worthless as dummy practice dolls. Mireille sees Kirika and Chloe killing in sync. They’re so natural… Once it’s over, Chloe whispers to Kirika that Soldats is not her enemy. They were born and raised in the nest of Soldats to become the greatest assassins and thus the true Noir. Therefore Soldats is her home. Although Kirika may have lost her memories, she believes she remembers everything. Kirika can’t take it anymore and tells her to stop. When Chloe starts reciting some Noir line and salute, Kirika automatically follows suit. I guess it’s true then. Mireille couldn’t believe at what she is seeing. Chloe will see her one more time in the future and by then she will bring her to the Manor. Kirika has a deep thought about wanting to believe that a normal her existed somewhere. Now she regrets knowing. Especially with Mireille looking at her with those eyes.

Episode 20
Chloe returns to Altena and loves hearing this ‘bedtime story’. From what I understand, it is how Soldats was founded. Thousands of years ago, there was this plot to gain power and many were killed. Those who survived vowed to protect the weak and persecuted. So they swore loyalty and secrecy and that was how Soldats was formed to seek revenge against the world. The Soldats higher ups are also talking about preserving this world by continuing to be active but Altena is trying to realize Soldats’ ideal by reviving Noir. They view that as a farce. However if she champions its cause, they cannot openly oppose her. But if the ritual is performed, she will become the next high priestess and become the highest authority in Soldats. Her view is that if love can kill, then hate will save. Mireille talks to Kirika that Noir wasn’t the beginning of it but the very reason they came after them. Although they have been sanctioned, yet their identities have been hidden from the assassins nor are they being attacked in their home. Because this is part of the rules and fate of those who are to become Noir. Mireille is still bothered by Chloe’s words that she and Kirika are the true Noir. So what does this make her? Feeling left out? Soldats higher ups get word that Chloe has begun to move so they are going to send their knights to finish them. Mireille and Kirika are ambushed. However those knights are just like any ordinary useless agents. Except they wear some white mask. Quantity over quality. Once all of them are finished, Chloe appears before them to congratulate them for passing the ritual. She is here to give the final guidance to the Manor where the ascension to become Noir will take place. Then it’s like Kirika becomes hypnotized. Chloe asks to hand over her gun in which she did. Then Chloe shoots her.

Episode 21
Mireille checks Kirika’s pulse and good thing is that she is still alive. Chloe explains she did this as the final guidance. The traveller relies upon guidance to advance through the wilderness. If she remembers, she will reach home. Otherwise she will forever be lost in the darkness. She also tells Mireille the truth as she Altena has ordered her to. After all that teasing, you might have already guessed that young Kirika was the one who killed Mireille’s family. She doesn’t believe and what proof does she have? Chloe doesn’t but she was there too and saw it with her own eyes (she looked f*cking awed). The newly born who receive Soldats’ high priest’s blessing at the time of their birth. Those who are chosen from among them go through the trials to become Noir. Mireille also received their blessing but her parents refused to hand her over to Soldats and were executed for that. Mireille can’t take this and runs away. Kirika wakes up and wanders around like a zombie. But when agents come to kill her, she automatically becomes like a killing machine. Finally Mireille and Kirika face off. Kirika admits she was the one who killed her parents and can’t atone her sins. Reminding her of the promise that once the truth becomes clear and to take her life, she wants Mireille to do just that. But Mireille hesitates. She can’t. Kirika is BEGGING for Mireille to shoot her! Mireille says she will keep her promise the next time they meet. WTF. Is this goodbye? This leaves Kirika depressed and frustrated, still begging for Mireille to kill her. She’s gone, sis. And you’re all alone.

Episode 22
Mireille can’t understand it either. Why didn’t she shoot? But looks like Kirika has wondered far enough to reach the Himalayas. Okay, maybe some remote village near the border of Spain and France. She is taken in by a nice old man, Tristan and his wife, Margaret. Seems that they know and expect her. She is then made to go to an old stone monument at the village’s edge. Along the way, it seems everyone acknowledges her and knows who she is. The stone bears the maiden logo of Soldats. One of the young girls resembles a lot like Mireille and this forces Kirika to remember she killed her parents. The young girl coolly says she is not Mireille and also knows who she is. Kirika enters the meeting with Tristan, Thibault the village chief. Also there are agents who want their will to be told to Kirika. However Tristan doesn’t think it is necessary as their beliefs have not changed. He then shoots all the agents dead! The rest of the villagers also kill the remaining agents. He explains those agents are those who oppose Le Grand Retour. This means they don’t want her to see the Lady. As they have lived here together with a great cause, they will continue to do so. Everyone gets down and bow to Kirika. Tristan reveals they are Soldats.

He continues to explain there are many places in the world that does not belong to any country and aren’t on the map. This is one of them and thus lies the Manor. Kirika unconsciously followed the path to the Manor because she is Noir. Beyond here is the sacred grounds and interfering in its affairs is strictly taboo. That’s why those agents were trying to keep her away from this village. The people here are descendants of Soldats. Continuing the roots of Soldats before they went underground and changed into something worldly, Le Grand Retour means returning to the roots of Soldats and the ascension is proof of that. Of course some in Soldats do not desire change as they think Soldats is the world itself. The purpose of this village is to guard the Manor because Soldats are with the truth of the world of man. The Lady also knows this and she is no other than Altena. She has been guarding it for a long time and believes Soldats must regain the hands they have lost. Tristan knows Soldats will make their move tonight. Which is about now because they sent in the army! Margaret leads Kirika out as the villagers fight back. Despite the army have machine guys, fear still runs through them because the villagers do not fear death. Including women and children. Thibault must have got the best position as the sniper but eventually he got bazooka-ed. So the entire village is slaughtered. Kirika cannot understand why this is happening and Margaret believes she understands because she is Noir. Because Soldats also commits sins like men. Sin comes naturally to men. That is the truth of man. After Margaret is killed by the soldiers, Kirika becomes a mean emotionless killing machine. Nobody survives. She continues her journey till she reaches the Manor.

Episode 23
Mireille is visited by a man from Soldats, Breffort. He invites her to join them since she has the qualifications. In actually, some had suggested inviting her earlier along with her partner. Speaking of Kirika, she is already at the Manor and beyond their reach. Altena was the one thoroughly against drawing Mireille into Soldats and was adamant about giving the saplings the greatest trials (all those agents chasing after Kirika in the earlier episodes). Now that 2 of the saplings have gone to Altena, Mireille only remains. That’s why they want to join forces with her. However he gives her a condition. Go to the Manor and kill either Chloe or Kirika. Altena will have no choice but to accept her despite knowing she has been influenced by them. Of course she has no choice but to do this as she knows too much and Soldats will not leave any dangerous element alone. He gives her 2 days to decide. And so this is her answer. She finds out where this guy’s office is, kills all his bodyguards and points her gun at him. She reminds him Soldats killed her parents and have nothing to do with their internal squabble. Soldats will always be her enemy. He dares her to shoot him but doing so will end her career right now. He knew she would come as he wanted her to realize there is no way out of this world. He also reminds her about Claude’s advice not to make the same mistake as her parents. Had Mireille been hand over, her family would have remained in power but they chose the path of destruction instead. He tells her not to make that mistake and think about it thoroughly. After reading Kirika’s letter of gratitude that night, Mireille goes to see Breffort the next day and decides to go to the Manor. But she’s doing it for her own sake and not theirs (they always say that). Soldats will remain her enemy. He asks if she would want to stay an assassin forever. Because she can get more power than her parents ever did. Mireille figured out why her parents didn’t her over to Soldats. Her partner lived with a darkness that was planted in her heart. They didn’t want their daughter to be like that. Although they are Soldats, they are still parents who love their daughter. As for who she will kill when she reaches the Manor, she isn’t sure yet but she wants to see the face of the person who manipulated her parents and partner. Breffort agrees and will email to her the Manor’s location. Whatever the outcome, it will be interesting for Soldats. Finally, Kirika reaches the Manor and meets Altena.

Episode 24
Chloe’s face lights up upon seeing Kirika reaching the Manor. Altena welcomes her as they talk about things. Like how Kirika although wasn’t born here, she spent her important part of life at this place. Altena praises her for showing signs of a great sapling. She also explains the different conditions and situations given to different saplings and the one that overcomes the darkness and it all is worthy to become Noir. Chloe also talks to Kirika and the reason why she decided to become an assassin was that fateful day she saw Kirika gunned down Mireille’s parents in cold blooded fashion. Kirika makes herself at home as Altena puts her to bed. She must be tired from the journey and tomorrow they’ll be busy preparing for the ritual. Next day as Kirika and Chloe have a sword duel, Altena meets her fellow believers who praise her for her valiant efforts. It is now bearing fruit. They also discuss about how Altena’s absolute power will be realized if Le Grand Retour is complete. Altena is willing to do what it takes to accomplish the return of the old Soldats even if something happens to her. The sword fight ends with Kirika the winner. Chloe’s sword broke. When they bath together, Chloe shows the fork she is still keeping. She hopes to invite Mireille over for tea once the ritual is over. However Kirika notes they do not need a third wheel. The ritual continues with Altena returning a gun to Kirika. I don’t know why but she starts having traumatic memories of something similar. Altena gave her that gun in which she used to shoot Mireille’s parents. Kirika then points the gun at Altena, much to Chloe’s horror although Kirika hesitates to shoot. Altena is cool and even wants her to shoot. She talks about darkness, sins and the answer she is looking for is right here. This is the only place she will now peace. Eventually Kirika couldn’t do it. Chloe is so relieved. Don’t forget Mireille. She’s making her way through the barren wastelands.

Episode 25
Before the ritual starts, Chloe and Kirika have the cleanse themselves. In the pool, Chloe kisses Kirika! And then she happily hugs her! Since when did this series turn yuri? After bath, Kirika can sense someone familiar approaching. It’s Mireille. Kirika points her gun. There is no place for her. If this is how it’s going to be, Mireille does the same. Then it begins, a cat and mouse shooting game. I don’t know. Did they turn on the cheat code for unlimited bullets? Just when Kirika thought she had cornered Mireille, the latter throws her timepiece in the air. When they are both at point blank distance, the timepiece lands and breaks. I don’t know why but this causes Kirika to become traumatic thinking about the time she killed Mireille parents. Suddenly the cold hearted killer becomes a trauma girl? Maybe it must be something to do with Mireille’s mom telling her to take care of her daughter. Chloe assists in beating up Mireille while Kirika is in the midst of her trauma. In contrast of Altena’s believe, Kirika also remembers Mireille’s mom saying that although love can hurt, but hatred can never save people. Never. So she’s feeling guilty about it now? Before Chloe can slit Mireille’s throat, Kirika shoots the tip off Chloe’s knife. Chloe is a sad girl. Why? WHY?! Now Chloe is a mad girl and tries to kill Kirika for this betrayal. She sounds like she has been jealous with Kirika living with Mireille the entire time because it could have been her. Kirika pleads her to stop this. Well, Chloe has an idea. She’s going to kill Mireille. She sprints over but Kirika is faster. Kirika stabs Chloe with the fork. Holy sh*t! Guns and knives couldn’t kill but the fork did?! Then it’s like Kirika gets a little poetic. She says Chloe was like a part of her. Because she can kill, it saddens her. Uh… What? After they put lifeless Chloe on the altar, Mireille calls Kirika to come home because it’s not over yet. Kirika is overcome with emotions like an emo girl.

Episode 26
The Soldats higher ups are making their way to the Manor because Altena summoned them. It can’t be help since this is tradition. Damn tradition… Kirika patches up Mireille as they talk about the legend of Noir (a recap to us what it is really about). Then the duo go guns ablazing (actually just a bullet for each enemy would suffice) by killing all the sisters. I thought this scene was funny because the sisters were hiding in the orchard. Then they pop up just to get shot. Just like whack-a-mole, only you shoot them. Real funny. The slaughter continues as they enter the Manor. A follower informs Altena of Chloe’s death and Noir’s betrayal. However it seems Altena has intended for all this to happen. From what I understand, she doesn’t care what happens to Soldats as long as the true Noir revives because Soldats has changed and became corrupted. She then shoots her follower before the duo enter. She is glad they made it this far and will have them begin their final trial. She runs into an underground passage. After a few scenes of war time atrocities, the passage leads them to a room whereby falling down this hole means you’ll be burnt alive by the lava. Altena wants them to finish her and rants about that Noir crap. A lot of people have died by their hands so do not let their deaths go to waste. When she mentions about Mireille’s mom being a sacrificial lamb for this, Mireille gets upset. She feels mad. She feels sad. But she won’t kill her because she is not worth it. Because of this, Altena shoots her but stops short of killing her. She dares Kirika to kill her or she will kill her friend. Kirika has something to say too. Sure, they have sinned and their hands are black. She will accept those sins as Kirika but not as Noir. They are not what she thinks they are. Kirika takes in a bullet meant for Mireille. Don’t worry she didn’t die. Then she pushes Altena into the hole. They’re grabbing on for their lives. Kirika says goodbye. Mireille won’t. Altena drops like a rock. Mireille clings on to Kirika’s hand as tightly as she can. Tears are flowing. Please don’t go. Please. Change of heart? By the time the Soldats higher ups arrive, they see the duo and make way for them. I guess Altena is gone so this means nothing else threatens them anymore unless you want to test the duo’s patience. Although Breffort mentions this is by no means the end, Mireille says that they will live on as they see fit. So what does Mireille want to do now? Go back to Paris and have a nice hot cup of tea.

All Roads Lead To Soldats…
I don’t even know what to say after that kind of ending. I don’t know whether it is good or bad but I know I wasn’t satisfied. So this is the end (or rather beginning) of their journey? After sitting through 26 episodes of drama and gun fights, I thought it would end better this way. So they get to leave just like that? I don’t know. Even weirder was that lava part in the final fight scene. Like as though it is to give us a variety on somebody’s death because all the while we have been seeing people die by gun shots and since Altena is the ‘big boss’, she gets to die differently by falling into the lava. She should have just dropped into it in the first place. Maybe so and perhaps she just wanted to be killed by Noir instead of doing it herself. I don’t know. It just feels twisted. And to think that almost everyone in the world in some ways are related to Soldats, truly you can’t escape from their grasp wherever you go. So can Mireille and Kirika walk away just like that?

Sad to say that despite the series claiming its better parts are the drama rather than focusing on the fight and gunshot scenes, I feel that the action scenes are much more entertaining. Because those drama parts just feel draggy. If I should say so myself, an episode can be finished in half its original duration of 24 minutes. They put in lots of repeated scenes especially of those flashbacks from the past or from previous episodes. And then they prolong certain scenes that really have nothing much ado. This may drag out the drama effects but personally I thought it felt draggy and unnecessary. Therefore personally I would find the action scenes to be a much welcome relief and something to look forward to for each episode. Plus, the first half of the series felt like fillers because we see Noir taking on job requests as they kill different targets while the series drops us tiny bits of pieces about their past and the hidden and future enemy they will be facing.

Although I said that the action parts are entertaining, however I have to note that most of them feel lame. Sure, I can blame old school animation but that is not the point. Especially when Mireille and Kirika are kicking Soldats’ underlings’ ass, those low level agents just feel like they are those low level minions you see in video games. Uh huh. It feels like a video game because Soldats keep unleashing wave after wave of men to go after girls. I don’t know how big Soldats is but it seems they have lots of men at their disposal. Even so, they’re so unskilled. It’s like they exist to get killed. If I should say so myself, they don’t possess the slightest threat to the duo. Some of Noir’s assassination techniques are good but it feels doing them on these low lives is like a big waste. That’s why I said the action is lame. And those bad guys are so unskilled that even if you give them unlimited ammo cheat code, they can never shoot straight. They always miss! Somebody please train them for heaven’s sake! Sometimes when they show Mireille and Kirika doing their makeshift shooting practice in the sewer, is it supposed to justify why their shots always count? Yeah, agents only walk around with guns looking cool and to provide the body count. Besides, I think you’ll lose track doing so. They’ve racked up more body kills than Rambo blitzing his way in the jungles of Vietnam. And thus in every episode, there is guarantee to be deaths. Somebody dies. Whether it is the supporting character for that episode or some unimportant extra. That way, you don’t have to keep up by tying loose ends and care about them anymore.

Even in the penultimate episode where there is nobody around, I thought they were going to break the streak of having no deaths. And then Chloe gets killed. The death combo continues… And expected, Altena also dies. So much so I thought Mireille and Kirika should have just shoot and kill all those Soldats higher ups and save them the trouble of them hunting them down in the future. I mean, I thought the reason they show up was just to get killed. After seeing the pace of this series, this is how I came to think. It’s ‘sad’ that they live ;p. They might not be dangerous now but even they said it themselves, they don’t know what lies in the future. Better be safe than sorry. Besides, weren’t they the ones who made the calls to assassinate them? Oh why oh why didn’t you just kill them and end the series with you both as just the survivors? And if Kirika actually went down with Altena, Mireille will be the only survivor. Good or bad thing? Don’t know. Oh, and here is the oddest part. Despite all the deaths, stabbing and shooting… There is no blood! It’s like their bodies are empty to begin with.

Character wise, I suppose there is some characterization (how deep I don’t know) between Mireille and Kirika, the bonds that they share between them. Since I got caught in the draggy drama, I can’t really tell how much but I’m sure it’s there. I think. It feels weird how their relationship changes of odd partners brought together by fate into close buddies. Because after that few reminders that Mireille would kill Kirika after everything is over, she changed her mind. She wants her. She needs her. If that was a promise, she’d be making the biggest sin of breaking it. Because if Kirika is gone, Mireille would be a lonely soul. And it’s not a good thing for a young lass to be single in Paris even though you’re a hot assassin chick. So perhaps Mireille understood her past and connected the dots that changed her mind in not wanting to kill Kirika.

Kirika on the other hand has this lethargic feel like as though she just woke up from a nap or something thanks to her emotionless behaviour. I don’t remember or know how she got into her amnesiac state in the first place (maybe I wasn’t paying attention) so it felt weird that she started remembering everything the first time Chloe shot her. Like as though it was a seal or something. And when she temporarily turned into a badass version of her emotionless state, it just feels out of place. Her eyes make her look like as though she is a distant relative of the snake. Even weirder how that timepiece broke and she snapped out of her state. From hero to zero. It just feels pathetic. I mean, badass killer girl who needs no one else suddenly becomes emo girl begging for all this to stop? She killed so many in her hands and this? Doesn’t make sense. Well, like she said, they are not what we think they are. Good. Because I don’t want to further think about it. I’m getting a headache in addition to the draggy drama.

Other characters don’t feel much even with Chloe and Altena being the main supporting characters. Altena seems to be cooked up in the Manor which is located in the midst of some barren land. I guess that is why she is so cuckoo because she is cooked up in this place thinking only about returning Noir to its roots. Despite her intentions may sound noble but it still doesn’t solve about the world’s problem like the sin of men. Okay, maybe she’s not God but trying to do this Le Grand Retour already feels like she is playing God. Then there is Chloe who gives an air of mystery when she first appeared. She is more skilful than the duo and has this cunning and confident look in their face whereby it makes you think twice if you want to pull a fast one over her. Then it turns out she was just being obsessed about Kirika and having a crush on her. So when Kirika ‘betrayed’ her love or trust or something (because to me it certainly looked like Kirika wasn’t willing to go down the yuri road. Not at least with her and seemingly with the other woman), she got really mad and met her fate. Other minor characters that only appear for an episode or two also don’t feel much. You’ll forget many of them even if they share a past with the duo like Silvana. Still remember who? Easily forgotten.

The art and drawing looks okay. And as usual since it is old school anime and from that era, there is nothing to shout about or complain. Although there are some dark and gloomy scenes, there are those bright and beautiful sceneries too. Some of the locations are exotic especially in the early part of the series where Noir travel to different places carrying out their mission. But I’m not praising it too much and calling those sceneries as breath taking. Bee Train is the studio that produces this anime. They made animes like Tsubasa Chronicle, Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja (the latter 2 shows in which along with Noir are considered the girls with guns trilogy with Noir being the first of the instalment and the rest borrowing elements heavily from it).

When I first heard some of the background music in the first few episodes, it dawned to me how similar they sound to Mai-HiME. It is no surprise since both series had their music composed by the same person, Yuki Kajiura. Especially those background music with choir voices driving it, I think those are quite nicely done and could have easily been my favourite if not for this single ‘flaw’. Despite a wide range of variety of background music, they keep repeating and playing a handful of them many times! Spamming already existed this long. It really gets irritating after a while. It made me go, “Oh. This song again. Don’t they have any other songs? I mean, this song is not too bad but, really, again?”. For example. You love fried chicken to the max. How about eating them for every meal and every day for the rest of the year? You get sick of it, right? Otherwise I don’t have any qualms with the music as its varieties are exciting enough. Though, I think I would wait for a long while before hearing them again. However I want to note that there is one background music that stands out. And I mean it in an odd and eyebrow raising way. This music whereby this voice goes “Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta”! Was that even a background music? It made me go WTF! It sounds so out of place! And to play it in this kind of show, it just feels weird. I don’t know I am supposed to laugh or cringe upon hearing this. I know varieties are a good thing. But this one is not one of it. It would be better to leave this one out.

The opening theme, Coppelia No Hitsugi strikes me. Upon hearing it for the first time, I suddenly recognize the singer’s voice as Ali Project! Yes, it is that gothic style of singing. However something doesn’t feel like this is the Ali Project that I used to hear (not that I heard every song from them). Because this song feels a little tamer and toned down if you compared it to their ‘naughtier’ ones like in Kaibutsu Oujo, Rozen Maiden and Linebarrels Of Iron. As for the ending theme, it is Kirei Na Kanjou by Akino Arai. This is a very slow and calming piece, which is somewhat ironic for the pace and genre of this anime. Actually it sounds quite beautiful and nice if you don’t actually try to relate and think that this is the show’s ending theme.

Overall, this anime have both its supporters and detractors. If you love retro animes and the kind of style that they display, I’m sure you’ll be giving double thumbs up and calling this a classic. For those who don’t, the draggy drama and prolonged scenes, lame action scenes (although it can get violent) and the dark and melancholic feel may be a turn off to some. But this series reminds me of the conspiracy that anything and everything you do, either some government division or shady underworld organization that controls the government on puppet strings are always watching. You’re always been watched. That’s why you can never outrun or hide from them. But don’t worry. As long as you got your gun with unlimited ammo, you can easily take them out with your eyes closed. They’ll somehow hit, I tell you.

Kill La Kill

December 21, 2014

They say clothes maketh the man. You are what you dress. First impression is important and based on how you dress, it tells a lot about you. Why, costumes are very important in cosplay, right? So treat your clothes well as they will treat you well in turn. Hey. What am I ranting about? Okay people. Watching this anime series may change your mind about clothes. Those pieces of cloth that you put on every day, don’t take them for granted. Yeah people. Don’t underestimate clothes and treat them with respect.

From the director and writer of the crazy series, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann comes yet another crazy series, Kill La Kill. It sounds like another excessive violent anime, doesn’t it? Well, excessive crazy over the top action, if I should put it. This is more than just a simple story of a girl trying to seek revenge and find her father’s killer. Armed with only half a giant scissors as her weapon and only clue, she’s got to fight against almost everyone in seemingly uniforms that give them superhuman abilities. Ah, clothes that give you super powers. Now people, do you not see why Superman wears his underwear outside even though it makes him look so silly? Because it has always been the clothes that give him power! Yes people, the clothes give Superman and everyone their power! Now you know why people who buy branded t-shirts feel more ‘powerful’ than those cheap plain Joes and Janes? Yeah… Ahem. And oh, she’ll find a deeper and heinous conspiracy in her journey. You know stories are always like that.

If you’re wondering about the crazy sense of the title and why would they pick such a ‘violent and cruel’ word, just be enlightened that there is a play on the Japanese word. Just like how seifuku could both mean uniform and world conquest (which are both a major theme in this anime), the word kiru can also both mean to put on clothes or to cut (both of which you’ll be seeing and hearing quite often in this anime). And if you know your Japanese Romanization well, kiru would of course sound like kill, which sounds fancier, right? Before I bore the pants off you, you might want to get into your cosy clothes and watch this crazy ride. Hope you’ll still keep your shirt on at the end of this anime ;).

Episode 1
At Honnouji Academy while Aikurou Mikisugi is teaching his class, suddenly Ira Gamagoori of the Disciplinary Committee bursts in to arrest the culprit who stole a One-Star uniform. That person will be punished with no chance of defending himself! Immediately he runs but how far can he go? He puts on the uniform to gain some power. However he is still no match for Gamagoori’s Three-Star power. Defeated, naked and crucified. This is a stern reminder to others that as long as he is around, the rules shall be obeyed. Now pay your respects and salute to the student council president, Satsuki Kiryuuin! New girl Ryuuko Matoi arrives in town and gets surrounded by a young punk, Matarou and his pals. They think she is easy picking but is immediately shown their place. Matarou’s sister, Mako Mankanshoku beats him up for trying to mug people. Realizing she is late for school, she makes a dash. Ryuuko sees a crucified person outside the academy gates. She is the new transfer student in Mikisugi’s class and sits right next to Mako. She explains the different stars on a Goku uniform that gives the wearer different strengths. The more stars, the more powerful. Ordinary students like them have no stars while the highest, worn by the student council’s 4 elites have Three-Stars. Learning Satsuki is the big boss and here she comes into the picture, Ryuuko draws out half her Scissors Blade and demands if she has the other half. Satsuki doesn’t answer her question. Ryuuko charges at her but Boxing Club captain, Takaharu Fukuroda punches her away. Ryuuko is beaten up but she won’t hand over her scissors and is forced to retreat. We see the 4 elites in a discussion. Other than Gamagoori, there is Uzu Sanageyama of the Athletic Committee, Houko Inumuta from the Information and Strategy Committee and Nonon Jakuzure of Non-athletic Committee. They talk about Ryuuko and her attempt of starting fights in the eastern Kanto region.

Ryuuko is at the abandoned and dilapidated house where she and her father, Isshin once lived. The floors cave in and she didn’t know there was such a huge underground beneath. Her blood seems to have awakened some sort of creature and he wants more of it. This talking uniform, Senketsu forces Ryuuko to wear him. Mako is captured and is used as bait to lure Ryuuko out otherwise she will be executed (Mako is the only girl who has spoken to Ryuuko and thus they think she is her ‘friend’). Fukuroda has been given another chance to redeem himself and a Two-Star uniform. Failure means his Goku uniform will be confiscated. Ryuuko does not disappoint and jumps straight in. After freeing her Mako, she fights in a boxing ring with Fukuroda. Upon taking off her cloak, everybody has their eyes fixed on her sexy and scanty outfit. Distraction? It made Fukuroda want to strip too although Ryuuko is very much embarrassed to be wearing it. Fukuroda may have powered up his gloves with super weapons that just seem illegal but he cannot punch through Ryuuko’s steel uniform. She fights back and achieves her first victory with Fukuroda having Fibre Lost (his uniform is shredded to pieces and ultimately stark naked). Everyone is shocked that Fukuroda is defeated. They try to protect Satsuki from the scattering blood but a little drop splats on her cheek. Horror? Unfazed Satsuki wants to know where she got that uniform. It is her father’s keepsake and this half scissors was left behind by the person who killed him.

Episode 2
As Ryuuko is bleeding too much blood, she is in danger of collapsing so Senketsu tells her to retreat for now. Satsuki doesn’t want her underlings to go after her because she knows she will be back. Ryuuko wakes up almost being raped by some perverted guy! Actually, he is Mako’s dad and she is in her home. Ryuuko meets the quirky family (including a quirky pet dog, Guts) and gets a taste of their not so appetizing dinner. Croquettes with maggots? Heck, at least they are not poisonous. Tennis Club captain, Omiko Hakodate has the honour to wear a Two-Star uniform for her interleague match (armed suppression, that’s what they really calling it). If she is successful, their conquest of northern Japan will be complete. Satsuki’s butler, Mitsuzou Soroi wonders why she doesn’t wear a Goku uniform. Her sword is more than enough. Ryuuko remembers when she put Senketsu on, she was highly embarrassed by how revealing it is. Senketsu cannot remember much of his memories or how it really works. As long as she puts him on and he drinks her blood, she gains power. Also, he was invented by Isshin. Ryuuko goes to school with Mako and learns that depending on how many stars you have on your uniform, it determines your lifestyle status. Therefore there is an obvious gap between the rich and poor. Mako is attacked by tennis balls. Hakodate claims she hasn’t been fulfilling her obligations to her club. But she was being taken hostage yesterday? That doesn’t count. Ryuuko will fight for Mako as thanks for food and lodgings. However she can’t use Senketsu and gets owned.

Mikisugi picks her up and in his secret hideout he explains about the Kamui, uniforms whose powers surpass of the Goku uniforms. Only those who master wearing this can beat Satsuki. If she requires further explanation, beat Hakodate to prove it. He also gives her a gauntlet, Seki Tekko that should allow her to provide blood to Senketsu easier. Ryuuko drops in the midst of the Tennis Club’s punishment against Mako. Ryuuko slices the ball but is called fowl. In a tennis match, you don’t slice the ball, right? But look at Hakodate’s racquet! Isn’t that totally illegal?! Mako butts in to argue it is Ryuuko’s win since she came to save her friend and this means she won over her friendship, blah, blah, blah. And so a one game tennis match is decided. Ryuuko is on the losing streak and the other guys are obviously watching it because of her scanty outfit. Since Hakodate’s strength is too much, Senketsu suggests to use her scissors as racquet and the fibre of her clothes as strings. They want to call it a foul but Satsuki tells her to play along. If she’s good, she’ll crush her in no time in her Two-Star uniform. Ryuuko fights back in this power match and rips Hakodate up to a Fibre Lost. This qualifies Ryuuko to personally fight Satsuki. But she is not going to tell her anything and wants to prove it with her skill. Senketsu warns she can only last for 2 minutes otherwise she will pass out (Senketsu drank lots of her blood). The pressure and landing strike from Satsuki is so awesome and powerful that the audience is blown away!!!!!! Even the court is ripped apart! Freaking superb!!! Ryuuko is forced to retreat again. Satsuki orders the Sumo Club to take the place of the Tennis Club for their northern Japan conquest. She also notes that her Kamui is worthy since it could turn away her blade.

Episode 3
Satsuki remembers her father showing her a ‘wedding dress’ called Junketsu. She was young and never knew its true meaning although she yearned for it. Ryuuko sees Mikisugi for more explanations. Life Fibres are fighting fibres with life of their own. One-Star contains 10% of it, Two-Star 20% and so on. But there are some that are completely woven with it and those are called Kamui. Those who know of this secret are the Kiryuuin clan and Isshin. Kiryuuin must have attacked Isshin to steal his secrets and keep it for themselves. Mikisugi once worked for Isshin and despises Kiryuuin’s despotism. They wanted to thwart their world domination plans but Isshin died and left him a note to give Senketsu to his daughter. But he doesn’t know who killed her father. He is actually on an undercover mission as a teacher to uncover what the Kiryuuin clan is up to. In a secret lab in the school, a student becomes a guinea pig by wearing a Five-Star uniform. He becomes uncontrollable and smashes through everything. Only Inumuta is able to stop his rampage. Seeing that at 50% Life Fibre makes someone go out of control, they can’t believe others can wear a Kamui. This means Satsuki will be taking action. She enters a secret room underneath her mansion, against the wishes of the guards so that she could remove Junketsu and wear it. There is a risk she might die from it but she is adamant she will control and bend it to her will. Ryuuko stays with Mako’s family and she is embarrassed to change in front of people. To her dismay, the males in her family went to sleep just to peep at her change and they get beaten up.

Next day, Ryuuko and Satsuki have their showdown. Satsuki wastes no time in donning her Junketsu, another revealing sexy outfit just like Ryuuko’s. Senketsu warns she is more powerful than her. So powerful that it is blowing away all the low lives! Satsuki is untouchable (she loves the power) unlike Ryuuko who is struggling like mad. Ryuuko couldn’t understand what Senketsu means about donning him unless he drinks her blood. Isn’t she wearing him now? To save her from losing more blood, Senketsu reverts back but Ryuuko gets owned. Satsuki chides her for this pathetic nonsense. She explains about the Kamui’s true power and that the fact Ryuuko is embarrassed that she looks like some exhibitionist proves how small she is. Satsuki will not hesitate to bare herself and will let the world see it all if it means attaining true power. Surprisingly, Mako butts in to say Ryuuko has one. At least in terms of her boobs are bigger. After all that blabbing, she wants Ryuuko not to be shy of her great body. So just rip it off and get naked! Satsuki calls all that nonsense but this makes Ryuuko get up and fight back. She now understands what it means to wear Senketsu. It is the need to become one. It means he becomes like her skin. Because she was embarrassed, she was like rejecting him and thus why he needed to drink great amount of blood. The more her heart closes, the more he yearns for a blood connection. Now that she has accepted it, she moves faster and more powerful. Senketsu doesn’t even need to drink so much blood. Both are equally matched in this power fight. Satsuki still won’t tell her what she wants. What good will it do? Don’t know. She just needs to know. Satsuki won’t say anything to someone so devoid of aspirations. After blowing everyone away, Ryuuko vows to crush her ideals on ambitions and aspirations. Satsuki finds it interesting. Because Honnouji is like her kingdom, she must face all the clubs who will be after her head tomorrow. Ryuuko is confident she can take every one of them down. If she does, she will get her rematch with Satsuki and her Junketsu again. If she bests her, she will tell her everything too. Challenge accepted.

Episode 4
The alarm sounds at 4am. Mako’s mom is washing Senketsu. It’s like torture. Ryuuko is suddenly whisked away by Mako to school as they join a large student crowd like a mass migration. As explained by Gamagoori, today is No Late day. Once every semester, students with no stars will be tested through a field of traps on their way to school from 4am to 8.30am. Those who are late will be expelled. Let the challenge begin! I don’t know but Mako is shameless to lecture Gamagoori about sleeping and pyjamas… One of the students, Maiko Oogure seeks to join Ryuuko to school since she is injured in one of the traps. Ryuuko likes her fighting spirit and agrees. But does it seem like Ryuuko is the one escaping at the skin of her teeth with all the traps? Mako’s family is on their way to bring Senketsu but each time Maiko accidentally pulls down Ryuuko’s pants and reveal her shima pantsu, they crash and leave the delivery of Senketsu to another member. They hijack an armoured bus for One-Stars to navigate through the mine field. I don’t know how Maiko drives the bus with her injured hand. Maybe it isn’t… They are spotted and all the residents start shooting their machine guns at them. They crash through the school gates with 15 minutes to spare. Guts brings Senketsu but because of Maiko’s blooper again, he nose bleeds and trips on his own blood. Maiko steals Senketsu and reveals her true nature. She is under the Disciplinary Committee in charge of developing the traps. After overhearing Ryuuko’s challenge to Satsuki, she got this idea to steal Senketsu and best Satsuki so that she can rule this kingdom and live in luxury. But when she puts it on, Senketsu is stiff. It won’t move. Now she’s pleading for life. Sorry won’t do. Ryuuko beats her up and takes back Senketsu who in turn spits out Maiko’s blood. At least he didn’t cheat on her. They think they are home free but they bump into a painting. Yeah, the school is just a painting. Maiko’s last trap is to set them on a one way trip down to hell. They crash far away near the ocean. They won’t make it even if Senketsu is put on. So they hijack the cable car reserved only for the rich people and ride their way up. Maiko although notes her plan failed, she will lie low and wait till the next chance arises. However Gamagoori has overheard her despicable plan and expels her from school. Since there is no time to stop at the station, Ryuuko cuts the cable car wires and it propels them directly into class. Made it in time. Hey, I wonder how those other students got there first?! Because at the beginning it looked like all those no star losers were seriously owned and not making progress a single bit.

Episode 5
Tsumugu Kinagase is about to snipe Ryuuko but the Gardening Club confronts him for stepping on their flowerbed. He doesn’t give a sh*t and even throws his cigarette into it. Safe to say, those guys aren’t anywhere near this punk badass to even scratch him. Ryuuko once again saves Mako from the Biology Club using her as an experiment guinea pig. Senketsu could taste saltiness in her blood and thinks she has been cocky recently. Mako is suddenly put unconscious with sewing needles. Tsumugu then attacks and overwhelms Ryuuko and wants her to hand over Senketsu. However he is interrupted and backs off. But he’ll be back tomorrow. Tsumugu goes to see Mikisugi who interrupted him. He is told to leave Ryuuko alone. Satsuki’s national school conquest is almost complete and the only place left is the Kansai region. It is the goal of Isshin and Nudist Beach organization to defeat Satsuki using Kamui and he doesn’t want him to interfere. Tsumugu deems that uniform dangerous and will create a bigger threat than the Kiryuuin clan. That is why he will eliminate it. Mikisugi quotes from Kinue, “People and clothing aren’t enemies”. Tsumugu will not back down. Although he owes Mikisugi a great deal, he will do anything except when it comes to Kamui. The student council are discussing about the intruder that attacked their Gardening Club. It is confirmed he is part of the Anti-Uniform Guerrilla who has been attacking their affiliated academies. His needle weapon is composed of a special alloy and has the ability to sever the connection between a human body and Life Fibres. Jakuzure offers to move in this time since. Back home, Senketsu wants Ryuuko not to wear him tomorrow since Tsumugu’s target is him. No can do. She will wear him and defeat Satsuki. Mako’s family are spying on her and they think it is just sad she is talking to her uniform (only Ryuuko can hear Senketsu). Doesn’t she have any other friends? Mako notes she is weird but they should accept her.

Ryuuko faces off with Tsumugu the next day but the battle is joined by several other clubs like Gardening Club, Rakugo Club and 100 Poets Club who are sent in by Jakuzure. Ryuuko is forced to flee from Tsumugu’s needles (needless to say too that those club members are easily owned). Senketsu is at his limit and cannot maintain his form. Tsumugu’s jamming needle did the trick to seal her Kamui. He tells her to strip and a little story about a woman who thought clothes and people could be friends. However she was betrayed by it. The rate Ryuuko is going, she will end up like her. Senketsu uses his last ounce of strength to protect Ryuuko but Tsumugu views this as the clothes becoming berserk to escape by itself. Mako then stabs Tsumugu in the butt with a broom and lectures him about Senketsu being the only set of uniform Ryuuko has. That is why she is so protective of it. Thus the uniform is her friend. Mako also mentions she only had friends in her head till she met Ryuuko and made a real one. So what’s wrong with a girl making friends with her clothes? Mako gives Senketsu back to her and then goes off to clean the toilet as punishment for sleeping in class. Tsumugu is still going to annihilate the uniform while Ryuuko clings on to it. Suddenly he hears Senketsu’s voice to not lay a finger on her or he will make him pay. Is he hearing things? Jakuzure interrupts and wants everyone to surrender but Tsumugu takes Ryuuko and escape and leaves a bomb behind. Although they got away, Jakuzure did her job perfectly because Satsuki’s intention is to obtain the Anti-Uniform Guerrilla’s combat data. Ryuuko wakes up safe with Senketsu. She notes they need to get stronger and can do it together. Not because he is her uniform but her friend. Maybe she can start by losing 2cm off her waist… Mikisugi thanks Tsumugu for saving Ryuuko. But he says he is only giving her a chance. Otherwise he will come back to rip it off her.

Episode 6
Ryuuko confronts Mikisugi and seeks answers that he knows Tsumugu. There are photos of them in a bar together circulating. Whatever reasons he gives about bonding her with Senketsu won’t work. So he strips and mentions his Nudist Beach organization repetitively. Enough to make her back off. Shiro Iori, the president of the Sewing Club receives loads of Life Fibres as requested by Satsuki. What is she going to do with it since she was always opposing to create more Three-Star or Two-Star uniforms to bolster their ranks since that would mean a drop in quality. Sanageyama goes to see Satsuki’s permission to fight Ryuuko. Why? Because he wants to fight someone strong. Flashback 3 years ago when he was a gang leader in North Kanto, he and his gang were facing Satsuki alone. They lost. She invites him to come to Honnouji Academy where he can unleash his strength. Now he is confident he can defeat Ryuuko as long he has these eyes. Satsuki receives a call from her mom Ragyo, wanting an explanation that she used Junketsu. Ryuuko won’t refuse a personal invitation to fight Sanageyama. So there he is, transforming his Three-Star uniform into its Kamui version, Blade Regalia. Ryuuko is no match for him because as long as he has his multiple eyes that can detect every motion and movement, she cannot beat his Tengantsu. Ryuuko then uses a clever move. She cuts a small portion of Senketsu to cover up all the eyes. There, can’t see now, can’t he? It is Ryuuko’s victory as Sanageyama experiences Fibre Lost. He wants to continue fighting but Gamagoori won’t let him as he has disgraced them. Shortly, he goes to see Iori and seeks a favour.

Ryuuko irons Senketsu and their victory couldn’t be much sweeter. But enjoy it while it lasts… Sanageyama goes to seek another permission from Satsuki to face Ryuuko. This time he knows he will win because he has already resolved. In the second showdown, Ryuuko is feeling confident. She does the same move but it doesn’t work. Sanageyama still manages to hit her. Taking a closer look, his eyes are sewn shut! Sanageyama had Iori sew his eyes close as his resolved not to rely on his eyesight to beat Ryuuko. Now that his uniform has become his eyes, he is faster and more powerful than ever. To a point he can just sense everything about Ryuuko. Shingantsu has surpassed Tengantsu as he is using the eyes of his heart to see. Ryuuko starts getting intimidated by and backed to a corner. She is beaten to a pulp and could have lost if not for Blade Regalia overheating and losing its form. This allows Ryuuko to escape barely with her life intact. Satsuki tells Sanageyama there is no shame and should stand proud. It was a result of his power outstripping the Goku uniform. Iori has made some adjustments so that the uniform could keep up with him. Sanageyama continues to have his eyes permanently shut. He thanks Satsuki for giving him a fresh start. But he won’t be able to join her for tea as promised because now that his other senses have heightened, his tongue is sensitive to heat.

Episode 7
Ryuuko is having a happy lively dinner with Mako and family. Save for the peeping she dislikes so much… Ryuuko continues to easily beat all the Two-Star uniform club presidents. She learns that those people used to be under a single club but separated and become club presidents so they can get Two-Star uniforms to beat her and get Three-Star uniforms. This gives Ryuuko to form a new Fight Club. Surprisingly Satsuki approves. Since she has to do lots of paperwork, submit reports, budgets and attend daily meetings, she shoves the president role to Mako! But look at it this way. If Ryuuko beats them, her status and living will improve. Ryuuko does her part and Mako doesn’t give up. Now her family has moved up the tier to a decent life. They have a proper meal, proper rooms that are all air-conditioned. OMG! Life has never been so good! Though the guys still are at their same ol’ peeping game… Some things never changed. With more hard work, the family is now living the ultimate luxurious life! Big rooms and steak for dinner?! However everybody is so busy and have their own schedule. Where is the family time? Ryuuko feels something is wrong. She is eating alone. Even Senketsu wonders if they have achieved victory. The 4 elites are worried at this rate, Mako will be part of their inner circle. Satsuki isn’t fazed yet. They will soon find out if they will destroy this academy or be assimilated into it. On the day Ryuuko is to fight her big match and upgrade and Mako will be part of the student council, Ryuuko throws her resignation letter. She is fine losing this luxury status and living in the slums. Mako won’t allow it. She isn’t going back to living the poor life and will protect their lifestyle.

Satsuki throws Mako a Two-Star uniform. Use it and fight against Ryuuko. If she wins, she will have a Three-Star uniform. Mako takes it and without hesitation fights Ryuuko. Even her family is rooting for her to beat the crap out of Ryuuko. Satsuki shows it to Ryuuko that this is the human nature’s purest form. Once they have tasted pleasure, they have become her slaves. They are greedy pigs in clothing that must be tamed by force. Ryuuko stops fighting. She allows Mako to beat her up. Before she can throw the finishing punch, Mako stops. She is sad nobody tried to stop her. Not Ryuuko, not her family. Why? She thought their lives improved but apparently it was all just some fake glitter. She pounds the ground to create a huge crater. Ryuuko explains that this is her uniform’s true power. She never attacked her all out because she believed she was fighting against her own desires. Ryuuko tells it back to Satsuki that this is proof humans aren’t as weak as she says. Mako disbands the Fight Club and Ryuuko cuts it and it becomes a beautiful fireworks. The family rush down to apologize and seek Ryuuko’s forgiveness. Now living back in the slums, although poor, they are happy and lively eating their dinner together. All smiles. This is how it should be. Satsuki notes that for the clubs to be defeated to the lowly Fight Club, it means they are not worthy. She is going to rebuild this academy from the ground up again by holding a Reprisal General Election. Inumuta realizes Satsuki has exploited Ryuuko just to purge the academy of its undesirables.

Episode 8
Satsuki announces a battle royale where students can attack any students in this first natural election. You do not choose a candidate but choose yourself and fight. For a week, they must fight each other in this courtyard and then face off in a Sudden Death Runoff Election. The winners will be granted improved Goku uniforms. Naturally it becomes a battlefield with everything goes. Mako has no intention to fight since she is a No-Star, she has nothing to lose. Being poor is the best, right? Ryuuko brings Mako to her burnt down mansion. Her mom died after she was born and her dad is only interested in his research. She lived a delinquent life picking fights till 6 months ago she received a letter from her father to meet. But he saw him breathing his last breath. He gave her 2 choices. Walk away and lead a peaceful life or take this half scissors and find the person who killed him. But fate for the latter will be cruel. Ryuuko thought she saw the killer and started chasing but the mansion blew up. Ryuuko realized for the first time she knew nothing about him and at least wanted to know who killed him and why. What are these scissors for and the reason he made Senketsu. The scooter ran out of fuel so they hitch a ride. They didn’t expect it to be Gamagoori. Just got his driving licence? Mako is itching for a drive. Gamagoori assures he won’t fight her here because the Sudden Death Runoff Election is where he will face her. They are attacked by the Automobile and Airsoft Clubs who are after Gamagoori’s uniform. He is going to settle this himself and tells Ryuuko to stay out. Everyone fires at him but his uniform absorbs it and turns into Shackle Regalia. He sounds like a masochist because he wants more pain!

Flashback reveals Gamagoori was a student council president but couldn’t save a bully victim from his perpetrators who used their family status to have things their way. They made the poor chap jump off a building. Gamagoori was helpless. Luckily he is saved by Satsuki’s trampoline. She then proceeds to show those punks who the boss is. No match. Gamagoori views her the same as she is using her family’s influence. She asserts she is different. While the rest are leeching off their family’s influence, she uses it and will absorb them till it becomes her own. The difference is resolve. After he graduates, he enrolled in Honnouji to serve by her side. Gamagoori absorbs more firepower and this made his suit expand like some hulk. When he climaxes, his uniform transforms into Scourge Regalia and blasts away the enemies. The process sounded so pervy… The Sudden Death Runoff Election is here. Lots of survivors. Satsuki initiates the rule that there are 5 towers and only 5 who can stand on it will be eligible for the fight off. Naturally the 4 elites are already on top. This leaves Ryuuko to scramble for the last one. After she makes it, the 4 elites propose a new rule. They want to challenge Ryuuko to a one-on-one match. Agreed. A big arena in the middle emerges. It’s like they planned out all this all along. If she wins this, Satsuki will tell her the details of her father’s death. Gamagoori will be Ryuuko’s first opponent.

Episode 9
The other elites do not approve of Gamagoori going first but Satsuki mentions the order of their fight. Based on how many students they defeated in the battle royale, the one with the fewest will go first. That means Gamagoori will be first in line followed by Inumuta, Jakuzure and finally Sanageyama. But the fight doesn’t start now. It begins at 1pm. That’s 4 more hours… During the break, Mikisugi confronts Ryuuko and wants her to drop out of the fight because the 4 elites are on a different level. Because he cannot answers what she wants, she tells him to shut up and just watch on the sidelines. The first fight begins. Gamagoori transforms into Shackle Regalia so Ryuuko isn’t dumb enough to attack him. However Gamagoori anticipated this and whacks himself! Ryuuko has to be careful since falling out of the ring means automatic loss. Her Scissors Blade cannot cut through Shackle Regalia since its surface is cloth armour reinforced by special power. To absorb his Life Fibre, she must pierce through this armour and into the uniform proper. Sure she can try cutting her way deep in but that would mean powering him up more too. Ryuuko gets beaten up as we see Gamagoori’s flashback on his iron resolve. When Satsuki was on a school conquering spree, Gamagoori stood in her way and vowed not to let her have her way. He was wearing an armour vest and despite knowing he cannot beat her, he also resolves not to lose and kneel to her. He takes in all her blows and although ultimately lost, Satsuki didn’t consider that posture as him kneeling before her. She tells him to become her shield. She views people in clothes as pigs and will fight against the world and completely recreate it. Her first step is to create a new high school that will be her army in 2 years. Join her there and he will acquire new powers.

With that resolve, Gamagoori will not lose to her and mocks Ryuuko’s petty personal vendetta. That kind of resolve will not defeat Satsuki or even him. Senketsu has an idea. Ryuuko begins cutting him up like mad and then defend herself against his onslaught. Gamagoori rants about his discipline and his whip of love to other students about independence. He disapproves of her slutty outfit. Because of that he is going to mould her into a proper student. Ryuuko is crushed between his iron (is this his idea of straightening her out?) and when Gamagoori unleashes his big whip of love (big dick?), Senketsu bites into it. Ryuuko gets wrapped into Shackle Regalia and is suffocating. However it is a foolish move since she is inside it, she can do Life Fibre Synchronize. She breaks out of it and Senketsu is now in another new form. Senketsu Senjin has blades all over. With Gamagoori too weak to transform into his Scourge Regalia and that his Life Fibre is exposed, she defeats him into Fibre Lost. Victory for Ryuuko! Gamagoori feels disgraced with the defeat and is going to commit seppuku but Satsuki stops him. It is too early for him to kneel to defeat. Next up is Inumuta and Ryuuko declines Satsuki’s offer for any rest. She’s going to beat them all up and come after her.

Episode 10
5 years ago, Inumuta tried to hack into the Kiryuuin stocks and cause it to crash. He was immediately discovered and all the MIBs were hot on his trail till he is cornered. Satsuki is impressed he is able to breach the tightest security and he did it for the thrill. The harder the more worth it. However she calls his ambition small. He should change the system of the real world. She invites him to come to Honnouji. Back to our match, Gamagoori sits next to Mako. He lost his Three-Star uniform and is now a No-Star. Got to work his way back up again to repay Satsuki’s kindness. Inumuta transforms his uniform into Probe Regalia. Like his abilities suggest, he is taking in all the data he can process. I just find it odd that he has keyboard all over his suit and his fingers were like wriggling here and there and everywhere… Of course Inumuta is able to predict her capabilities and anticipate her movements. He then turns invisible to enhance the psychological damage. More like optical camouflaging. Ryuuko takes a beating but she calls Senketsu for Plan B. Senketsu’s eye turns into a huge fly swatter. If she can’t see, might as well attack everything at one go. Inumuta is slammed. No data could be computed for his escape. Even he has reached the limits of his processing capability. Ryuuko is on a roll. Right before Ryuuko lands the finishing blow, Inumuta announces he forfeits the match. It would be a shame if all the data he gathered were destroyed. Besides, it is the data he wants and not victory. It’s another victory for Ryuuko. Inumuta sits with Gamagoori. Mako sandwiched in between… You know what they say when 2 elephants fight.

Now it’s Jakuzure’s turn. With a flashy marching band entrance, her Goku uniform, Symphony Regalia Gravel is one big mother ship! She attacks using loud sound waves and music notes. Yes. Music kills! Time for a little flashback. Jakuzure and Satsuki have known each other since kindergarten. Jakuzure has everyone under her thumb and made her a sand castle just for Satsuki. However Satsuki has created a greater building from sand, one that she can look down on others. The sand castle is blown away in the wind so how sure Satsuki’s building will stay up? Build a skyscraper within your mind so that it will never fall. Jakuzure is awed and vowed to follow her from that day. Now Jakuzure can fly! Hey, I thought you’re out if you go outside the arena? I guess there is a difference between falling off and flying. Ryuuko is going to bring her down then by using her Life Fibres to drag her down. Jakuzure may not be able to cut it but she destroys the ground. It’s giving way. No more arena? But it’s not over yet. Ryuuko surprises everyone when Senketsu undergoes another evolution. Senketsu Shippu allows Ryuuko to fly now. Yeah, I guess you don’t need an arena now that they have taken it to the skies. But Jakuzure is pissed because the sky has always been her territory. Meanwhile Mikisugi contacts Tsumugu who then makes a u-turn back.

Episode 11
Now that Ryuuko can fly, she targets Satsuki but Jakuzure won’t let her so easily. Ryuuko then throws back a missile at Jakuzure to destroy her ship. Now that she can’t fly anymore, Ryuuko shows no mercy in fighting fair with her and lands the finishing blow. However Senketsu cannot feel her Fibre Lost. Jakuzure rises up for an encore performance. Her Goku uniform now is Symphony Regalia Da Capo. It fires Beethoven’s music waves that sever and manipulate Ryuuko’s Life Fibre link with Senketsu, weakening them. Ryuuko amazes everyone when she takes in Jakuzure’s rhythm to match it to her own frequency like a tuning fork. Senketsu could hear only Ryuuko’s voice loud and clear. Then they send back this wave right back at Jakuzure. Defeated. Fibre Lost. Ryuuko wins! Iori has analyzed the data of the problems in the Goku uniforms and is already making necessary adjustments. Tsumugu gives Mikisugi a special bullet. He only has one shot. Jakuzure now joins the bench of the defeated student council. A loser too? Now it is the rematch between Ryuuko and Sanageyama. He claims his upgraded Blade Regalia MKII is much better than before. Before they can clash, a cute girl drops in and interrupts everything. Nui Harime must be a powerful chick because she causes Satsuki to lose her cool as she orders Sanageyama to get away from her. Satsuki is not amused that this Couturier who doesn’t associate with anyone would drop in now although Nui feels it was a bit cold in not telling her she was doing something this fun. Sanageyama won’t have his rematch interrupted but Nui tells him that he is not the one to fight her. She is. She easily overpowers Sanageyama and instantly makes him Fibre Lost without any Goku uniform and only with her pinky finger! And she’s smiling cutely all the way! Satsuki and Iori are shocked that she could immediately spot the weak stitching and Banshi. Ban what? Life Fibre that has been imbued with the will to become clothing. It has multiple layers of defences to prevent it from feeling the effects of an attack. It is the last fibre to go when Ryuuko’s Kamui absorbs Life Fibres. Mikisugi thinks things are getting complicated now. Because REVOCS’ top dog, Ragyo must have send the home office’s High Order Tailor here. Ryuuko will defeat anyone just to get to Satsuki. I guess this will be the next fight. Happy Nui hopes Ryuuko would transform into her Kamui although she herself doesn’t wear those crude things. As motivation, she takes out her half Scissors Blade! She admits (with a cutie smile) that she is the one who used it to kill her father. Ryuuko… SO PISSED!!!!!!! You mad, sis?

