August 28, 2015

Here we go again. It is that time that I catch myself being a hypocrite. Despite still not liking the mecha genre, that never stopped me from watching a handful of mecha themed animes year in year out. And now here I am, having a go at Aldnoah.Zero. There must be some sort of better excuse, if you’re asking? As far as I can remember, I don’t know, it could be that I have misread it somewhere over the internet that this mecha show is somewhat similar to Shingeki No Kyojin. The only difference is that you replace the Titans with big giant robots. And I remember that Titan show was pretty epic enough so it made me assume that Aldnoah.Zero is also as epic as it except that it would just be mechas. Yes people, you can laugh at me for that pathetic reason but after watching the series, I don’t see how similar it is. Maybe there was but I couldn’t connect it. Anyway, as far as this story is concerned, the reason why you need big mechas firing at each other is because different nations are at war, right? Yup. Turn that into an inter-planetary level and it is all the reason you need to see such robot fights.

Episode 1
Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia is talking to Slaine Troyard that she is looking forward to her goodwill trip on Earth. Back on Earth, Inaho Kaizuka joins his friends, Inko Amifumi, Calm Craftman and Okisuke Mikuni to school as we are given a brief history of what happened. Thanks to the discovery of some ancient artefact belonging to some Martian civilization, Hyper Gate paved the way for human colonization and development of Mars. This resulted in the appearance of Vers Empire who claimed the technology like Aldnoah as their own and this resulted a war between Earth and Mars on the moon. The intense fighting caused Hyper Gate to go berserk and destroyed the moon. Heaven’s Fall happened 15 years ago. Lt Kouichirou Marito is supervising the kids in a live fire exercise. But he is already drinking this early? Later he talks to his friend, Souma Yagarai about some cover up on Tanegashima by the top brass 15 years ago. Nobody believed him now but he know what he saw. He is also concerned about the kids now having to take up military practice and what will happen if they actually find out the real truth. Everyone believes this transitory peace will last forever but what happens when those kids have to fight those guys lurking in the moon’s wreckage. How will they make up for their lies? Before Asseylum’s departure, Slaine gives her a pendant as a protective charm since he is grateful for her help that saved him from death’s door 5 years ago. However after that, Count Cruhteo beats him up to make him know his place. Later he talks to Count Saazbaum and it seems many of the lords are against their princess on this trip and tried dissuading her. Of course they know there will be retaliation if something happens to her. Or maybe they’re waiting for just that? Inaho and friends are at the procession of Asseylum’s arrival. There are terrorists working in the background and when the time is right, they let loose several homing devices that take out the security and one right on Asseylum as she crawled out of the limo! Of course this means Vers Empire won’t take this lightly as they begin their hammer of justice on Earth. Orbital Knights, its 37 clans who are also independent military units are crash landing their gigantic Landing Castle on selected cities over the world in a race to become king of the hill. As though, they have been waiting for this time for the past 15 years to fight again. A Landing Castle touches down in New Orleans. Massive explosion that burns everything away! Massive destruction. Massive blackout. And young kids are innocent enough to think those are shooting stars and make a wish for world peace. If it only was that simple…

Episode 2
The Martians begin their full assault. First they take out undersea cables and satellites so you puny Earthlings are cut off from communication. Then their Martian Cataphracts destroy all of Earth’s military and mechas so easily. It’s like they never put up a fight to begin with and head to the battlefield to get slaughtered. Inaho is back home and calls his sister Yuki who is on military standby. They’re supposed to meet up and evacuate via her car but she is appalled he didn’t use his guts and evacuate with the rest of the town. Inaho makes his way out and finds a couple of lost foreigners. Trying to tell them to evacuate, he gets pinned down. He thinks they are from some embassy and wants to make contact. But they tell him Asseylum is still alive as she was feeling sick from Earth’s gravity and did not participate in the parade. A double took part. Inaho meets up with his friends and brings along the chicks with them. They come across Yuki and her unit who are going to engage the enemy soon. Better leave quickly as this place is going to turn into a battlefield. Cruhteo sends Trillram and Slaine to go find out what happened to Asseylum. As Slaine is an Earthling, he cannot bear to kill his own men. Thus Trillram is going to ‘educate’ him about war and kills all the fighter jet pilots. Their weapons can’t even harm his Cataphract. Trillram then rendezvous with the culprits who began this whole mess. They think they can return to Vers and collect their knighthood but Trillram kills them! The leader’s daughter, Rayet Areash is the only survivor as Trillram chases her. Marito’s unit engages him but he and Yuki defy orders to go save the girl. The other units get owned. Trillram defeats Marito and goes after Yuki. She bumps into Inaho’s group (they’re going around in circles?) and leaves Rayet to them. Too bad she too cannot best Trillram. Inko takes over the driving after the driver runs out and gets owned by a slab. Trillram chases them throughout town and Okisuke perished when Inaho tried to go rescue Yuki in her cockpit. It ends when they enter an underground shelter. Marito contacts Yuki and wants her to act as bait to buy time for the civilians’ evacuation at the port. But it is Inaho who picks this message up and suggests to his friends to fight back. Their school has got some units and live ammunition.

Episode 3
Trillram contacts Saazbaum and the latter is not too happy he got 1 rat got away. Anyhow, he will order some meteor strike. Although Cruhteo’s Landing Castle is close by, sacrifices are necessary. Marito is back at his base and is not pleased there are orders for them to evacuate. A colleague of his is still fighting, the reason this place isn’t turned to rubble yet. But Darzana Magbaredge says he is the only survivor and communications are cut off so sending a rescue team is not viable. Marito says some of his students are not onboard the ferry list yet so Magbaredge will request for a search party and give him a landing craft. But if he can’t find enough people to crew it, he will abandon his mission. Yuki wakes up in the school infirmary and is not happy Inaho is going to fight. He says it back to her about adapting in situations. Now is the time. With his friends, they discuss the Martian Cataphract’s ability, its barrier seems to absorb everything and making it invincible. However this means his vision is blinded although he could attack with deadly accuracy. Something like an aerial satellite must be providing its vision because he stopped when they entered the tunnel. Inaho has a hunch this guy is persistent in getting them and they will buy the time needed to get evacuees out. Since they are going to fight, they need somebody to drive a decoy truck. The foreigner girls and Rayet volunteer. They start moving at the light of dawn. Then they release giant smokescreen all around. Trillram panics because now his vision is blocked. Slaine comes in a jet to blow away the smoke and also assist in Trillram’s vision but Inko shoots him down. Trillram goes after the truck and successfully crashes it. Rayet wants foreigner girl to escape but she won’t. She steps out and tells Trillram to stop this violence. She reveals herself as Asseylum. Trillram cannot believe she is alive and falls into shock. Marito and Inko fire all they got. The bridge collapses and Trillram is trapped in the water. Noticing that water is not being absorbed, Inaho also finds the gap in his barrier and pierces it open. His invincibility cannot be perfect and cover himself completely because for example otherwise the ground that he steps on will also be absorbed. The Cataphract goes offline. Slaine picks up Trillram who is freaking mad. He wants to go kill the princess himself or else his clan will be branded a traitor. Slaine realizes he is the one who planned Asseylum’s assassination and steals his gun to pump several bullets into him.

Episode 4
The meteor strike is here. Thankfully everybody escaped before it hits. Asseylum is back in her disguise and her maid, Eddelrittuo is glad she is safe. However Asseylum decides to reveal her true self only to Inaho. She needs to get to United Earth (UE) headquarters to contact her grandpa. Once he knows she is alive and well, the attack will stop. She doesn’t want Inaho to let others know because there may be spies among them who are out to kill her. Slaine reports to Cruhteo about Trillram’s death in the meteor strike. Cruhteo is mad and sends out a troop to find the culprit and dispense justice. Slaine wants to take part in the fight but was beaten up. Cruhteo tells him he has no place in their war and this is the moment they have been waiting for since the princess paid with her life for this. Slaine wonders if he too is trying to take advantage of Asseylum’s death and could there be a ringleader in this assassination plot. Magbaredge and everyone else is docking and refuelling while waiting for her destroyer craft to come pick them up. However an enemy is spotted. Vlad is sent by Cruhteo to kill them all and his laser sword slices through everything. The ship takes some damage as Marito and Yuki tries to repair the engine. Asseylum wants to go talk to that knight but Inaho tells her to sit put. Inaho tests out a few different ammunition to see if it is effective. But Vlad knows Calm is sneaking up behind him. Vlad does a sneaky move but Inaho closes up on him. Inaho’s mecha can’t stand the force Vlad’s Cataphract is putting on him. Inko does a surprise attack and slams the container into him, damaging his main visuals. The destroyer craft is here and lends its support. Once the engine is up and running, everyone retreats. Slaine goes up to Cruhteo to beg to take part in this war and wants a chance to avenge Asseylum.

