The nameless assassin is back… Wait a minute! WAIT A MINUTE! I thought we were done with this chuunibyou thing?! Why the heck is it brought back up? Well actually, it is not that Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai got a third season or anything. Because the main character of this show, Inou Battle Wa Nichijou-kei No Naka De also ‘suffers’ from this chuunibyou syndrome, I guess it brought back those unwanted-cum-embarrassing memories. And I thought I would be done with it once that second season of that anime ends but they had to make me remember it again. Oh dear… Oh my… Some things will never leave your past. Ever.

So we have an abundance of high school romance comedy harem animes throughout the years. Each trying to stand out on its own. Some making it, some pretty memorable, some just decent while others fail so badly that they never had another season and faded into obscurity and into the back of our memories. Heh. So what else is there to make this genre stand out? Why not make your chicks have a unique super power each? That’s it! A super power high school romance comedy harem. No people, it’s not going to be as epic as you think like an alternate world of Superman owning Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Raven and Hawkgirl. It’s about a group of high school students of a club one day suddenly for unknown reasons developing super powers and thus their normal days are now filled with super power battles and other activities. Super power is now the norm and part of their everyday lives. Wow. This is sure going to take the catfight to the next super power level.

Episode 1
When Tomoyo Kanzaki enters the literature club, she is not thrilled that Jurai Andou is acting out one of his chuunibyou about his right hand (I hope there isn’t any sexual innuendo thing here). They make a bet and when Hatoko Kushikawa enters, she takes it seriously and tries to call an ambulance for his pain. Not funny anymore. Andou is forced to apologize. He tries to make it even real next time (with blood?) but turns out loli Chifuyu Himeki walks in and almost scares the sh*t out of her to a point where she is going to cry! Nothing is worse than a crime of making a loli cry. Once club president Sayumi Takanashi is here, Andou continues with his chuunibyou charade. Suddenly light is emitted from his hands. Cool special effects. Wait. This is for real. What the heck is happening? It is getting brighter… Six months later, Andou doesn’t change. The same chuunibyou act. The same unconvinced face by Tomoyo. The same gullible mode by Hatoko. Once the 5 of them are here, they are to initiate their monthly super power check up. In an alternate dimension, we see Chifuyu and Hatoko engaging in a super power battle. They are so focused that neither side is giving up. Andou explains to us of Chifuyu’s power to create anything that comes to mind and Hatoko’s absolute control over all elements. As this match is making no headway, it is Tomoyo’s turn to stop them. The duo find themselves back in the clubroom. Again as Andou explains, Tomoyo’s power is to manipulate time although she can only stop or hasten it. While time was stopped, she carried the duo back. As for Sayumi, her power is to restore anything she touches back to normal, although what constitutes normal is unsure. Andou can’t wait to show his power but the girls are not thrilled. In fact, they don’t even want to see it. I guess this says a lot.

They are put a stop to their activities when student council president, Mirei Kudou walks in to inform them about the complaints of them being noisy. Andou tries to worm his way out by giving his chuunibyou act. The girls thought Kudou won’t buy it but surprisingly she panics upon thinking her identity has been revealed (because Andou lied through his teeth about knowing who she is)! Kudou explains about how she saw their super powers awakening that day and kept a constant watch on them. She challenges to defeat her and if so, she will tell them about her objective. Andou goes first and as usually, some may call it lying through his teeth despite in his eyes he is acting out his chuunibyou stuff (his blazer acts as a seal? Lies!). Once Andou materializes a flame on his right hand, Kudou smiles in victory. Her power is to steal power of others and that is what she did to Andou. He is left in despair thinking of all the good (pathetic) times he had with the flame. Kudou couldn’t be more disappointed. Because this is just the extent of his flame power. That’s all. Yup. Useless. The other girls confirm this. Will the others be fighting her? Tomoyo is smart. She has deduced her power only works when it is shown. Therefore they won’t use their super powers. It will be a physical fight. And Sayumi is black belt in judo and karate… Oh sh*t… Kudou is easily defeated into submission. She reveals all that her super power awakened about a month ago. She was confused and scared. Then she received an anonymous message that the literature club had people with super powers too. She was scared of them as they were a group of 5. She thought they were going to target her and tried to finish them first by starting a fight. Didn’t go to well, huh? In the end, she returned Andou’s power. The quintet discuss the underlying problem of the anonymous sender. Were their powers awakened by somebody else? If they’d only knew someone is watching them right now…

Episode 2
Andou has everyone come up with their own cool nicknames. So we have Hatoko with her colour series, Sayumi with her princess-like names and Chifuyu with her fruit or family relation nicknames. They just don’t sound right, eh? Well, Tomoyo may be the closest in terms of what Andou is expecting. Endless Paradox. Kudou had to interrupt them again but this time she has business with Andou. She is here to reply his love letter and instantly she admits she loves him and would love to go out with him. WTF?! What just happened?! Tomoko is obviously acting jealous that Kudou has to point it out to her. So she would rather go yuri instead of liking this guy? Then outsiders should stay out of it! She shows the letter that was left in her shoebox. Indeed it is written by Andou although it was a letter of gratitude of her power. She over analyzed every line and thus concluded it was a love letter. Therefore it is no surprise she misinterpreted the word Grateful Robber as Grateful Lover. Kudou is ready to call Andou her darling. The loli won’t allow her to take her Andou away. Tomoyo tries to intervene but was told off about her breast size. She becomes mad that she is going to stop time. The moment she does that, Kudou steals her power. Only with Andou’s plea that this love stricken girl returns her power. So we see Kudou acting like his girlfriend. Waiting for him after class, exchanging emails (wow. It has their name in it!) and of course the yandere warning of never to cheat on her with other girls!

It is no surprise that his literature club girls are acting strange when Andou is around. Tomoyo and her jealousy fit, Hatoko giving him the silent treatment and Chifuyu also giving the same and talking through her squirrel stuffed doll. He gets sarcasm and death from Sayumi although she hints that the girls don’t like it when he is showing off his lovey-dovey mood even if Kudou is the one who is misinterpreting all this. They need to do something about this. Andou says that won’t be necessary. Since he started this, he will settle this himself. He goes to apologize and bows his head to Kudou that all this was a misunderstanding. Although Kudou sounds like she is being cool with it, you can see her body reaction. She’s breaking up. Well, you got to give it to her for trying to hold it in this long. She’s handling it pretty well instead of turning yandere or bursting into tears. Andou gets some consoling talk from Tomoyo. She asks about his decision to choose a word like robber. Andou explains about the character count to match theirs. What he wanted was a strong sense of unity. They are a group of 5 as opposed to Kudou who is alone. They overcame hurdles together but she had to conquer them by herself. Therefore this was to show she was one of them, as their friend. But unfortunately it seemed to have an opposite effect. It may look like he is acting his chuunibyou again but he notes even if the world changes, he won’t. Back home, receives an apology message from Kudou and to remain friends. He notices her email address has taken out their name. I guess it’s over for them, huh?

Episode 3
Andou is summoned by his teacher, Shiharu Satomi who is also Chifuyu’s aunt. It’s about his test. Actually his answers are somewhat ambiguous as he wrote using difficult kanji words. But since they aren’t technically wrong, he scores quite high in his test. His friend Shizumu Sagami is also here to retrieve his ‘lover’. His console game. He did have a real girlfriend but Andou is surprised to hear he was dumped. Something about him buying a galge. No wonder. Since the chuunibyou loser and anime freak are arguing, Satomi throws them out of her room. How can she sleep with all that noise? Andou joins his club girls in tennis. Tomoyo thought she could stop time and return the serve but it hits the net and bounces back into her face. Then we have a flaming fireball match between Hatoko and Andou but the former’s fire is hotter so it’s going to hurt. Later Andou shows the girls his record book called Bloody Bible. Tomoyo points out he spelled Bible wrongly as Vivre. Andou realized too late that Sayumi (trying hard to hold her laughter) tricked him into how to spell it. On the way home, Andou realizes his precious Bible isn’t with him and goes back to look for it. Hatoko explains to the other girls how she was often teased with the nickname of Yakitori-chan since her surname can be read like that. She hated it. Till Andou came along and wouldn’t stand for such ‘lame’ nickname and gave her a cooler one: Fire Phoenix. Everyone thought it was lamer than before and stopped calling her that. Hatoko believed he saved her. Sayumi agrees he is a reliable guy despite being an idiot. Because he once told her about her powers never to resurrect the dead or think about it. Chifuyu was told the same thing. Such powers should not exist in their world. He is considerate enough to think about their powers and the effects it could have.

Andou returns to the clubroom only to see this suspicious guy reading his Bible. Kiryuu Heldkaiser Luci First (or Hajime Kiryuu if you prefer his real name) is impressed with Andou’s nickname of Guiltia Sin Jurai. He shows him a similar record book he has called Reverse Crux Record. These guys instantly click. At the cafe where Andou is impressed reading the meaning of his nickname and such, he finds out Hajime is an alumnus of the literature club. A call interrupts them as Andou hears Hajime talking to his ‘comrade’ about some ‘war’ thingy going on. Continuing on the topic of chuunibyou, Hajime has Andou describe what it means to him. Hajime also adds it is a wish for someone to accept you just as you strongly wish to become that someone else. This unresolved paradox of self denial and self affirmation is something like an endless paradox. Sound familiar? Tomoyo comes in surprised to see them. Hajime and Tomoyo know each other. He is her older brother. She hopes he would come back as father isn’t mad anymore but he isn’t going to do so. He leaves and feels their fate will meet again. He tells his other alias: Lucifer’s Strike. Tomoyo talks to Andou that the Endless Paradox nickname was derived from him. They have different surnames because although they share the same father, they have different mothers. Kiryuu is Hajime’s mother’s maiden name and has always gone by it despite living with them since young. She views him as a smart and good person in all aspects from studies and athletics. The kind of person you’d really look to as a role model. But about a year ago, he suddenly felt something is wrong with the world, quit college and left home. Andou hasn’t told him about his real super power yet but is even more amazed with this guy because he casually left him the entire bill… Way to go… Next day, Andou sees Chifuyu waiting outside his school gates. Doesn’t she have her own elementary school to go to? That won’t be necessary. Because she has quit school.

Episode 4
Andou carries Chifuyu to school and she loves being carried on his back. Upon arrival, Chifuyu’s friend, Madoka Kuki is worried but happy to see her. She heard a lot about Andou. Later Andou gets this great idea to use Chifuyu’s power to cosplay. Everyone writes an idea into a suggestion box and randomly picks up a cosplay outfit to wear. So we have Andou the maid (Sayumi can’t stop taking pictures and the only thing missing to go with this is Sagami…), Sayumi in bloomers, Hatoko the sun, bondage gear Chifuyu and Tomoyo in a bikini armour. After taking a group picture, they had to quickly revert back since Satomi is coming in. Well, they’re not wearing other clothes underneath, right? Thank goodness for Tomoyo’s time stopping power… Anyway Satomi is here to see Chifuyu. She heard she left school early due to stomach pains. Chifuyu seems uncomfortable talking about this. Did she lie? Back in Andou’s home, Chifuyu suddenly pops up to tell him that she got into an argument with Kuki because she was told to stay away from Andou. He wants to talk about this in detail tomorrow and she head home for now but it seems Kuki is at her home this instant. It makes things even awkward. She takes up his advice literally that he will come with her and teleports him back. Imagine Kuki’s surprise to see Andou just in his boxers. Definitely looking like a pervert. Kuki wants Chifuyu to stop hanging out with him but she won’t. She can’t tell her the reason either and this upsets Kuki as she leaves. And that scorning look at Andou. This isn’t good.

Next day, Chifuyu tells Andou she wasn’t able to make up with Kuki. I mean, she wouldn’t let her copy her homework, eat her vegetables, got lost along the way… Wow. She relies on her too much. Time to get a replacement?! I didn’t know that was a joke. But she is sad they can’t be friends again. Noticing her melancholy, Andou offers to be her knight and help her make up with Kuki. While Chifuyu talks to Hatoko and gets her squirrel doll fixed, Andou goes to speak to Kuki (who thinks he might be stalking her). He will tell her a greatest secret in exchange she doesn’t tell anyone. He is a lolicon! Oh sh*t! The way he is waxing lyrical this way of life is scaring the hell out of her! It’s doing more trauma than good! What he is trying to say is that Chifuyu accepts him for who he is and just being able to play with her satisfies him. Okay, that sounds creepy too. Chifuyu comes by to hand a bear stuffed doll to her she won at a crane game to make up with her. The girls emotionally reconcile and they’re back to being best friends. This reminds Andou how Satomi first introduced Chifuyu to the club members and they had to babysit her while she attended some meeting. With Andou’s reputation known as the lolicon knight to the girls, Andou asks why Chifuyu wanted to quit school. It was so she could enter high school. She was skipping class to study so she could skip grades. Although it may be hard to keep her powers a secret, she is fine since they are here. She is glad to know in 4 years’ time, she’ll catch up to him. The girls quickly understand what she means so they spell it out to him that she will be the same chuunibyou age with Andou. Oh yes. He will always be there waiting for her no matter how many months or years have passed.

Episode 5
Andou brings a guitar case to the clubroom. Trying to get some attention even though if he can’t play? He calls his guitar Infinity Maria and shows it to the girls. Chifuyu is impressed and wants him to give it to her. Not a chance. She then clones it and has him choose which is the real one. He keeps the one he chooses. A test of his true love for Maria, eh? This is what he has decided. He smashes both of them! He believes this is just a trick by Chifuyu but she mentions it wasn’t. She already told him it was pretty straightforward, right? And so he is left crying that he destroyed his true Maria. Oh my MARIAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!! Don’t worry. Sayumi’s power can restore it back, right? After school, Andou realizes he forgot his bag and ditches walking home with Hatoko to return to the clubroom to get it. He witnesses Tomoyo acting out a chuunibyou line! OMFG! Who would’ve guessed?! She’s going to die with embarrassment now that he knows her secret. Even more so when he catches glimpse of a light novel she is writing. Hey, at least Andou makes it clear he isn’t making fun of her (even if it seems like it) but instead is jumping with joy. She is surprised he is quite calm and not laughing at what she is doing. I mean, if he finds people writing light novels funny, then what does that make of him with his chuunibyou? Although Andou won’t exactly support or root for what she is doing, he thinks it is alright as long as she is having fun writing them. Besides, he doesn’t know how deep she is into this and thus the reason he can’t root for her irresponsibly. Tomoyo is touched for him saying such serious things as she reveals how she has failed a couple of times trying to enter contests. She laments her power doesn’t have anything to do that makes her writing better. Well, if it helps her feel better, Andou acts out his usual chuunibyou lines for her.

For the next few scenes, Tomoyo seems to be pretty obsessed with her handphone even during classes. Andou finds out that she is one of the many first round winners for a light novel contest she submitted (under the pen name of Hizumi Yugami). To celebrate this great achievement, he would like to treat her. It will only be them. Can’t pass up this chance, right? Probably this is the first time Tomoyo had a big headache trying to figure what to wear but I think she’ll learn the downside of ‘dating’ a guy like him because when they meet, he didn’t even compliment her ‘normal’ clothes. Nothing. Disappointed? But I think she can’t stop blushing since he even suggested they pretend to be a couple even though it is just to order some couple cake set. Tomoyo wants to ask Andou to accompany her to go buy a book coming out next week but the damn clock had to interrupt and he couldn’t hear what she said. It took a lot of courage for her to say that, you know? Can’t say it again? But she can agree that today was a lot of fun. On the way back, Hatoko is shocked to see them together.

Episode 6
What’s this? Andou and his harem are demons and in some sort of disagreement? He is forced to fight and defeats all of them. Turns out to be a game the girls made for him. Even more surprising is a happy birthday wish at the end of it. All this just for that? Cool! So cool that he is going to cry… A short flashback reveals that 10 months ago, Sayumi suggested eliminating their powers using hers and return to their normal lives. However Andou was against it thinking it would be a waste to do so since they have them. Sayumi falls ill since she worked the hardest on the game. Andou visits her and sees her quite different in glasses. Her sister, Maiya is cheeky enough to tease them as Sayumi is forced to say they aren’t dating and never will (really?). Once she is gone, he looks through the photo album and sees Sayumi was a student council president during middle school. He wonders why she didn’t become one in high school. It seems he might have stepped on a land mine because Sayumi claims she doesn’t feel well and wants him to leave. The flashback continues whereby Sayumi and Andou are in a showdown over their ideals. After setting down the rules, they fight to determine the winner and whether their powers stay or not. Obviously Sayumi overwhelms Andou at every point (faking it or not), giving him no chance. However he doesn’t give up. In present time, Andou gets a message from Sayumi that she won’t be coming to the club due to personal business. She is already well from her cold. He gets a call from Maiya checking things out. Andou tells her he might have said something to upset Sayumi and asks about her stint as student council president at middle school. She was one who sought for perfection and this led to arguments with her fellow body. So the ones who couldn’t keep up drifted away. Andou also remembers Sayumi wanted to become the same in high school but why didn’t she? She talks to Kudou this time but she can only guess it is because she prioritized her bond with her fellow members after discovering her super power. After Andou realizes the student council campaign and election period and process, he realizes it was his fault. Flashback continues and we see Andou doesn’t give up despite all that pain. Even if she gives him time to chant finish his line and use his power, it’s not like it is going to change anything, right? She overpowers him and is going to erase his power. The fun is over.

Once Andou meets Sayumi, he quickly apologizes that had he not been persistent about erasing their powers, she would have become student council president. She clears up the misunderstanding that she doesn’t hate him. When she told him to leave, she really felt drowsy and wanted to rest. As for why she didn’t turn up in the clubroom today is because she went to buy contacts and not because she didn’t want to see him anymore. She even has receipt as proof. This guy was really this worried? Although he may be partly responsible that she couldn’t become student council president, she doesn’t hate him for it and is in fact grateful. The flashback concludes as we see Sayumi couldn’t erase his power. Andou suspected she couldn’t recognize his powerlessness as his natural state. This led him to think about some paradox state that if she said they were not meant to have powers but she had to use them means it would be an unnatural state for her. Can she accept it with all her heart that they weren’t meant to have them? Therefore a person using a power to erase power is like some sort of paradox. He never said it because he wanted to leave hope and the possibility alive that using her powers would return them back to normal. Sayumi admitted she is scared of her powers and can’t trust herself or anyone. She is worried it might be misused or go out of control. Andou suggests using it for fun and will teach her. Sayumi knows despite his assuring talk, he knows better than anyone else how frightening their powers could be. Even if it sounds ridiculous and impossible that he hopes his true power can awaken if ever such incident occurs. Sayumi admitted defeat. And now, she reveals she sought perfection when she was student council president. She valued efficiency and results so much that she forgot to look at her friends. She thought of becoming one in high school to clear away that trauma but realized it was just self satisfaction. She isn’t fit to be one in that case. Andou believes there is no such thing as a perfect person and she is charming the way she is now. With more heartfelt words from her, Andou is impressed and even admits he would even fall for her. Sayumi didn’t like his lack of delicacy and despite teaching her a lot of things, there are some things he needs to be taught. One of them, the heart of a woman.

Episode 7
A flashback shows Hatoko accidentally pressed the emergency button and sends the school into evacuation mode. She is hiding out of fear when Andou finds her. Knowing that she is afraid to get scolded, he will accompany her to apologize so she doesn’t need to look sorry. Another flashback from her during middles school is when Andou lent her some novel to read. From the way she puts her roundabout words, Andou realized she doesn’t understand its contents. Andou’s sister, Machi gives him a rude awakening and wants him to call Hatoko over later to cook for them since their mother will be at an association meeting tonight. In the clubroom, Tomoyo somehow agreed to do some chuunibyou combo move with Andou. Embarrassing. I don’t know what gave him the idea that a new power will awaken if they combine theirs. Anyway, Tomoyo is having a writer’s block and can’t come up with anything so Andou offers to help out. Once he reaches home, Hatoko is already cooking as Tomoyo WhatsApp him for some ideas. Hatoko could tell it is Tomoyo he is communicating with and pesters for details. Andou won’t because she won’t understand. And it is like he said the wrong word because suddenly Hatoko snapped! This is the beginning of a long frustrating yelling at him that she doesn’t understand him. Especially his chuunibyou thing. She doesn’t understand why he likes all those undesirable stuffs like chaos, blood and darkness. Ironically despite not understanding a single term he said, she could list down all the mythological, sci-fi, foreign names, Biblical names he used in his chuunibyou! She doesn’t get all of them! She doesn’t understand why he finds them cool. Don’t act like he knows and understand a lot after doing a little research on the internet. Please talk to her in his own words. She can’t understand it all! She runs out from the house. Shocking. It took a while for Andou to regain his composure and go find her.

He stumbles upon Sagami who saw where she went a while. He could figure this would happen one day because he has always watched how uncomfortable she was with him. They were like a poor fit that it seemed funny. They’ve only been getting along thanks to Hatoko but looks like she paid the price and felt the stress. Andou doesn’t believe she is the type to have stress or concern but Sagami points out the truth that everyone in this world does. This isn’t manga or anime. Andou calls Tomoyo and learns Hatoko isn’t there. He hangs up after telling her she disappeared. He looks for her but couldn’t find her. Tomoyo and Sayumi come to his aid. He explains what happened and that his chuunibyou may have made it worse. He thought it was fun and wanted her to share it but perhaps it was a bother and just forcing herself. Tomoyo slaps him that there is no way it would be that because it would mean her smiles were fake. Was her happiness around her fake too? So get it together. Because he is Guiltia Sin Jurai. Hatoko wanders aimlessly, feeling guilty that she snapped. That’s where she chances upon Hajime. He can tell she is ashamed and guilty for not understanding her childhood friend. The answer to understand those with chuunibyou is simple: Don’t understand them. It might be contradicting and a paradox because those with chuunibyou seek understanding from others but don’t want to be understood just as much. Yes. An endless paradox. Sounds familiar? Therefore someone who can’t understand chuunibyou is important and necessary for a guy like him to live as himself. He asks what happiness is for people. She says love but he has a simpler answer: To be chosen. When his pals arrive, Hatoko starts to feel drowsy and when she looks into his eyes, she passes out. Andou and the duo get ready to continue searching for Hatoko. But looking blindly won’t help so Sayumi is going to use her next stage power.

Episode 8
Taking place a few weeks back, Hajime is in a power fight with some guy. Of course he never gave him a chance and crushes him by sucking him into some portal. Seems that guy loses his memory of what happened and as explained, there is some Fairy War going on and this little fairy, Reatier is making humans fight as part of the fairy’s entertainment. One of the rules of this war is that if you are one of the final 8 from the thousand of participants, your wish will be granted. However that guy Hajime just fought wasn’t registered and they think this guy called F is trying to overproduce power users for reasons unknown. Reatier soon calls the rest of Hajime’s members with plans to infiltrate and crush F’s base because it is rumoured F has a trump card, somebody with God-like powers that nobody could beat. They believe if this is the case, somebody is trying to end the war. However the committee hasn’t decided yet. Hajime can smell something is wrong. Because why would Reatier tell them something in which the committee hasn’t decided yet? Because after learning this, it would be highly likely that Hajime would go crush F. He theorize that F’s ringleader is part of the original committee but betrayed them and trying to end the war. Therefore if Reatier’s plan is to crush F, it would work well in her favour. Hajime doesn’t mind doing it but he doesn’t like how he is being manipulated. Later, Reatier sees one of Hajime’s members, Hitomi Saitou (because she has a crush on Hajime although she flat out denies it) about the committee’s decision to crush F. The rest are summoned to get the job done. This is when Reatier called Hajime who was with Andou at the cafe telling him about the committee and war. Hajime will show them who is boss. Hitomi and co barge into F’s base and make steady headway. When they reach to the trump card known as System, Aki Natsu can read her God-like powers as she falls into despair thinking there is now way to beat this loli. System is about to crush Hitomi when Hajime saves the day. Everyone is shocked to learn System is now part of their group. Hajime fought her at first but couldn’t get serious after seeing how cute she is. He offered her to be part of the team for some candy. Really. That’s it. He gives the orders to crush ever last member of F. He goes home to rest and Hitomi could tell his gut injury but he won’t make her say it to the rest.

A few weeks later, Hajime contracted some eye disease for sleeping with his coloured contacts. He remembers a girl from Andou’s group who can revert things back to normal. Hitomi thought he didn’t want them to get involved but he points out that is where her memory scrambling comes in handy. So this is the scene where Hatoko got knocked out. Unfortunately of course, they got the wrong girl and they start pointing fingers. Of course the biggest one to blame is Hajime… The literature club members initiate their usual meeting and take attendance. Since Hatoko is not here, this is not their usual or regular club so she uses her power to revert this situation back to normal! In that instant, Hatoko vanishes from Hitomi’s room and is appears in the clubroom. She wakes up still in a daze, not remembering clearly but generally she still remembers seeing Hajime’s pals. Then Andou and Hatoko incessantly start apologizing to each other but Tomoyo breaks this apologizing spree by announcing she is trying to become a light novel author. She thought of keeping it a secret till she produced some results. She explains Andou found out earlier and was just trying to give her some ideas. Andou is grateful and happy for Hatoko. He begins acting his chuunibyou ways and hopes Hatoko could walk with him as he needs companions. Okay. She touches his hand and finds it warm. Not because of his flame or anything. They’re naturally warm. Chifuyu makes sure he puts his hand to good use by making him open a bag of chips. Can’t he just use a scissors? He tries too hard and suddenly feels his true power has awakened. He tries to show off something cool but it backfires. Sounds painful…

Episode 9
Tomoyo hands her work to Andou for his opinion. This makes Andou remember there was a time he wanted to quit this chuunibyou thing but a certain someone whom he couldn’t remember made him go on. From that vague description of a girl in silver wig and sunglasses, this causes Tomoyo to fluster and run away. Could it be? OMG. Don’t tell me it’s her! Yanagi Akutagawa is looking through the videos and saw an F member escaped. Hajime may get mad about this. So how? Delete the video! Don’t let him know! While Andou is in one of his usual antics, he jokes about keeping himself awake with his new power but this causes the girls to be seriously worried and force him never to use it. Then they talk about their test results. Chifuyu’s mood determines her score because it is either she gets a perfect 100 or a complete 0. Hatoko may rank higher than Andou but Tomoyo is dumbfounded Andou ranks way much higher than her! She couldn’t accept Andou is better than her and continues studying in hopes to beat him for the finals. Hatoko helps her with it. By the way, Kudou ranks first followed by Sayumi. After the tests (something hinting that Tomoyo still couldn’t beat Andou), Sayumi stumbles upon some old application file of Andou. Tomoyo couldn’t help laugh her ass off because it states his weak point is having no emotions. This has Chifuyu ask him if he has so because in that case does he like her? Of course. She points out he is a liar because it means he has emotions then. Later Chifuyu asks Andou some question about curry, rice and liquid but what she is getting at is that she hopes he will take her to the pool for the summer vacation. They make a promise for it.

In class, Chifuyu talks to Kuki that she has a problem. Her chest hurts and feels tight. Her face gets warm and she spaces out. All this only happens with Andou around. Based on the symptoms she describes, Kuki suddenly realize the illness she has. Yeah. She’s pretty much in love instead of having arrhythmia. So don’t worry, you’re not going to die of some illness. Sayumi is in the toilet cleaning her glasses when Sagami doesn’t think she should wear them. What the hell is this guy doing in a girl’s toilet?! Get out! Sagami points out that Sayumi is in love with Andou. He knows she suggested making a game for him so that no one could get the jump in confessing to him. However he is here to help her. He wants to see her get hooked up with Andou and not anybody else. Viewing himself as a reader, because it would be interesting to see the least popular heroine win his heart in this twisted love comedy. So take up his offer and he will turn her into a main heroine. Hatoko asks Tomoyo if she likes anybody. Nobody of course. Really? Hatoko then says she loves Andou. She really, really, really loves him. She wants to date him, hold his hand, etc. She is telling her all this because Tomoyo is the person who understands him the most while herself the least. For this reason she needed to tell her while she had the chance. She wants to be Andou’s chosen one. Therefore she will ask again. Is there anybody Tomoyo likes?

Episode 10
Compounding Tomoyo’s problem is her failure to enter the next round of the light novel contest. Andou meets Chifuyu and Kuki to head to the pool. Kuki vows not to let that lolicon stay closer to her best friend and plans to destroy his image. First she tries to make him look like a miser but she ends up eating all the stuffs he bought. How deep is his pocket anyway? Next, she tries to paint him a loser by playing a prank on a macho man (so that Andou will be scared sh*t to save her). However she starts feeling scared and intimidated by his size. That is when Andou comes to her rescue. Finally there is this poolside quiz. She is going to make Andou look dumb. At first things are going as planned as Chifuyu is the one answering the questions. When it comes to the last question, it is some tough science question that everybody knows the host doesn’t want the contestant to win the grand car prize. However Andou shows his intelligence by putting up the correct answer! The host won’t give up and continues with a series of super tough questions. He got it all correct! He’s doomed. Andou then takes the whale doll prize instead because this is what Chifuyu wants. So play fair next time, okay? Besides, Andou doesn’t need the car. He already won the grand prize: Their smiles. Holy cow! Did Kuki just start to think how cool he is?! Could it be that she is starting to fall for him?! No way man! She thinks Andou is targeting her since she is a loli too. She thought he was serious about her but turns out it was to ask her to continue to be Chifuyu’s friend. Andou knows that once they graduate, everyone will go their own ways. He doesn’t think he can be by Chifuyu’s side forever but would like Kuki to be to one. Of course. She is her best friend.

Andou meets up with Sayumi this time for their outing. Guess where? Not the pool again?! Of course this is a setup by Sagami that Sayumi agreed to go along. Although she wanted to do things her way, she is forced to abide his rules because he switched her swimsuit and must be careful not to get it wet or else it will turn invisible. So we see Sayumi trying so hard to avoid water. She’s faster than the speed of light in avoiding all the splashes. When she eventually couldn’t avoid, she starts getting embarrassed and doesn’t want him to look. She realizes she has been had when her swimsuit didn’t change. She confronts Sagami (who is laughing like mad) and punches him! She is through being his puppet for today. He warns she will finish last in love and forever lose but Sayumi would rather play fair and not devalue herself to win. Realizing he has failed, he decides to check on some super power battle and makes call to a former F member. Sayumi returns to Andou and he is relieved that she is back to her normal self as he could tell she was acting strange earlier on. She too notes she likes him to way he is now. Later that night, Tomoyo plans to ask Andou out. Guess where? That same pool again? Yeah. She has the tickets. She calls him and learns he will be away on a family trip for a day. However this is as far as she could go. No invitation to the pool? Not even telling him about her contest result?

Episode 11
The girl in silver wig and sunglasses has a problem fixing her bicycle. Andou happened to pass by and help fix it. Since she is acting her chuunibyou ways, Andou tells her to stop it or she’ll regret one day with embarrassment. This makes her ram him with her bicycle as they argue about the existence of fiction. He finally gives in when she proves it exists: In your heart. And of course you know, this girl is confirmed as Tomoyo in disguise. Andou is on a family vacation with Hatoko. She is trying to do all the things listed in the magazine to get Andou to like her. At least that is what it says. From smiling to acting clumsy to putting lotion on her back and chasing her on the shore lines. Well, so far so good. Finally she must find an isolated end of the beach and gently cuddly up to him and confess. Can she do it? Maybe not. She got dizzy and passes out. That night she talks to Andou about things and feels she has been mean to Tomoyo. She is also worried that once they graduate, they’ll go their different ways and won’t be able to talk as often like now. Will they still be friends? He reminds her there was a time during middle school where he stood outside her house all day. It was raining. He is very grateful to have her by his side. She saved him. Therefore she isn’t just an ordinary friend. She is always someone special. Even if they’re adults, this fact will not change. Meanwhile Tomoyo is alone at the pool. Feels pathetic. No fun.

Back home, Tomoyo must be sleeping trying to write her novel when she gets a wakeup call from Andou to meet at the festivals. He compliments her yukata and they go play at the shooting gallery in which she won hands down. Then he leads her to some isolated place. Gulp. Something going to happen? He asks if she has anything to say to him because he heard from Hatoko things and was wondering if anything happened between them. If it is his fault he will apologize. Tomoyo tells him her failure to reach the next round of the light novel competition. He thanks her instead but won’t console or encourage her because she is the one who worked hardest on this so he doesn’t want to give half hearted consolation. That hard work and frustration belongs to her alone. You start feeling something in your heart, girl? The fireworks interrupts their pace and as Tomoyo thinks back of the times being with him, she is now certain that she is in love with him. Meanwhile somebody is at Kudou’s house. The moment she opens the door, she got owned. Next day, all the literature club members seemed to be called to the clubroom by her. Kudou suddenly barges in citing the pain in her hand. But the moment Hatoko unleashes her power, it seems it is all a feign by Kudou to just steal her power. Is Hatoko going to be done in by her own flames?

Episode 12
Chifuyu projects a barrier but Kudou steals it. Luckily Tomoyo stops time and brings her friends away. I know it is tough carrying all 4 of them but from where she brings them it looks like a very far place. Couldn’t she have brought them safe somewhere nearer? So for now they discuss their next move at the karaoke joint (there’s no other place, believe me). They think Kudou is possessed or her mind manipulated since she looks the same and has her abilities. The best way as Andou suggests is to ask her directly. He calls but Kudou will not comment. He suggests meeting up at the literature club in an hour. Kudou seems to be talking with Sagami. She is appalled that people with super powers are unaware of the Fairy War. But as part of the deal if she defeats Andou and his girls alone, she gets to join their team since she is an ex-member of F. The girls are against Andou’s strategy of using that move. They know it is risky but what else choice do they have? Andou goes to see Kudou alone and she beats him up and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t call the girls here. However Andou knows she won’t kill him. As he has told the girls to hide, killing him means she will lose her only lead to find them and not fulfil her objective. He has more value alive. She shoots an arrow to his leg and snaps a picture to send to Sayumi. Andou says it won’t work because he told her not to come if such happens. But will that truly happen? Will she abandon him? Since the time is about right, Andou goes into his chuunibyou mode and unleashes his next level of flame on his right hand. He makes it sound that it has evolved into something good so Kudou steals it only to find it burns like hell and cannot be put out! Flashback reveals when Andou first materialized it, nothing can put it out. Not even Hatoko’s freezing elements. To save him, Sayumi brought a guillotine and with Chifuyu’s portal power suggests that it cut off that flaming arm and sending it to another dimension before restoring his arm back to its normal state. Sayumi made him promise never to use this power again. Kudou is beginning to panic as the flames won’t go away. Andou slaps her and wants her to believe in him. At the right moment, the same guillotine and portal move is done on them. Their hands are healed and the girls are crying out of fear and relief. The former F member is furious this has happened and vows to win the next time. However Hajime isn’t impressed in this and sends her into a portal. He warns Sagami never to do this again. Because it is best to save the fun for the last.

Sayumi talks to Kudou who was really under the manipulation of that former F member. She wonders why Andou went so far to risk his life to save her. Simple. He considers all those with super power as his friend and he would never abandon a friend. Sayumi knows his plan is reckless and might not work the second time. However if a similar situation is forced upon them, she will still support Andou’s decision. Hatoko and Tomoyo talk. The latter mentioning going to a bookstore with Andou. Hatoko notes she saw them once together and thought they were a perfect fit. Even though they fight, that is the reason why they get along well. It is a reason why she panicked when she saw them. She thought he was going to leave her. Although Tomoyo is special to Andou, Hatoko still loves him and wants him to choose her. Tomoyo who couldn’t her question before now could. She loves Andou. So both won’t lose to him? Wow. They’re saying that with a smile. Andou hangs out with Chifuyu. He is in a dilemma if she should stay with them because of the dangers they faced but at the same time he would like her to be with them as much as possible. She will stay with him to protect him. Andou has her promise even if it is to protect someone, never use super powers to hurt others. He believes super powers are not meant for that or even bring happiness. It is just meant to be cool and that is all they need to be. His chuunibyou act earns the wrath of Tomoyo because it’s embarrassing looking at him doing such stuffs in public. The pot calling the kettle black?

My Super Power Harem
Well, it was rather okay considering there were some funny moments, romantic moments (if you can call those) and super power battle moments. Not the perfect in the genre but at least it didn’t suck. Of course the biggest thing left hanging is about the Fairy War and from the looks of it, isn’t going to be over by a long shot and from the way Andou and his girls are painted, they possess the best super powers ever. Even better than unleashing cheat codes. It may answer to the several mysteries surrounding their super powers and how they were chosen to wield it but I guess that is reserved for another time. I have this thought that this Fairy War thingy was a very big elaborated and sophisticated imagination of the chuunibyou of all those involved. But it looks real. Because if it was, I think I’ll be disappointed. A big slap in the face. This entire conflict is just some delusion? No way. With the existence of pint size fairies like Reatier, it is a reason why this super power and secret war is all the more real instead of just imaginations in one’s head.

Ironically the super powers are not highlighted or shown very frequently. At least not for the middle part of the series. Just sparingly. So much so you might think that this is an ordinary high school romance comedy harem series. It’s like as though the initial episodes are to introduce us the setting and then the final episode to remind us that this setting is still on. So if you are hoping to see super power battles or the use of it in their daily lives, you would be disappointed. In the end, the super powers are just like ‘accessories’ and whether they have it or not, personally I feel that they do not make too much of an impact in the overall storyline because like I said, it feels like an ordinary high school romance comedy harem. Because something tells me if you are to see them spamming the use of super powers in every episode, that will be just boring and overdoing it. What else can you use super power effects for? Comedy purpose? How much exaggerated and over the top can that get you? And super powers are meant only to look cool? Then I guess Superman and the likes are just big show-offs, huh?

Of course this is because we are unfamiliar with the Fairy War so it isn’t fair to say that their super powers were just trolling and luring us to watch this show with some sort of super twist and revelation. As far as we have seen, Andou and the girls do not have the slightest clue about the Fairy War which I have mentioned may be pivotal to the entire story and setting of this series. Definitely it would be interesting to see if they ever get involved (which I have a feeling they eventually would). But even if this war was not featured and taken out of this anime, I think the story for this season will still get by. We’re here for Andou and his girls, right?

Character wise, although not very deep (at least for the main characters), there are enough obvious screen time dedicated for Andou and the girls. Even one on one focus just to satisfy fans of certain pairings and somehow making it look like a dating simulation. Haha. You learn a bit of their past and their family but that is about it. Therefore the romance and harem factor feels a bit lacking. Maybe it is just me having some sort of expectations but at the end of the day, despite we all know the literature club girls do have a crush on Andou, the group doesn’t feel like a harem and more like friends hanging out in an extra curriculum activity. Feels like a distraction to the Fairy War that is going on behind the scenes.

Andou as the main character is a very flawed one thanks to his chuunibyou. In fact, you could say that this is what defines him. However at times he could pull off some of the most amazing quotes and lines that are neither supporting nor mocking you, it just makes you feel like you want to nod your head and agree to what he says. He might act like a kid but beneath all that silly exterior is a guy who treasures friendship more than anything else in this world. Is it no surprise that why the girls love him. Even Kudou the ‘outsider’ also once fell in love with him and I think she still is. So it was quite surprising when suddenly Kudou becomes the first character to become his (temporary) girlfriend as early as the second episode! I thought she would be part of the main group (since she also appears in the ending credits animation along with the other girls) but I guess 4 is already more than enough to handle. Because I figure it is wise of him to stay as friends with all of them now. Imagine if they break up and it turns ugly… Remember that Hollywood show My Super Ex-Girlfriend? Yeah. Imagine that happening. All hell breaks loose.

Hatoko’s shocking rage barrage is the highlight and perhaps the most ‘memorable’ scene of the entire series. Everyone who has watched this anime will definitely remember this scene and talk about it. Never would it cross in your mind that this gentle and nice girl would actually snap like that. It was like as if it was a wakeup call and a turning point of the series. And then all that craziness died down in the next episode and things return to normal. It just feels anti-climaxing. Because normally when somebody snaps at you like that, it would be awkward to be with that person for some time. But here they return to their normal friendship so fast like as though it never happened. Like as though it was all a figment of one’s imagination. A bit unrealistic. But this is definitely the scene of the series. All she wanted was to understand him but eventually even she couldn’t, the most important thing is that she accepts him for who he is. And that itself is already a step closer in understanding him. Doesn’t that sound like a paradox?

The rest of the girls in the literature club are okay too. They have varied personalities like Tomoyo’s slightly brash nature, Sayumi’s cool beauty and level-headed ways and Chifuyu the expressionless loli. There is more than meets the eye to Hajime and Sagami. They are the most mysterious characters as far as this season is concerned. Hajime is a cool character and powerful. You don’t mess with this guy. He knows what he is doing although his approach to it may be unconventional. His team feels insignificant in this season and are just touched on since the Fairy War isn’t anything major. It just feels like for introduction purposes. Sagami on the other hand isn’t just some silly anime freak and his presence is all the more mysterious. He has this sinister and scheming looks and from what we can see his plan with Sayumi, he just wants to find something interesting to watch. I don’t know if it is a distraction from the Fairy War or something that has to do with it but yet again, this war I feel is an event that would connect the dots. You can’t tell if he is friend or foe but my guts tell me he is the kind that can cross over to the other side if the terms favour him. So not to be discounted out and I am sure his path and Andou’s will clash.

Unlike that other chuunibyou series, this one at least has a little decent explanation about the chuunibyou syndrome of why someone acts so. Even if some of Hajime’s clarification is a bit hard for me to understand the first time, nevertheless it is not something to be taken lightly off. People who want attention to be understood just enough instead of being fully understood. Because there is some sort of coolness and attraction in being a dark and mysterious type, no? Therefore should chuunibyou be the new trend and normality of today’s society or a growing case of disturbed and disillusioned people never wanting to accept reality. But what is reality by the way? How do you define what is reality and what isn’t? Therefore the nameless assassin… STOP! STOP! STOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!

Art and drawing feels pretty standard and nothing to shout about, which is pretty okay for an anime genre like this. As long as the girls look cute enough, there is nothing you should complain. Or is there? The special effects when the super powers are released are nothing flashy. Especially with Andou’s dark flame thingy, looks cool at first but after a while, you realize that it might be one of the most boring looking dark flames materializing on one’s hand ever. Note that this anime is produced by Trigger whose other very notable work is the insane and crazy Kill La Kill.

Saori Hayami I suppose is making her presence felt currently in the anime world since I have been hearing her a lot lately in many animes that I have watched. So as Hatoko, she fits her character well and I thought it was going to be the usual Saori Hayami until she started that shocking snapping holler. She was so perfect, yet so scary. I don’t think I can ever snap this long even if I am so mad. So kudos to her for that very amazing screamer. Other casts include Nobuhiko Okamoto as Andou (Accelerator in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Haruka Yamazaki as Tomoyo (Ruka in Hayate No Gotoku), Nanami Yamashita as Chifuyu (Nanami in Wake Up, Girls!), Risa Taneda as Sayumi (Mirai in Kyoukai No Kanata), Kaori Fukuhara as Kudou (Tsukasa in Lucky Star), Takuma Terashima as Hajime (Shiroe in Log Horizon), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Sagami (Kiryuu in Isshuukan Friends), Kaori Nazuka as Satomi (Nunnally in Code Geass), Emiri Katou as Kuki (Kyuubey in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica), Ayumi Fujiwara as Hitomi (Misaki in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama) and Sayumi Hara as Reatier (Rhythm in Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream).

The opening theme is Overlappers by Qverktett, a fancy group name (how the heck do you pronounce it anyway?) for the quartet girls of the literature club. Sounds okay. Sounds generic. Sounds like a girl group anime pop. Read: Not that appealing enough to catch my attention. Because honestly I thought some parts of the song sounded a little weird even though that is how it is supposed to sound. The ending theme is You Gotta Love Me by Kato*Fuku sounds more like rock pop. Personally it sounds better than the opening theme although still not appealing enough for me to start humming in my head. The Game of Life that they are playing in the ending credits animation, I have a feeling it symbolizes how their life is going. As narrated by Tomoyo in the final scenes: Living life to the fullest as their usual days.

Overall, this anime has its strengths and weaknesses but still worth the entertainment value. A harem with super powers doesn’t sound like a bad idea but you might feel ‘cheated’ realizing that the romance part doesn’t employ the super power element. And with a certain war tugging in the background to make some of us scratch our heads of its relevancy in this series, you might wonder if this is going to turn out into a super power battle or super power romance anime. But if you want to watch this, just stay for the comedy and little romance stuffs. I mean, even if you have super powers, that doesn’t mean you cannot fall in love anymore, right? You are still a human being underneath regardless of all that power. Unless you’re an idol, then there is nothing more to be said.

Black Bullet

April 25, 2015

Are you the kind of guy craving for action and fights? But at the same time do you have a thing for lolis? Yes. It might seem contradicting or just freaking weird that an action crazy macho guy teaming up with a loli to fight and save humanity from alien bugs. What kind of a sick perverted story is this?! Well, don’t hold your breath now because it really did happen. At least in Black Bullet. Hah. You thought I was going to mention about some perverted lolicon series, are you? Well, this series isn’t some ecchi loli show but filled with action and sci-fi elements that would make most of us prefer to go back to our safer loli genres of seeing them do cute things and go “Awwww…” and cuddle them every time that happens. Otherwise, prepare to face the grim dystopian future whereby a certain group of lolis are hated and discriminated by the public in general but ironically are the ones who hold the key to save humanity from invading alien bugs. Yeah. Why didn’t the bugs just wipe out humanity in the first place and save us all this loli discriminating trouble. The world can go to hell and burn in it for all we care if you hate lolis that much!

Episode 1
When Rentarou Satomi was young, he had a close encounter with a Gastrea when it attacked the refugee camp. He heard a voice telling him to survive if he doesn’t want to die. Well, duh! Ten years later, he is now a Civil Security officer heading to an apartment believed to have confirmed Gastrea. Apparently some army guys didn’t want him to hog the glory so they went in first and paid the price. However their massacre wasn’t due to Gastrea but this masked man, Kagetane Hiruko. They fight but Rentarou is no match. He leaves after getting a call but tells Rentarou that he will be the one to destroy this world. Rentarou’s loli partner, Enju Aihara (also self proclaimed future fiancée) is furious that she fell off his bicycle and he didn’t have the decency to pick her up. Along the way she meets a guy infected with Gastrea seeking for help. She can only look with pity because it is already at an advanced stage beyond help. A stage one spider model Gastrea bursts out from its host’s body. Rentarou arrives in time to fire his special bullets made out of Varanium, the only material that could defeat those beings and prevent their regeneration. As explained, Enju is an Initiator, those born to fight Gastrea while Rentarou is a Promoter, those in charge of keeping Initiators under control. The duo leave the messy clean up to the detectives since they need to rush for some time limited cheap sale. Thanks to that, their agency boss, Kisara Tendou is furious that because of that, they lost their reward and compensation from the police. Uhm, maybe she just felt left out that she wanted to join in the sale too. Business is slow because their office is located in a shady area. Can’t complain if the rent is cheap, right? When Kisara brings up the subject if he still thinks about his parents, he becomes upset. He is still sensitive all these years when people talk about it because they died in that war.

Rentarou goes to see Sumire Muroto who is a Gastrea researcher. And a quirky person. Are scientists all like that? She chides him for being lazy because he left the Varanium bullet shells he shot at the scene. She hints if he doesn’t buck up, Kisara won’t look his way. On to serious business, they discuss about the source of infection. Since there are no reports, there will be more victims at this rate. Sumire also explains how the Gastrea virus rewrites DNA in an irregular way. That’s why it can become strong and faster in a short time. Back home, Enju is probably trying to train herself to become his future wife. It’s not play time yet as Rentarou injects her daily shot. After meal, it must be a tired day so he instantly goes to bed. Active loli not happy… Get the hint! She won’t let him sleep yet… Even when morning comes, Enju can still talk dirty trying to corrupt his mind or something. At least they can still laugh and be happy. All Rentarou want is for Enju to lead a normal life. He gives her a lift to school. Then he explains to us Gastrea virus normally spread among humans through bodily fluids. But there are rare cases they enter the mouth of a pregnant woman and infecting their child. They become Cursed Children. All of them are born girls and have red eyes. Although the virus is inside their body, some inhibiting factor makes its corrosion at a slower rate. However there are many who refuse to recognize such children as human. Ten years ago when a parasitic life form from space called Gastrea infected humanity and nearly caused extinction, humans surround themselves within giant monoliths made out of Varanium and they managed to survive staying within it. Now humanity is gradually arming themselves to fight back against Gastrea. At the core of it are Enju and the Cursed Children, the Initiators. Peace is maintained thanks to those girls inheriting Gastrea’s regeneration and physical abilities. They might be hated and a curse Gastrea put upon humanity. However they are mankind’s last hope against them. In an abandoned section of Tokyo, a large group of Cursed Children watches longingly.

Episode 2
All the Promoters and Initiators are called to an important meeting. This hulk Promoter, Shougen Ikuma doesn’t like the young punk Rentarou is and they almost fight if not for Shougen’s boss, Mikajima telling him to stop or else. The meeting is initiated when Seitenshi, the ruler of Tokyo appears on the screen. Beside her is Kikunojo Tendou, Kisara’s grandpa and Rentarou’s adoptive father after his parents died. Seitenshi has 2 missions for everyone. Find the source of the Gastrea infection and bring back a case. As a matter of privacy, she will not mention its contents. Kisara is of course suspicious. Why call all the top pairs to hunt down for such a case. It must contain something very dangerous, right? Suddenly Kagetane is heard giving his opinion. How did he sneak inside? He introduces his daughter, Kohina who is also his Initiator. He makes known his intention that he is joining the race to retrieve the case which has Inheritance of the Seven Stars. He makes a bet with them. If he gets it first, they will all pay with their lives. Everyone attacks him but their bullets cannot penetrate his barrier. Everyone starts panicking when Kagetane reveals himself to be from the 787th Mechanization Special Unit of SDF eastern division, an Anti-Gastrea unit and New Humanity Creation Plan survivor. He returns the bullets to everyone, killing many of them. After he leaves, Seitenshi adds another condition that they must retrieve the case before Kagetane for its contents can destroy the monoliths. It is something meant to be sealed away. While Rentarou and Enju are walking through the shopping district, they see a Cursed Child being chased and beaten for stealing. Enju wanted to help but Rentarou stops her. She becomes upset he didn’t save her and calls him a liar that despite he claims to be a champion of justice, he cannot do anything. Of course this invokes his inner conscience so he goes off to save that child. But to his horror, he sees the authorities shooting and killing her at some deserted building. Luckily she is still breathing so he sends her to the doctor and assures he will pay her bill. Living expenses are going to be tight this month.

On his way back, he encounters Kagetane and Kohina. Father orders daughter to chop off his arm. Luckily Enju is here to aid him but Kagetane will not allow bloodthirsty Kohina to kill her. Kagetane offers Rentarou to join forces with him by explaining the discrimination and double standards of this area. He has seen it with his own eyes. Humanity should just face extinction and greater beings like them shall become the next rulers. Rentarou rejects his proposal. Kagetane warns he will face reality soon enough. Visit Enju’s school tomorrow and he shall see. When he does, it seems rumours that Enju is a Cursed Child has spread. Everyone is keeping away from her so much so Enju ran away. Of course he is upset with everything but there is nothing much he can do but go find her. He makes his way to the sewers of the underground district. The Cursed Children may not know her but they think the elder who takes care of them may know. Matsuzaki believes in teaching these girls how to control their emotions so their red eyes won’t show so they can live in society. As for Enju, he hasn’t seen her. The thinks his Initiator ran out on him and would be better to get a replacement. Just contact IISO and make a new contract with a new Initiator. Because to many Promoters, Initiators are just tools for fighting. Oh. He might just said the taboo word. Rentarou raises his voice that his relationship with Enju has nothing to do with Initiator or Promoter. He remembers her heart was closed when they first met. But once the ice was broken, they became like how you see they were. They’re always together. He leaves to continue his search. Matsuzaki hints to hidden Enju nearby that she is lucky to have a nice man like him. Sure you want to let him go?

Episode 3
Sumire must have fallen asleep while listening to Rentarou’s ‘boring’ complaints about the discrimination. She talks about some believing Gastrea is like God’s Messengers trying to clean up humanity responsible for the world’s resources deterioration and destruction. Rentarou is adamant Enju is human but is told if she knows it herself as Cursed Children are abandoned children who never knew their parents. The world views them as scorn. Who are going to teach and guide them? At least they are a family. Rentarou receives a call from the teacher that Enju showed up at school. All the kids are trying to keep her away. Rentarou will have her change school but she is not willing as she has made so many friends. Well, these aren’t her friends anymore. Rentarou and Enju are called for another mission. This time the source of the infection. In the midst of the dense jungle, there is a spider model Gastrea. Enju quickly fights and defeats it as proof she protected her school friends. As they hug, Rentarou assures he will always be by her side even if the entire world doesn’t accept her. Before they could retrieve the case, Kagetane and Kohina attack them. Rentarou gets a taste of his special crushing move. He forces Enju to run away although she promises to come back with help. Kohina stabs Rentarou before Kagetane shoots him. Luckily our hero can’t die. He is alive in hospital with Kisara by his side. Enju sleeping by his side. Better thank her for bringing him here. Kisara reports Kagetane has taken the case which contains materials to summon stage five Gastrea. When Gastrea reaches that stage, not even Varanium could stop them and it will be the end of humanity. Kagetane has escaped to outside the barrier and believed to be trying to summon it.

Seitenshi personally calls Rentarou to inform him that she would like him to participate in a mission to hunt down Kagetane. Sumire drops lots of weapon gifts for him. He mentions about that dream he had while unconscious. Sumire operated on him 10 years ago and gave him a choice. Sumire doesn’t expect to be forgiven but Rentarou says he never once thought of resenting her. Rentarou and Enju are dropped into the thick jungle and barely escape from a rampaging Gastrea. They see a hut nearby but find Kayo Senju alone. She is Shougen’s Initiator. Noticing her hand is wounded, he bandages it. Why is Enju jealous? Things can get complicated when another woman is involved. Enough said. Kayo explains her team is supposed to be on the vanguard but because Shougen is the action type, he went ahead first. They encountered a Gastrea and without thinking she set off explosives and that’s when they got separated. Although she got injected by Gastrea’s fluid, it is a very small amount and no need to worry or any corrosion. Kayo is touched Rentarou is worried about her and feels envious of Enju. She adds that she was made to kill when Shougen ordered her to do so to another pair because he won’t let any other pair have the reward for killing Kagetane. She was scared. Rentarou tells her that nothing is scarier about getting used to killing. When you kill someone and won’t be punished, that’s when people forget all about punishment. Kayo notes his mysterious eyes. Kind but yet scary. However she wants to believe in his words although she can think of many ways to counter it. Shougen calls Kayo to meet up because he has found Kagetane. As they make their way, they see the Stairway to Heaven, a weapon of mass destruction and symbol of the Stolen Generation’s hatred. She thinks what is going on right now is an attempt to revive it.

