Francesca: Girls Be Ambitious
June 14, 2015
Hey. What is this? Using a cute zombie girl to promote Hokkaido?! This anime adaptation I must see! And so that is how I came to watch Francesca: Girls Be Ambitious. I might have not done any extensive research over the internet but I can’t find any more information regarding this undead girl being used as a mascot to promote the second largest island of Japan in other parts of the nation. Maybe I’m not looking right. But anyway I thought it was just fascinating to use a zombie character to promote that cold region (it’s in the very north, right?). Wouldn’t that scare the kids away? Ah well, when your characters turn moe, anything is possible.
In the cold freezing land of Hokkaido, Exorcist comes to the rescue of a mother and daughter pair from… Resurrected zombies! Yes. Resurrected zombies, not bears. As explained, Hokkaido is a region with many undead but there are far too many of them by now. Exorcist tries to trace the revived zombies and to her dismay sees them flirting! Is this some sort of a love triangle brewing between Takuboku Ishikawa, Chieko Tachibana and Koyakko? Hey, even the undead needs some love. Exorcist is mad that she came all the way here only to see them flirting. But nevertheless, despite their harmless appearance, they are still the undead. This means she must eliminate them. So she chases Takuboku with her chain gun (only him?). She wants to know why they are resurrecting the dead and believes it is for something evil. Like they would know. Exorcist detects another undead movement at Mt Youtei. Inazou Nitobe and William Smith Clark have just reached the peak and are attack by zombie guards who want to prevent them from resurrecting something. While Inazou fends them off, Clark starts his ritual. The most powerful undead is summoned and awakened: Francesca! So powerful that she destroys the zombie guards in a single strike! Holy sh*t! Was it a mistake to resurrect her? She is going to take out her vengeance on those who awakened her from her slumber when suddenly she is struck by lightning (did her brains just ran out?). When she wakes up, she becomes a ditzy, happy go lucky zombie girl. Are we really screwed this time?
Exorcist makes a report of the undead she has spotted back at her HQ. But she is not pleased to find Francesca, Clark and Inazou hanging out here! Nowhere to go? Since they’re making the place like their home, she fires her gun. Don’t worry, the bullets will only hurt the undead. Yeow! The guys try to explain the reason they revive Francesca is to stop some unprecedented evil. Thing is, they forgot what it is. FFFUUUUUUU!!!! And during all that distraction, Francesca went out by herself. To eat corn. Mmm. Tasty. Heck, the guys even start buying them and Exorcist is forced to pay on their behalf. Might as well have one for herself. She is going to continue shooting them. At first she targets Francesca but changes her mind to Clark. This causes the old brown statue to theorize that she fears Francesca fearsome personality and would rather target an unarmed old man. Like she cares. She just shoots! Meanwhile Takuboku and his ladies witness the resurrection of the Shinsengumi zombie led by Toshizou Hijikata. At first they thought he was the cool kind of evil but realize he may be a little bit dumb from the way he talks. Back to Exorcist, Francesca almost accidentally killed Inazou with her corn. So how is she not a threat to Hokkaido? Yeah well, she tries to throw the corn to her zombie dog, Franken to play fetch but her arm was sent flying with it. While Clark tries to give various excuses why she is not, Exorcist gets a call that many undead are spotted. Hijikata and his men are on a ship ready to set sail to Sapporo and revive the Republic of Ezo (old name for Hokkaido). Suddenly an unidentified missile is seen flying their way. It is Francesca’s arm! It hits the ship and sinks it. There goes their revival.
Since their ship has been sunk, the only way left is to travel by train. How uncool. And Hijikata might be having motion sickness… I guess they couldn’t resist stopping by the tourist spots and sampling the local food along the way, huh? More headache for Exorcist as she receives a huge amount of bills. Francesca and the guys have been going on a spending spree and putting it on Exorcist’s tabs. The delicacy crabs are real expensive… They claim those are basic necessities. Hey, even the undead needs to live, right? But how is going to the karaoke part of basic necessities? Time to face the firing squad again. They are interrupted when Hijikata and his Shinsengumi have arrived and announce their goal of reviving Republic of Ezo. This is when Clark remembers the reason he resurrected Francesca to stop him. Hijikata is not convinced that Hokkaido already has a future and he plans to fulfil the shogunate’s wish. He failed the last time in the last war and will never go back on his word to bring back that past nation even after his death. Exorcist fires her gun but she runs out of bullets. She requests HQ to send more but was told they went over the budget. Curse those guys for racking up the bill! Francesca catches the eye of Hijikata. Calm and bold but yet there is madness concealed in her eyes. Viewing her as their long lost enemy, he prepares to cut her down. But she’s a zombie, remember? Anything cut off from her she can easily put it back. Or maybe it’s just dumb luck. When she hears her corn is ready, the mere turn is so powerful it causes Hijikata to be hurled away! Francesca enjoys her corn unaware of what is happening. Hijikata views her as a formidable enemy and is going to get serious. Can you wait till she finishes her corn?