Episode 5
5 years ago, Slaine crash landed into the Vers Empire palace. Asseylum kissed him to suck out the water in his lungs. Cruhteo reports to Saazbaum of their conquest on Tokyo but also the death of Trillram. But Saazbaum is puzzled he died in the meteor strike because he personally informed him about it. The emperor of Vers, Rayregalia Vers Rayvers cannot understand his fellow men’s actions for a full assault on Earth if his granddaughter’s death was just at the hands of assassins. His subject thinks UE is guising themselves as terrorist to assassinate Asseylum as her blood is capable of stirring the power of Aldnoah to life. That bloodline is the very foundation of the empire’s might. It still doesn’t make sense so Rayregalia calls for armistice/truce to UE. Magbaredge sees Inko and Inaho and praise their actions for repelling a Cataphract. Though, Inko credits Inaho for coming up with this operation. Cruhteo is not pleased the emperor has come up with an armistice so he is going to advise him. Saazbaum has his men investigate to uncover the truth behind Trillram’s death. It is confirmed he didn’t die in the bombardment so he wants somebody to infiltrate Cruhteo’s castle and investigate. After Cruhteo’s failed advice, Slaine sneaks into the room to communicate with the emperor that Asseylum is still alive and he saw it with his own eyes. The assassination must have been plotted by the Orbital Knights. Please stop the war. Vlad ignores the truce and attacks the destroyer to avenge his honour. As usual, the other mechas are no match for him so it is up to a high school kid to fight him. Vlad thought he can have this over in a second but Inaho has planted explosives in his armour that explode upon contact (this was originally designed to detonate and deflect incoming fire). Inaho then has the destroyer tilt to a side as he drags Vlad down into the sea. But before the mechas fall into the ocean, Inaho ejects. Vlad is killed in the undersea explosion. Because his laser sword gives out enormous heat energy, it instantly converted into high pressure steam and thus the impact destroyed him. After Slaine finishes his audience with Rayregalia, the emperor calls out to Saazbaum who has been listening. Saazbaum argues Earthlings cannot be trusted as their spies are everywhere awaiting opportunity to overthrow Vers. And so Rayregalia resumes the war on Earth. All those who harm his flesh and blood will burn!

Episode 6
Slaine is ordered to be found and killed but Saazbaum wants him alive because as the son of Dr Troyard, he might be useful in answering questions about Aldnoah’s research. Too bad he managed to escape. Asseylum is shocked that grandpa has formally declared a war. Marito lets them know about reality that they have always been at war. They chose to ignore it. Despite Asseylum was sent as goodwill to build a friendship between Earth and Vers, she became the very reason why this war ignited. Yuki makes an emergency announcement for everyone to gather. Magbaredge announces everyone will be drafted into military to fight this war. Calm isn’t happy he is drafted as a mechanic but Marito points out everyone who has been in war 15 years ago died. Technically they are all war virgins. However Inaho points out he is a survivor. That is not what the records said. He recalls the trauma of how the Martians levelled them. There were no solid evidence and his report was written off as ramblings of a madman. As long as they don’t have Aldnoah, their technology will be far behind Vers. Inaho thinks about this and asks Asseylum about it. When her grandpa first made contact with this ancient technology, it activated and recognized him as its rightful inheritor. Only his descendants have this innate ability to command Aldnoah. In exchange for loyalty from the Orbital Knights, Rayregalia gave them Aldnoah. They used it to build grand castles and Cataphracts and ruled over the colonies. Now they are setting their sights on Earth. The next refuelling station is at Tanegashima and this of course brings back trauma to Marito since he best friend John Humeray was killed. He believes it was his fault he died. Magbaredge joins him in drinking. She heard about the reports of Tanegashima and doesn’t consider him a liar. She reveals her brother fought in that war and died. Magbaredge is just her adoptive name. Her real surname is Humeray and her brother is Marito’s best friend. That too much shock for you to handle? They are suddenly attacked by gauntlets belonging to the Cataphract of Femieanne. As usual, other mechas get owned by it. The destroyer is beyond saving so Magbaredge calls for everyone to abandon it. Just before it gets destroyed, Inaho fires some kind of ammunition to blast it away. It may not be enough to destroy it but the explosion is enough to repel it off track. Then the last gauntlet and Inaho runs out of bullets. Has his luck run out? Inaho is really a lucky kid because that last gauntlet is deflected away by Slaine.

Episode 7
Cruhteo wants to go after Slaine but Saazbaum wants him to stay put. He thinks if Slaine is a spy, he might have accomplices and he will see where that rat is going to. Femieanne targets Slaine and he has a hard time running away. Inaho returns the favour to deflect the gauntlets. As the attack continues, one of the gauntlets destroys a cliff to reveal a hidden dock. Magbaredge orders to enter it and once in, they shoot the cave mouth to completely close it, leaving Inaho, Yuki and Inko outside. But I suppose it’s time to take on the big boss. Inaho thinks that Cataphract has no other weapons beside its gauntlets since it is just standing there. Inside the base, everyone is horrified to see a huge Martian Cataphract lying dormant. This was the Cataphract that levelled the place. They realize the reason the Tanegashima report was quashed was so as to hide this. Inaho teams up with Slaine to fight the gauntlets. Inaho deduces there are weaknesses in it that makes it not completely invincible. For example, its tail and its engine are not protected and if they fire in there, the gauntlets can be destroyed. Femieanne is upset that her ‘children’ are destroyed. Her Cataphract turns into a giant missile gauntlet as she tries to finish them. The duo pull off crazy stunts to avoid being quashed. Suddenly a giant flying battleship bursts out of the island. It is being powered by Asseylum. After Inaho shoots out Femieanne’s engine, the battleship collides into her and Rayet shoots the final shot to blow it up. All Martians will die for her revenge, says she. Slaine is happy to see Asseylum again and wants to meet with her but Inaho wants to know how he knows the princess is alive. He won’t answer. Inaho shoots him down. Now they’re enemies.

Episode 8
Short flashback shows Magbaredge and the rest spotted Deucalion the flying ship resting below. They are puzzled why such a good working condition ship was left behind and has no fuel garage. They realize it has Aldnoah Drive. That is when Asseylum reveals herself and uses her power to start it up. Slaine is captured and mercilessly tortured by Cruhteo to reveal his intentions but his mouth is tightly zipped. Saazbaum doesn’t want him killed or else they will learn nothing. Magbaredge talks to Asseylum, Inaho and Rayet and learn that Orbital Knights are the ones behind her assassination. But letting the public know Asseylum is alive may not be a good idea. All satellite communication is down and there is no guarantee it will reach the correct parties. Rayet is still bitter that her team was betrayed and still doesn’t trust Martians. Later Inaho tells Asseylum that the Martian he met on Tanegashima was looking for her. It shows that there are some who know she is still alive. Asseylum takes out a pendant that Slaine gave to her as charm. As his father came to Vers to study about Aldnoah, Slaine told her many stories of Earth that fascinated her. Slaine continues to endure the torture and how he will remain silent on Asseylum’s life to avoid others from exploiting her. After all, he owes her for saving his life then. Cruhteo has had enough of this farce and wants to kill him, much to Saazbaum’s dismay. Cruhteo sees Slaine smirking and beats him up. His subordinate reports the wreckage of Femieanne’s Cataphract and also that Cataphract at Tanegashima with its Aldnoah Drive ripped out. Cruhteo doesn’t think any importance of it since no Earthlings can pilot it anyway but when Slaine smirks, he senses something amiss. A few more beatings and that is when he starts to realize Asseylum is alive. Slaine also reveals he killed Trillram. He won’t let Cruhteo get what he wants and crush Asseylum’s goal of peace. Realizing he risked his life to protect Asseylum, now Cruhteo commends him for his unwavering loyalty and has his mend tend to his injuries! What a big change! Cruhteo will now find out which Orbital Knight tried to assassinate Asseylum. He wants to call for truce with Earth and seek their help to find Asseylum when suddenly Saazbaum’s Cataphract crashes into his Landing Castle. Just as Cruhteo connects all the dots he is behind Asseylum’s assassination plot, he gets killed. Saazbaum retrieves Slaine.

Episode 9
Slaine wakes up in the care of Saazbaum. He saved him because he is indebted to his father who rescued him when he was caught in the events of Heaven’s Fall. Saazbaum did not hesitate to reveal he is the one who plotted Asseylum’s assassination. Yuki is talking to Calm about how she knows what kind of face Inaho puts despite he’s looking that same grumpy view. It’s because she is his sister. Inko really gets concerned when she starts talking about Inaho and his possible girlfriend especially with a certain Martian princess (because that guy is listening to her so attentively) that Inko got out of her simulator just to go ‘take a break’. When Rayet is practising in the simulator, she starts panicking when faced with Trillram’s Cataphract. She loses the simulator. Rayet cannot understand why Asseylum is still being calm despite being betrayed and all. Lots of why this and why that but yet no answers. Yagarai has Marito undergo some post traumatic stress disorder treatment. He is to relive his trauma via simulator till he gets over it. With bad graphics and polygons? Well, it gets real all in his mind. When Marito was leading his platoon they never expected to encounter that Cataphract. Everyone got owned and Humeray was trapped in his tank that is on fire. He told Marito to kill him and reluctantly he did right before the tank exploded. Marito went crazy. So can he relive that simulator again? Slaine asks Saazbaum his reason to wage war with Earth. Something about his duty as a lord to expand his territory and also to seize Earth’s resources that they are blessed with. But does Asseylum have to die for it? Being a royalty itself is a sin. Because 15 years ago the royalty whipped the knights into a frenzy and set them on Earth. They will atone for that with their own flesh and blood. Then there is this propaganda of how Vers are brainwashed to hate Earth in a feudal system surrounding Aldnoah. To keep Vers within their grip, the royalty chose to kindle the flames of conflict and as a result led to Heaven’s Fall. Saazbaum’s fiancée, Orlane died in that conflict and this war is his vengeance. Rayet strangles Asseylum in the shower with an iron chain. Oh great. She did it this time. So who is powering Deucalion? It is losing speed and altitude. Brace for impact!