Episode 12
Ryuuko mad. Slashing like hell. Nui cool. Smiling all the way. So the reason she killed her dad was because he meddled in something he shouldn’t. Senketsu warns Ryuuko to calm down because her blood is boiling and he can’t take it. Nui finds Senketsu’s Banshi and cuts it. Although in great pain, he doesn’t come undone since he has more than one Banshi. Nui is impressed. Flashback time. She visited Isshin after she caught wind of his research and was ordered to take it. He just invented the Rending Scissors that could cut and kill any Life Fibre. Because Isshin exerted too much strength, she stole the scissors and used it against him. At that same time, Ryuuko just came in looking for her father. Nui was distracted so Isshin took half the scissors and blinded her left eye. In her rage, she stabbed him with her half scissors and escaped. Ryuuko is so mad that with Senketsu they turned into a rampaging monster. So people, remember never get this angry. At this rate she will lose a lot of blood and die. Mako is very worried because Ryuuko dying is not cool. As the daughter of a back-alley doctor who also steals blood and sells them for profit, she is going to do her bid to save Ryuuko. Satsuki now steps in the picture and orders her elites to evacuate the rest. Tsumugu also joins the fray because Mikisugi needs him to pin the target down as he only has 1 shot. Tsumugu distracts Nui into a trap and then blows up the pillars to trap Ryuuko. But it’s still not enough. Satsuki has arrived and knows Nui’s goal isn’t just to see how powerful this uniform was created by Isshin. It’s for revenge over her lost eye and for being completely fooled since she was fixated on the scissors and didn’t notice Senketsu. She orders her to sit back and watch while she is going to destroy her. I guess watching as an audience can be fun too.

Both the ladies swing and slash with flashy bright effects. Even Tsumugu is forced to withdraw. Before they can ultimately clash, Mako gets in the way. She hugs Ryuuko and pleads to her to return to her senses. This is not the Ryuuko she knows. When she was drunk with power, Ryuuko saved her so now it is her turn. It’s not revenge she seeks for her father but rather she wants to get to know him better. With a series of sumo slaps, Ryuuko regains her senses much to Mako’s big relief. She collapses due to exhaustion not because of blood loss. Though, indeed she lost quite an amount. Mikisugi is relieved he didn’t had to resort to this and Tsumugu feels he needs more training since he couldn’t even get close to those 3 ladies. Satsuki bans Nui from Honnouji otherwise she will show no mercy if she meddles in her affairs again. But you think this mischievous brat will listen? A few days later as Honnouji is being rebuilt, Ryuuko confronts Satsuki to seek Nui’s whereabouts for revenge. But she is told it won’t do her any good. Because Satsuki is the one who ordered her to steal the scissors so if she must hate somebody, hate her. Also, Satsuki is the only one who knows why Isshin was killed and what Kamui and Life Fibres are. Ryuuko doesn’t care and wants to fight but Satsuki doesn’t even need to exert any strength to beat her. With her body still recuperating, there is no way she could win. In fact, Satsuki thanks her because with her fight against the 4 elites, she is able to make the final adjustments to the Goku uniforms. They will be deployed in battle in a week’s time to crush the western academy administration who opposes her rule in one fell swoop. Her nationwide academy conquest will be completed.

Episode 13
Satsuki and her elites discuss their plan to raid the cities of Kobe, Kyoto and Osaka. Special Goku uniforms have been calibrated for this trip and victory will finally see her goal of conquering high schools all over Japan complete. Shinjiro Nagita who was formerly from the Newspaper Club is being chased by Disciplinary Committee members because he is banned from the school grounds. He sees Mako in hopes he could take him to see Ryuuko. Speaking of her, she has fallen into depression back home. She feels guilty for letting her rage getting the better of her. When Nagita comes by, he pleads to her to don Senketsu again and fight for she is their hope for students like them to fight against Satsuki. She won’t because she doesn’t like fighting for other people. Ragyo addresses her men about clothing that are actually man’s sin. Their REVOCS company control 90% of the world’s clothing and that clothing is that world that binds heaven, earth and all of mankind. Satsuki sees her to ask about Nui’s interference. Seems she did it on her own whims and Satsuki is free to act as she pleases. She also informs of her city raids and will only need a day for her conquest. By then REVOCS uniform will be supplied throughout Japan. Nagita ropes Mako to help to distribute illegal newspapers to start some revolution. But here come those Disciplinary Committee guys again. Run! Mako gets caught by Gamagoori and is put to hard labour for the raid.

Ryuuko is still down. She talks to Senketsu that she is afraid of herself and not him. She could feel he was crying when more power pumped into him. She could even taste his bitter tears. If not for Mako, she would have been swallowed up. Senketsu praises her for not rejecting him. Nagita happen to drop by and the Disciplinary Committee members rough him up and Mako’s dad got caught in the crossfire. This gives Ryuuko the resolve to don Senketsu again. She confronts those bullies and defeats them. To her surprise, they are puppets. Even bigger surprise awaits her. Nagita set all this up just to ‘rehabilitate’ her and get her back into her groove. The puppets are under his control. And he is no other than Nui in disguise! She wants Ryuuko to show her power even more. However she gets bored when she feels Ryuuko has become much weaker than before and cuts Senketsu into bits! Before she could kill her, Satsuki is here. She warns those who do not obey will face her blood purge. She’s serious. Time for Nui to back off for good. Satsuki sees Ryuuko in her disgraceful state. She takes all of Senketsu’s bits to Iori and wants him to find suitable hosts and distribute them to others for the raid. Speaking of which, the raiding operation begins now.

Episode 14
Ryuuko wakes up in Mikisugi’s place. She is reeling from Senketsu being chopped up to pieces. She chides Mikisugi for his lame impersonation of Senketsu but it seems Senketsu is here. Well, the scarf portion only. It was the portion she held on tightly when she was out. Since his other pieces have been distributed to all other students for the raid, Ryuuko is going to get them back. Mikisugi is no longer a teacher and returns to his Nudist Beach. But those he has to strip right now? Gamagoori’s team fights off the Americanized Kobe guys with their student handbook that is made of steel (because Satsuki’s word is ironclad rule, geddit?). Jakuzure is having trouble fending off those magic guys in Kyoto since they’re using illusions that are putting fear into her team. Inumuta helps out by employing his paradox painting whatever to break their barrier before Jakuzure pounds them with her music. Sanageyama faces off with Kaneo Takarada and his money face Osaka team. Money rules, right? Yeah, using money as weapon. Literally. Mako is tempted to taste the Osaka snacks but she is broke. Don’t worry. Learning that those guys use money as ammo, she picks them up and now she has a blast buying all the stuffs she wants. This field trip is so worth it. The Kobe team now resorts to the best Kobe beef to counter the handbooks but can they stand the heat once the meat is cooked? They are about to surrender when Ryuuko comes in and snips Senketsu’s parts from the team. Likewise, Jakuzure is enjoying the sound of victory (music to her ears of course) when Ryuuko rides in does the same. Sanageyama is having it a little tough since Takarada is using the citizens blinded by money to fight for him. Don’t care about his town? Well, he comes from a rich conglomerate and can hire people to rebuild it. Satsuki drops in the fight. Mako could have been reprimanded for fooling around by her team but here comes Ryuuko to her rescue. She has got all the parts now except for one left. Senketsu notes she has gotten stronger than before because despite he only gives her a little power, she still owns everyone who has a part of him. Mako believes she is fixated on her desire to get Senketsu back and that desire causes her to get stronger. But the last part isn’t easy because it is in Satsuki’s possession. Don’t worry. Ryuuko isn’t the usual girl you know. She’s stronger now, right?

Episode 15
Takarada throws more money for the people to lay down their lives but Satsuki cuts their soul and sends them fleeing. She proves it to him that money doesn’t rule over people but fear. Takarada unleashes his robot to fight. Cue for Sanageyama for his new Goku uniform, Blade Regalia MKIII to make its debut. No matter what dirty tricks Takarada comes up, Sanageyama finds his way around it and bests him. Satsuki is about to interrogate him where he got the uniforms that could stand up against the Goku uniforms when Ryuuko crashes in. She’s going to take back the last piece of Senketsu which she is wearing as a glove. Satsuki will go all out with her and dons Junketsu. Ryuuko is unable to transform since if a piece is missing, it impedes some flow. Tsumugu comes to Ryuuko’s aid. At the same time, Nudist Beach launches their attack. Their mission is to rescue Ryuuko and Takarada as their ultimate goal is to resist subjugation by the Life Fibres that Satsuki uses. Also, Gamagoori reveals the true intention of this raid, which is to smoke out Nudist Beach. It is all part of Satsuki’s plan to lure out rebel forces, the reason she allowed Mikisugi to continue his activities. With the elites powering up and go on attacking spree, Ryuuko wants to transform and tells Senketsu to his her skin to compensate what is missing. It is dangerous but Senketsu did say he wants to wear her, right? So believe in her like how Mako does. Her skin is burning in pain as she transforms. This is enough to allow her to clash with Satsuki and take back the last piece. Satsuki is impressed that Ryuuko’s power has increased and is on par with her. Satsuki warns her of that rage but Ryuuko vows never to make such a mistake again. Her desire now is to protect her friends.

Now that the battle is going aerial, Jakuzure allows Satsuki to ride her. Ryuuko takes a great fall but Senketsu cushions her fall. Senketsu wants Ryuuko to bet on him. This time he turns into claws. Although he cannot cut Junketsu, the blood spilled from the clash covers Satsuki’s face. This allows Ryuuko to fight back and steal Satsuki’s sword which can pierce Junketsu. But the ladies are in a standoff since Satsuki is pointing a drill from Junketsu at her neck. Noticing the devastating toll of the battle and her fighting friends (Tsumugu vs Inumuta, Mikisugi vs Sanageyama, Mako vs Gamagoori –WTF?!), she makes a deal with Satsuki for her to withdraw her troops to spare her friends and she will let her go. She will not sacrifice lives of others for her goal. Satsuki felt insulted that she looked down on her but Gamagoori pleads for her to do that since this is not the place she should die. Satsuki orders her troops to stand down and return to Honnouji. Ryuuko tells Satsuki that she may have mastered Junketsu but she is alone. Because Ryuuko and Senketsu are one. Satsuki thinks it’s fairytale. She gives her sword back. Jakuzure finishes destroying Nudist Beach’s base and with that, the raid mission is successfully over. Satsuki commends Ryuuko’s sneak attack but it will not work the next time. Nudist Beach is counting their losses. It costs them most of the forces. Mikisugi is impressed Ryuuko fought Satsuki to a draw and now promises her to tell her everything.

Episode 16
Satsuki is exhausted from wearing Junketsu. Soroi and Iori tranquilize it so Satsuki could get out before the dress starts acting up. Nui is piloting the helicopter and is here to bring Satsuki to Ragyo. Her return to Honnouji will be delayed. She takes a bath in the grand bath. The medicated waters are supposed to boost Life Fibre Harmonization. Then this scene… Mother and daughter yuri?! I don’t know how this is purification. Then she brings her to the room to tell her the origins of their power. There is this big ball of fire that spits out Life Fibres. It is called the Primordial Life Fibre. It was drifting in space before arriving at Earth and since they become the clothing that covers this world known as COVERS. The Kiryuuin clan is the spokesperson for COVERS’ will. Ryuuko and Mako follow Mikisugi and Tsumugu back to their Nudist Beach base. They are surprised to learn that Isshin is the founder thanks to the patent funds he received and used to form this organization. Mikisugi begins his story. Humans are the only species to wear clothes. However that statement isn’t wrong. It is the clothes who are wearing humans and evolve them to this state. In short, clothes created mankind. Life Fibres are aliens from outer space and are a form of parasites. Although they should have infected the host directly, humans’ nervous system cannot withstand its strain and will eventually burn out. For that, they cover their host’s body. This way, the host cannot die. Humans were selected since they were the most developed beings at that time. In time, humans evolved to who we are now but in short, this is part of Life Fibre’s plan to make humans their food. But everybody is wearing clothes, right? It is believed they went into hibernation after the evolution. They only emerged from it 20 years ago when Ragyo made contact with the original Life Fibre. In short, they were waiting for the human livestock to grow before feeding.

Senketsu is overwhelmed with shock and guilt that he is eating Ryuuko and the reason why he needs her blood. Mikisugi adds that Isshin created Senketsu as an artificial to fight Life Fibres and Ryuuko is the only one who could wear and use him to his full potential. This is to thwart the Kiryuuin clan’s ambitions. Isshin once worked and researched under them but discovered its threat so he escaped and founded a rebel organization. Senketsu now remembers he was created in his lab but went to sleep shortly and only awakened when Ryuuko came. Mikisugi couldn’t tell her the whole story till he was sure she was able to summon up all of Senketsu’s power at will. Failing which, Tsumugu would have put her down on the spot. In which, he still intends to do that. Mikisugi continues that REVOCS are dominating the world with their clothes brand and each one of them has Life Fibres woven into them. Though they are dormant, there is no telling what will happen when they awake but he knows it will be a very big threat. Ragyo learns of Satsuki’s successful raids. She believes it is time to move to the next stage and wants Satsuki to put the Cultural and Sports Grand Festival into effect. She can’t wait to see the Honnouji she has created. Ryuuko is upset. She cannot believe Senketsu is made as a weapon to fight, what more kill his own brethren. He has his own will. Fighting for the sake of mankind doesn’t cut it. She takes him off and doesn’t mind going nude because there is no reason for him to fight. Tsumugu is going to put Senketsu down now because a Kamui that doesn’t fight is useless. Ryuuko dares him to kill her. Oh Mako. How are you going to quell this scary situation?

Episode 17
Satsuki returns to Honnouji and addresses her students to prepare for the festival and welcome Ragyo in their stadium. Ryuuko and Tsumugu’s standoff is put to a stop with Mako’s twisted reasoning that a woman should only show her naked body to the person she truly loves (because Ryuuko dared to go full on naked) and of course she is going to get a cold if she doesn’t wear something. Later Ryuuko hears from Mikisugi about Kinue. She is Tsumugu’s older sister who died in a Life Fibre experiment. As she was Isshin’s top assistant, they were trying to create Life Fibres that obey humans. She lost her life in an accident but despite that, she wanted Isshin to carry on and after much improvements, Senketsu was made. Because Senketsu’s Life Fibres were taken from Ryuuko’s central nervous system’s DNA, it is the only reason why she can communicate and wear him. Isshin did this to protect her. As Gamagoori is addressing the students about tomorrow’s festival and to bring their parents and to wear specially provided suits, Mako’s family comes up to him looking for their daughter. She hasn’t returned from the field trip. Gamagoori notes she has sided with the rebels and by right the family should have been banned from this town! But in the spirits of the festival and giving them a chance to atone, they must participate. Mako’s dad asks 2 things: If the girls are alive and if there is going to be food. Yes to both. They’re in.

Thanks to the hidden cameras, Mikisugi and co are watching what is happening in Honnouji. He explains Ragyo’s final experiment at Honnouji by offering ever last human at Honnouji to become sacrifices. In other words, food for the Life Fibres. That is the real purpose of this festival. Hell, Ryuuko isn’t going to let that happen. So they make their way to the stadium and little do they know they’ve been watched too. By their own hidden cameras as hacked by Inumuta. This is part of Satsuki’s plan to bait them. Preparations are well underway for the big festival tomorrow. Satsuki and her elites drink to a toast. The stadium is packed with people (Mako’s family just enjoying the food) as Ragyo makes her dazzling appearance on stage. So bright that I don’t think you need those floodlights. As she makes her speech, she initiates her plan and wraps around those hapless humans with Life Fibres. Screams of despair. Looks like the party has started. Only Matarou is not affected since he sold his suit and was wearing a body point looking like that suit. Ryuuko and co crash in just as Ragyo is considering this experiment a success. Their ‘chat’ is interrupted with the biggest twist ever. Satsuki stabs Ragyo from behind! She and Honnouji will from now on become her rebels. Ragyo thinks she is trying to snatch her throne but Satsuki corrects her. People do not live for the sake of clothing and she has raised Honnouji as a fortress to overthrow Life Fibres and defeat her. Oh my, that’s so shocking isn’t it? You lost for words, Ryuuko?

Episode 18
Ragyo’s secretary, Rei Hououmaru tries to attack but Gamagoori blocks. Inumuta frees the people while Sanageyama faces off with Nui. The other elites join him but Nui has no time to play with them and lets them deal with her clones. Ryuuko is still in disbelief but as explained, in order for Satsuki to deceive Ragyo, she couldn’t allow her true intentions to show in the slightest bit. As for why Ryuuko had to fight them, if she had lost, it would mean she couldn’t possibly win against Life Fibres. If she doesn’t like this method, she can fight her afterwards but for now she will fight by her side to free humanity. When Mako returns to her family, the first thing they do is eat all the Osaka souvenirs. Gamagoori orders her to evacuate everyone. Nobody is listening to her. Yeah. Free food! That should do the trick. Satsuki calls her mother a monster since she is unfazed despite being stabbed and crucified. Her wounds heal. Her entire life was in preparation of this day to defeat her. It all began when she was 5 years old and her dad, Souichirou told her about Junketsu. Despite it will be her wedding dress, once she wears it, she will be a slave to clothing. Because he is a talented scientist, he was adopted into the Kiryuuin family. As a result, they had Satsuki as their child. The following year, Ragyo tried to conduct experiments of fusing Life Fibres to babies. Since one year olds are too ‘old’, she experimented with the one in her womb. It failed and she aborted it like nothing. That was when Souichirou decided to rebel against Life Fibres and Ragyo. Ragyo believes even if she is defeated, Life Fibres will not. Satsuki already has a plan. Iori and his Sewing Club enter the room with the original Life Fibre and freeze it. Think it’s over? Ragyo breaks free and uses her Mind Stitching to control the minds of her students. Red strings tightening over their brains? Scary. Now they are her puppets fighting against Satsuki. Satsuki has no choice but to take them down until Ragyo is defeated. Ragyo then does the same to Ryuuko and makes her fight Satsuki. Everyone is surprised when Ryuuko’s great will snaps her out of her control. She won’t be tied down like this. But nobody has ever done this before. Yeah. There is always a first time.

Ryuuko wants to aim for Ragyo but here is Nui in her path. Since she is gunning for vengeance, she lets Satsuki deal with her mother. For the first time Nui is looking worried as Ryuuko is faster than her. She has every reason too because Ryuuko and Senketsu are in perfect synchronization. They are one. Satsuki is about to take revenge over Ragyo for killing Souichirou and her nameless sister. It feels like a fatality when Satsuki cuts off her head! It’s raining blood! Think it is over? NOT! The original Life Fibre breaks free and attacks Iori and his team. Soroi rescues them as it starts activating. Ragyo still lives because as long as a single thread of Life Fibre is connected, her body can regenerate. Ragyo turns the tables on Satsuki. She mocks her for thinking she is wearing Junketsu perfectly when she is just forcing it on. Wearing it was a mistake and should have died if not for Junketsu’s strength protecting her. Ragyo smacks her around and it ends when Satsuki’s sword breaks. Ragyo will take back Junketsu. The sky is filled with Life Fibres and ultimately COVERS. Ragyo dons Junketsu and mocks Satsuki that she was never a vessel for Life Fibres. But she thanks her for if not for this, she would not get to see someone she would never expect to see. Ragyo does another fatality on Ryuuko and takes out her heart! But she is still alive! Because as Ragyo says, her body has merged with the Life Fibres just like her. She is the daughter she believed to be dead! MIND BLOWING REVELATION!!!! FFFFUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Episode 19
COVERS start absorbing everyone and turn them into their energy fodder including Mako. I understand her family is distraught but Gamagoori too? Hmm… Satsuki is not done yet and unleashes her final ace. She blows up the stadium! A month later, COVERS are scouring the land for survivors. Jakuzure saves Matarou who is on a personal quest to find Mako. Over at Northern Kanto, Sanageyama and Gamagoori help evacuate people. There is only so much they can save. The 4 elites have teamed up with Nudist Beach whose secret base is in Osaka. They note all the academies Honnouji have conquered have fallen under the hands of COVERS. They don’t have any weapons left aside from the swords of Gamagoori and Jakuzure which was made out of Satsuki’s blade, Tsumugu’s dagger and glove and Mikisugi’s odd robot suit, DTR. Ryuuko although is healed, she is in coma. Gamagoori returns Matarou to his family and makes a promise he will save Mako. Satsuki is imprisoned by Ragyo. She mocks her plans and how humans who have been wearing clothes for all their life will have no resistance in putting them on. Her efforts were for nothing. Ragyo explains that the night Souichirou was targeted, he was supposedly to be killed but survived and faked his death. He changed his appearance and outlook. He became Isshin, raised Ryuuko as his own, gave her a Kamui and even formed Nudist Beach. Satsuki knows Ragyo is keeping alive because she is still of use. She knows about Shinra Koketsu. Ragyo wants her to be angry. The more rage, the more useful she will be. Ragyo goes to check out Nui and the brainwashed Sewing Club as they are making the ultimate Kamui. Sanageyama, Gamagoori, Jakuzure, Tsumugu and Mikisugi go out to battle COVERS who have surrounded the place. Five against all? Guts is seen circling around one of the suits so the deduce Mako is in this one. Gamagoori uses a device created by Iori to suck out Mako. It works. So their plan now is to suck out everyone and this will shut down COVERS who are operating independently from the original Life Fibre since they are feeding from the human as energy source. COVERS start to play one hideous music. The dissonance is so bad that Ryuuko wakes up! Then she slashes all of them in a single strike! Even freeing the captives! Wow! Way much more effective. But this isn’t the Ryuuko we know. Senketsu is happy to see her but not Ryuuko. She tells him to get lost. Looking at him makes her mad. Because they’re the same breed of monster. She views herself not human but a Life Fibre monster. Why so mad, sister?

Episode 20
Here comes Mako with her usual stubborn friendship thing. However it’s not working this time. Serious. She gets worked up when Nui and Ragyo appear before her. Ragyo is ecstatic she is her daughter but the feeling is not mutual. Ragyo challenges her to come defeat her at Honnouji. Ryuuko is so mad that she won’t listen to Senketsu or her allies. To show how bad it is, she steals a badass motorcycle and rides away. Nudist Beach and the 4 elites convene to discuss their next move to rescue Satsuki. Inumuta has hacked into the system as they see Satsuki chained up naked. But they know she is getting ready to go into battle when they see her sharpening her toenail into a claw. Thanks to Takarada putting all his money in building a big flagship for Nudist Beach, the gang set sail for Honnouji in the ship called Naked Sun. Ryuuko arrives at Honnouji to kick ass. Make that kick ass with lots of rage. She faces off with Nui who even takes out her own heart to show it to her. They are the same. The only difference was Ryuuko was conceived in Ragyo’s belly while Nui came from the Life Fibre’s womb. In a way, they’re like soul sisters, right? Ryuuko not amused. Nudist Beach launches an all-out attack on Ragyo but as we all know, such firepower won’t be enough to even touch her. Ryuuko has been distracted with Nui’s fight that she didn’t feel Ragyo taking her measurements and embedding threads all over her. Now she is going to make Ryuuko wear Junketsu. She sees visions of her alternate life. What a happy life indeed. Satsuki breaks free and rendezvous with her elites back to the flagship. Mikisugi thinks they should return to Osaka for the time being but Satsuki doesn’t think they can because the worst enemy is coming. Here comes crazy Ryuuko in Junketsu and she is going to whip everyone’s ass. Tsumugu goes head on but is no match. And now for the match we’ve all been waiting for (again). Ryuuko versus Satsuki. Uh huh. Now Satsuki dons Senketsu in battle. Swapping uniforms, eh?

Episode 21
Ryuuko never knew such bliss existed. Even Nui is jealous. But as Ragyo explains, the Life Fibres in Nui’s body repel other fibres and thus cannot draw Kamui’s power. When news of Satsuki has escaped, Ragyo leaves it to Ryuuko to handle it. And so we’re in the midst of a power battle between the sisters. Ryuuko seems to have really defected to the other side. She belittles Senketsu as a junk. She isn’t convinced even when told she and Senketsu were once synchronized as they wore each other. But as of now, Junketsu is only wearing her. Ryuuko doesn’t see this bliss to be a problem. Ryuuko easily beats up Satsuki since she still hasn’t completely mastered Senketsu. Senketsu continues to persuade Ryuuko. Although Satsuki cannot hear him and their synchronization is in pieces, their hearts are one. Satsuki is suffering a lot just to wear him. Not other human could have bore this. Ryuuko is attacked by the 4 elites. She dodges all of them till she ends up near Gamagoori who uses a device to forcefully suck Junketsu out of her. This was Satsuki’s plan all along. She becomes the bait all for this moment. However Junketsu is not coming off and Nui interrupts. She explains the Life Fibres are tightly woven into her insides so if they try pull it off her, she’ll die from shock. Meanwhile, REVOCS has finally acquired all the clothing companies in the world. Ragyo is thankful she is going to witness the original Life Fibre awakening into the beginning of the Cocoon Sphere. The world will soon be of the Life Fibres.

Before Ryuuko can kill Satsuki, here comes Mako. She’s trying to persuade using the ol’ friendship way. You know, Ryuuko will always be Ryuuko. Nui is going to kill that pest when Senketsu jumps to protect her. In a way making Mako wear him. Satsuki fights Nui who thinks Satsuki will never appeal to Ragyo since she has gotten soft. However thanks to Nui, Satsuki believes it is possible to turn the tables. Because if Ryuuko has gone over to her side, why hasn’t Nui given her half of the Scissors Blade? Because this blade is the ultimate weapon to fight against Life Fibres. This means she has not trusted Ryuuko fully and that uncertainty is where their victory lies. The 4 elites handle Nui so Satsuki could go to Ryuuko. That girl is going to kill Mako and Senketsu. I doubt her family can do anything but you won’t know if you don’t try. Satsuki slices open a little of Junketsu and wants Mako to force Senketsu into her. Mako and Senketsu interrupt Ryuuko’s blissful dream of getting married at the altar. Because she will kill anyone who dares disrupt her bliss, Mako dares her. Oh sh*! She really killed her!!! Mako and Senketsu are thrown out and Nui relishes they have failed to win over her. Suddenly Ryuuko throws her Scissors Blade into Nui. She is sick of all this crap and isn’t happy Junketsu is put on her. She rips it apart and would rather die from all the bleeding. Otherwise she can’t put Senketsu on. She’s back! Oh, it’s raining blood…

Episode 22
Senketsu reunites with Ryuuko and it feels good to put him back on. Nui thinks she cannot defeat her since she now possesses both Scissors Blades. It doesn’t matter. Ryuuko kicks her butt and takes them back and cuts her arms off! This is the power of the Scissors Blades. Nui’s arms cannot regenerate! You mad, sis? The COVERS army shield Nui so that Hououmaru can rescue her. But in this attempt to save Nui, it means the rest get to suck out more people from their imprisonment and collect more Life Fibres. Nui takes out her anger on Hououmaru (unlimited blood gushing onto her face?) and is not at all indebted. Who asked her to be saved? Hououmaru notes that she needs to complete Shinra Koketsu and how will she accomplish it without her arms? Oh, don’t worry. She’ll finish it. Once everything is done, Ryuuko wants to punch Satsuki once. This is for all the rough treatment on her despite her goals. Satsuki agrees if she can still stand after that, she has the right to fight alongside her. Ryuuko throws her first punch but it hits Gamagoori’s face. And then Sanageyama. The 4 elites will protect Satsuki at all cost and won’t let Ryuuko touch her. In fact, this punch is to indicate how weak her punch is. Because normal humans would have died, right? But they’re not normal… Ryuuko realizes Satsuki’s crazy members are just like her own. Satsuki explains that in order to defeat Ragyo, she must treat her men like pawns. Ever since she saw Ryuuko wearing Senketsu, her goal was to train her into a powerful asset to turn against Ragyo.

She played the villain to make her believe she killed Isshin to gauge her powers. If she can hold onto her free will without being swallowed up by the Kamui, she will be useful in the coup. She thought she can do it without telling her. Unfortunately she was mistaken. She realizes her methods were just like Ragyo’s. She pleads for Ryuuko to fight alongside her. Touched, Ryuuko loses the will to punch her. How could you punch your own sister after that heartfelt speech? After all, she too has something to protect. Iori injects a mixture of Ryuuko and Satsuki’s blood into Junketsu to tame it. Then he starts making new Goku uniforms with all the collected Life Fibres. Satsuki explains Ragyo’s plan to transform Earth and cover it with Life Fibres. As every clothing is under REVOCS, once the signal is given, COVERS will awaken and humans with no resistance to it will be converted into their energy source. As Life Fibres are an alien organism drifting through space, once they find a planet with intelligent life with suitable sustainable energy source, they will cover it with themselves to a point the planet will explode. The force will scatter new seeds through space and the process is repeated. This is how they reproduce across the universe. Inumuta has hacked into the surveillance cameras and everyone sees Ragyo is heading towards Honnouji, the base where she plans to transmit the signal all around the world. They have to smash it if they are to stop her plans. But they have to deal with the attacking COVERS first. Satsuki and Ryuuko will go deal with Ragyo and they leave the field operation command to Mikisugi. Time to kick ass. But a giant Life Fibre monster pops out from the sea and it’s going to do some big time damage. Kaijuu? Don’t worry. This time Mako is going to join the fight. She is the Fight Club president, remember?

Episode 23
Mako is able to fight thanks to the Goku power Iori put in her uniform. She sucks more people out from COVERS while Nui is furiously completing her final sew. She’s using her mouth… There is Inumuta’s explanation why Nui’s arms won’t regenerate after being cut by Scissors Blades. Something about being cut from both sides simultaneously. Satsuki’s twin swords are believed to have the same effects. The sisters begin their power fight with their mom. They are evenly matched. However the original Life Fibre is targeting Naked Sun. Mako seems to have done enough and at her limits. This is where the 4 elites step in. In their newly black and gold Three-Star uniform, they transform into their ultimate Goku form which is a mix of clothing and baring skin. Ragyo cuts Ryuuko into half! Then she gets cocky as he beats up Satsuki. But it is all just a distraction and part of Ryuuko’s plan. When Ragyo impaled her, she managed to deflect her blades, pretended to be cut up and threw herself into the sea before her fibres can be completely cut. Ragyo has only herself to blame for underestimating them. Now you mad, mother? The 4 elites join in the battle. Sanageyama loses his blinds and he sees better than ever. Mikisugi transforms Naked Sun into its dagger version and is going to pierce the core of the original Life Fibre. However his Nudist Beach members are running low on energy. Yeah. Running a ship on manpower can be tiring. Don’t worry. This is where Mako comes in. With her powerful feelings for Ryuuko, she powers up the entire ship to full power! And soon all those ex-club members of Honnouji help her run the hamster wheel. This gives enough power for the ship to propel into the Life Fibre and push Ryuuko to help cut through it. Ragyo cannot believe the original Life Fibre is incapacitated. It’s insane. It doesn’t make sense. But then again, those guys she’s fighting against never made sense to begin with. Hate to spoil your victory but Nui makes a grand announcement. The show is not over yet. For she has completed Shinra Koketsu and this will be the ultimate elegant fashion show ever. As reward for finishing it, Ragyo ‘sews’ back her arms. Our heroes turn their attention to storm Honnouji and destroy the transmitter. But first, have some tea. Mako’s family agree to let Mako join the fight because if anything happens to her, they’ll just sue the pants off the Kiryuuin clan. Now it’s time for the final showdown. Ragyo puts on Shinra Koketsu. She looks like some death priestess. For the finishing touches, she absorbs Hououmaru.

Episode 24
The assault on Honnouji begins but the space shuttle is covered with high velocity Life Fibres that it is hard to break through. Ragyo initiates Absolute Submission which renders everybody’s uniform powerless as Shinra Koketsu is the master of all Life Fibres. The original Life Fibre still lives as it wraps itself around the shuttle ready for blast off. Nui is going to kill Mako because she can’t stand another of her ranting. Gamagoori uses his body to protect her and since she is alright, it was all worth it. Oh sh*t! Gamagoori dead?! Don’t you dare! Ryuuko strips to her undies to fight Nui and Ragyo. Even if Senketsu is weak, she can still fight herself. While Ragyo has Ryuuko in her grasp, Senketsu realized that Satsuki can hear his thoughts loud and clear. Then he turns into Shippu Senjin form to thrust through Ragyo’s chest. This returns the power to everyone’s Goku uniform. Senketsu realized after Satsuki heard his voice that he was given the same powers as Ryuuko. They are neither human nor clothing. Powering up to their ultimate Life Fibre Synchronization, the power fight continues as everyone else tries to break through the shuttle. Gamagoori stuns everyone when he returns alive. He was wearing some metal belly band underneath. He uses his strength to rip open the shuttle before Nudist Beach blows it up. They have to have their turn or else they would have gotten undressed for nothing :p. When the sisters finally cut Ragyo, she wants Nui to sacrifice her life. She turns into a Life Fibre monster in which Ragyo wears her. Then she blasts off into the sky to send the signal to REVOCS all over the world. The people of the world is wrapped by their own clothing and the world covered by Life Fibres. Ryuuko volunteers to head up to space to end it all. But before that, Mako wants her to make a promise to come back because they’ll go out on a date. Don’t worry. Ryuuko always keeps her promises, right? Everyone gives Ryuuko all their Life Fibre (and leave them naked) so that she can blast off into space. Behold her ultimate form: Senketsu Kisaragi! Doesn’t Ryuuko look like some Super Saiyan? And Ragyo looks like Maleficent?

Ryuuko puts together her Scissors Blade to cut Ragyo but it didn’t work. Ragyo goes on ranting about the universe and its law. Like I care. Ryuuko regenerates every time Ragyo pierces her. But time is running out. She doesn’t have unlimited regeneration. Then she purposely gets stabbed so that she could absorb Shinra Koketsu and ultimately Absolute Submission. Ryuuko explains that Isshin didn’t create Scissors Blade as the ultimate weapon. It was Ryuuko and Senketsu. They have infinite absorption ability. If you noticed Senketsu has been absorbing Life Fibres to nourish his power. This is part of his evolution. He has free will and can make himself understood by humans. Therefore they are neither clothing nor human. But at the same time they are both clothing and human! Have your brains exploded yet?! Can’t understand this nonsense? That’s because they are always nonsensical! Ryuuko transmit to all life fibres to free their human captives and soon it will be raining naked people. Yeah. Everyone down on Earth is naked. The biggest birthday suit party ever since the creation of mankind. With victory for mankind, Ryuuko wants Ragyo to come back down to Earth with her. However she won’t and crushes her own heart. She warns Life Fibres are still spreading across the universe and one day, more will come to this planet. Even so, people will still be people. Senketsu wants Ryuuko to hurry and return since he has taken enough toll from Shinra Koketsu. But the re-entry is burning him up and much to Ryuuko’s dismay, he is saying his last words like it is goodbye forever. You know, thanks for those wonderful times, you’ve outgrown your uniform, nice meeting you… And then he burns up into nothing. Ryuuko free falls in sadness. It makes no sense that Satsuki can catch her from that height but then again we should all remember, these guys never made sense. Then everyone becomes the biggest human-train-cum-stopper to stop Ryuuko’s acceleration. Ryuuko’s back. Everyone is happy. Nudist Beach’s purpose is complete. So does this mean they’ll have to get clothed now? Well, it’s time to clean things up because the girls got their date. In the aftermath, Ryuuko goes out with Mako and Satsuki who spots a new hairstyle. I don’t know. I’m so used to her long hair and now it is short.

Episode 25 (OVA)
Two weeks after the battle with Ragyo, Sanageyama now fights Satsuki as promise to determine who is the strongest. He charges but no matter where he strikes, he cannot hit her. Satsuki’s single strike breaks his wooden sword. He concedes. But he feels empty while fighting her. Because he couldn’t see her as if her ambitions were all vanished. As though she is a mirage. As planned, Honnouji has served its purpose to defeat Ragyo so Satsuki will hold a graduation and closing ceremony. So everyone in town prepares to move out and our Honnouji students are gathering up for the final ceremony. Mikisugi is also here but as a teacher. He mentions everyone is going their separate ways. When it is time for Satsuki’s speech, suddenly she has a change of heart and insults everyone. The 4 elites notice that she is wearing Junketsu and that there are clones of themselves! In their Three-Star uniform, they trash up the place and won’t let Honnouji close down. Satsuki’s clone fights Ryuuko while Mikisugi is glad to have his Nudist Beach back in action and throws modified DTR suits for the real 4 elites to fight. They’d die rather than put that embarrassing piece of crap on. But what choice have they got? The real Satsuki is captured and she knows the perpetrator is no other than Hououmaru. She has gathered all the remaining Life Fibre threads to create the clones. However it still won’t be enough to turn Earth into a cocoon. Probably the reason why Satsuki let her go and didn’t do anything to her. Hououmaru feels bitter that Satsuki didn’t finish her off then. She feels insulted her life is not worth staining her blade. All life is precious. That is what she learnt. If she still seeks revenge, then take her life. Is this why she let herself get captured? Hououmaru thinks she is insulting Ragyo and Nui as she still believes this world is filled with discrimination. Flashback 20 years ago in some war torn African country. Ragyo saved her from the army. Because she has high Life Fibre resistance, Ragyo took her in and gave her a new name.

Hououmaru activates some defence mechanism that turns Honnouji into a giant robot. Although it will cease if Satsuki dies, Hououmaru has prepared a backup battery: Mako. Man, that cheese trap must be too hard to resist, no? The 4 elites are having it tough fighting their counterparts. Yeah, the DTR made it worse, right? Because Mako is hooked up to the robot, she manages to give everyone the motivation (Mako style of course) that their clones are just figments of their past and imagination. With that, our elites easily overcome it and take down their clones without sweat. Same case for Ryuuko against Satsuki clone. But now the robot rampages and Ryuuko falls deep into the abyss. She hears Senketsu’s voice. He wants her to use the Scissors Blades and sends it falling from space into her hands. She takes them while cutting her way back up, giving Senketsu the proper goodbye she intends. Then she is going to sever the chains of the past holding Hououmaru back. Turning her Scissors Blade into a giant goodbye and thank you version, she cuts the robot as her final farewell to Ragyo. As Satsuki tries to free Mako, Hououmaru refuses to concede and is going to kill her. This beautiful world is nothing but nonsense and crap. She grazes her neck. Satsuki although cannot understand the hell she has seen, this is the reason why the world needs her. Her aim is to create a world where all can co-exist even if they don’t understand each other. To do that, she needs her strength. If she is still not satisfied, then kill her. Satsuki must be shining like Buddha and I guess this is enough to make Hououmaru believe in her. As Honnouji begins sinking, everyone evacuates. Hououmaru comes along with her. Ryuuko goes along with Mako’s family as she says her farewell to Satsuki. See you again another day. As parting gift for Honnouji, Satsuki cuts her hair. Then everyone gives the final salute to the sunken academy. Ryuuko feels she has graduated from wearing Senketsu but as Mako puts it, he’ll always be right here in her heart forever.

That’s A Wrap! Dress To Kill! Dress For Success By Cutting A Fine Figure!
Amazing! Awesome! Great stuffs! Great actions! Great plot! Great everything (almost)! And all good things have to come to an end. Though it was a tad sad that Senketsu had to go but it will be odd to see the only intelligent clothing in their daily normal life so I suppose if you think about it that once the threat of Life Fibres is over, it is only right that Senketsu also had to go. Despite he is a good guy, he is still a Life Fibre and when you truly want to rid the entire world of it, you have to get rid down to the last one.

The pace and story flow are pretty well done. There are interesting plots and twists to keep you wanting more. It was well thought of and everything. At least that is how I felt throughout the series. Each time an episode ends, I just can’t wait to watch the next one. It wasn’t going to be just Ryuuko against the entire school. If that was going to be the plot for the rest of theme, it would have been one piece of boring crap. For a great lady like Satsuki to be the antagonists, of course it just doesn’t feel right and what do you know? She was an ally all along playing Ryuuko all this while to achieve something greater for mankind’s survival. And so that’s why the twists and revelations were executed in a good manner that keeps you coming back for more. To use clothes as the biggest enemy in disguise, something daily we take for granted for is ingenious. And Satsuki and Ryuuko are sisters? It’s just crazy, I tell you. You have to be insane to come up with this kind of plot.

All the characters are pretty crazy that makes them lovable. Even the real antagonists like Ragyo and the annoying but cutie Nui are lovable in their own right. There is enough characterization to flesh them out properly so this is another good point of the series. Especially with Ryuuko and Senketsu, we see how they try to understand each other despite the short comings and imperfections. As long as they’re together, they can achieve greater heights. True friends stick with you thick and thin through good times and bad times and although it feels odd that it looks like a girl and her clothes are best friends, it doesn’t matter what form you take as long as you care for the other and value friendship.

Mako is the best partner and friend that anybody would love to have. Quirky and amusing at the same time, she is the epitome of what true friendship and loyalty is about. She does not give up on her friend easily. Despite her fast paced energetic Mako style antics of explaining things and trying to diffuse a misunderstanding or fight, you can say she is quite effective in it because people listen to her. Okay, maybe it’s because the way she acts out all those examples in such a lightning pace makes her funny but that is why it works, no? Furthermore, I believe she has got one of the best quotes and lines in the series. For example, when Ryuuko tells her to get away somewhere safe because the fight is about to get ugly, Mako continues to stick and follow Ryuuko around. Why? Because like she said, to find somewhere safe. And the safest place is to be by Ryuuko’s side! Woah! Can’t argue with that, can’t you? That’s why for whatever reasons, she is probably the best and most amusing friend and comic relief character ever. There should be more Makos in this world. Then the world would be a happier place. Really.

Best trolling character goes to Satsuki! Yes. Trolling because she has been keeping her great plan in the dark and playing the villain so perfectly that when she reveals them bit by bit and ultimate the big truth, it got me thinking that she must be one heck of a great planner. I don’t know about her inner feelings when she puts on that biggest badass act because she could have been the best poker face ever too. But one thing is for sure. She is very resolved and determined to achieve her true mission and she does not waver a single bit in that. That is what makes her great. That is what makes her awesome. That is why the 4 elites respect her with so much, erm, respect. A complete opposite of Ryuuko’s rash and hot headed attitude. She is cool. She is calm. She is level headed and can think ahead. Because eventually everything will fall into her hand. Like as though she is reading it out from the director’s script. So if there is ever a chance you’d see Satsuki getting agitated or showing more emotions than usual, something is definitely wrong and if she’s screwed, you’re screwed too. You must have guessed that something is up when Ryuuko gets to fight Satsuki early and a handful of times. It’s a sign that tells us is Satsuki is really the final boss or there is something else sinister lurking? True enough she isn’t. Therefore, Satsuki is the best troller, no?

The 4 elites are also good and loyal people to Satsuki’s cause. Each of them has their peculiar traits and sometimes their quick banter between them (especially between Sanageyama and Jakuzure) is amusing. From Sanageyama’s always-rush-into-battle-first-ask-questions-later attitude to Inumuta’s sarcasm and love for data to Jakuzure’s penchant for calling odd nicknames for everyone else and Gamagoori’s masochistic ways (that’s why being Satsuki’s living shield suits him), they give the elites a lot of colourful personality in addition to why they are the best of the best but only second to Satsuki. Though, I thought it would have been interesting to see something happening between Gamagoori and Mako. I really think they like each other although nothing in the series confirms this. We can see how Gamagoori puts his life on the line whenever Mako is involved and when Gamagoori ‘died’, Mako shed the most tears over her senpai. So do you not think they make an interesting and crazy pair? Physically they are poles apart. Big and small. Tanned and fair. Strict and casual. Serious and nonsensical. Oh yeah. Definitely interesting.

Mako’s family is also amusing as they serve as comic relief for as long as they appear. I guess having such a crazy dad who is a back alley doctor, a mom who makes the world’s most delicious croquettes despite things she puts in are questionable, a mischievous little brother and a lovable pug that eats a lot, your life is definitely interesting and crazy. This is what a family is about. That is why being poor has its greatest benefits that the rich will never have: Happiness of a true family bond. Ever since Ragyo became the antagonist, it feels like Nudist Beach’s role has diminished. Mikisugi and Tsumugu reducing to the sidelines and sometimes their presence and a few moments of plunging into battle (only to get easily owned) are just to remind us that they are still with us. With the big bad fight between our main characters, you don’t really think of Nudist Beach anymore. Because even if they have provided all the cool equipment and weapons, I don’t think Ryuuko and Satsuki needed all that. Just their Kamui and a lot of crazy guts to lock into battle.

The art and drawing may seem a bit cartoonish but that doesn’t stop it from what made this anime great. It might feel a bit crude in the sense that the artwork may not be polished and sometimes they look more like sketches but that I guess when you have something so epic, such ‘crazy’ artwork also goes with it. Something a bit like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Although Kill La Kill was produced by Trigger (a relatively new studio so you can say this is their first major anime) compared to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann which was produced by a more experienced and seasoned studio of Gainax (FLCL, Mahoromatic, Medaka Box, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt, Top Wo Nerae just to name a few). Among the other crazy unique stuffs you’ll notice in their artwork in earlier episodes like the words popping up not just on screen but it feels like some solid stone and concrete right smack in the anime itself. It gives more of a 3D than 2D feel.

Despite some of the characters looking quite comical (just look at Mako and her family… I thought she came out from some Peanuts comic strip), in a way you can say that some of their unique traits give off that crazy feel. Like Ragyo whose back hair is always shining like a rainbow so much so you might think she stuffed lots of fluorescent lights into it. Satsuki’s most distinguishable feature is her thick eyebrows while Gamagoori sometimes feels so big, muscular and towering that he may be a moving version of Christ the Redeemer. Really. Notice that when Inumuta speaks, his collar opens and then closes back when he stops?

The designs of the Goku uniforms are also okay and it feels like they pack some sort of power punch although some like Jakuzure feels a bit odd because she’s like wearing an entire airship of symphony. Too big for a little girl which makes it feel like it is too oversized for her. The final form of the Goku uniform of partial clothed and partial nudity is a good mix. It shows that being fully clothed up from head to toe or being full blown naked doesn’t really work and both need to compliment and complement each other. Though, the most eyebrow raising one is again Jakuzure’s design. Her lower anatomy feels so exposed that it’s like as though she just put on some band aid to cover that part. Really. Another odd design is the strange robot suit of Nudist Beach, DTR. Because to wear it, you have to do a planking position. Which is rather odd because although DTR has its own set of legs, your own legs are also dangling outside on the back! Why the heck would you expose your legs?! I don’t think it improves aerodynamics. It would have been normal if they wear it like a standard mecha suit. But this anime is anything but normal. Wearing the DTR makes it feel like there is some sort of sexual innuendo or in my worst case imagination, anchovies. Don’t ask how… But yes! They look like anchovies with legs!

Of course there are the fanservice elements in which Ryuuko and Satsuki donning the Kamui form of Senketsu and Junketsu respectively is already amounting to such sexy visuals. But can your eyes stand and behold the immense power of their Kamui or get blown away by it? Especially with the Nudist Beach who don’t wear clothes but their belt gear does the necessary for the cover up, you’re going to see a few naked butt scenes. But I don’t think it is going to amount to any real frontal nudity since recently I just discovered (or believed rather) that as long as you don’t show nipples and private parts, it is not deemed as porn. Well, think about this. Donald Duck doesn’t wear pants and if he takes off his short and goes full blown naked, would that constitute to porn? No nipples. No private parts. Not porn. Yeah. Therefore the final episode and the final scenes where everyone was just being in the nude, you’d either cringe or be awed over the nakedness of everything. Ultimate fanservice? And so the most disturbing ‘nude’ scene goes to Mikisugi because he likes to pose most of the time. And each time he does that, his nipples and private parts area start to shine and glow in pink-purple light. Fabulous… Are they trying to tell us something? Is this a new form of flashing? Thankfully he doesn’t shoot pink beams out of them. The transformation scene is also done well (with the fibre threads poking and sucking blood of their hosts and all) although you won’t see it to resemble as some magical girl transformation because they really kick ass.

Action is another big pulling factor of the series. It is good and at a fast paced. Over the top and crazy. So if you’re not into the characterization and plot, see the action bits. They’re quite interesting with Ryuuko not just some hot headed girl in a skimpy outfit slashing her half Scissors Blade away. She learns to manage and control herself as well as transform Senketsu into different modes to suite different battle scenarios. It’s great to see her take on Satsuki’ elites once. Because I guess it will be more or less the same thing if she had her bout with Sanageyama again. That’s why they cut it short and never have it started again and changed the direction of the series. Each time Ryuuko takes up her battle gear and fight, you can’t help cheer and support for her. You just want her to beat her opponents and win. Of course you lose some and you win some (in Ryuuko’s case, a lot more wins, which is crucial if she’s going to save mankind). Be warned, though. There are lots of blood spilling out like as though it is some gushing fountain. But it looks a bit comical and like water colour so it isn’t that bad. Unless you really can’t stand the sight of blood… Then you shouldn’t be watching this anime. But really, you still should watch this anime despite so. The violence can be said to be exaggerated and over the top because some intense fights as we can see limbs being cut off and body being sliced into half, even though they are made of fibres but they still look like the real deal. Thanks to all this, that’s why this anime stands out.

The voice acting is superb! The best one goes to Yukari Tamura as Nui. She can be both cute and shrieky while at the same time deadly. She still hasn’t lost her touch and trademark voice after all these years. I couldn’t imagine another person to play this character and fit her like a glove. Both Ami Koshimizu as Ryuuko (Horo in Spice And Wolf) and Ryoka Yuzuki as Satsuki (Ino in Naruto) really sound very commanding in their roles. They put a lot of passion into their characters. Romi Paku as Ragyo feels like she is enjoying her role as the big bad villainess and she revels in every grand elegant moment of it. I don’t know what gave me the idea Ayako Kawasumi was behind Hououmaru’s voice but actually it is Ayumi Fujimura (Misaki in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama, Ayano in Kaze No Stigma) who also doubles as Matarou. Nobuyuki Hiyama who was an alumni of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann’s Viral, lends his voice as Sanageyama here.

The rest of the extensive casts include Toshihiko Seki as Senketsu (Reito in Mai-HiME), Aya Suzaki as Mako (Tamako in Tamako Market, Kana in Gokukoku No Brynhildr – good job in making her hyperactive in her speech), Shinichiro Miki as Mikisugi (Urahara in Bleach),Tetsu Inada as Gamagoori (Ioryogi in Kobato), Mayumi Shintani as Jakuzure (Haruko in FLCL), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Inumuta (Bossun in Sket Dance), Yuuji Ueda as Iori (Morita in Honey And Clover, Hajime in Jigoku Shoujo), Katsuyuki Konishi as Tsumugu and Guts (Laxus in Fairy Tail), Kinryuu Arimoto as Isshin (Whitebeard in One Piece) and Akio Nojima as Soroi (Richard Jones in Emma: A Victorian Romance).

The first opening theme is Sirius by Eir Aoi. This great and lively rock anime piece sets the tone and pace of what this series is about. The second opening theme, Ambiguous by Granidelia despite also another anime rock outfit, I felt it wasn’t as good as the first one and feels a little lacking some oomph compared to the first one. Maybe it’s because I was used to the first one although the second one isn’t entirely that bad. The first ending theme is also not bad. Gomen Ne Ii Ko Ja Irarenai by Miku Sawai is yet another rock piece albeit at a slightly slower pace compared to the opening themes. The second ending theme they turned it into a cutie Mako theme! I suppose she is such a great girl that she needs her own cute chibi motifs as well. To get a picture of what I mean, just imagine those cutely designed animals from Sanrio (Hello Kitty). Shinsekai Koukyougaki by Sayonara Ponytail sounds like a generic anime pop and a bit out of place if you take into account the pace and genre of this anime. But I guess that is Mako for you. The insert songs (mostly in English) and background music have this grand and epic feel and compliment the scenes very well especially those action, power up and comeback scenes. It makes you feel like you want to throw your support behind the heroes.

Overall, Kill La Kill might not be a series for everybody (because you parents surely don’t want your toddlers to be watching this) but for those mature audiences who love this sort of crazy stuff that isn’t just run of the mill, this is one series that you must add to your must watch list. The action, the plot, the characters and the art (just accept this unique drawing as their trademark, okay?). You’ll not regret it. If you do, you’re not human ;p. The ultimate lesson we can learn from this series? No, not about friendship and trust or family bonds. Yes, sure those are important too but I am thinking more of the lines of how important clothing have defined and changed our lives. Realize how in the real world that clothes dictate the way we live our lives? Different clothes separate us from the popular and the misfits. The rich and the poor. The stylish and the not so stylish. Those who care about fashion and those who just don’t give a damn (like yours truly). So is it not true that if you think about it that it is clothes that are wearing us? Just like for bald men, how hair is to cover for those with ugly head, clothes must be to cover those with an ugly body? Even so, this is not a reason to go commando or start stripping and run around in public in your birthday suit. Or even try flying around in your underwear because realistically, clothes still don’t give you super powers. So please keep your pants on at all times.

No Game, No Life

December 20, 2014

Life is like a game. A very big game. Eventually a big majority of us will end up in the rat race of climbing corporate positions and making more money. The usual goal. Tired of this kind of life? How about whisking to another world where you could play games all day and that games dictate the outflow and outcome of life? Sounds like lots of fun, isn’t it? The title itself, No Game, No Life certainly sounds intriguing enough to indicate the ‘seriousness’ and ‘importance’ of games in one’s life but if the setting sounds all too familiar to another anime series, Mondaijitachi Ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu Yo, please bear in mind that this is as far as similar they go. If I should describe and compare No Game, No Life to that Problem Children series, let’s say this one has got lots of brain power.

Episode 1
There is an urban myth that there are 4 players who beat everybody in every game, including one whereby they defeated 1200 players! Because they leave their account name blank, they have been nicknamed Blank. It is thought they are super hackers who cheat but some players who cheat themselves by casting massive spells still couldn’t win. Are they really that great? Turns out Blank consists only a pair of NEET siblings, Sora and his little sister Shiro, each controlling 2 characters. You should see how Shiro controls the controller with her feet! They soon get a message from an anonymous sender who knows their identity. It asks if they are born in the wrong world. Finding it intriguing, they take up the challenge and are surprised to see a chess game. They think a human is playing it since the other player is using weak moves to bait them. After lots of hard work, they finally win. The anonymous sender congratulates them and asks what they think about their world. They feel it’s like a game too. Only crappier. One big sh*tty game. When they agree they are born in the wrong world, suddenly all their screens go out. A voice reaches out to them and will let them be reborn in a world they should have been. The next thing they know, they’re free falling! This voice, Tet introduces them to the world of games, Disboard. Everything here is dictated and decided by games. He explains all the 10 commandments which are essential rules in this world and its games. I think by the time he finishes 9 of them, they already crash down. Thankfully they survive. Tet leaves them once he finishes explaining the last one. At first looks, the siblings think they have made a wrong choice and ended up in some sh*tty game. But they manage to defeat a group of robbers and take all their belongings (based on the commandment, wars, robbing and killing are forbidden and whatever wagered must be upheld). They also narrate some legend how this world was created by some eternal war by the gods. After a long terrible battle, Tet became the One True God as he is the only one who didn’t participate and won by default. So he banished wars, robbery and murder and have them show him how wise they are. And thus this is how the world of games was born.

Entering the Kingdom of Elkia, they witness a gambling tournament to see who becomes the next king. This was the rule laid by the previous king’s dying wish. One of them is Stephanie Dola, the king’s granddaughter trying to inherit the throne this way. Let’s say she doesn’t have good poker face against her opponent, Kurami Zell. Sora provokes and challenges a lady to a single poker game. She thought she won with her full house but he has got a royal straight flush. What are the chances of getting that? Believe it! Of course he actually cheated and there is a loophole in the rule that as long as you don’t get caught, it is okay. Sora must be a veteran gamer because he knows the innkeeper is trying to cheat him when he only offers him a night’s stay at his inn for this piece of gold. After making a cool threatening face and tone, he gets the best deal out of it. They return to see Stephanie still contemplating on her move. Shiro notices Kurami is cheating but cannot analyze how she is doing it. Sora whispers to Stephanie that Kurami is cheating and then leaves. Resting in their room, Sora notes how in fairytales, outsiders will always try to find their way home. He hints he doesn’t want to go back to his. Yeah. Who wants to go back to that crappy world? Later, Stephanie knocks on their door. She lost everything. Only a blanket covering her modesty.

