If you are a bookworm and an avid reader, there is a chance that you might view life as one big storybook. Every page written is filled with the things that have happened so far in your life and with many blank pages ahead yet to be filled. Or those pages may have been filled and thus your fate of the future already written and predetermined (yes, in the book and not in the stars). So what if you have the ability to read such ‘books’ and see someone’s future? Do you change it? I don’t know. I never liked reading. Not even manga. It’s a very bad habit of mine since young up till today. Anyway, Daitoshokan No Hitsujikai has our lead protagonist as a bookworm. He loves to read and his dream is only that. And by that I mean really holding a real hard and solid cover in his hands. It’s a good thing because nowadays people prefer to affix their eyes on their iPhones, Smartphones and the likes. One day he receives a foretelling message about the change of his fate and he got it rolling when he saves a fellow student from a fatal accident. Something tells me he should have read between the lines… Or I may just be over reading it…

Episode 1
A man sees a young boy reading and tells him the existence of a magic book only found in a magic library. But not anybody can get there. First you must be selfless and help others. Since he wants to go there, he is given a ticket to the place. He must not lose it. Kyoutarou Kakei is now a high school and a big bookworm geek. He is using the ticket as his precious bookmark. He sees a girl, Tsugumi Shirasaki trying to hand out flyers to get people to join her activity, Shiomi Happy Project but is snubbed. Suddenly Kakei gets a vision that a train will derail and slam into her. He quickly goes to warn her (since his bad premonitions are always right) but as he takes her hand, she trips and they fall. His hand over her boobs. What does this look like? She becomes embarrassed and picks her stuffs up and leaves. The train derails but thankfully nobody is hurt. In class, his friend, Ikkei Takamine shows a picture of him holding onto Tsugumi’s boobs (eyes censored out). It is going around. Kakei is sure since this school is so big, chances are he’ll never meet her again. Think again. Because she is just a few seats away from him! The teacher calls her but since she is so shy and soft spoken, her friend Tamamo Sakuraba answers on her behalf. At the cafeteria, Takamine is smitten with the new cutie staff, Kana Suzuki. The student council president Maho Mochizuki talks to Kakei and just like the last time hopes he could join the student council because of his good grades. However like always, he declined because this would mean less reading time. Kakei narrates Shiomi Academy being the biggest and best place for students to study. There is also a rumour of the Shepherd who is always on the school grounds but unseen. It is said to appear only in front of those who are earnestly hard working. Tamamo confronts Kakei because the picture of it now is uncensored. He tries to explain his ability to see the future but she doesn’t buy it and just a lousy excuse. As the picture makes its round, everyone starts to believe he is a molester and he is forced into hiding. This is the thanks he get for saving a girl? Surprisingly Tsugumi pulls him over just to apologize that it is her fault he got into trouble. But in this narrow alley and their bodies are squeezing together so tightly? What are the chances of another misunderstanding? Too late, Tamamo spots them.

Thankfully Tsugumi is able to explain as Tamamo apologizes for being in the wrong. Just when it seems to be over, they are surrounded by karate guys who want to teach Kakei a lesson. Yeah. They don’t believe it either. Too bad Kakei is all talk and can’t fight back. Thank Takamine coming to his aid as he used to be in that club. With Tsugumi stammering to explain, Takamine whispers the words she should say. Everyone is in disbelief to hear that Tsugumi allows it. Things calm down when they think that was just an idiotic couple’s exhibitionism. Kakei brings his friends to the library club where he is the sole member. And there is this fat cat Gaizaemon AKA Giza… Tsugumi tells the guys about her activity to make school fun. She is doing this because as she is an introvert, she thought of changing herself. However Mochizuki disagrees and hopes Kakei will make the right choice. As the girls argue, Kakei notes he wants to join neither as he only wants to read. But after hearing Tsugumi say she experienced a lot of things today because of him and the reason she can start anew with him, he believes she is acting on something other than emotions or words. He wants to know this something he doesn’t understand and decides to go with Tsugumi. This leaves Mochizuki disappointed but as show of goodwill, she will make an announcement to clear his name. Suddenly all of them get the same mail from Shepherd who congratulates them for making a decent start. They wonder if it is spam when a girl chides them for being too loud. As they leave, Nagi Kodachi is seen talking to that man. Kakei is a Shepherd candidate just like her. She is to watch over him and there will be a day when the truth will be revealed and he will take the test. Only then one of them will become the true Shepherd. She is sad Kakei didn’t remember at all.

Episode 2
As Senri Misono sings, she remembers her friend chiding her. Because Kakei is so engrossed in his reading, Tsugumi lets him eat a sweet just to make him notice her! Now that she has got his attention, she talks to him about Shiomi Happy Project. Their first activity will be… Picking up garbage? Where’s the fun in that? Well, it’s not surprising that nobody else is volunteering for it. Kana may be the first one and she knows Kakei because of the webpage from Mochizuki clearing his name. He is now a hero. Tsugumi hands her a poster and it seems she is interested in this kind of things. Kakei sees Senri trying to reach under the vending machine to get her 500 yen. He helps her out and to show her gratitude, she buys him a drink. Later Tamamo shows the research she has done on Shepherd and it seems there are various rumours of how it manifests and if one does its bidding, your wish will come true. Kana relates that she got a similar email last night. On the way back, they find a lost tuning fork. Seems this is planted by Nagi. They try to send to the broadcast club to make a lost and found announcement but she straightaway knows it belongs to Senri, the music prodigy with an angelic voice. Yeah, only Kakei doesn’t know because he has been stuffing his face with books. Ironically, he reads so much and yet he doesn’t know. Tsugumi wants to return it to her at her home and Kakei decides to come along. Takamine leaves it to them to do it since it is rare for Kakei to do such volunteer work.

The duo return the tuning fork to a very grateful Senri because she was searching high and low for it. However Senri feels sad when she thinks they returned it just because she is the famous Song Princess. Cheeky Kakei lightens the mood and irks her that it may be because she showed them ‘something great’. Nice ass… Tsugumi gives the poster and hopes if she has something on her mind, feel free to contact them. Kakei on his way back sees Kana staring longingly outside the window of a handphone shop. She has him help her choose one to buy. As sign of trust and since Tsugumi is always waiting outside his personal room of the library club, he hands a key to her. She can duplicate and give it to the rest. Kana shows everyone her new handphone and they are very excited and happy for her. So loud that Nagi once more had to tell them to keep it down. She is surprised Kakei got another new member to join the club. She is forced to back out when Giza stares at her. She has some sort of phobia not only for cats but animals. Suddenly the quintet receive a similar email from Shepherd that Senri will teach them something important. Something is strange because Kana just bought her handphone and she gave nobody her email except them. Could it be somebody is watching them? Somebody who is good at computers? Kana thinks there is somebody. A genius who is the pride of the school’s cafeteria: Sayumi Ureshino When a student cheekily wants this loli’s smile to go with his purchase, she charges him additional 10,000 yen! Holy cow! What an expensive buy! But was it worth it? The smile that melts your heart?

Episode 3
Tamamo suggests they split into groups for this. Kakei and Kana go talk to Ureshino and she can try help them if they in exchange help her out to hand posters for her food fair. The rest see Senri to ask her about Shepherd’s mail but the teacher calls her for some special lesson. Back in the clubroom, everyone discusses about the poster handing job and Kakei is disheartened to know that he must cosplay as well. Since they only have 1 outfit, Tsugumi can make one for him and wants to take his measurements. Take off your shirt! Nagi is going to chide them for being noisy again when she hears ambiguous noises… My first time… Did I touch some weird place… She thinks this is pretty cliché and barges only to see topless Kakei and Tsugumi the same height as his waist (taking his measurements). She gets really embarrassed and convinced they were doing something lewd and runs away. When Kakei returns home, he is surprised to see Nagi here. Well, what do you know? She lives next door!!! And they didn’t even know they were neighbours. After she enters her room, she feels disappointed he doesn’t remember her.

The library club members sew a particular animal on their cushion. Because Tamamo is a fox, Takamine and Kana tease her to get her to say what does the fox say! She eventually gives in. Tsugumi gets a mail from Senri requesting to make porridge. The girls head over to her place only to see her sprawled all over the floor. Her fever is very high. Everybody did what they could to nurse her and put her to bed. Senri has been clutching Tsugumi’s hand since and won’t let go. She is sleep talking and doesn’t want her mom to go. Tsugumi pretends to play her mom and promises she won’t go anywhere. At least it made her feel better. Next morning, Nagi comes to Kakei’s place because her TV broke down and there is this show she really wants to watch. Yeah, she is making his place like her home. She asks if he and Tsugumi are dating. He thinks she is referring to yesterday’s incident. Nagi flusters as she wasn’t trying to say it directly. Kakei corrects her about the measurements for his cosplay but Nagi further misinterprets and won’t hear anymore from this pervert. Once Senri’s fever goes down, she reveals that she also got a mail from Shepherd 3 days ago, around the same time when they got theirs. Kana returns with Ureshino’s results and she is able to hack and reveal the position of where Shepherd is sending the mails. Looks like a very slum area. Inside this dilapidated apartment, to everyone’s surprise, it is empty. Completely deserted. It’s like nobody has been here for ages, eh?

Episode 4
When Kakei was young, the teachers weren’t enthusiastic in throwing a birthday party. Kakei on the other hand wanted to get it over with so he could read. Because Ureshino has lived up to the part of her deal (only to find the location and that’s it), it is time for them to live up to theirs. So everyone dresses up to hand out flyers. Mochizuki can’t find Kakei. Well, that’s because he is cross-dressed as a maid! OMG! I wonder if those guys really know who this maid is?! Yeah. I don’t even know how Tsugumi screwed up in making his outfit but we sure know that Kana and Tamamo had a hand in it. Senri comes by to thank Tsugumi for caring for her. However, Song Princess must be such a taboo word because the mere mention of it, the mood suddenly changes. She thinks Tsugumi is doing all that just because she is Song Princess. Upset, she runs away. Kakei goes after her and tells her to believe in Tsugumi’s good intentions. He points out he was once sceptical too but Tsugumi is different from others. Once Senri returns, Tsugumi goes into apologetic mode for being insensitive. Likewise, Senri too apologizes. Then somehow she joins the gang handing out flyers and attracts the crowd. I mean, who doesn’t love a maid with cat ears, no? Senri is invited to their club and she is amused by Giza despite this fat cat might be sexually harassing by showing its butt! With everybody rejoicing for Senri, once more Nagi comes in to warn them about being noisy and to her dismay, looks like this club got another member. Kana then invites everyone to go to the public bath together. Time for them to get close and know each other? More like her heater spoiled. Your usual folly of Kana fooling around and being pissed off with those with bigger boobs.

Nagi knows everyone has some sort of interest in Kakei by their reaction at just the mere mention of his name. She becomes cheeky and makes them sweat by telling them she has already been in his room, lives next door and can come over anytime. Well, they aren’t lies, right? And so some of our girls are sighing over this fact. Kana hooks up with Takamine either because she knows she has no chance with him or just to spite him. Either way it is not working. Tsugumi wants to speak to Kakei. Is she getting serious now? Actually the reason why she wants to change herself is because she has a younger sister, Sayori who is in hospital. She painted Shiomi Academy as a great school and this made her really want to come here. So as the lies kept piling on, she fears she will know the disappointing truth one day. Isn’t she the horrible girl? But Kakei sees her as a good girl because she is trying to make all those lies come true by the time Sayori is discharged. Everyone wants to help out because she is working hard. Next day when Kakei enters his clubroom, everyone pops a surprise birthday party. He has this feeling in his heart and then a vision of the library club enjoying happy times with him. He wants to know what this feeling is and hopes to look forward being with everyone for Golden Week. Tsugumi is so happy that she hugs him. Kakei never thought a day like this would come since this is the first time anybody celebrated his birthday from the bottom of their hearts. Kakei texts back to Shepherd about wanting to meet. Surprisingly a reply mail saying “When you figure out who I am, please come talk to me”.

Episode 5
The library club members are doing lots of odd jobs. Takamine can’t help but feel tired. Heck, they even become some sort of consultation group and students with all sorts of weird problems flock to them to seek an answer. Yeah. This school is full of problems, eh? When Nagi comes in, the girls didn’t remember who she is at first and took them a while. Nagi tells them the head librarian wants them to move out to another place because they’ve been using the room inappropriately. Kakei pleads for a chance and she gives them a grace period. So they try to clean up their reputation by picking litter? Mochizuki once more tries to tempt Kakei to join the student council noting that he has changed a lot. Did his members change him? Tamamo stays late to complete some administrative work. Kakei returns and sees her trying to answer weird personality questions about what kind of fish she is. She landed on non-fish types as she tries and tries again. She is happy when she gets an eel. Okay, so that technically counts. She is surprised that Kakei had been watching (I guess she was that engrossed in the questionnaire) that she slipped but Kakei catches her. Their face… Too close… Nothing happens… And it’s like they would satiate our disappointment by replacing it with Kakei sharing an umbrella with Tamamo (who is also putting on a disappointed face) as they walk home. Nagi meets a butler and he considers Kakei passing the preliminary exam. He tells her to stop playing around with the emails as her job is just to observe him. Although this does not disqualify her, at this rate she will not advance past being a Shepherd candidate. She must figure out what she lacks herself.

Nagi then goes over to hang out at Kakei’s room and asks him about his premonition ability. He explains ever since young, he would see a vision of a strange library. There is a magic book filled with letters he cannot read. This vision is what precedes when he sees someone’s future. Nagi teases to see hers. He thinks it won’t be that easy but suddenly he finds himself in a blank space and blocked by an invisible wall. Nagi calls it lame and leaves but in her heart, she laments he is able to see it. Kakei, Kana and Senri go round asking students about Shepherd. Surprisingly, these students are the ones who claimed to have seen Shepherd but now they don’t really remember it. When Kakei spots Nagi, he goes after her as he wants to clear up about last night. But he loses her and only a porn magazine is on the floor. WTF. This has the girls misinterpret. And when they tell the rest, you can see how much Tsugumi is shaking and spilling her tea. Something fishy and scandalous may be going on… Tamamo calls Kakei not for a date (how she’d wish) but to help her out on something. Kakei then hears Nagi speaking to somewhere at this late hour. He rushes over and forces his way in. A dark empty room with no furniture. He realizes she lies about living here. Based on his observations, with his friends and other students don’t remember her, he connects the dots that she is Shepherd. Now that the cat is out of the bag, Nagi admits she is the one who has been sending those emails. The butler congratulates Kakei for passing the preliminary exam and is here to take him to the magic library.

Episode 6
The butler is the one whom he gave the ticket. He is Nagi’s supervisor and Shepherd #771. People call him Nanai. He would like Kakei to be one of them. As Kakei is being taken to the magic library, Nanai explains how this ‘library’ is drifting in the realms of people’s unconscious and exists in everyone’s hearts. Only Shepherds can enter it. The magic library contains books of all the living people on Earth, their past and future. They read and support your future but somehow they end up focusing on those with greater influence on mankind. Naturally, Kakei still cannot read a single book so Nagi teases she is reading an exciting one. Till he teases her back and catches her off guard. He catches that book she drops and somehow could read it. Because it is of his own past. Nanai continues his explanation that his premonitions are the same thing. He has the power to fly into this library with his consciousness and probably peeked inside other people’s books without knowing. If he desires, he can be a resident of this magic library. However Kakei’s wish is just to come here. It’s not like he wants to help anybody. Nanai points out about his club and Happy Project. Didn’t he chance? Even if that is just doing odd jobs, Shepherds are no different and they do it for mankind. He points out he is already doing it as he saved Tsugumi from a mishap. Nanai introduces Nagi as a Shepherd trainee and has a learner’s permit. Once you have passed the second test, you will become a trainee and be able to read other books. Kakei wants some time to think this over. They return to his room. Nagi reminds him he can’t play favourites and has a natural aptitude for that. Ever since others joined the library club, he has neither gotten close to anyone of them. That level is just about right. That night Kakei thinks through. He didn’t help others because he wanted to. He just wanted to find out about this feeling and a peaceful world of his own where he can be alone. Nagi is frustrated that things are turning out like this. She starts thinking that if he dated someone, his chance of becoming a Shepherd candidate will reduced. Giza wanted to comfort her but he scared the sh*t out of her with his gentlemanly ways.

Kakei and Senri are in some gecko finding job (somebody lost their pet). A bug scares Senri as she hugs him. Senri’s friend, Miyu Serizawa is not thrilled to see this because it seems true that she skipped special classes just to fool around. Might as well leave school. Senri is hurt and runs away with Kakei closely following behind. I guess Senri wants to lose some steam so she flirts with Kakei and tries to seduce him to hang out somewhere. Unfortunately here comes Nagi and she puts it in an ambiguous way that Kakei is hers for the day. Senri tells the rest and they start panicking of their new level in relationship. Nagi shows Ureshino’s book. Seems her future is heading to where she would get hurt and she is forced to quit her job and do something she hates. An unhappy life. Their job is to prevent her from getting hurt. Nagi tells him to watch and learn as she counts the right tables and chairs to mess up one. As they hide, they see Ureshino picking it and then walking away. However Kakei sees a vision of her getting killed on her way back. Nagi panics as she thinks she might have miscalculated. Kakei quickly rushes to her and says some embarrassing magical girl line! “I’m gonna take a shot at your heart”???!!! OMFG! So lame that everyone just ‘froze’!!! Though it saves Ureshino, now that girl is upset and embarrassed as she takes out a machine gun and starts shooting him! Wait a minute. That is allowed?! Nagi is down that she messed up. If not for him, she would have failed. Kakei doesn’t view it as a big deal but Nagi is worried at this rate she won’t become a Shepherd. Kakei remembers Nanai telling another reason he chose him. It was written in his book although it is one of infinite number of futures. Kakei wonders if this is the path he must take after all since his entire life is nothing but loneliness and despair. Maybe it is so that he could become a Shepherd. Tsugumi is glad that nothing was going on with Kakei and Nagi. She mentions a heart shaped cookie she made, hinting about if 2 people eat with their eyes closed at the same time… Unfortunately Kakei already chows it down. Tsugumi falls into shock. But she is back up when Nagi throws in the good news that she has talked to the head librarian and they are allowed to stay thanks to the hard work they put in. Also, this is a favour to repay Kakei. Mochizuki is glad the library club gets to stay. Kakei better work hard at this after turning down her invitation. However the vice president, Aoi Takigawa is assessing Kakei’s activities and notes the library crush cannot be crushed yet.

Episode 7
The girls are trying to guess what kind of girl Kakei likes… No progress… Till Takamine steps on a landmine saying Kakei may be dating Nagi… Looks like they’ll have to ask him themselves. Kakei just came in at that moment so the girls are in a little panic. This has Tsugumi going up to him to go on a date with all of them this Sunday. EEEEEEHHHHH???!!! And come Sunday, he thought Nagi was playing his doorbell. Actually the library club girls are here. Disappointed they are not the Nagi you’re hoping for? Anyway he overslept thanks to late night reading and the girls aren’t too happy. They hang out in his room till they finally decide to go shopping. To their dismay, Nagi also joins in. Despite this looking like a harem date, there’ll be instances that Kakei will be left with a girl and the rest will be observing and commenting on their actions. Like Tamamo who has a very well planned out schedule on things to do but when it hits a snag, Kakei is flexible enough to accommodate. Then there is the dancing video game challenge between Senri and Nagi. Senri sprained her ankle so Kakei helps bandage it up. They take a photo in a booth and she teases him about couples kissing here to make him put up that shock face just before the camera snaps. Also, Kana enjoys talking and shopping books with him. But the date is cut short when Nagi says it is time for some Shepherd work. Tsugumi’s fate will change thanks to some otaku guy passing by. No, he didn’t turn into a stalker but he was captivated by Tsugumi’s beauty and created a perfect love doll model that becomes famous internationally. Do you want that to happen to her? Yeah, Nagi doesn’t even know what a love doll is till Kakei explained… Now you know, do you?

The plan to stave off this otaku is for Kakei to call Tsugumi and then hug her like a lover! Shocking! The otaku gets scared and walks away. This doesn’t sit well with the other girls. But let’s bring back Tsugumi to the ground before we continue, shall we? Nagi admits that they set this up because it feels like they’re hiding something so they do this to test their reaction. Busted. Guilty reaction. Especially Tsugumi who is the worst liar. They show to him an anonymous email about a girl who likes Kakei but doesn’t know the girl type he likes and thus the quartet tried dating him to find out. Of course Takamine is the one upset from it all because he wasn’t invited… Kakei is shocked that nobody remembers Shepherd, the reason why they are doing this in the first place. But after checking their emails, they come to remember. Later Kakei confronts Nagi about this. She admits she was the one who sent the email but his point is if he becomes a Shepherd, everyone will forget about him. Looks like he caught on. Everyone has a book in the magic library but Shepherds do not. Once a human becomes a Shepherd, their book will be erased. That is why Shepherds don’t remain in human memories or have life spans. She lectures him about the fairytale idea of helping out mankind without any sort of repercussion. Of course when you have great powers… Let’s just say such great powers aren’t for free. Kakei is in a dilemma as he can’t stop thinking about the girls. But Nagi says he better withdraw as a candidate if he wants to continue being with them. Is Nagi okay with this? Yes. She has prepared to throw away everything since she wants to make the world a better place. He is sad he will forget about her too. This struck her heart as she tries to hold back her tears. She turns back and kisses him. He’ll forget about this too. So sad…

Episode 8
Kakei helps Kana recite lines for a beach play. But when he mentions it is not like her to be uncertain, this brings back some traumatic memories. All goes well in this beach play which is some twisted version of the Emperor’s Clothing. It gets even twisted when Kana slips and crashes into Kakei and co. This means Tamamo’s top is off and they beat him up for it, causing the stage background to be destroyed. Kana feels down for the play being a failure. She tries to return to her cheery self but ends up slipping. If not for Kakei there catching her… When Senri gives her a back massage, she asks if Kana likes Kakei. She mentions she doesn’t have the right to have someone like her back but is glad the library club accepted her for who she is. Senri whispers she likes Kana too so Kana teases her back and wants to go yuri. That’s a joke, right? Some small club seeks the library club’s help about some main stage appearance for the school’s festival. Kakei goes to talk to the student council. Aoi is unaccommodating but Mochizuki is kinder and will see what she can do. It is suggested that instead of waiting for the student council to move, they should do something about it. However Kana is sceptical and worries it will fail. When Takamine points out she isn’t being herself, she tries to act her cheery self that she forgot she was holding Giza (she is allergic to cats). When Kakei goes to check on her, he knows she is trying too hard because the Kana he knows is better at hiding it. He thinks she is still bothered by that event. But Kana says it back to him that he too isn’t acting like himself. I mean, up till now he was pretending not to notice, right? And thus Kakei is once again in a dilemma. If he becomes a Shepherd, he could read Kana’s book but then again, what will be of their memories? When Kana didn’t show up at the clubroom, they think she is still reeling from it. Tsugumi suggests writing another play for her.

Tamamo has been hiding in the bushes just so that she can ‘coincidentally’ pop up to show Kakei some email from Shepherd about the elimination of the library club. He talks to Nagi about it but it seems she wasn’t the one who sent it. Because Kakei’s mind is still undecided on being a Shepherd, she mocks him to worry all he wants. Like Kana. Knowing he will easily panic, she continues teasing him of giving that kiss again. Nope. She bites his nose! Then she tells him if he wants to talk to Kana, try it at some hill before daybreak. Kakei meets Kana as she explains her past in a hypothetical way. She and her friend were in some group of friends. She was the clown at the whims of the ‘queen’. When her friend is tossed away, Kana went to help her but was kicked out. Sadly her friend chose to return to that group and took her spot as a clown. She felt sad and decided to go alone till she met a place with wonderful friends. But she remained scared and didn’t want to make waves and just wanted to have fun. As they accepted her for who she is, she is afraid of not knowing her true self anymore and because she doesn’t want to lose that place, she continues this little charade of hers. And so Kakei with lots of words of encouragement, don’t give up, his feelings will never change, always be by your side, etc. This brings Kana to tears as they hug. Kana returns to normal as she hopes for her friends to write another script. Senri ‘lectures’ her about worrying too much about what others think and just do what she wants. No one here will hate her. She hints if she continues tricking herself, she will take Kakei for herself. Ah, can’t hide that little panic there, can’t she? But the happiness doesn’t last long as Senri’s teacher barges in after looking for her. She chides her for running away from her lessons and since the summer competition is almost here, there is no time to waste. Quit fooling around and quit this damn club.

Episode 9
However Senri won’t quit the club and brings her teacher out of the room. She apologizes for the disturbances but Tamamo lashes out at her. Despite Senri claiming she is practising enough, but when a teacher comes in like that, there is a problem. She doesn’t want Senri to waste such good opportunity. Senri is not pleased and runs away. As usual, Kakei goes after her but Nagi picks him up. She points out Senri’s life is at the crossroads now. At this rate she might quit singing forever and the question is how long she is going to drag this. She wants him to leave Senri’s case to her. Kakei sees Senri singing alone beautifully at a closed bar. But she stops and coughs. He gently strokes her back and says she doesn’t have to keep singing. She explains she comes here to practice but doesn’t know why she is singing anymore. When she was young, she used to love singing. She and Serizawa were friends and they entered the same competition. However Senri was told if Serizawa loses this time, she will quit singing forever. Thus Senri didn’t sing her best but still ended up the winner. Her distraught friend wasn’t happy she didn’t give her best. After losing her friend, she got the title Song Princess. She was alone. She thought coming to Shiomi would change something but it’s the same. Now it feels painful to sing. Kakei tells her to stop in that case. What is the point if she is forcing herself and painful? The library club doesn’t care about stuffs like that. Kakei tells the rest that Senri’s decision to quit singing but assures them to leave this to him. Nagi confronts him about this so he tells her to leave it to him and she should just do what she wants. Like she could. Kakei is in an outing with Mochizuki. I don’t know how this is arranged but she is enjoying feeding him ice cream. Unknown to them, pictures of them are being taken. In fact, this stalker has lots of pictures of Mochizuki. She is no other than Aoi. She edits and replaces Kakei’s face with hers!!! OMFG! She gets an email from Shepherd as she promises to make Shiomi the best school ever.

Sayori teases Tsugumi on which guy she likes an inadvertently helps her out in naming their activity for the school’s festival, Minafes. Kana talks to Senri and says those same words right back at her that nobody will hate her. Just do what you want. Tamamo talks to Kakei and feels sorry for lashing out at Senri. She reveals her dream was to become an artist but she gave it up because her parents strongly opposed it. That’s why she wanted Senri to work hard as she is different from her and wants to support her. Tamamo gets another email from Shepherd saying the Shepherd will not allow people like them all. When Senri asks Kakei if it is okay to have this much fun, he reveals he can read books of people’s future and hers is a bright one. She thinks it’s a bad joke and has him close his eyes so she can stamp a seal on his forehead. What were you hoping? Serizawa confronts Kakei because there are rumours that Senri has quit singing. Is this true? He hints to her about the canary who forgot how to sing. And now Nagi confronts him because at this rate Senri will become an ordinary student and her rare talent would be a waste. He suggests giving her more time and wonders why she is in such a hurry. But she is not happy and scolds him like he knows everything. Nanai appears before him and congratulates him of passing the second test. Now it is up to him if he wants to become a Shepherd. As he is brought to the magic library, Kakei asks about the anonymous mails from Shepherd. There are many other Shepherds. As for Nagi being in a hurry, he notes at this rate she won’t become a Shepherd. Although she is competent, it is the matter of her feelings. If she doesn’t figure it out, she won’t pass. He shows him Nagi’s book where it is sealed. If it is returned, she will live a normal life, even if that isn’t the path she would choose herself. When Kakei looks into it, he sees young Nagi calling him her big brother! Nagi takes away the book, not liking him peeking into it. But what can be seen cannot be unseen. Because now that Kakei has realized it, Nagi is his little sister.

Episode 10
With a cutesy little sister act, Nagi moves into Kakei’s room. Siblings need to stay together, right? As for why Kakei couldn’t remember her as his sister, it is because she was only his sister for 3 months. Confused? Before his dad disappeared and the ‘family’ crumbled, Nagi is actually his step sister from one of dad’s many wives. So many that Kakei couldn’t remember which one! Nagi was always playing alone and this made the house servants pick on her. Of course Kakei couldn’t watch it and somehow protected her. While Nagi is in the bath, Tsugumi makes a surprise visit. After all that stammering, she blurts it out. She wants him to be her boyfriend! Turns out it is because she told Sayori so and thus Kakei comes to the hospital with Tsugumi to meet her. Sayori is very polite and hopes he would take care of her sister. This causes Tsugumi to fluster so much that she accidentally pressed the nurse button. While she gets scolded, Sayori reveals to Kakei that she knows they’re just pretending. In fact, she knows everything she says about Shiomi was just to make her feel better. She also thanks him because of him, her sister is less of an introvert now. As they leave, Tsugumi wants to visit his home. Immediately he grabs all of Nagi’s stuffs and puts her outside the balcony! Just a stray cat… Tsugumi is here to cook for him and since not all of Nagi’s stuffs were ‘cleaned out’, he has a hard time hiding them but thankfully Tsugumi is a blur case. Blur enough that she doesn’t realize it is Nagi who is sending her another Shepherd email prank about her cooking. As the library club members discuss the Minafes, Tsugumi gets a good news call that Sayori can be discharged early.

So that day when another ring at Kakei’s door, Nagi doesn’t want to be left out and decides to spice things up by greeting those at the door. It is Tsugumi and Sayori. Hmm… Kakei with another girl. Care to explain? Ironically it is Sayori that is putting her foot down since Tsugumi is too shy. As he explains Nagi is his sister, Sayori feels it is the poorest excuse. Even Tsugumi is breaking down. Because if she is his little sister, why is she the same grade? It doesn’t add up, buster. This causes Sayori to get strict in telling Tsugumi that she knows the couple thingy is a lie but her feelings for Kakei isn’t. So worked up that it causes her body to go into meltdown. Collapsed. Oh sh*t. This is real. Tsugumi panics. Kakei begs to Nagi to use her powers to take Sayori to the hospital. Nagi and Sayori vanish before their eyes. Sayori is fine at the hospital although her mind is still a bit hazy. This has Kakei confess to Tsugumi that he and Nagi are Shepherds among other stuffs. Once his identity is revealed, there is some awkwardness between them. She wonders if he is going away. He says he isn’t except that everyone will forget about him. But to Tsugumi, that is the same as going away and she wants him to stay because she likes him… In a human being kind of sense. Oh, really? But their awkwardness has to be put aside for now since Kana and Senri come running to them with a crisis. Their club has been ‘taken over’. Seems this bunch of boys claim they are from the library club and have joined last year. Kakei remembers them only as ghost members. Now they’re showing up to do proper activities? Besides, they just elected a president among themselves and tell Kakei and his harem to leave (remember, they aren’t official club members). All this might be the doing of Aoi since she has an email that says Shepherd will not allow his existence.

Episode 11
Our library club members have to grit their teeth and get out. There is nothing they can do. It seems Aoi is indeed behind this. Kakei believes that she isn’t just helping those guys get back their club but rather must have enticed them with something. Aoi shows an email from Shepherd that she will reach greater heights by facing off with them. She wants to make this school a better place and believes this will lead her to it. Of course everyone is sad and mad that their plans are derailed. But as Kakei puts it, they still have each other. They only lost a clubroom. This has everyone motivated to do their best. But it is going to be uphill because the student council advertises on their webpage about some great symposium and has invited famous alums to the talk. It clashes with their Minafes so there are some calling wanting a refund to attend this. Suddenly Kakei receives a horrible vision that Tsugumi will die at Minafes. This has him think that he wants to become a Shepherd since Tsugumi’s life is at stake. Nagi reveals that only one of them can become a Shepherd, the reason why she was trying to get in his way. She thought if she hooks up with one of them, he wouldn’t have to be one. So they head to see Nanai about Kakei’s decision. Kakei says he doesn’t want to be like his father who didn’t do anything when he needed him most. If there is a way to save someone, that is what he will choose. Nanai takes out Kakei’s book and erases it. When Tsugumi is talking to Tamamo, suddenly she cannot remember moments with Kakei. Heck, because it is like she senses her special memories of him missing, she panics that she is going to forget him. But then it shows she didn’t forget him, right? She runs over to his place worried he is gone but thankfully he isn’t. Surprised she can sense this, he lies that she is over-thinking but she isn’t convinced. She really doesn’t want to forget those precious memories with him and wants him to tell the truth. How do you get a guy to come clean? You kiss him! And what a long kiss it is… What happens next is best left to our imagination. We think…

Tsugumi wants him to take her along to be a Shepherd. But is she willing to have others forget her? Of course not. What about him? He wants to check something. If he can make someone happy, it is prove all that loneliness and despair was for nothing. But Tsugumi rationalizes that if he can’t be happy without becoming a Shepherd, then he didn’t believe in Happy Project. She hates Shepherds. She hates him for becoming one. And Kakei thinks it is for the best because eventually she will forget him so the pain will be less. Kakei gets an emergency call from Kana about Senri. He rushes over to her place only to see it decorated like a love hotel?! What’s this?! Senri dressed up as a nurse seducing him?! You lucky bastard! If one isn’t enough, here is Kana the Playboy bunny to add to the fun! Good thing Kakei is able to resist the temptation and wants to know what’s going on. Seems based on Kana’s lazy research on the internet, feminine seduction is a way to prevent him from leaving. And then a call from Tamamo screaming off her head to get his ass down here right now. There is an article of that picture whereby Mochizuki is feeding Kakei. It states he has agreed to join the student council for Minafes to be recognized. Everybody calms down once Kakei explains this is a ruse by Aoi. As Kakei still has no luck in finding a change in Tsugumi’s future, Senri comes to see him and wants to sing for Minafes. She has him close his eyes as she pecks his forehead. With Nagi releasing rumours to the journalism club about Senri’s singing, it soon everyone is excited to hear this news. Serizawa even interviews her for it as Senri requests her to be the emcee for Minafes. Aoi isn’t fazed with their comeback because the more they struggle, the more it proves she is right. More despair for Kakei because no matter what he tries, Tsugumi’s future still remains bleak…

Episode 12
As Minafes begins, it is packed to the brim whereas the symposium is just barely filling up the seats. Kana and Senri beg Kakei to give them a reward after everything but Tamamo puts her foot down that there is no time to be fooling around. But this is just for her so that she could hint about giving him a reward after this. What is this double standard? Later Kakei catches Aoi in the act of trying to rig and sabotage the stage equipment. He and Nagi pin her down as he tells her what she is doing will have her end up as a murderer. But all the screws are loose as the equipment starts to fall. Tsugumi is below. Her fate is sealed? Kakei uses his power to teleport the equipment away. Aoi starts lashing out in frustration about her goal and thus the need to eliminate useless people or else the school will be ruined. She is also upset that Mochizuki likes a guy like him. When she realizes, she has blurted this entire thing right on stage in front of everyone at the symposium. Sh*t hits the fan. Mochizuki has no choice but to tell her off especially her way of doing things. She has been watching her but never done anything in hopes she would realize it herself. Nagi realizes all this is part of Shepherd’s plan for her to lose. Sometimes it is not just winning but one can learn from the battle itself. Later Nanai talks to Kakei and Nagi. He is not pleased Kakei used his power in public when he is supposed to help them from the shadows. Kakei believes this is the only way to save Tsugumi’s life. He also takes responsibility for it all and dragged Nagi into this. Nagi also agrees with Kakei’s way because this is what she would have done too. Nanai will make both of them Shepherds or else he can’t erase them from the memories of other people. Nagi thought their qualifications as Shepherd have been revoked but there is no need for that when one has decided to make people happy. Nanai reminds Kakei that they have their rules on doing things but since he won’t change the way he thinks, Nanai views he is not qualified to be a Shepherd. Since his book is erased, he is simply an existence people forget. Kakei has no regrets.

By the time it is library club’s turn to go on stage, Kakei is missing so Takamine is made to take his role. Tsugumi is grateful for Kakei becoming a Shepherd for had he not, she would have died. She feels sorry for saying she hates him and hopes he returns. Before the finale, Tsugumi goes out to give her speech. Nervous as usual, but once she gets into her groove, it is the usual speech of encouragement, cooperation and moving on. You know, they started out as a small group to make this school a happy place, they’re weak and have experienced tough times but when they put their strength together, they overcome the obstacles and move forward. She hopes everyone could walk together with them. The crowd gives her a standing ovation and unwavering support. Mochizuki has Aoi hear all this and hopes she learns something. It is time for the final performance with Senri taking the stage. At the backstage, Kakei returns to Tsugumi and mentions he is fired as a Shepherd. He wasn’t cut out for the job anyway. But for Tsugumi, it doesn’t matter what happen to the book because what is important is that she won’t forget him. Emotionally clinging on to him, she hopes he could walk forward with them. His magic bookmark disappears. All is not lost since Kakei’s book reappears in Nanai’s hands. Aoi repents and apologizes to the library with all her heart. Kakei is surprised to see Nagi moving in next door with real stuffs. She has been appointed as the Shepherd in charge of Shiomi. That’s a good thing, right? But why does Kakei looked so surprised? And with his library club members coming by, Nagi is going to play a little prank on them…

Special 1
In this picture drama that lasts almost 10 minutes, we see Tamamo having Tsugumi as a model. As she sketches her, we hear Tamamo describing all the good body parts and we too have a glimpse of those good parts but short of anything that would be considered ecchi. As they take a break, Tsugumi sees the drawing and is shocked to see a sketch of her naked body! Tamamo tries to explain herself like how she wanted to sketch her body but the clothes got in the way, etc. However Tsugumi knows she isn’t that kind of girl and allows her to do it if she wants to. So in the next round, Tsugumi is stripped completely naked as Tamamo continues admiring her great body and skin. All that embarrassment soon turns into love that turns into lust… OMFG! Tamamo can’t hold it anymore! She is going to yuri rape Tsugumi! YURI RAPE HER!!! So what she confesses she always liked her all the while, because all I see his RAAAAAAAAAAAPE!!!!!!!! Turns out it was a just a dream from Tsugumi as she fell asleep while Tamamo was sketching her. I knew it… But when she looks at her sketch and sees the naked body, isn’t this exactly like her dream? Which means, reality may turn out the same as well? Holy sh*t!

Your Heart An Open Book: A Baa-d Thing?
So uhm… That’s it? Kakei gets fired and isn’t going to be a Shepherd anymore? How will he continue to save lives then? Does this mean he cannot see the future anymore and thus not be able to change it? Well, let us look on the bright side. At least we have Nagi around. Plus, with everybody in the library club loving Kakei so much, it would be just tad sad to erase him from everybody’s memories. I mean, nobody thinks about Nagi that much, right? :(. So yeah. All is well, ends well.

Although the concept of Shepherds and the magic library is interesting (including the part where a book of a person’s life and fate are represented by infinite tree-like branches), there are some things that I just don’t get. I mean, the concept of Shepherd itself seems to be widely known by almost everyone. Whether or not they truly understand the role or what a Shepherd is, but it seems that you know, it is like something similar to everyone knowing about Santa Claus. In the final episode we hear Mochizuki asking Kakei and Nagi if they were Shepherds although she stops short of interrogating them this instant. As well as Sayori who knows very much about Shepherd and what they do because she wants to be like them too. So, isn’t this Shepherd thing not really a big secret after all?

Plus, the concept of them not existing from people’s memories feels inconsistent. Take for Nagi’s case as an example. Although people don’t really remember her, after a while and a few constant reminders by the one who did, then they start to recall who she is and the memories come flooding back. In the long run based on this concept (I think), they should at least forget earlier interactions with her. But it seems they remember her right from the start when they first met as that annoying librarian who constantly comes barging in to remind them to keep it down. And oddly too, when Kakei temporarily became a Shepherd, shouldn’t he be erased from everyone’s mind? Because from the way I see it, his club members still remember him like as though he was there all the while and the mind boggling part is how Tsugumi actually could sense she is going to forget him! Talk about being dramatic and ironic. So really, I don’t quite understand how this memory erasing thing works. But I have a vague feeling of how it works because there are times myself when I felt that something was done by someone but couldn’t put my finger on it. I’m sure we all have experienced such moments. So Shepherds are like mythical beings like Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and the Sandman? Who knows? Not like we can remember them anyway.

I thought they were going to do some sort of ‘harem elimination’ when they start it late. Harem elimination? You know, the case whereby they focus an episode on a girl with our male lead to resolve whatever issues they have. It is like to satiate fans of that particular girl and have a mini route for her before they hit the guy off with the so called main girl. That is why I thought this was happening when they started off with Kana followed by Senri. I am not sure if Nagi after that is considered but by the time the revelation and confession of things, we don’t have time for Tamamo! So she doesn’t get an episode for herself? Well, maybe that is why throughout the duration of the series, we see short clips of her giving us the big hint that she likes Kakei. Therefore perhaps if you sum up all those suspiciously small parts, it may add up as good as if she had an episode herself.

Thus romance wise, it is just hinting and not very deep. We know every girl likes him from their reactions and thinking. Even more obvious when Nagi teases them about her relationship with Kakei vaguely. It gets them really worried-cum-worked-up. It tells a lot even if they don’t say it. They wouldn’t even pass the qualifying rounds of a love poker game. If that ever exists. While I noticed Senri is the most daring of the lot as she is bold to get up real close to Kakei, I feel Nagi’s actions are just of the teasing type and leaning more towards tsundere. Tamamo also feels a bit tsundere although she tends to get jealous easily. It goes without saying that introvert Tsugumi is the most obvious one when it comes down to it. She becomes stiff, nervous and ‘broken’ if you bring up this topic. Easily written all over her. But ever since Kana and Senri’s issues were ‘resolved’, they have become even closer friends to a point where you think yuri is possible. It just might happen. More likely in the event if Kakei chooses some other girl…

Not forgetting Mochizuki whom I feel also has feelings for Kakei. Otherwise, why be persistent in bugging him to join the student council? She also does certain things within her power for his sake. So is she an unofficial member of the ‘harem’? Because if she likes him that much, she would have just quit the student council and joined the library club. Then again, that would be irresponsible and besides, the newer members of the library club are unofficial. Can’t do something against the rules, right? It would be great if Mochizuki could be ‘admitted into the harem’ but I guess you need a girl or two who is neither in nor out of the harem for ambiguity sakes.

I am not sure if Kakei also realizes if the girls do have feelings of him because as we know, he has shown his observation skills. He might be just pretending not to notice and that goal of finding this feeling is just an excuse to cover it up. Or maybe it is because he is just like any other guy when it comes to love because guys are just oblivious in this department. Hey, not everybody is perfect. He might be the best observer in the world but that doesn’t mean he is perfect in observing everything in detail.

The characters themselves feel a bit bland and nothing extraordinary. Because you have Kakei like your typical male lead, despite claiming he is just doing stuffs for himself and seemingly aloof, he helps the girls out whenever he can. It is like he is contradicting himself and being hypocrite. The ‘varied’ girls in the harem consists of a shy introvert, a serious and strict hard worker, a popular singer, an energetic and lively ‘entertainer’, as well as the girl-next-door who often teases-cum-tsundere. Not forgetting other side characters filling the shoes of other tropes like the other best buddy guy, student council president, the real little sister who is also the eternally sick girl, the mysterious cute loli and the zealous misguided b*tch (looking at you, Aoi). As usual, most of them have their dark past and issues but as far as I can see in this anime, they’re just scratching the surface. So it is hardly any deep development except that the library club members gradually grow closer to each other to the point that they see each other as vital and necessary in their activities. It is hard to say if Tsugumi has made great progress over her introvert as we don’t know how shy she is in the first place and over the course of the series she still stammers and hesitates from time to time. But it’s safe to say that it is better than before. Heck, now she can go on stage and do public speaking.

Something tells me that Takamine is just like all supporting buddies in such genres. His role is reduced to something minor that it is like a running joke. Comic relief character? Not even his final scene of taking over Kakei’s main role elevates this ‘status’ because it feels it doesn’t make a difference. Yeah, the play isn’t so important, right? Also, when the girls discuss among themselves, it is like they ignore he ever existed in the same space with them. His only solace is Giza whom I am not sure if that fat cat shares the same sentiments. Speaking of Giza, I suppose he is the anime’s mascot but at the same time he is some sort like a comic relief character. Every time he gets a few seconds of screen time, you tend to hear him say short sentences in an old grandpa’s voice and sometimes putting on that troll face looks like as though he is trolling us all or something. I thought he might be just more than a lazy fat cat bumming around and could be related to the Shepherd or something but I might be just reading too much…

And yes, personally I think Ureshino is the best character in the series because of not only her cheerful appearance and mysterious background (I mean, a genius loli hacker?) but some of her punch lines like that smile really costing a bomb if you really want it to go as extra with your food (I guess there really is no such thing as a free lunch in this sense) and the ‘winning moment’ when she took out a machine gun to shoot at Kakei for doing the most embarrassing thing ever in public. I think I would do that too if I were her.

Just like any other adult visual novel games adapted into anime, the art and drawing feels pretty generic. So much so I thought I have seen certain characters from somewhere. For instance, I thought Kana and Tamamo were Infinite Stratos’ Cecilia and Houki respectively. Mochizuki looks a bit like Princess Feena from Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na and strangely Senri has the uncanny resemblance to Nagato of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu’s fame as well as Serizawa looking like Saki’s Nodoka. Ureshino’s hat always reminds me of Da Capo or President Aria from Aria The Animation. Guys like Kakei look typically like your lead male guy and Takamine stereotypically like the buddy for the male protagonist. Yeah, blame me for watching too many animes. For some unknown reasons, I do not know why at first when I looked at the characters, their design reminds me of those in Hidamari Sketch. This anime is produced not by SHAFT but Hoods Entertainment whose many works are of the ecchi genre like Seikon No Qwaser, Manyuu Hikenchou, Vanquished Queens, Aki Sora and Kagaku No Yatsura. Since they also did Kanojo Ga Flag Wo Oraretara and Fantasista Doll, maybe that is why the cuteness of the girls is reflected in this anime.

The opening is On My Sheep by Mitsuki Nakae and the ending theme is Aozora To Green Belt by Hagumi Nishizawa. They sound like generic anime pop and nothing special that attracts me. The next episode preview is my favourite segment because it consists of short funny clips from the characters talking to each other. For example when Tsugumi asks Kakei on what he will be doing for Golden Week. He’ll be reading. And then read. Followed by more reading. And more reading and reading and reading and reading! Or when Kana coaxes Tamamo to make that fox sound and get jiggy with it only to her embarrassment to find Kakei is around. Then there is Senri playing with Giza with a cattail S&M style (?!), Takamine ranting of his unkind and ignored treatment in the library club (don’t worry, at least you’re still useful as the club’s gopher) and Mochizuki lamenting about Kakei not joining the student council maybe because there are more cute girls and fun in the library club. But the thought that he might just be pretending to be a good guy and date multiple girls at once gives ‘hope’ to her that she may have a chance. May…

On a trivial note, I am tempted to make a few sheep, lamb and shepherd puns because I feel there is a play on words between hitsuji (sheep) and shitsuji (butler). Do you see the vague connection of Shepherds in this anime? Combine them and they could be called baa-tler! Hah! If Kakei becomes the Shepherd and his harem girls are his little lambs, can this association be called a RELATION-SHEEP?! Kakei is adamant in wanting to help others to the point that he doesn’t mind being forgotten. That’s really SHEAR determination. No? Tsugumi’s shy and introvert nature… Doesn’t that make her SHEEPISH? Remember, a library is a quiet place to read books so keep silent and stay SHHHHHHeep! And finally with that ending, is that all’s wool, ends wool? Sorry if you find some of the jokes lame and baa-d. But is it worth to contin-ewe? HAHA! XD! Okay, I stop right now. Let’s get moo-ving on… ;p.

Overall, this anime is just one of the many okay types in my books (ironically, I don’t read any books!). Nothing too fancy, nothing too deep. Just enough to keep you company for this sort of genre for the time being till the next one. So it goes to show that reading despite is still a very good habit, but not all of life’s experiences can be found in books. There needs to be a fair share of that as well as interaction from other people to help learn, grow and move forward. You know, all that basic stuffs. Because if you noticed, Kakei didn’t learn all that from his books, right? There are no books or classes that will provide you the greatest lesson in life unlike firsthand experience. Therefore books aren’t everything. Hah. A new excuse for me to not take up one.

Space Dandy S2

May 23, 2015

I suppose the vast and infinite space is not enough to confine all the wacky and weird adventures into one season. That is why we have more of such adventures in the second season of Space Dandy S2. Our titular character who is an alien hunter is still on the job of registering rare aliens and getting his big reward payout but seems to be getting into lots of misadventures while at it. Is all that really worth the trouble considering his laidback and easygoing personality? You’d even wonder if he is serious in doing his job. It is hard to believe that he is believed by some parties to hold the key and fate of the entire universe. Well like they say. Some things are more than just meet the eye.