Yeah. Francesca is definitely more interested in eating her corn. Hijikata attacks but she is reduced to just dodging. She isn’t the frightening creature we saw her on Mt Youtei. They realized her brains ran away so Clark throws her a new one. Nothing changes. Crab brain?! WTF?! Hijikata uses lightning to wipe out Clark and Inazou. He is going to do the same to Exorcist but Francesca protects her. Unfortunately she gets zapped and sent flying into the tower. Hijikata is disappointed with the extent of her power and leaves with his men since he feels something ominous. Franken remembers the time she picked him up and the good times they had. More like sightseeing with her arm… As Exorcist’s henchmen pick up Inazou and Clark in a body bag (they’re technically dead, right?), they note that Francesca is missing. Exorcist sees Chieko and Koyakko looking for Takuboku. This guy is missing too? Francesca has a dream. When she was young, she witnessed her parents step into an air blimp. It went up in flames. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a tram alongside Takuboku. He lets her eat all the candy (Francesca brand?) and doesn’t need to worry about the bill.
Francesca and Takuboku talk about their past. However they vaguely remember it and the same can be said for why they were resurrected. When they want to get off at the next stop, it seems a message appears that this tram isn’t stopping. They are shocked to see this tram has no driver. Takuboku notices Chieko and Koyakko and waves to them. The tram stops and let them out. However before they know it, they are back inside and the journey continues. Seems the duo have been on the tram for a week. The girls are worried this pervert may have done something to Francesca. Not just yet. Oh my. Clark and Inazou are drunk and think this tram is fun (because they see Takuboku tease chasing the girls). They hop on and are also trapped. Exorcist gets a report about the ghost tram that goes to hell. She knows who are onboard when the report describes the passengers. Feeling lonely? Francesca is going to try to stop this tram herself. Trying hard to remember all the vehicles she has ride throughout the ages (UFO too?! WTF?!), she employs her best. Unfortunately nothing happens because she has no brains! Hijikata and his Shinsengumi see the tram and are going to take on it. They become ‘shooting stars’. The tram stops at the next stop where Exorcist is. She tells them about this hell tram and she has a seal that could solve the problem. However seeing that it is her job to eradicate the undead, she becomes a conductor to tell the tram to continue its journey. Bye-bye! So who is the heartless one, literally?
Unfortunately, the rest of the episodes never got subbed and so I thought my Japanese was decent enough to go watch the raws. Sadly after all these years, well, I don’t want to even think about it. Therefore the rest of the episodes I saw are based on what I see and understand from my very limited vocabulary.
The Shinsengumi wants to take over Sapporo and I don’t know why they decided to start by eating at some best ramen store in town. Turns out the ramen store is manned by Clark and Inazou. When they see Francesca as the poster girl, Hijikata’s wants a rematch so they are going to fight it out in an eating contest. Francesca has a stomach of a black hole since she is devouring bowls after bowls like nobody’s business. Hijikata is trailing so far behind and he is already ‘sick’ without even finishing his first one. Even if the Shinsengumi play tag, the most they can eat is 2 or 3 bowls. Even with the rest of the zombie guards coming to help, they cannot best Francesca! She’s really a monster! In the end, she wins and Hijikata is forced to admit defeat. Hungry Exorcist comes in to eat but finds they have run out of everything. Come back tomorrow? Don’t bother. She takes out her frustration by calling a flock of sheep to stampede the place! Later Hijikata heard there is some best curry ramen store around and decides to try it out. Guess what? Déjà vu. Isn’t that Clark, Inazou and Francesca? Better go for normal curry…
Takuboku seems to be serious so his girls have to go play alone. Nothing hentai lah. They bump into Francesca and co and hang out. Meanwhile the Shinsengumi bumps into Takuboku and are trying to find some clock tower to make it their base. Well, it’s just right before them. When Francesca and co arrive at the clock tower, they see the Shinsengumi on the roof proclaiming this their base. However Chieko tells them to get down. GET DOWN, NOW! She then lectures them and everybody else about the significance of this tower and even its history. However something strange starts to occur. Out from the clock tower, a portal that has zombie guards jumping out and attacking everyone including the Shinsengumi. Exorcist arrives to help and from what I understand, it seems they are from another parallel dimension. Of course, Takuboku is the one to blame for activating something earlier. They fear their leader on the other side is coming and it could be a more fearsome version of Francesca or Hijikata. But it turns out to be Franken. Francesca notes how cute they are and they are obedient enough to sit and play fetch with her arm. WTF.