Episode 2
Stephanie blames them for not telling how Kurami cheated. But the siblings realize she has taken the bait. Sora starts mocking her naivety and conservativeness that had her no chance. When he mocks her grandpa as foolish, she becomes mad. Don’t get mad. Let’s resolve this via playing a game. Rock-scissors-paper. He lays down the rules he will only use paper and anything else he will lose. Also, she loses if he beats her with rock or scissors but this means it will be a draw. Everything else is free game. After making their wager, Stephanie analyzes the probabilities and is going for rock all but when she sees his scary faces, she reanalyzes and goes for scissors. He puts up rock. So it’s a draw. Sora explains why he knows she will do so and was confident he will win from the start. Because Stephanie didn’t check her facts, she taught the wager of the draw was to find him a place to live. Apparently he didn’t say he agreed to it. She convinced herself it was so. What he wants is a small favour. Oh no… He wants Stephanie to fall in love with him! Huh? He starts bragging how cool he is to Shiro because this way she will give her all her money and place to stay. But Shiro notes he should have just ordered her to be his and he’ll still have both. Did he miscalculate?! He is sure reeling of his misjudgement due to his desire just to get a girlfriend. Because Shiro is jealous, he had to apologize and explain he had sexual needs (he said it 4 times!) and couldn’t go after his sister who is a minor. Stephanie felt annoyed she has been ignored and I’m not sure if it’s the power of the commandment that she starts seeing Sora in a better light. She tries not to fall for it. Shiro congratulates Sora to lose his virginity and pushes him to Stephanie. She couldn’t take anymore of this and kicks him out. She observes when the siblings are not together, they go into panic state. Even if they’re just a door away. Stephanie tries to resist seeing Sora in her beautiful visions.

Sora notices this country is quite empty and void of people. Stephanie explains their human race is called Imanity and was once Elkia’s largest Imanity nations. But their decline came during her grandpa’s reign and had to wage their territory for chance of expansion but lost. There are 16 sentient races in this world that the commandments apply (all other races are termed as Exceed collectively). They are ranked by their affinity to use magic and Imanity occupies rock bottom because they cannot use or sense magic. Sora thinks if that is what she thinks as Imanity’s reason for losing, it is no wonder they keep losing. He wants to take a look at their library but it is all in Imanity language. Shiro the genius could understand it all in no time as it is written exactly like it’s spoken. Stephanie realizes with Shiro’s genius and Sora’s negotiation, they make a good team with their great trust in each other and could be the ones to save Elkia. Sora stayed up all night to read in the library and asks Stephanie’s reason to become queen. She wanted to save Elkia. Her grandfather kept gambling the country’s territory and kept losing. Despite being called a foolish king for so, he continued believing in Imanity’s potential. So if she becomes queen, she could prove her grandpa right. Sora hates to break it to her but that chance is impossible especially when the next king is crowned. Kurami has won the tournament and is to be crowned. They pass by in the hallway as she throws back Stephanie’s lost wagered dress. She whispers to Stephanie not to make the same mistake as that foolish king. Sora gives the dress back to Kurami since the wager must be upheld. It is hers. For now. Because Shiro has no qualms to go wherever Sora goes, Sora is going to prove Stephanie’s grandpa is right, giving her a lot of renewed hope. His goal now is to become king.

Episode 3
Kurami is about to be crowned when Sora barges in and challenges her to a game. Sora then hints Kurami is conspiring with foreigners to steal the throne as Shiro reveals a hooded Elf girl supposedly to be Kurami’s conspirer, Fiel Nilvalen. Kurami is quick to deflect it that Sora hired somebody to accuse her but she accepts his challenge and as per the rules she gets to decide what and where. Later Sora explains to Stephanie about how she cheated during the tournament. Actually he doesn’t know what kind of magic she has her conspirer do but the tournament itself is full of loopholes. Because Imanity cannot sense magic, Kurami got help from a nation that uses one. Surely Imanity cannot win by this way. After that race got their puppet king and do what they please, what would the other races think? Stephanie thought taking out this magic factor can lead Imanity to victory but Sora isn’t counting his chickens yet. What proof do they have that Kurami will try to use another undetectable magic? They’ll try to make it look at least fair on the surface like altering their memories, etc. Although their chance of winning isn’t high, as long there is a chance, they can. Because they are Blank. Kurami heard them and reveals she joined forces with Elves so Imanity can have a territory to live. Once they have got the minimum territory, she will cut ties with them. This way, they can get protection of another race while giving up on all games and cutting ties with the rest of the world. She requests Sora to withdraw but he won’t. The siblings don’t like to say no to people who think they are superior. And they’re saying that in style! So the challenge is on. Stephanie doesn’t understand why Sora won’t accept such a deal. Then again, do they have proof that what Kurami said was true? Plus, if she was so certain of winning, why ask them to withdraw? She mustn’t be too trusting.

The game will be chess and each piece has their own will. This means a piece can move more than the standard move we know in ordinary chess. Kurami makes good advance but Shiro’s pieces do not take the enemy piece as ordered. Because so, she cannot sacrifice her pieces and is only reduced to moving them. Shiro breaks down when she begins to lose. Sora hugs her and takes over. He yells out to his troops that those who fight bravely will get to f*ck any woman they want!!! If they win, they’ll be excused from further military duties and granted tax exemption for the rest of their lives! This revs them up and they’re ready to go all out battle. Sora realizes they’re not playing chess but a strategy game and thus some crazy morale booster is necessary. Since this is war, you don’t take turns as Sora gives orders after orders to launch an offensive. Kurami gets defensive as Sora continues to mock her cowardly actions of having her men protect her king. The ultimate icing of the cake is that they will have cute Shiro as their queen. Doesn’t that motivate you? Kurami is now backed into a corner and uses some brainwashing magic. Each time Sora’s pieces touch hers, they defect to Kurami’s side. Now it is Sora’s turn to panic as he has not thought that far of Kurami’s other hidden aces. And to think he lectured Stephanie on this. Before Kurami’s queen can slay Sora’s king, Sora jumps in between the pieces and uses his smooth operator skills to convince the queen to defect to his side! Thanks to all the dating simulation he played. But even so, will that be enough to turn the tide? Sora is still panicking inside and now it’s Shiro’s turn to calm him down. When Kurami orders her knight to slay the traitorous queen, it won’t and instead defected. Sora realizes there is another way to win this game without fighting.

Episode 4
Sora argues that Kurami ordered her servants to slay his queen and this makes her a mad queen because no sane men will ever do that. Soon, some of the enemy pieces defect. Stephanie remembers how grandpa told her about a way to win without fighting. Because Imanity is ranked the lowest and without magic, that is why they have wisdom. There must be someone out there with that wisdom. Someone who knows the strength of being weaker than everyone. Back to the game, Sora tells Kurami to surrender but she becomes crazy and orders her men to kill all the traitors. However her king starts to die via poisoning (some reasoning that kings and rules who rule by oppression are usually assassinated by someone who isn’t part of the combat unit). With this, Blank wins. Kurami cannot believe her magic was defeated and wants to know what magic they use. Although Sora doesn’t oppose her idea of getting help from Elves, he didn’t like how it was an insult to Imanity. He makes it sound threatening for underestimating them so Kurami starts crying like a little girl. Oh my. What have you done? You made a girl cry… Before Blank can be crowned king, there seems to be objection coming from themselves. They can’t let the other be king since they fear the other will take advantage. They both can’t be king as commandments say to specify a designated representative. So they challenge each other to a game. For 3 straight days… Neither could get 2 wins in a row in this old maid game!!! How long has it been… Then upon further checking the rules, they realize it didn’t specify any number. Goodness gracious… And so both of them become kings as they get crowned. Stephanie is amazed that they could easily solve and suggest domestic issues like agriculture and financial. All thanks to the quiz game they downloaded, huh?

Blank then addresses their people. Sora begins with why Imanity is weak. Not because of the last king. Not because they don’t have magic. Because they too fought with other races and they all survived. It is because they are weak. He doesn’t want them to feel bad that they are weak and to accept it. They are weak and will always be. Because the strong can never master their special weapon called cowardice. This gave them the wisdom to escape from magic, learn from past experience to predict the future. So be proud of being weak. By being weak, we can do anything. Blank swears to the oath and is given a chess piece to represent Imanity. This revs up the crowd. A very big motivational drive. Sora then declares they’ll go to war with other races to take back their borders. Stephanie is not amused. Are they trying to destroy this country? Well, how do you think other countries will react knowing that they took out the Elves? Till they figure which race is helping them, none can make any rash moves, thus the risky declaration of war. Blank reads up on the race called Flugel. Long living and high capacity magic creatures trying to obtain knowledge. They think of getting them on their side. They get a surprise visit from Tet who congratulates them on their victory. Sora guesses that even his God position can be determined by a game. That’s why there are 16 pieces per side in chess. If you conquer all races, it allows you to challenge God. Tet feels right to have brought them to this world and Sora couldn’t agree more. This is where they truly belong. He reminds Tet he lost to them once in chess (the reason he brought them here as he was upset about his first lost) but Tet is confident he won’t next time. The next time they meet will be on the chess board. Blank’s next goal is world conquest and to become God.

Episode 5
Stephanie is mad that Blank has been delegating their duties to their servants and done nothing but reading. Today is the day she’ll really tell them off. Guess what? Still being indifferent. Pissed off, she challenges them to a game and if she wins, he must become a decent person. Then it hit Sora that she should wish him to be more popular as he can get the girls! Too bad Shiro won’t allow it. Sora agrees to play the game of Blackjack. A game of pure chance, right? Well, Stephanie has rigged it somehow and is on a winning streak. On the final game where they bet everything, Sora wins everything with his natural Blackjack. How can this be? Sora was counting the face value of the cards and eliminating which one are already used. Yup. He used maths to win. He also hints Stephanie cheated and she is appalled her plan backfired on her. I guess it’s back to work. Blank defeats former nobles in a game and takes everything. Everything. Butt naked… Stephanie can’t believe they were dealt harshly because it ruined her hard work to keep them under control peacefully. Something about distributing commercial rights to nobles to keep them in check. Blank starts going dumbfounded because they never knew she was this smart! Wasn’t that sarcasm and insult? They also can’t believe she graduated top of her class of a prestigious school! Come to think of it, they haven’t decided their reward from the Blackjack game… Yeah… She becomes their dog for today. So it’s no wonder people are staring at them. But hey, why is Blank so afraid of walking in the crowd? I know they are NEET but previously they don’t seem this nervous. Anyway, the uneasy stare of people as Stephanie explains because she looks like a Werebeast, the 14th strongest Exceed and form the third largest nation called Eastern Federation. It is an animal kingdom that can read minds and has enhanced senses and physical abilities. Sora wants to go conquer it and get his harem of animal ear girls! Too bad Shiro won’t allow it.

As Blank continues to seemingly fool around, Stephanie has had it and challenges them to a game. She lost. And Shiro takes her panties and wears it on her head. WTF. Not content, Stephanie challenges them to more games but she always loses. It feels like strip poker because she loses a piece of clothing. Now she’s barely close to naked… She gets frustrated she can never win. Not even by chance. Sora explains about all the invisible factors and its combination that produces unpredictable but inevitable results. There is no such thing as luck. Just like how Sora got the ace of spade in the Blackjack game was because he knew that new decks are generally arranged in preset order and thus at the bottom. A chance to get it from 1/52 becomes 100%. Knowledge changes that probability. That is why Imanity keeps losing. That’s why Blank is unsure what to do. They lack information. Before they can invade Werebeast’s kingdom, they need to know their weakness and all the books they have read doesn’t contain a clue (so they’re not fooling around as thought). Sora warns that this might be Imanity’s last leg and one screw and everything will be over. Stephanie felt bad for thinking lowly of them but they also praise her for helping them out. A floating island passes by. It is Avant Heim, the home of Phantasma, the second ranked Exceed. Sora really thinks of getting a Flugel on their side so Stephanie mentions there is one nearby. Her grandpa waged their library and lost. Sora is freaking upset because it is just too dumb to wage humanity’s only weapon! So they take a step into the library. World conquest is back on track. At the first sight of this Flugel, they are awe struck at this angel of death, Jibril. Until she opens her mouth and sounds like an idiot. That just ruined everything, huh?

Episode 6
Sora gets straight down to business. He wants this library. Because knowledge is the life of Flugel, it is as though they’re offering their lives so she wants Sora to wage something equivalent. How does 40,000 books from his world sound? All in his Tablet. She is very interested (she starts drooling at the sight of unknown knowledge!) but finds it hard to believe they are from another world because it takes tremendous amount of magic to keep them here. Even the first ranked Exceed, Old Deus would find it very hard. She wants to do a body check and Sora quickly approves since it is the erogenous zone. It must be his lucky day since she allows him to do the same to her. But he feels short-changed as her erogenous zone is her wings. That is where her spirit circuits are. Touching them makes her climax. And since Sora is good at touch screen hentai games… Jibril confirms they are Imanity and since this library isn’t enough to match his 40,000 books, she will offer everything about herself. Full rights to her personally. Deal. The game they play will be shiritori. But this is no ordinary word chain as the word they say can materialize or disappear. So be careful what you say… Of course everything returns to normal when the game ends. They lay down some ground rules before the game starts. Sora goes first and picks up hydrogen bomb! If not for whatever sealing spell from Jibril, everything would have turned to dust! So the game goes on for who knows how long but it seems that poor Stephanie bears the brunt of it all. Too bad as their dog for the day, she had to be dragged into this life and death game. Even to a point where the girls become naked and without nipples! So does it count as full frontal nudity???!!!

As the game rages on, Jibril continues to mock and look down on Imanity in between their turns. Sora believes it is time to show her what an empty headed academic she is and that she is the dumb one. So the big finale begins. They already apologize in advance to Stephanie that she has to die for a while. Say wha~… Here it goes! Sora starts saying words that take away the planet’s surface and air have them fall into the planet’s burning core. Jibril realizes Sora has been removing stuffs (like her spirit circuits) to try and kill her and make her lose. Because Jibril doesn’t know her atomic structure, she thought she summon back the lost oxygen via air but pure air is toxic and is taking a toll on her body. Blank is fine breathing through each other’s mouth when they take away the rest of the atmosphere (Stephanie is already dead). Now without air, they can’t speak and if you can’t speak on your turn, you lose the game. Jibril won’t be defeated yet and writes. She thought their own plan backfired but it seems Sora was a step ahead. Prior to this, he had written a word that would cause a huge nova explosion. Jibril realizes she had lost. Ever since the first hydrogen bomb explosion, it was a test to see if he could use words that his opponents didn’t know. That subsequent sealing explosion was all the info he need and the rest were mere distraction. The game was over after the first move. Now that the game is over, they’re back in the library in one piece. Stephanie is furious that she got killed! Oh, welcome back. And they thank her for her part. Yeah, being the sacrificial lamb and all. Jibril admits her defeat and learns Blank was summoned by Tet. Because they want to challenge God, they can’t do it if they’re sane. Now that everything Jibril belongs to them, although the library is theirs, Sora still allows her to come and read. Also, she can read his 40,000 books too as it was just bait. Jibril pledges her loyalty to Blank who will now be her master.

Episode 7
Sora wants to be like Shiro because she has total dominance over Jibril! Sora will have Jibril tell all she knows about Werebeast but all he could think of are the cute animal ear girls who will be his. However Jibril doesn’t think her knowledge will assure them victory. She challenged them once and lost. Fiel reports that Imanity has defeated Flugel and is targeting Werebeast next. Kurami is convinced Werebeast is the one aiding them. Because the Elf nation challenged them 4 times and lost and since Imanity is at the bottom, they must be using some tricks to even defeat the Elf and Flugel. Jibril explains that one of the conditions of the games was the loser would retain no memories of the game. So in addition to Werebeasts reading their minds, they don’t even know how they lost the game. Sora finds it odd they could expand their country so much in just 50 years so Jibril takes them on a flight to see one of the conquered lands. The recent challenge to Werebeast was by Imanity and they lost this piece of land. Sora is so disappointed that Imanity challenged 8 times and lost half of their territory. He might have gone too far by commenting Stephanie’s grandpa to be a crazy old man for gambling away his territory. Stephanie doesn’t like what he said. He can insult her but not grandpa or what he believes in. Stephanie remembers grandpa giving her a key. It is the key of hope that leads to a place where he keeps important things. When she meets someone whom she can entrusts Elkia’s fate, give it to that person. Stephanie is in a dilemma to give it to Sora because part of her doesn’t believe he is the one. She is called by Jibril to head to the library. And this is what she hears Sora discussing with Jibril.

Sora is trying to find the reason why the previous king did so because something doesn’t add up. Plus, most of the lands lost were useless lands. Then he might have stumbled upon something. Could he have achieved something and stopped after 8 tries? What if he didn’t lose his memories? Jibril believes not all humans think like him so Sora guesses she might comment how he can believe in a lesser life form like humanity. Because he doesn’t believe in humanity. They are lowly stupid creatures. There are no differences with this world and his old one. They fight among themselves instead of trying to save. However he believes in humanity’s potential. Shiro is proof. His name can mean as both sky and empty. Shiro commented on that because he was smiling emptily since everyone else was. It made his heart skipped and that such people exist. He wanted to be like her. Therefore as normal people, it’s their job to ensure the potential of often misunderstood people is realized. After riding a roller coaster of emotions, Stephanie approaches Sora to give him the key. She might regret it since he thinks it is where the porn is! They know where the key to the secret room is since they’ve been living in the king’s room and prodding everything. In this small room lies the previous king’s journal. He hopes the next king of Imanity won’t be the last but the one who restores them. He doesn’t mind being remembered as a foolish king as he hopes the next king will use his research to restore their glory. Sora deduces Imanity were nothing but easy prey for Werebeasts. They didn’t erase his memories as they want him to keep trying as bait to defeat him. He knew of this and went ahead. He didn’t tell anyone probably because he swore to the commandments as long as he lived. But this doesn’t apply now that he is dead. After 8 tries, he must have found a loophole and entrusted what he knew to a king that would restore humanity – the greatest gambler. That’s why a gambling tournament was held to determine the next king. He made a bet and the probability is very close to zero but since it’s not, there is always a chance. Sora believes the previous king was a great man who pretended to be a fool, challenged and lost and devoted himself to finding his enemy’s secrets. This journal is his trust in humanity. Stephanie breaks down after taking the journal. Blank believes they can do it. And the ironic part is, Sora is wearing a shirt that claims he loves humanity.

Episode 8
Sora and co arrive at Eastern Federation’s Elkia Embassy. They meet this old doggy guy, Ino Hatsuse, the assistant ambassador. He was the person Sora waved back this morning when he saw him from his library. Stephanie wonders how Sora can see from so far. Could it be the game has just begun? Later Sora shows that he was just guessing and pretended to see. Ino hopes Sora could make a better appointment next time because of some construction incident where both sides try to outdo each other by building a bigger building, the Werebeasts are harbouring animosity towards Imanity. Jibril trades sarcasm with Ino. They are introduced to Eastern Federation’s ambassador to Elkia, Izuna, Ino’s granddaughter. Instantly Blank goes to rub her ears and tail. She scolds them but tells them to continue. Of course grandpa didn’t like it and shows the middle finger. What do those 2 care? The negotiation begins. Sora starts off by wagering Stephanie’s panties as wager! Before Ino can say anything, Sora tells him to drop the mind reading and if he could actually read thoughts, go for the panty game. Because it’s not the panty he wants but the chance to wipe their memories of how their games work. Sora is so cool and confident that Ino can sense he is not bluffing. Blank then tells their goal about world domination and wants to challenge a game between nations. Sora says their wager of Stephanie’s panties has not changed and they should have wagered Izuna’s while they had the chance. Thanks to Eastern Federation’s advance technology, it is rather difficult to be advanced seeing their federation is on islands. They need lots of resources from the continent. Werebeasts could have lured the Elves to play a game. Of course nobody would play a game where they couldn’t win. It would mean they never got the continent. They should have just lost and paid the price.

Let’s solve a few questions with Sora. Why were their memories wiped out from the game? Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to win every time. Even if their memories were wiped out, it still doesn’t change the fact that they have lost. Why did the Elves challenged them 4 times? Because they want to find out why they lost. In those few tries, they must have figured out the ‘magic’ they were using but still lost. But why stopped trying after the 4th try? Either they realize the game is impossible to win (and could have exposed this cheat in the next challenge) or they figured out the game but not why they lost so they stopped trying. What kind of games work against other races that only Eastern Federation has the technology for? Video games. This is the only country with video games and technically you can ‘cheat’ as much as you want if you’re a game master. There’s no way your enemy is going to find out. Sora busts the myth about their mind reading ability. They can’t. All they can do is tell someone is lying or not by their heart beat. Sora lets Ino answer the next question how they know all of this. Sure, the previous king did it and although he made an oath never to tell it while he was alive, it didn’t apply when he was dead. Sora threatens what happens if the Elves get hold of this information? Then they’ll have to play a game and wipe their memories too. It would mean what Sora said had been true all the time. His only option is to deny and run away but Blank will not allow that. Sora wagers the entire Imanity! If a race piece is wagered and lost, that race is no longer bound by the commandments and this means death. Sora points out another thing Ino didn’t see. When they waved at each other, had it not occur to him how an Imanity could do that? It means they are not from this world and you know about their reputation of having never lost a video game match. He doesn’t have to play it now since it is of this magnitude so come see them once they are ready. Back home, Stephanie chides Blank for their reckless move. The Imanity people are already angry that they have been wagered but Blank doesn’t care. Then it’s time for the game. Sora talks to Shiro about always being together and winning every game before they start. When he goes off himself, Shiro finds herself alone. When she wakes up, she is frantically looking for her brother but Stephanie doesn’t know of that name.

Episode 9
Shiro remembers she was put in an orphanage due to her intelligence. That is where she learnt to play games. When she first met Sora and commented him as empty, that is when they clicked. Shiro runs off to find Sora but he is nowhere. She asks Jibril who her master is and everything from her earliest memory she only credits Shiro as her master and great mastermind. Later Jibril and Stephanie discuss the possibility of somebody else besides Shiro. They ask around town and nobody knows anything more. It could mean that Shiro might have challenged somebody and lost. The price to pay was her memories. More precisely, false memories were implanted. Jibril challenges Shiro to a game in hopes she will lose. Shiro is about to just do that when she hears Sora’s voice. This convinces her Sora is real and she wins her game. She is damn sure about it and has the girls remember what they did 2 days ago. They couldn’t. Then they try to figure out if some sort of large scale magic is affecting them. Shiro could hear faint voices of Sora calling to her so she thinks harder on the words he said to her before this mystery. Then she figured it out. What if the game was to steal each other’s existence? She collapses. This is what happened. Sora is in a game of reverse with Kurami and Fiel. The stones constitute their existence and they won’t know which stone constitutes which part till your opponent takes it. In the end if all your existence is taken, you disappear. The winner gets to make 2 demands. In short, they’re betting their existence and complete rights over their partners.

Shiro wakes up and asks Jibril about the possibility of players stealing each other’s existence and the possibility of collaborating with an Elf. Theoretically, yes. So could this mean Sora’s erased existence means he has lost? Shiro believes the game is still underway. She has Jibril sense any magic and though she could, she couldn’t detect its exact location. They search around and see 3 unused reverse stones on the floor. Shiro remembers she is also participating because as part of the rules, if one of them passes out, their partner takes over. Sora purposely makes Kurami win at first so she could see his memories and prove he isn’t collaborating with any other races. After Sora ‘disappears’, it is Shiro’s turn. She now understands why he deceived his opponent in this manner and knows how to win with these 3 stones. The moment that happens, Sora comes back and everything reverts to normal. Sora expects to be punished but Shiro starts crying in his arms and apologizes. Since Kurami lost, she is like a vegetable. Sora might seem like a tyrant trying to make his demands as agreed. First, they get a copy of each other’s memories while retaining their original one. Kurami comes back to live. Sora’s second demand is to take the rights to alter Fiel’s memories and be his spy. Kurami allows it since she has seen the things in his head and understands. So once all that is settled, Sora-Shiro and Kurami-Fiel turn into cry-babies hugging each other crying out loud they were so scared, etc. That was fun, wasn’t it?

Episode 10
While the riot is taking shape outside the castle, Sora reveals why he bet the Imanity race, he knew the Elf spy would form contact with them. And by beating them in that game, he could bring them to his side without having to use the commandments. So the important reason he has gathered them all here now is for… Introductions! Kurami is forced to make hers or else Sora will start spouting embarrassing secrets. He has her memories, remember? When Fiel goes next, seems she hates Jibril. Something about during the Great War, she destroyed part of her people. Sora judges Jibril to be guilty and since they are essential in the next game, Kurami wants them to get along. So how will they make up and move forward? Fiel wants Jibril to lick her feet and apologize! Must she do it?! Well, she’s guilty, right? And if Shiro the master says so… And with a very reluctant heart, Fiel enjoys every moment of it and forgives her. Kurami adds Fiel is her childhood friend and more accurately her master. Although Elves have a democratic system, they still have this slave system. Kurami’s family has been slaves to Fiel’s family for generations. Fiel always treated her nice and as a friend. Recently the head of Fiel’s family died and she is now the de facto head, which puts their relationship in a complicated spot. Actually she doesn’t care about her race as long as Kurami is fine. Yeah, everyone can go die for all she cares! But seriously, it’s time to move on discussing their strategy against Werebeasts. Not so fast. Sora wants to enhance their bonds by taking a bath together?! I’m sure after 30 minutes of the explanation of its importance and Fiel’s sarcastic mocking of Kurami’s non-existent boobs, I guess it’s settled. Sora even wants to be transformed into a girl to join them but Fiel warns he won’t be able to transform back. That sucks…

Later Kurami talks to Sora about his close call victories and doesn’t feel confident he can pull this one off. What if he makes a mistake? Sora says that he might but as Blank they won’t. If he ever missteps, Shiro will be there. They embarrass each other quoting lines from the other’s memories. The day has come for the game with Werebeasts. Although the crowd is rowdy, they still let them pass. Sora notes the riot is part of his plan. As they are waiting in the game area, Sora has Jibril cast a special spell on Stephanie. This doesn’t sound good. Too her. Sora, Shiro, Jibril, Stephanie and Izuna will play the game as they sit in their game chair. Ino goes over the wager where by Eastern Federation will wage everything it owns on the continent as well as the rules like the usual memory erasing thingy if they win. Sora also adds a couple to it like if they are caught cheating blatantly, it will result in immediate loss. As the game begins, Sora notices Izuna nervous. He asks her when was the last time she had fun. Ino could sense magic and that Kurami and Fiel watching them. This is so that Eastern Federation cannot use any obvious cheats. Stephanie is still being a pessimist that they can’t win so Sora tells her the reason why he allows audiences to watch this game and why the riot is all part of his plan. Because he doesn’t need the trust of those who believe they can win. With Imanity watching them closely, they will make sure they won’t lose deliberately as they are at stake and this means harder for Eastern Federation to use obvious cheats. There is no more trusted observer than someone who suspects you. What determines their victory is how quickly they react to what they expect. When the game setting is Akihabara in Tokyo, Blank suddenly shrivels in fear! Sora even says Imanity is doomed and can’t go on! Big sh*t dude!!!

Episode 11
After all that confident build-up and now they’re in this pathetic state? Well, that is until Ino tells them this isn’t real and just made up. Sora blows his top for scaring the sh*t out of him. So with Shiro back to normal, here are the game rules. In this twisted FPS-cum-dating-simulation with a freaking long title, all the girls in the world love you. However, you only have sights on one true love (Izuna). As all the girls are out to get your ass, you must fire your love gun filled with your love power at them. Not only this ‘vanishes’ them but this also recharges your love gun. Getting touched or swamped by those girls means you love your love ammo and you can’t fire your love gun. However if your teammates fire at you, you can recharge although you become madly in love with the shooter for a minute. But if you get shoot by Izuna’s gun, you become her slave. They take turns shooting at each other to see the love effects and of course Stephanie gets experimented on and they discover certain things like the bullet bounces at certain angles. Also, Sora tells Shiro to conserve her energy since their stamina is like in the real world and not to run around too much. While Izuna is feeling hot under the collar about Sora’s question, here Sora is trying to shoot naked the girls for some fanservice. Yeah, the Imanity guys are just loving it. Imanity is doomed… Izuna hears Shiro coming and fires at her but to her surprise Shiro can dodge all her bullets and fights back. Sora explains Shiro holds the best record in FPS so much so she can understand everything from your movement patterns and how fast you fire. This causes Izuna to sweat and take retreating measures. She escapes the building but only faces Jibril. Izuna survives the mid-air fight when she could see Sora’s shot coming from far away. But this only ascertains that Izuna can actually see into the future aside the fact she can also use her clothes to block. Thus the reason why this ‘cheat’ cannot be proved. Not only that, Ino can telepathically communicate with Izuna where her enemies are and tells her to go on the offensive. Izuna could feel her heart pounding very loud and she refuses to believe in Sora’s words that she is having fun.

Sora and co are forced to take defensive measures now. Shiro is writing a long list of theory in the sand. I guess things are not working out, huh? When Shiro seemingly stops, did she reach an answer? Actually she asks if Sora trusts her. Of course. And then she quickly jumps to take a shot from Izuna meant for Sora. Oh no. She’s under Izuna now. Jibril wonders if it is over for them but Sora believes it’s not that Shiro couldn’t find the answer. The answer was left blank. They are Blank. Therefore everything including Shiro joining the enemy’s side is part of her calculation and Blank’s power. Now it is up to him to complete that magic formula and lead to the promised victory. Sora orders Jibril to stall Izuna. She relishes going all out with her. Meanwhile Sora escapes from Shiro’s firing. He is baffled that she could have got him if she ran but instead walked. Was his earlier warning still in effect? Then at the rooftop, Sora charges straight at her. However Shiro misses because she never expected him not to dodge. Once he tackles her and they free fall down the building, this is Izuna’s cue to finish them. To her surprise, Shiro fires back at her. Izuna takes a closer look and realizes only Shiro’s panties are gone. This means Shiro pretended to be shot (using Sora’s button as a deflection to hit her panties) and be her underling. Izuna is cornered now that Jibril is coming from above. Recalling Sora’s word about having fun in games, sure she is now. So much so she transforms into her true beast form.

Episode 12
Izuna activates Blood Destruction that allows her to surpass her physical limits. She’s faster and stronger. Each time Blank fires, she dodges. Is this like cheating? Blank is reduced to running and defending. They have no time to think. Just when Sora tries to pull a last ditch attempt, Izuna fires double shots that hit both of them precisely in the head. Their heartbeats go still. Game over. As Izuna relishes in her victory, suddenly she is shot in the back by Stephanie! For once she becomes the heroine? Sora explains when they Izuna activated Blood Destruction, they weren’t firing randomly but at one of the NPCs carrying unconscious Stephanie below. Because so, it is impossible to sense her. Before the match, Sora had her pledge to wait till her energy is about to run out and then shoot straight. All that is left is to calculate the NPC’s predetermined movements and lead Izuna there. Blank knew Ino was monitoring their heartbeats and relaying their location to Izuna. They took advantage of this and make it seem like Ino was in control but in actual fact, Blank had everything under their palm the entire time. Ino is forced to declare Elkia as the winner. Izuna feels guilty that her race lost because she had fun. Blank denies it. Because she was smiling then. No matter what she thought, she could never have won anyway. How does it feel to go up against an unbeatable enemy? It’s awesome, right? And because it’s her first loss, that is why it is fun. Once she understands that, she’ll become their friend and fellow gamer. So while our heroes have some skinship bath with the Werebeasts, here comes Stephanie announcing the horror that Werebeasts have moved all their technology off their continent land and back to the islands prior before the game. Sora expected this since he would have done the same. All part of the plan? Because here is the designated representative of Eastern Federation, Miko. She invites them to Eastern Federation’s capital. She is impressed that they had been had by them. She notices that with Imanity’s victory, their tricks are now known to the Elves and even Flugel. Though she feels they can still beat Imanity with their tricks exposed, but not with Elves or Flugel. That’s why she wants to take revenge on Imanity now!

Sora agrees and throws her a coin. What’s this? He is tired with all the complicated schemes so a simple coin toss will do. So they make their wager if Blank wins, they get to control everything under Eastern Federation. Miko wagers Werebeasts’ right to rule, their own rights as well guarantee of resources. She thinks of her people’s priority because if the Elves invade, it will be over. She also wants her people to be taken care of in the event she loses. All Miko need to do is name heads or tails and Sora will choose the other. Once he flips the coin, Miko activates Blood Destruction and calculates with precision how many flips and bounces before it lands. Tails it is. But the coin gets stuck standing up! Sora says since it’s a draw, it’s either they both win (and get both their demands fulfilled) or both lose. Ino fears Sora wants to take over Eastern Federation and destroy Werebeast but Sora denies it. Why would he destroy his ultimate paradise of animal ear harem girls???!!! Miko realized she got played into his hands again because after he tossed the coin, he used his feet to move the loose tile to make it stuck. Miko is worried that even if their countries are united, they stand no chance against the Elves. Sora assures them that he has altered Fiel’s memories (the reason he made that deal during Kurami’s rematch). She should be giving wrong information to her elders. Sora is confident of getting the Elves when the time comes. Because checkmate isn’t just cornering your enemy’s king but a declaration that the enemy king is yours. Miko chooses for the win-win situation and with that, Elkia Federation is born. Blank further explains that they don’t want to start another Great War. If they had wanted to, they would have taken their race piece. Sora has a few questions about the race pieces, the races and what lies beyond the horizon so perhaps he wants to get those answers by challenging Tet. Besides, the final rule in the commandment seems to be contradicting and why put it there when it doesn’t have to be followed? That rule states to have fun with everyone. Basically if they aren’t having fun together, they can’t beat the game. As they don’t steal each other’s pieces, all 16 races must use their wisdom, talent and resources and build a tower on Disboard. Tet cannot wait for that day to happen and is glad he brought Blank here. Blank finally have a wish that Miko could process. Because she is a shrine priestess, she can summon the Gods. She calls forth Old Deus! It’s game on for Blank.

Specials

Specials that last 3 minutes and that something extra (read: fanservice) for your 2 cents worth when you buy the DVDs.

Special 1
Stephanie gets a big shock to see Sora and Shiro naked. Although their clothes are in the dryers, she claims to have left them spare ones. However this scene has her start fantasizing that they bath and dress together. Oh yeah. Sexy fanservice of the duo putting on clothes on each other. Sexy talk. Sexy moaning. Just too sexy. Lastly, Sora is going to help put on her striped panties. It’s like a game, huh? When it is Shiro’s turn to put on his briefs, he feels embarrassed and won’t allow it and goes into serious meltdown that he can’t ever get married. In reality, the duo observe Stephanie’s insanity. In a (sick) world of her own. Shiro thinks it is Sora’s fault somehow.

Special 2
What’s this?! A steamy erotic novel-like scene with Stephanie going to give something precious to Sora?! For real?! Sora tries to stay cool but his mind can’t help scream like crazy. Suddenly Shiro stops the entire thing. CUT! Wait a minute. Were they filming a movie?! What kind of movie was that?! Seems Shiro liked a certain erotic scene from an erotic game and wanted to remake it. She even hints doing that indecent up-and-down hand gesture to show that minors like her these days aren’t as naive as you think! She is going to redo this scene and turn it into a classic story. So take it from the top again. Because Shiro is now your goddamn producer!

Special 3
Stephanie wants a rematch with Sora again to avenge her humiliating loss. Oh dear. Will she ever learn? I don’t know what game they’re playing because for the first round, Stephanie got tentacle raped. Didn’t last 30 seconds. Sora wins. Second round. Slimy slime that dissolves her clothes. Didn’t last 30 seconds. Another win for Sora. Third round. I don’t know what the heck this liquid is but you’ll notice Stephanie is getting more violated than ever. You know how it ends… Sora is impressed with Flugel’s technology and wants to try something out without playing a game. Okay. Sora is going to materialize his dream game girls! The perfect harem ever! In the end, he is left disappointed and sad because… This kind of things doesn’t exist! Ever!!! NOOOOOO!!! YOU JUST CRUSHED THE HOPES OF ALL SINGLE OTAKU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He wanted to believe… We wanted to believe…

Special 4
Thanks to the humidity, Kurami’s clothes aren’t drying fast. Fiel returns with lots of clothes she bought from town for Kurami to try out. And so for the next few scenes, we see Kurami in various ‘cosplay’ outfits. From sexy maid to school swimsuit to bunny Playboy and sailor school uniform. But it seems Fiel’s comments only serve to piss her off. Like as though she is being made fun of. I think she is. Just when Kurami’s heart goes soft after Fiel explains she did this because she loves her and wants her fully clothed, Fiel then uses her magic to quickly dry her clothes. She really played her on.

Special 5
Sora rues that too much steam is blocking him from peeping the girls taking a bath. We have a still group picture of the girls lining up by the size of their breasts. From smallest to biggest: Kurami, Jibril, Fiel, Stephanie and Sora! Oh sh*t! The flattest one is the biggest one? Because she is still growing. So to say Kurami’s won’t grow anymore? So they talk and compare about breasts. So the bigger the better and higher chances of winning the war? If it only was this logical. Sora proceeds to tell them the secret and powerful technique of breast massaging that will enhance it. Kurami thinks Stephanie did that to grow that big but she rebukes it and says hers are naturally natural. Fiel then decides to take responsibility and massage Kurami’s non-existent boobs to ‘repair the injustice’. Yuri moment! Jibril cannot take it anymore and decides to join the fondling session. So while Kurami gets sexually violated and harassed, Stephanie closes Sora’s eyes since minors aren’t allowed to watch this. Yeah. Yuri stuffs aren’t for minors either. And the biggest loser is Shiro who is outside the bath, cursing his predicament. He’d do anything to transform and join in the lewdness…

Game Of Thrones
Hey wait. That’s it? Oh come on! I was just getting started with the fun and the interesting parts. What do you mean there isn’t any second season yet! Ah well, no continuation, no fun. Overall, this series has been quite exciting because the games that they play are interesting. Although the game itself looks simple, it is the tactics and strategies employed by our leading duo that makes it a good watch. If I may so consider this series to be of a puzzle genre, I think this one is very good indeed. Because every game has its own rules and quirks and all you need to do to beat is learn them, which is basically like solving a puzzle.

I hope this series gets another season since it was interesting enough for me to do a little research (read: random browsing of the series over Google). As the light novel that this series is based on is still ongoing, it looks like Blank is making steady progress in forming alliances with other races (defeating them in games of course) in their bid to challenge Tet and be the next One True God. While there is a range of different races of Exceeds (from dragons to giants to vampires to mermaids to dwarves to fairies and even machines), I am intrigued at the different types of Exceed in this world and so much so I had the liberty to guess what they are despite officially not much is known about them. Like for the 2nd rank Phantasma, I think they are spirits. You know, phantoms. And those Lumaluna people who only live on the moon. Moon people… Aliens… Bunnies? Hah… 3rd rank Elemental… Beings with super elemental powers? Like Superman? I am sure Sora would love to add all the other tropes to his ‘collection’. Why should he stop at animal ear girls when he can have mermaids, vampires and even half machine beings to his harem. Yeah, he is on a roll and you can’t stop him.

The games played are very interesting and I have to admit that each one played made me glued to the screen. Thanks to the in-depth analysis and explanations throughout the game, it keeps things fresh and exciting. With Blank being able to see and think every step all the way, it feels like they are just living a scripted life since everything eventually falls into their hands. Like a cheat code, huh? Well, only thing is that they aren’t using any and sore losers have only got themselves to blame for not thinking so far ahead. The only down part is that sometimes the explaining of the details need more brain power and time to digest. I know I’m not a smart guy so I had to frequently rewind and replay those explanatory parts just to try and understand. Because if it was me playing all those games, I would have completely lost without a fight at all. In record time! Shame on me. Hate to admit it… I must be that dumb :’(.

Blank has got to be the best combo and partner in the history of anime. It is their mutual and 1000% trust and believe in each other that make them excel in every game. It is like they have one mind but 2 bodies. Think of their brains being connected by some sort of invisible link 24/7. Although they may not be perfect individually, thus the reason why they have each other to cover for each other’s short comings. In that way, they are always invincible and many steps ahead of their opponents to take them by surprise. It seems like they possess some sort of super powers if you think about Shiro’s God-like calculations and analysis as well as Sora’s confident and very assertive negotiations. They analyse the enemy and think ahead. In a sense they make the game they play exciting to us watching spectators. They’re the Gods of the gaming world and even if you cheat or hack your way, you’ll never beat them. In the end they’ll always take you by surprise because you’ll never expect the unexpected. So if you are playing Blank, always bear in mind that you are fighting a losing battle. When they say with confidence that they will always win and tell you point blank in your face that you will lose, it is not arrogance or cockiness. It is a fact! So accept it!

Their wisdom and foresight are their greatest asset and wisdom and I truly respect them for seeing so many steps ahead and making plans along. Everything else just needs to fall in place. Despite being super unbeatable game players, Blank fail as human beings (by standard norms, that is) since they have their quirky and odd weaknesses. Like Sora being a pervert whenever he can and sometimes tries to show off to his sister (which makes him look like a fool after all that grand build-up and confidence) but Shiro would prefer him to stay a siscon forever. They’re not good in crowds and panic to the point of silliness when they are a few metres apart. Well, at least this shows they are not perfect and just humans. At least they play their games well and with pride. However you look at it, the interaction between them is amusing as hell as with their interaction with others. You’ll never be bored with them, guaranteed. In fact, some of the best quips in the show are from them.

Stephanie not only feels like the joker but a punching bag for Blank. Thanks to her gullibility and naïve nature, I guess it is no wonder why they love to take advantage of her. Well, saying taking advantage may be too misleading. Because in a way Stephanie is honest with her feelings, she is the best person to ‘test out’ certain things. You’d see an interesting response. Sometimes it is fun to see her being ‘bullied’ but sometimes I sympathize and feel for her. Because I am not a smart person myself and the way Stephanie thinks and decides is no different than what I would do if I were to be put in her shoes. After Blank’s revelation and explanation, it feels a little embarrassing if you reflect and compare their thinking or analysis to hers. I know… It somehow makes me feel small. Don’t worry Stephanie, I understand how you feel at times. And at times when she displays her intelligence, this just dumbfounds Blank! It’s like an insult! More shocking than the meaning of what she said. Yeah, they never knew she also had intelligence, do they? So truly, is Stephanie doomed to be the dumb joker of the series?

Jibril compliments the main quartet as being both smart and funny. Oddly despite having a large database of knowledge, she still cannot best Blank. This goes to show that knowledge is infinite and you don’t stop learning. I wonder if Flugel is part of the Elkia Federation since Jibril has sworn her loyalty to Blank (according to the ongoing story, they are already part of the federation). I don’t think she is the designated representative for Flugel and it might just be herself personally who have sworn her loyalty and not binding her race entirely. The same case with Kurami and Fiel. They might have lost to Blank and share his belief and vision but that doesn’t mean the Elf race has submitted to them. They are just conspiring with him as partners individually instead as a collective race.

Subtly this series tries to paint both the best and worst of human beings. Just like how Imanity have been designated the king piece and just like that piece, it is the weakest among all the pieces in chess but by foremost a very and the most important piece. Every race has their own weaknesses and bad traits but none other would match those of a human/Imanity. Because Sora and Shiro come from such a sh*tty world, you can say they have experienced the worst and do not place much hope in humanity. But it is that same reason why they have hope in bringing out humanity from the doldrums. Confused? After all, Blank is still humans no matter how you put it. You’d still support for humans anyway because you’re one and that is basic human nature. When it comes down to games, humans are no different than other races. As long as you have that gamer heart and never give up, fight till the very end, there is still a chance of victory no matter how miniscule the chance is.

The art and drawing seems a little odd. They aren’t your usual standard anime bishoujo or bishonen type and a bit cartoonish. But the biggest eyebrow raising thing you’ll notice is the colouring hue. In many scenes, there is this excess of reddish-purplish colouring. Like as though the producers somewhat ran out of other colours or they had too much of this colour tone and forced to apply them throughout the anime. This reminds me of another anime in which they ‘screw up’ the colour hues. Remember K? It is quite ‘glaring’ at first but once you are into the groove of this series, it becomes natural. There are a few fanservice scenes too but I’m so engrossed and more interested in the games that I don’t really pay attention to this side distraction. Really! Especially with Stephanie doubling as a joker and punching bag, I feel she also triples as the fanservice poster girl. Unless you’re the kind that favours Shiro’s shima pantsu. That naked scene during the shiritori game, it makes me wonder of the loophole as long as you don’t show nipples or private parts, it won’t constitute to full frontal nudity. Now I guess I know why during transformation scenes in certain animes they show such dangerous borderline naked scenes. No nipples, no private parts, no breaking rules.

There are also tons of trivia for you to spot. Not that the series parodies the games but you’ll find certain parody moments to be a gem and a true delight once you spot them. Like that “OBJECTION!” retort which is of course from that Ace Attorney series. Fancy to spot Yugioh cards or even that classic Laputa reference in the anime? Spot that Gendou pose too? Did a certain character from Steins;Gate make her short cameo appearance? I’m sure seeing such references would bring lots of smiles. This is of course you are quite familiar and knowledgeable with the anime and pop culture.

There are a handful of seiyuus that I seriously wasn’t able to identify at first and checking the list after I watched the anime, I was really dumbfounded I couldn’t recognize them. For example, Rie Kugimiya as Tet. Now, I haven’t heard this ‘tsundere loli’ specialist’s voice in a long time but I would certainly recognize her trademark squeaky voice anywhere. It doesn’t help that her character Tet doesn’t appear often so there wasn’t enough ‘time’ to recognize her. But this is not the first time Rie Kugimiya has voiced a character outside her recognizable voice. Miharu from Nabari No Ou and Al from Fullmetal Alchemist come to mind. Then there is Youko Hikasa as Stephanie. I don’t remember but was her voice a little this shrieky? I know she has the potential to make such voices but trying to imagine this was the one behind K-ON!’s Mio and High School DxD’s Rias didn’t quite do the trick. Also, it was Miyuki Sawashiro behind Izuna? I didn’t know she could sound so loli. Probably I wasn’t thinking about Rozen Maiden’s Shinku. Same case with Jun Fukuyama. Code Geass’ Lelouch is the voice of the former king? Is my voice recognition for popular (in my books) seiyuus starting to fail me? Yuka Iguchi wasn’t that bad although I didn’t initially recognize her as Kurami since she had that deadpan emotionless voice like Girl Und Panzer’s Mako and Mayo Chiki’s Subaru till she put up her trademark bratty voice subsequently.

Thankfully all is not lost because Yukari Tamura’s trademark shrieky voice as Jibril is recognizable from the start and she does indeed breathe interesting life to her character. More importantly and the big saviour of them all… Mamiko Noto as Fiel! Thank goodness I didn’t lose touch with this one. That is all that matters :). For the rest of the casts that I am not familiar with :’(, they are Ai Kayano as Shiro (Inori in Guilty Crown), Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Sora (Kirito in Sword Art Online, Sorata in Kanojo No Pet Na Kanojo), Naomi Shindou as Miko (Shizuru in Mai-HiME) and Mugihito as Ino (Keel in Neon Genesis Evangelion). The opening theme This Game by Konomi Suzuki and the ending theme is Oracion by Ai Kayano. They’re both upbeat and lively. However they aren’t to my taste and personally just feels okay.

Overall, I recommend this anime for everyone to watch. Whether or not you are smart or dumb, there is some entertainment and enlightening value in watching this series. I am sure that your views on games would differ or at least the way you think in playing games. Unfortunately for me I still can’t find true pleasure in playing games without using a cheat code. Maybe that is why I never got better. Maybe that is why I keep making the same mistakes all over and over again till I finally learn and improve after the umpteenth time. Maybe that is why I wasn’t summoned to Disboard. There is one thing similar about how games dictating Disboard and how the way our real world works: Winners write history! Only difference is that everyone in the end has fun. Unless you’re the sore loser type. Well, nobody likes to lose… Like they say, winning is not the only thing. It is everything! No seriously, no kidding!

Seikoku No Dragonar

December 19, 2014

Dragons. Majestic mythical creatures that strike fear or inspire awe in all of us. Well, we’re just in luck. Recently there is an anime with dragons at its themes. Yes, it is Seikoku No Dragonar. And sadly yes too, I know what you are going to say. Uh huh. Unfortunately the grandiose dragons have been greatly overshadowed and overrun with shameless fanservice, harem factor and lots of seemingly tentacle rape. So much about the dragons. So much more about the fanservice and harem. Isn’t that why we pick and watch this anime in the first place? Okay, maybe that is how I pick and watch this anime… Dragons + fanservice… Good or unusual combo? It gets even odder when our protagonist get his own dragon not in the creature form, but a form of a loli! Oh God… I think I know what is going to happen…

Episode 1
Ash Blake just sacrificed himself so some loli’s wish could come true. Yeah, his left arm is gone. But this dragon lady decides to revive him and bet on his potential. Otherwise that be no series ;p. The next thing we see, a voluptuous dragon babe, Navi is seducing him as part of some trusting ritual before she reborn into him. Yeah, I’d like some of that treatment too. A new term has begun at Ansullivan Dragonar Academy. Ash has this reputation of being a problem child and anybody who badmouths about his Pal (the partner dragon born from within that person) since Ash hasn’t got one to begin with, he gets all hot-headed. Learn some restraint, buddy. If not for his friend, Raymond Kirkland he might have gone berserk and beat the crap out of everyone. So in class, we are given the gist of things and terms like Pal, Breeders and Orphan’s Rite and some ceasefire between the nations, but I don’t really care for all that because it’s too freaking hard to absorb so early. Then there is the arrogant and snobbish princess, Silvia Lautreamont whom is earning the top spot as the number one b*tch in the academy thanks to her no nonsense and cold personality. On the opposite polar is Rebecca Randall, the student council president who is beloved by all. Popular, pretty, busty. Wish you girlfriend was as hot as this? During dragon practice, I don’t know about some dragons that can’t fly or use magic, they butt each other’s head like some Pachycephalosaurs. Is this mating season? Ash who is riding Raymond’s dragon, Brigid accidentally crashes into Silvia’s Lancelot. I don’t know about this warning that you can’t touch any other dragons except yours. The dragons are cool but not Silvia. She had to be a b*tch by slapping Ash and then scold him about fooling around. The last straw came when she says his Pal is dead. Yeah. The taboo word. Want to get a piece of her? She throws down a challenge that she will apologize and take back what she says if he beats her during the Aries Dragonar Festival. That night, Navi visits Ash in his dream once more. Seducing like mad. Face boobs! If this is what it takes to gain each other’s trust, then I don’t want to start trusting! She says this is the last time this will happen since she will reborn soon. Guess what? She wants to ‘measure the size of the most sensitive body part of his with her mouth’! OMFG!!! She said that?! I want Ash to switch place with me right now!!! Freaking lucky bastard!!!! And f*ck!!!! Why does he have to wake up from this dream?!

The day of the festival is here. Rebecca gives her speech and even gives the participants additional motivation to win: The winner will date her! See how motivated the guys and girls are?! She must be a bi. Then the mood is ruined when it’s Silvia’s turn to talk. Nobody wants to hear this arrogant b*tch speak even if speaks 20 words. Ash could hear others badmouth her behind her back. Something about her brother, Julius who was the greatest dragon slayer but was executed for doing something taboo. What’s this? Ash starting to pity her because he feels she had it rough too? And so the race begins. I thought some dragons that can’t fly like Brigid, make it as though they’re running a Pachycephalosaurs race. Some girls team up to block Silvia’s path. It’s okay since it’s not against the rules. Ash pities her and uses his problem child status to bump into them and give Silvia a clear route. Because Brigid doesn’t have much stamina, I guess Ash has to take a rest. Out of the race? Well, he doesn’t feel bad about losing and thinks it’s because he had fun. Oh sure. I thought you wanted some b*tch to take back what she said? Curiosity got the better of him when he sees a crashed Zepharos ship nearby (already dilapidated from the last war). He meets Milgauss who comes from the Zepharos Empire. His curse allows him to see Ash having an immature dragon. His assassin, Anya tries to kill Ash because it’s his unlucky day for meeting them. He thought the nations are in ceasefire. Too naive, boy. The war is still being fought in the background. Can he outrun an assassin? No. However she hesitates to kill him. Because of that, she falls off a cliff. And Ash had to be the hero and switch places with her. Humans don’t fly, right? Of course killing off the hero wouldn’t do justice to the show so suddenly his hand glows and the next thing he knows, he floats down gently with a loli in his arm. She looks like Navi but doesn’t think is her. Where the hell are those voluptuous boobs?! So it can’t be her, right? Yeah. It’s Louise from Zero No Tsukaima! Just kidding.

Episode 2
When Louise (temporary name) wakes up, she punches him for looking at a sleeping lady. Not because she was full blown naked. Ash is excited to get along with his Pal but Louise tells him to hold his horses and sets things straight. She is his master! Holy sh*t! This sounds like some kinky S&M play? And we start off with Louise sleeping on his bed and he has to sleep on the floor. But she had the guts although sleepwalking to climb all over him and start nibbling. He must be liking it till he realizes she’s trying to eat him! She’s going down south!!! Next morning, he is surprised Rebecca pays him a visit. Naked loli and love bites all over him. Hmm… Rebecca isn’t jumping to conclusions and till Dr Cornwell, the person with the foremost authority on dragon research decides what to do with her, she can stay here. Rebecca has also arranged for Ash to claim for Pal raising expenses. Sweet. Ash brings Louise out to town and he might regret it since she’s really acting like his master. After she eats a crepe, she starts to feel hot and horny. Yeah, she doesn’t mind doing it in public. Too bad the free show is over when Silvia and her maid, Cosette Shelly had to break them up. Damn you Silvia! Why do you think the public was just quietly watching?! Silvia reprimands Ash for being a slacker because the crepe contains anthar which is like alcohol to immature dragons. Anyway she was looking for him to apologize for what she said about his Pal being dead. So he didn’t have to win the race for that? What’s this? Silvia acting like a tsundere? Not if jealous Louise would help. Their ‘date’ resumes as Louise drags him around town. Just tiring. They realize Louise hasn’t got a name and he decides to call her Eco. What? Earth to Echo… This was the name the first dragon Breeder, Rosa Maria named her Pal. Personally I thought Louise would fit her better. Eco likes it and his arm starts to glow. This is proof that her Astral Flow has joined with his. The beginning of a trusting friendship? Don’t count on it so soon.