Episode 1
Yet another space alien registration by Dandy. Who is he going to fool this time by bringing a cow? Meow and QT fear Scarlet is going to get mad at them but surprisingly she talks it out with them that she has never seen a worse alien hunter like them. She advises them to take a good look at themselves and perhaps make a career change. The universe is big and the possibilities are endless. So as the trio discuss about this and maybe getting a little too carried away with their fantasies, Dandy spots a stray hair of his own and starts pulling it. How long will it last? Before they know it, they are tossed into some warp hole or something. Finding themselves in a desert world, before them is a heroic version of themselves. Yeah, this Dandy has got the babe. The heroic team attacks as our dumb ones take refuge. Then there is a stray hair on QT. What happens if you pull it? Another warp. This time in another universe where Dandy and co are space truckers. And then another stray hair but from a magazine. They never learn do they? There is this comic hero version of Dandy. So this process goes on and on and there’s this crap explanation about parallel universes or something. This means lots of Dandy versions from ninja Dandy to gay Dandy to female Dandy to Titan Dandy. You name it, you’ve got it. I don’t know how many strings they have pulled but Aloha Oe is now filled with all their different counterparts. It’s utter chaos. What do you do at times like these? Head to Boobies, of course! Even Honey is confused if all the Dandys are his brothers or relatives or something. But as the days continue, things starting to become inconsistent. For example, a job with 7 days off a week. Some theory says that because all the Dandys are in this world, the inconsistencies of the universe will grow unless the Dandys are returned to their original universe via that stray hair which is actually some cosmic string. Speaking of it, everything has a cosmic string. Of course nobody dares touch it for fear it would bring more disaster. However can they live with the crowdedness that is already this bad? Then there is this gloomy Dandy who just want to die, Meow who is some future killer robot ready to go explode and QT who is a nerd who thinks he is a robot. At this point all the Dandys decide to take a gamble on the cosmic string. Don’t want to live the rest of their days with this gloomy Dandy, don’t they? They burn the cosmic string and in the aftermath of a bright explosion, all the Dandys return to their original universe. The only Dandy left remaining in this universe we know is the gloomy one. The new Dandy for the rest of the season?

Episode 2
There is this puppet called Ukulele Man who wants to make others laugh but it’s not working. Time for drastic measures. Meanwhile Dandy and Meow are in an argument over some song. This has Meow note that Dandy would win a misunderstanding contest if there was one. Dandy announces the disbandment of their team and goes off alone. He receives a letter for him and jumps to a conclusion that some girl needs him at a party. What else is there to wait if he is needed? Elsewhere, Dr Gel laments his failure each time he encounters Dandy. It is suggested to go back in time via River of Time and change the course of history then. Dandy crash lands on some planet and meets some capybara alien who tells him about the River of Time in the upper atmosphere that flows from past to future, etc. Does he care about all that? All he wants to know is the direction to the party. Meanwhile Meow and QT have traced Dandy and also end up on that planet. The stumble upon Ukulele Man and after his performance, they are turned into stone. Dandy is at the mansion and meets Ukulele Man. He doesn’t care about his past of being born and dying alone because all he wants is the girl who needs him. He learns there is no such girl and Ukulele sent that letter as he wants his smile. He shows him his backyard containing lots of creatures turned to stone. He likes collecting smiles but none of them were quite right till he saw Dandy’s. He is perfect and once he has it, he will be able to make others smile. Dandy is devastated to see Meow and QT part of the collection. There is no way he could smile after seeing his friends like this. Ukulele Man tries to make him smile but luckily Dandy trips and breaks the spell. He takes his friends and run. He thinks throwing them back into the River of Time will turn them back to normal. As he rides the waves, Dr Gel is here to get him. However he is smashed by a ship emerging from the wave. He is brought back in time to his beloved mother. He goes to his mama but she slaps him thinking him for being a pervert. Ukulele Man hasn’t given up yet. He is going to look for Dandy’s past and get that smiling Dandy. The moment that Dandy is pulled out, the present one will disappear. He is on the verge of doing it when Dandy quickly runs up to him and gives a good kick that cracks his mask. Ukulele Man accepts his fate that smiles aren’t for him but Dandy comments he is putting on his best smile. After Ukulele Man burns up, all that is left is his ukulele.

Episode 3
Dandy and co are so hungry and scouring around for food. But what did Dandy buy with his money? A teleport device in a form of a flashlight. It’s no wonder Meow is just blowing his top. Accidentally flashing the light on his head, suddenly it disappears to a mysterious planet. Dandy sees a fish relaxing. The fish is shocked to see Dandy. He explains about this planet becoming a satellite after being pulled by gravity by a nearby planet. The planet starts moving but all Dandy cares about that this fish is a rare alien (at this point he got his entire body back). Care to come with him to the registration centre? Meanwhile QT and Meow have located Dandy’s head. It’s very far away. Meow accidentally uses the flashlight on the mirror and it teleports him to that weird planet. Inside the underground of that planet, the fish explains he came to this planet 10 years ago to investigate but his ride crashed and has been stuck ever since. Meow is too hungry to think… Fish looks good… But the fish promises to come with them to the register centre if they help him get back to his planet. Because he needs to warn them about some incoming sun that will burn it up. He has made some ship but it is too heavy to be brought to the surface. Easy. Just use the flashlight. But now the flashlight is out of batteries which are believed to be very rare. The fish says it is abundant on his home planet. As they ride the ship up to the planet, the fish reneges on his promise and hops off. Meow tries to catch and eat it but the fish slips back to his home planet. What to do now? Dandy is so carefree that he just sits around confident he’ll come back. The fish goes back to his people to warn them but it seems hundreds of years have passed and things have changed. They laugh at him and send him away. After Meow takes a bunch of batteries, it is starting to feel hot around here. The sun is coming! The fish is so angry that he wishes for everyone to be burnt. He himself doesn’t care to be scorched! Meow grabs him. But grilled fish already? Just in time. Dandy could have been scorched by the sun too if not for Dr Gel’s ship that provided a little shade. Of course his bad timing to capture Dandy means he gets burnt by the sun too. Enough time to for Dandy and Meow to use the flashlight to return to Aloha Oe. It is discovered this alien fish is indeed rare. But they can’t register it now seeing it has become grilled fish. Oh well, what else better to do than eat it, right? Mmm… Tasty! Best fish ever?

Episode 4
Thanks to some social media, Dandy decides to become a transfer student to some posh high school to get the babes. You know how this will go, right? Because the first girl he meets is some Plain Jane geek. Now what you’re looking for? As Dandy goes around flirting, he doesn’t realize the pecking order that this school is bound with. There is a caste system decided by your sense of rhythm and singing. Thus the queen bee, her jocks and groupies start singing about it. Oh God. They’re turning this into a musical. That is what the rest of this episode is going to be. They sing from the popular groups to those unpopular ones like geeks and otakus. Eventually Dandy is tossed away to the unpopular side. His school life going to end this way? Well, only a week more to graduation. So we see Dandy cheating on his test (swapping test sheets) and joining other curriculums. QT and Meow come to check on him as they disguise as janitors. They remind him to catch a rare alien in this school, the reason he transferred in. Did he forget? But more important for Dandy is the prom. He tries to ask girls to be his date but gets beaten up. That’s their rejection. Eventually he has to settle for Plain Jane. They go on some power training that makes you wonder if they’re entering some martial arts tournament or something. Prom night. Queen bee and her underlings sing about how mighty she is. Till Dandy and Plain Jane show up. They mock Plain Jane and make her feel embarrassed but Dandy tells everyone she has something they all don’t have. Her ass. What?! Musical time. Queen bee sings about herself. Dandy waxes lyrical about asses! Eventually the unpopular ones join in to sing about their nerdy side. Even QT and Meow join in. Soon it becomes a musical about all is all, everything is everything. Viva all! Everyone including the popular ones join in this one big musical finale. And so Dandy graduates. It has only been a week but it felt like 3 years. Yeah right. Plain Jane goes up to Dandy as she forgot to give him her graduation present. A kiss on the cheek! Oh Dandy! As they ponder which high school to transfer next, they think they have forgotten something important. They sure did. Plain Jane turns out to be that rare alien…

Episode 5
It’s fishing for the Aloha Oe trio. Meow suggests if they’re doing this, why not make some big bucks fishing the legendary Munagi fish. Seems it is wanted on the registration department’s list and they’ll pay big bucks for this. So let’s get moving! Since Aloha Oe is stuck in some space kelp, Dandy goes off first and lands on some muddy planet and befriends a little kid, Ersimme. But his grandpa, L’delise seems the unfriendly type. Dandy continues to fish with Ersimme but Munagi remains elusive. One day Dandy almost got sucked into a whirlpool but L’delise saves him. He warns Dandy to give up and go home because many fools in the past tried to catch Munagi but earned its wrath and died. Like hell Dandy will go home empty handed. As they continue fishing, some non-believers mock Dandy and mention the strange guy L’delise that everybody keeps away from. He is the only one who believes in that legend and it will never come because this planet has no moon (it is said Munagi will surface when there is a blue moon that appears once in only 3600 years). One stormy day, L’delise goes missing and Ersimme believes he went out to catch Munagi. When Dandy mentions the legend might just be bull, the look in Ersimme eyes says it all. He believes L’delise never told a lie and he believes in him. I guess they have to go save him. Suddenly a blue moon appears (actually it is a passing comet). Here comes Munagi! L’delise tries to reel it in but couldn’t. Dandy is holding on tightly so as not to let it escape. QT and Meow arrive in their swan boat to warn Dandy about the comet but were made to help pull. Soon, the rest of the villagers also help pull. Even the non-believers believe now. L’delise gives Dandy the honours to reel it and shoot the arrow but when he does, his leg gets caught up in the string. Munagi and the other similar fish ride the upstream back up into the comet. As narrated, they came from this planet and centuries ago and now have found their way back to their home. When the storm is gone, Ersimme is sad Dandy is dead. But don’t cry now, here he is safe and sound. I guess old man shows his relief by arguing with him. They get along so well? So on another fishing day for the Aloha Oe trio, yet another déjà vu when Meow suggests making some money fishing another legendary fish. Going for the catch? Well, they might just let a big one nearby get away…

Episode 6
After watching an intergalactic wrestling match, Honey is kidnapped by Dr Gel. He is going to extract bits of information she has on Dandy into a machine. Scarlet is talking to her colleague Pine-pine that she cannot find the right guy so the latter suggests to go to a space mixer. Dandy has been obsessively chasing a rare and impossible to find Cloudian alien so much so he is malnourished and talking crazy stuffs about love. Not that he isn’t crazy when normal either. QT suggests a free all-you-can-eat buffet on some planet. Why didn’t he say so? Pine-pine takes Scarlet to this buffet too and she is disappointed they are only here to eat. And she does just that to take out her frustrations. But since the buffet is only for females, how the heck did Dandy and Meow get through? I suppose the host is gay and understands their predicament even if it is a blatant lie. Scarlet leaves but is tipsy. A Cloudian named Gentle Nobra catches her and she is taken in by his good looks and gentlemanly ways. Dandy sees her being taken into Gentle’s cloud castle but since he is full, he feels like not doing anything. Not even going after the Cloudian. So they hang out at boobies and when QT explains Cloudians takes in depressed women and makes them feel better, Dandy jumps the gun that Scarlet will be dumped after a one night stand and is going to rescue her. So we’re back to the Cloudian hunt? Meanwhile Dr Gel’s machine explodes since it doesn’t have enough memory. Honey suggests super giga mega drive one as she reveals she is a half Cloudian.

Scarlet is suspicious of Gentle and wonders why he is doing this. Cloudian feels sad that his good intentions are always viewed as scorn. Scarlet apologizes for being rude as her job makes her overly suspicious of people. When the Aloha Oe gang arrives, they are treated with first class hospitality. Scarlet is surprised to see him here as Dandy vows to capture Gentle. He accepts this as a gentlemanly challenge when suddenly a distress video of Honey is received. She wants Dandy to save her. Gentle recognizes her and goes off to rescue with Dandy tagging along. Seems this is a trap that Honey came up with. Dr Gel praises her and introduces her to Perry but the admiral is not pleased. Because Cloudians have the ability to download data and is he going to let her leave after having all of Gogol Empire’s secrets? The only way is to kill her. Gentle’s cloud castle captures Dr Gel’s ship. Scarlet is frustrated and ends up drinking with Meow since she was left behind. And the guys were just fighting over her. Suddenly Honey knocks out Dr Gel with a wrestling move and teleports back down. Dr Gel’s army fire at the cloud castle to destroy it. Dandy saves Scarlet and she might have seen something manly in him. They crash land as Gentle and Honey meet for the first time. They are half siblings. Honey’s real name is Lady Nobra. Gentle says he has lost his cloud and only a small piece is left. When Dandy is going to capture and register him, Scarlet lets him know that a Cloudian without a cloud is like a normal alien. Worthless. Gentle vows to go on a journey and rebuild his cloud and show it to her. Honey offers a ride home. The Aloha Oe trio squeeze in and Scarlet beats them up for their inconsideration and selfishness.

Episode 7
Johnny is the high commander of the Jaicro Empire. Because he has to make a decision that decides the fate of the universe, he tells his subordinates to gather more solid evidence before he makes his decision. Despite all this, nobody knows the secret life of Johnny. He is a rockstar wannabe. So when he first met Dandy in the toilet (because he was humming), they started fighting but soon become brothers when they realize they had the same charm. Yup. Friendly as ever. Johnny suggests starting a band. Johnny will play the guitar while Dandy on vocals. And before you know it, QT on drums and Meow on bass. Can they even play? However Johnny and Dandy spend their time arguing about everything rather than practising. From the band’s name to trying to take the spotlight. Just everything. All talking about big dreams and nothing gets going. Till Honey suggests they should just call themselves Dropkix because they’ve been drop kicking each other all the time. They like it. But where will they get their first song for their first little gig? Leave it to Johnny to write the song. He is waiting… Waiting for it to come. A few misses till he finally hits a catchy piece. Their first little gig has less audience than their band members… Despite being their only song, they played it for 2 hours! No wonder the owner got mad. But their rebellious side means they fight back and this is what caught the eye of a big label recording company.

When they are to make their first big debut gig, it seems the attack on Gogol Empire is on that same day. This is the day they should attack but it seems Johnny is in a dilemma. Not because this war will cause massive casualties. Oh, how is he going to choose? War or gig? And so he chose… He apologizes to Dandy that he can’t make their debut. He reveals his real position and everything but Dandy punches him. All that doesn’t matter when he is on stage. He is scared and running away. Johnny doesn’t care and walks out. And Dandy doesn’t even know what a commander means. Some part time job in some company, huh? And so that big gig debut day is here. Dropkix is already running late on schedule because Dandy is waiting for Johnny to show up. The crowd is unhappy. Johnny is on his way to attack Gogol Empire. But then his heart… All that is left now is for his attack order but wait… Where is Johnny?! Dandy is going to imitate the guitar with his voice but the crowd just hates it. Suddenly Johnny comes crashing into the concert! Let’s get this gig going. The crowd goes wild as they play their only hit. Of course in the midst of the craziness, they catch fire and when it starts to rain, the equipment got electrocuted and Johnny’s ship goes boom. Yeah. One hell of a blast concert. This legendary debut concert became their last. They broke up after the gig. While Dandy is upset about the boxes of Dropkix t-shirts and should send some to Johnny but do they know where he lives? The most important part is that little do they know that they prevented a galactic war and secretly saved the universe. Oh yeah. Hard rock saved the space.

Episode 8
Dandy… Is dead?! Well, he seems to be lying in a casket and flowing through a river. He wakes up in a strange land with strange buildings and creatures. It’s no surprised he is spooked. He goes around on a weird scooter looking for somebody and meets this strange creature, Ferdinand. You looking for somebody? He is somebody. Oh well… Claiming he is hungry, Ferdinand brings him around. He observes his surroundings. A couple in fine dining talking about the significance of living when death only awaits and also if microorganisms and bacteria have no reason to live, what makes you think others have? Also, there is this weird choir singing about death too. The food tastes awful and it seems in this world, it is eat or be eaten. When helicopter-like creatures fly above, Ferdinand hides them. They are Nightporters and it will be a bother if they see him. Dandy falls asleep when he hears an angel play her guitar. When he wakes up, he is captured by Nightporters. They view him peculiar and will terminate him. Dandy is panicking as he realizes they have no reflection and are ghosts. Next thing we know, Ferdinand is accompanying him to his funeral. Eh? He has him think about it that he is dead. Dandy realizes he thought he was hungry but isn’t. He thought he was tired but not sleepy. Ferdinand explains people who aren’t used to being dead repeat actions of the living unconsciously. Some don’t realize it for hundreds of years.

There is this cube that serves as a recorder of one’s last memories before death. Seems Aloha Oe entered some dark nebula when they tried to head to a planet to capture some rare alien. Ferdinand adds that with everything dead, there is no need for sadness. But Dandy didn’t take that too well. This means there is no joy too. He doesn’t want that. He still wants food and boobs! He runs away and bumps into a girl in a cable car. He wants her to take him away from here. Up or down? Down might mean hell so up! At the top, she reveals she is the only living being here. She is not God but the planet itself. As she is curious of this planet, the reason Nightporters are scouting around. Long ago, the civilization here destroyed each other. Nothing is left. However this planet has some sort of magnetic pull of souls and dead souls gather here. She was all alone till he came. There is a way for him to go back and that is to use up all this planet’s energy. She does so as Dandy wonders why she is doing this. Because she loves him. Even at this point he can be cheesy. Yeah, he notes he is handsome and she too isn’t that bad. But all this doesn’t matter. Because where dead or alive, he will always be himself. Aloha Oe manages to pull out of the dark nebula safely. Dandy is seen sleeping so comfortably that the rest doesn’t want to wake him up. The final mind boggling scene sees Dandy returning to that world in a white suit and this makes the girl very happy.

Episode 9
Saturday Night Fever?! It all began when Aloha Oe heard they could enter some dancing contest that is held once several centuries to win big bucks as well as get a rare Dancingian alien while they’re at it. Two birds with a stone. However the planet is dead and deserted. At a records store, Dandy buys a record but the clerk warns him not to play it due to some effect. Then they head over to the tourist centre as the chief remembers the good ol’ days when the planet was teeming with life and the festival at its heydays. Most residents have relocated to another planet and none have seen a Dancingian in centuries. Only his mother who is in coma for the last 300 years is the last person believed to have seen one. Dandy is about to leave but the chief gets desperate and thinks the way he walks is a dancing move. He forced Dandy to participate and pretend to be a Dancingian. The prize money is fake just to lure in the people and it is a fixed game since each time a Dancingian always wins. So with great advertising, people start to take notice. However the number of participants are paltry… Meanwhile, the most related question ever asked in this season: Bea is depressed because they never know the reason they chase Dandy and always end up getting blown away. Dr Gel thinks he is stressed and needs a vacation. Suddenly they are hit and run by a UFO. Dr Gel is not going to let this off the hook. As the dancing starts, the UFO descends and it seems he might be the real Dancingian, Ton Jravolta! Groovy baby! Everybody starts dancing to his tune but jealous Dandy won’t be outplayed by him. He claims his dancing is outdated compared to his. So what is he going to dance? He forces QT and Meow to become a record player. Uhm… That song… The kind of song you hear when you seek an audience with a king… And what’s this ballad thingy Dandy is trying to dance? So as everybody starts dancing to this weird dance, little do they know the record is having a growth acceleration effect. Everything is growing old and withering fast. Including our dancers. Reversing the record means reversing the effect but don’t go too far till you become babies. The chief’s mom awakes from her coma and sees the true Dancingian. Not Dandy or Jravolta. The latter is just some dance crazy alien. The true Dancingian are actually plants of this planet ‘dancing’ in the grace of their light. So beautiful that Dr Gel and Bea don’t even need to take a vacation anymore. Has your soul been purified? Dandy and Jravolta won’t lose and start dancing. They release and exhibit some sort of power powerful enough to destroy the universe (yup, Dr Gel gets blown away again) and create a new one. So while hundreds of millions of years passed, our guys are in some whatever form still happily dancing.

Episode 10
Another rejected alien registration. However Scarlet has part time job for him. Pretend to be her boyfriend to stop her ex-boyfriend from following her. Don’t worry, he’ll be compensated. Dandy doesn’t want it but Meow and QT accept it on his behalf. I mean, they’re broke, right? And so here they are on this holiday planet. Scarlet has even drawn up a contract between them so no funny moves, mister. But why pick him? Does this mean she likes him? She clears the air even if they are the last humans in the universe, she will never fall in love with him. So one the first few days of their date, Dandy is being an idiot taking stuffs without permission from kids to use them and then trying to take rare aliens he discovered back to the registration centre. Scarlet is off duty and won’t let him do that. Even when Dandy is flirting with others, Scarlet gets mad. No, that chase scene certainly doesn’t look like a lover’s chase. On the third day as they watch the fireworks, part of the fireworks turn out to be from Scarlet’s ex-boyfriend, Dolph (you mean that Lungdren fellow?) in a huge mecha. The night ends without anything exciting for them. Scarlet retires in her home but her screams draw Dandy. There is a spider in her toilet. A nasty alien spider! Dandy starts shooting everything till her home is decimated. At least he got the spider. Scarlet starts laughing and then they suddenly click when they realize they love the same martial arts series by that Chuck guy (you mean that Norris fellow?).

For the next few days, they date like a real couple and it is smooth sailing. So when Dandy flirts with Honey, you can tell that she is mad although she doesn’t say it. One day, Dolph comes to pick Scarlet up. He punches Dandy in the face and believes she is doing this to make him jealous. He becomes crazy thinking they love each other so much. Dandy punches him back and takes Scarlet to run. He blames her for not being straight with Dolph and there is only one way to stop this. Dandy kisses her. Dolph goes crazy and starts shooting everything. Thankfully he got arrested and a restraining order to stay away from Scarlet. Dandy can’t believe she dated that kind of guy. She thinks she is just bad luck with guys and always falling for losers. In that case, this means she won’t fall for Dandy, right? She didn’t answer. They end the contract and part ways. See you at the registration centre next time. QT and Meow are so happy for being paid that they want to party. But Dandy and Scarlet are just feeling gloomy. There is one day left in their original schedule to meet at the bar. Looks like they won’t make it. Or will day? Scarlet is there drinking alone, writing Dandy’s name on the water vapour. Dandy on the other hand takes that Chuck movie and rushes all the way down. By the time he arrives, she is already gone but he carries on looking for her. It’s like the gears of fate doesn’t want them to meet because it’s like yet so near, yet so far kinda situation. They never got to see each other. So it’s the usual cold reception at the registration counter when Dandy yet again brings another rejected alien. But could there be love lingering in their hearts? Maybe.

Episode 11
Hmm… A break up scene between Dandy and Catherine? Meanwhile there is some strange 2D universe appearing and it is absorbing any 3D stuffs it touches into its universe. Among them are Dr Gel and his fleet. So when this 2D universe threat is known, Dandy isn’t happy because it brings back bad memories. And the past might have caught up with him because here is Catherine! She is some 4D block? Honey is interested in knowing their past love. It’s already history, right? Seems Catherine ran off with Paul. They have already broken up one he ascended the throne. Why? Because Paul is 2D. Apparently that difference in dimension was too much for their relationship. However now he is back trying to take her back and thus his universe appearing here. Honey seems to not want to give up on Paul because he is a prince, which worth more than any rare alien. Catherine wonders if Dandy has found out about the secret of warping. Because with Paul here, he must have figured out something. Dr Gel is inside the 2D world and thinks of destroying the warp drive. It may send them back or annihilate this universe. But as a scientist he can’t contain his happiness over this mystery and wants to test it out. Because Paul can roll up the universe, Dandy and co crack their heads on how to get in. Honey whom everyone has ignored thinking she’s an annoying b*tch suggests to just poke through. Now why didn’t they think of that?

With a gigantic scissors, Aloha Oe cuts through the core. They see Paul quivering in his throne. Honey is disappointed that Paul is just a rectangle. He is 2D. What do you expect? Dr Gel intercepts a message from Paul intended for Catherine. Seems he wants them to go back the way it was and doesn’t care about the throne. He was wrong about everything. Dr Gel doesn’t care about this melodrama and fires into the warp driver. However inside it is the power of 1D as it absorbs them and the universe. Self destruction? Catherine thought she heard Paul’s voice calling to her. Catherine tells Dandy how Paul sealed the 1D power inside the warp drive to power his 2D universe here. She notes Paul is alright although he is sealed inside the 1D universe. Dandy has figured out the secret of warping. It doesn’t exist. Let me see if I understand this. They say you are conscious of yourself in one universe and assume there is another you in another universe, you believe it is yourself when you are conscious there. Therefore you might have felt that you have warped to another universe when it is actually your conscious awakening somewhere else. Thus both are different as you can’t sense the switch in between. Therefore to Catherine who is 4D, she knows this Dandy is not the same Dandy she fell in love with. Though, in Dandy’s eyes she is the same Catherine she fell in love with. As for why Catherine went with Paul, it is because Dandy arrived at this secret all by himself but Paul couldn’t make it on his own. Lastly, Dr Gel is in more serious sh*t because 0D is going to absorb him!!!!!!!! Reduced into nothingness…

Episode 12
Dandy is in a trial for the murder of Guy Reginald?! It is believed that when Reginald’s wife, Rose came back home from work, she found her husband on the floor dead. A baseball mark was on his head as the baseball rolled over to Dandy’s feet. Wrong place, wrong time? Well, there’s a mask besides the baseball too. So both the defendant and prosecution present their cases and arguments, calling forth witnesses like Scarlet, Meow, QT and Rose to take the stand. Despite what they say seems to be ambiguous enough to point all the guilty evidence to Dandy, that guy has remained silent for the entire time. Because Reginald is a rare alien, could he have been desperate this time to land the reward? Further evidence shows the baseball bears the name of Hiroshi. Although he and his friend Jack were playing baseball, they have never seen Dandy before and came from a faraway planet. Where is the logic to steal a baseball from a faraway planet just to commit this murder? Examining the ball, there are no traces of Dandy’s DNA but some Pyonium particle in which Professor Duran explains it as some god particle that is able to bend space and time. New evidence shows Rose has a life insurance policy taken out on Reginald. The payout is more than the registration reward. She is recalled to the stand and further evidence shows that she has bought strange weapons from an online site. As she has worked at Boobies before, Honey is called to the stand to testify. Seems Rose and Dandy did make contact and it fuels speculation that they are in cohorts to kill Reginald. Rose causes an uproar and maintains she is innocent and didn’t kill her husband and her interaction with Dandy was purely as a customer. However prosecutors claim that since Dandy is an alien hunter, killing Reginald would mean negligence on the job and thus a lighter sentence. She is taken away.

But they are still puzzled about the baseball from faraway. Duran explains Pyonium could response to strong emotions and perhaps like intent to kill, causing it to travel through space. Thus the reason it is found on the baseball. It is time for closing statements and Dandy still remains silent. As the jury deliberate, they see Hiroshi’s social media account which has lots of murderous words and intent. The judge reads out the statement. He points out Hiroshi is the one with murderous intent. Jack cannot believe it but that is when Hiroshi snaps. When they were playing baseball, Hiroshi was filled with all that rage. He hit the baseball Jack threw at him with all that killing intent. The baseball disappeared before his face. Hiroshi than admits that Jack blocked him from his social media account. He is upset he was just pretending to be his friend. Boys fighting… Well, at least it doesn’t look like they’re trying to kill each other. The judge clears Rose’s name that she bought those weapons for her husband. Her husband is a famous masked wrestler but had lost his job and since had fallen on hard times, he thought of making a comeback by playing the villain. That’s where she bought those weapons as a birthday surprise to him. Because he was a famous wrestler, she was trying to protect his identity and not reveal it. Suddenly everyone receives news that Reginald has woke up. Seems he has some sleeping condition that has him sleep for long periods. Because he is a rare alien, they thought he was dead. And if you’re wondering why Dandy has been silent all this while, now he has broken it. His first sound… HE WAS ASLEEP THE ENTIRE TIME!!! WTFFFFFF???!!! Didn’t even know what is going on, eh? The court is adjourned although everyone is still puzzled why the ball appeared before Dandy. Suddenly Gogol Empire soldiers surround Dandy.

Episode 13
Dandy alone is taken to Gogol Empire’s base. Scarlet and Honey joint QT and Meow to go rescue Dandy. Finally Dr Gel can properly meet him face to face. It is revealed Dandy possesses Pyonium and is going to extract it from him. You think Dandy is playing dumb? I think he genuinely doesn’t know. Don’t care either. Duran is a scientist for Jaicro Empire as he reports to Johnny about Dandy being made up of Pyonium instead of DNA. At this rate, the universe will fall into Gogol Empire’s hands. Johnny orders for an all-out attack. Perry commends Dr Gel for retrieving Dandy. After extracting his Pyonium, they will use it to activate some super weapon. It is explained there are countless universes and its parallels. Nobody passes through them but only cosmic strings bind them together and pull them out into another. Pyonium controls those strings and if you can manipulate them, you become ruler of the universe. In other words, God. When Jaicro Empire launches a surprise attack on Gogol Empire’s base, suddenly a twist. Bea shoots Dr Gel! OMG! He is a spy from Jaicro Empire and will be taking Dandy as his. Before you can reel from this shocking revelation, here is another shock. Bea calls his comrades to say he has got Dandy. However he is sick of them and is defecting! Holy sh*t! All for himself! I guess the power is too tempting to be given away to your boss. Johnny faces off with Perry as we see the latter’s true form turns out to be an old guy in a suit! Another revelation?! But this part is mind boggling. Because Dr Gel grows into some giant and grasps Bea in his fist to crush him. Or did Bea shrink? I don’t know. The traitor died. Our Aloha Oe crew have the ride of their lives through the maze of the base before reaching Dandy and rescuing him.

In Dr Gel’s dying breathe, he tells Dandy to stop the weapon or else it will be the end of the universe. Dandy wants his ship but since it was destroyed during that ‘ride’, Dr Gel allows him to use his. This time Dandy will go alone. Because they have risked their lives to come rescue him, he can’t let them throw it away now. And so Dandy rides the Statue Of Liberty (the entire body instead of just the head) towards the weapon as it begins its destructive power. Dandy is weakening and burning up the closer he gets. But when he sees Scarlet’s panties from his monitor, he powers up (don’t even ask) and this is where you toss away your logic. Because now he ejects out and gets naked while accelerating at great speed towards the weapon before destroying it with his super punch. Everyone and everything gets blown away by the beautiful light. Dandy hears the voice of God (the narrator actually) talking to him. He is being told he might have forgotten about his other selves in other universes. But he is one who has the ability to conceivably be one and the same while simultaneously existing in all other parallel universes. So now what? Since the universe is collapsing, a new one will be born. He wants a successor and Dandy is worthy to become to next God. Oh wow. But Dandy realizes this means he won’t have a physical body and can’t go to Boobies anymore. He doesn’t want it and declines to be God! OMFG! Are you thinking straight?! Oh what the heck. So what will happen with a universe without a God? Everything explodes. Don’t ask. I also don’t know. And 14.8 billion years later, Dandy is riding Aloha Oe as usual through space.

To Go Where No Dandy Has Gone Before, Baby!
OMG! What in blazes?! Everything was a big revelation in the end?! I was hoping something like this but that was long ago back in the first season. So when all the random standalone episodes came in, I gave up of ever something of this epic happening in the end. Then bam! This. Mind blowing. So it seems like all those episodes weren’t just trolls. If you think about it, they are somewhat connected to it all although it can be very loosely and indirectly. Episode after episode as we have seen is made as though they look like fillers so it was really amazing that everything, the revelations and the truth all came out in one big blast in the final episode. A fitting final if I should say. But is that really the end since a big question mark hangs over whether it would be continued in the final scene. Who knows? Maybe God Dandy can tell us.

So now when you think about Dandy, everything starts to make sense. Because at first he might look like some easygoing guy who just wants to show off and have fun. Even if he seems serious in his job, he doesn’t actually look like it. If you noticed, Dandy is a guy seemingly capable of a lot of things (maybe except catching rare aliens). A lot may seem useless but hey, he can still do it, right? From being a surfer, a racer, to some dancer and heck, a high school student! How is this even possible? Even if he isn’t that good but heck, at least he could do it. With certain mind boggling episodes dropping hints like multiple Dandys and parallel dimensions, it just looks like they are random nonsensical episodes but beneath all that have something to do with Dandy itself. Wished you have paid more attention to Dandy instead of writing him off as some loser main character, eh? Therefore with this, it explains a great deal of why Dandy gets into a lot of adventures across the universe and why certain episodes start with a big reset like as though the consequences of the previous never had any effect to begin with.

Because of this, it is arguably that Dandy is ultimately the coolest character. Why? Simply because he rejects the offer to be God! You only have to be an idiot to do something like that but that is what makes you cool, right? Well, it proves that being God isn’t everything. Call Dandy an idiot but at least you have got to admire his simple ways even if might seem distasteful to some. Ah, the simple pleasures in life. If a guy can’t be happy hanging out at a diner flirting with sexy waitresses, I don’t know what happiness is then. But just a thought, if Dandy does become God, he can be anything he wants, right? This means he can still materialize himself like he is now and create Boobies or whatever things he wants and go patron it. Doh! Regretting it? So from someone whom we all never think highly to begin with and at most some sort of joker, it is considerably quite a feat for him to be elevated to this status. Whether or not you respect him after this, it is for sure we will see him in a different light now. Ironically as the most important person in the universe, he is also the most blur case and I am sure he isn’t playing dumb. That is Dandy for you.

Notwithstanding to the connection of the plot, with many of the episodes acting as standalones, there were a few that are really interesting like that episode they turned almost the entire episode into a high school music. It’s refreshing to see them dancing and singing their way through. Even starting the season off with multiple Dandys also feels unique. The strange planet of the dead is also intriguing and perhaps making you think about what is life and death. The courtroom drama is also not bad because it kept me on my feet trying to guess what is happening despite that Pyonium stuff boggling my mind even further only till what it really is, is revealed in the final episode. I suppose even if a big majority of the plot doesn’t go anywhere, the randomness of such episodes is enough to keep you amused. But sometimes you might be annoyed by how such episode ends. Because just like last season, they end abruptly or leave their fates hanging or with the kind of consequences that make you wonder how they are going to untie it in the next episode. And then your worries are unfounded because they do a complete reset like as though all those stuffs never happened. But as hinted at the end, multiple parallel worlds… Some things aren’t just for the human minds to understand.

But there are some episodes I thought just felt a little unsatisfying. For example the one that reveals Honey’s origins. Maybe it is just that, nothing much. I thought she would play some sort of important role towards the end of the series thanks to this revelation but I suppose Dandy is still the more important factor. Just a troll, huh? Also, there were a couple of episodes hinting about the romance between Dandy and Scarlet. They’re just teasing us and nothing more than that. I would love to see more of this and if it really goes somewhere because although I know Dandy is the kind that usually won’t end up with the girls, but at the end of it, perhaps someone like Scarlet or even Honey is worthy enough to be it. And imagine if Scarlet is dating God… Yeah, I can’t imagine that.

Thus the other supporting and side characters don’t seem to matter much this season. It is understandable that given the way the series is, you’ll see lots of characters appearing for a single episode and then that’s it. Because with so many living beings in the universe and not counting parallel worlds or other dimensions, you can’t really care for them all. But for QT and Meow, it feels like they have been pretty much sidelined for this season. Not to say that they don’t appear much, what I meant was the impact they made on this season. I just don’t feel it here. Maybe it is because they had their fair screen time in the last season so sidekicks are shoved aside to pave way for the bigger hero. I think. Even with Scarlet and Honey feel like they have more decent appearance in this season, overall it just fails to make a deeper impact. Not even Perry’s true identity or Johnny did any justice. Thanks to the finale, you start thinking this season is all nothing but Dandy. At least there is a closure to Dr Gel and Bea’s case because otherwise we would have forever seen them as running joke materials, antagonists who are only meant to be blown away by the sheer bad luck for chasing Dandy and never getting him.

Art and drawing are still okay although there are times where I feel that certain episodes have an obvious drop in quality. Like as though they hand it over to different producers to animate it and then it becomes obvious. However this might be to fit the visuals world of that world of that episode. For example like that fishing episode in which the art subsequently resembles more like traditional Japanese paper art. Some were cartoonish and some were filled with lush flora while some serve an interesting concept especially that episode on Dandy’s ‘death’. It is really different and unique to see such alien and fantasy world that is neither here nor there. Then of course there is that 2D retro pixel style art which brings back memories of my younger days playing such early space shooter video games.

With the same seiyuus of the main and supporting characters retained, considering the standalone-like episodes, this means a bunch of other seiyuus lending their voice for a particular character in a particular episode and then never to be heard of again. This also means those who played guest characters in the first season won’t be coming back in this one since their character never appeared again. For the more popular ones that I recognized, this season we have Hiroshi Kamiya as Johnny, Megumi Hayashibara as Pine-pine, Kazuya Nakai as Dolph, Miyuki Sawashiro as Catherine and Sayaka Ohara as Rose.

Looks like they used the same opening and ending theme for this season. However after halfway through, they use a new ending theme for an episode. With a little variety between then, some of them sound pretty cool. Like Kanchigai Lonely Night by Dropkix has a very catchy rock ‘n’ roll tune. Personally I feel this is the best of the lot. Then there is the groovy disco-like song named after this series’ name by Zen-La Rock featuring Yomeiri Land. If you feel like dancing a little to your retro Saturday Night Fever, this is it. There are a couple of instrumentals too like White House by Ogre You Asshole (WTF is this group name?!) and All The Thing’s I Am… Worried by Mito. The former isn’t some fanfare for an American President but instead sounds like a slow and alien-like Hawaiian string instrument while the latter feels like some eerie, dramatic and enigmatic piece that is suitable for space adventure games. Seaside Driving by Seiichi Nagai is also an instrumental piece and perhaps the better instrumental one since this is a casual and fun piece that makes you dream of wanting to be at the, well, seaside. Finally for the final episode, there is Space Fun Club by Zen-La Rock featuring Robochuu which sounds more like R&B with a little funky rap. Some of the insert songs are great too like that All Is All (Viva All) in the musical episode and the romantic jazzy I’m Losing You by BTB for Dandy and Scarlet’s dating episode.

Overall, two seasons of Dandy is sure one heck of a space adventure. It has almost everything. Sci-fi, space action, comedy, romance, drama and whatever genres you can think of, it is here. Yeah, when they put in the musical, everything else seems plausible. If you like space themed shows with weirdness and randomness and then a big mind blowing finale, this series is just for you. But remember to come back to Earth once you are done. Just like space itself, I suppose all of us has infinite possibilities. The biggest lesson of all is the age old saying of never judge a book by its cover. For all you know, the douchebag that annoys the hell out of you and a jerk that you hate so much might turn out to be God or the next one. So always be nice. Be dandy! Be groovy baby! See ‘ya in the next alternate dimension. If you remember, that is.

I thought it was pretty suspicious that a fanservice-laden series did not release any OVA after the series ended. And then 2 years later, I guess the temptation was too great and thus Senran Kagura: Estival Versus OVA was released to satisfy horny guys who love to see sexy ninja girls running around in swimsuits. There may be other reasons but I prefer to believe in this one ;p. And just like my previous sentence says, expect nothing but lots of naked tits and fanservice because what else reason there is when you have 20 gorgeous ninja babes. Wow! Twenty beautiful ninja girls???!!! Now I see why they want to do such fanservice OVA.

Festival Eve Full Of Swimsuits
A bunch of new ninja girls I believe who have never appeared in the TV series. Yumi and Yozakura from Death Cram School are in a practice fight. Looks like a draw. Yumi has a bad feeling something big will happen. Once they return to their base, Minori shows them a letter that invites them to some spa resort. Yumi is very much against it as she starts labelling everything as evil! Their hearts are being covered by evil! Drawing manga is evil? Looking at your handphone is evil? Eating snacks is evil? WTF???!!! Who is she to label everything that?! She thought Yozakura would side her but it seems she is very much eager to go. To decide, they play rock-scissors-paper boobs version. I don’t know, they show us their tits and go. What? Did it start already? And I can’t tell one boobs from another because it is Yozakura’s win and this means they’re going on a holiday. WTF. And Yumi admitted her defeat! Oh, this evil!

Meanwhile Homura and co are walking around town hungry. No money. They have enough just for one bun. Uh huh. Need to share it among themselves. I don’t know why but they thought of splitting it up nice and good by attacking it like a ninja. WTF. Sure, everybody gets their portion but it’s not enough. Complain, complain… Seeing their pitiful state, the stall lady gives them a ticket for the lottery and guess what? They won the first prize to the spa resort. Free meals guaranteed! Back to Hebi All-Girls Academy, as the school is being rebuilt, Ryouna shows an invitation to the spa resort. She got it while begging like a dog and those horny men started throwing what they’ve got. The invitation was one of them. Suzune suggests her girls to relax at the spa resort as nothing much can be done while their school is under renovation. They agree but the problem is that Murasaki is holed up in her room since she got a new console. Well, I guess they’re going to try and use this excuse and bring her out. Hope she saved her game…

So all the girls are here at this invitation-only resort including our Hanzou girls. Since they’re here to relax and a particular group is just tired from being hungry, they call a ceasefire. And so the fanservice moment we’ve all been waiting for. Girls changing in their underwear, big naked boobs, girls having fun in the water, girls have fun eating their meat (food, that is). For some reason, the group leaders got into some petty argument. They’re really going to fight but Yumi tells them to stop as this will bring trouble to the spa resort. There is a way to settle this and it is via shinobi kibasen. So our girls get ready for the battle but Homura’s group have to sit out since Yomi ate too much that she looks like a pregnant lady and couldn’t budge an inch. Since the Hanzou girls are like idiots, the real fight is between the other 2 groups. Murakumo who is always wearing a devil mask accidentally drops it and since she loves hiding her face, she takes off her swimsuit to cover it. So she is okay with her exposed boobs but not her face? Fine with us! When Hanzou girls get serious, all of them take each other’s hand band off at the same time. A draw? Yumi suggests that they should take off each other’s clothes till none are left. The winner is the one with clothes left. But some of them feel uncomfortable with this idea.

Suddenly several mysterious ladies up the excitement by summoning female ninja foot soldiers. Time for some action. The girls cooperate to take them down. When they can’t use their battle gear transformation, I can’t believe they’re giving up when they are cornered. Suzune and Daidouji interrupt to give them some motivation. Yeah, big motivation for us too because they power up and as a sign of that, their clothes rip to bits! NOW THEY ARE FIGHTING AND KICKING ASS NAKED!!! HOLY CRAP! And they’re not embarrassed with this as opposed to that kibasen game?! Ryouna accidentally drink one of Haruka’s potions and turns into a giant. Ryouna smash! Then her inner masochist awakens as she wants everyone to hit her. For reasons unexplained (fanservice is all that I can think of), her boobs grow bigger each time until she explodes! I don’t even… Don’t worry. She is still alive but there goes the spa resort. At the end of the day after everyone has left, the Death Cram girls despite having fun apologize to Yumi and promise to train harder. However Yumi is the one apologizing because even though she called for everyone to be strong, it is meaningless if they aren’t smiling. This means more harsh training for them. Training with a smile… I hope she didn’t turn into a masochist.

Naked As A Jaybird…
Well, WTF. That is all I can say. Everything here feels ridiculous so much so that I just stopped questioning and enjoy the fanservice. Isn’t that how it should be? A cheap blatant excuse to milk more money for fans of the series and ecchi fans by using the ubiquitous pool and swimsuit theme. And then that butt naked fight was the ultimate of everything. Hell, they shouldn’t have put on swimsuits in the first place if that is the case. But I guess that is how it works because many of us will still come back for more, right? I suppose fans of the series would only enjoy-cum-appreciate this seeing that there are many new characters debuting here as they did not appear in the TV series. You are expected to know the background, the setting the girls, etc prior watching to this. Of course this means with so many girls and so little time, not many get their deserved screen time and very limited lines. But this OVA is just meant to be something extra for the fans. Casual viewers would just go in for the boobs and nothing else. Then you go watch other series with similar or better boobs. Because sex and boobs always sells. If this is the direction of viewers these days, then I really have a bad feeling that something big will happen… Or maybe it already did. Oh, who cares? Just give us our naked tits and butts, we’ll be fine.

Black Lagoon

May 17, 2015

Tired of the same ol’ life? Tired of the mundane everyday routine? Tired of what life is supposed to be about as dictated by society and culture? Well, I guess most of us have been brought up to believe in such and to enter the rat race. Go to college. Get a degree. Graduate. Find a job. Get paid. Work for life. Then die. Forgive me if I have omitted a lot in between but really, I don’t think you want to be bored over such unrelated details. Because when you really find out the dark truth of humans and how they run things, are you able to face the system? Are you willing to drop all your ideals and what you believed for and step into the dark side? Well, if you have lost faith in humanity in general, then I am sure you will find yourself comfortable with Black Lagoon. A place where death is only a heartbeat away and survival hinges on every miniscule decision to make. So are you willing to take the plunge and join the legions of those who do not follow the norms of society but their guts and instincts for survival? For our main character in this anime, he doesn’t really have much of a choice. Forced into a situation beyond his control, what has a normal salaryman got to do when even his own company abandons him in a pirate hijacking attempt? Time to kick out those sugar coated beliefs and join these guys. Who cares anyway? For all you know, it might have been the best decision ever made.

Episode 1
Rokuro Okajima couldn’t have wished for a more eventful life. A lowly salaryman, often kicked around by his superiors. Oh yeah. Harsh reality. And then the ship he is on got hijacked by pirates. They take an important CD from him and although the ship goes free with conditions, he is taken hostage. Yeah. Life sucks. Dutch contacts Balalaika that they’ve got the goods. Asashi Industries, the company that Rock (our salaryman’s given nickname) works, learns about this and they’re discussing about how the Russian mafia is gaining ground in the waters of South East Asia for illegal trade and such. Because the CD hasn’t reached them yet, they find this is a good opportunity to take it back because it would be scandalous if its contents are revealed. This case has been left to Kageyama to handle. Every action he takes, he will be responsible. Dutch isn’t happy that Revy has taken this Japanese guy as hostage. Her intention is to make extra cash and hold him for ransom. However Dutch wonders if she is going to be the negotiator or has their telephone number or even a bank account to transfer the money. She becomes upset and starts shooting. Thank God the shots missed. Dutch takes him up for a smoke. He talks to him that they are just delivery boys and are in the midst of a delivery. They have their priorities and although the things they do may be in foul of the law, it’s what they do for a living. Rock starts to have sympathy for the pirates because Dutch feels more trustworthy than his corporate colleagues. They stop by a town made up of mercenaries, hookers, junkies and convicts. Yeah. Everyone has a gun. Rock learns their other ‘different’ member, Benny is from a college in Florida but went into trouble with the FBI and mafia for playing with fire. That’s when Revy saved him. Because Revy mocks his drinking skills, Rock takes up the challenge. Don’t underestimate his social drinking skills. Dutch learns from Balalaika that there is trouble coming their way. From a Chinese mafia she caught, Shinginan’s Wan Taikei has sent assassins to kill them.

Speaking of which, the mercenaries are here to kill them. They literally kill everyone in the pub! Of course Revy and co are still alive. She shows us why she is called Two Hand Revy as she jumps into action and pumps bullets into the mercenaries. She makes Lara Croft look like a baby. And she’s smiling. Eventually they flee the place and back to their ship. The mercenary captain is happy that there is someone they can go after. He has been looking for someone with full of fight. As Benny tries to contact Asashi Industries, Dutch tells Rock that they will be rendezvousing with Balalaika. If negotiations for his release don’t go well, they will leave him at some island. Rock isn’t happy and wants to be taken along. After they dragged him into this mess, there is no way he is going to be left stranded. Kageyama is on the line but he tells Rock that the CD no longer matters. It contains plans to build nuclear capabilities for a certain country. He wants him to disappear into the South China Seas. He will be promoted and everyone will be at his funeral. Goodbye. As Rock is reeling from the shock (I don’t think the vomiting is from the drinking hangover), an assault helicopter attacks them. It’s the captain. However he won’t easily kill them and will toy with them for a while. Rock becomes a coward and wants to get off instead of fighting back. This pisses off Revy a lot but the most frustrated one is Rock as his whole life everyone has been telling him what to do. He’s not going to take this suffering anymore.

Episode 2
Rock is visibly upset because he knows his company has sent mercenaries to kill him. Dutch and Benny start to ponder something strange. The helicopter could have made mincemeat out of them but instead is just following them at a distance. And then it stops dead in its tracks near a sunken ship. They soon realize that they have entered the mangrove waterways and ahead is a dead end. They’re trapped. The only way is back where they came from and this means facing them in a death match. Rock is panicking that they should call the police but he gets punched to cool his head. Nothing is solved if they’re panicking. Revy wonders if they should wait till they run out of fuel but knowing they are the mercenary type, they’ll come finish them. Rock then has an idea. Let’s play chicken. He might sound insane with his theory in making them fly but what else choice to they have? Making their way back, Revy fires the first shots so the captain fires back with heat seeking missiles. Rock fires the flare as chaff. Next, not only they use the sunken ship as a shield, it also serves as a platform for them to soar close to the helicopter in which Dutch unleashes his torpedoes. It hit captain right in the face! He got f*cked! Rock doing the middle finger to him for this victory! The ship might be messed up but at least everyone else is alright. Rock is out cold but he has that satisfied look on his face. When they meet up with Balalaika and hand over the disk, she hands it back to Kageyama and will talk about the details at the hotel. Rock won’t go back with his company because he was told he is already dead, right? So be it. Now that he is no longer an employee or hostage, where is he to go? Revy hints there is a sailor opening on a certain ship. I think he knows what it is. He’ll take it. And so Rock in his first pirate operation, trying to make a huge liner with polite gentleman words? They’re not going to listen till Revy fires her RPG and her fires her foul language! That’s the way. Kageyama returns to his home and from the looks of it, he doesn’t care about his family problems. Only about his stocks.