Hijikata has the word ‘demon’ painted on his forehead and his men think he is back to his old self. Which means strict reprimanding for a dirty ship and the sloppy way they are dressing! They discuss on how to calm him down. Kai Shimada cooks for him but it ends up too sweet for his taste. Kazue Souma tries imitating but his signage imitation is so lame that you’d get mad. Tetsunosuke Ichimura tries to massage his back but slips and accidentally elbows it. Finally Noboru Nakajima draws a portrait of Hijikata but the result is something like Picasso. So how? Hijikata wants all of them to commit seppuku! He is going to hear their last words so they remember those old times when they fought together. Even in death, they’ll follow him. They are about to disembowel their stomach when Hijikata stops them. Looks like he wants them to live and continue fighting along his side. Tears of joy?
Francesca receives a letter from Hijikata. No, it is not a love letter! A challenge letter for heaven’s sakes. However can Francesca beat him at the state she is in now? Because Hijikata seems serious and might win this time. Clark suggests several underhanded tactics like disguising as a welcoming committee and when his guard is down, go in for the kill! Or Clark impersonating as a foreigner introducing his beautiful zombie daughter Francesca. And when he lets his get down, kill! Since Takuboku and his ladies are here, they go sightseeing. Inazou asks Takuboku’s advice about Francesca regaining her original strength. He thinks some sort of strong energy may bring it back. They are at some stone circles when a weird insignia appears. Did Francesca become strong? Well, let’s say she’s quirkier doing some strange dance. When it is time for the battle, the Shinsengumi apologizes it is off since Hijikata is sick from motion sickness. They also withdraw for now as they think Francesca is practising some secret technique. That dance… Ah well, you can’t complain, right? A victory is still a victory.
Inazou and Clark are trying to catch Francesca’s brain. Any luck? Nope. They caught an egg instead. You won’t know if you don’t try so Clark puts the egg into her brain and after all that painful screaming, Francesca turns into… Mother mode? Uh huh. She wants to take care of this egg and raise it like her own child! Ironically it’s in her head, not her tummy. She tries knitting but only entangles herself. Koyakko and Chieko blame Clark for poking them but he claims he didn’t. Even Inazou gets one and blames him! Suddenly they are surrounded by alien spirits?! Exorcist doesn’t detect them as undead. Francesca wants to protect her baby when another round of headache. The egg hatches and it turns out to be the spirit’s offspring. With Chieko translating, the spirits claim they are looking for their lost egg. Francesca still won’t hand it back till she hears how they thank her for taking care of it. In exchange, they reveal the location of an earth shattering power. One of Hijikata’s soldiers gets word of this and reports back. Exorcist receives a call from her team that they have caught Francesca’s brain.
The gang are at the zoo as Francesca is feeling worried so the girls assure her if they can’t find that power, they’ll go back to search her brain. However Inazou cautions them because Takuboku told him if that happens, this Francesca may disappear and transform into something different. They notice Franken missing as well as Takuboku. Exorcist is at the shrine believed to be where that power is. She is trying to get the priest to tell her but he remains suspicious and will not. She threatens with her chain gun when the Shinsengumi is seen entering the grounds (the miko priestess must be smitten with their good looks although they are dead). Hijikata is going to take this power at the mini shrine when Exorcist and Takuboku show up to stop them. With the Shinsengumi keeping them at bay, Hijikata meets a grizzly bear who wants him to choose between a gold, silver or normal sword. Does this sound familiar? But Hijikata grabs it by the throat and wants real power instead. The bear is impressed and absorbs into him to give him the power. The priest is troubled that he absorbed an evil power. Hijikata turns into… A guy in a bear suit?! Meanwhile Francesca’s side come across a white bear who tells her to choose between a gold, silver or ordinary guy. She chooses the ordinary one (at the same time finding Franken) and since it is the right answer, she wins a voucher of that power. She tests it out. Do you feel the power coming?
Actually, it feels nothing. Why not put it to the test. Air fireball… Nothing happens. Since the nearby shrine is in chaos, they rush over.