Because Eco is taking too long in the toilet, Ash who is in a dilemma of going in to check things out is caught by Silvia who mistakes him for trying to be a pervert. Seems Eco’s hat is found along with fafnirite dust. In short, Eco has been abducted. Before he can run off randomly to look. Silvia becomes his teacher to this slacker again to tell him how to use his Astral Flow as they are both linked. The green butterflies (Rukh?) that he can only see lead him to some mansion. Eco is tied down to a lab table and busty scientist lady wants to dissect her because she finds it interesting and very rare for a dragon to assume human form. Why do biologists love cutting up things? Eco’s scream hasten Ash’s pace. This scientist is Dr Angela Cornwell. The academy did leave it to her discretion of what to do with Eco, right? Even so, she did a major crime of abducting. That’s why she is doing it outside the academy. She is not giving up that easily and puts the trio to sleep. Because Eco won’t have Ash falling asleep and is adamant of him rescuing her (because servants must rescue the master, right?), she transfers some Astral Flow for him to get up. Angela is subdued and Ash takes back Eco. I hope he won’t grow up to be one of those guys who will start thinking about never truly understanding a woman because despite Eco come rushing to hug him in tears, she beats him up for touching her without permission. Some gratitude… And Ash thinks this episode is over. Till Angela becomes his new homeroom teacher. Guess what? All the guys love this busty babe! Too bad for you Ash and Silvia…

Episode 3
What’s this?! Rebecca is flirting and being very suggestive to Ash?! SHE WANTS HIM?! Ash you lucky bastard!!! She wants him to join the student council. Oh… She knows about him running into the sketchy pair in the woods. They are spies from the Imperial. Although the war ended 52 years ago, Zepharos still mistakes the academy as a military school. That’s why she needs his help. The duo see Silvia doing a reckless move by trying to calm down a rampaging dragon by riding it. Hanging out with Eco at the park, she notices a statue so Ash explains it is the statue of Durham Lautreamont, the first generation paladin. Anya is shocked to see Ash alive. She doesn’t know how to report this to Milgauss. Ash and Eco coincidentally meet Rebecca and Silvia and are treated to a fine restaurant. Silvia won the race and earned the right to date her but she’s wasting it because she is being quiet and all when Rebecca would really like to know her. Why do such things always end up in the wrong person? Anya only reports back to Milgauss that the town is peaceful. However Milgauss summons his badass sword to turn the skies into storm and summon Necromancia, an artificially resurrected dead dragon. Yeah. It’s wrecking havoc across town. Eco thought she could be a smarty pants and tell it to stop but she got tentacle raped instead. Thanks for the initiative, Eco. If not for Rebecca’s awesome barrier, I think half the town could have been blown to bits.

Silvia is paralyzed in fear so much so Ash had to return the favour by slapping her to wake her up. He wants her to summon Lancelot. As he has the natural ability to ride any dragons, he wants her to take him up to Necromancia and rescue Eco. While they’re at it, Eco got swallowed. Then she finds herself in some super corridor multimedia highway workshop and before Navi. She tells Eco that Ash cannot defeat Necromancia as he is and needs an Arch (some custom armour). That is what this place is. Navi has all his measurements (from that steamy affair of course) and wants Eco to pick and put the best fitting parts for his custom made Arch. Eco sees Ash not giving up in his bid to save her, so she does the necessary and before Ash falls to his death (again), Eco covers him with his own Arch. Yeah. Just what we need. A super hero sentai. I’m sure it enhances a lot of abilities. He rides and controls Necromancia to fly away. He can even see its memories and understand its desire to die. So he summons his divine sword and puts Necromancia to rest. And now he gets to free fall and rescue naked Eco. Milgauss notes the experiment has failed but has not lose hope yet as they have that boy and girl. During a party to congratulate Ash’s new Pal, Rebecca invites Ash and Silvia to join the student council. They agree and so Rebecca pecks them on their cheek as part of the joining ritual to send them into heavenly bliss. It is hinted the kiss wasn’t really part of the ritual. Anyway jealous Eco beats up Ash for flirting with other women. Then they drink to a toast. The fun is just getting started…

Episode 4
Remember that girl Ash once saved? Want to bet she is Silvia? It is. Because she was so determined to complete her Orphan’s Rite but her legs were injured, Ash decided to help carry her and look for her own Pal. Guess what? She wonders where that boy is now. It’s closer than you think… As for Ash, he still has Silvia’s dragon plushie but doesn’t remember much about it. As expected… Rebecca introduces the 3 new members to the student council. Silvia as public morals officer and Ash in general affairs. With those 2 with notorious reputation as part of the student council, is the academy doomed? Don’t worry, here comes the third member, Eco! She is the school’s mascot! Because of her opening “Roar!” speech, everyone starts laughing at her. Ash had to convince her that it means everyone wants to be her friend. Eco’s interpretation: They want to be her slave! There is a newly formed club called Silver Knights Fan Club (SKFC). After the Necromancia incident, rumours are abound that there is a noble knight in Arch appeared (which is of course Ash). Speaking of SKFC, the club’s president and noble, Jessica Valentine (oh God, not another b*tch), her vice president, Lynette Worth and the rest of the fan club members waltz in right in the middle of class just to seek more information of the identity of this Silver Knight. They are not ashamed to claim their intention to bear the Silver Knight’s children! Silvia and Ash couldn’t do much in telling her off but when Rebecca whispers something, she retreats in panic. Later as Rebecca reveals to Ash and co, Jessica isn’t a noble and her threat was to expose it if she continues making trouble. Jessica has this admiration for nobles and believed herself to be high-born although her family serves the Randalls for generations. Because a person wearing an Arch is considered a noble status, Jessica believes marrying one can lead her to become a noble. Her future guaranteed. Rebecca warns Ash must keep his identity a secret as Jessica is quite tenacious. She won’t let go wants she sets her sights on his ‘essence’. Oh screw it! We know she’s going to be part of his harem, right?

On to serious stuff, Rebecca announces Princess Veronica Lautreamont is going to visit the academy in the wake of the Necromancia attack. She is Silvia’s eldest sister. Why, hearing makes her scream and cower in fear! We can see how brutal she is as she dispatches a bunch of rebels with a swing of her badass sword! No mercy! No wonder they call her the Iron Blood Valkyrie. Meanwhile Anya is in disguise working part time as Milgauss gave her a task to find out more about Ash. Later Cosette explains further to Ash about Silvia’s fear. Because Veronica wasn’t selected as a Breeder, she rebelled against that rejection by strengthening her body and perfecting her sword skills. She imposed this strict personality on Silvia via numerous hellish drills. I guess for a kid it could be very traumatic. Yeah. She’s a symbol of terror. Ash tries to cheer Silvia up but it goes unappreciated. She scoffs him off she doesn’t need this pity and must have fallen so low to think he needs to do that. Yeah. We all know she’s just putting up a brave front. Well, screw you, tsundere. Because now we have some fanservice time with Cosette putting on some stress relieving lotion all over her naked body. She’s glad to hear her laugh like that again because it’s ticklish. We’re glad to see her reaction because it’s sexy. Then she had to remember about that promise to that boy to be a fine knight. The reason for her cold attitude? Everyone lines up to greet Veronica arriving in her grand entourage. Her personal magic ship, Sylvanus runs on a special fafnirite called Millennium, thousand year old dragon fossils turned into mana rich crystals. And here she is now. Why is her armour so revealing? Makes her look like a slut…

Episode 5
Veronica calls out to Silvia but she can tell she’s fake. It’s Cosette in disguise. Here comes the real one running into the scene. Veronica is not impressed with her shaky legs and everything and proceeds to punish her by ripping her clothes in half! WTF?! She continues to talk down on her and that she is better settling down instead of going into the battlefield. Ash won’t stand for this public humiliation but Veronica has her knight arrest him. Even Eco gets scared when Veronica gives this loli a death stare. So while he waits on Sylvanus, busty maid Primrose Shelly AKA Prim (Cosette’s sister) dresses him up as a butler and starts doing chores around. It’s a wonder how this clumsy maid can get things done. Then he has to get undressed and bath with the rest of the girls. What the heck is wrong with this? If you reject this, Ash, it means you’re gay! With Silvia now in the picture, Veronica tells her to get married since Julius was executed for dragon slaying and their future royal line is uncertain. Do it while her body is still young and healthy. Oh? What about you big sis? So she’s only interested in military stuff? But does it give her the right to boss her around? Because Silvia was close to Julius, Veronica thinks she has the perfect fiancé for her. He is one of her best knights and their best friend, Glen McGuire. Silvia mentions her dream to become Archdragonar with Lancelot but Veronica is not convinced based on her last showing. As usual, Ash won’t stand for Veronica to badmouth Silvia. He believes she hasn’t seen what she is capable of. Good timing. Tomorrow there is an honour match for her. Silvia can prove and show how much her ambition is worth. So in this dragon handball match, things are going fine until Silvia gets thrown off her dragon. Not good.

She wakes up in her bedroom. Ash is by her side. Glen comes in to check on her (as ordered by Veronica). He also mentions a message from Veronica that she will be touring the town tomorrow and does not need Silvia’s company. Instead, she wants her to go to St Valeria and pray for repentance. Veronica is upset about her lack of resolve and shallow dream. She must go alone and pray by herself. Silvia asks about the proposal and him being her wife. He is willing to be it as long as Veronica says so. And Ash didn’t like it either. It’s like he can’t do things without Veronica’s words. Well, her words are like the law. This means Glen will die if Veronica says so! So he is just like a puppet? No will of you own? Glen reminds him to remember his place because he might be feeling high after saving the town. Ash couldn’t understand this cold hearted guy so Silvia explains Glen changed into such despondent person after Julius was executed. Next day, Ash is called by Rebecca for a student council meeting. He didn’t expect Eco to start seducing him, revealing her panties (it’s Rebecca’s by the way) and start kissing him! That candy is laced with anthar and Rebecca gave it to her because she was just begging for it. On to serious stuffs, Rebecca, Ash and fellow student council secretary, Maximillian “Max” Russell will accompany Veronica on the tour. However intelligence indicates that an individual believed to be a terrorist may have infiltrated Ansullivan. Avdocha Kiltzkaya was once a mountain guerrilla terrorist who tried to assassinate Veronica 5 years ago. She has gone undercover since. Ash is looking pretty tense during the tour. Yeah. Everyone can be a suspect as a terrorist. While Silvia is praying at St Valeria, she is appalled to hear Jessica praying for impregnation! How could she speak those words in such a holy place?! Suddenly the place is taken over by terrorists led by Avdocha.

Episode 6
Back on Sylvanus, Avdocha contacts Veronica and shows she has the entire church as hostage. Furthermore, Jessica is the main dish, tied up in only her undies. Initially Silvia wanted to herself known to release the hostages but Jessica for once isn’t s sex-minded nympho and doesn’t want her to be so hasty in sacrificing herself. Jessica then offers to herself in exchange for the hostages’ safety so the terrorists ripped her clothes apart and hang her up. Anya seems to be part of the hostage too and she is employing a wait and see approach. There is also a bomb. Each time the bell rings and Veronica doesn’t give her head, she will kill a hostage. Because Sylvania refuses to give in to terrorists, she has a big cannon ready to blow the church with everyone in it!!! Before Ash can get up and say what-are-you-f*cking-thinking-you-b*tch, Rebecca has a plan. It involves sending Ash in as a negotiator to buy them some time where they will launch a surprise attack from underneath the church. Ash goes in and talks to Avdocha directly and the hostages panic when they hear him say Sylvanus is targeting the church. He hopes they will surrender as they won’t to die for nothing. Avdocha mentions that she is here to find her long lost sister and that Veronica has 3 sisters. How would it feel like to lose a precious one? Ash realizes she is not open to negotiations and can only hope Eco would finish making his custom Arch as requested earlier on. Anya happens to have a baby in her hand. Because the mother fainted so she’s temporarily taking care of it. Avdocha is going to make them their first sacrifice when Silvia stands up. Think she is tough? Well, Avdocha cuts her clothes in half! Not again! Actually, she is totally naked now! Ultimate humiliation. Avdocha continues to mock her and since she has become embarrassed as a woman, there isn’t any point in killing her anymore. Then we are spammed all those high and mighty scenes of Silvia. Uh huh. Where did that cold b*tch attitude go? But this is a blessing in disguise as this opens Silvia’s eyes. She no longer cows from humiliation from her nudity and stands up. Bare it all, sister! She proclaims she will become the most royal knight, a paladin. And she’s saying it with confidence. And naked.

This gives enough time for Rebecca and Glen to launch an underground attack. Avdocha unleashes her dragon to eat Ash but thankfully Eco finished his Arch in time. He pushes back the dragon and materializes some ice bazooka to freeze the terrorists, dragon, bomb and ultimately Avdocha herself. I guess this is worth the triple reward he has to give Eco. But Ash’s woes are only the beginning. For Jessica has already know he is the Silver Knight and quickly wants him to plant his seed in her body! In this holy place?! Wow. She didn’t waste any time getting down and dirty with him. Rebecca knocks her out so Ash could go get Silvia. As he carries her out, Silvia could sense a nostalgia being carried this way. Why don’t you get it already? Think Ash’s problem is over? Jessica sneaks into his room late into the night to continue where they left off. Since they’re being so noisy, Eco couldn’t sleep and throws Jessica out of the room. Ash hit the wall… That’s enough for tonight. Next day, Rebecca mentions that Jessica has joined the student council. Oh God! This is also part of her plan because with Jessica quitting SKFC, this would stop the leaks of Ash’s identity. Even more surprising for Ash is that Avdocha is a friendly. Everything was setup by Veronica to correct her unworthy sister. Avdocha admits she was an assassin who failed to assassinate Veronica 5 years ago. After she surrendered, she works under her now to find her long lost sister, Shamara. Although there is no progress so far, Veronica obtained the best ‘treasure’ ever. The line Silvia said with confidence about wanting to be a paladin. Playing the record over and over again? She’s snickering like hell! Embarrassing! Confused about their sisterly love? Well, as Cosette explains their sisterly love is proven as the name of Sylvanus resembles closely to a certain princess.

Episode 7
Eco’s worst nightmare: Getting tentacle raped! And Ash is nowhere around to save her! But this is not bad as when she wakes up. Because she wet her bed! Meanwhile Anya has infiltrated Ansullivan by working at the cafeteria. Coincidentally all 3 workers quit to get married leaving the single cafeteria owner frustrated (in both senses). Some priest makes an announcement of the names who will be attending elite training camp. When the name of Lucca Saarinen is mentioned, the students start whispering bad things about her. She is the student council secretary (another one?) and has been absent from class for 3 months. Rebecca also announces that she has made a new category for students who weren’t selected to also attend this training camp. Yeah. Conveniently Ash is selected via this manner. Sure, Rebecca views his heroic deeds as something talented. But where would the harem fun be if all the student council ladies attend but their main guy doesn’t? When fire is spotted coming out from a building, they rush there only to see a loli lying in a coffin! Is she dead?! Well, no. She gets up and the smoke is actually just too much incense. As explained by Rebecca, she is Lucca and an Ecbladian fairy whose race is famed for herbal medicine and potions. She holds the record for being the youngest Dragonar in history. When asked about her Pal, Gawain, it seems it is not looking good. Gawain still won’t let Lucca ride him and the last ride was 3 months ago. If this continues, Gawain’s life will be in danger as dragons draw life force from humans via Astral Flow. But first he has got to handle Eco. She still feels uncomfortable and tells him about the nightmare she had. He sleeps with her as this was how he done it when he was young and feeling scared. However Eco got the wrong idea and thinks he is going to do something naughty and beats him up. I take she is back to normal? Yeah. She is. Lucca approaches Gawain but he snarls at her, causing this fairy to run away. Since Ash sees this, he talks to Rebecca on what to do. He just can’t sit back and do nothing, right? Rebecca suggests riding Gawain. It is dangerous but Ash has this special talent of riding any dragons and might sense Gawain’s feelings. Ash goes to get Lucca so she could try communicating with Gawain again. But first we are treated with some fanservice scene whereby sleepwalking Lucca starts nibbling all over Eco. When Lucca goes to see Eco once more, again her dragon starts to snarl back. Run away again? Rebecca won’t let her. Ash dons his Silver Knight Arch and heads in. However Gawain attacks!

Episode 8
If not for his Arch, Ash could have died. He just passes out. Ash won’t give up and needs to find out why Gawain rejects Lucca. He wants to visit Lucca but Rebecca tells him to bring Eco along. But instead of making any headway, Eco starts asserting her master authority over Ash. This makes Lucca decide to go to the training camp. Anya is surprised Milgauss is in her home. She reports her status and will also be attending the training camp as part of the kitchen staff. Milgauss knows where it is. Willingham Mausoleum on the shores of Lake Allones has ashes of dragons who died young and are buried there. They are also materials for experiments. He notes Eco as a descendant of Avalon. Everyone begins their camp having a splash in the water first. It’s more fun that way. While Rebecca and Silvia are in skimpy bikini outfits that every man would die happy, Jessica abducts Ash to get their honeymoon started. Nothing horny starts because Eco will bring him back. That night when Ash can’t sleep (his body must be aching all over from today’s ‘misadventure’), he sees Lucca heading out and follows her. In the woods, she is trying to speak to Gawain again but looks like it’s the same result. Ash’s cue to step in. He is pissed of his attitude and since he is going to play hard to get, he is going to force those feelings out. Ash baits Gawain to attack him so he can ride him. When he did just that, a defensive magic blows him off. He can’t maintain his consciousness for long. Anya who has been watching them tells Lucca to get help. She on the other hand is going to repay her debt by saving him. Now they’re even.

Ash wakes up in the workshop with Navi by his side. She is here to tell him how Gawain feels. This little cute creature is Gawain?! Something about his emotions being immature. Gawain apologizes for attacking him because he believes his back is only reserved for Lucca. 3 months ago, Lucca fell off Gawain while attempting a Dragon Dance ritual. Ever since, Lucca has an unconscious fear of riding her dragon. Because it would be deadly for her to ride in that state, Gawain has been rejecting her even if it is going to cost him his life. However Gawain has only 5 days left to live. So think fast, boy. Navi kisses Ash for good luck. Perhaps for motivation too? I hope there is no sexual innuendo when she says she hopes he can ride her soon. When he wakes up, he is in a room. His wounds being healed by fafnirite. And Lucca sleeping naked next to him! Trying to warm him up with body temperature? Ash tells her his important findings. Meanwhile Angela is in the mausoleum and sees an Old Covenant she thought was banned for ages. She browses through to read about the 2 great bloodlines that broke off from the wise dragon king, Imbolc. The scared empire of Avalon and dark kingdom of Nehalennia has been fighting nonstop. Milgauss and Anya enter the scene. Angela recognizes his voice. He is Julius! Unfortunately Anya knocks her out and Milgauss orders her to be killed. He changes his mind when some migraine interrupts his decision. So Angela gets to live another day but Milgauss is going to unleash another Necromancia. Just when worried Eco is hugging all over Ash, here comes Lucca with another problem on Gawain. He’s missing.

Episode 9
Rebecca explains the old story of Willingham Mausoleum about a young girl and her dragon, Nuada. Because she was always ill, Nuada sever all Astral Flow links and vanished. The girl got better but Nuada died alone in the mausoleum. Gawain might be trying to pull this off. Ash suggests that they split into groups. One to look for Gawain and the other to continue the party so that the students won’t feel suspicious. Upon reaching the mausoleum, we’re already treated with Silvia fanservice because the Necromancia are giving her tentacle rape! Thankfully Lancelot breaks that stranglehold. Too bad back at the party, and army of Necromancia dragons attack and all the females got tentacle raped. Freaking pervert dead dragons. WTF. Ash pleads to Eco to make him another Arch. Something lighter this time so that it won’t aggravate his injuries. Before them is Milgauss and when he calls Silvia by her nickname, she starts to remember Julius. Oh, the memories… By the way, he has resurrected Nuada for them to deal with. Eco is in the workshop with Navi trying to make another Arch for Ash. However it’s red alert because Eco’s body now is being snatched and tentacle raped! Clearly those tentacles only want females because they hit Ash away and make him look in despair. Ash can’t take it and screams out Eco’s name. Okay, so what if it brings her back right in the midst of the raping? She gives him the Arch as he cuts her loose and petrify all the Necromancia dragons. Then he faces off with Milgauss. This Arch is the defensive type so he cannot fight too much and has to rely on his magic. He manages to trick Milgauss and petrify his left hand (which is of course fake). With Silvia taming Nuada, Milgauss makes a tactical retreat and jumps down from the cliff. I bet he disappeared. Ash and co feel helpless seeing the battle is still raging on back at the camp. I don’t know what Lucca is thinking but she takes Ash and free falls down the cliff! I know she’s grateful to him and feels comfortable whenever he is around but why the heck this skydiving?! Lucca doesn’t feel afraid anymore and uses her Astral Flow to reconnect with Gawain. Rebecca is at her limit (at least she didn’t get tentacle raped) when reinforcement arrives in the form of Lucca-Ash-Gawain. Lucca performs a Dragon Dance movement to purify all the Necromancia dragons. Milgauss reports back to Klaus Viderhausen that thanks to this, they know their military might and have the technique for calling Necromancia back. Klaus is going to bring down those kingdoms. While the student council is celebrating back at Ansullivan, there is a postal message sent by Silvia’s father. He wants her to attend Elysion, the continental congress and would like to meet Ash and Eco.

Episode 10
Elysion is the most critical conference that determines the future. Held every 5 years and attended by every nation on the continent, this year the Lautreamont Knight Country is chosen as host. In the capital city of Fontaine, the head maid Frieda greets them and has Silvia go greet her father the king, Oswald. In the mean time she brings Ash and Eco to Prim who is in the midst of messing things up clad in only her lingerie. Don’t even ask. She even continues to bring the mess to them so I guess this calls for a change of clothes. And she can even mess up further by accidentally revealing Frieda going commando since all their underwear are being hung out to dry. If it’s any consolation, Prim is also going commando… When Silvia goes to see to Oswald, this idiot king tries to pounce on her but gets beaten up and from the looks of it he loves it! Because it reminds him about his late wife. Masochist… Silvia talks to him about this invitation. Actually Veronica is the one who recommended that she attend. As for Ash and Eco, he just wanted some company. No, seriously. Silvia asks about Julius. Was he really executed? Oswald confirms he was because even though he is a prince, killing your own dragon is taboo and a crime. Silvia can tell he is lying. Prim takes Ash and Eco to town. Eco is so excited about this and that and she’s wearing out Prim. Maybe she doesn’t have that much stamina to begin with. Then there is this moment. Ash and Eco notice everyone around them so close and lovey-dovey. Eco had to ask what it is. Lovers. Like monkey see and monkey do, they try holding hands but could they copy the kiss? Too bad, time to head back to the palace since the airship of Zepharos pops up. Ash couldn’t take his eyes of Silvia in that beautiful dress. It causes Eco so much jealousy because he never said anything about hers… Ash and Eco finally meet Oswald. Eco should learn some manners in her speech talking to the king! Anyway this dude is cool and sporting. He thanks them for handling the Necromancia and mausoleum incident. He also makes Ash a Dragonar. A normal guy like him gets to be a Dragonar? Because he already possess a unique Pal and thus they can’t measure his abilities based on normal standards.

Oswald knights Ash and he accepts his new position. Silvia starts thinking that it won’t be long before Ash becomes Archdragonar and this would put him along the same lines as a noble. This means he can marry into royalty. This means she can… Since when did she start thinking like this? They discuss about the Zepharos’ emperor who won’t come due to this old age and they sent some military noble in his stead. Oswald is more concerned about the talks and doesn’t want to cause another war. That is why tomorrow’s masquerade ball is important. Everyone wears a mask and speak freely with no thought given to their country or delegation. He invites Ash and Eco to attend. As long as there is meat for Eco, she’ll go. Before that, Oswald warns Ash not to lay a single finger on his daughter or else… Anya thought she is pretty happy to see Milgauss till she is surprised to see his fake arm. Klaus explains and hints about Milgauss wandering into his country having lost his name, rank, reputation and left arm after committing a taboo in his homeland. Klaus then shows some magic machinery called Yggdrasil. It is ready for testing tomorrow and all they need is a test subject. Yggdrasil will force the young dragon in Eco to awaken and Anya’s mission is to capture Eco. Soon the dragon power will be theirs and the throne will no longer be just a dream. Silvia makes her way to her kingdom’s dragon mausoleum after thinking the first Necromancia had that similar feel to Julius’ Pal, Mordred. I wonder why she took this long to notice. But Veronica, Avdocha and Glen are also there. They have the same idea and have done some investigations. It seems ashes of dragons from all the dragon mausoleums are missing. Mordred’s is no exception. Silvia speculates that Milgauss may be Julius and this causes Glen to be agitated. It couldn’t be him, right? It’s not possible, right? And when she mentions about Mordred being the Necromancia that attacked Ansullivan, Veronica doesn’t want her to tell anyone else about this.

Episode 11
Prim helps Eco pick out a dress for the ball. It feels like she’s being cosplayed… Seems Eco is jealous that Ash is getting too close to that cow tits woman and is going to beat her by looking better. But Prim had to rant away about this. Eco is a dragon. Ash is human. He’ll fall in love with a human girl. He’ll get married. He’ll start a family. He’ll have babies. Great job, Prim. Eco is now traumatized from your facts of life. Where are you running to?! Ash gets a surprise visit from Silvia. Why is she here? She is confused. She tells him about Milgauss who might be Julius and all the incidents may just hint it is him. Ash tells her about his dad. He walked out on his mom when his sister was born. They were forbidden to talk about him but since he pestered, mom agreed to tell him once he is older. The point is, no use worrying about such stuffs and it is best to directly ask that person. Then the lightning is cue for Silvia to get frightened and cling all over Ash. They end up in an ambiguous and inviting position. Can’t hear what Silvia said. What the heck. It’s the mood to kiss. Who the f*cking hell is knocking at the door?! Thanks Cosette for ruining it. As it is time for the ball, Ash mentions about Eco missing so Cosette and the maids will help find her as they know this place like the back of their hands. Be rest assured and attend the ball. Eco continues running to some ruins. She sees Anya and her men sneaking in. Because Prim is noisily looking for her, to save her, Eco attacks the terrorists but as she is before Anya, she got shot.

Ash and Silvia are at the ball and aren’t too pleased that Klaus and Milgauss are here. Milgauss always wears a mask so it’s no different. Silvia doesn’t want Ash to get worked up. Although he may be from the empire, she is confident he won’t dare start anything. She thanks him for listening to her and it made her feel better. When Klaus offers to dance with her, she wants to dance with Milgauss. She tries to ask him questions but his mouth is tightly shut. At the end of the dance, Cosette seeks them. She has found Prim lying in the ruins. Prim is very sorry for her life rant to Eco. She never realized it would hurt her. Too late for that. Silvia scolds her that although Eco is a dragon on the outside, she still has a human heart. They believe Eco has been abducted because if they wanted her dead, they could have killed her. Now, where will they safely hide her during this conference? In Klaus’ airship of course. Eco is inside Yggdrasil as the experiment begins. Some explanation how the Millennium infused in it will forcefully wake her up. Since nothing happens (although Eco is in so much pain), the output is set to maximum. Why do they always like to do this? Just like in that dream, Eco gets tentacle raped. She felt stupid for not realizing her feelings for Ash. Isn’t that what being a tsundere is about? She couldn’t feel her link with Ash anymore when suddenly Yggdrasil goes out of control. Yeah. Pandora’s Box just opened. Nothing can stop it now. Silvia and Ash are on their way when they see the explosion from the airship and Ash’s left arm starts to burn like hell. Then there is this giant golden egg before them and Eco is in it.

Episode 12
The egg turns into a hideous dragon. Other dragons fear it and won’t get close. Klaus tries to blame Oswald for this disaster but apparently everyone has to evacuate the ball if they want to keep their lives intact. Only Milgauss remains. Veronica and Glen order him to take off his mask. So it is Julius. Not. At least not on the inside. He is actually Mordred and dwells within Julius. Mordred is the king of the Nehalennia kingdom who fought Avalon for many centuries. When Julius realized of Mordred’s existence and plotted his demise, he took a spectral form and possessed Julius. Mordred adds the reason why humans and dragons need to share a bond. The Astral Flow connection will allow humans to be their livestock and they can prey on them. That is why Julius committed the taboo of dragon slaying. Glen knew Julius had not gone mad but I don’t think it would do him any good to rush into battle. He’s no match for Mordred who is now going to possess his new body. Veronica tries to stop him. Wait a minute. Stop that gas of darkness? How? She gets engulfed in the darkness and gets… Tentacle rape! Not even she is spared! I don’t know if this is just her state of mind because when she wakes up, old Julius is back. There are so many things they want to say but for now, stupid idiot summarizes it. There are more important things to take care of first. When Mordred possesses the dragon, it turns into an even hideous being. Mordred then visits Navi and wants all the wisdom she has for that will complete his true rebirth. However she admits she is not a fan of Nehalennia and supports Avalon. Heck, she even tells him Ash is a better guy than him. He is going to take it by force then. How? TENTACLE RAPE!!! Is this the only thing that can be done?! Veronica meets Ash and Silvia and tells them about Julius case. Silvia is so happy… Anyway Julius believes Ash is the only one who can save Eco and he needs to kick Mordred out of her mind. First he hijacks Sylvanus and kicks everyone except Ash out. Or else he will reveal Veronica’s deepest secret. An entire room filled with portraits of Silvia! OMFG! Not only that! Life size dolls, journals and poems dedicated to her little sister and even used bikinis framed up more preciously than some archaeology find! Suddenly my perception of Veronica has changed dramatically…

Sylvanus gets close enough to Mordred before it is sent crashing down in flames. Before that, Ash rides his mini hang glider onto Mordred. Eco is locked in a cage in her own mind. Navi visits her (those torn clothes indicate how furious the tentacle rape was) and imparts some of the details to let her know what is happening. More importantly, Eco sees Ash risking his life to save her. So why isn’t she pleased? Navi tells her to make a dedicated Arch for him. His strength is determined by the strength of her feelings and as long as she has those, her Arch will materialize. When Ash falls off Mordred, he is rescued by Lucca. Seems his Ansullivan pals heard everything and rushed to the scene. They’ll be helping him to bring him closer to Mordred. Honestly, I don’t see them doing that. Especially Jessica who is just screaming for Ash. Ash leaps down and before he gets blown to bits by Mordred’s blast, Eco gives him his Arch just in time. It is an original Arch compared to all the rip-offs she previously made. As it is still unfinished, the shape isn’t quite established yet. Ash is grateful for this and pulls out Excalibur to defeat Mordred. Big bad dragon warns Eco will die if he harms the body but apparently Ash knows every bad habit and inch of Eco. Is he saying he inspected her good? He cuts off a horn and sends Mordred disappearing. All that is left is Eco. Reunited and it feels so good. Injured Anya barely escaped from the explosion and is taken into custody. Avdocha sees her scarf and believes she is her long lost sister. Why am I not surprised? As Ash recuperates, he is told that Julius sensed Mordred’s essence fleeing so it’s not over by a long shot yet. The conference is cancelled and everyone left in panic. But from now on is the political domain so Ash doesn’t have to be hero and leave it to them to deal with this. Everyone returns and will wait for Ash till he is healed. No sexual advances from Jessica? Not this time. Lucca won’t let her. Ash has Eco for company. Part of her horn is damaged but it will heal in no time. Ash assures he will always be her knight but Eco don’t want that. She wants their relationship to be different. She wants something more. She doesn’t know how to say it. But they have a feeling they know what it is. So do we. What does the kiss tell us?

How To Train Your Loli Dragon
Are you disappointed? I don’t know myself. Come to think about it, this series actually had a decent plot and direction. However the ecchi elements somewhat overshadow everything and perhaps spoil it. But then again, if you think again if this anime is void without that important ingredient, would it have been interesting to retain our interest? For things to end like that always indicate that there is a possibility there might be a sequel. If it is popular, that is. If they get enough sales and funds to initiate the second season. Can you see that happening? Unless suddenly everyone turn into some ecchi lover and start rushing to buy the DVDs, I don’t think it will. Even so, if you really love ecchi stuffs, there are other animes out there doing better in this genre.

The characters especially the supporting ones feel undeveloped and not fleshed out properly. Can’t blame them since there are only a dozen episodes but most of them are introduced just for the sake of that and then not properly developed by the time this anime ends. Like Jessica, we know she will turn out to be some joker and sex maniac of the group but after she joined the student council, she didn’t really matter. Because the final arc dedicates the story to Ash saving Eco, it is a reason why the other characters seem less important. Just like Lucca, after she and Gawain got back on friendly terms, this arc literally threw her back into the shadows. Rebecca is also an interesting character as she is intelligent and strong willed but she doesn’t get as much attention compared to Eco or Silvia. Guys like Raymond and Max, I don’t even know why they are here besides to tell us that they are Ash’s close buddies but it’s not like they can change anything. Besides, the only reason why everyone showed up in the final scene to help Ash was so we don’t forget about them.

Too bad we already have forgotten about one: Angela! Where the heck is she? Ever since that mausoleum incident, she has been seriously missing in action. And I thought she would at least play some sort of role after that initial mad scientist debut or homeroom teacher thingy. Eventually it never mattered. Including the tanned side characters of Avdocha and Anya, it feels like they are a side distraction. Even with Anya as the spy, her presence felt fleeting. She’s just around here and there to watch Ash from the shadows and nothing more. So with Milgauss gone, what will happen to Anya? Will she join under Veronica as her spy? Everybody’s beloved and handsome Julius can’t be the real villain, right? Despite he is playing the antagonist but that is because is possessed by an evil half. And that revelation feels forced. Like as though they were running out of time so Mordred had to tell us everything so as not for us to paint Julius the bad guy. So we’re glad that he is back because we don’t care if the nation will be reeling from shock to see their dead prince in the flesh again. And I can’t believe that after a few encounters with Milgauss, Silvia couldn’t really guess it was her brother until she really put some thought into it. I thought she was quite fond of him that she would at least recognize his voice (because he sounded the same when he was the Julius they knew). Even more so, Veronica knew Milgauss and Anya are Imperial spies but had she not suspected Milgauss to be a little too familiar? Unless they’re pretty convinced that he was dead and there was no shred of chance he would be alive and thus closed their minds to that possibility he could still be breathing.

Then there’s Navi as some super dragon of wisdom seemingly perpetually stuck in this workshop. It makes that steamy seduction on Ash in the first episode like a distant memory. What was that all about? I don’t even remember whatever ritual she was to reborn into him. So is the workshop inside Ash? Because it won’t make sense as it seems Eco and Mordred could access it (like all dragons should). It’s like trespassing and violating his inside… Now that we know Veronica is a Silvia-obsessed big sister, now I understand why she did that public humiliation of ripping her clothes in half. Because she loves it! She wants to see her sister naked! Even mean generals have their odd fetishes. Could have been the perfect and greatest leader if not for this. But then again, it might run in the family since Oswald feels like an idiot king. And because of this, I seem to understand why Silvia is putting up that cold no nonsense b*tch outlook in the early episodes. Not to mention that everyone believes Julius was executed for committing the taboo so it won’t look good for the royal family if such rumours begin to spread. On an additional note, although they didn’t appear in the anime, there are 2 more princesses under the Lautreamont name as I found out from Wikipedia. One is currently missing and the other is the principal of Ansullivan and doesn’t respect the other sisters much. So you can see why the royal family ties are really in a precarious situation.

As usual, Ash is your typical male lead. Normal. Not really normal. Have some hidden ability that he will bring out at time of need. Nice guy. Got a potential harem. Oh yeah. Somehow I feel this is being wasted here. More on that later. As typical as it gets, Ash and Eco’s relationship improves in time and it takes a big disaster or commotion to bring their bonds to greater heights. I’m sure that last kiss seals it. But don’t expect things between them to change drastically because I am guessing Eco will continue to be the dominating tsundere. Will we have it any other way? It’s going to be tough training this loli dragon… I don’t think Ash will tame her in the foreseeable future. Since Ash shares the same name like that eternally youthful protagonist of the Pokemon series, I can’t help take a jab by modifying that series’ motto into “Gotta ride ‘em all” since Ash has the unique ability to ride any dragons and sense their feelings. You can also use this for his harem if it ever turns into a hentai version…

Every time I look at Eco, I can’t help think about Louise. There are so many visible similarities and mainly the physical appearance. Pink hair, flat chest, a loli and a tsundere. Oh yeah. Sometimes I think the character was ripped off or something. Instead of Louise’s favourite cookberry pie, Eco loves crepes. Instead of summoning a familiar, she has a master whom she treats like a slave. And they both hold some dangerous latent power inside them. So do you not think that Eco is a dragon version of Louise? Oh yeah, there are dragons too in Zero No Tsukaima…

So the harem part seems a little disappointing too (partly because I thought I was going to obviously see one). Because we have got a bevy of potential beauties and though some of them share a little more screen time with him, from the way I look at it, it isn’t going to be a proper harem because it’s going to be Ash x Eco the way things are heading. I was guessing those 6 ladies in the ending credits to be part of his harem but it didn’t even come close. Especially with Anya who is always lurking and hardly coming into contact with Ash, it makes me wonder if she was really one in the first place. Also you have Silvia as a tsundere hinting to us that she is warming up to Ash although she still has that noble pride in her. Rebecca for now feels like a big sister, Lucca just a grateful Ecbladian fairy while Jessica is just sex crazy (which doesn’t necessarily means she truly loves him because all she wants is his seed, right?). I don’t want to rule out Veronica, Avdocha, Cosette and Prim but just thinking about the mediocrity of the harem is already complicating enough ;p. Uh huh. Taming a harem is always more difficult in taming a dragon, no? That’s why Ash’s real battle is here and not in dragon riding! Haha! Just too bad we don’t get to see it here.

The art and drawing seems fine and decent. The characters suitably look like those of harem and fanservice animes. I have mixed reception about the dragon designs here. Although those who can fly and have wings look majestic like any person would expect a dragon to look like, those that are of land and sea look lame. I mean, land dragons look like some dinosaur and the students riding it feel like they are riding some sort of mini T-Rex. And those water dragons like Jessica’s, I thought they could be related to Nessie… Another funny thing I want to note is that the continent of where the kingdoms are set, it looks like a dragon! It feels funny. I guess you don’t call this the land of the dragons for nothing. Oh, if I look at it from a different light, doesn’t the continent look like the kingdom of Great Britain too?

It is without any doubt that the biggest draw of the series is the fanservice factor. There are of course the censored and uncensored versions of it. Guess which version I saw? The panty shots are just teasing and like desserts (Eco’s black panties, Jessica’s pink lingerie anybody?). In addition to the bare tits scattered throughout the series (I guess that is why girls’ clothes get ripped – for this particular purpose), there are a few scenes especially of Eco and Lucca having some sort of ‘frontal nudity’. I think this is becoming a trend lately for latest ecchi animes. As long as you don’t show the nipples and private parts, then it is not deemed as porn. So when you see Eco baring it all, don’t squint your eyes too hard trying to check whether or not those nipples exist. It’s like she is wearing a skin colour suit.

Of course the ‘icing on the cake’ will be the tentacle rape scenes. Not to say they spam it every second but they show it often enough to have you think that this anime = tentacle rape show. So it’s like every girl in this anime gets done in by this method. Not even the Iron Blood Valkyrie was spared. Not even Navi was left out. Oh, I forgot. Only Rebecca didn’t get this treatment. Good or bad thing? I don’t know why dead dragons have tentacles but it seems they need it so they can do tentacle rape on the girls. I guess when you are dead, you can’t do away your perverted nature. Besides, they’re dragons for heaven’s sake! Lastly, you can’t have a complete ecchi fanservice series without girls with boobs so huge (Veronica, Silvia, Rebecca, Prim, Frieda…) that it defies gravity. Because like in Veronica’s case I thought the reason why she wears her scanty armour is because her boobs are so heavy that if she adds on a small piece of cloth to cover it, it will add more kilograms to it. Her armour makes her look more like a slut than a knight. If all that fanservice is not enough, the next episode preview conversation between the characters feels pervy and steamy (in a funny way) although it didn’t resort to sexual subtexts or innuendoes.

At first, I thought Ayane Sakura was the voice behind Eco. Because that shrieky bratty voice could only belong to that one and only person. Unfortunately she wasn’t. Instead, Ayane Sakura surprises me playing the role of Silvia and I definitely couldn’t recognize her as Silvia’s voice is predominantly lower. It wasn’t the Cocoa from Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka or Suzuka from Tokyo Ravens that I was familiar with. It is Mariya Ise who is the voice of Eco. Come to think of it, they sound quite close. In addition, now that I think about it, Eco does sound a bit like Levi from Fairy Tail whom Mariya Ise voices. Though, I think it wouldn’t be bad either if Rie Kugimiya voiced Eco. I remember my early impressions of Kana Hanazawa used to portray retard anime characters. Not to say Jessica is a retard but it certainly brings back the memories. Freezing’s Rana, Coppelion’s Aoi, The S&M version of Pururut from Hyperdimension Neptunia The Animation… The list goes on… Yu Kobayashi is recognizable as Avdocha. She’s putting on that goofy voice like Ayame from Gintama. Also familiar to me are the voices of Marina Inoue as Rebecca (Touka in Date A Live) and Takehito Koyasu as Milgauss/Julius (Takasugi in Gintama).

For the rest of the cast that aren’t so recognizable :(, they include Kouji Takahashi as Ash (Ieyasu in Akame Ga Kill), Asuka Oogame as Lucca (Rina in Photokano), Aya Endou as Veronica (Miyuki in Lucky Star), Asami Shimoda as Anya (Kotomi in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Eiji Miyashita as Klaus (Kenji Itou in Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon), Yoshiko Ikuta as Cosette (Yukina in Senkou No Night Raid), Ai Kakuma as Prim (Hikari in Campione), Kazumi Horie as Glen (Ryuu in Special A), Haruhi Terada as Angela (Emi in Tenjou Tenge) and Yui Sakakibara as Navi (Hamaji in H2O ~Footprints In The Sand~). Hearing the opening theme, Seiken Nante Iranai by Yui Sakakibara somewhat felt familiar. Then I realize she is the same person who sang the ending theme for Happiness as well as the opening theme for H2O ~Footprints In The Sand~. But personally I thought it is just odd the way she sings the song (as in singing the lyrics) a little too fast. The ending theme Most Ijou No Mostest sounds like a typical all-girl group having fun singing this song. Some parts of it feel like scatting. Yeah. “Dabadaba papii papu sukiyatoo shichatte touhikou~”. Everything kawaii about the girls in this anime are put here (colourful rainbow dresses?). Even the lyrics sound kawaii. So there is an Eco-Silvia-Rebecca version, a Lucca-Anya-Jessica version and a combination of all of them. Not that I can tell the difference anyway.

Overall, if you have high hopes for this anime to be something different, you are surely to be disappointed. It has lots of missed opportunities and it seemed like they took the easy way out of spamming us with fanservice. Not that it is a bad thing but after seeing so many ecchi themed animes seasons in and season out, it really starts to feel weary (oh sh*t! Did I really say that myself?!). So watch this purely if you like ecchi fanservice and nothing else. Because it doesn’t matter if there is no story line or the characters feel thin and under developed. As long as there are tits and panties, they’ll sure to satisfy for the time being till the next set of boobs and panty shots come in. Thanks to this anime, now I am starting to have suspicions about dragons. Because there is a chance that you might get tentacle raped by one. Even though I’m a guy… Oh yeah. Dragons. Truly fearsome…

Akuma No Riddle

December 14, 2014

“What is the secret to success in life?” (Your answer here) –> I guess mine would be hard work and perseverance?

Imagine going to school with a class filled only with assassins. No, I am not talking about a school that trains assassins and your classmates are skilled killers. You are the target of the assassins! Holy cow! That’s like putting a rabbit in den of lions, right? How will you survive? This interesting premise is the reason it got me to notice Akuma no Riddle. A school has this special class with only 13 students. One of them is the target that the rest have to assassinate in this game. The winner will get whatever they want. Yes, anything. A big motivation for our assassins whom of each have their own desires. But in a twist of fate, one of the assassins develops sympathy for the said target and decides to become her protector. Life is more interesting that way. Let the game begin!

Episode 1
A harsh military training for girls. Only Tokaku Azuma passes. Her employer, Kaiba tells her she will be transferring to a new school whereby everyone other than the target are assassins. She is going to win this game and kill the target the fastest because the person who controls Black Class will be rewarded with anything she wishes. Anything. Later Tokaku is given a riddle. What is the world fulfilled with? She answers wrongly. Curse isn’t it. He calls her life a failure and throws her a choice. Kill others and live or let them live but be killed. Or will she try to have both sides live? Tokaku arrives first at Black Class and sees Haru Ichinose reciting the list of all the 13 students that are enrolled here. She is sure to graduate this time. Ataru Mizorogi is their homeroom and biology teacher and he looks like the cheery kind of guy. Ah, youth. He takes attendance (those who turned up anyway) and we get to see some of their b*tchy or creepy personality. Haru tries to be positive and has made straps for everyone to commemorate their friendship. Tokaku reports back the information she has gathered. Nio Hashiri wonders if she wants to team up seeing everybody could guess Haru is the target. Nio wanted to throw her strap away but Tokaku picks it up and keeps it. Ironically she threw away hers. Well, Isuke Inukai also throws away hers to Tokaku. Later Haru and Tokaku hang out. Haru seems to be having fun while emotionless Tokaku just observes her. They are also roommates and Tokaku destroys all the hidden cameras plaguing the room. Tokaku notices a scar on her thigh and wants to see. Haru wouldn’t so Tokaku flips up her skirt! I see white panties! Meanwhile Isuke is roommates with Haruki Sagae. Isuke tries to be dominant but Haruki plays it cool and requests for nail polisher. Because Tokaku was selected to be the dorm leader, she has to go around checking the other students as Haru joins her. They meet the tomboyish Chitaru Namatame and the loli Hitsugi Kirigaya. The pair is always together. Next is Isuke and Haruki but the latter gets a little rough throwing her Pocky sticks at Tokaku in which she dodges. Then there is Shinya Banba whose day time personality is Mahiru. It just gets weirder and weirder, huh? Later that night as they can’t sleep, Tokaku asks her about that riddle. Her answer would be forgiveness. Tokaku doesn’t think that answer would be right and thinks she isn’t the one.

Episode 2
Tokaku is surprised when Kaiba replies the riddle’s answer is correct. Of course he knows this is somebody’s answer and couldn’t possibly come from her. Shiena Kenmochi, Otoya Takechi, Suzu Shutou and Kouko Kaminaga join the class. Kouko takes over as class rep. A big relief for Tokaku? Later Nio informs everyone present that there will be an orientation tonight. It means the target is confirmed. Tokaku is in a dilemma about doing this as she doesn’t care about the reward. Haru continues to be nice to her and since Tokaku is still that robot look, Haru feels the need to smile more or everyone will be angry with her. Isuke comes over to Haru’s room for tea. Tokaku couldn’t care less and leaves. I don’t know if Isuke is lying about her parents both being guys and that she doesn’t even share a single drop of blood with them (duh!) but it is a ploy to distract her since the tea contains some drug. Tokaku learns from Haruki that Isuke is trying to get a head start by killing Haru. Suddenly she cares and rushes back. Nio notes Haru killed everyone in her family and then hints to Haruki that she has a bunch of siblings. Haruki slaps her and warns never to talk about her family. I don’t know how Isuke is planning to kill Haru but she strips her clothes to see the scars all over her body. I don’t know why she didn’t kill faster because Tokaku is back and the fight begins. Tokaku is about to kill Isuke but she hesitates, allowing her counter attack. Isuke mocks her she has not killed before and leaves. Tokaku remembers being told if she ever felt like killing someone, recall this small shrine and she won’t because somebody there is watching her. She felt it was a curse.

Tokaku wakes up to find Haru by her side. How is she still awake after the drug? As explained, her body is resistant to drugs and was half awake the entire time. She wonders why Tokaku saved her as she knows everyone in Black Class is trying to kill her. Is this some sort of strategy? She will prove she will graduate from here. She narrates about her past that her existence was considered troublesome. Her entire family died just to keep her alive therefore her life doesn’t belong to just herself but everyone who protected it. Especially her mom who is always in her heart. This is her last trial and will do whatever it takes not to lose and survive. She was not born to die but to live. Nio initiates the secret meeting. She is the judge-cum-referee of Black Class. She goes over some of the rules. Haru is the target and the fastest one who kills her wins and will grant her whatever wish. People who aren’t part of Black Class must not be involved such as Mizorogi. Those who fail to assassinate or violate the rules will immediately drop out. Everyone is given some card vote in which they can’t cancel. To assassinate Haru, they must give her an advanced warning and failure to kill her within 48 hours after that is considered a failure. Teaming up with someone is also okay. Tokaku is last to arrive. Nio hands her the card but she shreds it. She will become Haru’s protector and won’t let anyone lay a hand on her. She finally answers Haru’s question why she saved her. Because she is siding with her.

Episode 3
Nio calls the big boss to confirm and she allows this exception. Takechi accidentally smashes Shiena’s glasses instead of the ringing alarm clock. Shiena had spares but they’re all missing. Looks like she’ll need to go get new ones. Takechi is going to make her first move. Finally the last student Sumireko Hanabusa attends Black Class but why bring her classy big desk? Rich girls… Haru sees the advanced warning and becomes uneasy although she acts like nothing when Tokaku asks. Nobody pays attention to Mizorogi’s class in the greenhouse. Takechi seems prefer chatting with Haru and they’re getting closer by the minute. Because coincidentally Takechi shares the same likes with her and their birthday is just a day apart. Or could this be just some psychological trick to get her guard down because you tend to feel closer with people who have a lot in common. Tokaku warns Haru of this but she believes all Takechi wants is to be her friend. Naïve? She remains positive that everyone becomes her friend, they all can graduate together and nobody has to die. Nio asks Takechi about the reward she wants. Serial killing insurance. Huh? She wants to kill without having to worry about the consequences. It is like having immunity when she kills and the police can’t do anything about it. Kill in peace? I guess Tokaku hasn’t got a clue. She thinks Haru hasn’t got an advanced warning and should be fine. Feeling something amiss, she goes to search Haru’s bag and then sees the notice. Oh sh*t.

So when Takechi talks to Haru alone in the park, she lies about Shiena being the killer and that she broke her glasses so she couldn’t see. That should keep her safe. She also wants to protect her. How does stuffing the bouquet of flowers into her face constitute to protecting her? It doesn’t. Then Tokaku fell for the oldest trick in the book when Takechi tells her where Haru’s whereabouts is but gets locked in the room. There’s the air vent to climb through. Meanwhile the other girls taking a bath discuss about Takechi. It seems everyone but Shutou doesn’t know about Takechi’s true identity. She is a serial killer who kills others to get her sexual pleasure. Shiena is starting to quiver because her roommate is a serial killer. Tokaku drops down from the air vent looking for Shiena but she mentions it was Takechi who sent the notice. There is plenty of time, the reason Takechi is taking her time to kill Haru. She is going to enjoy torturing her and cuts her scar lines. Let’s start with the thigh. Tokaku calls to interrupt so Takechi lets her hear Haru’s screams. Haru realizes they are in the greenhouse thanks to the bird’s chip in the background. But Haru is no pushover. She kicks Takechi away and frees herself. Tokaku and crazy Takechi battle it out. The former is going to win but Haru knocks her out. Tokaku bandages her thigh as Haru thanks her. When Takechi wakes up, Nio is by her side and announces she has lost since 48 hours have passed. Takechi pleads for another chance. She doesn’t care about the reward but just wants to kill the b*tch. No can’t do. Rules are rules. In that case, Takechi is going to kill her. However she saw something that scares the sh*t out of her. Next day, Mizorogi sadly announces Takechi’s sudden transfer out of this class on short notice.

Episode 4
Haru runs into trouble studying for the midterm exams. Kouko helps her out and Haru is happy to see her having the strap. Haru sees Chitaru and Hitsugi and wonders why they are always holding hands. So that Hitsugi won’t get lost. Chitaru adds she is not aiming for Haru and is here for a different reason. Nio tells Haru and Tokaku about the seven mysteries of this school. One of them includes a secret room in the library that contains a forbidden book that if you write your name on its card, your happiness is guaranteed. Interested? When they return to their room, Haru sees the advanced notice. Tokaku diffuses a bomb set in the fridge and a hidden one in a bottle. Looks like Kouko’s plan isn’t going too well. As she takes a shower, she remembers hailing from an orphanage that is actually an international assassin training organization. Because Kouko was clumsy, the rest don’t think she is fit for this job. Even her instructor, Irena doesn’t think so. One day while she is in a mission fixing a bomb underneath her car, Irena talks to her about death not being the end of life but the completion of life. Minutes later, the bomb went off earlier then it should and Irena was killed. Kouko was reprimanded for her failure for it almost exposed their organization. She pleaded for another chance but there won’t be another next time. Maybe she is not cut out to be an assassin after all. That is why this time she must not fail. As Haru still wants to look for the forbidden book, they sneak into the library to find the hidden room. Thanks to Tokaku having smelling a different scent, they find the secret room and search for the book. Haru sees that strap and in her curiosity tries to pull it. Tokaku was fast enough to shield her from the bomb. She sees Kouko trying to shoot them but missed. Tokaku goes after her and Kouko is clumsy dropping her guns or loading her gun. She doesn’t look like she could handle the knife well too. Kouko mentions her wish is to quit being an assassin. Tokaku finds it ironic because she is going to kill someone and wash her hands off it. Kouko breaks down after she is defeated and laments she is no good after all. Next day when Mizorogi hands back all their test papers, seems Haru is the class’ top scorer! Actually Kouko is the top scorer with near perfect marks. It is just too bad as she has transferred out. Haru writes Kouko’s name on the card hoping she would be happy.

Episode 5
Mizorogi is fired up for his class to do Romeo and Juliet for the cultural festival. Chitaru and Hitsugi are casted as the main characters and Shiena is on fire being the director. Or is she? When Haru and Tokaku are in the bath, Haruki comes in and sees Haru’s body scars. She mocks her how does it feel to have people die for her and how could she carry on living with a smile. Haru plays it cool and she will continue to smile. In that case if Tokaku dies, she’ll continue to smile, right? Later Tokaku gets mad for Haru for not being mad. What…? Nio reveals to Haru that there were 2 killer clans that ruled this country in darkness. The Azuma of the East and Kuzunoha of the West were always at each other’s throats. Tokaku interrupts and reminds Haru if she wants to know something, ask her directly. So this is briefly her family structure. Her mom died shortly after her birth and was looked after by grandma. She never knew her dad and has no other encumbrances. Haruki talks to Tokaku that Haru could have been in the other class. In fact none of them wanted to be here. Such is fate. She wants to free Haru tonight so if she is interested, come meet her here. Isuke sees a picture of Haruki’s orphanage family and realizes this is her reason. She gives her ‘advice’ that all those unnecessary stuffs should be rid off and everyone should be killed. That’s how she lived her life. Haruki ignores her. Haru goes to the hall as Tokaku wanted to talk to her. Unfortunately this is a setup by Haruki. She gives Haru her advance notice and then strangles her with her wire! So much about the warning being in advance. Luckily Tokaku didn’t trust Haruki and jumps into the scene to save Haru. Yeah. After all that has happened, you think she should be by her side 24/7. Tokaku and Haruki slug it out but the former is superior. Now that it boils down to this, there is only one choice left for Haruki for freedom. She pulls a string that collapses the entire truss on the ceiling. Seems prior to this, she has made a deal with Nio that if she dies, her family will get the reward. Thanks to the gaps, Tokaku and Haru lives. Though the truss crushed Haruki, she is still alive and no fatal injuries. She admits her loss and Haru even gives her advice that being alive means she has been forgiven that she is here. Either way, Haruki believes she needs to try her best. And so this means Haruki is transferred out but Mizorogi is one stressed guy. The hall is in a mess… Tokaku wonders if Haru could still continue to forgive even if the entire world wishes death on her. She will. As long as they reflect on their actions, she will forgive them every time.