Episode 10
Inaho finds Asseylum unconscious and with no pulse. He employs CPR, defibrillators and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation till she comes back alive! Before she can reveal who attacked her, Rayet steals Magbaredge’s gun and reveals her father, a Martian spy living on Earth was the one who assassinated Asseylum after being promised nobility and riches. But after he was successful, they got rid of him to eliminate all witnesses. So no Rayet is blaming EVERY SINGLE THING that happened just because Asseylum came to Earth?! She thought Asseylum was the same like her but turns out she wasn’t (in the sense that she had no qualms revealing her identity and was calm). All Asseylum can do is apologize and cry. I don’t know what Rayet wants. She’s not happy that she doesn’t hate her that she is trying to kill her. Rayet turns the gun on herself but Inaho was fast enough to tackle and disarm her. He says he doesn’t care which side she belongs to but so far she has been helping them. Whether or not he trusts her, he thinks at least they are not enemies. Magbaredge then has Rayet taken into custody. Yagarai gives Magbaredge the medical file condition of Marito and also his prescription for her. Marito ponders about the irony about Martians killing Martians (Earth had nothing to do with it in this case, right?). He wonders how Humeray felt to be shot by his own side. Saazbaum shows where Deucalion lies after Heaven’s Fall. That Cataphract was piloted by Orlane. He explains due to Mars’ atmosphere, no matter how much land they have, they cannot harvest from it. The population grows and the people are in misery. The royalty ignored that and at the height of hatred for Earth, Vers came to believe they were superior and Earth was hoarding all the resources and trying to rule over them. An invasion was plotted and as the forces gather at the moon where the Hyper Gate is located, Saazbaum and Orlane were part of the first invading forces. It was a walk in the park overrunning those Earthlings. But suddenly the Hyper Gate collapses and the moon shattered into pieces. Saazbaum ordered a retreat but Orlane was stuck (something about her Cataphract’s gravity thingy) and thus killed. Saazbaum has vowed to lay her ghost to rest. Deucalion finally reaches UE headquarters in Russia. The refugees are taking refuge in an underground shelter that is designed to stave off nuclear attacks. But the numbers are not adding up since many refugees never made it here. So if this place is attacked, humans will be extinct. Asseylum makes a broadcast that she is fine and alive and to stop this war at once. Of course Saazbaum isn’t going to listen. He has intercepted the princess’ transmission to not reach his comrades. They are going to war. Saazbaum frees Slaine as his last repayment to his father. He is now free to fight alongside them or flee to Earth. Saazbaum’s Landing Castle is arriving at UE headquarters.

Episode 11
The attack begins. As usual Earthlings’ defences and attacks are so puny it’s like as though they’re just standing there to die. Yeah. 50% casualties already! And the missiles are digging deep into underground so easily. Asseylum is a sad princess because the war is not stopping. Was it really war they want? Her life was irrelevant from the beginning. But she’s not going to sit around and mope. She contacts Inaho about her plan to cut off the Landing Castle from its Aldnoah Drive. One with royalty blood can do so. Inaho agrees to send her there but Yuki ticks him off for being reckless again. However he tells her this is war and now that negotiations are useless and Asseylum is no longer any use to them politically, this is their best shot to reduce casualties since the only chance they’ve got is a tactical one. If they lose, she’ll die anyway. Eddelrittuo drives Asseylum in a humvee towards Deucalion with Rayet protecting them. Once Asseylum is on board, Inaho briefs his plan on how to get Asseylum to the Landing Castle. First, they’ll drop lots of decoys for the enemy to take countermeasure. Then the first wave of assault team will land and take out the other turrets and assure a safe landing zone for Asseylum. It is a freaking crazy stunt enough to earn Yuki’s wrath but is there any other choice? The plan goes well and Inaho becomes the hero taking out the turrets himself to save the rest from being blown to bits. When it is Asseylum’s turn to dive, Saazbaum shoots Deucalion down. With many systems offline, Magbaredge orders to crash Deucalion into the Landing Castle. They’re going to let Asseylum dock directly.

Episode 12
Of course with that impact, everyone is knocked out but thankfully they’re still in one piece. Asseylum’s gets into her usual guilt mode and thinks Earth hates Vers, blah, blah, blah. Leave it to Inaho to say something to calm her down. First he asks what drives war. No, it is not hatred but rather ideology, resources, territory, pride, religion, etc. Therefore war ends when such goals are achieved. It can also end another way: When too many people have died that it is no longer economical. Anger and hatred are only tools to tilt the war in your favour. He is not interested in those emotions and that is why he will not hate Earthlings and Martians. Great words. But Saazbaum is not impressed. He hates Earth for existing. Inaho becomes hero once more to slow down Saazbaum so the rest could deliver Asseylum. And this is why Inaho must be a hero alone because all those who come to his aid got easily killed by Saazbaum! Slaine is still looking for Asseylum and he is in a dilemma on which side he is fighting for. Make up your mind! Anyway he steals a Cataphract to pilot. I don’t even know how he activated its Aldnoah Drive. Inaho and Saazbaum’s fight crashes right before Asseylum and co. It might be that Inaho was using Inko as bait to test and observe Saazbaum’s Cataphract’s abilities. He realizes that whenever he shoots his gauntlets, he cannot have his barrier up and uses this chance to attack. Also, he knows that not every part of the Cataphract will be covered in that barrier. Then a close up shot I think to disable everything. But the mechas are still functioning. So how? Fist fight! Saazbaum is pissed and talking about he’ll never know the hatred and loved one being taken, blah, blah, blah. You think Inaho cares? Slaine sees this fight and intercepts. Asseylum makes her way on foot into the room and shuts everything down. Then Inaho and Slaine crashes in. Slaine is glad to see Asseylum but she goes to tend injured Inaho and happily tells him how their mission is a success. Suddenly she is shot! OMFG! Who the hell did this?! Saazbaum is not dead yet? Well, he thanks Slaine for coming to his aid. Oh Slaine, did you screw up? Slaine is so mad that he pumps bullets into him. Can you believe he missed many of his shots?! So much so Saazbaum hints by pointing in his forehead! Now what? Got no balls to do that? Slaine sees Inaho crawling up to Asseylum’s dead body. Lots of happy memories… Slaine chooses to point his gun at Inaho. Don’t even think of touching the princess. They recognize each other. They meet for the first time face to face. Inaho pulls out a gun. Slaine shoots him. Dead. With Saazbaum defeated, UE claims victory but with high casualties from both sides. Asseylum has not been heard since…

Season 2

Episode 13
19 months down the road… They’re still fighting! At least in the asteroid belt. But Slaine has powered up so much that he actually kicks ass in his Cataphract! Not a single resistance can touch him! Down on Earth, we see Rayet, Inko and the other girls sunbathing on some beach while Deucalion undergoes maintenance. Time to take it easy? There is this video of Asseylum how she discovered the truth about Earth after her ‘death’. They take the blessed resources for granted and wastes them. So now this war is to free Earth from those exploiters? Slaine returns to Saazbaum who praises him for his exceptional skills and that it was right to have knighted him. Yeah. Now he has his own personal manservant, Harklight. They go see Princess Lemrina to report their progress on Earth’s conquest. Although she is royalty, she hates the blood she has as it only serves to power Aldnoah. But nevertheless she is grateful to Saazbaum for extending his hand of friendship to her. Fun time is over as Deucalion makes a sortie when a Martian Cataphract attacks them. It freezes everything in its radius so you can’t get near him. Not even bullets. Suddenly! Inaho comes back! He wastes no time going into analytical overdrive to calculate this and that. Thank his left mechanical eye for that? In no time, he perfectly closes up on the Cataphract and kills it point blank! It thought it was overkill when the entire area went up in flames. Inko is so relieved that he is back that she instantly hugs him. So this is his first actual return? Want to know how this happened, right? Right. Flashback after Slaine shot him, he went over to Saazbaum, doesn’t kill him, swears his loyalty and ‘threatens’ him to take Asseylum and leave together. Die with his goals unrealized or live with Asseylum. I guess we know what he chose. When Yuki and Inko came, they are devastated to see Inaho in his pool of blood. They bring him back to Yagarai and I think they’re hoping some sort of a miracle this doctor can bullet. I mean, what are the chances of him surviving after a bullet went right through his eye socket? Suddenly Aldnoah’s light starts emitting from him. Is he a Martian? Actually, he might have got it during Asseylum’s CPR. It was enough to power Deucalion as it makes its way to some base up in the atmosphere. That video of Asseylum declaring war on Earth is actually Lemrina in disguise. Nobody could tell the difference, eh? Slaine goes to visit Asseylum whose body lies in some chamber and on life support.