Episode 3
In the lawless city of Roanapur, our delivery boy pirates are having a day off. Dutch is making a call to somebody when he is approached by Chin. Seems Chin is trying to get him to deliver his goods for him again instead of working for Balalaika. However Dutch remembers an incident where his men pulled out. He notes Balalaika has more honour than him and he isn’t going to get a second chance with them. Chin will make him regret this. Dutch summons the crew as they have a job from Donnie Yen (as in that HK actor?) to receive some package from the Vietnamese military. Of course this is a trap laid out by Chin. As they hit the seas, Revy asks about Rock’s pathetic life at work. Well, doing what subordinates do. How the heck does he put up with that f*cked up life? Everyone does it. As for Revy, she’s been doing to same thing even before this. Killing, stealing and other bad things that are more than just f*cked up. Then 6 assault ships pull up from behind. They know what’s going on. First, Dutch hits the brakes so the front 2 assault ships flanking them fire at each other. Then Revy jumps from boat to boat and kills every single one of them! Freaking awesome! Did she input some cheat code to jump like that? Chin is seen packing his stuffs and trying to run away. Unfortunately Balalaika and her men are at his doorstep. She doesn’t look happy especially about the rumours spread about her. Later Dutch gets a call from Balalaika herself and Chin has told her everything. To make sure this doesn’t happen again, she lets him hear a ‘beautiful’ explosion setting off in the background. Yeah. Chin was tied up with explosives laced all over the room. Boom! She will have a job for him soon and will contact him. Dutch then treats his crew to drinks at a bar for today’s inconvenience. Up for it?

Episode 4
There is this flashback in between the scenes. A German submarine flees its fatherland at the end of World War II. Part of their delivery mission is to return a Japanese military back to his homeland and a lieutenant colonel to Batavia (Jakarta). Along the way, there is an ally ship the captain wants to sink but the lieutenant colonel doesn’t think it will have any effect on their fatherland. However the ally ship drops sea mines and it critically hit them. They sink to the bottom of the sea. The captain addresses his men and relieves them of their duties. He is sad that they won’t be able to bring the Japanese back as he has committed suicide. Then talking to the lieutenant colonel, he seems to be clinging onto a painting as he believes it will bring hope for the future of their country. The captain regrets for dying with a man like him. He continues to speak of the end of Hitler’s empire and this only serves to upset him. He cannot take it anymore and shoots the captain. Back in present time, Dutch is leading his crew to do some treasure hunting. Benny explains the history of a German U-boat being sunk just before it reached its destination by the allies. But any untold version has an officer with a painting forcing his way onboard. What does this mean? The painting is worth millions, right? A Spanish collector into Nazi art contracted them to find this painting believed to be lost. There is hope since a French telephone company was laying cables down the sea and discovered the wreckage. Since this area has lots of countries fighting over it, nobody can make an easy go for it. That’s where they come in. So put on your scuba gears because it’s diving time. At least for Revy and Rock. As Dutch and Benny hold the fort, they see a strange ship coming and seeking for their identity. They know there isn’t supposed to be any other ships on this route and feels something suspicious. They are actually the Nazi and won’t let anybody take their treasure. Benny spots them firing a missile as Dutch quickly speeds off. Hold on tight.

Episode 5
Dutch manages to avoid the missiles and stay clear at a safe distance. All they can do now is wait and watch. Revy and Rock enter the sunken submarine. There are bones everywhere. Of course. There is a part like as though everyone had a death match with each other. Revy could guess what happened (which it does). After the lieutenant colonel killed the captain, the other crew were devastated and came in. That mad guy continued killing them until he was shot dead. Rock finds the painting but Revy wants to go pick up valuable stuffs. This trip will be a waste if they don’t bring back other things worth the money. It’s too good for fish down here. Meanwhile the commander of those Nazi guys (he looks like a joker) is giving his speech to those descending down to retrieve the treasure. Yeah. They’re close to tears to die for their land. Such jokers. Uh huh. They’re even playing their anthem… Once Revy has returned with her loot, Rock seems to have a conscience for stealing from the dead. He thinks it is not right to steal medals of these people who earned it. You think she cares about that sh*t? Now it’s her turn to lecture Mr Priest about the harsh facts of life. These are just ‘things’. The only thing that makes it worth is its monetary value. Money is more powerful than God. She learnt it the hard way. She was beaten up by cops for something she didn’t do. Then she found out it wasn’t God she was supposed to cling on. It was money and guns. Because for some reason, God and love were always sold out. She also warns him that if he tells others about this story, she’ll kill him. The Nazis enter the submarine. What are they going to do? Isn’t it obvious? Kill them all! During the gunfire, Rock drops the painting and the Nazis get it and flee back up. Revy and Rock chase them and since they don’t know who they’re up against, the ship prepares to fire back. If not for Rock pulling her back down, she could have been dead. The Nazis think the grave robbers are dead and go away. Dutch picks them up and although they’re not happy those skinheads got one up against them, this isn’t over yet. They’re going to turn this Nazi party into a bloody party.

Episode 6
Our crew are wondering somebody must be filthy rich to sponsor those Nazis with lots of sophisticated weapons just for a painting. It’s like their employer too. So while the Nazis are drunk and let their guard down, Dutch and Revy ride their little raft up to their ship and start killing everybody! No mercy! Revy is pissed. Don’t mess with her. They can’t. Because they’re dead. I think they’re all drunk to even fight back because the duo are just super fast. Revy is even going to kill the innocent ship crew. She doesn’t care about those not relevant to it all. Dutch had to stop her. He lectures her about using her emotions to shoot. It is fine if she decides on that but if she screws up, he will die too and in no f*cking hell way he is going to let that happen. He thinks something must have happened with Rock because she is always like that with new guys. The same happened when they picked up Benny. With Revy back in her groove, she kills off some dumb big wrestler Nazi who is jus yapping how great his golden gun is. Just one bullet enough for the job. Meanwhile the commander calls his boss and from the sound of it, the boss isn’t panicking and knows he has lost. Then here comes Dutch. Game over. The boss praises Dutch and it seems he is the one who hired them too to make them clash. Dutch knows that it is not the painting that is important but what is inside. At the end of the war, the Nazis pooled all their resources, gathered their capital and created a file with all their signature and account numbers. They are placed into 4 paintings as they escaped Berlin. That painting is the last piece. Even if Dutch throws it back into the sea, the boss doesn’t need it as he is already financially successful. The commander is upset he has been used and betrayed but as told, he should have known better. Dutch and the boss exchange ‘pleasantries’ before the call is ended. See you in hell. With Revy coming in, she wants to make a bet. She throws the commander a gun. He takes it and is about to kill himself but chickens out and fires back at them. Nothing. Not loaded. They knew it. They are all the same. No balls. Time to finish this sh*t. Blam! As they take a smoke while waiting to be retrieved, Revy talks to Dutch about Rock. He belongs to the other side. He is not like them. She cannot partner a guy like him.

Episode 7
Dutch makes Rock run several errands with Revy. But will they get along? Not his problem. So as they go from places to places, they finally stop at the church. Even the sisters are so badass they carry guns. What religion do you believe in? They are supposed to get their stocks but it seems only a grenade launcher is not available. Revy is not pleased and whips out her gun and has a standoff with Sister Eda. Meanwhile Rock is just calm, sipping his tea and talking to old Sister Yolanda. He might seem being casual but he seems to be hinting the church has been doing something illegal under the radar. Something about illegal drug trade routes. Because the mafia hasn’t found the culprit yet, it could mean there is a blind spot in a place where they shouldn’t have to look. Like a religious connection and proper NGO members. Rock also has very keen observation on their activity like how the weapons leaving and entering this place doesn’t match up. He hints their company and Balalaika’s might be on friendly terms but it doesn’t mean they’re working together. Yolanda is impressed and passes him. They’ll give him the launcher. Yolanda commends Dutch for having a good eye and that Revy could learn a thing from him instead of swinging her gun around to get what she wants. At the food stalls, Revy is still sucking and you know why. Rock says he won’t apologize anymore. There is nothing to apologize. This riles her up. She points her gun. He dares her. She fires. But his hand was fast enough to grab her hand and thus miss. He fights back and has had enough. He tells her off that she is supposed to be a wild pirate but turns out to be a greedy person who scavenges from dead bodies. All she thinks is about money and does she have no pride? Sure, he doesn’t understand her life. But how much this she understand his? There is always suffering in life and since she has no intention of understanding that, she turns into a tragic heroine. That is the most cowardly thing about her. Go ahead, kill him. It will be proof of that. She lands a big punch in his face. He makes her remember why he is here. His bosses conveniently cut away his life to protect their money and place to eat. When she picked him up, he felt something blew through him. Something snapped. His rat race life was meaningless. It all doesn’t matter now. She taught him that. Now she is acting like the ones who betrayed him. It descends into a children’s argument when the local police picks them up. They’re on the take too and they don’t care what they do as long as they do it in places that cannot be seen. So it’s to the station for some paper work. Revy asks Rock which side he is on. The place where he is standing. Nowhere else.

Episode 8
The job this time is to hand over a kid, Garcia Lovelace to some Colombian mafiaso buyer at a designated point. Since Revy’s temper is bad for baby-sitting (Garcia just throws food at her), I guess it is Rock’s job. At first Rock might seem not to believe Garcia and thinks he is making up stories but he is just trying to ascertain things and get more info. Seems Garcia is from one of the 13 famous families in South America. His dad is doing well in his plantations till mafia came to buy land because it was found to have rare earth. He refused and that’s when they threatened and caused trouble on his farms. He continued to resist and this is where Garcia got kidnapped. He is the only son and heir to the family. Rock suggests Dutch wait a little while before handing him to the mafia because from the information they have and Garcia’s, the cartel was lying and this means trouble. Dutch doesn’t understand something. If they have got the kid, they could have demanded a ransom and accomplished their goal instead of keeping it a secret and selling him off. Revy’s answer: They’re upset and for revenge. Dutch is going to put a little insurance on their package and calls Balalaika for help. Dutch wonders if the Lovelace household would spend personal resources to deal with this hostage situation. Rock says they only have resources to only hire a maid. Finally. The maid has come! Roberta is at Roanapur asking the locals if they know whereabouts of her fellow countrymen. Garcia explains Roberta is a klutz and was never good at anything. But he knows she is hell stronger than all of them. Revy couldn’t believe as she laughs her ass off while badmouthing all the jokes she can think of. As Garcia lacks friends, Roberta often played with him and he loved to play arm wrestling because he always won. But one day he saw her true strength. That day when the mafia came to harass his father again and they were playing arm wrestling, it was like Roberta knew they were coming and steeled herself. She was so strong he couldn’t budge. He realized she always lost to him on purpose. There is a reason why she acts like a weak maid. Meanwhile Balalaika has obtained some information on the fallen Lovelace family. She can feel trouble coming because she knows that look in Roberta’s eyes are that of a soldier. Roberta is in the bar when the Colombian mafia of the Mainsarera cartel walks in. You looking for them? They laugh when she says she wanted them to find her. But they won’t be having the last laugh because she takes out her umbrella and starts shooting.

Episode 9
So sorry for Garcia who had to see the red light district of Roanapur. Not a sight for kids. He is sure Roberta will come save him and while Revy won’t do the same for Rock if he gets kidnapped, despite their character, Rock feels they are worth it to stick around. They just walk into the bar when the action starts. Roberta blasting away the baddies with her shotgun hidden in her umbrella and using her hard suitcase metal as shield. Cool! See them fly! Uhm, didn’t the bar master recently remodelled this place? Our Lagoon guys are caught in the crossfire and Dutch wants to leave Garcia here since they don’t want to get involved and there is no more money in this. Too bad the exit is being blocked by the gunfight. The cartel realizes the kid is here instead of being delivered. Garcia and Roberta reunite but the kid is afraid after seeing her killer moves. He never knew she could kill a person. Roberta and Rock’s eyes meet. She is going to kill him but Garcia doesn’t want her to fire. That is when Revy takes Garcia as hostage and tells her to back down and if she stops shooting, she’ll get her master back home in one piece instead of seeing his brains splattered on the floor. Roberta has decided. She recites some Spanish poem which is the family’s creed. She fires her RPG and Revy almost takes a direct hit but she is out cold and has a concussion. Dutch takes her and run. Garcia pleads to Rock to take him too. He doesn’t like this Roberta. Those words shock her. The cartel remembers who she is. She was from the Colombian Revolutionary Army and every drug cartel to Interpol has been on her trail since. They’re going to kill her and get that fat bounty reward. No can’t do. Because Roberta drops all the grenades from her skirt! OMFG! She keeps it there?! Enough for the place to blow up. Rock has a feeling she is not dead and can feel she is coming for them. It’s like she is a killer robot from the future. Only difference is that Schwarzenegger isn’t here. Haha. So funny that you can’t even laugh! Better believe it. Because here she comes out from the fire! The entire bar is destroyed and the best part is that her outfit is still clean and pressed! Balalaika knows there is trouble and summons her entire Russian mafia to war. They owe Dutch that much and need to repay the favour. Roberta is hot on their heels. She even has the strength to grab Dutch’s hand with an iron grip while driving! Rock, better wake Revy up! Even if her radiator was shot, she can find another car and come crashing to wherever they are! Truly fearsome! And if cars don’t work, she runs after them on foot! Fear the killer maid! Now you believe she is a robot from the future?!

Episode 10
I don’t even know how Roberta can defy physics doing all that stuffs while the car is moving but what the heck, it’s cool! After the car crashes, Revy wakes up. She’s grumpy. Why not? She missed all that action. Thankfully the maid is still alive for her to go give some payback. The women faceoff. Roberta says the taboo word that makes Revy tick: You’re a coward. And so begins another great gunfight although Revy got hit once. While our guys are reduced the balls-less cowards staying inside the car, the safest place for now since the ladies are tearing up the pier. Really. Dutch even joked they won’t get out of this no matter how many lives they have. Garcia gets out to yell to Roberta and give her motivation to win. The fighting continues till they are exhausted and at point blank in each other’s face. Balalaika and her men arrive and she tells them to stop wasting their energy. Since they won’t let up, she orders her snipers to shoot away their guns. A friendly reminder. She is not asking them. This is an order. Garcia wants Roberta to come home. Balalaika starts revealing Roberta’s bloodied past as a hardcore terrorist much to her dismay and Garcia’s surprise. Roberta didn’t want to deceive him but there are some truths that are better off not known. She joined the revolutionary as she really believed revolution would come. Therefore she went from places to place and killed anyone including women and children for her ideals. In the end she found out they were just guarding the cocaine fields for the mafia and the revolutionary worked with the cartels. She was disillusioned and left the army. She was picked up by her late father’s friend who is no other than Garcia’s father. Garcia doesn’t care for all that. Roberta is her family. That terrorist is dead and buried somewhere along the way and has nothing to do with this Roberta he knows. Everybody is going to settle for this happy ending but not Revy. She won’t put up with this sh*t. It’s settled. They’ll fight to their hearts content without weapons. Roberta tricks her with the oldest trick in the book: Your shoelaces are untied. Then a swift uppercut to her chin. And the fist fight begins. The guys are taking bets but Rock wants to stop them. Can he? Go ahead. If you can. At least you have to hand it to him he had the balls to go try. Like the wuss he is, he backs down when the angry girls tell him to stay the f*ck out. They’re not done with each other yet. Many cigars later (from Balalaika anyway), is this fight ever going to end? It’s getting boring. A final punch to each other and they’re out. It’s a draw. Garcia picks up Roberta and won’t let anyone help because she is his house maid. Roberta has a final request and wants him to pick up her glasses. Why need it even though it is fake? It is what she needs to become the Roberta he knows. Rock is curious about Balalaika’s mafia. They seem like from the military with those sharp skills. They are ex-military from Russia’s special forces and have enough experience and killing machine mentality and whatever it takes to survive hell.

Episode 11
Dutch and co have got an emergency job from one of their usual clients, Mr Chang. It all began when some dumb Bulgarian tried to make a quick buck in selling weapons in his territory. Of course he was given some ‘warning’ but greatly misunderstood it as a crazy joke. What they got from him is a suitcase containing papers of a terrorist group, Protectors of the Islamic Front (POTIF). These guys are the ones responsible for the bombing of a US embassy in Roanapur. So Chang went to tell that group that they dropped something but before he could tell what it would cost them, they were attacked. Soon, his office got bombed. Now here is the job. Dutch will leave for Basilan in the Philippines to deliver this suitcase to his CIA contacts. There will be another 4 groups leaving at the same time to various destinations as insurance. Before the talk can end, Revy spots a few guys outside. Oh sh*t! They’re firing the RPG! Get down! Looks like Dutch can’t get out of this deal since he will have to bear the repair cost. Revy and Chang go guns akimbo to make a clear path. Meanwhile Ibraha and Masahiro Takenaka from POTIF are discussing the possible routes that the suitcase will go. Takenaka is relying on his intuition on where it will be. As he waits at the airport, a fellow Japanese tourist thinks he looks familiar. He pretends to be an often mistaken popular Japanese comedian but in actual fact his face is on the police’s wanted list. POTIF’s boat crew is seen chasing after our Lagoon guys. Dutch will be the decoy while Revy and Rock take the suitcase to the destination. So when Takenaka receives report of Dutch’s movements, his guts feeling tell him it is not possible and the rendezvous point will be in Basilan. Revy and Rock reach the island by day time and it seems Takenaka contacts them first and he plays it very cool and smooth like as though he is their contact. However he messes up on the password so Revy knows he is fake. They start shooting at each other but Rock got kidnapped. That’s when all the militants start descending on Revy. Too much to handle? Shenhua and Leigharch who are the real contacts help pick her up. Revy wants to finish the job but their mission is to send her to the base. Revy reminds them Rock is the one holding the papers and it means they’ll be ‘dancing’ before their boss if they come empty handed. You know what this means. The girls hate each other so much that they’re ready to slice the other’s head off. Just don’t bloodied the jeep, okay? Rock is taken back to the military’s base and it seems the suitcase is empty. Takenaka is going to have a long slow interrogation with him but Rock has his mouth sealed tightly.

Episode 12
The Japs talk about how similar and yet different they are, their beliefs and everything. Ibraha cannot stand anymore of this idle talk that doesn’t go anywhere and threatens Rock to reveal the documents. Takenaka continues telling some revolutionary story about some guy who continued preaching to change the world even if nobody listened. He never stopped because he gambled his life on this back then. Since Rock doesn’t say a word, Takenaka gives him until tomorrow morning before being taken to the firing squad. Ibraha disagrees because every second counts. Takenaka says he is just a delivery boy and has no reason to be loyal. Otherwise, they can just find the other woman. Speaking of Revy, she and Shenhua are staking outside their camp. Ready for some action? Soon Ibraha confronts Takenaka that Rock is the real key because the other duds are fakes. He thinks Takenaka is trying to change the subject but he tells him that the squad they sent in to hunt for Revy hasn’t reported back yet. Why take so long? It only can mean one thing. She hasn’t been found. Oh, you don’t have to. Here she is. Revy shooting them down like flies and Shenhua slicing and mincing everyone like meat. They bust in to save Rock and escape. Leigharch is their getaway driver but I think the Irish can only drive in such a speedy and reckless manner when he is high on drugs. Yeah. Something about Liverpool and Klingons. Don’t ask. Just drive! The girls are having fun and think the enemies are easy since Rock didn’t break. Yeah. Nobody gives a sh*t on how depressed he is.

Revy and Shenhua even play a game to see who to take out the chasing pack. Shenhua won and we see how cool this chick slicing off everyone’s head with her machete strung to a rope. Of course it’s Revy’s turn to shoot. There goes Leigharch hallucinating some nudist beach and Playboy playmates. They are safely through the DMZ as impatient Ibraha becomes blinded by his goal and orders his men to go after them (which is of course like a death wish). Takenaka tries to calm him down and whatever he is doing won’t bring his son back (must have died in some conflict in the Middle East). They have a job to do. Ibraha is still upset about bringing down America and since he isn’t thinking rationally anymore, Takenaka shoots him and orders the enemy to retreat and regroup to another base. When Revy and co reach the delivery point, Rock remembers the briefcase. He left it behind! Don’t worry. The important papers are in Revy’s cleavage! Just a little sweaty. Shenhua and Rock are in shock. Why the heck did they have to go save this wuss kid if she had it along? Or else they wouldn’t have come. The CIA guys give their thanks to them after retrieving it and they tell her about some police chief back at Buffalo Hill. Revy is no happy to hear it. They hope she doesn’t misunderstand since their job is to destroy enemies of the State and not paid to chase criminals as well. With Revy now in foul mood, when Rock wants to thank her, she takes it out on him that she’ll never pull this sh*t for him again and if he wants to be saved next time, he better pray to God.

The Second Barrage

After that unsatisfying ending, which isn’t really an ending if you look it at anyhow, justice is served with another season. After taking just a season’s break, we’re back with more action, blood, gunshots and violence. That is why we watch this show, right?

Episode 13
Sergeant Boris from Hotel Moscow (Balalaika’s main company) calls Rock to inform their scheduled meeting is off. Dutch and Revy can tell it could be those murders. There have been 6 murdered Russian corpses found and it is like somebody is trying to target Hotel Moscow. Balalaika is in a meeting with the rest of the factions that hold a fragile balance over Roanapur, Chang, Verrochio and Abrego. Balalaika isn’t agreeing to this cooperation so Chang mentions that a couple of his agents were hit too. They think it is some outside force and decide to send out a warning together to prevent bloodshed. Balalaika is only here to send a clear message on their stand: Hotel Moscow will show no mercy for those against them. Revy and Rock are at the bar discussing about this. There is a bounty of $50,000 offered by Balalaika but the problem is they don’t know who it is. Because they will know if it’s an outsider. Since they don’t it means somebody is protecting it. Eda comes in and after a few insults to Revy, she lets them know that this place is going to be a great gathering of mafia and free lance assassins. Also, this morning a bar of Hotel Moscow is bombed and another subordinate killed, you bet pissed Balalaika is going to war. She is at the site as the local police tells her a statement from a witness who barely survived. A pair of young twins in fancy clothes came in and took out a business card believed to be from Balalaika’s company and claimed they meet guests on her behalf. Later when Balalaika’s collectors came into the place, one of the twins wanted to play with them. The collectors instantly recognize them when he took out an axe. He was clobbered. His sister took out a machine gun and started shooting everyone with no survivors. They seem to enjoy this. Also, although they were Caucasian, they weren’t speaking English and greeted each other in weird words. The twins, Hansel and Gretel are back at their place and their supposed employers and babysitters aren’t happy they’re draining blood out from a corpse, which just makes everything totally sick. Of course the incestuous twins don’t like to be scolded even if they’re always smiling. Balalaika calls Rock for his opinion on those strange words. At first he couldn’t put his finger on it, that it could be European. When he remembers Dracula, he clearly remembers it has something to do with vampires. So now you know why the twins love blood so much, eh?

Episode 14
The twins pack up and leave. They seem ‘happy’. After Balalaika realizes the kids are from Romania, everything starts to fall into place. First she nabs some video porn guy, Rowan and he almost sh*t in his pants as he gave them 250 kiddie porn videos featuring Romanian twins. As I understand, the twins were sold to the black market by institutions that couldn’t afford them after the Romanian revolution. As children of a dead dictator, they were made into toys for sick perverts. Something like finishing off their victims as a form of amusement was part of it. Balalaika proposes to Chang to team up and teach those guys a lesson. It seems Verrochio is the one behind this mess because he is panicking and beating up his subordinate to a pulp when he suggests to make it look like they took care of the guys who messed with this city. And then the twins show up. Macaroni before borscht? Time to party. Eda calls Revy as the game is about to begin. Chang and his men surround Verrochio’s place but the party has already started. This party is going to get quite chaotic. The twins after slaughtering everybody make a run for it. Chang’s men were unfortunate to get in the crossfire. Only Chang was skilful enough to avoid their gunfire. Meanwhile all the bounty hunters are waiting at designated spots in hoping to catch their target. However Eda senses something amiss because Balalaika, the one with the biggest grudge isn’t here. With Revy they discuss the possible places where they could be. When a sedan car believed to be carrying the twins, they start firing all they’ve got. They realized they’ve been fooled when the twins turn out to be local orphans in disguised. The real twins paid them off to impersonate them and they paid the price. As they are traversing through the dark alleys, Balalaika’s men are already in position as they attack and retreat to lead the twins to a predetermined location. All is going well till Eda shows up before the twins. Gretel asks how much the bounty is on their head and offers to give all of the money they took from Verrochio’s office in exchange that she never saw them. Eda is going to give into temptation when Revy tells her not to panic. They’ll take all the rewards and kill them! Once Balalaika knows Eda and Revy are disrupting their plan, she gives the green light to crush them.

Episode 15
As the gunfight starts, the Russian guys are here and start firing. Both sides are forced to retreat. The twins plan to confuse the Russians and split up. When only one of the twins is seen chasing, Balalaika could tell what is going on and wants her men to continue with the plan, play their game of being confused and into thinking they have the upper hand. Revy and Eda start blaming each other for the screw up. But after realizing they didn’t make a single cent out of this, they split up and go home. Suddenly Gretel pops up from the darkness and holds Eda hostage. She’s been waiting for this moment for her to be alone. She wants her to be their getaway after her brother kills Balalaika. Speaking of which, there he is confronting her. Although he couldn’t kill a single man he chased, he starts mocking the ones he previously killed. She is not cowed and in fact wants him to apologize for his mischief before he dies. She makes him kneel when a sniper shoots his knee. He is about to throw his axe but his hand was shot off. Balalaika would love to torture him to death on behalf of her fallen comrades but that is not to her taste. She will just watch him die. The Lagoon guys become the getaway for Gretel as she has them him a lot. Rock babysits her as she sings to him in an angelic voice. She can tell he is a good person. It isn’t long before Dutch gets a call from Balalaika. You know what this means, right? They got to do what they’ve got to do. Balalaika has got the Vietnam navy sealing the routes to the south seas so their only chance of escape is going to Bighorn Elroy. Gretel talks to Rock about their twisted and tormented past. They and the other orphans became slaves for the secret police. They realize something when they had to kill other orphans. The adults were laughing. They were laughing. They thought this was how the world works and so they went on a killing spree. Kill or be killed. Rock wonders if she is sad if her brother is dead. She isn’t and she takes out her wig. Hansel is Gretel? Or is it the other way round? Or they’re both? Anyhow, they’re always together and eternal. Rock is so sad to hear all this that he hugs her and believes there is still happiness in this world for her. As a reward, she shows her scarred body (or offer him kiddie sex?!) and this makes Rock sick. He couldn’t take it. Now it is Revy’s turn to babysit her and she isn’t showing any sympathy as she punches her. She warns she will kill her if she screws with him. Benny had to console Rock and tell him the hard facts. There will be no happy ending for the twins. After Dutch hands over Gretel to Elroy, he shoots her right in the head. Sorry. Hotel Moscow paid him well. His son is in South Africa and has cancer. He knows it will be the end of his job. It was his last anyway. He is tired of walking the tightrope. Dutch wants a canvas to cover the corpse but Rock doesn’t think it is needed. She looks fine sleeping and watching the sky and sea.

Episode 16
Janet Bhai AKA Jane seems to be in trouble with the gangsters. After they shoot her computer guy, they tell her to get it done within 48 hours. Then I guess the next day, stress got to her so she dumps the PC monitor on one of the guards and makes her escape. Meanwhile Revy thought the church had air-conditioner in this heat wave. Too bad it’s spoiled. Thus she and Eda start complaining and b*tching about things. Till Jane knocks on their door to plead for help as she is not from this town. But Eda will not help her till the gangsters led by Mr Elvis start firing a warning shot. It almost hit Eda and destroyed Revy’s alcohol glass. Pissed? Yeah. The heat must have got to their heads. They start firing and Elvis and his men won’t let up either. Lobos who is with Elvis tries to calm things down that this is a misunderstanding but the girls don’t give a sh*t and continue exchanging gunfire. Even the new young amateur priest, Ricardo AKA Rico joins in with his machine gun as well as Yolanda with her golden gun! Elvis and his men are forced to retreat. As they hear Jane out, she explains those guys are from some cartel and hired her to make counterfeit money. The problem stems from their different taste in making the fake money. Jane goes on ranting about the technical stuffs and her passion of being a perfectionist of making counterfeit money that just pisses off impatient Eda and Revy. Real trouble began when she went over the deadline and they shot her operator who was supposed to manage online information to the other members. All their efforts were wasted. Though she wants out of here, she’s in luck that Revy is her getaway girl but the price she offers for selling the counterfeit plates do not interest them. Try looking elsewhere. Before Jane leaves, Eda strikes a deal with her for a place she could stay for a meagre donation money. Meanwhile Elvis is in hospital and he can’t wait to get back to Florida after this sh*t is done. He has his man, Russell the cowboy to handle it. Russell walks into the bar to recruit people to capture Jane alive (he knows where she is staying). Among the mercenaries include Shenhua, Frederica Sawyer the Cleaner and a couple of new faces, Claude Torchweaver and Rotton the Wizard. After seeing each other’s weapons, they all go out to get the job done. Well, the bill is on Russell, right? Yeah, they’re making fun of this cowboy. Eda, Revy and Rock are waiting outside Jane’s inn. Eda is sure something interesting will happen.

Episode 17
As they wait, Eda explains the scenario that is going to happen. A bunch of scoundrels will be looking for Jane in this inn. They’ll start firing into the room but of course it will be the next room that Jane is in as Eda leaked some false information. The gunfire will startle her as she goes out to check. When she sees a bunch of guys before her, she’ll lock back the door. The room she is in is bulletproof, although it will only hold for a while. Once the baddies bust in, they’ll find the room empty. Because Jane would have seen ‘signs that will guide her to escape death’. Revy and Rock don’t buy her story and are going home. Suddenly Jane is seen running past them. So it actually happened, huh? Since the baddies are hot on her tail, Eda tries to make a deal with her if she wants to be saved. No choice, Jane is forced to accept her deal. The baddies confront Eda and tell her Jane is their prey but she shoots them seeing this is her million dollar job. Rock becomes the best getaway driver while the ladies exchange gunfire with the chasing pack. Shenhua and some of the mercenaries realize who they’re dealing with. They want Russell to increase their reward many times fold or else he can just use his men to get the job done. Eda is confident that Jane’s getaway will be Dutch’s torpedo boat but as Rock points out, it is not in the dock. Her perfect plan is ruined… Seems Dutch and Benny are away for an emergency job. Lobos calls Dutch to apologize for the misunderstanding of his fellow countryman who doesn’t know about the law of this place. Jane is locking herself in the storeroom trying to get access to her bank account but thanks to the layer of security, she is unsuccessful. The baddies are outside the office and thought they could do an ambush. But Revy and Eda are ready for them and another gunfight begins. Too bad their car got destroyed in the process. Rock tries to take Jane to escape via backdoor but Sawyer is waiting for them. Jane is freaking scared sh*t. Who wouldn’t when someone swings her chainsaw like that! I don’t know how long the metal cabinet can hold out. Jane runs off on her own but encounters Claude. This guy loves burning things down. So back in she comes. Revy comes to their rescue to chase away Sawyer as Rock and Jane make their escape to the rooftop. If it is not bad that Eda is using their weapons to be sold, Claude is burning the dock exit. Burn! The worst possible timing when Revy faces off with Shenhua. She cooks up a plan with Eda to draw out Shenhua. Rock and Jane are on the roof. What’s his plan now? He’s thinking about it.

Episode 18
Eda is unsure if she has shot Shenhua. When she takes a peep out of the window, her neck got wrapped by Shenhua’s ropes. This is just a distraction so Sawyer could run up to the roof and then cut the ladders. Revy goes after her and Shenhua knows Eda is just buying time to delay the inevitable. But Revy didn’t go after Sawyer. She went around the other side while Eda was distracting her to attack. Although Revy got hit by some of her daggers, Eda was able to pump some bullets into Shenhua and let the Taiwanese free fall downwards. Dutch is rushing back and he is freaking pissed to see his dock being destroyed. Sawyer confronts trapped Rock and Jane. What now? Rock is trying to lead her to a certain place to step where the wood is weak and she’ll drop down. However Sawyer starts ranting about her cleaning job and missing the spot she I supposed to step. The fire below makes some high octane explode. This causes Sawyer to drop her voice machine. Once she realizes it is gone, she panics and throws a tantrum! She throws away her chainsaw and sits there depressed… That’s it? So they don’t need Eda and Revy coming to her rescue even if they’re this late? But the dock is crumbling. Then Wizard pops up making his grand introduction but Revy just shoots him. That’s it for him?! Revy and co survive the collapsed dock. Dutch just arrived as they jump onto his boat but some of the baddies made it on board. Wizard survives thanks to his bullet proof vest. Shenhua is alive too but barely. With such wounds, she knows she has not long to live. Wizard becomes a gentleman and picks her up to see a doctor. They see Sawyer alive too and do the same.

Elvis has become impatient and wants to summon his army but Lobos warns him about starting a war with the Chinese and Russians on this land. Dutch turns his boat into a rodeo ride to fling some of the baddies off while Revy and Eda hold on tight. Jane is taken to Benny’s room and she is disheartened to find her bag is missing. Her very important PC is in it. Without it she can’t do anything. As the data of plates is uploaded on the web, all that is left is to collect some data around the world and create it. Because her comrade is dead and the password changes every day, she can’t get it out. Rock says they’ve been paid by the church. The problem is Eda. If she ever finds out the plates are gone, you don’t know how scary she’ll be… Jane wants to use Benny’s computer but he won’t let anybody use it. Unless he himself is doing it then it is a different story. Revy faces off with Claude while Eda takes on Russell who is trying to destroy the engine room. Because Claude’s flamethrower is blocking Revy’s vision, she wants another rodeo ride. In great timing, Claude is thrown off as Revy puts a bullet into him. He explodes in the sky like a rocketman. Russell surrenders and laments how he will contact Elvis. Eda assures Lobos will take care of it. And him. Russell believes he has seen Eda somewhere before in Washington DC. He thinks she was with some senator discussing about some deal. Eda denies all that and then hints she is from the CIA and shoots him. Benny breaks the code and wants his reward. A great passionate kiss from Jane!!! OMFG! The most f*cking romantic scene ever in this series!!! I guess computer nerds get attracted to each other, she calling him cute and sexy. Want a second round? With everything fine now, they are soon approaching the port and Eda believes everything is all right with the world. Yeah. There’s always a God when it goes your way.

Episode 19
Rock is going back to Japan. No, it’s not like he missed his old home or got kicked out. It’s business. With Revy, Rock is Balalaika’s translator (English and Japanese, not Russian) as she speaks to a local yakuza as she intends to setup a base in Tokyo. The head of the Washimine group, Tsugio Bando agrees to cooperate seeing that they want to expand their power too and despise the Kousa Council. Balalaika demonstrates by blowing up one of Kousa’s clubs. As Rock and Revy chill out, Rock is in a dilemma about his own country. It is a place he knows well but yet he doesn’t fit in. His family doesn’t get along and he is like the black sheep. For once Revy sounded like she cared. I mean, she tells him to go see his parents since he is here because there will come a time he won’t see them anymore. He made it this far without stealing or killing and it is not like he is arrested or something. At the shooting gallery, the stall owner accuses Revy of cheating and refuses to give her prize. She starts scolding in English! A fight could have erupted if not for Ginji Matsuzaki stepping in. Revy doesn’t give a sh*t and is ready to fight him till Yukio suggests everyone to cool down with a drink. Rock seconds that. I suppose Revy must be disgusted seeing Rock and Yukio in their typical polite Japanese conversation. Meanwhile Hotel Moscow raids and kills several Kousa guys. They didn’t know what hit them. Balalaika is seen talking to one of the Russian bosses, Laptev in the area and she isn’t fond in cleaning up his sh*t. He threatens her but you think a corrupted bastard like him can scare her? Bando goes to talk to Ginji who is manning a stall at the festivals. Better than selling drugs and women, right? They talk about the old times when they had influence. The previous head of Washimine and Kousa took each other as brothers, the reason they came this far. Now that they’re gone, things haven’t been going well. They’re left behind only because of their sense of obligation. Bando reveals he sought the help of the Russians and wants Ginji to come back and take up his sword again. However Ginji doesn’t feel a shred of justice in what he is doing. While Rock goes to see his parents, Revy shows off her shooting skills to a group of young neighbourhood boys. Heck, her English accent is so thick that I can’t hear a damn thing she’s saying. She even teaches them how to die like real instead of those you see on TV! And Rock was watching it all… You know she is very embarrassed when she threatens to cut his balls and feed it to him if he ever says this to Dutch or Benny. And oh, he didn’t get to see his parents since they weren’t in.

Episode 20
Bando and Balalaika’s side are in another discussion. Because Kousa is a big group, they need to move into the next gear. Balalaika is going to do the ultimate of kidnapping Kousa’s head, which doesn’t sit well with Bando and co since all they want is just to ease the pressure of them but she’ll create a mess that will be hard for them to clean up. Balalaika reminds him that they are taking all the risks so the decision making is not in his hands. One of Bando’s wild subordinates, Chaka realizes who Revy is. He tries to flirt with her but she doesn’t give a sh*t. When Rock comes by to tell her to go back to Balalaika, he gets beaten up for interrupting. Revy just stood there until Chaka’s men come to stop everything. Revy and Rock knew about the former’s inaction because Chaka was trying to lead her to draw her gun as he had his hand on his all the time. Rock happens to bump into Yukio again. They generally talk about their families and choices. Yukio gets a call from Ginji that Bando is at their home. When Rock hears this and learns her surname is Washimine, the dots suddenly connect. She goes home to find Bando talking to Ginji about some peacekeeping council finding out about this and they’ll be thrown out of the region. Ever since their head passed on, their group wasn’t allowed to have a head unless of a direct descendent. This means Yukio is the only choice. As Bando leaves, he knows a car is tailing him and then a panic call from Yoshida that the Russians are going all out because they bombed a car in front of a police station when a Kousa guy turned himself in. Rock is very worried about the situation and asks Balalaika what if the group abandons their promise. They’ll just kill them all if it comes to that. The world will still turn. Next morning, Bando prepares his stuffs and leaves. Yoshida knows what this means and couldn’t contain his emotions. Bando throws him his gold watch and wants him to see Ginji (who is the acting head of the group) for their next move. Bando sees Balalaika and is going to kill her but obviously he was never a match. She has Rock translate bluntly to him the truth that all she wants is destruction and domination. Nothing else interests her. Rock feels sick seeing and hearing that. War is inevitable. Yukio talks to Ginji that she can’t run away from this. She will do what she has to do. If they accept her on equal terms, she will go. She asks Ginji if he would protect her and he swears his loyalty on that.

Episode 21
Balalaika was once set to enter the Olympics but she had to take part in the war at Afghanistan. After losing her second in command and the disbandment of Soviet Union, she and her little band of military continued to return to their own active military duty. Yukio is picked up by her yakuza gang from school (shocking her poor friend Maki). She initiates the next move against the Russians. They are prepared to not go down without a bloody fight. Tonight will be Ginji’s first job. Laptev is running scared when the yakuza starts firing into the restaurant. Ginji comes in to slice all his bodyguards. The sword is faster than the gun. Because Laptev the chicken couldn’t speak Japanese, he is deemed useless to find Balalaika’s whereabouts as Ginji cuts him. Meanwhile Rock is very worried about Yukio and wants to go save her after seeing how Balalaika works. However Revy points out their position and that despite this is Japan, how different is this place from Roanapur? Eventually she hints that she is his bodyguard for this job and will ‘do what his master wishes’. When Yukio and Yoshida get back home, they see Chaka and his men waiting for them. Chaka kills Yoshida and claims they won’t take sides that won’t make a profit. Whoever it is, if they have Yukio as a present, nothing bad will happen to them. Yukio tries to run but bumps into one of them. He gets mad and beats her up! Chaka then beats him up for messing with the ‘present’. By the time Rock and Revy arrive, only Yoshida’s dead body is on the floor. They don’t think Hotel Moscow did this because Yukio would have been dead too. Ginji just returned and almost sliced Revy but sensed she had no gunpowder. He goes off on his own but Rock deduces this must have been some doing by their own men. They kidnapped Yukio knowing Ginji will come rescue her even though it is a trap. Based on the footprints, there are many of them. Ginji might not stand a chance alone but what if he has a gunslinger by his side? And so they hijack a car and head to the bowling centre where Yukio is held captive. Ginji doesn’t understand why Rock is doing this. He believes she doesn’t belong to this side and hates it when kids who should grow up normally can’t.

Episode 22
Ginji and Revy turn up in a cool fashion to slaughter those cowards. Chaka must be having a fun time sending his scared men into the fight while he escapes with Yukio. But he slips down the stairs due to some cleaning detergent. Courtesy of Rock. He knocks him out with a bowling pin and takes Yukio along with him. Nobody gets out alive as Revy kills everybody in this hell. Some of Chaka’s men are fed up with him so he shoots and kills them. Revy is disgusted of his ways but Chaka wants to have a gunfight with her. She plays dirty and kicks him first and won’t fight a third-rate guy like him. She leads him to where Ginji is waiting. Chaka thinks his gun is faster but Ginji’s sword slices the bullet and then he cuts off his hands and pushes him into the pool. How can you swim without them? Meanwhile Yukio corrects Rock’s misunderstanding that she has been dragged into all this. In fact, she is the centre of it. Now that she has succeeded to become deputy of the Washimine group, he is her enemy. Yukio continues explaining the position her group is in and the reason she chose this life instead of being forced into it just to keep the order. Rock argues Bando and Ginji fought to keep her out of this life and forced to live with a burden she doesn’t have to carry but Yukio believes all this would not have happened had she stood there sooner. The more he argues, then she just snaps back at him he can say all that because he is staying in the twilight. What else can she do but fight for them? Rock remembers Revy’s story and feels nothing has changed. He is powerless before her. Yukio asks him about his stand now. He might be seeking something for his life outside Japan but the way she looks at it, he isn’t returning to the normality of the sun or sinking deeper into the darkness. He is just hesitating in between. If he wants to save her then do it. Save her group too. He can’t right? It’s because he doesn’t actually want to save her. If he sees her die, then he loses the very last of his memories of Japan. To choose something is to leave something behind. He doesn’t want to lose anything or those he has thrown away. He wants to cling on to everything he yearns. If that’s the case, what can he save? Who can he protect? Can’t answer that back, can’t he? She should be in the same place as him but can’t help feel angry and jealous. That’s why she hates him. Once Chaka is drowned, Revy is impressed how Ginji cut the bullet. She wants him to show it to her again but Ginji stops her because he owes them both. But he hints if they’re unlucky, they’ll fight the next time. After Ginji takes Yukio, she hopes they will never meet again. Balalaika orders her men to begin the operation of eliminating everybody from Washimine.

Episode 23
Hotel Moscow begins eliminating all those from Washimine. They’re dropping like flies. Yukio goes to see Kousa’s head and it seems he doesn’t plan to make her succeed even though he set the conditions long ago. He is more concerned how she will deal with the Russians. The negotiations end when it goes nowhere. They know seeking the peacekeeping council to mediate is no use because everyone is consumed with greed. Justice is dead. They are going to create their own opportunity with their own hands. Yukio and Ginji rob a bank and escape in a van resembling the Russian’s to have the police go hot on their tail. Yukio deduces Balalaika’s fighting style isn’t like the mafia but the military. How could she have entered the country with so many weapons? By ship. Rock and Revy get another job request. Balalaika is going to talk to Kousa now. Reflecting on Yukio’s words, Rock couldn’t take it anymore. He suggests she shouldn’t ally with Kousa and should destroy them instead of Washimine as this group is already weakened. Balalaika reminds him of his position as a translator. Since he is persistent, she pins him down and points her gun right in his face. She talks about justice and that his is as rotten as hers. Revy has already drawn her guns but Boris is pointing his at her. Everyone better calm down because who knows how much longer Revy’s finger is going to give way. It’s becoming tense. Rock tries to persuade that Balalaika has nothing to lose but apparently to her it isn’t enough. He then says this entire thing is his hobby and that he is just like her. This makes her laugh like mad. Was it funny? At least this makes her put her gun away and lets him park her car. Revy then scolds the hell out of him that they were damn lucky that she put her gun away. Revy would have shot him if she didn’t know him better. Rock then has her accompany him back to his town. He says he is already dead. Roanapur is a city of the dead unlike this city which is of the living. Therefore to a dead man, this is like a mirage. He came here not to go back but to forget. She thinks he’ll regret it but he finished that a year ago but didn’t have the resolve. He believes he has it now. Those neighbourhood kids spot Revy and want her to show her shooting skills again. She pulls out her real gun and shoots the can until it becomes nothing! Scared the sh*t out of you, kids? Yukio requests a more powerful gun so Ginji gives her some Russian model with big bullets and fires like a machine gun.

Episode 24
Ginji intends to go fight Balalaika one on one. Right before the meeting, Balalaika talks to Rock that this will be their last job. After this a Moscow agent will take it from here. But Rock has something to request of her. He wants her to completely crush Washimine until it has no chance of revival. At first she is surprised to hear this but realizes that this way Yukio will be free from her group and go back to her normal life. Quite the good villain he has become? Balalaika initiates her meeting with the Kousa head. She requests to see his bodyguard’s guns. After looking at the second one, she becomes very appalled they are using this kind of weapon and thus the deal is off. She kills them. The rest of the council in the house are also killed. The police who are surrounding the house barge in after hearing the shots. They cannot touch Balalaika since she is a foreigner and from the embassy. She tells Rock to deliver a message to Yukio that Hotel Moscow will cease all attacks from now. He is shocked to hear that Yukio may be trying to establish her base and her remaining members at Roanapur. Revy takes Rock and rides away before the police could catch them. When the international investigator arrives, he laments the police didn’t arrest Balalaika or take any identification of her since she is a big fish and one of the powerful people at the top in Moscow. Rock wants to go tell Yukio that the war is over but Revy won’t allow him since the place is going to be quarantined and they’re tight on their departure schedule. Suddenly a van rams into them. Don’t worry. They’re okay. It is Yukio. She fires several warning shots at Rock and wants him to come along with her to Balalaika’s base. Gee, you can say this guy got kidnapped by a high school girl.

Yukio talks to Rock about her Roanapur wish. It was just a passing one. As long she and Ginji are here, Washimine will still exist. Rock wonders why she keeps coming back to this life. If she carries on, only massacre awaits. Balalaika packs up and returns to her ship. Operation is over and they’re going back to Roanapur. Revy hijacks a truck to chase them. When the vehicle chase is over, it is time for the ultimate showdown. Ginji and Revy begin their face off while Rock tries to convince Yukio that she isn’t bound by this obligation. And then it starts, Revy’s gunshots either misses or swift Ginji cuts some of them in half. Having fun? Rock laments that there was a way she would have avoided ending up like Balalaika and thought she would chose it. However he was mistaken. She isn’t here to save face as yakuza but struggled against being absorbed by the night. He wants her to tell Ginji to drop his sword and run away together. And become wanderers again? It feels like a joke. He doesn’t think it is. It is where the real her is. Although Ginji cuts one of Revy’s gun, he makes a blunder and was too slow. Revy pumps a bullet into his head although the price she paid was his sword stuck into her knee. As Rock pulls it out and treats the wound, Yukio is sad things turned out this way. She will end it all now. She picks up Ginji’s sword and pierces her own throat. I wonder if Rock will be traumatized after seeing this. Now that they are back in Japan, Rock has this bitter look but life has to go on. Revy is drinking with Eda and the latter is interested if she had made any progress with Rock. She is not in the mood to tell. Eda calls for her to die but Revy insists villains like them don’t die easily.

Omake

2-3 minute specials when you buy the DVDs. No blood, no violence. Just plain silly nonsense to laugh out loud.

Special 1
Rock is worried. Because with a high school setting he is worried what the other characters will be. Let’s say everyone is badass. Revy the gangster anego as expected. Roberta might look like the most polite of them all till you realize how she is juggling her knives… Then there is Balalaika the badass teacher, Dutch the badass gardener and Benny who is playing truant to go trolling over the internet back home.

Special 2
Magical girl Revy?! The world is going to end… She bugs Rock to use her. Have any grudges lately? This guy just wants to be left alone but she continues bugging her. So Rock mentions about how Balalaika stole his lunch money or something. Revy didn’t use her magic wand. She uses her guns and blasts everything away! Who needs magic when you can solve things with guns! Think that is over? Revy remembers Rock has money problems. Here you go! Where did she get them? From the bank! Oh no… Poor Rock is arrested and looks like is magical maid Roberta here to the rescue. Or not.

Special 3
The melancholy of Balalaika. She is such a stressed mother of naughty twins, Hansel and Gretel. Make that devilish twins. She has to apologize to the headmaster for their doing of burning a classmate’s hair with bug spray, apologize to Roberta for turning Garcia into a traumatic wimp wetting his bed all over again (because they wanted to play doctor like grownups do) and when she thought they look innocent in their sleep, she sees caged cats and a book on how to make shamisen… Stress levels rising… The next morning, the same naughtiness. She’s gotten so used to it that it’s just normal.