Episode 4
Kayo fights the dozens of Gastrea in the forest for the duo to advance. When they arrive, they see slaughtered Civil Servants. Shougen seems to be panicking without his sword. Oh, it’s right there. In his back. Thank Kagetane and Kohina for the massacre. Meanwhile Seitenshi has called Kisara for her help. She believes Rentarou will win. For sure. How can she? 10 years ago when Gastrea killed her parents, Rentarou protected her and cost him his right arm, right leg and left eye. On the verge of death, he was taken to Sumire who operated on him. Those artificial limbs are made from Varanium. He is able to get a little edge over Kagetane with this and reintroduces himself. Looks like Rentarou is another survivor of the New Humanity Creation Plan. As they fight, Kagetane offers him to join him once more. Another rejection. In that case, die. Rentarou is bleeding like mad and remembers the AGV experimental drugs created from Gastrea virus that Sumire gave him. It gives human regenerative abilities but there is a 20% chance he will turn into Gastrea. He stabs all the syringes into his gut!!! Don’t care all about that when he can’t stand to see Enju crying, can’t he? He regenerates and powers up so badass that he pounds Kagetane like no tomorrow. He even lands his finishing drop kick blow, cracking his mask and plunging him into the depths of the ocean. Victory! Kohina has become in shock state that she is no longer a threat. However Kisara calls as there is now a bigger problem. A stage five Gastrea has appeared. The only way to defeat it is to use Stairway to Heaven. Approved by Seitenshi. And Rentarou is going to do it. I’m not sure about that technical mumbo-jumbo about this railgun module shooting some Varanium that not even stage 5 Gastrea can survive. But heck, what choice do they have left?

And you think it is easy just activating it? Here comes the load of problems. It always happens at such crucial moments. There are no Varanium bullets in the chamber, some coolant is leaked and the magnetic fields mean it cannot be remotely controlled. Just great. Rentarou sacrifices his right arm to load as the bullet. Now he has to fire the damn thing accurately. He is reluctant for fear he might miss and hit the city but Enju tells him you won’t know if you don’t try. Who else is going to save the world? If words of a loli can’t motivate you, I don’t know what can. He aims. He fires. He hits! Victory! Well, who could miss it because that Gastrea was freaking huge, right? Later Rentarou goes back down to the forest to see Gastrea bodies around. Kayo defeated them but her corrosion rate is above 50%. She has not much time left. She didn’t run away because she didn’t want him to die for he was the one who acknowledged her existence. She is very grateful and wants to die as a human. Knowing he has not many friends, she’ll be one. Hope you’ll save the world. Reluctantly, he pulls the trigger. Back in Tokyo, he confronts Kikunojo. He knows information was leaked by some minister who just hanged himself in his cell. That minister is Kikunojo’s subordinate. Rentarou accuses him of trying to promote discrimination when Seitenshi is trying to pass an equality law for Cursed Children. Heck, he summoned a stage 5 Gastrea to stop the passing of this law! Kikunojo could not forget how Gastrea took his wife’s life. He views them as destroyer of mankind. Rentarou views them as humans. He won’t kill him as gratitude for saving his life 10 years ago. Later he confronts Seitenshi. He has peaked into the case and saw parts of a tricycle inside. How can this bring world destruction? What is Gastrea anyway? She cannot say. She hints that if the hierarchy were to improve, Civil Security pairs would be given special rights like top secret information. She wants them to rise through the ranks and when they do, he’ll find out the reason he was born and who he truly is. Enju is happy to hear that her corrosion rate remains at 24%. But you know how good poker face and liar he is. It has dramatically increased to 42%.

Episode 5
Kisara says there is a bodyguard job for Rentarou. Seitenshi picked him herself for the job since Kikunojo is temporarily overseas. Seitenshi explains the details of the job. She would like him to station himself beside him for the rest of the informal meeting. But she already has bodyguards, so why hire him? I think I know… Anyway he is introduced to them and the head, Takuto Yasuwaki. Rentarou isn’t on friendly terms and won’t shake his hands. Because he is only here to listen to the job details and hasn’t agreed to do it. Later Yasuwaki and his men corner him in the toilet. He wants him to not take the job as the spot next to Seitenshi belongs to him. Rentarou doesn’t take orders from him. Yasuwaki orders his men to break his limbs but he fights back. They have to flee when the guard heard gunshots. Yasuwaki is so mad probably because Rentarou’s bullet scratched his pretty face. He’ll kill him. And like the rebellious person he is, Rentarou agrees to take on the job. On his way out, he sees several men trying to bully a loli! WTF?! Can’t let a girl whose bicycle run over your toes go? They flee when Rentarou flashes his Civil Security badge. Tina Sprout is impressed. He is her superhero. Oh no. I have a bad feeling about this… He notices her taking caffeine as it is hard for her to stay awake in the day. She trolls with him about the things she did this morning and he knows she is lying. Her best reply: Why, he knows her better than herself! More trolling when she calls his number he gave her just to confirm he isn’t lying and that she actually knows where she lives. Later Tina gets a call from her master and her mission is to assassinate Seitenshi. That night she puts on her best dress and getting stuffs ready. The policeman doesn’t think a young girl should be out alone by herself. Tina’s master tells her to kill him. Well, the very wrecked police car says it all…

Back home, Miori Shiba collapses in front of Rentarou’s door due to her cold. This is followed by Kisara who is hungry. Rentarou knows this is trouble because both these girls hate each other! I can see what this is coming to. Miori is the daughter of a large scale weapons company president who supplies Varanium bullets. Miori begins her sarcasm as Kisara tries to ignore. But when Miori starts getting flirty and that Rentarou belongs to her, time to settle this sh*t. Because tonight’s dinner lacks some delicious seasoning: Miori’s blood. And so the catfight begins as Rentarou moves his table aside so as not to waste food. Good move. But goodbye his rental deposit. Rentarou escorts Seitenshi to see President Sougen Saitake. He is the area’s head and among the 5 area heads who united their respective areas after the Gastrea war, Saitake is the most dangerous of them all. In the meeting, Saitake blames Rentarou for destroying the railgun module as he planned to send it up to the moon. Seems his target isn’t just Gastrea. He has this vision that after Gastrea is eliminated, a new leader of the new world is needed. His goal is that and will get all the power he wants and eliminate those in the way. He believes his will is Japan’s and that Japan’s will is his. Well, he didn’t say he was God, right? Seitenshi is of course depressed but praises Rentarou for not yielding to him. Because Japan produces the most Varanium thanks to its archipelago of volcanic islands, he believes Saitake is supplying that person with Varanium to get money and weapons. She wants Rentarou to continuously be her bodyguard as this area is not safe and can foresee high ranking assassinations. She wants to be the embodiment of peace and show that she is not just talk. When Enju wakes up, she has a bad feeling. True enough, Rentarou protects Seitenshi from a sniper’s fire. Enju deflects another shot as the bodyguards escort her into a building. Rentarou can sense the enemy is gone and wonder who that person is. Because we all know she is Tina. She reports her failure to her master but will get the job done. Since it was too far, she couldn’t see the skilled bodyguard’s face that protected Seitenshi. I’m sure she’ll do soon.

Episode 6
I don’t know if Rentarou has got a new loli pet because he is giving her food. And because she is so clumsy, he couldn’t stand her spilling anymore food and feeds her. Yup. She loves it. Enough to make her say she loves him because nobody has been this kind to her ever since her parents died. A call ends their meeting. Her master has a mission for her: Kill Kisara. If you’re wondering why Kisara is armed to her teeth, she’s not going to fight Gastrea. She’s going to neutralize Miori! She won’t get her chance since Miori takes Rentarou into her place and warns any damages will be billed to her company. Miori has analyzed the sniping incident but still cannot identify the sniper. He pleads for her help to research on Saitake. And this is where the flirting begins… I guess Kisara couldn’t take it anymore. Bill or no bill, she’s going to kill that woman. But she is left speechless when Miori put words into Rentarou’s mouth that he would join her company if she offered herself to him. Sumire had a good laugh hearing this. Why on earth did he tell her this in the first place? Sumire talks about the other prodigies in charge of the New Humanity Creation Plan. Aside from her, there is one from Australia, America and Germany. The plan is to create mechanized soldiers to fight Gastrea but after realizing the high extent of Cursed Children’s fighting abilities, the project was scraped. Many of the mechanized soldiers were relieved of their duties and became Promoters. Rentarou already defeated a mechanized soldier under the German prodigy: Kagetane.

Tina barges into Kisara’s office and starts making Swiss cheese out of the place. Kisara fights back but loses. She notices Tina’s hands shaking. Is she afraid to kill? As Tina strangles her, Kisara is calling out Rentarou’s name to save her. And like a true hero, here he is. Imagine their shock and disappointment when they realize each other’s identity. Big irony, isn’t it? The standoff ends with Tina escaping. Kisara is treated at the hospital. And all that talk about vengeance and pain suddenly turns into something flirty. She ‘learnt’ something by ‘observing’ Miori and wants Rentarou to hold her hand. This is what she learnt? But she’s already so embarrassed that she could die. It isn’t that Rentarou turned into a pervert and starts groping her boobs. It’s Enju. Rentarou continues his bodyguard job on Seitenshi. He is very sure Saitake is behind this attack. Even so, there is no possible reason for Seitenshi to just cancel this meeting. Rentarou is mad. He didn’t take up this job to die for her. He’ll protect her. Definitely. As she gets out of the car, Yasuwaki is b*tching about the low end car she has to travel. They had to switch for diversion. Can’t you at least understand that? Suddenly Rentarou hears a familiar sound. It’s going to be a sniper attack. Get down! After a few shots, Rentarou gets hit in the arm protecting her. Enju goes off alone, confident she can catch Tina and take her down. But after she leaves, Seitenshi realizes the enemy’s name and does her research to reveal Tina is one of the mechanized soldiers and a high ranking one. In short, if Enju fights her alone, she will be killed. Call her back now! I hope the phone is working. It is. Hello? Hello? No answer. It could only mean one thing… Tina picked up that call. More devastation for Rentarou…

Episode 7
Enju is in ICU and won’t awake at least for any 2 days. Worse, Seitenshi is scheduled to meet Saitake for another meeting tomorrow. Rentarou can’t take it anymore and collapses. Lucky for him, Kisara is there to catch him. Is this how she would like to catch her guy? If things aren’t getting bad enough, here comes Yasuwaki rubbing into Rentarou’s face about his new protection plan that doesn’t involve him. Rentarou doesn’t give a damn and threatens him to come up with a false plan and leak it because he will still be protecting Seitenshi whether he likes it or not. Rentarou does his simulated training and thanks to some Varanium implant in his eye, he sees worldly movements slower than they should and thus his lightning speed reflex. Although his power level is at 2200%, it is a far cry from Enju’s 8600% which is way below than Tina’s 12900%! Holy sh*t! What kind of power level is that?! Tina’s non-killing action weighs heavily on Rentarou’s mind. He thinks she is trying to avoid killing as much as possible since she could have easily killed her targets. Tina receives info about the security plan from her master, Ayn Rand who is the American prodigy for the New Humanity Creation Plan. Tina senses something wrong in the plan because there is a spot in the route as though it was intentional for a perfect shot. Rand tells her Rentarou and Enju are still alive and warns if she fails her mission, she will commit suicide. Tina even gives Rentarou a courtesy call to end this. You won’t know if you don’t try.

Rentarou enters the building and fights off floating ‘eyeballs’ that serve as eyes for Tina to remotely control various heavy machine guns situated at certain points of the building. Eventually it comes down to man versus loli. Unfortunately Rentarou lost. But his luck changes when Enju’s face flashes before his mind. His misfired flash grenade activates and this temporarily blinds Tina (since she has night visions, it is very blinding). Now it is Rentarou’s turn for some loli abuse as he hammers her down the floors. She wants him to finish her as she doesn’t want her body which is filled with technology to be taken alive. However he won’t kill her. Because she saved Enju. So thank you. As he carries her out and will try to plead for a lenient sentence, Tina thinks she has lost her reason of existence (she only exists to fight). She wants him to take responsibility. It all comes down to this, huh? Maybe Rentarou doesn’t have to because Tina is shot in the heart! By Yasuwaki! After guiding Seitenshi safely to her place, he is here on his own to take care of things. He is going to find out how many ordinary lead bullets will take to kill a Cursed Child and see Rentarou’s distressed face. Suddenly here comes Seitenshi. Wasn’t she supposed to be at the meeting? Well, after hearing Yasuwaki acting on his own, she stepped out of the meeting early. As she is indebted to Rentarou, she asks him what he wants. Power. The power to protect. She raises his rank to 300. Now he can have access to top rank classified information and ranks hire than Yasuwaki. Now this guy is scared. He should be. Because Rentarou shoots off a finger of his! And warns never to come near Tina again. Ever. A week later, Saitake went home upset after feeling abandoned at the meeting. Rentarou couldn’t find any connection with Saitake and Rand. Tina is under Seitenshi’s care and under interrogation. But he’ll get a pleasant surprise when he returns to office. Tina is working as an office assistant! Kisara found her too cute to resist and hired her. Hey, even Enju loves her. Ironically, they almost got killed by this loli. Rentarou’s headache just turned up a notch and he doesn’t want to take responsibility for this. Aha! What did he say about responsibility over Tina?!

Episode 8
Rentarou agrees to be the teacher for Matsuzaki’s lolis. Boy, they are an enthusiastic bunch asking lots of questions. Nothing to do with the syllabus, though. They’re asking about Rentarou’s marriage to Enju, Kisara’s big boobs, if she is dating Rentarou, etc. Since she denies everything, it is a big boost for Enju. Oh yeah. But Seitenshi has urgent news. A stage four Gastrea called Aldebaran has destroyed a monolith. Another one is found to be injected with some Varanium corroding fluid and will be destroyed in 6 days. Construction of the monolith has begun but it will take 9 days. According to their analysis, 2000 Gastrea outside will flood and destroy Tokyo by then. This information is withheld from the public to prevent panic. She wants Rentarou to form an adjuvant, a squad system with a team of Civil Security agents working with JASDF. During the time the monolith is destroyed and the new one created, there will be a big battle. They must fight to prevent every Gastrea from coming in. This fight will decide the fate of Tokyo. That night when Tina can’t sleep, she talks to Rentarou and knows about the monoliths. She also mentions the old her as died in a battle with him. With this new life, it is all his to do whatever he wants. He explains he formed an agency with Kisara a year ago because of his hatred for Gastrea. But when he first saw Enju’s eyes, it was the eyes of those being betrayed by humans so many times that it was so much colder than theirs. So he changed. Enju changed. Then Kisara changed. Next morning when Kisara is here to pick Tina up, that loli crawls out from his lower half. With her ambiguous words that ‘last night was fun’ and ‘she learnt new things’, Kisara cannot resist calling the cops and Enju is devastated she beat her to it. And what the hell is this Tina night version?! All a big misunderstanding, don’t you agree?

News that the leader of the movement who wants to expel Cursed Children is killed. This will make the new Gastrea law impossible to pass now. Rentarou takes Tina out to the city and she treats it like a date. Gotta have fun, right? They see a blind Cursed Child begging for money. Rentarou is curious that she shouldn’t have any illness but it seems she pour lead into her eyes because her mom hates those red eyes. Rentarou doesn’t want her to come around here for a few days (because anti-Cursed Children protest is gaining momentum) and gives her some cold hard cash. Rentarou then begins his adjuvant recruiting spree. He goes to see Tamaki Katagiri but his Initiator, Yuzuki doesn’t like this pervert and starts insulting him. Anyway Rentarou reveals the top secret info and brings shock to Katagiri. It is not the money anymore. So won’t he fight for Rentarou’s sake? Since he won’t work for those weaker than he is, the only way is to fight. Needless to say when Rentarou gets serious, he wins. Yuzuki might be moving around like a fly as opposed to Tina just standing there. After her analysis, a single move is just what she needs to defeat her. Yuzuki is frustrated but with Tina humble in victory, Yuzuki starts loving her and wants to marry her! With that, Katagiri joins Rentarou.

Episode 9
Rentarou brings Tina to see Sumire. Tina mentions that a handful of people will come after her and she doesn’t want to inconvenience them. Rentarou tells her that they are not so weak that she needs to worry about it. Sumire’s translation: She is vital in his loli harem programme. For real?! Later Rentarou and Sumire discuss their different approach in changing the world. A world where people don’t have to wake up in fear of Gastrea. Sumire then shows him some data that he got with his level. It is believed that the records of Gastrea are supposed to be destroyed but here they are. It means somebody is trying to conceal them. Kisara interrupts to tell him to watch the news. Since the weakening of the monolith is all over the news, Seitenshi is holding an emergency press conference to quell the panic but the press grill her about knowing such information beforehand. Rentarou and Enju go around searching for more members for their adjuvant. Either they are very unsuitable or have joined other teams. They see a dead Civil Servant by the tracks and nearby a fight is about to erupt. Rentarou recognizes Shouma Nagisawa and his Initiator, Midori Fuse. Shouma easily defeats the rowdy challenger. Shouma hasn’t forgotten about Rentarou. In fact, Shouma was Rentarou’s senior back at the Tendou dojo but one day suddenly left for no reason. The answer is simple. He felt he was not up to it. Shouma has heard of Rentarou’s achievements recently and is more than happy to join his team. Although 3 pairs is the minimum required for a team, Rentarou feels he wants 5 pairs to cover all blind spots and the maximum he can direct. Well, they don’t need to start looking because Kisara is going to join them with Tina as her Initiator. Although Tina’s rank was revoked, Kisara personally pleaded to Seitenshi to have it reinstated. It took a while for Kisara to realize Shouma is here but Rentarou takes her away because he doesn’t want her to risk her health fighting. Everyone is called to assemble by the commander, Nagamasa Gado. He revs up everyone about protecting this area. But Rentarou throws him a question during Q&A. Their distance between camp and the battle is quite far. As they won’t act till they only get a call from the army, how sure is he that they will be called? Shouldn’t they move closer to the action and respond faster to the military’s call? I don’t think it got answered but Rentarou and Kisara have another round talking to each other, sorting out their feelings. Kisara wants him to abandon her if she ever gets in the way. Of course you know he can’t do that. And what seems to look like a confession scene from Rentarou, it is unceremoniously interrupted by the rest who were watching…

Episode 10
Even in busy times, Rentarou can still conduct classes. He has them write what they want to be in the future. I should have seen this coming. Enju’s answer… To marry Rentarou and kiss him. Gee, Tina’s answer is pretty much to same too. Rentarou is kind enough to have a field trip for the girls. They feel sad they won’t be around for the next festival so he assures them that they will be fighting and protecting them. The girls are pleased and pass him. They even admit some want to marry him! Oh God. The rivalry just went up a few notches. That night, Kisara brings Rentarou to the monolith. It is so brittle that touching it is enough to break. They wonder why this monolith is particularly targeted by Aldebaran. Maybe it is weak and needs rest after injecting such corrosive fluid. Still, Kisara will do some investigation on it. With a romantic moment to spare, Kisara has Rentarou lie next to her. He didn’t have the guts to hold her hand till she mentions about her fear that her happiness now will end one day. He assures he will protect her and they are not going anywhere. Next day, Rentarou sees the blind girl being harassed by the public. He uses his authority to chase them away. When results of Kisara’s investigation return, she is not pleased and burns it. Rentarou picks up what is left and reads this monolith was built at the end of the Gastrea war on orders by Kazumitsu, Kisara’s brother. As Rentarou and Enju leave for yet another class, they are surprised to see police barricading the place. The area has been bombed (believed to be by people who have a grudge against Cursed Children). Rentarou identifies all the dead bodies of his students at the morgue. Enju remains stubborn to go see them but is left screaming and crying. Rentarou becomes depressed. Disillusioned. Angry. A call from Kisara to wake him up. She tells him they are Civil Servants and must serve justice. If they manage to save Tokyo, it might help change hatred and people’s thinking even if it is little. They are fighting for that change and even if this job stinks, it is worth fighting for. Just then, the monolith collapses. A day early, huh? Well, nobody took into account the wind conditions. Rentarou picks up Enju. She is totally like a zombie but has to pick herself up to go fight.

Episode 11
The JASDF seems to be winning. Or are they? Big explosions. Tanks being thrown and the swarm of invading Gastrea. Not good. Rentarou realizes certain Gastrea creatures are going to flank them and they will be annihilated this way. Even if it means disobeying direct orders, they head to destroy that deployment. When they return, they see teams being slaughtered by what it is called a Spear of Light. Then there’s Aldebaran. However it seems to command the other Gastrea to retreat. The casualties are high. It is even worse to think that those killed by Gastrea will turn into one of them and they’ll be fighting them again. After doing what they can to nurse the wounded, Rentarou’s adjuvant discuss about the effects of those who survived the Spear of Light. There are hints of mercury in it. Tina’s floating eyeballs detected a very huge Gastrea shooting that light kilometres away. Rentarou is summoned by Gado who lost a leg during the fight (he claims he let them have it). Rentarou deduces that some sort of pheromones is making the Gastrea strong. The JASDF were winning and then suddenly they lost. Gastrea formed a wall trying to protect Aldebaran when it was hurt. So if they destroy Aldebaran, they destroy the Gastrea pack. Gado lets him know something. There is no way to kill Aldebaran. It is immortal. He was there, very sure his Varanium blade sliced into its core and heart but he saw it regenerate. Also, the Spear of Light Gastrea as they nickname it Pleiades is also a great threat like Aldebaran. They must destroy it too. Which brings him to this ‘difficult’ decision. Because Rentarou’s team disobeyed direct orders, his adjuvant is disbanded and he will face capital punishment. His mission is to infiltrate enemy territory and destroy Pleiades alone. His team will be spared then. It’s like a suicide mission, no? No choice, Rentarou leaves that night and Kisara knows something is wrong. He isn’t just going to the toilet with all that baggage. She wants them to run away but where else can they run? If they don’t stop this now, they’ll die no matter where they run. And so Rentarou is in enemy territory and being attacked by Gastrea dogs. He thought he is done for but is saved by an unlikely source. Guess who is back? Kagetane and Kohina are still alive. Rentarou remains sceptical despite they treat him. He wonders why he is always wearing a mask but is asked back does he really want to see his face? No. Wise choice. He’ll regret it if he does. Kagetane wants him to join his side but Rentarou again will not. Kagetane is very sure he will come to his side. Next day as Rentarou gets a move on, Kagetane mentions he has encountered Pleiades last night and points its direction. Why is he helping? Because he likes him. Yeah. Like him so much that he is following him too, eh?

Episode 12
Pleiades is found and originally Rentarou wanted to blast it with its explosives but his backpack fell into the river during the Gastrea attack. The only way is for Rentarou and Kagetane to combine their powers and destroy it. Though successful, it awakens Aldebaran and the other Gastrea hordes as they make their move. Rentarou contacts Seitenshi that Pleiades has been defeated and requests for fire support. The JASDF starts bombing and scatter the Gastrea swarm. Rentarou witnesses that Aldebaran still moves despite being mutilated. Is it really immortal? When Rentarou is reunited with his group, he is being told Gado died in battle and the rules state the next highest officer will take charge. That person is no other than Rentarou. Kagetane and Kohina return to the camp and the other teams are not happy to see them (they are the ones who killed a Civil Servant by the tracks because he wanted to start a fight). Kohina just wants to cut Enju and everybody… Rentarou tells everyone to back down since they shouldn’t be arguing among themselves and find a way to fight Gastrea. Kagetane will be watching his move as the next commander. More crisis hit Rentarou at it is learnt that Midori has been infected with Gastrea virus while she was trying to save an Initiator. Her corrosion rate is already at a dangerous level. Kagetane wants him to kill her because he once fought him to maintain world order and since this is the world he wished for, he must make amends. Rentarou goes talk to Midori in bed. She thinks Kisara has a dark side but believes as long as Rentarou is their leader, she’ll be okay. Then she goes off to toilet and it took a while for Rentarou to realize something is wrong. When he goes looking for her, he finds her dead smiling corpse by the tree. Shouma is sad that they were very similar. They were lonely and contracted each other to remedy each other’s loneliness. He reveals he did not leave the dojo but was excommunicated because of some move he modified that was not allowed by the master. It is the reason why he joined the Civil Servant. He regrets not killing her sooner since he was her partner. Rentarou is about to get emotional but Shouma tells him to avenge her death by killing Aldebaran.

Rentarou becomes the next commander but some of the teams want to run away. Instantly he takes Kisara’s sword and stabs his arm! Others try to kill him but Kagetane protects him. His actions might have gone too far but as he explains, everyone is fearing Gastrea at this rate that they will not be able to fight. He is willing to be the sole object of hatred and fear so that they will not fear Gastrea. He doesn’t need anyone right now but of course Kisara will always be by his side even if the world turns against him. Gado’s Initiator, Asaka Mibu does not have confidence in Rentarou being their leader but Rentarou points out their loss twice under Gado because of his wrong tactics. She is going to kill him for mocking him but Shouma stops her. He proposes they temporarily team up till Aldebaran is defeated. I know Kisara is on Rentarou’s side on almost anything but this has got to be it when he hires Miori as his tactician! No time to b*tch about it. She has created a super power EP bomb that will destroy Aldebaran for sure. However there is a catch. They need to blast a hole in its super hard shell and detonate inside its body. Where the hell in this world there is such a super piercing weapon that can do that? There is one: Rentarou. Okay. It is calculated that Aldebaran will arrive at the Flames of Revolution location. This is where the final battle will commence. Everyone makes the final preparations but Enju is having this sad feeling. This was one of the places they had their field trip with the Cursed Children (and where some proposed to him). Rentarou’s words of encouragement make her feel better. With Kagetane and Kohina joining his adjuvant, Rentarou is confident he has all the cards he needs to win this battle. But another problem is cropping up. Yasuwaki has his men have throw batteries into the sea as he plans Rentarou’s downfall. This guy should just die.

Episode 13
Gastrea is going to be here any minute and the batteries aren’t here. They’re screwed if it doesn’t. Suddenly festival lanterns are seen floating in the sky. As Seitenshi explains, they are lighted by the people, their prayers and will to live. Tokyo’s future rests in their hands. With the much needed motivation, the Civil Servants begin their assault on the Gastrea onslaught. Rentarou’s adjuvant provides support to him to reach Aldebaran whereby he uses his Varanium limbs to make a big hole in it and plant the EP bomb. Once in, everyone run and hide. However… There is an error and the bomb won’t go off. F*ck this sh*t! There is only one way. From the way he says goodbye to Enju and knocks her out, Rentarou are you trying to be a hero?! He is going to use shock to restart it but he needs to be at touching distance for that to happen. But before he could get close, the Varanium corroding liquid from Aldebaran takes his leg. Shouma is going to complete his mission since his ability is suitable to destroy the enemy from the inside. Oh, so now he wants to be a hero? Just like Aldebaran, Shouma believes his rogue techniques should be buried with it. And so Shouma becomes a martyr. There is nothing Rentarou can do about it. The explosion was huge enough that it looked like an atomic bomb. Enju is relieved to see Rentarou alive. She explains after Aldebaran is killed, the remaining Gastrea started acting strangely and scattered. They were easily disposed off. Now the bunch of JSDF helicopters arrive with the batteries. What’s the use now? So many have died. In the aftermath, Seitenshi makes her public announcement of their victory as the monolith’s construction is close to complete.

Kazumitsu sees Kisara and they are not happy to see each other. She throws him some evidence book as promised and he is unhappy that he thought he had gotten rid of them all. Kisara’s research shows that this monolith was ordered by him but at the same time there were other ingredients mixed into the Varanium, thus weakening it. With inferior materials used, he pocketed the rest of the money and bought his way to the minister post he is holding now. Kazumitsu admits it even to a point that a villain like him will not perish! So I guess it’s time to fight to the death. It’s inevitable. Kazumitsu wants to shut her mouth and erase evidence while Kisara wants revenge over her parents’ death. She uses a move she created to slice off his left leg! She makes this chicken spill the beans. He reveals there were 5 involved. Him, his 3 other brothers and Kikunojo. There were very similar of such incidents in the past. That is how Tendou obtained its current status. When their father has had it and threatened to expose the darkness of the Tendou family, that Gastrea attack in the heart of Tokyo 10 years ago was planned to rid of them all. It seems like Kisara spared his life and the way he thanks her for it is so freaking annoying. But little did he know that Kisara struck a deadly second strike that splits his face in half!!! OMFG!!! Why the delay?! Was it made to activate after he tells the truth?! Kisara is like so happy that she exacted revenge and justice for her parents but not Rentarou. That was just execution. This makes Kisara telling him his justice will never win. He failed to slay Kikunojo unlike her who could slay Kazumitsu. She can do it because she is evil. His fist of justice can never touch her evil and it is this evil that will overpower evil. Kisara is so freaking scary that Rentarou is just afraid. He fears she will become his enemy. Rentarou and Enju are on their way to Seitenshi’s conferment ceremony. She makes him promise that he mustn’t fight alone, they must do things together and never to knock her out. When she wonders the deaths of the Cursed Children and Shouma was painful and if there was anything they could do, Rentarou breaks down uncontrollably and hugs her. No, it isn’t because he missed his loli. He fears he might become unaffected by the deaths of others. He wants Enju to always stay by his side. Of course. No 2 ways about it.

Biting The Bullet
As always. Every anime that ends like this always has potential but you know, that depends on a lot of factors. Monetary factors. Ah yes. Reality is pretty much the same. But as far as this season is concerned, I guess as always. My typical answer of okay. It has its fair share of action-cum-bloody violence, fair share of funny moments, hinting moments of romance and loli harem (say what?) and of course the dark side and politics of humans. Lots of things unresolved, several question marks, some potential development in the plot especially about the big and mysterious Tendou family who may be the biggest crook and devil that humanity ever have in their midst. It’s like they are playing God and both the angel and the devil together.

It makes you wonder if the real threats are actually Gastrea or humans themselves. Although both are a serious threat to the survival of humanity, something deep in our guts tells us that humans are the biggest danger instead of Gastrea. Because as you have seen the political manoeuvres and underhanded tactics that politicians and influential people at the top employ for whatever selfish desires they have. Some going as far as to reveal and admit themselves as a big villain. Don’t look at those top people. Look at the public at how they scorn the Cursed Children when it is believed that they are the key to help defeat Gastrea. Even in times of crisis, they need to find a scapegoat and somebody to discriminate. So even if humanity is saved from Gastrea, is it worth the effort? Is there hope? Well, if looking at the big picture scares you and gives you the ultimate creeps, then look at it at a smaller scale. Because for people like Rentarou and Enju, there are little things that are worth fighting for and that is what counts.

Character wise, Rentarou and Enju are the main stars of the series although I expected to see them bonding (not the S&M type, mind you) and interact with each other a lot, towards the end of the series, somehow I just don’t feel that they have bonded closer. What I mean is that they have always been close together. They do things together and stay by each other’s side. So much so you don’t feel any sort of further development between the duo. For Rentarou, you can see he is a very conflicted guy. He is in lots of stress and very much in a dilemma. He has so much anger that if it all bursts out, it could be equivalent to the EP bomb. No, seriously, angst and frustration is how you best describe Rentarou’s behaviour. He wants to do the best he can but circumstances and his hands are tied meaning he has very limited options to go about. He is torn between the ideals and justice he believes in as well as the expectations and results in reality. What is justice? Can such fairytale justice be done in the real world? So can you not blame him for looking weary and sounding tired? Like he is hard bitten by the weather. There are sides that you don’t even see or rarely see of him like how he breaks down and cries. At least this proves that he still has a human heart and is rational enough to think that killing other humans is still bad no matter the reason and that it should never be something one should get used to. All the bitter experience as we see serve only to make him stronger and hopefully a happy ending awaits. Hopefully. Enju may look like a happy loli most of the time but there are unseen pain and trauma that we don’t know. All Rentarou wants is for her to lead a normal happy life but will society allow it? Therefore Rentarou and Enju both make a great pair as they support and change each other for the better. At least we know they’ll always be together. But I wonder how long that will last because if you remember, Enju’s corrosion rate is at a dangerous level. Forgot about that, did we?

Other characters are okay too but with the short duration of the series, most of them are not fleshed out well as they don’t really leave any emotional impact (because we get most of them from Rentarou). Some are surprising like in Kisara’s case, we see how much she changed or at least her true colours shown. The fight against Gastrea must have taken a toll on her that she has crossed over to the dark side to get things done. Is she no better than the crooks on the other side? While her rational is to fight fire with fire (thus evil with evil), but the way I see it she is just losing herself deeper into the spiral of madness that it will be impossible for her or even Rentarou to pull her out. I feel Tina has toned down after her arc and became Kisara’s Initiator. Before that she was pretty ruthless and initially a great troller to Rentarou in her ditzy form. Funny girl. Then there is Shouma whom I thought his late introduction was somewhat rushed. Then they killed him off. Felt like very rushed too. Is that the role of his character? I mean, Midori died, his temporarily alliance with Asaka felt like nothing (it’s as good as if he didn’t team up with anyone at all), what is there left for this sad guy? Since Rentarou is the main hero, I guess poor Shouma have to take his sacrificing spot. Katagiri and Yuzuki are also a formidable pair but the lack of their screen time don’t do them any justice. Same case for Sumire and Miori. Is that scientist just someone to listen and laugh at Rentarou’s stories while maintaining his routine checkups and the daughter of Varanium supplying weapons company just to give some catfight tension and a reason we can have an explosive finale?

Kagetane and Kohina are the biggest puzzle and question mark. I felt that it wasn’t the end of him when he ‘died’ since how can such a mysterious just get killed off like that? Well, it happens to some characters but not this guy. Then true enough, he is back. It is uncertain if they have joined the fight against Gastrea or something just temporarily as they seek something entertaining while observing Rentarou. You can’t tell what is on their mind and definitely you can’t tell whether they are friend or foe. Perhaps he is doing it all for Rentarou in hopes that one day he would join his side. Otherwise, always look over your shoulders when this guy is around. He hides something more hideous than the mask that covers his face. Kohina is cute and deadly as she just wants to cut things up. If she wasn’t a Cursed Child, she would have turned into an excellent serial killer.

The character that everybody would love to hate is Yasuwaki. First this guy is obsessed about Seitenshi and then when Rentarou got into the picture, he becomes obsessed in taking him out. So what happened to his fate? I guess nobody caught him for that act of betrayal. I hope this guy just gets killed in some Gastrea war. Or a simple road accident would suffice. People like him are giving humanity a bad name. It’s ironic that bozos like him live longer. Last but not least, Seitenshi seems to be putting up a pretty good expressionless poker face because I feel deep down inside she is just hurting like hell. I suppose this is the price to pay for being a public figure. So much so I thought she is stuck with that emotionless face or too much Gastrea and deaths caused her face muscles to harden. She is one of those few people who trusts and wants to help Rentarou but she is not the highest ranking person so her hands are tied too.

One of the biggest things that boggle me is the creation of the monolith. No, not the process or how it is made. I couldn’t care less about it. It makes me wonder why they don’t make more of those monoliths. I mean, make it a continuous process. Slowly and gradually, place the newly made monoliths and spread them out further to reclaim more land. Simple. So I don’t understand why they have to wait for the last minute to make one and they even know they don’t even have time to make the deadline. I know it’s for action’s sake but that’s a different story. Maybe there are greed, political restrictions and insufficient material. Humanity’s fate is hanging on a thin thread and humans can still bicker about politics and the likes? It’s a wonder they’re still alive this far. As for limited resources, perhaps this is more feasible reason. You don’t see Civil Servants wasting precious Varanium bullets or the army even using them and just sparingly. Which brings me to this question: Where the heck do they mine those Varanium bullets? Are they created in the lab or something if they are not natural minerals?

Of course there are other very technical stuffs that I never understood like the rankings and all. I don’t know how high that number can reach and because I do not comprehend it all, it is like the number doesn’t have an impact on me. In other words, I do not feel the awe or worry every time they mention about this ranking thing. Is a higher number good or bad? I don’t know. It sounds so confusing. Even more mind boggling is the power percentage that exceeds 100% and going into five digits and possibly more. What the heck is the use of percentage that we learnt in school then?! Then there are those sci-fi terms (including those in battles) and the convoluted politics and history that I feel if you are a fan of the series, you would understand and appreciate it better and in depth. For me, my mind has already automatically shut itself off and stopped thinking about it. Really. Too much information not only in the sci-fi aspects but the plot as well that never develops or go anywhere so it makes you wonder why the need to mention and bring them up in the first place.

The romance factor feels like a near miss. I don’t know if there should be one in this series seeing everything is so bleak that people aren’t in the mood for romance. Life has to go on. But it feels like a distraction and something fleeting about Rentarou and Kisara’s case because there are a handful of moments that may hint and indicate something about their feelings for each other. This is just highly speculation and those scenes may want to make us think so. Because usually they get interrupted and we never see and hear the rest of the full story of it. But with the turn of events of their different definitions of justice at the end of the series, looks like love doesn’t seem like the closest thing that you would imagine Rentarou and Kisara to be with. However we can safely assume that Kisara does have a thing for Rentarou because of the catfight clash with Miori. I thought this was the amusing part of the series and hoped to see more. Too bad. I’m such a sadist. Unless in extreme case scenario that they don’t really like Rentarou and are just using him to spite each other. Because as we can see, they get really worked up if the other gets flirty with him. Or simply they just like him.

Then there is the loli harem that one might worry that Rentarou might be amassing. Uh huh. When those Cursed Children under him started liking him, there are hints that Rentarou would have more lolis to add to his list. But they got bombed and killed off. And here I thought there was this curse that lolis who get close to Rentarou will receive some death fate because Kayo started the ball rolling and Tina would have continued this streak had not Rentarou gave her another lease of life. And then that group of Cursed Children and finally Midori (although she isn’t directly connected to Rentarou but he is part of the adjuvant, which makes her more or less the same). I suppose Yuzuki is the only exception since she loves her brother more. Unless she’s a tsundere…

The action is also rather okay and should satisfy action junkies although I won’t go so far as to say they are hardcore. But satisfying enough if you want to watch Rentarou and Enju (or some other lolis Cursed Children) kick ass. It is nice to see that some of the Cursed Children having a unique ability of their own depending the type of animal they are modelled to like Enju has great jumping abilities like a rabbit and Kohina a mantis type model since she likes slicing stuffs. The other mind boggling thing for me is Rentarou’s martial arts and combat skill. I know he learns those super punching and kicking moves from his Tendou dojo but the names of his special moves he unleashes feel funny. Sometimes it sounds grand but most of the time it feels like he is pulling out some super moves that you’d see only in Dragonball. So okay, he himself can be considered a superhero considering his artificial and enhanced limbs. But anyway, honestly I thought the names of his moves just sounds one kind. The same case with Kisara’s sword style. But be warned that there are scenes which may be too graphic as they have gory blood spill. Well, at least better than all the action and killing but lacking blood. Where’s the realism in that?

Drawing and art style feels pretty standard and conventional. Except the fact that the Cursed Children have this very loli look. I mean, when you first look at them (and all of them), you would think that they have this look of a toddler. Smooth baby face, if I should say. So how can people hate those lolis especially their own mothers? Red eyes are one thing but doesn’t the cuteness of them overwhelm everything else? I guess when you have to live in fear of alien bugs, nothing is cute anymore. In addition to the usual 2D hand drawn animation, CGI effects are also used but this is particularly on certain Gastrea creatures like Aldebaran and Pleiades. Speaking of Gastrea, some of their designs look creepy. This is basically part of me who is adverse to bugs so seeing their monstrous design is scary but thankfully not enough to give me nightmares. Hmm… Now come to think of it, these bugs may seem worthy of appearing in Starship Troopers… At first I thought certain character designs like Kisara reminded me of the anime Unbreakable Machine Doll. However this anime is animated by Kinema Citrus and not Lerche. They did series such as Barakamon, Code: Breaker, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and Yuyushiki.

Voice acting is rather okay with familiar voices such as Yuuki Kaji as Rentarou, Yui Horie as Kisara, Rikiya Koyama as Kagetane, Aoi Yuuki as Kohina and Shinichiro Miki as Shouma. Some need a little time for me to identify like Aki Toyosaki as Seitenshi, Ami Koshimizu as Miori and Yuko Kaida as Sumire. As for the rest, they include Rina Hidaka as Enju (Airi in Ro-Kyu-Bu), Tomoyo Kurosawa as Tina (Sylphy in Amagi Brilliant Park), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Katagiri (Shichika in Katanagatari), Rumi Ookubo as Yuzuki (Hibachi in Mushibugyou), Inori Minase as Asaka (Suzu in Love Lab), Tesshou Genda as Gado (Optimus Prime in Transformers), Yui Ogura as Midori (Komurasaki in Unbreakable Machine Doll), Subaru Kimura as Yasuwaki (Kanba in Mawaru Penguindrum), Unshou Ishizuka as Saitake (Dr Gel in Space Dandy) and Megumi Han as Kayo (titular character in Mushibugyou).

If the opening theme which is the same name of this anime title sounds very familiar, then perhaps you might have watched To Aru Kagaku No Railgun before. That’s right. Fripside sings the opening theme and the rock techno beat has that familiar feel to all the openings that they have sung in that latter anime. The ending theme, Tokohana by Nagi Yanagi although is rock based, its opener has that eerie feel seeing the eerie hymn-like voices. But once the rock music gets going, you’ll forget that it is ever a creepy song. A slower ballad gives a different overall feel although Wasurenai Tame Ni For Lotus by Nagi Yanagi is only for the final episode.

Overall, this series may do well in its action parts but other than that has lots of missed opportunities and several unintentional ‘funny’ stuffs may have turned it into something substandard and cheap instead of something you should be taking seriously. Funny stuffs as in Rentarou’s nearly loli harem, the nearly catfight between Kisara and Miori and the best part is that Rentarou cannot be bothered to stop them because he knows he can’t, the nearly suggestive hentai moments when you see Gastrea spider squirt out white sticky things on lolis and of course the absolutely most absurd and unbelievable of them all, a certain politician and big brother’s head splitting in half after spilling enough hints. And he doesn’t even realize it till it starts to have that exploding feeling. Geez… I don’t know if you should cringe or laugh because certainly some of those funny stuffs are meant to be serious. Really. Seriously. Yeah well, this kind of black humour may be the new black and in a way gave this series a black eye. A black day for comedy and humanity? Well, the devil is not so black as he is painted. There is always hope if you give it a chance.

I am sure there are lots of jokes about marriages regarding the husband can’t understand the wife and vice versa. I don’t know. I’m not married myself so I can’t really tell if it is really hard to understand the other party but I kinda get the hint after ‘observing’ real life and reel life married couples. Oh yeah. And read lots of those marriage jokes too. So what does it take for one to understand another? Perhaps Danna Ga Nani Wo Itteiru Ka Wakaranai Ken (I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying) would enlighten us all. Even if it doesn’t helps us fully understand (or even drives us crazy just trying to figure out the logic behind it), at least a little understand goes a long way and it is better than nothing. Despite each episode’s length is only 3.5 minutes and some may wonder if it will amount to anything because it is so short, I guess it is better to be short and sweet to get the message across. You wouldn’t want your wife to be nagging and nag you for 24 minutes straight, do you?

Episode 1
Kaoru wonders if she married Hajime because they know each other faults. Is it there is no gap between her ideals and reality? Heck, he even told her that he couldn’t bring her happiness and she thought wearing a wedding dress was good enough… Their honeymoon was the most boring ever. They stayed indoors not wanting to get wet or sunburn so Kaoru ended up trying her swimsuit in the room and they had lots of sex! As narrated, Kaoru is 2 years older than Hajime and as society would describe her husband, he is an otaku. Yup, he considers his 2D girl his real wife! He is also a blogger who types all his otaku stuffs all day long if he isn’t watching any anime. Hardly bringing in the money, eh? Then there are sexy 2D female pictures lying around in his room and he was ‘using’ them! Kaoru is devastated that men think nothing but boobs. He admits he does. Which men don’t? Unless you’re the ‘flat’ kind of lover. When Kaoru wants to go out on a holiday, he feels lethargic and wants her to fire him up. A little cutie “Nya~” move was all that was needed to get him going. Of course they’re going to watch an anime movie since he needs materials for his blog. Once it is over, Kaoru’s opinion is generally short but Hajime starts going in-depth and critical analysis of it. On the way home, there is a place Hajime wants to stop by: A love hotel. Wouldn’t their home be just fine?

Episode 2
Hajime’s brother, Mayotama comes to visit. Uhm… You mean his sister? Nope. Brother. Holy sh*t. So girly… Anyway he is here because he cannot draw a manga about an original pairing with his brother anymore! But when he learns Kaoru is a normal person and nothing like an otaku, little brother stopped all the otaku talk with her. When it is getting late and time to go home, Kaoru suggests he stay for the night. That sicko immediately zips down his pants and want to bath together. That earned him a lonely one way train ticket back home. Kaoru might be having a little trauma seeing how ‘scary’ his manga is. Hajime breaks down while revealing Mayotama has made 30 different variations of the manga and every thousand copies printed were sold out. Had Hajime not marry her, he would have been robbed of his manhood. Kaoru acts like the tender wife to go comfort him but it is just an act she is following from the manga. Disappointed? When Kaoru’s friends come over to visit, they are surprised to see Hajime in a horse mask! Embarrassing, no? The friends never thought Kaoru would get married as she said she was going to stay single. Hajime explains how Kaoru became her angel and the friends thought he was trying to test them by acting all normal. Kaoru suggests Hajime to invite some friends over next time. But he has no real friends. Only those on the internet… Oh you poor thing…

Episode 3
Mayotama is often mistaken as a middle school student when he is actually in college and in the manga research club. With the kind of manga he draws, it is no surprise it isn’t allowed there. Although this means he would work better alone, but there is danger of him becoming a loner. Is this advice from Hajime speaking from experience? Don’t worry, Mayotama also has lots of friends. On the internet… Hajime may have said the wrong thing because even though he might not have friends but at least he is married with a wife! Kaoru rubs salt into wounds to add that she indeed does have friends. Mayotama suggests some bonding with Hajime. He probably got ahead of himself of even suggesting they f*ck each other. Another ticket home… Who needs real friends anyway when you have them online? He sees an offline meeting from one of his forums. Going with Hajime, they meet the coordinator, Destiny F*cker AKA Miki who thinks Mayotama is a girl. I guess Mayotama has resigned to that fate and accepts being a girl. Hajime warns him his brother is a trap… Mayotama has a decent conversation with Miki since the latter is a fan of his manga and according to Hajime, he’ll be okay at this rate. At least according to OreImo! Now all he has to do is endure this situation for the next few hours… Miki finds Mayotama interesting and even hints of seriously going after him. Hajime gives the big approval! Kaoru thinks Miki is a friend of Hajime but he wouldn’t call him that. He considers him as a sacrifice… I guess Hajime is freed from that yaoi horror, huh?

Episode 4
Whatever dramatic narration Hajime is telling us, when Kaoru is asking about his blogging, he tells her he has suspended it. After some reflection, he decided to go back being a regular user. This means he’ll be a proper NEET. He dons his suit and Kaoru cannot be happier that he is serious trying to take up employment. Now she can properly answer to other neighbourhood housewives about her husband’s job. But that might be premature as he mentions he was just using the internet to expand his knowledge. A week later, Hajime still couldn’t find a job so Kaoru takes a look at his CV. Despite his handwriting is much better than hers, this might be the culprit: His picture is a horse head! Suggesting he call Miki for some work, instantly that guy starts chiding him. Looks like he found out Mayotama is a male when he tried to ‘move in’. Yeah. He’s freaking pissed. He’ll make him work hard in data entry. As he types, Miki advises him o use this chance to spread his wings in society. But as for hiring him, he wants him to work at home because he should cherish his time with his wife. So now Hajime is a web designer working from home. He wonders if the neighbourhood housewives will understand what kind of work he is doing. Kaoru doesn’t mind as long as she understands.

Episode 5
The place is in a mess. No, it’s not because they’ve been robbed but it is because Kaoru was drunk. Yes, it’s hard to believe but she can turn into a real devil when she’s in that state. Usually she drinks after a pretty stressed out day at work and she doesn’t remember what happened. So last night’s drunk was the ultimate and Hajime describes it that she was raping him 10 times in a second! Wow! May be exaggerated but it’s not a lie! Yeah, can’t believe it either, eh? Kaoru suggests to record her the next time but this is also her plan to see him when he is drunk. Next night, the pair goes out for a drink and although Hajime is cautious, by the fourth round, Kaoru is already so drunk that she’s already the devil. She really turns it on by playing strip rock-scissors-paper, then stripping herself and then spouting a load of crap about loving him before a big smooch to shut him up. Next morning, Kaoru wakes up in bed not remembering what happened. She asks if she said anything weird but Hajime couldn’t even begin to describe and thus making no sense to her. That bad, huh?

Episode 6
Kaoru collapses and although it is nothing life threatening, her doctor friend, Tanaka suggests she quit smoking for good. Kaoru hangs out with her other friend, Rino who also feel that it would make Hajime feel at ease. Kaoru promises she won’t be a bad influence on the kids… Of course she wants him to go back the way he was so she’ll stop smoking. Hajime calls Miki to get some more work. I guess single people won’t understand… Hajime thinks it would be 100 times better if he had collapsed but Miki suggests they should both work on not collapsing instead. Kaoru’s dad who is some chef is mad at Hajime probably wants to be hit him but decided not to as this would make Kaoru sad. He wants him to return to his wife. Hajime becomes the caring husband taking care of all the chores. She doesn’t like him putting up that fake smile and looks best when he says dumb stuffs with a straight face. She starts crying that he is acting like a different person and it scares her. She doesn’t want it that way and please return to the way he was. Please pay more attention to her. They hug but the squeeze his hard most probably it is because of Kaoru’s withdrawal symptoms. Toughing it out, huh? Kaoru asks Tanaka how long she should stop smoking. Until her child is born. No, seriously.

Episode 7
Kaoru sucks at cooking. Even the friend rice she makes just looks so-so. However Hajime accepts it all and considers it good. He doesn’t have to be so modest, you know… Ironically, Hajime is a better cook than her! She tries to make meat and potatoes but Hajime couldn’t make head or tail out of this sugar powdered potatoes… So they head over to Kaoru’s dad’s place to learn and Hajime could have just left out the remark that he doesn’t want his wife to lose her bad cooking attribute. Daddy seriously is going to kill him… Meanwhile Miki is in a dilemma to accept homemade lunch from Mayotama. The thought of turning him down makes that trap cry… Can’t refuse… Dad and daughter have a little chat. She doesn’t know if she’s putting up with him or vice versa. It’s funny to think that she has become his wife. She also thinks it is pathetic for a parent to teach a child cooking but daddy believes this isn’t the case. Because her late mom, Miri also sucked at cooking. When Kaoru was born, she panicked and asked him to teach her. Miri matured because of her and he is sure she will get better too. Hajime gets a taste of Kaoru’s pasta. I know he wants to show how good it is with a thumbs up but why take off his shirt too?! Does it make him feel manly?

Episode 8
Kaoru accepts the task of temporarily taking care of a relative’s daughter, Ai. In that case, Hajime better stay in his room! When Ai is here, she starts taking off her tight shirt and doesn’t want to wear them, pouting. Kaoru tries to warn her about a ‘wild animal’ here and oh, here he comes… Hajime gives Ai wear a loose adult shirt. It might be okay to him but Kaoru is cautious because she knows he is a lolicon! Suggesting that they should play a game, it seems Ai’s favourite game is golf. Her mom is a pro golfer while her dad is the caddy. She planned to retire after this game to raise her child, the reason why Kaoru accepted this task. They head to the driving range to play golf and naturally the kid hits better than the adults. At the end of the day, Ai had lots of fun and thanks them. On the contrary, they thank her instead.

Episode 9
Mayotama wants to know their first date so he could use it as reference in his manga. A date between guys? Kaoru feels depressed that she is being labelled handsome by him… So it all began when they met while working part time. It was really an awkward situation while she asked him out. Mayotama suspected something amiss when Hajime was panicking and even forgot his favourite handheld game. Likewise, Kaoru’s dad was serious after learning his daughter is going out on a date. He suggests taking a taser with her! No, a rifle! No, even better. He will come along! So as they get their first date going, they ended up walking and talking about their future. Kaoru thought from the way he said things, his future looked bleak. But after seeing his real smile (he often puts up fake ones as she noticed), she stopped worrying and they both had great fun. In the end, Hajime got the guts to ask her out again. Mayotama won’t be using that since it sounded like a precious memory. Also, writing that would make him want to kill himself…

Episode 10
Hmm… Who could it be at this hour? Oh lookey, it’s Hajime’s mom AKA House Destroyer… I can see why because in her excitement she broke down the door. Apparently she just heard her son got a job. Of course, now she’s bugging him if has a child yet… And she means a child with his wife not an elementary schooler. He thought he could pass it off to Mayotama who may pop out 3 for her but mom knows she only had sons. So when Hajime asks Kaoru if she wants a child, she almost choked on her drink. And no, he is not referring to his elementary schooler. This has Kaoru think of all the necessities needed to being a parent but she can’t imagine him being one. But first, she has to stop smoking, right? Talking out with Rino, she mentions she doesn’t do it that often with her husband, Nozomu. Maybe it’s because she’s small? Insult! Well, maybe to Nozomu he is acting like her mom… The duo try to think up a name for their child and avoid something that is culture inspired. But with Hajime suggesting some names from Evangelion, I guess she gives up. Anime and manga aren’t culture inspired? Kaoru continues thinking and isn’t sure if this is going to happen. Even so, not for a while. Hajime’s mother calls Kaoru to apologize for the other day and thinks he must be joking because it must be a joke too that her son got a job. Kaoru thought she must have been really happy. When Hajime makes some remarks about girls a certain age wear the same underwear and some might make their father’s wear it, Kaoru believes a child with him isn’t going to happen.

Episode 11
Aside from the very bad and poor animation of this episode, this serves more as a flashback and reminiscence of Kaoru when she was single. Despite working in the service industry, she never quite liked it. Even more so when she was transferred to the sales department. She thought she was losing a part of herself. She thought drinking, smoking and watching TV was what she needed to go on. Then alarm bells start ringing when Tanaka announced she got married. She was happy to see her in a beautiful white wedding dress but at the same time, something inside her start to panic. As she was used to living alone, she thought it was okay. She wondered if she is going to die alone. Then it hit her. That will not be okay. And now thinking back about it, she’s lucky to have Hajime as her husband and loves him very much. Vice versa too. They might have their differences but she realized people can’t survive on their own. Another short flashback shows Kaoru had to handle an interview for a part time position. That very strange CV… It could only be from… I supposed that’s how they met.

Episode 12
Hajime used to hate Christmas before he was married. Not anymore! No more lonely nights! Wohoo! Oops, sorry. Kaoru needs to work on that day. Alone again, naturally. So he goes hang out with his friend (see, he has some) but Nozomu isn’t too pleased and would even pay him to go back! Rino accepts Hajime’s company but needs him to leave by 9pm. What is that sex hinting gesture?! Tanaka and her husband, Yamada are also here. She makes a joke they keep their surnames and together they are called Yamatanaka. Hajime can guess Yamada is wearing a wig. He takes it off and explains it is to keep him warm. Seriously, Tanaka doesn’t even know about this! On the way home, Yamatanaka is getting so lovey-dovey that they are literally crushing Hajime’s soul. He’s dead… Kaoru and Hajime coincidentally meet each other on the street and they had the same idea of buying cake for the other. Kaoru thought he would be spending Christmas in front of his PC but he mentions of trying out unfamiliar things. Then he hints by saying “Hole over hand”… Kaoru no understand… But Kaoru is turning to bed early not because she got the message but because she has to work tomorrow too. She’ll make it up the day after tomorrow. His loneliness continues…

Episode 13
I guess we should have expected this anyway since Hajime is an otaku. He is already breaking the fourth wall and complaining that feeling when an anime is coming to an end! He is worried that usually some crazy stuffs happen when anime ends like graduation, etc. However he doesn’t have that much friends for that to happen. Nozomu says he has always been his friend (really?) as they have hung out a few times together. But Hajime feels confused so Nozomu wonders what kind of standards he was expecting. When he goes home and finding Kaoru home earlier than usual, she isn’t feeling well and tired. She doesn’t have a fever, though. Then it hit him what this could mean. Oh no… Morning sickness! He panics and thinks his next step. He goes to the store to buy a pregnancy test kit when Miki spots him. And then it soon spreads like wildfire. Every darn character in this anime congratulating him. Although Hajime is nervous, they assure him it will be fine and will support him. Hajime doesn’t feel all this is real. I mean, does he deserve this? It could all be a dream and disappear tomorrow. Mayotama then asks him a question he couldn’t answer before: Why is dad always home? Because he works from there. Hajime feels better that it is just going to be a misunderstanding. And so here happy Hajime is leaving it up to the gods when Kaoru’s pregnancy kit turns positive… Oh dear. Tears of joy streaming down her cheeks, I presume. They hug each other. Well, this isn’t the dramatic end he was expecting but just like in life, you accept it quietly with a mix of happiness and uneasiness.