Episode 14
Deucalion docks at Trident Base in space. Inaho is testing out a software for his eye. Its analysis is so freaking accurate that he could tell Inko’s weight as well as her nervousness in emotions that makes her lying! I don’t think this feature will bring in the chicks. But then again, does he care? Also, this same nervousness is what he detected in that Asseylum’s war speech video. It could mean this video is fake. I guess Lemrina’s disguise is so perfect that Rayregalia still believes she is Asseylum. But he is now on his deathbed as he seeks Saazbaum’s help to look after his granddaughter. Saazbaum feels bad about lying about Asseylum twice and asks for Slaine’s opinion of Vers. Something that even if they conquer Earth’s resources, the commoners’ lives won’t change. The solution is Aldnoah which is also the root of the problem. Saazbaum is grateful that the royalty gave the knights Aldnoah but are also to be blamed for creating a highly stratified society. He will bring change to Mars and wants Slaine’s help. As he orders his unit to sortie, Slaine realizes his Cataphract is not activated. Aldnoah drive is disabled. He requests Lemrina to activate it but she won’t. She thinks he is just using her as replacement for Asseylum and only admires her Aldnoah power (they might have the same father but different mothers). He disagrees and shows his scarred back and explains his tough circumstances. He might not understand the burden she carries but assures his loyalty. She kisses him to transfer her Aldnoah power. But only good for one use? Trident Base knows they will be passing Mars’ space base, Marineros Base. And within that close distance, an epic battle is inevitable. However Saazbaum’s unit makes a surprise attack on Trident Base from behind. Time for action. Both sides cannot land hits on each other thanks to the asteroids and space wind. But one can. You guessed it. Inaho! Thanks to his super eye, right? 100% accuracy! Of course, there is only another person who can rival him. You guessed it. Slaine! He has improved so much that he can dodge Inaho’s shots! And Inaho can even replay that scene to see how he super dodged it! Both guys are curious to know who they are fighting and boy, are they ‘glad’ to see each other again? It’s been 19 months…

Episode 15
Magbaredge talks to Inaho that everyone on Deucalion owes their lives to him. So if he wants to go to fight in the front lines, they will support him the best they can. She reveals they have been doing experiments of Aldnoah activation with the princess’ blood samples but cannot get it to work. Only Inaho seems to be the exception. It might have to do with that transfer during resuscitation and his exposure to her blood when she was shot. When Slaine returns from practice, Count Barouhcruz and Count Marylcian do not like him so much and are about to beat him up when Saazbaum intervenes. They do not approve of Slaine because despite if Saazbaum want to keep this Earthling as his pet dog, it is fine but knighting him has gone too far. They are sure he will betray them. Slaine dares him to cut him down now. They are about to but Saazbaum announces to adopt Slaine as his own son. Touch him, you die. They back down for now but if they suspect the slightest betrayal, they’ll kill him. Saazbaum has been thinking of making Slaine his son for some time because he needs somebody to be his heir. Then it is time for another space fight between the bases. Inko is in trouble and once again, Inaho comes to her rescue. He must be so cock sure with his analysis that he goes ahead into the battlefield of the enemy’s territory. And once again, he faces off with Slaine. Trident Base is able to shoot and break off Marineros Base. Orders are given to pull back and make defend the base but Inaho and Slaine are busy engaging with each other. They’re so good in predicting each other that it looks like a draw. Saazbaum wants to take over the fight since he has a score to settle with Inaho. His Cataphract has powered up too as Inaho fires all his got to locate gaps in his barrier. With Inko’s split second help, he manages to locate it but Saazbaum is hit with a rain of debris. Slaine explains it is not. They are bullets he fired in advance. It was a trap he devised to defeat Inaho. Although he did not factor in his barrier, he knew Inaho would somehow figure it out. Saline reveals that he never really swore loyalty to him. Especially the one who pulled the trigger on Asseylum. Goodbye father. The second rain destroys Saazbaum. Saline gives a magnificent eulogy in the aftermath and calls for the knights to unite and destroy Earth. He takes over Saazbaum’s position and wants Harklight to join him to bring a new revolution to Vers where it will be a new era for people like them. Inaho analyzes Slaine’s speech and can tell he is not lying. This means Asseylum is still alive.

Episode 16
Deucalion is set to return to Earth. Slaine talks to Lemrina about the nobles’ act after Saazbaum’s death. As of now they do not want to show their disapproval or fight over his inheritance while some still mourn him. Lemrina believes Saazbaum was a great loss to Vers. She was a result of indiscretion of her father, the second emperor Gillzeria on the moon. His second sin was Heaven’s Fall which cost him his life. Saazbaum found her and swore allegiance to her when she had nothing. She doesn’t know if he had ulterior motives but that is fine. She finds it difficult to trust someone without Machiavellian ambition. Now all of Saazbaum’s privileges are in Slaine’s possession including guardianship of Asseylum. She hopes he won’t forget the princess he is supposed to protect before him. Barouhcruz and Marylcian contact Count Mazuurek that they are suspicious of Saazbaum’s death right after he named Slaine as his heir. They suggest putting aside their differences and teaming up. Mazuurek launches his attack near Yemen as Marito and Yuki’s team head in to engage him. It’s going to be tough as always without that kid. Especially Mazuurek’s Cataphract causing a desert storm by manipulating gravity. Yeah, it’s causing their heads to spin too. Marito is taking pot shots at it for distraction when his trauma begins to work up. As always, you need Inaho for victory. A well timed shot from above disables the Cataphract and ensured their victory. Meanwhile a lone Cataphract attacks Trident Base with speed and accuracy despite the dense debris. I know who that is… And I think Inaho also has an idea who can pull all that stuffs alone. Marito talks to Yagarai about his returning trauma but the latter believes the shock therapy may be working because he is unconsciously using that trauma as a reason to fight. Reward? A glass of liquor?! When Slaine returns to base, everyone gives him the salute so the counts that are against him will now think twice about going against him. He delivered results with flying colours and no one can call him a traitor now.

Episode 17
Mazuurek has been taken prisoner. Yagarai takes a look at Inaho’s left eye and was told he wrote and expanded the software himself. He is also warned not to use it too much as there is a risk. Yuki talks to Inaho about joining this fight when he could have stayed put at the hospital. She is not like him who became a soldier to protect him. So it must be that princess, right? He believes she is still alive somewhere. He saw before his eyes that she was shot and therefore will rescue her. Inaho then interrogates Mazuurek. His loyalty to Vers is what makes him perfect for this interrogation. First he asks his loyalty to Asseylum and then reveals that the one seen in the video is an imposter. The real one is alive and being hidden somewhere. Rayet joins the interrogation after Inaho details of the events when he was with Asseylum during the assault. She is still bitter her father was killed that way but Mazuurek says in any event her father would have died sooner or later and it is better than being branded a traitor. Inaho ends the interrogation. Rayet thinks he must think she is the same stupid Martian who is living in the past. All she does is blame, hate and kill them. Although he believes she is different, she asserts she still hates Martians especially herself. Marylcian contacts ‘Asseylum’ when Slaine isn’t around. Mazuurek has escaped thanks to Inaho and Rayet. They want him to return to his Landing Castle to investigate Asseylum’s whereabouts. Inaho sees Mazuurek having the same eyes as Asseylum because both do not want war with Earth and are interested in the nature of this planet. Inaho also wants him to help investigate Slaine’s objectives. Slaine is not too pleased that Lemrina has granted an audience with Marylcian. With Barouhcruz, Marylcian wants to serve as her personal knight. Slaine disagrees but Marylcian tells him to shut it and then starts badmouthing him about his lowly Earthling status that he has no right to even set foot in this place. Marylcian challenges Slaine to a duel to see who is worthy to be Asseylum’s guard.

Episode 18
Slaine speaks to some of the Orbital Knights who support him. They find it contradictory despite Slaine wants all of them to unite but he himself is picking a fight with Marylcian. Slaine believes that Vers sees themselves as superior to their Earth counterparts and this had led to their carelessness and ultimately undoing. This is the state of Orbital Knights now. He believes some things are better seen from an outside perspective. I’m not sure if Lemrina feels bad about letting the duel happen but Slaine couldn’t be more grateful as this gives him a chance to quell any opposition. Lemrina wants to help him even if it means being Asseylum’s substitute. Marito and his team are engaging another Orbital Knight. They’ve been lucky so far because nobody has died! Then you need Inaho for victory because he is from a safe distance, pinpointing the exact location and when to shoot your weapon! Even if the knight takes out the communicators, Inaho fires some tracer rounds but Yuki decides to play hero this time and with luck, destroys the Martian Cataphract. Inaho didn’t like her sister for disobeying his order to stay clear (her mecha luckily lost only an arm) but she says there is no way a little brother can order a big sister around despite he ranks higher! WTF?! Slaine and Marylcian’s duel begins. The former is seen only running away from the latter’s many laser turrets. No letting up as it shoots from all angles. But Slaine overcomes this by hiding in some tunnel to limit its attack to only 1 angle and takes out all the turrets. Now Marylcian is the one running. Slaine then cuts open his hatch to let that bastard get suck out into the vacuum of space. Barouhcruz is forced to acknowledge Slaine’s victory as witness and as per the rules, Marylcian’s entire estate will be transferred to Slaine. Inaho’s eye is the most useful eye ever because he has been watching the entire battle from the ground!!! HE CAN SEE THAT FAR UP IN SPACE???!!! Lastly, Asseylum makes an official announcement that she will become Slaine’s husband and their new kingdom will be Earth. What is the best way to stay as that? Lemrina shuts off Asseylum’s life support system! She will be her from now on… Then… Just kidding! She switches back on and can’t kill her because she is still her sister despite their differences. After she leaves, Asseylum’s eyes slowly open…