Pedo bear Hijikata is wreaking havoc all around. Francesca tries to stop him but was easily tossed away. I guess it’s certain. She had no real power. Just when Clark seemingly is going to attack Hijikata, it is just to get his pellets to go with his rice. We should have come to expect this guy is no good in saving the world. Hijikata is moving towards the town. He must be stopped. Even the Shinsengumi pleads for her help. Exorcist reveals she has captured her brain but there is the risk she will lose her current personality. Francesca is willing to do it. With her team throwing the brain down to her, it returns to her head as she transform into something ferocious. More powerful. Faster. Scarier. They are on equal footing but in the end, it is Francesca who emerges victorious and reverting Hijikata to his original state. However the problem now is that Francesca is exuding with evil aura. Before anything bad can happen, a voice from the sky screams that this cannot go on anymore and thus like déjà vu, lightning strikes Francesca, her brain pops out and she is back to that ditzy zombie we all know and love. Welcome back?
Something is wrong with Francesca. Spacing out and not being a glutton. Not her usual self. She follows the sound of a flute but is surrounded by the Shinsengumi guards. A handsome samurai, Yoshitsune Minamoto comes to her rescue. He knows her but unfortunately she doesn’t remember him. Meanwhile Takuboku is going around sealing rifts in the dimension when Koyakko thought she saw Francesca. With Clark and Inazou looking for her, Takuboku thinks he knows who this Yoshitsune guy is as Chieko explains his brief history of him getting betrayed by his lord. Francesca is taken back to Yoshitsune’s place as he tries to refresh her memories by telling how they met. He was trudging through the snow and left to die till Francesca descended and healed him. Too bad Francesca fell asleep hearing the story! He is going to start again but she right away falls asleep! Oh brother. He puts her to bed and as he plays his flute, short flashback scenes of how they were together. Francesca watched over him till he is healed and when they parted, he gave her a ring which she is still wearing today. He promises to return the favour one day. The Shinsengumi guards surround outside as Yoshitsune fights them but there is a limit to how many he can slay. That is when Francesca wakes up and protects him. She now remembers. He transfers his powers to her and in a flash she destroys all the soldiers. However with his job done, it’s time to part again. Something about his conquest of Mongolia. They’ll meet again as long as she has the ring. When the rest reunite with her, they are glad she is back to her goofy self. Meanwhile Exorcist is examining the shrine and felt something strange about the lightning that struck Francesca. It’s not just a coincidence. Takuboku also have a feeling that something sinister is coming.
Francesca and co are in some tower for sightseeing. There is a statue of Hijikata and they don’t hesitate to take pictures with it. Meanwhile the Shinsengumi are discussing about that incident where Hijikata lost to Francesca at the shrine. Some of them reveal that they had a dream about Francesca. She descended and told them Hijikata will lose. It seems that guy too has some sort of nightmare and reeling from the defeat. He feels the need to become stronger. Meanwhile Shinsengumi soldiers are seen pushing and hitting the tower base. Because this causes Francesca’s ice cream to drop, she becomes the raging zombie and fights them! Everyone helps out in cutting them down and even Exorcist. However they notice that they aren’t your usual Shinsengumi guards. They finally destroy all of them but it seems Takuboku got injured while protecting Koyakko. He shortly collapses.
While the soldiers are training, one of them slips. This causes him to remember his past and family. He escapes and there are orders to bring him back. Meanwhile Takuboku is in Exorcist’s lab inside a chamber unit being healed. As Francesca, Inazou and Clark take a walk, they see the soldiers cornering some kid. After dispatching them, there are surprised to see that rouge soldier, Heikichi Nara behind that hood. He explains to them about his predicament and something about his gambling habits that always bring trouble to his family. But when he was drafted into the army, he missed his family and that they’re still waiting for his return. Francesca volunteers to help him return home. But the place now is a melon farm. Then those soldiers (disguised as melon heads?) start ambushing them. As they fight, Heikichi is close to giving up as his home is no more. But Francesca tells him she doesn’t have memories of her family. This gives him motivation not to give up. All the soldiers are disposed when Heikichi smells something familiar. It’s the cooking of his wife. He follows the smell his little home where his family is still waiting. He tossed away the mask and reunites with them. Wow. He looks with a different stature without that puny mask. That is disposable in the first place? He is grateful for Francesca’s words and now that they have reunited, they can move on to the next world. Francesca also receives some of her memories back. She remembers her mom giving her a dog doll as a birthday present. More good news as Takuboku wakes up as he thanks Exorcist. But the little girl won’t admit it and says she is doing it since he has some use to her. Nevertheless he gives her a big hug and will do his best for her.