Special 4
What’s this?! Gender bender arc?! Rock is freaking shocked to find himself turned into a woman with big boobs. You know what this means. Our guys like Dutch and Benny are turned feminine and the ladies like Balalaika are just bloody handsome. Mind boggling question: Are Hansel and Gretel the same or different even if they switch genders? When Rock sees Revy as herself, he is so relieved. Till she pulls down her pants to prove that she is a guy! More womanly screams from him… And oh, Roberta the butler serving her oujo-sama, Garcia? Okay, this does it. You can change everybody but don’t mess with the maid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Special 5
Time for scary story telling. But you know our guys will sound anything but scary. Like Balalaika’s running out of supply in Afghanistan story or Revy’s blunder story or even Yukio’s painful story (toe nail flapping like a toilet seat, that is). Gretel did sound like a genuine horror story with the build-up and all but in the end the rest were just too dumb to get it. Finally there is Rock. Ah yes. They think his is nothing. But as he slowly delves about the girl in a red skirt and how everyone hears this story will meet their fate in 3 days, everyone really starts getting scared! Even if Rock admits this is all just made up, it is too scary for them now! And Balalaika is the scardiest of them all since she needs some company to go to night toilet.

Special 6
Time to turn back the clock again. Rock and co are little kids. Yeah. Revy the brat, Benny have this bully victim looks, Dutch ran away so we don’t know what he looks like and this sexy seductive vixen can you guess who she is? YOLANDA!!! Then Eda must be the cheerleader… We’ve also got Balalaika a cute loli but the most surprising one is Boris who is totally a handsome teen character! This tough ass military dude is such a handsome kid?! Yeah, he claims he was teased for this looks and underwent military training to toughen himself up. And the rest lament all that good looks went to waste…

Special 7
Yukio wants Maki to do a manzai comedy for their school festival. Maki is being told how to do such manzai the yakuza way (since Yukio belongs to a yakuza family). It starts off normally till it reaches the retorting part, the idiot is beaten up for real with metal knuckles! Oh sh*t! Real bloody violence! Maki thinks Yukio is going to do her in since she is getting ready for the part. Come that day, Yukio is bloodied and stretchered into the ambulance since panicky Maki didn’t want to be done in first and grabbed the crowbar in the middle of the routine. Then those yakuza guys start bringing out the knives and guns. They all got arrested. Maki too. Revy and Balalaika want to form a manzai trio with Rock. Sorry, he passes.

Roberta’s Blood Trail

I guess you can’t leave out the best character of the series. Yes. The maid gets her own mini arc series in the form of OVA episodes. Who wouldn’t want to see this Terminator rip off the heads and balls of those who bring harm to her family? That’s right. Don’t mess with the maid.

Episode 25
There is a short scene during the Vietnam War whereby an American soldier is protecting a little girl, the sole survivor of a massacred village from his other uncouth mates. In present time in Venezuela, a bombing rocks some political ceremony. Among the dead is Garcia’s father and poor kid is left crying about his father’s death. Roberta is mad that she cannot tell him the truth because she too walked down that path. We see her teething in anger and as hinted, call it what she wants, it sounds like revenge to me. Back at Roanapur, Rock is still depressed. Can’t get over Yukio’s case. Yeah. He keeps a picture of her in his wallet. Heck, he doesn’t even mind it getting stolen till Revy brought it back. There is word that a certain maid is back at Roanapur. All sides mobilize their teams to go find her. At the bar as Revy exchanges information with the Columbian side, suddenly the maid walks in! But wait. That’s not Roberta. Despite her similar talking fashion like her, this petite maid, Fabiola Iglesias wants Revy and Rock to come with her to the hotel where Garcia is waiting for them. One of the guys holds her up (because she is that short) and as they tease her whatsoever, she got enough of the charade. A hidden knife in her shoe as she stabs that guys balls!!! OMFG!!!!!! THAT GOTTA HURT!!!!!!! The rest of the guys point their guns at her but Revy seems to be itching for something interesting to happen. She purposely drops a bottle to distract everyone. Fabiola instantly goes into action mode. Wow! See her shoot, kick, somersault her way busting those useless guys. Awesome! Does she have some sort of cheat code on? Even when the Columbian guys call for artillery backup and destroy the bar, they still cannot best and are left running with tails between their legs! OMFG! That’s why you can never beat a maid!!! Dutch and Benny pick them up as they head to the hotel. Fabiola explains there are currently 5 maids employed including herself by the family. She is assigned to protect Garcia as Roberta who is her matron is currently missing.

At the hotel, Chang is seen talking to Garcia. He begins explaining about that terrorist bombing which was ironically setup by those who didn’t want to see the liberal politicians gain power. There was something suspicious about it as they had no means or reasons to create a bombing of that scale. The police acted as if the case is closed. That is when some airborne forces, MVR called them that they had found out something. They went through the staff list of those participated in the ceremony and went missing after the explosion. There are 6 names who were also from the military personal affiliated with the General Directorate of Military Intelligence. They left the agency 2 months prior to the incident like as though they were planning something and were employed as security of the venue on the day of the bombing. There is another photo that shows them together in Caracas 6 months ago when an officer accidentally took it while investigating another different case. The leader of the suspicious 6, Marcos Jose Luciendes was found dead. It is assumed Roberta did this. The rest are foreigners and Colonel Simon Dickens from NSA was also subsequently found dead. But we see clips of him being tortured to death by Roberta to extract information and doesn’t care if she makes war with that nation. Witnesses say she travelled to Roanapur after that. Speaking of which, she has just arrived at the bar and is asking for all the places to visit before starting a war. Dutch turns down whatever job they’re offering because this isn’t about the money anymore. They dealt with this crazy maid once and hell they aren’t going to do it again. However it seems they are not requesting Lagoon’s help. They want only Rock to help track Roberta down. And that guy looks awfully surprised that he has to do it. Even we wonder if he has the guts and balls to pull something this big off.

Episode 26
Dutch and Revy are still against this because Roberta is up against Uncle Sam and his allies. Chang suggests they return to Venezuela and let them handle this. Dutch doesn’t believe he is this charitable even though as Chang says what may come isn’t going to do their town any good. Besides, unlike others, Rock is someone that is seen to have a neutral position, not harmful to others and won’t complicate the situation. After they leave, Dutch tells Rock that in the event if Roberta and the US army clash, they get out. No buts about it. Back in his room, Rock is doing a lot of serious thinking. He calls Dutch to ask about the incident that had Balalaika owing him a favour. It’s going to be a long story. After so much thinking (this includes many beers, many cigarettes and writing all the possible scenarios all over the wall – I think you can call this art), he concludes it might be a 3 way battle between Roberta, the US and the Columbian revolutionary army, FARC. But he still has a hard time putting the rest of pieces of the puzzle together. Revy talks to Eda about the current situation and she sits up after hearing the US agency involving in this. Next morning, Rock and Benny go around with Garcia and Fabiola to ask for information. First stop, that bar owner. Bumming around in an inflatable pool? With chicks? Yeah, his business establishment is destroyed. So is the brothel above it. At first he was reluctant to answer Rock but after seeing his pitiful face, on condition that he doesn’t want to be involved, he reveals Roberta asking for all the shops with items necessary for war. She was also chugging down anti-depressant pills like popcorn. She had this mad killer eyes. They go all over town talking to people of the shops Roberta supposedly visited but were not entertained. Fabiola is not happy they were rejected and made no headway. It’s no surprise. She’s dressed like that crazy maid, surely people aren’t going to entertain them. Fabiola wants to get things going themselves but Garcia notes they can’t do it themselves. It becomes a talk of Fabiola’s past how she grew up in the poor slums of Caracas and self taught herself capoeira as self defence. Eda talks to Yolanda about the turf tussle between NSA and CIA to expand their control over espionage movements.

Chang is hosting a party for all the triad heads to discuss about the situation and reveal the big clash between Roberta and USA. This is part of the scenario that Rock has come up. Those who aren’t aware of how serious while treat it like a joke. Balalaika will be interested when she learns the US military is involved because her comrades were trained to match them. The Colombians will react differently because they want to maintain their relationship with FARC and will go after Roberta’s head. Chang reminds them this place was never on the agenda of world leaders because they kept outside for out of it. If they start to intervene, nothing will be left. The biggest problem for Rock now is Roberta’s location. Where could she be? We see Roberta praying hard to the Lord. A guy thinks she is already on overdose and should stop taking the pills. As for her revenge, she believes she will shoulder the sins of her master and Garcia but he doesn’t think she cannot compensate for the past no matter how much she repents even if she drives herself to ruin. She is going crazy and about to shoot but her partner, Richie Leroy tells her to stop before she puts a bullet in him. He wonders who she was talking to. I guess she’s already hallucinating. Revy gives Rock another pep talk. Something about guns and bullets. If Rock is the bullet, he is the unpredictable silver bullet. But if he misses, the monster will devour him.

Fabiola is caught with her pants down. While Garcia is asleep, she sneaks off to have a dip in the pool (they are currently staying at Chang’s yacht mansion). Then Revy came. Embarrassed? This time they are going to revisit all those places but Revy is tagging along. At a gun shop, the old owner mentions Roberta didn’t come to look for a weapon. Instead, she already had one. An antique Spanish rifle. She wanted it refurbished. Garcia and Fabiola recognize it as one of the family guns decorating their banquet hall. The other place she went is gunpowder for the rifle. That fat guy is freaking scared to see the maid again. After calming down, he mentions that Roberta didn’t come but a guy who is working as a broker or tip-off. He has a hard time remembering without his drugs… Better remember or you want Revy to shove that gun up his ass? Meanwhile Chang goes to the church to get more information from an agent (Eda in a voiceover). She tells him the group of people Roberta is after. This SOCOM or JCS unit is called Gray Fox Command Group. They are positioned all over Roanapur standing by in motels disguised as backpackers to carry out advanced political selections under NSA. Eda wants Chang to reveal his countermeasure but he wonders if their trust between them is only this far. Calling her company a dog of the US government, she warns him that although his organization can bring individuals and companies down, theirs can annihilate an entire country. Think of them as a multi-headed Hydra. Finally the fat guy remembers Leroy’s name. Rock and Revy make haste because he is the final piece in the puzzle who is directly involved with Roberta.

Episode 27
Revy threatens Leroy to reveal Roberta’s location. After that, Rock drives like a mad driver rushing there. Revy knows they can’t make it in time and calls for backup. Yeah, she calls Shenhua that she will get paid to kill. Hey… Sawyer and Wizard playing video games? Meanwhile the US army on standby also decide to make their move. The place is deserted and they expect a bloodbath. Similarly, the Colombian side is also here. They cut off the electricity and sneak in. But the US army is more tactical, lacing bomb traps to kill many of the Columbian guys. Then they bomb big holes in the wall to escape. Once on the rooftop, they spot Roberta across. The gunfire begins. Roberta is pumping powerful shots enough to take a chip off the wall. Rock and co arrive too late. The party has started. Rock reminds Garcia that Dutch told him to withdraw here but if he wants to go on, he will join in. Garcia will not back out since he needs to bring Roberta home. Rock gives Garcia a letter for him to open later. Everyone goes off while Rock remains in his car. He is not the fighting type. While Roberta has a field day slaughtering the soldiers, so do Revy and co. One of the soldiers is barely breathing so Fabiola translates to the rest as he reveals the US army’s position and thus where Roberta is. Once he is done, Revy shoots and kills him. This shocking scene has Fabiola pointing her gun at her for doing such a cruel thing. She is close to losing it but ironically Garcia is cooler. He calms her down that even though this town is corrupt and everybody dancing with death, she needs to act what she believes is right. Then only they can return home together. Rock is deducing what is going on. He knows the US army is trapped and cannot escape Roberta’s slaughter. He wants to save them but is waiting for a syndicate to join in. Only then he can move. He gets a call from Chang reminding him to get out now but of course Rock can’t since he has his obligations. Chang proceeds to lecture him about hypocrisy and everyone being pawns on the chessboard which makes Rock mad and calling him a cruel mother*cker. Chang once was like him and upheld justice with passion and pride with the Hong Kong police but then he learnt about the hypocrisy and all. You can figure out the rest. Anyhow, it is Rock’s call. Do as he pleases.

The US soldiers and Columbian guys run into each other and start firing. Revy and co join in to slaughter them all to let Garcia and Fabiola go ahead. However they stumble on another army unit. Fabiola stalls them to let Garcia move on. She might have been done for if not for Wizard waltzing into the scene and ranting some passionate yet corny. However he took too long and Sawyer cut them all down with her chainsaw!!! WTF?! They were actually listening to him?! In a building, Garcia hides thinking the enemy is coming. However it is Roberta making her way up. Once Garcia sees the anti-depressant bottle, he immediately knows it is her but the army unit is here. Roberta fights the soldiers and her fists are powerful enough to crush their skulls into a bloody pulp! But when she faces off with Alberto Camarasa, he overwhelms her as he knows all her move. He pins her down and explains he had so many chances to kill her but didn’t. Although he is from the Cuban Special Naval Missions Formation, he is acting on the orders of FARC’s commander. He wants her to come back with him. The organization still needs her. Even if she is to live a simple life as a maid, she cannot resist the smell of the blood. Garcia at this point and hiding while overhearing all this. Roberta agrees with him that that place is boring and her master’s death was a good opportunity to return. Even so, she doubts the commander will not forgive her for her betrayal. Camarasa says he is powerful enough that the organization listens to him.

In this weird twisted scene, it turns Roberta on and they make out with their tongue!!! WTF?! I don’t know how Garcia is feeling right now but I know it isn’t good. He’s a strong kid for trying to hold in his sanity. Roberta wants him to take off her pants but he tells her to do it herself. As she slowly reaches for her belt, she shoots a hidden mini gun in it. She returns to her insane self and tells him she will never join him or others because they serve the same master. She will never serve that swindler again. There is only one person who can control her. That person whom she is willing to die for. He is Garcia and only for his sake she shall pursue and kill the enemy. She’s beating him to a bloody pulp beyond recognition… Again I don’t know how Garcia feels. Honoured that she is loyal to him but at the same time wants her to stop the mindless beating. Finally he yells out to her to stop. At this point, Roberta is shocked to see him. Her scream is enough to echo throughout the entire town. She fears she has seen her ugly side. What has been seen cannot be unseen. So devastating that Garcia just collapses and becomes paralyzed although his conscious is still much intact. Roberta panics over what to do. So much so, she starts seeing visions of that guy who blames her she hallucinates him to avoid this from happening. He explains how she killed him 7 years ago after ripping his family photo. It was one of her little emotional wounds remaining. Had she continued her maid life with Garcia, it could have been healed but ruined that chance. How can she be forgiven then? She accuses him that he follows her around so she can never forget. Now she becomes crazy thinking he wants to get rid of her so badly and that this Garcia is just an illusion. The real one is waiting back at the mansion for her return. She is going to prove it by shooting this illusion boy.

Episode 28
Thanks to the American soldiers intervening and rescuing Garcia, Roberta is forced to back down. When Revy and co arrive, Shenhua wants to strike first. But she learns the true meaning of fear when Roberta grabs her machete with her teeth and breaks it! OMG!!!!! Look at Shenhua’s fearful face! Sawyer tries to cut her down but her chainsaw breaks! OMFG!!!! JUST HOW FREAKING TOUGH IS THIS WOMAN????!!!! They’re paralyzed with fear and are about to meet their fate when Wizard comes in with his cool pose to take her down. He gets kicked in the balls!!! This guy is a real joker! Wait a minute. His balls didn’t break?! Fabiola tries to talk to Roberta but seeing how broken she is thinking Garcia is still back at the mansion, she too breaks down. Garcia wakes up with the American soldiers. He starts going crazy but they calm him down. They think he is a kid who got caught in the crossfire and it is their policy to not bring harm to children so rest assured they will protect him. However Garcia pulls a gun from a nearby body. Although he is restrained, Major Shane Caxton tells them to lower their gun. Garcia explains they are the ones who ruined his family and killed his father. Now another person is also ruined. Shane gives him a gun and tells him to decide because he has the right to revenge. Garcia remembers showing his father some hidden picture and because he failed to spot certain things, he thought his friend was a liar. But father soon points them all out and explains the need to look from all angles. Could the person Rock is waiting for is Eda? Nah. She’s just here to tell him about the things he ordered this morning have arrived. The syndicate Rock is waiting for to take action is Hotel Moscow and despite their late appearance, Balalaika and her men are already in position. Balalaika calls Shane to inform that Roberta is close by. True enough the mad maid hops down to attack. After seeing Garcia, she promises to make him tea once she kills all the enemy. She retreats after the soldiers fire back.

Rock explains to Eda about his plan and scenario. Because the US soldiers will have their ground operations compromised, they lack the resources to go back to their original position and that is where he comes in and provides them with those stuffs. Due to their pride, they will not back out. Then there is this back story he heard from Dutch about Balalaika’s gratefulness to him. There was a time Chang and Balalaika fought over the control of Roanapur and it ended in a stalemate. When they face off, Chang shot her in the guts and she fell into the sea. Dutch picked her up. Therefore she is greatly indebted to him for giving her another chance to strike back at Chang. Also, Chang seems to be deliberately giving openings for her to strike back. Then he mentions about the need to get a backer. Something about Chang and his triads are the ones holding true power in Roanapur and the true overlord that is pulling strings behind Chang’s back is the person he is after. Rock then calls Dutch who is not happy on what he is doing. But Rock says that they have been commissioned for work by a US government agency and this is a legitimate job for Lagoon. Their job is to get rid of the troublemakers and if they take them out as courier, another troublemaker will leave as well. Someone gets to put an end to this turmoil and they’ll be the ones enjoying it. Dutch knows what he is getting at but will hear no more of it and hangs up. Shortly, Chang calls him for a job. I guess he can’t escape. Revy and Shenhua are ready to ambush the Americans. Suddenly they are shot in the arm as warning. Hotel Moscow warns them not to interfere as this war is theirs. The next shot will be in their head. Garcia shows the letter from Rock to the soldiers. It contains a map of their getaway.

Balalaika contacts Shane again. Something about the wars they have fought in. Despite different setting and location (the Russians were in Afghanistan while the veteran Americans were in Vietnam), she feels their unit has fallen to a point that they have to depend on gangster duels rather than genuine warfare. She wants him to remember the sense of honour, the discipline and power they maintain. Shane spots Roberta riding up on the opposite street. He puts Balalaika on hold and has his men ready to fire. However Balalaika orders her men to take out Roberta. They used up all their ammunition but do you think that killed her? Your guess is as good as mine. Shane commends her for pulling off such a feat but she seems to be upset about not being in the same unit as them. He guesses that she was discharged from the military with some illness. She reveals during the war she saved a child from the refugee camp and the mass media saw her. Thus she was deprived of her military position in that arbitrary discharge. She tells him to quickly leave the island. Dutch is furious. Not only he has to take the American soldiers with Garcia and Fabiola, seems that the stuffs Rock ordered were all sorts of international passes and IDs for their trip to get them to the Golden Triangle. And with Chang commissioning them for the job… Well, they’re in this sh*t now. Chang’s subordinate praises him of his plan. To deal with Balalaika, he invited that cowardly Japanese and he already pulled off this much. If the Americans leave the island, that maid will soon follow.

And as we have predicted it, Roberta is still alive and boards a plane. The person sitting next to her is Eda. Seems she is the one who planted the ticket, did some arrangements to let her get through the airport security, etc. Otherwise, you’d think she had it this easy up till now? Roberta really wants to kill her but Eda calms her down and says she is trying to help her catch those American soldiers. As gratitude, Roberta will give her a painless death at the end of it. Revy talks to Fabiola that they may have to rely on her using her gun since her arm is out of action. Then there is this Fabiola’s deduction of Revy’s mindset of Rock. Something like she views him as some sort of ideal and at the same time not wanting to get too close to him or she’ll lose that fascination. In a way, she sought salvation for herself through him. She views they are different. Revy is brought up in a rough family unlike hers. Fabiola’s dad was a frugal worker while mom never tolerated sinful deeds. One time she stole something, she was beaten up by her. Violence indeed but she felt her love and affection. Rock talks to Garcia about their next stage in plan. Now that they have all the actors on stage, he is the golden key. Oh Rock, that evil scheming look on his face. You’re turning into a rotten apple…

Episode 29
Rock gives Garcia a gun and wants him to use it. When he does, it will mark the end of the game. Later Garcia dives into the river and pulls Fabiola with him. No, they’re not going to drown. Just cool their heads. Garcia has decided. He will not hesitate anymore and is done being manipulated. He believes what Roberta is looking for is atonement for her past sins. Fabiola believes Roberta will not recover and turn out worse than before. Even so Garcia will go rescue her even if it’s by himself. Seeing his resolve, Fabiola will see it through with him. Meanwhile Revy is pissed after Fabiola’s little lecture. She can’t believe about their family love ideology that will save the day. Because back in those days, nobody protected her. She was beaten up and raped by a police officer before she killed him. Shane talks to Garcia and notices that gun was the one he tried to shoot him with back in Roanapur. Garcia decides to hear Shane’s side of the story. Fabiola isn’t pleased that Rock pre-meditated this entire thing but Rock is just eliminating all possible variable factors aside luck. Something about textbook gambling. Once they reach the Golden Triangle, the soldiers head off with the kids. In the dense of the jungle, they split into several teams as they make their way. They see strange cylinder rods around. Garcia knows that Roberta is here (she’s using the musket to shoot them as bullet). The little factory amidst the drug fields, there is no life whatsoever. And they come to realize it because there are corpses everywhere. Yup. Roberta is here. It’s like she knows the soldiers have arrived and goes into action. She even takes the last remaining hostage of the factory in attempts to bait them.

No matter how careful they are or the experience they have during Vietnam war, Roberta is always a step ahead, picking them off one by one. Even when she is injured like having shot in the leg, she still continues moving. Heck, even the lost of a few fingers don’t bother her! Hate and revenge overcome pain? That’s really madness. After Roberta kills an entire unit, she communicates back to Shane that she is going to get them all. To her shock, she hears Garcia’s voice to come meet him. Rock and Revy talk about what is to happen. Rock explains the entire scenario from why Chang allowed him to leave Roanapur despite his disobedience. When Balalaika realized what Chang was doing, she let Roberta escaped easily. Chang’s objective isn’t just to hide Roanapur from the rest of the world but destroy the American military investigation. As this place is the source of drugs production, Roanapur is the distribution centre. Chang made Roberta attack the US military and planned to prevent US investigators from entering Golden Triangle. Revy thinks this is his revenge against Roanapur. Rock continues that he was helpless to anybody who went down the path of destruction for that city. But this time he will end that misfortune. Revy is not convinced by his sh*t especially when he left the rosy life and come walk the dark side and punches him. When Roberta and Garcia meet, she is not pleased Shane is with them. She explains she cannot tell what is not real or not anymore. She doesn’t know if this Garcia is the real deal. She keeps seeing dead people (this is not Sixth Sense!). Heck, she doesn’t even know if she is alive. Garcia tells her revenge is not important to him. But she doesn’t agree. Because of them, they have caused them pain and taken everything for her. Garcia lets her know that no matter who she punishes, her sins cannot be absolved. Therefore it is not her job to end this but his. He takes the gun and shoots Shane. Now everything will end. Roberta cannot believe this. Her master will not do such a thing. It shouldn’t turn out this way. Nobody will be saved this way.

Garcia points his gun at her and says if she believes in him, the bullet that he is about to shoot will not kill her. She will not die no matter what. After seeing everything thrown at her, I really think she WILL NEVER die! They both shoot at the same time. Roberta is shock that he is still alive. Well, I’m sure she missed his vital organ. And what did I tell you? Roberta still lives. He runs towards her and hugs and kisses her! OMG! I wish that was me… On second thought… Now that everything is over, Roberta is still furious that Shane is alive. Garcia says he was shot him once and died. So are they. There are no victors here but sins. He will carry them with her. From now on, he’ll support her so let’s live together like before. By daybreak, Rock sees the soldiers carrying a few corpses and the injured ones back. He is happy this is the best outcome. But Fabiola is not happy. She points the gun at Rock and claims he was very lucky. Then she shoots him. Turns out the bullets were empty. They’re done dealing with people like him. Rock believes despite all that, he managed to win one thing. Meanwhile Eda is seen on the phone with some director of the CIA. They talk about some meeting with the US president and NSA about making the borders clearer at the next meeting and on top of that the CIA is getting custody and rights of everything. Few months later, Rock realizes nothing in Roanapur changed a bit. But as Dutch tells him, the value of money and guns decide everything. Rock deduces somebody somewhere on this planet went beyond him. In the end, he still can’t save anybody. Garcia and his maids are back at his mansion. Roberta is in a wheelchair and lost a few limbs. They greet Shane and his children as they visit. Revy wonders if Rock is still looking at Roanapur painfully with those living eyes. But if he chose this way, the only way is to become the dead. Maybe someday. But he feels now is not the time.

Bloody Lagoon…
Well, what can I say? What more can I say? In terms of this anime itself, this series is pretty amazing. It is a wonder why I have not picked it up earlier a few years ago despite I know it was around. I wonder whose approval I was waiting to watch this. Maybe I wasn’t ready to handle it. Oh, who cares, if you are not the soft type and the kind who isn’t naive and staying innocent about the world, this is one of those series that you must see. It opens your eyes to the dark side of human beings and what they will do all in the name of money, power and other greedy desires. And to ‘reward’ you for that, they put in lots of action and blood for your viewing pleasure. Thanks to all the dead people in the anime all for our enjoyment and entertainment.

Action is definitely the biggest draw and plus point of this series. You stay and watch this series because of all the violence, blood, gore, and whatever aggression this series throws at you. Each episode doesn’t disappoint because of the wild and perfect execution of the action. You can tell that these hard bitten and hard boiled characters are no strangers to dicing with death and aren’t afraid to stare it right in the face. From guns blazing akimbo style to sword slicing and even fist fights, you’ll either be smiling with glee at all the brutality and blood or cringe at how violent and gory those scenes will be as they burn into your cranium. Yes. Blood splattering everywhere, limbs flying all over the place, deaths guaranteed in almost every episode and the body count of those unimportant extras you would care less about racking up just to satisfy our inner lust for blood. Aren’t we as bad as those guys, eh?

The series is nicely divided into small mini arcs so the flow of it is smooth and doesn’t drag on too long and overstay its welcome. My only grouse for the Second Barrage was that Dutch and Benny were really reduced to minor characters and do not have decent screen time. It is like they have been casted aside and not important and just make short appearances just to tell us that they are around. It was mostly Rock and Revy as well as Balalaika. I feel that the second season was building Balalaika up and revealing her true colours as a villainess of the series (since the yakuza arc takes up the most number of episodes and half of the second season). But the kind of villain who will not meet her doom soon and gets away with it.

As for the characters, there are so many of them but yet so little. You have this dilemma of whether to root or hate them. Each of the main and supporting characters have their own distinct and unique personality and thus it makes them quite likeable despite you know what they do are not. Heck, everyone you see here has some sort of moral issues. If you compare your standards of society to them. But then again, who cares? Some of the characters like Revy and Balalaika have their tragic past but we don’t delve deep enough and just the surface. I mean, since it is already ancient that it is old news that nobody cares. Do you care? Can you change fate? Guess so.

For a person like Rock, I suppose he is the most conflicted and confused person in this series. Because he is caught between a rock and a hard place (pun not intended). For a salaryman like him to suddenly be shoved into this deadly world of survival, it is pretty odd to see him still breathing right at the end. He really is the odd one out in a place like Roanapur. Normally guys like him become a corpse after a while. Thus you can say he is one very lucky son of a gun. Of course it is partly thanks to his Lagoon Company. As the series progresses, you can see Rock becoming bitter and frustrated the more he learns the workings of the world. It’s one big sh*t up place. It is not that he doesn’t know it when he is doing his previous job. Roanapur is just like the same like everywhere else. Only difference it is not masked or sugar coated with artificial fakeness. So I suppose the turning point is when Yukio killed herself. That was a really tragic arc because they never get to face off with Balalaika but got a rematch with Revy instead. In the end, it’s like all that Rock has worked towards for ended up a big waste. Not to say that Rock is perfect too and what Yukio said to him is true. Therefore I surmise that if Rock needs to change something, he needs to be more proactive. You fight fire with fire. And thus in Roberta’s Blood Trail, we see him turn into some sort of villain and playing that part like a pro while Chang and Balalaika take a back seat. And of course sadly in the end, as he learns, he is nothing but an individual. You can’t save anybody. Will this make or break him? Only time will tell.

I don’t know what the deal is with Revy’s relationship with Rock because in the first season she was like somebody who doesn’t like Rock, viewing him as a useless new member. There are many instances they are paired together for missions and she even revealing certain parts of her past. But all that suddenly changes in Second Barrage. Suddenly it is like he has become her partner because she really looks out for him and protects him (not in the knight in shining armour kind of way, that is). It is like something happened in between to suddenly turn Revy into one who places her trust in Rock unlike the character we see her in the first season who doesn’t give a f*cks about him and willing to shoot him anytime. But I noticed that there are many faces to Revy. You see the serious Revy, the sh*t killer Revy mode (you don’t want to mess with this one – those dead eyes will scare the sh*t out of you) and surprisingly there is a silly Revy look. Silly Revy? For example, there was this one time Revy was observing Balalaika editing some porn stuff, and she put up that really unbelievably silly face just watching it.

Of course my favourite character has to be Roberta. In addition to be a maid, I think she is one of the best, in terms of being super indestructible maid ever in all maid characters in anime. I know it is freaking unbelievable that whatever you do to her, she comes back stronger like as though all your puny attacks were nothing. It’s like she has got all the cheat codes activated and no one can touch her. Not only she could hide so many things in her black hole apron or her mind is installed with all the killer techniques that you would never think of or the impossible moves she makes or like as though she can read your mind and know where you are and what you do next, also it is like there is some sort of spell that makes enemies miss and waste all the barrage of bullets if they’re just firing from 3 feet away. So how can you kill this maid? You can’t! Once she sets her mind on you, you better start praying to your God. Because not even He can save you. I really want her as my maid. Garcia you lucky bastard! Oops. I hope I didn’t earn her wrath for insulting her master that she is so loyal to.

My little complain is that despite her mini OVA arc named after her, she hardly makes any appearances in the first half. Because I was expecting to see Roberta going mad and just killing everybody in the way. I mean, that is why they call it Roberta’s Blood Trail, right? Even a little more disappointing was, she wasn’t in her maid outfit during her revenge run but dressed somewhat like Revy. Except for the final episode during that jungle warfare (maybe she doesn’t want to let mosquitoes bite). I know from the looks of it she can manoeuvre better but from what I observed, even when she is clothed as a maid, she moves even faster than those useless gangsters. Makes no difference. She should have just put them on for the entire time. Heck, it’s not like people don’t recognize her without her maid outfit, right? So I guess that is why we have Fabiola substituting her for the maid appearance.

Other characters are okay too. If I had to pick my next favourite character, it would be Shenhua. Somehow I just love the way she speaks with an accent. It’s funny. It’s amusing. Then she coolly slices off everyone’s head with her machete. Sawyer is not bad too because this goth girl likes sawing up things and it makes that girl from Lollipop Chainsaw looking more like a slutty wuss. The funniest character award goes to Wizard because as far as I can see, all his appearances end up in some sort of comedic fashion, if not something that isn’t really important. I suppose this guy thinks style is more important so when he starts posing or something, by that time, the action is over. Yeah, you don’t get to see him in action and wonder what the heck is his special ability. To pose? Some other hardcore characters like Eda, Chang, Balalaika and Dutch are cool by the way they fight although I would have loved to see more of Dutch-Revy combo. Revy-Eda combo isn’t bad either. But sometimes I feel that she likes teasing and mocking Revy a lot just to piss her off. Eda just like the rest is a mysterious lot since she puts up lots of facade and you don’t really know her true colour. Is she a double agent or something?

Others that aren’t so ‘impactful’ like Benny and Leigharch because they don’t have fighting abilities. Like Leigharch you wonder what happens to this hallucinating dude after his only appearance in the Philippines arc. Speaking of Benny, I also wonder what happened to his romance with Jane. I caught a glimpse of photos of her on his workplace so there must be something romantic going on, right? Alright, who cares about romance in this series anyway? As long as you love blood and violence, you’ll be fine. That’s this series’ romance ;p. Then there are those who appear only for that arc and never seen again like Takenaka and Rico (Jane as well). You wonder what their fates are. Maybe they’re not that important after all. Of course those like the Romanian twins, Yukio and Ginji met their tragic end so there is nothing more to say about them.

As you can see that there is no discrimination when it comes to the dark side of human beings. There is no short of many people from various nations and nationalities shown in this anime. It is like a big melting pot of different culture and people. Take the Lagoon guys for example. With Rock as the typical Japanese guy sticking out like a sore thumb, Revy is an American Chinese while Benny is a Jew. Dutch can be safely assumed to be an American black (I believed it was mentioned he served in the Vietnam war too). Then you have Russians, Italians, Hong Kong and South American people running the show in Roanapur. Even small minor characters are made known their nationalities like Jane an Indian, Shenhua the Taiwanese and Leigharch an Irish. Even the ‘antagonists’ are a colourful bunch ranging from German Nazis, Islamic extremists in the Philippines to Japanese yakuzas. So as you can see Roanapur and this anime particular is very international! Heck, when you have nuns doing shady things in the name of God, you know this world is already so screwed up. Yeah. Money is their religion. Now ever wonder why the US greenback has the word “In God We Trust” printed on it?

Having said that, this brings me to a point that I have been pondering. What kind of language do they speak to communicate? I didn’t actually think of this till Rock being a translator for Balalaika in Japan. Of course everyone is speaking flawless Japanese for the sake of this anime’s convenience but during the stint in Japan, it just feels weird that you know, Rock and Balalaika may be speaking a different language although what we hear is conveniently in Japanese. So when Rock is translating the English for the sake of translation, it just feels odd. I mean, Balalaika as we hear her speak usually in Japanese and can communicate with Rock, right? Thus this shows that in actuality they may be talking a different language instead of the Japanese we are hearing. Because if Balalaika can speak Japanese like how we hear her communicate with Rock, there isn’t a need for him to be a translator in the first place. Unless it was all a show. Besides, everyone’s English sounds like they have that Japanese trying to speak English accent. Especially with Revy who is so heavily accented or mumbling her English words, it is ironic that I can actually hear her Japanese much clearer and concise compared to her speaking just a few English words! Therefore this language thingy although is just a minor issue, sometimes confuses me if the characters really do speak a certain language.

Bad influence. You see everyone smoking a cigarette in the opening credits. Even Rock pops one in his mouth like it is candy. Smoking is cool, right? Yeah. We all know the dangers of smoking but I suppose when you have people who do shady jobs, smoking is the least of your concerns of what is good or bad. Just like how we assume people with tattoos are part of some criminal organization, probably smoking cigarettes here could mean the same thing. Don’t even mention about Balalaika who is mostly seen with a cigar like as though it is part of her face. I guess big bad bosses can afford better smoking alternatives.

Red Fraction by MELL is the only opening theme. It is featured in all seasons. This hard rock piece is definitely suitable for the pace of this anime. With tough badass lyrics to go with, it gets you into the mood of what to expecting while watching the episode. And sometimes maybe you want to sing along too? As for the ending theme, it is a very eerie yet sad sounding instrumental, Don’t Look Behind by Edison. It isn’t anyhing much actually. The suspense of the eeriness doesn’t turn into something climatic in the end. Oddly we see the ending credits animation as Revy drops all her arsenal while walking on the shore and when it ends, she points at us with her shotgun that is only left in her hands. Although this ending theme is the main one for the first and second season, The World Of Midnight by Minako Obata is the special ending theme sung totally in English for the Romanian twins’ arc. It is a sad church choir-like piece with only voices covering the song. Sad but yet sounds so angelic beautiful. For the final episode of the second season, the hard rock techno piece of Peach Headz Addiction by Breath Frequency gives a fitting finale to the season. The ending theme for Roberta’s Blood Trail is a version of America’s Civil War marching tune, When Johnny Comes Marching Home. Oddly the animation shows pictures of Balalaika’s past and maybe that is why this version sounds a bit Russian-like.

I don’t really want to touch about the dark side of human beings and comparing the ones you see here and the reality of living in society because we’re just about the same. I can go on for paragraphs and pages about it and even write a thesis. Because it is endless. The true colours of humanity’s dark side are deeper and scarier than the deepest parts of the ocean or even hell itself. So for everything that you see in this anime that is supposedly morally wrong, let me just say that there is no clear cut to what constitutes to be wrong or right. You can be both or neither. A very big grey area. It all depends on your stereotypes, bias and prejudices of everything. Therefore there is no love lost when you see something less palatable happening here (especially murders and killings). No holds barred. Because trust is the biggest issue for everyone and the only thing that you can trust is your guts. It’s your only ‘friend’ for survival to let you see tomorrow’s sunrise.

Watching this anime doesn’t make me want to give in to my dark side or throw away my day job and become a pirate and do shady delivery jobs. Hey, I’m an otaku and a dreamer. All those fancy stuffs of doing great in everything are just in my head. Even before watching this anime, I already knew about the inequalities in life although I am not sure if I can say that I am lucky not to have experienced very terrible discrimination in my life. Not that I can change anything either. Because really, who cares? Hah. Looks like I’ve got some bad influence already from this anime. Sure, keep this anime away from your little kids but still, eventually nobody can escape from the clutches of life. It is only the question of sooner or later. So you see people, we can’t stay innocent and pure like virgins for the rest of our lives. We lost our virginty since coming into this world because life has already got us all f*cked up since the day we were born. And I hope you are praying to the right God…

Have you ever had dreams of wanting to be some super mega world famous idol? The kind that you see Japan and South Korea churning out in the past few years? Oh yeah. Super stardom and fame. Super idols, who wouldn’t love them and love to be them? But what happens if you can’t make it this big? Well, don’t worry. Your dream of being an idol is still intact and you can start by being a locodol. Eh? What you say? Locodols. You know, local idols. I suppose instead of reaching international heights so high that you can’t see your own hometown, perhaps it is sometimes a good idea to have locodols that ordinary Joes and Janes can admire and fawn over. Well, you got to start small and from somewhere, right? Uh huh. Sometimes when super idols grow too big, they’re untouchable to ordinary fans. That’s why you have locodols to touch your hearts locally and still provide the same idol performance and execution. Albeit at a smaller and local pace. And thus this anime, Futsuu No Joshikousei Ga [Locodol] Yatte Mita showcases of a small locodol unit of a small sleepy town made out of high school girls. They do the best they can in providing a little entertainment for the locals. But will what they do reach the eyes of the national and international level? Only time will tell.

When I first heard the term locodol, it felt really odd because just hearing and looking at this ‘new term’ itself feels funny. I took the liberty to even deduce what it could have meant. Firstly, idols that promote trains! I mean, locomotive idols, right? Choo, choo! And then it could also mean… Low cost idols! Oh sh*t! I think this is somewhat almost true if you watch this series. It would have been amusing if this term was really used if not in this anime but another spin-off or something. You don’t need expensive and fancy things to be famous idols, right? That is why you have cost saving and thus low cost idols the give you high quality entertainment! Oh yeah. Lastly, I might be crazy thinking about this term: Crazy idols! Loco is a Spanish word for crazy. Wild idols that you will love or loath! Idols that cause controversy and chaos wherever they go, rebelling against establishment but the public loves them. Ah, we can’t have these type of idols as role models, can’t we? So before I lose myself in more of what locodols could mean, let’s get back to the anime shall we?

Episode 1
Kids have it all these days. Nanako Usami is asking mother for money to buy a new swimsuit and doesn’t want to work for it. Even if the simplest job pays the cheapest, she’s still complaining. So of course she tells this ‘problem’ to her friends and since her budget is around 2000 Yen, the friends agree to go help look for one after school. Being apart from her friends also weighs heavily on Nanako’s mind since most of them have their own activities and they can’t spend time as much as they want like they used to. When she returns home, her uncle, Mitsugu Oota who is a public servant pays a visit and he has brought lots of local souvenirs of Nagarekawa like soda pop and pudding. And entire fridge of pudding? Overload. Since her uncle is in charge of revitalizing this little town, he thinks he has the perfect job for Nanako. A thousand yen per hour for only 2 hours at an event at the public pool. You up for it? She is quite interested and even asks for payment upfront. In exchange she better work harder. That’s the problem with kids like her who didn’t even ask what kind of job she is doing until the day itself. Seems she will be a locodol, a local idol. Uncle believes that with other towns having their own attractions, Nagarekawa will be left with only old people and kids when the young ones flock to other towns. So to make Nagarekawa into a local attraction, locodols are needed! He wants Nanako to become one. She can’t walk out of it now since she is paid in advance. Plus, he reads out Nanako’s dream of wanting to become an idol and change Japan’s future! As expected, a rookie like Nanako doesn’t know what to do. Don’t worry. Yukari Kohinata is a veteran and she is nice enough to cover for Nanako’s nervousness when the camera crew is here to interview them. The girls go out to introduce themselves for the opening event of the pool’s remodelling. Nanako is nervous enough to fumble on her own name. Nanyako? Sounds cute… As they introduce the new attractions of the place, Nanako continues to be nervous and mixes up her cue cards. The crowd is seen losing interest and some of them are starting to leave. It is suggested to them that they sing. Just sing anything! Yukari gets it going by singing the local anthem. When Nanako joins her, this brings back the crowd’s interest. In the end, the crowd loves it. Next day, Nanako wakes up thinking all that yesterday was just a dream. Nope. Her face is all over TV! She finds Yukari is a second year in her school and she looks forward working with her in the future. Yukari wants Nanako to deal away with the formalities and not treat her like a stranger. After all, partners are like families.

Episode 2
Yukari and Nanako are doing a news for a local pest control. Nanako messes up and wants to do a retake. Sorry, this is live. This locodol job might be getting tiring after a week. At first her family and friends were excited but then you know, it becomes a normal thing. Wondering if this is really helping the community, she asks Yukari about it. Although she is not sure, she knows nothing beats making them happy. They’ll figure it out along the way. On another job that promotes a local sweets store, Nanako becomes worried that if she says the wrong thing and sends the wrong impression, it will be her fault if the store closes down. Calm down. Try eating the food first. Nanako’s expressions don’t lie when she tastes the glorious fillings. She is so naturally herself that she forgot she is still on the air. Oh… This food reporting airs daily so Nanako is forced to do it otherwise uncle hints she can’t continue to go to school anymore. Later Nanako calls Yukari to thank her and praises for her calmness and everything. Yukari believes Nanako was so convincing in tasting the food that it made her feel of wanting to try some. One day, Nanako heads over to Yukari’s place to discuss their team’s name outfit. You’d be surprised how rich this Yukari girl is. She has the entire floor to herself. Even stepping out of the lift, Nanako gets a personal welcome from her. Nanako flusters upon spotting a yuri manga she is reading. Is she into this kind of things? Yukari treats her to so much stuffs that they might actually forget why they are here. As they try to come up with a name, Nanako can tell from Yukari’s actions that she is like a girl excited that a friend is over for the first time. Actually she is. She practised and baked all those cakes from scratch so that they could have a good time. Yukari thinks she is not as composed Nanako thinks she is. Nanako suggests they just talk casual things instead of work. In the end, they had a great time. When the duo go collect their pay, Nanako is surprised it only covers basic wages. Seems they don’t get paid for TV work and it is treated as volunteerism. Their contract only has them paid hourly wage for concerts, product distribution and TV appearances. Though it pains Nanako, there is some a little extra. The sweets store manager has written a letter of appreciation to them. Their earnestness reached him. A token of gratitude is always the best reward. Oh look, he delivered boxes of free sweets to them. Looks like they are going to get fat…

Episode 3
The duo will be getting a new partner. A mascot? What the heck is this blue blob with a scary fish behind its back?! Uogokoro is its name and looks like uncle made it their community’s mascot. Can’t he come up with something better? Oh, a lot of funding has been received so it will be a lot of trouble if this flops so it is up to the locodols to make it popular. Nanako scolds her uncle that their outfits are cheaper than this mascot. Where’s the budget?! The girls introduce Uogokoro on stage and it impresses the crowd with its back flips. However its voice changer is slightly broken and this scares some of the crowd. The girls convince the crowd it is not feeling a little well. During the break, they find Uogokoro is manned by a petite girl, Yui Mikoze. She is actually their senior in school. She gets nervous when people look at her, thus the reason she took up this mascot job. Yui laments all she can do is back flips and will never become an idol. However she is glad for their cover. Despite Yui is their senior, in the job industry she believes she is their junior. She wants to go buy them drinks and when she lets loose her mascot outfit, she has a very well endowed body. Back at school, Nanako learns their unit has been called Nagarekawa Girls. Has she read the online stuffs and local newsprint? Too embarrassed to read about herself. She learns they were called something else but her uncle managed to plead it down to this so just be grateful. On another job, Nanako’s friends, Shouko Noda and Satsuki Kashiwaba drop by to support and check on how she is doing. Noda is not impressed with the progress made and at this rate people will only remember their lameness. But they start to be in awe when they meet Yukari. At first the friends laugh at their group’s name but Yukari hopes they’ll stay to watch or they’ll regret it because Nanako stands out more than her. For once, Nanako’s uncle bought a decent uniform dress with the budget for the girls. They are doing fine with their stuff on stage and even perfectly sing Uogokoro’s theme song. Then it starts to rain and everyone disperses to take shelter. What now? Nanako becomes bold and starts stripping and does the same on Yukari. Don’t worry, they’re wearing swimsuits underneath. I guess the guys just love it. Hey, if the girls are already wet, are you going to stay dry? No sexual innuendoes intended. The event ends on a high note. See, even the rain stops. Later Nanako apologizes for getting Yukari caught up into this. No hard feelings. It’ll be her turn to strip her the next time. Noda and Satsuki are impressed with Nanako’s performance as they text their other friends to go see her perform the next time.

Episode 4
There is news that a stalker or pervert is around with incidents of idol dresses being stolen from dressing rooms. Nanako got a fright when she thought Yukari could be one because she was following her from the train station and even picked up her gym clothes she forgot. At the studio, Nanako thought she saw a stalker in their dressing room. She panics and even misspoke her words (telling Yukari in the face she is a pervert). When they return, the said pervert is nowhere as Nanako’s uncle comes in to introduce Saori Nishifukai who will replace him as their new manager. As they are shooting at a river bank, Nanako got a bit stressed worrying about the pervert so Saori calms her down and assures that the staff will do everything they can to protect them. So forget about the pervert and focus on her job to have a heartfelt smile on her face. Back home, it is revealed that Saori could be the biggest fan-cum-stalker of Nagarekawa Girls as she has lots of photos on them as well as lots of outfits she would love them to try. She begged Nanako’s uncle for it and got the job. Nanako is surprised to see pictures of her uploaded to their website. Yukari tries to brainwash her that she is a cute idol. Later Saori hands them all the fan mails that she has been keeping. Talking about the website, it seems Saori knows a great deal about it. The girls point out the suspicious photo shots uploaded like as though it is from the point of a perverted man. They wonder the kind of person who could only take those shots and present at all their events. Someone like Saori. Saori can ask the website operator to shut it down but the girls love it since the site is interesting. At the department store, a group of kids recognize Nanako and Yukari as locodols although for the wrong reasons. Noting they are getting more fans but have a long way to go, the duo decide to perform Uogokoro’s theme much to their delight. Even the store’s mascot is supporting them. Later they realize was in that mascot (she’s doing a part time job) since it was like it knew every move they made. Saori calls Nanako about that guerrilla performance and hopes to inform them next time or else they can’t protect them. Yukari believes they should inform her and everyone properly the next time because they are all on the same team.

Episode 5
After another successful event, Saori reminds the girls about their true goal as locodols to promote public relations with the rest of the world. This has the girls start thinking about the need to promote themselves externally. Part of the discussion has them state what they want to be in the future. No, Yukari being close to Nanako doesn’t sound like it. On a serious side, Yukari wants to study abroad while Yui is saving up to be a voice actress. Nanako is so impressed with their goals that although she doesn’t think deeply about hers like them, it brings back traumatic memories about her dream to become an idol. They decide their next goal is to appear on national TV and what do you know? Saori calls them to say she has just entered them in the National Cute and Loose Character Field Day which airs over national TV. Goal achieved? Feeling nervous already? Nanako becomes a little celebrity when her friends find out she is going to appear on national TV. At the studio, Yukari tries out Uogokoro’s suit but she’s too tall for it. Although this new suit is lighter, it is at the expense of the voice changer (don’t even talk about the cost). This means they cannot communicate and how are they going to promote their town? It is suggested the duo will become the interpreter. That way they will get more screen time too. Killing 2 birds with 1 stone. The girls visit Yodel Hall to try their signature tanuki cake. Yukari and Yui are ‘merciless’ in ‘slicing’ it up but it is too cute for Nanako to do so. How will she ever eat it? Later they pass by the local river in which Yui narrates a very deep back story and historical background of the town and how the mascot came about and what it represents. You get all that Nanako? Feels like a history class, doesn’t it? More insights when she learns the fish is actually the real worship object and official character (it even has a name – Mulder). Yukari even adds on to the meaning behind Uogokoro’s design and all. They are going to pray to a local god for victory but Yukari points out a little ugly statue next to a mini shrine. This is the god of luck and named Biliken from America? Oh dear. I’m so lost. Why is Nanako trying to speak English? Biliken tries his best to make others happy, just like their job. Therefore they should focus on entertaining people rather than winning. But the budget still weighs heavily on Nanako’s mind and as they pray, Yukari and Yui’s are typical of wishing happiness, fun and smiles but Nanako just prays this whole damn thing resolves itself without having their salaries cut. She’s being realistic, right?