Episode 19
Asseylum also rallies Vers to unite. This means Slaine also holds the same authority as her and this includes the power to utilize Aldnoah. Magbaredge is talking to the higher ups who would love her to continue operating Deucalion. They thing Asseylum’s announcement is just a ploy to rally Orbital Knights. However she feels they are being complacent and letting their guard down just because the tide is in their favour. Eddelrittuo reports to Slaine about Asseylum so he orders her to transport her to his castle. No one is to know about this. Not even Lemrina. So Slaine tells Lemrina about the worsening condition of Asseylum. She feels bad that he is in pain right now and that he doesn’t need to hold back in front of her. It’s because she is already his. Lemrina’s monologue tells us she has always admired Asseylum and wonders if that incident triggered it. But rest assured she will be there for Slaine in her stead. She will support him when she cannot. She can’t control herself and starts crying. Yuki talks to Inaho about recent Asseylum’s announcement. She still hates Slaine for being and asshole for shooting her brother. To Inaho, it doesn’t matter if Asseylum is fake or not. Nobody will listen to her again if she seeks for peace between the planets. Slaine goes to check on Asseylum’s condition. Suddenly she regains consciousness. Her first words were Eddelrittuo’s name. Slaine wonders if she remembers him and keeps saying his name. Of course she does. Proof of that is how she repeats his name like a broken recorder. What a lovely reunion. While they’re at that, the ugly war is still ongoing in the background. Then Slaine goes to lie to Lemrina about Eddelrittuo taking some time off to take care of Asseylum’s ‘worsening condition’. Lemrina agrees but is worried about him too. He assures her she is the only one he can rely on. My, what a player he is. Mazuurek returns to his Landing Castle and communicates to Barouhcruz. After being informed of the latest updates, Mazuurek is in a dilemma on what to do. Barouhcruz brushes off rumours that Saazbaum was killed by Slaine. And now back to some mecha action with Inaho and co fighting the Martian Cataphracts. He knows Slaine has made his move because several Landing Castles and Orbital Knights join in this coordinated attack.

Episode 20
I guess when you’re fighting against 3 Orbital Knights, it is only wise to pull back. Too late for some of the platoon divisions. Easy kill. Annihilated. Slaine orders the offensive to be continued as he remembers the first time Asseylum was put in the chamber on life support. This was the best Saazbaum could do and all that was left was to pray for a miracle. Slaine couldn’t accept this reality and goes crazy. Deucalion arrives in time to pick up its mechas but a Martian Cataphract that is able to clone itself is hot on its tail. Although Deucalion escapes in time, it takes a major damage as all electronic communications and readings are out. How can they pilot the ship then? Don’t worry. There’s always Inaho’s to guide you! Heck, he should just pilot the entire ship himself. And then orders from the higher ups came. An all-out attack to reclaim their lost territory. So they’re just throwing in the numbers now, huh? Mazuurek will pledge his loyalty to Slaine but wants to have an audience with him and Asseylum. Slaine doesn’t mind this request as long as it helps grow their power for the time being. Slaine’s guilt must be increasing as he talks to Lemrina about making Earth their new kingdom because either way, he never had a home. She too feels the same but notes whenever she is with him, that is her home. Slaine talks to Eddelrittuo about her concerns about that proclamation. That proclamation as he says was born from the weakness of his heart, holding on to his faith that Asseylum would wake up someday. And now that she has, the irony is that he doesn’t want her memories to return (her mind is still a little hazy). His priority now is to make Asseylum happy and couldn’t care less about everything else. As for Lemrina, he knows she is looking a place to belong but knows that people like them can never attain it. Mazuurek sees Asseylum and as he talks to her about Earth, the more he feels suspicious about the way she says things. Later he talks to Eddelrittuo and since the little attendant isn’t a good actor, he can tell something is wrong. Lemrina is upset that Slaine wasn’t with her during Mazuurek’s audience although Harklight told her he is preoccupied with new mission plans. Yeah, he seems to be spending more time in his Landing Castle than anything else. That includes being by her side. When Eddelrittuo passes a gift to Asseylum from Mazuurek, suddenly all her memories come flooding back when she sees the pendant. Lemrina laments how long it will be till Asseylum releases her grip on Slaine’s feelings. She goes to check on her but is shocked to see the chamber empty.

Episode 21
I’m sure everyone is depending on Inaho to analyze the enemy’s Cataphracts. Based on their abilities, they are nicknamed Ninja (cloning), Sparky (lightning/electricity) and Houdini (invisibility). Slaine contacts Lemrina and propose to do an announcement of their progress victory to rally support. She agrees and asks about Asseylum’s condition. Of course she knows he is lying when he tells her that her condition is still in critical state. Asseylum learns the war has been going on ever since she went into coma and is supposedly started by Slaine. She wants to see him to ascertain the truth. As she walks out, she sees herself (Lemrina in disguise). Lemrina is not happy. She points her gun at her and claims she is her. Inaho and co go into battle with the Orbital Knights. As usual, tough opposition till Inaho steps in with his plan. I can’t be bothered to think how it works because I know it’ll work in the end as Sparky and Houdini get destroyed. Now all that is left is to face Ninja. Make that Ninjas. Inaho gets so technical explaining about Ninja’s abilities that even his comrades tell him to get to the point! It seems that all the clones are real! Say what? And then with this plan of his, he synchronizes all his allies’ mechas to fire simultaneously at all the clones. Because they’re all real and linked so they’ll be destroyed simultaneously including the original one. I don’t get it, but hell, it works, right? Lemrina summons Slaine to explain about Asseylum’s awakening. He tells her Asseylum’s memories have not returned and still needs to use her to act as the princess till he creates their new world. Even if this is not what Asseylum wants, that is why he will create it and present it to her. Noting he has changed a lot, Lemrina than stands up. She is actually Asseylum in disguise. The real Lemrina reveals she told her everything. Asseylum points her gun at him and orders him to call an immediate ceasefire. However he is not afraid, claiming he is no longer under her authority as he is not a citizen of Vers anymore. He has his men take the princesses into custody. Just when the higher ups praise Deucalion for another great victory, they are going to send them into battle again. This time it will be way up in space. They think they’re on a roll. Meanwhile Klancain, the son of Cruhteo seeks permission to see Slaine.

Episode 22
Deucalion leaves orbit for Parnassos Base. Seems their two-pronged operation this time is to divide the enemy forces and be the bait. Magbaredge of course doesn’t intend to follow that suspicious plan. Eddelrittuo apologizes to Asseylum. Asseylum blames herself and takes responsibility for this. Lemrina blames her for waking up because had she not, she will be in full control and Slaine would not have been this confused. Klancain sees Slaine and they talk about things when the alert sounds. The Terrans have begun their assault. Inaho deduces that HQ has a bigger plan for this mission. Since the assault team is using their offensive cover for infiltration, it could only mean that the plan is to assassinate Asseylum. However they are ambushed as Slaine predicted this. Inaho also personally infiltrates the base to find her. I guess he used too much of his eye and it’s starting to hurt. And I thought he’d always be untouchable forever. The princesses are being evacuated but come into contact with the assault team. They barely escape. When Slaine hears about this, he personally goes to handle this himself. Lemrina decides not to go with Asseylum because this is her place. Where else will she go? Where else can she run to and from? Inaho is looking for Asseylum but encounters Slaine. A gun fight ensues as Inaho tells him to leave Asseylum out of this. Slaine believes their goal goes hand in hand so Inaho says he is only using her. Inaho manages to shoot the steam pipes for distraction and get away. He finally meets with Asseylum and since he is glad she is okay, he falls unconscious from his wound. His mechanical eye then takes a life of its own. It even speaks on behalf of Inaho to give escape information to Asseylum. There is no time for her to take him so they have to make haste. She leaves her necklace with him and leaves a message of thanks. When Asseylum is at the dock, she is ambushed by an assault team member but Klancain saves the day.