It Takes Two To Tango
Hmm… I thought the title is a bit misleading. Thinking back, this entire series isn’t exactly about Kaoru trying to understand her husband nor do we see Hajime spamming us with his antics that gives Kaoru a hard time trying to comprehend what the hell he is thinking. It may be so in the initial episodes for the setting and all but as the series progresses, you’ll find that this is more about them trying to live a decent marriage life together. Maybe I misinterpreted about the ‘can’t understand’ part since after all, the act of Kaoru and Hajime interacting with each other and getting along is pretty much an understanding itself. Not to say that Kaoru fully understands Hajime perfectly but from what I can see is that she understands him enough to know who her husband is.

Sometimes it may feel a bit unrealistic because if you think about, Kaoru puts up with Hajime’s ‘uselessness’ of being an otaku and patiently listens to him. I am sure in real life there are such stories we won’t hear or read of but generally it feels unlikely. For a wife to put up with such a husband, it would only lead to arguments and then divorce. Sure, I would love to have a caring and understanding wife like her and so do many of us but what are the chances in reality? Of course, it’s subtly like saying more to woman power but that isn’t the point. However it may be unfair to label so because Kaoru herself isn’t perfect. Taking a look at her smoking and drinking habits is already a sign. I supposed she knows of her own shortcomings and therefore it is not right to lash out (assuming if you want to go for reality) at Hajime for being an otaku. Therefore I feel generally it isn’t about Kaoru trying to understand her husband but rather more about herself and coming to terms and overcoming it. Even if she doesn’t really understand what he is saying, at least she doesn’t ignore him.

Hajime likewise is also trying his best to be a good husband. It was certainly surprising that after a few episodes into the series, he suddenly stops being an otaku! And I thought guys like that will never change! I know. I speak from experience :p. Despite his otaku mentality (it is a pleasure to spot a few anime references with him around), he isn’t that all useless because he is a better cook and deeply cares for his wife although he doesn’t typically show it off with flowers and kisses. Well, like they say, it is the thought that counts. So with both of them trying to understand each other, in a way I could say that their marriage is a success because you don’t need lavish material objects to be happy. Love is all you need and all they have. They may be awkward at times but it is their character and they accept it with all their heart. It is marriage that matures them and I am sure even more when they have their first child. Now all Kaoru needs is the will to stop smoking and drinking, which I am sure she can.

I don’t know how Kaoru ended up getting her hair dyed blond because during her younger days, it was of a dark colour. I thought it was all the years of smoking and drinking that changed her hair colour (there is no scientific proof for this!) and even more inclined to think that because of her ‘delinquent acts’ (smoking and drinking, right?), thus she dyed her hair that colour when she got married. Because you know, everybody else looked the same back then and it is like physically only Kaoru had changed. So is it true that only women change but men don’t? Also another mind boggling thing I noticed is how Hajime’s mom calls him Takashi. Is this his real name or his pet name? Because I am pretty sure she was referring Mayotama as Youta (which is believably his real name because which parent would be crazy enough to name their child as a mayonnaise ball? Unless…).

Other characters add dynamism and quirkiness in addition to Kaoru and Hajime who are of course the main focus of this series. Although it feels like a side distraction (because they show up for a short while and then made to ‘leave’ to return our focus back to our main couple) but their appearance does help make the series more enjoyable. From Mayotama’s trap and yaoi fetish (a little pervy too), Miki’s ridiculous nickname of Destiny F*cker (I guess in a way it is true to a certain extent because life actually screws with you, depending on how you look at it), the petite Rino who is often mistaken for somebody younger than her age, the overbearing Kaoru’s dad and the typical crazy mother of Hajime (which mother don’t want a grandchild?), I’m sure every family have one or two characters like them we can relate to. And with a new member coming into the family ‘soon’, everything is going to get crazier, livelier and happier. Yeah. I guess a person like me who never had a child of my own would understand.

This anime is produced by Seven who specializes in producing short anime series like Morita-san Wa Mukuchi, Recorder To Randoseru, Ai Mai Mi, Shin Strange and Inugami-san To Nekoyama-san. Therefore the art and drawing style of this anime is somewhat closely similar to most of these animes since after all, with this anime being of a comedy genre, you don’t need to put in lots of details in your characters. Some look generic like Hajime’s otaku background and others just for a bit of variety like Mayotama’s cross-dressing and Miki’s forever-wearing-sunglasses. The cartoonish and simple drawn feel enhances the comedic effect. My only grouse is that flashback episode where the quality takes an obvious dip. Perhaps they want to showcase to us a different time setting but it was bad enough for me to think that the producer was off for that day and in an attempt to beat a deadline, they hired an amateur to finish it up and voila, you get your half-baked animation quality.

It is fun to hear Yukari Tamura as the role of Kaoru. I might have said it many times before and I’ll say it again that she hasn’t lost her touch of her trademark voice over the last decade. Although she doesn’t go into a myriad of emotions or burst into many squeaky shrieks (she is more subdued as Kaoru here), she portrays well a wife who sounds tired of the same routine life but soldiered on thanks to the hope of having her husband by her side. Kenichi Suzumura as Hajime also sounds subdued unlike some of his sadistic/holier-than-thou character roles like Sougou of Gintama and Hayasaka from Wake Up, Girls!

It is also surprising to hear Rie Kugimiya and Ryoko Shintani as Rino and Tanaka respectively. The surprising fact was they weren’t in their trademark voices and I could actually recognize them! Oddly too, their character roles sound more subdued than their usual (that is how I used to identify them) so it was a pleasant surprise that I could identify them after hearing a line or two. Not bad, eh? The rest of the cast include Kaori Shimizu as Miki (Akira in School Rumble), Sayaka Horino as Mayotama (so far her only other role is Nezu in Inugami-san To Nekoyama-san), Kazuma Horie as Kaoru’s father (Ryuu in Special A) and Kotono Mitsushi as Hajime’s mom (Excel in Excel Saga). The rest like Daisuki Tonosaki as Yamada, Toshifumi Sakai as Nozomu and Mai Sugano as Ai are making their debut role.

The ending theme, Iikagen Ni Shite Anata by the duet of Yukari Tamura and Kenichi Suzumura is quite catchy since it has this oldies feel in it. Too bad it is just 30 seconds but I supposed that is okay since the show itself is short so there is the justice. You can’t have the song longer than the show itself, can’t you? I noticed that there are a few variations of this piece. There was an episode with a karaoke version of it. It was a surprise to hear the off-vocal version so I started singing myself. Let’s just say it was so horrible that I don’t want to do it again… Then there is a slow an instrumental version which lovely suits that flashback episode and also a jazzy one for that Christmas episode.

Overall, despite the brief duration of this anime, this is still a great watch and there is a level of maturity you can see portrayed in the jokes (some may be a little perverted but not very excessive) as well as the struggles you could see faced in an ordinary family. In the end, everyone is just being human and just trying to be happy. So next time you can’t understand what your spouse is saying, don’t retaliate with louder screaming words because softer ones are the ones that make you grow closer and more lovingly. Sometimes you just can’t understand what is being said but you kinda get the feeling instead. Then again, maybe that is why lots of misunderstanding happens… Get it? Sighs… Nobody understands me…

Barakamon

April 19, 2015

Oh my. Did they make an anime on the 44th American president, Barack Obama? Isn’t that why they call it Barakamon? No?! It is not you say?! Oh. Since when did Mortal Kombat’s ugly Tarkatan, Baraka get more famous than the fire and ice ninja duo and got an anime series of himself? This is not it either?! Let me guess… Pokemon… Digimon… And now for the new type of monster called Barakamon, a cross between those cute little monsters and Baraka. I am totally way off the mark, you say?! WTF?! I’m getting confused. What the hell could this Barakamon be then?!

Oh… I see… It is about calligraphy. Strokes of words in the form of ‘beautiful visual art’. Doesn’t that feel unexciting? That depends entirely on your taste. Calligraphy isn’t the in-thing these days with technology and the new generation more inclined to using internet acronyms and slangs. The good ol’ traditional ways of writing such beautiful strokes are seemingly fading. So what better way to cultivate some interest via anime? Well actually, this series isn’t really focusing on the art of calligraphy. Despite using its theme, it is about a young professional calligrapher who has won many awards in this industry. A moment of impulse when he loses his cool and attacks an elderly fellow calligrapher lands him in hot soup. Normally it would be the end of one’s career and thus life. However he is sent to a remote village to cool his head. The series chronicles his interactions with the simple villagers. They might not know a thing about calligraphy but he will a thing or two (and even more) as he resides among them.

Episode 1
Seishuu Handa is a master calligraphist. At a prize award reception, the director commented on his textbook style of calligraphy. As though he only writes to win awards. It feels dull and empty. Has he ever attempted to overcome the wall of conventionality? Unfortunately Handa didn’t take that very well. In fact, he punches this old man in the face!!! No mercy! He can kiss his future goodbye. To cool his head down and do some reflection, his dad sends him to a remote island. No signal. No bus service. He is lucky an old farmer picked him up on his slow tractor or he’ll be walking for half a day to this address. Yuujirou Kido the village chief shows him the house he will be living in. Hmm… Looks like there are people in here quite recently… Taking a look around the house, city boy is surprised at the ‘old technology’ amenities in his house. Even more surprising, a little girl hiding in the cupboard! She is Naru Kotoishi, the village rascal and has been using this place as hideout. Every time he kicks her out, she finds ways to come back him and interrupt his calligraphy. Can’t focus. She even has fun trying out calligraphy and praises his amazing skill. Of course Handa is still bothered by the director’s words. Although he could have apologized but Handa still believes in his way of writing. He believes in sticking to basics and that simplicity is the easiest path to beauty. Naru shows him the letters she wrote and doesn’t think hers is as good as his. She hopes he can forgive her but since there is nothing to forgive in the first place, she feels happy.

As Naru takes him to walk along the pier, she starts commenting his writing looks a bit like textbook! He pushes her into the sea! Then she pulls him in! She teaches him how to use his t-shirt for buoyancy to swim to shore. You learn something new every day. Then there is the sunset sky she wants to show him but they have to climb the seawall. He is pessimistic since it is cloudy. But thinking back on the director’s words and that he won’t see anything if he doesn’t climb, he puts his negativity aside and does what Naru says. The most beautiful sunset he has ever seen in his life. Subsequently the rest of the villagers come to help him unpack. Handa meets some of them including Hina Kubota whose crying is her main emotion, naughty boy Kentarou Oohama who does kanchou up his butt and Kazuyuki Sakamoto the school’s vice principal who loves to smoke (bad role model?). That night, he expresses his happiness by writing a big word on a big canvas that probably messed up his entire room. Not so textbook looking. His assistant, Takao Kawafuji calls him and Handa wants him to apologize to the director on his behalf first as he has no guts. He now starts to understand why his father sent him here.

Episode 2
Hiroshi Kido is not happy he has obtained a string of Bs in his exams despite studying so hard although his parents are okay with it. He is forced to bring a bowl of noodles to Handa and he thinks mom should stop pampering that guy. She punches him for not understanding her feelings! With her son not needing her as a mom, this guy is like the tonic she needs to bring meaning to her role as mother and woman. Handa is sleep deprived just to improve his calligraphy. Naru brings high school girls, Miwa Yamamura and Tamako Arai here. They are the ones using this place as their hangout before he moved in. They continue to mess around and of course praise his calligraphy. When Hiroshi comes by to give the noodles, Handa collapses on him. Hiroshi tries his best to explain the meaning of talent to Naru. She then shows him a room where Handa writes and puts up all his practised calligraphy. She then says Handa has always been writing but complains he is not good enough. Does it mean he doesn’t have talent? Naru knows Handa is amazing but she just doesn’t understand what his talent is. This causes Hiroshi to reflect he did things half assed, the reason he always got Bs. He figures the ability to put in a relentless amount of effort is the greatest talent anyone could have. He draws inspiration from Handa to work harder as he wants to go to college. He will also continue to bring food over his mom makes.

Unfortunately Handa is hospitalized as he continues his sleep deprivation. Naru continues to be annoying while the high school girls pay him a visit. His IV pack is almost out and they start to panic like as though he is going to die. He has a little fever now and would prefer normal medication instead of suppositories. Naru is getting ready to press the emergency button because she believes this hospital is haunted. They’re scarier than monsters? Handa covers his ears pretending not to hear anything. Handa is glad when Hiroshi comes to bring his stuffs but it seems he left out the calligraphy set that he is looking forward so much. Hiroshi wants him to rest. Tamako’s eyes start to ‘burn’ misinterpreting their seemingly yaoi interaction. After the kids leave, an old man from the next ward believes his sickness isn’t any ordinary one if all those people came to see him. Because they looked so happy to see him alive and well. He hopes he will get well soon. Next day when Handa is feeling better (although it has not gone yet), he can’t wait to get back to writing. But he got too excited and it worsens his fever. Once he is really better, he is discharged. He wonders where the old man in the next ward is. He is told he is the only patient in the hospital as most people get assigned to newer buildings these days. Oh God… Time to freak out!!! Later Hiroshi notices Handa trying to cook himself. Look at all the bandages on his fingers. And it must have tainted the onions so much that it really looks like some bloodied onion dish!

Episode 3
WTF?! Naru spotting a manly expression?! Just because she just mastered reading katakana words? One step closer to adulthood… She thinks… Handa has submitted his latest work to an exhibition in Tokyo and is confident of winning. He has run out of black ink and goes to the local store to get some. He sees lots of snacks, messes up a package containing needles, cleaning it up and helping another old lady customer to find sewing strings she needs. As there is only a black ink left, Tamako is also here for the same thing so he gives it to her since she needs it for her homework. He will just grind charcoal for his. Because Tamako is into manga, she hopes she can get his opinion although he is not an expert. The first page… Lots of horror! Guts and blood! Is she submitting this for real?! Each time he comments, she turns into some fiery passionate rebuking machine! Scary. She then gives him a bunch of mangas to help him understand the manga world. Oh boy. When Tamako is doing her work, she realizes she might have misplaced her yaoi manga in there. Fearing that rumours will spread that she would be some otaku and worse, a fujoshi, she makes haste to stop the spread of the misunderstanding. She remembers her city cousin sent her lots of manga and she was traumatized seeing her first yaoi manga. She kept it as memory of that day. When she arrives at Handa’s place, she goes into shock seeing him and Hiroshi hugging! Actually Hiroshi was catching him when he lost balance. This shock causes her to temporarily lose her memories. What was she here for again? Got to get back working the manuscript… Manusci… Manu… Man… MAN!!! Oh God! Trauma revisited!

Handa receives news that his work got second place and lost out to an 18 year old. It is no surprise he is in a very dark mood. He starts blaming nothing has changed ever since he came here and he only slacked off. Miwa didn’t take that insult lightly but Tamako believes he needs some time for himself. They’ll come back later. Her reason is that if they give it straight to him, he’ll be more depressed as he has a lot of pride. From now on, let Naru handle things. As he is still frustrated, Naru asks if he is having fun. She brings him to go mochi catching. Seems Kentarou has got a boat named after him and he accidentally spills a load of mochi into the sea. Before the people start catching, Miwa explains to Handa the 2 professionals he need to look out for. Yasuba who always gets the most mochi in the end somehow and Panchi whom they must keep their distance from because if you think you’re going to get one, here she comes snatching it. As it starts, Handa finds it hard to catch one as he gets bumped out. This makes him realize the gap in talent. He thinks it’ll be easier to give up instead of struggling and then fail. Yasuba tells him the secret why he isn’t getting any. Because he is always looking up. He never noticed the ground filled with lots of them whom the people missed from catching. But what if he still can’t get any? What if there’s someone who is better than him and picks them all up? Then let that person take it and find your opportunities elsewhere. Handa gets fired up to join the frenzy but in the end he didn’t get one. When he returns home, he is surprised to find a red bean soup with mochi from Panchi. Although she looks mean, she makes her rounds and delivers to everyone. She also picked up extras to those who can’t make it to the event. Handa thanks everyone despite all that has happened today, he had fun.

Episode 4
Handa realizes his computer is broken. Who is going to fix it on this island? As he is going to make a call, his handphone is dead too! OMG! Panic time? He passes by a house with lots of white cats. He wants to pet them when the house owner kicks them out! They’re strays and they just invaded his fridge. He still wants to hold one so the old man picks up a mean one and lets him hold it. Achievement! Too bad the cat scratches his face. Not only that, he starts feeling itchy all over. Allergic to cats? Looks like no cats for him for now. He makes his way to the shop to call. Naru introduces him to a boy, Akki. He looks familiar. Tamako’s brother! He is impressed the look alike but Akki disagrees. Akki brings out the phone. Eh? A dialling rotary phone! Does Handa know how to use it?! I don’t think he does and has to be ‘coached’, which is a bit embarrassing. He calls Kawafuji about his broken computer but Kawafuji wants him to take a break for a while as the deadline for the Naruka Institute Exhibition is coming up this fall. Handa wants to participate and although he doesn’t know if he could win, he believes he will see the light someday as he is in darkness right now. The kids start laughing over this ‘cool’ line. Handa treats the kids to bubblegum and Akki laughs at the way he interacts with the rest because he thought he was a stiff and uptight person but is actually as weird as everyone says he is. That’s a compliment, right? He hopes to come over to his place next time.

As Handa is deep in his thoughts, he didn’t watch where he is going and accidentally spills a box of seaweeds. This yakuza-like guy is not happy. Oh sh*t. He thought he is done for but when he recognizes this calligrapher, he has got a job for him. Can’t say no to that mean face, can’t he? Turns out he is Miwa’s dad and he wants Handa to write the name of his new boat. Handa is not confident as he has never done such a job. Besides, he doesn’t have the right tools. Thinking of practising back home and doing some stencil work won’t cut it as Miwa’s dad questions if he considers himself a professional if he refuses this job. Miwa stops the argument and makes her dad return to her liquor delivery job to let Handa work in peace. The kids give him some wooden planks to work on and to get use to the brush. After he has enough practice and is about to write on the hull, he realizes the curving surface and chickens out. Now he is back to being nervous again. He fears he will mess up when the kids start putting hand paints on it! Now he has to cover it up. Deciding to use bold and flashy writing to cover it up, he gives instructions to the kids on what to do and bring him. As he starts writing, he doesn’t feel the pressure anymore. Miwa’s dad is watching and is impressed that what the village chief said about him is true. He laughs when he works. Although the end product is messy, but at least it is bold and different. Handa is given seaweeds as thanks. Aren’t those he dropped? Handa thanks him for giving this opportunity and it gave him an invaluable experience. However Miwa’s dad still has a bone to pick with him. When Handa practised on the boards, he wrote demonic and gangster nicknames on it. And those planks are supposed to ferry passengers. How is he going to make this up? Run away! How manly… Oh, he dropped his seaweeds…

Episode 5
Handa feels writing is easier now after that experience. An old man gives him some konomon snacks. At first he thought it was too much but when he pops one in his mouth, he can’t stop! He can’t concentrate on his writing and konomon is only on his mind! The girls are here to seek his help for their calligraphy homework. He demonstrates but they note how plain it is instead of his flashy one. Well, learn the basic first. He lets them know about the upcoming competition he wants to win. Miwa thinks he should not worry about the competition as long as he is having fun. Handa becomes a strict demon in guiding them. So for some time off, the girls make him go buy them some drinks. They get curious to know if he has a girlfriend and search around the house. Naru getting alerted and panicky about hearing this? Miwa sees a letter from Kawafuji. A girl? Nope. A guy. Tamako suddenly is interested. Naru then gives a picture frame that is believed Handa treasures most. The girls are going to find out his girlfriend and opens it. But to their utmost disappointment, it is a painting of a historical figure. F*ck this sh*t! They get pissed at him to come back to reality. Miwa gives permission for him to date Naru as she jumps onto him.

Handa is made to supervise the kids who want to go play at the sea. The teens are coming too. To Handa’s surprise, it is the rocky part of the sea instead of the sandy beaches. Because the latter is kid’s play… Handa might want to take it easy since the slippery rocks cause him to fall. Tamako seems to be acting weird as she comes up to Handa to ask his opinion about Hiroshi. At first he doesn’t get it but figures out she must be in love with him. He tries to support them by explaining Hiroshi’s good points but Tamako blows her top and runs away. She blames them for making her having sleepless nights and refuses to believe she is one of those fujoshi! He tries to go after her but slips again. Meanwhile Miwa shows Naru a sea cucumber and lets her hold it to get use. Then she decides to take her to a place where she can ‘become an adult’. When Handa calls for the kids as it is time to go, he realizes Naru is missing. Then he sees Hiroshi and Miwa jumping off from a pier. It’s a little high, don’t you think? He becomes alarmed and tries to stop them. It’s like as though he has some trauma about this scene? But Naru is already making her run. She jumps. He slips. She’s okay. He’s not. In the aftermath, the trio got reprimanded for doing something dangerous. He is serious. Please don’t be mad. Handa admits when he first came here, all he thought was himself. It’s the first time he was worried about someone else. Everyone is so touched as they promise not to do something dangerous to worry him. Group hug! Hiroshi won’t. Handa is so tired from the outing that he didn’t pick up his call. It is from Kawafuji and he has arrived here with Kousuke Kanzaki.

Episode 6
Kawafuji and Kousuke arrive outside Naru’s house. She’s selling seashells and she won’t tell them where Handa lives unless they buy one. Ah. Kawafuji corrupting her with the world of business? How about a card? Naru wants to show grandma about it but Kawafuji won’t let her go. The villagers think they’re trying to kidnap her and bring them along to the meeting they’re going now to explain themselves. That night, Miwa brings Kawafuji and Kousuke to Handa’s place. Seems Kawafuji is drunk. Although they got reprimanded at the meeting, it soon descended into a drinking party. Like the drunk guy he is, Kawafuji’s emotions are like a roller coaster. Sad that Handa didn’t reply (his handphone broke) and then getting worked up at the inconveniences of the countryside. Oh, here comes the barfing. While Handa goes out to get more konomon snacks, Kousuke introduces himself to Miwa and Hiroshi. As he explains he is a rookie calligrapher and accidentally ended up winning that contest that Handa was in, the duo realize who he is. Remember about his depression period? They can’t let Handa know who he is. They try to change topic or whatsoever but fail. Why does Hiroshi gets beaten up after each time? Even worse when Handa tells them to stay for the night as Kawafuji is out. Naru gives her collection to Kousuke since she considers him her friend. It has lots of shield bugs. He freaks out and throws it away. Oops. Opened it. Catch them! Gotta catch ‘em all! So I guess the Tokyo guys have to leave and return to their camping grounds. Miwa and Hiroshi later find out Handa knows who Kousuke is because Kawafuji told him in his mail. Worried for nothing.

Kousuke visits Handa the next day and reveals he is a big fan of his. Why, he even brought all the books he could find about him! He is even quoting embarrassing lines he said. A voice recorder too?! Handa thinks he is here to mock him. However Kousuke is not pleased he is hanging out in the countryside and should come back to Tokyo and take up calligraphy seriously again. Meanwhile Hiroshi and Miwa talk to Kawafuji about his relationship with Handa. They were best friends in schools. Handa was socially awkward and gets depressed easily to a point he forms some barrier therefore somebody needs to be there to cheer him up from the sidelines. He thought Handa would come back immediately but looks like he is having fun. Of course before a friend, Handa is his livelihood. As an art dealer if he doesn’t produce good results, Kawafuji will be in trouble too. But Handa is confused and unsure of what he is looking for. So in order for people to grow, they need rivals. Handa further explains to Kousuke he is here to fine tune his calligraphy and can’t go back without producing results. Kousuke reveals he has been doing boring calligraphy since young till he saw his work. Those were beautiful characters. So if results were what he is aiming, it is a reason why he lost to him. It’s like he has an overdose of his individuality. He doesn’t even know his skills are decaying. He should be writing calligraphy that people acknowledges. This causes Handa to go crazy. He won but was told it’s dull. And now that he writes good ones, he didn’t win. He doesn’t know what to do now. Suddenly Naru and Hina are seen making and throwing paper airplanes. All from Kousuke’s materials. It opened Handa’s eyes. He is going to write calligraphy only he himself can write. Going back to Tokyo on his word feels wrong. He wants to change himself. He wants Kousuke to walk down the road and wait a little bit longer. Kousuke wanted to record this nice saying but instinctively Handa knocks him out. Since Naru has given those materials to everyone in the village, they’re hounding him for an autograph. Yeah. They’re quoting his lines too. Feel like going back to Tokyo?

Episode 7
Our Tokyo guests are complaining that they are brought fishing instead of sightseeing. What’s there to see here? Of course the city boys have trouble with their rods and baits that it is just unbearable. Handa caught some fish and Kousuke thought he could too. Unfortunately he fished up the earth. Naru’s mischief with the wharf roaches scares the hell out of Hina and this causes a chain reaction of mishaps to the guys. Kousuke complains that they should be practising calligraphy but Handa refuses thinking that Kousuke would say bad about his writing again. Kawafuji learns about it and lectures him about only looking at things from his own perspective, the reason he is in a slump now. He adds that Handa’s writing didn’t get worse or else he couldn’t even have got a top placing. Kousuke is very much influenced by Handa’s style and was shaken up when Handa changed it. In fact it is exactly the same simple and plain style. And finally Kawafuji’s line that nails it: Don’t bring him awards, bring him profits! The guys laugh at Naru’s multiple bait hooks. She gets mad and pushes all of them into the water. Hiroshi is trying to fish for some hisaniwo fish. Thinking they can get a great sashimi meal out of it, the other guys support him to catch one. They waited long enough and none showed up. It’s time to go but Kousuke stays a little longer. Something is tugging his line. It’s a hisaniwo! They help to fish it up but the hooks fall apart. Fish back into the water. Everyone starts laughing how funny that was. At least they can have mackerels that they caught a lot. More than enough that Handa could use the surplus fish to make a word out of it on his canvas.

Kawafuji and Kousuke are about to board the plane back to Tokyo. Kawafuji must be giving the goodbye speech to himself since the rest are more interested in the souvenirs. Kousuke gets a handphone strap for himself since he has no friends. Naru begs Handa to buy this funny glasses set for Kawafuji. Approved! When he checks in, the metal detector goes off and everyone starts laughing. They were waiting for this moment, eh? Something in the set? Then there’s this emotional goodbye speech from Kousuke for Handa too. When he passes through the metal detector, it rings. More laughing. They love this, don’t they? Naru remembers she forgot to give grandpa’s gift and rushes in. The alarm sets off. Can’t stop laughing. Countryside people really find this funny and entertaining, do they? It’s starting to feel lonely although the guys have only been here for a few days. It is not that Hiroshi wants to go to Tokyo but he thought that everyone here might eventually leave this place. Because he is already in his senior year, he should take these things more seriously. Naru ruins the mood and accidentally pours juice over his shirt. Hiroshi and Miwa are forced to drive back since Kawafuji’s rented car is already at maximum capacity of 4 (the village chief, Handa, Naru and Hina). No squeezing business. Chief wonders if Handa will be lonely now that his friends are gone. On the contrary, he is excited thinking about the next time they will meet.

Episode 8
Handa is trying different tools for his calligraphy (feather, spoon and butt on bowl?) when Miwa and Tamako come by (oh dear) to tell him about the surprise birthday party they intend to hold for Naru. Thinking the kind of present that would suit her, a beetle would suffice. He seeks Kentarou and the young boys to help him catch one but they are reluctant since they are planning to give the same present. Can’t bribe him either. What? 10 Yen only ? Handa borrows their net to catch one. However Kentarou is faster climbing and catching with his bare hands. Handa tries to act like a know-it-all-adult but he sucks in bug catching. He brings his trusty ladder but can’t bear to touch the beetle with his bare hands. It lands on his face and causes him to panic. When they spot a Giant Hercules Rhinoceros Beetle, the boys get excited. It fetches 20,000 Yen market price! Kentarou can’t reach and seeks Handa’s cooperation and ladder. He manages to catch it but their joy causes him to fall off the ladder. Don’t worry. The beetle is still alright. Hey, wait a minute. It’s not moving. It’s dead!!! His hand must have squished it when he fell. They blame him and even start crying for real about their loss! So precious this bug that they even hold a decent burial. Kentarou gives Handa the earlier rhinoceros he caught. He seems fine holding it till it starts biting his finger. Ouch! When they get back, Handa’s home as been turned into a party throve. So this is how everyone can always get in: Tamako duplicated 5 sets of his key prior to him settling here! As they wait for Naru to approach, Tamako’s peacock feather tickles Handa’s nose. He sneezes and their timing is off when Naru comes in. Oops. Surprise! They force Handa to give his present first. It is a one-time only voucher that she can ask for anything. Everybody starts laughing but is shocked when Naru treats it like it’s gold! Yeah. Seeing her getting this excited is scary…

Naru brings Handa to pay respects to her grandma’s grave. He is not used to the very odd traditions but it’s not like he often visit graves either. Parachutes of goodies float down the sky. As he is going to catch one, Miwa bumps him out to grab it. So he makes the evil eye to force Miwa and Tamako to help them out with the grave cleaning and preparations. They witness a group of veiled dancers doing their ritual dance in front of the graves. After it ends, one of them gives Handa the stare. He turns out to be Hiroshi and was helping out since they’re short of men. Miwa’s dad and Akki reprimand Miwa and Tamako respectively for skipping their jobs to come hang out here early. As night falls, more and more people come to visit Naru’s grandma’s grave. As explained, Naru’s grandpa is always busy so Naru has to keep watch on the lantern lights till it burns out. It occurred to Handa that he has never seen Naru’s parents before. When she thanks him for being here, he notes although he has always seen her with someone, sometimes she too can get lonely. When the last lantern light goes out, does it mean it is time to go home? Not yet. Because Handa lights one and calls for a time extension. Naru is happy and believes her late grandma is happy too because her candle fire is ‘dancing’.

Episode 9
The exhibition is 2 weeks and what better way than to relief the anxiety than taking a hot bath. The heater system isn’t working… Oh no. Stress levels increasing… As the chief suggests, go pick up firewood for a traditional hot bath. Handa thought he could relax with Naru blowing the fire. Then Miwa and Tamako had to show up. Oh no. Citing child abuse and inviting young girls to see his naked body? The girls leave him in hot boiling water. Hiroshi is here to cook for him. Handa thought he could handle it himself but the similar dish they made turns out so different. No prizes to guess whose is inedible. Then Hina turns up crying. It’s literally a pain to see her hurting herself. Yeah. Knocking her head on the wooden floor! She is screaming for help that Naru is being bullied by kids from the next village. The guys arrive and it seems there is an argument about using the playground. The bullies can tell Handa is a wimp and he really is one. Hiroshi thought he could be the cool adult but they continue to piss him off and he almost resorted to violence. Remember, hitting a kid is against the law. It’s like child abuse. Handa becomes sneaky and threatens to call the police and thus ‘ruin’ their lives if this ever gets out. Isn’t he acting like a child? However they hit away his handphone and it ends up in dog poo. The bullies are confident a couple of strong girls on their side (I think I know who they are) and the guys still cannot use force. Then they get an idea. The bullies can continue to do whatever they want while they will use the playground too. They’ll play dodgeball. With Naru and the kids running around, it gives the guys a reason to throw the ball at the bullies. They’re in the crossfire, right? When Akki comes by, the bullies decide to go play with him since he has cool new video games. The playground is all yours. And everybody realizes Akki is the one who is most adult-like…

The kids take Handa to play Tarzan. This means swinging by a dangerous vine over a river. Even if Naru gets into a little blooper, Handa thinks it would look embarrassing for an adult instead of cool. He knows the vine will break under his weight and worried about the kids’ safety, he tries to break it. The kids won’t let him and during the tussle, Hina accidentally pushes everyone. Into the river… Handa has a little flesh wound and the kids panic as Naru tries to make some mugwort remedy on the spot. Well, I don’t know if he’ll get infected this way. On the way back, Handa got the inspiration when he sees the setting sun. Too happy that he slipped and fell down the slope. The kids think he went off on his own. But when Naru returns to his house, Miwa and Tamako note that he didn’t show up as they have been waiting here since. So he might be eaten by a forest giant? Actually he is lost. And he is in between panic and calm. He might die. Or not. Please. Somebody help. He sees something shiny in the grass and finds a key. A similar one to his house and remembers this is the spare that Miwa had lost. He starts laughing that he got worried for getting lost behind his house. He then sees the magnificent starry sky. Ah, a shooting star. He makes a wish for his bath to be repaired. Make that, hope he can get back home. And that’s when the girls find him. Tears of relief. Thanks to that, Handa is full of inspiration writing his calligraphy. But something gloomy looms. A call. He is going to have to come home.

Episode 10
The director is seen talking at Kawafuji’s office. The former is impressed with the impressed with the progress he has made and can’t wait to see the calligraphy style that only he can write. If forgiving him is what he needs to get him to return, it’s time for that. While Handa is having trouble deciding the word to submit for the exhibition, Naru screws that and uses her voucher to follow her orders. However her grandpa snatches it from her and has him help him make rock walls for the typhoon. Then he wants him to rewrite on the wooden board of the names of those who donated in founding of the local shrine. As he takes the board back, the other kids come by and he leaves it with them since there is a call from Kawafuji. The one where Handa agrees to come back. Handa gives his final calligraphy lessons to Miwa and Tamako. Now they think they should win something under his guidance. Since tonight is the festivals, Handa agrees to go out with them since it will be the last time hanging out. He has never been to one before because there are always others who on his behalf said he was busy for an exhibition. Yeah. This is going to be his first time. So don’t blame him for sucking big time to catch one. Then there is this basketball shooting competition in which Akki and the bullies are teaming up against Miwa and her softball girls. Since Tamako is away buying a new manga (she will be very disappointed that there is no stock), Miwa drafts Handa to be part of their team. Everybody shoots perfectly. And those girls play softball? I guess in a small town, every club helps to cover other clubs so they’re good in lots of things. When it is down to Handa’s turn, he flops big time although he thought he could pull it off like some basketball manga. Don’t worry. There are still prizes for second place. Handa’s pride won’t allow him to be treated by Naru and Hina (they’ve got the money and flashing it!) so he buys cotton candies for them. Cheapskate. As everyone prepares to go watch the fireworks, Handa gets separated from the kids by the crowd. Luckily Tamako is here to guide him to where everyone else is waiting at the beach. Handa wants to tell everybody something but the fireworks begin. Next day, Handa packs his bags and leave. When Naru comes knocking, there is no answer. Creeping in from the secret entrance, nobody’s home.

Episode 11
Handa is back in Tokyo and at Kawafuji’s office, a sample of his submitted work for the exhibition. We see Handa going through a roller coaster ride of emotions. Lots of worries. Lots of anxieties. Lots of stress. That shoots up when the director comes in. A bundle of nerves. However he gets his act together when he sincerely apologizes for punching him. Should he be forgiven? Well, the director didn’t plan on forgiving him. He wanted to lure him back with this and lecture him about moral and ethics but screw that. He is forgiven but never act on impulse again. Ah, yes. Handa is now able to move on. The director would love to see his work. Oh no. Handa already acting nervous. Before he can comment, he splashes the coffee all over it and his face!!! Apologizing mode again. What did he say about acting on impulse? Kawafuji trying hard to hold his laughter… Anyway, the director sings praises about it and believes this work is worthy of the grand prize. He looks forward to see more of his work in the future. That expectation put stress on Handa… As he leaves, Kawafuji offers to call him a taxi but he has his own ride. Kawafuji recognizes that car as Handa’s father’s. He is a bad driver… I think that old man is going to get a heart attack… Kawafuji visits Handa back at his home. Seems Handa is in a slump. Like a shut-in and calligraphy practice works strewn all over the floor. As usual, more complaining and b*tching for whatever. When Handa’s mom walks in, she sees her son tying up Kawafuji and Kousuke! Since when did he go into bondage play?! Mother is so sad… Even if this was meant to make them look like Naru and Hina for him to get inspiration, it just didn’t quite cut it. Then Handa gets a call from the village. Actually Kawafuji called them to call him since he is lonely. Yeah. Everyone fighting for the phone to talk to him. Taking turns to speak. Noisy. Hey, he’s popular, right? Handa could click with Akki since he knows about him being down. Finally there is Naru who hopes he would come back since it is boring without him. Everyone shouts for him to come back soon. This gives him inspiration. He remembers bringing back the village’s registry and starts working and burns the midnight oil. By morning, this has become his greatest masterpiece ever. He calls it Stone Wall. Meanwhile, Tamako and Miwa are confident their calligraphy can snag top prize. However only Tamako gets first while Miwa is second. The latter becomes depressed. How can she face sensei now? There is a big difference, you know.

Episode 12
In order to get ready for Handa to return, Miwa rallies the kids to clean his home although she is the biggest culprit who made the big mess. However Handa might be having trouble coming back. There lots of ‘curse talisman’ in his room telling him not to return! His mom is against it! She is adamant his home is here and not the island. OMG. Mother giving her son lots of combo punches! Since Kawafuji is here to tell him his calligraphy has been safely delivered to the exhibition, Handa tries to use him as an excuse to escape but mother won’t allow it and immediately initiates a discussion. She begins about his hospitalization and cat allergy and Kawafuji takes her side since if he has got his groove back, why not remain here? She also argues about his different speech manner and the odd friends he has made. Father who has been quiet all the while supports Handa. If mother is worried about the inhabitants, he can assure her they are all good people. Because he once lived there before. I mean, why would he send his son there if it wasn’t in the first place, right? The village chief is his good friend and he has lots of photos to show down. Time for a trip down memory lane. Mother blows her top. That’s it. She’s had it. They never consider the stress they put on her. Father receives her combo punches and Kawafuji is not even spared! Father says although he sent him there, this time it is his decision if he wants to go back. If he finds inspiration there, then by all means, go. Handa is weighing his options and although Tokyo seems like a better place, how come it is so hard to decide?

He receives a package from those villagers. They packed everything they can in it, huh? Mother thinks this is some form of bullying… Getting paranoid again… The turning point is when Handa sees the calligraphy sheets he thought Miwa and Tamako. Mother reluctantly allows him to return because if he is needed, that means he must return. Otherwise being stubborn too long means she would be just selfish. And since Handa’s return is confirmed, Miwa rallies the kids to clean up his house again. But no progress is made… They continue to fool around till Hiroshi comes to supervise and get the house clean spick and span. Handa arrives at the island. The village chief is supposed to pick him up but instead of waiting, he starts walking, hoping he’ll bump into him along the way. He didn’t. His streak of bad luck starts when he spots a vending machine. He trips, drops his coins underneath it and accidentally selects the hot drink. Then here comes Naru’s grandpa passing by on a tractor. Wanna hitch a ride? Just like déjà vu, the first time he came here, eh? Everyone gets ready to surprise Handa but Akki comes by to tell him that he is at the shop answering a call from Kawafuji about the exhibition results. When Handa returns, they start to panic about the surprise (they were this ill prepared?) and crash into him. Miwa and Tamako think he is fine seeing his good mood but Naru had to ask about it. They shut her up but Handa hints it was a good result. He got fifth placing (Kousuke got seventh and he is depressed). Handa and everyone eat together and as Naru puts it, lots of things happened but it is more fun when everyone is together. Handa couldn’t feel more at home before since it is these times that they should cherish the most.

Back To Basics In Life
Ah yes, it was indeed a heart-warming story after all. It makes you want to just stop your mundane daily routine and go do something differently just to get back on track. Sometimes in life you need a little distraction and detour to move ahead. It may not necessarily be something flashy or sophisticated. Something that is simple and straightforward to turn your fortunes around. Though it might seem like taking a step backwards going back to a backwater village but as you can see, Handa has leapt many steps forward as a result of it. And this is the biggest lesson in his life that he and all of us can take from watching this anime. Sometimes when you are too focused that you can’t even see the thing right before your eyes, it is always best to make a deviation and have a fresh scenery to refresh the mind. Though I won’t classify this anime to be on the same par of ‘cleansing’ as Tamayura, this is one of the few animes that will make you have that refreshed feeling after watching it.

Therefore the biggest character development goes to Handa himself. Although he is still pretty much the impulsive and insecure guy, we have witnessed to how much he has changed from when he was at the beginning. He still isn’t a perfect person but much better than before. Handa’s position may be a stark reminder of how much stress and expectations have crept into our lives. With so much advancement in technology, simple and back to basic stuffs are deemed as things of the past. It is a good thing that Handa decided to give his new life in the remote island a chance. I mean, there is no use b*tching about it because he is going to be stuck here for who knows how long. Slowly as he adapts to his surroundings and learns about the simple everyday life that the villagers go through, something inside him also begins to change till he finds the much needed inspiration he is seeking for. So sending Handa to a remote village was probably the best choice after all. Like his father said, they deprived him of his childhood with all those calligraphy practices and competitions. Now it is the time for him to explore himself even if it means going back like a kid and all they can do is just watch over him. In the end, despite having lots of pride, it is not the end results or placing that is everything. How much enjoyment did he put into his work make the outcome more satisfying.

No man is an island and Handa’s transformation could not have been possible without the wacky residents of the island. They play a great supporting role to his development if I should say. In fact, they are all to a point likeable despite some of their mischievous and odd ways. Naru may be the village rascal and her cheekiness is as expected to come with someone of her age. If you have observed, Naru may not understand about the city life and expectations but she knows what she knows for a kid her age. In that simplicity, Handa learnt a thing or two from all that honesty. So you could say that Naru is Handa’s life teacher. Because sometimes the simplest things brings out the best joy. You don’t need all that complicated stuffs for that. All you need is an honest to goodness heart, something that Naru has. Adding colour to the pack are teens Miwa and Tamako. Miwa is more of the tomboyish side and her teasing sometimes feels more like bullying. Although blunt at times, you can bet that like the rest of the villagers, she cares deeply about Handa. Sometimes it feels that there is a running joke about Tamako’s closet fujoshi fetish. It’s like each time she sees any kind of guys together (especially if Handa is involved), she will start going crazy and think this is some kind of test from God. Therefore I think she can’t go to any cities with lots of guys. She’ll die of a heart attack… Well girl. Don’t deny them! Accept your fujoshi mania with open arms!

Of everyone in the village, Akki feels the most mature and most adult-like. Even the adults are seen acting like kids when they start arguing. Maybe it is because he is mostly seen without any emotions. So much so you might thing he is born lacking that. Not forgetting Kawafuji who has been with Handa since school days so he knows this guy inside out. Though, there is a very fine line between profit and friendship. But I don’t think this guy would totally abandon Handa if the situation turns for the worst. In many ways Kawafuji is still a great friend and helps him in times of need. After all, he has invested a great deal in him and has placed his future on him. Oh yeah. Always comes back to money, huh? So in short, if Handa’s transformation could spur and motivate others like Kousuke, even normal guys like Hiroshi who is average on just about anything is encouraged to do the best he can. Hiroshi is after all the next maturest guy after Akki (though he still gets into a childish act from time to time) and more responsible than Miwa and Tamako since he has already started thinking about his future and the likes.

I am not a person who has any slight interest in calligraphy. Therefore if you personally ask me, those are just strokes and great big black lines combined to seemingly look like a word. Those may sound like blasphemy to you calligraphy lovers and I’m sorry if it sounded offensive. I don’t really know how to appreciate this kind of art so when Handa or other characters start writing on a piece of paper, they look pretty much the same to me. Except that with Handa as the professional, his writing gets to be more stylish and creative with lots of slanting and curves and the likes that sometimes I think it is akin to doctor’s handwriting. Yeah. Why don’t doctors become calligraphist anyway? They would be a big hit. So if you ask me to judge, I wouldn’t know how because even the plain ones look fine to me. Sure, calligraphy makes the words look grand and I myself can’t decently write Chinese or kanji characters (I can write a few common ones but not that it would be approved by calligraphists anyway) but it takes a person with a lot of deep passion and interest to appreciate this kind of works.

Moving on from the art of the words, the overall art and drawing feels pretty standard but sometimes I thought the kids in the village look a little cartoonish maybe because they aren’t grown up yet or hit puberty. They don’t look as ‘gorgeous’ as the young teens or adults around so sometimes I thought they just came out from a comic strip or something. The background mostly look like water colour painting (which is effective in reflecting the simmering heat) but since you won’t be paying your attention to it most of the time, I guess you’ll get by. Of course being in the remote island, the simplicity of the scenery still beats all those neon lights of the city so in a way it is nice to see such backgrounds even though it may not be the best around.

Daisuke Ono as Handa is perfect. Funny too. A veteran in voice acting and with many roles under his belt, his voice brings out all the emotions from the character from insecure moments to inspirational heart-warming moments. Suzuko Hara takes on the role of Naru and it is quite impressive that this is her first role in voice acting. She is only 9 years old when she took on this role and thus Naru sounds very realistic as a little bratty girl instead of an adult trying to sound like a kid. Another 9 year old, Rina Endou also makes her debut in voice acting as Hina as well as Seiya Kimura as Kentarou. It is no surprise that their characters too sound as realistic as a real 9 or 10 year old kids. Other casts include Nozomi Furuki as Miwa (Ellen in Nanatsu No Taizai), Rumi Ookubo as Tamako (Saki in Isshuukan Friends), Kouki Uchiyama as Hiroshi (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Junichi Suwabe as Kawafuji (Archer in Fate/Stay Night), Yuuki Kaji as Kousuke (Eren in Shingeki No Kyojin) and Megumi Han as Akki (titular character in Mushibugyou).

The opening theme is Rashisa by Super Beaver and flows to a rock beat while Innocence as the ending theme is sung by NoisyCell and is more of a slow rock. I am not sure if the rock themes are suitable for this slice of life anime but at the same time I do not feel it is inappropriate or anything. Thinking if a slow ballad would be suitable for this may not be right either since it might put us to sleep. Seeing the energy and liveliness of the villagers, probably something rock is fitting as motivation for this series.

Basically watching this series, you can learn a lot of things. It teaches us about simplicity and going back to basics. Because basically that is what we all humans are in the first place. You don’t need to be caught up with the latest technology, gadgets and what is trending right now to stay entertained. This people of a remote village can show you how it is done. Therefore this show sometimes reminds me of Non Non Biyori but with a more heart-warming concept. Even the most stubborn and hardened fool would have all his armour torn apart after spending some time in such a place. Well, unless you are hardcore but that is a different story. It goes to show that the power of simplicity is a powerful tool enough to motivate one and spur to greater heights. It goes to show that such places still exist somewhere on this planet. Places that you don’t mind throwing away all those artificial happiness just to come back and experience it again. See what it did to Handa? He came back for seconds, right? Whether or not his stay is permanent, everyone is glad to have him back. I mean, how else would they have fun and somebody this easy to pick on? Hehehe…

Acceptance. This is also what I believe is taught to us here. Handa accepted the villagers and their ways and in turn they accept him for who he is. Though, it is not like they treat him differently or anything. And because of Handa’s steely determination (sort of), even his mother gives her (reluctant) approval for him to go back to the place that she thinks is the root of his change. She accepts her son has grown into a man. The bird is finally ready to fly away from his nest. They grow up so fast. Sob, sob :p. Of course not forgetting the power of forgiveness. It is essential if all sides need to move on. What is done in the past is done. You can’t change it. There is no point holding grudges forever although it is basic human nature to do so. But if we are to ever move on and grow, we have to learn to let go. So I think it was a pretty important part that Handa got the director’s forgiveness because he wants to see him grow and improve further. What is the point of still hating that might just impede Handa’s growth?

Overall, this show has its charm in its simplicity of nicely developed characters, many moments that would make you break into a smile that makes it worth the fun and watch. Even if you don’t feel like going back to nature or to your own remote village (if you still have one), after a hard and tough day at work, this series has enough magic to make you whisk away back to your childhood days where everything was much simpler then. You’d smile at the magic of nostalgia remembering those good ol’ days. Okay, at least for ‘old’ people like me. Kids will always be kids. And for every adult there is always a kid inside us. You don’t need to wait till you’re old enough to have a second childhood. So what do you say, people? Put down those iPads and iPhones, get out from your couch and from that TV set. Let’s go outside and play and take a deep breath remembering those simple times. Oh… Reality hitting back at us. Time to return to our boring mundane daily lives, I guess… :'(

It feels like a long time ever since Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream came out (back in 2011, that is) and I remember putting it on my watch list. However it wasn’t the case like Gintama or Haiyore! Nyaruko-san that made me delay watching it with the excuse of saving the best for last. Let’s just say a certain fansub group took their time in subbing it. And I was patient enough to wait till every episode was done before finally having a go at it. And boy do they really take their time. And now that time has come.

So what is it about this show that attracted me? Gee, it’s so old so I can’t really remember. Just kidding. Probably it was the cute girls. I thought at that time it was pretty cool for a new type of entertainment taking storm (at least in this anime). It is a performance combining ice skating, singing and fashion show all into one. Yeah. How do you like your idols prancing around in the rink doing all those stuffs and winning our hearts? I don’t know. I thought such concept was pretty interesting and cool at that time. What was I thinking? Anyway, with 51 episodes under its belt and lots of characters (don’t worry, it won’t exceed 3 digits), as usual my laziness made me constantly refer to Wikipedia for a great source of episodes and characters. And the rest below are what I think are important and memorable.

Prism Show – Currently the ‘ultimate’ entertainment show of all entertainment shows because it combines fashion, dancing, music and figure skating. Yeah. All rolled into one. Girls skate around the ring and pulling off exaggerated jump moves with effects that are so unbelievably real that it makes those exaggerated reactions in food themed animes when people taste some super food so, erm, exaggerated.

Aira Haruna – The clumsy and klutzy daughter of a baker. Believe it. She will be the next new Prism Star.

When opportunity comes knocking – Mion Takamine was supposed to be a super Prism Star. Because she didn’t turn up for an important Prism Show event, Aira happened to be at the right time and the right place and was scouted for her talent to replace her.

Rhythm Amamiya – Just like Aira, right time, right place. Okay, she bumped into her. Aira’s partner in future Prism Shows.

Prism Stones – Dresses embedded in cute little heart shaped stones that allow girls to magically don the dress for the Prism Show in a Pretty Remake.

Callings – A super boy idol group consisting of Shou, Hibiki and Wataru. Hot guys, popular guys. Enough said. Provides lots of great support for our girls. I smell romantic pairings along the way…

Pretty Top – An agency for the Prism Show with Kyouko Asechi as the president. This is where Aira and Rhythm will continue to house their skills.

Jun Takigawa – Asechi’s assistant and seems to know just about everything. If not for his way of talking in riddles and poems that leaves others baffled at times, he would have been a great guy.

Megane Akai – The coordinator and fashion designer. You go to her if you need tips on your fashion sense. Though, I am not sure if they go into some alternate dimension when picking out their clothes.

Pengin – A green stuffed penguin doll as Pretty Top’s principal? I don’t know, he sounds so gay. Especially with his macho hairy Yamao Yamada, I thought they just came out fresh from the circus. Oh, he looks so gay…

Pair Cheer Mascots – Little stuffed animals that support Aira and Rhythm. Aira gets Rabbit while Rhythm gets Bear. If you ask me, they’re supposed to be like the comic relief of the series and provide some mascot cuteness. Oddly, they have pom-poms for hands. It’s like it is forever glued to their hands. And they always end their sentences with “~jiya…” which I find sometimes makes them so gay…

Aurora Rising – The legendary Prism Jump performed by the legendary Prism Star, Sonata Kanzaki who went missing shortly after. This is a jump Rhythm is trying to do because Sonata is her mom! She believes her mom will return if she manages to pull this off.

Prism Friends – In addition to the anime segment, there is a real live action segment whereby 3 young budding girls, Reina, Mia and Karin with the guidance of Prism Navigator, Akkina guide the trio to become great idols from learning to dance as well as fashion sense. Each week you’ll see the girls learn and practice something new as they hone their skills and level up to become Prism Queen. The Pair Cheer Mascots also make their appearance but I feel their movements are stiff and robotic. Serious. Also, personally I feel Karin is the more natural one in front of the camera and Mia is just a little stiff. Please don’t take it too personally, girls. Ganbatte!

The bump – After Aira’s first jump attempt which somewhat ended successfully although her clumsiness is still obvious, she crashes into Shou. Close enough for him to peck her on her forehead!

Best rivals, best friends – Rhythm is somewhat upset that she could pull off a Prism Jump during her debut (because Aira is a klutz) and challenges her to a dance competition. Aira becomes nervous and couldn’t jump, but thanks to Aira’s great fashion advice, Rhythm heard her clothes sing and manages to pull off a Prism Jump. Now they become best friends.

Learning the basics – What does working part time serving in a restaurant, turning only left and practising stand up comedies got to do with becoming a great Prism Star for Aira? Because it helps with the balancing and spin, etc. Except maybe the stand up comedy was just Rabbit’s fetish…

Papa doesn’t approve – Aira’s baker father does not approve his daughter to become a Prism Star and would rather have her take over the family bakery business. I wonder how many more excuses she can give to her father because she’s getting more and more famous by the week. Of course he is mad to learn about it. It is understandable that daddy wants to protect her after her clumsiness almost got fatal (though it was very much exaggerated in panicky papa’s mind). This causes a little strain in their relationship. Although he attends a Prism Show just to see her, he doesn’t look very impressed. That sour face all the way… It is not till Aira gives her heartfelt thanks for his support that he changed his mind and accepted her.

It’s a small world – Well, Rhythm’s father, Ryuu and Aira’s mom, Omi knew each other before since they once worked in the Prism Show together. Back when Aira’s mom was much slimmer and a stylist and Rhythm’s dad was a famous idol.

First fight – Aira and Rhythm’s friendship is put to the test when they have their first fight. All because Aira praises Mion, somebody that Rhythm absolutely despises. This makes guilty Aira to quit while Rhythm has to man Prism Show all by herself. Since she is not doing well and Aira can’t bear to watch her so, she gives her new Prism Stones and manages to do a Prism Jump. Back together again, they aren’t just best friends, but best rivals too.

It’s not just about the dance and jump – Academic achievement is important too. Rhythm fails her test and is given the ultimatum that she needs to score at least 70 marks on her remedial test or she will be forced to retire. I’m not sure if they’re learning the right things because nobody can seem to understand Jun’s poetic lines in all subjects and Pengin is just ranting about penguins in science. Eventually Rhythm aces her test and even gets to join Aira in a Prism Show. Then they realize she didn’t score 91 but 16 marks!!! Oh, don’t tell…

Tiara Cup – The first competition that our duo will be entering. Rhythm goes as far as to cut off ties with Aira just to concentrate on her practice. She practises with Hibiki and learns there is more to winning Prism Shows. It is about having fun and making the audience have a good time. At the first round of the competition, Aira and Rhythm qualify for the next round. However Rhythm starts to have fever because last night she was so excited about the competition that she drank 10 energy drinks to practice more. She is forced to rest and Asechi even wants her to skip it. So on Aira’s turn, she goes out and wastes some time skating around just to buy more time for Rhythm to wake up and do her stint. Aira would have been disqualified under normal regulations but the judges decided to show some leniency and just subtract some points (I hope this doesn’t set a bad precedent). Aira and Rhythm are tied in first place and advance to the final round. However some jealous b*tches sabotage the girls by stealing their Prism Stones. Aira had some in her pocket and gives to Rhythm, lying she had extra sets. Rhythm tops in first place. Now that it is Aira’s turn, she heads out in her ordinary clothes. In this WTF moment, those b*tches start taunting her ordinary clothes and even throw their Prism Stones (disrespect!) at her. I mean, doesn’t it make them obvious that they’re the baddies? Aira picks up those stones and has a Pretty Remake with them. Her performance is so good that she wins the competition! In your face, those b*tches! Somebody should ban them forever. Their parade is cut short when Mion makes a surprise appearance and wows the crowd with her dance.