Episode 6
Chitaru tells Hitsugi that her goal is to look for some poison killer called Angel Trumpet. Hitsugi wants to help her. The night before the play, Haru is frantically looking for her script. With Tokaku they go to the stage to search for it. Little do they know it is in the hands of Shiena as she slips her advanced warning. However Hitsugi won’t allow that and shoots her with her poison needles. Haru and Tokaku see this. Although they are saved from Shiena’s warning, Hitsugi hands over hers. Although Shiena is alive, she is hospitalized and is very sick as she got infected by the poison. Safe to say, she is out of the running. Chitaru thinks Tokaku did her in. Tokaku warns Haru that she shouldn’t eat anything today since Hitsugi is a poison master. Hitsugi asks Chitaru why she wants to find Angel Trumpet. Seems her teacher’s daughter was killed by her and it is ironic that she is chasing a killer whom she has never seen her face. As the play starts, Tokaku realizes all the sword props are laced with poison. Chitaru thinks Haru is Angel Trumpet and Hitsugi dealt with Shiena for her sake. Then she goes to confront Tokaku and seeing the poisoned swords, she is now convinced Haru is Angel Trumpet. I don’t know why the heck they need to go on stage to begin their confrontation but everyone thinks this is part of the play. Tokaku puts Haru in Mizorogi’s care before the girls settle their sword fight outside. Chitaru doesn’t believe Tokaku’s words that Hitsugi is the culprit. But when the perpetrator herself comes to admit it, so now do you believe? Therefore she has no reason to fight Tokaku. Her plan is to have Haru die on stage just like how her character dies in the play. So they’re going back to the play? Yeah. Chitaru is now in a dilemma. The closest person to her is the real enemy. Can she fulfil her mission? In the final scene, Chitaru still hesitates to stab Hitsugi with the dagger. Hitsugi is okay for her being killed and helps push her hand into her heart. Nio informs that Hitsugi’s wish is to leave this place with her after everything was over. She was her most desired one. Chitaru felt bad that she never understood Hitsugi at all. She drinks the poison and dies by her side. And the crowd thinks this touching scene was so damn emotional and good.

Episode 7
Shutou brings the girls to an indoor pool within the school grounds. As they choose their swimsuits, Tokaku sees the advanced warning and Shutou immediately puts a choker on Haru’s neck. It contains a bomb that will blow her head off if tampered. Since Shutou isn’t physically strong, she is going to play a game. They need to find 4 cards with numbers on it as the password to unlock the bomb. They have until midnight or else Haru’s head will explode. Oh, they have only 3 tries too. The clues are written in the notice. So as the duo go around finding the cards, the other girls play watermelon smashing. This has Tokaku noting it similar to the clue and smashing it reveals a 7 of diamonds (how the heck did she put in the watermelon so perfectly?). Because the rest note that they could figure out the other numbers, Tokaku also figured it out and takes Shutou’s deck of cards. The missing numbers correspond to the numbers, right? All 7s are missing. But when she keys in, it is wrong. Shutou says that is just a dummy. Back to square one. Mizorogi who is bent on not letting more girls transfer out stumbles upon something on Shutou. Tokaku finds a joker (worth as zero) in the flood lights. Then with the next clue, she finds the ace of spade in the same deck of cards. Cleverly hidden.

The last one is in the water but then Mizorogi comes by to give Shutou a surprise birthday call! Nio notes if Shutou is successful, she can get her reward as a birthday present. What is her wish? To age normally and die. Wait a minute. Okay, so she wants to grow old but isn’t it okay to die young? The way she puts it sounds like she is an immortal. Maybe she is… Because here is her story. Her body suffers from an illness that doesn’t age. Long ago she had someone precious to her. She was a year younger and their birthday is only a day apart. She would age a year before he’d catch up. Because she doesn’t age, he grew older, became an adult and fell in love with another woman. Heartbroken Shutou was left behind. Midnight is drawing near and Tokaku is looking into anything water. I can’t believe she missed this blind spot of the water slide. When she gets in, she gets locked in a cage. At the end of the ride, the cage sinks to the bottom. While running out of air and at the bottom of the floor, she can only pick the card or the key to free herself. (I can’t believe she didn’t look at the floor of this section). Tokaku is willing to sacrifice herself but Haru dives down to give her some air. Masked as a yuri kiss?! She then uses the key to free her. Now they have to guess the last number. 7, 0, 4 and what number… And what combination too? Isuke keys in her lucky number and got it wrong! One chance left. Tokaku then realizes since today is Shutou’s birthday, 14th July so the code must be 0714. However Haru stops her. She believes the last digit is not 4 but 5 because it is the birthday of her beloved. It works! The bomb comes off and Haru hugs Tokaku. Shutou admits she has lost and leaves. Nio asks her age but she doesn’t remember.

Episode 8
Isuke calls her ‘papa’ who is busy killing people. He feels lonely and hopes she would come back. Sure. With lots of souvenirs too. Nio talks to the chairwoman, Yuri Meichi who is enjoying every bit that has happened. It reminded her of her own days in Black Class in which she took only 6 days to complete. Tokaku and Haru chance upon Shinya in the bath so the latter talks about Mahiru locking up herself this whole time and doesn’t know how to live a normal life. From the way she says it, Tokaku could guess she is the next one. Shinya and Mahiru are like having some sort of ‘discussion’. Mahiru is indecisive about some relic that she is close to getting her hands on so Shinya won’t let her wait anymore. Since a storm is coming, Nio tries to persuade Haru to do kimodameshi but Tokaku won’t allow it so Nio hints something about Tokaku’s past that may resemble closely to some cursed occult. As the duo leave, the wind brings in an advanced notice from Mahiru. Tokaku takes Haru and run but Isuke attacks them. Tokaku got a little injured as she reminds her not sending an advanced letter is against the rules. Isuke is sure Haru already got it. Tokaku throws mud in her face to make their escape. She realizes the note was from Isuke since there are no rules stating about putting your name on it. Isuke remembers Esuke killed her real parents because they tried to kill her he adopted her and in exchange for taking care of her, he wants her to assist and succeed him in his assassin job. Tokaku locks Haru in a science lab and tells her to stay put before rushing off to settle things with Isuke. The dangerous women meet again and another knife battle takes place. Isuke is not afraid of her and knows her moves. Because she knows she hesitates and stops when she is about to kill. Everyone else is on their guard just because she carries the Azuma name but imagine if they knew about this, it would have changed everything. Haru is sitting nicely in the lab when suddenly a few knocks are heard on the door. Can’t get through? Smash it with a hammer! Yeah. Here is Shinya with her advanced notice. She’s crazy. Let’s get this party started! Isuke points out Shinya is a bit early and that look on Tokaku’s face that she made the biggest mistake of leaving Haru alone. I knew this would come. I mean, how could she even think of leaving Haru alone? Couldn’t she just stay and guard Haru by her side?

Episode 9
When Tokaku was born, she was named so by grandma as it means impossible. Because those who see her will fear her and think it will be impossible to best her. But Tokaku’s mom didn’t want her to become an assassin and entrusted her to her sister, Mako who told Tokaku about looking at that shrine so she won’t be able to kill. Isuke mentions about the deal with Shinya. The latter gets to play around with Haru all she wants while she takes out Tokaku. She thinks that trying to protect Haru is just a ploy to hide that she can’t kill. So if she kills her, she’ll be like the best, right? After all that close quarter combat, Tokaku uses her hidden taser in her shoes to stun and weaken her and make her way to Haru. She doesn’t find her in the lab and is worried. Isuke is back up and fights her again. Then she pushes Tokaku out the window. Can anybody survive that fall? Well… Meanwhile Haru isn’t going to be a damsel in distress. She does a good job avoiding Shinya’s hammering (literally), throws her handphone in her head for distraction, blasts the fire extinguisher in her face and while she is hiding in the toilet and Shinya come knocking down doors, Haru slams it in her face when she reaches her cubicle. Then in the auditorium, Shinya thought she had her cornered when the projector light flashes into her face. This bring backs traumatic memories (something about her being in child porn and imprisonment) and this sends her into vegetative state. Haru is relived Tokaku saved her but it’s not. It’s Isuke. You know what this means. Tokaku’s dead. At least that is what Isuke tells her after she disposes off Shinya.

More Tokaku flashback as we see Mako trying to take Tokaku and run. She regretted hesitating and should have done so earlier. However grandma stood in their way and killed Mako. In her dying breath, she tells Tokaku that she and her sister will always be watching her from that place. Tokaku sees a vision of Mako. She realizes she has always been the one calling and protecting her. Since she has someone to protect now, she’ll be fine. She promises to go there once she has time. It feels like Tokaku has been freed. See? She didn’t die from that fall after all. Haru is in shock believing Tokaku is dead but Isuke won’t get to kill her since a knife suddenly pierces her hand. Couldn’t believe Tokaku is still alive, could you? Tokaku has changed. The look in her eyes feels like she is now able to kill without hesitation. She could even dodge bullets! Easily taking her down, Tokaku won’t kill her but knocks her out. Haru gets emotional since it is a big relief that she is still alive. Tokaku now believes it is not a curse. She always thought bearing the thought of the murder is not a joke. The weight of it can’t be endured. She was wrong. She was being protected all this time and thanks to Haru, she finally noticed it. Hanabusa leaves her flowers for her defeated girls and commends them for their bravery.

Episode 10
Mizorogi must be so depressed that he makes his class a self study session. He goes to see the Yuri and blames himself for not being an effective teacher. On the contrary, she praises him for being the perfect teacher. He’s so happy… So gullible… Now that there is 1 left, Tokaku is on her guard. But Hanabusa isn’t going to give her advance warning and gives Haru an invitation to her tea party. Meanwhile Takechi has escaped her facility and is going to get her revenge on Haru. She is already in the school grounds but bumps into Hanabusa. She is going to kill her too but Hanabusa stops her scissors and crushes it with her bare hands! She will invite her to the tea party as well. Haru and Tokaku arrive at the rooftop. The entire place has been remodelled with that elegant and posh feel since Hanabusa’s family bought it. To their surprise, the other girls except Nio are there too. Actually they are Marionettes. Takechi is the only other real guest but she is in a strait jacket. Haru wants to know what Hanabusa’s wish is and could help grant it. Hanabusa reveals that her family is the same as hers. She has also been targeted many times and just like Haru, she survived. She believes she is the strongest and will defeat her and let everyone know that. That is her wish. The place is filled with weapons so take your pick. The marionettes start attacking and Tokaku is busy shooting them down while Hanabusa activates a bulletproof glass so she could fight Haru unhindered. However Tokaku whips Hanabusa and drags her to her side in time. Looks like she’ll have to take care of her first. Hanabusa reveals her true body. Her limbs are robotic and this makes her strong and able to fit any weapon as her arms. Takechi manages to free herself and joins in on the action but is still no match. When Nio comes in, Takechi starts sweating in her pants when this monster tells her to go home and not interfere. Hanabusa questions Tokaku’s perseverance to fight. It is because she will protect Haru even if it costs her life. Hanabusa notes that she is not aware that Haru is the queen bee. Eventually Tokaku gets pinned down by a chandelier. To prevent her from being killed, Haru takes a bazooka and blows a hole in the wall to escape. Hanabusa won’t let her escape and goes after her. She gets tricked into that elevator bomb ruse but she manages to climb back up. Now she is mad. Cornering Haru at the rooftop, she shoots her strings but gets entangled in the rail. Haru throws her down and dives along. Then she keeps stomping on her head so her mechanical hand will come loose and it’s free fall all the way. Seriously. It was that loose? Oh, she lost. Haru goes back to free Tokaku as the latter asks about the queen bee thing. Haru apologizes and will tell her when the time is right.

Episode 11
A lesson about bees. How tragic. Can’t blame Mizorogi for feeling depressed despite putting a brave face to trudge on. There are only 3 students left in Black Class. Nio then announces there will be an orientation for the truth behind Black Class tonight and those interested should come. Since there is nobody left to kill Haru, Tokaku doesn’t hang around her as often. Haru and Tokaku head for the orientation. Nio introduces Yuri to them. She begins by explaining about a certain trial when people reach certain age to be acknowledged as part of society. The Black Class was not created to kill Haru. Instead it was for determining if Haru can survive against 12 assassins and has what it takes to shoulder the future of the clan. There are many families and branches in this world that can trace their blood back to one clan. All of them are in control and influence of everything in this world. A Primer is a person born with special charismatic ability in the clan and is able to charm and control people unconsciously to their heart’s content. The more in danger those people are, the more the Primer manifests its finest. That is why lives of the women of the clan are constantly targeted from birth. She congratulates Haru’s fine Primer power but whether or not she does it intentionally she doesn’t know. That is why they thought she had controlled Tokaku to become her protector. Haru denies this and just wanted this trial to end and live normally. How would she explain surviving up to this point and all those who died for her? The fact she survived means she is special. Haru won’t hear of this anymore and leaves. Yuri acknowledges Tokaku as the victor and will grant her wish. She can take her time.

Back at the room, Haru talks to Tokaku that she believes she doesn’t have such power as her family is at the bottom of the clan. But Tokaku is suspicious. Could it be that she unconsciously made Tokaku her bodyguard? Therefore there was no need to control everyone else as she already controlled her to protect her. Still denying that? Then show proof. None? I guess that’s it. Tokaku then talks to Kaiba. He doesn’t give her any answers. In fact he tells her all the riddles he gave her had no correct answer. If there is, it can only be inside of her. So be sure to dig and think deep. So she thinks hard and doesn’t even know why she decided to protect Haru. There is no proof. Could it be another answerless riddle? Haru wants Nio to let her see Yuri. She doesn’t want to acknowledge that she is part of the clan. Yuri wonders if all those dead people will agree to it. She has Nio bring Haru to a graveyard. It has no bodies or bones but only names of those who died. Originally this place was a graveyard and the school was subsequently built. That’s because the laughter of school children will never stop and this somewhat appeases the soul of the dead. Nio reveals that she was born with some special power and no relatives. Yuri saved her. She wants Haru to remember that people may sometimes be saved by the power of the clan. Haru looks around and finds the grave of her family. Suddenly Tokaku comes in. With a sword. She has been thinking a lot. Up to now she felt like an ordered doll merely to manage the trial. She never realized that till she met her and the reason she lived through till today. Haru taught her everything and that is why she is grateful and happy they met. That’s why she has no choice but to do this. She shows her advance notice. That’s some serious gratitude.

Episode 12
Haru can’t believe over this betrayal. Well, believe it. She doesn’t wish for this to happen but Tokaku is serious. Here’s a warning slice. The next one will kill her if not for a gunshot interrupting. Hey… Another Tokaku?! She brings Haru and run while explaining that Tokaku is actually Nio in disguise. As she once said about the Azuma and Kuzunoha clans, while Azuma specialize in combat and assassination techniques, the Kuzunoha clan are more towards mystic arts like hypnotism. Nio is from this clan. Once Black Class ends, she’ll betray it and kill Haru. Haru doesn’t know if her subconscious made Tokaku protect her. Even so, Tokaku has obtained something irreplaceable in her heart. Those feelings has guided her here is everything to her. Nio catches up and attack. Oh no. Two Tokakus. How can I tell which is the real one? Well, from the imposter’s rational, she wants to kill Haru for her sake. Something like it’s the Primer’s fault. I don’t know. I’m confused. Does she wants to prove something about her Primer effects and Haru’s true wish is to kill? The imposter loses but won’t give up in killing Haru. Tokaku stabs her. And then… Haru picks up the knife and charges straight for Tokaku. She’s thankful about this and that and loves her, blah, blah, blah… That’s why she won’t die. Maybe she has to eat her words since Tokaku stabs her! She considers their family the same. Once Haru is gone, Tokaku puts up an emotional look more than all the emotions she has combined in this entire series. Oh wait. Did she ever? Nio laments her ruined plan of killing Haru in her looks because she thought it would be fun. In the end, they’re just the same. They’re only competent in killing. Yuri congratulates Tokaku for being the true winner of Black Class and will grant her any reward. Perhaps she is too stunned to speak. Maybe another time when she is ready. Tokaku indeed does have a wish but is sad it won’t come true anymore.

It seems Haru is alive and is the only sole survivor of Black Class! Mizorogi hands her the graduation certificate. The others also have their certificates and Haru will personally deliver to them if she meets them again. Nio is also alive and is seen talking to Yuri. They discuss that Haru is alive thanks to the titanium ribs she has. The knife missed her heart by inches. We are also given a short glimpse of the other girls from Black Class. All of them live. Yes, all of them are still alive. Hanabusa is back in her mansion thinking of taking up cooking. Shutou pays her last respects to her beloved one at the grave. Kouko makes a daring move by running away from her orphanage and kills all the nuns in pursue of her. Now she looks so badass. Haruki is working at a construction site while Takechi is on her best behaviour picking weeds in her detention facility. Wow. It’s like she turned over a new leaf and becoming a good girl. Isuke is sunbathing at the beach with Esuke and is pouting because this entire beach could have been theirs. Kirigaya sits by Chitaru’s side at the hospital. Shiena is a hacker and Mahiru is admiring the city view and assures Shinya she’ll be fine on her own. Lastly, Haru goes to meet up with Tokaku who is waiting for her at the school gates. Kaiba finally seems impressed with whatever answer Tokaku replied to his riddle.

Who’s Next?
Hey wait a minute. So that’s it? What the heck is this happy ending? Okay, maybe I am to be blamed for expecting something dark because for the entire series, everything was just having that dark feel and therefore I wasn’t putting any expectations on some bright happy ending. Because I really thought that some of them had died for good and what do you know? They’re not! Bummer. And when you think about this show having cute high school girls as assassins suddenly to have somewhat a blissful life in the end, it just feels WTF and doesn’t match. So there are a handful of things that I don’t get really. Did Black Class achieve its goal to make Haru the next head of clan? From the way things ended, Haru is happier being normal friends with Tokaku. And what was Tokaku’s wish? I am guessing to bring Haru back or have a normal life. Well, it does seem granted in that case. And if all the assassins survived, then it could be the first time that the graveyard will not engrave somebody’s name who have died for Haru in this trial, right? If only the previous trials were like that.

Remember this old song you used to sing in kindergarten? One little, two, little, three little Indians… Ten little Indian boys. Uh huh. That is how I feel about this entire anime. You get the feeling that one by one the assassins will be picked off because if Haru and Tokaku gets killed, then it is game over. Hardly anything exciting, right? So the ‘exciting’ part for me was to guess which girl will go next. I have to be quick and do it at the start of the anime because it doesn’t take too long before she gives her advance notice and let the drama-cum-game begins. And when it is over, I’ll begin to ponder, who’s next?

One of the biggest problems of this show is that there is lack of depth within the characters especially the assassins. Although the mid-intermission has a few notes of additional information and background about the assassin in focus, it does little to help understand them better. Because just like I said, they’re playing Ten Little Indians and after they have been picked off, you won’t really here of them again and the last episode showing them is just to give us a sense of closure. Even during their episode in focus, their background and story behind them doesn’t feel deep. A bit superficial and is brought to like just because they are the ‘star’ in that episode. More like out of convenience to drag on the story. It hardly impacts anything because at the end of the day, they lose and it doesn’t matter. She goes out, another one comes in. Rinse and repeat till none are left. The assassin who suffers most and greatly from this is Shiena. She doesn’t even get a chance to shine and she is out. You don’t really know much about her (till the last episode of course but then again, does it really matter?) and she became a sacrificial lamb as part of the series to stay fresh. Because having an assassin out per episode feels boring. So for that episode, we have 3 assassins going out! Wow. So if I do add up my maths right, they’ll end the series with almost the same number of survivors.

At most times Haru seems like the damsel in distress and relying on Tokaku to protect her. My guess that her helplessness stems from her deep desire to not fight and kill. Because when she is cornered as seen with her case with Shinya, she can be quite innovative letting her survival instincts kick in. So it’s like she only resorts to this as a last measure. However I think even without Tokaku’s help, Haru would have survived all the assassination attempts. The scars all over her body is a hint that indicates she has undergone some sort of hideous surgery and experiment or each scar serves as a reminder that she survived some sort of attack. Another big hint was in the initial episode whereby Isuke tried to poison her and that failed attempt has her note her body is resistant to poison and drugs. That should give us a big hint that she isn’t easily killed. We might not have guessed the titanium rib cage but there is a feeling she won’t die that easily. She’s a survivor after all. Otherwise she would have been long been disposed of.

As for Tokaku, for a big part of the series she is like having this dilemma and thinking about stuffs and protecting Haru despite she has this monotonous look on her face that would indicate to us normal people that her facial muscle must have been broken. Her past and her clan as well as the rival clan prove interesting but too bad and like I have said, this series suffers a lot in developing the characters and fleshing them out. So we’ve been given the big teaser of some shrine that Tokaku can’t kill because of this mindset that Mako ‘programmed’ her. And once the shackles go off, she got this killer looks but still, she hasn’t made her first killing because everyone in the end still lives, right? And then when she finally shows her emotions, it was like as though she has finally accepted her friendship with Haru or something like that. In that sense, would she be called a failure? What will the clan think of her?

I don’t know why everyone doesn’t consider Nio as part of the assassin because they see her as the judge. Even Haru and Tokaku don’t really see her as a threat. Can’t she hold both positions? I mean, then it would have been redundant to announce that there are 12 assassins and a target, right? Do your maths right. If Nio was really only an observer, they would have clearly state 11 assassins, a target and a judge. And with Tokaku’s defection, make that 10 assassins, a bodyguard, a target and a judge. I suppose everybody’s assumption of this is to make us forget that Nio is an assassin so as to have this surprise final episode. And here I was pondering why Black Class is already over when Nio hasn’t even made her move yet and could it be that she is really a judge? Then this surprise of her disguising as Tokaku to kill Haru. Although I didn’t guess it was her in that disguise, but I wasn’t surprised either when it was supposed to be her. I mean, who is left, right? Yeah. Who’s next?

Kaiba’s role feels like a big mystery. He throws Tokaku a lot of riddles that she couldn’t answer. Then it might be that he is just trolling since the riddles don’t really have an answer. Probably like he hinted, he wanted her to think for herself and that this world doesn’t have answers that are clear cut, black and white. She determines the answers herself. Mizorogi feels like the most redundant character ever. Even putting a nameless teacher or even a faceless one, I don’t think it would change the series very much. His minimal role feels so minimal and the most ‘significant’ one was that cameo to remind about Shutou’s birthday and thus giving the pair some sort of hint. That’s about it and so much for this guy. And so his role overall has become somewhat a side comic relief because he is just too cheery and passionate in teaching this special class. Because he should have suspected something amiss when the class only has 13 girls and one by one they keep transferring away. So what if he falls into depression? Not like he could do anything about it. That’s why I say his role feels somewhat redundant. It’s a good thing Haru is left. One is better than none. I wonder if he would go insane and quit teaching altogether if Black Class had zero students.

The action part feels okay and some were thrilling enough but overall it just does sufficient for an anime about girls trying to kill their target. Of course they had to lay down certain rules since it would be a bad idea if all the assassins have the same idea and decide to go first. It is not impossible as seen in Isuke and Shinya’s case. If everybody shows their advance notice at the same time, it will be the biggest brawl and messy blood fest and it will end before you even know it. So that is why some of the assassins that do not have high fighting capabilities instead use mind games and puzzle, which actually brings a refreshing pace to the series. There are many ways to go about killing your target. So it sometimes feel funny to see one go first while the rest wait and watch like as though they’re taking turns, which is exactly it. And once more it gives rise to “Who’s next?”.

The yuri part feels fleeting. Except for that underwater pool scene where Haru and Tokaku kissed, other scenes won’t even have you think this would amount to yuri despite the both of them hang out together most of the time. Not even that final episode whereby Haru charged towards Tokaku to kill her and I thought they seemingly kissed (because Haru confessed she loved her after thinking back all the ‘good times’ she was being protected with). I guess not. At that angle it certainly looked like it. Thus their relationship feels more like the protector and the protected like as we are told. Because it would be odd to see something yuri happening between them while knowing there are other girls trying to kill Haru. Yeah. Such yuri romance would feel out of place. Even Chitaru and Kirigaya had more of a yuri feel than them despite they make lesser appearance.

The art and drawing seems a little gritty and dark. While the girls may look like cuties whom normal guys won’t even think that they are skilled assassins beneath that cute looks, certain angles and moments you can see their scary and crazy assassin face. Some of the scenes may not be palatable especially with Haru’s hideous scars all over her body, it makes it feel like she is some sort of Frankenstein model put together. So I doubt you want to see her in the skin or in her undies in a handful of fanservice scenes. Diomedea produces this series and it is rare for them to make such dark animes as mostly they produce moe and cute animes like Shinryaku! Ika Musume, Asatortte No Omocha, Kodomo No Jikan, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu, Nagasarete Airantou and Chocotto Sister. Perhaps the exception is Bokurano but I didn’t see that anime.

The opening theme is Soushou Innocence by Maaya Uchida. It is the kind of hard rock music that gets you into the pace of this anime. Although personally this kind of music isn’t my type. As there are unique assassins in the class, there are also different ending themes for each episode, each mirroring the personality of the assassin in focus of that episode. Although they are all rock based, some of them rock harder than others (the ending themes of Tokaku, Takechi, Haruki and Hanabusa in particular). Isuke’s ending theme feels like it has a bit of techno in it while Kirigaya and Chitaru’s ending theme is the only duet. Haru’s theme is the only that feels calming and a bit like anime pop although it is still slow rock. The only assassin who doesn’t get her own ending theme is Shiena. Yeah, so poor that girl since she got kicked out before she even got started that the producers probably thought she didn’t deserve to have her own ending theme. That’s because the song for the last episode has all of them singing in it! One big girl group? Like having AKB48, assassin version. Yeah, I guess this is the only song where Shiena gets to sing and be part of. So don’t be sad, we haven’t forgotten about you entirely. Unfortunately none of the songs stick in my head because they only appear for one episode. I know I can go hear it again but you know, if it was that good I would have.

Overall, this series falls short in what matters most. Despite having a wide range of characters, each with a big potential for their own story, the pace of the story killed it off (pun intended). Even if they double the number of episodes and extend it for another season, it may not do a good job too because you will have the typical one episode expanded for flashback and another episode for the fight. That will be boring and draggy for a series considered to be fast paced. And having a dozen episodes itself has already made it suffer from this issue. That’s why it is in a catch-22 situation. So if you’re not in for the story, just stay for the action and see what different girls can do. Because I know having a class full of assassin girls is not my kind of harem. Would I be willing to die for them? Heck, don’t want to be living the yandere route 12 times over! That is what you call femme fatale.

P/S: “What is the secret to success in life?” (Your answer here) –> Keep it a secret from others!

Date A Live II

December 13, 2014

Remember when terrible beings that have the potential to destroy the entire Earth, there are only 2 ways to go about it. Either you take the offensive by eliminating them or you take the soft approach by dating them and make them feel happy. Yeah. Thank goodness they are cute pretty girls. And so with the continuation of the sequel, Date A Live II, our main protagonist whose life isn’t anywhere near being an ordinary high school student anymore, continues with this mission to save the world via pacifist route, dating hostile beings known as Spirits. Thus in a way amassing a harem of Spirits that will eventually lead down the road of catfights. More Spirits. More girls into the harem. More conflicting feelings, blah, blah, blah. Can’t get enough of those, can’t we?

Episode 1
We are reminded about the devastated spacequake that killed millions 30 years ago. And now, Shido is about to have his own ‘quake’ because Touka’s mood levels are decreasing as she accidentally spilled water on Shido’s book and fears he might hate her. And there is Yoshino accidentally freezing the bathtub and Yoshinon is stuck inside. Ah, Shido. He’s such a busy guy… Meanwhile Origami is facing sanctions in her military court. However she is lucky to get 2 months suspension. She then texts Shido to meet. That guy goes out to see her on pretence he is going to the supermarket (otherwise, you know who will become freaking upset). Because Origami looks like a stalker, she brings him to another private place to talk. The girl’s toilet. WTF. After explaining her judgment, she mentions she is still not convinced that Kotori who is also Efreet is not the one who killed her parents as claimed by Shido. There is no proof. However she would want to avoid killing his sister too. She also mentions she was sure she killed him back then. So she asks is he human. He believes he is. Because if he is a Spirit, there may be orders that she will have to eliminate him. Then she reminds him about the school trip. Touka finds a packed suitcase in Shido’s room. She thinks he is running away. Because that drama serial about a guy leaving her lover is playing right now. With her mood levels dropping, she rushes out to find him while Kotori and her Ratatoskr crew can’t seem to connect to Shido. When Touka finds him, she sees him coming out of the toilet with Origami. Naive emo girl believes all the ambiguous words the scheming emotionless b*tch says. Touka is so sad thinking Shido is bored living with her that she runs away. When Kotori finally manages to contact him, the obvious way to calm Touka down is to date her. That is what their organization is for. This is what he is supposed to do. This is what this anime is about. At first she tries to sulk but we know she is itching to go on a date. However the soy sauce bread she wanted is sold out. Everywhere they go, none are left! Sulking level… It turns out the dumb Kannadzuki bought it all and is thus ordered to bring them to Shido.

Once everything returns to normal, back home Shido notices his suitcase broken and decides to go fix it. Touka’s suspicion level is on the rise again. Uh huh. The TV drama is now playing the guy is cheating his wife with a hot babe. Oh God. Here we go again. She rushes out only to find Shido meeting Origami at the station. Yeah. She even has such a vivid imagination and put words in his mouth that he is leaving her. She steals his suitcase and runs away. Her level is so bad that the alert to take shelter is sounded. Shido catches up to her and had to assure her, cross his heart he isn’t going anywhere. The suitcase is for their school trip next week. And no, he is not tired of living with her, dummy. Touka might have calmed down but since her energy has reached critical level, it is going out of control. It seems all humanity’s hope rests on him. Otherwise Touka will be powerful enough to annihilate herself and the city. Shido pushes himself towards Touka despite a strong barrier pushing him away. Coupled with assuring words that he will always accept her and believe in him, they finally come together and everything stabilizes with a kiss. Meanwhile Isaac Westcott gets a report on Touka’s whereabouts. They were tracking her 3 months ago when she disappeared and now she is a high school student. He has Ellen Mira Mathers to do the job as he views her the best Wizard in history. Also, Kurumi is back. She still isn’t giving up on that guy as she needs him to use Yod Beth, Zafkiel’s final bullet. She will find the first Spirit who appeared on Earth 30 years ago who brought every other Spirit and kill him. She shoots herself to clone herself.

Episode 2
Even before the school trip begins, Touka and Origami are arguing. What else? Shido. Touka is dressed as a boy in hopes of being able to share the same room with Shido. But Origami is ‘smarter’. She’ll have Shido turn into a girl instead! Oh God… Will they ever stop bickering? Till Tamae tells them they can sit next to him in the airplane. Well, it’s definitely not good for him. Caught between the bickering girls. Again. Ellen is also onboard the plane disguised as a journalist so any pictures she snaps of Shido and the girls can be passed off as nothing suspicious. She also reports back to some general in an airship. Too bad she always gets hounded by the 3 stooges. A storm suddenly kicks up on the island. Touka bears the brunt of getting hit by heavy metal appliances. Ouch. As Shido tries to bring her away, he sees a couple of Spirits fighting in the storm. Twins, Kaguya and Yuzuru are fighting each other trying (including silly verbal accusations) to be the better Yamai. Shido is so annoyed by it that he yells for them to stop. Bad idea? Now that they have got their attention on him, Kaguya hits upon a brilliant idea. As the many battles they fought, they have equal number of wins and losses and almost as much draws, they are running out of ways to fight. Meaning? Imagine the surprise of everyone when they see this pair of twins trying to seduce Shido!!! He will be the judge who decides the winner! WTF?! Reine informs the twins are new transfer students. Tamae certainly didn’t here of this. And in this match of seduction, they continue to argue who is cuter and put down the other. Oh Shido, you must be the most annoyed because he is in the centre of it all. Is there a mute button somewhere?

They explain to him the reason for their fighting. They were once a single Spirit called Yamai but for some reason they split. Once they will become one again and the winner’s will have her mind remain. The loser’s mind disappears. Hah. The responsibility in choosing one of them is getting heavier, no? Shido thought he could relax by himself early in the hotspring but here are the twins again! Arguing! Cut this guy some slack! What the heck are they doing in the men’s section?! They don’t care. Because the argument and trading of insults continue for a good 4 minutes!!! OMFG! You think Shido is safe when somebody is coming in? That somebody is Touka! Could she have messed up the gender section? Actually the twins switched the signs before Shido came in and then switch back after. So technically the twins didn’t enter the wrong bath. Surprisingly Touka isn’t mad with his flirting. But more girls are coming! I don’t know how Touka is going to hide him behind her back because it isn’t going to work as the other girls approach her. She distracts them temporarily for Shido to run but he runs to the cliff. Accidentally Touka bumps him over. Long way down… So he returns to Reine, half naked and cold… Not a prank… Ellen reports to her higher ups about some unforeseen circumstances but the plan tonight shall proceed. The Bandersnatches will be on standby.

Episode 3
The seduction continues! Oh yeah! The twins are getting physical with him in his bed!!! I’m going to love this!!! Origami and Touka are also arguing over Shido but they’re doing it elsewhere and not near him. That’s why the twins are the best, huh? By the time Shido can’t take anymore ‘abuse’, he runs out and bumps into Tamae. In his birthday suit. Things are just going downhill… As part of Reine’s plan, Shido is to date them both so that he will be able to control them to a certain degree. Reine has also given communicators to the twins in pretence of helping them. So here is his first battle: Putting lotion on their back. As usual, they toss and turn and have their fair share of having Shido putting it on. Thank goodness he has 2 hands. I don’t know. Is putting lotion very climaxing? Now that is what you call Hand of God. Ellen once again follows Origami and Touka but yet again is foiled by the unwitting 3 stooges. Touka and Origami join Shido and the twins and it seems the twins know the girls because of last night’s ‘master-servant’ bonding whatever. With Reine, they split into teams to play beach volleyball. The twins seem like they do not have full cooperation but after being mocked, they power up (at the expense of poor Shido getting slam with the ball in his face) to counter attack. They’re so happy and dancing together before they realize they’re getting too friendly with each other and back off.

Shido gets a surprise. On separate occasions, the twins personally come to talk to him and want him to choose the other! They are saying good things about the other and really want the other to live. They started fighting because they thought the other was superior. So he better choose the other or they’ll wipe out this island with his friends. What a fine mess. Either way he can’t really choose now, right? Before we forget that this show also has Touka in the running, we see her and Shido having a little quality time talking together at the beach that night. She could tell he is troubled so he reveals the problem about the twins. Touka could understand their actions because she would have done the same. But bad news. The twins heard it and are not pleased. They’re really pissed. I guess having a third party judging them wasn’t a good idea. Back to square one. Transforming into their S&M outfit with equally badass weapons, they take it to the skies and continue their battle. Well, it’s kicking up a storm. Origami spots a Bandersnatch before her as it attacks. Because Kotori isn’t around, Kannadzuki assumes control and has his team to deploy Yggdra Folium. This causes Fraxinus to become visible for a while. The enemy ship spots them and the general orders to take it down.

Episode 4
Kannadzuki orders his team to concentrate the energy to some spot to increase defence in that area despite leaving other areas unprotected. He revels each time Fraxinus gets hit. He’s a masochist, remember? The crew calls Kotori for help but she says no worries. Believe in Kannadzuki. Oddly too, the enemy fires exactly at all the coordinates he predicted. Now it’s their turn to attack back. Although they miss, the enemy general is frustrated and orders to charge into their area. If the twins are already a handful, Shido and Touka have to deal with Ellen and her Bandersnatches. She wants to see how strong Touka is and transforms into her AST uniform to fight her. Touka lost and is to be apprehended. Shido felt hopeless just like the last time but in his desperate attempt to save her, suddenly Sandalphon materializes in his hand as he cuts down the Bandersnatches. The enemy ship gets hit by some cannon. From what I understand, because they cross some line, Yggdra Folium which was kept hidden activated and fired. Their control centre takes a hit and because of that, the Bandersnatches that Ellen orders to take in both Touka and Shido malfunctions. This allows the duo to escape. Unfortunately for Ellen, she falls prey to another hole dug by the 3 stooges earlier on. That’s the end for her today. How anti-climax…

Now Shido and Touka can deal with the twins who are still fighting. They’re still not listening. Shido can’t seem to get Sandalphon to work so Touka teaches him how to embrace the sword with his wish for the angel to answer him. The swing breaks up the twins and gets their attention. Now screaming to them to stop, although the twins don’t consider him involved anymore, he never said he quit being their judge. He has decided who will be the true Yamai. Both! They’re not impressed so Shido gives them 3 choices. The first 2 is to let the other absorb into the other while the third one is they lose their Spirit powers and become human. Please give him a chance to save them both. After all that screaming and pleading, it would be in bad taste to ignore what he said. So the twins reconcile, make up, talk nicely like how sisters should, apologize that they lied about wanting to die because they want to live too, etc. Then they had to be interrupted by the enemy who is going to take them all in and sends out all the Bandersnatches they have. Bad move. Because this scene is to show us how the twins can combine their weapon into one badass weapon that kickass. It blasts right through the enemy ship. Flawless victory! Origami wakes up with Reine by her side. She is safe but laments she was not strong enough to protect Shido and wants to become stronger. In the aftermath, the twins thank Shido. With a double kiss! Little do they know this is his way of sealing their power and you know what that means. They’re buck naked. It gets worse when Touka comes in and the twins make it as though he assaulted them. Well Shido, this is the path you chose, right? Ellen reports back to Westcott as she confirms about Touka. He is happy with her work and orders her return. Meanwhile Kotori sees Elliot Baldwin Woodman, the founder of Ratatoskr and Kotori’s benefactor. He heard Shido has summoned and angel. Action must be taken soon otherwise all the Spirits they sealed will once again face disaster. If it comes down to it, Kotori will kill Shido herself.

Episode 5
Just when Origami’s commander lifts her suspension, here comes in another colleague not happy with some arrangement that some members of DEM Industries will be transferring into AST as an independent unit. Well, AST has failed to capture a single Spirit, right? Folks, meet Jessica Bailey, the leader of this independent unit. While Shido is running an errand for some upcoming grand festival, the spacequake alert sounds. They track it down to a stage and see the Spirit called Diva otherwise known as Miku Izayoi the idol. When Shido approaches her, she becomes very upset. Her moods start decreasing as she throws verbal abuses at him. He could have died when she throws him off the stage but the AST is here to take her on. She fights them before fleeing. Back at Fraxinus, we learn that Miku despite being an idol making a huge wave 6 months ago with all her songs becoming hits, it is strange she has yet to make a single public appearance and her simple data like birthday and hometown remain unknown. As for Miku’s harsh treatment on Shido, it’s because she is a lesbian who loves girls. So what now? Kotori gives the approval for Shido to cross-dress! Folks, meet Shiori! Oh yeah. Origami must have something awakened in her since she is snapping photos on Shiori like mad. Not to mention under the skirt! So Shiori goes to see Miku and thankfully she doesn’t have aversion to tomboys since it is Hard for a Shido to act like a girl. The strike up a conversation and in no time they become friends. Shiori even gets the privilege to attend her private afternoon tea that she has once a week with her favourite girls. I guess Shido has to go, huh?

Things are looking good during the tea when Miku wants Shiori to transfer to her school. Don’t worry about money or grades. She can arrange them. Miku tries to use her voice to mind control Shiori but it doesn’t work. She senses something amiss and deduces Shiori must be a Spirit or Wizard trying to kill her because no human can disobey her. Since lying will make things worse, Shiori tells the truth that ‘she’ is neither but a human who can seal Spirits. Mentioning ‘her’ past records of already sealing 5 Spirits, if Miku allows Shiori to seal and save her, she can continue to live this life without having AST pursuing her. But Miku doesn’t think it is necessary as she likes it this way. The spacequake she caused was on purpose since she felt the urge to sing in that arena. She might have killed her friends but she believes they’ll be happy to die for her. This is when Shiori loses ‘her’ cool. ‘She’ chides her revolting arrogance and hates her. Shiori is going to get everyone in the world to deny her. Miku suggest they play a game. For the festival if Shiori’s school wins, Shiori can seal her power. Otherwise all the Spirits Shiori sealed and including ‘her’ will be hers. The challenge will be singing on stage. Unfair advantage? It’s lucky ‘she’ already got a chance. Meanwhile an AST member doesn’t approve of Jessica’s plan of fighting Touka in the crowded area during the festival. Furthermore, a human’s name (Shido) is on the target list too. Well, if there is anything bugging her, take it to the higher ups. Oh, there is also an order to keep this a secret from Origami.

Episode 6
Finally! Mana appears. In a hospital bed. Too bad she got taken away by some agents. That’s all the screen time she will have today. I don’t know how but the 3 stooges recruited Shiori, Touka and Origami into their band for the festival. Touka is sad that the drum part she wanted is already taken but is more than happy to settle for the tambourine. Oh… Origami sings well! While Origami is in the locker, her AST colleague on pretence of talking to herself speaks about Jessica’s plan. She leaves it in Origami’s hands. As the festival begins, Shiori and the girls are doing a maid cafe first. Maids! Even the twins are here to help out. Miku pays a visit and wants to date Shiori. Things seem to be going on well as long Shiori doesn’t lose her cool. Too bad that won’t last long because during a shooting gallery when Miku fails to shoot a target, she uses her voice for the stall owner to give her the prize. Shiori is not amused because this is like stealing. Miku believes they are honoured to give it to her and besides, humans are playthings. Now this just riles Shiori up. ‘She’ will prove and show what humans can do and is more determined to win. Miku dares her. If ‘she’ can get on the stage, that is. Shiori will soon find out what that means since only Touka is with ‘her’ at the backstage. The 3 stooges claim they don’t want to perform anymore since Miku told them not to. She got them. Since she’s going to play dirty, might as well put their own rules as well. Kotori authorizes the use of using a recorder and Shiori will have to lip synch.

They also cut the power when Miku is on stage. However she transforms into her Spirit outfit and the concert resumes. Everyone is so awed with her performance that Shiori suddenly believes there is no chance of winning. Hey, where is your confidence? Thankfully the twins are here to help fill in. Meanwhile, Jessica and her DEM Wizards arrive at the city and are about to start their mission when before them is Origami. She is shocked that Origami is wielding a forbidden and failed but very destructive weapon, White Licorice. Jessica changes their orders to take her down but they can’t even touch her. Not even Bandersnatches reinforcements can take her down. You go girl! Jessica calls for backup but the AST girls feign she called the wrong number. Besides, they got orders from their superiors not to fight, right? Shiori and co take to the stage. This should be easier than the dating, right? Well… As it begins, the vocal track is missing. It got damaged during the concurrent attack. Looks like Shiori will have to get by ‘herself’. Shiori starts panicking when Touka starts singing. Hey, she’s good. Go with the flow! Their performance is a blast. Meanwhile Origami continues to kick as so much so Jessica is getting desperate and firing all she’s got. Of course Origami is at her limit and starts bleeding. Jessica relishes giving some pay back.

Episode 7
Miku’s school wins the stage performance! Miku is so confident in counting her chickens till the announcement that Shido’s school wins the overall festival. She cannot believe this. Shiori had to explain about friendship and teamwork but Miku is clearly a sore loser and will not accept this. She materializes a giant organ and controls everyone in the hall. Miku is going to have her way with Shiori when so happen she felt upon something odd while prodding his body. OMFG! Shiori is a boy! Oh, the horror! Shiori will pay for this deception. Shiori can’t get close to Miku as she summons Yoshino and the twins to protect her. They also attack Shiori but surprisingly Touka saves ‘her’. She isn’t infected because she had ear monitors in both ears because she feared she lose her rhythm and tempo during the performance. Shiori calls Fraxinus for help but unfortunately Kotori and most of the crew are hypnotized. Kotori is going to use her cannon and blast everything but is knocked out by Mana. Jessica is on the verge of defeating Origami but here comes Mana, defecting from DEM Industries and kicking her butt real good. She gives warning and lets them off. Shiori and Touka’s problem is compounded when Ellen joins in the scene. Since Jessica’s team failed to complete their mission, she’ll retrieve them. Touka throws Shiori away and fights Ellen. Unfortunately she gets captured and finds herself strapped in a chair in their base. Interrogation time. As night falls, the town is in chaos as all the mind controlled people are looking for Shido. He is hiding in some building when he is approached by Kurumi. She knows he is in a pinch. Shido begs for her help. She brings him to Miku’s place since nobody will be around and the plan is to get her out of the way. In her room, Kurumi fools around wanting Shido to wear a bra. She would really love to see him up close cross-dressed. Some cliché moments of Kurumi falling over him and that little wound on his face just begs the scene of her licking it. Shido then sees a CD of Tsukino Yoimachi lying around. Kurumi puts the CD and a picture frame between her head and her Zafkiel gun. Don’t worry. She’s not doing kamikaze. The bullet gives her memories held by anything it pierces. After that, they head back to the stage to face head on with Miku. Because this is the best way to bring him to Miku. But how he wants to reason with her, he’s on his own. Well, first they got to get past those brainwashed people surrounding them.

Episode 8
Kurumi puts some spell all over the area that has everyone caught in her shadow unable to move. However they could still do so if Miku orders them. Kurumi summons her clones to fight the onslaught. She then lets Shido and Miku talk out together in some empty space while she holds down the rest. Miku is not pleased to be with Shido. But Shido is pleading for Miku to join forces with him to go save Touka. This serves to enrage Miku further as she thinks he is bluffing because she doesn’t believe he would care someone so much. Before Shido could find the reason why she hates humanity, time is up and Kurumi pulls them out. Time for a tactical retreat. Kurumi praises Shido for what he is trying to do (what’s with the cheek licking and ear nibbling seduction?). The next plan now is to infiltrate DEM Industries’ building. Westcott sees Touka and doesn’t hesitate to claim he wants her power. However she is too stable for him to execute his plans. He lists down all the things that might cause her pain and hits bull’s eye when she reacts to the suggestion of someone she loves dies before her. Shido is the one closest to her, right? Looks like it’s set. Shido and Kurumi are outside the building when the spacequake alert sounds. It is not that another Spirit is around. It is a sign they don’t want the public to see how nasty things are going to get. Tons of Bandersnatches and Wizards are going to take the duo down. Change of plans. Kurumi will stall them with her clones while Shido infiltrates. But first, Mana shoots Kurumi down although we know this isn’t enough to kill her. The grudge still runs deep. Looks like she’ll guide Shido in and is really happy to see him. How many episodes has it been since she last saw him?

Miku is still annoyed by the fact that Shido cares a lot about Touka and demands some truthful answers from her controlled girls. She gets even more annoyed to hear that Shido is the kind who doesn’t hesitate to put his life on the line to save someone dear. Kotori and Fraxinus crew return to normal. Kotori feels bad for trying to kill him earlier. But she is still against him going Rambo into the headquarters. She reluctantly agrees since she knows he won’t back down and will help as much as she can. But when he is inside the building, he is on his own. Mana is forced to fight Jessica using another forbidden dangerous prototype weapon, Red Licorice. Origami’s friend won’t let her go into battle. However since she has lost everything (being suspended again and all), all the more reason why she must go to Shido’s side. If she dies, it is the end of her. Her friend threatens to kill herself if she does but Origami knows she won’t do it because it would hurt her. And so her friend also gives in to help out a little. Shido is tracked down by Wizards and pinned down. Because he wishes to save Touka so much, Sandalphon materializes in his hands. Convenient. And it leaves a devastating destruction in its wake! Even though Shido gets wounded by a stab in his hips, he continues to trudge on with his thoughts only about Touka. Why are his insides glowing???!!! I don’t remember. But could it be something to do with absorbing Efreet (in last season)?

Episode 9
Shido grows weaker the more Wizards he takes on. Surprisingly he gets help from Miku! She sounds like a tsundere that she’s not doing this because of the promise but rather she wants Touka in her collection. Jessica is going crazy. Friend or foe, she blasts everything just to get Mana. It gets worse for Mana since Ellen drops in to help. Now that it’s her turn to be in a pinch, it’s time for Origami to return the favour and save her. Shido and Mana make their way up as they talk about things. Miku still doesn’t believe him really wanting to save Touka from his heart and tries to make a deal. If he gives Touka to her, she’ll let him get any girls he wants. Shido scolds her. His scary face enough to make her think twice about saying that again. Shido can’t understand why she hates humans so much. Wasn’t she once human too? A Spirit named Phantom gave her Spirit powers. She is surprised he knows about this. Then she lets us know how she came to be. She was an average idol who felt happy her voice reached others. Her career is blooming and would have if she had not turned down a TV offer. Actually her manager wanted to ‘introduce’ her to his friend in a TV production. She refused as she was happy enough to have people hear her song. This led to a magazine making up horrible rumours about her. Her manager didn’t do anything and worse, her fans reacted to it. Even so, she still believed in her voice. Then her worst nightmare came true. She lost her voice. Shido sympathizes with her but surely she can’t blame all of humanity for it. He believes there is someone out there who truly heard her voice and the humanity she sees is nothing more than an illusion she made up.

Still not convinced, Miku loves the voice she has now as she will always be top idol. Shido wants to hear her sing without those hypnotizing tricks and he will definitely hear it. He heard her CD and realized how much effort she put in. Miku still doesn’t believe because all her fans who betrayed her said the same thing and none of them helped. Shido says if all of what she said is true, he will be the one to save her. After all that talking and slashing their way through waves after waves of Wizards that don’t really matter, they finally reach the quarantine room. Despite Origami pulling some tricks to fight Ellen, she is still no match for the greatest Wizard. She could have been done in if not yet another help from a cannon fired by Fraxinus. Origami breaks free from her grasp. It is Origami’s lucky day since Ellen abandons the match and returns to Westcott. That guy greets Miku and Shido. Learning who Shido is, he starts laughing and finally understands everything. That woman must have planned everything out. Although he frees Touka, there is a strong glass barrier between them. While they’re so happy to see each other, I suppose Shido didn’t realize Ellen has crept up on him and stabbed him from behind! The main show has begun. Westcott gives Ellen permission to kill Shido and wants Touka to summon her Astral Dress and Angel. Touka becomes desperate. Slashing her Sandalphon against the glass that doesn’t even do a bit of a scratch. She will do anything for Shido to be spared. Anything for him to be saved. But too late. At that moment she blacks out. All her Spiritual energy turns negative. Maximum. Kotori fears Sephirot Inversion is happening. Dark creepy aura seeps all over the building and Westcott is happy the Demon Lord is back.

Episode 10
Shido is still alive but Touka has turned into a badass Spirit. So badass that she’s just scary. She has no memories of her life as Touka. Westcott is pleased because now Ellen gets to kill Touka and become the best of the best in history. Meanwhile Jessica continues to go berserk. From the way she says things, she is jealous that she wasn’t chosen like Mana or Origami. Because of that, cool and composed Mana defeat her and even soothes her she has Westcott’s approval that she is strong. Yeah. Strongest in her head maybe. Ellen fights Touka but cannot defeat her since she is not in top condition. Her wound during Origami’s fight is opening up again after she protects Westcott. So it is best to retreat. Westcott doesn’t mind since they have lots of time. I mean, he has been waiting for so long so what is waiting a little longer more for him. Shido doesn’t get any answer how Westcott knows him since they flee the scene. Oh sure. Now leave the kids to clean up the mess because Touka is now targeting them. Kotori is now able to connect with Shido but there is nothing she can do to help and the best bet is to draw out Touka via affection. You know the usual drill. Miku tries to bind Touka with her voice but it doesn’t work. It’s like her life is flashing before her eyes when Touka prepares to get rid of her. All she wanted was someone who loved her. Don’t they all? You know what this means when Yoshino and the twins are freed from Miku’s spell? No, she’s not dead. To her surprise, Shido protects her. She couldn’t believe he actually lived up to his promise. This act also has Touka start wavering but in no time she is back to her dark side. She is going to obliterate him in this instant but gets distracted by Yoshino. Miku hugs Shido and wants him to save Touka. Of course. It goes without saying. Don’t worry, he’ll be back. He has got a promise to keep, remember?

Touka unleashes a devastating blow in a single swing that cuts the city in half!!!!!!!!!!! FREAKING POWERFUL!!!!! If you think Shido is gone, think again. The twins save him. Now it’s his turn. He goes up to Touka but won’t attack. He kisses her! In addition to sealing those powers, Touka’s memories slowly regain and before you know it, her energy levels stabilize and she’s back to the Touka we all know and love. Hooray! The day is saved! Kurumi disappears back into the darkness since the target she is looking for is not in this city. In the aftermath, Miku is all over Shido! Woah! What a big change! She is making him a big exception and calls him her darling! She feels comfortable around him and believes in him as he fulfilled his promise. Well, this is better than being a b*tch, right? Better for us. Not for him. She then kisses him by her own initiative to seal her power and in the process becomes naked. Touka happen to walk in… What the heck is Shido doing? Good thing is that a catfight won’t happen because it is time for Miku to put up her concert. Her voice fills the hall and the crowd cheers aloud for her. She couldn’t be happier as she thanks everybody. Trouble starts when she starts thanking her darling. Wow. Sudden silence. Shido, now sh*t is going to hit the fan! His harem girls are interrogating him on this. So… Is this better than fighting Spirits destroying the world? Only difference is, guys don’t usually win in this harem catfights. Shido is going to need all the dating skills he have…

Date To Live
Something feels incomplete and insufficient… Well, firstly there are only 10 episodes, which coincidentally is the same number of fingers I have on both hands (read sarcasm). While this season may have added several Spirits to Shido’s harem, it fails to advance further the plot especially about Kotori’s past being a Spirit and some other big revelation which I don’t quite remember at this point. Westcott and Ellen’s appearance as antagonist and that short scene of Kotori meeting Woodman also feel like it serves to build up something in the future but as far as this season is concerned, it was all building up between a showdown between Shido and Touka since last season’s ender we had Origami going berserk and attacking. So now it is Touka’s turn so that our hero can do something about it and prove that the power of love and dating is indeed much better than all that hatred and fighting. Right? All you need to do is just kiss your enemy and peace will reign.

The most amusing characters to ever pop up are the twins. They are the big stars for this season. They are absolutely hilarious and a riot. I love the way they prod, and exchange insults with each other while vying for Shido’s affection. Sometimes it feels like they are more interested in putting each other down instead of winning over Shido. But that is their way of showing love for each other. Odd. They make twin seduction look so sexy. Is it no surprise that Shido wants both of them instead of being absorbed into the other? Because half a twin is not as fun as both of them. It is just tad sad that after their arc, they have been reduced to side characters. It would have been great if they become part of Shido’s active harem. Uh huh. After the twins are no longer the focus, it feels like the series ‘died down’ and it wasn’t as fun as it was supposed to be anymore.

Is it me or that Miku is a spoof of that popular Vocaloid character, Hatsune Miku? Notice the same first name and the same profession as idols? Big coincidence? Only, Hatsune Miku is much cuter because I thought Miku is a little chubby…Whoops! Plus, Miku hating humanity especially men is a big minus point and that takes away her cutie charm. Unless you are one of those masochistic kind then there is nothing much to say. I believe Miku although has accepted Shido whole-heartedly, I don’t think she has gotten over her abhorrence over men. She might be seen giving her whole-hearted performance in the end to her fans that consist evenly of both genders but that is only she can’t see their faces clearly on stage. Even so, I think she doesn’t detest guys like she does in the beginning although there would still be feelings of disgust. The exception is of course Shido. He is always the exception for any reason, right? That’s why all the Spirits and non-Spirit girls alike love him.

Well, it’s great that Shido has added a few more Spirits to his harem but this season doesn’t feel like he went on a date with them or any of the existing ones. Except for the first episode where that short dating scene feels like it is supposedly to remind us what this show is about and how it works. Because clearly missing are the ‘fun’ and oddly hilarious choices that appear on the date that Shido is supposed to follow through as picked by those ‘experts’ in Ratatoskr. The twins are a great addition to his harem although personally I would have preferred them to be more active instead of being side-lined. I think they can be top runners for Shido instead of the usual Touka and Origami. But I have a hunch it would eventually be Shido x Touka not only based on the final episode’s event but a big hint in the ending credits animation as well. See them holding hands? I get a feeling Miku too would become part of his harem despite her initial tsundere-like attitude and her displaced hatred towards men. But I knew Shido could do the job ;p. Because it would be sad and a waste if Miku didn’t end up liking him as we don’t need another Spirit who really isn’t part of the harem as we already have Kurumi in that role (not by his side often, that is). Sure, she likes him in her twisted manner but not the kind that harem lovers would want. After all, that is why we watch this series, right? Besides, the dating parts are the most hilarious parts of the show anyway.