Episode 23
Klancain takes Asseylum aboard his ship to escape. The real Inaho wakes up and receives information from his eye. He contacts Inko if Asseylum has been retrieved. Despite the negative answer, he knows the mission is a success because she has escaped the base and calls for Inko to pick him up. The strain of his mechanical eye must be taking its toll. Yagarai fears that since he has used it too much, it is like giving part of his brain to the machine. Deucalion is ordered to retreat since HQ has claimed to achieve their objective. Slaine contacts Klancain on what he is doing and tells him to turn back as the base is the safest place for the princess. Asseylum even pleads in tears to Slaine for him to make peace with Earth. He will talk about that if they turn around now. Klancain doesn’t listen to Slaine’s orders to turn around but his loyalty is to Asseylum. She is still bent on stopping the war and wants to address the Orbital Knights but Klancain says that no longer is enough because they have swore loyalty to Slaine. Everything hinges on their marriage now. Remember, Slaine still has Lemrina who can be her. Speaking of which, she meets Slaine and pities him and her sister. Asseylum is brought to Mazuurek who is glad he is able to show his loyalty to her and also repay his debt to Inaho. Shortly, Slaine orders the commencement of an all-out attack on Earth. He will show Earthlings what it is like with no place to return. You know what? Inaho’s eye pick this news up and despite his condition, he is going into battle. Yuki must very well know this is coming and whatever she says won’t stop him. But what about Inko? She’s crying about him trying to be a hero. He might be lucky surviving the last few times but miracles don’t always happen. I suppose this guy must have run out of ideas to assure her so he guarantees they’ll all come back alive. Because his eye says so! Asseylum seeks an audience with Rayregalia whose health is very frail. She wants him to stop the war but he won’t. He cannot forgive Earth. Seems he is senile and talking about his dead son and the glory of obtaining Aldnoah that would advance mankind. Once he finally recognizes her, he hopes she’ll be a good princess and lead the people. The assault begins as Slaine rallies every Orbital Knight to attack with full power. Suddenly his transmission is hijacked by Asseylum who makes her broadcast everywhere about the regrets and suffering of this war. Therefore she is claiming her right to the throne as Empress of Vers. She also announces her engagement to Klancain and will extend an olive branch of peace to Earth.

Episode 24
The Orbital Knights are confused over Asseylum’s announcement but some still continue their attack on Earth’s forces. I guess with Slaine screwed over this unexpected turn of incidents, the only person he can turn to now is Lemrina. Yeah, she’ll always be by his side. So when Barouhcruz demands an explanation from Slaine, he orders all forces to surrender to Earth and abandon the moon base. This means Lemrina is forced to evacuate against her will while Slaine tries to be a martyr and self destructs the base! WTF?! Did they really install this feature in the base?! But Harklight and some Slaine loyalists turn back to fight the Earthlings. They won’t listen to Slaine anymore. Can’t blame them. Everybody is so confused. Just when Slaine is to resign to his fate, then he sees a familiar Cataphract approaching. Inaho is coming to get him. Rather, time to settle things between them once and for all. So in between the battle of the ‘emperors’, the rest also need have the obligatory minimum screen action time. You can tell the Terrans will be victorious since the Mars’ side are out of ammo, damaged Cataphract parts and only a small number remain. Yeah, they all become martyrs and die in battle. Eventually, Slaine also lost but instead of resigning to his fate of burning up in the atmosphere’s re-entry, Inaho goes with him to soften his fall. They crash land safely on some shore. They look okay. This time it is Inaho who is pointing his gun at Slaine. He signals and points at his forehead. Like father, like son? In the aftermath, the news reports Asseylum officiating a ceremony of the construction of Aldnoah Reactor as goodwill between Earth and Vers based on Dr Troyard’s research. It’s a symbiotic relationship with Earth using the technology to rebuild and spur the economy with Aldnoah based industries while Vers earns good foreign capital. Although some Orbital Knights still occupy Earth’s territory, Asseylum will go negotiate with them to return it. Slaine is reported to be dead (which allowed this treaty possible) but he is actually held in a high security facility. He’s like so lifeless with nothing to live for. Inaho visits and talks to him. If you’re wondering about Inaho’s pirate fashion sense not because he wants to be Captain Harlock but rather he has removed his eye due to the strain it is causing him. Besides, the war is over. He doesn’t need it anymore. Slaine is bitter that he saved him. A person who stole, lied and killed his comrades deserves death. However Inaho says this wasn’t his decision. It was Asseylum’s. Her request was to save Slaine from his misery. This turns Slaine into an emotional wreck. How can still she be so considerate for an asshole like him? Asseylum and Klancain tour the vast beach and are impressed of the endless blue sky.

W.A.R. is for We Are Right!
What the heck is this unsatisfying ending? It feels like a rushed job. Because I feel like they didn’t tie up things properly with the rest of the characters and just rushed to give a good ending. Good as in peace between Earth and Vers. Until the next conflict arises. So rushed that instead of showing snippets and montage of other characters to tie up loose ends (those attending Asseylum’s officiating ceremony isn’t counted), they feature the full 3 minute length of the first season’s song just to fill in the remaining space. Uh huh. And they didn’t even show any clips or animation during this either. Just a pitch black background while the credits of everyone and everything keep rolling as long as the music’s duration. Like as though you are leaving a cinema after the long movie ends. Yeah. That.

Honestly, the first season felt great and it was interesting enough to keep me focused on what is going on despite I may not understand everything. The cliff-hanger ending wasn’t that all bad and heart pounding enough for me to keep wondering how they will play it out. And then they had to ‘reset’ it in the second season and the war becomes more like something personally. Reset as in bringing back characters like Inaho and Asseylum who are supposed to be dead. I know they are important to the series and it wouldn’t be the same without them but somehow that is where I felt it went downhill. Not very steeply but it wasn’t as great as when I watched the first season. A hero and a princess die at the end? Not good! Might as well revive them. Feels lame… Catch-22 situation.

This is what I summed up for both seasons of this series: For the first season, it is the rise of Inaho because you get to see how this kid performed miracles to earn Earth’s victory in otherwise would have been an early loss. For the second season feels more like the rise of Slaine because you get to see how this kid fuelled by the unfortunate event that befell his beloved princess, to take provocative and aggressive action to work his way up to where he is now and surprisingly as the one leading the Orbital Knights. So while you see the rise of one of them, the other plays a secondary role in that season. Like when it is Inaho’s first season, Slaine feels like a character who just screws up everything including the one where he got Asseylum killed. When it is Slaine’s turn to lead, Inaho is reduced to being in the background doing things that lack making any big impact. Therefore this show is really just about these 2 characters as far as I can see and everyone else somehow feels and falls flat.

Inaho as the main character sometimes feel like a big fail. Because he is already such an emotionless kid unlike your puberty-hit angst-ridden main characters, you don’t even this guy doesn’t scream from the top of his voice! Where is the passion in such characters?! I mean when Okisuke died, this guy didn’t show a shred of emotions! I thought there was something wrong. Yeah, maybe his expressionless personality is something wrong. And then you see him become the genius and super kid because he always has a plan that never fails. I know he is perhaps trying to live by the motto that you won’t get anywhere if you don’t take risks but sometimes I feel that he is too confident that it will work like as though he has read the script beforehand and knew the outcome. That is why he is so calm. Oh man, this guy should switch name with his engineering pal. And now that he has got a mechanical eye, this guy is a step closer in becoming God. I think he is already one. Accurate calculations, thorough analysis, detailed computations… Wow. Unbelievable that I almost suffered stomach cramps ;p. How can you not win the war with this kind of ability? Earth should just send this one-man kid to save Earth while everybody just sit back their ass and relax. Besides, don’t you think he did most of the work in ensuring Earth’s victory? Come to think of it, who the heck designed the programme for his eye anyway? It is such a big waste for it not to be patented or anything since it has a mind of its own while you’re unconscious. Yeah right. Nobody cares…

Then there is this Slaine dude who seems to have tremendously changed. From the first season he is like the whipping kid and the subject of Cruhteo’s torment and he is only enduring it because of his loyalty-cum-love for Asseylum. He is submissive and screws up and he must be one hell of a lucky son of a gun to survive it all. And when he cleverly planned his way to the top and killing Saazbaum after legally seizing all he could, he becomes the major ‘antagonist’ fighting a meaningless war despite his calls for taking back resources, supremacy, blah, blah, blah. But as Eddelrittuo said, Slaine might not have changed all the while because his hope of having Asseylum come to was always his priority. But how is that different now that she is awakened? I guess he got confused. It’s like he is trying to cover up his mistakes with this war. Well, winners get to write and rewrite history, right?

Asseylum who was the culprit of the war and how it all started despite the irony she longs for peace on both sides. The biggest mind boggling thing about her is the fact that after she really revives, how come nobody actually questions her about her earlier decisions to wage war on Earth? Okay, assuming some may suspect the video is fake but in general, shouldn’t everybody be suspicious of her when she makes a sudden u-turn in her decision? Even more mind boggling is how she is officiating the construction without all those watching Earthlings having the slightest grudge on their face. This was the princess who came to Earth at first for goodwill. Then she declared war and now she pronounced ceasefire and peace? What kind of crap is this? Shouldn’t there at least be disgruntled humans and assassins trying to assassinate her? Because she looks so open and unguarded. The lax in security is even worse when she first arrived. I guess humans have suffered so much from the war that they also suffer from having a short memory.