Blast to the past – Bear gets a glimpse of Andy, Rhythm’s teddy bear that was made by Sonata. Back then, Asechi and Sonata were fierce rivals. When Ryuu and Sonata got married and had Rhythm, they are forced to keep this family a secret (it boggles me that the media wasn’t so pushy or hounding such a famous star. Or become like a stalker paparazzi). But defeating Asechi was all that Sonata could think about. So much so she underwent an intensive and gruelling training under the strict guidance of Kei (she looks like a witch). Ryuu was against it but she was adamant. The day came when the duo enter a showdown. Asechi failed to perform Aurora Rising but Sonata was successful. She collapsed after that and almost became a vegetable. She realized she made so many sacrifices and abandoned her family. Unable to forgive herself, she left the family shortly and her whereabouts are still unknown till today.

Mion Takamine – After missing in action for who knows how long and making little cocky cameo appearances, the famous Prism Star is back and it’s not pleasant. Because she’s a real b*tch! Even her Pair Cheer Mascot, Neko is such a b*tch. They do not think twice about looking down on others while thinking very highly of themselves. While Aira adores her, Rhythm loathes her. Mion makes her return with a dazzling double performance with the duo. She is good in captivating the crowd but we all wished if she was just a nicer person…

Batopoms – A dance accessory which is a mix between a baton and pom-poms that our girls will be frequently using in their Prism Shows.

Mion the teacher – I guess she deserves it being cocky. I mean, she claims she is the best, right? So what better way than to help the amateurs in improving their singing and understanding the lyrics. She even rope in Callings to help as special tutors. Why does the special training look like a date?

Even best friends fight – Can you imagine this? Mion and Neko have their first quarrel? Because the latter is concerned with Mion pushing herself too much and she is not getting her moves right at all. What’s more, the show is around the corner. But what is irritating Mion most is that her busy father couldn’t come watch her perform. Again. Before the show, Aira and Rhythm give her their wrist watch as lucky charm. The performance is a success and she gives them back their watches with new stickers on it. Oh, she and Neko are back being pals again.

Patisserie – Prism Stars must also be good a baking cakes! Okay, so I made that up but our Prism Star trio have to help out in Aira’s parents’ bakery when customers stream in nonstop thanks to Callings advertising on it. The girls learn about keeping an eye out for others for timing. Mion is so good that Aira’s dad wants her to continue working as part time!

Take a break – Despite it is summer, the girls continue to practice hard. You know what they say about all work and no play. For Aira, the fatigue is causing her to make mistakes so Callings suggest taking a break to go to the fireworks festival. You might have guessed the couple pairings by now: Aira x Shou, Rhythm x Hibiki and Mion x Wataru. Aira thought Shou was going to kiss her when he has her eyes closed. It’s just a Prism Stone containing some yukata design.

Double Date – A summer tournament, Summer Queen Cup is coming up and Asechi is not sure who to pair up with Mion for it. Therefore Mion suggests going on a date with them to gauge who will be her suitable partner. Aira is being a happy ditz while Rhythm tries to impress her with her moves. She even asks them if they want to be her partner. Aira doesn’t mind letting Rhythm have the part while Rhythm will do anything it takes for it. In the end, Mion chooses Aira to be her partner. This leaves Rhythm devastated because her dream of performing Aurora Rising is dashed (the prize of winning this tournament is a rare Pure White Wedding Dress Stone). Rhythm continues to practice hard herself but this only frustrates her even further.

I choose yous! – Right before the tournament, Mion forfeits her place and gives it to Rhythm. This means Aira and Rhythm will be performing together in the Summer Queen Cup! Hooray! Why the change of heart? Well, she views this as the best combination because Aira and Rhythm are better when they work together unlike Mion who shines when she is alone.

Serena and Kanon AKA Serenon – The main rivals our duo will be facing at the tournament. And why do such rivals have to be so arrogant and b*tchy even though they are so damn good? Yeah, they even get on Mion’s nerves. At least it fired them up to beat them. You can’t lose to those b*tches!

Summer Queen Cup finals – Aira and Rhythm draw first blood when they get first place ahead of Serenon in the first round. But the b*tchy rivals aren’t fazed and even continues to mock them. The trio thought the win is in their bag when they spot the rival duo arguing at the backstage and that nobody can beat their friendship and cooperation. In the second round, Aira and Rhythm do well to maintain their top position. Till the final contestants of Serenon put on a sterling show stealing performance to take first place and become overall champions.

Cry your heart out – Our trio start reflecting on their shortcomings. Blaming themselves. I’m sorry this, I’m sorry that. No it’s not your fault, it’s mine… It is heart wrenching to see them cry like that but even more surprising Mion cries with them and shares the pain. I didn’t know they got this close but it’s much better when they are at each other’s throats. A beginning of a new friendship?

What a coincidence – Guess what? Aira and Rhythm’s birthday are on the same day! Furthermore, that date is believed when the Skater Constellation was visible. There is that legend saying those born under that star will be blessed by it and perform the Aurora Rising. Just like how Sonata did. Mion might not share the same birthday but she was also born under that constellation in the southern hemisphere (she was born in Buenos Aires). How lucky can you get to have 3 girls under the same legendary constellation?

MARs – In addition to Mion organizing a secret birthday surprise for the birthday girls with a performance from Callings writing a new song for them, today also marks the birth of a new idol group called MARs. Just take the initials of their first name of the trio and you have got yourself a new singing and dancing Prism Star group.

Game show debut – MARs make their TV debut. But not with comical bloopers with Aira causing the rest of the girls to trip, Aira’s father trying to interrupt the entire show (what’s with the panda outfit?), the Pair Cheer Mascots trying to get some screen time so our girls have to pass it off as some puppet show and a game show variety competition against the Serena and Kanon pair to see which side gets to do a Prism Show. To even the odds, Hibiki teams up with Serenon. This doesn’t sit well with Rhythm as Kanon tries to get close with Hibiki. In the end, MARs win and get to do the show.

The heat is on – What do you know? Even during a field trip to Kyoto, Serena and Kanon are there too. Is there some sort of conspiracy to piss off MARs? Anyway Kanon continues to be too close to Hibiki that it just makes Rhythm jealous. Even more depressing is when Hibiki agrees to go out on a date with Kanon. He said that in front of all those fan girls? Because Serenon have a Prism Show in Kyoto, they invite MARs to watch but also have them perform or they will have to pay for their ‘free’ ticket. In order to embarrass them, MARs are made to do a stand-up comedy. Aira and Rhythm suck which causes Mion to blow her top. But the audience think it is part of the joke and loves them. Because of that, they overshadow Serenon and the former forcefully takes the latter away to brush up on their comedian skills, ending Kanon’s dream of having a date with Hibiki. Don’t worry, MARs will take your place. A big relief for Kanon: Hibiki is Kanon’s brother. Phew.

The big try – Mion learns Sonata is Rhythm’s mom and the reason why she is so bent on performing Aurora Rising. Mion throws her the ultimatum to drop that idea because those who tried have failed. If she can’t, drop out from MARs. That night after a performance, Mion is going to prove she can do it. She refuses Aira’s Tiara Cup dress because she wants to do it on her own. Her jump could have ended in tragedy if not for Jun leaping in to save her. After being lectured by Asechi, Rhythm apologizes to her friends about her selfishness. But she still wants to master that jump. Mion gives her a condition that till she masters this jump, she must not attempt it and she cannot practice it in secret either.

Cheer bracelets – Cute wrist bracelets from Aira for her friends as their proof of friendship.

Meme sensei – Despite our Prism Friends making steady progress. They can’t make their debut yet as they lack the basics of singing! Oh the horror! But do not fear. Meme sensei is here to guide them on different techniques to improve their vocals, harmonization, pitch, etc. Ganbatte ne!

The singles curse – Thanks to some big stinking gyoza MARs made for Asechi as their big thanks (couldn’t they have just given chocolates instead?), she is forced to finish them and when she attends some marriage interview, the prospective guy just couldn’t take it (this fatty wasn’t good looking in the first place). Everybody keeps their distance from this stinking stench. And Jun couldn’t be much happier…

Survivor – From Prism Stars to reality TV stars. Yup, MARS along with Serenon. Can they survive the deserted island and also find a heart dolphin to do a Prism Show at the end? Well, let’s say MARs found it and even got enough time to help the lost dolphin back to its pack. And yeah, their performance even attracted the dolphin herd who danced along with them.

Grumpy old man – When you’re rising idols, you sure do lots of weird stuffs. This time MARs need to interview an old grumpy man in Akihabara that serves authentic Indian curry. You guessed it. He is grumpy. No customers. Not willing to change. Of course MARs put up their usual performance and he instantly changed. Now his store is buzzing with otaku guys who are here for his curry till it is a sell-out. Though, I would love to think it is the maid outfits that changed everything ;p. I mean, MARs in maid outfit serving you? That is the ultimate win factor, no? Or maybe that old guy just got swayed by Mion’s Honey Kiss during the performance… I’d still want to believe it is the maid factor…

Afraid of the dark – Mion is afraid of ghosts. But who could guess that Shou is afraid of the dark! It’s funny to see him clinging behind Aira…

Prism Stone Designer Contest – Aira just made a new friend, Flare Nanri. She has this knack in designing and takes part in the contest since the winner will have the Prism Stars wearing them during their performance. Since Aira’s fashion sense is great, she is made to choose the winner from the finalists. Note, she has no idea who the designs are from but there is one shiny design that stands out. And that is how Flare won the contest although she designed this ‘vitamin coloured’ dress to cheer Aira up when she is down.

The jokes on you – You know, Serenon make better comedians than Prism Stars, don’t you think? They could have won some comedy grand prix if not for a low score that an old veteran comedian, Shizuko Nakayama gave them. They confront her to watch their act but were made to do chores like cleaning the stage and giving the old folks a tour! Yeah, they do a better job in this department too. And thus it is revealed that she made them do it is to have them interact with each other more often instead of relying on theories. She didn’t want them to make the same mistake like she did 50 years ago with her late apprentice, the reason she never took in another until now. So don’t you see? Serenon make better comedians than Prism Stars? But mixing comedy with Prism Show? WTF?!

Chris Kaname – The tree whisperer… Because trees talk… “I can hear trees talking”… Somewhat knows Aira and tells her about love is hate and hate is love. WTF. Think line between love and hate. Useful enough for Aira to pacify her twin sisters, Uru and Eru who felt neglected as Aira has been spending less time with them due to her busy Prism Show schedules and practices despite today being their birthday. Hey wait a minute. Isn’t that Sonata, Kaname is travelling with?!

Nana Ichijou – Another popular idol. She recently starred in a movie with Shou. There’s this kissing scene that worries Aira. Even more worrying, she saw Nana trying to make Shou hers. Slapping him and telling him not to look at other women. She even warned Aira to stay away. What is he? Her property? As we expect, Aira goes into depression and couldn’t focus. Then rumours of Nana and Shou being steady together surface. There is even a photo of them together. Nana affirms it but Shou is told not to comment. Then Shou brought Nana to watch MARs’ show and tells her that he and Aira’s clothing designs complement each other. Nana can shine brightly on her own. As long as he is in Callings, he is not interested in romance. She left fuming. Shou went to clear the air with Aira that Nana set it all up and even arranged that photo. And the weirdest part, the kissing scene in the movie is actually done by CGI. WTF?! Such a simple inexpensive scene, they use CGI?! Are they worried about getting the wrath of fans?! Oh, Nana moved on and is not seen dating with this Hollywood star, Johnny Dapp. Johnny who?

I know all your moves – Kaname has been strangely getting along well with Aira. Coincidental meetings? So when Aira starts showing her moves, Kaname starts dancing with her and to her surprise and the rest of MARs, how does she know them well? And here is the big revelation of them all. Kaname will be Serenon’s new partner for the upcoming tournament. Holy cow! Aira, did you just show her all your moves? Yeah, cue to feel guilty and sink into depression. And who the heck is this Kaname girl actually? She outlasts practice with Serenon, nobody has ever heard her in the Prism Show world (because she is believed to be from a Russian circus) and now she’s debuting in the next tournament? And yeah… She calls Sonata her mom!

I can’t jump! – Thanks to that depression, Aira can’t even pull off any basic Prism Jumps. But leave it to her friends to cheer her up with the power of Prism friendship, flowery words like MARs isn’t a triangle but an equal circle (I can’t believe this came from Mion who was once a person who doesn’t believe in working together) and you’ll have Aira back in no time.

Pure Crystal High Heel Cup – In this latest competition, teams of 3 have only one chance to strut their stuff and win some rare crystal high heel stone prize. MARs did well but Serenon-Kaname could have done better had not Sonata doing some secret telepathy order to Kaname to pull off Aurora Rising. It failed and this messed up their dance. And so MARs wins! Sweet revenge?

It can’t be! – Asechi finally remembers that all too familiar teddy bear of Rhythm. It belongs to Sonata! Sure, Rhythm admits it but this doesn’t get her anywhere. Especially when she spots Sonata leaving with Kaname, she doesn’t give a damn when Asechi calls her. It’s like she’s invisible or something. It’s like her the end of the world.

On hiatus – Well, this Sonata thing might be affecting Asechi so she’s announcing after their Christmas Eve show, MARs will be on a short hiatus so they can concentrate on their solo performances. After making their audiences happy, now they have to convey their feelings to them? Since when did it get this complicated? Killing the goose that lays the golden egg because MARs is at the top of their popularity after winning the latest tournament. Yeah. So it must be that Sonata’s case…

Ayami – The Prism Friends… After all that practice and hard work and passing their test, they will finally make their debut! Hooray! In addition, they have a new member to make it a quartet, Ayami.

Prizmmy – The group name for the quartet. Hey wait… As in, Please Me?

Prism Queen Cup – The most prestigious tournament and highest honour one can receive as a Prism star. Aren’t all Prism Shows prestigious? To compete, one must obtain outstanding points in the competitions within the Prism Queen series. Thus MARs will be competing individually in different series.

New Year Cup – Starting off with the Prism Queen series, Mion enters this competition only to face the current and reigning Prism Queen for 9 years straight, Karina Togachi. Ever since Asechi retired (for failing to perform Aurora Rising several times), Karina suddenly took over as Prism Queen. And so Karina doesn’t disappoint and does well. Mion is nervous but after being calmed down by Wataru (this guy has got so much free time on his hands to go comfort her?), Mion wins the series. But Karina is glad because now she can retire and leave the Prism Show to the next generation. Mion also leaves for overseas to get more points from foreign competition. Don’t worry, she’ll be back in no time.

My mother – Guess who is Asechi’s mom? Wait for it… Kei!!!!!!!! Why do I have a feeling it would turn out something like this?

The tragic tale behind Aurora Rising – Asechi used to undergo strict training under Kei and was told there were angels on the rink and thus the reason she must shine hard to see them. But after their dad left, they never see eye to eye. Despite Asechi winning competitions and becoming Prism Queen at the tender age of 14, she never felt happy. Empty. Till she met Sonata and despite besting her, she felt she lost in other ways because Sonata never gave up. And so their rivalry began as they push and improve each other. Asechi never wanted to master Aurora Rising and wanted to do a jump that will surpass it. Kei didn’t think it was possible and that she won’t even master Aurora Rising. Asechi will prove it to her. Sonata then trained with Kei and returned from her hiatus to perform Aurora Rising. Although she pulled it off, she felt it was incomplete and that’s when she left her family and went missing. Asechi tried to perform it in hopes she would return but she never and retired. So now Asechi is blaming herself that Sonata’s family broke up because of her (not to mention no angels either) and since she saw Sonata back in Japan recently, she’s putting all her hopes on Aira. Do it for Rhythm. Do it for Sonata. No. Do it for her! It’s so tear jerking that even Jun cries… So dramatic…

Pure Premium Wedding Cup – The next competition in the series that Aira participates. Needless to say she wins it and got the pure premium wedding dress. I wonder if her dad is going bonkers over the thought that her daughter will get married to someone. Oh, he did. Let her go already!

Winter Snow Cup – Rhythm’s solo participation. But Kaname is also participating. As she goes first, our heroines are stunned that she starts off with Sonata’s dance moves and then perfectly imitates Aira’s moves. Meanwhile Ryuu is here to watch his daughter’s performance when he realizes Sonata is just next to him! Holy cows! Is that you? When it is Rhythm’s turn, she was warned by Jun not to attempt Aurora Rising or else she will lose everything. During her jump, she sees her mom and loses balance on her landing. Although she recovered, this ruined her overall performance and she scored enough for second place. Kaname wins the cup. Rhythm rushes to go see her mom but even more she doesn’t know who she is! Even more heartbreaking when Kaname calls Sonata her mom and they leave happily together. As Rhythm is determined to master Aurora Rising to learn what happened, she goes off to train under Kei. She takes off her cheer bracelet as first step for total change.

A friend in need is a friend indeed – After winning successive Prism competitions worldwide, Mion returns and learns of Rhythm’s predicament. As Rhythm needs to have a wedding dress to further master Aurora Rising, Mion goes to Serenon and even gets down on her knees to request for that rare stone in exchange for anything. She’ll do anything they want. Anything? Yeah… Serena couldn’t care much about the stone but Mion doing anything? Don’t pass up this chance.

Dance till you drop – Mion and Serena are to engage in a personal dancing competition to see who can dance the longest. The last one standing wins. Both are equally good and have lots of endurance but you know, Mion eventually wins it by a whisker. But the stone is not with her and she gave it to Kanon to give it to Rhythm…

Aquarium Cup – Rhythm and Kanon will be participating in this one. Kanon is willing to give her the rare stone if she wins. However if she loses, she must stay away from Hibiki forever! Yeah. She doesn’t care about the stone. Her big brother is more precious than anything. And of course, Rhythm bests her score by a whisker. Rhythm gets the stone and the best part is now they fight over Hibiki’s attention. How does it feel like to be the guy caught in between?

Seeking your parents’ approval – You do that when you ask for somebody’s daughter’s hand in marriage, right? But do you do that too when you want somebody’s daughter to perform Aurora Rising? That’s why Asechi sees Aira’s parents. Her mom is vehemently against it because it’s freaking dangerous. Daddy is cooler. He asks if Aira wants to do it (of course) and he gives his blessing and they should do all they can to support her. Then this last line of it kills everything: He doesn’t know what the heck is Aurora Rising. Mommy is going to blow her top…

The hug – Aira tells Shou about her decision to perform Aurora Rising and of course he is against it. He then hugs her for her is worried she will lose her memories. He gives her a Wedding Teardrop bracelet as a protective charm.

The secret rendezvous – We all know how protective Kanon is for her brother. So when Rhythm gives him a letter, she didn’t bat an eyelid to open and read it! WTF?! Seems Rhythm wants to meet him on Valentine’s Day at their secret place. Kanon will not allow him to do that! Since when is Hibiki her property? And so she waits (Serena must be turning into a snow woman at this rate) but it seems Kei is the one that Rhythm meets. She tells her off about her resolve (since she ditched practice like that) and had no ounce of determination unlike her mother who tossed away everything. Unless she is prepared for total change, don’t ever come back. By the time late running Hibiki turns up, Rhythm is in tears and says her goodbye. They can’t see each other again. Say what? What kind of Valentine’s Day gift is this? I know Kanon should be happy but why isn’t she?

Don’t cry for me Argentina – Mion has been participating in international Prism Shows just to find that single jump that surpasses Aurora Rising. That unique jump she can call her own. Since she is stuck in rediscovering herself, Jun takes her back to Buenos Aires where she reunites with her parents and then a hiking up the mountains to some legendary ice rink. Such a sophisticated rink in the middle of nowhere?! Don’t tell me they hike up the Andes too. Oh, Serena flew all the way here just to settle their score. And lost. New style, new jump, new self confidence and more than qualified for the Prism Queen Cup.

My mother 2 – Guess what? Jun also calls Kei his mom!!!!!!!!!!!!! This means… Jun and Asechi are siblings????!!!!!!! What freaking revelation is this?????!!!!!!

Edgy – Rhythm has been practising so hard and failing so hard that she has become a zombie. She’s so filled with anger, very rebellious with her dad, to a point blaming Aira for winning a recent Prism cup that gave her some pure tiara. Oh yeah. She even accuses her for coming over to spy on her training instead of being worried about her wellbeing. Well, there is only one way out of this.

Aira vs Rhythm – Eventually it has to be some sort of Prism showdown. While Aira is making big improvements and sprouting fairy wings, Rhythm on the other hand we know is going to fail because of her disturbed heart. Yeah. She is sprouting devil wings and being dragged to hell. The only way is for Aira to find the true Rhythm. The one that doesn’t hate her. Yeah, Aira has got angel wings to do that! Aira manages to do so but finds her a scared little girl. It’s like Aira is giving spoilers about her future, meeting great people, performing together in Prism Shows, falling in love. She starts naming all the friends they meet. Till she mentions Kaname’s name then all hell breaks loose. Rhythm is about to resign to her fate of giving up and eternal farewell. Suddenly here comes Mion with angel wings to bring Rhythm back to earth.

Cry your heart out – Now that Rhythm is back, it’s time for some tear-jerking confession from her about how lonely she was, how lonely she was. All she cared was about her disappeared mother and not Prism Show or Aurora Rising. She’s glad to have met friends like Aira and Mion.

There is nothing left to teach – Master Kei leaves it to Kei to deal with the rest. And looks like he is looking forward to it. Like as though everything has gone according just as planned…

Budokan Cup – The semi-finals will see only 4 contestants advancing to the final of the Prism Queen Cup. Mion has already qualified and this means only 3 spots are left. I think I know who will be there…

Aurora Rising Revisited – Kaname pulls off Aurora Rising successfully much to the audience’s delight since it’s the first time they’ve seen it in 13 years! However she feels something incomplete despite this move allowing her to take top spot. So what now Rhythm? Somebody mastered it before you. Do you have the guts to continue? Till Aira performing in her wedding dress which is a reminder that she wants her to be a happy bride and her way of telling her she is going to challenge Aurora Rising. Be there or be square. Oh, Aira gets second spot for that.

Aurora Rising again – Now that it is Rhythm’s turn to strut her stuff, she performs Aurora Rising but at first she seemingly is going to fail. I don’t understand what happens next since some Prism Stone she is wearing activates and she continues to make the fabulous jump that earns her top spot and thus qualifying her for the Prism Queen Cup. And during that jump she saw what her mom did (her memories, I guess)… And then she collapsed. When she wakes up, she craves for meat… Turns out she was just hungry after all that… Phew…

The hard life – Ryuu reveals Sonata’s hard life since birth. An abandoned child who never knew her parents, wandered in the streets and when somebody picked her up, she was made to work like a dog till a point she was suicidal. Then she saw Asechi performing on screen and she became her inspiration to live. She practised hard and became an overnight sensation. Sonata met Ryuu who was some street rocker and they fell in love despite protests from many. They started a happy family and became paranoid that she would lose all this happiness one day. That day came when Asechi announced her retirement. That’s when she decided to go back to the rink in fear that people like her would fade into obscurity. The rest is history. Ryuu always believed she disappeared because of him. Rhythm feels the need to tell Sonata how they feel. Because Aurora Rising has a second part.

Prism Queen Finals – It’s here!!!!!!!

Reminiscence of the past – As Kaname goes first, Sonata thinks back how she failed to complete Aurora Rising and abandoned all that is important to her. And then Kaname fails her Aurora Rising jump! She saw it. Her past too. Kaname was a poor girl in a Russian circus and Sonata who was also part of the troop cared for her. She gave Kaname her name and wanted her to call her as mom from then on. She was so kind to her. Sonata believed that one must tossed away everything in order to perform Aurora Rising and thus Kaname shouldn’t have seen anything if she had done that. Then Kei explains that humans cannot cast aside what they treasure most. Sonata believed her Aurora Rising was an illusion but Kei points out what she saw was the truth. It was the treasured moments she saw emitted from her heart. The Aurora light never lies. Sonata is stunned her Aurora Rising has been succeeded. So what has Sonata been doing for the past 13 years? Yeah, shocking isn’t it? I guess when the happiness is greater, the greater the fear that one will lose it.

Back In The USSR – Sonata quickly leaves for Russia after Kaname’s lacklustre performance (it got her a low score – I guess she won’t be champion). Kaname tries to stop her and wants her to go see Rhythm but big mommy won’t listen. So she had to call Serena for help to relay the message to Rhythm.

Aurora Rising Final – In this next part of the jump, it is so awesome that it reaches outside the rink to where Sonata is!!! Rhythm wants to show her the times she had with her dad and her friends. Immediately after that she jumps off the rink and goes chase after mama with daddy. For once Serena’s helicopter proves useful to beat the traffic jam.

Emotional reunion – Rhythm screams out all those fun and happy experiences in those 13 years. She believes it is not too late for her to come back. They can be better than a normal family, etc. I guess her daughter’s words are enough to convince Sonata to come back. Emotional hug. Emotional tears. Emotional everything. Mother and daughter reunion. So beautiful. Mustn’t… Cry… Cant… Help… Start… Crying…

Disqualified – Because Rhythm left the stage midway and her performance unfinished, the judges has decided to disqualify her. Sad but we know she won something else, right?

Perfect! – After that ground breaking, mountain rising, big bang, fairy garden smorgasbord move, Mion scores the maximum perfect score! OMG! How can you beat that???!!! Unless…

Aira! Aira! Aira! – The entire stadium is cheering loudly for her. Could it be the entire stadium is filled with Aira’s fans? Or did somebody buy them out to cheer for her? Yeah well, all the minor characters that appeared before…

Aurora Rising Spam! – If it isn’t enough that Aira had made a perfect Aurora Rising jump, it is so awesome that it kills gravity! Everybody floats! That’s not the end of it! She reconnects Asechi and Sonata to their past selves so that they can complete their Aurora Rising! Double Aurora Rising! Aira joining in makes it triple! Oh wait! She calls Serenon and Kaname to join in too! Oh, there’s room for more! Come on everybody! Do the Aurora Rising! Mion, Rhythm, Asechi, Jun, Callings, Pair Cheer Mascots, Pengin, Yamada, all family and friends, the audience and probably the entire world!!! DO THE AURORA RISING!!! FREAKING SH*T! The world is one big Aurora Rising heaven!!! They make it look so easy performing this freaking hard move. Wow!!!!! Such happiness!!!! If this is really heaven, Aurora Rising killed them!!!!!!!!!!! So beautiful that Kei’s tears are flowing like a river. There, have you had enough of Aurora Rising already?

Maximum overload – After that sterling performance, why is there a great silence from the judge? Have they died? Were they too awed to give their score? Apparently they have a hard time deciding Aira’s score because it went over the maximum permitted! How much? Let me give you an idea. The number is high enough that they don’t even know how to count or mathematics anymore! So they place it as O.T.T. Over. The. Top. WTF???!!! What kind of number is that?! Even at least infinite is a number. Oh what the heck, this is a Prism Show, not some maths quiz challenge.

The Queen of Our Hearts – Oh, I almost forgot. Congratulations to Aira as the new Prism Queen! All hail Aira!!!

New dawn, new management – The agency handling Serenon goes bankrupt (because the old fart has had enough). Thus Serenon will be working under Asechi’s care from now on.

Discovering new talents – Jun has been given the green light to find new Prism Stars given the unlimited potential he saw. Oh where oh where is he going to start travelling in this big wide world? So it’s goodbye Mion. Don’t leave me. Take me with you. Can’t take her along. Can’t defy fate. Whatever. Just shine as you are. And in Jun’s presence, there is always Wataru to comfort her when she’s down, right?

One big family – Rhythm’s family is back on track. Kaname is the adopted sister. Sonata invites Asechi for dinner. Hibiki trying to confess something to Rhythm? I wonder what will Kanon have to say about that? Ryuu apologizes to Asechi for saying harsh things. Thanks to her, their family is together again.

Graduation day – Pengin graduates the Pair Cheer Mascots since they have a guided their Prism Stars to stand on their own. Our mascots start crying and don’t want to graduate because they think they’ll be separated from our Prism Stars. Actually they are promoted and this means they will train new mascots and still be with their Prism Stars. Proof of their promotion? They just got a little bigger.

The new dream – Aira’s new dream is to make everyone smile, to make everyone’s dream come true, to show that anyone can become Prism Queen. And for nostalgia’s sake, here is MARs performing for us again!

Specials

There are as many specials as there are with the TV episodes (51 of them if you must know exactly) although each only lasts 2 minutes and are more for fun and comical purposes. Here are some of the memorable ones:

Free fruits – Remember how Aira’s fresh fruit basket jump move materializes real fruits? Yeah, papa got this idea to get endless and free fruit supplies for his cake! So do the jump! And jump again! And again! And again! And again! And again! And again!!!

She who is the brave first star – Rhythm’s catchphrase after everyone chips in a word they like and put together. Say what?

Aira and Rabbit show – Wait a minute. They’re doing stand-up comedy? Not funny! Don’t get the joke!

The voice – All new Prism Stone merchandise! Whenever you’re in doubt, all you need to do is press play on this box and you’ll hear Jun’s voice and his ‘words of wisdom’. NOT!!!!!!! I don’t even get it, those lines he says… Makes no sense…

Imagination – Because Aira is afraid to face the audience, Rhythm advises to imagine them as fruits. Her mental practice goes overboard when she starts talking and naming all the imaginary fruits. For the record, a sweet potato is not a fruit.

Mind your English – Aira helps out with Rhythm for her English make-up test. However speaking in English, Rhythm can only say ‘yes’ to everything Aira says. Yes. Everything. Yes. She also misunderstands the questions and answers them wrongly. She’s got a long way to go.

Honesty pays – When Aira accidentally drops Rabbit into some pond, Jun the goddess rewards her honesty with a gold and silver one in addition to the regular one. Then the clones start fighting with each other. Time to redo it again. She only needs the regular one. Yeah. She gets 3 regular ones! Redo it. Now she specifically needs only 1 regular one and Jun is so touched that he drops her a bunch of them. It’s raining Rabbit! Now how can she tell which is the real one?

Gyafun! – Everyone fools Aira that she couldn’t stop saying this catchphrase of “Gyafun!”. It will ultimately cause her to trip? And when everyone is infected with that catchphrase, this leaves Aira panicking. And a big “Gyafun!” when she finds out they were just pulling her leg.

Begging for a raise – Aira’s plan is to beg or cry to dad to raise their allowance till Itsuki suggests they need to be kind to mom and listen to her. When they do so, they get rewarded but it wasn’t in monetary terms. Turns out it was a plan concocted by mommy and Itsuki to have the girls quiet down and behave.

Mion the princess – There wasn’t anything special about Mion being casted as a spoilt princess that caused heartaches for her servants (Callings). Till this Jun came into her life and she starts fantasizing about him and things quiet down. Behold his cheesy lines like the world is his kingdom and thus he doesn’t come from any kingdom and was here all along. And his end laughter was freaking creepy!

The penguin song – Pengin and Yamada sing a song about penguins and despite sounding off key and horrible, they make it sound funny and sexy. But encore? No thanks!

Eat your vegetables! – Shou doesn’t like his green peppers no matter how much his mates try to make him eat it. All sorts of reasons… He then tricks Aira into eating it and the gullible girls love it.

Penguin lessons – Pengin takes the Pair Cheer Mascots to the zoo to learn about, wait for it, penguins. You guessed it. How can you tell the difference between the species? Pengin even mimics the different calls but they can’t tell any difference. So much so the zookeepers think a captive penguin escaped and start chasing him around.

An ode to papa and mama – Uru and Eru write a lovely poem about their parents for Aira and Itsuki to here. But they may have just misinterpreted their undying love because in actual fact, mama is beating up papa for his incompetence. Oh yeah. That’s love, right?

This sucks – Mion who loves cats finds one sitting in the alley. However it is not moving and it could be injured or unwell. But how will they lure it out without scaring it away? Don’t follow Rhythm’s plan of just catching it! And so they have Neko do the job but it turns out to be a bunch of socks resembling a cat’s outline. Embarrassing. Socks… This sucks…

The hidden meaning – Callings are doing a quiz show on Jun’s wise sayings. Believe me, you can never guess them. So ambiguous. So unrelated. Are those even wise sayings? For Pete’s sake that they sound more like riddles and lame puns…

Indiana MARs – Our girls head into a tomb to find a golden tiara and are set upon trials by the guardians played by Pair Cheer Mascots. Either the trials are too easy or just dumb. Selfish Mion claims the tiara for herself but the side effect has her turned into a monkey.

Mr Fix It – Asechi always blames Jun if something doesn’t go her way as she believes she instructed him otherwise. So fix it! Each time, we see Jun in his usual monologue about the stars and his tears falling like teardrops from the Milky Way. Oh so dramatic… When she finally thanks him, it’s all happiness and smiles.

The wig – When Rhythm goes to wake Pengin up, she finds his wig on the floor. So as not to make him come out of his covers, she tries to stall him to stay there while trying to get out. But Pengin is just such a talkative bird, isn’t he? Especially when he is talking about short hair and such. When he comes out from his hiding, his hair is on his head. So whose wig is this? It’s Yamada’s chest hair???!!! WTF???!!! Different colour???!!!

The gift – MARs receive lots of presents from their fans. But there is one energy buns whom they do not know who it is from. As they deliberate and are stumped to see a face as the bun’s design, nobody wants it till Aira suggests it could be Callings. Rhythm would happily take and eat it but Aira doesn’t think so and wants it herself. So what if it is from Jun? Now Mion wants it. As they share, they find it tasting too revolting. The Pair Cheer Mascots don’t have the guts to tell them it was from Yamada! Because he got that creepy prankster look on his face!

Crocodile Rock – During prehistoric times when Aira’s family is running out of food, dad hasn’t come back, the twins can’t go hunting because they’re too young and mom won’t let Itsuki the eldest son do it. I guess this means Aira has to do it. She is given the last banana snack as energy. But the river she is about to cross is filled with crocodile. She becomes a chicken and turns back but slips on her banana peel. It causes her to slide through the crocodile infested waters and up into the sky. And that is how the jump for Prism Shows began even before the legendary Aurora Rising. Crap!

Aira In Wonderland – Aira is led down the rabbit hole by Rabbit. Asechi is the mean queen of hearts and nobody can successfully entertain her. Off with your head! Okay, so she just arrested them. So when it is Aira’s turn to perform, it wasn’t her jump and spins that impressed her. It was her tripping and fall. Oh Aira, you’re such a joker…

What does that smell like? – Well, the first time Kaname was going to get a pretty makeover by Akai, she’s being an imbecile not knowing what a Prism Stone is, etc. Thankfully Akai has lots of patience. I hope. Seeing signs of close to being pissed off… And when finally she gets a pretty makeover, Kaname starts sniffing herself and this worries Akai if it stinks. She starts panicking thinking something is really wrong because she really took care of the clothes. Finally Kaname realizes that smell. It’s the smell of happiness! Phew.

Muscle your way – Once again we have Yamada singing and telling us all about muscles and the need for them to build them up. So funny… So gay… So shall we build muscles together?

Butt eyes – Asechi is not confident without putting on her glasses as Akai convinces her otherwise. When she finally feels confident in showing her glassless face, turns out she has butt eyes… Regret? And Jun is so happy he has never seen her smile like that.

A bug’s life – In the distant future and a galaxy far, far away, our girls have been reincarnated into… Bugs?! And so in their pupa form, they are being ‘coached’ by Jun the worm (?!) to transform into their beautiful form. And with the power of friendship, they metamorphose into… The same bug but only look shinier?

Happy Lucky cure – Aira is some sort of Happy Lucky angel and with Rhythm by her side, they go around curing people who are down on their luck. Instant happiness. Till she meets her match in Kei. Too depressing to work.

All convenient Japanese pass – Sonata is back in Japan after 13 years and wonders if she can adapt life here. Her first hurdle is the turnstile at the train station. She uses her pass and the gates open. She is overcome with joy and confident, too long that the gates close. Back to depression. But with her family and friends supporting her, she gets the strength to do it again. This time without wasting anytime and make a big rush past the gates. Hooray! All hail the convenient Japanese pass!

It’s how you say it – Asechi has failed to perform Aurora Rising despite her numerous attempts. Then Kei tells her the big flaw why she couldn’t… She pronounced it wrongly! So Kei coaches her to pronounce those words but it feels like she has made almost every pun out of it. Is she even trying? How hard can it be? But with Sonata’s guidance, it soon becomes a breeze. So easy to say it now!

That’s a wrap – Even if it is meant to be a final goodbye, Aira is having nightmares that everyone else is as weird as they can be. A dream? Well, the dream continues, right?

Be The Girl You Want, Not The Girl You Meant To Be!
After watching over a hundred episodes (including the specials lah!), it dawned to me that in some ways I felt like a little girl! Uh huh. There is this feeling that this show was made for little and teenage girls. Look at all the shiny and pretty girly stuffs. Thankfully I didn’t turn into a girly wimp. Heck, I’m already an otaku wimp but I’m at least not a girly wimp. Uhm… What was I talking about? Oh. This show. If you’re the kind of guy who is overflowing with lots of masculine and testosterone stuffs, you’ll definitely want to give this a miss. Or else either it would awaken your little girl within and turn you into one or you’ll go crazy and start ripping bunnies in half to get your manly fix. Heh.

Overall, this isn’t a bad show but I have to admit that despite the interesting concept, this idol type of show isn’t my cup of tea. I could feel that some of my enthusiasm waned after watching this series for too long. There were funny moments, some feel good moments, there were dramatic moments, there were magical moments. But nothing too drastic or complicated that would make this the sort of show that the general and average anime fans talk about. Unless you are a very huge fan of the series. In which I could see from the in-show Prizmmy segment that they are all young girls. So don’t you agree with me that this show is targeted for little girls?

The story is rather okay too with our girls aiming to become the best Prism Star and their journey filled with trials and tribulations. Nothing really that tough if you think about it. Because I expected Aira to become the new Prism Queen right from the start. Although it did put me off a little when they started focusing more on Rhythm and her troubled mom in the second half, so I thought if Aira was just to throw us off to make us think she is the main heroine and that the real one was Rhythm. Alas there were no surprises or twists in the end because just like such genres, the dark horse or the underdog becomes the winner. I mean, think about this. A clumsy girl who never had any experience in Prism Shows before suddenly enters the ring and defeats an internationally popular and acclaimed Prism Star and the daughter of a legendary Prism Star. And they all manage to stay friends after that. If this show isn’t for the feel good factor for girls, I don’t know what is.

As you can see, the varied characters make the series interesting (although personally not very much). They change and grow and in the case of MARs, they forge a friendship bond. Something that is a must in this kind of shows. As said in my previous paragraph, Aira who is the daughter of baker parents jumps into this world and becomes the new star. Her perseverance in training and never give up attitude makes her where she is today. Doesn’t that sound familiar in shows featuring such heroines? Oh, and she is a funny girl every time she flusters or put on that incredulous looks. It makes her look cute too :). Then there is Mion who has suddenly turned from a loner to accept and rely on her friends. She still has her pride but is better than before when she was just plain obnoxious. And of course there is Rhythm who was just desperate to do Aurora Rising so that she can see her mom. Other than that, she is quite a lively and friendly girl.

Not forgetting Serena and Kanon who are their best rivals. Every good team needs a good rival to propel and push them further to improve, right? Despite being better stand up comedians, do take them seriously because they still have the touch in making those jumps. Although personally I feel that they should be doing stand up comedy despite me not getting some of their jokes. Must be their Kansai origin or something. And there’s Kaname who sometimes feel like a retard but she is actually a simple and honest girl and her actions may cause some to feel like she is the former. Such shows need mascots and that is why the cuteness of Pair Cheer Mascots is for. They feel more like moral support for our girls but even so, I don’t see them playing more than that role besides the cuteness factor and comic relief as they just hang around on the girls’ shoulder if the girls aren’t performing.

Callings may look like MARs biggest support but from many older viewers’ point of view, you can start to tell that they are also their secret lovers from the pairings that we have seen. Isn’t that why they are always sticking around and helping MARs out? I doubt that any sort of romantic romance would blossom between them. At least not in this season. Of course even the hinting romance is not straightforward as you can see some sort of love triangle. Like Mio and Wataru, it is more like Wataru -> Mio -> Jun. One way ticket. Since Jun is so in his world (or just not giving a hoots about it), I suppose Mio can only pray and hope from afar. Just like what Wataru is. He is like the backup for Mio in case Jun’s one falls through. Like it would ever. Then there is the other love triangle between Hibiki, Rhythm and Kanon. Because little sister believes big brother is her property. Enough said. Think there is no love triangle between Aira and Shou? Well, some may not call it a triangle. Because Aira’s papa is the big main obstacle and nobody is going to get his daughter ever. Aira will always be his forever and ever. Even if she is 100 years go. He’ll never let her go. He’s like Kanon in this case, isn’t he?

Personally, Jun feels like the biggest question mark. Besides his penchant to spout enigmatic lines, his presence itself is a big mystery. Like as though he knows the things that are going on but won’t blurt it out in a straightforward manner because, well, you know how he talks, right? Therefore in this sense, he is both enigmatic and annoying. Charismatic? Maybe. Only Mion sees this part. I think weirdness runs in the family because like for Asechi, it feels like a running joke that she can never settle down or even find a decent boyfriend. At least she’s funny unlike Kei who is always having that brooding face like as though she could just pop up and surprise us that she is the real antagonist or something. But shows like this aren’t like that to scare and surprise little girls. Am I right?

Oddly enough, maybe it is just me that I feel the one stealing the limelight of the series are Pengin and Yamada. They are a funny pair. Personally I thought these 2 should have more screen time. They never fail to make me break into a smile each time have their cameo no matter how silly it is like how Pengin tries to get his face in cameras but burns. Yamada seems to have some sort of vocabulary limitation because initially most of the time he always says “Yamada desu” (I am Yamada). The way the pair interacts just feels gay although in a funny manner. I’m not sure if little girls would see this in this light but I thought this is what makes them hilarious especially with Pengin’s gay tone and Yamada’s burly chest hair. How much more gay can you get than that? Another joker is Aira’s overprotective dad who shuns his beloved Aira in doing anything related to Prism Show. And when he accepts her, he is still annoying to the point of embarrassing because he really dotes and fawns over Aira like as though she will never grow up and will always be daddy’s girl. Would you want to have this kind of father? At least we know that’s his love to her and she is being showered with love. Too much love. Thankfully mama is always around to show him his place.

Also not forgetting our Prizmmy who has learnt and grown a lot ever since the start of the series. In addition in seeing them learn, do fun stuffs, training, the promotional events the attended, the competitions they participated and all other stuffs that group idols would do, we also get to learn a few musical stuffs from them during their stint and if you have a little interest in music and a noob like I am, you find them interesting. The most interesting lessons are the one that involves Meme sensei since she briefly touches on different methods and techniques on how to improve their vocals and voice synchronization and pacing themselves to the rhythm of the beat. It was fascinating to try some of those simple stuffs myself but in the end, I think it would take more than just a mere seconds and perseverance of those exercises if I ever want to start singing confidently.

The drawing and art are of course the cute and girly bishoujo type. You can evidently see all the cute bright sparkly things that this series is filled with. During the dance sequence however, CGI is used and although it feels jarring, you’ll get used to it after seeing lots of them. At least a Prism Show or performance in every episode. This is what this series is about, isn’t it? Which brings me to this point. The girls each have their own set of moves. However they keep playing the same ones all the time that it is starting to get boring. Because the performance starts out the same but it is only the end jump that is different. So while it is cool to see the girls whether as individuals or as a team doing their dance, I thought they should put in a little more variation. But then again, if you are singing the same song, why the need of new set of moves?

This also brings me to this question. Don’t they have any other songs or dances? Because they always use the same songs and dance moves in every competition that they enter! And the audience can’t really get enough of it. Okay, so it is like seeing the same magic trick over and over again but never getting bored because of the way it is executed. The only thing that ‘changes’ is their outfits but even that is on certain occasions. However like I have said, the basic moves are exactly the same and only the end jump differs. It is as though they are doing some elaborated ‘ritual’ to reach this end stage of the jump. It’s like the moment we’ve all been waiting for. I don’t know if people will ever get bored unless you are really their fans or the songs but they could have anticipated it since you know, for example Mio is always singing this song in the semi-finals, the finals, in the last competition and will be for the next one too. Predictable.

Also speaking about the jumps, I thought that it was rather exaggerating for their jumps to actually materialize like in some sort of surrealism fashion. Having it flashy and making people hallucinate and see stuffs are already too much but acceptable since well, there should be some magic in this kind of shows, right? But to actually materialize them and become real feels like they have gone overboard. For example, Aira’s fresh fruits basket move has her actually materializing tasty fruits that the audience can actually pick and eat them! WTF?! And I believe that there are other jumps that materialize edible stuffs and chocolates and sweets. Imagine if she does this all the time, we can get free food! The agricultural industry will collapse! And for those jumps that aren’t edible and usually of the out-of-this-world and cosmic-like things such as stardust shower and riding a comet, this is too much and going too far. Since they’re real, don’t you think such big objects will crash and kill the audience? Oh heck, who cares? Then when you see everybody getting to pull off the toughest of the toughest Aurora Rising jump move that was once regarded as a death wish, you’ll start thinking that everything and anything is possible. Nothing is too impossible for these girls. Now I’ve seen everything. Yeah girls. Thanks for showing me the dream.

On a trivial note, I noticed that some of the background and extra characters, they are not fully drawn and feel like ‘coloured shadows’. Uh huh. Like as though somebody draw their outline on a coloured paper, cut them out and stand them up like as though they are in a crowd. This might be forgiven if it is only restricted to the audience. But doing this for the Prism Show judges as well?! I guess they are not as important as our Prism Stars, eh? Since I am not into fashion, I don’t really have any comment about the styling and clothes the girls wear. My typical male answer: They look okay in it. Of course as a series aimed at girls, there is nothing provoking in their dresses.

Being an idol themed series, of course part of its charm is in its songs. There are lots of songs featured throughout the series but like I’ve said, they only assigned one song per individual or group so it somewhat gets boring after a while. You hear the same thing every time they take the stage. But let’s not repeat that and get to the songs itself. Of course there are some songs that I like and some that don’t appeal to me. Those that I like include the first opening theme of the series, You May Dream by LISP (consisting of the members of MARs). This I believe is the theme of the series as it has this fun and exciting tune to it. The third ending theme, We Will Win by Tokyo Girls’ Style also shares this same sensation. Happy Go Lucky by Super Girls, which is the first ending theme is also not too bad. Prizmmy’s first feature (which is also the fourth ending theme) doesn’t sound too shabby either. Of all the insert songs, I like Mion’s one the best, Switch On My Heart as it has this playful tune in it. Following closely behind it is Mera Mera Heart Ga Atsuku Naru by MARs, then Dream Goes On by Aira (very cute and catchy lyrics) and followed by Itoshi No Tinkerbell by Callings.

Some of the songs I find it a little weird like Serena’s Wonderful World because although the rock electric guitar is good but I just find it odd for it to be sung as a song. I suppose the insert songs are tailored specifically to each character but even so, it just feels weird. Then there is Kaname’s Shall We Go. I don’t know. Her opening lines feel kinda flat. Maybe it is her character but it makes the overall song feel like it. Like a little girl singing. Nothing wrong but personally it feels weird. Hop Step Jump by MARs has a weird combination of their singing especially the ones singing the background vocals supporting the main singing at certain points. I don’t know. It feels they’re too enthusiastic bursting with energy while singing their single line that it sounds obvious. Then there is the third ending theme, Pretty Rhythm De Go by MARs. I don’t know how to describe this one but it made me had this weird feeling while listening to it. Maybe it is some of the words during the spoken part. So I guess they spam us with lots of chibi MARs to keep us distracted.

Voice acting is rather okay. My favourite is still Kana Asumi who is very recognizable as Aira. Also recognizable is Kanae Itou tripling as Kaname, Sonata and Akai. Many others also voice more than one character since there are an awful lot of characters in this series. Like Kenta Miyake doing both Pengin and Yamada (Klaus in Hayate No Gotoku), Motoko Kumai as Neko and Itsuki (Ginta in MAR), Noriko Hidaka as Bear and Omi (Kikyou in Inu Yasha), Risa Hayamizu as Asechi and Rabbit (Kumiko in Gokusen). Others include Sayuri Hara as Rhythm (Kon in Inari Kon Kon Iroha), Azusa Kataoka as Mion (Nagisa in Shinryaku! Ika Musume), Madoka Yonezawa as Serena (Ui in K-ON!), Satomi Akesaka as Kanon (Arsene in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Susumu Chiba as Jun (Kondou in Gintama), Takashi Kondou as Sho (Train in Black Cat), Kenn as Hibiki (Jinbei in Mushibugyou), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Wataru (Accelerator in To Aru Majutsu No Index) and Youku Soumi as Kei (B.C. in Vandread).

Even though I did say that watching this show made me feel like a little girl, I am not going to throw in the towel yet as I am planning to give the second season (which is long gone and probably forgotten by now) a chance. Hey. Even grownup guys watch magical girl series, right? Perhaps this show isn’t as flashy without the magical girl theme and won’t draw in those otaku guys. Still it has some funny moments, amusing moments, dramatic moments, heart-warming moments, cute moments and a few more other kind of moments that would make you feel like you’re a little girl watching a show meant for little girls. Whoops. Overall this series isn’t that bad considering it has already spanned so many seasons and a spin-off as of today. As far as this season is concerned, if you want a bit of cute idol magic and friendship thingy, this first season of the Pretty Rhythm series should be a good place to start. After all, deep down in each one of our hearts, there is this little girl waiting to burst out and wanting us to follow our dreams, right? Okay, I made that up. Make that, Pretty Remade that up. So what are you waiting for? Start following your dreams and go to bed!

Hayate No Gotoku! OVA

April 17, 2015

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the manga, thus a blatant excuse for them to come with a new OVA series, Hayate No Gotoku! OVA! Actually it is all not that bad and I welcomed it very much although with some scepticism. After the successful debut of the first season of the TV series way back in 2008 (woah! It feels like a bloody long time), every subsequent season after that feels like it has been going downhill. At least not by a steep gradient but a gradual slope. Unless you are a fan of the series but that is another story… So for me, the magic of the first season was never reached again and with the lukewarm season of Can’t Take My Eyes Of You as well as Cuties, I wasn’t going to put much hope on this. After all, for an old timer like me, I’m still going to watch this out of nostalgia’s sake. I mean, it’s probably dying out and one of those last few moments where you can catch Rie Kugimiya best at her tsundere Nagi role… Really…

Episode 1
After being fascinated with an RC themed anime, Nagi is captivated by its advertisement of its latest RC car, MagnumX. Without hesitation she orders it but she is disappointed upon learning she has to assemble it herself. She quickly loses interest but Sakuya is here to give her already assembled Grosshopper model to her as motivation. Nagi is awed by the way Hayate handles the car. But when she first tries to operate it, it hits her shin and thus her interest in it quickly dissipates. She’s all over it. She’s going to bed. As she sleeps, she dreams about the Grosshopper God lecturing her about her inept ability to control and the need for more control. With Nagi arguing she is a girl to begin with, Grosshopper apologizes for not being easy to let girls play with. All he does is run forward and only wanted to run alongside her who has chosen him. Nagi wakes up trying to look for the model and regrets not giving it enough love. Since Sakuya has several models in her home, she left that one here. Hayate helps Nagi practice and you know what they say about perfection, right? Yeah, all you need is love. Next morning, Hayate is surprised to see Maria handling MagnumX like a pro! Not only she assembled it but polished it up as good as new. We take a detour to see the 3 stooges at the airport. Hinagiku is also there with them but her fear of heights is preventing her from boarding the plane. I don’t know how they persuaded her to get onboard because Izumi’s trivia on the odds of deaths via airplane should have been a great turn off.

One morning, Hinagiku wakes up to find she has donkey ears! It’s a long story and thus that’s why it is omitted! We don’t care, do we? She sees Isumi for help and she just might have the cure for it: Wear a cap. What in blazes?! But if she really wants to cure the root of the problem, she needs money as the ingredients will cost her. How much? After giving her special 93% discount, she’s a lucky girl to have it at 150 million bucks. Oh sh*t… The cap is a much cheaper alternative, eh? So the 3 stooges are pretty suspicious that she is wearing a cap especially of that Hanshin baseball team. Of course the cap cannot be a long term answer especially if Hinagiku is worried about Hayate’s views on her. And here comes that guy as Hinagiku instantly tries to kill him with her sword. Ever heard of knocking first? He hears her out and suggests taking up a job worth that amount. Based on Isumi’s explanation, the remuneration commensurate with its difficulty. In other words, the death odds are higher for a high paying job. Hinagiku is confident and takes that 90% death odds job. The moment she hears she needs to board a plane to Canada, she quickly chooses the one with 10% death odds. Slow and steady? In the end, nothing got resolved. Later we find out that 150 million bucks is in Zimbabwean dollars. You know the super high inflation of that currency, right? Ah well, it is all about getting used to wearing a cap…

Episode 2
Nagi is giving lots of lame excuses so Maria tells her off to just go for her damn hiking class activity! The effort is rewarding with lots of scenic views. But to Nagi’s disappointment, she didn’t realize that they have to hike down. Thanks to that, she has lots of muscle aches the next day. When Hayate is cleaning the big mansion, there is a door that he isn’t familiar with. Maria shows him the huge room filled with dense jungle. It is actually their sauna! As they walk around, the lights suddenly goes off. Cue for them to fumble in the dark and fall over each other. Can you call this a steamy scene? They need to get out since the sauna is still working and their clothes are making them feel hot. Since Maria’s skirt is entangled with something, she is going to take it off and warns Hayate not to peek. Or else! After doing so, Hayate leads the way and must never ever turn his head back. But then Maria faints. He is in a dilemma to save her and look back. He is going to risk this when Maria gets back up. Phew! That was close. However she is still suspicious if he had turned around. Then again she collapses on his back. At that moment, the lights come back on. In his relief, Hayate turns around and sees Maria without her skirt! OMG! Maria fanservice! Even though it’s a paltry limited scene but it’s worth it (because we’ve never seen her for fanservice)! Upset Maria locks him away in a prison guarded by Tama. Hello, he’ll be your hell warden for today, tomorrow and the rest of your days.

Ayumu is being told by the teacher to think seriously about her future career. Didn’t believe her wish to become a musician, eh? She thinks hard and it seems her future career is to be Hayate’s wife. Why am I not surprised? However with each scenario of Hayate getting poorer and accumulating debts, can their power of love keep them together? I guess it’s pretty hard to imagine. Therefore she concludes he needs to stay poor for the rest of his life while she works and gets rich. Therefore she seeks Nagi’s help. However her CV is just pathetic so much so Nagi advises her that she should know when to give up. I think her plus point is her baseless confidence… Upon hearing her musician dream, Nagi ticks her off. I’m not sure why Ayumu is lamenting she has no egg within her but this has Ayumu wondering about Nagi’s mangaka dream. Still hasn’t come true yet? Well, dreams aren’t supposed to come true easily. She asks about the story she is drawing now. It’s about some spirit girl working hard. Ayumu gives her an idea so Nagi gets inspired about it. She thanks Ayumu for it and perhaps her ability is bringing out the egg in others. I guess she took it too literally as she is trying to start a chicken farm. Yeah well, go lay eggs.