Other returning characters feel identifiable with their quirky traits like Touka who is still the gullible and naive Spirit (docile form, that is) and most likely always loses out to Origami’s sly tactics. It is fun to see them arguing to get Shido’s attention but too bad there aren’t many of such instances and only confined to the beginning. Then there is Kotori for a big majority of this season is confined in Fraxinus. She has never meet Shido in person for this entire season except for that short scene back home back in the first episode. Kannadzuki continues to be the biggest idiot and an even bigger masochist (because during Miku’s mind control over town, it was obvious that he loves the physical abuse as Kotori’s chair when he is clearly not hypnotized at all) but surprisingly shows lots of competency when Kotori isn’t around when Fraxinus is in a pinch. It goes to show that he isn’t a total idiot after all. But seriously, his role still feels like a comic relief more than anything.

However once more, Yoshino again feels very much underutilized. It is like she doesn’t even matter anymore. I thought this season will at least give her some decent screen time although I won’t be hoping much. Unfortunately she has been reduced to a mere side character whose existence is mainly watching some TV soap opera in the first half. Like as though this was necessary so we don’t forget she actually exists. And then comes the second half, she became an underling of Miku. Oh sure. What a way to treat your loli Spirit. Hope you don’t earn her icy wrath or the rage of her fans. Kurumi’s role in this season also feels forced although she does play a little significant role in Miku’s arc (in helping to discover Miku’s true past as a human). My big guess is that she is looking for Woodman or Westcott. Guys like them are most likely to be involved in something big or that smells of conspiracy on a galactic scale, right? But other than that, we enjoy watching Kurumi make her bold seduction moves on Shido (is he just stunned when she does all that?) because all of us guys would love to have such girlfriend do such on us (if you have one, that is).

Mana also feels a little redundant. Just like last season, appearing only after halfway of the series. Again it feels like she is brought in so that we remember this onii-chan loving girl still exists. And when she does appear, she goes into battle. What happened to her in the end? Don’t know. Same case with Origami. In the beginning it looks like this girl may have some decent screen time but ever since Miku’s arc, she has been reduced to a mere side character. Like as though she and Mana are in this arc plot just to stop Jessica. Uh huh. It feels like why Jessica is here too in the first place. For Mana and Origami to put up a fight with. In the end, it doesn’t really matter for them because I don’t know what happened to Origami after her lost duel with Ellen. She gets picked up by the twins and that’s the last you’ll ever see of her. Heck, she wasn’t even with Shido and his Spirit harem during Miku’s concert. Where the heck are you Origami? From what I can see, overall Origami’s life is spiralling out of control, don’t you agree? Now that she is most likely to be suspended or kicked out of AST, the only reason she has to live for is Shido. He is her sanity but sometimes she loves teasing him so much that it makes her look like she is the crazy one. We all know how crazy Origami can be when she is before Shido, right?

The 3 stooges are around and it feels like they have more screen time than the first season. Also I noticed that third girl whose line will forever be “Majihiku wa” (Gross) is more talkative than ever despite she only says the same thing over and over again. Whether it is something happy or sad, it is always “Majihiku wa”! So ironic that even when she puts up her smiling face and in favourable conditions that she can be heard saying this. What the heck is it that is so gross? It’s like God forgot to calibrate her vocals and had it stuck there therefore she can’t say anything more than this. And it’s like everyone ‘understands’ or don’t give a damn each time she says this. Uh huh. It’s also like a cue that it is her turn to speak after the first 2 stooges had their lines. Feels complete, huh?

Although the action parts this season doesn’t disappoint, it isn’t anything to shout about either. The twins in particular have a lot of firepower in their weapons despite they dress like S&M queens in their Spirit form. Miku’s weapon doesn’t feel like the offensive kind because mostly she brainwashes and mind controls others. Even her organ pipes that shoot out sound waves doesn’t feel as badass as the other Spirits. Some fights involving AST and Wizards also feel forced because like I said, it is one of the few scenes were AST members like Mana and Origami (as well as Kurumi’s clones) can shine and do some ass kicking. Otherwise their fight feels like a slight distraction from what is going on. How else can both of them whip asses of so many AST counterparts and Wizards? Sure, whatever weaponry they have is superior to what all those low ranking counterparts. It shows our heroines are clearly underestimated or the higher ups don’t think much of them and armed them with less powerful technologies. But we’re not here for the action, right? More harem please!

New and joining the line-up this season are Maaya Uchida (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai) as Kaguya and Sarah Emi Bridcutt as Yuzuru (Asuka in Mondaijitachi Ga Isekai Kara Kuru Sou Desu Yo Ne). Hearing Miku at first felt familiar and I couldn’t put my finger on where have I heard this voice before. Only subsequently I guessed it right it is Minori Chihara (I got lucky, huh?). As long as she doesn’t put up her dead expression like Nagato in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu, Chiaki in Minami-ke, Horizon in Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon or Hina in Busou Shinki, I think it will be hard for me to guess her. Of course she has voiced characters like Miku such as Touka in Saki and Mitsuki in Kyoukai No Kanata. Other new casts include Shizuka Itou as Ellen (Haruka in Amagami SS), Yuko Kaida as Jessica (Ryoumou in Ikkitousen), Ryotaro Okiayu as Westcott (Byakuya in Bleach) and Jouji Nakata as Woodman (Kirei in Fate/Stay Night).

Sweet Arms who did the opening theme for last season once more sings the opener for this sequel entitled Trust In You, a dramatic rock pop piece. Kaori Sadohara sings the ending theme, Day To Story, which sounds more serious (because it has “Dead or alive” in is lyrics) compared to last season’s ending piece that I found a little funny. At least last season there were a handful of special ending themes but there is only one this season, My Treasure by Minori Chihara which is the song Miku sang in her concert in the last episode. What do you expect with mere 10 episodes? Oh yeah. 2 episodes short is a lot… Oh, I also thought that the other damning verdict that Yoshino is completely side-lined is because since her seiyuu, Iori Nomizu sung most of the ending themes in the first season but here she has none. It would have been amusing had there been a duet of Kaguya and Yuzuru as a special ending theme but…

Overall, this season might have a lot of missed opportunities and it leaves a lot to be desired. But it isn’t all that bad and it is still fun in its own right although personally I thought it falls short compared to the first season. It might seem silly that you date something or someone that is deemed a global threat and you seal that power with a kiss but this is much better than going for genocide, right? After all, Spirits are like humans too because they have feelings and want to be loved. Overflowing negative and unstable emotions are bad and can destroy. If you think about it, feelings of humans in real life resemble closely to the Spirits here. Because, say if you forget your wife or girlfriend’s anniversary or birthday (it may be trivial to you but such events are anything but trivial to them), then you’d expect hell to come. Winter is coming. The world is going to end. And everything calms down back to normalcy once you make it up to them. Pretty similar, huh?

Super Seisyun Brothers

December 12, 2014

Hey! Did Super Mario Brothers get some sort of cousin spin-off? Perhaps a distant relative from the land of the rising sun? Those were the first thoughts when I had when I first heard of Super Seisyun Brothers. Don’t worry. It has nothing to do with that Italian plumber in any way whatsoever. Instead, the story involves 2 pairs of teenage sisters and their younger brother. Both sets of siblings are as different as day and night from each other but yet are best friends. This is a story of their everyday life at home and school. I guess I can cross out that hope of mine of seeing them jumping on mushrooms, hitting coin boxes and ambushing castles to save a princess in distress.

Episode 1
At the Shinmoto siblings’ place, Chiko is complaining that there are no hot guys at college. Despite her and Chika being hot and good looking siblings, they wonder if there are perfect matches for them out there. See? Even handsome and pretty people have their troubles. Over at the Saitou siblings’ home, Mako and Mao worry about communicating with aliens! What better way to visit the Shinmoto siblings and talk it out. The blondes like to aim high too but Chiko would rather conquer the shopping malls and departmental stores. Chika would also love to use his charisma to change the world. Chiko is pissed when a guy comments that she is great when she doesn’t talk! She couldn’t understand how Chika and Mao attract others easily. Well, Mako is also easily attracting everyone. Chika thinks it is because Chiko is an otaku since she draws stuffs. She calls it artistic and fashionable but the way she rants about her life as a pretty girl makes it sound that she is very much an otaku. I think she likes it.

Episode 2
Mao is having trouble in putting down what he wants to be in the future. Chiko suggests going to university or prep school and it’s not a bad thing since a person like her could get enrolled too. As for Chika, he has already decided a long time ago. He wants to conquer the world! After a nice warm bath, Chika is going to have his nice ice cream but to his horror Chiko took one. He screams of her being immature so Chiko admits she is a child. Chika corrects her she is already an adult… Chika complains this to Mao and asserts that despite looking like a kid, he acts like an adult. But when he gives an example of how, he sounds like a typical kid citing those examples. Eating sushi with wasabi makes you an adult? On the other hands the girls are talking that despite looking like kids, they are already adults. Mako notes her honest opinion that if people really consider them as adults, this country is done for. And as noted, it’s because they can have such open discussion, it makes them adults.

Episode 3
Chiko cross-dresses as an anime character and earns Chika’s teasing. However when she is able to get into a decent conversation on this with Mao, Chika realized that he is also into this. Thanks to his pride of not wanting to lose out, he would love to watch the DVDs too. However Mako won’t allow him in fear he would turn out to be like his sister. As he asserts he is only interested in real girls, Mako shows him her favourite idol group of AKC47 (?!). She’s really obsessed about them… Talking about the opposite or same sex they are into, Chiko prefers hot men while Chika loves pretty babes (that means nice boobs and legs). It is very different for the Saitou siblings because Mako hates men (“they’re all perverts!”) and prefers girls. Seeing them b*tch around is not bad either. And Mao hates girls and loves macho men. That was just a joke! Almost sending shock to everyone except Chiko who is still fantasizing those lovely men of hers. She really doesn’t mind fantasizing him in her BL fantasies. After clearing it up, Chiko mentions she still doesn’t mind about it so Mao tells her he prefers girls. Twice. Trying to hint something?

Episode 4
The professor is relaying the passing grade and points so Chiko’s friend, Shiyo Kohara calculates and it seems they need to at least attend classes for 6 more times! Meanwhile at some gloomy alley and some gloomy cafe, Mako works there part time as a gloomy waitress with an equally shy cafe manager who is always wearing some sort of animal mask. Chiko calls Mako about her dilemma of attending classes. Yeah. It’s like the biggest thing she has ever done as she has always been skipping it. Trying to make others take responsibility for her life? Just go to classes, damn it! Mako is glad she doesn’t have to face that crap. Despite the gloomy working conditions, she gets paid well and eats good meals and this place is not far from her home. Chiko still has no luck finding a hot guy. She meets Shiyo who mentions she has been spending lots of time with her boyfriend lately. Since he is into online, she dates him online and dating in the real world only happened twice. And both occasions are dates to Comiket. Chika tells Mao about a shady restaurant and is suspicious about it. Mao is worried because that is where Mako works. When Chiko mentions things remind her of somebody, Shiyo can tell she is referring to Mako. Is she an esper or what? Well, they’ve been together for every day…

Episode 5
Chika and Mao often take the train to school together. There were times they were so hot that girls would just fluster to ask their name. But now it seems none are doing it. Wonder why? Well, actually the girls are keeping their distance. They misinterpret their very close interaction and think they are gay! Even when their female classmates note they are like peas in a pod, Chika gets the wrong idea and thinks he is like fish paste and Mao the wooden base. It gives the girls even more wrong ideas about them. Their friend, Iori Maruoka wants them to join in playing basketball but Mao is napping. Till he mentions if Mao comes along, more girls will come cheer for them. Time to wake him up. Chika starts wondering how he ended up being Mao’s best friend. He starts thinking of all the hobbies but they weren’t quite it. It makes him conclude that he has no hobbies and is a boring person! So he calls Mao to ask if he has any hobbies. He does. Hanging out with him. You don’t say. Because Chika also has that same hobby.

Episode 6
Chiko decides to show Mako her shoujo manga that she decides to debut with and has put in a lot of effort. It’s about BL… So when Chika heard about it, he really wants to read it. However since she only has BL stuffs, she can’t really show it to him and gives excuse she doesn’t have any copies. But Mako will gladly show all Chiko’s drawings since school days in her notebook! So come on over to her place! NOOOO!!! We can see how her manga transforms from something angelic into something demonic through the years… When Chika learns being a mangaka can be famous, make lots of money and having your manga adapted into TV, he starts jumping the gun that he might get discovered by Hollywood! Chiko submits her work and feels nervous about the results. Mako talks to her manager that her friend has taken a step forward in life and she wonders if she will be stuck in this part time job forever. He believes she will be doing fine but what she meant is that she doesn’t want to end up like him. Too bad, he already planned to hand over the shop to her when the time comes. She doesn’t want it. How sad…

Episode 7
The girls wonder if the guys are in another clubs. Because they were in the volleyball club back at school. The guys couldn’t believe it. Flashback reveals they didn’t like club times. They wanted to find an excuse to skip it and the best way was to feign injury. But they need to come up with a back story too on how they got it. And then it hit them. Literally. They fight and punch each other’s face! They manage to skip it and the best part was they get to mend their friendship. The girls start lecturing how they’d better join one to be popular once they become seniors and that it’s like honing your skills for society. But the way they’re lecturing feels so unconvincing because they’re like so unmotivated. While looking through photos of their younger days, Mao can’t help be infatuated with a photo of cute Chiko in an Alice In Wonderland stage play. She allows him to keep it. Wow. For real? He continues to stare at it and when Chika learns about it, he thinks Mao is obsessed with him and likes him a lot. Why? Because that is Chika cross-dressing as Alice! Holy sh*t!!!!!! Can’t blame him for being this cute, eh? Mao got so sick that he gives the photo to Maruoka. He doesn’t want it either.

Episode 8
I suppose Mako has ran out of excuses to skip this year’s Comiket so she decided to go with Chiko. That vast sea of people… It just disappoints Mako. Is this what youth these days spend their time on? How disappointing. There is no hope in the government anymore… Chika really wanted to go but Chika prevented him since ‘it is no place for a normal person’. Nobody comes to buy Chiko’s doujin as they man their booth. When Shiyo comes by, Chiko goes to hang out with her. Mako then contacts Chika that she can tell him how to get here without his sister knowing with a condition that he doesn’t tell Mao. So while her brother babysits the house, Chika brings Maruoka. A world of new opportunities will be opening up for them… A Power Ranger surprises Mako when she comes to buy a doujin. Even more surprising, Chiko knows her. She is Ui Umezono and her senior at college. She takes off her helmet piece and is quite a pretty person. Mako asks why she is wearing such an outfit. It’s her childhood dream to be like one. Mako didn’t think many girls are into this tokusatsu stuff when suddenly it is greatly hinted Ui may be a guy… Holy…

Episode 9
Chika and Maruoka are at Comiket. Chika is thrilled to see Ui cosplaying and wants a photo taken. He goes to ask for to get a picture and as they chat, he notices the very well made mask. Ui takes it off for him to inspect and Chika is impressed with this ‘beautiful woman’. So he requests taking a photo without the helmet on. Maruoka thinks he is a guy but Chika doesn’t believe. While Ui is talking with Chika and Shiyo, he notices Mako left out and wonders if she is alright. When Mako spots people cosplaying as AKC47, she becomes excited and squealing for pictures. Everyone leaves Comiket early. Chika further hangs out with Maruoka and the latter asks about the former’s plan. Chika doesn’t think he is going to university because he believes Mao can’t handle life without him! Or is it the opposite? Mako talks to Mao that she never realized Chiko had other friends than her. It makes her feel relieved and happy she has other broad minded people as friends. At the same time it makes her envy. When Chika goes back, Chiko is waiting and quite furious. It’s like she just came out from The Grudge or something. She knows he has gone to Comiket because of that selfie Ui took with him subsequently. It’s a small world after all…

Episode 10
Because the guys are getting along so well together, their sisters wonder if they have any girlfriend and so it is decided they should interrogate the other’s brother. The guys know something is fishy when the girls want to ask something. Definitely something is up. Mako asks about Chika’s girlfriend. He once was in a relationship but broke up. Because it is always the same reason. Who does Chika like more? The girl or Mao? No wonder… Although he is not in any relationship now, there is one girl that he is quite interested in. He shows the picture of him and Ui together. Oh dear. Doesn’t that make him gay? It’s so amusing that Mako doesn’t tell him the truth. On Chiko’s side, her body language is obviously easy to read like denying Mako put her up to this. She is surprised that he has never once been in a relationship and although many girls confessed, he turned them down. The disappointing part for her is that he didn’t play along with them (because he doesn’t want to break their hearts) and thus she finds him a bit boring. Mao adds there is a person he likes but the love is one-sided. Chika is excited to know more but obviously he can’t say it…

Episode 11
The love interrogation continues. Mao describes the bad points of this girl she loves. Chiko is blur not to realize this girl is herself and criticizes her! Then he relates her good points and since he sounds serious, she now feels envious. She wants to take a look at her picture and won’t forgive if she is not cute. Don’t worry. She is as beautiful she’s hoping for. Meanwhile, Chika asks about Mako having a boyfriend. She denies that she has one otherwise she wouldn’t have so much free time to hang out with Chiko. She also decides to play safe and deny that she had any past relationships in fear Chika might tell Mao. He finds it odd since she is pretty but comes to a conclusion that he himself wouldn’t date a girl like her! This pisses off Mako and Chika still doesn’t realize what he said. So she tells the truth that she once had a boyfriend who professed his love for her every single day! When he asks what type of guys she would like to date, she gets her sweet revenge by saying never a playboy like him! Back to Chiko, in exchange for telling her about his love life, she is going to take the liberty to tell hers. Oh God. Mao isn’t the kind of guy who loves to hear this kind of things but he just can’t tell her off. And so her first love begins since kindergarten. Oh dear. This is going to take a while. But how come all her loves are anime characters? Then she breaks down lamenting and wishing she was born in the 2D world. He calms her down that she is prettier compared to most otaku girls and that her ideal man in glasses hasn’t appeared yet. He was about to hint one who likes her very close by but she gets distracted since it is time for her anime rerun… He wanted to tell her off that her otaku ways could be the biggest problem why she couldn’t land a guy but he isn’t the kind of guy who speaks his mind so openly.

Episode 12
Interrogation ends and the girls exchange information. Mako will pretend she doesn’t know anything as she doesn’t want to interfere with her brother’s love life. Chiko thought she has brother complex so Mako adds the only time she will interfere is when they are to get married and she will become a tormenting sister-in-law! Scary! As for Chiko she doesn’t mind having a stupid and narcissist sister-in-law. This discussion of love also spreads to their friends. Guess who is Shiyo’s first love? A video game character! She’s hinting it has lots of tentacles… And the girls are surprised that Ui sounds a lot more like a playboy. Maruoka is still sulking over the recent breakup with a junior. It seems he wanted a pure relationship but that girl gives the green light to get down and dirty with him. He couldn’t take the heat and froze. Now he is traumatized by it… The guys talk how their sister’s interrogation wear them out and it is rare that siblings take an interest in their love life. Chika feels Mao may be hiding something so Mao mentions he plans to tell him one day as he doesn’t know how it will affect their relationship afterwards. Chika won’t have him say a word more and clearly understands the situation. He knows he is in a situation where he is involved in a love that can never be. He knows despite that person’s looks and characteristics are similar to him, he has a hard time saying it even to his best friend. Mao is surprised by his sharpness but it comes crashing down when Chika thinks the person he is in love with is… Johnny Derp!!! JOHNNY WHO???!!! Chika continues ranting that their relationship will still be the same although he’ll never know why he chose that Hollywood star. Feel like punching him?

Episode 13
Chiko’s submitted manga is finally out. Seems she got third place. While Mako is impressed on her first try, Chika isn’t because only first place gets serialized. Chiko is feeling a little mixed. It’s complicated. But she gets motivated to get started on her next manga right away. Once Mako and Mao leave, she shows her true colours. She is really depressed and wants Chika to comfort her. However Chika knows she hates being comforted. And so she picks herself up and isn’t going to stay depressed. She’s going to continue working till she becomes the world’s best mangaka and conquer the world! Meanwhile Mako feels irritated because she wanted them to be perfect examples of what useless young people should be and yet she is moving forward in life unlike her who hasn’t got any plans yet. It’s like she’s starting to drift away from her. She wonders if she would want to follow her pace and Mao believes if she does, she’ll find a breakthrough and Chiko will accept her feelings if she conveys them properly. Chika teases Chiko that she’d be a cool brother if she was a guy. She thinks she is pretty proud of herself and cute to go with it. However Chika disagrees and believes she is an older sister who can never get married! Mao mentions when Chiko helped him out with his future career problem, at that moment he wished the girls would swap places as his sister. Mako feels insulted and doesn’t like him saying that kind of stuff. As for Chiko, she will show her brother that she will be a bride someday. Someday…

Episode 14
What the heck?! Suddenly a fantasy turn of events? Mao is a half angel and half devil who formed a contract with this girl called Momoka. Even joined her in class as a transfer student. Till Chika the angel turned up and they both fought over her. Turns out Chika too is half angel and half devil and as they continue to battle, they realize they are 2 peas in a pod. They are the same. They merge and combine into one… WTF… It’s like that Momoka character didn’t even matter. Then it all turned out to be an old manga story written by Chiko that she is trying to rewrite again. Everyone is reading it and surprised or not too amused (especially Mako who is casted as a demon). Chiko is embarrassed and has a hard time trying to explain. Chiko’s friends wonder why she hasn’t come to classes and she doesn’t really want to be reminded about it.

In Between An Adult And A Child
Despite the short duration of the series, this show itself is still enjoyable thanks to the main quartet. They may be a little cliché with the Shinmoto siblings being complete narcissists while the Saitou siblings have this mysterious feel to them. Overall, I think that is why opposite attracts. In certain ways, the characters’ personalities do feel realistic and can relate to. I believe all of us can fit into one of the characters in the main quartet or at least the side characters. Personally, I think I am more like Mao… Yeah, really. However I thought they could flesh out more of the characters and the side supporting ones too but I suppose it is not fair to ask for it given the short duration of the anime.

The comedic parts are also not too bad with the quirky characters and their sometimes witty or even nonsensical dialogue that makes you smirk from time to time. Like Mako who may not portray much of emotions compared to the Shinmoto siblings but she can just turn ‘evil’ in the next second. Best joke of the series goes to Shiyo and her boyfriend because they really nail this online thingy with their online dating despite being so physically close. It basically sums up what today’s life is all about. Everything is so connected. So virtual. So unreal. Mao’s mistaking Chika as a cute little girl in that photo is also another hilarious moment. Now you know why the truth is scarier…

Story wise, for genres like these, there is nothing much to look forward to in terms of the plot. When you have been given the ‘everyday’ expression, that already seals it what kind of anime this is going to be. So whether it ends or not, it doesn’t matter because life goes on. They are still together and will be now and forever. At least that is how this type of shows goes. Those of you who love story driven animes would definitely stay away from this sort of slice of life anime.

Art and drawing feels like and simple but it also makes the characters look good and super cute. The colours are bright and vivid but not to the point of overdoing it so I would really say that there is a lot of plus points in the artwork despite its simplicity. Nothing too heavy but light enough to be pleasing for our viewing pleasure.

In a nutshell, this anime just like any short anime shows won’t become mainstream but it is good that anime viewers from all walks of life could check this cute and light hearted funny series. Because life is too short to be taken too seriously. Funny moments in life like these are a gem and can be found anywhere. So forget about conquering the world. Watch this anime first and then go conquer the (online) world. Hey. Suddenly I just realized this. Why do they call this Super Seisyun Brothers when there are girls too? Google doesn’t have the answer. Ah, one of life’s mysteries that will never be solved…

Nagi No Asukara

December 7, 2014

Kana Hanazawa as a cry-baby?! Oh Wow! I want to hear! And thus with this paltry and pathetic reason I decided to try Nagi No Asukara (A Lull In The Sea). Scorn me if you will. Despite my initial stereotype of her best voicing retarded characters (she still does from time to time), but I think after coming from such a long way, she has one of the best and versatile voices in the anime industry after voicing a myriad of roles especially recently it’s like almost every anime that I have seen, there is her. It’s like she is almost everywhere and I can’t escape from her grasp so to speak. So Kana Hanazawa will be my next favourite seiyuu? Not really. Despite not hearing much of Mamiko Noto these days, my love for her (voice) hasn’t waned a bit.

Anyway before I get distracted about comparing voice actresses and anything else, let us get back to this original anime. I don’t know where I heard it before but there is a theory that all life forms and everything else comes from the sea. Well, the Earth is about 70% covered in water, right? In this tale, we have normal people who live on the land as well as those who live in the sea. No, the sea people won’t be something like Aquaman or Atlantis thingy. They look, sound and behave like your typical land dwellers except that they can breathe underwater. That is just the setting. The story? Four kids from the ocean transfer to a school on land since theirs closed. They have to adjust to their new surroundings while dealing with not only the awkward relationship with the land people but also their own feelings for each other. Yeah. Sounds like another friendship, drama, love romance genre. Let’s see whether this one will sink or swim.

Episode 1
The fish people kids of Shioshishio are going to a school on land for the first time since theirs closed. Not enough students? Well, there are only 4 of them. The very angst Hikari Sakishima, the cry-baby Manaka Mukaido and their friends Chisaki Hiradaira and Kaname Isaki. Manaka already makes a blunder by being caught in a trawler’s fishing net. That’s the first time her eyes meet with Tsumugu Kihara. The quartet are introduced to their class but many of them tease them about their fishy smell. To add to Hikari’s angst, Tsumugu is in the same class. Later he visits his sister, Akari who works in a sundry shop on land, Saya Mart. A couple of lolis, Miuna Shidome and Sayu Hisanuma are seen trying to make a chewing gum graffiti on the wall. Hikari is dragged into a meeting with the other fish men as they are abuzz about humans not wanting to do the Boatdrift Ceremony this year. That’s where we learn that humans once came from the sea but there are those who were awed by the land and left. But the land dwellers experienced many hardships and were convinced the Sea God was angry at their ingratitude so they sent a young girl out on a boat as sacrifice. That’s how the tradition came to be. Manaka visits Lord Uroko to give her offerings. Because he starts sniffing her skin, she throws the food at him. He curses her. Because of that, the next day she is reluctant to leave her room. Hikari finds out that there is a fish on her knee! It’s farting?! No wonder she is so embarrassed and can’t let anyone see. Maybe except Hikari. He ties a handkerchief around it so no one can see it. In class, the girls are touching all over Manaka over her beautiful Ena (the fish people’s skin). She tries to get away but accidentally bangs her knee on the table. The fish farts. Uh huh. WTF. So embarrassed that she runs away and who knows where she fell. Her friends look for her. Hikari never gives up looking for her so Chisaki has this worried look that hints to us she likes Hikari. And with Kaname calming her down, it is also a hint that tells us he likes her. Even fish people have their love woes. Manaka is picked up by Tsumugu and placed in his bathtub since her Ena is cracking. She is disheartened and expects the worst when he sees the fish. However he exclaims it is beautiful. He is not lying. He also comments the fish’s scales are unique. So is her. Can she get any more embarrassed than this? Night fall, Manaka reunites with Hikari who isn’t so happy to see Tsumugu and accuses him of doing something to her and wants to beat him up. He felt the shock when he was told he rescued her. Worse, he notices her handkerchief off and realizes Tsumugu have seen the fish. What’s the problem?

Episode 2
The fish suddenly says goodbye and swims away! But guess what? Manaka goes to Uroko and tries to throw food at him! Uh huh. Trying to get cursed? Not a chance. Now Hikari is acting like Manaka’s bodyguard, telling her to stay away from Tsumugu and that the way she calls him sounds perverted. Hikari is confronted by Sayu and Miuna who start insulting him. They couldn’t believe Akari is his sister. Sayu even tries to get violent! But those short limbs won’t reach him… In the end, Miuna kicks his heel and they escape. The teacher seeks volunteers for the Boatdrift Ceremony and to make the Wooden Maiden (the school is doing it voluntary). Because Tsumugu volunteers, so does Manaka. Eventually the rest of the fish kids too. While gathering wood, they find Tsumugu quite knowledgeable about Shioshishio. When he is out on the boat and on very clear days, he could sometimes see the reflection and the ocean city below. He loves it. On their way back, the kids are shocked to see Akari being dropped off by a guy, Itaru near the pier. To their shock, they exchange kisses before she dives down! Hikari is positive that their relationship will not work out but as Kaname puts it if they do get married, sea dwellers will be banished from Shioshishio forever. Then Hikari gets so angry and starts scolding everybody that it made the girls cry. Kaname can only advise him to control his anger. Back with his family, he observes Akari acting like normal. He has a lot to think. He wants to protect her and Manaka like Ena but couldn’t understand why she wants to discard away all that and go to the surface. Manaka sees Uroko again and wants him to put the curse back. He tells her she has always been protected by somebody but now she is about to go where they can’t protect her. They hear a commotion outside. Several guys have Akari in custody because they heard she has been seeing some guy on land. Akari and Hikari’s father, Tomoru who is the head priest will talk to her himself. They know if a family member of theirs leaves for the surface, it’s going to look bad.

Episode 3
The friends discuss about this and Hikari is going to find this guy and punch him! Since this is a guy’s business, he shoos away the girls. They talk among themselves about some sea slug with a red belly. If you tell it your most private feelings, it will tell you what will come of them. Manaka is not sure if she likes Tsumugu because so also likes her friends. When Hikari sleeps, he could hear Akari’s weep. The only time he heard this was when their mom passed away. Hikari was inconsolable but Akari never cried. He couldn’t understand why she was acting like an adult when she is just a kid. She even took over mom’s place to take care of her family and didn’t want to become a manga artist which was her dream. Hikari argued she should just do it since he doesn’t want to go to college but she hugs him and cries she loves him. Although Hikari still blames her boyfriend, in a way he is relieved because she started thinking about herself. The friends tail Itaru to Tsumugu’s house. Hikari let his anger get the better of him and charges in to punch. Tsumugu’s grandpa easily subdues him. Grandpa asks Itaru if he is trying to have babies. As explained, Ena is a special skin that sea dwellers have that allows them to breath underwater. When a child is born from a union between a sea and land dweller, the child loses the Ena and cannot survive underwater. This is the reason why sea dwellers are banished. Itaru assures he is not fooling around with her but since he is not sure about marrying her, Hikari blows his top. He starts punching him and couldn’t remember what happened after that because grandpa took him out. He goes to thank grandpa for that and he is surprised he might have seen this old dude having Ena. Now he goes back and he tells sister to give up on that guy. She agrees. Wait, now he doesn’t agree to her giving up so easily? The friends are surprised that Tsumugu has dug a pond for them since it would be inconvenient for them to go back down the sea when their Ena dries up. Manaka comes clean about the fish curse and even tries to impersonate it! This makes Tsumugu laugh! That night Hikari sees Itaru going somewhere so he tails him to where Akari works. He didn’t expect to see Miuna and Sayu but Miuna wants him to do a favour. Help break up her dad and that woman. WHAT?!

Episode 4
Despite Hikari not liking all this, he will not play dirty like them and won’t do it. During cooking class, nobody wants to try the fish kids’ dish. Manaka tries to persuade a couple of boys to do so but they find her annoying and push her away, spilling her dish. Hikari wants to give them a piece of his mind but it is Tsumugu who steps in first and tells them to apologize. More woes for them because somebody has destroyed their Wooden Maiden! Hikari believes it’s those jerks and with lots of raging fury, goes to tackle them! Wow. The tackle must have been so hard that the locker became crooked! While Chisaki and Kaname are cleaning up, they see a doodle on the Wooden Maiden that says “Sayu was here!”. That is sure a dead giveaway. Chisaki doesn’t want anybody to know this because if they do, Hikari will become the bad guy. But Tsumugu says it is not the case of who is the villain, it is the truth that was misunderstood. Chisaki feels disappointed in him and thought he was different. Tsumugu doesn’t want everyone to misunderstand Hikari just because he misunderstands everyone. When Miuna finds Sayu has trashed the Wooden Maiden, she scolds her best friend for playing dirty. Manaka and Hikari see Itaru drowning and save him. Back in his home, he explains Akari won’t see him so he borrowed some diving gear from his friend and thought of going to see her. Before Hikari can get mad, he sees the altar of Itaru’s dead wife, Miori. Flashback reveals they were a perfect family when Akari got to know them and Miuna was a happy child. But Miori’s sudden death shook the little girl and it reminded her how similar she was to Hikari. She wanted to stay by their side and thought she could fill the gap Miori left behind and take her place. Uroko offers to put a curse for her to forget this man but she will handle this herself. Next day, Hikari gets down on his knees to apologize to those guys. Manaka joins in. The guy tackles him to make it even and they become friends. Sort of. Kaname confronts Sayu and tells her it is her fault that made Hikari do that and as his best friend, he can’t forgive her. So the loli starts crying and explains Miuna is her best friend too. She was always picked on except her. So when people started picking on Miuna, they ignored Sayu. But Miuna also ignored them. How can she be fine with this? Why should she care about those she doesn’t care? They are people whom she doesn’t care and have nothing to do with her. Sayu goes to apologize to Hikari. Everything seems to end well except that Chisaki feels sad that she wanted to defend him.

Episode 5
Uroko reads the spirit fire’s words that the boundaries between land and sea must be permanent. Uroko leaves Akari’s matter to Tomoru. Since Chisaki is down, Tsumugu could guess she likes Hikari. She admits she likes him more than a friend but is afraid she may end up becoming someone she doesn’t like. Tsumugu stops her not because he doesn’t want to hear her love woes but rather Manaka is around and heard it. So pleads to her to pretend that she did not hear any of this. Akari sees Itaru and wants to break up as she doesn’t want to hurt Miuna anymore. She was wrong to think she could fill Miori’s shoes. After she died and the adults plan to tell Miuna about Akari being her replacement mom, she didn’t like it and stormed out. She then goes to see Miuna and apologizes for everything. She doesn’t need to worry anymore because she will leave. But that night Hikari gets a call from frantic Akari that Miuna has gone missing. Because she didn’t fall into the ocean, the friends start searching for her over land. They finally find her hanging out in some abandoned place. She ran away from home. Akari is so relieved when she finds out Miuna is okay. She realizes she is still in love with Itaru and everyone else. Hikari was right when he told her she was a like a child. She is possessive of the things she loves and she doesn’t want to give them up. Itaru agrees that he doesn’t want to give up on their happiness too. After the friends cook and eat dinner with Miura, I’m not sure why they leave her with Hikari and head back first. Hikari talks to her that there are people who love her but she denies and goes to drown herself! She can’t swim. Hikari pulls her up and she smells him just the same like Miori and Akari. She explains she was really sad when mom died. But when she heard Akari would be her replacement mom, she became afraid. Because if she goes away, she would be sad again and wouldn’t know what to do. Therefore she concluded if she doesn’t love anyone, she won’t be sad. Hikari agrees with her to some degree and although he is not one to say, he doesn’t want to believe there is no hope to love somebody. Wondering if he has anyone he loves, he says he does and now he likes her. She accuses him a dollicon. Lolicon, she means? She has him help out with something. I guess they spend the whole night chewing the gums and complete the graffiti which eventually reads “Don’t go away”. Akari finds them at that wall and after scolding Miuna for making her worry, she promises she won’t go anywhere and will always be by her side. Miuna sees her eyes so blue and tears like the waves. She loves the sea. Akari breaks down further and it makes you think which one is the child.

Episode 6
The class is having a pool session. Hikari challenges Tsumugu to a swim. Surprisingly, the fish boy is lagging behind! Well, not used to swim on the surface and fish people don’t do the freestyle, right? Hikari hurts his toe and it’s bleeding bad. Manaka who is on duty is to take him to the infirmary. She wanted to be considerate and let Chisaki do it but she ignores her. Hikari feels lousy and pathetic. Manaka feels lousy and helpless. Hikari probably isn’t in his best condition since he keeps bumping his toe into furniture. Everyone including Miuna and Sayu help in rebuilding the Wooden Maiden. Chisaki ignores Manaka again and leaves on pretence that her mom asked her to stopped by the post office. Chisaki is not pleased that Manaka was ‘trying to be considerate’ because they agreed to drop this. She doesn’t want to talk to her. Sad Manaka strolls along till Tsumugu sees her. He follows grandpa’s advice to take her to the wharf. They talk about Tomoebi (some light refracting phenomenon) that she didn’t get to see and missed out and also Tsumugu’s comment on her way of talking which feels hesitating. When Manaka bums around back at Shioshishio, the phenomenon starts forming before her eyes. She quickly calls Chisaki to witness this beautiful occurrence. It made them remember that Manaka was late that she missed seeing this, Chisaki scolded her. All that doesn’t matter now. The girls made up. Chisaki always wished things stayed the same and never wanted to change. Although it is still difficult and impossible, she still doesn’t want them to change and wants to be with her friends forever. They wish the guys were here too. They are. Just watching this and eavesdropping at a hidden spot closer than you think.

Episode 7
The Wooden Maiden is completed. Because Tsumugu and Manaka say in perfect sync that they want to see the real Boatdrift Ceremony, the rest tease them as a couple. On the serious side, everybody really wants to see the real ceremony so they agree to work hard on both sides to get it up and running. This includes handing out flyers on the event and obtaining their signatures. Despite getting a bunch of them, Tomoru will not have a talk with the fishing association since the land people were the one who wanted to cancel it. Not even Hikaru’s plea could sway him. He too once thought the land dwellers were pigs and likewise the sea people were just fish. They were wrong. Now he realizes they are all people and can communicate. Eventually Tomoru and his men attend a meeting with the fishing association but he just sat there quietly. When both sides have agreed to go ahead with the ceremony, then the fish people start asking their land counterparts for an apology for calling it off. That’s when the war erupted and the kids have no say. They start throwing accusations at each other and blaming the other at fault. This is what civil and being an adult is all about? Didn’t they say let bygones be bygones? Itaru and Akari walk in at the wrong time and the guys drag them in. When one of them pushes away Hikari, he falls back and accidentally breaks the Wooden Maiden. Tomoru talks to Akari and wants her to break up with Itaru. Taking that communication line from Hikari, it is because they can communicate, the reason why they cannot get along due to the differences they can never get over. Akari mentions each time she talks to him, he always twisted it into some sea and land thingy. She once asked mom why she married him. Simply because she loved him. What if he was a land dweller? That won’t make a difference. She has decided to be Miuna’s mom. She decides to leave her home and Hikari is coming with her since differences with Tomoru cannot be swept under the carpet. But Uroko won’t let them leave and engulfs them in some icy whirlpool. It is because he made a promise to protect them because they are his descendants. But Tomoru begs to show mercy so Uroko lets them leave.

Episode 8
The siblings live at Itaru and Miuna’s place. Itaru thought of going down to the sea with her but Akari doesn’t care if she cannot go back there or no one accepts her. As long as they’re together, she is fine. However Itaru notes Miori used to look at the sea and doesn’t want Akari to go through the same thing. He wants them to go get Uroko’s forgiveness and blessing. Then they can properly get married. The kids heard it and Miuna feels the need to give some sort of present to her. Hikari likes the idea and they can go shopping with their friends in town tomorrow. They have to be careful not to dry up because there is not much salt water around to replenish their Ena. Miuna sees a poster of a shell shaped pendant she wants. As they ride the elevator, the buzzer goes off after too many people got onboard. Since Chisaki was the last one… Was she that fat? Just kidding. Hikari goes out with her and will meet the rest at the top. Time to have a heart to heart talk. Hikari vows to support Manaka if she ever decides to go to the surface. Chisaki couldn’t understand why he would do that. He always tried to protect her. Doesn’t he like her? Hikari realizes then he wasn’t thinking about Manaka’s feelings but his own. Chisaki doesn’t want him to change and hints she will support him if the need ever arises. Miuna finally finds the pendant but it is too expensive. She even calls daddy for advance on her allowance and is willing to work hard for it. However the pendant is sold out. Since it has to be this, they run all over town to look for it. Miuna thought Hikari’s Ena dried up so she splashes her bottled sea water on him. Turns out that his sandals broke. After everyone revitalizes by splashing Ena with each other, they get motivated to do what it takes to find the pendant. Unfortunately they go back empty handed. Tsumugu hints he made something out of fish scales and gave it to grandpa. So it doesn’t matter what it is. The most important thing to Akari is the fact that she chose it. This gives them the idea to go look around the beach. Needle in a haystack? Thankfully it only took them till night fall to get back home and Miuna presenting Akari with the most beautiful pendant she made. Perfect. She wouldn’t have imagined anything better. Suddenly it starts snowing. Not just any ordinary snow but salt flake snow.

Episode 9
Despite the phenomenon only lasting a short while, the fish people are worried if this is the Sea God’s wrath. It’s been getting colder lately too. Uroko needs to tell them something about the upcoming calamity. The kids decide to redo the Boatdrift Ceremony again and this time they seek Tsumugu’s grandpa’s help for a boat. The net that Manaka was caught in the first place, she accidentally drops it. This has grandpa revealing Tsumugu was also this clumsy when he first came here by himself when he was 9 years old since his parents are too busy in the city. Manaka believes Tsumugu found his love for the sea when he was young and he is good at finding things others cannot sea. He came here because he knows what is precious to him. Chisaki still feels down. Tsumugu talks to her. Seems she plans on giving up on Hikari because everybody has changed and moved forward so she should too. But she gets irked when Tsumugu replies she is neglecting her feelings. But he thinks she is fine the way she is now. She doesn’t feel well and goes back down to Shioshishio with Kaname accompanying her. However they see all the adults waiting for them with lamps. Manaka thanks Hikari for being by her side and has learnt a lot. So if he feels hard to go back down, she’ll come with him. She thinks his father would think the same thing and he could be stronger if he tells him he cares. Hikari pats her head and leave (because he felt nervous and had to calm himself down). When Manaka goes back to Shioshishio, her parents are waiting to pick her up and tells her she cannot go up to the surface anymore. Next day, Hikari thought he was late for class but apparently his fish friends didn’t turn up. He senses those guys are trying to interrupt again and goes back down to settle things. Shioshishio is void of people. It’s like a ghost town. A man finds him and wants him to go see Uroko. He won’t. With Manaka surprising here, Hikari takes her and runs away inside a building. She told him what happened but no reason was given why the adults told them they couldn’t go up or out anymore. She left herself because she feels the need to tell him. Hikari realizes her feelings are different than his. He hugs her but she pushes him away. Is this some sort of rejection? Tomoru comes by and he wants Hikari to come home.

Episode 10
Uroko narrates the legend during a time when some humans left for the surface. The Sea God felt sad and went into hiding. Salt flakes slowly fall and accumulated on both sea and land, turning the world into a cold place. A girl dived into the sea to plead to the Sea God and he was moved that he joined the people once again. However now it is not the Sea God who has abandoned the people. Without prayers, the Sea God loses its power. A calamity will occur in the next 50 to 100 years and the only way to survive this freezing death is via hibernation. The people will sleep and wait till the Sea God recharges his power and allow the calamity to pass. Of course those with Ena can only do so. This means surface dwellers will die. The fish people will have a last feast soon to replenish their Ena. Fasting will make their Ena thicker and prepare them for hibernation. Hikari still wants to go up to the surface to warn them. He also wants to do the Boatdrift Ceremony seriously in hopes of preventing this and will go talk to Uroko to try convince him. But he rejects it and even suggests it is better for the sea and land to drift apart. He also knows what it is like to be in love as he was born out of a scale of the Sea God. Hikari tells this to Akari but she isn’t pressing the panicking button. She isn’t a bit alarmed. But Miuna is scared though Akari promises they’ll always be together. Hikari talks to his classmates and Tsumugu believes him because grandpa has been saying something like this. Manaka is in a dilemma. She has been thinking a lot lately especially about the fate of the land dwellers. Then there is the possibility that they may not wake up together or even wake up at all. How long are they going to sleep? How long will the calamity last? Not even the fish people could think this far or even be bothered about it since they’re feasting hard. So much so thinking too much causes Manaka to cry. I think her roll sushi is going to be salty. I suppose it is now or never so Kaname goes up to Chisaki to confess he has always been in love with her.

Episode 11
Kaname doesn’t expect an answer. He felt this sort of thing couldn’t be left unsaid. The salt flakes continue to fall until Shioshishio is like a snow town. It is predicted that the fish people will go into hibernation on the Boatdrift Ceremony day. Akari and Itaru are ready to marry to each other and plan a ceremony that will fit them. The fish kids are allowed to leave school early because the instructions came from Shioshishio and they want to respect that for their hibernation. Hikari also has this same thinking that they may wake up at a different time so Kaname says that things will be different when they wake up. Even the surface too. There is no guarantee. The only time they can be together is now. Hikari plans to continue eating so as not to fall asleep as he doesn’t want to sleep while the world changes. Manaka agrees with him. Akari sees Miuna and Sayu making another chewing gum graffiti. Miuna gets very emotional and runs away. Akari is called by the fishing cooperative guys since they got a request from Hikari. He pleads to them to continue the ceremony. The older guys lament the last time things went and agree to do it. Akari although notes that because they have noticed their fishing haul is lesser due to the impact of environmental changes, Hikari has the right not to take up their selfish request. However the surface dwellers are important to her too and speaking on their side, she too hopes Hikari to accept their plea. Hikari tells this good news to Uroko but he mentions that even if the ceremony does go ahead, things will not change. It has no power in the first place. As he is a scale of the Sea God, his powers cannot reach beyond the sea. So the humans cannot be saved? Hikari doesn’t know how to break it to the rest. Akari thinks he has done his best. She summons everyone to let them know that she and Itaru are getting married. They want the Boatdrift Ceremony to be their wedding as well and she will take the place of the Wooden Maiden. Even if it doesn’t change anything, it would be not right to give up now after working so hard. Besides, they need to try just in case. Akari hopes Miuna could forgive her. Miuna and Itaru are very important people to her so living in a world without them is meaningless. She wants to live her life at the same time and place with them. Miuna starts bawling her tears enough to fill a pond. Everyone gets motivated to continue with the ceremony. Chisaki admires Akari as well as Hikari and Manaka. They are trying hard to change and in the process changed others. Thus she is going to try and confess her feelings to Hikari and not leave it unsaid. After all, she is like them.

Episode 12
Miuna and Sayu are picking flowers for the wedding. Those are weeds, right? They get into a little fight when they think the other is not as evil as herself. When Tomoru comes up to them looking for Miuna, they think he is some sort of pervert and attack him with the weeds! Imagine how much they have to apologize when they realize he is Akari’s father. Miuna hopes he could persuade Akari and Hikari to hibernate. He replies no one will know what will happen if that happens and that the duo might feel safer on the surface despite the danger is still far away. Manaka and Chisaki follow Tsumugu shopping at town. Tsumugu had to use the girls as excuse he is out with his friends because he doesn’t want to talk to his mom. When they return, they see Hikari, Kaname and the lolis trying to lift the heavy flags for the Boatdrift Ceremony. Tomoru and Akari talk. Now that they have calmed down, Akari apologizes and never knew her dad had it tough ever since mom died. She is sorry for being a difficult and selfish daughter to the very end. When the fish kids return to Shioshishio, they see several unconscious kids being taken away. Hibernation for them starts early as their Ena thickens quicker. The quartet then bum around in their old school and Chisaki couldn’t summon her courage to confess to Hikari. Hikari fools around impersonating as one of the teachers. Then Kaname asks the forbidden question. Does Hikari like Manaka? Because they won’t know if they’ll ever wake up at the same time or even wake up at all. Hikari didn’t hesitate to say he likes Manaka. He will always like her even if she likes Tsumugu. This causes her to be confused as she runs away. Hikari goes after her. Chisaki goes after him. Bit Kaname stays put. Yeah, we know. He’s the worst, right? Chisaki manages to get Hikari’s attention when she trips. She wants him to go after Manaka because she is in love with the person he is now, the one who loves Manaka. I think it’s getting a little complicating… He sits with her and admits he is just like her. He was afraid of destroying their relationship. But telling how he felt was enough. Manaka continues to run and run. Or swim. Then it’s like déjà vu again because she gets caught in Tsumugu’s net. Night fishing?

Episode 13
Manaka views Tsumugu like the sun. When she was little, she wasn’t allowed to go up to the surface but always looked up to the sky. The bright sun always made her heart race. When Manaka goes back down and meets Hikari, he continues his confession he loves her. Everyone else is precious to him too. Whether or not she loves him back, she will always be precious to him no matter what. She will tell him her feelings once the Boatdrift Ceremony is over. The fish kids are heading up to the surface on the day of the ceremony. Kaname reminds Chisaki that he will still love her even if they go to sleep and wake up at different times. The quartet see Uroko for his blessing before going up. Tomoru has nothing else to say to them except that since they set this in motion, be sure to see it through. Also, he hopes Akari to lead a happy life. Preparations of the ceremony are underway. Akari is transformed into a beautiful bride-cum-Wooden-Maiden. Miuna tries to practice calling Akari her mom. She has something to say after the ceremony. That night, the ceremony begins. Uroko lights up the spirit fire to guide the boats. Suddenly the waves get rough and violent whirlpools appear. Does the Sea God really intend to take Akari? She is thrown off the boat as Hikari and Manaka dive down to save her. The wave topples Tsumugu’s boat. He is going to drown as Chisaki dives in to save him. She doesn’t have enough strength to swim up but with Kaname’s help they manage to bring him to a boat. Because the waves are strong, one of the pier pillars breaks off and is going to crush the boat. The driver has to make a swift turn and this causes Kaname to fall off and back into the sea. His heart aches when he sees Chisaki holding on to unconscious Tsumugu. Manaka catches Akari and pleads to the Sea God not to take people from their loved ones. If a sacrifice is needed, she will be it. Manaka crashes down to the sea floor. Hikari couldn’t reach her as the current pushes him up. Shortly, the whirlpools dissipate. The black sea is calm again. Everyone sees Akari floating on the surface and go rescue her.

Episode 14
Some time skip must have occurred. We see Chisaki visiting Tsumugu’s grandpa at hospital before heading to Saya Mart. Akari has a little son named Akira and his special skill is kanchou!!! OMG! Naughty boy just did a kanchou on Chisaki’s ass! Akari remembers after that tragic Boatdrift Ceremony, she became depressed and it got complicated when she is pregnant. But Miuna cheered her up and thanked her because she is happy she is going to have a brother. Miuna and Sayu are middle school students now. They are taller but still have that loli look? Today is also the Tomoebi event. Some moonlight phenomenon that projects the image of the night sky on the frozen water during a certain hour. Sayu warns Miuna a guy is going to confess to her on Tomoebi. Miuna vows after that tragedy, she won’t cry because she believed Hikari and the rest are somewhere happy and safe in the sea. It is just out of her reach. She hints she likes Hikari but that guy likes Manaka. Tsumugu and his professor are oceanography researcher researching the frozen spot for Tomoebi. They are researching about sea villages and its connection with the surface. Chisaki doesn’t want to go to Tomoebi as she feels it is useless unless all of them are here. Flashback after that tragedy, she had no relatives on land and Akari would love to take her in but Tsumugu’s grandpa offers to let her live at his place since Akari’s little apartment is so cramped. Besides, grandpa was from the sea too. Happy days pass and Chisaki and Tsumugu are high school students. Then grandpa collapsed and admitted to hospital. Chisaki was the most frantic one because she is afraid her loved ones will be taken away again. Then Tsumugu left for the city to study to become an oceanography researcher in hopes he will learn what actually happened on that day. On Tomoebi night, the phenomenon is about to begin. The sea has been calm ever since that day. A boy wants to confess to Miuna but she guessed his intentions first and then apologizes-cum-rejects him because she loves another person. Want to bet who that guy is? This kid won’t give up. She won’t give up. When the phenomenon begins, Tsumugu detects strange currents and there is light coming out from the sea. Suddenly before Miuna and Tsumugu is naked and unconscious Hikari! He looks the same and has not aged. Miuna gives him CPR. Seriously. CPR to a fish people? But it did the trick. First thing Hikari is worried is Manaka. He didn’t recognize Miuna initially (she looks sad). He is in a state of shock and Miuna notices his eyes were frozen in sadness like the calm of the sea.

Episode 15
Tsumugu tells Chisaki about Hikari’s awakening. He is exactly the same 5 years ago. Even if he has been sleeping for some time, he is still exhausted. Maybe he has to absorb all the sudden changes. I mean, suddenly Miuna is the same age as him and almost as tall as he is. What’s more, Akari has got a kanchou loving son (in which later Hikari is trying to teach him finer points of it???!!!). Oddly, Chisaki didn’t go see Hikari and went to see grandpa instead. His old classmate, Sayama picks him up to go around town. He sees Sayu for the first time. The fishing association guys are happy to see him and even saved the flag he was waving on that day. Hikari just felt sick looking at it. Tsumugu didn’t realize Chisaki was back and entered her room to accidentally see her changing. She was looking at herself and asks if she has changed. He notes she used to talk a lot of this back then. She explains all she wanted was Hikari to remain the same and feels sad that she was the one who changed. Tsumugu agrees. She did change. She is much more beautiful now. Tears of happiness? Miuna then confronts Tsumugu why the childhood friends haven’t seen each other. Just like Miuna, he too doesn’t understand why. Because Hikari and Chisaki have been together for so long, it may only be something they understand. So Tsumugu asks Hikari this when he resurfaces from yet another failed descent to Shioshishio (some current keeps pushing him away). He blows his top. Never has he yelled like that before. It’s because he just woke up the other day and everything has changed. He can’t take anymore if he sees these drastic changes. He doesn’t want to think or know about them. And then those guys had to give him that flag. It just brings back bad memories. He was so loud that hiding Miuna could hear him. She rushes back to find her flag that she had packed (Akira trying to distract her with some underwear?! Maybe he thinks this is what she is searching for). While wandering, Hikari and Chisaki finally accidentally meet. She apologizes for changing. But Hikari has realized after seeing all the change. It is indeed scary. But he is relieved to see her haven’t changed one bit. Really? She is taller than him and has a nice body. He is back to his cheeky self and this brings tears to her eyes. Hikari vows he is not going to be surprised anymore. He sees Miuna waving her flag. He takes a closer look at her slightly modified flag (hearts and butterflies added) and gives out a good laugh. Miuna is happy to see him smile like that and wants to protect it. When Chisaki returns home, Tsumugu can tell she has already met Hikari.

Episode 16
Hikari returns to school. Back in the same class? Repeating his grade? Yeah. He is quite the popular guy. Everyone has this thought: Isn’t Hikari now Miuna’s uncle? Mind boggling… The boy Miuna rejected, I guess he has to let go of her now. Hikari misinterprets they like each other. Because Akari came down with rubella, Hikari and Miuna are to head to town themselves to get new tailored uniforms for Hikari since he is back to school (Tsumugu’s are too big). As Hikari is flustering this looks like some sort of date (which I think Miuna is hoping for), Miuna calls Sayu to join them. But they’re so ‘close’ to each other that Sayu feels like she is the third wheel. I mean, Hikari nonstops teasing Miuna especially with her squeaky boots that sound like a pig’s fart. Really. The tailor gets Hikari’s measurements and Miuna insists he makes Hikari’s old school in Shioshishio. Outside, Sayu talks to Miuna and hints that because Hikari is her uncle, they can’t enter a relationship even though he is just a step-uncle. Miuna thinks she is being mean by bringing that up but Sayu tells her off the need of calling her to come in the first place. It’s like trying to show off her flirting because she is happy the guy she likes is back. The tailor worked so hard to get the measurements and now Hikari says he doesn’t need it? Well, he goes out only to see the girls fighting and Miuna runs away. Sayu is in tears. Luckily Sayama is passing by so they hitch a ride home. Because of what Sayama said, Hikari has an idea where Miuna ran to. It’s that abandoned place where she once ran away and tried to drown herself. In addition to cheer her up, he is back to his cheeky teasing self. Miuna can’t stand him anymore and throws her shoes. I guess everything in this place is falling apart so the crane starts falling down! Thankfully it misses but Miuna slips and falls into the sea. Suddenly she realizes she could breathe underwater and swim! How the?! She could see the ocean’s beauty as well as Hikari coming to get her. She is excited and wants to tell Akari when Miuna finds them. She is glad she is okay. Safe to say, they made up. And Hikari’s teasing continues… This guy just doesn’t give up, doesn’t he? Meanwhile, a pleasant surprise (or shock) for us because here is… Kaname!!! He’s back. In his birthday suit asking the bar master what day it is.