I’m not sure about this captain sailing his ship to protect the waters from some sea monster called Toshi. But how can he do it with a ship that looks more like a haunted house and with no weapons?! Don’t worry. Shinsengumi is here to save the day. And here Toshi comes… Meanwhile Francesca and co paddle on their swan boat to some island to meet deer or something. Francesca mistakes Toshi as a deer and gets eaten up. The rest follows. Inside its stomach, they find the Shinsengumi there too. Although they claim they have got Toshi under their command, but it looks more like they were eaten up as well. And of course, the inevitable battle between Hijikata and Francesca. Francesca is still strong thanks to the ring. Suddenly Hijikata stops. His stomach growls. So does his men. Haven’t eaten anything for a week, eh? Thank Francesca for the food. They look around and notice all the junk and structures Toshi has eaten. Must be that hungry but why eat them too? Is it because they are considered garbage too? Well, they’re the undead… With acid juice flowing in, there is only a way to get out… A week later, the captain is happy that Toshi is not in sight. But what are they going to do with our stinky guys? Guess which way they came out from the sea monster? Meanwhile Exorcist suddenly finds a love letter from Takuboku in her drawer! Gasp!
Exorcist is in love? I don’t know but she sounds weird trying to be a poet. Her subordinates are stumped seeing her acting cute. Heck, she’s messing around with the computer till it pops up some secret X-Files. There is a password so she simply keys in ‘hatsukoi’ (first love) as a joke and it works!!! The folder contains lots of old photos. There is a picture of Yoshitsune in battle wearing that ring. Oddly, every other photo has Francesca in the background. Meanwhile Francesca and co head to the hotspring. Even the undead needs to relax and unwind. We see Koyakko feeling inferior in her chest compared to the rest while Clark just melts! Do statues melt this easily in hot water? Suddenly Francesca is transported to her younger days in some Victorian hometown. Her mother is unconscious and there is this Dark Francesca beckoning her to follow. She is told to meet Rikuni. Similarly, the Shinsengumi are visiting the hotspring. Hijikata is cute when drunk when he also disappears into that Victorian hometown. He sees Francesca who tells him she will be waiting at Rikuni. Francesca wakes up and tells the rest about this. She wants to go to Rikuni (some heart shaped island) and believes she will find something she lost there. Meanwhile Exorcist takes a closer look at the love letter and realizes it is not one! Frustrated? It is actually just a map of that Rikuni place and a message for her to meet him there.
Exorcist meets up with Francesca and co right before the heart shaped island. A castle materializes on it and as they enter, this Victorian town seems very familiar. Indeed it is. They stop to ask for directions but not even Chieko can decipher the language. But Clark could! Really? Seems like it until he said something wrong and has the guards arresting them. Now what? Run! Even when cornered, Clark tries to defect and blames it on them! Saitei! Thankfully the guards don’t buy it. The king’s servant comes by and recognizes Francesca. Suddenly all his subjects bow before her. They are brought to the castle and treated with first class hospitality and amenities. The servant has Francesca follow him. She passes by her room. In a big room, there is Francesca’s family portrait. The Shinsengumi is also here as they launch an attack on the island and invade the land. But everything is crumbling and they have to leave. Through Chieko’s translation via a dictionary, the servant tells Francesca to gather the 7 pieces and only then her lost self and true form will return. Once everyone evacuates, Rikuni disappears.
Takuboku is seen allying himself with the Shinsengumi because their goals are the same. Exorcist explains the spots where it may contain the 7 fragments. She also let the rest know she saw Takuboku among the Shinsengumi at Rikuni. Everyone splits up to search for the fragments. Francesca is surprised to see a chibi version of herself. She tries to catch it but Hijikata attacks her. He is here to stop her from retrieving her true form as she is the devil who will bring ruin to Hokkaido. Meanwhile Exorcist also finds a chibi Francesca. But with Takuboku also here, I suppose she is still reeling from that embarrassment and shoots him. Elsewhere, Chieko and Koyakko find a chibi Francesca respectively but also have to deal with Tetsunosuke and Noboru respectively. Suddenly they remember about their past, their time with Takuboku. In the end he left them. It brings great tears but they realize their true feelings and won’t give up on him. After easily defeating the Shinsengumi, the chibi Francesca agree to go with them and turn into mini hearts. Hijikata will not give up and powers up.