Episode 3
Outside the dorm, Maria is making a mark for her garden. Because everyone starts guessing she is going to grow some sort of food, she will go with it. She had intended it to be a flower garden. But when she starts suggesting what kind of food is suitable to be grown, the rest becomes uninterested. There is a ramen stall nearby Nagi wants to try. Hayate allows her but cautions that she needs to eat a balanced diet and they can go for it during supper. Therefore Maria notices Nagi cutting down on her dinner intake and lectures her about the junk food that is bad for health. Hayate thinks that having it once in a while is good but Maria is absolutely strict about this. No buts. At this rate, they cannot hope to eat ramen. They think getting credentials from someone will make Maria change her mind. Despite Hinagiku waxing lyrical about it, Maria is still convinced. Kayura suggests drawing a manga to express her will so Nagi draws some awesome ramen themed manga. Not working. But with everyone talking about ramen this, ramen that, this makes Maria also want to have some. Everyone gets a taste of the delicious ramen as Maria thinks once her corn garden is mature, she’ll harvest it and make corn flavoured ramen. Meanwhile, Isumi thinks she is better than her mom since she has started Facebook. However, mom says she started that a long time ago and has mastered other social media sites. When Isumi shows off her iPod, mother says she doesn’t listen to music. Isumi too…

For an upcoming tough test, Nagi wants not just a reward, she wants an exciting one. Any ideas what constitutes an exciting reward? Well, Maria reminisces about her sea monkey gift she got. It all started enthusiastic but eventually she got disappointed and it all died out (including the sea monkeys). Same case for Hinagiku but hers is more on flowing soumen. Chiharu then suggests yakiniku and this interests everyone. Since nobody had been to one before, as they discuss about it, everyone had the misinterpretation that Hayate will treat them to it. Now everyone is all ears and joining in! With their super high expectations, looks like cheap meat won’t do. However Hayate has his pride because Nagi knows it might be quite demanding for him so he promises to treat them all. He just shot himself in the foot. So he goes to see Sakuya for suggestions to treat everyone to it without having to pay. And without getting caught by police. Haven’t you heard? There is no such thing as a free lunch! I’m not sure about this economics book she gave him but she suggests him to barter and exchange or trade up. So what can he trade? A massage coupon? Try harder. Yeah. She’ll the most give him a spoilt walkman… Now, who is he going to exchange this with? Isumi’s mother thinks this is an iPod and insists she wants it to rival her daughter’s. Hayate believes he got screwed because he traded down for a video tape of Winter Sonata. But since Yukiji wants this, she forces her trash of old school uniform on him. It’s just getting harder and harder to get that yakiniku treat, eh? However there is this guy who has a fetish for Yukiji’s school uniform and is willing to pay big. And so the day is saved (and Hayate’s reputation) because everybody is enjoying the delicious high grade yakiniku. It’s always good when someone else treats you, right? Maria wonders how he did this. It’s a trade secret ;). Lastly, we see everyone playing this series’ beta version of the Life board game. I suppose the best ‘ending’ has to be Nagi marrying Hayate. A hint?

Nostalgia No Gotoku…
Well, I guess I can’t complain. It feels like a long time since I watched the last Hayate No Gotoku series (even though it was just a couple of years ago) and since there is no serious plot in the story whatsoever, I guess these ‘fillers’ (although I read from some comments over the internet like Hinagiku’s donkey ears is actually adapted from part of one of the story arcs) are good enough to satiate the nostalgia feel. The series still hasn’t lost touch of its trademark comedy like how it uses to censor out popular brand names instead of making up some fake pun. And as you can see throughout the OVAs, there are quite a handful of them so don’t suspect your audio to have any defects if you start hearing strange beeping sounds.

The short random skits are fine and perhaps the series is too short for me to deduce whether or not the trend of this anime is continuing to go downhill. Therefore just as far as this OVA is concerned, by itself there are still moments that bring out the laughs (because you’d already know the characters as they are beforehand) as well as the big nostalgia factor. Therefore don’t expect for any proper fleshing out of the characters or their development since this series feels episodic in nature and standalone with a handful of other characters ‘missing’ from the show. Even for those making a short cameo doesn’t do justice to them considering the fact that there are quite a number of characters in this long running series.

I am not sure about the short ‘Bad End’ segment usually shown after the next episode preview. Maybe only fans of the series can understand this. Or perhaps this is just something random. For example, when Hayate becomes penniless due to unfortunate events after Maria gave him a stack of cash to go on a holiday (as Nagi is throwing a tantrum), it is like déjà vu again like his predicament similar to that snowy Christmas night. But this time it isn’t Nagi who is going to save him but Izumi who invites him to come to her place. But the thought of her dad makes Hayate think twice. And then… Bad End! Huh? But I could understand the one whereby Hayate and a few others inadvertently form a human chain grabbing on to each other’s hand while trying to save Koutarou falling off a cliff. When it comes to Yukiji’s turn, she screws up, slips and everyone falls off! Bad End indeed! And of course the one whereby all the events we have seen never happened or even started out because it was just a big dream! Yeah. Where in real life would a pretty young girl take in his debts and make him her butler? Bad End! The kind of ending we definitely do not want to see.

Another reason for that nostalgia feel is the reuse of ending themes which were opening or ending songs from the previous seasons. It is the upbeat and lively tune of the titular piece featured in the first season for the first episode. This is probably the trademark song of the series (maybe because it is the first) and remains one of my favourites (the other being Chasse). Honjitsu Mankai Watashi Iro ,the second ending theme is a reuse that of Hinagiku and the 3 Stooges’ ‘karaoke session’ (this time only accompanied with weird dances by other characters) from the second season. Finally the third ending theme is reusing Can’t Take My Eyes Of You by Eyelis. If they ever made a fourth OVA, my guess is that they will use the one from Cuties… Noticed a trend? Just saying…

Overall for this series, I guess everything in general is still okay. Since I am not a big fan of it, my guess is that the producers will need to try harder to appeal to me if they are planning to make another season. As I have said, the series itself is getting old (holy smokes! 10th year anniversary? Only super popular mangas can actually go on for so long like a certain pirate and ninja…), I myself am getting old and interest waning fast. Thus only the nostalgia of the series is the big factor attracting me to stay on. Heh. I think I am repeating myself. Well, better that than having to be eternally in debt of 150 million Yen! And that is not in Zimbabwean dollars, mind you.

Nisekoi

April 12, 2015

Having a boy and a girl entering a fake relationship, pretending to be dating isn’t something really of a new original idea in movies or TV series. I’m not sure if this kind of story has been done to death seeing that it always ends up both of them having to fall very much in love with each other as opposed to the beginning whereby they hate each other so much enough to start the next World War. And thus we have an anime based on this very similar topic, Nisekoi. As you can tell from its title which means ‘fake love’, this story is pretty much the opposite of the romantic tragedy of Shakespeare’s play of Romeo and Juliet. In the sense that both our main protagonist couple are from opposing clans, they dislike each other the moment they first met and are forced to enter a false relationship so that there could be peace among both sides. There is no room for hate when love is all around, right? There would be no reason for them to kill each other if they are all related, right? Well, at least those gang members are dumb enough to fall for that. And thus it begins their excruciating torment of pretending to be lovey-dovey couples for 3 goddamn high school years. I don’t know if they can win any award for such acting. But with love polygons, hidden feelings and secret crushes from various parties as well, it might be the hardest act they’ll ever have to pull off.

Episode 1
A dream. A young boy and girl made a promise before they parted. The boy holds the lock while the girl holds the key. If they ever meet again when they grow up, they’ll get married. Raku Ichijou is a good chef. Could have been the best in the world if not for the fact he is cooking for his yakuza clan! Despite his aspirations to go to a university and be a civil servant, what are the chances when you are the son and heir of the yakuza? While on his way to school, in typical late-girl-rushing-to-school-with-bread-in-mouth cliché fashion, she jumps over the wall and accidentally lands a knee kick on his face. His injury is no big deal. But his classmate Kosaki Onodera is pretty concerned. Yes, the perfect girl whom Raku has a crush on. To make things worse, that violent girl, a half American half Japanese, Chitoge Kirisaki is a new transfer student in his class. Everybody loves her. Not Raku. They start arguing and accuse each other. You know what will become of situations like these. Then Raku realized something. His lock is missing. It may have flung out of his hands during that knee kick. Blaming her for it, he also wants her to help look for it. If that is not bad enough, the teacher makes them in charge of taking care of the school’s pets. Oh God, they just hate each other. But we all know better eventually. So after taking care, they go find it somewhere lost in the weeds or something. When Chitoge’s hair passes across Raku’s nose, he suddenly has this nostalgic feeling he has smelt this scent before.

Eventually Chitoge couldn’t take anymore of this wild goose hunt (because the girls start thinking she likes him as she is always seen hanging out with him). She chides him for being insecure and dwelling on the past. She bets that girl whom he made a promise has forgotten about him. Raku is mad. If that is how she feels, fine. She doesn’t have to help look for it anymore. Just get out of his face. Onodera who was there, felt bad for the entire thing blowing up but she could do nothing to stop it. Next day, Chitoge calls for him and throws to him his lock. Seems she continued to search for it. In exchange for that, she doesn’t want him to talk to her ever again. Raku may be relieved that his lock is found but he ponders about Chitoge’s words. Maybe it is time to put that promise behind. Onodera disagrees. Because if that person still remembers the promise, then it would make that person sad if he really gave up. Raku feels better. He shouldn’t forget about it. Whether or not he sees her again, he’ll cherish this lock. When Raku goes back, he is summoned by his father who is also the head of the yakuza clan. Recently their turf war with another foreign gang is escalating to heights that are spiralling out of control. Turns out the foreign gang’s boss is an old friend of his and has a daughter around Raku’s age. Now, if the heirs of each gang are in love, the silly war would end. Ridiculous as it may sound, Raku has no say because lives are at stake. I’m sure you can guess who that girl is. Uh huh. As surprised as he is. So Raku and Chitoge are going to date each other?! At least pretend the part. God is really screwing their lives.

Episode 2
Before things can settle down, those hot headed boys from both sides enter the scene are prepared to rips each other’s throat out. The yakuza’s Ryuu and the mafia’s Claude are accusing each other of kidnapping their heirs. So the big bosses dispel the misunderstanding and say that in fact the duo are in love with each other. Instantly those bozos bought it. They’re so glad the young ones have grown up before their eyes. Yeah. Gangsters crying… But… Since Raku and Chitoge continue to deny each other, bullets and blades are going to fly once more. Did they hear them wrongly about being lovey-dovey? No choice, the duo put up a silly romantic act to convince them. For 3 long years they have to put up with this charade? Oh God… Raku tells Chitoge about the promise he made and the reason why he holds on to that lock. The duo are forced to go on a date. I know they hate it right down to their guts but what choice do they have? Even more, those bozos are tailing them. Like we haven’t noticed ‘ya already. When Raku is forced to go buy her a drink, several men try to make a pass at her. Before she can get violent, Raku returns to bring her away. He is not too thrilled either because it is the first time he had to take a girl away by her hand. Anyway this date sucks. As she heads to the toilet, Raku laments if only Onodera was the girl on this date. Be careful what you wish for. She’s here. Oh sh*t! What a coincidence. As Chitoge leaves the washroom, she overhears her men whispering they aren’t really convinced they are a couple because their actions are suspicious. So she heads back to Raku calling him her darling and all. Did Onodera hear everything right? Because dilemma ever for Raku. Because those busybodies are watching. Chitoge acts fast by clinging on to him and that he is totally smitten over her. While he is in a state of shock, she goes off herself claiming she has something to do. Raku wants to explain but Onodera doesn’t want him to say a word. She understands. I think she misunderstood. Before she goes, he asks her one last thing. He shows his lock and wonders if she has ever seen it before. Nope. Not even once. Claude has been watching and now he is convinced something is really fishy. He is going to make his move. When Onodera goes home, she is filled with regret because she lied to Raku. She is still holding the key. Asking him now will be difficult.

Episode 3
Another dream from Raku. Always that time spent with that girl. He couldn’t remember her name always. Although he is certain Onodera isn’t the girl, he will try to clear up the misunderstanding. Unfortunately the entire class knows about them and starts cheering the ‘couple’. It wasn’t Onodera who rat on them but a couple of other classmates who witnessed them going on a date in the city. They want to deny but seeing Claude is watching right from the tree outside… Banzai for Raku and Chitoge! On another chance meeting with Onodera, Raku tries to clear the misunderstanding like they aren’t really suited for each other. But Onodera notes that he has been secretly taking notes for her, etc. She noticed him doing all those nice little things for her. Somebody accidentally bumps into Onodera and this makes her key fall out. That key looks familiar… She dismisses it as a key to her old bookcase. Easily convinced. But why was she so flustered? He has never seen her act like that before. Raku and Chitoge continue to be the celebrity couple of the class. What have they done to get this kind of humiliation? Since Chitoge is in one of her mood swings again, Raku talks to his best friend, Shuu Maiko. It is hinted she might not have friends and although Shuu have seen her talked to other girls, it wasn’t as close as she was to him. Raku hears the other girls how Chitoge is trying to avoid them but acts totally different when she is with Raku. Maybe she hates them? It hit Raku that he was so preoccupied with their fake love that he never knew about her personal life. He sees her alone in the classroom trying to study and pronounce Japanese right and making notes about her friends’ likes and dislikes. She gets embarrassed when she realized he has been there staring at her. She admits she doesn’t know how to make friends since Claude has always been overprotective over her. All she wants is to make friends just like any normal girl and lead a peaceful life. She thought if she came to Japan and that no one would know she is the daughter of a mafia and would get that chance. Looks like it’s not working out. Raku also relays his experience. Every time he changes school, the kids would say something behind his back just because his dad is the yakuza boss. He made a notebook to overcome it. He is willing to help her out on this. Although this doesn’t mean he likes her but he understands what she is going through. She lets him help out since he ‘insists’. She doesn’t need to be a cute girlfriend to him because at the end of the day, they’re all just actors. Onodera heard it from outside but she is confused on what they meant.

Episode 4
Chitoge is getting along with her female friends. Ruri Miyamoto isn’t exactly happy of this scenario. She knows Onodera is in love with Raku and her poor acting won’t fool her. In fact, she can tell Raku likes her too. Watching them is just painful. So Ruri organizes a study group back at Raku’s house. As long as Onodera is here, Raku is the happiest man on the planet. Now if he could only calm his nerves down. Ruri gets her plan rolling by making Raku tutor Onodera. But since he is too excited, Chitoge bumps him out and takes over. Chitoge was casual enough to ask if Onodera likes anybody and almost gives away about her fake dating. With Shuu pestering for more details, Raku takes him away to explain the truth. However Shuu is not surprised because he too also can tell how fake it is. So he pretended not to know because it’s more fun. I guess their fake love is fooling nobody only but themselves, eh? I think so because Shuu tells him to go confess his feelings straight to Onodera and it will be easy because she has a crush on him. That’s the biggest news surprising Raku for his entire life. The yakuzas believe nothing much is happening so they cook up a scheme to let Raku and Chitoge go get something from the storeroom. They realize too late when it’s a trap to lock them in. Suddenly Chitoge starts feeling scared and cowering behind his back. She is afraid of dark and cramped spaces since she was a kid. Something about an accident she got stuck in a washing machine… Don’t ask. But her phobia is real. Raku has never seen this side of hers and now that she is this close, upon taking a closer look, he never knew she was this hot! Raku could take the ladder and climb out of the window to get help but he is not leaving her alone in the darkness. He is sure somebody will come look for them. Chitoge realizes that all this talking has soothed her fear so they continue their conversation. They talk about Onodera and since Raku is idolizing her too hard, he fears he may have given away too much. Thankfully she is dense enough not to realize it. She just thinks Onodera is a very great girl. They get into an argument about kissing because Chitoge boasts she has done lots of them despite kissing is just a form of greeting in the west. Does that count? Now that Chitoge is not scared, she is able to climb the ladder but she trips and falls over him. Their faces… Too close… And then this… Claude barges in after suspecting she is taking too long to come home. He is on fire seeing this scene… Somebody is going to die… Onodera and Ruri also see this. In her embarrassment, she takes Ruri and dashes home. Sorry to bother. The misunderstanding just got bigger. Chitoge although still criticizes Raku, in her end note she notes he still has some good qualities. Maybe.

Episode 5
When Ruri is talking to Onodera, this is what Raku heard. Ruri is questioning Onodera’s reason to continue holding on to that key and promise made 10 years ago. That’s news! Ruri knows that Raku likes Onodera and she is going to create a chance to confirm that. She calls the usual suspects to help out the girls’ swimming club that she is in. Even if Onodera doesn’t know how to swim. Raku still can’t get that conversation he heard out of his head and he notices Onodera carrying the key and couldn’t stop staring. Giving the wrong signals to Chitoge… Pervert… Ruri wants Raku to teach Onodera how to swim by tomorrow. Well, Chitoge is too advanced for beginners to understand while Raku is too nervous for getting his God-sent opportunity. Shuu is just being a nuisance looking at their nice bodies (too bad he couldn’t say the same for Ruri) and wanting the opportunity to rub some lotion on Chitoge’s back (despite the pool is indoors). When Onodera goes to buy some drinks, Raku notices the key in her bag. He thinks of testing it out to see if it fits. It doesn’t. They key’s shape is a little odd too. The girls return only to get the wrong idea because that is the key to the girls’ locker room. Pervert! They’re not going to let him have Onodera and tie him up real good and won’t listen to a word but it is Onodera’s kindness (she’s such an angel!) that makes Raku a free man once more.

When Ruri apologizes to Chitoge that she had to borrow her boyfriend, Chitoge almost gave away they aren’t a couple. Very suspicious… And then Raku and Chitoge start arguing about their different treatment to each other which is completely different then how they treat Onodera. This confuses Ruri even more as she can’t tell if they are arguing because they are so close or just hate each other. At times they act so lovey-dovey that it’s hard to read their minds. So when the girls’ swimming team get into action, some spotted a girl drowning. She isn’t Onodera. It’s Chitoge! That’s why it is important to do warm ups before you swim. Instantly Raku jumps in to bring her out. Shuu lies she is not breathing so Raku must do CPR on her! Who else is going to do it but her boyfriend? Big dilemma. And when he has decided to give one, Chitoge wakes up and gets freaked out. At the expense of Raku getting beaten up. More confusion for Ruri because at the end of the day, she really couldn’t tell that if they are on good or bad terms. But she does know they aren’t actually dating. She then tells Onodera to reconsider about her old promise. I mean, she can’t even remember his name or face, how does she even hope to get some sort of reunion? Isn’t the love she has now more important? Well, Onodera believes her love 10 years ago might be connected with the current one. She believes Raku may have mistakenly thought the locker room key was that key. Meanwhile Shuu is bragging to Raku the hot bodies of Chitoge and Onodera. He prefers more on the latter but goes on ranting without knowing pissed Chitoge is creeping up behind ready to give him that finishing move. Anyway the guys got dunked into the pool.

Episode 6
Onodera and Ruri see Chitoge’s extravagant lunch… Sure she comes from a normal family? Since Chitoge continues to put down Raku, Onodera tells her the truth that he was the one who saved her from drowning. Chitoge feels awkward and the only choice left is to go apologize. Can she? First time didn’t go too well because he mentioned about her expanding waistline and won’t tell anybody about it. So he got beaten up… Take two… She asks for his favourite food in hopes to give it to him as apology. He doesn’t answer. She couldn’t care. Just that the bread. Not his favourite. Gets beaten up. Take three… Mentioning about the part he saved her, it seems to be going fine till the CPR part. CPR is like a kiss, right? That’s the third time he got the beat down. Chitoge won’t do this anymore so Ruri asks her straight. Are they actually dating? Gulp. Remembering Raku’s words that it is alright to tell best friends secrets, she lets them in on the truth. Surprised? They give their word they won’t say this to anyone. Ruri asks if there is somebody else who falls in love with him, will she oppose? Nope. She’d be happier for that girl to have him. And she doesn’t believe such a girl would like him. It’s closer than you think… This gives Onodera renewed hope to tell Raku her feelings. But how to go about it? Now she’s broken again. Back to square one. Raku is thinking so hard what Chitoge’s problem is that he didn’t realize that when he bumped into someone, he lock fell off. Chitoge manages to apologize to Raku for all that. In English. He can’t understand… On her way back, she spots the dropped pendant and picks it up.

Onodera didn’t count on this to happen so fast because Ruri sets her up alone with Raku! And to make sure she won’t chicken out, she is keeping a close watch. You better get through this one or else… There are lots of tense moments, lots of blushing moments, lots of flustering moments. Just when Onodera gets the courage to confess, a stray baseball comes between them! Oh for crying out loud! Is God really trying to screw up such moments? I don’t know if Onodera should feel cursed of relieved. Raku goes to get help and thoughts that Onodera might want to confess crossed his mind but he brushed it off that was ever going to happen. Ruri is deeply sorry for rushing Onodera into this. But she is also deeply disappointed at how things turned out. If the same thing happens again, they can kiss their friendship goodbye! Serious?! Using friendship as a threat?! Ruri however feels relived that she failed because although she wanted to let him know her feelings, she also wanted to keep things the way they are now. Chitoge returns the lock to Raku at his home. He is surprised she is the one who found it and was going to hit panic button when he realized it was missing. He thinks she isn’t that bad and can be nice sometimes. It seems Chitoge had one of her guys repaired it before returning. Then she remembers she too made a promise to a boy long ago. Wait a minute. Doesn’t this story sound familiar? Could it be? Meanwhile, Claude summons his subordinate and prodigy, Seishirou Tsugumi and exaggerates all the bad parts about Raku. He blames this guy for using and deceiving Chitoge and since he cannot protect her directly while Raku is around, Tsugumi is sure to have no problems in saving her from the clutches of that vile pig.

Episode 7
The school is all abuzz with a new handsome transfer student. Tsugumi becomes part of Raku’s class and sends all the girls swooning. I hope Onodera won’t be taken in too… When Chitoge recognizes him, he wastes no time in hugging her as it has been a long time. Chitoge is forced to introduce Raku to him but Tsugumi seems like a nice person. He continues to treat Chitoge like a princess and she can’t take this anymore. Later Tsugumi speaks with Raku alone at the roof. He asks if he really loves her. Of course he had to lie. Really? So he loves her a lot that he would die for her? Instantly Tsugumi takes out a gun and before Raku can say what the heck is happening, he’s got a gun pointing under his chin. Tsugumi cannot believe this weakling is the one to protect Chitoge and couldn’t believe she has been deceived by a guy who has not got a single thing attractive. From the way he says it, he sounds like a jealous lot that it wasn’t him who was there to protect her. Raku continues his deception and insists they are in love. Before bullets could fly, Chitoge comes in to stop the tension. Tsugumi wonders if she remembers the promise they made 10 years ago. Since that day he vowed to become stronger and pushed himself to the limits, training like hell just to protect her. Then this happened. He will not acknowledge Raku as Chitoge’s partner. He throws down a challenge to prove he is capable of that. I guess talking is out of the question. Later Chitoge explains to Raku that Tsugumi is adopted by Claude and trained to be a top hitman. When several thugs threatened her, Tsugumi singlehandedly destroyed their entire organization. Raku is going to be in sh*t. Raku thought she wants Tsugumi to win deep down in her heart, but surprised, she wants Raku to win. For the sake of the town. He can die for all she cares. Tsundere…

The battle for Chitoge begins. Yeah. There are a whole lot of girls rooting for Tsugumi and Shuu is taking bets. Nobody is betting on Raku… When it starts, Raku is left running because Tsugumi pulls out an arsenal of guns!!! Holy cow! I think he is damn lucky to dodge them all. Tsugumi continues to blame Raku that it should have been him so Raku pisses him off about his manhood. He makes a desperate attempt by jumping out of the third floor’s window and down into the pool. Tsugumi didn’t expect this and passes out. Raku can’t leave him like that and takes him into the boys’ locker to change. And then this shocking revelation… TSUGUMI IS A GIRL!!!!!!!!! WHAT THE???!!!! Didn’t believe it, did you? Everyone is coming in so they hide in the locker. Chitoge has searched everywhere and this is the only place left. One of the girls wonders the need to search the girls’ locker too. Because Tsugumi is a girl. Wow. See the shockwaves it sends for all the girls. Now you believe she is a girl? But why the guy uniform? Easier to move in. Her boy-like name? When Claude adopted her, he thought she was a boy and named her so. Amazingly for 10 years with him, Claude never suspected she was a girl. But it doesn’t make a difference because Tsugumi has casted away her feminine side to protect Chitoge. If she can’t do that, what is she good for? Now she has lost and she can’t bear to let her see her in this pathetic state. I know Raku is trying to be a good guy but he is saying she is pretty cute? And then Chitoge opens the locker. Death comes early for Raku. As for the outcome, Tsugumi puts up a tough front saying nothing has been resolved and that Raku failed to show he has what it takes to protect Chitoge. Be on his guard or he’ll be in sh*t again. After he leaves, Tsugumi reveals she had completely lost. It was what he said that Chitoge isn’t the type to sit around and let someone else protect her. Chitoge makes Tsugumi wear a female uniform. Very girly. Chitoge can’t remember that promise so Tsugumi refreshes her memory that it was to protect her. Chitoge is amazed she has been carrying living on a promise like that and remember something from so long. She gives her a ribbon to enhance her feminine appeal. Tsugumi then wonders if Chitoge had also forgotten the promise she made with her first love 10 years ago.

Episode 8
Tsugumi seems to be fitting well with the girls. She continues to keep an eye on Raku so much so he doesn’t feel any peace. Because Claude has given her to mission to take out Raku once she confirms their relationship is fake, a chance outing with him make be the ticket. However Chitoge makes her wear very feminine clothes. I wonder how she is going to do her job if she is this embarrassed. Her embarrassment increases when her foot is sore from wearing high heels and Raku carries her. She starts thinking he isn’t that bad when he asks about her first love. To her, serving Chitoge will always be her pleasure. But to Raku, it means for someone who can devote herself to someone like that, there will be someone who will fall in love with her. Her first love hasn’t bloomed yet. He would like to see that look on her first when that happens. Don’t turn around now because… Oh wait, on the scale of 1 to 10, how embarrassed is she? Immeasurable! Classic look. So it’s no wonder that whenever Raku is nearby, Tsugumi gets so flustered that it’s driving her crazy! And Raku thinks she really hates him. So Tsugumi talks to Chitoge about these ‘symptoms’ she’s been having. You know, when you’re near someone, your heart races, your words turn into gibberish, etc. I don’t know if it’s a good thing Chitoge isn’t a good love adviser because she thinks she has some sort of disease and should go check up in hospital. Even Claude feels the same. Insensitive people? But when she asks Shuu, he could perfectly guess it’s about Raku and starts laughing his ass off! Other people yield ambiguous snickering answers. What about Onodera and Ruri? They’re fast to point out it is love and Tsugumi vehemently denies she would never fall in love with a guy like him. Were they talking about somebody? Thinking about Raku and his words continue to wreak havoc on her mind. The ultimate blow came when Raku had the bad luck of walking before her and got a taste of her super punch.

Talking to Chitoge again and confirming it is this love thingy, Chitoge almost gave herself away when she mentions she has never been in love before. But Tsugumi points out this isn’t her only experience. Remember the one 10 years ago? Suddenly… SUDDENLY! She starts to remember! How the heck could she forget?! Well, at least she remembered something like that and can’t remember that boy’s face or name. She believes that boy may have forgotten about that whatever promise. As she goes home, she opens the cupboard filled with mementos. I think she can flood the room with it. Then she sees a diary. Written in Japanese around 10 years ago. Reading it, it is confirmed there is this boy she used to play with. Ringing any bells? There was one time he saved her from a wild dog and he ended up getting a little scar on his forehead. She stayed by his side while nursing him. She often snuck out the mansion to go see and play with him and whenever she was in trouble, he was always there to save her. There was even a comment that she would really want to marry him. Then one day they had to part but before that they need to make a promise. What is this promise we’re so dying to know? Too bad. The next page is left blank. So disappointed. So frustrating. Then out of the diary drops a key.

Episode 9
Chitoge wants Tsugumi to make arrangements to the place where she met her first love. However it’s not possible even though tomorrow is Saturday. Has she forgotten? Tomorrow is the school’s field trip! Gosh. How could she have forgotten? You can guess the group of six our main characters will be in. Thanks to Shuu, he sets up Raku sitting in the middle squished by the other girls, much to the envy of the other guys. It’s really cramp back there. It doesn’t help when Ruri wreaks havoc with the ‘centrifugal force’. Stop pushing! At the camp as they make preparations for food, Chitoge accidentally spills water on his head and sees the scar on his forehead. Likewise, he sees her key. She asks about the scar and he replies he used to keep a lot of pets and one may have attacked him. While they check out their rooms and kill time, it is decided to play some cards and the loser will reveal his/her first love. Chitoge and Onodera are bad poker face players… So much so Raku and Chitoge are left. Because Raku couldn’t bear to see Onodera’s cute but sad face each time he doesn’t pick the joker card. Because Chitoge always picks his joker card. Raku’s biggest dilemma is that he can’t let her win but due to her bad poker face that makes her seemingly want to cry, I don’t know how long this will go on. Till their teacher barges in to tell them they’re late for the assembly at the hall. Saved by the bell? After dinner, Raku is told a call is waiting for him. But there is no one on the other line. Seems Claude is here and it is his ploy to destroy his social life. After Raku enters the bath, Claude switches the men’s sign into women’s. Raku’s heaven suddenly becomes hell when Chitoge is there too. She wants to kill him but since she saw Claude earlier, she believes it is his doing.

Onodera and co come in. There goes his escape. Chitoge has no choice but to help him escape because if he is caught, they will have to spend the next 3 years as the object of everyone’s scorn. It’s going to be tough. Chitoge’s dumb distractions did little because the teacher and other girls come in. It’s getting crowded. Everyone wants a piece of Tsugumi. So tomboyish but yet so feminine a body. Raku almost got killed by Tsugumi’s sharp sense thinking there is an intruder. Shuu and the other guys are eavesdropping from the other wall. They don’t know how much Raku is missing this. Oh, they don’t know alright. With some girls pestering Chitoge about how far she has gone with Raku, Chitoge distracts them to ask Tsugumi about her first love. Raku spots a hole that may connect to the men’s side and swims there. But when Tsugumi relays the first love to Onodera, Raku stops dead in his tracks and is interested to hear! Onodera runs away to a corner and she had to sit directly blocking that hole! Chitoge struggles to pull her away and Onodera might have felt she touched something soft. Then Chitoge tries to push him into the hole but she slips and her lips kissed some part of his body. In the end, he makes it to the other side. Tired and almost dead. Later Raku and Chitoge meet and he apologizes. Although she forgives him under the circumstances, she is much worried about how much of her perfect body he has seen. He feigns ignorance. As they head to bed early, Shuu wants to go peep on the other girls. Dead tired Raku wants to sit this out. Despite warning from Ruri, Shuu opens the door. Ruri knew this would happen and was waiting. The guys get hung outside the balcony. And Raku wonders why he even got punished. Too tired to do anything…

Episode 10
Tonight’s programme will be… Kimodameshi! Shuu would love to set up Raku with Chitoge. He is willing to pay 2000 Yen for it? At the same time, Ruri wants Onodera to pair up with Raku. How? Don’t know. Pray hard. Because Raku still can’t get that image of her out of his mind, he acts strangely and Onodera wonders if he is avoiding her. Before the kimodameshi starts, boys and girls draw lots. Ruri purposely says out loud Onodera’s number 12. Of course this is for Raku to hear as he prays real hard to land that number. Please God, give me number 12! And suddenly would you believe it? He hits it! OMG! Oh yeah! Lucky #12! This is going to be his favourite number. Other pairings if you would like to know: Tsugumi-Ruri and Shuu-Chitoge. Chitoge hears some of the staffs playing as ghosts to be short on manpower. The way they are putting it as though they really want her to help out and so it can’t be helped. I guess this is better than pairing up with Shuu. That guy is waiting. After being led to the spot, she is left all alone by herself. Remember she has this fear of darkness? Don’t worry, at least she got a flashlight. Dead batteries. Okay, time to panic. She tries to think of something to take her mind off. But Raku comes to mind first? Well, not only Chitoge is scared. Our lovebirds, Raku and Onodera are nervous too. Big chance of a lifetime. Keep calm. Be cool.

Then they heard talk that Chitoge became part of the ghost squad. And then a ghost staff wonders if Chitoge has returned because she realized the flashlight has dead batteries. Everybody didn’t think much about it but it hit Raku. He knows how much she is afraid of the dark. In that instant he rushes off into the woods. Leaving a blazing trail behind him and interrupting the scare on Tsugumi-Ruri pair. Tsugumi is so scared and gripping Ruri like hell… Chitoge remembers an entry in her diary where she was trapped in a crevice. She was so scared that she couldn’t yell for help. But that boy always came to her rescue whenever she starts crying. This time Raku has found her. Saved. As he guides her back, she thinks they should start calling each other by their first names because she heard girls talking they still address each other by their surnames and it made them suspicious if they are close. When he calls her by her first name, he sees the most angelic face and response ever. That quickly turns into don’t-you-stare-at-me-like-that expression. The duo end up lost and by the time they reunite with the rest who are looking for them, the kimodameshi is over. Raku rues he threw away his only God given chance to be with Onodera. He apologizes to her but she forgives him since Chitoge is alright. Tsugumi asks Chitoge about the place she wants to go where she met her first love. She changes her mind that she doesn’t want to. She can wait because she has time.

Episode 11
When Ruri learns Raku and Chitoge are on first name basis, she is not very happy. But does she have to beat up Onodera? Tsugumi tells Raku that today is Chitoge’s birthday and she wants to invite her friends to a surprise birthday party. This means they have to go get presents so Ruri sets up Raku and Onodera to go buy presents together. I guess God is giving him another chance. As usual, a bundle of nerves. Lots of flustering. Thinking too much. On the way home, Onodera takes him on a detour. Through some narrow alley, at the end of it is a very beautiful scenery of the town. It is her secret place and now it will be their secret. When Onodera calls him by his first name, this feels very similar to that of 10 years ago. He starts thinking if she could be the one. Too much thinking that she blurts out asking if she was that girl whom he made a promise. She admits she is. At least that is what she thinks. She doesn’t remember much, not his name or face. The only thing she remembered was the lock which looks exactly like the one Raku has and this key that she received from him when they parted. When he asked her about the key then, she was so surprised that she denied it. She was a shy person in her younger days but that boy took her out to play and she felt she could really trust him. She believed he could be her first love and maybe it could be him. She was hoping it would be him. Unfortunately they have to continue this another time since Tsugumi calls Raku and she is furious that they are late for the party. The usual suspects gather at Chitoge’s huge mansion. Awed? Chitoge is surprised to see them and she panics because she never told them that her family is a mafia. She never had friends before. Raku tells them straight that her family is like a gang and they are impressed. See? Done. All the gang members throw her a party and Claude seems to be in particular trying to pick a bone with Raku, comparing their great presents. Claude shows off his present, some fancy custom made sports car. Cool. But Chitoge doesn’t have a driving licence, you know. Wasted… What does Raku have for her? The mafia guys think Raku is insulting Chitoge when he gives her a little gorilla doll. They’re going to kill him! However Chitoge truly likes it, much to everyone’s surprise (or dismay for Claude). Most surprising for Raku is that Chitoge can smile like that. Later he finds out she was just putting up a really good act. But she won’t throw it away otherwise people will start suspecting them. Raku’s mind is still occupied that Onodera could be that promised girl so Chitoge asks him if he still likes that girl from 10 years ago. He still does. Then does the words ‘Zawsze in love’ mean anything to him?

Episode 12
Those words are the one the promised girl said to him. As Chitoge explains her story, he finds it pretty similar to Onodera’s. She shows the key. He shows the lock. Panic time. Could it be? First they brush it aside that they couldn’t be that kid perhaps adding it lots of exaggeration that kid was cooler and such. There is only one way to find out. And they’re taking their time trying to do it. What’s the problem?! Hurry up and get it over with! When Chitoge finally inserts the key, she turns to hard that it snaps! HOLY SH*T! Heart break for Raku since he can’t test out Onodera’s key. Later as he ponders himself, Chitoge’s dad talks to him and appreciates him being the fake boyfriend. He then mentions about them meeting before 10 years ago when he came to Japan to meet with his father. Before they knew it, their kids were getting along so well. Before Raku could think Chitoge could be the fated one, Chitoge’s dad mentions there is a third girl and it must be fate for them to reunite because she is here at the party too. It dawned to Raku that it wasn’t either one but both of them he had met. However there is still a catch. He only remembers one of them he made a promise with. With whom is the question. I’m sure he is hoping it would be Onodera. Shuu calls his uncle who will gladly fix Raku’s lock. It will take some time. As they enter class, Raku spots Claude spying on them again and tries to act like a couple. However Chitoge is acting edgy (mostly thinking about that lock opening incident) and this almost makes the classmates feel suspicious. Onodera thought they were fighting or something but he brushes it off. Although she knows Chitoge told her they are pretending to date, she can’t help wonder Raku’s feelings.

The photos from the field trip are developed and pasted on the wall for everyone to pick and choose which ones they want to keep. Ruri tries to be cheeky by choosing one with Onodera and Raku together. Oh look. There is really one! You don’t know how much they want to get their hands on this. Shuu is also selling his own photos he took. No, they are not indecent pictures but embarrassing moments! Cue for this guy to get beaten up again. Of course he sells Raku a cute sleeping face of Onodera. This will be his best treasure. Raku then spots a photo whereby although Chitoge is the main focus, in the background there is Onodera changing! He takes it away hoping nobody will buy this. He bumps into Onodera accidentally and he thought he is screwed. Luckily her thumb was covering that embarrassing moment. After he takes it away, Onodera wonders why he chose a picture of Chitoge. Back home, Raku continues to ponder about the mysterious girl when his dad says he has old photos. What? You didn’t know? They’re kept in the storeroom but there is one from 10 years ago whereby Raku begged him to take on that trip. Something about some promise with some girl. Oh dear. It was right under your nose all this time.

Episode 13
Raku tries to find the box all night but to no avail. So it’s no surprise he isn’t in the mood when Shuu invites him to hang out with friends and also for group study. Till he heard those magic words: Onodera is coming too. At the fast food chain, Ruri wants to make Onodera sit next to Raku but she declines and thinks he should sit next to Chitoge his lover. She can tell something has happened although Onodera’s lips are very tightly sealed. While Shuu gives Chitoge translate an English text, Raku is thinking deeply if that promised girl could be Onodera or Chitoge. He believes the former is more likely. He almost admits he likes Onodera when Shuu asks him which he prefers. He was referring to the milkshake flavour. Close shave. Hope nobody heard that. Hopefully. Raku continues his search for the box and finally he finds it. Now to find out who the mystery girl is. Eh… Wait a minute. This girl in the picture… WHO THE HELL IS SHE???!!! Doesn’t look a bit like Onodera or Chitoge!!! And she has the key that looks like it could fit his lock. Oh sh*t! Just when he thought he got a step closer, the mystery deepens. He tries to find his father but as usual, he is not in. Therefore this thought is kept on bugging him on his mind. On a rainy day when Chitoge forgot to take her umbrella, Raku sheepishly offers his and they walk home together. Lots of close moments (the kind that could make them break out into an argument) including how Chitoge stick closer to him because she didn’t like how his shoulder is getting wet while sharing the umbrella. Raku learns another weakness she has: When the lightning flashes, she cowers in fear. Taking shelter in a hut, they see each other’s field trip photos. Raku is confident of showing his as he has sorted and separated out pictures containing Onodera. Then there is one picture whereby Chitoge is sleeping in an embarrassing fashion! Oh hell! Shuu must have put in there as a prank! Believe it! Surprisingly Chitoge believes him because he doesn’t have the guts to carry such a photo around. Then Chitoge says she regrets spending her youthful days with him but even so this fake love isn’t that bad after all. He thought she was serious and was about to say the same thing but turns out she was just messing with him. The lightning flashes and this causes her to hug close to him. Raku’s dad sees this and thinks their fake love might be blossoming into a real one. No prizes for guessing who will be vehemently denying that. Anyway, father is here to tell him something important. It’s going to get a little complicated because she is coming back tomorrow. Who? Raku’s fiancée. The one in the photo. SAY WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT??????!!!!!!!

Episode 14
Amazingly I don’t know how daddy even forgot about this. He can’t fix it anyhow or reverse this promise because it will be a real pain later so Raku will have to go with it. Raku says he has never met her. Oh yes he did. She is the girl in the photo. Well, you might have guessed this new transfer student into their class. Marika Tachibana is such a cute and polite chick that all the guys are going crazy over her! Upon spotting Raku, she instantly hugs him! Everyone… In shock… Dreams… Shattered… Hearts… Broken… So who is she to Raku? Why, Marika is Raku’s fiancée! Panicky Tsugumi points out Chitoge is his girlfriend and thanks to her pride, Chitoge doesn’t back down. The temperature is rising… When Tsugumi takes out her gun, suddenly the police and SWAT teams rush in to protect Marika and surround Tsugumi! Guess what? Marika is the daughter of the police commissioner. Oh, did I mention he is a very overprotective father? Oh sh*t. Now you know why Raku’s dad is in a pinch? A war could break out anytime… Marika feigns dizziness to whisk Raku to the infirmary. He insists he doesn’t remember her and that their fathers decided this for them. On the contrary, she remembers everything and she is truly in love with him. For the last 10 years, she only thought about him and please marry her now! She tries to get steamy with him but you know what happens when you struggle. All the busybody girls are eavesdropping outside as Chitoge kicks down the door. Well, what do you know? It seems like Raku is going to rape her. Today Raku got a taste of her Falcon Punch. Later, Marika’s attendant, Honda confirms Raku doesn’t remember anything. Marika is certain she will jog his memory as she has that key. Marika wants Raku to go on a date with her. She goes into dramatic mode and since he fears a potential big scale war, he agrees. Alarming bells for our related party girls, eh? Raku must be nervous. Because she got a police escort! Tsugumi dresses up so nicely that she is just stunning! Serious! She thinks of tailing them but is surprised the duo ask her for directions. She became disheartened that he didn’t recognize her. The disguise is good, right? On the other hand, Chitoge is dressed so suspiciously that it catches the police’s attention.

In an expensive restaurant, Marika wonders what he likes about that gorilla woman. He doesn’t want her badmouthing her as she has her good points too. He heard her note that she hates girls with long hair but is baffled because Marika herself has long hair. Marika takes him away because she knows Onodera and Ruri are spying nearby. Chitoge hides and eavesdrops them at the park. Raku shows her the photo but only remembers vaguely about the promise. As she shows him the key, she is more than happy to tell him everything on a condition if he breaks up with Chitoge. He won’t. He can’t abandon her for his own selfish reasons. Marika knows Chitoge is hiding and draws her out, Marika than starts flirting with him and tries to make it sound certain that she is that promised girl. Therefore she wants her to break up with him. Chitoge’s pride gets in the way again. The more Marika flirts with him, the more this pisses Chitoge off. What does he do to deserve this punch? And she feels relieved? More like irritated. But Marika soon has to go off and will meet again tomorrow at school. Noticing she left her handbag behind, he tails her only to see her talking to Honda. She has a weak body and isn’t good with the sun. She didn’t wear her hat as she wanted Raku to see her face. Raku confronts her about it. She is happy as this shows he is concerned for her. She asks him about what he likes about Chitoge. Although Raku explains her bad points worse than before, he also mentions her good parts. She has her good side sometimes. She is someone he can trust. The more Marika hears, the more her heart aches. Then he said this damning thing about not remembering the things he had done to make her like him, never met anyone who talks like her, etc. At this point, Marika turns into a devil and she just changed! She becomes a vulgar b*tch scolding him at the top of his voice that he actually forgot the promise that he liked girls with long hair, the reason she kept it all this time. Once she’s done hollering, Raku instantly recognizes her! Oh it’s you Marika! So her way of speech is the identifying factor?!

Episode 15
Marika swore to herself never to speak like that but ironically it was what made him remember. As she had a frail body when she was young, her father brought her to the mountains to recuperate. It was another boring day at the hospital when she met Raku climbing the tree outside. They become playmates and since she liked him so much, father tells her to marry him. So she asked the kind of girls he likes. Feminine and with long hair. Ever since that day she took lessons and trained herself to be more feminine. She did all that so she could meet him once more. Their promise kept her going and that photo was taken before they parted. Raku feels bad she held everything so dear to her. To his surprise she won’t force him to remember. Instead, she will make an unforgettable memory. She pecks him on his cheek. Didn’t see that one coming, did he? That was better than any medicine she’s taking. Chitoge and Onodera are told about this that they have met Raku 10 years ago. Nobody remembers what the promise was except Marika. It was to marry. At least that is what he said to her and assumed it was for the rest. As for why there were 3 keys made, Marika too doesn’t know. She never knew there were others made. The only way to find out is Raku’s lock but they have to wait till it is fixed. Marika stirs the hornet’s nest mentioning they have kissed. Chitoge is furious. Onodera is just disintegrating… Chitoge and Marika start arguing and even try to get Onodera to their side! Marika questions Onodera’s feelings for him. Thinking he likes Chitoge, she says they are good friends. That must have hurt for him. When Chitoge teases Marika that if she and Raku were to marry and why he forgot all about her then, Marika almost revealed her vulgar way of speech.

Marika invites Raku to go meet her dad. Of course Chitoge previously told him that he will be going there to tell him to annul the engagement. Easier said than done, right? First, he is already intimidated with the entire building as her home! Next, her dad has a real scary face! With that scar, he looks like a yakuza! Yeah. Raku’s dad is the one who did this. Oh sh*t! They are like best rivals and best friends even though it is still his dream to put that old geezer behind bars. So how will Raku find the balls to call off the engagement? Dad mentions how time flies and now his daughter is of marriageable age. Till Marika mentions he totally forgot about it. Mad dad! Oh sh*t! Of course he doesn’t blame Raku and thinks it’s his father’s fault of not telling. This leads to him asking if he has another girlfriend. Marika says he does. Mad dad! Oh sh*t! Marika is fine with the way things are and is determined to steal him away. Since she says so, dad has no objections. Now, Marika also mentions about their first kiss. Angry dad!!! No turning back! Then she leaves to make tea. Oh sh*t! Along with dad. Bad timing. But dad mentions that Marika talks about him a lot. She even treasures the toys he left behind at the hospital. That is when Raku got the balls to say he is in love with someone and that person is not Marika although he doesn’t dislike her. He appreciates it but gets the wrong idea that he is a player when he can’t confirm that girl he likes is his girlfriend. However whatever it is, Raku will still be the one who will make Marika happy in the end. Raku leaves and meets Raku outside. How did the talk with dad go? Need he elaborate? She wants to become the girl he wants but he doesn’t want her to change. He likes her the way she is. The way she transforms herself for him is amazing and whether she is feminine or not, long hair or short, she is still a sweet girl. Marika probably didn’t see this one coming becomes so embarrassed she turns into a different person. And daddy got the wrong idea that Raku was being forward with her… Sh*t is going to hit the fan…

Episode 16
Ruri is lecturing Onodera that it is already summer vacation and nothing is progressing between her and Raku. Oh, since when she is her relationship manager? Suddenly Onodera says she actually invited him to her home. SAY WHAAAAAAAT???!!! For real???!!! Yes. I think Ruri didn’t actually see that one coming. I suppose Onodera needs to get some love too and this is an episode dedicated to her. It all began right before the last day of school when she approached him to ask him that. Actually her family runs a Japanese sweets store and an employee had an emergency and can’t come in. Her mom needed someone who can cook well and the only person she knew was him. So it’s a part time job. Oh heck. It works for him! Our happy-cum-nervous guy makes his way there only to see her mom raising her voice on the phone. Stressful business decisions, eh? She is in a bad mood and Raku is being told off to suck a lollipop! Even when Onodera explains who he is, she remains sceptical and has him do a test to make a Japanese sweet. She will determine if he is good enough or not. Raku might not have good experience making Japanese sweets and only took a crash course. But here goes. After mom tastes it, this is her reply: Please marry my daughter! OMFG! Is this a big approval from mother-in-law?! Mother continues to tease Onodera who could explode from all that embarrassment. Anyway she leaves the shop in their care and her heart can rest easily. As Raku makes them, he learns Onodera isn’t good in cooking because she once tried and let’s say she almost created a murder scene. However her finishing touches were good and she has been doing that part ever since. As they man the counter, Raku almost gave away he wasn’t dating Chitoge. Onodera says she already knew they aren’t really dating because Chitoge told her a long time ago. He felt like an idiot. That damn b*tch never told him this. But does this mean the way is clear for him to confess his feelings? I don’t think he has the courage yet.

As a typhoon is approaching, mom calls Onodera to say she is stuck and can’t come back. And oh, have Raku stay there for the night. WHAAAAAAAT???!!! I’m sure they’re both grinning in their hearts but need to maintain their posture. So why the nervous act? Probably too nervous for Onodera that she accidentally invited him to her room. So she cleans up all the necessary things first and gets changed before he comes in. First time in her room. I guess it is pretty normal for a guy to start thinking this is the room where she changes… He sees a faced down photo and thinks it could be her crush (it’s a picture of Raku in some sports relay). He is going to satisfy his curiosity but Onodera returns with drinks. So they’re sitting there staring into space. The silence is so deafening that you could hear the clock tick. Eventually they got the conversation rolling when she lets him look at her photo album of her times in school. Onodera thinks he is popular with the girls but he denies and says Onodera herself is. She reveals that she knows a girl who has a crush on him during junior high. But she won’t say who. It’s a secret. Don’t tell me she’s talking about herself. Just when it seemed this enjoyable conversation could go on forever, they realize the typhoon stopped. Damn it. It’s like God couldn’t take any more of their flirting and stopped the typhoon so they have to go home. Because it would look pretty weird for a guy to stop for the night at a girl’s house, right? I’m sure they both want to stay but have to act very reserved. As he leaves, he manages to get her email address. All is not lost. Sweet victory. As test mail, she wanted to write she was that girl who had the crush on him (I knew it!) but changed her mind. Happy Raku wants to continue their mail conversation but to his dismay her reply was short. Good night. I guess the night ends here.

Episode 17
Raku is helping to man a stall at the festival since some stalls are run by his yakuza gang. Of course he wants the money to buy some super relationship charm. He really believes in that or just desperate? And of all times, he had to bump into Chitoge. Learning that he can get what he wants, Chitoge wants to ‘go on a date’. Everything is free, right? Raku thought he saw Onodera but it must be his imagination. In fact she is here and instinctively went into hiding. She is here to buy the charm too. Same for Marika. I think Marika really wants to disrupt Raku and Chitoge… But with Onodera around, they become stalkers instead. Chitoge is frustrated at the goldfish scooping game. Raku shows her how it is done even with a broken poi. But there is a huge carp. Can he do it? Amazingly it fits the size of the poi’s hole. Technically that is a win, right? Now it is time to buy the charm, there is a huge crazy crowd. Everyone has the same idea? Although Raku is able to buy it, he is separated from Chitoge thanks to the crowd’s pushing. He pulls her back but it turns out to be Onodera! Did Chitoge turn into Onodera on his wish?! The power of the charm for real?! You wish! Then Onodera’s sandal strap broke. Typical. Time for him to carry her. She never felt so happy and embarrassed at the same time. Too much of that and she might explode. After he puts her down, a cat comes to steal the charm. He chases after it and thus Onodera is left alone.

Marika thought she is happy that Raku has decided to switch to her. Suddenly he tells her not to move an inch. Because the cat is behind her. She takes it the wrong way that he is getting bold. His eyes look serious and focus. Too much for her to handle. The cat runs off and Marika is left embarrassed and confused by just about everything. Tsugumi is another one of those who didn’t manage to buy the charm. Taking it out at the shooting gallery? The cat bumps into her. In exchange for telling where the cat went, Raku helps shoot and win the prize she wants before scurrying along. The cat bumps into Shuu and drops the charm. He thinks it is his lucky day and is going to hit this pretty babe before his eyes. It’s Ruri. Uppercut! The charm flies into Chitoge’s hands and when she returns it to Raku, he is stunned to see her changed into a yukata. But now Raku thinks that boys don’t suit having such a charm and gives it to Chitoge since he did cause her some trouble. Chitoge starts flustering like mad because she just read on the board about the charm. It is meant as a proposal. So both of them get the wrong idea and talking about different things. He thinks she really wanted the charm. She thinks he really likes her. Maybe her heart was beating so hard that it causes her sash to unravel. He wants to help out but she tells him to stay away. She isn’t wearing anything underneath. Your imagination running wild? She flusters even more thinking that he might assault her in this defenceless state. Then Raku sees the board about the charm and realizes the implications of their conversation. So shocked that he drops the sash he was helping her holding up. Rape scene! Not!

Episode 18
Beach episode. Typical fanservice. Girls showing off their swimsuits. Chitoge and Marika hounding Tsugumi’s voluptuous boobs. Shuu and his trusty binoculars doing boobs watching. He can really tell the cup size with just a look? Marika wants Raku to put lotion on her back. Oh no you don’t, says Chitoge. Raku gets punched. Raku and Chitoge are paired to cook. Their hands touch. They fluster. They overreact. Accidentally cuts her finger. He treats. That night, Onodera talks to Raku at the pier. After Chitoge finishes cleaning up, she looks for Raku and this is what she heard Onodera said: “Can we kiss?”. OMFG!!! Onodera said that?! Even she herself is panicking. Why the heck did she say that?! What now?! You can’t take words back, can’t you?! What is Raku going to do? That dude… He was sleeping… FFFFFUUUUUUUUU!!! I don’t know if Onodera should feel relieved or frustrated. This kind of events could give her a heart attack. So she takes her leave by running away. Chitoge thought she misheard because there is no way Onodera would say something like that. Or can she? So next day, Chitoge and Onodera talk. Chitoge is hypothetically talking about herself about her heart beating faster when she’s next to a certain guy. Onodera thinks she’s talking about Tsugumi. But Chitoge freaks out when Onodera mentions this means she might have a crush on him. So Chitoge has a lot on her mind. She’s thinking about Raku obviously. He isn’t such a bad guy lately and could it mean having a crush means she loves him? Such thoughts are just making her go crazy. That night, Chitoge plays sparklers by herself. Obviously love problems are making her not thinking straight. Raku finds her. He talks to her trying to obviously see what the problem is but she’s just getting worked up. She still hates him but you know that is her tsundere side talking. He knows she is acting out of character today but he starts to act strange too when she asks if things would have worked out if they had dated for real. Since his mind is still on Onodera, he had to rebut that she is ungraceful, violent and not charming. Oops. Maybe he said the wrong thing. Because she didn’t get violent as usual but ran way. Ever since, they didn’t talk to each other. Even when the new school term starts, she avoids him and he is irritated about it. Truly strange. She continues acting forlorn and the likes when her usual self would have been back to normal already. Shuu is in charge of this year’s cultural festival (self appointed) and he is hyped up to do a Romeo and Juliet play. He suggests Raku and Chitoge play the lead parts. Everyone agrees except Chitoge who unenthusiastically declines.