Episode 17
Hikari and Miuna go to the fishing association to see Kaname. Tsumugu and Chisaki too. Hasn’t change a bit. Tsumugu’s professor takes down his statements but it seems Kaname cannot remember much. When he came to, he was being carried by the current. He also heard sounds of shifting sands (Hikari didn’t hear anything on his awakening). Miuna mentions she also heard something like that when she fell and everyone finds out she can now breathe underwater. Her birth mom was originally from Shioshishio. The professor thanks them for the data and believes everyone else in Shioshishio will wake up too. Kaname stays at Tsumugu’s place as he observes Tsumugu and Chisaki working together. It’s like everything just flows smoothly. The class is all abuzz that Kaname is awake. The girls are excited. Because he is more handsome than Hikari. That effective ends his popularity streak. But for Sayu, looks like she is undergoing what Miuna felt. Her childhood crush has revived. So when she first accidentally sees him, he couldn’t recognize her. She felt heartbroken and ran away. Kaname talks to Chisaki that he was going around to see what has changed and what hasn’t. He wonders if she has changed. Even so, he says he likes older woman. Eh? What? The professor comes back with a report that Miuna has a skin membrane that resembles closely to Ena. This is a first case since we all know that if a parent is a surface dweller, the child definitely will not have Ena. Kaname now talks to Hikari about the changes. Hikari says he won’t change because if Manaka wakes up, everything might be too shocking for her. Even if she still likes Tsumugu, he won’t change. Miuna heard that so she joins the depression club with Sayu. Sayu feels pathetic with these feelings but Miuna views otherwise and won’t change. Sayu is surprised when Kaname calls to her. He’s cool. She’s flustering. Cat caught her tongue? Tsumugu and the professor have analyzed the data from the currents and all and believe the power protecting Shioshishio is weakening. They think they have pinpoint where the current originates which is of course Shioshishio. They want Hikari and Kaname to help locate it. Miuna also wants to help since she has Ena. As they dive into the sea, Hikari and Kaname couldn’t hear any sand sound. Only Miuna could so she follows it and guides the guys deep below.

Episode 18
They enter some sort of wall mirage and here it is, Shioshishio! Everything is covered in salt flake. This is the first time Miuna sees this place and finds it beautiful. Kaname plants some sensor for Tsumugu. They walk around to see the denizens sleeping. Like as though time stopped for them. Because Hikari thinks Miuna thinks they’re all dead, he gets a little angry and requests some time off to go home and cool himself down. So they’re going to make her wait here while Hikari goes to see his dad sleeping peacefully and tells him about what happened? Yeah well, he should thank Miuna in the face rather than him because without her they couldn’t have got here. Miuna wanders to the middle school and could see visions of Hikari and friends during their days here. When the guys meet up, they realize Miuna is missing. Just follow the footsteps. As Miuna leaves, she sees Uroko. Thinking he is some god, she hopes he could tell her where Manaka is. He believes she is lying and wonders if that is what she is truly looking for. Once the guys find her, Uroko disappears. Miuna thinks she knows where Manaka is. It leads them to a huge ruin where all the Wooden Maiden lay in rest. It’s like a freaking huge graveyard for Wooden Maiden. Yeah, a little horror show too. In the middle is sleeping Manaka. They notice something. Manaka’s Ena is slowing coming off. This is the sound that Miuna heard. At this rate she will die. Hikari tries to talk to wake her up. Although she is slightly moving but it’s not enough to wake her to her senses. Kaname warns of waking her up abruptly as it may have some negative effect. But if they don’t bring her to the surface she’ll die. So screw it. Once Hikari takes Manaka, the place starts to rumble. Wrath of the Sea God? They swim up towards the surface and Miuna caught glimpse of Uroko’s disappointed face.

Episode 19
Chisaki narrates she and Manaka once got lost in a sea forest but Hikari came to their rescue like a man. That’s why when he found Manaka, it wasn’t any surprise to her. If there was somebody who could find her, it would be Hikari. Manaka is still sleeping although the doctor diagnoses her progress as stable and steady. As though Hikari couldn’t wait so he asks and talks to her in her sleep. He vows never again to let her go. Chisaki talks to Tsumugu’s grandpa about what happened. When she mentions that Manaka is oddly losing her Ena, he adds that there is more to the legend of the Wooden Maiden. People don’t talk about it because it is a sad ending. Tsumugu mentions his professor won’t publish their findings soon and will compile everything and officially present it as an academic journal. Kaname is not impressed because it’s like they’re doing this for reputation. Tsumugu explains if the paper isn’t acknowledged, they will lose research grants and all that they have worked on will be wasted. Then the media will get involved and may cause problem for Miuna. Chisaki hopes Kaname would let this go since a lot happened. Probably he’s being sarcastic when he notes she is acting like an adult. And maybe this brings back some nostalgic memories as she goes to try on her old school uniform. Too small. Too tight. So when she trips and the guys rush in to see what’s going on, imagine her embarrassment… Later Chisaki wonders if being an adult is to lose something. But Tsumugu says that she found new things to replace that. Tsumugu finally gets to thank Kaname for saving him that day although the latter had thoughts not to and could have got Chisaki all for himself. Even if that happened, Tsumugu will never allow him to be with Chisaki. Nevertheless he is glad they came back. Chisaki thinks of going to Shioshishio alone. A map and compass enough? Yeah, then the current is too strong. Compass going wild. Thankfully Hikari is there to help her as they enter Shioshishio safely. So they still talk about change and Hikari mentions his restlessness because he wants to figure out why Manaka’s Ena is disappearing. Chisaki tells grandpa’s story. After the Sea God and Wooden Maiden married, they had descendants and they flourished. However the Wooden Maiden still missed her land people and became depressed. The Sea God did all he could to make her happy but the only way was to let her return to the land. In exchange, he took something from her. That something could be her Ena. This gives Hikari the much needed boost. Now he knows what to do. He is going to find Uroko and learn the truth. Once he gets Manaka’s Ena back, he will help Tsumugu with the surface. Chisaki understands that she still likes Hikari. She thought their frozen time will start moving again after 5 years. But after a week, Manaka still remains asleep.

Episode 20
Hikari has been diving frequently to Shioshishio to find Uroko for help but he is nowhere to be seen. Also, the sea feels colder ever since they took Manaka. Because the town always play that song at 5pm in memory for that Boatdrift Ceremony, they get this idea to play a tape of the people singing it in hopes she would wake up. Since Hikari has been ditching school just to find ways Manaka to wake up, he gets into a little argument with Miuna. Hikari dreams of Manaka losing her Ena. Miuna and Sayu have spent 3 hours trying to find a way to wake up Manaka. I don’t know if those heavy stuffs are related. Sayu is bored and unfocused. I mean, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. So could you blame Sayu for suggesting his wild method since she is reading Snow White? Maybe Hikari should just kiss Manaka to wake her up. So crazy it might work. But since Miuna is sceptic, Sayu thinks she doesn’t want Manaka to wake up. Playing the tape doesn’t work and then Hikari gets high fever. Diving too much? Tsumugu contacts Miuna and hopes to meet. Because of some theory that her development of Ena might be due to survival instincts and thus her body changed and dormant abilities awakened. Tsumugu thinks he is hard to read because everyone here is overflowing with emotions. He was somewhat envious. Miuna isn’t sure about that. When Hikari saw her Ena, he said she was just like him. Now how come Manaka is losing her Ena while she is gaining it? She thinks she is the only one with different feelings towards Manaka. Maybe she doesn’t want her to wake up. Tsumugu shares he initially didn’t want them to wake up because he feared Chisaki would disappear on him. But when they did, he felt very happy. Miuna gets the courage to tell Hikari Sayu’s idea of kissing her. Not Miuna, but Manaka lah! Either way, he feels embarrassed and they end up in some shouting contest. So loud that they could wake up the dead. See? Even Manaka is telling him off that he shouldn’t yell at girls. Oh, wait! MANAKA HAS AWAKENED???!!! Just like that?! After 7 episodes…

Episode 21
The quartet reunite for the first time in 5 years. Manaka is still your lively and cheerful girl. Like it was just yesterday. For her, that is. She’s pretty amazed with the town covered in salt flakes. Hikari couldn’t understand why she could laugh this much because she has already completely lost her Ena and cannot go back to Shioshishio. So he asks her what happened right after the Boatdrift Ceremony. She cannot remember much but she heard somebody’s voice. It wasn’t Uroko by the way. It could be the Sea God maybe. Also something about that voice wanting to give her something or she has to give him something. Chisaki and Tsumugu are at the hospital, attending to grandpa as usual. Tsumugu says that by the end of the month he needs to go back to his university campus because the university has instructor the professor to compile all the data and put together their conclusion. During dinner, Hikari whisks Manaka away just to ask her about that promise. Remember the one she said she will tell him after the Boatdrift Ceremony? Maybe he’s being too pushy and his face a little scary for her to say it. He jumps the gun thinking it is about Tsumugu. Next morning, Tsumugu suddenly rushes to Akari’s home. He needs to see Manaka. Once everybody gathers, he shows his elbow. It’s that fish! OMG! Behold! Shocking? He feels Uroko has cursed him. Hikari takes it as a positive sign that Uroko is somewhere close by.

Episode 22
So they’re putting a porn magazine and Uroko’s favourite food to lure him out? You’ll never know if you don’t try. The salt flake snow is getting worse and Tsumugu’s professor is being called back as the research is being delayed by the bad weather. So when they discover the porn magazine is gone, they think Uroko must have taken the bait and is nearby. Because Manaka couldn’t remember about Hikari’s confession at their old school before they went into hibernation, he becomes upset. Too emo. So Miuna chases after him and unexpectedly they reach Uroko. So what is he doing here? I guess he got bored watching over the fish people and wanted to come to the surface. That took time, the reason he didn’t pop up immediately when the fish kids start waking up. He could smell Miuna’s Ena has developed quite nicely and is ovulating. Say, what? Hikari bombards him with questions and the all-important what happened to Manaka. So Uroko mentions about the legend and the part we know that ended in tragedy. There’s more. After she returned to the surface, the Sea God lost his life and his scales scattered through the sea. Uroko is one of those scales. Till this day, his raw emotions drift through the sea. The spirit fire which is a more structured feeling seeks to prevent what is to befall the sea and surface. But because those emotions remain in the sea, the sometimes imbue the dangers of the sea with semi-sentient purpose. On the Boatdrift Ceremony, those emotions dragged Manaka to the bottom of the sea and made her the sacrifice. Manaka was then covered in a sheet of thick Ena and thanks to her the sea became calmer and the impending demise on the surface stopped. The spirit fire and fragments of emotions became one. There was balance. Manaka couldn’t let go of her feelings and fully accept her fate so those feelings tried to free her. It also began destroying the Ena and sending bits of it towards the surface. So what Miuna heard was Miuna’s feelings from her Ena. When they started looking for Manaka, the Sea God feared the Wooden Maiden would be taken away again and decided to take something else from her. That was when she lost the rest of her Ena. In short, the sea was calm when Manaka was the sacrifice but since they rescued her, the impending doom may arrive sooner. Hikari is as usual his mad self so Uroko asks him if he loves Manaka. This is not a joke. He knows his feelings will never reach her or as of anybody’s. Because the other thing the Sea God took from her is her ability to fall in love. So she’s playing happily with Akira… That’s good, right? Not good for Hikari of course.

Episode 23
Hikari tells Miuna about the probably thing Manaka wanted to tell him. It was probably her love for Tsumugu. Miuna thinks it’s Hikari but he knows he can’t be the one (that outburst in the revisited old school classroom). She suggests talking to everyone else. The camp is split especially Kaname and Chisaki who think Manaka’s inability to love isn’t so bad because she seems like having fun now. Sayu is most upset because she thinks they’re being self centred and haven’t even asked Manaka and storms off. Later, Manaka sees something shiny in the sea. Hikari picks it up to be a shiny white rock from the sea slug. White indicates true feelings but black indicates it is misplaced. Manaka doesn’t remember what she wished for but Hikari wants her to hold on to it. Hikari thinks she must have talked to the sea slug about her feelings. He needs to ask Tsumugu. If her feelings were so strong about it, he believes she will remember if she has help from the person she loves. Miuna talks to Manaka who says she keeps hearing sounds of waves in her head. Miuna borrows the rock and promises to make it better. Next day Sayu talks to Miuna about what she said. She feels it is not right to lose your ability to fall in love even if that person doesn’t love you back. It might be easier for her but she wouldn’t be who she was now as for those 5 years it was thoughts of Kaname that kept her going. That’s why she is going to confess to Kaname.

Miuna made the rock into a pendant. Manaka is grateful and this causes Miuna to lose control of her emotions. Hikari tells Tsumugu that Manaka is in love with him and wants him to do whatever it takes to get those feelings back like dating her. What about hugging and kissing? That allowed? Tsumugu asks how sure is he that Manaka likes him. Despite her reactions to him, can that be considered proof? Hikari filled with angst tries to beat him up but Tsumugu has developed a lot in these past 5 years. You can’t touch him. Tsumugu says he won’t lie even if Manaka loves him, it is not good to toy with other people’s feelings. Because he loves Chisaki. Guess what? Chisaki heard it! She dives into the sea to hide her embarrassment and Tsumugu goes after her. Hey wait. He can’t breathe! Too late… He could hear the sounds of the Ena and feel all its emotions. I don’t know how, the Ena envelops him and he is now able to breathe underwater and swim! WTF?! The fish separates from him. He meets Chisaki at Shioshishio and explains how his parents hated the sea. That’s why they left grandpa who wants to be near it for the city. Tsumugu loves the sea and wants to be close to it. He has her remember when Hikari mistook those bullies for destroying the Wooden Maiden and she discovered the truth and tried to cover him. He couldn’t understand why she did that because it’s like she’s making a fool of herself. She’s always quiet and calm and yet she became so fierce that she can’t handle her. He thought she was just like the sea. Get what he is saying?

Episode 24
Tsumugu has been with her for 5 years so he can sense she has the same feelings for him. He hugs her but she breaks free and asserts she doesn’t love him. So when she goes back up, Kaname offers to listen. He already accepted that she will never look at him and if it’s not Hikari, it would be Tsumugu. Anyhow it won’t be him. Chisaki’s reason that she can’t love anyone else is because it would be like betraying everyone whose time stopped 5 years ago. She was the only one who didn’t change and felt scared. She was sure her feelings didn’t change and still loved him. Kaname says none of that matters now because all of them are here and she doesn’t need to hide anymore. Akari shows Manaka a kiddie love letter Akira wrote for Manaka! Manaka runs away and this may send signals that the poor little kid got rejected. Actually she couldn’t understand what it means despite starting to cry. When Chisaki attends to Tsumugu’s grandpa, she asks about the Wooden Maiden legend that he didn’t manage to finish. When the Wooden Maiden went back to the surface, no one was waiting for her because the guy she loved died as he drowned while he searched for her. The end. Tsumugu takes Hikari and Kaname to have a guy to guy talk. Apparently he beings them along to Uroko and requests to place a curse on him again. Is this a joke? Tsumugu wants to do the Boatdrift Ceremony again. Detritus are dead cells and planktons floating all over the sea. He felt a multitude of emotions when he got his Ena. It wasn’t the Sea God’s emotions but everyone in town and the fish. He is sure among them are Manaka’s. Tsumugu’s theory is that if Manaka’s true feelings are encased in that pendant and they put it on the Wooden Maiden, they may lead the Sea God to believe Manaka has returned and thus returning her feelings. It sounds crazy but it’s better than not doing anything.

Apart from Uroko’s help, everyone also chips in to make this Boatdrift Ceremony a success. It’s like nobody had trauma or anything since more and more people even from those during their time gladly chip in. Chisaki is in that guilty mode again, thinking she should be the sacrifice this time. Kaname just tells her to stop it. I didn’t know that Sayu doesn’t know Kaname likes Chisaki and boy she sounds slightly upset. I don’t know why she’s being so emotionally upset about him trying to shrug his feelings off like a joke or something. So when Kaname starts his usual preaching that he is the outsider, blah, blah, blah, this is the perfect time for Sayu to build up her confession that she managed to get through these 5 years thanks to him. He was always in her heart. So please look at her not as a kid but a woman. Then surprise! Kaname starts crying too. When he woke up, he feared he would be alone and that no one was waiting for him. Hikari had Akari’s family and Chisaki had Tsumugu’s family. Knowing someone is thinking of him makes him happy. Sayu expects to be rejected but here’s another surprise! Kaname is willing to start anew from here. Just the 2 of them. He’ll only look at her. So that’s the end for him for Chisaki? I guess he knows when to give up. Time to move forward. Hikari talks to Manaka and hints that there is someone he likes. Being the retard she is, she would love for him to tell her more and everything about that! Not going to be easy… Especially to say the name of the person he loves. But would Manaka still understand? The important thing now is to make the Boatdrift Ceremony a success.

Episode 25
Cheeky Akira snatches the pendant but trips and it falls into the sea. Miuna dives in to save it but could see it dissolving. That is when she heard the voice of Manaka echoing she loves Hikari. Flashback when Tsumugu fished up Manaka the second time. She was talking about the sun and the sea and how she loved Hikari. She didn’t want Tsumugu to tell others because she knew how Chisaki felt as she too didn’t want others to know. Just like Hikari said, to get Manaka’s feelings back, the person she loves must work hard. If that is the case, Hikari has already done a lot. He adds love is like the sea. You have to embrace everything including the sadness. That’s when new feelings are born. Manaka couldn’t sleep because she still keeps hearing sound of waves but when Miuna puts her hand over her, it stops. Tsumugu talks to Chisaki to talk about her feelings. She doesn’t have to lie anymore. Chisaki always wanted to believe Hikari and Manaka love each other because that way things between then will never change. Tsumugu believes she loves him. Is he being confident? No, really. This isn’t about keeping the quartet together anymore. So admit it that she’s in love with him. Yup. He’s pretty sure about it and is trying to think of a way to make her admit! He’s serious! He even asks permission to hug her but why does he do it even if she says no? Funny guy… Similarly, Miuna talks to Hikari and tells him she knows he loves Manaka. If acknowledging it isn’t enough, she makes him admit it! Not only that, say he loves Manaka a few times! What the heck?! Well, this is her way of hurting herself so that she’ll be able to throw her feelings for him away as loving him would hurt. Some logic. Well, a bit of crying helps ease the heart pain…

The day of the Boatdrift Ceremony is here. Uroko the big shot is chauffeured to a makeshift altar. He thinks the Wooden Maiden doesn’t look like the original. Not to say the original was pretty. He puts it that it was a convenient way for surface dwellers to get rid of people they don’t want. Hikari asks if he loves the original Wooden Maiden and if it is okay to let her return to the surface. Uroko believes he is the scale of Sea God’s shoulder blade. If he were his hands, he would have felt her. That night, the ceremony proceeds as usual. Everything goes smoothly till a storm kicks up. Déjà vu again. Uh huh. Manaka gets thrown into the sea. Again. All the kids dive in to try and save her (remember, she has no Ena). Kaname prevents Sayu from falling off. Tsumugu could see Miuna’s Ena glowing and believes the sea is responding to her feelings. He reveals Manaka loves Hikari and Miuna’s feelings are very similar. Miuna catches Manaka and transfer some Ena over to her. Miuna can sense her feelings. They felt at ease together because their Ena is shouting it loves Hikari. The whirlpool spits out Manaka and takes Miuna instead. Hikari and Tsumugu swim further to chase after her. They arrive in the Wooden Maiden’s graveyard. Hikari can’t get close to Miuna as a barrier is forming around her. Hikari is furiously trying to break it but his attempt is futile. Miuna is losing consciousness fast and all she could think of is how much she loves Hikari.

Episode 26
Although Manaka is brought to the surface, she is unconscious as she remembers she could feel all the feelings from everyone past and present in the sea. Among them are the maiden’s feelings. Continuing from the legend, the Sea God as much as he loved her, this also caused him pain as she had her own love on the surface. He was the one who tore them apart. It is even more painful to see her cry in secret as she is unable to forget him. The Sea God knew her lover had killed himself out of grief of losing her so before sending her back up, she took her ability to love to prevent her from falling to the same fate. When her heart is calm, the sea is also calm. A big glow is emitting from the sea. Hikari is still trying to break through. Like as though he became the harem guy, he talks about always wanting Manaka to love him but realized Miuna is the one closest and never realized her feelings and hurt her. If love has him end up in pain like this, he didn’t want it in the first place. Falling in love is terrible. So he pleads to the Sea God take his ability to fall in love instead. His feelings resonate through the ocean. Miuna had always wanted to tell the Sea God and Hikari this. If the painful feelings of love can cause that person to cry this much for you, then it makes her the happiest person ever. The spirit fire suddenly acts up. It lights all of Shioshishio and makes its way to the graveyard. Hikari’s determination has him break the barrier and bring Miuna to safety before the flames burn the entire graveyard. They could feel the maiden’s feelings dissolving in the sea. They could also hear her true feelings. Despite the memories of her beloved was precious, what was even more precious was the time she spent with the Sea God. Uroko gives out a laugh that the Sea God took away her ability to love without even knowing the one whom her feelings were for. And it took him this long to realize.

Surprisingly appearing from the horizon towards them is Tomoru. He is glad to see Miuna big. He mentions about the child losing the Ena as a result of the union between land and sea people. This was to make sure they had a chance of survival and ensure descendants and thus their hibernation. Now that Miuna has Ena, it proves that there is still hope even if they wake up. Tomoru knows what is happening because Hikari had been talking to him while he was asleep. His feelings reached him. On the surface, the sea stops being calm and there are now waves. The fish people of Shioshishio awake and head to the surface for the first time. Akari reunites with her father. Cheeky Akira pulls his beard… And so our paired couples also reunite except for Manaka who goes straight for Miuna instead of Hikari. Because that guy is tough, right? Don’t tell me he needs a hug from her too? Here are the few things that happened in the aftermath. Seems the fish people have the choice of waking up themselves. Those who remain sceptical continue to sleep. Akira now has Ena and is cheekier than ever with this newfound ability. Manaka flusters when Tsugumu mentions Hikari’s name. The duo also try imitating the fish (Akira too). Chisaki continues to live at grandpa’s place because she is worried the soup he makes is too salty for his blood pressure. Tsumugu leaves for his college but will be back every vacation. Uroko notes to the Sea God that humans are interesting because they continue to chase their dreams even after so much suffering and without finding any answer. The salt flakes have stopped and the sea is warmer now. Manaka talks to Hikari about the thing she wants to say before the Boatdrift Ceremony. Hikari already knows.

A Lol In The Sea. Something Feels Fishy…
Overall I feel that this little anime is quite an okay watch despite some things that I don’t get. What are the things that I don’t get? There are a few but the main one is the part whereby Miuna and Tsumugu suddenly get their Ena somehow makes it feel so cheap and it is out of convenience that they obtain it. I mean, having Ena is a big thing. It allows you to talk and breathe underwater while continue to be warm (you don’t know how cold the sea is, don’t you?). And finally when they put Akira having Ena too, it just made it all the more confusing. So in short, everybody can get Ena, right? From the youngest newborn and the oldest granny, if they soak themselves long enough and use their feelings, they’ll get Ena. Is that what they are saying? Heck, the world doesn’t need to die a slow death because eventually everybody will get Ena and hibernate and the world will be saved. If this is so, then it is true that everything really originates from the sea. I guess human evolution will eventually bring us back to where we came from, huh? It makes the warnings like the union between a sea and surface dweller feel like old wives’ tale.

The slow pacing drama in the first half of the series might turn some off. It seems more like fun stuffs and some light-hearted drama. It gets a little darker with the drama in the second half after that tragic Boatdrift Ceremony. It also gets complicated with the melodrama of romance and unrequited love and this drags out the drama, which may be unpalatable to some. I mean, the fish kids have been friends for so long and it’s not like they don’t understand each other, right? So a simple argument could, well, drag on for some time when everything could be settled in a simple manner. But then again, what would you do if you were in their shoes (or fins – oh heck, they don’t even have gills)? Therefore if you are not into this kind of drama and the likes, you’ll find it hard to keep your focus in this series and might not even reach the end.

There is a lot of character development and you could see how each one grows, changes (or not) and the bond they develop among each other within the over 2 dozen episodes. They play a part that affects everything like a chain reaction. Things may start off with cliche characters because when you have a group of friends, there is one that is bound to be the hot-headed kid who lets his emotions rule his heart. So much so, you think that anger management might not help Hikari at all but if it doesn’t get this in check by the time he is in adult, you can imagine how violent he gets. But luckily enough for Hikari despite still being a hot-headed kid overall, he doesn’t scream his head off as often as he used to after he starts to understand things. Then there’s the cry-baby but cheerful Manaka, the kind and beautiful Chisaki and the laid back Kaname to complete the quartet. Mostly they worry if they would still remain the same after the hibernation. Change is something scary and naturally for all humans (and fish people alike too) we feel more secure when we are in familiar territory. In a way you could say that the events changed them but generally still remain the same.

Tsumugu is the calmest and most rational among the main characters. He parts good advice and is a considerate person. Only if he would smile more often because from his robotic expression and monotonous voice, it’s like as though his expression section is jammed up. Then there are Sayu and Miuna who have grown up and less brattier. They’ve come a long way. For little girls, that is. Then there is Uroko, a scale of the Sea God who doesn’t really do much except bum around and keep watch. What else can a mere scale do? I wonder if there are many more of him in other parts of the ocean. The ‘best’ character goes to cheeky Akira. This little kid steals every scene he appears in because of his innocently cheeky antics. You’ll definitely break into a smile each time he does something ‘funny’. It’s like a much welcome relief after all that drama and tension.

Romance plays a big part for driving the plot and direction of the series but somehow I feel it spoils some part of the series. Well, nobody said love was easy. Even fish people can fall in love, right? That is the problem when you are being very close friends since childhood. When you hit your teenage years and those hormones start kicking in, you get confuse between love and just want to be good friends. So initially the love chart flow is like this as we thought: Kaname -> Chisaki -> Hikari -> Manaka -> Tsumugu. Especially with Chisaki trying to protect her friends and being too emo about this topic, I guess that is where all the love problems come out. Basically she is trying to hold back her love and deny it because she thinks it wouldn’t be nice loving someone if her friend loves the same person. Nice girl as always. But the world doesn’t work that way.

And when the series is beginning to come to an end, this long outstanding love polygon is resolved ‘nicely’ and that somebody ends up with somebody. Almost. Too convenient. Like for Kaname who has loved Chisaki for ages suddenly can let go and go for Sayu. It’s a good thing to move forward but I just can’t help feel it is just too sudden and convenient. Same case with Chisaki who gives up Hikari to settle with Tsumugu. They didn’t really say it but that last episode of them hugging each other must be a big indicator, right? So this means Hikari and Manaka are back together like they always should. Like we always knew it would. Yeah. So can you say that because of the duo who can’t make their feelings clear early are the cause of this love mess? Oh yeah, Akira’s love for Manaka could be just brushed off as a kiddie love and you bet it will go away when he grows up. Will it? Only poor Miuna is the one ended up as the ‘loser’. But hey, that guy who tried to confess to her… Maybe she’ll settle for him? I mean, in the last episode he still admires her from afar although there is no reaction whatsoever from Miuna. Pair them off and we’ve got the greatest happy ending of couples. And you can count Akari and Itaru’s love, still going strong after 5 years. Heck, even the Sea God isn’t spared. Only his misinterpreted love on his maiden started out all this and dragged our friends into it. So people, when it comes to love, not even gods are spared. Humans and gods would act and feel the same. Yeah. Love is painful if it doesn’t go your way, isn’t it? That’s why it is also beautiful if you see it from Miuna’s point of view.

The most excellent part of this series is its drawing and art. They really put very high quality into the animation and it is no wonder that I was in awe watching the spectacular visuals in every episode. Whether they are scenes of Shioshishio underwater or the town itself, even the phenomena like rain and salt flake snow are very impressive. Even when salt flakes are falling or the Ena dispersing. It feels magic. So if there is a reason why you want to watch this series, watch it for the art style. It is quite breathtaking. The characters also look good but they have this moe cuteness look in them especially the girls. So cute you might want to cuddle them. Just kidding. It’s not surprising if you find the character design very similar to Tari Tari, Hanasaku Iroha and recently Glasslip. All of these animes are produced by P.A. Works. Consistent quality, I’d say. But of course all of their works aren’t just confined to this style as they have produced other animes such as Another, Angel Beats and Uchouten Kazoku which have different art styles than this one.

This brings me to another topic. Because of the gorgeous art, something trivial bugs me. The underwater part. At times when the scene moves down to Shioshishio or somewhere underwater, the way the fish people interact is like as though they are on land. What do I mean? You know when you dive underwater, your vision isn’t that clear? That’s because you have all those particles floating and the sunlight is being refracted and you can see those wavy water shadows on the sea bed or something. However in most scenes, you don’t see these ‘water effects’ thus making it look like as though they are doing things on land and with air. I know the Ena makes them able to breathe, talk, communicate and do other stuffs like other humans do but it makes it so unreal that it doesn’t feel like they are naturally underwater at all. I mean, they can swim, right? So why the heck is there a need for them to ‘walk’ underwater despite Shioshishio having paths and walkways?

And yeah, even if they do swim, it seems like as though they are ‘flying’. That means some of the fish and other creatures swimming in the sea, it feels like as though they are just floating through space. A bit unnatural I feel. And even if you can talk properly underwater, sounds travels differently in water medium unlike air so it isn’t going to sound that all clear and good. Muffled. What about that ‘underwater echo humming noise’? You know, like as though some big generator going on because of how water transmits sounds. At least that is how it sounds to me. I suppose there is a reason why they make it so clear instead of putting characteristics of water. If everything looks murky and sounds blur, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the sceneries, drama and conversation since we’ll be too busy squinting our eyes trying to make sense of what we are watching and hearing. That would be too annoying. But some things still doesn’t feel right. Like the final episode whereby fire is burning underwater… Fire in the water! Not lava or magma, dude! I thought I was watching Spongebob Squarepants. It just doesn’t feel real.

Subtly I think they are trying to promote to love your ocean and sea because as far as I can see, all the characters here love the ocean and have great things to say about it. Also, everything and anything that affects this world has got to do with the sea. You can tell or feel things just by the sea (or in it). Everything originates from the sea. And that last episode spam how beautiful and brilliant the sea is, I think that nails it. Of course not forgetting the all-important power of friendship that is the glue and key that has our friends stick around think and thin. Oh yeah. Never give up. Always chase your dreams. You know those stuffs. And because there is some legendary prophecy, it doesn’t mean doom is set to befall. Don’t let some legend dictate your future state. You determine your fate! Wow. I sound like a motivational speaker.

As said, Manaka’s cry-baby character makes Kana Hanazawa the perfect person to voice her. However Manaka isn’t really a cry-baby all the time (although she is prone to it) so you won’t really be hearing her weep every episode. Aside this, with her other various emotions, another reason why I believe Kana Hanazawa is the best person to play her. Natsuki Hanae is also good as Hikari especially when he goes into his angst and outburst mode. I don’t think I can ever get this mad and blow the top of my voice like this. He is the voice of Kal-el in Toaru Hikuushi E No Koiuta and Shinichi in Outbreak Company. Other casts include Ryota Ohsaka as Kaname (Haruto in Valvrave The Liberator), Ai Kayano as Chisaki (Inori in Guilty Crown), Kaito Ishikawa as Tsumugu (Logy in Atelier Escha & Logy), Mikako Komatsu as Minua (Marika in Mouretsu Pirates), Kaori Ishihara as Sayu (Aladdin in Magi), Kaori Nazuka as Akari (Nunally in Code Geass), Kousuke Toriumi as Uroko (Kiba in Naruto) and Junji Majima as Itaru (Ayumu in Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka). Oh, on a trivial note, Mamiko Noto did make a cameo appearance albeit it is only for 1 episode as a clothes store clerk. Thank God I could still catch her…

The first opening theme is Lull ~Soshite Bokura Wa~ by Ray. Though it sounds like your generic anime pop, something about the tune reminds me of Ano Natsu De Matteru’s ending theme, Vidro Moyou sung by Nagi Yanagi. By the way, ironically she sings the first ending theme, Aqua Terrarium which is not bad actually. I can’t help want to sing along to this slow and calming song sometimes. But the thing that makes it a little funny is that the background vocals sometimes go “Hee hee, hee hee”. Cute or weird? I don’t know but as long as I’m enjoying the song, I guess it works. Ray sings the second opening theme, Ebb And Flow. Although it feels a bit slower this time but generally still anime pop. The second ending theme is a moderate slow pop piece, Mitsuba No Musubime by Nagi Yanagi. Although it isn’t that bad but I still prefer Aqua Terrarium.

In a nutshell, for those without patience and would prefer their shows fast and furious, this isn’t for you. But I would still recommend you Speedy Gonzales to take a look because of its awesome and breathtaking art on the landscapes as well as the satisfactory drama and romance. Since sometimes in life it is all not just about fast speed (like the internet…) and you need to slow down and take a look around you. Admire the little beauties around you. Five years can pass by you in a flash. You don’t even need to hibernate to know what I’m saying. So take some time out. Smell the flowers. Grab a bite. Fall in love. Don’t be afraid if you start to love mermaids. Because even fish people are human beings too.

Soul Eater NOT!

December 6, 2014

Funny how words can sometimes give a whole different meaning when you misinterpret it. Partly it is my part to blame for jumping to conclusions but this is the case for Soul Eater NOT! I would never have thought there would be some sort of sequel since the ‘epic’ TV series ended many years ago with a ‘normal and plain’ ending. Therefore I surmised that this would be a parody or a spoof to the Soul Eater series. You know. Soul Eater… Not! Something like Soul Eater but it isn’t. Well, you could say that I was partially right in a way. This isn’t exactly the main Soul Eater series but rather a spin-off. Despite cameo appearances from familiar characters of the series, this spin-off will be more focused on a handful of new characters.

And of course as I later found out, NOT is an abbreviation to Normally Overcome Target. As opposed to EAT (Especially Advantaged Talent) which is a group that specializes honing their skills to become warriors (think of it as a class that is training to become heroes to save the world), NOT are those that seek to control their power so as not to bring harm or danger to others around them and themselves (in other words, trying to control their power so it doesn’t interrupt their normal daily lives). Thus this spin-off sequel focuses on the daily lives and interactions of the new characters under the NOT group instead of fighting witches or other evil super villains bent on destroying the world. But of course when you consider the nature and genre of this series, what are the chances of that ever happening and they get involved in a conspiracy to shake up the peace in Death City.

Episode 1
When Tsugumi Harudori accidentally tripped over her dog, her leg turned into a weapon. Because of that, she will be a new transfer student at Shibusen Academy. Though, she isn’t quite happy about it (plus, her friends keep bugging her to transform). If climbing up the tortuous stairs is tough enough, then she had to drop her luggage. Long way down… Luckily Maka was there to help pick it up and give her the strength to carry on. If only her knees weren’t killing her. But a can drink treat by Maka awaits her and a beautiful scene of Death City. She dreams of a love triangle life in this academy but looks like reality is fast to bring her back down when she got freaked out by Black Star’s wrangle that almost hit her. Want to go home? Sorry, no turning back. In the class for new student intakes, Tsugumi meets and befriends Meme Tatane who has a memory problem. There is also princess-like Anya Hepburn who is interested in Tsugumi because she looks like your common commoner. But she maintains her snobbish pride each time Tsugumi sees her. Sid is their teacher as he explains that need for them to select a partner. It is essential to pick the right one as they’ll be working together as Weapon and Meister partnership. Maka and Soul are called in to demonstrate and they impress the newbies. Later, a couple of boys are harassing Meme into becoming their partner. Tsugumi turns a blind eye as she fears the repercussion. But the thought of unable to become her friend weighs more so she turns back to bring Meme away. The guys won’t allow it and mocks the flat chest. Anya can’t stand her commoner being mocked so she tells them off. Want to fight? I guess that’s the only way to settle it. While the guys easily transform, Tsugumi feels hesitant since she is not confident she can do it. Anya feels disappointed and scolds her. She will fight bare handed. Sid tells Tsugumi to image it in her heart. Doing so, Tsugumi transforms into a halberd. It doesn’t take long for Anya to whip those guys’ ass. Meme thanks Tsugumi and in turn they both thank Anya. Meme asks Tsugumi to be her partner. She would if not for her courtesy to ask Anya. But since Anya is being a tsundere, Tsugumi is going for Meme. Then she feels Anya tugging her shirt and with hat puffed face… That stare… Could it be she wants to? But Meme is holding on to her arm… Didn’t imagine this kind of love triangle, eh?

Episode 2
While Anya naps, she dreams of being read her royal schedule of the day… It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that she hates every freaking moment of it. The trio are taken by Eternal Feather to their dorm. She warns them of the witch. They meet Kana Altair the fortune teller. She takes their fortune but it seems to piss off Anya. I mean, there is a pig in Tarot cards? After showing them around, they meet the dorm mistress, Misery (with a name like that…). She notes how Tsugumi looks like Mary. That night, Tsugumi gets a rude awakening. She is tied up by Misery and since she is a splitting image of a book character she imagined, she is going to do a little ‘remodelling’ to her face! Oh sh*t! Is this the witch?! No matter how loud she screams, the other duo are asleep. But Meme is sleepwalking. Not only that, sleepwalking kung fu! Imagine drunken fist but while sleeping. Tsugumi is saved when Kim Diehl knocks Misery out since they were noisy and warns them that if they’re going to live in this dorm, learn to live with this psycho! Early next morning, Anya wakes up to go to town to buy all the ‘normal’ stuffs she wants. Total freedom! Tsugumi thanks Kim but is forced to pay money. A week’s allowance for that saving? Eternal Feather sees this but hides in a corner because she doesn’t want to get involve with Kim who is no other than the witch! Since Tsugumi has no money, she has to rely on her pals. Erm… Anya bought everything with her allowance. Yeah. Meet her racoon statue friend, Josephine! Meme? She can’t remember where she put her wallet. They’re screwed. So they order one big bowl of noodles to share. They go take up a part time job at a coffee cafe called, wait for it, Deathbucks! Also working with them are fellow freshmen Clay Sizemore and Akane Hoshi (whose real mission is to protect Anya). Anya is quite embarrassed with the outfit but gets used to it. I wonder if Meme can remember orders. Tsugumi is really being carefully slow bringing the drinks. They get paid at the end of the week and Anya buys them taiyaki. Tsugumi also bought a brooch for them to commemorate their first job. She has everyone call her by her first name. Anya feels uneasy and mispronounces it as ‘gumin’ (ignorant masses).

Episode 3
Anya and Meme splurging on their meals? Eternal Feather is here to apologize because she didn’t do anything about that ‘extortion’. She explains Kim is in the same class with her but due to her bad personality, people stay away from her. She did lots of ‘bad’ stuffs and one of them giving Eternal Feather this stage name. You can’t change it after you submit and it has been stuck on her ever since (her real name is Hoang Thi Mai). This is the best part: Kim charged her for the name fee afterwards! They notice a senior, Ox Ford, an elite and top student trying to be friends with her but Kim isn’t impressed. Tsugumi thinks he likes her. In class, Sid explains the difference between NOT and EAT class. Akane and Clay enter late since they were given an assignment to drive off several guys from Traitor who has been messing around lately. In practical class, Weapons and Meister need to pair up. Anya thought she could ‘cheat’ by claiming Meme paired with Tsugumi the last time but Sid thought they are still dragging their feet and pairs Anya with a nerd. She gets jealous seeing Tsugumi and Meme having fun together. So she sulks and goes off by herself. In the alley she is attacked by a weird guy from Traitor. She is no match but luckily Tsugumi and Meme come to her aid. Because Tsugumi panics and messes up her transformation, Akane and Clay did the real saving. They nicely tell the guy to leave in which he did because they are not Shibusen agents. When Tsugumi and Meme return to the dorm, they see Ox waiting for them. He gives them a week’s worth of his pay to cover what Tsugumi had paid Kim (that is why he was working at Deathbucks). In return, he hopes they don’t hold a grudge against her and can call it even. Tsugumi doesn’t mind as she thinks Kim is a nice person too despite her b*tchy outlook. Want to bet Kim is hearing all this? The girls realize there is a nasty bruise on Anya’s arm. Was the attacker’s weapon laced with poison? She’s feeling weird too although she won’t admit. Then here comes Kim to put a band aid and heal her wound. There, good as new. She won’t charge a cent. Unless you want to pay… Anya is still sulking about being left out so the duo write on their hand as reminder it will be her turn the next time. Feel better now? However next morning absent minded Meme wonders what this reminder is for. Next time is Anya’s turn for what? It just makes her blood boil…

Episode 4
Tsugumi dreams Anya and Meme got killed just because of her inability to transform. She asks the reason the duo come to Shibusen. Meme can’t remember… Anya’s pride won’t let her know… So she speaks to Akane who explains some come here to make it as a career since Shibusen has links to every country in the world so its reputation is tremendous. He also warns that the way the students spend their allowance is also evaluated. Akane reveals about himself. He joined due to family reasons. His family runs a dojo and has a division called Star Clan that specializes in assassination. He wears spectacles to hide a star emblem in his left eye. Tsugumi is not sure about her future so he calls her cute and invites her to advance to EAT class with him. He will protect her. At this point Tsugumi is flustering like mad but he brushes it all as a joke. Since she has been here only for 2 weeks, she won’t know her plan but after a year if she still is unsure, come to see him. Tsugumi then goes to talk to Clay to confirm if Akane likes Anya. He panics thinking their cover is blown and lies that Akane likes Meme! Seriously?! Plus, Clay likes Tsugumi. WTF?! He even draws a love chart for her to see! I think he just made it worse. Tsugumi talks to Eternal Feather but I guess she won’t be much of a help since she starts feeling down after hearing boys say she isn’t like a girl as she is easy to approach. Also, Kim hints to her money makes the world go round. She passes by Maka and though they become acquainted, she didn’t get any answer since she was in a hurry. So now she’s seeking Kana’s fortune telling on her love and future? Is there a flat in Tarot? Her flat chest… Is she for real? During fitness exam, notices Clay runs fastest, Anya jumps highest and Meme throws the furthest (the boys think it’s her boobs). She feels down but eventually decides to try hard so as not to be left behind. Akane shows her the chart Clay draws (thankfully she doesn’t understand a single thing) and says she should be less worried about what others think and more about her own feelings. She feels better and rejoins her friends in a race to see who can reach the changing room the fastest. They zoomed past her…

Episode 5
Jacqueline O Lantern Dupre is in a fight with Kim. Then they make up and start kissing! OMG! Is this series turning yuri?! Thankfully it was just a dream. Good thing, right? But not for Jacqueline… Kim has the trio help her take up part time job in cleaning the pool. Jacqueline is also here to help and it seems she is trying to get her attention but Kim ignores her. Meanwhile Sid sees an informer telling him a Traitor member Akane and Clay apprehended the other day. He has no criminal record, no martial arts background and hasn’t slept since. Sid thinks there is a possibility witches might be involved since they are Shibusen’s natural enemies. When Kim gets her pay, she gives the trio only a small cut. They have to share it. And they don’t suspect why they’re getting so much less than the cafe after doing all the donkey work?! Jacqueline is hinting to go eat ice cream with Kim but the latter rejects her. Tsugumi and co could tell what is happening and they confront her. From her reaction, they know she wants to partner with Kim and will do all they can to help. They even rope in Eternal Feather and Kana to help. So Kana’s reading shows she is compatible. They go make omelettes and although it attracts Kim, however it is too salty. Maybe Jacqueline should flaunt her hair. In the bath, she is telling the best way of this and that for her hair care as the other acts impressed. However Kim takes this as an insult since she has short hair. She leaves since they’re too noisy for her to enjoy the bath. Backfired. They sneak around for details to celebrate some anniversary but it all seems contradicting. I mean, she was born on 31st April?! Talking to other students give more contradicting answers. Yeah, some think she’s an alien. But many never talked to her. The end. Jacqueline decides to stop sneaking around and confront her head on. While Kim is hanging out alone, we her monologue. She is born a witch! She didn’t care about the stray dog next to her till it got into an accident. She heals it and Jacqueline sees this. What’s so bad? Well, witches only use magic. Kim reveals she didn’t ask to be born as a witch and thought if she ran to Shibusen, she could cut ties being a witch and tried hard to keep her distance from everyone. Jacqueline promises to keep this a secret. To keep her mouth shut, just treat her to ice cream. The best part for Jacqueline is that Kim agrees to become her partner.

Episode 6
Anya and Meme are talking like delinquents thanks to last night’s delinquent TV drama. But here comes a pair of real delinquents. Remember the Thompson sisters, Liz and Patty? They’re working here at Deathbucks too but their personality is really f*cked up. Rude. Moody. Bad service. Don’t give a damn. Enough to freak our innocent girls out. They talk to Master and it seems they were abandoned kids from Brooklyn before Kid took them in. Their tough behaviour because they had to survive in the New York streets and resorted to crime. They are on probation at Shibusen and have bracelets with GPS trackers that track their movement. After they leave, they come into contact into them again. Since it’s like they want to pick a fight, they go to the back alley. Tsugumi doesn’t want to fight but Anya will not tolerate their slander. I guess they’re going to fight. They are surprised when Patty turns into a gun! Holy cow! How is this a fair fight? Was it supposed to be a fair fight? Liz teases she won’t even use the gun. Anya charges and thought she cut her. Actually Liz and Patty swap places. They fire a warning shot that scares the sh*t out of them. They don’t want to stir up further trouble since they’re on probation. Despite that, Tsugumi feels for them since they are Weapons just like her. She goes to the cafe alone and tolerates the same bad service every day. It makes the sisters think she really wants to pick a fight with her.

One day when a customer scorns Patty for her terrible service, the sisters are about to punch him but Tsugumi gets in the way. She slips and causes her head to bleed. This even freaks out the sisters. Master tells them to get the first aid kit and gives a death stare to the customer who still wants to complain. Good news he won’t be back. On another day before Tsugumi enters the cafe, she sees Kid leaving after checking on the sisters. When Kid sees Tsugumi, he fixes her up properly so she would be symmetrical. Oh, this guy… Tsugumi hears the sister complain that nobody understands them and don’t like putting up with this crap. With Tsugumi in, thinking she is here to make fun of them or isn’t afraid of them, on the contrary she admires their strength and keeps coming back in hopes she would become strong like them. She thought they were scary at first but realizes they are cool and pretty. That pull your heart strings? Damning proof why customers keep coming back: They love the pretty waitresses with bad attitudes. Freaking masochists… Tsugumi’s friends and seniors also patron the cafe as Master tells the sisters that things here are very different from where they come from and shouldn’t be defiant or ingratiate themselves to anyone. Liz and Patty give Tsugumi a slightly better service. Still bad overall but considering everything, it’s a big improvement. Sid brings Akane and Clay to the police station where the Traitor member is held to accompany his transfer to Shibusen. Suddenly the alarm is sound and to their shock, they see a police injuring a colleague before fleeing. The suspect in the cell is dead but not before writing on the wall with blood, “While you were sleeping, we are still awake and keep moving”.

Episode 7
Clay and Akane present their analysis to Sid. Seems somebody is trying to brainwash and recruit people and turn them into ideal soldiers. They guess it could be the work of Shaula Gorgon. Nearby, Tsugumi and co are lost after trying to take a shortcut. She remains indecisive even if Meme and Anya force her to choose to come their way. Noticing a room nearby, she thinks of asking for help and stumbles upon the guys. Tsugumi’s indecisiveness of choosing a Weapon Meister seems to be the main focus so Akane hints she could choose him. Before any new love triangle can develop, they are ushered back out. Deathbucks is experiencing slow business. Liz jokes it’s because of Master’s scary face. He should tell jokes. Okay. His family was killed and he stopped laughing. Just joking. Actually only his daughter died. Just kidding too. He is single. Yeah, effective? Not funny. Tsugumi and co stop by the place and Liz has got a table reserved for them to do their group study. Jacqueline and a very reluctant Kim join them. When a group of customers get noisy, Tsugumi’s group can’t raise a hand against them. Liz and Patty get tough with them although they are not scared. But they’re soon shaking in their pants because they saw Master’s scary face. No joke. Get out. As Deathbucks suddenly has lots of customers, Tsugumi and co go change to help out. I guess they took too long and it quiets down. Next day, Anya is hinting greatly to Tsugumi to go to Death Bazaar. Initially Tsugumi didn’t want to go to the flea market but seeing how disappointed Anya is, she agrees. Eternal Feather is also there selling clothes Kim tricked her into buying. Good luck. Maka and Soul are also there selling books. Tsugumi sees a book and Maka gives it to her to read. Shaula is also at the bazaar, opening a stall opposite Tsugumi selling scorpion motif charms. Eternal Feather is interested and tries a ring. She felt a sting and before she knows it, she is under Shaula’s control. She then goes on a rampage destroying the bazaar. Anya tries to stop her but if not for Maka and Soul coming to her aid, she would have been sliced into half like her bag. This makes Tsugumi feel guilty she should have come to protect Anya just like how Soul did for Maka. As they fight, Shaula watches this experiment and notes its limitations. She wants to see how far this experiment can go and orders Eternal Feather to kill herself. Sh*t gets real when she slits her own neck right in front of their eyes. Tsugumi is so shocked in seeing all this that she faints.

Episode 8
Tsugumi wakes up on Anya’s lap. They are in the hospital. Eternal Feather is being operated on right now. They heard Dr Stein is the best doctor around although there are rumours he may add certain parts and turn her into some zombie. Don’t worry about that now. Pray for her… Once the operation is over, Stein lets them in. Shock to see a screw on his head? Now there is a screw on Eternal Feather’s head too! Just kidding, it’s fake. Not only that, her braid moves by its own before her head falls off and starts running around! Freaky! And all that was just a joke because the real one is in the next bed still in coma. Her life is saved although it will take some time for her to recuperate. As time passes, indeed she does recuperate though she doesn’t have memories on what happened that day. Sid calls Stein to thank him and asks if he has discovered anything peculiar. He found a tiny wound as if she was stung by a needle. Because there was no toxin in her body, the way she was mind controlled suggests there is some undetectable toxin which could only be made possible by magic. Soon she is discharged and return to her dorm where Tsugumi and co welcome her. She might have picked up the bad joke as she has a fake key on her back. Please don’t joke around like this anymore. Even more devastating news: Jacqueline is sad that Kim has broken up with her! So sad that her head is on fire! The girls suggest for her to cool down (literally) and maybe then Kim will reach out to her. Speaking of cooling down, in this hot summer, Tsugumi and Meme thought hearing the sounds of wind chimes would do the trick. Anya and the rest are not convinced and head in for a cool drink. This is the best method since Tsugumi and Meme want some of that too. Can’t take the heat? In the evening, Tsugumi is practising but is clumsy. Her friends simultaneously call to her. Who to choose? And it is exactly this indecisiveness that Anya reminds her this is what happens if she takes forever to choose a partner. In the end only she can make the decision. Still not convinced? Tsugumi transforms into a halberd and the duo take turns using her. Tsugumi views they are strong and gets lectured that even if she wants to grow stronger, the fastest way is to choose a partner and grow stronger with them. Does she have the resolve? Because it’s she is running away making excuses for wishing to be strong. In that sense she has no resolve and doesn’t have a blade. They will give her until Halloween to decide. But for now, it’s Tsugumi’s turn to cook dinner.

Episode 9
It was hot one night so Meme while sleepwalking tries to strip naked. Tsugumi tries to stop this indecency but is in risk of losing her chastity. Anya can’t take anymore of this and attacks. Sleepwalking kung fu kicks in. Hard to believe Meme is sleeping, right? How the heck does she avoid it all so smoothly? It is decided that Tsugumi will transform her hand into weapons to let them sleep on it since it is cooler. But their body heat makes it unbearable for her… One day, Meme finds she is dressed in a weird getup in the kitchen. A bag loads with money and the ceiling filled with bats. What happened? Can’t remember. She is missing an eyebrow and as she leaves, mad Eternal Feather entrusts back the sloth to her. Yes, sloth. Wondering if she did something strange, Kim says she might have got involved with some boy. Things get weirder as a couple of guys confront her. One of them couldn’t believe she pulled off that crazy still while the other wants her to return something. And then at the casino, the front desk guy tells her to give them a break. Meme is at a lost and her head hurts till the sloth starts moving. She follows it and this leads her to a boy. The sloth is his pet. Then she remembers. She was running as part of her training. A couple of guys think of using her by helping her help pull their souvenir cart but she was too fast and crashed. Thus, ending up in that strange getup. Thinking of paying for repairs, she won big at the casino which left the proprietor in tears.

Prior to all this, she met the boy first and since he was admiring her boobs, to hide his embarrassment, he told her she was ‘fat’. This made her run away while the sloth was clinging on to her. When she got back to the dorm, it clung onto Eternal Feather who was passing by. Meme tried weighing herself and found she was indeed that heavy and shaved off an eyebrow not realizing she should have just taken off the getup. She uses the money to pay the guys. As for the bats, Tsugumi found a bat whistle and blew… On another day, because Anya is interested to play this commoner’s baseball, enthusiastic Tsugumi teaches her. Will she get it? Not impressed, baseball lover Tsugumi will show it to her and ends up challenging her. After all that whatever analysis, Tsugumi throws the ball but Anya uses the bat like a kendo sword and thrusts it. Meme catches it perfectly. Tsugumi felt she has lost but since Anya says it was so much fun, I guess everything is okay. Till Kim spoils it. The baseball stuffs belong to her and she is going to charge them hourly rental. Tsugumi writes letters to her mom but that night she sees Meme using her bats to send messages. All while she is asleep! Sid, Akane and Clay are in another discussion. Ever since Eternal Feather’s incident, Shaula has been laying low. Since she is using mind control, they believe she is still nearby. They also report another matter of rash robberies at Shibusen. Seems the items that were stolen include very classified information, especially a list of names of Meisters and Weapons. The pumpkin the girls were growing bears fruit. Everyone makes preparations for Halloween. But that also means the deadline for Tsugumi to choose is also nearing.

Episode 10
When Tsugumi receives a letter from her mom that her dog gets into an accident and has not long to live, she becomes distraught and wants to go home. She becomes depressed but also frustrated especially when Meme’s short term memory has her act like it is nothing. Tsugumi lashes out at her convenient forgetfulness and this brings a little strain in their friendship. One night Meme sleepwalks again so the duo tail her as she walks, crawls, rolls and slips into a research room in Shibusen (security fail!). Can you believe this? Reading while sleeping?! Akane and Clay who are working overtime caught them in the act. Meme wakes up with no recollection whatsoever. Akane needs to report this and has Meme follow him while Clay escorts the rest back. He hints that Meme may not return back for a while. Of course Meme is investigated as she may be the lead to Shaula. When Tsugumi and Anya see Sid, he speculates that Meme might be controlled by a witch who is the same culprit behind the Traitor and Eternal Feather cases. Her forgetfulness may be because of some hypnosis. For their safety, Sid cannot reveal her location but only says she is under Shibusen’s custody. Tsugumi feels guilty for lashing out at Meme but there is nothing she can do for now. That night, Meme’s bat comes into their room with a letter from her saying she is scared and wants to see them.