The other characters just feel fleeting. Especially the final episode, the host of surviving characters are just shown for the sake of that. It’s not like they bear anything significant or anything. Like Lemrina. So what happened to her after that? Where will she go? Even if they show her making up with Asseylum or being by her side, it wouldn’t be that bad. But she is nowhere to be seen after the evacuation. Nowhere. Yuki could have seriously died of a heart attack every time she has to see her little brother take risky risks. Each time he amazingly comes back alive. So can you not blame her for being overly worried like an overprotective sister? Only that Inaho is being stubborn and doesn’t feel like sitting back. Marito seems to have his problem of overcoming his trauma. Each time he goes into battle, his trauma gets in the way that prevents him from completing his mission. In a way, it gives Inaho the very much opportunity he needed to earn his reputation. Although it might seem Marito has gotten over his trauma (because he seems to be piloting decently without reliving that nightmare), I feel he doesn’t make an overall impact. I don’t know what Magbaredge’s deal is because initially this feels like a running joke as she from time to time loves teasing her XO, Kaoru Mizusaki. Because of the decisions or opinions, she always have to remind her isn’t it any wonder this is why no men like her. WTF?! I know she looks a little tomboyish. So what?! What about you yourself, captain?

Eddelrittuo feels ‘amusing’ because in the first season, she is like suspicious of every damn Earthling who talks to Asseylum. I know she’s trying to be a good attendant trying to protect Asseylum for her own good but she’s doing it enough to make it look annoying. Can you cut that princess some slack? Then in the second season, it feels like she has been reduced to a side character in the background. Like part of the furniture or something. Haha! Just kidding. You see her more worried than before, before and after Asseylum’s revival. Lemrina also feels like a confused princess just like Slaine. All she ever wanted was a place she could belong to. And she thought by taking over Asseylum’s place she could have it and at least Slaine. And that princess had to wake up. Already a second fiddle, won’t you get upset when the first fiddler withdraws and just when you thought you’re going to get the limelight, that withdrawer returns. Frustrating, right? I assume Rayregalia must be dead, right? Is it right for Asseylum to assume the supreme throne when grandpa hasn’t kicked the bucket yet? Maybe emergency times call for emergency measures. Yeah. They didn’t even have the decency to show him breathe his last breath. Who cares for an old geezer anyway?

No time for romance on board when you have an inter-planetary war. I wasn’t putting my hopes to seeing Inaho in any romantic scenes with Inko or even Rayet. True enough, nothing of that sort happened although it might just be hinted on Inko’s side. I mean, with a guy with no expression or that sort, how do you expect any romantic clichés? I guess those are the reasons why those 2 girls are still alive and by his side. To troll us if the prospects of a love triangle would happen. Isn’t that what Rayet’s character is for? For the potential of any romance if there would be but nothing actually. This girl keeps regretting about the death of her father and won’t forgive Martians, blah, blah, blah. That’s about it. Just like Inko, in battle they are just pretty decent in holding out because Inaho is still the main man. They’re just there for the numbers, huh?

In a bigger picture, it seemed like Inaho and Slaine are fighting over Asseylum because you can sense that they both don’t want to give up on her and are doing things on behalf of her as they believed. Their whatever excuses otherwise feel like a cover up. So in the end, neither of them got the girl because for Klancain to show up at the penultimate episode (actually he showed up right at the end of 3 episodes from the finish to be exact but that doesn’t really count, right?) to usurp them both and land the big fish herself. Wow. Didn’t see this coming. And sometimes you thought it was going to be Inaho or Slaine who will get her and in worst case scenario, none of them. But no. The son of Cruhteo got her instead. Yeah, I guess the guys, the main character duo are the biggest losers. Even bigger than the loss of the war. Oh, and no Marito x Magbaredge or Marito x Yuki romance (not even any hinting ones) because we don’t want complicated adult romance in animes. Watching high school kids’ romance is better. If it ever happens here.

As this series isn’t as original as you may think it is, it is because it seems to borrow elements heavily from other animes before it. Sometimes it feels like plagiarism but it isn’t. With so many animes churning out every year, you can’t help feel the similarities the more animes you watch. So a similarity that I can see with Shingeki No Kyojin is the Martian Cataphracts that are like Titans. Earth’s forces are puny and nothing against them. They are just defenceless against those superior robots. All the shots fired at them feel like pot shots. You can never win. Unless… Then there is that Code Geass feel because you have got Slaine who is from Earth fighting for Vers whereas Asseylum who is of Vers royalty trying to make peace with Earth. But mostly, I read that many said its borrowed elements are from Valvrave The Liberator especially the similarities between the main characters and the different human factions at war with each other.

The actions bits are satisfactory. Even if I don’t feel anything extraordinary about it but at least it keeps you entertained and the norm of what mecha themed animes are supposed to be. It defeats the purpose if you don’t have cool big robots pounding each other, right? But I just keep wondering why there are so many soldiers/pilots/fighters on either side because during action sequences, we see so many Cataphracts explode and its pilot die from both sides. I think they want to rake up the body count but seriously, after all that fighting and there are still so many left in the army? While the Earth’s mechas are just plain boring because each one is about the same (of course they do not have the technology for better arms), the Martian Cataphracts are more interesting because there are no 2 Cataphracts that are the same. At least for the Orbital Knights. Each come with their own unique abilities so each time you engage with one of them, you’ll need a new plan or meet your maker. I thought the side characters should just die in the last episode’s final battle because it didn’t really matter. To save us from tying up the loose ends of where they will be, maybe they should have just killed them all. Because like for example Marito who is having his trauma problems the entire way, he should have did some last action hero thingy and succumbed to death on the battlefield. Not like he did anything much in every battle either. Yeah, I’ve said it so many times. It is always Inaho who gets the job done.

I have to admit that the animation and art are of top notch quality. I suppose when you have a mecha genre, you need to have majestic and shiny robots to appeal to the audience. Therefore in this department, the mechas of both sides look pretty neat (thanks to the help of CGI effects of course) although I feel the ones from Earth are a bit bland. They still look cool except for their ‘oversized shoulder pads’ that somewhat made me feel that if they’re going to some intergalactic American football game. Of course our hero Inaho gets to be ‘different’ as he rides an orange coloured one since it was the one he used at the start as practice. It gives him luck, right? Yeah well, they should try painting the other dull coloured ones the same and maybe the death ratio will be lowered. Then again, maybe not. Therefore I prefer the designs of the Martian Cataphracts because with different Orbital Knights each having their own Cataphracts, each with their own unique power and ability and thus their designs seem way cooler than their Earthling counterparts. Other than that, the human characters are okay as well as the sceneries. Well, I personally thought the sceneries and structures in space are better looking anyway. On a trivial note, the first time I looked at Lemrina, I thought her hairstyle looked like a pair of balls hanging on her side! Really!

Voice acting seems pretty okay and nothing to shout about. New kids on the block are taking the lead with Natsuki Hanae as Inaho (Kousei in Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso), Kensho Ono as Slaine (Hakuryuu in Magi) and Sora Amamiya as Asseylum (titular character in Akame Ga Kill). The rest include Mikako Komatsu as Inko (Tsugumi in Nisekoi), Sachika Misawa as Rayet (Black Lotus in Accel World), Shiina Natsukawa as Lemrina (Nonoka in Sora No Method), Sayaka Ohara as Yuki (Erza in Fairy Tail), Kazuya Nakai as Marito (Zoro in One Piece), Ai Kayano as Magbaredge (Inori in Guilty Crown), Kousuke Toriumi as Yagarai (Gennosuke in Basilisk), Inori Minase as Eddelrittuo (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Toru Ohkawa as Saazbaum (Roy in Fullmetal Alchemist), Daisuke Hirakawa as Harklight (Muneakira in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls), Sho Hayami as Cruhteo (Tokiomi in Fate/Zero), Takahiro Sakurai as Trillram (Suzaku in Code Geass), Toshiyuki Toyonaga as Mazuurek (Shun in Kimi to Boku), Ryota Ohsaka as Klancain (Marco in Shingeki No Kyojin), Shinji Ogawa as Rayregalia (Stresemann in Nodame Cantabile) and Taishi Murata as Calm (Eiichirou Maruo in Baby Steps). Not forgetting this, maybe it has become a little joy for me now to spot short cameo appearances of my favourite Mamiko Noto as she rarely takes on main roles these days. Despite only a short scene, she is the voice behind Orlane.

If the first opening theme sounds familiar, it is because Heavenly Blue is sung by Kalafina whose trademark voices can be heard in anime songs like Kuroshitsuji and Fate/Zero. I prefer this compared to the second opening theme, &Z by Sawano Hiroyuki[nZk]:mizuki. I don’t even know how to pronounce the title and the artist’s name. Seriously, I thought it shouldn’t have changed but new seasons call for new themes. That same Sawano whatever-this-group-name-is also sings the ending themes for the first season. I think they have a penchant for weirdly naming their songs too. The first ending theme is A/Z and sounds okay as a rock piece while the second ending theme, aLIEz has a little techno feel. Both songs aren’t that bad. For the second season, it is Genesis by Eir Aoi as the main one while Harmonious by Sora Amamiya is a mainly a rock drum cover and special ending theme only appearing for the penultimate episode. There are also a handful of insert songs but nothing that memorable for me although it does quite fit the scenes well.