Episode 19
So Onodera gets the part of Juliet. Marika wants to switch places with her and throws a tantrum but Onodera is cool. She wants to play it. That’s that. Marika knows what is going on and understands. Anyhow, Marika is the backup. Chitoge continues her brooding attitude. So much so Raku confronts her and tells her off. He knows something is wrong but he won’t know if he doesn’t say. She doesn’t care. Nothing is wrong. And she’s not mad. Oh, when I girl says something like that it means something is wrong and she is mad alright. Like the typical guy he is, he is just stumped. When Onodera goes to see the teacher, she notices she has that photo of the field trip where she was changing in the background. Thanks to Raku who gave it back to her, the teacher was allowed to take off that photo before anybody purchased it. Onodera now understands why he was acting so. He was looking out for her when he brought that photo to the teacher. Onodera is nervous in rehearsing her speech but Marika can’t help interrupt. She’s using the reason that as a backup, she must practice too. More like seeing this as practice for their future wedding… Tsugumi tells Marika off that Raku has a girlfriend but she is not scared one bit and there is nothing Tsugumi can do about it. Raku and Onodera try on their outfits and as usual, anything looks good on her and sends his heart aflutter. Because Claude is this close to being a stalker, Raku can’t take it anymore and confronts Chitoge that they need to continue their couple act. However she tells him off that she doesn’t want to do it anymore. She doesn’t want anything to do with him and doesn’t care if war breaks out between their families whatsoever. Because they’re just strangers. That hit Raku’s nerve. Is this how she felt all this time? Sure, he was against this fake dating too. But after the time spent together and finding out that their past is connected, he thought she would feel the same as him. Two can play that game. He starts shooting his mouth too. There’s nothing between them. He never once enjoyed hanging out with her. All his memories with her are fake. There is no way she is that girl he made that promise and they can never get along. Let’s end this fake acting and tell their dads about it. Before he can finish, she lands a big slap across his face. Gosh! The entire class saw this!!! Not good. Nobody’s happy. Our fake lovebirds are even more frustrated.

Come the day of festival, Onodera notes Raku has never talked about it ever since and has been acting like as though it never happened. Some friends call her for help but an accident causes her to sprain her ankle. This doesn’t look good. This is Marika’s chance, right? She’s out sick. Of all days?! The teacher wants everyone to continue what they’re doing and she’ll think of something. Onodera blames herself that at this rate the play will be cancelled when everyone has worked so hard. Raku can’t stand being the useless guy and vows to let the play go on. Meanwhile Chitoge is just continuing to brood and space out like always. The pancakes burnt to death… Hello? But she just looks really sad thinking about everything. Their failed relationship and all. Suddenly Raku grabs her hand. This is an emergency and he needs her help. After explaining what happened, he believes she is the next best person to play Juliet. He knows she hates his guts and hasn’t read the lines, but they have been acting out this couple thing so he believes things will work out. Chitoge cannot believe he got the guts to say this after what he said to her at the beach. It hit Raku then. Those words were what started this whole damn thing? But she must be really hurt at that time and thus the sulking. He apologizes he went out of line and although admits her undesirable traits that she isn’t his kind of woman, but the most important thing is that he mentions he doesn’t hate her. And it’s like magic. Whoosh! Enough to blow away the bad vibes in Chitoge and you can feel that she is back in her groove as she agrees to help him out.

Episode 20
Just before the play begins, Raku sees Chitoge’s beautiful smile. He couldn’t believe she could smile like that because it was only a moment ago she wouldn’t get rid of her sulking face. As the play begins, Raku is impressed Chitoge can say her lines well despite going over it once. He takes that back. Because now she suddenly forgets the rest of them. This causes them to argue in front of the stage and everyone thinks this is really funny. Even their families are here. Recording. So it is now the scene of Romeo going to see Juliet up on the balcony. Juliet’s servant (played by Tsugumi) is about to let him pass when Shuu as the narrator changes the script to say that the servant is in love with him!!! Tsugumi is forced to confess but she gets so embarrassed that she has to be taken away. Popping up next is Marika as Josephine! I guess a little sickness cannot hold her back. She is claiming about their promise of marrying. The crowd jeers at Romeo for two-timing. Raku improvises fast. Because they are siblings they cannot marry! Good one. But that doesn’t matter when it comes down to love, right? He counters that by saying about the dangerous road he will be taking and cannot involve her. She is so touched with his consideration that she faints. Or maybe the fever got to her. So the coast is clear? Not quite. Here is Claude as Friedrich, Juliet’s brother! Oh God. Feels like he is really going to kill this guy. And he sounds like a siscon from the way he says it he would have been by Juliet’s side if not for this dangerous man. He cuts up the stage for real and when Raku fights back throwing prop bricks, part of the stage collapses! Only Raku emerges from the rubble! The crowd supports him! Now that nobody else is in the way, Romeo and Juliet reunite and Chitoge even noting that she loves him. Why do I feel that this isn’t referring to the play characters? The play ends to a standing ovation.

In the aftermath, Chitoge talks to Raku that the play was similar to their feuding families except that they aren’t really in love. She apologizes for acting crazy on him and slapping him. Wondering if she still hates him or not, she still hates him but with a smile? She hints he can bring her around the festival grounds. The class celebrates over their huge success. Chitoge is quite popular and it seems the made up part is part of Shuu’s plan for them to reconcile. Because everyone was worried when they saw the slap although Shuu quelled them by saying Raku is a big masochist. But there is one who isn’t happy… Ruri. She is not happy Onodera had her ankle sprained at the crucial moment. Oh, there is also another unhappy one. Tsugumi is going to shoot Shuu for those improvised lines. Ruri has Raku take a crepe to Onodera. I guess it’s time to give her some screen time. They talk and as she says she really wanted to play that part (for an obvious reason), Raku will make that wish come true. Alone on the rooftop, they react the play again and this makes Onodera very happy.

OVA 1
Ruri lost her glasses and Raku and Onodera are the only ones available to help her. Shuu wants to help out too but she can tell he’ll be more of a pain than anything. Heck, he is already saying she looks better without them. Ironically despite she can’t see a damn thing (tripping on everything and speaking to the wrong person), she can accurately beat up Shuu. Hey, she isn’t totally blind. I don’t know if it’s a joke because she pulls out every junk except her glasses. Ruri then gets an idea. She hints she may have dropped it in some dark place and since she can’t see, they’ll have to go alone. Onodera can sense her ploy to set them up together and flusters greatly. As Onodera goes off to search herself, Raku suddenly asks Ruri if there is any person Onodera likes. I guess his density pisses her off. She says there is someone she likes. Enough to send alarm bells ringing to him. Who is that person? See? He is the blindest of them all! Ironically Ruri with glasses can see through them. She chides him for not paying much attention to Onodera despite they have been together for quite a number of occasions. As she is about to blurt the truth, Shuu interrupts them. Onodera returns and continues finding elsewhere with Raku. Shuu and Ruri know about Raku and Onodera. Shuu interrupted on purpose. Although Ruri really wanted to help them reach each other, Shuu believes they should do it themselves because there is a difference between things acquired with someone’s help and things acquired by oneself. Shuu hints there is someone he likes. Ruri doesn’t care. Finally Ruri’s glasses have been found but Raku and Onodera are all messed up. I don’t know where they went and what hole they crawled through… Next day, Raku is still having uneasiness from what Ruri said. Is this the end of his love? Ruri then goes up to tell him that she lied about Onodera liking somebody. So he believes this? Although frustrated, he is relieved there isn’t anyone she likes. Oh, you don’t know…

Raku and the gang are here to help out with the shrine duties. The shrine belongs to a friend of Raku’s dad. Of course, the girls in miko priestess outfit are a big win for the guys. Banzai! The girls come across an old lady spirit medium. Don’t put this smoking and sunglasses old lady. She is quite famous. She noticed a bad aura coming from Raku. After they witness bad luck befall on him (bird sh*t on him, stepping on a banana peel to fall down to stairs – all the way down), they believe something needs to be done. I don’t know about the curse of him being haunted by spirits of unpopular boys but if they don’t do anything before the New Year, he’ll be cursed forever. Today is New Year’s Eve. Oh sh*t. Good news is that there are many ways to exorcise it. The best way is to pummel him into the New Year’s bell. Any less non-violent way? How about this talisman? Easy? Catch: You have to place it on his butt. Holy sh*t. Chitoge goes first and it is freaking odd to see this girl ordering this clueless dude to strip naked! WTF?! And in this struggling ‘rape scene’, she accidentally drops the talisman in the water. Useless. The old lady suggests a more effective way. Onodera will do it. Can she hug him for a minute? Because the outfit contains purification power. Oh sh*t. And suddenly it is like the gods smiled upon Raku since Onodera starts hugging him and wants to stay this way for a while! Heaven on Earth! Why do the things you like always end so fast? Marika would sure love to do that. Guess what? The spirits are not exorcised and time is running out. Don’t worry, old lady here still has a way. A bottle of purification water. Make him drink it. Catch? Only effective mouth to mouth. Holy sh*t! Doesn’t this look like a kiss? The girls are flustering over this. Except for Marika. She’s gone. Get her! Raku starts running for his life when ‘cheek monsters’ start chasing him. As things get desperate, Raku runs into the path of the ringing bell. He gets pummelled. Spirits exorcised. So it really happened? It was real? I thought the old lady was just a bogus trying to give us some cheap laughs-cum-thrills with cheap-cum-fake tactics with the girls ‘fighting’ over him. Anyway she is the real deal. Raku learns of the truth but he has mixed feelings because this means Onodera’s hug was just that. However he considers himself lucky to get it. Well, he’ll need all the luck he can get now because as noted, his women troubles have only just begun. Oh, really? I thought it began a long time ago?

OVA 2
Marika seems to be leaving early from school recently. Raku and Chitoge are going to find out why. Stopping at some cafe, they find her working as a waitress. She is of course happy to see Raku here. They wonder if she is going to be fine but from what the owner is saying, it looks worrying. I mean, she is so many orders behind, dropping plates like flies and yet she calls herself the most productive staff around. Worrying indeed. Then there is some sort of discrimination too. Chitoge gets only a stinking French fry while Raku gets a super big serving of ice cream. What is Chitoge going to do with all the ketchup anyway? The owner later apologizes on her behalf but still considers and important employee since although she makes lots of mistakes, she never gets it to her. She is always so happy and cheerful that some customers return just to see her smile. Problem begins when Raku’s yakuza guys patron the site. Try not to make a mess of things okay? And then… Claude and his mafia come in. Please don’t do anything silly okay? It’s going to be hard when they’re seated right next to each other! It’s going to blow anytime… It might soon when Marika escalates the feud when she hugs Raku! Claude is going to kill him! The yakuzas are ready to take on the mafia. Suddenly the police force led by squad leader Migisuke stop by. Oh sh*t… Three way fight now… The owner is worried that the fight will destroy his shop. Then it hit Marika. No shop means no customers means no job means no money means. In one big inhalation, she lets out the crudest admonishing to those blokes that if they want to fight, go somewhere else. She dumps them out! Holy sh*t! Freaking shocking! And so Marika becomes the unlikely saviour… On the way home, Raku wonders why she is working because she won’t do something that she isn’t interested. She reveals that she is saving up on their wedding and goes on explaining about the ideal house and family they will have. Can she achieve that with such a meagre wage? Try looking hard at reality. Back home, there is a house scribble framed up in her room. It was drawn by Raku when Marika was in hospital. He described the kind of house he wanted. And there is a big jar that Marika deposits her entire earnings dedicated to making this dream come true. Looks like a long way to go… But you go, girl.

Raku is surprised that his friends are here to celebrate New Year’s Day at his place especially with the girls in their kimonos. I’m sure he is only interested in Onodera… As Ryuu and his men have already secretly cooked, I guess the friends will be staying. Because Chitoge requests for something sweet, Raku searches through for some western confectionary. He thought that was just it when shortly Chitoge suddenly asks him if he has ever kissed a girl and wants to be kissed by her! Oh sh*t! What’s wrong?! She looks drunk! Then he realized. The chocolates have whiskey content in them. She is already intoxicated with just one? She’s pestering Raku to kiss her and as Shuu makes fun of girls for being weak against alcohol, he gets kicked a few doors away by Marika! Oh no… She’s drunk too! And she’s killing Shuu with some bone breaking submission move! Oh, now what? Don’t tell me… Not Tsugumi too?! Oh yes it is. She clasps her hands on Raku’s cheek and is going to kiss him! Thank goodness I don’t know how but Raku managed to slip away so she is kissing some raccoon statue instead. Ruri may seem fine but she’s ‘broken’ too spewing figures about Japan’s future, taxes and unemployment rate. Hey, at least she isn’t horny. Finally, the most ‘dangerous’ one that Raku fears to be drunk… Onodera! She looks like she is turning into a slut trying to undress her kimono. I’m sure he is pretty much in a dilemma when she pins him down and starts caressing his skin. I’m sure he likes it… She wants him to touch her… I’m sure he loves to… The sense is strong in him as he doesn’t give in to temptation and runs away. But he is caught by Chitoge who throws a kiddie tantrum to say that he likes her. Otherwise… Almost yandere mode! If you think that the situation can’t get worse than this, think again. Because now all the horny girls gang up and do something unimaginable to him. We’ll leave that up to your imagination. Today is the day Raku met the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse… When he wakes up later that evening, he thinks it was a dream and can’t remember what happened. Since his head still hurts, he goes back to sleep. The girls are sitting in a corner with that quiet guilty feeling… Let’s make a pact… Nothing happened today… Nothing… N/B: Why is it that girls in love turn horny when take something with small alcohol content?

OVA 3
This is totally a complete fanservice episode. You like fanservice? It’s got it all here. Raku is at the public bath and imagine the probability of coincidence that Chitoge is there too. Everything looks fine, including Chitoge telling him to throw the soap over so she can borrow some. And then Marika and Honda had to come in. Marika instantly recognizes Raku’s voice when he is asking for the soap back. In her happiness she starts climbing over to greet him but Raku tries to bring her back down. And for nothing that guy gets hit by her tub for looking at them. They’re not even naked, right? I don’t know if he missed the fun because just as he finishes and heads out, Onodera and her little sister, Haru just walked in. The granny attendant wants him to man the counter while she goes out to do some errand. Hope nothing happens… Like that will happen. A couple of old ladies whom I believe love to see something flirty with this young guy calls him over to fix a broken shower. I know Raku wants to be a gentleman but how the heck can he see if he blindfolds himself? The old ladies guide him but I have a feeling they’re purposely leading him to Onodera who is freaking surprised to see him (I think she’s doing a good job trying to hold in her scream). If you’re wondering where Chitoge and Marika are, they’re in the sauna doing some silly endurance competition. Before Raku could grope cornered Onodera, Haru gives him a flying kick and ticks him off. He recognizes that voice and accidentally his hand turns on the shower to spray her towel wet. Like what curiosity did to the cat, Raku automatically takes a look… Lots of tubs are thrown to chase him out. It’s not over yet as the old ladies call him because a couple of girls passed out in the sauna. Raku has to do the dirty job again. As he carries Chitoge, her towel threatens to come off. Time to panic? For some reason, the soap was there so he could slip on it and pass out. When granny attendant comes back, she can’t believe he fainted on the job.

Next up, the hotspring. Ah… All your usual girls dipping naked, touching and exploring each other’s bodies. Groping Tsugumi’s huge boobs… A guy’s dream paradise… Because they fear monkeys will steal their belongings, they tie it all up real good. A sudden geyser eruption sends it flying to the men’s section. That is where Raku is. Oh God. The package lands and gets stuck on a tree while Raku is unaware of what is happening but alerted that some animal may be nearby. Of course the girls need to get it back before Raku notices and takes a peek in it. All their belongings are in there. Their clothes. Their underwear. Chitoge tries her luck first but with Raku turning around her way, she makes a desperate attempt to hide. The rest do other diversions for her to escape back. Raku starts feeling scared that there may be something in this bath. The girls must move fast as the tree branch is breaking. Onodera goes in when Raku is washing his hair. He thinks Shu was passing by and asks for the soap. Onodera in a pinch tries to give it to him. Their hands met. She flusters and runs back out. Noticing something amiss, Raku opens his eyes. Nobody there. Oh sh*t… Whose hand did he touch? A monkey? A ghost? An alien?! Scary! As he soaks in the hotspring in fear, the girls are putting too much pressure on the fence and it collapses. Wow Raku! You’re the luckiest guy in the world to have seen all the girls’ naked body!!! Ultimate fanservice!!! But then what is the use of that when he has to say goodbye to his memories? Chitoge’s super kick… If you’re wondering where Shu has been all the while, he has been climbing for 2 hours up a cliff just to peek at the women’s section. Nobody there. Wasted. He falls off. It’s a long way down…

Fake Acting, Real Love
Do you call that an ending? Not quite because with things not resolved yet, it is not surprised that a second season was announced (which is starting right now at the time of this blog). Because ever since Raku’s lock has been sent to be fixed and the introduction of Marika, the subsequent episodes feel like fillers like the beach episode, the festival and ending with the stage play of the school cultural festival. I suppose with this kind of genre, there is only so much you can do to help in developing the plot and the characters. Overall, I am quite satisfied with this series and I had my fair share of laughs, drama and also frustrating moments. Yes. Annoying moments like when you just want to scream out to the characters to be honest with their feelings or when something good is about to happen but something else gets in the way and interrupts everything. And then who knows when they will get another great chance again. It’s always like that, isn’t it?

The main characters are great even if the storyline feels clichéd and unoriginal. Heck, even if the characters of this love and harem genre seem cliché (tsundere, shy girl, the bold and sick girl, the tomboyish one – all too familiar), they are still likeable in their own ways and the interactions among each other help push the plot and everything forward albeit a little bit slow. I won’t say that they are really fleshed out but at least they have decent share of the screen time and enough for us viewers to know about their personalities and past. Because we still don’t know who the real girl Raku made his promise to, right? And come to think of it, how long does it really take to fix that damn lock even though it is of the rare type? Sure, the drama is greatly played out in ‘delaying’ to find out the key that fits it and after all the build up and it just breaks, don’t you just feel annoyed? We’ve waited so many episodes just to find out and then this. Ah yes. That is why the story gets to continue and the love developing. So for those little moments like where the girls tussle with each other just to get to dense Raku (why do girls always fall for dense guys and bad boys?), it may seem a little silly but I enjoyed them personally. It’s both frustrating and fun despite knowing the end outcome right before it all starts or spotting it from a mile away.

So like our guy Raku, just like any other male protagonists in such genres, he isn’t totally a bad person. He is an accommodating, kind and nice person who yearns for the normal life but guys like him casted in the lead rarely would achieve such feat. Then there is Chitoge who has her own pride and thus a reason why she acts like a tsundere. Ultimately she is also a good person like Raku. It is just that they think too much that gets in the way of understanding each other better, the reason for Chitoge’s sulking drama at the end. It always boils down to and depends on feelings, right? So I figure if you take away this barrier that is hindering them, their relationship could be a very smooth one even though they are just putting up a fake act. I just thought about something on Chitoge. Could it be that she has a memory problem or something because I noticed in some scenes that she just seems to have problem recalling the things in her past. Maybe it is just a troll to lead us astray.

A big part of the romance seems to hint between Raku and Chitoge with a handful of scenes with them together. However as not to have Chitoge hog all the screen time, there are some with Onodera and Marika as well. I suppose there are things that are stopping them from moving forward and becoming an official couple. Raku because of his density. Chitoge because of her tsundere pride. Onodera because of her shyness and Marika because of her weak body. Yes, people. Marika is the boldest of the lot and could have snatched Raku away if not for the need to take better care of her body. Because you don’t want such a girl to collapse in the middle of the street and die of a heart attack (in the extreme case of Raku confessing he loves her or something), would you? Ah yes. I almost forgot about Tsugumi. She is greatly hinted as the fourth and hidden love interest for Raku. Ever since she has been ‘defeated’ by Raku, she has turned into a bundle of nerves every time he is around. Or just thinking about him will send her into ultimate flustering mode. She could be tsundere number 2 and a greater one than Chitoge. So don’t write her off just yet.

The other supporting characters are fun too. Like Shuu’s carefree ways that sometimes turn out to be very troublesome for Raku. He might act like a loudmouth monkey but he is quite a perspective person. Then there is Ruri whom I feel is like Onodera’s relationship manager. This bespectacled girl is always trying to push Onodera into making the move for Raku. It’s like she’s rushing for something. Can’t she take her time? Maybe she knows Onodera too well that she will take forever until kingdom come. That’s why she fears to see her best friend heartbroken in the event if Raku becomes somebody else’s girl and thus the need to push, push and push! But very much often, she is always left disappointed. I wanted to consider her as the fifth and other secret secretly hidden girl in love with Raku even though it sounds pushing it (because I speculate she isn’t confident in landing Raku herself and has decided to settle for her best friend to get him and thus the reason she keeps bugging Onodera to be aggressive) however I think she and Shuu are more likely to ‘fit’ with each other. Because Shuu even thinks so as they are both bespectacled characters… And he often becomes her punching bag for almost everything. Heck, who knows, these 2 may even become a couple and have a better potential in becoming one instead of Raku and his harem. You know, Shuu did make that big hint about someone he likes…

Then there is Claude whom I feel is the most dangerous character of them all. He is sharp (although at certain points he isn’t) and with his stalker tendencies, it is like he is waiting for that right moment just to kill Raku. However I feel that ever since Marika entered the fray, his stalking presence seems to have lessened very much unlike before that he was just around every damn corner and sitting outside the classroom tree (nobody else notices this?!). I think it is because as the daughter of the police commissioner, I don’t think he wants to risk himself getting caught. The rest of the yakuza and mafia family feel like silly goons. Heck, they can’t see through their fake acting when even some high school kids can spot it from a mile away. So the only thing that is only holding them down and peace reigning is because of their heir’s relationship? I see Raku and Chitoge are the most important people ever because if they ever break off, heads are going to roll, blood is going to spill and the body count is going to just rise. It will be a modern version of Romeo and Juliet. So better keep the fake dating going on at least for the betterment of their family and the world.

One obvious thing that stands out in this anime is the art style. For those who are familiar with SHAFT’s style of animation, you find all the similar trademarks and feel right at home. From the trademark head tilting to the eye zoom in and even the abstract background designs that are clearly to be their identifiable features. Sometimes in a way it feels odd to realize Shaft is doing a romantic comedy series because all the while we have been watching shows like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Monogatari Series, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko, the ef series and Mekakucity Actors. These are all considered as ‘strange’ anime stories and even if they did comedies like Arakawa Under The Bridge, Soredemo Machi Wa Mawatteiru, Hidamari Sketch and Maria+Holic, it wasn’t the high school type of romance that you would expect them to do.

Therefore when Nisekoi came along and it was leaning more towards the romantic comedy type, it just feels odd. Even more so, the characters look like your typical high school bishoujo and bishonen instead of SHAFT’s kind of character designs in the aforementioned series. Well, at least the characters look pretty. Our main trio girls are a given. Personally, I think Ruri too looks prettier without her glasses. Even prettier if she smiles. Added bonus if you like dojikko in which Ruri is without her glasses ;p. And don’t count out Tsugumi too because if she dresses all feminine she is definitely a possible candidate for Miss Universe. Haha! But true. On a trivial note, I thought Raku has this strange and uncanny outline resemblance to Hidamari Sketch’s Yuno. Especially that little ‘x’ on his hair which is supposedly Yuno’s trademark. Heck, I think their short hairstyle is almost very similar. Interestingly but not surprisingly as most of SHAFT works have it, the end card illustration from various people. Some looking good and others downright funny.

Voice acting is good with Nao Touyama stepping up as the tsundere Chitoge. She sounds perfect for the role and could be the new voice of tsundere personalities. I know Rie Kugimiya is the queen of tsundere roles but that is if it is only confined to loli characters :). From idol Kanon of The World God Only Knows to cheerful and outgoing Yui from Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru, this adds to the colourful list of character roles that she has played. Kana Hanazawa is also cute in her role as Onodera. That shy voice of hers really makes you wish you had such a nice lovely girlfriend. Don’t you? Even cuter when she is flustering and all. Kana Asumi is also outstanding as Marika but it feels funny (but not to a bad or weird point) that it is as though she is trying to keep in wraps and under control her joker voice (because that is what her character is too). If you have heard how she sounds like in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san or even Aira from Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, she is still recognizable here but it is like she’s trying real hard to sound polite, courteous and not to let that voice of hers emerge and thus it feels like she might burst out into that joker rage any moment after holding in for too long. Any moment now…The rest of the other casts include Kouki Uchiyama as Raku (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Mikako Komatsu as Tsugumi (Neko in K), Yuuki Kaji as Shuu (Eren in Shingeki No Kyojin), Yumi Uchiyama as Ruri (Nagi in A Channel) and Takehito Koyasu as Claude (Kururu in Keroro Gunsou).

Both the opening themes are sung by Claris. They are Click and Step respectively. Hearing both songs somewhat remind me of how they sang it in both the seasons of Ore No Imouto Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai. Although I still prefer much their opener from Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. There are many ending themes (6 to be exact). All of them are tailored specific to a particular girl. So you have Heart Pattern for Chitoge, Recover Decoration for Onodera, Hanagonomi for Marika, Trick Box for Tsugumi and even OrderxOrder for Ruri despite she isn’t part of the harem (although this song is not featured in any of the episodes, I read that it was so in the Japanese version of the Blu-ray). I suppose even though she is not part of the official harem, there is no reason to leave her out. She could after all be a potential for all you know. Finally, the quartet from Raku’s harem singing Souzou Diary for the final episode. There are a variety of background music. Not to say that it always catches my attention but the ones that do have this fun and casual feel especially the one that sounds like a Venetian accordion or that medieval flute-like play and jazzy piece (latter 2 for the end card illustrations).

Funnily there are some funny stuffs happening or mind boggling things in the credits animation. Take for instance the second opening credits animation. At the end of it, you will see a spider on a web and getting caught in it are 3 flies. Wait a minute. To say that Raku is the spider and the 3 main ladies of his harem are the bug victims? Normally it would make sense if there is a fly and 3 spiders (that would be so screwed up for Raku) but in this case, are they saying that the girls are stuck in Raku’s web of love? If you look like it, it seems pretty much like it because they are the ones ‘trapped’ and vying for his attention and just waiting for Raku to ‘eat’ or make the first move on one of them. Or maybe it is the spider that is the one cornered? The food and flowery pattern designs in Onodera’s ending animation credits are creative and nicely done. The funny parts are her failed kisses on Raku because the first time before she could do that, his head exploded into sweets and the second time, the doll version of them missed and she fell down. Trying to indicate something? Marika’s ending animation credits see her running through the battlefield and across the land in her wedding dress. Will she ever get there? Then there are a bunch of rabbit suit people doing some kung fu dance in Chitoge’s ending credits animation… WTF.

Aside the clichéd stuffs, this series is still pretty enjoyable for those looking for a good romantic comedy. Also to note that it goes to show that you can still make a good impact and decently enjoy this show without the incessant spamming of fanservice. I won’t say that this series is without any, but sexy girl shots aren’t aplenty and definitely no distasteful fanservice shots and moments that would have rendered this anime to be ecchi or make you consider it to be one even if you happen to come across a handful of minor ones. So will their fake love become true love? Only time will tell. They are faking it so good that it looks just real. Their bodies might be lying but their hearts and minds don’t. And be careful not to fake it too perfectly because it might lead to the case of too real and perfect that it just looks fake.

Kuromajo-san Ga Tooru

April 11, 2015

There is a reason why spells must be chanted correctly even if they sound long ass or ridiculous. Because if you say the wrong word, even if it is the slip of a single vowel, you might end up summoning the wrong thing and be left to regret it. And so this is the case of our protagonist, an elementary school girl in Kuromajo-san Ga Tooru. In an attempt to read a love horoscope to her friends, she accidentally mispronounced the wrong lines and instead of summoning a cupid, she summoned a black witch and is subsequently made to become her apprentice. Well, it is not her fault to mispronounce it in the first place since she had a runny nose and this of course inhibits your pronunciation, right?

Ever since she has become an apprentice black witch, life is either a blessing or a curse because the spells can either be working in your favour or they don’t. I know. Life is never going to be the same again. As usual, long series are the bane of writing episode by episode summaries. So I got Wikipedia for some help to refresh my memories on the episodes or just whatever there is since this isn’t really a popular or mainstream anime so finding additional information about it is pretty tough.

Chiyoko Kurotori – Also known as Choco. When her classmates request her to summon some cupid of love, she had a runny nose that day and chanted the wrong lines. Instead, she summoned Gyubid the black witch and Choco suddenly finds herself as an apprentice black witch under her guidance. Each time she needs to use or practice her magic, she has to don that black gothic outfit. Even in public… Why does every spell begin with “Ruki-uge Ruki-uge…”?

Gyubid – The mischievous black witch Choco summoned and needs to train her to become a full black witch before she becomes an adult or else she will have to return to the Spirit World. She has lots of magic spells and conveniently the one mostly used is the memory erasing spell…

Here are her other equally weird classmates:
Megu Shion – Super narcissist and hysterical maniac but ironically one of Choco’s best friends.
Mai Ichiro – The class rep who is always trying to form committees for this and that.
Daigorou Iwata – The fat kid that everyone loves calling Kuishinbo (glutton) but he prefers to be called Yokozuna (sumo champion).
Ryoutarou Asakura – Rich obnoxious kid.
Ashura Toukaiji – Comes from a family who runs a temple.
Naoki Kojima – AKA Ero Ace Naughty and perverted kid of the class.
Kyou Oogata – Emotionless kid always carrying a rabbit hand puppet.
Riku Kaname – The super detective because his father is one too.
Rio Mukai – Sweets loving girl and thus the smartest kid in class. See people! Snacks and chocolates make you smart!
Yuri Haruno – Cute kid.
Shou Sanjou – Popular kid.
Takami Shishimura – Cooking prodigy.
Touko Miyase – Hard worker. Acts like a mother to her younger siblings.
Akira Hayami – Smart. Handsome. Doesn’t talk much. Loner. Mysterious type. Not popular with girls. Hmm… What’s wrong with this picture…
Kyouya Izumo – The real and serious class rep but with him always a yes-man, he is Mai’s gofer…
Matsuoka – The young homeroom teacher.

Here are some of the black witch ‘practical lessons’ Choco did:

Ep 1 – Choco investigates some paranormal activity at school. Turns out to be powerful ill feelings of resentment and jealousy of Iwata.

Ep 2 – Using her magic to ride a bicycle as she herself cannot ride one. The bike is floating…

Ep 3Choco is forced to become a judge in Asakura and Toukaiji’s argument about existence of ghost since they believe she is into occult. The winner gets to be Choco’s boyfriend. GASP! Anyway both cheated and Choco even lectures and exposes them for their failure and lack of faith. But the fight for Choco isn’t over yet…

Ep 4Ruru Ramon as the new transfer student, Ero Ace wants to sit next to her. He always comes to her protection whenever the other girls chide her for being a loner. Turns out she is trying to take a short cut to become a black witch by offering him as a sacrifice. She is caught in the act as well as Gyubid’s instructor, Lord Exnome. Because this is like a bribe, he is forced to abandon everything and feign ignorance. She won’t be hearing the last of Ruru yet…

Ep 5 – Choco saves her classmates from being turned into cats by a swindler who wants to make them his familiar. All you have to do is change the name of the cat by calling it a different name and it will become your familiar? WTF.

Ep 6 – Choco and Megu are out shopping when a magazine editor wants them to pose for her photo shoot. They are made to follow suspicious instructions to resurrect a ghost. Thankfully Choco recites the spell to let the editor (who is a ghost herself) to pass on. As for Megu, there is a good side for being dumb because she can’t read her kanji right.

Ep 7 – Choco and Gyubid save Rio from Baba Yaga, a witch who eats kids. They play a dice game (since Baba Yaga loves games) and win on technicality which isn’t against the rules.

Ep 8 – In a picnic, Shou surrounded by Megu, Mai and Yuri… Everyone ate some turmeric that causes them to fall in love with the first person they see. Choco must break the spell or it will become permanent. She is forced between Asakura and Toukaiji because part of the spell needs a boy and a girl to say it hand in hand. Asakura is the lucky guy and the spell breaks. Choco is furious that Gyubid set up to be Asakura all along because that rich kid had some doll house she wanted and thought she could get it if Choco and him were an item. I wonder how it will be like when Megu and Mai see Yuri with Shou together…

Ep 9 – Choco tries to help her friend, Suzuki Rinne to rid of her bad luck. They found out her bad luck stems from Oogata’s rabbit puppet which is some sort of amulet. They also rid of the demon that is possessing the puppet.

Ep 10 – Choco and friends are invited to star in some wizard programme on TV. Bad luck starts to happen when Choco recites her lines. Turns out the TV producer is actually Gyubid’s classmate, Angolmois and is secretly a black witch instructor and supervisor for the Asian region. She has taught many kids and wants Choco to be her student. Angolmois’ offer is tempting because it is not so strict as Gyubid (she doesn’t have to wake up for early morning drills). She doesn’t have to give her answer now and can think about it.

Ep 11 – While turning the school into some illusionary hotspring just to let her friend Touko relax, they find out Oogata is actually a wizard previously under Angolmois’ guidance. Because his magic was too powerful, Angolmois used that puppet as a seal. Now that it is broken, he is free and is going to take over the Spirit World. I guess that is better than world domination.

Ep 12-13 – While on a bus trip to the beach, Choco and her friends are teleported to another fairytale world whereby Choco becomes the classic Cinderella. Chocoderella? Mai and Megu are her wicked step-sisters and no prizes to guess who Gyubid is. Choco needs to save everyone or they’ll be stuck here forever. Your classic Cinderella case whereby her step-sisters leave her locked behind and Gyubid the fairy godmother saves the day to send her to the ball in a pumpkin carriage, crow slippers (pun for garasu = glass and karasu = crow) with Asakura and Toukaiji as her escort. There is a long queue for the ladies to dance with the prince. Before that, they have to dance with his aide to check if they qualify to dance. Everyone fails and when it comes to dead last Choco, the prince immediately dances with her. The prince turns out to be Oogata and this is his way of getting back from what is stolen from him. Uh huh. Because he was forced to practice magic and then got sealed, he feels left out he could have been laughing and joining in with his friends instead of being a loner. Trying to get back lost time I presume? So everyone is his pet and will make new memories together. So why not just attend class with everyone else? Choco can be his Cinderella and the spell will be permanent at the stroke of midnight. Not if Choco can chant that spell in time. She is so glad that everyone is back on the bus like normal but realized she lost a slipper. Just like Cinderella…

Ep 14-15 – WTF. Megu leaves her cousin Momo with Choco so she can do her whatever selfish thing?! Forced to take her to a new mall, they bump into Touko and her siblings in which Momo is being rude. Then she turns out to be Touka Blossom, Gyubid’s junior by 2 years and is going to use Touko’s siblings as a demon sacrifice. Seems Touka is working for Oogata who is waiting for Halloween as the gates between Earth and Spirit World open only once on that day. For the time being, he is staying in the human world to increase his power via sacrifice. While Choco tries to convince him to give up, Touka suddenly takes the sibling’s hand puppet and tries to put it on Oogata’s hand. Touka’s goal is to seal his power and was never working for him. So it becomes a game of tag trying to catch the hand puppet. Oogata got distracted by Choco’s clumsy folly and this allowed Touka to put the seal on him. Back to the Oogata we know. Pretty harmless for now. Ever thought of using your other hand to take it off? As Touka wants to continue her black witch training under Gyubid, she’ll be staying at Choco’s place. Oh, normal humans can’t see her. Just great. As if having one black witch wasn’t bad enough already.

Ep 16 – Gyubid impersonates as Choco’s mom to attend class observation day. Matsuoka is acting strange. First nervous and then fooling around with jokes. Turns out he is being possessed by a demon. The way to solve this is to get an animal to howl and scare him before reciting some chant. Do rabbits howl? Apparently late coming Megu’s mom brought her little dog and it scared the hell out of this demon, Jou Akuma. Matsuoka accidentally ate him when he possessed the cake. He’ll be in trouble if the black witch instructors association finds out if he is fooling around in the human world. So they make a deal they won’t tell if he leaves now.

Ep 17-18 – For the sports festival, Mai suggests everyone to train together. As such, Choco sucks. But the new transfer girl, Sayaka Suzukaze excels in running and will be part of the relay team. Next is gymnastics but Iwata is sad he always ends up the bottom so Sayaka suggests to do a rock-scissors-paper match to determine who stays on top. Eventually she wins and Gyubid senses something amiss. It seems Sayaka is also a black witch apprentice. They tail her to the hospital and witness her summon her instructor. Seems she is concerned about her brother’s surgery and being told to perform some ritual to guarantee its success. Back home, Gyubid has Choco read some pact interfering magic which is something forbidden. Then she casts a spell on Choco so that the sports festival won’t be a tragedy. But Choco still sucks. Is the spell working? She is surprised to see Angolmois part of the audience. She heard her talking to Count Leonare. Sayaka is going to perform a ritual that sacrifices her soul. The surgery success was a trick. If Angolmois is successful, Leonare promises to give what she asks. Choco tries to warn her but Angolmois keeps her mouth shut. But nothing happens during the human pyramid (as part of the ritual). Angolmois senses no magic coming from Sayaka and somebody has interfered. Choco is glad that nothing tragic happened. Even without the magic spell, Sayaka’s brother’s operation was successful. But when she returns home, she sees sad Touka. A letter from Gyubid revealing she casted that illegal spell and is now facing the music. She has no regrets and hopes Touka to take care of her. Choco now realizes why she casts that incident free spell on her.

Ep 19-21 – Spirit World Police are watching Choco since there is a chance she might meet up with Gyubid. With Touka and in disguises, they try to locate Gyubid and find her hiding at the house of Hayate Tsuchigama (her classmate who acts like an old man with equally bad puns) trying to practice her manga for an amateur competition. When the Spirit World Police find them, Jou accidentally comes into the scene and knocks them out. Seems there is a conflict between Private Magic School and Private Black Witch Academy. Oddly, the former is Gyubid and Touka’s alma mater. They have been eternal rivals but this time the Spirit World Police are siding with Private Black Witch Academy because they want to crush the school who cast that forbidden spell. Gyubid is going back to the Spirit World and Choco wants to come along since she realizes it is not the same without Gyubid. So she’s accepted her now? Exnome helps them in the Spirit World and brings them to see Private Magic School’s principal, Melusine. She doesn’t have the details but things Private Black Witch Academy’s chairman, Leonare may have something to do with it. They can’t stay long since the Spirit World Police are coming. They take a hidden route that will lead them to the city. Choco got separated and disguised as a frog to avoid detection. But she can’t change back! A pair of loli twins, Lollipop and Cocoa take back this delicacy to where Gyubid and co are hiding. They’re supposed to find Choco but can’t find her on an empty stomach, can’t they? Gyubid is about to eat the frog but she smells something familiar. She changes Choco back and she becomes the butt of jokes. The Spirit World Police barge in and apprehend them all. Leonare is with them and he knows where they are thanks to Exnome selling them out. Gyubid is put on trial while Choco imprisoned. Melusine in a snake transformation sneaks in to hand Choco a damning proof that Leonare is behind this. So they bust out and ditch all the dumb guards to show the court this proof. This is Leonare’s conspiracy that if he presents a human soul, he will be promoted. He also had Angolmois trick Gyubid into casting that spell. Exnome will become king for his help. Because Choco tells that buffalo dude that Gyubid knew this and never said a thing because she was protecting him (Gyubid is even crying), it made him feel guilty and he confess everything. Leonare is arrested and the court rules although she has been set up, it still doesn’t dismiss the fact she used the forbidden spell. Therefore she is sentence to become Choco’s black witch instructor till she graduates. That’s not so bad, right?

Ep 22 – Thanks to some weird card game the black witches are playing, they got turned into a dog. They need to touch the card to change back. But what are the chances the wind will blow it away into the mouth of a smart crow? Yeah… The chase is on…

Ep 23-24 – The girls think a ghost exists at the pool and this means Choco has to investigate (because she was made the president of the paranormal committee before. It’s ironic that Choco has been to the Spirit World but she’s afraid of ghosts? Even more ironic is that Gyubid is afraid too. They think it’s just a prank since Toukaiji is there exorcising while Ero Ace is dressing up as a ghost and has Iwata film him as part of their scarring collection movies. Well, Gyubid also wants in on this. But when monstrous tentacles grab the kids and the black witches didn’t think it is the prank of the other, they run for their lives! Later Touka borrows Iwata’s film and it upon closer look, Hayami is near the scene. He invites Choco to do some black magic with him since it’s not working out well. Because he thought everyone has been overreacting to the ghost prank. He gives to Choco Oogata’s hand puppet to give it to him back. Oh wait. This means… Gyubid is facing off with Oogata. During Megu’s panic, she threw something that accidentally flung off the hand puppet. Oogata is going to make sure Gyubid will never be a nuisance anymore. And with hair power, he almost drowns her. Choco tries to stop her but was told by Gyubid to unleash the cleansing spell she was made to learn previously. Although Oogata threatens that spell will have her lose something precious to her, she goes ahead and recite it. It works and the seal is back on Oogata’s hand. Next day, Choco is horrified to learn that the something precious she lost isn’t a person but things. She lost all her manga! To make things worse, Gyubid did some magic and Oogata’s family is now moving next door to them. Touka disguises herself as Momo to be his sister to keep an eye if ever the seal comes off again.

Ep 25 – I guess Choco has gained some sort of reputation that the library prefect even knows her as a ‘shady’ magical girl. She wants her to deal with some ghosts making a mischief with the library books. Turns out that one of her classmates was possessed by a Fairy Oak and the only way to exorcise it is while he is asleep. That’s during school hours and he likes napping in the library. Hope they don’t get too loud or mess up the books… Well, the latter one got out of hand…

Ep 26Choco learns how to rewind and fast forward time. However the wrong hand movements when a bug bugged her (pun intended) means she accidentally casts a loop spell. Groundhog Day. How many times must she jump this vault test? Touka’s advice to break this spell is to become somebody else. Well, imitating others certainly made her a fool. And she’s getting tired already. Then she deduces she just needs to pass the vault test (because her usual self isn’t athletic). After about 100 tries (OMG!) she finally does it. She might have made the grade to the next level as a black witch but Gyubid isn’t pleased that she used the spell wrongly and so it is going to be looping spell drills… Oh God. Not again! Here we go again! Pun intended…

Ep 27-28Torn between a cake competition and black witch training, Gyubid teaches Choco how to clone herself. However what happens if your clones start cloning? Yeah… But as Gyubid says, each time your clone clones, the clone will look different and the end product will end up looking entirely different. And goofy too. I don’t know how her friends couldn’t tell the real Choco apart. So while they go about their cake assignment, they see Oogata buying lots of rice bowls. Turns out he might be hiring Banshees, death fairies of the Spirit World to do his bidding since his powers are sealed and rice bowls are like diamonds there. So when they foil their trade, Touka rushes in with her findings that he is no Banshee but some legendary chef. He wanted the bowl to make meals himself when his wife is not around and in exchange Oogata got the best ingredients to make Mont Blanc cake. He wins the competition and Choco can’t get a taste of it since Gyubid hogged it all.

Ep 29 – Matsuoka is acting strange. He seems to be pressing some time and he smells. Choco stumbles upon him bringing animal bones to the lab and talking with Gyubid, seems from what has been observed, the steps he has taken is to summon Satan. When Kaname goes missing (the ingredient of a young boy is the last step for the summon), Choco fears the worse. What more, she sees Matsuoka with a cleaver! Turns out Kaname was just sleeping after reading some detective novel all night and Matsuoka was just trying to make some tonkatsu soup. Since timing is essential, the reason he was being edgy.

Ep 30Valentine’s Day. You know what this means. Asakura and Toukaiji are fighting over Choco. Which will she choose? That’s the question our budding reporter and scoop lover, Aika Outo is asking. Gyubid wants Choco to eat some herb to make her famous but it accidentally ends up in Iwata’s mouth. Now this chubby guy is famous. So to cure this falling in love spell, it is only right to make a falling out of love spell. What a better way than to hide this herb in the chocolate Choco will make. Iwata is not only popular with girls but boys too! Choco finally manages to get him eat it (since all that running made him hungry) and the spell is broken. Aika takes a photo shot that Iwata is the guy Choco chose and war is going to erupt between Asakura and Toukaiji. A third rival? Looks like Gyubid won’t be using her amnesia spell for a while.

Ep 31-32 – While playing magic shiritori (things you say materialize for real), a kangaroo materializes and it starts abusing Gyubid. I don’t know what is this Ruru word she said but it sure hell made the kangaroo disappear and end the game. In class, Choco notices Ero Ace not interested when the wind blows up Megu’s skirt. He is asking for some transfer girl to be included in the class’ photo shoot but Matsuoka believes there are no transfer students so everyone laughs at him. During the photo shoot, their class encounters lots of problems till it gets postponed. Somehow Yuri managed to get the cameraman to print out a photo from the computer (it’s one of those faulty shots). They notice a ghost girl standing next to Ero Ace! Does she look familiar? Of course. Remember Ruru? She’s back. She is going to have her revenge on them because she cannot pass in and out of the human world. She casts a spell on Ero Ace. Now what will happen if the black witch society finds out they revived Ruru and she sacrificed somebody? They’ll be banned from the Spirit World, right? Hayami then rushes into the scene to take pictures but gets owned by Ruru’s spell too. Just great. Another sacrifice. He throws Choco a book on how to exorcise a witch. It would be easy if they have all those mythical parts. The only way is to play magic shiritori. Eventually Ruru is exorcised but Choco couldn’t hear her last words. In the aftermath after checking the photos, they see Ruru laughing in the background as a ghost and think she has been enjoying her short duration attending school then. Maybe she wanted to be in the group photo with everyone. So when the actual group photo is taken, Choco has Gyubid to stick a picture of Ruru in it.

Ep 33Mai organizes a hanami for the girls. There is a withered sakura tree that everyone seems to dump their garbage. Gardening lover, Kokoro Kusonoki tries cleaning it up but more and more people continue to dump there. This makes the spirit of the sakura tree angry as it possesses Kokoro to tell the people not to dump here. Not even the mild warning pranks could stop them. Gyubid and Choco realize the threat as Choco chant a cleaning up spell to whisk away the garbage into space. Right after that, the withered tree goes into full bloom. See people? Your trash kills trees! But the side effect of that spell means all the garbage goes into the caster’s dustbin. Choco’s house is now one big dump. Stinky!

Ep 34Mizuki Morikawa (is she a relative of that fast food chain mascot of Wendy’s?!) was Gyubid’s classmate in the Spirit World. Her stationery shop burnt down there and she opened a new one on Earth. However she suspects somebody from Choco class to have accidentally bought a magical candy that makes the wisher’s wish come true (blame Gyubid for this mess to happen). How does she know? Because the class is acting weird with everyone interested in decorating and making things cute! Better find the culprit fast because once the wish is fulfilled, the wisher will blow up into a ball and explode! Yes! Explode for real! Choco tries to find out who it could be and it turns out to be Yuri. Because she gets to sit next to Shou and he loves it while the other girls are just darn jealous. Then she blows up into a ball bouncing here and there. Choco manages to give her eat a remedial candy that brings her back down to size and also has her no recollection of what happened.

Ep 35 – Jou relays the news that some demon pig escaped from the Spirit World and loves eating shadows (you’ll be unable to move if that happens). With Gyubid and Choco going around to catch the pig that has already claimed several victims, the only way to release those eaten shadows is to make it laugh. So happen that one of Choco’s classmates who is bad at telling rakugo stories and jokes was practising at the park. Only the pig, Gyubid and Jou start laughing at those awful jokes. Safe to say the day is saved. But that poor kid, his jokes still cannot be saved. Boring as hell…

Ep 36 – The guys skipped cleaning class and this earns the wrath of the girls. A big gender wars is going to erupt if Choco doesn’t do something about it. It is discovered all this quarrelling stems from a pair of twins. They inadvertently watched Choco practised her quarrelling spell at the park and got infected and spread to the classmates. The only way to solve this is to shake hands. Choco steals the twins’ beloved possessions in hopes they will shake hands to get it back but they won’t. In a struggle to get it back, the sister falls off the stairs. The brother grabs her hand. There’s your handshake. Back to good relationship. Sibling rivalry a good or bad thing? Choco doesn’t know since she is an only child.

Ep 37 – While manning Morikawa’s shop, Choco is curious to see a magic dial, she turns it to ‘small’ and suddenly she shrinks! So little Thumbelina’s adventures include being chased by a fly, almost eaten by Megu’s dog, nearly get thrown in the trash, almost being eaten in a chocolate, get thrown in a ball and almost being eaten by a badass stray cat. Why does everybody want to eat her? Does little Choco taste good? Luckily Gyubid finds her and makes her turn back the dial to normal since she was the one who switched it so it is only right she turns it back herself. It’s going to be a Herculean effort…

Ep 38Choco goes out with her friends to eat free chocolates and cakes for kids at a newly opened store. If you wonder why if there is somebody kind enough to do that, it’s because the person behind this is Baba Yaga! She’s back and is going to fatten-cum-sweeten the kids. Choco tries to get her friends out but Baba Yaga corners them. Remembering she likes games, Choco challenges her. In this one-shot coin game, Choco wins and her friends go free if she lands heads otherwise she will be eaten first. Baba Yaga uses her magic to make the coin in her favour and when it seems Choco will lose, the badge her grandma just gave activates and turns the coin in Choco’s favour. It seems that badge turns out to be an amulet that deflects Baba Yaga’s magic. But why does granny have it? Hmm…

Ep 39Choco accidentally falls asleep on some demon dream pillow and there is a risk she’ll have nightmares and never wake up. Gyubid and Touka dive into her dream. Makkura Osaki is the one responsible for putting Choco in this seemingly nice dream but to escape, she must answer his riddles. Choco easily gives up or doesn’t think hard enough. Then they turn on the tables on Makkura that he only knows how to give riddles but not know how to answer them. He takes up the challenge, confident he can answer any riddle. Guess he can’t figure it out either. Yeah. It’s something weird that you can’t think of but I guess it’s valid. They are released from the dream world as promised and Choco doesn’t need to think hard about the answer to the riddle of not doing her black witch drills… Double the practice!

Ep 40 – Choco feels that her fortune telling classmate, Seira Kisaragi is suspicious because it’s based on some haiku of an old famous poet and her answers are somewhat common sense. Seira predicts a bad omen for Choco and the latter tells Gyubid about this. In turn, she is taught fortune telling and being handed a bowl. All she must do is not open it. This talking bowl amazes everyone with its predictions despite being half assed. But when it comes to love compatibility, it made Mai, Yuri and Megu fight over Shou (because they’re all compatible with him!). Even Toukaiji and Asakura end up fighting over her over this prediction. The bowl predicts Choco x Toukaiji but Asakura could be the one if he gives all his dolls. Choco feels suspicious and opens the bowl. She gets the fright of her life to see a hand reaching out to grab her. Turns out to be Gyubid. Turns out it was all a prank. Turns out it was all a setup just to get those dolls she wanted. You mad? But Choco is left to wonder if Seira’s fortune telling is real because her prediction came true.

Ep 41-42Since Gyubid has mumps, Choco goes to the Spirit World to get curing herbs. But before she can do that she must get curing herb seeds. With Jou, Lollipop and Cocoa, they venture to the field floating with those seeds. Might seem easy but they’re hard to catch. Especially with Choco who is bad in moving about and it’s like as thought the seeds are making a fool out of her. When she manages to catch one, a large booming voice frightens her and makes her fall off the cliff. She finds herself in the dark woods. Lips start ranting that she knows the way to the curing herbs but Eyes keep watching her. Remembering her granny’s advice that the eye tells more than the mouth, Choco decides to follow Eyes and this pisses off Lips. She turns into a monster trying to eat her. Choco is saved by some long tentacle from the long sky carrying Jou. This tentacle is supposed to bring those who want to get the herbs. Jou explains Lips entice people who want to collect curing herbs with nice words and then eats them. Eyes watch over Lips so that she doesn’t eat them. At the field of curing herbs, Melusine guides Choco to plant the seed before taking a herb (otherwise it will run out if people start plucking without planting). Melusine knows Choco is here since she was tip off by her friend, Tika. They once went picking curing herbs together. Gyubid is back to normal but too energetic and gives Choco more drills.

Ep 43-45 – Toukaiji and Asakura are fighting again. Well, at least it isn’t about Choco. The latter doesn’t believe in the supernatural and thus that red string thingy. However Mishua Kaionji from the neighbouring school believes so. As her family runs a Buddhist shrine, she believes Toukaiji will be her future husband as their fate is connected by an invisible red string. The fight for Choco just got a little complicated… Choco finds a black witch news issued by the school. It must an old edition since it has Melusine’s picture when she was young. Her friend Tika looks a lot like Choco… Completing the trio is Gyubad who suspiciously looks like Gyubid. They were witch students learning how to put curses on boys and the teacher told them they are forbidden to fall in love and if that happens, they must cut some red string. The trio descend to the human world for that task and end up in some rural farm. They target a farmer, Izou. They use some time altering candy to wreak havoc on his crops but even so he remains positive and happy. Tika summons some plants that would fill him with fear but changes her mind in the last minute. Because he will die with this many flowers, they use a time stopping candy as a red string appears between Tika and Izou. Gyubad could tell that Tika has always been looking kindly at him and as time is running out for them to return to the Underworld (or else they will be stuck here forever), Melusine wants to cut the red string. However Gyubad wants Tika to decide it herself. Tika decides to stay. Melusine is sad but this is what she has decided. After Tika sees off her friends, she goes back to destroy the flowers and continued living with Izou. Choco remembers… Isn’t Izou her grandpa? Could it be? I bet it is. As she is curious to see who her red string is attached to, she casts the spell and it attaches to… Toukaiji, Asakura and Mishua?! WTF?! I don’t even know how Megu got tangled in it. Such a messy and tangled red string she has…

Ep 46Choco dreads the swimming tournament as she can’t swim. So Gyubid gladly takes her place for the first race and guess what? She is swimming like a flying fish! Why is it that nobody suspects something wrong but in awe instead?! Because of that, her teammates put her as the anchor in the swimming relay. This time Gyubid hands the baton back to Choco and now she must do the swimming. Don’t worry, she gives her a magic band. So when the race starts, he team build up a big lead and when it is her turn, that lead dwindles as she is crawling! She looks like she’s drowning or something. In the end, she wins by a whisker. Choco later finds that band was just an ordinary rubber band. Duped. But at least she can say she won on her own merit, right?

Ep 47 – Morikawa gives Choco a package for Gyubid. It is a jar of supposedly lemon pops but all her friends eat it without permission. WTF. Of course this means they turn into animals based on the pops they have swallowed. Matsuoka must have thought he entered a zoo instead of a classroom! Of course Choco has to take responsibility to turn them back but it is going to be hard to catch them all and put them in a magic circle. Yeah. Gotta catch ‘em all. Eventually she does and the memory erasing spell comes in handy as usual. Then Choco realizes she may have forgotten somebody: Ero Ace! He’s still in the chicken shed…

Ep 48When Touko’s siblings are seemingly lost, Gyubid and Choco employ some scent magic to locate them via smell. I don’t know. The scents look like some sort of aura in various colours and shapes. They trace a third scent which belongs to Oogata. Learning Touka lost sight of him, they fear his seal may have broken and is going to sacrifice them like he once tried. Turns out they were just having a nice meal together and Oogata bought it for them because they wanted some too. Since the scent magic can’t be turned off for 24 hours, looks like they’ll be smelling a lot of unpleasant things…

Ep 49 – The class is doing a Snow White play. Many of the girls want to be the titular character but Himeka Kiritsuki lands the role as she is the ‘fairytale princess’. Choco gets the mirror on the wall and her acting is so bad that Gyubid purposely come to watch and laugh. But she didn’t expect it was this bad so she decides to cast a spell. However her mirror reflects them and now all the girls want to be Snow White and argue on stage! The only way is to end the play. This means Choco will have to play the witch. She even gets scolded by all of them. When Shou the prince arrives, all of them decide to let him choose. He chooses them all! Happily ever after with all of them? OMG! Harem ending?! Didn’t anybody find this odd?! But even after the play ends, the girls continue to fight over Shou as the most suitable princess.