Sid and his team are stationed around the area and are using Meme as bait to draw out Shaula. Agents report Anya and Tsugumi sneaking in to the building. The friends are relieved to hear Meme’s voice. After Tsugumi breaks open the door, Meme suddenly attacks them. Safe to say she is under hypnosis. Meme escapes with all the agents hot on their trail. Shaula has been going around disposing some of the agents too. Akane and Clay face off with Meme but have to deal with the hypnotized agents. Sid confronts Shaula but gets distracted by Meme’s stab. He gets stung by Shaula. She tells him what she needs are not outstanding subordinates but obedient soldiers. By the time Tsugumi and Anya arrive, they see Sid being done in by Meme before she flees. In the aftermath, Akane and Clay relay the bad news on Sid to the girls. Clay suddenly gets down on his knees to address Anya as Princess Anastasia Yngling. He wants her to return home now. Based on Sid’s arrangements, if she is ever in danger, she must return to her homeland immediately. They reveal they are not from NOT (oh, the pun) and are EAT students working for Central Intelligence. They are in NOT to serve as her bodyguards in secret. Anya won’t go home. She isn’t going to leave her partner behind even if it isn’t official. Clay blows his top that Sid is dead and has no time to protect her. With that, Anya quietly obeys and goes with them, leaving Tsugumi very much confused. Her harem is breaking up… Oops!

Episode 11
Nygus takes over Sid’s duties as Clay and Akane escort Anya to the airport as the Halloween festival rages on. Suddenly there are other students attacking and stinging others with their poison, rendering them into similar mind controlled zombies. Anya’s entourage is under attack but Ox defends and buys time for them to escape. Tsugumi wants to go get Anya because she remembers her promise of picking one of them, though she still hasn’t decided. When Anya left that night, she could tell she won’t leave for him the way things are now. She was probably mad how people decided for her behind her back and also herself for not realizing sooner. That’s why she is sure she won’t go back with the way she feels things now. Jacqueline could sense her Soul Resonance and has Kim heal her wounds. Although the dorm is in curfew, Misery allows her to go since she is… Mary! Tsugumi goes to see Liz and Patty for help so they borrow Master’s scooter and a gun in hand to get anyone out of their way. Anya ticks off Clay about abandoning his friends and doesn’t want to be treated like a helpless child. To stop the car, she covers the driver’s eyes! Why do they always crash into a tree? Anya still wants to go back and is serious if Akane wants to fight her. Although that oldest trick in the book “Look over there! A witch!” got them, it isn’t long before Akane apprehends her. He tries to dissuade her that Tsugumi has given up but oh look, here she comes. Anya apologizes and need to get down to finding Meme but Clay mentions about Shaula using Soul Protect to hide herself and since she can’t use magic, she might be using Meme as her pawn and distanced herself to maximize her power’s potential. Well, you won’t know if you won’t try, right? Better than doing nothing.

But the scooter can’t fit all of them. Anya suggests she turn into a halberd. I don’t know why she doesn’t have the confidence to do it. Hasn’t she been transforming fine a few times before? So what Anya did was to believe in her, blah, blah, blah and thanks to their Soul Resonance, Tsugumi transforms. A halberd with wings?! Akane gives them motivation but revealing classified information that Stein is working on an antidote based on Meme’s blood sample. He should be finished by now. I don’t think Anya is heavy but Tsugumi can’t lift off and needs a push start. And since she can’t control her flight path yet, it’s going to be a hell ride. The guys make their way back to Death City. It’s going to be a long run. The girls crash into Stein’s place and want the antidote. However he can’t give it to them for 2 reasons. One, it only breaks down the toxin and the effects on mind control are still unclear. She might die. Just kidding. WTF?! Two, Nygus is here to pick up the samples to test its effectiveness and mass produce them. That will take3 days. Oh look, she’s here. She is not impressed they are still around and says not to do anything foolish. Believe in them because they’re fighting the same enemy. Tsugumi notes even so, what they are protecting are different. Stein likes that and gives the antidote to them while obstructing Nygus. This guy is a big tease because he has got loads of the sample hidden and gives it to her. The girls contemplate on how to find Meme. Assuming she is with Shaula, but how do they find her? The messenger bat. True enough, it leads them to the witch and their best friend. Shaula doesn’t look so happy that they crash in on her since she has got the party started with everyone killing each other.

Episode 12
Shaula teases them that they haven’t even choose a partner yet and threatens she can order Meme to kill herself if they interfere. She releases Soul Protect and this means all those who got infected now turn into her obedient soldiers to infect more. Double, tripe, quadruple the chaos! Our heroes try hard to stand their ground and not kill them but Shaula brings more despair by having some kill themselves before their eyes! Since she wants to have some fun in town, she has Meme get rid of the duo. No choice, they have to fight Meme. The plan is for Anya to hold her down while Tsugumi delivers the antidote to her. This is how. Tsugumi holds the antidote into her mouth and when Anya holds her down, Tsugumi kisses her to transfer it. I guess it’s faster and fail proof rather than pouring it down her throat. But did it work? For a while. Before Meme is back to killing mode. But Tsugumi notices her tears and is going to try talking to her this time. Despite getting stab in the shoulder, Tsugumi continues to remind her about their times together. Yup. Even the pumpkin growing episode where they sing and grow their way. Nothing like a little humming for their soul to resonate and break Meme free of her chains. Yeah. How could she forget those great times. Although Meme is free, she is still connected to Shaula and can sense her infecting others. Tsugumi has an important announcement. She has decided who to be her partner. Both. As expected… Have not heard of a Weapon being used by 2 Meisters? Why not make it the first? So they Soul Resonate and head to town.

On a little side distraction, Kim and Jacqueline are doing their best holding the fort at the dorm. Misery is an awfully different person after being affected as she’s violently hammering away while Kana is just ‘bullying’ Eternal Feather with her cards. Liz and Patty arrive to help. Meme could sense Shaula attacking another victim. This allows Shaula to trace their presence and she is not happy that Meme has broken her spell. She tries to play mind games with her that if she returns to her side, she will save her friends. Plus, she must really remember how they killed Sid. Tsugumi doesn’t want her to listen. They need to stand strong and Soul Resonate. Anya and Meme take turns using Tsugumi as a weapon and the blade changes depending on who is using her. Shaula might be a handful but eventually Anya and Meme use Tsugumi together and defeat her with their oddly named attack, Spring Bird Attack. With Shaula turning into a form of a little soul, it means they have won and all those affected under her spell are free. Now it looks like a big siesta slumber party in Death City. The trio return to Akane and Clay who are surprised that they have defeated Shaula. Yeah, they hand over her gift wrap. Like as though she’s a balloon… Even more surprising for them is when the trio reveal they are partners. Soon, Anya went back to her country to report the incident while Meme remains in hospital for checkups to be sure all traces of magic are gone just to be safe. Tsugumi feels lonely without her partners but vows to fight on. Of course in due time, they return to her and fun times are here to stay once more.

Soul Control… NOT!
That means… Nothing Over the Top! Haha! Half of the show feels like fillers since it is basically the daily lives of the trio. Because it is nothing more than their silly antics and showcasing their friendship power (warning: You’ll be hearing lots of this subsequently. Get ready for friendship power spam). Then it is like as though they have this fear that fans may not like how this Soul Eater series didn’t have enough Soul Eater-like action and elements (despite being a spin-off) and thus they slowly put in the build-up of Shaula as the antagonist to stir things up so that fans wouldn’t be bored with the ‘normalcy’ and avoid calling it some random yuri romance-cum-melodrama under the guise of Soul Eater setting. And then you have one big happy ending whereby our main trio continue to live their lives peacefully and happily. The end. Great epic series… NOT! Nothing Over the Top, that is.

Let’s start with the characters first. I suppose being new characters in the spin-off, they’re just pretty okay especially with Tsugumi as the main heroine having a few issues of her own. Mainly, her yuri harem. Who to choose? That’s the biggest question. It’s like being forced to choose between your father and mother. So ultimately, under the theme of friendship, she’ll have both. Yeah. Why must follow the norm of 1 or more Weapons to a Meister? Then there is this low self-confidence of controlling her power. I don’t know what she is so afraid of. I just thought she wanted to control them instead of being great and cool like she thinks other friends are. Just try to be herself and everything is fine. And what is with her “Gagantous!” catchphrase every time she is surprised? It makes her feel like a joker. Okay, even without that sometimes she feels like one. But “Gagantous!”? Thank goodness they don’t spam it so often because it can sometimes sound out of place.

Meme’s most standout trait (other than her big boobs, you perverts) is her selective forgetfulness. It makes her funny. One second later she can forget something the things she does. It’s like you are in a conversation about food and when you end the sentence, you can’t remember the topic you are talking about. “Watermelon this, watermelon that, watermelon here and there… Uhm, what were we talking about again?”. I wish I also have her type of forgetfulness. Because although I am a forgetful person, all those that mattered I forget but those that don’t I remember. So if I have this, I can get away with a lot of sneaky things because, hey, I don’t remember, right? So for Meme as one of the main supporting characters, I feel that she is somewhat lazily written and that her unstable memories are an excuse so that you don’t have to come up with a back story or something for her. I mean, how well do we know about Meme? Compared to Tsugumi who at least we know comes from a normal family and Anya who is a princess of some kingdom, what is it that we know about Meme? Nothing. Why? Because she doesn’t remember. See how convenient this is?

Anya is amusing. She shows a myriad of characters from being infatuated with normal things or stuffs that commoners do and her obvious tsundere attitude towards her friends. I guess it is understandable that being a royalty has lots of restrictions and limitations so she wants to get a taste of freedom and normal things. But it is hard to shake off her princess-like attitude thanks to her pride sometimes especially when it comes to doing things that would normally be embarrassed for her to do. Many would see her as not being honest to her feelings in that sense. Therefore it is no surprise to always catch her pouting or sulking after she denies or declines something and then regretting it and trying to ‘salvage’ things if possible since she has trouble expressing herself openly. Overall, despite the quirkiness of the 3 friends, the bottom line is that they care for each other. That is the power of friendship to you once more.

Thankfully (or not), this series didn’t turn into some yuri romance despite a very hinting one between the main trio (it’s basically a very close friendship if I should put it). Anya’s tsundere personality always leaves her ruing her decisions because it always seem that Meme has the upper hand in getting close to Tsugumi. I mean, because of her pride not to engage in whatever antics, compared to Meme who is more easy-going and accepting, she seemingly loses out. So to her it would seem like Meme is the one with underhanded tactics. All is fair, no? And if you look it from a different perspective, this feels like a yuri version of a harem because Tsugumi has got both girls on her side and unable to choose. And like that dreaded typical harem choice, she chooses both of them. Because it feels like they don’t want to upset the Tsugumi x Anya and Tsugumi x Meme camps. Like if those teams ever existed. I personally don’t care. Because it would be sad if one of them is left out and this wouldn’t amount anything close to the power of friendship, the theme that has been subtly hinted for the girls. Oh yeah. The power of friendship. The greatest power. So great that it could break a witch’s spell. Now, if you only throw Clay and Akane into the mix… Getting complicated, no?

The other supporting characters are just okay and sufficient for this season though it would have been great to know in detail more about them like Clay and Akane. I was hoping to see them play more than just a supporting role but I guess with their mission nature for Sid and Anya, they have to be covert and subtle at times. Nyges came into the scene so late that she hardly made an impact on anything. Not to say she had any significant ones in the original TV series either. At least, I don’t remember so. Oddly enough, some of the minor characters are more memorable than the main ones like Misery who is just a crazy psycho especially when it comes to a certain character of her favourite book. Just wished she had more screen time. Then there is Kana whose Tarot Card readings always seem to piss off Anya. I’m not sure if the loli is trying to purposely piss her off but the readings are sarcastically true in a way. I don’t even know if such Tarot Cards exist. It’s like she made them up. Master is the best ‘joker’ in town. So good that you don’t even want to laugh. That one to Liz was really classic. Didn’t see that coming. I guess there is a reason why he remains taciturn and have that monotonous look on his face. Because when the time calls for it, it turns scary and it really scares the sh*t out of you.

Stein’s strange humour and prankish side makes him a likeable character because as we know he is already a mad doctor and his insanity is already a problem. Imagine this, a doctor doing operation and jokes about stuffs on life and death. It just scares the sh*t out of you, right? Do you want this kind of doctor? Enough heart attacks to last you a life time. Ironically Kim and Jacqueline who were just side characters in the original TV series make more screen time appearance compared to Maka and Soul (Black Star, Tsubaki and Kid’s appearance are just paltry – too bad Black Star. You can’t be number one here). It is as though their cameo appearance is just to remind us that they are around and to confirm with viewers that they are not watching the wrong show. By the way, is it just me or does Soul look tired every time he appears?

Shaula’s part also feels poorly written because it is as though she is here just for the sake of having an antagonist and that this series can ‘go somewhere’ and end on a feel good note. There isn’t anything to explain why she is here or how she got here and maybe it’s my part for not paying attention as she slowly creeps in and infects the citizens. Despite she is a witch and it is natural for her type to cause havoc, but I am sure she must have some sort of goal, doesn’t she? Or she just loves seeing chaos. I suppose we can’t really care that much, do we?

From the storyline and as far as I can remember, I could guess that what happened in this spin-off sequel occurs before the incidents in the TV series. In short, the timeline for this season takes place before the original. Most evident is that Sid is still alive and human unlike in the TV series whereby he is a zombie. So this at least explains how he became the undead. Others include Stein who has not joined the ranks of the Shibusen Academy, Liz and Patty have not become Kid’s weapons, the villainess named Arachne is presumed to be dead or in slumber that others would safely assume she won’t be getting back up soon. And the ‘best’ annoying character that every Soul Eater fan would know is that Excalibur is missing. You remember that annoying creature? Yeah. Love and hate that chatty guy. What is Soul Eater without Excalibur? Too great for this spin-off to handle, huh? Heck, even Mr Death, Shinigami himself didn’t make an appearance. I suppose he is always ‘stuck’ in his Death Room, huh?

The art and drawing are pretty decent and look like your contemporary anime. However it is noticeably different than the original TV series because the latter has this little cartoonish feel to it, which isn’t entirely that bad. Not to say that this season is bad either. The change in art style for the characters that appear in the original TV series isn’t obvious but you can see slight differences if you take a closer look. That is, they don’t look that cartoonish anymore. I suppose if you combine different art styles together, it would be very jarring and annoying. So might as well go for the cute and kawaii design after all. Besides, the mid-intermission has the characters in chibi versions. The background and sceneries also look okay but nothing to shout about.

There are some fanservice scenes here but not many and you can count them with your fingers. Especially when the girls are Soul Resonating, they become naked and what prevents it from being full frontal nudity is because they don’t really ‘draw’ all the details. Desperate cases may want to squint their eyes and touch their face on the monitor just to make sure that it’s so. Then there’s the case of Meme who sometimes strip in her sleep. Her big boobs are obviously for fanservice purposes while those who are more inclined to the flat prairie plains, that is why Tsugumi is around. Yeah, she even quips herself that she is ‘slender’ everywhere. And finally that yuri kiss I thought it was some sort of ‘added bonus’ masked in the form of saving a friend. I suppose this is their first kiss and strangely enough, Anya didn’t freak out because she always does when Meme and Tsugumi start doing something that seems flirting. Even though she knows this is to save a friend, but I don’t think she would have expected the act of kissing and should have at least reacted like her usual.

The action part is rather okay but to some I believe it is mediocre. I mean, this series is about NOT students and not EAT students. The former don’t really have the capacity to fight like their latter counterparts. So the bump all the big action bits into the final arc and the last episode but even so I don’t think it would greatly save the series. You definitely won’t remember this series for the action. Because it really feels odd for 2 Meisters to handle a weapon. It might be a new concept but still, taking turns borrowing a weapon looks cool if only you have 1 enemy to deal with. Imagine if they had dozens. The one without the weapon has to resort to fist fight or gets owned. Even so, seeing Anya and Meme handling Tsugumi in her halberd form such as spinning and twirling her like as though she is some sort of oversized cheerleading baton, feels like a distraction since you know, the girls don’t have any unique moves themselves. So to show us how great they are, we see the flashy twirling and in the end came up with some lame sh*t name that looks evenly as lame. Two girls charging with a halberd? Theoretically if you swing a sword with both hands, the impact would be more powerful. So how about swinging with 4 hands? You get the picture?

Lastly, the final battle with Shaula feels forced. I mean, it is for our heroines to shine and nothing else. If Maka and Soul or even Akane and Clay do the honours, it would render this series redundant. Because for the trio who seriously haven’t been in actual combat and even have trouble fighting off thugs, suddenly after Soul Resonating they become good enough to save the world. Not even the witch who can control others and wreak havoc so easily upon others could stand a chance. Oh yeah. It’s like saying since you’re the bad guy, it’s time and cue for you to lose. Uh huh. Thank the power of friendship again. Make that the power of (mild) yuri friendship. Oh, and if you’re wondering that lame Spring Bird Attack move they named, I suppose it is a pun on Tsugumi’s name and in a way paying their tributes to her. Hmm… Better than naming it as Friendship Trust anyway.

Saori Hayami seems to have becoming a little active lately since most of the recent animes I have watched feature her such as Aoyama in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka and Yui in Kamigmi No Asobi). In this series, she is identifiable as Anya and does quite a nice job in portraying her various moods from prideful to tsundere. Initially I couldn’t recognize Aoi Yuuki as the voice behind Meme until much later in the series as she didn’t sound like the Aoi Yuuki I would recognize. The kind like Hibiki in Senki Zesshou Symphogear and Yumeiro Patissiere. Maybe she’s in the process of growing up so her voice has slightly changed? The casts from the original Soul Eater series continue to reprise their role such as Chiaki Omigawa as Maka, Kouki Uchiyama as Soul, Akeno Watanabe as Liz, Narumi Takahira as Patty, Masafumi Kimura as Sid, Yuuya Uchida as Stein and Chiwa Saito as Kim. New casts for this spin-off include Haruka Chisuga as Tsugumi (Yuko Tanahara in Strike The Blood), Takahiro Sakurai as Akane (Suzaku in Code Geass). Seiichirou Yamashita as Clay (Takahiro in Walkure Romanze), Ami Koshimizu as Shaula (Ryuuko in Kill La Kill), Mikako Komatsu as Eternal Feather (Marika in Mouretsu Space Pirates), Kotori Koiwai as Kana (Renge in Non Non Biyori) and Ai Orikasa as Misery (Ryoko in Tenchi Muyo series).

The anime pop-like opening theme is sung by Dancing Dolls entitled Monochrome. The ending theme which plays to a slower beat, Yuugure Happy Go is sung by the trio of Haruka Chisuga, Saori Hayami and Aoi Yuuki. Both are rather decent although personally I don’t think they are that memorable. Not the kind that would stick in my head after I finish the series. Although I would personally prefer the ending song compared to the opener. The same trio also sang the insert song while planting their pumpkins in episode 9, Kimi Ga Ireba. I don’t know if it is sung on purpose they sound off key a little. Make that very obvious. Well, they’re having fun planting their pumpkins and they’re so happy and having fun that they can’t sing straight. I’m not sure if there is a proper version of this since I’m not that crazy for this song.

Soul Eater fans may not approve of this spin-off and would perhaps give the anime version a miss and stick to the original manga instead since this spin-off lacks the shonen-esque of the original Soul Eater series. This one feels more like moe and mild yuri. Or if you are really a hardcore fan of the series, this could be something extra for you to enjoy although it doesn’t necessarily give you more insights on the workings and backgrounds of the Soul Eater world. You can get by the main series without missing anything much if you skip this one. Casual viewers like me would find it a decent watch if you don’t up your expectations too high then it would be decent enough to be entertaining with its fair share of comedy, action and drama. Oh yes, the power of friendship too. Like we need more of this in high school themed shows. I’m not sure if it is a good or bad thing because after watching this series, I didn’t feel like rewatching the original TV one. Unless I forgot entirely what I saw 5 years ago. My memories can’t be that bad, can it? Can it?!

Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka

December 5, 2014

Warning! Please exercise extreme caution when viewing this anime. Please be informed that there are extreme moe contents and elements. As such, viewing discretion is very much advised. Please steel your heart. Moe contents may cause your heart to tightly go kyun and beat faster than usual. Hyper ventilating may also be a side effect. Failure to do so may result in acute moe asphyxiation and may result in death from over moe. If you think you can handle and have the resolve to overcome this, then please proceed to watch Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka. If you have doubts, it is not too late to turn back.

Ah, yes. Another season, yet another moe themed anime. Yet another anime about a group of cute girls doing cute things. No real plot whatsoever. As if we need more of such overly cute girls to spice up our lives. Heh. If you are getting bored and tired of the shameless fanservice and over the top bloody violence, where else to turn to but to watch moe girls run a coffee house or a Japanese sweets shop and the interactions among each other? And if this is not your cup or tea or if you realized there is a mistake in this order of yours, then by all means you still have a chance to walk away and avoid the aforementioned symptoms.

Episode 1
Cocoa Hoto makes arrives in this new town and makes her way to Rabbit House Cafe. She gets upset when there are no rabbits! As a customer, Chino Kafuu serves her and Cocoa wants to cuddle that little cute rabbit (I thought it was a cat!) named Tippy on her head. One cuddle per coffee. She’ll take 3 coffees! So as Cocoa hugs her like the best thing in the world, she swore she could hear Tippy’s voice to stop this ‘aggression’. Just your imagination. That or Chino’s ventriloquism. Really? Cocoa explains she is supposed to start the new school term here and meet the host family called Kafuu but got lost. She’s in luck. This is the place. Chino is the granddaughter. Cocoa would like to work to help out but Chino thinks she has got her chores covered. In that case she would love to be her big sister. On second thought… Chino shows her the room to change. She feels somebody is watching her and when she opens this closet, a half naked girl pointing a gun at her! She is Rize Tedeza and a part timer. Don’t mind her brute ways since her dad is in the military and she has received harsh training. Since Cocoa is new, Rize is tasked to be her senior. Military drills… Cocoa learns Rize could memorize things at one go while Chino can identify coffee by her smell. She wishes she had a special talent but she didn’t realize she could calculate maths at lightning speed. Cocoa asks why this place is called Rabbit House. Because Tippy is their mascot. Doesn’t look anything like a rabbit. What should it be called then? Fluffy Cuddles Cafe! If they could only change that name now. Rize shows Cocoa her latte art and demonstrates a few. She then draws a super real tank image! Cocoa tries her hand but isn’t that good. Chino also demonstrates and it turns out to be Picasso-like. Cocoa thinks her art sucks. At the end of the day after Rize leaves, Cocoa shows Chino the latte art she drew representing them. She meets Chino’s father, Takahiro for the first time. He won’t be having dinner with them because Rabbit House becomes a bar at night and he is the bartender. Cocoa wants to sleep with Chino since her room feels empty and there are lots of things she wants to talk about. Since Tippy is not around to cuddle, she wants to cuddle Chino. No way! Tippy and Takahiro talk and it seems Tippy is the grandfather but somehow occupying this form. Rize has this lonely feeling but cheers up when Cocoa sends her latte art to her. Cocoa is going to look forward to their time together and be the best big sister Chino will ever have. Oh dear…

Episode 2
Cocoa is happy when people tell her she has a sister complex. If she only knew what it means… The girls will be heading to school. To Cocoa’s dismay, Chino walks in a different direction. They go to different schools, right? Cocoa meets Rize along the way. Cocoa has a bad sense of direction and keeps bumping into Rize. She in turn thinks she has walked into some sort of dimensional portal. Cocoa is attracted by stray rabbits at the park. That is where she meets Chiya Ujimatsu and become friends. Realizing they are late for school, she drags her along till Chiya had to tell her that the opening ceremony is tomorrow. So she shows her the way there so as not to get lost. When Cocoa returns and Chino asks about her school, she tries to change the subject. Please don’t ask! Chiya and Cocoa end up in the same class but the amazing thing is how Cocoa can still get lost in school. Chiya is invited to Rabbit House to make pastries with the rest. Chino gets the wrong idea there is a live culture when making yeast. And I mean, really alive. Everyone has a hard time kneading bread but after baking them, they enjoy the fruits of their labour with a variety of them with one that looks like Tippy. As thanks for inviting her, Chiya invites her to visit her Japanese sweets shop run by her family, Amausa. She introduces them to Anko, their rabbit mascot. First thing it did was chase Tippy. They think they’re in love. Can’t you hear Tippy’s scream of despair? Here is a mind boggling info: Tippy is female on the outside but male on the inside! Chiya shows them a few green tea art like how they did for latte art. Then she serves them their desserts that have names sounding like finishing techniques from a manga. Chiya suggests both their cafes can do a collaboration but Cocoa and Chino get the wrong idea they are doing towels and mugs and not food. Chino at first is afraid of getting closer to Anko but everything is fine once she puts it on her head. Chiya tries to persuade Cocoa to come work here and even live with them. She’ll prepare a room right away! As they leave, they didn’t realize Anko is still on Chino’s head. Tippy is still back in Amausa complaining about the sweets being too sweet. Too sweet!

Episode 3
The girls go to buy cups for the cafe and Cocoa’s clumsiness almost tumble the shelf! They see a photo of a rabbit in the cup and try to do the same with Tippy. Looks like a rice bowl… Also in this store is Sharo Kirima, Rize’s junior in the same school. Sharo has a liking for Rize and the rest thought she saved her from thugs. Actually there was a rabbit in her path and Rize shooed it away. Yup. Sharo has fear of rabbits. Sharo is happy when Rize gets the same cups with her. The rest believe Sharo is a rich girl but it seems she lives next door to Amausa and is childhood friends with Chiya. Her house is very modest and she doesn’t want the rest to find out about it. One day Chiya barges into Rabbit House to alert them that Sharo has taken up some job in a cafe. However there is a shady picture in it which makes it feel sleazy. Time for reconnaissance. That’s Rize’s specialty, right? So here they are outside this cafe, Fleur de Lapin and everything seems pretty normal. Sharo with rabbit ears dressed as a maid serving customers. Pretty normal. Since this is a herbal tea cafe, Sharo makes suggestions to her friends on which tea suits them. She even has herbal cookies for them. When they go back, Cocoa has this idea to add herbal tea to their menu and has gotten a few tea leaves already. But Chino points out she is holding weeds… Chiya and Sharo are stuck at Rabbit House since it suddenly started raining. Rize can send her home but since Sharo doesn’t want her to know the state of her house, Chiya offers to do it but they didn’t get far. Looks like everyone will be staying here for the night. A blessing in disguise? Cocoa tries out Chino’s school uniform. Once Sharo and Chiya finish their bath, they see Rize in Chino’s school uniform (she lost in some game). Sharo cannot stop fawning over her. Chiya suggests it’s that time. No, not to tell about your secret crush but ghost stories! Chino tries to scare them about some small, fluffy, white apparition with gleaming eyes but the rest could guess she’s referring to Tippy. Next is Chiya. With the power cut off and a candle light to enhance the mood, her story begins about some killer rabbit. Everyone who is close to it got murdered one after another. The end. Might not sound much but enough to scare them! Deep into the night, Sharo needs to go to the toilet. She is still scared from hearing Chiya’s story and freaks out when she bumps into something. It is Rize. She got ‘stuck’ and couldn’t move once her candle burnt out. This might be a blessing for Sharo because the lightning flashes and they cuddle closely to each other. Next morning is all bright and clear. They see Cocoa happily sleeping on the floor in an awkward position.

Episode 4
Cocoa and Chino discuss about being fussy about certain foods. Cocoa mentions Chino can’t grow tall since Tippy is always on her head. She really believes it. Chino discusses about this with her friends and it seems jumping and banana may do the trick. On the way home, she tries hopping on red tiles only. She got distracted by a rabbit and hit a lamppost. Chiya sees this and thinks the heat must have gotten to her. At the supermarket, Chino sees Sharo who is waiting for some sale. They see something they want but jump as they might, they can’t reach. Rize is here to save the day. Back at Rabbit House, Cocoa and Chino try to overcome their detested food. Not doing so well… Rize’s training of shouting out loud won’t help either. So the only way is to take the slow path of eat and sleep well. At first Cocoa doesn’t mind if she outgrows her but since Chino won’t cuddle her, she panics and hopes she won’t grow and stay small! Till Chiya texts Cocoa about the heat getting to her that she changes her mind. Get lots of nutrition and sleep, no? Chino is doing some coffee fortune telling so Cocoa tries out. Tippy reads her fortune. Seems like bad luck in the form of water and polka dots. Next day, Cocoa tells Chiya about this. During lunch, Anko drops into her lunch (crows have a habit of picking him up). Then when she leaves the toilet, Chiya realizes her skirt was hooked up revealing her polka dot panties all this while. On the way back home, a woman accidentally splashes water on her. They visit Sharo’s cafe and she is extremely afraid of Anko. The sweet doesn’t taste well for Cocoa. Chiya tries to read Sharo’s fortune. But since it is about unrequited love, she gets mad and throws the change. It hit Cocoa’s face. When she returns to Rabbit House, she asks if the prediction has turned out true. From what she explains, the rest doesn’t want her to take anymore predictions. The friends go to the library to study. To Sharo’s surprise, Chiya seeks Cocoa’s help since she is good in maths and physics. Though she sucks in the rest. Chino won’t rely on Cocoa so she has Sharo teach her. They both note how they would like to be each other’s sister and this sends alarming signals to Cocoa. They ask which school Chino wants to go and also their dream. Cocoa’s dream: Your neighbourhood international barista lawyer! Since Sharo wonders if she had went to Chiya’s school instead of Rize, Chiya teases her that they may not be in the same class. But she should know it better because despite they go to different schools, they still hang out together. Cocoa knows the book that Chino is looking for. She can’t remember the title but remembers the contents clearly. She feels like a big sister finding her book. However… This isn’t it. Crime and Punishment?

Episode 5
Cocoa wants to go practice volleyball but gets disappointed when Chino and Rize didn’t stop her. On the other hand, Chino seeks Rize’s help to coach her badminton. Hope she doesn’t regret her military drills… They then see Cocoa and Chiya knocked out at the park. Seemed they knocked each other out in volleyball practice. So as they practice, Cocoa seems to always get hit by Chiya’s serve. Cocoa then switches place with Rize. Sharo sees them and is invited to join in. She is being given caffeine to be more active. Is that like doping? Cocoa and Sharo try to impress Chino and Rize respectively but their efforts go unnoticed. During Chino’s badminton game, she is a point from victory when she decides to use the secret technique she learnt from Rize. Patriot Serve! She lost because it hit the net and the recoil sent her bouncing back. One day Rize suddenly barges in to inform she is going to change shifts and work for a different cafe! No, she is not tired or them or have become some corporate spy. While practising her Patriot Serve, she accidentally broke her father’s wine collection (too much power, I guess). So for Father’s Day she wants to earn extra cash and buy the wine to make up for it. First she works at Amausa. Chiya fools around with the way she is to dress as well as suggesting putting military theme into her menu. Next day, Rize works at Fleur de Lapin as she tries to practice saying welcome to customers but feels embarrassed. She also asks Sharo why she needs to work so she had to lie to maintain her rich girl perception of her. As Rize alternates between the cafes, Cocoa and Chino think of making Takahiro a handmade gift. Cocoa tries to sew a necktie but sucks. Chino does it a lot better. When finished, Chino mentions that her dad only wears bowties… Well, they’ve worked so hard so Cocoa is sure he’ll be happy with anything. That doesn’t answer her question that if he will have the opportunity to wear it. On Rize’s last day at Fleur de Lapin, Sharo wonders if she would continue working here. Rize won’t since this cafe’s personality doesn’t suit her. Sharo is sad but cheers up when Rize invites her to go pick a wine. But it seems Rize didn’t get to buy a wine but something else. She notes that he already replaced it. Takahiro gave it to him and Tippy is mad he gave away the wine he had been saving.

Episode 6
On their day off, Cocoa and Chino go to town. Along the way they see Rize facing a dilemma in picking her clothes at the store and don’t want to disturb her. At the park, they see Sharo manning a crepe store. Cocoa offers her to take a bite. Tempting? Before she could, Anko lands splat on it! That must be traumatic for Sharo. Chino’s friends, Megumi “Megu” Natsu and Maya Jouga happen to pass by and as they chat, Cocoa got distracted chasing a bunny and this leads her to a wandering novelist, Aoyama Blue Mountain (her pen name) who is trying to find inspiration as her recent novel has just been adapted into a movie. After a short chat, Chino reunites with Cocoa and notes speaking to strangers doesn’t come natural to her. If her friends hadn’t taken the initiative to approach her, they would never have become friends. On the way back, they see Rize in a different clothing and hairstyle. Though, Rize manages to pass it off she is a different person. Since Chino notes she was able to talk to this ‘stranger’ so freely, she thinks it is all thanks to Cocoa. When Cocoa is late to her shift and couldn’t find her uniform, she sees Megu in it and thinks she has been fired! Maya is in Rize’s outfit. Seems they’re here to help. Cocoa tries to recruit them to be her little sisters! Rize comes looking for her uniform and also her ‘trusty companions’. Maya pulls out the gun and combat knife! Is this what she is looking for? Oh God. Why does she keep such dangerous weapons in her clothes?! Cocoa and Rize become their customers for today and as they get along well, Chino couldn’t help feel this pain in her heart. So she visits Amausa and talks to Chiya who thinks she is a little jealous. Chino feels her friends may have forgotten all about her. In that case, Chiya offers to join her. Don’t make it more confusing. Aoyama is in the next table and mentions she was a regular at Rabbit House during her school days but doesn’t have the courage to go back there recently and understands how she feels. She believes those feelings is her heat telling her that she loves those people even more than she thinks. Sharo barges in panicking because she got word that Rize has got a ‘little sister’… When Chino returns, seeing Cocoa and Rize thinking about her makes her feel better. At school, her friends are worried about Chino since she looks down recently. But she assures them it has already blown over. When Cocoa is watching the sunset with Tippy, Aoyama is there too. Cocoa says she has read her book. Aoyama reveals she modelled the main character after someone she knew: The owner of a cafe she once frequented. When business once wasn’t doing well, he grumbled and wished to turn into a rabbit, which is the inspiration of that story. She wants to tell him her story was popular enough to become a movie but kept putting it off because she was busy.

Episode 7
Rize could guess Chino is in a bad mood today but Cocoa thinks that is how she always treats her! It seems Chino was taking her time completing a jigsaw puzzle. When she left for toilet and returned, Cocoa completed it. What more, a missing piece. Cocoa felt so guilty that she rushed out to buy another jigsaw puzzle. 8000 pieces! I guess this calls for help. The rest arrive to put the pieces together, each doing their respective portion. Once it is near completion, Rize asks the all important question that nobody noticed: How do they pick this up since they didn’t put anything under it? Making the puzzle too long can cause you to lose motivation so Cocoa and Chino go make some pancakes. Just when they are about to reconcile, Cocoa flipped the pancake onto Chino’s face! Looks like reconciliation will be slightly delayed. While they chat, there is another chain puzzle that Chino hopes to complete one day. Sharo accidentally slams the bed and pops Tippy up. This reveals the missing piece. Everything should have come to a good end till Cocoa accidentally completes the chain puzzle… Next day in school, Cocoa notices it is Chiya’s turn to be down. She goes to check on her but sees Sharo sitting outside. They had some fight this morning and Sharo rushed off to school. She felt sorry for it but finds it hard to face her now. She is afraid Anko might target her if she enters. Cocoa has the perfect solution. Put a paper bag over Sharo’s head and walk in with a gun borrowed from Rize! Looks like a robbery! The moment Sharo takes off her bag, Anko chases her. Eventually they both made up. (Chiya found Sharo’s panties and tried to tell her – She might have chased her waving that all the way to school). Sharo is distributing flyers for Fleur de Lapin. A rabbit sits on her flyer stack so she had to beg for it to move! Luckily Rize is here to help. She is also distributing flyers for Rabbit House but accidentally advertises for Fleur de Lapin. Chino realizes spelling mistakes on the flyer. Rabbit Horse? And what’s with this “Welcome Come On”? Cocoa is embarrassed by her mistake as they rush to recall the flyers. They just need to correct the rest when the wind blows it away. Yeah. Picking every piece up. Rize is scared of bugs but not Sharo. Then here comes a rabbit at her feet so Cocoa lets her hold a small one in her hands as practice. She’s coping well for now… The girls are at Chiya’s house to give their share of bread and want to know where Sharo lives so they can give hers. Here she comes out next door remembering about dinner. Suddenly it’s like their reality came crashing down although they apologize for jumping to conclusions that she is a rich girl. Cocoa is still the blur one. She is still wondering where her house is! Rize tells her embarrassing secret to her in exchange for knowing this (she loves putting miniature guns on her rabbit dolls). The finished jigsaw puzzle becomes a framed picture at Rabbit House.

Episode 8
Sharo is acting like a drunk because she was down and Chiya brought her to different coffee cafes. Later the friends visit an indoor pool. Cocoa has flippers for Chino? Rize ties up Chino’s hair and does the same for Chiya. She got so flustered about the rest praising her skills that she decorated it into something extravagant. I find it odd that Rize doesn’t know how to swim despite having military training. With Cocoa and Sharo teaching her, Chino and Chiya play chess. The trio start off with holding their breath underwater and since Cocoa looks like she has drowned, this startles the rest. So technically she won, right? Because the chess wager if Chino loses, Cocoa will have to call Cocoa her big sister (otherwise Chiya will see what happens when Tippy gets soaked), Cocoa needs to go watch the match closely to avoid losing her status. This leaves Sharo alone with Rize. She has a nice time teaching her. So good that her leg got cramped. Chino and Chiya cannot concentrate since Cocoa and Tippy are being noisy. They are at stake, you know? At the end of the day, Rize believes Chino has won because Cocoa still has the right to refer to herself as a big sister. Tippy got ‘harassed’ by other kids… One rainy day, Chino’s friends think Chino has this sleepy face. She assures she puts on a different face during work so they believe it is Tippy on her head and discuss what else to put on her head. Since the friends are going to watch a movie and it is raining, some of them dash out in the rain. Cocoa trips… During the movie, Cocoa and Chino try to hold in their tears so as not to show each other in fear they will be teased. Rize is awed by the cinema (it’s her first time), Chiya taking notes for just about anything from the movie to improve her menu (must be those lines) while Sharo has a hard time trying to quiet her growling stomach. Meanwhile Aoyama finally decides to visit Rabbit House. Instead of seeing the old master, her eyes made contact with Takahiro and she felt guilty and runs away. After the movie, Chino feels sleepy and Cocoa offers to carry her back. Sharo and Chiya will support her and it makes it look like a kibasen. Back at Rabbit House, Cocoa feels influenced by the movie and wants to become a barista. What happened to becoming a baker and a lawyer? Because of that, Cocoa could feel Chino being angry as the latter serves several cups of coffee. If she is serious in becoming a barista, she should prove she at least know her blends.

Episode 9
When Tippy was still an old man, he lamented he worked so hard and yet his business is failing. He wished he would be like his pet rabbit. Young Cocoa heard it and thought it was his order so she casted a ‘magic spell’ for him to turn into a rabbit one day. Rize needs some time off work since she’ll be in a drama play. But it’s not going to be some dog like Cocoa thought but an elegant lady. Does she know how to be elegant? Cocoa suggests seeking Chiya’s advice and right away Rize has a complete makeover. Aoyama is also at Amausa to find inspiration for her novel. Subsequently Sharo is roped in to teach the finer points of being a lady but she gets freaked out upon her arrival as the girls were wearing Phantom of the Opera masks. I don’t know how that would help but it didn’t. Aoyama draws inspiration from Sharo and uses their past meetings as inspiration. Cocoa and Chino panic when they start thinking that Rize may quit this job if she really gets into acting. Because for Cocoa, the cafe will lose a bodyguard and Cocoa can’t defend it herself! In the end when Rize started to get the hang of being elegant, her role was rewritten to suit her personality. She hopes to use what she learnt in another play but Cocoa and Chino get the wrong idea and try to stop her. One day, a paper airplane from Aoyama hits Chino. Seems she has given up being a novelist. Cocoa once again couldn’t find her uniform and when she sees Aoyama in it, she thinks she is fired for good this time! So Chino hires Aoyama for the time being. Aoyama hopes to meet the old master but was told he already passed away. Funny, she thought she heard his voice the other day. Cocoa thinks she has missed him so much and started hearing things and gives Tippy to console herself. She felt a sense of nostalgia touching him. But she still feels sad that he is already gone and will never get his thoughts on her writing again. Aoyama also opens a counselling corner in the cafe and since none came, Chiya brings the first one: Sharo. This girl sure has lots of problems. Once she drinks Rize’s coffee, she becomes like a sad drunk, pouring out her money and rabbit problems. Aoyama also receives letters asking for advice. Turns out to be Chino and Cocoa who could have just talked it out with each other. The girls find out that she lost her drive for writing when she lost the fountain pen the old master gave her. She lost it on the first day she met Cocoa. They go find it at the park but Cocoa got distracted chasing rabbits. It is Tippy who finds the pen so Chino talks to him that he should give it to Aoyama. Finally he talks to her and she gets freaked out a stuffed doll is talking. But she brought the wrong one when she was showing Chino and Cocoa. Soon she gets her writing rhythm back and even hints her old master is always watching them. Perhaps in the form of a rabbit and borrowing Tippy’s body? This freaks out Rize and Cocoa.

Episode 10
Cocoa will be away to stay over at Chiya’s place since they will be studying together. So is it going to get a lot quieter at Rabbit House? Not quite. Megu and Maya are called to fill in Cocoa’s shoes. They are also here for a sleepover. I suppose Chino is starting to miss Cocoa so she unknowingly makes lots of coffee. Megu and Maya have this telepathic link and know what the other thinks. Rize tries it out but they could never guess her military codes. Cocoa is having a blast working at Amausa. Aoyama is there too and thought Anko was talking to her but it turns out to be Cocoa reading aloud a line from her novel. When the duo start studying, Sharo is also roped in. Why do they need her? In case they get distracted, she is supposed to start whacking them with a harisen. Seriously. Rize and Chino take Megu and Maya to the indoor pool. Chino worries about being a good host and talks to Tippy. She finds it weird he sounds different that’s because Aoyama is adlibbing him. They start playing water pistols. Aoyama uses Tippy as hostage! But Rize like a true military girl shoots right at all her targets. Well what do you know? Tippy shrinks when he is soaked! Because Cocoa and Sharo have an argument over some math equation, Cocoa starts counting prime numbers as a challenge but after reaching some 9000th number, she gets distracted by a photo album. Sharo is about to disclose something embarrassing about Chiya’s past but was made to shut up. She thinks she might have finally found something to turn the tables on her after always being embarrassed by her. When Chino and co return back to Rabbit House, she sends a mail to Chiya, a picture of soaked Tippy. Cocoa thought Chino is lonely but is disheartened to see her fun face. Well, maybe now she feels lonely. Cocoa calls her and they chat a while before retiring to bed. Sharo dreams that she only has 52 Yen. That’s not enough to buy bread! Chino, Megu and Maya thought they could surprise Rize when she visits as a customer by turning this into a little sister cafe. But she turns into a military drill instructor and tells them to fall in! Only siscon girls like Cocoa would have totally loved it. Too bad…

Episode 11
The girls are shopping at the Christmas market for decorative ornaments. Because Sharo is busy on that day, the rest suggests holding a Christmas party for her after that. Chino and Cocoa said that in sync. Cocoa is so pleased but not Chino. Since Cocoa is too close to Chino, it makes Chiya note that they look like real sisters. Cocoa is extremely pleased. But not Chino. Cocoa wants to leave a present for Chino and seeks Rize’s advice on what she likes. A music box with animals would be nice. Everyone works hard till Christmas. Chiya couldn’t stop thinking of what performance to give. Balancing Anko on her umbrella? The party is to be held at Rabbit House so everyone arrives including Megu and Maya. Sharo is the last to arrive and is shocked to see everyone working. The place is crowded and they’re helping out. Just when she got time off and everybody is working their ass off… Not to be let down she suddenly turns into a super waitress. Her serving skills become top notch and could put the rest to shame. She could even be harsher than Rize. Chino notices they’re out of butter so Chiya tries to shake the fresh cream in a bottle. I don’t think it’s working. Megu has trouble counting at the register but Cocoa saves the day with her fast calculation. After a hard day’s work, it is time for their deserved party as Chino summons her courage to call a toast. They exchange presents. Aoyama who is helping Takahiro out in the bar thought she heard her old master’s voice and believes tonight is another night of miracles. That night when Chino is asleep, Cocoa sneaks in to plant her present hoping she would think it was from Santa. Takahiro also got the same idea. Next morning, Chino wakes up to find presents at her bed. Thankfully that is not Cocoa as the present as she merely slept by the bed side. Of course she knows who the presents are from. But it is Cocoa that is shocked to find presents in her bed and thinks it is from Santa.

Episode 12
Chino couldn’t understand why Cocoa was sleeping in her room. Cocoa remembers Chino falling asleep and didn’t let go of her sleeve. Maybe she smelled like bread? Talking about scents with their friends, Cocoa thinks Chiya would smell like traditional Japanese austerity, Sharo like herbs and Rize like military gun powder. It’s okay, you don’t have to sniff yourself because it’s just a joke. The quartet take their time hanging out in the snow laden town. Chino wonders why they are taking so long and she hints that she their scent puts her at ease. Cocoa and co realize they are late and rushes back. Megu and Maya are doing an assignment so they interview Cocoa about working here. Since she isn’t the appropriate person, Chino channels them to Tippy who starts ranting with passion what it means. They think it’s Chino talking. Then they interview Takahiro but again Tippy starts disagreeing but the girls think Chino is the one disapproving. Next they interview Chiya before heading over to Sharo (more like she got teased and tricked to do some pose). Aoyama happen to be there to so the duo don’t mind interviewing her but they observe her using her excuse to hang out in such shops to peep employees without looking suspicious. So that’s why… The duo want to hang out more but Cocoa warns they’ll be late. But they know her weakness… Call Cocoa their big sister! That takes care of everything. One day, Cocoa gets fever so is made to stay in bed. The friends visit but what is this wearing a garlic wreath is supposed to help cure the illness? I thought that was for vampires? Since her fever is not going down, her friends leave to let her rest. Meanwhile, Sharo is also down with the same symptoms. Chiya really wants her to wear the garlic wreath… Chino thought Cocoa is in pain but upon closer hearing her mumbling, seems she is dreaming about food. Tippy realizes they are out of medicine. All shops are closed at this hour and she doesn’t want to bother her dad manning the bar. The only way is to head to Chiya’s place to get some. It’s dangerous but she’ll do it. Aoyama goes in to give Cocoa a warm drink but since she starts to feel cold herself, she drinks it herself! That is warm wine?! Feeling dizzy, isn’t she? When Chino returns, she learns Cocoa was dreaming she got hurt in her dream. She assures she is tougher than that. Next day we have good news and bad news. Good news: Chino didn’t catch her cold. Bad news: Now she has mumps! Cocoa will be her big sister and take care of her. Oh dear. When they are well again, Chino tries to wake up Cocoa to open the shop. However she is so sound asleep. She whispers in her ear by calling her ‘big sister’ and instantly she wakes up and they bump into each other’s heads. Care to repeat that again, please?

Is The Order A Loli? Eat In Or Take Away?
I survived… The ending may not be nothing much just like the rest of the episodes that feel each could stand alone as some filler, but that is what to be expected in such animes with no plot and the only motivation is to see cute moe girls interact and bond with each other. Hardly exciting for those hoping to something more. Therefore, despite the lack of any surprises and plot twists (what?), this show is still pretty decent thanks to the moe factor that captures your attention. Unless of course you aren’t really into this kind of stuffs or a heartless cold bastard who’d rather see rippling masculine muscles and crush rabbits with your hands. But other than that, for those who manage to get through this anime without ending up with any serious moe after effect injuries, a big congratulations and a pat on your back. Now you can truly say you have witnessed the extreme moe and SURVIVED!

Thanks to the quirkiness of the characters, the comedic effects are spontaneous and in the sense that it doesn’t make you bored like certain animes of the same genre. Sometimes you’ll find yourself bursting into short fits of laughter at their quirkiness or feel that warm fuzzy feeling in your heart because the things they just are just oh-so-cute from the way they speak and act. This is if you are into this kind of genre anyway. Otherwise you would be putting up that long face and wondering what the hell are all these adorable motifs that would send a sharp shiver down your spine. You must be a heartless cold bastard who’d rather see rippling masculine muscles and crush rabbits with your… Oh, I have already said that.

The characters are the biggest drive and connecting factor that makes this work. They are lovable since each comes with their own quirky habits. As usual we have a quirky bunch with Cocoa being your typical lively and energetic girl. Sometimes airhead. A bit of a sister complex. Rize is a bit different because not many moe animes would have a girl with a military background. In a way it makes her unique since she doesn’t think like your normal and typical girl. Because military background people tend to resort to violence, right? Thankfully she doesn’t although lots of her suggestions and thinking have this military influence. But oddly, she looks more cute than menacing despite her harsh military training. Then you have Chino who doesn’t talk much and has that monotonous look on her face. I guess it is ironic for the girl who doesn’t talk much as compared to the rest, she seems the most mature for her age. And I believe she is the youngest among the quintet. Maybe having Tippy sit on her head somewhat transfers the wisdom of her grandpa into her brain. I know it’s crazy but having a grandpa reincarnated as your pet rabbit is even crazier. She might not be good interacting with strangers but at least she gets along fine with the friends she knows. In time, she yearns for their company. Okay, maybe except for the occasional bugging from Cocoa to be her sister.

Equally an airhead like Cocoa is Chiya. But her mind is more focused on improving her store and doesn’t hesitate to take down ideas that she thinks would be useful. Sharo is the most amusing among the quintet since she has a ‘multitude of emotions’. She flusters a lot and feels like the one who is usually picked on because we all love to see girls who react like that, right? I thought she would have built up some immunity after always embarrassing herself in such moments. Unless you want to see another side of her, please don’t give her coffee because this hypes her up or turns her into a drunk. Sharo’s admiration for Rize can border that of being yuri but thankfully you won’t see that sort of thing here. Because moe is the ultimate element that rules. And it’s odd too to find that there are people who have phobia to rabbits. How can you fear such cuddly cute creatures? Yup. Perhaps the same reasons why I don’t find bugs cute like some people do. So if you really have fear of rabbits, you shouldn’t be watching this show since there are some episodes that spam bunnies. It’s like they run around freely in this town. Megu and Maya are helpful friends and Cocoa would love to recruit them into her sister harem while Aoyama feels like the biggest airhead, hopping from one café to café while trying to find inspiration for her novel. But the way she bums around and ‘stalks’ (observes as she calls it) our girls, I think she’ll hardly find inspiration for anything.

Tippy is obviously the mascot of the series. So cute that he doesn’t even look like your typical rabbit. Reminds me of Tamayura’s Momoneko but that cat is recognizable as a feline despite looking like a candy floss. If they had not clarify Tippy is a rabbit, I would have thought that was a cat or some sort of Pokemon creature. Seriously. The only odd part is how Chino’s grandpa ended up as part of Tippy. It could be that ‘magical’ moment when young Cocoa casted her ‘spell’ on him. Did he really want to become a rabbit? Oddly he can speak normally instead of just communicating telepathically to Chino and Takahiro. However since other people don’t really believe animals talk, they easily jump to conclusions that Chino is a ventriloquist or is her other true character. But Tippy’s mouth moves when talks, right? In denial? I think it is easier on their sanity that way. Besides, what kind of sounds do rabbits make? What does the rabbit say? Then there is Anko who is the secondary mascot. Because of his face that never moves, it makes him look like an animated Easter bunny chocolate. Really.

Obvious as it is, the art and drawing of the girls are drawn to a moe extent. Cutely cute. Which is something quite similar to what you see in shows like Kin-iro Mosaic but double the dose of moe-ness. The character designs may look simple and clean (in a cute way of course) but sometimes you don’t really need all those fancy and detailed looks to make it work. The background and sceneries are also well done especially with the old European setting of the town. Not to mention that they also put in quite some decent detail in the pattern designs of the cups and plates. Oh, the snow effects also look gorgeous. White Fox studio produces this anime and they did works like Hataraku Maou-sama and Super Sonico The Animation. Can’t get enough of the moe girls? At the end of each episode, there are further cute sketches and illustrations of the characters. I am not sure if they are by various people since there are no credits to say if the illustrations are from whom.

Although not many (you can’t count them with your fingers), I never expect that there would be a little fanservice in this anime. But the fanservice here is not over the top and nothing pretty fancy such as Rize’s debut we see her in her plaid design underwear (probably to attract casual viewers to stay and watch this anime that that they will otherwise find boring and dropping the series entirely), Cocoa changing and that unashamed indoor pool episode. Because of the extreme moe in just about everything, you’d probably pass the fanservice stuffs and wouldn’t think about it despite such scenes being pretty obvious. Yeah. Numbed by the moe factor.

I’m starting to form a stereotype on Ayane Sakura’s voice. As Cocoa, although her character isn’t as bratty as her other bratty characters (think Suzuka from Tokyo Ravens and Eno from Love Lab), she still has that unmistaken bratty voice in her character. She’s more like Non Non Biyori’s Natsumi. Satomi Satou’s dreamy voice makes her suitable as Chiya. Just think of her as a more moe version of Fairy Tail’s Wendy. Other casts include Inori Minase as Chino (Suzune in Love Lab), Risa Taneda as Rize (Mirai in Kyoukai No Kanata), Maaya Uchida as Sharo (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Saori Hayami as Aoyama (Yui in Kamigami No Asobi), Motomu Kiyokawa as Tippy (Fuyutsuki in Neon Genesis Evangelion), Sho Hayami as Takahiro (Tenzen in Basilisk), Rie Murakawa as Megu (Escha in Atelier Escha & Logy) and Sora Tokui as Maya (Nero in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes).

The opening theme itself is already filled with lots of moe and with lyrics like “pyon-pyon”, it gives you a taste of the moe-ness that is about to come. The lively song is called Daydream Café by Petite Rabbit’s which is actually the voices of the main quintet. The ending theme is Poppin Jump by Chimame-tai, basically the voices behind Chino, Maya and Megu (add the first syllables to get Chimame, geddit?). As usual, it has that fun bouncy feel to it like all animes of this genre should. Hearing it sometimes wants to make you shuffle your feet. Not forgetting its cute lyrics like “ra-ta-ta” too. Nichijou Decoration by Petite Rabbit’s is the special ending theme for the final episode and it sounds like a befitting moderate pop piece to end the series. I think at this point hardcore moe lovers would find goodbye to be the hardest word… Good things have to end one day… Even lolis grow up one day too! Haha! Fear that all you lolicons!

This anime and the genre itself is not for everyone. Literally, not going to be anyone’s cup of tea (or coffee). Having cute girls doing cute things with much ado about nothing is the same as watching Barney and Friends or Sesame Street. Only replace all puppet monsters with cute girls. If you want something that warms your heart and keep you smiling at the end of the day, try out this series. Provided if you have not succumbed to death by extreme moe asphyxiation or turned into a lolicon. Just remember to take your coffee simple without all that complicated terms that would take a rocket scientist to decipher. You don’t need all that complicated stuff to enjoy something simple, don’t you?