Episode 6
The National Cute and Loose Character Field Day is here. Nanako is going to experience shock when she sees the people underneath those mascot suits. Middle aged men… The locodols have their screen time in introducing their local specialty. Nanako is already so nervous about messing up on national TV and losing out to others that she is close to being broken. Wanting to strip? Yukari calms her down and says that they just need to be themselves. Of course she already messed up her lines and stuttered her name. It’s all going on national TV… Before the mascot games begin, Nanako notices that some mascots are slightly altered. Especially that Tamahosshi. The real mascot doesn’t have such a muscular body, didn’t it? Well, Uogokoro is also altered and made lighter, right? The games begin. Uogokoro got lucky in the sumo match. Uogokoro actually trips but the opponent is clumsier and trips out of the ring. The obstacle race, the mascots are bulky with odd parts and cannot traverse obstacles easily unlike Uogokoro and this allowed the blue blob to finish first. For the tug of war, Uogokoro wins on default since the opponent is an old guy and hurt his hip after bending down. This projects a rumour that Uogokoro brings bad luck to others and the harbinger of death! Of course Yui is concerned that they will have a bad reputation. Nanako cheers her that at least they’re getting more screen time. In the tag match, all the mascots that lost to Uogokoro give their support via hand signal. Wow. Understood so well. It’s like a translator wasn’t needed in the first place. During the break, the girls wonder why Yui’s altered suit hasn’t produced good results like the rest. Saori reminds them that if they wanted to win, they would have altered it greatly. The reason the electronics were removed was for her safety. It would be great trouble if something were to happen to her. The enlightened girls are motivated to do their best and not think about winning. In the final sumo match with Tamahosshi, Uogokoro does a back flip on him and wins. Although overall, Tamahosshi wins the championship and Uogokoro came in fourth. Although Yui gets scolded by Saori for doing something so dangerous, nevertheless she is glad that the TV is highlighting her for she is the only one to defeat the overall champion. Later Tamahosshi congratulates them and is impressed they are just young girls. Nanako’s uncle picks them up and it seems they did win an award for fighting spirit. Saori can’t help herself to take pictures of them sleeping.

Episode 7
Tonight is the national broadcast of National Cute and Loose Character Field Day. Nanako isn’t really looking forward to it. Because mom bought a sophisticated recorder set. So everyone is nervously waiting for it to air. Nanako is flustering a lot when she debuts. However she is busy responding mails from her friends to watch. I wonder how they can watch and text together. Yui’s family is watching too but when it comes to the crucial part, their power trips. Everybody was leaving their whatever appliances running. As for Yukari, her family has an important event and she has to attend it. Don’t worry, she recorded it but when she replays it, she was so tired that she slept through. So the technically the trio didn’t actually watch it live. Well, they can watch the replay, right? Their national debut has made them little celebrities in school. On a day of another locodol event, Nanako thought Yui is already inside Uogokoro. Suddenly here Yui is. OMG. How on Earth? Her sister? She has no sister. I don’t think this show is going as far about cloning. So once everybody calms down, Yui explains inside Uogokoro is her understudy. Nanako jumps to conclusion that Yui is going to leave her job! Wow. She’s really crying. As really explained, because Uogokoro’s popularity has increased, this means more demand for its appearance. To ease the burden on Yui, another person is hired to play Uogokoro. This is the advantage of a mascot as you can change the player. The newbie is Mirai Nazukari, a fellow student from their school and from the acting club. Ironically a person from the acting club, shy? Although Mirai is nervous on her first job, she does well as she loves to deal with children. With Mirai behind the suit, Yui is free to provide the voiceover for Uogokoro. While Nanako and Yukari man a stall selling Nagarekawa goods, a girl from Tokyo visits them. She came to visit this town because she saw on TV how they promoted their town well. This makes them happy and they couldn’t be happier when she buys a bunch of souvenirs. Looking forward for your continued support.

Episode 8
Mirai is still shy towards Nanako and Yukari. Nanako learns Mirai and Noda went to the same middle school. Noda describes Mirai as a person with good grades and good in singing. She makes guesses that Mirai just joined Nagarekawa Girls. Either a trio or replace Nanako. Just kidding! To get further acquainted with her, Nanako takes Mirai to a karaoke joint. However they’re both too humble in letting the other sing first. Mirai couldn’t really decide and when Nanako starts singing Uogokoro’s theme, their session time is up. During a meeting with Saori for their next event, she notes Mirai’s soft spoken nature and needs to speak louder as she will have to handle movements and voice together the next time. Somehow Nanako is made to guide Mirai and become Uogokoro’s appraiser. Well, she isn’t exactly a good teacher as Mirai has a hard time trying to guess the nuances Nanako is making. On the way back, Nanako considers them as friends and for the first time Mirai is able to call her first name. However the loud speaker overshadowed everything so she didn’t hear a thing. As the training continues, Mirai’s movements of Uogokoro still aren’t there. This has her think she is not cut out to be the mascot. Because in the acting club she doesn’t stand out and just does work behind the stage. She gets an idea to do Uogokoro’s iconic back flip. Unfortunately she sprains her ankle. She gets scolded by Saori for doing it because although it is popular with kids, they are fast to mimic it. Her ankle cannot heal in time so Yui had to do both shifts, in which she is fine with. Mirai observes Yui’s movements. During the break, Mirai notices a kid watching and prevents Yui from taking off the suit. Yui thanks her for not ruining a kid’s dream and it is her attentive and considerate points that make her good person to play Uogokoro. Yui almost collapses from exhaustion. Mirai suggests taking over as she feels her ankle is healed. Mirai goes out and becomes perfect as Uogokoro. So much so that Nanako and Yukari are surprised to find her behind the suit instead of Yui. The biggest question bugging Nanako is if Yui is going to continue as Uogokoro once she graduates? Although she’ll have to retire eventually, she still can keep working while attending training school. She enjoys being with them and don’t intend to quit for now.

Episode 9
Nanako confronts her uncle wanting to clarify if he is doing something illegal! Because she heard from Noda about the ‘conspiracy’ that the locodols are all from the same school. Well, there is no other girls’ school in town. Plus, there is a reason why uncle chose her. Can she handle the truth? Here goes… She lacks feminine appeal and thus a safe bet. Shock? Surprise? Nagarekawa Girls and Uogokoro are in a day-long event that commemorates the train station’s anniversary. Nanako is introduced to Yukari’s grandpa. Does he look familiar? He was the former mayor. Holy cow! Don’t even recognize your own ex-mayor? Because Yukari has been handling the emcee stuffs, Nanako fears that if something happens to her, she’ll have to do it. She’s already shaking just thinking about it. And then suddenly Yukari collapses into her chest. This is not her usual prank. Yukari has fallen ill! This means she must rest and cannot continue her job. Although Yukari throws a tantrum like a kid that she wants to continue, Nanako becomes the strict mom that she can entrust everything to them. And as expected, Nanako fumbles her lines. Less than perfect but nevertheless entertaining for the crowd. Yeah. Saori even notes not even Yukari can replicate that. The next day, Nanako visits Yukari who is more than happy that she came. This has Yukari remember the time she first met her. She was in a mascot job for a shopping complex when she stumbled across a lost girl. In a dilemma since she is on the job, Nanako then comes by and offers to accompany the girl till they find her mother. Eventually it they are reunited and Nanako realized the shop she came for to order clothes for her high school is closed. She might be her usual emotional self but soon picks herself up. Yukari is impressed that she placed the little girl ahead of her own needs. Ironically Yukari was fired from the job. However that didn’t dampen her spirits because thanks to Nanako, she wants to help others too. Soon, her grandpa recommended her to this locodol programme and shortly Nanako was introduced since there are no other ‘suitable’ candidates. Yukari is glad to see her again and after all that they have gone through together, she is happy Nanako has not changed since. So when Nanako believes it is fate that brings them together because if it wasn’t for her, she won’t be a locodol, Yukari agrees. The next day Yukari is all healed and continues her usual tease on gullible Nanako. Isn’t it any wonder why she loves to mess with her?

Episode 10
There will be a locodol festival where all the locodols will gather and this event will be broadcasted on TV. They are excited to meet all kinds of locodols till they learn they only get 1 minute of stage time. Saori is cautious because they have other jobs that might clash with it and put a strain in their schedule. Nanako is being optimistic that after all they’ve been through, they can do this one and since this is a rare event, they have no intention of turning it down in the first place. However Saori has a condition. She wants them to write a song for it. Since they are the stars, they have to sing it instead of Uogokoro. But they aren’t professional song writers… Can’t strain the budget… Oh dear. More stress on Nanako. Start thinking this is a bad idea? But with Yukari able to play the piano and handle the song writing, Yui the choreography and Mirai helping out with the lyrics, it dawned to Nanako that she got screwed to do the lyrics. Pessimism level going up… So they talk this to Nanako’s uncle and when he mentions about royalties and money they can make when they sell a million hits, you interested now Nanako? Of course this is just a ploy and the adults very well know they will never reach a million. This is just to let them have a sense of responsibility and can’t slack off even though this is volunteerism. Even the song they write is just enough for some pocket money. More stress on Nanako when she finds out the others are waiting for her to finish the lyrics so they can do the necessary as they don’t want to impose their own vision. Mirai suggests writing on Nagarekawa Girls instead of the town. When she thinks about all the things they have done, it starts to get easy. Yup. She wrote the lyrics in 10 minutes! Uhm… Quite frank on the activities they did. A thousand yen per hour job? Showing this to her friends, they think she is some kind of masochist. They feel she hasn’t described her feelings. Nanako seeks Yukari’s company (music to her ears – like a date, eh?). They spend time talking so Nanako could have motivation to write the lyrics. Even better news is that Nanako stays for the night. Lyrics are done and Mirai props it up a little. As for practice, they use a clubroom for it but all their friends and teachers are watching with glee. Well, they’re locodols, right? Nanako’s friends are impressed. They’ve never seen her like this and start to believe she is taking this locodol thing seriously and working very hard at it. They show this to Saori who is also impressed. This has Nanako wonder who wrote Uogokoro’s theme. Her uncle. He was once in a rock band in his youth. His dream might have been shattered but not Nanako’s. Nanako has a request. She wants to perform this song for the Nagarekawa citizens first. Although not a big crowd show up, the girls still give their best.

Episode 11
Nagarekawa Girls will be running a tight schedule since they are going to participate in both the town’s summer festival as well as the locodol festival. There goes Nanako’s hopes of going sightseeing. On the train to Nagoya, Saori discusses with them about the locodol festival whereby audiences vote for their locodols and although no cash prize awaits, the winner earns some fame (read: more regular national TV screen time). Last year’s winner was Awa Awa Girls. Thanks to them, this year’s number of candidates quadrupled but thanks to Saori’s connections, she managed to squeeze them in. They check out the booth they’ll be manning and it seems they are right next to Awa Awa Girls. Glass Cute (all wearing glasses?), the idols who are selling across them introduce themselves. As the festival begins, it seems Awa Awa Girls and Glass Cute’s booths have a long queue since they are selling their locodol’s merchandise. Poor thing Nagarekawa Girls don’t have their own. Saori’s face hints that insufficient budget thingy. Damn, it’s a sin to be poor. Nanako feels down because the other booths are drawing the crowd and even if theirs did, it is mainly because of Uogokoro pulling them in. Yukari brings Nanako to the stage where the locodols will perform tomorrow. They meet Awa Awa Girls. As usual, Nanako stammers and asks weird questions although Awa Awa Girls are equally surprised to learn they work like public servants and are paid hourly. Each locodol is given some time on stage to promote their booth. Nanako is a natural in promoting their croquette specialty (at least she didn’t stammer her name this time). Thanks to her convincing display, their booth is streaming with customers who want to get a taste of it. Mirai even helps out by using her voice to bring in the customers. At the end of the day, their booth is a sell-out. Of course the rest too sold out their stuffs. Awa Awa Girls who have been observing Nagarekawa Girls in action all day feels something. Despite their booth doing well, it was their merchandise that was sold out instead of local specialties. They feel they got their priorities wrong. Learnt something? The girls return to their hotel room for a much deserved rest for tomorrow’s locodol performance. Nanako is nervous that she can’t sleep so Yukari cheekily suggests sleeping with her. Shockingly, Nanako takes up her offer and falls asleep like a baby. Now Yukari can’t sleep! Is this a dream?

Episode 12
Nanako is relishing the good food after all the hard practice. However it is back to worrying when she realizes they still have to do the closing act. Yeah, luck has it they are the last one. Even more nervous when Noda and co are here to support her. Of course they praise their great routine and everything. Not only Nanako is nervous but Saori too? Seems they’ll be running on a tight schedule and she is predicting and preparing for the worst case scenario. To ease Nanako’s nerves, Yukari hugs her and says she doesn’t have to worry about the closing act or being the best. Let’s just give our best. Of course Yukari is also nervous so does 2 nervous girls make a calm one? Awa Awa Girls want to go greet Nagarekawa Girls before their act but they overhear something from Saori. When Yukari and Nanako return, Saori has bad news and good news. Which do you want to hear first? The bad news is that with their tight schedule, they won’t make it back for their summer festival. They have to go back now or forfeit this one. But since they are adamant in performing both, this is just a little test Nanako’s uncle put them up. He wanted to hear their feelings on this and since they made it clear, he tells them to go ahead with their performance and he will do something about the summer festival. Now for the good news: Nagarekawa Girls have new outfits! Saori made them herself. Nothing to do with the budget whatsoever. It is her gift for all their hard work. When Nagarekawa Girls take to the stage, they thank their fans for their support and start singing the full length of their theme song. The winner of this festival is announced: Awa Awa Girls! Why am I not surprised? Before they start anything, they tell Nagarekawa Girls to leave first. Not because they lost, they understand they have a summer festival going on so it would be a shame for them to let them stay on. Besides, isn’t this what a locodol should be doing? Everyone gives their approval for them to leave. Awa Awa Girls hope they could do more local events. So literally the girls really rush back. It’s one tiring affair. It is late at night by the time they reach home. The local sweets store uncle picks them up and it seems the festival is not over yet. They’re waiting for them because the festival won’t be over without them. But who was entertaining them all the while? Nanako’s uncle in his Elvis getup? I can see why they really want Nagarekawa Girls. Haha! As they sing on stage, Saori and Nanako’s uncle discuss the most important talent that these locodols have: The ability to be loved.

Episode 13
It is the summer holidays and Nanako is surprised to find Yukari in her house. Mother let her in to take care of her while she is away at work. They hang out by the river and see Yui and Mirai doing some water training for their feet. Uogokoro’s suit is being sent for maintenance. Nanako gets a call from Awa Awa Girls. They are in the midst of their national tour so they thought it would be nice to drop by and see Nagarekawa Girls’ hometown. Nanako tries to give a tour of the place but she fails badly. I mean, lots of greeneries, lots of water and big huge sky… So vague… They are taken to Yodel Hall and the tonkatsu shop loved by locals. Are you trying to fatten them up? How are you going to burn all that fat away? Now that they want to go to an amusement park, Yukari knows the perfect place for the summer. But isn’t this the public pool? Yeah, the amusement spot for locals. Saori heard they were coming and prepared swimsuits for them, including Awa Awa Girls. But the swimsuits feel more like cosplay. Is Saori into cosplay? She won’t say. Can’t say… I’m not sure about this ball game contest they’re playing. They have to mention the best features of their town while keeping the ball in the air. Awa Awa Girls could keep on going until Saori had to stop them and change the topic of best features of their group. Again the same thing and more so, it is giving moral damage to our Nagarekawa Girls. But they won’t give up and take the challenge. But how come the best features of their group are all Nanako’s embarrassing things?! It ends when the children come to join them. Nagarekawa Girls see them off at the train station. Several old couples spot them and Awa Awa Girls thought their identity has been busted. But the old people are here to thank Nagarekawa Girls for their splendid performance during the summer festival. This has Awa Awa Girls think of the need to do local events next time. Back at the city hall, Uogokoro’s suit is cleaned and returned. The girls thank the guy and he feels great of helping Saori put up some of her announcement posters at his workplace. Because Nanako surprises us all of wanting to do more locodol jobs, Saori already has the next plan in motion. A concert tour accompanying the Nagarekawa product exhibition. It’s only a day trip so they don’t have to worry about the budget. Not another tight schedule. Hey, they asked for it, right? Nanako realizes that there are lots of people supporting them than she imagined. That’s why she wants to do anything she can in return for them. But she seems to have forgotten something. Her homework! Yukari stays positive because they have some time before the opening ceremony. Hurry!

They Really Tried Being Entertaining And Funny
Oh… And so it is like that. Unfortunately for me, despite this series feeling just more like those ubiquitous cute girls doing cute things. I know what Nagarekawa Girls are doing are for the benefit of their little community but since I am not from there, I don’t really find the stuffs they are doing to be attractive enough and thus this series is a little bore to me. Therefore it is safe to say that I won’t be a fan of them any time. Haha. Seriously. I know that there is supposed to be some sort of appeal when you use cute girls to promote events and stuffs but sadly this one just didn’t get through my heart. So that is why perhaps it is best for them to just stay being locodols to cater for their locals because only they know what the locals want and love. If they’re lucky, they’ll get a few outsiders to come visit the town. And like you have guessed it, no, I won’t be visiting the town either. Not because they suck in promoting it but rather I’m not the kind of a travelling person.

Therefore the characters feel a little bland and unexciting despite I believe they try to give them some personalities (maybe it is because of the idea that they are locodols, there is a need to be flashy and showy?). Because I feel that this series is mainly funny (if you can call it that) is because of Nanako’s accidental antics. From her pessimism to her stuttering, I guess to some they may find it funny. Indeed it was but after a while, it gets a bit old. So much so that you would just automatically laugh whenever she does this. It is like as though it is ingrained into us after a while. Or maybe you would just stop laughing altogether and note, “Oh boy, there she goes again…”. It’s only cute if you are really a fan of her…

Therefore, Nanako I suppose is the most amusing and funniest girl. Too call her naturally funny would be misleading either. Firstly, she is a bundle of nerves and no doubt that she is new to this locodol business, when she learns the reality of things, she cannot help to start worry and fret over it. She panics easily and jumps to conclusions. That’s why she looks funny in this state, no? Because of this, you can say that she is the most level headed among the girls in the group. This means she is practical, right? But her mood pace swings so much and she can be feeling ecstatic in one second and then suddenly plunging into anxiety over the next. She is going to lose a lot of hair by the time she becomes an adult. Then there is this running joke of how she usually stammers her name on stage thanks to her nervousness. I guess we will forever know her as Nanyako. Nyan~.

Yukari is a complete opposite of Nanako as she is calmer and level headed although at times can be clumsy. There are hints that Yukari is yuri and Nanako may just be her type, the way she fawns over her and knows a lot about her. The anime mostly revolves around the interaction between them and of course with the other characters and town people. We see them gradually learn about themselves and despite each have their own strengths and weaknesses, they stand strong and move forward because they complement each other. That is why they are a unit. Also not forgetting Yui who may be small in size but big and strong in character and determination. There is also the very shy Mirai who isn’t as bad as an unsociable person as she started out but still she is too quiet that I feel she doesn’t really make an overall impact.

But even if I don’t feel much in the character development area, at least there is something different about these girls that makes them different than other idol themed series. They are not based on stereotypical views on how Japanese idols are. You know all those cutesy and flashy act they put on stage and when they meet fans all that sort? Doesn’t it just feel so fake and artificial? Yeah well, it goes to show you here that the local girls are being themselves and that is probably why they click so well with the townspeople. They aren’t doing it for the money or fame but just for the love of their town. No doubt that Nanako is still being practical about the wage they get for the jobs, but at least she isn’t thinking about million dollar contracts and expensive appearance fees. This would lead to inflated ego and when you get money in the way of your thinking, there is a high chance you won’t be putting genuine love in your job.

Then there are no b*tchy rivalries you see in reality TV or in-fighting among themselves like you see today. Even among the locodols, they are friendly with each other (not just because they are on TV whatsoever). Therefore in this segment of not stereotyping the locodols as mini divas, I guess this is where this show stands out. Sometimes being plain without all the flashy distraction wins. Not to say that idol shows like Love Live, AKB0048, The Idolmaster and even that gloomy harsh reality of Wake Up, Girls! are stereotypes of such idols (in a way they are), but there are too many flashy elements that it makes you think that there is such a high level of aptitude to such high level performances. It all boils down to how much you want to entertain your fans.

There is no doubt that Saori is a big secret admirer of Nagarekawa Girls but over time I noticed that her ‘stalking’ tendencies tone down as she handles the girls more responsibly. Because I used to notice how she never misses a chance to snap pictures of the girls at every moment. Her finger is so fast snapping away that she could beat the texting king. She seems to have mysterious connections to just about anything to get things ready but at the pace of where this anime is going, I don’t think we will be concerning ourselves with it. And then there is Nanako’s uncle who is trying to revive the town but keeping it within a budget. It is sometimes hard being a civil servant.

Art and drawing style feels simple and nothing special although the characters lean towards this cute and simple looks. If you’re going to do a locodol show with cute girls on stage, might as well make them look cute. The uniform of the locodols also feel pretty decent and nothing really extravagant like you would expect to see famous idols wear. Practicality is the key here. Because like Nagarekawa Girls’ plain white t-shirt uniform, it might look boring but for the kind of outdoor work they do, it is very much practical. Feel is the studio that produced this anime and they have produced a handful of animes with cute character designs like Da Capo (first and second season), Kanamemo, Jinsei, KissxSis, Papa No Iukoto Wa Kikinasai, Nagasarete Airantou, Minami-ke (third and fourth season), Outbreak Company and Fortune Arterial.

Uogokoro’s design may feel uninspiring and nothing really special but what is most important is the love and important lessons he brings. And since the mascot is a hit with the kids, I guess it doesn’t really matter. Besides, it does look cartoonish enough to get kids to happily crowd around it. If you can’t get enough of Uogokoro’s limited appearance, be happy to know that the next episode preview just shows Uogokoro walking and sometimes rolling while doing his trademark back flips. Although this is very much a repeated, recycle and repetitive scene.

Voice acting feels rather okay. No big names for this one. Miku Itou voices Nanako (Sahono in Mangaka-san To Assistant-san To) while Sachika Misawa helms Yukari (Minami in Tokyo ESP). The rest of the other casts include Naya Yoshioka as Yui (Taeko in Girls Und Panzer), Inori Minase as Mirai (Suzu in Love Lab), Asami Shimoda as Saori (Rin in Infinite Stratos) and Shiori Izawa as Noda (Tanpopo in Witch Craft Works). The opening and ending themes are sung by Nagarekawa Girls (but of course). Mirai Fanfare is the opener while Mirai Shoujotachi serves as the ending (when Yui and Mirai officially join the group, their voices will be added to the song). Personally, both these anime rock pop just sounds okay to me. Oddly I prefer much Nagarekawa Girls theme song despite sounding like a generic lively anime pop for girls group. Uogokoro’s theme song isn’t that bad either. There are other songs from this series too but I don’t find them appealing (like Nagarekawa’s local theme song because it felt like some national anthem with local flavour).

With locodols having such a big fan base themselves, why are they not reaching international stardom yet? Have not any talent scouts find them yet? Even though Awa Awa Girls are more famous, I am guessing they haven’t reached an international level yet and are just more famous in more provinces judging by the fact that they lament they should have done more activities for their own town. More mind boggling, do the fans actually prefer to choose them over more famous idol units? Okay, everyone has got more than one favourite idols so it is not fair to label them as locodol lovers. Maybe on another time, they would follow bigger ones but at a local level, they follow locodols. Of course as hinted in the series that it isn’t the fact that they want to limit themselves being locodols, if they start doing those international or national level idol stuffs, it would defeat the meaning of them being locodols. Entertaining the local principality is the most important job and meaning for locodols, right? Therefore sometimes I feel that they might be caught in between of wanting to reach greater heights but also to give back to their local community. I know they can always move on and let newer ones take place but in the event if they don’t, does it mean that they will forever be stuck as being a ‘village champion’?

Overall, even though I consider my stint in watching this series to be a bore, it isn’t entirely a bad show. It’s just a simple show with nothing complicated (no villain of the series too). As goodwill for what I said, if there is another season, I would still watch it (maybe to catch Nanako’s cute stuttering). If you are tired with all those flashy idol stuffs, this series is a good ‘detoxification’ to perhaps change your expectations on your favourite idols. Because idols just like all of us are still humans. Perhaps it is our fault for expecting a lot from them and thus the pushing of limits to bring ultimate entertainment. If that is what you can call these days. So sometimes the thing is you don’t have to have super big dreams to make it. Being a local idol may sound like a small dream but hey, when you give it your all and the local people love you, that itself is already achieving the biggest dream ever. I mean, how big to you want to get? And if so, can you handle it? So if you want to believe in the power of idols, this one is one where you can truly believe in and pour in your support. What will idols be without their fans anyway?

I’m wondering why it took so long to come out but I think there is no other better way than to remind us of an upcoming sequel by releasing an OVA weeks before it. Yes, people. And so you might have heard it a long time ago that with High School DxD getting a third season, we get High School DxD New OVA (which is also the 13th episode of the second season) as a big bonus to welcome the new season (which is in the midst of running by the time of this blog). Ah yes. Delicious fanservice. Delicious boobs. I know this is one of the few ecchi animes that has a good storyline despite the ecchi theme but I am sure they are the reason why we come back for more. That is why we get a third season… :).

I’m Enveloped In Boobs!
Right off the bat, Asia is being attacked by a perverted monster stealing her undies. And those are her favourite. Our usual heroes come to her rescue but the obligatory tentacle rape scene is a must for the girls. Before Issei could do anything (because that pervert is enjoy watching it all), Irina cuts them down and destroys the monster. As she explains, she is investigating the person controlling the monster. The church believes the Legendary Sage is behind this and wants him arrested. Rias is baffled that someone of such status is being pursued by the church. Isn’t this case is just like catching a panty thief? The gang head deep into a building where this Sage is believed to be. They see him collecting a range of lingerie and picks out those with the finest quality! They confront him and he isn’t worried. He even got the cheek to ask them to donate their lingerie for his experiment. Then he starts narrating his story how he was a man of God and served the Lord, blah, blah, blah. Then one day he accidentally touched the boobs of a nun and that is when his life started to change. He became distraught something so beautiful was forbidden but some angel who called himself the Ero God gave his blessings that it is alright for him to steal female lingerie. And so that is when he began his experimenting. Issei is touched with his story and understands. He reveals his great ability to rip girls’ clothes with just a mere touch. But Sage calls it pathetic. He demonstrates he can rip it apart without touching and even see through clothes with his x-ray vision. Issei is defeated and feels there is much to learn! Azazel drops in and won’t let them disrupt Sage’s experiment. Because this guy is the closest in creating the Philosopher’s Stone, he wants to observe until the end.

After aligning all the lingerie, he starts chanting and with the ‘boost aid’ of a porn magazine, he tries to merge with the lingerie. Yeah, no wonder the church wants him arrested. It is embarrassing to have a man of God doing this. However the process falls apart and Sage notes he needs more boost. How about the girls show him their panties? How about using his x-ray vision? He can’t as he is in intense concentration. Issei pleads for the girls to show him! Koneko shows Gasper’s and Sage becomes shocked seeing the trap. The process goes out of control and he turns into a giant bundle of lingerie. He’s got the power to rip their clothes and make their bras like magnet. This means the chicks are drawn to each other and start rubbing each other’s bodies. Sexy fanservice! Yuuto and Gasper could have done something had not lingerie cover their eyes. Issei is busy enjoying this scene. Irina tries to cut him down but got her clothes ripped. She is not wearing any underwear beneath because Sage previously stole hers. He notes her lingerie was the finest and was used as the base of his magic. Irina won’t forgive this humiliation (the reason whys she volunteered on this mission). Sage uses the bra as handcuffs so Rias tells Issei to do something instead of staring. I don’t he is giving much effort in thinking to solve this. Rias suggests showing male underwear as Sage doesn’t like it. Issei unzips himself but Sage won’t let him and has all the girls glomp him in their breasts. This is what heaven must feels like.

Sage soon gets jealous that Issei is the one getting his face drowned in so many boobs instead of him. Issei then stands back up to tell him if this is just what he wants? To become lingerie? Because what is more important lies beneath it. Yeah, he is waxing lyrical about boobs and all the goodness about it. Somebody arrest this nut too. Sage feels he has been wrong all the time. So now his eyes are opened? Azazel feels disappointed that this has got nothing to do with the Philosopher’s Stone and hints to Issei to end this. Before him are lingerie and the girls trapped in it are as good as wearing them. It’s time to use his special skill. With a single punch, he frees the ladies as well as Sage. He is arrested and has final words for Issei. He doesn’t want him to deviate from his chosen path and will someday conquer that path himself. Wanting Issei to inherit his legacy, he gives him his lingerie collection. Shouldn’t those be given back to their rightful owners? Rias lets him keep them temporarily as reward for working hard. She phrases it as a huge inconvenience returning them and needs a volunteer to handle them. Seriously?! Lingerie party!

Boobs All Around!
Fanservice doesn’t disappoint… Lingerie don’t disappoint… Boobs don’t disappoint… Tits don’t disappoint… Character development and storyline progression… Don’t care! As long as they got those holy trinity covered, everything is fine in this OVA! Haha! It is already indecent so might as well go all the way. That should sum it up for this OVA. So are you ready now for the third season now that this little OVA has whetted your appetite? I’m sure those who are looking forward to would. Fan of this series would welcome this OVA a lot, ecchi haters should stay clear from it and for beginners, it is much advised to start right at the top (from the first season to its OVA and specials). If you are going to be ‘corrupted’ by the show’s fanservice, might as well do it properly instead of being half-assed. Don’t worry, you can still go to heaven even if you harbour dirty thoughts ;p. Despite how this OVA is telling us that it is okay to do this to boobs and underwear, as long those fantasies are confined in your head, it is just fine. Because remember people, stealing lingerie is still a crime no matter what the excuse!

Glasslip

May 10, 2015

What if somebody tells you that he could tell the future? What if you yourself have strange visions of the future? What would you do? I don’t know. Personally I never had such experience and even if I did imagine it myself, I never gave it too much of a serious thought. After all, it’s never going to happen, right? Okay, let’s not stray too far. The mysteries of seeing the future isn’t the main focus of Glasslip. Despite this original anime TV series having such a theme for its setting, a boy claiming to hear voices from the future and thus led him to meet this girl of a sleepy seaside town who also have this uncanny capability of seeing visions of the future under certain circumstances. This mystery surrounding it sounds intriguing enough to watch even though I know it is going to be some romance drama and that line of ‘their final summer together filled with hope and heartache’. Oh boy. I hope I don’t need a packet of Kleenex by the time this anime ends.

Episode 1: Fireworks
A sleepy seaside town. A group of friends attending the night’s fireworks festival. A vow to stay friends forever even after they graduate. Touko Fukami is the daughter of a glass artisan and she herself has the skills to make them. One day at school as she is trying to sketch chickens in the yard (if they would only stay still – heck, she has names for them! Jonathan?!), she catches a glimpse of a new transfer student, Kakeru Okikura. His standing posture reminds her so much like that David statue and thus her penchant for calling him that name. He mentions that he saw her at the festival. She remains cautious and changes the subject to the chickens she is trying to sketch. They roam freely around so she feels bad if she puts them in a coup just to sketch them. Kakeru might sound like a jerk asking about the other things that might pose a danger to the chickens. Touko ran out of answers I guess so she chases the chickens to make the run away? Huh? She’s trying to protect the chickens from him? And so it is decided, she will not leave the chickens at school and calls her friends to come adopt them. Just great. So it is no wonder that Yanagi Takayama is not thrilled to have a bird in her room. But what can Yukinari Imi do? He is already embracing it. Literally. Yanagi thinks this is Touko’s doing and asks a direct question if Touko tells him to die, would he do it? He believes she won’t say that. Touko has a chicken in her room and this brings her parents to remember about their first date. Don’t ask. I don’t want to know either. When all the friends meet up at the Kazemichi café, they discuss to do something and can’t let the festival end just like that. A place where Sachi Nagamiya would want to go. Last year they went hiking so they might do it again. When Touko is talking about Kakeru, here comes that devil into the café. Some are surprised. Some straightaway don’t like him. He tells Touko that he saw the same thing she did that day.

Episode 2: Beach
Since it is getting a little hostile, Kakeru will meet Touko tomorrow at the observation platform. Hiro Shirosaki is wondering how girls feel when his sister Momo takes the liberty to tell him. Not that he has all that qualities anyway. Sachi accompanies Touko when she goes meet Kakeru. She is still suspicious of him. Kakeru gets straight to the point. He knows Touko can see visions of the future under certain circumstances. He can help sort this out for her. Touko wants to privately speak to him. As Sachi leaves, she mentions their group has a no-dating policy. Kakeru believes it will not last. Kakeru says he too can have future visions. However he only hears voices. He heard hers. But that day at the festival near her, for the first time he saw fragments of the future in addition to voices. Touko reveals that anything sparkles like glass triggers her visions. She has another one but this time it is very clear. So it seems when they are together, they can see and hear the future clearer. He gives her his house phone to call just in case. Hiro is trying to write a letter of confession. It must be a habit for Momo never to knock on his door and give him a surprise. Caught you there. She knows that girl she likes. The one at the hospital. When Kakeru is out for an evening jog, Yukinari is running the same path. They just introduce each other before Yukinari zooms ahead. But why does he look so worked up? Yanagi can tell. She calls Touko that night and plans to confess to Yukinari her feelings. Touko is happy and will support her but Yanagi knows he already likes someone else. Yanagi isn’t confident. If it doesn’t work out, she can’t be with them anymore. The friends minus Yanagi meet up at Kazemichi. Before the hiking agenda, Touko announces to lift the ban on relationships. Hiro is surprised there was such a rule. Later when Yanagi arrives and learns of the ban lifting from Hiro, she quickly rushes out. Hiding nearby, she sees Yukinari confessing to Touko. That surprised you? What would you do if you were in her shoes? Thank him? Ride away? At least for Touko. You feeling lousy, Yukinari? Yanagi plays it cool and picks him up to go home. Back home, Touko calls Kakeru. She really wants to see the future.

Episode 3: Plastic Container
Touko waits at the glass studio. Too many things on her mind that she can’t concentrate in her glass moulding. Talking her worries about going to make Yanagi cry, he thinks maybe this is why her triggers end up being glasses. Touka’s cheeky little sister, Hina comes to introduce herself. Touko hopes she could keep this a secret from their parents. That smirk… Touko wants to know how Yanagi and Yukinari are doing in the future. Kakeru could guess she has already been confessed to. No, he didn’t have any visions. It was so obvious. Probably only she doesn’t realize it. She invites him to go hiking tomorrow but he declines. The friends pack their belongings into Momo’s car. Sachi is given a lift while the rest begin their hike. Something tells us Momo’s driving is going to be hell… Okay, not enough to give anybody a heart attack but you can see her frequent sudden braking at every corner as a sign. Oh sh*t. At the top of the hill as they being their setup, Touko and Yanagi go to the creek to get water. Thanks to Touko’s sudden vision, she loses her balance and they get wet. So as they wait to get their clothes to dry, the inevitable question about Yukinari. Is Touko going to date him? Absolutely not. This gives some hope to Yanagi who hasn’t given up yet. Yukinari is probably wondering if the girls are lost so he makes his way to the creek only to see the girls in their undies. Get this. He is the first one to scream! Like a girl! WTF?! Hiro is trying to read some poem to Sachi but he is so nervous. Only to be interrupted when the rest returns. After when they pack up, Hiro is going to confess. He loves her… Her name. Dang. Meanwhile Touko talks to Yukinari. She tells him they can’t date because he is a good friend of hers. His reaction? “Oh…”. Then he just walks off. I guess he is trying to take in the impact the best he can. When the hike downhill begins, Touko sees a vision of Sachi in hospital and wonders if she’ll be alright. Later she SMS her and it seems she is. Touko talks to Hina about a best friend’s confession. What would she do? Does she like them or not? Because that is about all to it. She wonders if she went hiking with Kakeru and this makes her deny greatly.

Episode 4: Hill
Touko gets a call from Sachi and it’s not exactly about her hospitalization. Yanagi sprained her ankle and received outpatient treatment. Yukinari was there to pick her up but he won’t carry her as he cheekily comments she might be heavy! Meanwhile Hiro visits Sachi. And they spend their time together reading their respective books… Oh well. Better than iPhones, right? Since an opportunity came up, he asks her if she is free on the day after tomorrow as there is a new movie out. Of course. Score! Touko and Yanagi meet and they talk about Yukinari’s confession. Yanagi says she wasn’t going to confess to him but Touko thinks she was just nervous and indecisive then. When Touko is sketching the chickens, she thought Kakeru came by but it’s Yukinari. A little awkward between them. When Touko puts away her stuffs in the storeroom, Yukinari asks if she likes Kakeru. Because earlier on she mistook him for that guy. It was like she was expecting him. And just like the last time, he walks away. Kakeru finishes his personal hiking when it rains. He lends Yanagi his coat as they wait for the rain to stop. They talk about the meaning behind their names. Once the rain stops, Yanagi loses her balance and Kakeru catches her. What does this scene look like? Especially when Touko is the one who sees it? She looks really worried. Even more surprising when she heard that Hiro isn’t at Kazemichi because he is on a date. Yeah. That guy is sleeping throughout some foreign movie while Sachi’s eyes are just glued.

Episode 5: Hinode Bridge
Touko sees Kakeru smiling in one of her visions. As Touko continues to ponder with whom Hiro is on a date, she suspects Sachi and goes to visit her. Hiro sneaks out of the room in time. When Touko talks to Sachi about this, she didn’t hesitate to say that Hiro was with her although they were just reading a book. When Hiro returns home, big sister teases him about dating that girl because she knows too well her brother reading a complicated book. It surely didn’t belong to him. Yanagi finds Kakeru and talks to him. About Yukinari’s leg injury and the reason he isn’t doing well in the track and also about seeing the future. On second thought, she wouldn’t want that. Touko calls Kakeru and has been thinking what he told her the other night and wants to meet up. Then she realized the person who picked up the call is his father. Whoops. Once Kakeru returns the call, he agrees to meet and his father would like to make up to her and cook for her. After Kakeru explains that ‘hugging’ incident with Yanagi, he tells her that Yanagi is going to confess to Yukinari today. He didn’t hear any visions. She told him herself. She also wanted him to tell Touko about it. After the meal, Kakeru shows Touko a nice spot nearby he found during trekking. They lie down on the grass and Touko is just awed with the experience. She realizes she is too close to him and flusters before getting up and leave. Yanagi waits for Yukinari at the bridge and chances upon him during one of his usual jogs. She confesses she likes him and also knows he likes Touko and confessed to her. As they are like family, it will be difficult for them to live in the same house if he rejects her. She would be happy if he gives up Touko but also hate him for it (make up your mind!). She doesn’t know what the future holds but this spot is where she is going to move on.

Episode 6: Punch
Kakeru could hear voices of Touko. Touko’s mother talks to her about love since she is already that age (and she’s spacing out quite a lot too). So when she sees a vision of someone kissing (though it is unclear who), she freaks out. Her family is alerted although she brushes it off as a bug. Kakeru calls her to meet up but she hangs up on him in her panic. She thought he called again and apologizes but it is Hiro wanting to meet up. He tells her about the meeting with Sachi. Touko could guess it was it. Then Yanagi comes in and tells her about her confession to Yukinari. The friends plan to have their own fireworks for Sachi since she missed it the last time. Somehow it turned into one whereby if Kakeru should be invited and Yukinari volunteers to be the one to go ask him. When he goes do that, Kakeru can tell he is reluctant to do it but in a position where he had to. In that case, he won’t him. It descends into a talk about Touko but when Kakeru mentions about Yanagi’s confession to him, Yukinari punches him and leaves. Touko meets up with Kakeru and could see the horrible blister. They return to his mom but his pianist mom is back so he takes Touko to their secret spot. He asks about that favour she wanted so she tells about the vision of Sachi admitted to hospital. She gets a call from Yukinari wanting to meet and she knows it is about that punch. Kakeru wants to settle this and meet at the school yard. Touko calls Yanagi for help as she fears it might not go well. The guys confront each other. Kakeru suggests settling this via a race since he will take this seriously. If Yukinari wins, Kakeru will never see Touko again. Otherwise Touko is his. Since he has Yanagi, he won’t hold it against him if he loses on purposes. Yanagi doesn’t like this and slaps Kakeru’s face! Now a slap? She brings Yukinari away. Kakeru talks to Touko and thought she would stand by him. He wonders what the fragments of the future mean to her. He called them so as he believes they are pieces of oneself. Pieces he needs to make his incomplete self whole. What he wants isn’t something random but more solid and real. All he can hear now is her voice. Gee, funny because all she could see is him too. Since the fireworks are postponed, Hiro and Sachi have their own little fireworks party. This is better, right?

Episode 7: Bicycle
What’s this? Kakeru talking to his… Clones? His imaginary friends? Sachi is admitted to hospital today for her regular check-up. Surprisingly, she introduces Hiro to her mother as her boyfriend! Since when…?! When Hiro leaves, he sees Momo leaving a room in tears. As Touko meets Kakeru to talk more about them, she suddenly sees a vision of him falling. She becomes scared and doesn’t want him to go to any high places. She wants him to meet at the beach tomorrow. Hina wonders why her swimming club girls are keeping watch outside the window. Seems they expect Yukinari to run by this area at this time. He doesn’t disappoint. Oh God. See the way they squeal over him? Yeah. They totally love this ‘prince’. So the next day when he seems not to be doing well in his run, they get worried. This makes Hina to purposely go catch up to him and plead not to stop being cool! WTF?! Touko visits Sachi and updates her about that slapping incident. Later Sachi calls Hiro that she will be discharged tomorrow and that they can plan for their friends to gather and watch the fireworks. Unfortunately her check-up needs to be extended and so their plans are derailed. As Hiro is going to call the rest about the cancellation, Sachi reveals she doesn’t like Kakeru because if he is around, they fall apart. Plus, she knows Touko will be with Kakeru at the beach. Hiro realizes she tried to get them together to crash their date. Hiro also gets the hint probably why she calls him her boyfriend. He feels sad and leaves. Sad enough that he doesn’t mind having Momo drive him home! Next day, Kakeru and Touko meet at the beach. As Touko goes to buy drinks, Yanagi comes by. She blames him that Yukinari is no longer cool. WTF. Guess what? Touko heard that. And suddenly she has this horrible vision that sends her screaming and shivering in fear. This looks serious.

Episode 8: Snow
She is taken to the shade where Touko regains composure. Yanagi visits Sachi and could tell something has happened between Hiro but she won’t pry. She thought of asking her about Touko and Kakeru like there is something weird between them as they are somehow together now but Sachi doesn’t know much. Hiro is still reeling from that disappointment that he doesn’t even want to go visit Sachi. Even Momo can tell something did happen. Since Yukinari is away at his track summer training camp, those swimming girls are worried he didn’t show up. So they were staring at the window instead of swimming this whole time? And when they thought he finally passed, it turns out to be Yanagi. Who the hell is this chick? Is she trying to become him? Touko meets Kakeru again and feels they need to keep their distance as she feels afraid. Kakeru also feels hesitant to come close to her. When Touko mentions about that storeroom incident with Yukinari, Kakeru thinks they can see fragments of the future if they go there again. There, Touko suddenly sees snow falling and then Kakeru grabs her hand and kisses her! This is just a vision. She gets scared and runs away. But even more afraid when Kakeru grabs her hand to ask what is wrong. Fearing the same would happen, she runs away only to see outside covered with snow. Sachi tries to call Hiro but is out of range (he has gone solo hiking). She texts to him that she is already discharged. But that guy reads and ignores it.

Episode 9: Moon
Everybody is spacing out and doing their own thing. Sachi SMS to Hiro about a book to bring tomorrow. He doesn’t know what it is till Momo points out it is one of Souseki Natsume’s works. Kakeru tries to hear those fragments but nothing. Yanagi continues replacing Yukinari’s run so Hina goes to talk to her. Back in her room, Hina feels her sister is acting weird. Yanagi thinks she is in love. Hina hopes it is not one-sided. Yanagi lets Hina try some of her clothes and if she likes them, she can have it. The giveaway is because Yanagi plans to become a new person. That night Kakeru comes to see Touko and wants to go to the storeroom again to see a clearer picture. That hard up to know, huh? Well, Touko is scared because all she saw was snow. She doesn’t want to go. He lets her know that ever since then, he has never heard a fragment. Yanagi has been updating Yukinari about the weather and her activities. He gives a courtesy call and he feels better calling her (because it’s raining over there and his knee is giving him problems). Sachi also invites Touko to come along with Hiro. They head to the observation platform and they stick around till closing time. Seems Sachi wants to see the moon. This has Touko mention that she knows nothing. About the future, the town and her friends. Sachi mentions this is her special spot and is happy to have come here with both of them. Hiro didn’t understand what is happening and when he does (he thinks), he believes this moon thingy is some sort of confession. He did a little research on Souseki Natsume’s work and how he uses the moon in his romance. Touko notes the moon is beautiful and Sachi replies this is what she wanted to tell her. Touko looking shocked. Could it be?

Episode 10: Jonathan
What Sachi wanted to say is that she loves both of them. I wonder if it’s the romantic kind. But it makes her feel happy. Kakeru goes to see Hiro to ask for Sachi’s address. At first he won’t give it to her but sees no reason not to do so. Hiro asks Sachi about the sparkly things they were talking and if Touko wants to be looked after. But they know Kakeru isn’t giving Touko the care she deserves. Yukinari is back and spots Yanagi running along his usual route. When she returns, she is happy to see him waiting for her. Touko goes to see Kakeru but he is not home but instead invited to tea by his mom in which father shortly joined in. They mention they never stay in a place too long and Kakeru never had problems making friends when young. But during festivals, when friends became excited about it and forgot about him, Kakeru called it ‘a sudden but foreseeable loneliness’. Momo’s boyfriend will be discharged soon and she plans to bring him to Kazemichi because he misses the coffee while being hospitalized. As Touko walks along, it suddenly starts snowing. Though this is only her vision, she tries not to be scared since this is the town she loves. At school, she notices a chicken missing! Jonathan in particular. Man, she really knows her chickens. The chicken coop is open. She tries to find it and spots Jonathan heading inside the school to the storeroom. That’s where she finds Kakeru. He thought he might be able to figure why he stopped hearing the fragments by coming here. As for Touko, she wanted to know about his loneliness. Touko mentions that it has been snowing heavily outside and believes it is not a fragment she is seeing. She finally mentions about him kissing her and it is not the first time she saw that. She wonders if that is really the future she is seeing or if something is happening to her. Kakeru says that it cannot be denied that since she is seeing it snow outside, something is definitely going on. And once he does this, they can call her vision a fragment of the future for sure. Yeah. He kisses her.

Episode 11: Piano
So they’re reeling from that unexpected kiss. Touko wonders if he likes her. He thinks he is just fooling himself to ascertain himself. Kakeru suggests Touko come to listen to her mom play piano. He calls her to ask and she knows he’s been hanging out with Touko. She’s her mom. She knows even though they don’t spend much time together. She also suggests inviting her family to come. As Kakeru leaves, Touko wants to stay a bit longer. She calls Hina that she won’t be back till the wee hours of the morning so she misinterprets her sister is doing something daring. Well, fooling their parents is easy. It’s the part where she had to eat Touko’s dinner share as ‘proof’ Touko is home. That bloated feeling. Kakeru never left and is surprised to see Touko still sitting in the storeroom come night fall. Seems it has stopped snowing. They fall asleep there but manage to get back to their respective homes by morning. Kakeru’s clones seem to be telling him about the need to tell Touko something and just because he has her doesn’t mean he’ll be able to escape from his fate. Yukinari accompanies Yanagi to her dance lessons (attracting lots of other girls’ stare). Yanagi also continues her evening run with him. Hiro and Sachi hike up the hill. Seems they have reconciled. Sachi says she didn’t tell him something back at the observatory: Sorry. He nearly choked on his food. She is really sorry for using him then. Touko’s family arrives at Kakeru’s house. Touko takes Kakeru for a stroll to talk about the visions. She isn’t sure what they are anymore. Looking at their glass beads, she thinks they can test it this time. But Kakeru will be happy if nothing happens because he never imagined their families would come together. Isn’t this something to be happy about? Therefore he is a little scared of knowing. They then see and hear fireworks visions in the glass beads. On their way back, Kakeru reveals mom has asked him to accompany her on her piano world tour. He is starting to feel afraid of being with her and can’t take this sudden loneliness anymore. So is he going away soon? But they spent the entire yesterday together. Touko make it sound so ambiguous… Or is it just me? Everyone gathers to listen to Kakeru’s mom play the piano. Kakeru and Touko hold hands all the time. She thinks if that fireworks vision is real, this means he’ll be here next year with them. Touko sees it snowing again.

Episode 12: Fireworks (Again)
As Touko narrates, her dad wanted a glass studio away from the city and thus they left Tokyo and she transferred school. In this snowing seaside town (ironic, isn’t it?) as she leaves the train, she bumps into Kakeru who shows her around and points out tonight’s fireworks. He brings her to Kazemichi whereby he introduces her to the rest of his friends, Yanagi, Yukinari, Sachi and Hiro. Then he brings her to the observatory and asks about her future, if she is going to follow in her father’s footsteps. Touko and Kakeru’s family also both meet up and agree to see the fireworks together. Seriously, fireworks in the snow? That night when Touko bumps into Yanagi and Yukinari, she is surprised that they do not recognize her! Then there is Hiro and Sachi. It’s like they see past through her and never noticed her. Touko is close to tears when Kakeru finds her. She tells him about the friends not being able to see her. For that short moment, as if time stops. Touko realizes this is the world she has been seeing in her fragments. Up till now, this Kakeru is the one she imagines, sort of a projection of him in the real world. Those friends are also not real in that sense. Because they are almost transparent like a ghost, Kakeru thinks something happened because they didn’t meet up here after all (Hiro and Sachi are watching the fireworks from the latter’s home while Yukinari and Yanagi watching it from a bridge). Touko deduces her friends of this world cannot see her. It must mean she doesn’t have an unforgettable place to share with everyone. She notices Kakeru besides her gone. And all this turns out to be one big fragment or vision or illusion that Touko is seeing through the glass vase while Kakeru’s mother is playing the piano. I know I expected something of this sort but why can’t I help feel that disappointing feeling welling up within me?