He’s got a “Super Demon” on his forehead and his head butting Francesca! WTF?! Elsewhere, Inazou faces off with Shimada but chibi Francesca invites them to drink at nearby stall selling them. What a better way to settle things via drinking? Eventually they got drunk. Who is going to pay for it? Put it on Exorcist’s tab! Chibi Francesca is drunk and turns into a mini heart. The guys want the other to have it and since they’re so ‘kind’ it led them to get mad but ultimately passed out. I don’t know what Clark is lecturing Souma about but I don’t think he wants to listen. Several girls surround Souma (too bad for you Clark) because he is a handsome dude. Somehow they have a mini Francesca and give it to him. Suddenly something evil in Clark awakens. Looks like he got his memories back and remembers his goal. Takuboku’s wound is still there. He is about to get owned. Exorcist is still reeling from that misunderstanding and fires at him. But she missed him and drew a heart shape around. Still can’t forget him? She is giving this excuse to let him live for now as she takes chibi Francesca. Everyone returns to Francesca who is still fighting Hijikata. They give the heart fragments to her. Even Franken got one (after some silly face off with a Shinsengumi soldier in some food preparation thingy). When Hijikata gets word that Souma is badly injured, he calls off the match. To be settled next time… Again. The fragments are combined and Francesca absorbs. Them. Hmm… Feels warm and good. Clark impersonating as his goofy self notes it won’t take long now…
The Shinsengumi drink to a pledge. Souma is well enough to join them. Meanwhile everyone celebrates Francesca’s wholesome. However when her heart starts to throb, she begins acting selfish and hogs all the food. Franken’s bark returns her to normal. A portal is detected so Clark has Inazou and Francesca come with him to investigate. As Takuboku’s signal is also detected, Chieko and Koyakko go to find him but he is wounded. At the portal, the Shinsengumi is also there and they believe this is Francesca’s doing. As they fight, Francesca’s dark side comes out again and is powerful enough to fight off Hijikata. But the rest of the other Shinsengumi members remember that dream of meeting her and believe it is true. They might be forgetting something. Clark wants Francesca to unleash all her hatred. But when she seizes the Shinsengumi members and they call her a monster, she realizes this is not the true self she wants to become. Hijikata will not fall for this trickery and attacks. Franken defends Francesca and gets stabbed. Once he disappears from Francesca’s arms, she is filled with sadness and rage, she powers up into her dark form and even more sinister when she absorbs her brain. Clark turns Inazou evil under his command.
Dark Francesca’s hair becomes evil wings. She fights Hijikata and causes his sword to break. Disappointed, she summons Shinsengumi soldiers from another dimension to fight. Thankfully a herd of sheep stampede through. Is this Exorcist’s skill? This also turns Clark and Inazou back to normal. Takuboku returns but his explanation is a little too late. They weren’t supposed to gather the fragments as they represent Francesca’s negative emotions like jealousy and hatred. Shimada and Noboru remember their dream. Francesca foretold them about her dark side and wanted them to stop her when the time comes. Dark Francesca wants to destroy everything and attacks but the Shinsengumi uses their body to protect Hijikata. They’re glad they get to protect him for real. Yeah, now he gets to have the glory of finishing her off. Now they’re gone. He’s sad. He’s mad. He powers up and assembles their swords into one big badass version. He is no longer a super demon but an explosive demon! At least he could fight on par with her. Takuboku further reveals that some song book might be the key to stop her. His memories returned when he was at Rikuni. He remembered meeting Francesca. She saved him after he got beaten up by some guy. She called him her saviour because his song dispelled the darkness in her. However he is too weak to use its power. Koyakko and Chieko want to lend their power. They are tired of chasing him and want to always be together. They summon some beam (or was it some key) to strike Dark Francesca before Hijikata strikes the finishing blow. Exorcist is sad to see Takuboku and the girls disappearing. Sorry for what she said now? Heh. Even girls like her can cry. But save it for later because that attempt didn’t have any effect on Dark Francesca as she revives. Running out of options…
Flashback reveals the king of Rikuni was happy when Francesca was born into this world. However each time she is happy, a bright light emits and blows up the surroundings. Nobody died but I am sure afro wasn’t the fashion hairstyle they would love to have. This goes on for so long that the king decided the only way is to seal this power. Because the entire country is black as a coal and the only place left is this tiny heart shaped island that they are on. So they got a mage (Exorcist?) to do the sealing. Francesca’s heart fragments that contain her happy feelings were scattered. As she grows up, she acts more like a delinquent, taking out her frustrations on the guards. She must be really scary. But Francesca isn’t that all bad as she feels guilty and wonders if she’s a bad girl. But the servant disagrees she is so since she helps protect the country and that she is who she is. So for a long time, she helps protect the country and seals the portal cracks. Inazou when he was alive, resurrected Francesca in some school lab and Clark views her as someone important to save Hokkaido. Back in present, Hijikata saves Exorcist from being minced meat. She should have got the hint that all the bullets she pumped into Dark Francesca had no effect. Then they notice that Dark Francesca seems to be getting her powers from the other dimension and she might be controlled by something from the other side. And then something points to what Clark said but he too isn’t sure (can’t quite understand this part). The heart fragment returns to possess Dark Francesca and doesn’t believe that she is a bad girl.