Ep 50-51 – In order to have their class sell garlic raku wares for the autumn festival, Choco learns control magic to cast a spell on her classmates so they will do just that. To her surprise, everyone is eating plates they are selling! Is this garlic raku ware?! Furthermore, she is surprised to see Lollipop and Cocoa here because there is going to be a duel between a black witch and black wizard. Seisui Cross is the black wizard and Angolmois’ younger brother. Who is going to face him? Gyubid! And here comes Cross for the showdown. Because he is a vampire, Gyubid tosses all those garlic plates at him. So that’s why she made Choco do all that? However Cross has bitten Izumo and now that he is his underling, he orders him to smash all the plates. Cross is then going to play his flute. Anybody who hears it will be drawn to him. Cross will suck her blood and obtain her powers. I suppose doing reverse psychology that he is a good vampire won’t work. Gyubid can’t control herself as she marches towards him. Choco needs to think fast. Noticing that he takes on the personality of the blood of those he sucked, she calls Mai to order Cross to stop playing the flute, surrender and undo the spells. It sounds silly that Cross has Izumo’s personality as a yes-man and does so. And thanks to that, Gyubid wins the match.

Ep 52 – As Choco meets up with her classmates to go buy sweets, there is this little girl pestering them to play daruma-san with them. She starts crying when nobody does so kind hearted Touko has everyone play with her. However she isn’t your usual little girl because if they get caught, they are turned into a daruma and stuck to her hand. Seems she is trying to sell live daruma back in the Spirit World. Eventually Choco uses her fast moving spell to beat her game and free her friends although the little girl escapes before Gyubid could catch her. Now Choco’s hands are ‘stuck’ because they are being pulled by Asakura and Toukaiji in a tug of war over her.

Ep 53-56 – Choco meets classmate Shinku Kojima picking up acorns before joining Touka who teaches her to blow some magic bubbles that grant wishes. She accidentally whisks herself to grandma’s house and it caught Kojima too. Suddenly a Zashiki Arashi witch pulls Kojima into the tatami. Grandma dives in to save him and tells Choco to retrieve a letter in her drawer before it is too late. Inside it is a demon pitying song. She shows it to Gyubid and Touka as they further explain Zashiki Arashi offer souls to demons and need to save them before it’s too late. At the shrine, they use the letter which consists of magic elimination and some mistletoe to break the spell. But since there are people on a witch hunt closing in, Choco is made to hide inside the shrine. She sees a box that contains a letter to her grandma and a photo album with a picture of Tika, Melusine and Gyubad. She realizes grandma is Tika. An inquisition officer from the Spirit World, Robe Lu Puti arrests Choco on grounds that she is Tika’s descendant. In the trial, when Choco admits using that magic she learnt from grandma, Robe proceeds to show the court this is proof of Tika’s doing of bringing that magic to the human love and spreading the love. News that Tika has been kidnapped by the Queen of Tears as she plans to sacrifice 2 humans during Sabbath. Melusine disguised as a snake, casts a spell on the court for Choco to escape (that easy?). She rendezvous with Cocoa and Lollipop and wants them to take her to the Land of Tears. But at a checkpoint, Choco runs into the words to avoid being discovered. That is where she meets a bear who brings her back to his cottage where Gyubid and Touka are waiting. Choco explains what is going on but the bear knows who Robe is. He is his instructor. The bear was originally a human. As Robe’s apprentice, he had no talent so Robe threw him out and cursed him to live as a bear in the woods. Gyubid believes Tika’s magic can save him. The bear gives them a mirror of truth before they continue their journey. Moving on, they are attacked by Robe’s thunder dragon but a girl, Himawari Hiyoshi saves them with her thunder dragon and brings them to her cabin. She was also Robe’s apprentice and although she was talented, she was disqualified. Once a human, her only friends were books. Robe opened her eyes and she learnt under him. Because she doesn’t care about people and doesn’t want to get involved, this means she cannot curse people and Robe threw her away and sealed her in this place. Robe’s men are coming. However Himawari’s plan is to hand them over in exchange she will be returned to the human world. She seriously can’t believe that dude, can’t she? They convince her to trust in them since they can get Tika to help. She takes a gamble and lets them go. Before that, she gives Choco an item that might be handy if she is in a pinch. Arriving at the Land of Tears, a demon snowman guides them there to the top of the castle where the Sabbath is held. They see grandma and Kojima hanging on the tree and demand their release. However Robe is here and is seeking to take custody of them. He shows proof of his social position that allows him to do this. But when Choco points out about the bear and Himawari’s case, he denies it (if it is true, it is a serious violation). He cries defamation and has Choco arrested. Choco uses the mirror of truth to reveal Robe’s doing. Still claiming those are lies? The Queen of Tears who is no other than Gyubad and Gyubid’s grandma knows the item is not fake. Choco’s grandma is release and it seems this is a strategy by the trio of Tika, Gyubad and Melusine to lure Robe and confess his crimes here. They knew Tika was targeted and planned her arrest but didn’t mean for Choco’s friend to get involved. Robe still won’t admit defeat and tries to burn down everybody! Yeah. Burn down all the evidence. Choco uses Himawari’s item to call for help and a water dragon rains to douse the fire. Now out of tricks, Robe is arrested for good. Back in the real world, Choco receives a notice that she has been promoted to a certified third rank black witch. Loveliest Christmas gift?

Ep 57Choco is bad at sports and of course wished she could change the weather. She accidentally summons Madam Tenten and she demonstrates she can turn the weather from sunny to rainy vice versa. But I suppose it was bad timing so Choco still has to run the race. As gratitude for summoning her, Tenten will help her get first place. So she wreaks havoc on the weather by freezing the contestants, making the road slippery, making the wind blow hard and a beautiful rainbow so everyone could stop and admire it. I’m surprised the race isn’t called off. Gyubid finds out about this and confronts her. Seems Tenten is her neighbour and they always fight. Gyubid threatens to reveals her embarrassing childhood secrets if she doesn’t return. Something about the weather phenomena caused by her snores, snots, farts and wetting the bed. I guess that was good enough to make her go back and as punishment for Choco, it’s more training and morning drills.

Ep 58There is a bread thief and because some claim to culprit to be supernatural. Choco is of course put in charge of investigating. With Gyubid, they investigate the school that night only to find Asakura and Toukaiji trying to help out. It doesn’t take long before it turns into an argument over Choco. Next day, metal plates are found to be devoured. The culprit is Lips. Eyes is feeding her stuffs that are bread puns. Before she is about to eat Megu, Choco casts a time reversal spell to last night and they catch them in the act. Seems Lips just wanted to eat those fried bean bread that are also famous in the Spirit World. Eyes was just feeding her those other ‘bread’ stuffs to keep her away from eating humans. They leave after Lips had her fill. But Choco has a bigger problem. She has to relive that Asakura and Toukaiji quarrel again…

Ep 59-60As usual, Mai, Megu and Yuri are fighting over Shou. They want to sit next to him for the next field trip. And as always, Choco is forced to get involved and made the president of the committee of sitting next to Shou. WTF. As suggested by Gyubid, why not go ask Shou himself? So Choco casts a spell that tells the truth. Hmm… Is it not working? Because he says he loves everyone. Choco thinks she didn’t cast it properly and retries again and again. Each time the results are the same. Gyubid comes by to tell her she has overdone her magic. Now everyone is casted with the spell and they can only wait for it to wear off. However Choco starts running her mouth and blaming Gyubid for everything. Even to a point of revealing she never wanted to be a black witch in the first place and it is not like she really wanted to summon her. Gyubid understands and disappears. Choco thought she said too much but believes she will come back. She never did. Next day, Yuri asks Choco if she knows a spell for reconciliation because ever since they were frank with each other thanks to that spell, things have been awkward. Choco receives a letter from grandma describing the past. After she married Izou and gave birth to Choco’s dad, he showed no signs of magic that is why she never thought Choco would have any. The day Choco summoned Gyubid with a runny nose was not on accident. It was a setup by Melusine. As Choco inherited magic from grandma, she is bound to be noticed by selfish people like Angolmois or Robe. Thus Melusine sent Gyubid, a black witch with a warm heart whom she trusts most to her. A black witch with a warm heart will never betray. Choco feels bad and needs to apologize to Gyubid. Touka tells Choco that she heard Gyubid is going back to the Spirit World. They catch her and Choco says all the sorry in the world for running her mouth. She wants Gyubid to continue being her instructor. Oh, real tears. Of course Gyubid will. What she is doing now is delivering home cheap cakes to Gyubad. As for where she was all the while, she was hanging out at Morikawa’s place. Because Choco was also under that spell that time and it would annoying to hang around her till it runs out. She did left a note in the form of a yonkoma but of course Choco didn’t understand. As for the reconciliation spell, Choco tells Yuri that she doesn’t need one. If she wants to reconcile, all she needs is to be honest with her feelings. And soon enough, Yuri and the girls apologize and make up. Case closed. Happy ending. But not so for Choco because her tough drills continue. Going into Spartan mode? Somebody give her a break!

Black Witch With A Heart Of Gold
I feel like a little kindergarten kid once more. Uh huh. This show feels like it is made for little school children and it is no surprise since this anime was adapted from a children’s novel series of the same name. Because you see that most of their adventures are ‘cartoon-like’, the kind that is suitable for children. If you want to think logically about most or even everything that has happened in this series, there are lots of faults to find but you’ll it acceptable as at a children level because you know, this show was made for kids to entertain kids. Thus this is the kind of show that you let all your children see when all your relatives are visiting and there is no other way to keep them quiet except to let them stare and watch at the idiot box. And what better ‘children cartoon’ could it be? Here is your answer. That is, unless your kids are busy with their iPhones and other gadgets.

Even more evident is the art and drawing style. Don’t you see how cute everything is? Even the ghouls or demons from the Spirit World look more cute than scary. Okay, maybe at that tender age, some of them may look scary but overall for a big guy like me who is averse to horror stories, they aren’t. Besides, this show may double as a series for the Halloween seeing that some character designs feel like it is Halloween all year round. Heck, I think Halloween in real life has become like the biggest cosplay and nationwide event in the west, don’t you think?

So for Choco, it feels like she is doing a pretty fine job despite in many cases you can see her just being reluctant. She’s probably just a normal girl who isn’t good in athletics, her studies and just wants some time off herself. If it is bad enough that she gets involved in spats or conflicts of her classmates, then she had to become a black witch and the endless early morning wake ups and practice drills became a nightmare. But you can see her pulling through fine, right? Although I am tempted to say that she has Tika’s genes, but personally I think it is her own perseverance that makes her pull through despite her unenthusiastic expression. At least she gets the job done and solves whatever necessary then. Although sometimes she gets a little more than she bargained for.

Gyubid may be a little odd at times but she is the best instructor for Choco although some of her ways can be unconventional. It may seem that she is heartless or something giving Choco all the morning drills and practice but I think the only way for her to become a greater black witch is via perseverance and more practice. Also you have to remember that Choco isn’t exactly a physically fit person and dreads such activities but as you can see even if her body isn’t willing, her heart is strong enough to make her pull through. Gyubid too sometimes can be cheeky as we see her pull off little pranks on Choco for her own little kicks. Overall, she is a good black witch and a great teacher to Choco. And Choco now realize that when she thought she almost lost her. So less complaining and put in more effort now?

Although there are so many characters in this series, many of them especially Choco’s classmates do not make more than one appearance. I mean, they still do in the background whenever the class scenes are shown. However in terms of whether they are ‘staring’ or being featured in an episode prominently, it is usually just once or the most twice. Then you’ll never hear of them again. Besides, how many weird classmates does Choco have? Heck, maybe everyone is weird because when we are first introduced to them, Choco will narrate their strange characteristics. They are fun nevertheless despite sometimes you feel that their short appearance is just for the convenience of the plot for that episode.

I thought some characters like Oogata would become a recurring villain of the series but that fizzled out after his plans were busted. He tried to return again but that was foiled too. By the time the series reaches halfway mark, Oogata is no longer a threat although at times at the back of my head I would be wondering if he would make another comeback. I guess not. I suppose that is why there is this little sister role for Touko to play and make cameo appearances in certain episodes. I also don’t know what happened to Angolmois after that conspiracy collaboration with Leonare since I have this thought she would be a main antagonist. Then much later towards the end of the series we have this Robe guy popping out of nowhere to be the antagonist. But you know, since this series is so kiddie-like, I figure when the baddies get their judgment, all’s well ends well. Don’t think so much.

Other ‘recurring’ or ‘regular’ characters, mainly Choco’s friends like Mai and Megu also feel fine and fun. They do help play a little part in some of the episodes that they are featured in (just for the sake of today’s Choco’s adventure) albeit just minor roles that don’t impact the series overall. Because you know, there is always this convenient memory erasing spell from Gyubid that works like a charm every time you want something to reset back to normal. But like I said, this show is made for children so whatever we grownups find dumbfounding, just leave it aside and the most have a good laugh. Hey, we don’t want to ruin their childhood with adult logic, right? We too once had our childhood.

The so called love triangle between Choco, Asakura and Toukaiji sometimes feel like a running joke. Choco isn’t interested in either of them but they end up quarrelling over her and it never ends. And Gyubid just loves seeing this while Choco have this annoyed frustration look that screams “Why me?!” for getting involved in all this in the first place. Probably a guy like me is in a dilemma to find it interesting or not because it is like seeing little kids fight over their young puppy love. Am I considered a pedo if I start liking to see such love triangles at such a tender young age? I know love is not limited to age and the other likes but to like seeing such love triangles? Something feels wrong. Same case with that lady killer Shou. It is always the same trio of Megu, Mai and Yuri fighting over him. I don’t know if this shouting competition of “No, I’m supposed to be the one!” will get them anywhere.

And this Shou must be the best observer ever because he doesn’t choose anyone or anything and likes everyone and everything. Best answer ever. I guess that is why conflicts never end. I also wonder what happened to Gyubid’s first love with Exnome. I suppose after his betrayal, she didn’t care much about him anymore. Because if she still does, I’m just thinking how Choco might use this to get back at her like how she always does with Asakura and Toukaiji. Which reminds me, what happened to that Mishua girl who claims that she is connected to Toukaiji by the red string? If it ever happens, maybe the love triangle with Choco will end. Rich boy Asakura will get Choco and probably 2 birds with 1 stone because Gyubid loves his doll house collection. Can’t let it happen, right? So was it just to tease and troll us?

Speaking of spells, the amount of spells that we hear Choco chant (averagely at least one per episode), by now she could have been a full-fledged black witch. Unless she always skips her lessons and being lazy. Also, the spells chanted feel like as though they are pulled out from the air or something. I know the magic effect will pop out of thin air but the way they easily say those spells like as though make it anyone can say it. It’s so easy. I can even create my own. Unless you need to be in a goth loli outfit to make it work, that is. Ruki-uge, Ruki-uge, auiehfweiauhiuhrdshusa. The effect is temporarily dumbness on a person. Haha!

The first opening theme is Doki Doki Shichau No Oh Yeah by Ayumu Shinga. I think it is quite a catchy piece of tune for this show. However I can’t say the same for the second opening theme, Festi-Party by Antenna Girl. From the first time I hear it, it sounds very odd. It has this festive party mood (which is why the song is called so) and despite me feeling weird at times, there is this annoying catchiness to the tune after you hear it too many times. Even funnier is how Choco and Gyubid are doing some very strange dance throughout the opening. I don’t think it would be as popular as Gangnam Style since watching them dance like that feels embarrassing. Yes, embarrassing. How I wished they didn’t change the opening tune.

Overall, somehow watching this series also brings me back to my younger days when I was watching American cartoons way before ‘upgrading’ to Japanese anime. But it lacks all those nonsensical violence you see in the former and the ecchi fanservice that has come to be ubiquitous in the latter. Without these and in this aspect, this little series itself is fun and enjoyable if you want to watch something short and light. Even if you don’t watch cartoons in your childhood days, at least it would make you feel like one again. There is no harm in that, right? Sometimes we need to relive them once in a while. At least it teaches me a lesson the next time I am sick and down with a flu, if I am ever to pray to God for a fast recovery, better say it nicely, clearly and properly even if my throat is croaking like a toad. Or else who knows what I would be summoning and getting. I wouldn’t mind if it’s a bishoujo maid however…

Witch Craft Works OVA

April 10, 2015

Remember that ongoing battle between Tower Witches and Workshop Witches? No? I don’t blame you. Because all we remember from Witch Craft Works is our favourite KMM Group being punching bag losers! Oh yeah! And thus the only reason why Witch Craft Works OVA is made is so that they can become the object of ridicule and shame just to make us laugh! Hwahahahahahaha!!! Oops… Ahem. Anyway just like many OVAs of finished TV series, this one isn’t anything to do with the real plot or whatsoever and just a fun filler. And even more fun when you have Tanpopo as the punching bag… Oops… But in actual fact, this OVA is focused more on Kasumi. And of course Tanpopo as her ‘sidekick’. Ready to get owned?

The conspiracy…
Already in the opening scenes… Yet another scathing defeat! KMM Group easily gets owned by the almighty and powerful Ayaka! They never had a chance. It is no surprise that Tanpopo is drinking out her sorrows on how to beat this b*tch. This is where Kasumi comes in and brings her back to her room. She shows her all the stuffed dolls that she can command. Her magic is to control them and has bugged her brother to get more of them till she accumulates this little army. With Tanpopo’s rabbit familiars, they are going to finish off that b*tch with their army. However you can see Tanpopo breaking down, a sign that she has been defeated so many times. Because Ayaka controls fire and Tanpopo’s summoning of rabbit familiars are just made from paper, it takes no genius to figure out what happens when fire meets paper. Yeah. No point at all. Wondering why she is asking her help to do this, Kasumi mentions about the need to protect her brother and doesn’t care less if they’re Tower Witches or Workshop Witches. Tanpopo is one who understands her feelings the most and thus they are comrades in arms for a common goal. Now begins Kasumi’s ranting why she hates that fire b*tch so much. Everything was fine till Ayaka came live with them. Kasumi couldn’t sleep with him anymore (sleeping alone made her cold and her skin condition worsen), she couldn’t eat with him during recess (Ayaka always steals him away for lunch), she couldn’t do shopping together (no more balanced diet?) and sadly no more bathing together (she enjoys him washing her from head to toe?!). No more days off together. No more this together. No more that together! Oh… Can’t you see Tanpopo is already sleeping?

Although she doesn’t know what’s going on nor can she see why she hates Ayaka so much, Tanpopo could guess that she might have a big brother complex. Kasumi becomes a demon refuting it. I don’t know. Her words sound contradicting. Despite she wants to marry him, it is her duty and future and thus there is no love there. Eh… What? Since Tanpopo’s comrades are in training (read: ran away), Kasumi feels the need to get more people for her plan. Don’t care. As long as they hate Ayaka, bring them here! Remember that other bunch of jokers, Star Group? Oh yeah. I’m sure they have a grudge to settle with Ayaka. So after a lengthy discussion of their plan, they are going to execute it right now when Ayaka is sleeping. God bless and Godspeed! But the moment they enter her room, she is waiting… AND THEY GOT EASILY OWNED!!! NO CHANGE AT ALL!!! NO MERCY!!!! TACTICAL RETREAT!!!!!!!!!! Yet another failure… And Takamiya wonders why Kasumi is so bandaged up. She tripped in the bathroom… I know it hurts on the outside and inside… At school she witnesses Takamiya and Ayaka together. She is sad and wonders if her role is over. Her friend Tanuma reminds her that season 2 of My Little Sister Can’t Be This Potato is out. WTF?! Pun of imouto (sister) and imo (potato)?! I guess this is the only way to sooth the heart of a broken hearted sister. They watch the series and from what Kasumi said, Tanuma is worried and wonders if Kasumi has brother complex. That reaction again… Being a typical tsundere to dismiss she likes him. She clarifies about marrying him that in real life many people marry not because of love. So what about children? You know how they are made, right? Of course she does! Don’t insult her. They come from birds. Like what mom said. Oh God… But Kasumi also knows the other way that they learn in physical education but views it as filthy. Tanuma just gave up.

Rinon then comes in to take Kasumi away for a job. There is a giant penguin rampaging throughout the city. I don’t know why but Tanpopo was whisked away too. Why do they even need her? We all do. Two words: Punching bag. Ah… Kasumi rides her giant bear to fight it but with Rinon encouraging her to do more, she is afraid she will get scolded if she grows her bear any bigger. Don’t worry about it. Rinon gives you her permission! Not wanting to be left out (because she is feeling so), Tanpopo joins in by riding her giant rabbit. I don’t remember why Touko has some sort of grudge against that bear so she rides a giant black bear and teams up with the penguin to fight them. And then it becomes a giant wrestling-cum-fighting between the giant animals. Conveniently a huge barren land surrounded by electric wires as ropes for this giant tag team match. In the end, Kasumi is about to give up but Rinon gives more lip service to not yield. With her determination to protect her brother, she enlarges her bear until it reaches outer space! And then a powerful punch down that ends everything. Oh Tanpopo, you got caught in the mess again… In the aftermath, the penguin becomes some small statue and as they inspect it, Kasumi is shocked to find a mark engraved on the sculpture that belongs to her brother. She distracts Rinon to hide it and claims the evidence ‘disappeared’. Tanpopo almost revealed it but is knocked out. Kasumi is convinced and happy that her brother needs her more than he needs Ayaka after all. How can she say that when she just destroyed the entire town???!!! Just deluding herself, eh?

My Little Sister Can’t Be This Brother Complex!
Oh yes. It was really fun. Having Kasumi taking the spotlight and getting frustrated about not being able to be with her brother like before and ringing out the monster of jealousy in her is pretty much fun. In the end, we all know that she is just deceiving herself because from all that has happened so far, she’ll never be able to get back her original life as long as Ayaka is still around. So whatever little confidence and hope she gets about her brother needing her (even though it might not be true), I guess it is good enough for her to keep her going. Yeah, I suppose she is that desperate. And I think she is going to need it all too. Ayaka and Takamiya only make a cameo appearance because my guess is that things won’t be this fun if they had more screen time. It’s more fun when the lesser characters take the spotlight and even more when it involves the love of your onii-chan. Doubling the fun is of course Tanpopo who doesn’t disappoint in living up to her reputation of being the punching bag of the series. Although her teammates aren’t around, but I guess she herself is enough to bring bear the brunt of it all. I still think KMM Group should get a spin-off series of their own whereby they get owned in each episode. Hah! I admit I am a sadist in seeing them so! So for brother loving Kasumi and eternal loser Tanpopo, my only hats off to you is because you never give up and continue to strive ahead even though the results will always be the same. Keep trying and trying and trying and trying and trying. Therefore, I salute to thee, God bless and Godspeed!

Madlax

April 5, 2015

After my stint with Noir and getting to know that Madlax is a spiritual successor of the former, I decided to give this genre of girls with guns another try. Honestly, I was a little hesitant seeing that the theme they are dealing with again is about memories, something that I would eventually find confusing. This time around, they added some supernatural elements too. Also, a somewhat serious war themed anime isn’t my cup of tea either. So what made me decide to watch this? Sighs… It must evident now… The tell-tale signs… I noticed a maid! Yes, damn right. Not just an extra background character but a supporting character in the series. The character that I look forward most in watching this series. Yup, the maid. Not the dangerous femme fatal mercenary protagonist with guns in her hands.

Episode 1
Madlax drops down from the helicopter into the virgin jungle. The pilot wanted to interview this babe but she tells him it is better he doesn’t know her name. Meanwhile some reconnaissance group disguised as a sugarcane delivery drives through a military checkpoint seeing the army opened fire on them. The lieutenant hands Pete a diskette containing some secret data. In worst case scenario, he is to destroy it. A tank turtles the truck. Meanwhile Madlax receives orders from her superior, SSS to retrieve that diskette. She makes her way to the military outpost and reads the lips of the soldiers to get information from their talk. Seems one of the captured guys sold Pete out at a cheap price. Pete is hiding in a cave and is tempted to answer a call from what sounds like his comrade. But Madlax stops him knowing that is a trap. The army general then wants the cave on fire to smoke them out. Madlax and Pete are at the other end of the cave. She reads the lips of those soldiers before taking them out. The general discovers his dead man and realizes this guy is really good. He wants the search expanded. When Pete learns how Madlax discovered him and that his comrades may still be alive, he wants to go back and save them. After handing her the diskette, he runs back. Madlax sees some vision and is in a dilemma. Pete is back at the checkpoint, he is upset to see lieutenant’s dead body and goes crazy firing. All missed. The general is stumped he didn’t run away but turned back to save his comrades. As he and his men turn around, Madlax ambushes them. FREAKING SH*T! All the high-tech army weapons can’t touch her! So many rounds shot and still missed! All Madlax needs is just a single shot in each of them! She’s even moving around more versatile in that sexy gown! She’s like dancing! WTF?! And did she just shoot down a helicopter with her eyes closed???!!! FREAKING SH*T!!!!!!!!! When Pete is awake, he finds himself in a jeep driven by Madlax. She is starting to lament she started an unnecessary war, wasted lots of time and energy. Pete relates his family was killed by the government army and that those comrades were like his family. He knew one of them sold them out when he called his name in the cave. But still he wanted to go save them. He wants to go out on a date with Madlax since she’s pretty. She agrees. However before she can tell him her name, he dies from his wounds :’(. Back in town, Madlax calls SSS and informs of another successful mission. She has dropped the diskette in the safe deposit box as usual. Everything went without a hitch. No problems. Well, there was just this little one. She didn’t get to go on a date.

Episode 2
Margaret Burton may be a noble but she is a little airhead and absentminded. Okay, make that very much an airhead and absentminded. If not for her competent maid, Eleanor Baker, I don’t know what would become of her. Because along her way to school, she detours and keeps looking at a pair of red shoes at a shop. Even turning up late at school, she must have been a frequent offender that the teacher doesn’t even bother to reprimand her. And she can still smile. And continues to daydream in class… Vanessa Rene leaves an auction house auctioning a sculpture. She knows at this rate the end price will be driven too high. Despite being told to get it, she will only if it was at an acceptable price. She knows it will be auctioned again months later and will bid again then. Consider this as renting out to the highest bidder. Eventually the sculpture is sold for 1.350 million. On her way home, she picks up Margaret who doesn’t quite remember her ex-neighbour. Well, they last saw each other 2 years ago and she only came back to the head office 2 weeks ago. Vanessa brings Margaret to her workplace when the boss calls her over her failure to get the sculpture. She claims they could not stand a chance to outbid a Japanese firm but it seems they didn’t win either. Although they don’t know who won, the item is being sent to Gazth Sonika, a country where their firm has connections with. Margaret wanders around and bumps into a guy from the auction, Carrossea Doon. She gets scared and runs back to Vanessa. Vanessa brings her back home and joins for dinner. She bought the pair of red shoes for her but she doesn’t seem happy. Wrong guess? Margaret then remembers she needs to look for something herself. Vanessa and Eleanor aren’t that worried since they know she was involved in some accident years ago and are thankful she gets to live in a place like this. Eleanor has found what she is looking for: A bloodstained picture book, a gift from her father. And some mad man, who got the sculpture, drops and breaks it! What a waste!

Episode 3
News of some bloody conflict with Gazth Sonika and Galza. It’s messy. Madlax gets another mission from SSS to take out Gwen McNicole, the military commander of Gazth Sonika. Surprisingly, it is Gwen himself who ordered this assassination. From an informant, she learns he is a distant relative of the supreme commander, Cawthran IV and a hero of a civil war 12 years ago. His hatred for Galza may be because his wife was killed 11 years ago. She meets Limelda Jorg, a prolific sniper of the Gazth Sonika Royal Guard as she ponders about her firm hand grip and scary eyes. Madlax impersonates as room service to talk to Gwen in his room. He finds it hard to believe that this woman will be the one who will assassinate him. She wants to see the guy who ordered himself to be killed. She wonders if he had fun. No. It was painful. Life without any influence over his intentions is painful. Since he’s going to be dead, might as well tell some back story. It seemed different at first, taking revenge on Galza for taking his wife. That thought kept him moving. However he felt he has been controlled by a greater invisible power. Like as though he is a puppet. Come to think of it, even his wife’s death may be planned. He tried to investigate but to no avail. Now all that doesn’t matter anymore. He doesn’t want to be a puppet. He’ll show them his decision. So in tomorrow’s speech, please shoot him. Madlax dances with him after that. Next day, she gets into position and lives up to her expectation to shoot him. Goodbye father? I hope that is just figurative. The place is in chaos. Limelda can pinpoint where the sniping is from and spots Madlax from her scope although she can’t see her face clearly. I don’t know if Madlax fired a warning shot at her. This throws her off and allows Madlax to escape. Later she talks to her commander about this and was told about a rumour of a super skilled agent called Madlax in this country. Carrossea is surprised Gwen pulled that off but is confident there are many other replacements. Besides, this country has a weapon… News of Gwen’s assassination spreads. Vanessa notes that the place will be in further turmoil. As though 12 years of civil war is not enough. Margaret is seemingly watching the news and Eleanor wonders if it is interesting. Nope. Boring. Like she understood all that.

Episode 4
Anne Moray strangles her father, Piederica after he finishes his talk on the phone. Then she jumps out the window and kills herself. Therefore detective Maclay Marini is stumped about the motive of the daughter of a moderate politician because investigations show she is a good and well behaved girl. Even questioning Margaret (the girls attend the same school) yielded the same result. Anne is a very kind girl. However Maclay believes there is a motive somewhere. As he hacks into Anne’s computer, there is some secret code decoded: Elda Taluta. Maclay recognizes that Enfant is behind this. Enfant is an international criminal organization and intelligence network. Even though he knows how dangerous and formidable they are, he believes in his job to arrest the perpetrators of the crime. Further investigations show that the police doesn’t even know anything about Enfant and that Anne’s father did mostly relief work in Gazth Sonika. As he tries to connect the dots between Enfant and Gazth Sonika, he gets a threatening call to back off or else he will be awakened. Maclay isn’t fazed and will flush them out. However this is the start of his troubles as his credit card becomes expired and his mother doesn’t even recognize him over the phone! Before him is a bunch of television screens. The madman, Friday Monday starts playing and spamming Elda Taluta. I’m not sure what is happening in this chaotic scene. People killing each other. Some flashback or something. Later when Margaret chances upon Maclay, he doesn’t recognize who she is. Not even when she mentions she was the one who sent flowers to Anne’s place and he picked it up for her. And oh, he denies he is Maclay. After he leaves, Margaret also starts to wonder who he is. Can I blame her short memory for this? Shortly, Carrossea picks him up and informs Maclay who is now like a yes-man puppet that he will be part of Enfant from now and living inside information.

Episode 5
SSS wants Madlax to retrieve materials sent from Nafrece that Enfant is after. Thing is, the whereabouts of the materials is unknown and it is Madlax’s job to make the impossible possible. Madlax seeks info from her informant about anyone missing recently from the list of illegal merchants and the name of Brian pops up. He is a lone wolf operating a small ship and doesn’t care about taking risks. By the time she arrives at the pier, she may be too late as the boat is gone. Chris Krana wants to hijack her bike but can he since his hands are shaking holding up a gun. Madlax is faster. She suggests that they share the ride. Carrossea summons Limelda for a mission about a boy who as entered the country illegally and can’t be allowed to roam free. Her skill is needed because he believes Madlax is also on this case. Madlax questions Chris about his illegal entry and since he came in from Nafrece, he could have done so by legal means. He can’t because before her mom died last month, she told him his dad is in Gazth Sonika who is part of the resistance group. As he always lived with his mom, he never knew he had a dad. However he didn’t get this far alone. In exchange to get him into the country, Piederica wanted to know the truth behind the 12 year civil war in which he believes wasn’t just because of religious matters between the royal family and resistance group. After they part, she remembers the trauma of searching for her father in a war torn land when she was young. Chris is confronted by several MIBs however Madlax swiftly takes them out. She realizes he is the one she is supposed to retrieve. Learning his father is Ming Dulc, the leader of the resistance group, she understands why Enfant is after him. As they trek through the jungle, Madlax knows Enfant is on the move. Limelda lies waiting ready to snipe her but gets distracted when she sees Chris. This allows Madlax to ambush and hold Limelda and Carrossea at gunpoint while allowing Chris to carry on. Carrossea is happy to back down because he personally came to see how Madlax looks like. Such a beautiful and strong woman. He can say that after he bedded with Limelda? Such a player. When Chris reaches the HQ of Galza, Friday tells him there is no such person as Ming Dulc. He never existed in reality. There is not a single fact within the info of Enfant that he is Chris, not even a record of his mother’s existence. He doesn’t exist in this world. It’s what got twisted ever since the war started 12 years ago. In the aftermath, Madlax waits for Chris’ return but he never did. He calls him a liar.

Episode 6
Margaret is sleeping in class as usual. She must have a terrible dream for her to wake up and yell that it hurts. Guess what the teacher says? Go back to sleep. Meanwhile Eleanor sees the doctor for the monthly report on Margaret. He thinks she is progressing fine since Eleanor views her as normal. When Eleanor mentions about Margaret finding a picture book, she considers it as something important to her, the doctor believes it is connected with her past and she might be remembering her past through it. But the doctor doesn’t want to rush things due to her condition. She should bring Margaret and the picture book along next time. Eleanor meets up with Vanessa to update her. They remember 12 years ago when a plane that was carrying Margaret and her mom mysteriously vanished. However a few months later Margaret turned up at their doorstep. Changed. The first word she spoke was Madlax. The plane and other passengers are still not found to this day. Margaret’s friend, Chiara invites her to come to her uncle’s party after school. There’ll be boys too and there is one who is particularly interested in her. Margaret thinks she offended him in some way. That guy must be Maurice Lopez since he has taken an interest in her and wants to talk to her. Margaret agrees but makes a call back to Eleanor to tell her that. I don’t think Eleanor is a protective maid as she has Vanessa drive her there. She has done research and knows this Maurice kid is a rascal. Okay, in a way she is that protective. So Maurice is talking to Eleanor who keeps thinking she offended him in some ways and starts apologizing. She accidentally drops her back as he picks up and browses through her picture book. After seeing those strange symbols and writings, it is like he is in a trance. He gets aggressive and gets rough on her. He will make her his. Luckily Eleanor arrives in time to put a stop to this. He gets cocky but she beats him up till he is out! Good lesson: YOU CAN NEVER DEFEAT A MAID! Maids FTW!!! And another beat up for hurting Eleanor. This maid is scary. After putting Margaret to bed, Eleanor remembers before her grandpa died, he entrusted her to take care of Margaret as their family has served the Burtons for generations. In the aftermath of that incident, Eleanor walks with Margaret to school. Can’t let that happen again, can’t she? So why not join her in school too? She already graduated but Margaret probably forgot about that too.

Episode 7
Margaret talks to Vanessa that she wants to find a book. Because there are pages torn out, she thought of finding a complete copy. However she doesn’t know its title, author or the language it is written in. That’s Margaret for you. So Eleanor finds a small time bibliodetective, Eric Gillain. He thinks she is a pushover since she has no qualms accepting his seemingly high advance fees and arrangements. As Eleanor goes to get Margaret to speak directly to him since it is her request, Eric thinks the employer must be an old rich geezer with lots of free time. He must be real surprised to see a young cute high school girl, huh? Even the cheque is genuine. So he hears her out and as usual, she knows nothing but he is willing to take up her case. Because she’s a cute girl, right? He scans the book as reference and then meets up with his linguist pal, Lucille to ask if she knows this language. Elies. It is from Gazth Sonika. Her professor once went there before the war to investigate when caves with such writings were discovered. Now with Gazth Sonika in chaos, she is not sure if the caves are still there. However she thinks Elies is jinxed. The professor’s team was attacked and he was the only survivor. Few months later, he took his own life along with his family. So what is a million bucks to Eric? That is the price of his life for going there. Because of a cute girl, right? His investigations make no progress for a few days as he even uses his connections to hire a bodyguard to get around. Guess who? Madlax! Another pretty girl? It can’t be good. Damn right he is. Because the moment Madlax meets him, she takes him away and run because gunmen are after them! Her superb skills allow them to escape. So was it worth your life, Eric? Carrossea calls Friday about the book and he is happy to see Secondari again. It is believed to be lost 12 years ago. He wants all Enfant members to concentrate every effort to find it. As Madlax and Eric camp out in the wilderness, he wonders why people are killing him over a book. Madlax is not surprised because in this country, people will kill even over her soup. He talks about morality but she views that as an illusion. After being here half a day, he should see how impermanent and fragile the world he is living in. He wonders how many she has killed. She lost count.

Episode 8
Madlax and Eric continue to run away from gunmen. They’re really out to kill them, aren’t they? Margaret has been staring at her PC for days but no daily reports from Eric. Eleanor thinks he might have run off but Margaret believes in him. Eric finally reaches a remote village supposedly where there is a person who can read Elies. The farmers do not know what he is speaking of but as said by Quanzitta Marison, others call it Elies but they call it Salon’s true words. In her hut as he shows her the scanned copies, she says she has never seen any documents written in it but will try to translate and read it although she isn’t familiar with its meaning. Sarkus Sark??? I thought I heard sex suck… Just kidding! No, seriously! She then brings him to the cave which contains some of the writings as well. It says Elda Taluta. As he looks around the eerie cave (blood and bones?), suddenly an apparition of a pair of kids pop up, Leticia and Poupee. She mentions this place is normal but the place he is standing is the edge of normal and wonders why he came here. Meanwhile Lucille talks to somebody about Eric taking some drug to delete his memories to forget something he never wanted to remember. It may come back if some similar incident triggers it. As his ex-girlfriend, living a poor but normal and safe life as a bibliodetective is the best. You don’t say… Because we see Eric remembering something traumatic. Something happened to his sister, he got beaten up, he killed those bastards and got thrown into prison. Something like that. If you’re wondering where Madlax has been all this while, she was taking out Enfant pursuers in the jungle. Success. When she returns to Eric, she is stumped that he knew her name although she never introduced herself. He somehow knew. He thinks everything is all over and has a last request. Deliver this letter to Margaret. He mentions something about taking revenge rationally for his sister but didn’t realize something was sleeping inside of him. You girls made him realize it. Margaret. Leticia. Madlax. He can’t live in this world because this place is too normal. Just like Madlax, I don’t get it. Then he jumps off the cliff! OMG! After Madlax posts the letter, she feels she has heard the name Margaret before. Carrossea ransacks Eric’s office but all traces and data of his client were deleted although Eric is dead. Friday believes the possibility of Secondari in Nafrece has increased and to keep continue searching. But Carrossea may be withholding some information because he wonders why a girl came here. When Margaret receives the letter, Eleanor believes Eric has run off with their money since the letter states he can no longer look for the book. Oddly he wrote thank you in the end instead of sorry. Margaret can tell he was crying because she could see tear marks on the thank you. As SSS notes Madlax’s first failure, she can’t help wonder what is normal because it isn’t.

Episode 9
Luciano says goodbye to Madlax as he is going to leave this country for a big job. He thinks he’ll retire after that. Vanessa, Eleanor and Margaret are on their way to some exclusive hotel when their car breaks down. Thank their lady luck for this passing biker dude, Luciano who was there at the right time to help fix it. At the pool, Vanessa spots Carrossea coming her way and pretends to be a relative of somebody. She’ll be fired if they find out she did some company policy violation. Meanwhile Luciano tries to snipe Carrossea from the mountains but the girls distract him and he loses his chance. But Margaret senses something there and later ventures there only to see Luciano. They talk with Luciano mentioning he has been searching for a place to call his own and that being with Margaret somehow soothes him. This place is too peaceful that it’s scary because it feels fragile. Apparently Margaret doesn’t know what peace means because everywhere is fighting and people hurting each other. Luciano says it is better than being killed. That is what this place is. That is why he dislikes it. He remembers being in a war and saw Leticia. As the ladies are searching for Margaret, Vanessa overheard Carrossea talking to the hotel manager that their company will supply materials to Gazth Sonika as always. It looks like they have no intention of ending the civil war and it will be their best interests if the war continues. Vanessa couldn’t believe their company has been supplying weapons when Luciano bumps into her to return sleeping Margaret. Next day as they leave, Vanessa reminds if they have forgotten anything. True enough, Margaret rushes back out. That’s so Margaret. How can she even forget that picture book? Luciano is trying to snipe Carrossea again. However Carrossea sees Margaret dashing before him and he is shocked that she has Secondari. This causes Luciano to accidentally snipe the hotel manager instead. As Carrossea takes cover, he calls for Limelda who in turn takes out Luciano. Margaret has another wish and it is to see Luciano. At the top of the hills, she only sees his bike and stuffs. No Luciano. Time to go. Luciano barely alive sees Margaret. He realizes why he feels calm around it. It is her scent. She smells like Gazth Sonika. So did her pass away peacefully? I guess not. Bullet in your body is such a pain. SSS calls Madlax for an urgent mission but he can tell she is crying although she doesn’t know why.

Episode 10
Margaret asks Vanessa about what is right and wrong. I think everyone’s opinion about it differs. Vanessa then tries to search for data about her company as she is concerned about it contributing to the war. So she goes to see her old friend Badgis and tells him her worries. She could easily do some hacking and expose the company but she can’t because Enfant is involved. What she wants is proof that the company and Enfant are involved in Gazth Sonika’s war and get it without revealing who she is. Badgis shows her his room containing a super computer called True Cluster (the specs may sound frightening at that time). There is no chance Enfant could interfere with its system since he and his students develop it and only Badgis writes all the source code for programmes. Carrossea tries to find out who hired Luciano to kill him. However even the data of the guests have been properly changed without leaving any trace therefore no information about the girl with Secondari. Firstari on the other hand is in Friday’s hands. True Cluster begins its hacking but it’s going to take some time since Enfant’s security is tough to crack. Even for a super computer. Unfortunately, Enfant fights back and is trying to shut them down. There is a risk that they may trace them here and Vanessa wants to break off all connections now. In the end, Badgis manages to forcefully shut it down but just in time transferring the required data. Friday calls Carrossea about the hacking and it could be linked with the person who tried to assassinate him. He wants him to deal with the issue. Too bad the hacker got away but knows the chunk of data is stored in a certain location. Since Badgis forcefully shut down the system, its location is a server in Gazth Sonika. The only way is to physically retrieve it there. I guess there is only one option left. Vanessa packs her bags and arrives in the war torn Gazth Sonika.

Episode 11
Margaret doing research on Gazth Sonika’s geography and history? I think she just sucks in maths. As Vanessa makes her way around Gazth Sonika, Carrossea is also spying on her by in a dilemma on what to do as he has his own ulterior motives. Vanessa receives a call from her boss to quickly return. Looks like she has limited time to get it done. She remembers Badgis telling her the computer where it is stored. It is in a small town called Daman. No worries of finding which shop. It is the only PC shop there. She must move fast because since he forcefully shut it down, if it reconnects to the internet, Enfant can trace the stolen data and ultimately her. Badgis has also underground information and knows certain people she can call for protection and guide. SSS calls Madlax and her new mission is to protect a civilian. He can’t say much as Enfant is involved. When Vanessa arrives at the store, she finds it has been sold to a frequent customer, Ainse. He is a student and from a family of doctors. Lucky her, Ainse just came in to buy a network card as the PC he bought cannot connect. Vanessa pretends to be from the troubleshooting company but he feels suspicious. Using her PR skills, she coaxes him into letting her have a look. As he brings his laptop to her, to her horror he has connected to the internet with an old and slower card. Quickly she inserts her disk to download and then delete everything. Ainse must be confused what the heck is happening. Oh no. MIBs confront them. Hand over the data or this kid will die. Vanessa has no choice but before they can take it, they took the bullets from Madlax instead. Apologizes for arriving late as she was disposing more men than expected. Madlax drives Vanessa away. Carrossea has seen everything. Then he shoots his driver and reports the data is in Madlax’s hand and her whereabouts unknown. Vanessa is shocked that Madlax, a girl like her could kill 3 men. 7 to be exact. The rest were hiding. It’s her job. She had no choice because Enfant has saw her face and will be targeted by the entire organization if there were survivors. Pointing out Vanessa is kind, however she shouldn’t have done this. She points her gun at her as reminder that this is Gazth Sonika, where the price of life is cheapest.

Episode 12
Carrossea sends Limelda to do a job. She agrees since she has a score to settle with Madlax. Vanessa and Madlax are staying at a motel. She tries to retrieve the data but there is a password blocking it. She calls Badgis about it but Madlax unplugs the phone. Don’t do anything unnecessary because he will die too. Vanessa reveals her intention to expose Enfant exporting Gazth Sonika and this could end the war. However Madlax doesn’t think so. The moment she publishes the data, she will be killed. There are only 2 options to stay alive. Don’t publish it or have her be her bodyguard. What if she publishes the data while having her bodyguard? A lot of people will die. She will kill them. Vanessa cannot believe she can say that with a straight face. It’s what she has been doing since. Madlax calls SSS to check for any movements from Enfant. Her informant tells her a personal bodyguard is working alone aiming for her. She knows who that person is. Deep in the night when Vanessa has fallen asleep, Madlax goes out to see Limelda. I guess it saves her the trouble of finding her. They question each other and Madlax plays along that the data is with her and took her for her own reasons. Liar. Madlax thought she can’t be killed as the data is with her. On the contrary, Limelda can because the data will fall back into darkness. And now the hide-and-seek cat-and-mouse game begins. Madlax hides well but Limelda can still sense her whereabouts. It ends when Madlax shoots her jeep to explode as distraction to get away. Madlax returns in the morning and Vanessa sees her a little injured, although the bullet just grazed her arm. Madlax reports that it seems Enfant is under the impression she took the data herself. This means they don’t know about Vanessa’s existence and she can go home. But Vanessa won’t because she is bent on exposing the truth even if this means die trying. Meanwhile Carrossea sees Margaret in person.

Episode 13
Carrossea remembers her. On pretence he is sent by Eric to see the book, he becomes a smooth operator to let her have a look at it. He promises to give it back. As he goes through the pages, he notices a page missing. It has been like that when she got it. The next page is soaked in blood and Carrossea suddenly becomes hypnotized in fear. He is snapped out when Margaret takes it back. He notices she has seen and touched the book so many times but nothing happened. Who is she? Margaret. Duh! Vanessa is blindfolded and brought back to Madlax’s secret hideout. There is a page of Secondari on her wall. Madlax considers it her charm and doesn’t know how to read those words. Vanessa explains her parents were tricked by Gazth Sonika. Her father was a diplomat and at the time the civil war was at its peak. He was in charge of relations between the countries but her parents were arrested on grounds they incited the war. Vanessa knows that is not true and that is why she sought the truth, a reason why she joined this company because it has close ties to Gazth Sonika. Her parents might be dead but she wants to know what her father set out to do. For the first time, Madlax also reveals that she is looking for her father, the reason she is in this country. She has faint memories of him. He was in fatigues and probably a soldier. The army database has nothing. As Carrossea drives Margaret back, she tells him she has no memories of her younger days. She can’t remember the face of her father, the one who gave her the book. Carrossea says they are the same. He too has no memories. At her doorstep, before he could ask, Margaret says no. Somehow she knew he was going to ask to give him the book. She can’t. It is hers. Worried Eleanor has Margaret go change as she is wet from the rain. Carrossea confirms with her that Margaret has no memories. She even further reveals when she returned after missing from that trip, the only word she spoke was Madlax. Carrossea is in shock as he tries to connect the things together. He is sure the blood in the book is his. He vows to take it back and return it to that boundless place. Friday calls him for report and since there is no progress, time is up and he is going to use that word. Madlax receives a call from SSS about rumours that she stole Enfant’s data. He wants her to be careful as sometimes they lace it with trap. Just when Vanessa has unlocked the password, the data acts strange. Madlax pushes her away but her eyes see the Elda Taluta words spamming on the screen. She becomes hypnotized. Meanwhile, Quanzitta’s servant and agent, Nakhl creeps into Margaret’s room to steal the book. But Margaret grabs her hand. It’s like she is sleep walking and talking. She warns her if she takes the book, she will kill her.

Episode 14
Vanessa wants to look at the data again but sleeping Madlax wakes up and tells her not to. She notices her personality has changed. She’s a little in a daze. Carrossea calls Limelda that the search is off. The data doesn’t matter. So is Madlax dead? Even if she is alive, she isn’t the same person she used to be. Of course Limelda personally can’t accept this. Carrossea talks to Margaret and Eleanor about the book. The book is very dangerous and thus she is being targeted. As of now, she is being watched although he doesn’t know who. Because Margaret won’t give it up, he’ll take care of the situation somehow but hopes she will not bring it to public anymore. As Vanessa talks to Madlax, she seems to remind her a lot of Margaret especially when she mentions about the missing red shoes. Wasn’t it that pair she bought? Carrossea confronts Nakhl and wants some answers about what she is after. She won’t say. She also knows who he is but from his actions, he doesn’t seem to be operating under Enfant’s orders. She notes he has the gift and escapes. Vanessa wakes up to find Madlax gone. Looking for her shoes? Limelda sees her and realizes what Carrossea said was true. Vanessa finds wandering Madlax but Limelda points her gun. Madlax cowers behind her. Is this for real? I don’t know if Vanessa can shoot her with those shaking hands and at such a close distance. Madlax continues to remember the trauma of chasing her father’s back and suddenly she’s back into her groove overpowering Limelda! She lets her live as she doesn’t want to kill without knowing what’s going on. She might regret this. And she thought Vanessa was the one wandering by herself. She doesn’t remember, doesn’t she? Well at least she’s back. As Margaret goes to school, she passes by Nakhl. Instinctively she tells her not to take the book although Nakhl pretends to ignore and continues walking. She notes Margaret too has the gift.

Episode 15
Madlax thanks Vanessa for coming after her. Now they need to seal the data because after she fell into their trap, Enfant may have found out who she is. Nakhl returns to Quanzitta to report about Margaret as well as Carrossea who also possesses the gift. Limelda reports to Carrossea about Madlax. She also informs the accomplice she has and sends a picture of Vanessa. Seems Carrossea is not too happy about this. He has her on standby when he gets a call from Friday. Time to meet up. Eleanor dresses up as Margaret’s fellow student to better protect her and the book. Yeah. Margaret can’t recognize her. NOOOO!!! PUT BACK ON THAT MAID OUTFIT!!!! Madlax further explains to Vanessa that she doesn’t know who she is as she doesn’t have memories of her childhood. All she remembers was her father’s image and the word Madlax. That is why she became just Madlax. Before she knew it, she was in an institution where SSS picked her up and had her do assignments. She just did them and get by without having to think it all. Carrossea meets Friday and the latter talks about his report about Madlax hacking and stealing data. However he knows that is not correct. Because he has a picture of Vanessa. Carrossea must be trying hard not to press the panic button as Friday explains briefly about this colleague of his. But his interests lie somewhere else. The one who received baptism of Firstari and overcame it, Madlax knows where Secondari is. Since Madlax is curious to know her past, she activates the data again. Oh no. Elda Taluta! As she goes into that trance, similarly Margaret is affected and collapses. Madlax finds herself in a decimated warzone. She sees Leticia running around. There is her dad too but no matter how much she chases, she loses him. Talking to Leticia, she mentions this is a normal place. This place is the truth. However Madlax is different. She is false. Just like the warzone. Madlax snaps out and returns to reality. She isn’t changed although she is reeling from that ‘dream’. Margaret is fine too but she notes that she saw a doll. A very important doll. All the data Vanessa wanted appears shortly. It shows the balance of power in this war is being controlled by Enfant. Including the government and the economy. It’s like they control this country and has been waging a meaningless war in a place that is basically their own country. Madlax now realizes what false warzone means.

Episode 16
Vanessa ponders the irony of the war. Enfant supplies free weapons to both sides of the conflict and that both sides too have members from Enfant. What meaning does it have for Enfant to do this? You asking Madlax? Like hell she knows. Here’s a surprise. Margaret calls Carrossea to meet him. She tells him of a strange dream she has each time she sleeps with the picture book. She is in an abandoned place filled with junk. It is very lonely there. Eleanor is such an awesome maid that she knows how to trace Margaret and picks her up in a helicopter. Now don’t you just love maids already? Carrossea notes that her dream is due to Secondari’s effects. If that theory is correct, it means she is closer to that place than him. Vanessa tries to find a way to publicise the data but Madlax believes it is impossible as every information network is secured by Enfant. But there is a way. She talked to SSS to help arrange and contact an intelligence office in Nafrece. Vanessa makes a copy of the data so Madlax can go deliver. However Vanessa wants to come along as she only knows the password to the data. They meet an agent but since he refuses to tell them what he’ll do with the data, Vanessa warns about the password. In that case, he throws it into the drain! His army surround them and they have to be good girls since he is going to take them to a place. Madlax is knocked out unconscious and when she comes to, she finds herself in a decimated place and wearing a white gown. Before her is a book and red shoes. When Friday appears before her and says this is the place she used to be, Madlax goes into a little traumatic mode. She remembers she was here. Friday tells her she already heard the words of awakening but needs another one. She knows it. He asks the whereabouts of Secondari but she doesn’t know. She claims all she wanted was to be normal but he took it away. Her existence too. Why continue with this endless war? Friday is disappointed that she abandoned it on her own and wished this worthless life instead of his ideals. After he leaves her, Vanessa wonders who that guy is. The guy who started this war. Now that Friday didn’t accept her, the army is out to kill her. But you know… She can kill all of them in her gown and even with her eyes closed! No chance! But the army leader is shot by Vanessa. At that moment, Margaret abruptly wakes up crying.

Episode 17
Vanessa is in shock that she fired a gun. Although that guy is still alive, she is reeling from her conscience of pulling a trigger. The sounds of war and gunshots further drive her crazy. Madlax gives her a harsh reality check that if she hadn’t done that, she would be that. And death is a way to say that you have failed in life. A couple of soldiers ambush them and recognize them as killers of the royal family. Madlax realizes they have been framed and then guns them down before Vanessa’s eyes. Limelda calls Carrossea about it and now she has a reason to kill Madlax. Carrossea feels the need to decide faster now that a connection has been made between Vanessa and Margaret. News of Vanessa and Madlax killing Jaham Cawthran, the cousin of the king spreads worldwide. It is no doubt Margaret and Eleanor are shocked to hear this. An inspector even comes to their house to question about their ex-neighbour. Later Badgis comes by to reveal the data has been manipulated by Enfant to make the ladies look like bad guys. He knows because he helped Vanessa out. However Vanessa is still alive and wanted posters of her is proof of that. He mentions about Madlax being her hired bodyguard and this made Eleanor think back this was the only word Margaret remembered then. Margaret then wants to go to Gazth Sonika to see Vanessa. At the airport, the inspector stops them. Naïve Margaret tells him everything he asks. The more reason he can’t let them go. Thankfully Carrossea was there to say some magic words to make him go away. Do you call it a coincidence that he is also on his way to Gazth Sonika? Eleanor thinks he planned it all out despite claiming it is just a big coincidence. Oh yeah. A big coincidence too since they’re staying at the same hotel. Madlax returns to her home to get all the stuffs they need and run. SSS calls her about what has happened. He hints he sold out information as he values his life. He hopes they can work together again in the future. So don’t die. With nowhere to go, they aimlessly run away from Enfant. Madlax knows Enfant is after a book she has never seen before. Since she doesn’t know the language, they have to find out first. However Enfant ambushes them. Madlax is surrounded. It could have been game over if not for somebody throwing a couple of pistols for her to gun them all down! The soldiers with machine guns cannot even best her with revolvers?! Big joke. Thank Limelda for that because she will be the one to kill her. Madlax tells her this war was setup by Enfant and gives her the diskette that contains the truth. Or is she too scared to face it? Limelda lets them go as she ponders about looking at the data. Vanessa wants Madlax to teach her to shoot. Because they both can’t die, right? The biggest coincidence: The cars Vanessa and Margaret are riding pass each other.