Episode 13: Shooting Star
Once the song ends, Touko collapses. Once she regains conscious, Kakeru blames himself for putting her in danger for this experiment and that he brings trouble to others. But Touko wants to stay a bit longer and listen to mom’s piano once more. Play something more dramatic this time. Later Kakeru’s dad talks to him about his decision. Whatever he decides, they’ll support him to their fullest. Meanwhile Touko’s mom asks if she gets blinded by some bright light she’ll see something hazy. She too used to get such visions when she was young. At one point she thought they were glimpses of her future. However her actual future was filled with things she never dreamt of. Till today she doesn’t know what does visions are. The thing is, you have got to make the most of what you have today. Kakeru talks to Yanagi that it was his fault what happened to Touko at the beach and that fainting incident. He has hurt Touko and can’t imagine what she has seen. She mentions something about coming to realization that happened to Yukinari too. Even he doesn’t say a thing, she knows what is on his mind. Touko sees Kakeru at the special spot and tells him about the fragment of watching fireworks with winter. She watched it alone since everybody else didn’t recognize her. It was her sudden but foreseeable loneliness. Kakeru was there too enjoying himself. Those fragments of the future, what they are she doesn’t know and that isn’t important anymore. On that day of the fireworks, their meeting wasn’t a coincidence because both wanted to see each other. They think the bright lights of the fireworks at that moment made it possible. Kakeru feels he wasn’t able to do anything for her and just accomplished understanding a bit more about her. She has done more than enough. They are glad the other came to this town. As tonight’s shooting stars are supposed to be visible but blocked by the clouds, they are going to make their own version. They throw up the coloured glass beads. Next day, Yukinari talks to Touko sketching the chickens. He wonders why only one is named Jonathan but the rest named after philosophers. She doesn’t even know. But whatever the future holds for her, she hopes to handle it. Yukinari thinks she hasn’t changed. Or has she? Yukinari and Yanagi jog together and those swimming club fan girls must be disappointed seeing this scene. Sorry, he’s taken. Momo gladly waits for her boyfriend at Kazemichi. Then she teases Hiro who is in a good mood because Sachi is going back to school. She wants to celebrate this by driving him to school but he refuses because that will be the cause of his tardiness. Yanagi’s jogging has paid off as she is able to catch the train in time. Touko heads to school and she thinks she heard Kakeru’s voice.

Shattered Glass…
What the heck did I just see in those 13 episodes? What in the world is this series about? Generally I know what it is but when you get this kind of disappointing ending that didn’t go anywhere, you start thinking back what was this series really all about in the first place. Was it something about the fragments of the future Touko and Kakeru see and hear? Nope. We didn’t even know what it is even at the end and will never will be. We’ll never know what those horror visions Touko saw anyway either. Was this series about the romance? I don’t know. It felt slow and didn’t have any impact whatsoever. Because Touko and Kakeru are the main characters and we are expecting something to happen between them although we know chances are very slim to near impossible. More on this later. So in the end, I don’t really know what this anime is about or where it is going. And yeah. That kind of ending sucks. It really disappoints.

Therefore it felt like one long drama with nothing much ado. It is bad enough that I caught myself yawning or being distracted by other happenings outside my monitor and thus perhaps the reason why I do not understand and missed certain important notes but that isn’t the point. It was draggy enough not to retain my interest and there were a few trolling things in this series. Yes, there are a few things that I thought would be important or at least significantly affect something or someone in later parts of the story but sadly it didn’t. Take one example like Momo’s boyfriend. I know we don’t care about him. Heck, we don’t even see him making a facial decent appearance. There was one point Momo was crying running out from the hospital, indicating something bad must have happened. No, that wasn’t tears of joy from the way she was bawling. And then suddenly before you know it, he is okay and a good ending story for the couple we couldn’t care less. If Momo never had a boyfriend, it didn’t matter either. So don’t you think this was like a troll and a distraction? And those Kakeru clones? I supposed it is to signify his inner thoughts but the way they portray it feels like it really means something. Well it didn’t.

I must be paranoid enough to even think of this. There are certain random scenes throughout the series and in every episode whereby the edges of the screen are slightly faded. You know, the kind of effect that you see in dream sequences. As the series progresses, I started thinking that maybe those scenes are some sort of visions Touko is seeing in the future and not really happening now. Maybe they are some sort of flashes or something. Maybe they’re going to troll us who are observant enough to notice this and drop some big revelation bomb or something. I was waiting for that to happen and it never came. Imagine my disappointment. I know I was already disappointed with the overall series but this enhances the effect. Therefore those effects could just be the brightness of summer or whatever, you know, the animators wanted to save the colouring and hues due for some reason. Yeah. I think I’m getting paranoid.

Even not for the storyline or whatever the hell those fragments of the future are, then it is the romance part we place our hope on. Unfortunately this also fails. I don’t know what happened to the love triangle (if you can call that) between Touko, Kakeru and Yukinari. Because after the slapping incident and confessions from both sides, it seems it has toned down till you wonder if it’s really gone or anything of it left. Does Yukinari still have feelings for Touko or does his subtle actions towards Yanagi hint that he decided to settle for her? I wanted to say that Touko and Kakeru have feelings for each other and were just using the fragments of the future as excuses to see each other but now I am not too sure. I believe from that ending, Kakeru has decided to follow his mom and thus we won’t get Kakeru x Touko route ending. So the jealousy and face off tension between these kids were just temporary and in the end it all fizzles out. I mean it is a good thing in this context but bad for the development of the story. And therefore it is even more disappointing to think that the only kiss of the series between Kakeru and Touko wasn’t based on romantic aspects but rather an experiment to see if that vision would come true. Well it did if you do, right? Duh. Yeah. That vision itself felt like a poor excuse to just lead up to that kiss which in the end, doesn’t really matter. Normally innocent girls like Touko would be affected by the kiss. But after a while she seems rather okay and handling it well like as though it never happened.

Then there is Hiro and Sachi whose relationship seems to be blossoming despite the initial setback of her using him to break up Kakeru and Touko. When he was sulking, she realized she made a terrible mistake and could have lost something precious forever. Thank goodness Hiro is just a simple guy and they got back rather quick and easy. Can’t stay mad forever, can’t he? There are a handful of scenes showing them having a nice time being together while the rest were sorting out their feelings. Uh huh. It’s like they’re the happiest couple in the world not caring what else is going on. But that even feels mediocre and a side distraction to take our minds of the rest. I am not sure about Sachi being a bi because when she confessed at that time to Hiro and Touko, was it really that kind of love? If it was the friendship kind, shouldn’t she have done the same for Yukinari and Yanagi too? And if she was really lesbian, did she turn straight after feeling bad for deceiving Hiro? I don’t know anymore. And what the heck was that no dating policy that was said in the group earlier on? Yeah. Just like Hiro, I didn’t know it had one. Was it just a ploy to keep Kakeru at bay? And when it was lifted, it’s like they started going on a short confession spree or something. I am not sure if this is a running joke because whenever Touko’s dad starts to rant about his good ol’ romance days with mommy, it starts to sound cheesy and his daughters aren’t really interested or paying attention to his nostalgia.

The characters feel weak because like I said, you don’t really know where the show is going and you’re still lost at the end. I suppose Kakeru has his own problems and perhaps this fragment of the future mystery is just a distraction to whatever this sudden loneliness he doesn’t want to experience anymore (does this bizarre issue explain why he prefers to instead camp outside his lovely house?). In the end, he felt he hurt Touko and most probably his guilty conscious has him decided. Then there is Touko who is supposedly the ‘liveliest’ of the group because of her penchant to be in flabbergasted mode blurting out “EEEEEHHHH?????!!!!!”. Really that surprised, huh? I think she looks cute each time she makes this funny expression. No, really. Then the rest of the myriad friends like moody Yukinari, cheerful Hiro, soft spoken Sachi and sometimes tsundere Yanagi make up the rest of the ‘colourful’ group of friends. Oh yeah. I’m sure they put in stuffs like Yukinari’s jogging and track camp, Yanagi’s model classes and Sachi’s hospitalization check up for whatever non-threatening illness she has just to give them some sort of personality but when it comes down to it, you’d start thinking does it really matter? In the end, the most ironic part is that when Kakeru started entering the lives of the friends, you tend to notice that they spend less and less time together. Yeah well. So I guess it is really his fault that he brings some sort of trouble to the group.

Therefore the side characters are the more amusing ones like Momo who has this penchant of barging into Hiro’s room while he is in his own happy fantasy world and enjoys seeing his reaction whatsoever. It’s like since her own romance is on hold, might as well go bug her little brother and add some spice to it. Yeah. Amusing big sister. I’d really love to have a sister like her. Read sarcasm, please. And nobody could beat her driving skills. Really. Kind of reminds me of Tamauyra’s Sayomi. I know she just got her driving licence but as they say, practice makes perfect. Hina, what can I say about her? Tries to help her sister out, especially the part of pretending to be her to fool their parents was funny. Slightly. Other than that, it’s like her role was to give some encouragement to Yukinari and Yanagi for whatever issues they’re facing and to make them continue looking cool. Because amusingly her swimming club members are more interested in watching their prince jog around at that time and as though they joined the club just to catch a glimpse of him. You know, I just thought if they really admire him so much, why not just form a jogging club and jog with him? Can’t? Then be forever condemned to admire from afar. Considering all the characters in this anime, I have to surmise that the best character goes to… The chickens! Ah yes. How I wish I was carefree as them, clucking and eating seeds from the ground without giving a hoot about the plot and direction of this series. Oh Jonathan, don’t you know you are the best character of this boring series? Whoops…

First thing that strikes you is the art style of this series. If you have been watching animes that long, that is. You’ll notice that this art style is very much to the trademark of P.A. Works’ production with the character designs having that very similar feel to all their previous animes such as Hanasaku Iroha, Tari Tari and True Tears. Yes. Pretty looking people. Although the adults do look young, at least not young enough like in certain animes to even think that they could be brothers or sisters. Thank goodness. Also breathtaking are the sceneries and I must say they are quite beautiful whether it is the sleepy seaside town, the greeneries or the snow and sparkling effects. Everything feels bright and vivid. I guess the artwork and the pretty characters are the big saving grace and reason why I continued sticking with this show till the end. Not to say I would have dropped it even if the art style sucks but at least it was something I look forward to when I watch this anime. Although I won’t say their scenery quality is as good as Nagi No Asukara but still worthy nevertheless.

I have this suspicion that this show might be paying some sort of tribute to True Tears, which is the first anime that P.A. Works produced. One very obvious point that makes me say that is the chickens. The flightless birds may not have anything to do with the plot or whatsoever in this anime. In True Tears, there were a couple of chickens that the protagonist girl was infatuated with them because about something that has to do with flying (these chickens weren’t interested in them – aren’t all chickens like that?). Oh, didn’t one of them fly the coop as she believed? Anyway, watching the chickens here bring back instant memories of that series. Especially that part when Jonathan was thought to have went missing. The other part is the ending credits animation whereby it has that similar feel to the one in True Tears. All the characters in this anime chibified and this include the chickens too. Oh yeah. Chickens are the hidden stars of this show.

Voice acting feels rather okay since this is a drama genre so nothing really exciting that attracts even if Touko’s flustering and surprise mode are the most ‘expressive’ tones throughout the series. I only managed to recognize Saori Hayami as Yanagi (Sawa in Tari Tari) but not Nao Touyama as Hina since her little sister role wasn’t as bratty enough to have her make that bratty voice like Nisekoi’s Chitoge. The other casts are Seria Fukagawa as Touko (Manami in Locodol), Ryota Ohsaka as Kakeru (Haruto in Valvrave The Liberator), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Yukinari (Shido in Date A Live), Daiki Yamashita as Hiro (Touya in Log Horizon), Risa Taneda as Sachi (Xenovia in High School DxD New) and Ai Kayano as Momo (Inori in Guilty Crown). The opening theme is Natsu No Hi To Kimi No Koe by ChouCho. Sounds like generic anime pop but nothing special. She also sings the insert song for episode 13, Lucent Eyes which is more of a slow pop. But it is that familiar voice singing the ending theme, Toumei Na Sekai. After all these years, I never really got used to hearing Nano.Ripe’s ‘drunk’ voice but at least from the time I hear it now and before, it is more bearable. The best song is of course the classical piece, Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2. in which is frequently listened by Kakeru’s father. I think he really loves this piece.

Well, to sum it up, this series is disappointing and boring. Expectations and hopes flushed down the toilet hole faster than you can say holy guacamole. I am sure many of those who watched this would share the same sentiments and we see it because of P.A. Works’ history. Not to say that they produced lots of super good animes but at least now that I think about it, this could be one of the worst based on comparison to their other works. So if you really do want to watch it, just watch for the art and the pretty people. That’s about it. The only time that I wished I had such visions to see the future is to warn me never to judge a book by its cover and pass up disappointing animes like this one. But then again, judging from my trend of watching animes, I don’t think I will ever learn of not jumping into animes just because there are pretty people despite everything else sucks. I’m always a sucker for a pretty face. Even more so, a maid. See, I don’t even need to see visions of the future to know what is going to happen.

Girl Friend (Kari)

May 9, 2015

Hey. I heard there is this mobile game whereby players can date a 2D girlfriend. Much like a dating simulation but just that Girl Friend (Kari) features over 100 different girls you can date!!!!!! WOAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!! Is that just incredibly insane or what?! It is like saying there are enough waifus for everybody out there! Yeah. Waifus galore. Of course I have never played or even heard of the game till it was recently adapted into an anime series. Oh sh*t. If this is the future of otaku loner guys dating girls, what will be the future of Japan? What will be the future of mankind? Oh, who cares? With over a hundred girls to choose from, each with different personalities and traits, I’ll say that for those interested in this kind of genre or ‘dating’ (if you can call it so), you’re going to spend an awful time here checking out each girl. From going on dates, soliciting romance, increasing intimacy and the likes. Something like raising your Tamagotchi but alleviated to your 2D girlfriend status, no? For me, I’m just checking things out and see if maybe I could land a girlfriend or two. Or three. Or four… Hey… Is this anime about how to get a girlfriend? Well…

Episode 1
Kokomi Shiina is practising her rhythmic gymnastics since the tournament is coming up. Erena Mochizuki starts taking pictures of her and disrupts her practice because she finds her cute and adorable. Till Chloe Lemaire comes to point out it is a bad thing disrupting someone’s practice because it is like something sacred. Chloe then asks Kokomi some Japanese saying about girls Mimi and Mary stuck in the door and wall. Kokomi corrects her that it is actually walls have ears (mimi) and doors have eyes (me ari). After she leaves, Kokomi notices she dropped a photo. She tries to find her but bumps into her classmates instead. They know about Chloe as she is famous around here. I guess when you’re the only French exchange student living in the dorm, you really stand out in that sense. Along Kokomi’s journey to find her, she bumps into student council president, Kanata Amatsu who knows all about her since she is the school’s ace in rhythmic gymnast, the strict secretary, Mutsumi Shigino who wants Kanata to just get back to work instead of fooling around, Saya who is from the newspaper club interviewing her right on the spot, Erena once more who thinks Kokomi is having a fever because she is blushing too hard, Fumio Murakami the librarian committee who thinks she saw Chloe at the flower arrangement club, Haruko Yumesaki and Isuzu Shiranui of that said club but they point out Chloe was here awhile ago and may be somewhere else (here, then and everywhere) since she doesn’t stay put in a place very long. At the end of the day, Kokomi has been to all those places and still couldn’t find her. Her stomach growls once she realizes she hasn’t eaten lunch. While she is doing so, Chloe got attracted by it. Ironic, isn’t it? After having a taste of Kokomi’s lunch, Kokomi returns the photo to her. Chloe is so touched Kokomi had gone around looking for her to return it as soon as possible that she pecks her on the cheek. She would be very sad had she lost this precious photo of her mother and sister. They make a promise (Chloe dear, it is yubikiri and not hara-kiri) that if Kokomi has decided on a favour, she’ll gladly return it.

Episode 2
Since the tournament is coming up, Kokomi’s mom is cooking lots of food for her. Oh brother. Like any other weight conscious girl, she weighs herself and the results… Not desired! Everything she does seem to remind her about her weight. And she’s wearing a jersey not because she wants to prevent catching a cold. Akane Sakurai requests Kokomi to be the guest of her lunch hour interview since model Nao Miyoshi turned her down (she wanted to sleep) and referred her. There are lots of people watching her in the interview and as usual, Kokomi can’t help feel the questions are somewhat related to her weight or eating habits. So she is at the library trying to find books on ‘nutritional science’. That’s a nice way of saying dieting, right? Then here comes Chloe with her usual misinterpretation of the Japanese culture. When she learns Kokomi wants to diet, she can’t understand why since Japanese fried chicken are so good, etc. With Fumio explaining to Chloe about Japanese girls’ reason to diet, Kokomi’s friends hear about this. When they speak to her and she finally admits, it seems her entire groupie decides to help her diet. Everyone joins her in working out. After a hard day’s workout, Akane has misheard about their workout as helping Kokomi to train for her tournament. To reward them of this hard work, here are fresh melon breads! Holy cow! The carbohydrates… Can you resist the crispy golden glow of the tasty buns! Kokomi tries to psycho herself that she mustn’t eat it but eventually everybody gives in. So good that it makes you cry, huh? Something tells me those tears aren’t happiness… With the diet in failure, Nao talks to Kokomi and gives proper advice about her weight gain. Because when she’s working out, she builds more muscles and they are heavier than fats. Also, do not starve or skip meals but eat a well balanced diet. With that, Kokomi wants Nao to help with her dieting. Thanks to that, she easily passed the preliminaries. Word gets around that Nao is the diet guru so now all of Kokomi’s friends would like her to become their diet sensei. There goes her sleep time…

Episode 3
People notice Erena and Fumio’s personalities are like complete opposites. As Erena plans to enter a photo contest, she needs a model and thinks Fumio is the perfect girl. So she goes up to this expressionless girl and before she could get her permission, she starts snapping away, following wherever she goes. It’s like she has become her paparazzi? That night, Fumio resolves to refuse Erena. So at the library where Erena is being annoying with her camera, she got too close till Fumio accidentally hits it. No serious damage, though. Then she tells her straight she can’t be her model. She thought she might have said it too harsh to her and continues to worry. Similarly, Erena feels she has been rejected by her (her friends almost got the wrong idea). Maybe she’ll have to give up. However because Fumio was the one who inspired her to take pictures, she can’t just switch to another girl like that. As Erena and Fumio walk back, Fumio apologizes for hitting her camera when Erena says she plans on not participating in the contest. This weighs heavily on Fumio’s mind. She gets a surprise mail from Erena to go on a date. Erena earnestly apologizes for forcing her to be her model but she is here today with a favour to ask her permission to take a picture of her. But didn’t she not want to participate in the contest? Don’t get the wrong idea. There is no point submitting a photo she is not happy with. Fumio also explains it is not that she doesn’t want her picture taken or refuse to be her model, it is just that she isn’t good in smiling. But Erena shows a picture of her smiling beautifully (then one when she ordered the cake she loves) and she herself didn’t realize she looked like this when she smiles. Erena points out there are many things wonderful about herself she doesn’t know and she wants to take pictures of her being herself and not faking anything. Erena makes it in time for the contest and a natural and beautiful smile of Fumio earns her the top spot. Fumio now smiles more often and is grateful Erena made her as her model.

Episode 4
Akane and Isuzu find a box of kittens in the bush. They bring them to school to get people to adopt. Thankfully they have a girl each to take home with them: Nao, Hina Niigaki, Emi Sagara, Yukie Yatsuka and Kazuha Kumada. However their teacher reminds them about the responsibility of bringing home a life and if they have asked their parents first. When they do, bad news. Only Yukie got permission. For the rest, because of their poor grades, they have been given a condition to improve them before adopting. Realizing they can’t give up on the kittens so easily, they decide to study. Yukie is going to coach them after school but they are busy with their own activities and couldn’t make it. With time running out, pulling an all-nighter at somebody’s house is the only viable solution. But whose house is enough to accommodate everyone? Isuzu allows them to study at her home. After formally introducing each other, they learn Hina’s parents are away for flower arrangement practice so she is making dinner. Can’t let her do it herself, eh? Yeah. Everyone helps out. By the time they’re done eating and it’s already 9pm, they think of running to the store to get snacks since they’re going to pull an all-nighter. They just ate… Yukie allocates 5 minutes for them to shop all the necessities but they took 30 minutes! I don’t know about Kinoko Himejima because she is forcing Akane to buy a certain snack (all of it!) because it contains her first name. By the time they leave, it starts raining and they take shelter at a public bath. Ah… Nice warm bath… Don’t you feel there is a conspiracy to prevent them from studying and thus the kittens? When they reach home and are about the study, the electric goes out! Kinoko joins them and tells ghost stories. Some very afraid while others just laughing. When the light comes back on and Isuzu joins to help, Kinoko leaves. Hey, the fun part’s over, right? And of course they get serious in studying this time. In the end, their grades improve although they didn’t even make it to the average. However they are allowed to keep the kittens and it seems they already have names as Isuzu gave it to them when she found them.

Episode 5
Student council vice president, Risa Shinomiya hears a commotion. Seems the cafeteria is closed. The staffs who were on holiday are stuck in Easter Island due to bad weather. Although it is going to be suggested that students are to bring their own lunch, Kanata suggests for the student council body to run the cafeteria. Risa disagrees but with vice principal, Shizuko Todou agreeing as the food stocks will go to waste, looks like they’ll be in early for preparations and training from Todou herself who has a nutritionist licence. If the onion folly of everyone crying while cutting isn’t bad enough, we have clumsy Kanata who is cutting up everything and even thinks of trying to cut with her eyes closed! After that tough preparation, the best respite is Kanata’s tea, which is her only best skill. Only. The student council opens the cafeteria and we see some folly like Chloe mixing natto with everything and Miss Monochrome making her cameo by ordering batteries! Do they have that?! Yes they do. But no other folly is as great as Kanata messing things up and making more work for Risa. I don’t know how she piles up the curry dish into a huge serving and she even recommends a dish that is not on the menu for a student to order! Double tiring with Kanata around, eh? Word goes around that the student council is manning the cafeteria. Therefore this is a chance for others not to miss and taste their cooking. The next day there is a long line waiting outside. Risa is close to exploding as she knows she cannot handle all this. Gather all the volunteers to help! And so a bunch of girls volunteer to cook, wait and even do the heavy stuffs to lighten the load. Just when it seems things are going well, there is bad news that the school store messed up on the yakisoba bread. No bread means those students will be coming to the cafeteria to get their lunch. Kanata has another bright idea. Why not we make the yakisoba bread? Oh no… Risa vehemently refuses but with Kanata begging with those puppy dog eyes, can she resist the temptation? Of course not. She gives in. Let’s do it. And so more work for Risa as she tells Kanata to stay out. Don’t do anything! Suddenly Risa realizes she messes up an order. That is when she snaps. She breaks down and screams for somebody to help her! Kanata at your service… She calms down after drinking her good tea. Kanata is impressed Risa can run a cafeteria. Although Kanata was the one who suggested it, she merely said it as Risa is the one who did it all. Besides, everyone is happy. Now charged up, Risa gets back to work. In the end, it is a tiring but fulfilling day. They receive word the cafeteria staffs are coming back but since their plane is going round the world, they won’t be back in a day or two. This means they have to run the cafeteria… Risa is in dire need to check her stress levels after this…

Episode 6
Momoko Asahina and Yuzuko Hazuki are rushing to buy sweet potatoes. But by the time they queue and it’s their turn, just sold out! Nagiko Kurokawa looks for Momoko to remind her to submit the light music club’s log book. Momoko feels bad for forgetting it. Then she overhears Nagiko talking to Kokomi and Haruka Kazemichi and misinterprets that some juniors are rude and unreliable. She falls into depression so Yuzuko tries to cheer her up. Meanwhile Akari Amari from the occult club shows Nozomi Miyauchi an enigmatic phrase of ‘forging lost connections’ in one of her club’s old yearbook. Then when she hears Yuzuko telling Momoko about showing appreciation and respect, she believes this is what that phrase means. It is believed by following what it does, they can reconcile and fix their relationship with the seniors. They are joined by Ichigo Hinata and Nae Yuuki. Everyone but Yuzuko is all for this crazy attempt. I guess this means she has to be dragged into it. First they head to the library to find any old graduation albums about the cafeteria (because part of the phrase says it will lead them there). Although there is a book on it but there is a page missing and Fumio thinks if they can find the previous page, they’ll decode it. They can find old books in the old storeroom. After that slight folly of Akari scaring Nozomi, they find the book and the key to forge lost connections is ‘clad in red clothes, standing in the golden field’. They deduce it could be seniors (their uniforms are red) standing in a yellow flower garden like tulip or sunflowers. But when they head to the garden, it is barren. It isn’t season for those flowers yet. As they go back empty handed, Momoko sees the sweet potato poster. It immediately occurred to her what the riddle is. Sweet potatoes have red-like colour skin and their leaves are yellow. Momoko brings Nagiko to join the rest of the girls in a sweet potato feast (at least she doesn’t have to wait in line at the store now). Momoko and Nagiko make amends but as the latter corrects, Nagiko shortly refuted Haruka’s words about the juniors’ attitude. She believes that they need not be too formal with each other or else there will be walls built between them and thus why everyone in the club is close to each other.

Episode 7
Mahiro Natsume is writing a novel and this particular story she has been trying to finish since elementary school. Don’t laugh. Despite the oddball group of an alien, cyborg, ammonite, castle, Shiba dog, sea monkey and bok choy saving the world in this space opera action adventure. You mean it’s not a comedy?! Anyway Mahiro is having a writer’s block so she lets Fumio take a look at it. Impressed with her good work, Fumio borrows her work and shows it to Chloe. She too is impressed and takes them to show it to her other friends (always the same emotions of impressed, laughing and crying in that order). Now they too are interested in how the series will end. Noting Mahiro’s problem, they think it is because she doesn’t set a deadline unlike in manga, the reason she can never finish. They try to set one for her but it seems even till next year she might not be able to finish. And they really want to read it badly. It is suggested that she make weekly releases as it would be easier to do it in small bits. Yeah. This is manageable. And so all of them stare at her as she types. Impressed when she is making progress but sigh when she hits the delete and backspace key. Pressure. Isn’t this a reason why she can’t finish? One day she isn’t in the library typing her usual. They think she has runaway. Seems she is talking to her friend, Tsugumi Harumiya when they find her. Mahiro continues to be in a deadlock as she doesn’t have any good ideas. That is when the rest get ideas to seek help from others. Although Mahiro has lots of reference (is she really going to go through all that stack?), the number of admirers of her novel also increased. More pressure? Since she doesn’t want to disappoint them, she goes into full gear writing the stories. So much so, she has been writing and doesn’t realize it is time to go back. Had so much fun? The ideas can’t stop flowing, eh? Finally she finishes it and it brings a myriad of emotions to those girls. But Mahiro is also crying. She feels sad that the story has ended. She realizes the reason why she couldn’t finish it was because she didn’t want to leave the story and wanted to continue playing in their world. Sad end? But she is happy and thankful to everyone that she manages to bring a closure to his chapter. However the next day she hands them another set of story to read. It seems there is a continuation! Hooray! Mahiro decides she wants to hang out in their world a little longer. Oh yeah. Now I understand why the Naruto manga can never end…

Episode 8
Akane interviews Kokomi and wishes her the best since her rhythmic gymnast for the Nationals is in a fortnight. As she practises, her instructor suggests doing a difficult combo. But Kokomi is not confident as her success rate is only 80%. Her instructor encourages her to think about it since it is natural everyone is afraid of making mistakes. Later Kokomi is thinking about this and bumps into her senpai Nonoka Sasahara. She knows about her tournament and plans to go cheer for her. Kokomi thinks of playing it safe and not do those risky moves. What convinces her even more so is that this strange dream of hers whereby her friends are the judge. Kokomi messes up her routine and they give the thumbs down. She spaces out a lot and even during in practice, Erena feels her emotions are stiff. Then she sees a poster of help wanted at a cafe where Nonoka works. Kokomi thinks of trying out to help get her mind off this dilemma. Other friends recruited are Michiru Tomura and Marika Saeki. Ironically the most uncoordinated and clumsy one is Nonoka as she cannot make a decent cream soda and just messes up. But why does she keep trying to do stuffs she can’t do? Because it is cool and you’ll never know till you try. That ring a bell to you, Kokomi? One time Kokomi messes up and she is very sorry about it although it isn’t very serious. Nonoka calms her down with the coffee she makes. It’s good because she practises a lot. And with lots of words of motivation, let’s hope Kokomi can use them. Kokomi perseveres and even watches recordings of her own practice. Mom is worried and reminds her that they want her to have fun instead of scoring high. One day Kokomi goes to the cafe early and catches Nonoka in the act of making cream soda. All failures except one. She explains she decided to make cream soda because of her. Just like how she commended her coffee, she knew she will get nowhere if she gives up before she starts. She is impressed that Kokomi gets he difficult move 80% right unlike her who is starting from scratch. She only has 20% to go, right? They drink to a toast for Kokomi to get out of her slump but Kokomi drinks the wrong cream soda. On the day of the tournament, her friends and family turn out in full force to support Kokomi who is looking ever confident.

Episode 9
Clubs are taking turns at the lottery to determine the time slot to use the auditorium for the cultural festival. The light music club’s turn is near the end and their choice is either the first performance in the morning or the last one in the evening. Haruka is made to pick the lottery and as luck would have it, they are the last performance. They delegate their duties for the performance and it seems Haruka is to come up with the lyrics as she is the vocalist. She has a hard time and even harder that she is called by the student council to hand in their programme by the end of this week or they cannot let the band go onstage. With more pressure to write the lyrics and can’t think of one, she tells her bandmates that she would like a song that everyone can get into and enjoy singing. Well, with Haruka liking a lot of things, how can she fit all that into the song that Nagiko will be writing? So to chill out and relax, they go help other clubs in their whatever preparations and probably to get some ideas too. At the end of the day, Haruka feels that it would be nice if it wouldn’t start yet. What she meant was, everyone is so motivated and having fun, it will be a shame if it all ends. They suggest she should sing about this. After Haruka hands in their programme and the festival gets underway, they are hit with a snag as their outfits aren’t complete yet. Reality check has it they only have 2 hours before their performance. But Kurumi isn’t giving up yet and seeks the help of Koruri Tokidani who is from the sewing club. Can she finish it in time? Bring it on! And right on the dot the costume is finished as the girls head out to play a performance that brings the house down.

Episode 10
Akane has been selected by the student council to host the school’s beauty pageant. With her assistant, Tomo Oshii, they go around interviewing the candidates. After the voting is over, Risa comes in with news that Akane has to stand down as host because she has been selected as one of the finalists. She suggests Tomo to host but she isn’t confident of hosting such a big event. If that is the case, Akane thinks of declining her win then. Tomo feels bad for thinking about herself and will give this a shot. She her first practice broadcast, she screws up and bloopers so much on her first go that it sounded like a terrorist attack. Really! As Akane helps practice with her at the rooftop, Kinoko and the rest of the girls who are not in any particular club (Miss Monochrome is part of this ‘group’ too?) come to help and give their support. Tomo is still having troubles and the contest is tomorrow. Though, she isn’t going to throw in the towel yet. Next day, all the finalists (why do I get a feeling it is all those usual girls?) gather in the dressing room before the start as they mix around. Erena becomes a paparazzi monster since there are too many cute girls here. But she is a finalist too, right? Suddenly there is a problem. Tomo is nowhere to be found. Has she got cold feet? Akane believes she isn’t that kind of girl and might have an idea where she is. She is still practising on the rooftop and seems much better. As the event starts, Tomo nearly makes a blooper. But she sees all the stuffs from the no club girls on the rostrum and this gives her the confidence. Besides, even if she screws up a little, those no club girls help out by putting up signs to the crowd when to applaud or laugh. You can say Tomo is natural in hosting even if there are little mistakes. Thanks to that, the event is a great success and a memorable one. Akane wants to crowd to give Tomo another round of applause for doing a great job. Oh, it looks like Fumio won the overall crown.

Episode 11
Exams are over and winter is coming (yes it is). However Chloe is sad. She won’t tell and it is bugging her friends a lot. They hope Akane’s interview would help her reveal what’s eating her but she still won’t. Kokomi then has finally decided with the favour Chloe promised her: Please tell what is on her mind. Still won’t? After being bluffed about ogres eating her tongue, she reveals that her family wants her back in France. This means she won’t be coming back here anymore. Shock! Horror! So everyone has an emergency meeting to discuss how they can convince her parents to let her stay. First they make a video of all the great facilities the school has. The quintet who adopted the kittens seek Fumio’s help how to write a letter in French. Armed with these ‘arsenal’, Chloe is happy and is confident she can persuade her parents. But… Still gloomy… Oh no. This could mean one thing. It failed. She’s still going back. Kokomi talks to her parents about it and they tell her as parents, they too are worried if their child is living overseas alone. They believe their family has some circumstances and Chloe is the one who doesn’t want to leave the most. Instead of forcing her to stay, maybe they should see her off with a smile. And thus everybody decides to throw a party for her. I mean, with the internet age, it is not hard for them to keep in touch, right? On the night before her departure, Chloe checks out the settings of the party at Nonoka’s cafe. Suddenly papa calls her and that he is coming now! Oh dear. Does he really want to take Chloe back that bad? So when papa really shows up, it is ironic that father and daughter are in hugging and loving mode. Hey. I thought she’s going to be sad because seeing him means going back? Papa thanks them for being good friends but I guess they’re desperate enough to ask straight about taking Chloe back so suddenly. But Papa is adamant Chloe has to come home because Japan is not safe. From what he says as heard from Chloe, Japan ‘hits you’, ‘sells weapons on New Year’s day’ and ‘eating food that chokes you’. Quickly our girls realize it is Chloe’s misinterpretation of the Japanese culture during New Year. (Hit you = hit the bell, weapons = decorations actually, choking food = mochi). Once everyone explains, papa is enlightened that there is no danger. Because Chloe hasn’t fully grasped the Japanese culture yet, looks like she has to stay and study more. That’s right. She’s not leaving. Hooray! And so tomorrow’s party will be turned into a big celebration. To top the night, it starts snowing.

Episode 12
Kokomi, Akane and Fumio take a look at the developed photos of Erena of Chloe’s party. Because the Christmas mood is gone and everyone is now looking forward to New Year unlike in Europe, our friends take the liberty to show our foreigner exchange students like Chloe and Yulia Valkova more about their local New Year’s culture. Kokomi invites them to her home. So this is a great learning opportunity for them to learn about the things they do, play and eat on New Year’s Day. Get your notepads ready and jot them all down especially you Chloe. Can’t afford to have you misunderstand the culture and give everyone a sudden farewell heart attack. Also, we see glimpses of other characters, some familiar faces and some that you may have not seen before, chatting and doing whatever stuffs they do. The best one of them all is Miss Monochrome. She malfunctions when she tries out the mochi! How can a robot choke? I mean, she doesn’t even breathe, right? But after restarting, she’s alright. Also, Nonoka’s friends are at the cafe. They realize the owner is out for a meeting so guess who is making the meals? Oh sh*t… Thankfully he comes back in time. Phew. Kokomi and co go over to Isuzu’s house to try on kimonos. That night they patron the stalls at the shrine and take their fortunes as they wait for the countdown to the New Year. Kokomi’s wish is to spend her next New Year with Chloe.

Error 404 – Girlfriend Not Found!
Hey wait a minute. So which part does it tells us on how to get a girlfriend? I didn’t get any tips on how to land one! Say what? That was just a big misunderstanding on my part???!!! EEEEEEHHHH???!!!!! And true enough I was fooled once more by jumping into conclusions after reading that simple and single synopsis line. I am not sure if this anime is intended to promote the game since this adapted anime overall feels like it falls under the cute girls doing cute things trope. Even more so, the episodes feel like standalones and with no real plot or direction, there is hardly anything exciting at the pace they are going. Therefore some of you who aren’t into this moe kind of stuffs might find this a bore and a turn off despite the various girls present. It’s not the quantity anymore. So many girls but yet I couldn’t make up my mind on landing which one (if there was such an option). Most probably because none was uniquely a maid. Ah, now I see why this show isn’t good as I hoped it would be.

After all it was my fault for jumping to conclusions after reading that very vague one liner of the synopsis that this was how to get a girlfriend or date one. This series is just your typical cute girls doing cute things with no real plot whatsoever. If you’re tired of watching this kind of genre seasons in and seasons out, this series is no different and could be a big bore. Therefore when they seemingly put the ‘dreadful’ incident that Chloe might be going away for good just to shake things up, well, personally I didn’t feel alarmed like the girls because deep down in my guts (and experience) tells me that fate will somehow readjust itself and turn it into a good ending.

And to note that some sites listed this series under the romance genre… Where the heck is the romance???!!! Unless the definition of romance is seeing the cute girls doing cute things and whatever activities they deem to have. I suppose there is that sort of romance in that. Because the yuri part also feels very minimal. Besides, this isn’t an all-girls’ school as there are mix of other boys although sadly a big majority of them are reduced to just minor backgrounds characters with no speech. Heck, I don’t think you would even notice them or something. And you thought with so many girls, will there be fanservice? Nope. Nada. Never. None. Such a cute and clean show that perhaps a 5 year old could even watch. Really.

With over 100 girls featured in the game, I figure it will be very tough for the anime to give each one a proper screen time and thus flesh them out. Unfortunately, it is indeed very hard and sometimes it feels like those characters which are not popular get only a fraction of the appearance. Heck, I don’t think all 100 girls are featured in this anime. I have not made any head count but again my guts tell me so. That is because the opening of the first episode already sees Kokomi bumping into a few characters. And there I was like going, “Hey, are they serious in introducing that much characters at the start of the debut episode?”. How the heck am I going to remember them all? Even more so in the final episode, it is like they’re trying to squeeze in all the characters they can that I don’t remember if some of them already made their cameo or if this is their first time. More on this later. So those who are ‘lucky’ enough will get featured for an episode whether it is via group (like the studying-for-kitten-adopting episode because it saves time and gives more appearances to more girls) or via individually like Mahiro (but technically this also can be considered as a group as other girls help her out although Mahiro seemingly takes centre stage).

Therefore I surmised that Kokomi must be the most popular girl in the series (although I can be totally wrong) since from my observations, she made the ‘most’ appearance. Funnily enough, Kokomi’s physical appearance is the most generic looking of them all. I mean, with over 100 girls and the need to have something unique of them, Kokomi just feels the plainest of them all. Shoulder length brown hair with no other hair accessories to distinguish her. I also guessed that a handful of characters like Erena, Chloe, Akane and Fumio are popular enough to warrant more cameo appearances compared to others like… Uhm… What were their names again?

And thus characterization feels weak because as I have said, with so many girls but so little episodes, there isn’t any justice done to flesh them out and it would be even less justice if your favourite girl isn’t featured prominently here. You can basically guess the personalities of the characters after a few seconds of seeing them interact. Some are quirky enough to be memorable like Erena who loves cute girls so much and with a camera always in hand ready to snap (and she always can’t resist the temptation), it is like she is a future paparazzi in the making? Then there is Chloe who messes up her Japanese lines and thus misinterpreting the culture and needs to be corrected. Although it is odd just to hear her mix in a few simple French words like oui, non, merci and occasionally tres bien. What about Kinoko who is always bugging others to eat the snack that bears her first name. At first I thought Miss Monochrome was only going to make a cameo appearance as a special guest but it seems from her several cameos, she is part of the 100 girls database.

Touching on the subject of drawing and art, they seem pretty decent and typical with the girls looking cute. That is all that matters, right? With so many girls, as always they try to give some variations to the design like different hairstyle, hair colour and hair accessories. Some even in different club uniforms just to add to this and their personality. However there are some cases where I have a hard time differentiating them such as Chloe and Erena. At times and at certain angles they look very close and I can’t tell the difference. Very close resemblance too between Nagiko and Isuzu. There are some too close that I thought they were twins like in the case of Nozomi and Yuzuko. Yeah. Both have short blue hair… Can’t tell them apart… The most amusing character design goes to Hina because half her hair is dyed in purple and the other half in pink! I know she’s a hair stylist wannabe but it gives this impression that she has bipolar disorder or split character (in which she doesn’t). Aside the student girls, some of the teachers have this young and cute look so much so you might mistake them to be their fellow students (Kyouko Tachibana in particular). But some like Todou got this mature look (but not old enough to be labelled an aunty – even so, don’t say it or you’ll be damned) so at least in this context she is distinguishable.

As the plot and storyline isn’t interesting (oh come on, after seeing cute girls doing cute things hundreds of times, it is starting to get a little weary), the more interesting part is spotting seiyuus voicing the character. So whenever a familiar voice is heard, I would go, “Aha! It’s her! That voice actress!”. I do this all the time even for Kokomi’s case. Okay, maybe towards the I end I do not scream as much with delight when like in the first few episodes that Satomi Satou is the voice of Kokomi. Yes. With so many girls even those with just one line dialogues, there is bound to be some seiyuus that I am familiar with. And there are delightfully quite a handful of them. Those I have ‘spotted’ include Rina Satou as Akane, Haruka Tomatsu as Nonoka, Saori Hayami as Haruka, Youko Hikasa as Risa, Kikuko Inoue as Kanata, Minori Chihara as Mahiro, Nao Touyama as Emi, Aoi Yuuki as Isuzu, Ayana Taketatsu as Ayana, Kana Asumi as Michiru and Yukari Tamura as Koruri. Of course, not forgetting Yui Horie as the one behind Miss Monochrome.

Subsequently I found that there are other popular seiyuus too but due to the limited or one or two time appearance of the characters, there wasn’t enough time for me to remember. In other words, the funny part is that instead of remembering that character’s name, I am more inclined to remember the seiyuu who voiced her. Like that what’s-her-name character who is no doubt the voice of Aki Toyosaki. Or Eri Kitamura. Or Rie Kugimiya. Or Ryouko Shintani. Or Ryouko Shiraishi. Hey, even Chiaki Omigawa is here (the one who voiced Maka in Soul Eater). The rest include (though some I didn’t really spot but supposedly ‘popular enough’ seiyuus – at least in my books) Kaori Nazuka, Yui Ogura, Ami Koshimizu, Mai Nakahara, Ayahi Takagaki, Kanae Itou, Hisako Kanemoto, Emiri Katou, Saki Fujita, Kaori Mizuhashi, Mikako Takahashi, Rina Hidaka, Ryou Hirohashi, Houko Kuwashima, Minako Kotobuki, Saori Gotou, Maaya Uchida, Ai Kayano and Aya Endou. I know this list is incomplete but did I miss anybody out that I’m not supposed to? And when they reached the final episode, with so many girls making their cameo, some I don’t even remember if I have remembered seeing them before, I just gave up. I got tired of thinking and pointing out. I just wanted it to end.

There are a couple of misses too. At first I thought the voice behind Erena was Yuko Gotou. But something tells me it wasn’t really her although it sounded very close. As it turns out, Hitomi Harada (Yaya in Unbreakable Machine Doll) could also have that muffled dreamy voice like her. Similarly, I thought Rie Tanaka was behind Chloe’s voice. As usual, something was a little off. It wasn’t her but sounded like her. So I thought. Turns out to be Sakura Tange (titular character in Cardcaptor Sakura). Personally, Chloe’s voice felt like a Japanese trying to sound like a foreigner instead of the other way round and thus the very funny kind of sound when she speaks. Like as though a Japanese pretending to be a foreigner but fails. At least her papa who is voiced by Kenji Hamada (Jouji in Paradise Kiss, Takumi in Honey And Clover) sounds more convincing as a French father. And of course his Japanese when he speaks sounds flawless…

Wow. I didn’t know I dedicated 3 damn paragraphs (not including this one) just for the seiyuu department alone. This shows the sheer amount of seiyuus involved in this (and I am sure they too voice the same characters in the mobile game). But after that is said and done, there is one big disappointment in this section: THERE IS NO MAMIKO NOTO!!!!!!!!!!!!! No wonder at the end of the series, it feels like a big bummer and something ‘great’ was missing. Has she really fallen off the radar? I hope not… I HOPE NOT!!! Anyway just to name a few (that I know of in my books of course), a handful of veteran seiyuus too aren’t here such as Kana Hanazawa, Nana Mizuki, Yu Kobayashi, Ayako Kawasumi, Ai Shimizu, Yuka Iguchi, Miyuki Sawashiro, Marina Inoue, Rie Tanaka and yes Megumi Hayashibara. Yes, I still consider her because if Kikuko Inoue can be here, then why not her? Oh, right. Kikuko Inoue will always be 17 years old :). And if you’ve noticed, this anime is predominantly female so I don’t bother with the likes of the male seiyuu counterparts like Jun Fukuyama, Norio Wakamoto, Yuuki Kaji, Yuuichi Nakamura, Takehito Koyasu, Tomokazu Seki, Tomokazu Sugita, Mamoru Miyano, Junichi Suwabe, Shinichiro Miki, Akira Ishida, Hiroshi Kamiya and Hiro Shimono, all by which do not appear here. OMG. I just realized that this blog of mine contains the most mentioned names of anime seiyuus… OMG indeed…

I have this weird feeling hearing both the opening and ending themes. Tanoshiki Tokimeki is the opener sung by Neuron Creamsoft, which is the in-anime’s light music club and its members. But hearing Saori Hayami as the lead vocalist in this rock song feels just odd. I mean, nothing wrong but something feels like a mismatch with her voice. Plus, hearing this song doesn’t bring back memories of the rock songs in K-ON! (I have a feeling Nagiko is modelled after Mio because both similarly have long black hair, write the songs and play the bass) but funnily Asobotto Senki Goku’s second ending theme, Kasumi Yuku Sora Se Ni Shite. It must be the hard rock electric guitar which has this similar vibe. The tune of Hareru Kanaa as the ending theme isn’t bad. Just that hearing Satomi Satou singing this pop ballad sounds funny. I mean, it is like she is trying to sound overly cute (is she even singing at certain parts?) but it just doesn’t quite match and thus in a way making the song feel funny. Not forgetting the special ending theme for that cultural festival episode, Shinka-kei Girl. Another rock outfit helmed by Neuron Creamsoft and Saori Hayami leading on the vocals. Uhm… Sounds funnily odd too?

Overall, if you just really love the genre of cute girls doing cute things with nothing much ado, then this anime fits you. Otherwise if you’re like me, hoping to land a (2D) girlfriend but only leaving disappointed because all you can do is watch and see them but never getting your hands on them, then it would be bad for your loner otaku status. Okay, just kidding. Not. If you want to get a piece of the action with the girls, then just play the game. I feel the anime is just for desserts or snacking. Hope I didn’t put it the wrong way. Even thinking of having a harem of 100 over girls would be too much. It’s like ruling a mini kingdom of pretty girls. Can’t handle it all. Harem overkill. Catfight overkill. Attention-divided-till-you-have-to-clone-yourself overkill. Die of moe overdose over a hundred times? Moe overkill. Then it wouldn’t be Girlfriend Beta, but Girlfriend Omega… And then all alone…

I heard they were making another production of the series and thought it was going to be the third season of those amusing lolis. Well, not really. I have a feeling they might be just doing some test market about the nostalgic factor because they come up with YuruYuri Nachuyachumi OVA instead. Uh huh. Unlike your ordinary OVA, this one lasts for 1 hour 3 minutes! OMFG! If they had labelled this as movie, I would have skipped it because for some unknown reasons, I don’t know why I am averse to anime movies. So it is like they discovered this loophole of mine and released it as an OVA and thus the reason why I checked it out. This means if an OVA lasts 500 hours I might sit down and watch the entire thing…

Summer’s here…
WTF?! Manly lolis???!!! Our casts are turned into manly lolis?! Speaking in English and with that Engrish accent, they have Akari pick out what they’re going to do next. Camping? Alrighty, let’s go camping then! They open the secret hatch under the floor and dive in for the opening credits to begin.

It is such a hot summer that Chinatsu is feeling lethargic. In the clubroom, she accidentally spills the tea on her skirt and gets disheartened when Yui sees this. She might misinterpret this whole thing. Thankfully she didn’t. As she tries to help her dry, Kyouko walks in and sees this ambiguous sexy scene. She doesn’t know what is happening but would love to join this horny act! Akari returns after buying ice cream for everyone. But since it is still hot, she searches the closet for a fan. Hmm… A cooking kit? Searching further, not sure if Kyouko is really hoping for a corpse! Thankfully it is not and turns out to be a tent. She has an idea to go camping. This is when Ayano bursts in to scold Kyouko again to hand in her paper for the summer vacation. Suddenly Ayano blushes upon hearing that they are going to go camping and turns into a complete tsundere.