Suddenly parts of Francesca like as though some sort of mecha gatai, form Francesca! Well, I suppose since she is a zombie so the parts can combine. Holy cow! Twin Francescas. Everyone knows this Francesca is the one they know since her trademark goofiness is there. Dark Francesca still considers herself as the true one but Francesca won’t allow her to do as she pleases. Francesca fights back and gives Dark Francesca a run for her money but the latter also returns fire. Hijikata joins in the fight to help Francesca. He believes in Francesca as the real one because from their fights. When Dark Francesca stabs him, Hijikata restrains her and sacrifices himself so that Francesca could blow her back to the other dimension. Before Dark Francesca revives, Francesca is going to seal the portal. Do you have to sacrifice yourself like that? I mean, Exorcist must have died a few times seeing characters being killed off (yeah, I kinda noticed her role is to scream their names too when they ‘die’) and she certainly doesn’t want Francesca to go. Not after she racked up all those food tabs. But Francesca has got to do what she has got to do. Taking off her eye-patch, she unleashes some power to seal the portal. Days later, Exorcist reports no future cracks were spotted ever since but her henchmen pick up signals of undead. She rushes over to stop Hijikata and his Shinsengumi men from trying to start another revolution to create Ezo. Then there is also Chieko and Koyakko reprimanding Takuboku while perverted Clark wants to join in. Exorcist remembers after Francesca seals the portal, the dead characters were returned (ironically, they were dead to begin with). They sit around eating corn and discuss the mysterious person who was controlling Francesca. Hijikata believes Francesca is still alive somewhere because whenever Hokkaido is in danger, she will be sure to return and protect it. Then Franken picks up a scent. Could it be Francesca? The search is on.
More Alive Being An Undead
Hey… It wasn’t that bad! Heck, I managed to get through half of the episodes at least understanding what they say! So it isn’t all that bad! Hooray! What an accomplishment! Let me pat myself in the back… But still sadly and unfortunately, my general lack of Japanese vocabulary is still the main down factor that this series is less enjoyable especially the important revelation parts and towards the end of the series. I couldn’t understand precisely what was going on and had to guess based on what I see and stringing in a few Japanese vocabulary I could hear. It was frustrating to strain my ears so many times but yet couldn’t comprehend it all in the end and had to give up. Yeah, really sad. Therefore my blog summary of the episodes may not be accurate and might be even off the mark.
Even sadder and more unfortunate that this decently fun show is ignored by fansub groups just because it is underrated and not main stream and therefore you will never be able to find subs for it anytime soon (at least not by the time I finished watching this series). Even if you’re lucky that this show is going to be licensed and subbed by ‘legal’ companies, that might be in the distant future and even so, don’t put your hopes up for it because like I said, this is an underrated show despite the fun. I mean, if a show is assumed not going to be popular, why bother adding to the cost for a show that the majority doesn’t care about? It is such a sad thing that this series will be passed up and not given a ‘real’ chance, never ever to be known by the decent majority.
Some of the episodes feel random like as though they are pulling a South Park ending. Because sometimes I feel that what happens at the end of the episode doesn’t have any consequences in the next. It is like as though they pressed the reset button and let the episode start anew. Oh heck, they’re zombies. They can’t really die, can’t they? But aside these filler-like episodes, they are nevertheless fun to watch despite me not understanding half of what they’re saying. Mainly because Francesca is both cute and goofy at the same time so it is hard to hate her and even if she is annoying, she is annoyingly cute. Yeah. Leave it to animes to turn zombies from horrifying undead who want to eat your brains into cute loving creatures that protect the land!
I suppose the reason why they put Francesca as such a glutton and eats everything she could get her hands on is probably to promote the food and special delicacies in Hokkaido. You can see Francesca and sometimes with Inazou and Clark bumming around wasting time talking about the delicious food and has nothing to do with the direction of the plot whatsoever. Well, it’s a good way to promote Hokkaido because I am sure a part of tourism to promote a place is to talk about the culture and you can’t have that without food, right? Right. Unfortunately I couldn’t understand further because you-know-why.