Episode 18
Limelda must be confused after learning the truth. Meanwhile, Vanessa’s assistant, Charlie Winston is looking for clues on Vanessa but nobody is being cooperative. He stumbles upon Eleanor and Margaret and they exchange information. Apparently Margaret has this great idea of asking those pursuing Vanessa. Oh yeah. I’m sure they’re going to tell. Elsewhere Vanessa begins her gun training. She must use up the box of ammo to get her body used to it. Happy firing. Limelda confronts her superior about the truth. From his reaction, he already knows about it. Limelda notes how everything is meaningless. But as told, it doesn’t have to be as long as she doesn’t accept this fact and be faithful to orders. She knows the orders will come from Enfant and not the army. However she is not smart enough to live a fake truth and shoots him. Now she has to face the army outside. I don’t think it’ll be a problem for her. Madlax studies the history of Gazth Sonika and sees that same picture. She realizes it is the Elies language. Nakhl creeps up and points a knife behind her back as she believes the book is not meant for her. Madlax answers that she is researching it for her own sake to remain as herself. Nakhl points out she is wrong because she is different. Madlax remembers that traumatic memories of her father. She doesn’t want to her existence to be denied and fires her gun but Nakhl avoids. Limelda confronts Carrossea and now that she knows the truth and he as an agent of Enfant, what is she going to do? She shoots him but intentionally misses. I guess she still has feelings for him. As she wanders in the streets, she notes everything is fake and Madlax is the only truth. That’s why she will kill her. Uh? What? Madlax and Nakhl’s standoff continues. However Madlax loses as Nakhl warns her she is outside time and those with no talent shouldn’t come into contact with the book although she had a brief encounter with it. Margaret and Eleanor are still searching late into the night and this brought them to the library where the duo are. Their appearance distracts Nakhl and enables Madlax to retrieve her gun. Although she only managed to break Nakhl’s gun as she got away. Rather, Nakhl let her live. When Margaret introduces herself, Madlax remembers who she is because Vanessa told her she is her friend. Speaking of Vanessa, after wasting a whole lot of ammo, she finally hits the can. WTF. I know she’s an amateur but this bad?

Episode 19
Vanessa is happy to see Margaret and Eleanor again. But it’s getting dangerous and she wants them to return to Nafrece. Margaret wants to stay because she is being targeted too. Her book. As the ladies talk, Madlax remembers about Eric and what Friday said to her. They conclude that Enfant is searching for this book but for reasons unknown. Madlax remembers a place she went with Eric before and it may hold the clue. Margaret really wants to go even if that place is dangerous and she might die because she wants to know the truth. If this is what she has decided… Nakhl reports to Quanzitta about Margaret and Carrossea coming here as they have the gift. However Nakhl points out one is an unknown. Although she has no gift, she can feel it. She is Madlax. As the ladies drive along, Margaret believes finding the truth of this book may lead her to find out about her father and of course her memories from 12 years ago. That’s the same case for Madlax. They are attacked by soldiers and although none are hurt they no choice have to abandon their jeep and leave on foot. Madlax leaves Vanessa to protect the rest while she heads off alone to take out the rest. However somebody is sniping the soldiers too. Limelda won’t have anyone kill Madlax. A soldier creeps up on Vanessa and Madlax can’t make it in time. When Margaret screams, Nakhl throws her knife at the soldier. Meanwhile Carrossea confronts Friday and is going to take Firstari from him. Nakhl brings the ladies to see Quanzitta, the one who watches the era. She explains there are 3 books. The one Margaret is holding is Secondari. Firstari is in Enfant’s hands. Quanzitta has Thirstari. By itself the books mean nothing. All 3 must come together and the door to that place will open (where Leticia is waiting) and they shall find true kindness and warmth. You can find out about yourself and the way you’re supposed to be. Quanzitta tells Margaret that if she gets Firstari, she will give Thirstari to her and then guide her to that door. Friday doesn’t believe Carrossea can go to that place. However Carrossea knows the person having Secondari and that person will guide him there. He then shoots Friday. Margaret wants to go to that place but Madlax is having second thoughts. She doesn’t want to go there. But Leticia knows she will come to find out about herself.

Episode 20
As told, the war was started all because the books were gathered. 12 years ago, Friday obtained all 3 books and opened the door to the other side in search of something. Eleanor supports Margaret to gather the books because she believes her memories will return. Margaret thanks Madlax but the latter says it is only because of her job. She had to kill many. She knows it is bad but otherwise she will die. Margaret calls her a kind person but kind people don’t kill, right? Then she is a kind killer. Oh Margaret, you crack me up sometimes. Madlax goes to see Quanzitta so that she can have a look at Thirstari. Quanzitta ‘scans’ her and finds she doesn’t have the gift. However she somehow got caught in it. Madlax mentions about that unseen warzone and Leticia’s words. After handing Madlax Thirstari, we delve into her memories as we see young Madlax calling out to her father. I think her father was pointing a gun at her and in the end she shot him. After he falls, before her was young Margaret. Leticia mentions she is a moment, a thought left behind. Limelda shoots the candle as warning. Time to get your game on. But Limelda is puzzled that Madlax is walking straight towards her. And crying. Like as though she wants to get killed. Happy to oblige. However Nakhl saves her and she herself doesn’t know why. So they talk about reasons to exist and some promise. This gets Madlax back into her groove as she ‘dances’ with Limelda in a gunfight. Meanwhile Margaret is surprised Carrossea is here. He reveals he is from Enfant although with a different goal. He hands over Firstari to her in exchange she will guide him there. He hopes to find his memories and truths that he lost 12 years ago. He needs her. Madlax and Limelda are point blank at each other. Limelda realized her life up till now has been fake and fabricated by Enfant. Even so, she has her reasons why she wants to kill her. Madlax continues to fight because of a promise and for her own existence. Limelda views that reason the same as hers. She will forgive her own existence by killing her. Vanessa’s lousy shot distracts them but Limelda manages to put a bullet in Madlax’s guts before running away. I think it is beginner’s luck because Limelda got injured by her stray shot. Limelda curses Vanessa for interrupting their ‘dance’. Madlax wants them to find Margaret instead of worrying about her. After Quanzitta confirms Secondari, she guides Margaret and Carrossea to the door. Nakhl has an uneasy feeling that something is wrong. Oh, Friday still lives and he can hear a beautiful melody. Cue for madman laughter.

Episode 21
Carrossea notes everything about him is fake. His name, title and life. That’s why he wants Margaret to guide him to the truth. Eleanor learns Margaret is trying to open the door and has a guide. She won’t accept this (probably because it’s that guy) and goes to see her. Margaret chants the secret words that will open the door: Elda Taluta, Sarkus Sark and… Ark Alks. It doesn’t sound as good as the first two. By the time Eleanor arrives, Margaret has already gone to the other side. But where’s the door? Duh. But as Quanzitta says, those without the gift cannot see it. So Eleanor is sad but what else can she do but pray and hope for the best for her return. Margaret and Carrossea are walking through some strange dimension. She heard Leticia’s voice that they can’t come in here to get to the truth yet. She tells Carrossea not to open the door but he doesn’t listen. After coming so far and only to back out? No way. Once he does, Margaret falls unconscious and finds herself in some jingle plains. There is a flashback whereby young Margaret and her mom are on a plane. Poupee was onboard too. The plane hits some strange turbulence (Friday opening the door then) and crashes. Only Margaret and Poupee survived. She is sad that her mom is dead but he takes her to run and hide in the midst of the warzone (Friday laughing like a madman in the background?). He gave her candies and promised he’ll live through this. Carrossea realizes Poupee is him but can’t understand why he looked so different. Colonel Burton who is also known as Madlax confronts Friday who is in possession of the books. Colonel Burton shoots him and Friday is blinded in his right eye. Margaret runs to her father but Poupee stops her. In the process, he gets shot and his blood stains the pages of Secondari. The door closes as Carrossea realizes this is the truth. His chest starts to bleed too. He wants to go to Margaret but Leticia tells him not to open the door or else he will cease to exist. He doesn’t listen. Leticia starts crying as Poupee disappears. Carrossea is next to unconscious Margaret, grateful that he is able to realize his true feelings. He wants to protect her even if it costs his life because before he became who he is, he loved her. As he lies beside her, Friday picks up the books. He says his existence was nothing more than his will to live which he made incarnate using the power of that place. If he finds out the truth, that existence will disappear. Thanks to him, the books have come back into his hands.

Episode 22
Leticia confronts Friday and wonders if he wants that to happen again. Everybody will kill each other and disappear. He thinks this is what human wants but just doesn’t know. He is just trying to lead them to that paradise. He will save them using this book. However Leticia says she is alone. He then notices a page missing in Secondari. She believes he can’t find it as the through is on the other side. Quanzitta can feel Margaret is refusing to open the door. Nakhl thinks it is because of Madlax. Madlax can feel Margaret’s presence. Over the mountains. Eleanor and Vanessa seek her help to guide them there. Get this. Madlax walks right into the middle of somebody’s war and starts shooting everyone with her eyes closed! The survivors call a retreat! WTF?! Margaret is walking along thinking about the doll, book and red shoes. She remembers going to hug her father but Madlax shot him. A soldier picks her up. He tries to interrogate her and thinks she’s trying to be funny when she says she’s going to die. She didn’t like to be pushed down. After that, you’ll hear a very piercing scream from the guy… Holy cow… What happened… Looks like Madlax has to face off with Limelda again. It really feels funny to see her dancing her way to dodge the bullets! She can do this all because she knows who she is and accepts herself? Of course we know eventually Madlax will come out tops. Vanessa and Eleanor got separated looking for Margaret. Vanessa bumps into Friday who knows all about her. He will tell her what she wants in exchange for a page of Secondari. Screw that. He hints to her that war is what people want. Not based on religious grounds or a country’s economy but their deep desire. Her parents were trying to go against that instinct and paid the price. Vanessa blames him for this war and everything but Friday is going to awaken her and says Elda Taluta. She falls into a trance as she sees those memories. Madlax is here and Friday hopes she can give the page. No way. She’ll kill him. Vanessa notices Limelda creeping from behind and picks up her gun to shoot at her. Again, Vanessa is the one nailing the victory over Limelda. But why the heck was Limelda hiding behind a rocky cliff?! Now she’s falling dooooooooown. However Vanessa got shot too. Then in some alternate dimension like as though it’s a place to say goodbye, Vanessa tells Madlax that all she wanted was to prove her parents’ innocence and protect her friends. But now she leaves everyone in Madlax’s care. How can she be this irresponsible? Can’t blame her. When you see little Vanessa happily reuniting with her parents like a happy kid, you just let her go. Margaret screams upon seeing Vanessa’s dead body and thinks Madlax killed her just like she killed her dad. She picks up Vanessa’s gun and without hesitation shoots her! Now it’s her turn to fall off the cliff.

Episode 23
Eleanor finds Vanessa’s dead body. So sad… Madlax wakes up. She finds no wound. Is this a dream? Nakhl doesn’t think so. It’s real. Because Vanessa is really dead. Madlax believes she is no good at living and wants to disappear. Sure, she can do that anytime. But only those living can carry on the things they’re supposed to do. Nakhl informs Margaret has gone with Friday. He might be trying to open the door now. Madlax knows he can’t because she has that page with her. Now that she has finally understood the truth and herself, she is going to rescue Margaret. She joins Eleanor praying at a makeshift grave for Vanessa. Telling her about Margaret’s situation, how does she know where Margaret is? Nakhl will guide the way. They enter an area where the battle is most heavily fought. Madlax explains that Enfant is responsible in creating this war and is trying to make it last by using the books. Now they’re trying to recreate it again but this time need someone with the gift. It’s time for Madlax action as she storms through the battlefield killing everybody with her handgun. Yeah, they’re armed with all the combat gears and machine guns and still cannot best her. But Madlax didn’t have 100% kill record. One of them is taken out by Eleanor. With a torchlight!!! Maids FTW! Then on the boat ride as they are ambushed, Eleanor’s desire to see Margaret so much has her use the boat’s machine gun and random fire! Holy sh*t! Did she kill everybody?! I didn’t know she had such talent in using this assuming this is her first time! In actual fact, the soldiers are done in by Nakhl travelling on land. Oh, Limelda lives! She’s sneaking around killing those soldiers too. Meanwhile Margaret is talking to Friday and calls him her father. She asks him about this yellow flower and in the ancient language it means allurement. Just like how it will allure Madlax here and then his wish will be granted once the lost time of 12 years is reborn again. Margaret says she hates Madlax and asks for permission to kill her. Go ahead. Since it will make father happy, she’ll do it. Madlax and Eleanor stop for the night. Eleanor asks her real name. She doesn’t know as she doesn’t have memories and that was the only word she knew and assumed it as her code name. As for her connection with Margaret, she isn’t entirely sure but feels they are connected. That is why she will go to her and find out about the truth. And now for more Madlax action as she dances her way to kill the ambushing guards. They thought the flare could make it more visible but they don’t know she doesn’t need to use her eyes to kill them. Get this. A soldier is about to shoot Eleanor. Madlax could time her shot that she shoots away his bullet! Eleanor believed in her and didn’t flinch! So unbelievable that it’s just awesome. Speechless.

Episode 24
If you are feeling bored with the flashback talk between Vanessa and Eleanor, I’m sure you would enjoy the Madlax action of her killing all the armed soldiers with just a pair of guns and in a white dress. Freaking awesome. Freaking unbelievable. And how is she going to take an army of choppers coming her way? I don’t know but we know she’ll do it somehow. Yeah. Even she herself said she can’t die. So much so that the entire platoon is wiped out, Friday even shoots his so called best soldier as he is tired of him thinking he can do the job. Madlax is more interesting, right? Then another faceoff between Madlax and Limelda but this time it just feels unenthusiastic. They’re missing each other at such close range? And they’re not even making any effort to dodge or move from their spot! So are they interested in killing each other or what?! Even Limelda begs Madlax to kill her but she won’t. Instead she has a request and that is to watch her till the end. I guess everybody has gone mad since Limelda thought she was being confessed to. What? We take a break from all that to have some reminiscence flashback from Eleanor thinking about Margaret. Then it’s time for some maid action stuff as we see Eleanor giving a few high kicks to disarm fully armed soldiers. Hah. What a big laugh. I love it! She even holds one hostage and is willing to go as far as to pull the trigger. However thoughts of Margaret won’t like it made her stop. She runs. Soldiers fire. Miss. As expected. Then… Eleanor is cornered at the cliff and shot! But… Maids are tough people. She is still alive and crawls her way to the flower beds. She hears Eleanor singing and goes up to her. Unfortunately Eleanor doesn’t know who she is. Eleanor wants them to go home. She apologizes that she had always wanted her memories to come back. However she is fine that if it doesn’t. As long as she is herself. Friday is introduced as Margaret’s father as Eleanor points the gun at him. He’s not her father. Friday tells Margaret to say the words of awakening. This causes her to go into a trance. Then she points her gun at Margaret and Friday thinks her true desire is hating her. However she breaks free from the spell and points the gun back at Friday. Her true desire is love. Margaret remembers her and reunites with her. However she is at her limit as she succumbs to her earlier gunshot wound. Eleanor is glad to be her family. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Why you kill her off???!!! You don’t have to remind me twice that she’s dead, Margaret. Don’t. I’m so depressed now… So depressing that even Leticia is crying and needs to be hugged by the maid. Where the hell were you Madlax when she got shot?! Nooo… :’(

Episode 25
I share Margaret’s pain that Eleanor is gone (because it’s no fun when the maid’s gone). What did she say about staying by her side forever? Now she is all alone. With Madlax here, Friday wants the missing page. Madlax blames him for the sadness and everything. He talks about the distorted world and hidden evil but Madlax doesn’t care for it all. Because within the lies are truth. The truth for Margaret. However Margaret shoots Madlax as she doesn’t want her to kill her father again. OMG. I think Margaret pumped lots of bullets into her. Overkill. But why do I have a feeling she isn’t dead? It’s not like Margaret was firing blanks or Madlax was wearing some bullet proof vest. Limelda is disheartened that Madlax is shot but is told not to go an inch closer by Nakhl. Beyond there is the sacred place and those with the gift can only enter. All they can do is watch over them. Now that the books are completed, Friday successfully opens the door and will go back 12 years in time and eliminate those who interfered with his wish. Because that bullet caused him his right eye, he was unable to open the door. Now with the guide of his daughter, he will open the door. Margaret goes back to the past to see everything from the time she boarded the plane, its crash, her runaway with Poupee and the ultimate faceoff between her father and Friday. When father and daughter are happily reunited, Friday recites the words of awakening. This causes her father to pick up the gun and getting ready to shoot her. Margaret is scared to death. She doesn’t want to die but yet she knows if nothing is done, father will kill her. In that great dilemma of hers, she split into 3 personas. Herself, Madlax and Leticia. Madlax as seen pulls the trigger. Leticia says she is her doll, an instant impulse, the part that separates them. As Margaret is in shock learning the truth, Friday talks about how she killed her father, sealed her memory and led a normal life. 12 years of her life spent in falsehood. She must now not run away from the truth and must not deny her doings. He recites the words of awakening again and this causes the entire world to go mad and kill each other. Time will start moving again where it stopped 12 years ago. Cue for super mad madman laughter. Margaret regrets everything and is sorry that she ran away from the truth. Suddenly Friday’s mask is shot off. That should stop his laughing. He remembers. As long as there is a person carrying that name, that person will interfere with his plans. Yup. Madlax is here. The one who carries Margaret’s sin and born of sadness. She is Pandora’s jewel, the kind murderer.

Episode 26
Madlax understands that as a product of Margaret’s sins, she is not at fault for shooting her father as she wanted to live. Friday tries to persuade them to unite but Madlax shoots to shut him up. Madlax then gives the gun to Margaret to decide. She is the one to open the door and must decide whether to save or erase her other personas. Margaret can’t. It’s too sudden. She doesn’t want to go back to be the one who killed father. Leticia notes that it is because of her indecisiveness, she is stuck in this place for 12 years and doesn’t want to be alone anymore. Madlax on the other hand doesn’t mind being erased because her friends wished it. Since there are others who care about her (like Limelda), in that sense she will still continue to exist. Margaret doesn’t want to run away anymore and even though if becoming one with Madlax means undertaking her ruthless personality, she doesn’t want Madlax to carry the burden alone. The trio hold hands and merge into a single entity and Margaret’s original self. Friday is happy for their ‘reunion’ and believes Margaret is not as fault. It is the world. It is also the reason her father was crazy. Now they have to tell the world about it. Once Margaret starts believing she wasn’t wrong to kill her father because she wants to live, she is going to teach the world about its crookedness. To Madlax. She picks up the gun and points at Friday. That stopped your laughing, bro? Margaret elaborates that she and everyone else has known for a long time that the world is crooked and therefore no teaching is necessary. But there is one person who doesn’t understand about that: Madlax. That’s why she wants to teach her that she doesn’t need to be nice. To do that, she will kill the evil within her, which is to kill him. A lot of people died. That’s why she hates him and that feeling makes it her sin. Friday is not happy. This is not what she wished for. He shoots her many times but it looks like Margaret could bend his bullets! OMFG!

And with a single shot, Friday is sent back to reality. He gets the ultimate shock when Madlax is before him. What the hell? Weren’t they supposed to have become one? I don’t know. Nobody knows anything. All Madlax knows is that she is here to kill him. Time for some final superb Madlax action as she adds to the body count and all those useless soldiers jumping into the scene just to get shot and die like ants. Really. Serious. Not even the bazooka guy could touch her. Really. Serious. Friday must be confused about intrinsic nature and what he wished for because certainly this is not the truth to him. Oh hell. Like I care anymore. Madlax just needs a bullet to send him down. As he is dying in his last breathe, he is spewing some crap about the lie and mistake in front of him and that he couldn’t see it. What a dramatic way to die. Meanwhile Margaret is a step from opening the door. She knows her wish for herself and the world. Next we see Margaret picking up Madlax from the rubbles. Margaret realized something when they became one. It was a lie when Madlax said she has been killing unconsciously because she’s been screaming each time she killed somebody (oh really? I didn’t see anything but a calm smile on her face?). She kept crying over it. Her sadness is from her kindness and thus the kind killer. There is no need for them to become one because the time she lived as Madlax was truly her own. She is fine the way things are now. Knowing the truth and her sins. The world might be twisted but she wants to try live in it. I think she is already twisted for wanting to do that. The duo hug but so as not to leave Leticia feel left out, Margaret wants her to become her little sister. So when the sisters return to their normal life, Madlax travels on her own with Limelda becoming some sort of her bodyguard to ‘watch over her’. And it’s back to business when SSS calls Madlax for a job.

Madness, Memory Lapse
What is it that I truly wish for this anime? I don’t know. Something enjoyable that I could at least understand? Unfortunately for the understanding part, it feels like a maze. So let me get this straight about what this entire series is about. Because some maniac wanted to turn the world into its intrinsic instincts, an innocent girl who is too afraid to face the truth started to live a lie and a fabricated world for the last 12 years. Is this what this show is about to sum it up? So now that she has accepted her past and sins, time moves again? I don’t know. There are so many darn things that I didn’t understand like how Poupee and Carrossea are supposed to be the same person but no explanation is given to how he turned into a handsome young man. Maybe this is how he looks like when he grows up but then again it couldn’t. For a great deal of the series, we are spammed with snippets of Leticia and Poupee inside this sealed warzone area, observing and saying things. Feels like they’re teasing and taunting us for some big revelation and when it came it didn’t feel so grand after all. I mean, Leticia is just a doll? If that is so, who the heck is the doll she is holding? I’m so confused. Even doing some brief research over the internet also didn’t yield much. Okay, that’s just me being lazy but if I can’t understand further than that or it takes more brain power for me to digest it all, then I don’t think I’m ever going to get it by the time this series is dusted and gone.

The ending feels unsatisfied in the sense that I thought when they started killing off characters like Carrossea, Vanessa and especially poor Eleanor, I thought everybody should just die. The world is already so twisted. Margaret has accepted it. So time to end it all and just kill off everybody. Why let side characters that don’t matter like Limelda live anyway? It’s not like she did anything that has got a big impact except for her fight with Madlax that always ends in a draw. Then when Margaret brought back Madlax and Leticia and have them live as their own separate entities, I thought she was going to wish for her dead friends to come back. Like how she brought Madlax and Leticia to life. They didn’t. Well, no such happy ending. I guess in that way you don’t have to tie up the loose ends if you ever bring them back alive. It only makes sense to upgrade your doll into your little sister and Madlax continue what she does best as a mercenary. Heck, I thought she was going to be her big sister or at least somebody to replace the maid. How the heck can Margaret go on living without the maid now? See how important the maid is? And they even had the guts to kill her off… Triple thumbs down for that!

The flow of the series also feels a bit like Noir. But unlike the first half in Noir that feels episodic and filler-like, this series too have a bunch of early episodes that feel like fillers. However each of them are somewhat linked to the main story and these ‘fillers’ are what bridge the overall plot together. For example Eric and Luciano’s short-lived appearances. But I can’t say much for the detective who became part of Enfant’s puppets. Whatever happened to him? Therefore the first half of the series feels more like introducing and bringing in the main concepts because as you would have noticed, Madlax and Margaret don’t actually meet until after halfway through the series. We’ll be pacing back and forth between both sides of the story before their inevitable meeting (at least Madlax meeting with Vanessa first before Margaret).

The main and supporting characters do play their part in driving the story but sometimes otherwise feel a bit redundant. Thanks to a multitude of characters, sometimes you begin to wonder what happened to a certain character and the fate in store for them. Like Badgis and Charlie. They feel slightly more important than your ordinary character-for-the-episode but at the end of the day, you don’t know what happened to them because it’s like perhaps with all the madness going around, it isn’t like it really mattered. A fate worse than being killed off? It makes me wonder if they are real or not because as I said and understood, this is just one big fabrication created by Margaret so there might be some questions if to whether such characters exist outside the time line. If Madlax could now, why not them? Then there are those like Quanzitta and Nakhl who exist just to observer. And they continue to do so.

Margaret as the main character, sometimes her retard makes her the coolest character in the series because she is in a world of her own. In which, she literally is. It’s like she is such a slow person and you would forgive her for it because we were being told about her traumatic experience so it is okay for her to keep acting this way. So when she returned to her true self, she might still sound the same but you could feel that there is this tinge of danger coming from her. So I guess that Margaret is now competent by our standards, she doesn’t need a maid or an ex-neighbour to look after her. All she needs is a little sister for company, no? Madlax on the other hand ironically the best mercenary in the land is also quite an attractive and charismatic young woman. I guess sometimes you have to fight fire with fire and in Madlax’s case, she fights to end the fighting. I wonder how long would that take. If there is ever a bodyguard I need, it would be her because no matter how many times you kill her, she just can’t die. Really. I know in this fake world she might have some God mode on or something but you’ll definitely be safe with her around.

Then there is Limelda who keeps ‘chasing’ Madlax around and it makes it feel like as though she is some sort of love stricken stalker. Because nobody else gets the right to kill Madlax except her. I don’t know how but it seems she feels it is her right to do it. She is only qualified to do that. I thought they were going for some yuri thingy now that they have become partners or something. Friday as the antagonist seems laughable only because he spends half his time laughing like a madman for being a step closer to realizing his dream of plunging the world into a big war. So this is his wish? Well, he should open his eyes because the world is already fighting without needing his help or anybody else. Oh wait. He got half his face disfigured. I suppose he was blinded by this obsession that he didn’t really see what is going on before him. Carrossea, Vanessa and Eleanor play great supporting role for Margaret when she was an absent-minded girl but it’s sad that their fates were sealed. It goes to show that not everybody has got their natural instincts of hatred and wanting to kill. A very few have got love and hope and that is why all is not lost for mankind in this twisted world.

Although the action parts fare much better than Noir, some of them feel pretty unrealistic and in a way silly. I know this is anime and sometimes you should leave logic at the doorstep. Especially the way Madlax coolly kills the soldiers and mercenaries. It is at first awesome and at the same time mind boggling to see her dance her way shooting at all the useless soldiers who feels like they are just there to exist to be shot and add to the body count. She does it often enough to make you wonder if she has some sort of cheat code on ever since the war. It shows that either Madlax is pretty damn good in what she does (her accumulated years in spilling blood and survival is a damning proof) or the soldiers are just pretty useless to begin with. Or both. Another slight gripe is blood. Remember how Noir didn’t have blood? Here too but there is a tiny amount of blood shown. This is only confined to when the characters are injured (but not dead) and you can see ‘blood stains’ on the clothes. Otherwise, the dead don’t spill blood after they get shot. Odd. Anyway, personally the action parts are the most enjoyable segments that I look forward to the most.

Being an old school anime (produced in 2004, which is over a decade old and in anime years, this is already a pretty old anime), the art and drawing style are of course from that era. Because of that, I started to see some similarity of the characters. For example, when I first saw Madlax, I was wondering what on earth Love Hina’s Naru was doing in this anime. Suspiciously similar. Then there is Margaret who looks like Mai-HiME’s Mikoto and Carrossea looking a bit like Death Note’s Kira. Oh, did I mention that Quanzitta resembles closely to Vandread’s B.C.? Others are not so obvious but if you look closer, you might see the uncanny resemblance especially to the characters in Noir. For instance, Vanessa might be Altena’s reincarnation, and it feels like you will get Nakhl, Eleanor and Limelda if you mix up Mireille, Kirika and Chloe and then split them out again. And when Margaret got her personas united, she seems to resemble like Kirika. Finally, I thought Friday wanted to be the Phantom of the Opera. Just saying…

As for the setting, I have a big feeling that the warzone of Gazth Sonika is modelled after a certain Middle Eastern country. You know, Gaza Strip? The fictional country of Nafrece seems to take after France (I learnt that Nafrece is almost an anagram of the country of love) since I noticed the very familiar Eifel Tower in the background as well as the very European-like houses in the series. (Note: Noir’s setting is also in France). As this is an old school anime, the effects of war of decimated places and ruined warzones don’t look that convincing (probably it is because like I said the lack of blood ‘colouring’ the place). Maybe because a big part of the war seems to be occurring in the middle of the dense jungles, which is odd for a dessert country but then again it is not surprising in such fictitious setting. Sometimes I think the jungles make it feel like they are in South East Asia and this war feels like the Vietnam War.

The supernatural stuffs weren’t that scary except for the fact that sometimes when the words of awakening of the book are read (or going to be read) there is this eerie background music. I don’t know if I should call it that because there is this sort of tribal chanting that gets louder and louder that it makes my heart beat faster thinking that something supernatural might pop up and scare the daylights out of me. I’m not sure if this is an effect for the viewers getting affected by hearing those words of awakening too. Thank goodness I didn’t. Still it is pretty mind boggling that by the mere mention of the words of awakening, you’ll start to go into a trance and give into your instincts of hatred and killing. So it’s like if anybody can say and activate it? Unless of course those with the gift can only do this.

Yuki Kajiura once again composes the music for this series as she did in Noir. Her trademark style is still evident in the backgrounds music although I feel that those with voices sound like Middle Eastern type of songs (or is it Indian?). All the opening and ending themes including the insert songs are sung by FictionJunction Yuuka. Hitomi No Kakera as the opening has this enigmatic and sad feel to it although it is the flute play that I prefer. Inside Your Heart is the ending theme sounds pretty okay but nothing that spectacular. The insert songs of Nowhere and I’m Here are not bad too (although usually played during fight sequences) but I noticed something which I found out has become a running joke by fan of the series. The insert song Nowhere has this meaningless chant (it feels like some sort of ritual to summon black magic or something?) that is repeated when Madlax enters a fight. It became so coincidentally repetitive that fans started joking that this song gives her the power up to do all that silly bullet dodging and death waltz kills. So maybe that is why Madlax is dancing. Perhaps to this tune to kill all her enemies. I won’t blame if you can’t stop laughing right now.

Well, I can’t say that I totally enjoy this series thanks to the few confusing parts that I don’t understand but it is still better than Noir including the action scenes although they may seem quite far-fetched. Fans who love slow build-ups where it takes time to develop the story and characters would find this one a pleasant watch. Although I won’t say that watching the atrocities of wars and people killing each other would be something pleasant. This time and memories thingy made me reflect that I am probably similar to Margaret’s case because while I am here watching my animes, there are a whole lot of problems going on elsewhere in the rest of the world. It’s like I’m trying to avoid facing the truth and dealing with it. I don’t know. Do I have the guts to accept everything and let time flow again? Personally, I think it would be safer to just live in a fake world even if it’s all just lies. Nobody gets to die and if not, we could die happy, right?

Oh God. Finally. I almost nearly forgot about this and even so, I thought they had given up on it. Because it took one damn year for the OVA of Yozakura Quartet ~Tsuki Ni Naku~ to come and go. And there are only 3 episodes! Three stinking episodes and you made me wait the entire year just to watch them all at one go? Even the retelling of the TV series, Hana No Uta is long gone and over. Okay, so that is my own problem and I don’t think this is the first time that I have waited an entire year for such a short OVA series to be completed. In fact, the Hoshi No Umi OVA also followed this pattern back in 2010-2011. But anyway let us not get distracted by that and since it is all here, might as well watch and enjoy what the OVAs have to offer. It better be worth the wait of a whole damn year. One damn year… And I’m not even a fan of the series… One year…

Episode 1
Ao won the lottery for a trip to the hotspring at Hakone. Hime really wants to join but hints she has lots of work to do. Everyone looks at Kyousuke… Alright, alright. It’s been a long time since she has a break but they’ll work extra hard when they get back. Yipee! As Shidou fetches Mina and Kana, he needs to stop by the station but the jam is terrible. Lila gives them a lift there. Police car tied to a broomstick and flying? She learns Shidou is in the only police department in town that deals with supernatural stuffs. Because such supernatural cases don’t happen often, the unit is quite small and the staffs have lots of free time slacking off. Like the baldy chief Takao Takemura who is literally sleeping on the job so Mina lands her flying kick in the face while Kana accidentally shoots her rubber band bullets. Yeah, old geezer Tokui is teaching her how to shoot right. Then there is Nadeshiko Matsudaira who doesn’t hesitate to hug Shidou and jump to conclusions he will be taking over the family business. Since her careless hug on Shidou almost crushed Mina in the middle, Mina teases her small boobs. Nadeshiko gets brazen to even open her top just to show they exist! Throwing a tantrum like child, she spills a pail of water over Mina so that she would turn into her teenager self and that she could start fondle revenge those boobs of hers. Don’t even ask. But looks like the unit will need to get down to business. There is a call reporting in that there is a fallen bear in the Saitama region. Lila drops off Mina and Kana and on their way meet Yuuhi and Mariabelle. Since Yuuhi is going to unleash his lolicon fetish, Mariabelle whacks him. Shidou and Nadeshiko are driving along the highway when something fast zips by in the opposite direction. Could that be a black wolf?

Akina and co are riding a cable car up the mountains. Only Hime is the scared one. It’s swerving left and right! Akina wonders the bag Yae told him to carry is heavy. And only now he has the decency to check inside despite being told he could see what is in it? Well, what do you know? It’s Yae inside (in chibi mode)! At the top of the mountain, I am not sure why Kyousuke is making Hime eat lots of eggs. But it only took one to turn Ao into a drunken state. They follow the guidebook to the inn and it seems Yae is very close friends with the dog spirit owner, Tomoe. And so hotspring soaking fanservice and a very hearty and delicious meal. Tomoe is fine revealing her dog ears since humans rarely visit here. They are the only guests tonight. Yae reveals she stows away in the winner’s bag every year to get here. To work out that meal, they play ping pong. Hime sounds like she is raring to go and an expert but her serves are just freaking weak. Kyousuke is noticeably gloomy ever since so Akina talks to him about his long face. He thinks this trip will be their last because next year Nanagou will bloom and it’ll be the end. It’s hard to enjoy when you are thinking like that. Akina’s answer? Things will somehow work out. This is the kind of answer that Kyousuke won’t take. Kotoha receives a call from Juri just to scream something. She does so and everyone is thrown off their feet. Then Kotoha, Ao and Akina challenge Kyousuke to a ping pong match but he beats them all. I didn’t know he is that good.

Kyousuke receives a challenge from Tomoe and they’ll put the stake of the world in this match. He doesn’t really want to do it but Tomoe shows her true strength after easily pushing away the ping pong tables and turn this into a kendo dojo. As they fight, Kyousuke finds he needs to get serious and use all his strength to pin her down. Tomoe finds it charming. And since it is a full moon tonight, she transforms into her voluptuous self. Charming, eh? Long ago, this place used to be a stopover for youkais as they travel far. They often get into fights and Tomoe is the one to quell them. It is Tomoe’s victory but Kyousuke took it seriously. He feels he is too weak to protect this town, let alone the world. Tomoe wants him to train himself and come back in a year to face her again. But the world will end by that time, no? Don’t think about the details. Just promise that he will come back here in a year’s time to defeat her. Just think that. Or if he isn’t in any fighting mood, coming back to see her is good enough. Because it gets lonely up here. Trying to hint something? Biting his ear and getting all flirty… Touka reveals Kyousuke was the one looking forward to this trip the most as the guidebook was made by him. And you thought Touka did it, eh? Kyousuke agrees to come back next year but with a condition that everyone here must come along too. And they must run in the Tokyo-Hakone relay race too? Meanwhile Shidou and Nadeshiko investigate the bloody forest site. The bear is cut up into pieces and eaten. Mina couldn’t understand why Kana couldn’t stop crying when the black wolf attacks them. It takes Kana.

Episode 2
Takemura sees Juri to give her some medical records. Lila calls her and thinks it’s time to come back from this voluntary patrol. As she wanted to take a shortcut through the alley, it is like there is some barrier interfering with her thoughts and telling her to change her mind not to. She sneakily enters her medicine box and pops up in a garbage bin inside the alley. She’s a magician too, remember? Then she sees this. Mariabelle and Mina down. Kana in the black wolf’s mouth. Time to hang up and go into action and teach this bad dog a lesson. Takemura calls Nadeshiko (since Shidou was on the phone trying to call Kana but couldn’t get through), he scolds him for taking too long on their patrol and should have been back by now. I guess they stopped somewhere for some eel meal. Lila is eventually flung and defeated by the black wolf. She is not surprised he can speak. Rokkaku says a single bear wasn’t enough to satisfy his appetite and is going to eat her (I thought it looked like raping her, tearing her clothes, licking her skin…). However the barrier wears out and it is a sign to get out. After all, he doesn’t want to spoil his main course: Kana. Next time they meet, he’ll surely eat her. So stay pretty till then. Lila’s best counter quote: She’s always pretty! By the time the police arrive, it is already too late. He’s gone. Takemura gives Shidou a good scolding that he is slacking off instead of protecting the twins. Since Hime and co are out of town, it is their duty to hold the fort. And no, he can’t call her. She’s on vacation. Shidou and Nadeshiko head out to town to go search. Trying to find a needle in a haystack? Mina and Mariabelle are at the station with minor injuries and recuperating but Mariabelle gets off and leaves. Lila is pissed that Takemura is not acting and just waiting. He reminds her the Commissioner is their boss and they follow his orders. He isn’t afraid to admit they are obedient dogs because loyalty is a form of strength. If they were to break it, they’ll shake the foundations of that strength. So no matter what, they’ll not take action until the boss says so. Yeah. So many police staff and none taking action except busy with their own paper work.

Explaining to us why Kana is targeted, based on famous fables, mermaids have been sought and eaten not because of rarity but because their blood and skin gives immortality. So if they don’t do anything, Kana will be eaten. Speaking of which, Rokkaku is going to have his tasty loli when Enjin comes in. Rokkaku chides him to make a better barrier that holds out. Enjin hints he shouldn’t eat her like that and should add some ‘seasoning’. Rokkaku puts some of his blood on her and her body transforms into her teenage version albeit only for a short while. It is hinted that since her power is weak, it is only right to strengthen her vampire half so this mermaid will also strengthen. So it is not just any blood and must be the one that matches the power stored in her flesh. And the blood that greatly matches it is the blood of a vampire. Looks like Rokkaku is going to have to go get Mina now. Lila continues her explanation about werewolves and tonight couldn’t be a worse night as the full moon is out. Shidou and Nadeshiko follow Rokkaku and confront him. Rokkaku could smell something familiar about Shidou. He is a werewolf too! He invites him to eat Kana together. This only makes him mad. Time to fight. Rokkaku thinks he needs some exercise to work up an appetite. Lila continues to be pissed with the police’s no-action despite they know werewolf weakness and have all the silver bullet equipment in the store (why abuse Takemura’s sunglasses?). Takemura explains that there are no rules for youkais to join the police force but many don’t want to. Because the police will always take the human’s side, they don’t want to end up taking down their own kind. Lila thinks it’ll be fine since Shidou and Rokkaku are both werewolves and should settle things themselves. Well, Shidou just lost and Rokkaku mocks him as weak for not eating real stuffs. Only the moonlight is powering him. Again, he invites to eat Kana but Shidou gets real mad and pulls off a really powerful punch almost hitting him. Rokkaku demonstrates his ability to use the shadows to pop out anywhere and take Nadeshiko hostage. Before he could do anything to her, he nearly got hit by a silver bullet from Tokui. This old guy mentions about Mina’s whereabouts and points the directions to the station. Good. He was getting bored of this. Why would Tokui sell out? He knows Shidou has no chance of winning and dying would be meaningless. The station has a better chance of winning.

Kana wakes up and is surprised to see Enjin next to her. Don’t be afraid. He won’t eat you. She can tell he is from the Hiizumi branch family since she pieced the details together over time. She doesn’t remember about her parents as they were part of the Blank Period. It was a time when Akina’s father tried to stop the merging of the dimensions by journeying to the other world en masse. Enjin gives false hopes that he might know them. He explains to her what it is like on the other side. Nothing but emptiness and hatred. He is the only one who has returned from the other side and has no choice but to listen to him and could even be lying. Obviously he is trying to merge the dimensions as revenge. But why involve the world when he is angry at the family’s head? He wants the Hiizumi family to bear the burden that all humanity will suffer for what they did. Besides, he’ll feel so much better to make them do it than himself. Kana starts crying not because she is scared. Not because she pities the Hiizumi family. She pities him for having such twisted thoughts. This is enough to get Enjin real mad as he beats her up to tell her to shut up and not talk like she knows everything, the hatred and resentment they have. OMG! Loli abuse! It is that exact reason that she doesn’t know is why she pities him. Enjin is bored of waiting and thought somebody interesting would have come to rescue her. But since they’re all cowards, they’re going to Rokkaku instead. That werewolf boy is outside the police station as they speak. Hey… Hime and co did not freaking appear once in this episode!!!

Episode 3
A short flashback about Shidou. He was once a lone wolf. Stealing food and wandering from town to town. Till he wandered into this one where a policeman picked him up under his wing. After observing him on several police jobs, he is encouraged to join the police force. His wife gave birth to twins (Kana and Mina) but the happiness didn’t last long. It is hinted that Shidou gave into his instincts and devoured the parents. He vowed to protect the twins from then on. Back in present time, Shidou has arrived back at the station. Rokkaku has already torn up the force. Do the ripped clothes of Lila tell you anything? Although Mina is hidden, Shidou fights Rokkaku again and loses. Not even Takemura could stop this rampaging hungry wolf. When Lila sees Juri crawling around (in her underwear?), she creates a smoke distraction. It backfires since Mina’s whereabouts are revealed. Rokkaku takes her and leave because everyone knows nobody is strong enough to stop him. Shidou feels frustrated and if you think Rokkaku’s beating was the end of it, Nadeshiko comes beating him up for being pathetic. Is this the man she fell in love with? Think of all the hard work he has put up with all these years and he should take responsibility for stealing her heart and never stop working hard. Shidou gets renewed confidence to go after him. But can he defeat Rokkaku alone? Nope. The entire police force is behind him. They have all the analysis and info at their fingertips as they discuss Rokkaku’s weakness. Thanks to the moon, he is able to detect movements within surrounding shadows and thus needs someone to take care of it. Lila volunteers to do that. Now if you’re wondering why everyone is now moving their ass unlike before, did they get an order from their Commissioner? Yes. Who? Nadeshiko! Holy cow! She is the high commander?! And now you see the effectiveness of the police force as they blaze out in chase of Rokkaku. Once everyone has left, Zakuro stumbles into the police station. Maybe she got lost again. She saw somebody…

Meanwhile Enjin takes Kana to the edge of the Sakurashin City to wait. If Rokkaku gets here and eats her, he wins. Otherwise he loses. That’s the plan. He explains Rokkaku was just a wolf before he got struck and became a werewolf. He has natural instincts that not only allow him to sense movement but danger as well. The police corner and chase Rokkaku all over town. It is time for another grudge match with Shidou. Although Shidou is still much weaker, he doesn’t give up so easily. Now it is Lila’s turn to put on her magic show. She materializes 2 moons and this somewhat thins Rokkaku’s power. What about a hundred moons?! Oh sh*t! Now it’s down to the strength of the brawl. Shidou may look like he has lost but it was a ploy to take back Mina from him. Then Mina turns out to be Juri in disguise. They swapped places at the station. Plus, this is where Juri called Kotoha to shout and summon aloud an RPG from her handphone. Although it isn’t made of silver, now everybody else fires their silver bullets but Rokkaku is still confident he can sense all the incoming bullets 100 metres wide. Only that? Because he is hit by a silver bullet from a long range snipe shot by Tokui. Game over. Not quite. He still has enough left to fight Takemura. But the punch to his face only hurt his hands since his shades are made out of silver. And finally, the last boss that he must face: Nadeshiko. Make that an angry Nadeshiko. With her silver sword, her slash was enough to send him flying and crashing into the police cars and cause a mini atomic-like explosion. Oh sh*t! But that wasn’t enough to kill this tough wolf. He has already escaped. Meanwhile Zakuro has brought the real Mina to Kana. Enjin notes that Rokkaku has lost and takes his leave. Rokkaku continues to run into more bad luck. Yuuhi is now pointing his gun at his face and will repay the favour of what he did to Mariabelle. He reminds him Mariabelle, every part of hers is his. He will never taste an inch. However Mariabelle doesn’t want him killed and so with her kindness, Yuuhi did something else. Game over for real. Shidou is reunited with the twins. They are impressed with him today. When Hime and co return from their trip, they see the twins riding a tame wolf. They are surprised it talks! Didn’t they just meet a dog god? Anyway as Nadeshiko explains, this is their new police mascot and undergoing training.

Meat! Glorious Meat!
If something struck me at the end of the series it is that our usual Yozakura Quartet aren’t the main stars of this little OVA! It is like the very minor characters of the Hana No Uta temporarily take over the leading roles and become its star. Especially Shidou and Lila. So you can say that this OVA series is basically for them. It’s like the rest take a back seat and let the supporting ones handle things for once. I guess it goes to show that it is not only our usual Yozakura Quartet of Hime, Akina, Ao and Kotoha with the extended force of the ogre siblings of Kyousuke and Touka that are responsible of taking care and protecting Sakurashin City. Because everyone who lives in this town and loves it have this duty to protect what they love if they are going to continue living in his unique town. And it doesn’t take superheroes with super powers to do it. As proven, as long as you combine your strengths against the menace, you’ll come up tops eventually. So as far as this OVA is concerned, this is a rather nice little side arc for our little supporting characters although it doesn’t impact much on the main overall storyline of the series. Although in a way if you think about it, isn’t it a little misleading to term this OVA series as Yozakura Quartet since our main heroes are away?

As said, Shidou is the main star of the triple episodes. As you can see that he might look and act like a wuss. He might not have all the necessary power to protect what he loves. But you can see that he never gives up till the end. He might have his ups and downs, his low points in life and the feeling of helplessness but with the support of his friends and force, he’ll be alright. Speaking of Nadeshiko, I thought she was going to be just a comic relief character playing a one-sided crush on Shidou. Turns out I was wrong. She is the most powerful woman in the police department and you certainly don’t want to mess with her when she’s mad (despite always putting up that ‘dumb’ smiley face). It really proves that you shouldn’t really judge a book by its cover. I think I learnt my lesson. For now. Then there is Lila who has turned into a heroine compared to her antagonist role in Hana No Uta. All I can say is that she shows a lot of angst (initially when the police refuse to do things themselves) and also a lot of sexy fanservice shots. Yeah. I think this is the biggest reason why she is around since we lack seeing Ao’s shima pantsu or Juri’s sexy appeal. Care for some sexy meat, anyone?

As for our lone antagonist of the series, Rokkaku is cocky and arrogant, a reason why it led to his downfall. Partly too is because of his lone wolf persona. Unlike the rest, he has no backup comrade although he relies greatly from his strength and other abilities drawn from the moon. Enjin isn’t necessarily one because like he said, an enemy of an enemy isn’t necessarily a friend. So Enjin and Rokkaku may be just strangers after all with a seemingly common goal for a little excitement. The only thing that bugs me about Rokkaku is when he kidnapped the fake Mina, shouldn’t his very keen sense of smell tell him that this is not the real Mina? Unless there is a spell that also replicates Mina’s scent or Rokkaku was too happy he got his meat and then too busy evading the cops to even notice. But even so, I think he should have got the hint because it couldn’t be this easy to get her after all the trouble they go through to stop him and hide Mina, right? Then it must be his cockiness and arrogance blinding his senses like I mentioned.

One of the saving grace I find in the OVA is the power battle in the final episode. Even though it seems exaggerated and the quality not as good (heck, the art quality has remained as less refine an ‘un-beautiful’ ever since the retelling) but the devastating power blows and all was enough to keep me glued to the screen for the duration of the fight. Because it is like everyone is giving and throwing everything they have like as though they are staking al they’ve got into this battle. Which makes it pretty awesome and impressive at the least. So even if the distracting and trolling plot of the entire first episode which is just to see off Hime and co go holidaying, the build up of the second episode about a werewolf wanting to eat certain meat to live forever, personally I figure the third episode that contains all the action is the one that nails it. If I am going to remember this OVA, it isn’t by the first 2 episodes but rather the third one.

I don’t know if they will do another TV series or make another OVA like this but I sure hope that they don’t continue this same formula of a year to get our 3 episodes. Because in this era where everything is so fast and instant, it might be the producer’s idea of wanting to retain that interest in the series. However wait too long and you’ll find many flocking elsewhere or even forgetting about it by the time it is released. Perhaps only true fans can wait forever till the next instalment comes out. For me, I’ll think about it when the time comes. Because I’m sure not going to hunt down mermaid flesh and drink vampire blood just to live forever to find out if this series will continue or not.

You know how idols are slowly conquering the world with their provocative cute looks, provocative cute outfits, provocative cute songs and provocative cute dance moves? Yeah. It is no wonder that perhaps evil organizations bent on taking over the world are trying to jump on this bandwagon. With that said, it seems Zvezda hasn’t conquered the world yet. And thus the reason why we need an extra episode, Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda OVA to confirm whether they can pull through and make it big in the idol business. I know it sounds crazy but when you have big dreams of taking over the world, no ideas are that crazy. And I thought they gave up trying to conquer the world seeing nobody wanted to sub this OVA (thus no more ‘followers’) and therefore why this blog is late. I guess better late than never.

New Zvezda Operation
Hmm… Pictures of Gorou and Kaori lovey-dovey in their honeymoon. They must be really getting it going. And so Kate announces… Zvezda will be an idol unit! Wow. Asuta is so amazed (read sarcasm). With Yasu wanting to be the manager, what will Asuta be? The producer of course. Roboko is happy about this when she gets a letter. It seems she has been selected to take part in an audition to join the famous idol group, BBK88. Renge is happy for her however Roboko is in a dilemma. Despite it is Roboko’s closet dream to become an idol, Zvezda’s orders are absolute and she cannot go against it. She knows she will not be forgiven for betrayal. Renge suggests that she will join the audition on her behalf so as not to let it go to waste. Meanwhile Itsuka is training Kate on how to sing. She can’t even get a tone right! Loli is going to cry… Roboko is spacing out and can’t concentrate on the so called lesson. Renge tells Asuta about Roboko’s dilemma in class although she was told to keep this a secret. Asuta then goes to talk to Roboko in her room (filled with BBK88 posters). He congratulates her for passing the preliminary screening and wants her to take the audition. Because with her attitude now, she cannot be a top idol and that she is distancing herself from everyone else. Renge hands back the form to her as Roboko smiles. Smile? I can’t see anything? The trio are going to tell Kate and the rest about this. However they are engrossed in watching a new idol video. And this news just popped up. BBK88 is holding an audition to recruit new members. So we hear them badmouthing those b*tches and how since they are going to be their rivals, they are going to break them up! And with them applying for new members, they can’t let this go and curse all the new members! Yeah, those who signed up with them are considered sympathizers of the enemy! So watch out you BBK88, b*tches! All hail Zvezda and may the light of Zvezda shine through the world! Oh boy. This is going to be tough.

In the wee hours of the morning, Roboko heads off to the audition while Dva and White Robin will do something to stall the rest. They creep into Itsuka’s room but her sharp senses have her awakened. The duo are hiding on the ceiling but how long can they hold out? Dva’s sweat drops on her forehead. This makes her cry like a baby as they put a seal on her to sleep. WTF. Next is Natasha but her room is filled with dangerous obstacles that it makes you wonder if this is some sort of ninja palace! They can’t back out now since the alarm has sounded so after all that death defying miracle (it’s a miracle they got out alive), they made it through and put the seal on her. Meanwhile Roboko is in the waiting room and there are lots of idol wannabes. Also there is Miki. Their eyes meet but Miki says today they can’t be friends. Finally Dva and White Robin walk into Kate’s room. Nobody in. Has she waked up? Suddenly the door shuts and the screen behind has Kate screaming at them that she suspected something about them and was waiting for them to take the bait. She forces them to reveal whatever is going on and they can’t get out of here because the door is laced with explosives. White Robin has no choice but to disclose about Roboko and hopes Kate won’t blame her. Unfortunately Kate will not do so and sees this as an act of betrayal. Just then Gorou returns and opens the door. Whoops. BOOM!

As he is being explained, seems that their honeymoon is cut short because Kaori remembered she had a job to do. Something about being a special judge for recruiting members for a certain idol group. She heard somebody named Roboko passed the screening as well as Miki too. Well, they audition is being broadcast on TV live and right about now is Roboko’s turn. The entire town watches her belt out her song. At the end of the day, seems Miki and Roboko didn’t pass. As Miki leaves, the rest of the gang are here. Kate asks Roboko about her whereabouts as she comes clean. Roboko laments she cannot become an idol because she is a robot. Kate punches her face (her fist must hurt a lot) because it doesn’t matter whether she is human or robot. They’re all the same when they take on that stage. So don’t make up boring excuses. Kate is upset that she didn’t tell the truth and thought she would get mad and get in the way if she did (well, certainly it seemed like that yesterday, right?). But the girls can’t stay mad at each other so it suddenly becomes an emotional reconciliation scene as the girls cry and hug their heart out (the irony in Roboko’s case?). So to ‘punish’ Roboko for her betrayal, she is made to perform her idol stint in front of them. Wow. Nice special effects and everything. Flashy stuffs. You go, Roboko! Asuta asks Kate about their idol plans. Oh, she’s continuing it but this time she is going to make idols out of thousands of people under her command. And Asuta will be the producer. Asuta… Fast in declining…

Even Robots Have Dreams!
And so their dream of conquering the world goes on. Heck, I don’t think in this sense they even made any progress. If there is anything about this OVA, it surely focuses on Roboko and from what we can see, she is clearly more human than robot. She could even be more human than most humans are. Beneath that steely exterior lies a robot who has feelings. A robot who has a dream. Just like every other human being. Her actions of being in a dilemma, trying to pursue her dreams and even acting out of fear of not telling Kate the truth at first proves that she is just not some mindless artificial intelligence. Whether or not Roboko gets to live her dream next time is another story. But she doesn’t have to hide it anymore because she has the backing of Zvezda for that.

One thing that I am stumped is the friendly relationship between Zvezda and White Light. I don’t remember much of the TV series about them becoming friends. Even if their identities are known to each other and there is no reason for them to be at each other’s throat for the time being, the way they are shown here, it’s like their organizations don’t really matter. I mean, you see Dva and White Robin working together and easily inside Zvezda’s HQ. So I am not sure if they are allies or just being dormant. Otherwise it would be very ironic to see enemies sitting down together having a cup of tea or in their case, becoming Roboko’s backup dancers in her short idol performance. If the world is that peaceful, why the heck do you need to conquer it? Ah, maybe that is why there is a need for world conquest. At least for Kate.

Overall, this OVA is just okay. Nothing related to the TV series. Nothing serious. Nothing that furthers whatever development and even in the case of Roboko it was just a little and just for her. It is something to watch just to make complete after watching the TV series. Some call it fun, some call it a waste of time especially with the idol themed of this OVA, some might view that they are running out of ideas on what kind of plots to put in standalone filler episodes. I know we don’t get idol themes in every anime we see but with idols being ubiquitous all around, aren’t you just getting sick of it? Not if they continue with their provocative cute looks, provocative cute outfits, provocative cute songs and provocative cute dance moves. Yeah. Slowly conquering our minds and hearts with it. Idols. The new world conquering propaganda we all should fear.