Himawari and Sakurako see Akari studying at the cafe. Sakurako tries to show off drinking a hot beverage but burns her tongue. With Chinatsu texting Akari, Sakurako wants to help reply. Akari should have known better. Because she texts about Akari is in a sexy swimsuit. She should have even known better than to give it to that troublemaker to amend things because this time she wrote how Akari took her swimsuit off! Almost would have sent it had not Akari took her handphone back. Anyway Chinatsu did rush over, believing Akari was in her swimsuit. Sakurako is jealous upon seeing Himawari drinking her hot beverage like a pro so she makes a freaking funny face to make her laugh and throw her off her lady-like behaviour. Then she gets a deserved head bump.

During the student council meeting, Sakurako brings up about going camping. Kyouko then barges in to use the air-cond as she pleased. Kyouko also tries to persuade them to go camping and Chitose agrees as she starts fantasizing a nose bleed worthy tragic-cum-romantic scene between Kyouko and Ayano. How do you persuade the student council president to let them all go? Kyouko takes their pudding hostage! Well, if they want to go, just go lah. And so all the girls tell their respective sisters about their upcoming summer camp.

On that day, Chinatsu shows Yui some very ugly pig charm that should ward bears off. I think it’ll even ward ghosts away. Kyouko arrives all dressed casually and minimally so Yui makes her dress more appropriately. Akari arrives late and they deduced that although she left early, she helped some grandma along the way. And true enough it happened. I guess the reason why Kyouko wanted to take this certain train line because it had Mirakurun designs all over. She makes Chinatsu cosplay as she takes photos of her here and there. And she got so obsessed with it that she almost missed the train! Yui had to do all the heart pounding work before she gets left behind. As they ride the train, they decide to do an item check. Then they realize, who was responsible for the tents?! Don’t worry. Kyouko has got it specially delivered. Chinatsu has made some food but the rest remain sceptical. Hmm… Sandwiches look okay. Let’s hope it is not just the looks. Bracing for the worst as they take a bite, they surprisingly find it good.

The quartet continue their journey as they take a bus and hike to the destination. Yeah well, the student council girls are here thanks to Nishigaki driving them. What a comfortable ride with lots of fun. So this is the special delivery Kyouko was referring to? After unpacking their stuffs, Nishigaki leaves with a promise to pick them up tomorrow. The girls start setting their tent and as usual, Kyouko fools around not doing any real work. After finishing, they walk around and come across a see-saw. They start discussing its name in Japanese in which everybody remembers it with a different name. Let’s just call it see-saw okay? Kyouko saves Yui from a spider (it was just hanging and nothing threatening) and uses this chance to get all close to her. Maybe she just wants to cuddle…

As they prepare food, they realize they don’t have meat because Sakurako was in charge of it and she messed up somehow (the curry brand says 120% meat but you know it isn’t really meat). Therefore, I don’t know why everyone appoints Kyouko, Sakurako and Chinatsu to go to the store and get their meal. Yeah, their dinner depends on it. The troublemakers try to pester Chinatsu to get junk and even bluff that Yui would agree to this but Chinatsu isn’t buying it. Then they start arguing about what flavour goes best with potato chips.

Akari helps Chitose start a fire. She wonders why she always gets nose bleeds. Chinatsu explains about her fantasizing and does one while she’s at it. However when she realizes that if she tries to explain it in words, it sounds a lot embarrassing. She can’t continue and Akari is frustrated. When Ayano comes by to check on them and ask what they were talking, Chitose flusters greatly. She can’t say… Meanwhile, I don’t know what Kyouko is thinking since she is trying to blow up the fire using her recorder? How can she when she got all the holes closed? In a distance, an explosion occurs. Could that be Nishigaki? The curry dinner turns out delicious.

Kaede is writing in her picture book how Sakurako would overeat and true enough, she and Kyouko have tummies big enough you would think they are pregnant! However Kyouko still has room for dessert and thankfully Ayano earlier made some pudding with the cooking set. Kyouko and Sakurako start thanking Ayano while rubbing their cheeks on her. Her flustering is a great source of fantasizing for Chitose.

After the nice meal, there is only one thing left to do: Kyouko suggests kimodameshi! Chitose agrees and as expected, she rigs the pairing. Yeah, Himawari and Sakurako got each other again. It’s always them together, eh? Chitose and Yui go first and nothing much happens. Next is Himawari and Sakurako but the latter is very much afraid of the dark. A little bug drops on Sakurako’s head and she starts running off in fear. She is the one with the flashlight. Himawari in the dark… When Sakurako returns, she exaggerates the scary story to Chinatsu and Akari who are now scared sh*t on their turn. As they trudge into the darkness, they heard something rustling and Chinatsu becomes the very frightened one. Meanwhile Chinatsu’s sister calls Akane, hinting that if she is alone, she can come over to keep company. Too bad, Akane is surrounding herself with Akari memorabilia and having the time of her life! No real sister? Sister products also can!

Himawari lectures Sakurako of her abandonment as Yui notices a very strong grip mark on Akari’s arm. I wonder how tight Chinatsu squeezed it. Finally it is Kyouko and Ayano. Chitose won’t miss this chance and is going to eavesdrop what they’re saying. Kyouko has Ayano talk about the things she likes and the latter murmurs one of them being her. Since she didn’t hear it, Kyouko bugs her to say it again. At that point, they hear a loud crash and get freaked out upon seeing this horror thing. They really make a dash for it. So this bloody zombie head is just Chitose nose bleeding too much?

With everyone working up a sweat, they head to the public bath the clean themselves up. Kyouko starts running around and as Akari tries to stop her, she slips and banged her head. Sakurako tries to sneak up on Himawari washing herself but was sprayed cold water. Then everybody dips into the mini hotspring and by the time Akari and Chinatsu are going to join them, it is so freaking cramped. Still got space, you say? As it is getting cold at night, Kyouko has brought along animal pyjamas for them. Of course she has to be different because it’s that tomato pyjamas! Akari is already sleepy so I guess they’re calling it a night.

Next morning, some of them have trouble waking up especially Himawari. But Sakurako says the right (or wrong) thing to make her instantly wake up: All the blood is being redirected to her boobs. Everyone has a refreshing view of the town. Personally, I thought it just looked pretty normal with the way the art and all… Kyouko leaves a message that they were here behind on a piece of wood. Nishigaki comes to pick them up but since all the girls would rather travel back together, she will only be transporting their stuffs. Yui realizes Kyouko has give them the runaway since they took a train to this bus station when they could have just took a bus straight here just because she wanted to ride the Mirakurun line again. The girls ponder when they’ll come back here again but they look forward to other bigger plans like camping by the sea and the festival. Ah yes, the fun never ends.

Camp Champ… Or Chump?
Oh yes. This series still hasn’t lost its touch despite it feels like ages ago since I watched the second season although it has only been a couple of years. Like always, there are always good and bad stuffs when you watch something this nostalgic. Of course when you have watched both the seasons and then you watch this single OVA, it feels like there is something lacking that would have given it the greatest oomph. Perhaps it is because the focus is on the main 8 girls and despite their sisters only make cameo appearances, it felt missing. Because some of them have really wacko personalities and thus as amusing as some of our wacky main characters like the troublemaking Kyouko and Sakurako, tsundere Ayano and fantasizing Chitose. Yes, it serves to bring back the nostalgic memories of this series when we see their trademark personalities.

But the one thing we missed that was a running gag during the TV series and not shown here is Akari’s existence! Not to say that every episode in the TV series would have her reminding us about this but it is enough to think that she’s the character that everybody loves to forget. In this OVA, looks like she has overcome it and part of the cast. Maybe they’ve forgotten about it? Well, good for you, Akari. Despite I said this series hasn’t lost its touch, it feels less funny compared to the TV series due to the lack of crazy nonsensical antics. Nothing extreme. I mean, how extreme could you get camping in the woods? Expecting some bear to show up and chase them all over the mountains and then stumbling upon a secret alien base? Only if they make a third season… Hint, hint. Oh wait. They already announced they would. Wohoo! The lolis are saved!

To sum up this good news, the opening theme, Yuruyuririnrinrinrin is a lively and fun piece that should get you into the pace of what this OVA and series overall is all about. The ending theme, After School Days is equally fun and lively to hear. In a nutshell, this OVA is best watched after watching two seasons of YuruYuri because you’d understand the characters better beforehand. Otherwise you would be thinking wouldn’t it be dangerous for young girls to go camping all by themselves without adult supervision? Sure, girls like Kyouko can laugh danger in the face with a kick but you can never be too careful… There are lots of types of bears who want a piece of our lolis. Like the Pedo Bear… So keep them lolis safe till the third season arrives!

Where is the best place to get all sorts of books you want to read? The library. What about books that are not so decent? A manga bookstore, right? Yeah… You’ll find many types of books with questionable contents all under one roof in such stores. And with such ‘weird’ books this means the store employees must be weird too, right? Each with their own taste and fetish for a particular genre. At least that is how it seems in Denki-gai No Honya-san. A famous comic book store in a certain famous electronics street in Japan sells a myriad of such books (including legal ones of course). What makes this seemingly anime-with-no-plot amusing is the comedy and the quirky employees of this store. See, who says books or a book person is boring?

Episode 1A
We see the staffs of Umanohone comic store working. Clumsy. Quirky. Ah well, so far s good. Sensei has a nightmare falling into a shrink wrapping machine. However it jams and as Umio goes to fix it, Director calls for Hio-tan because there is a suspicious lady flipping through books at the ero section. Panicky Hio-tan is made to ask her and when she asks straight up if she loves ero books, Director (who actually knew it all along) points out she is from the Tokyo Youth Development Counsellor. In other words, a government agent (G-men) checking if adult books are properly separated from others. She finds one unsuitable and Director puts a seal over it so as it won’t be read easily. Then he has the staffs place seals in boxes and crates of those books. This is going to take days… Hio-tan flusters upon learning BL. Thanks to her numerous facial reactions, Director has lots of rich collection of Hio-tan’s funny faces. Hio-tan and Umio further fluster when they ask each other’s taste in books. They love ero books? Does that even sound right? Then they go to the Great Sommelier Party. This is an event whereby one of their staffs, Sommelier picks out a manga for you. At first they think they don’t like it but once they look into it, suddenly they have found new enlightenment or awakening! He is never wrong! Hio-tan and Umio notice G-men here. They hope Sommelier would give a harmless recommendation but too bad, all hardcore yaoi stuffs! But she’s smiling and thanking him! A panicking Hio-tan blurts out who she is and then tries to calm the situation by saying she too likes ero books. I don’t think that did any good. G-men then says there is no human who doesn’t need eros. Therefore there are all ero book lovers! Everyone rejoices and applauds to her speech. Hooray for eros! Long live eros! We love eros! Yeah. How shameful…

Episode 1B
Umio seems to be fascinated with this doujin work by an author named Jonatarou. To his surprise, that is Sensei’s pen name. And you thought that was a guy’s name, huh? Director embarrasses her by revealing she wanted to surpass some famous author on her first day at work here. When Sensei learns Umio can draw, she becomes excited and wants him to come to her home after work. Mind you, not to do anything suspicious but to help draw her manuscript. Hio-tan will also come to help. Things are going fine till Sensei has a mental breakdown from working too hard. The deadline is tomorrow. Actually it is today but she requested for extension. How do you calm a girl who is acting like a baby? Hio-tan offers her lap pillow and in no time they get back to work. Her helpers leave but at the train station, Umio notes he forgot his pass and might have left it at Sensei’s place and tells Hio-tan to go first. Actually he had it all along. He knows Sensei won’t make it to tomorrow’s deadline and returns to help her. He is used to staying up late. Though she breaks down again, it isn’t that bad. After a change of pace and some energy drinks, they get into serious mode. Morning comes and they are able to finish and send the manuscript before the deadline. At the comic convention, Sensei gives a free copy to him as thanks. He couldn’t be happier to receive a work from his favourite author. After a successful convention, the gang thinks Director is kind enough to treat them to an after-party. Actually he wants them to shrink wrap tons of new doujin. The convention just ended, right? Oh, there’ll be 2 more days worth of doujin to come. Feel like dying?

Episode 2A
Umanohone opens its late night sales since a manga that has been on hiatus for 3 years is out. Umio seems to be very passionate about this release… The customers stream in and everyone works their ass off. Yeah. Director feels more like a slave driver telling everyone what to do. After that, they hang out at a family restaurant but since Fu Girl is sleepy, Sommelier carries her back. Since this big guy has her sit on his shoulders, I don’t know how many things her head bumps into. He might seem like a lolicon gunning for her while she is sleeping but don’t worry, he is a good guy. Sommelier and Director drink all night till morning. Hio-tan thought she could get back at Director for all the pranks and draw on his sleeping face but Sommelier takes her away. This scene… Fu Girl on top of Umio… Confessing he is her perfect… Zombie?! Umio is in full zombie makeup as she reveals she is a zombie maniac. She wants to use him as target practice! OMG! Full beast mode on! She’s trying to kill him with a bat for heaven’s sakes!!!!!!!!

Episode 2B
The street vendors participate in this event whereby the winner gets a grand cash prize. Fu Girl seems to be very pumped up to win this. So much so despite her flustering loli looks, she has got a foul mouth! Want to win this that bad, huh? We have got Sommelier draw first blood by winning the panty race. WTF?! Hey, nobody said this event was anything but normal. Then we have Hio-tan in a huge trauma because she needs to roll a big golden ball. It doesn’t help with Director sexual harassing her and videotaping it. Even a competitor harasses her with sexual harassment puns and causes her to lose. Umio has to carry his wife in the next race. His wife is a figurine. And so are the other competitors. Losers. Everyone tries to bring Umio down but his love for his wife is strong. Till a competitor waxes lyrical about his latest wife and thus Umio lost. His wife got rolled over by a car… For the tug of war event, since Umio and Hio-tan are ‘incapacitated’, Kameko is drafted in. However she is lured with some sophisticated camera lens at a cheap price. She realizes too late it is a trap when it is a cup in a shape of the lens. With a member out, the Umanohone lost. In the final event in which the winner takes all (so what was the previous events all for?), teams of 3 or less must take out the flag member in a water fight. Last one standing wins. Fu Girl goes all out. She’s racking up the body count thanks to her vision of seeing everybody as zombies. Hio-tan is exasperated with Director’s bulgy trunks. Isn’t that sexual harassment? He points out girls have it worse. They have 2 bulgy boobs, right? This causes Hio-tan to start throwing water balloons at everyone’s crotch. When she is cornered, her teammates can’t help because Director would rather film her and Kameko would rather snap shots of her. In the end, let’s say she looks like she has been violated. Was it worth it? Oh yes! Fu Girl has a gone that shoots blood for realistic zombie effect! Umio is also taken out so with Sommelier her only comrade left, they combine! Actually she’s just hiding behind this big guy. Useful. Just when it seems Sommelier has his lolicon instinct turned on and hugs her, it is actually to protect her from competitors using the fire hydrant. She is sad he is sacrificing himself and wants to give up but he won’t. Suddenly the competitors are watered out. It’s Sensei! Then she turns on Fu Girl. Sensei eventually wins the event as a solo team. Surprised? Not as surprising as Umio finds out that Fu Chan is actually 16 years old! Woah!!! So she isn’t an elementary girl?

Episode 3A
Hio-tan thought she’d be selling something perfect for Christmas. A bishoujo game. What’s more, she has to sell it in the freezing outdoor cold in only her thin layer of Santarina outfit. She argues with Director that this game is not so Christmas-y and she gets lectured about some event a year ago and the people looking for love. Just brings you to tears, no? Yeah. It was all a joke. So start selling! So cold… Later Director asks Hio-tan if she has a boyfriend. Say what?! If not, why not go out with him? FOR REAL?! Go out shopping, that is. Disappointed? Hio-tan is at Director’s place to help with the Christmas decorations. She already got her finger cut at first go. So after the decorations are in place, the rest of their Umanohone gang show up to party. They put Sensei in a cute dress and it makes her fluster greatly. For the group photo, Kameko doesn’t want to be in it but she is forced to and made to stand in the middle. Thankfully after all that struggling, the photo turned out alright. After food, Umio shocks everyone with his announcement that he has a girlfriend. FOR REAL?! A girlfriend from that bishoujo game. He continues ranting how great everything is but I suppose he is only talking to himself since everybody is asleep.

Episode 3B
After everyone leaves, Hio-tan sticks around in Director’s home reading manga. Don’t mind her. So why the shock when she sees him in a towel after coming out of the bath? It’s like she becomes a freeloader, eating his delicious home cooked lunch and playing his video game the entire day. When it is time to go out for dinner, she thanks him because she doesn’t want to be home alone on her day off. She hopes she can come again. Sure she can. If she goes home. And true enough, she comes again the next day. Ironically, for a person who always plays pranks and sexual harassments, she doesn’t mind his company the entire day?

Episode 3C
Umanohone opens its store for the New Year’s sale. The customers are streaming in like mad. No, Fu Girl, they are not zombies so don’t try and kill them! Not even Sommelier could protect her from the ‘hordes’. Freaking scary. We see how Umio gets ‘engulfed’ by customers once they learn he is carting a new volume, Kameko losing her voice for greeting too much and Sensei experiencing ‘arm pain’ for placing the purchase in the bag too much. At the end of the day, they survive but not without ‘injuries’. Director apologizes for always making them stay late and work. But they say they don’t mind because they love manga and being with everyone else. And Director had to ruin the mood when he hopes to see them at work tomorrow. Hey, they said they didn’t mind, right? On the way back, Sensei brings Umio to her secret spot at a shrine. A beautiful view of the city lights on a little hill. Her wish is to make her manga debut this year. She notes there is another wish she made and it hints it may have something to do with Umio. But she is left frustrated when Umio won’t tell her his wish.

Episode 4A
Hio-tan is shocked to see books stacked like monuments. Director explains he has a shelf assign to a staff to promote manga and a competition to see who can do better sales so they got creative. But Fu Girl’s zombie shelf seems normal. Till she pops out and scares you! At first she used Umio to do the scaring. But it led her to turn on her beast mode and whack him. The ‘best’ shelf has got to be Director because he is using Hio-tan’s image to promote BL books! Here come all the fujoshi girls! Hio-tan realizes everyone has their own manga they like and thus can promote. She talks this out to the other girls so they bring her to their rival store, Mikan Books to get ideas how to push their book sales. In other words: Spying. Hio-tan observes Sensei purchasing any manga she thinks it is good. She might look like judging a book by its cover but she notes that she will regret not buying a good one. So if she has the slightest interest, she’ll buy it. As she talks about true desires, Hio-tan becomes enlightened and gets into the grove of finding the manga she likes. As she packs her shelf, Director gives her more mangas to stack. Although she hasn’t read it and cannot recommend them, let’s say it is recommended by him. She notes he is nice to her when they are alone. He points out he is always nice. She corrects him, he is always mean. So while Director’s shelf promotes BL stuffs using his own image (in that bulgy trunks!), Hio-tan becomes embarrassed after reading the BL books he recommended to her. And so Hio-tan’s shelf became the best seller… The irony…

Episode 4B
When Fu Girl gives her Valentine chocolates to some of the staffs, it dawned to Sensei she forgot about this day. Umio got a melting zombie and so as not to hurt her feelings, he says he likes it. This turns on her beast mode and it’s time for another bloody beat down. Yeah. Bloody Valentine for him. Fu Girl is looking for Sommelier but he is in a special Valentine event. Lots of girls want to give him their chocolates! A box overflowing of them is last year’s standards… That’s how many fans he has got. Suddenly G-men enters the scene to point out some indecent materials he recommended. However… She notes she herself is an indecent being and today is here to give her thanks. She gives him chocolates and hopes he will hook up her with more indecent ones. Why is everybody crying at the end of this drama?! Sensei is desperate in choosing a Valentine’s chocolate. However with the guts she got, she could only buy some energy drinks. Fu Girl is looking for Sommelier but he has left. Since there is not much customers for tonight, Director gives her the green light to go home early. She chases after him but cannot catch up. I mean, she had to follow him walking on walls, crawling through the jungle, climbing cliffs… How to catch up?! It’s like he is trolling her. She finally does: At his home. After a lot of hesitation, she finally sums up her courage to give him a present: An indecent manga. “Pour hot chocolate on me”… ?! She thanks him and hopes could come again to read his manga collection. Although Sommelier is happy with this gift (it’s like God sent the way he lifts it up), later we see Fu Girl regretting that she didn’t have the guts to give him the real present: A heart shaped chocolate.

Episode 5A
Suddenly… Sensei asks Umio if he wants to see her panties!!! It all began when she showed Director her manuscript and he criticizes there isn’t enough panties fanservice. He makes her setup a shelf filled with panty themed mangas for the panty festival. Don’t ask. Since she is a noob, she seeks Umio’s advice. Yeah. He brings her a stack (a very high one) of mangas containing good panty shots! She learns about the spring time panties thingy and the fearsome ambiguous skirt lifting scene which may or may not have panties underneath. Under his ‘training’, she installs real panties on the shelf, puts a real skirt and fan to blow it up enough for that haitenai effect and of course using a panty as a hat. Superb! As Hio-tan is running late, she accidentally drops in on their conversation and misunderstood everything. She heard Umio asking Sensei to show her panties although she showed everything to Director! Actually it is the manga she is writing. Panicky Hio-tan brings Director here only the misunderstood their conversation further. She hears Umio saying he wants to see not only her panties but her boobs and butt too! Sensei agrees. The shock is too much for Hio-tan that she collapses.

Episode 5B
The rainy day is wreaking havoc on the girls’ hair. Except for Sensei whose hairstyle remains perfect. However she thinks she is not feminine enough to have such experience. Kameko’s hair turning into afro?! Suddenly… Sommelier walks into the shop shirtless! All the girls go crazy!!! O sh*t! After lunch with Fu Girl, they were caught in the rain and took shelter. Since she is cold, he takes off his shirt to wrap her with it. But what follows next is totally weird. Fu Girl sitting on his shoulder wrapped with his shirt as he walks in shirtless! OMG! What freaking monster combination is this?! But the girls are going crazy. Even G-men can’t contain her excitement of this ‘indecency’. Taking photos as evidence? All Fu Girl wanted was to walk back with him sharing an umbrella. Flashback reveals Sommelier saw an abandoned cat in a cardboard box and gave his shirt as blanket. He bought food for it but by the time he returns, a couple of bike punks took it back. He followed them but found they were treating it well. He felt sad and left the foodstuff on their bike.

Episode 5C
Umio is in utter shock. Some famous writer for Die Heart 2 (WTF?!), Haruka Tsumori AKA Tsumorin is coming to visit Umanohone for some signing event. You know how much he loves her by the way he rants and screams about her. Even more surprising is that she is here to temporarily work with them. On second thought, the most shocking thing he learns that she was an employee of this store before she became a writer. He starts regretting that he should have come to work here earlier and wants to go back in time, blah, blah, blah. Just STFU. Unfortunately he can’t work with her today. Tsumorin is tasked to stack mangas with Hio-tan. The latter learns Director and Tsumorin once dated. As in, a real couple. She observes what kind of girl she is and finds her a very skilled person. At first. Tsumorin then becomes clumsy and this becomes a domino effect wrecking everything in the store! Hio-tan thought this is the way to become a skilled person and imitates her clumsiness! Stop right there! Tsumorin talks to Hio-tan that Director used to scold her for messing up. Pretty much the same treatment Hio-tan gets, huh? She believes he has not changed. As she leaves, there seems to be a hint of romantic indication that she wants to come again. And I mean just not to work in the store. Of course she can. As long as she doesn’t get in the way. Umio is absolutely infuriated that Tsumorin has already left. So many things to ask her… Then everyone suggests meeting at Director’s place but I guess the same thing happened… Umio passionately ranting about Tsumorin. Everyone is fast asleep. Nobody’s listening. And there’s more to come… Give it a rest already!

Episode 6A
Umio senses that Sensei hasn’t change her jersey! This means she hasn’t gone back for days! She reveals it is because of some newcomer award, she is working hard to beat the deadline and doesn’t have time to go home. This is her first submission. For the last few nights she has been sleeping here and completing her work in the storeroom. Umio offers to help as usual but since she wants this first submission to be entirely her work, he walks away. Then she changes her mind and needs his help. After all, no matter how much work he helps, it will always be her submission. Things are progressing well and the first night Sensei has trouble sleeping since you know, Umio is sleeping in the same room with her. Does he not think she is a girl? Eventually she too falls asleep… Next day, the stress gets to her and it is breakdown mode again. Umio tells her that she needs to continue working because otherwise all the people who help support her will go to waste. Therefore don’t dismiss you own hard work. This gives her motivation to carry on. But as the deadline looms, they still might not make it. This is where Director comes in as he supervises the rest of the staffs to help out. Just when Sensei finishes the last piece, Hio-tan had to be clumsy with the ink. Spilled! Oh dear. All the hard work. Now everybody starts crying. It is having a domino effect that Director is going to lose it as well! We thought Umio might change the pace of everything with his serious look but he is the one who is crying the loudest! This causes everyone to stop crying and return to work. Reverse psychology? Finally they made it in time and just when they thought they could rest, Sensei brings out another thick set of papers. They’re going to start on the summer convention’s manuscript. Oh… My… God… Umio is still crying…

Episode 6B
Sensei is tied up and brought to some secret underground room whereby Tsumorin and Hio-tan start rolling a film directed and narrated by Director. Actual footage courtesy of all the security cameras in all the rooms. Wow. Those must be some awesome security footage. It is about Sensei working overtime for her manuscript submission one night and this film highlights the unlady-like ways of and conduct. From cleaning her glasses with her shirt, drinking straight out from a bottle, wiping her mouth with her sleeve, failing in her instant noodles and eating it anyway, going into that berserk baby mode when the computer crashes, accidentally spilling ink on the floor and since she cannot wipe it away she covers the spot with boxes (oh, the atrocity!), using wet wipes to clean her face, neck, glasses, pen time and finally using it as a coaster (no way!) and the ultimate shock is that when it is time to go to work, she uses the kitchen sink to wash her hair and shower!!! This is way too much! And the ultimate crime is that she wears the same jersey and underwear to work. So how many million minus points has she accumulated? So embarrassing that she could die, huh? Even Tsumorin and Hio-tan are in total shock…

Episode 7A
After another successful convention, the gang head to the hotspring for a well deserved rest. This time Tsumorin is tagging along. Umio couldn’t be happier. Hope he won’t die before they reach there. Yeah. The hotspring is called Shingeki No Oji-san (Attack On Uncle). WTF???!!! A misunderstanding causes Sensei, Hio-tan and Fu Girl to rush into a room to get towels. They are totally naked when they realized too late that they need to put on their yukata and wait in this room to get them. Freaking embarrassing. In the hotspring, Tsumorin starts groping boobs but loses interest in those with flat chests. She starts talking and teasing about the ones the girls have a crush on. Even though they vehemently deny, you can tell from their body actions that something is up. So we see them having fun at the festival too but the highlight scene is when Tsumorin has too much drink and uses Director’s lap as a pillow. It might be the alcohol talking or not when she asks if he would like to go back the way they were. He apologizes he can’t because there is someone he likes. Tsumorin knows it because he is always mean to the girl he likes. He never changed. She did. She starts crying uncontrollably and what do you know? Hio-tan might have just overheard everything and is close to tears too.

Episode 7B
As the last day of the summer fair is here, the gang pack up all those summer promotion materials and prepare for the autumn season. Hio-tan is thinking too much about what Director said then. So worried that she didn’t pay attention and gets another paper cut on her finger. In the storeroom as Director puts band aid on her finger, she questions about the boobs theme for autumn. He passionately rants about women eating that affect the growth of their boobs. She is not amused and does not react like usual. This has Director think she is not well. However Hio-tan flusters thinking he is on to her about that talk. Actually he thinks she is worried about that hotspring naked incident. He teases her that he might have seen her boobs and tries to guess its size. Hio-tan knows she is being messed with and needs to change the topic and regain control. She messes up when she asks if he likes boobs. Yes he does. Then she asks if he likes her boobs or Tsumorin’s. Messed up again? Director turns into an ‘angel’ explaining how God only created boobs but man categorized them. Therefore he will not judge and boobs of all sizes, shapes and colours, he will appreciate them! However this backfires because Hio-tan is upset this means he is happy with anyone’s boobs. She leaves the room crying and seeks the comfort of Sensei. Role reversal?

Episode 8A
The lack of sleep and working too hard must be making Sensei go crazy. She still thinks the workplace is the convention and worries about her manga not selling. After having her rest, Umio asks about the results of the newcomer award. She didn’t win. However it was noted her work was promising and was assigned an editor and asked if she would like to work as a manga assistant. She took up the offer but finds it hard to balance her current work and own doujin. She asks for Umio’s advice and he tells her to make the assistant job her priority. It’s sad to see her leave but she has a dream. So word gets around that Sensei has seen Director to quit. Although they are sad, they have to support her and give her farewell gifts and start ranting how it will be lonely. Don’t forget about them too. Director then clears their misunderstanding. He suggested Sensei work lesser shifts because it will be problematic if she suddenly quits. In that instant, everybody felt somewhat disappointed and take back the gifts… Back to work everyone. Nothing to see. With Sensei still around, Umio continues to be her assistant. He is going to work his ass off with tonight…

Episode 8B
We see a short retro silent clip of Fu Girl seeing an abandoned zombie cat. She takes out her bat and whacks it to death! No mercy! In another clip, she spots a stray zombie cat in the crowd and tails it to a cemetery whereby she got spooked by ghosts. When she learns the ghosts are zombie cats in disguise, this turns on her beast mode. They’re all going to die again…

Episode 8C
Sensei is in happy mood since there is a movie she wants to see coming out tomorrow. Accidentally she invites Umio to come along so it is no surprise back home she is panicking because this invitation may make it look like a date. She starts flustering thinking all of the ‘romantic’ encounters. She thought of dolling up herself but too much makeup could make him upset. Thinking of the need to be more subtle and rough, I guess being an unkempt and dirty looking girl won’t do either. Stuffing her bra to push up her boobs isn’t going to help either. Thus she calls Hio-tan for help. She knows what is going on and before you know it, Kameko and Fu Girl are also here to initiate a meeting to discuss what a guy wants. Boobs? This doesn’t sit well with the flat chests. How about becoming a guy to understand what they think? After reading a manly manga, Sensei turns into a guy. She starts molesting Hio-tan’s boobs! Then she turns Kameko into a dog and violates her! With Fu Girl having perfect loli attributes, she starts licking and carrying her into a room to do ‘undesirable things! OMFG! Is that what she thinks guy wants?! Still don’t understand, eh? Hio-tan uses her last resort. Why not ask a guy directly? So she calls Umio over and has Sensei dress in several cosplay outfits. Pick which he wants. But Umio gets mad. Because all her cosplay outfits, she did not wear her glasses!!! WHAT THE?! He goes on ranting about glasses as sword and shield. She puts them back on and wonders if she is cute all the time. Definitely. They both fluster as the other girls conclude glasses are what men want. Banzai megane!

Episode 9A
One morning after her sister left, Hio-tan suddenly falls sick. She calls in sick and to her surprise Director is at her doorstep to check on her (because she didn’t reply his message). At first she shoos him away but I guess on second thought, she might need his company after all. He cooks for her and then leaves for work. He texts her during his shift and since she didn’t answer, he wonders if she is sleeping. After work he goes to check on her again. Something feels wrong. Her apartment is dark. Did she go to the hospital? Peeping through the window he sees her sprawled on the floor. At that moment of panic, he kicks down the door. The door falls on her. He carries her throughout town trying to find a hospital that is open this late. When Hio-tan wakes up, she is back home and is told she was given some IV at the hospital. Then she freaks out about him staying instead of leaving. He assures her he won’t attack a sick girl and it is dangerous since he broke her door and will stay with her for the night. He can’t leave her alone when she is weak. That calmed her down as she finally manages to sleep. Next morning, she finds him sleeping on the floor beside her bed. While she was sleeping, she clearly remembered he whispered into her ear that she is too defenceless and it won’t be his fault if he loses control. This makes her wonder if it is so much fun for him to play with her feelings. Now that Director has caught her cold and out sick, the ironic part is that Umanohone is in chaos without his supervision! They want to go visit him after work but Hio-tan is against it and doesn’t want them to get infected. Or does she want to keep the privilege of nursing him all to herself?

Episode 9B
Again, Hio-tan falls sick and this time Sensei is going to pay her a visit. Another reason why she is doing so is to check out her feminine power and learn from it. Imagine the shock when everything turns out opposite from what she imagined. The rundown apartment to the casual clothes she wears. And she thinks this is part of the girl power and notes it down. Sensei tries to help do her laundry but becomes shock to see sexy lingerie in it. Is this what Hio-tan wears underneath? And there is this bra size… H-cup! Holy! How big is that?! So big that it just couldn’t fit her… There is even a garter belt that Sensei is not sure what kind of garment it is and puts it on her head to try!!! As she becomes infatuated with this girl power, Hio-tan is shocked to see her in this state. Those lingerie belong to her sister…

Episode 9C
Director rounds up the gang and it seems all of them have something specially prepared for the Christmas season. There are lots of singles alone on that night and looks like their only company will be such mangas they’ll be offering. Tsumorin is part of the line but Director doesn’t want her to buy such book. She throws a tantrum and starts drinking before him. All the guys are pissed he made a girl cry and throw him away. Sensei then turns to Tsumorin. She tried to learn ways of the feminine power but still doesn’t understand. Tsumorin points out that girl power won’t help her get the attention of the one she loves. Surprised? Because she has the person she loves in front of her. G-men is suddenly here. She drops a sack containing lots of indecent works that were meant to be destroyed. She doesn’t want their fate to be tragic and trusts they would use them well. Sommelier takes over and distributes them to all the grateful customers. They’re ‘saved’. Yeah. From the old to the young, there’s something for everybody! Serious! Merry Erostmas! Gosh, is this what Christmas for singles will be?

Episode 10A
Sensei finally remembers it this year: Valentine’s Day. But the battle to make the chocolates has just begun. When Tsumorin checks on her, she sees the placed messed up! A failed chocolate production? And so Tsumorin becomes a cooking teacher for the Umanohone girls on how to bake a good chocolate cake. Of course they’re doing it wrong like Fu Girl who is whacking the chocolates like a zombie to crush it up. Luckily Tsumorin is such a patient and understanding girl to correct and show them the right way. Problems after problems and at the end they manage to make a very delicious one. Now that it is time to wrap up the perfect chocolate cake into gifts, they realize they have eaten the entire cake for it was too delicious. Tears of sorrow?

Episode 10B
Sensei is having her weird fantasies about giving her chocolates to Umio. But in reality she is the number one chicken. Accidentally she says out loud about Valentine’s chocolates and this has him remember. What good will it do if she beats him up instead? Tsumorin checks on Kameko who still hasn’t give her chocolates. Kameko notes everyone has somebody to give their chocolates to and she herself is just happy to watch from afar rather than getting caught up and hurt. Tsumorin messes with her hair and lectures her about giving up without trying. Kameko now has the courage to give her chocolates to Director. Tsumorin thinks the same. Time to go bug him.

Episode 10C
Today is White Day and Umio is giving his chocolates to the girls. Sensei is hinting that she would love to receive one when he mentions she won’t get any because he didn’t get her chocolates. Damn. Sensei is so sad and mad that she pours some strange liquid on him and points out to Fu Girl that he is a zombie. Oh sh*t! Beast mode! Hio-tan learns Kameko got a turtle strap from Director as gift. She is going to treasure it very much. By the time Umio is beaten to a pulp, he finally managed to say it was all a joke and had chocolates for Sensei all along. Oops…

Episode 10D
After a hard day’s work, Umanohone is going to close when Director receives a message to setup new stocks for tomorrow’s new books. Hio-tan heard it and the duo grit their teeth for a long night. They head out to buy some snacks but when they return, the manager has closed and locked the store. He is already home and there is no train left this late at night. Plus, their belongings are inside it. They have no choice but to stay in the staff room until morning where the manager will come and open it. Hio-tan is like half asleep and possibly sleep walking since she poured coffee on her own shirt and it took her a while to react. Director strips his shirt to lend it to her to wear. As she takes a shower, she remembers Tsumorin talking to her about that hotspring incident. She wants to help Hio-tan because Tsumorin wants to give up on him but he is too nice. She won’t allow Hio-tan to pass him up as it means her advice will go to waste. As they sleep, Director tells Hio-tan she is defenceless. How? He goes on top of her. Wow. Hio-tan is cool? She believes the Director she knows will wait till she has an answer. How much does she know about him anyway? After he backs down and goes to sleep, Hio-tan lets go a huge sigh of relief. Man, she was really scared then. Next morning, the duo get to work and manage to setup in time. Tsumorin checks on them and sees how well they’re interacting with each other. She feels she is an awful woman for pretending to give the girls advice but was only using them. She starts crying believing she can finally give up.

Episode 11A
When G-men was young, her mother wanted her to study hard and be a civil servant, something she wasn’t too happy about. She comes across an abandoned hut and spots guys from her class reading porn magazines. One of them is Sommelier. At that time G-men hated such books since her brother loves reading them. The boys spot her and drag her in to silence her. It would be bad if she lets the teacher know since she is the class rep. Sommelier tries to ‘bribe’ her with porn magazines but she is not buying. Till he shows a non-porn magazine (is this a tennis or badminton parody?) that she likes. She joins them and even brings her brother’s thrown away porn magazines for them. Throughout the seasons, this becomes their usual meeting place to read porn. Sommelier has got the knack to just bring more. One day when it is just Sommelier and G-men, he shows her a secret underground where he keeps all the porn books. G-men also tells a secret that she wears glasses and will bring one of her brother’s crazy books tomorrow. However in class, the teacher announces that some kids are hanging out at an abandoned hut reading questionable materials and does a spot check. G-men is cowering in fear and when it is her turn, Sommelier distracts the teacher by showing his porn book. He is taken to the office. G-men then runs out to the hut to try and protect the secret stash. She hides when she heard somebody coming in. The teacher isn’t mad at Sommelier because he also did such things his age. He just doesn’t want him to return to that hut since it will be demolished today. Oh no. G-men is terrified for her life as the excavator starts tearing down the place. The books are all messed up. It stops when they see a kid running in. Sommelier saves her but she starts crying that she couldn’t save the books. Soon, she had to transfer away since her father is getting a job transfer. She hands him that crazy book from her brother which isn’t anything porn (Doraemon parody?). He in turn hands over a BL book as parting gift. She is touched and admits she loves porn books and vows to protect them when she grows up. And now that they have both grown up, we see they still keep and treasure those exchanged books.

Episode 11B
Tsumorin and Hio-tan spy outside Sensei’s house as part of their reconnaissance to check on Sensei’s girl power. With a passionate narration from Tsumorin, we see all the un-girly things Sensei did from oversleeping (by 4 hours?!), packing her manuscript stuffs so that she can work at a family restaurant but ironically eats an instant ramen at home (because outside food is expensive) and then keeping leftovers refrigerated (Tsumorin admits she did the same thing too – tears of nostalgia?), working for over 8 hours straight at the family restaurant and then continue working to suppress her misery that she cannot afford to buy the restaurant’s food and finally coming home to finish the leftover ramen. And this concludes their report on her. Yeah, they even show it to her, the fruits of their spying results.

Episode 11C
Fu Girl is so short that it is no wonder that Sommelier couldn’t see her when she calls. She thinks she needs to grow her breasts bigger or else he won’t notice her. Don’t you think big boobs would look odd on a loli? She tries sitting on Umio’s shoulder. Although she is the same height as Sommelier, Umio can’t maintain his balance. This causes Sommelier and Fu Girl’s head to crash together. Ironically, Sommelier is knocked out while Fu Girl is still conscious. As he is put to rest, Fu Girl feels apologetic and in the spur of the moment goes up to kiss his lips! When she realizes what she has done, she runs away blushing. Then right in the middle of the crowd she lets loose a high shriek scream. What in blazes? Sommelier wakes up noticing something tastes different on his lips. Is that tears of joy or disappointment?

Episode 12A
Sensei has drank too much at an after-party. On the verge of puking? Can’t blame the old guy in the train for being very worried. Yeah. She might puke on him anytime… Anytime now… Right at Umio’s stop, she can’t hold it any longer. After vomiting her heart out, she is still feeling drowsy as Umio has no choice but to bring her back to his home. I guess she is still drunk since she somewhat likes Umio holding her hand but making funny faces. Outside his apartment, Umio has her wait outside as he goes to hide all his porn mangas, figurines, perverted stuffs and clean up the place real good. And he did that all in 40 seconds?! Sensei is let in and she wonders why he is so nice to her. Partly because it was his fault for making her drink too much. Trying to take responsibility? Since Umio is obedient and does anything she says no matter how ridiculous (cleaning her glasses?), she takes advantage of it and has him pat her head. After she gets used to it, now she wants to lie on his lap or else she will throw tantrum and vomit. He reluctantly allows but makes a funny noise when she puts her head… When she feels better, she tries to read some manga or look up the internet but Umio becomes defensive since behind everything is where he hid all those questionable stuffs. There is a butt pillow he accidentally took out during the confusion and so to put it back, he distracts her. Sensei panics when she felt his hand touching her from behind (to cover the butt pillow). She freaks out and he falls over her. Ambiguous scene. Umio has never seen her face this close up before. And she’s got some worthy boobs too. For some reason, his hand cannot resist touching it but it ends up touching the butt pillow. Sensei couldn’t be more insulted and disgusted that she has the face that might explode into loads of vomit. Yeah. Butt pillow confiscated!

Episode 12B
Director invites his colleagues for a hanami party. However Umio is upset since Tsumorin is not invited. She is away overseas for some signing event. Even so, why is G-men here?! Ah, Sommelier invited her. Awfully quiet, isn’t she? Fu Girl is still freaking out about that kissing incident and when Sommelier tries to get a drink close to her, she instantly runs away! Heart break… Suddenly Tsumorin pops up! Looks like the event was only for a day and even though at Taiwan, you can say how small the world has become. Tsumorin is sad. Tsumorin is mad. Director never invited her and accuses him of choosing this day because he knew she would be away. Director becomes the villain as everyone accuses him of whatever. In fact, Director knows a good reason why she never got invited. Every year she always gets drunk and goes overboard. Well, it already started if you haven’t noticed. She forces Director and Umio to drink till they’re out. Although Sommelier is already out, she continues forcing the sake down his throat. Then she strips Sensei to see her girl power but you can see her messy plain t-shirt underneath it. Hio-tan got her boobs fondled. Ah, drunk as hell. Things quiet down when Tsumorin falls asleep. Everyone is out except for Kameko. Umio wakes up and they talk. She asks if he has anyone he likes since he is kind and perceptive. She is trying to hint that if he keeps this up, he’ll end up as part of the audience (speaking from experience I guess). Kameko drops the subject as Umio says he is also watching over her. Then Sensei had to interrupt and request to lie on his lap. That funny sound again…

Episode 12C
Finally. The Manager of Umanohone makes his proper debut and dialogue! He is addressing the rest of the employees of the store. And you thought the entire store was filled with just our zany seven, eh? Yeah well, if you think about it, how can only 7 people handle everything? Because the entire building has different sections like games to light novels too. So in this final part we see Manager giving his morning speech and making the employees repeat after him. Oaths that sound so freaking questionable. Yeah… Boobs… Lolita… And the employees sound dumb enough to repeat everything! At least this shows they’re dedicated and loyal. Hah… Then he leads them to do a morning workout and those positions look so ambiguous that it is porn video worthy. Finally he raps to the company’s theme song which feels like his problems. And now, everyone get back to work and your stations! That goes to the same for Director and his team.

Books Aren’t Dirty – It’s Your Mind!
Even if the anime has ended, the anime and manga in real life will continue. Forever! Ah yes, when animes without any real plots end like that, sometimes it is both a good and bad thing. Good because you won’t feel frustrated and get that WTF feeling with unanswered questions. Bad because you’d expect nothing more. Wait, is that a good thing? But as far as this anime is concerned, I believe that it was fun all the way because of the many funny and comedic moments. Even though the store specializes in lots of manga genres, a good thing is that they didn’t go too deep into it so much so that noobs and casual viewers will have a hard time understanding it all and thus diminishing the enjoyment value.

Therefore why this anime works is that instead of delving into the technical aspects of how these people run a bookstore, we see their daily interactions with each other at work, off work and in other activities that might not even be related. From street festival competitions to hotspring relaxation, the slapstick humour is funny enough to tickle your bones. So much so you wouldn’t think this is some violent anime (Fu Girl whacking Umio the zombie till you need a mosaic censor) or some ecchi series (girls walking naked in the hotspring but only to be saved by mysteriously white lights covering strategic places) or some retro drama (what the heck is that Lime Cat black and white movie featuring Sommelier and a funny looking stray cat?). At the end of the day, you don’t get the slightest idea of how a comic store is run but you know that it is one big tough ass hard job because of all the stacking preparations and overtime work to unwrap boxes and appropriately place them in the shelves or promotion areas. So people, next time you want to b*tch about your book being unavailable or late, spare a thought of how hard these people work behind the scenes just so that people can get what they are looking for. Definitely not fun and games.

The characters are the ones that made this possible and each of them is unique enough to make them lovable and memorable. You get a glimpse of some of their past and they take turns getting a fair share of some screen time so it is pretty sufficient for a short one season anime to get to know the characters enough. Like Umio who may look like a normal guy with glasses but when you talk about the things he love or they appear before him, he becomes a passionate nut that nobody can beat. Or Director, at first he may look like some lazy supervisor how only knows how to pick on cute gullible girls but as we learn, he isn’t such a bad person after all and ironically is the one who keeps his team in line and a very reliable person. So it’s just like he is acting so because well, it’s his character. He can slack because he can do the job himself and perhaps from another point of view, like they say, a clever person is one who hides his cleverness. But I wonder how big is collection on Hio-tan’s various expressions is.

Every character has a personality that all of us can relate to in real life. For example, Sensei. She is the kind of person that breaks under pressure especially when her manuscript’s deadline is near. Most of us would have this frustrated feeling, don’t we? Ah yes, Sensei. We feel your frustration. And she always worries about her girl power but eventually goes nowhere with it no matter how hard she tries. Back to square one. Like most of us who aspire to change and be different but never really got off the ground, huh? G-men is another good example because like many of us who have our day jobs, the work we do for life is sometimes very contrasting to the things we love. Despite her government job to make checks on unhealthy materials, deep down in her heart she loves porn. Who doesn’t? I mean, really. Who in this world hasn’t watched porn or not think about such unholy acts before?

Then there is camera maniac Kameko who observes others and Sommelier who is probably the best character because he doesn’t speak much and yet he knows what you want. Looks can be deceiving because zombie lover Fu Girl may look like a loli but she is much older than that and not as innocent as you think. Just don’t ever make her think that you’re a zombie or you’re done for. It is pretty amazing how Umio can come back without any permanent injuries. Then again, who cares? Then there is Hio-tan who is half the time screaming or flustering. Like as though everything she sees or hears then is like a culture shock. Lastly and not forgetting Tsumorin, behind that smile sometimes hides a dangerous person because she makes a great spy-cum-stalker and someone you can never beat when drunk. So stay absolutely far away from her when she is so. Otherwise, just like every other character, despite their quirky personality, they are actually nice and caring people. Like Director who loves playing prank especially on Hio-tan but at many times he actually helps her out. Sommelier says nothing but he knows what you want. And he really, really knows. Fu Girl likes swinging her bat in beast mode but in reality is just a meek girl. Or is it the other way round, a meek girl to cover her zombie killing craze?

Romance feels like a hit and miss. Lots of teasing moments like Umio’s close up with Sensei and the closest one of Fu Girl kissing Sommelier. But that is as far as you’ll get. You will also get to know the pairings after a while but whether or not they hook up and become an item is another story. Maybe the store has a policy forbidding relationships during work. But that is just me thinking too much because we see the girls holding back confessing to their secretly loved ones is because they’re too embarrassed to do so. So it’s like we have everyone loving somebody. Fu Girl x Sommelier, Sensei x Umio, Hio-tan x Director. These are the obvious pairs but we also have Tsumorin and Kameko liking Director (man, this guy is popular) with Tsumorin despite being an ex, feels like she has a hard time getting over him even if that tear jerking moment that she could felt like a troll moment. Umio’s love for Tsumorin is most likely to be of an obsessed fan and idol type rather than anything romantic. It may seem Fu Girl x Sommelier pairing may be straightforward but don’t forget G-men who still harbours feelings for him. Otherwise, why keep coming back and help the store out?

Art and drawing style of the characters lean towards the cute aspect. Personally, sometimes they look weird. For example, Fu Girl has this kind of face that she is going to cry anytime. Every time I look at Sensei, I can’t help think she is some sort of penguin. No, seriously. Must be the hairstyle that is close to that Sakura girl in Penguin Musume. Kameko’s big fluffy hat gives me the impression that she is one of those boys who sell papers in the streets of London. “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!”. Besides, every time I see her fluffy hair, it makes me think she is some kind of sheep. Others have this stereotypical look like Sommelier, all big taciturn guys have this similar look and feel. Just like Bleach’s Sado and Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maiden’s Hibiki. And Umio has this typical plain look that all plain ordinary normal bespectacled guys have. So typical that I can’t even name one right now ;p. Shin-Ei Animation produced this anime and animated a variety of classic favourites like Doraemon, Crayon Shin-chan, Ninja Hattori and Esper Mami.