The characters are okay and each of them are lovable including the Shinsengumi guys who aren’t really the antagonists. They may always be on collision course with Francesca’s side but when you have good looking (zombie) guys, they can’t be entirely that bad, right? Because when you have a group like them with their own quirkiness like Hijikata’s motion sickness and all, how can you call those jokers the main villains of the series? Besides, I thought it was going to be a running joke that their ship before they set sail will always be sunk by something that comes flying their way. Fortunately this is only spammed in the first few episodes and it would be dead boring (mind the pun) if they continue to play this gag for the rest of the series. Of course with the teasing of that mysterious villain (who doesn’t even have the tendency to show his damn face since the scene is conveniently shrouded in darkness), it hints there will be a more sinister force and Hokkaido will be in greater threat. But that is another story and another season provided if Hokkaido gets popular enough to give thanks and make another season ;p.
So for our main titular character, what can I say about Francesca? She’s cute, she’s goofy, she is happy-go-lucky, she loves everything she eats and more importantly, she is very cheerful for an undead girl. And you thought dead people don’t have emotions, eh? We love this Francesca, don’t we? Francesca is literally in a world of her own and isn’t concerned about the dangers around her till she gets serious enough to think about her lost memories and past. Though, I am still curious about Yoshitsune as I believe there should be more to them than just the ring he gave to her. As for Exorcist, I feel her role is a lot redundant because it is not like she could do anything about the undead. No matter how many bullets she fire from her seemingly heavy chain gun, she only hits those lowly Shinsengumi soldiers. She is someone who hangs out with our undead casts (ironically she is the only living being among them) and then being casted as some love stricken loli, sorting out her feelings whether she is in love with that perverted glasses. An undead stealing her heart? You have got to be a zombie lover to even go that far.
Clark feels like the biggest joker of the pack because you can see from his character that not only he is for comedic purpose but perhaps the biggest coward of them all. You can say he is selfish because when his life is at stake, he tries to get himself out of it even if that means pushing it to his comrades. I know, this is for comic relief but… And Inazou seems to be the one whose role is also to rebuke Clark since he also makes a lot of jokes and uncalled comments. I can’t say much for the rest of the characters since like I’ve said before, my limited vocabulary does not allow me to comprehend the things they say. So for like Takuboku, he may be like some flirting scholar and from my observations he seems to be knowledgeable about what is going on and tries to take action by himself. I don’t understand the real connection of Koyakko and Chieko with him, whether there was some love triangle going on or not. But from what I can see is that Koyakko is a model while Chieko a teacher whose main role seems to be explaining and translating to viewers stuff.
Drawing and art makes the characters look cute. You won’t freak out with Francesca’s cutie looks despite an obvious heart shaped hole right in the middle of her chest. Heck, with everyone looking so, you don’t even think they are zombies. I mean, our perceptions of zombies are ugly rotting flesh of dead people, right? And here, their skin seems to be in perfect condition and the only thing that differentiates them from being normal alive human beings are the stitching scars that you see on some of their limbs. But even so, you are more inclined to think that this might be some fashion statement of having stitch-like tattoo on your face, neck, hands, etc. I have a feeling that Exorcist is made out of CGI although she actually isn’t. Because her design itself is funny. An oversized loli in her diapers wearing a skull on her head. She almost reminds me of Old Master Q’s Big Potato. Really. Also, I find it odd that Exorcist’s subordinates look like robbers. I mean, they wear balaclava/ski mask over their head… What the heck is this kind of getup?!
The ending theme is the most appealing thing to me in this segment. Sasayaki Wa Crescendo by Yui Makino (voice of Francesca) is a very cute and catchy piece. It is like as though a consoling factor after the little frustration of watching almost an entire series without subs. Not to say that I understand totally the lyrics but at least I get to hum along with this cute piece. Even the short opening jingle is cute and infectious.
Overall, this is a fun show with lots of cute funny moments and some action bits (although I find the action part to be just mediocre – definitely not the series’ strength). Generally you will be kept entertained even with questions like how the undead casts are resurrected in the first place and for what purpose or the ending that leaves us viewers wondering if Francesca is still alive. Technically she isn’t but she is because she’s dead so she can’t die therefore she is alive but not in that alive sense but dead alive and also she’s the main character so you can’t kill her off like that and I would classify as missing. Argh! So confusing! Did you get all that? Of course the biggest disappointment is nobody subbed it and it takes out a lot of fun and a turn off for those who want to watch this but can’t. Would it have been great had somebody subbed them? Maybe. Maybe not. But fate at this point has it so. So, when people ask you what is Hokkaido famous for, in addition to quoting fine sakes, zoos, seafood, local cuisine, lakes, national parks, the abundant nature, now you can add cute zombies to the list. That’s right. Zombie girl and friends will protect the region from other dangers and even from other zombies.