There are a handful of trivia to spot from Hio-tan’s imitation of Gendou’s signature pose and the hilarious parody of Shingeki No Kyojin. The most interesting one is the hanami party whereby you see the characters in cosplay outfit. If you know your seiyuus well, you will notice that they are cosplaying a character in an earlier anime that they voiced. Because I am not familiar with the manga world (what not such indecent mangas), I am not sure if all the promotion posters you see in the store are based on the real manga itself or they are just made up. In addition to the end card illustrations from several people at the end of every episode, some end cards feature the art cover of a manga (that is at least mentioned or featured in that episode or the next) fully included with its synopsis as well. I am not sure if they are real or not till the Prince Of Shuttlecock was featured. This is definitely a parody. A little trivia about this as I note that G-men said it was a tennis manga (which the parody is based on) but a shuttlecock is only used in badminton (which is what the parody is about), right? But you can view the full list of manga covers in the final ending credits, those mangas that were featured in the series or at least enough for you to notice them.

Speaking of end card illustrations, some are funny but there is one which is just really WTF material. On the penultimate episode, this end card illustrated is just a freaking atrocious scribbling doodles of the worst kind ever! It is like giving your one year toddler a crayon and just scribble like hell! I don’t even know what to make out of this ‘art’. WTF is this???!!! Even more so, this was illustrated by Yu Kobayashi. It’s like she is trolling with us or something. Maybe she suddenly felt some sort of rage and started going crazy with her artwork. If you say Picasso’s painting is weird. You should check this one out. Because if you can call this art, then I am sure all the squiggles, scrawling and graffiti work of every toddler would become world famous paintings. No, seriously.

I thought Kana Asumi was behind the voice of Hio-tan because whenever she starts screaming or gets into her panicky flustering mode, she sounds so much alike. So much so, I thought she was having a cold while voicing this character because otherwise she doesn’t sound like the Kana Asumi I am used to hearing. Turns out to be Natsumi Takamori behind Hio-tan’s voice. She was the voice of Saki in Acchi Kocchi, Misaki in Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo and Saitou in Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen. Hearing Fu Girl too somewhat rang familiar bells. Sounds like Ayana Taketatsu. True enough it is her. This seemingly cute, innocent and shrieky voice reminds me of the one she voiced in Tamayura as Fuu. Just imagine a more corrupted version of that character here. Not so innocent after all, eh? Also recognizable are Satomi Satou as Tsumorin (Wendy in Fairy Tail) who seems to sound like having fun with her cute character and Yu Kobayashi as G-men (Ayame in Gintama) who sounds like she is trying to suppress her crazy voice like how her character is sometimes suppressing her love for porn books because of her job.

The rest of the casts include Minami Tsuda as Sensei (Yui in YuriYuri), Ryota Ohsaka as Umio (Haruto in Valvrave The Liberator), Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Director (Kirito in Sword Art Online), Mai Aizawa as Kameko (Mio in Nichijou) and Takahiro Tomita as Sommelier (Bluk in Outbreak Company). The generic anime pop-like opening theme is Kajirikake No Ringo by Ayana Taketatsu while the lively anime rock pop ending theme is Two-Dimension’s Love by Denki Girls (which are basically comprised of Sensei, Fu Girl, Kameko and Tsumorin).

Overall, this is a fun and enjoyable anime with lots of funny moments and weird characters to go with. And please do not start thinking that people working at such bookstores are oddballs. For those people hating such unhealthy and indecent books, well you are entitled to your opinion. But sometimes I feel that there is such discrimination just because of its contents. Books are still books, right? So don’t treat them with contempt or disrespect! It is the same and akin to treating a human with a different skin colour and race just because of your stereotype beliefs as eventually we are all the same human beings. Therefore, no matter what kind of books you like, be it porn stuffs or knowledge/enlightening materials or gossip magazines that only has entertainment purpose, the important thing is to enjoy what you are reading. All that being said, now if I can only pick up and read my first manga… After all these years, can’t believe I’m still not into reading… Must be a bad addiction, huh?

If only real life was like in video games. In the sense that if you screw up somewhere in the game and die a horrific death, you can always go back to your earlier save point and redo the events again. Because it is like you already have the experience and prior knowledge of the ‘future events’ and take steps to deal with it. Apparently this case is something of the anime Ushinawareta Mirai Wo Motomete that was adapted from an adult visual novel game of the same name. Unfortunately I have to give away that much even though you can somewhat guess something of this likes while watching it because otherwise there isn’t anything standing out that describes best this anime. The synopsis was general enough to not give away too much. Enigmatic enough to at least make you (like yours truly) to wonder there is more to it. With the typical setting of a certain club in a certain high school, as usual the main male protagonist lead, his female club members, the other guy in the club, and with events like paranormal sightings, accidents and mysterious coma-related illness. Wow. So much going on. Can they find time for romance here? And don’t forget the all-important ingredient of a mysterious amnesiac girl popping up and ‘slowly moving the gears of fate’.

Episode 1
Kaori Sasaki and her mom, Shiori are teasing Sou Akiyama about his strange dream of catching a star when he was young. In class, Sou’s friend is bugging him about the reason Kaori has turned down guys who confessed to her since they are childhood friends. Sou wants to borrow his homework but he wants a naked photo of Kaori in the bath in exchange. That’s a joke, right? When Sou goes to ask her, he baulks and runs away! Well, it was to ask Kaori to borrow her homework. She reluctantly lends it to him after he promises to treat her to cake. Eitarou “Kenny” Osafune takes Sou and Kaori along since there is trouble brewing with Airi Hasekura. However she got it all under control as she singlehandedly beats up the boys. Seriously. No need for help. The guys were fighting and accusing each other of some sabotage. Airi wanted to stop them and in a way got involved. Nagisa Hanamiya has photo evidence that it is one of their fault. With the student council here, they have the perfect request to seek of the astronomy club members. Sou rejects whatever it is but they aren’t listening. From now till the school festival, they are to help stamp out such troubles. Isn’t that supposed to be the discipline committee’s job? In the clubroom, they wonder a mysterious black box that Nagisa is holding but she won’t tell. They also know she has some sort of fan club whereby she considers them as people who work at her beck and call. They discuss what they are to do for the festival and Kaori suggests a planetarium. This has Sou motivated as he thinks of how they’re going to make it. Sou and Airi get involve in some silly antic (he biting her feet?!) so Kaori isn’t so pleased and leaves. Sou is made to go after her but she’s still pouting. Next morning, Airi talks to Kaori about telling it straight to Sou. She believes Sou feels the same thing but is just an idiot for not being able to express it.

The astronomy club members go to quell trouble between the karate and judo club. When one of them accuses Kaori of some bribe (which she denies and was just as thanks) and pushes her down, he got an Airi kick into his face. Knocked out. The other guys follow but met the same fate. Kaori’s foot is sprained although she can still walk. The teacher is reprimanding Airi and Kenny about the recent ruckus but Nagisa said something and he gladly lets them off. Tonight, the astronomy club members are going to watch the stars. Kaori doesn’t feel like going but with Sou persuading he would like to see them with her, she relents. Even so, she is in pouting mood so the rest of them leave to give some space to Sou and Kaori. Kaori apologizes for sulking. Next day, Airi is pestering Sou for details because Kaori is in a good mood. Said anything romantic? Well, he doesn’t know it too well either because he apologized and everything was okay. Disappointed? Well, there’s that sulking look back on Kaori’s face again. Later when they are alone, Kaori confesses she likes Sou. She wants to be more than just family or childhood friends. She was mad at him because she wanted to know how he felt. Poor guy is left blushing and trying to find the right words. He just couldn’t. He doesn’t need to answer now but at least let her know. On the way back, she drops her strap. Cliché moment. Incoming bus. Brakes not working. She tries to pick it up but her hurt ankle has her fall. And then… Blood all over. Hospital. Sou. Depression. Shiori breaks down crying. A change of scene shows the astronomy club members in their clubroom when the building shakes. It cannot be an earthquake so Sou goes to check it out the floor above. Well, what do you know? An unconscious naked girl.

Episode 2
She wakes up and introduces herself as Yui Furukawa. That is all she remembers. Just great. An amnesiac girl. Since she is still tired, Nagisa takes her home with her. Yui is still restless and mentions about the need to go to Uchihama Academy but Nagisa has her rest. Next day, Nagisa uses some secret hand of hers to get Yui become a transfer student. Classmate Karin Fukasawa quickly becomes acquainted with her. Yui also joins the astronomy club. As they make preliminary preparations for the planetarium, the rest notice Yui has gotten more attached to Sou and Airi. One day in class, Yui got this big ringing headache and just walks out of class and something about Kaori bugs her. She is in a dilemma on what to do. Later in the clubroom, the girls design dresses for the maid cafe. Yui’s one can be said as avant-garde. A girl is checking some equipment when she sees a ghost that looks like Yui! Holy sh*t! Spooked! Soon rumours of the ghost become widespread. The astronomy club members check the area where the ghost is sighted. Kaori is the most scared one and even pushes the blame to Yui when Airi makes a prank scare. Suddenly a loud sound rattles the place, as if a jet was passing by the building. A box is going to fall on Kaori so Sou goes to protect her. After the sound is long gone, only the box drops. Mind boggling, Sou didn’t push her away but stood there to protect her. I thought at least they should move away instead of standing there although the box drop deals no serious (or even light) damage. Of course the student council wants the astronomy club to continue their peacekeeping ways and investigate whether this ghost rumour is someone pulling a hoax. They split into groups and interview those who have seen it. Most recount that it was a girl with long hair wearing their school uniform. Since they’re going nowhere, they take a break as the girls try out different sets of maid outfits. Nagisa’s one seems to have more cleavage exposure… She then has Yui compare her boobs with Airi’s… Honest Yui… I can tell who is going to get frustrated and upset. Later Kaori asks Yui if she has gotten used to the club. She feels they are a bit odd but that itself is pretty much normal. Yui remembers she forgot her hat and returns to the clubroom to get it. She sees Nagisa’s mysterious box and touches it. However Nagisa comes to check on her. Yui believes she now knows the reason she is here.

Episode 3
Yui will not elaborate but wants Nagisa to not tell the rest. When Airi sees Yui in her PE class, this reminds her of how she first met Kaori. Airi was a high achiever when young and thus she tried her best for her love to being praised. This means she wasn’t easy to make friends with. She started growing conscious about it as she grows older as her performance slightly dips till she met Kaori who was impressed of her. They were in the same relay team. Kaori’s slowpoke makes her team dead last but with Airi as the anchor, she zooms past everyone to win it. Kaori was super impressed. From that day on, they became best friends and Airi couldn’t care less about what people said about her. As the astronomy club is about to initiate a discussion about the ghost, suddenly they are called to break a fight between the judo and karate club guys. Yui remembers Kaori got injured and tries to stop her. Kaori says she’ll be fine. When things are seemingly heading in that direction (they rough guy is about to push Kaori), Yui takes Kaori and run out of the hall. But it was Sou who got his ass kicked before Airi and Kenny settled things. This causes Yui to feel responsible that it is her fault for getting him hurt although nobody is accusing her for that. Yui still puts a forlorn face, still believing that her interference causes Sou to be hurt. The more action she takes, the more unpredictable things happen. She hints it might be better not to do anything. The gang splits up to do investigate more on the ghost. Kenny and Nagisa speak to a teacher about the school’s past like if there was anything tragic that happened before. He denies but claims he recently saw the ghost on the roof. Suddenly Kaori’s scream attracts everyone. It seems she spotted the ghost from across the cafeteria! Holy sh*t! Is it real?! Airi spots the film club guys from the corner of her eyes and chases them down. They make a run for it knowing they’ll be in deep sh*t if they’re caught. Too bad, how can you outrun Airi? Prepare for sh*t. Look at her freaking scary face. Sh*t already. And why is the guy still continuing to film in such situation? It is learnt these guys did a prank just to see people’s reaction and recorded for their horror workshop at the festival. Of course it got out of hand. The ghosts were just projector images. Everyone is glad the case is solved but the film club guys are puzzled. Who was the one at the rooftop then? As the astronomy club members leave school late at night, Yui sees an apparition on the rooftop… Yikes! It’s not over…

Episode 4
The film club gives a camera as apology. Sou takes ownership of it as he tries to become the best cameraman in the shortest time, taking snapshots of all the people in their normal action in school. Of course, no secret toilet shots, mind you. But Yui seems not to be fond of getting her picture taken. She feels photos cement the passage of time and that she herself doesn’t need memories. Sou is baffled when the rest comes to join for lunch. Since today is a fine weather, they decide to skip class and go outdoors. So they’re going to play truant? Hell, yeah. Yui doesn’t want to be left out and joins them. So they really take a bus trip out of town to some river. It brings back memories to Kaori how she lost her teddy bear in the river. She and Sou tried to retrieve it but not only they fall in and got wet, they lost the teddy bear to the river’s flow. When Kaori accidentally sprains her wrist, Yui seems to be overreacting like as though it is a very big deal. Yeah. She’s panicking even though the injury is very light. Again that guilty feeling. She feels she has been making the wrong decisions and if she had only stopped them from coming here. Nagisa calms her down that she was quite happy that Yui decided to come along (but remember people, playing truant is still bad) and if there is anything on her mind, please let her know. Because Kaori lost a shoe during that slip, Sou helps her go find it. And as usual, once Yui returns and finds Kaori not waiting at the spot, it’s like she’s going to panic again until Nagisa points out that Yui won’t wander alone herself and there could only be one possible reason. Sou and Kaori find the missing shoe stuck between the rocks. Sou goes to get it as the rest are worried to see him doing something dangerous. Kaori wants to help but this makes Yui to go do it on her behalf. As expected, Yui slips but just in time for Sou to catch her. A happy ending when the shoe is retrieved. A group shot is taken and since Sou has been taking lots of photos the entire day, this so happens to be the last shot on the roll. Let’s hope it turns out well.

Episode 5
Of course the astronomy club members get reprimanded by the teacher although they are let off with a warning. There is this lesson the teacher is explaining about case and effect, parallel worlds and Schroedinger cat which I assume is important to the plot of this series but I couldn’t really care much about those deep stuffs. Besides, do they really teach such subjects in high school? It all began when some survival club girls accidentally damaged some flower of the gardening club. He got mad and chased them. This causes Airi to collide into the student council vice president. If having her face in her crotch wasn’t bad enough, her important laptop is broken. It is essential for the festival. Nagisa suggests they could replace it. They are going to borrow it from the computer club since they are not using it for the festival. It seems those girls are playing a reverse harem game and dreaming of the heaven they are in. Really. Hey, Amnesia parody? Anyway they are brought back to earth when they realize the astronomy club members are on their way. It’s like hell is coming, right? So we can see them lie through their teeth just to hide the game and won’t lend their PCs (Nagisa wanted all 5 although 3 were only required). Till they accidentally reveal the screenshot of the game they were in the midst. Another round of blatant lies about these aren’t just your ordinary hunks of a dating game. They are doing research of some AI that interacts and grows into a person that loves you! Nagisa throws down a challenge. If she can get the guy to loan the computer, they win. Otherwise, they won’t borrow at all. Because if those AI guys have real feelings, they will only listen to them instead of Nagisa so it might look like a hands-down victory to the computer club, right? Nagisa asks a series of agree or disagree questions. Although the character won’t allow her to borrow the PC, due to some liar’s paradox, he contradicts himself and the computer club girls admit their bitter defeat. And some explanation of how the AI aren’t actually responding because they understand either and only acting like they do, thus some pattern to the algorithm. Well, create better AIs next time. Meanwhile Yui and Kaori are waiting in the clubroom preparing their stuffs for the festival while talking. Kaori noticed Yui used to be close to Airi and Sou but now it seems she is focused on her. She wonders if she is that unreliable. Nevertheless, she is glad Yui joined the club. Because Shiori won’t come home tonight, looks like it is home alone with Sou. Despite flustering and panicking about it, ironically she is the one with guts to go sleep with Sou. Scared to sleep alone?

Episode 6
Well, Kaori just tells him about how she got along well with Yui and that’s it. Back to her room. Dang. For the rest of this episode, Nagisa takes the spotlight and the other girls very much sidelined. After the talk about their future prospects and Yui finally given a badge to officially make her an astronomy club member (I can’t believe it is this late), Nagisa accompanies Sou to retrieve the developed photos. However there is a phone call that keeps ringing she doesn’t answer or call back. Turns out the day before her father talked to her about her marriage meeting with Hikaru Reito. She is reminded that their union is very important to the company, associates, conglomerate, trading partners, etc. Hell, the future of the entire group is riding on this marriage? Of course just like any other girl, Nagisa doesn’t quite like it but what can she do about it? Nagisa talks about being in love. In love with the times she has with the club members. Sou jumping to conclusions made him blush so much that it’s obvious. On the way out, they are picked up by Hikaru who was on his way to see her. Nagisa introduces Hikaru to Sou and likewise Sou as her boyfriend. Say what? Hikaru is cool and even takes them for a drive. It is no surprise Sou is feeling awkward. What the heck is he a third wheel doing on their ‘date’? They go to a gaming centre and play bowling. Nagisa the ‘gutter girl’? Well, better than Sou who sucks a lot. Even a rematch with Hikaru, he lost. It’s not like Sou takes a liking for Hikaru when he wants him to hang out further. He challenges him to several other games. You win some, you lose some. But Nagisa is the highlight as she is attracting others with her amazing shooting skills. The guys talk things out as Hikaru knows they are faking it as a couple. Nagisa is against the marriage and calling Sou her boyfriend is like her rebellion against it. He knows because he is also the same, though he is okay to live the rest of his life for his father and company. It’s not like they can change their future either. Sou then privately talks to Nagisa if she is okay with this engagement thingy because Sou doesn’t like to see her in this state. She’s used to it. Sou wants Nagisa to be her usual self because giving in to decisions of others isn’t like her. This causes her to fluster so much that she looks like a different person. Embarrassed. Never seen her in this state before, eh? She’s always the dominating type, no? So much so, Sou even thinks she’s cute! Holy cow. Maybe he’s right. Back home, Yui notices Nagisa in a good mood. Indeed. She has a good feeling that the future is not completely set yet.

Episode 7
The astronomy club members minus Nagisa converge at Kaori’s place. While the girls are baking cookies, the guys are going to create the planetarium. However Kenny is more interested in the porn magazines (how can he admire those babes while thinking about his Jennifer girlfriend?) while Sou finishes the sphere. If you want things done, you have got to do it yourself. Yui wants to talk something with Kaori privately and can’t say it before Airi. But since Airi is begging I guess Yui will put it off to some other time. Noticing they are short of several ingredients, they head to the supermarket to get some stuffs. Sou sees a teddy bear strap in the shelves and remembers Kaori has one of these. It’s back to work when they get back. Yui asks about Sou’s fascination in the stars as he explains how he was in awe of them since young. He also continues to explain the deeper stuffs about Andromeda and light years. Does a girl like her understand? Yeah. This guy is so passionate that even making the planetarium had to be perfect. The stars needed to be the right size. Who cares?! He does. When Sou displays the planetarium, Yui can tell they are summer constellations. She remembers being with some scientist guy watching the stars. Sou asks about her memories and she just says she remembers somebody with a sad smile. Sou believes that person might be someone close to her since she looks sad talking about him. Kaori heard this outside and leaves the cookies on the doorstep. By evening, Sou has completely finished his planetarium and Yui is sleep talking about wanting him to call her by her first name and touching his cheek before realizing this isn’t a dream. By the time Nagisa arrives, the baking is complete and Sou shows his completed planetarium to everyone. And Sou had to passionately rant about the stars. Airi is suspicious Sou is on first name basis with Yui and Kaori looking worried Sou is seemingly close to her.

Episode 8
Kaori is acting strange. All because she overheard Yui telling Sou about that person being precious to her. You know something is wrong by the way she is putting up that unenthusiastic face even though she says everything is alright. Something is definitely not alright. Yui can tell and asks Sou if anything has happened. Just this scene of them together makes Kaori further depressed. Her depression continues so much so everybody starts blaming Sou for whatever. He must be the root, right? Hey, he is a guy. Like hell he knows what is going on either. He is made to go talk to her and her usual answer that nothing is wrong. When girls say something like that, something IS wrong. She gets a mail from Airi to come watch the stars tonight because it will be meaningless if one of their members is missing. This familiar scene feels like the one in the first episode. The friends watching the stars, making a wish on the shooting star, everybody leaves to give Sou and Kaori some time together, he gives her the teddy bear strap, Kaori’s confession she likes him although she won’t rush him for an answer. Thus it becomes awkward between the duo. This means the duo are not eating together as usual. This causes Yui to be worried as she talks to Sou if there is anything that happened. She can tell that Kaori has confessed so surprised Sou replies he hasn’t given his answer yet. And what do you know? Kaori sees them together. The kind of face that is sure to walk down the yandere path… That evening, Yui starts to panic for real when she doesn’t see Kaori in her class after school. I mean, really panic like it’s the end of the world. She takes Sou’s handphone and calls her but no answer. Hey, calm down. Maybe she is in the clubroom. More panic when Kaori is not there but Nagisa tells her she saw Kaori leaving with her friends. Yui quickly rush to the gates. Eventually Kaori apologizes she can’t go karaoke with her friends and returns to the clubroom. Her members are surprised to see her back as Nagisa mentions about Yui looking for her. Kaori leaves to look for Yui. Well, Yui has been waiting at the bus stop for hours, getting paranoid that Yui may have been elsewhere. Then she sees her coming. Déjà vu scene. Kaori drops the strap, she trips and couldn’t get back up since her wrist is still painful, bus coming, brakes not working… Hospital scene. Everyone gloomy. Bad news…

Episode 9
Good news: Kaori’s condition has stabilized. Bad news: She may never wake up. Again. Sou sinks into depression. They ended up doing nothing for the festival (everything they did went to waste) and Yui was suddenly transferred out. Sou left home to study medicine under the brain department to try and bring Kaori back but each time he hit a dead end as human’s technology was very limited. Airi is a scientist researching on some quantum stuffs while Kenny wrote some theory about time travelling. Even Shiori immersed herself in some sort of special research. One day Nagisa brings Airi and Sou to their old high school where it is being demolished in favour of a new research lab. Nagisa reveals the box she used to bring to the club. It has been researched and studied ever since then and it is found it responded strongly to a specific place. She brings the duo back to her general lab where Shiori and those computer girls are part of her team doing globally cutting edge research of a top secret project. They are shocked to see someone resembling Yui in the chamber. Nagisa reveals on the day of Kaori’s accident, Yui went into sleep mode. More specifically, she ceased to function. More mind boggling, she had Yui’s strap. In short, Yui is an artificial human being. Who made her or how are unknown. She is clearly something that current human technology is incapable of. The box that they call AI Unit may be related to Yui too. They deduce there is a way to save Kaori. Because all internal organs including Yui’s brain are perfect, they will study her body, build a new one and transfer Kaori’s memories and conscience into it. Is that possible although it looks good theoretically? That is why Nagisa is requesting their help.

Soon, Sou and Airi drop out of their universities to join the team known as Yui’s Unforced Intelligence System or YUI’s Project. Many years passed and they have created the perfect body. When it is time to transfer, something went wrong and it was aborted. Although the body functions have begun to activate, none of Kaori’s memories and conscience were transferred. In other words, experiment failed. Shiori soon left for Europe to study about artificial brains. Sou continues to hit the dead end. When he looks at Kenny’s time travelling theory and Airi’s quantum study, he hits upon a crazy idea. He has turned Kaori’s synthetic body to look like Kaori and is going to send her back to the past to save her. Even if it is all hypothetical, what about diverging the worlds, etc? Sou believes that whatever divergence or paradox will be reunited and eliminated. Sou argues about Yui’s suddenly appearance back then, her goal, her motivation and the reason she was with them during high school. If you think about it, now it all makes sense, right? Is he crazy? Maybe. But you can tell he is desperate. Anything is better than nothing no matter how crazy it is. Sou teaches Yui and even talks to her about the stars. Yeah, 14 years is nothing compared to millions of light years. Many years passed and when it is time to send Yui back in time, it failed. Then one day while thinking about who made AI Unit and Yui as some divergent point, it hit upon Sou the idea of a save point. And so Yui is successfully sent back in time, right at the moment when Sou finds a naked unconscious girl on that floor.

Episode 10
Remember these familiar scenes when Yui first came into the picture? Yeah. You’re not going to watch a recap or summary. Back at Nagisa’s home, when Yui touches AI Unit, she suddenly retrieves all her memories and knows what she must do. It seems she has been sent back in time many times. Every time she changes something, Yui’s fate never changed. Like when the bus hit the stop, the roof killed Yui instead. Or when the bus broke down, a car rammed into her. It is like the more she interferes, the results will be even more horrific. Like as though this is some sort of warning to change the timeline. When Sou asks about what is on Yui’s mind, she really wants to tell him about everything but she can’t. There is also this Uchihama Syndrome whereby students fall into coma for unknown reason. You see, the ghosts are actually Yui’s after-image after popping up so many times in the past. There is one timeline whereby that girl touched the ‘ghost’ and fell into coma due to some quantum thingy. She worries that if one of the astronomy members falls into this, it would throw the continuity of time into chaos. Because she wouldn’t exist, right? Then there is that fight between the judo and karate club members. Yui takes the fall instead of Kaori. As proven in other timelines, she can prevent Kaori from getting injured by if she gets injured herself. However if she tries to circumvent Kaori’s movement, like one time she was forcefully locked in the room, so many after-images of Yui appeared and it killed her!

Yui knows she is running out of time. With her after-images appearing more and more each time, her ability to travel back to the past may soon vanish and must save Kaori before that happens. There is also the dilemma that if she successfully does so, what will happen to her own existence? But she has to remember the reason she is here. There is one time Kaori asked Sou if he likes Yui. Then she was absent on the day she wasn’t supposed to be and it rang alarm bells for Yui. She also prevented that truant trip as they took a group picture in the school grounds instead. There are a handful of times Kaori and Yui wanted to tell each other something but were interrupted. During that baking session, Kaori finally asks Yui if she likes Sou. Because she confessed to him the other day and she never got a reply. She thinks Sou likes her. This makes Yui feel conflicted. Does she really like him? All she wanted was to see Sou smile. Kaori is feeling depressed right now and talking about how she at one point wanted to give up on him. This causes Yui to get upset. If that happens, what is the point of her doing here? She runs out of the house and Sou had to chase her. She tells him to love Kaori for the best of everybody back but that guy says it doesn’t matter who he falls in love with. It can be anybody. Including Yui. She feels even more conflicted as she reveals she is going away soon. So please, return Kaori’s love. Otherwise he will not find happiness. Of course Sou can’t understand a thing she says.

Episode 11
Future Airi wonders what happens if Yui successfully prevents Kaori’s accident. She’ll go into sleep mode. But will sleeping be all that happens to her? So back to where we left off in the last episode, Yui runs away without saying anything. Sou returns empty handed and is puzzled about how Yui looked at him and the way she said goodbye. Next day in school, Sou tries to talk to her but she continues to play the runaway act. Airi and Nagisa talking to him can only help so much. Yui remembers future Sou telling her the time and place to save Kaori. It is believed they will be happy when Kaori is saved. Sou wants Kaori saved because he has something to tell her. But Yui knows Kaori always confesses to Sou in every timeline. However Sou never replies. She starts thinking that the chain of events might not be related to the accident but Sou’s feelings for Kaori. The next time Sou finds Yui, he is going to apologize for anything, for whatever he did. But his stomach had to growl… Sou brings her around town (because she is still new) and explains about his times with Kaori. He brings her to a spot where they can watch the stars. Oh look, a shooting star. Yui believes she is the only person who can connect Sou’s smile to the future. She says if wishes can be granted, just don’t forget about her. She then has a favour of him to ask. Tomorrow after school, please bring Kaori to the clubroom because she will confess to him. Please give his answer without fail. Next day before that, Yui talks to Kaori to clear the air that she has no feelings for Sou whatsoever. Kaori wonders if she is lying because she feels Yui is a lot like her. Kaori reveals she plans to confess to Sou. This means she might get hurt or hurt somebody else but she can’t move forward if things stay the same. Therefore, is Yui okay with that? When Kaori is alone with Sou in the clubroom, she confesses. As Sou looks for Yui, he stumbles upon Airi who tells him Yui met her but was acting strange like as though it was goodbye. Sou panics and rushes out to find her. Airi is made to follow up with Kaori. And that means console a crying girl. Sou catches up to Yui but the bus accident is about to happen. Thankfully Sou saves her although suffering minor bruises. They’re glad they’re both okay (nobody cares about the bus driver) and she wonders about his response to Kaori. He replied. He told Kaori that he loves Yui because lately he has only been thinking of her. Shocked and surprised with also the fact she is starting to disappear, I guess you can’t waste these last moments. She hugs him and says she loves him too. A little kiss and more tears welling up in her eyes. This is goodbye. In the aftermath as Sou’s friends see him at the accident site receiving treatment, they feel they are missing something. Indeed. Even Yui is missing from the group photo.

Episode 12
Life goes on. All those affected by the Uchihama Syndrome suddenly wake up although they were talking about how they saw a ghost before their coma. When the astronomy club members hang out, they get this déjà vu feeling that they might have this conversation before so they briefly touch on parallel alternate worlds. Kaori is stumped that she created 4 waitress outfits for the festival. Who among them is the cross-dresser?! The vice president returns a dropped enveloped that was found near the accident site. It contains their badge and group photo minus Yui. Of course they are perplexed as to whose it is as all of them has theirs. Later Kaori talks to Sou that although he rejected her, she felt she has arrived at a long overdue answer. She feels better and can now move on. She suggests that if he hasn’t found somebody to love in 10 or 20 years, she would step up and consider again. Because for now getting to see him tomorrow is enough. As Sou prepares the stuffs for the festival, at the floor where he first met Yui although there is only a doll, he can’t help have this déjà vu feeling. Flash forward into the future, Kaori is still in coma. Airi and Sou talk about Yui being unable to save Kaori in their timeline but Sou believes Yui’s actions are hardly of that as though she is trying for the first time or doing the same thing over and over again. Even with the theory of the world diverging back together at some point, this has Airi question Sou if he made Yui only as a tool. Back to the past, the festival is underway and the funniest highlights are how some ugly heroine beats up the ghost and the spoof play of Romeo and Juliet whereby Juliet hands Romeo a divorce letter!!! At the end of the festival, there is a big trophy sitting in the astronomy room. Before its closure, the festival committee whisked Kaori away as she has won the beauty pageant. Kenny and Airi believe with them winning something, they are a step becoming the most powerful club! They’re just an astronomy club for heaven’s sake… But Airi points, everyone wasn’t really looking at the planetarium… So true… So frustrating…

Karin walks in as she is in a dilemma to talk to them about her friend. On the day after the accident, she was asking about her friend but her classmates do not remember such a transfer student. Oddly, Karin can’t remember much about her too. As the days passed and she got busy for the festival and everything, she forgot. But before her gig on stage, she saw Yui among the crowd. That made her certain that her friend existed. However with everyone not remembering her, she too became unsure and just had this vague feeling of telling them. Why them? Because she remembered her words that it was fun joining the astronomy club. Nobody could say anything. Flash forward to the future as we see Sou talk to Airi about his reason of making Yui to save Kaori. He also mentions about the world merging back and how things affecting each other that prompts that merger. I do not really understand this part because it has to do with Yui even she succeeds in not letting Kaori get into that accident and that it will take much longer than now. Someday he will make Yui for sure because she wants to see her. He remembers his old self picking up that Yui-less group photo and that is when he remembers about Yui and cries. Sou gets a call from Nagisa that Kaori has woke up. She remembers him and oddly had been dreaming the whole time. At the end she always says to see him again tomorrow. They both emotionally hug each other. Welcome back. Took too long? A short scene showing Sou handing his career form to his teacher who will support him all the way.

In Search Of The Right Ending
WTF was that kind of ending?! It felt like one big trolling because all we see is everybody going on with their daily lives with that I-think-I-am-missing-something-but-can’t-put-my-finger-on-it feeling. It makes you think that after all that and by some sort of miracle no matter how ridiculous it feels, Yui is going to pop back up and give us a happy ending. A double happy ending that Kaori didn’t fall into a coma and continues to live a happy life with everybody else. And what do we get? A big final troll episode that has Yui never coming back but only in flashes of their memories. Many of the other minor stuffs that happened throughout the series also felt like trolling like that loud passing by jet sound or why Yui had Kaori’s strap. You’re not going to find any answers in the end. Did they forget? So really, was this ending worth it? Was it worth it to Sou and the rest who had been waiting for donkey years for Kaori to wake up? Yeah well, maybe. But think about it, even if they didn’t send Yui back, perhaps she would have woke up herself somewhere in the future? I mean, even without the accident, Kaori fell into a coma so it must means that whatever happens back then, it is inevitable that Kaori will still fall into a comatose state sooner or later. And what we have seen in the end, doesn’t it mean she will wake up sooner or later? But you’ll never know, right? And where was Yui in all of this? That’s why, doesn’t the last episode feel like a big troll just to lead to that sudden happy end of Kaori awakening?

The flow of the first half of the story may seem slow and going nowhere because it feels like just ordinary high school days for the astronomy club members. Their outings together, a little bit of hinted romance, nothing serious. Just casual high school kids going on with their daily lives. Although they keep teasing and trolling you with bits of hints like the ghost sightings and short scenes of a very familiar looking stressed out scientist working in a dark lab containing a chamber with a very familiar girl inside. It became interesting and the story takes on a grimmer tone when the big revelation is revealed although I am not surprised because somehow I thought up that this is the only plausible way of why the events are flowing this way. Hey, I’m no genius but if you pay attention and have been watching such themes in your television series, you would at least make a decent guess that it has to be so. I mean, what else could it be?

That’s why when this time travelling thingy to rinse and repeat the act of saving Kaori becomes apparent, it was of no surprise. In a way, this act itself somewhat reminds me of that Endless Eight arc in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Remember that arc in the second season that kept trolling us and the repetition over 8 episodes was enough to make some of us go into some trolling rage? Yeah, it kinda felt like that in this anime. Except that instead of a certain time to restart things, it takes the death of somebody to trigger it. Who knows how many times Yui has relived this event over and over again. Oh, the horror of seeing her friend dying a million deaths in a different million horrifying ways. Enough to make you go paranoid, eh?

This series also tries it hands at the sci-fi subject of time travelling and how it effects the past and future. Well, I can say it is a good try but then again you wonder if it is plausible even in this anime itself. Because you will start to ponder about questions like who made Yui and if it was our protagonists, it leads to the chicken and egg situation. If they created Yui using some future technology, then who was it that created that technology? Also going back in time many times there is this paradox that you know, you would cancel out your earlier doings. So by changing the past so many times but with different results, does it mean there are many parallel words? Besides, Yui going back to the past each time means that Kaori cannot be saved and the inevitable will always and still happen. Because if it was a success, Yui wouldn’t have gone back to the past, right? Think about it. Another paradox. Ultimately answers like what is the AI Unit too won’t get answered because just like the chicken and egg situation, who built it? What is its purpose? It feels like an ‘accessory’ for the plot of sending Yui back in time and restore her memories. Otherwise you keep thinking at the back of your head if this little black cube is going to play some sort of turning point in the series somewhere. Which of course it didn’t.

All this brings me to another point. How would the future Sou and Airi know that Yui has been successful? Because I am assuming that they don’t have this ability to feel and think about all their other selves in other parallel worlds. You know, if you yourself in another parallel world commits suicide, the other yous in other worlds would get this feeling that this dude just died. Assuming that they only have one timeline to go through, how would they know it is a success then? Because as long as they are on this track, Kaori is still asleep, this means the experiment to change to past has failed, right? Besides, how does Sou know that what Yui has been doing is different from other times? I mean, is he that smart to analyze from her movements and all because I don’t remember Yui leaving a note in the past for Sou and even if she did, everything will be erased. Like I said, good try but if you’re not into sci-fi, don’t think too much about it because like yours truly only got lots of headaches and nothing understood in the end. Even the questions I have asked in this paragraph, I am not sure if I know what I’m asking… Seriously…

At first there are very curious numbers that take up the size of the entire screen in various scenes. When the revelation of the entire story is revealed or at least known, you start thinking that these numbers might actually be save points in the anime. You know, think of it like certain stop point or chapters in books or videos/DVDs. Personally, the biggest downside of this anime is of course the scientific terms. Although they don’t go deep into it, just the mere touch on that subject, it seems it has some sort of a reaction-cum-reflex to my brain. As usual, I don’t sit well with the terms so it is a turn off for me just listening to it. Although thankfully it was just enough for me to understand what is going on and the direction of the plot.

Character wise, personally I don’t see any deep progress with them. Some don’t make a difference like Karin as we see make cameos with Yui here and there is this feeling like she might play some sort of important role. I suppose that important role is reserved for the final episode whereby she tells about Yui and that is about it. So this is the importance of just Karin being Yui’s friend for the entire series? And what are the astronomy club members are going to do about it? What can they do? Nothing. As we are seeing one of the timelines and I am certain that every timeline, Kaori’s ‘stress’ about her feelings for Sou is the main source of the problem. You know, you’ve been childhood friends for so long, certain feelings start to develop and you can’t decide whether to say it or not because you are afraid if it would change things. Very conflicted about her feelings. That’s pretty much about it. Otherwise the main characters feel ‘stagnant’ like Sou who is typically the decent good guy of the group, Nagisa the girl with the connections, Airi the brute girl whose kung fu kicks serve as fanservice if your eyes are fast enough to catch her plain white pantsu each time she doesn’t hesitate to give her high kick and not forgetting Kenny the comic relief guy.

The very odd thing about Kenny is that he is an exchange student from America but yet his accent… I am guessing that since he has a Japanese name, he might be a halfie. The way he speaks isn’t exactly convincing that he is an American trying to speak Japanese because it felt like a Japanese trying hard to sound like a foreigner and fails. No American accent at all and trying to put some English words in his sentences aren’t particularly assuring either. I am not sure if this is somewhat a running joke because at times you can hear Kenny passionately ranting about his love for girlfriend Jennifer. There will always be a different photo of her in some sort of sporting action but you can never see her face. I’m not sure about this guy’s taste in women but it is rare to find somebody waxing lyrical about his fat plus size girlfriend. Yeah well. Thank goodness love is blind in this sense.

Speaking of the romance, I supposed this anime follows the Sou x Kaori route seeing the ending we get. Over the course of the series and the different timelines, Kaori’s confession always ends in tragedy and it makes you wonder if their match wasn’t mean to be. Nagisa and Airi as you can tell they might have some feelings for Sou but then again, their pairings may have occurred in another timeline. That single episode with Nagisa in focus hijacking Sou as her boyfriend feels like a troll because it didn’t really matter to the overall storyline and it is just to give a little ‘variety’ and to show perhaps it is not always just Kaori. Airi might not have one but it is greatly hinted that the future Airi does have feelings for him but Sou is just too depressed and thinking about Kaori for Airi to make any move.

Thus throughout the flow of the series, perhaps Yui is the character that changes the most. Because she somewhat retains memories of her previous attempts and the more she tries again, the more conflicted she becomes. Over time as she tries to change the future, there is perhaps an unseen romance blooming for Sou. All she wanted was to see his smile. But that is the future Sou, right? What about now? Don’t you want to see him smile now? Is she sure that what she is doing is for Kaori’s sake? Does she want to exist on her own right and be loved by a guy too? So when Sou has feelings for her, it becomes a great dilemma. Another great paradox. Because if it turns out to be Sou x Yui route, this means sending her in time to save Kaori was futile in the first place and it would be just too odd a reason he send Yui back so as to love her. So does making her disappear with hopes to create and see her again in the future the best option? And even if he does (now that Kaori is awake), will he choose Yui over Kaori? I noticed I’ve been asking these type of questions over the past few paragraphs. I think I should stop since I won’t be getting an answer trying to think about this myself. So to be it shortly, character development and romance department: Mediocre. Full stop. Let’s move on to something else.

I don’t know what gave me the idea because when I first looked at the characters, I have this feel that they were CG generated although clearly they are 2D animation. Especially Kaori. Maybe she just had that 3D look. I don’t know. Must be just me. After all, Feel, the studio that produced this anime also did other adapted adult visual novel games like Da Capo (first and second series only), Fortune Areterial and Otome Wa Boku Ni Koishiteru. They also adapted ecchi manga or light novel series like KissxSis and Dakara Boku Wa H Ga Dekinai.

Apparently there was this very familiar voice when I heard Shiori speak. It didn’t take long before I realized that this is Yuko Goto behind Shiori! Remember the voice of Asahina of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu? Wow. It seemed like ages (ironically) since I last heard from her. She has been out of the voice acting scene for years ever since her announcement of her poor health back in 2012 (something to do with her voice and throat) but thank goodness has made a recovery. So this anime marks her return and first voice acting since her hiatus. Well, hope to hear more from her in the future. Also another familiar voice is Kappei Yamaguchi as Kenny. This veteran is still active in voice acting roles after all this years. Just that it is a big coincidence that he voices roles in animes I do not watch. Therefore to me, this guy has always and mainly been One Piece’s Usopp and the male Ranma in Ranma 1/2. The other familiar voice is Satomi Satou as Karin (Wendy in Fairy Tail) although she only has very limited appearances here.

The rest of the casts include Takuma Terashima as Sou (Shiroe in Log Horizon), Hatsumi Takada as Kaori (Honoka in Maria+Holic), Akane Tomonaga as Yui (Hikari in Lamune), Kei Mizusawa as Airi (Celia in Walkure Romanze) and Tomoe Tamiyasu as Nagisa (Rin in Little Busters). The opening theme is Le Jour by Satomi Satou. Thanks to the grandeur and epic sounding of this theme, I fail to recognize Satomi Satou singing this theme. The dramatic ending theme is Ashita Mata Aeru Yo Ne by the duet of Hatsumi Takada and Akane Tomonaga, although there are versions of them singing the piece solo each. One of the interesting ending credits animation versions is one whereby it is like a 2D paper animation and the buildings are made out of English words making up that structure. For example, trees are made out of the words “TREES” and houses are “HOUSE”. Quite creative and unique if I should say. At least it is better than the still picture of Kaori or Yui which feels like just to satisfy fans of the character.

Overall, trying to use this genre of time travelling back to the past to change the future may seem like a novel idea for a dating simulation and romance genre (although I don’t think it would be anything new or original), the downfall is trying to be a smartass and think too much about the what-ifs and the paradox that comes with it. You can’t help it because any normal viewers watching this show is tempted to try and think about this otherwise you aren’t paying attention and have wasted your time watching. Maybe the me of in another timeline who is smarter would have understood it all but not me of now and here. Something tells me that what Sou is doing is like telling us that if you don’t succeed at first, try, try, try and try again. Perseverance is the key. But from what I just saw, it feels like this saying: Insanity is doing the same things over and over again but expecting different results.

It seemed like a long time. It felt so. Because I never knew there was Bokura Wa Minna Kawaisou OVA. Seemed it went under the radar and would have continued so had not somebody subbed it and caught my attention. Actually the OVA only came out back in January 2015 but the TV series that started airing in April 2014, the gap between that felt like a long time. So much so I have almost completely forgotten certain things from that series. Haha. Feels like a blatant disclaimer to not remember things. Fortunately I still remember and have a general idea what that series was about. New guy who moves into boarding home falls in love with a socially awkward and bookworm girl. Something like that, right? And the painfully slow romantic development between them. Can a single OVA save the day? Don’t hold your breath.

First Time…
Maemura suggests doing a butler cafe as per some book, Count Bailey for the cultural festival. The girls are interested but the guys aren’t. They note it isn’t the guys who just get to wear but girls like Ritsu. Well, she looks boyish enough. So when Usa relates this butler cafe back to those boarding house guys, they also get excited and start talking nonsense and their own fantasies. Ritsu is surprised that Maemura was the one suggested it and although they still interact, she thought she was just acting. Usa believes it isn’t so because she seemed genuine too when talking about books. Of course Usa still doesn’t like Maemura for making Ritsu cry but he doesn’t want to think it was all just lies. When Sumiko suggests they pay a visit to his school’s festival, our young adults already have a sinister plan to fish for dates. Especially with Mayumi thinking she wouldn’t mind meeting Tagami again. But it seems he is going out with another girl in his class. Mayumi’s mood just turned dark and takes out her frustration on Shiro. Thanks to Tagami, the other girls in Usa’s class heard he worked in a cafe that has him dress as a traditional apprentice outfit and think it would be fun if the guys dress like that to sell takoyaki. They hope he can put in some good word and borrow the outfit. He doesn’t really want to do it but they insist. He has no choice. When they note he used to walk home with a senior, they wonder if they are dating. Usa is just happy hearing them say that. Is that what it looks like to them? It feels so good…

Maemura talks to Ritsu and to the latter’s horror, looks like they’ve already decided in doing the butler cafe. Ritsu notices Maemura giving good reviews about a book she has. Maemura lends it to her. Ritsu feels Maemura isn’t a bad person but just that they won’t match. Noticing she has read this book before, she is thinking of lending it to Usa. Speaking of him, he thought Ritsu spotted him outside via window so he waves like a happy dog. Maybe not. She continued burying her head in the book. Disappointed? Usa and the girls seek Tae’s request to borrow the outfits and she would but with one condition. Usa has no say and thus he is made to work harder than ever. Hayashi wonders where his ‘girlfriend’ is and he is happy that they look that way. But the rest ruin the mood by clicking their tongue. Because Usa is busy working for the festival, he is hardly home and this ruins Ritsu’s chance of lending him the book. Next day in school, you can see her sweating and summoning up her courage, waiting just to do that but unfortunately Usa’s friend, Andou beat her to it by lending a video game as thanks. So maybe Ritsu is a little gloomy. Mayumi thought she could lighten things up (something about Usa not into books) and she might have said the wrong thing because Ritsu is close to like bursting into theirs. Mayumi is panicking for doing something unintentional and leading up to this. She thought the rest could help out and say something nice but since they don’t make sense, Mayumi herself doesn’t understand what is going on anymore. Likewise, Usa could also feel that he is spending less time with Ritsu recently even though they’ve gotten close lately. If nothing is done, they might drift further away.

On the day of the festival as Usa is manning the takoyaki stall, he is surprised to see Sumiko and co here. And why the heck is Shiro doing wearing a paper bag over his head?! His normal clothes?! Tagami is surprised to see Mayumi here. And then this scene… Usa is feeling hot since he is behind the grill. Mayumi also feels the same and starts taking off her coat to flaunt her humungous boobs! All the guys can’t take her eyes off it! Sayaka also joins in and puts on that cutie act. Fishing for guys, aren’t they? Sumiko puts the brakes on their scheme and tells them to just watch quietly like Shiro. Man, what big eyes he’s got… After they leave to walk around, Usa stumbles upon his old middle school friends whom he isn’t fond of. And then Hayashi and Tae. He just keeps meeting people he doesn’t want to see, eh? Meanwhile Ritsu is made to wear a butler outfit and she looks stunning in it. That’s because she looks boyish, right? She can even be mistaken for one. The girls are squealing how cute and cool she is. They even start praising and commenting on the Count Bailey book but interrupted when this paper bag guy pops up. It just annoyed Ritsu… Meanwhile Usa wants Hayashi to go home because there are guys here who don’t like her. But she wants Usa to take her around the grounds. She’s getting a little close. Ritsu sees this and loses her mood. Later, Ritsu sees Hayashi being harassed by Usa’s old friends. They badmouth her and Usa. Hayashi stands up for him that he isn’t a loser or weakling like they think. They want to snap a picture of her face but she won’t allow. Ritsu jumps out to whack their head with a signboard. The mad guys want a piece for her.

Thankfully she is as a fast runner and as she hides in a classroom cowering in fear, she prays for help. Not help from God. From Usa. And it is like that guy’s Ritsu-in-danger sense is tingling and quickly rushes all the way to where she is! But WTF?! Why is he in a maid outfit?! Actually Tae gave it to him as a joke and the girls made him wear it. She starts sniggering at his maid outfit. Also, it was Ritsu that texted him about her situation and he was damn worried and came as fast as he could. Usa notes this is the first time he got a text message from her. It means her first time relying on her. He mentions the Count Bailey book he managed to finish reading. But what about that video game? He returned it. He wanted to play it but hearing the book was really good, he wanted to read it. To think that he would read books instead of playing games is all thanks to her. It was really fun. He starts praising the book and Ritsu wants to hear more of it. She feels happy. He feels happy. Now, where to start… Walking back together, Ritsu says he was right that Maemura wasn’t acting. She blushes when he feels happy for her. Wondering what kind of game he was lent, he is curious that she also has taken an interest in games aside her books. Of course, it is for them to get closer.

Maybe Another Time…
Just like I suspected. Nothing much. A small little hint that Usa and Ritsu are getting closer but it is so miniscule that it is negligible. You might even think it has gotten nowhere. Sometimes you might just want to scream out to them to just admit it to each other’s face but I suppose some things take time to nurture. You can’t rush in certain things. So maybe we’ll have a happy ending for them like… 200 episodes later? Geez… They might want to throw a little spanner to the works by hinting a comeback romance for Hayashi but I don’t think with the way things are going, it is ever going to be possible. After all, whatever happened has already happened. That past is the past. Aside the slow romance between our protagonist, the other side characters especially the quirky adults from the boarding house are more fun to watch especially with Mayumi and Sayaka trying to fish for guys. Would they stoop this low to a high school level instead of guys their age? Desperate? So overall, this OVA is only for those who want to feel complete in addition to the TV series or if you like some fanservice of seeing Ritsu in a butler outfit. Otherwise, don’t bother with it (if you don’t want to be disappointed) and you would definitely make use of your time better by reading a book. Or even playing a video game.