Overall, if you want to pass the time for some explosive mecha action without thinking too deep about the plot or characters, this should be good to pass the time. Don’t worry. It will fly by as you are flabbergasted at Inaho’s super human intelligence, tactics and action. If they could clone and make soldiers out of him, you’re screwed. Thank God nobody did. So it goes to show that how something so minute can spark a full scale war that will leave a scar for generations to come. Hmm… Doesn’t this mirrors how World War I was started in the first place? I think everybody on Vers should just return home to Earth and humans continue to live as one big happy family. There, problem solved. Oh wait. This would give rise to a new form of discrimination for those migrated/returning people. It is perhaps a vicious cycle that would make humans learn and appreciate but then again, they never. So when is the next justice through Heaven’s Fall?

Koufuku Graffiti

August 23, 2015

Close your eyes and imagine this now. A girl bending her head down, slowly opening her mouth and putting her soft lips up as it contacts with the smooth texture. She caresses the structure with those luscious lips all, her tongue licking and wrapping all over its surface. Slowly, the long yet sturdy phallic shaped structure moves deeper into and inside her mouth and down her throat. The soft nibble has it discharge hot juicy liquid spreading and filling her entire mouth. A soft moan that indicates ultimate satisfaction and pleasure. An orgasmic experience like no other. Well, if you have really other thoughts about a woman enjoying eating a cooked mushroom, then I suppose you’re going to have the same while watching Koufuku Graffiti. Yes people. Get ready to feel hungry and horny at the same time as you watch the characters eat delicious food, from sumptuous meals to simple everyday food. They make food look so aphrodisiac that you don’t need Viagra anymore ;p. Where else can you have food and porn at the same time? Sex? This is not a hentai show, mind you. But the mind is such a vivid place for such vivid imaginations. Enough waiting already. I can’t wait any longer. Just let me sink my teeth into those juicy bits!

Episode 1
The way Ryou Machiko eats the inari… So delicious… So tasty… Looks so good to eat! The inari, I mean… Ryou takes special care in cooking her meal. Unfortunately despite its good smell, it tastes horrible. Ever since her grandma passed away a year ago, she has been living alone and notes her cooking has become bad and at this rate she’ll be an awful wife. She gets a call from her aunt, Akira that her cousin is coming to Tokyo to apply for the same arts school as her and she hopes she will let her stay at her place. When Ryou goes to pick up Kirin Morino, she is surprised at her small stature. And she is supposed to be the same age with her? She hands Ryou a cabbage she ‘stole’. Seems she got into a fight with her mom who is against her studying in Tokyo. It’s already far enough commuting to school, where is she going to live? Oh, she’ll find somebody to cook for her… Kirin takes a first bite of Ryou’s nabe and she totally loves it! Ryou dismisses it thinking it is because she is just hungry. Then the way Kirin feeds Ryou… Such tantalizing reaction… Because Kirin soaked too long in the bath, she ends up getting sick. Ryou accompanies her to register at school the next day. Back home, Ryou makes her a simple kitsune udon and it really warms up Kirin’s body. So much so Kirin thinks Ryou can be a good doctor! She just only made a nice meal… Kirin is itching to try out the inari but Ryou will only give it to her when she is well. You don’t have to remind Kirin that mom always only give her green salad when she’s sick… Tasteless… After Kirin learns about Ryou’s predicament, her late grandma and her cooking, she tells her she only thinks her cooking is bad because she is always eating alone. Dinner is a special time for family to eat together and she would love to be part of her family. That night when Kirin wakes up to go to toilet, she thought she could sneak and steal some inari but Ryou foresaw this and left a not for her to drink some tea instead. Next day, Kirin is well again and she’s bursting with lively energy. Ryou sees her off at the train station and gives a box of inari as a gift. She also gives her a recipe to make them and share it with her family. Ryou notes that she has learnt an important lesson from her that meals you share with others taste good and fills you with warmth. So it’s good news that it isn’t her cooking that has gone bad.

Episode 2
Now see how Kirin eats the tamagoyaki oh so good! The girls cook and pack for the hanami season at the park. At first I wonder why Kirin is ‘dancing’ but turns out she is nervous to meet Akira! WTF. When Akira arrives, it’s like she’s never seen Ryou for so long that she starts smothering her with skinship kisses enough to make your toddler blush. Not sure if Akira is being greedy, but she believes whenever there is hanami, it also means stall food. She hands some money for the cousins to go buy some. Ryou remembers she used to come here every year when she was young with her family. How she missed those fun filled days. Ryou happen to see her classmate, Shiina sketching for old drunk men at the park?! Shiina thought Ryou looked different outside class because in class she was always the focusing type. I think Kirin doesn’t like Shiina because she mistook her petite size to be an elementary kid. It’s like she’s trying to prove a point that she has tasted plenty of Ryou’s cooking, blah, blah, blah. Shiina gets the idea and gives her apple candy as ‘peace offering’. I guess they took too long so when they get back to Akira, she’s already drunk after several cans of beer and her greedy side earned instant karma because she tried to steal eat some sandwiches the girls made but they laced it with something spicy. And now you have a food fest to see how delicious the girls tuck in their food! Yummy!!! But Kirin wonders why Ryou didn’t add any tamagokyaki to the food they made for today. So back home, the cousins have a second round of hanami outside the apartment. Ryou keeps Kirin busy to sketch the sakura tree while she secretly goes to make tamagoyaki. Imagine her surprise when Kirin gets to finally taste its rich and cheesy (as in the taste) flavour. Both girls feel they have learnt something about each other and hope to grow closer. Emotional hug! Ryou wants to know what Kirin sketched but she won’t show. After Ryou sends Kirin off at the train station, she realized Kirin forgot to take her sketchbook. I guess she’ll keep it till she returns next week. And she peeks at the lovely sakura tree she sketched.

Episode 3
The egg flawless envelopes the omelette rice and the girls savouring its taste as it melts in their mouth! I WANT TO TASTE TOO!!! Ryou receives a package from her parents. She finds it odd that despite they are working overseas, they send back Japanese rice. She feels the need to live up to their expectations and that is by acing the exam. Unfortunately she got distracted by the subject she is supposed to draw (ingredients for bamboo shoot rice) and scored a low grade. All that cheek slapping didn’t help either. Noticing how down she is, Kirin gets permission from a teacher to take home bamboo shoots and invites Shiina to help cheer her up. Of course they need to keep this a secret as Kirin cooks up a suspicious alien abduction story for Shiina! Back home as they wait for the bamboo shoot rice to cook, they talk about omelette rice. The bamboo shoot rice is so good that Kirin wants seconds. Shiina gives her a ‘huge mountain’. That enough for you? And Ryou actually believed Shiina is going to be abducted by aliens and has her sleep over for tonight! Don’t worry. She’ll keep this a secret! They watch an old omelette rice themed anime and it brings back nostalgic memories. This means they are now hungry for it instead of going to sleep. Hey, can’t go to bed with an empty stomach, right? I thought they just had dinner… As usual it looks and tastes good that if you can’t control yourself, you might bite off your monitor. Ryou the ever perfectionist tries to cook the perfect omelette. After a few tries, the omelette perfectly wraps itself on the rice and opens like a flower when cut open. YUMMY!!! Ryou rereads her mom’s letter and it says for her to make friends. There’s a lot she wants to tell her parents about Kirin and Shiina. After seeing off Kirin at the train station, Shiina hints to Ryou to get some pancakes. Since it is not cakes like Kirin ‘warned’ them not to eat without her around, it is not like she is ‘betraying’ her, right? Suddenly they get a text from Kirin not to eat pancakes or crepes too. Damn. She knows…

Episode 4
WTF?! Food fantasy fairytale?! Food headed people being eaten by Ryou?! Horror comes early for her because due to sudden renovations at college, next week classes will be cancelled. This means there won’t be a reason for Kirin staying over! It’s like a big tragedy! And Ryou has already lined up a full Chinese cuisine to cook. Heard that, Kirin? She tries to convince her mom to let her stay but it seems next week they’ll all be going out to eat at a 3-star Chinese restaurant! Wow! Can’t beat that, can’t you? Ryou is alone in her room and the stormy weather is keeping her in. Despite making a delicious meal, it doesn’t taste as good when eating alone. For a change of pace and scenery, she decides to go study at the library. Some much needed fresh air. Suddenly a life size teruterubouzu is running her way! Turns out to be the librarian, Watanabe. This mascot is a hit with the kids? Whatever. This library Ryou used to patron with her grandma. She is shocked to learn grandma was always panicky looking for books to cook. Wait a minute. She didn’t know how to cook? Confirming with Akira, it is true grandma was a bad cook and there are enough horror stories to make you lose your appetite. It is only when Ryou came into this world, she started learning with care. She refers to some of the cook book recipes that grandma made. Almost similar. Watanabe says that they are slightly altered to suit Ryou’s needs. That is what you call cooking with love. Ryou then heads over to the convenience store to get a simple meal and it brings back nostalgic memories the kind of food she used to eat with grandma. Some things never changed. So nostalgic that it makes her travel to that food fantasy fairytale. Such a happy scene… As Ryou leaves, she is filled with confident to cook better for Kirin so she can see her smile again. Kirin thought she heard Ryou’s voice so she excuses herself in the middle of her Chinese cuisine to the toilet to check her mail. Wow! So many unread messages! Was she enjoying her food that much? It makes Ryou look like a stalker… Kirin thought Ryou is mad at her since some of the pictures look ‘scary’ but the final rainbow image is proof she is having fun. Ryou shops for groceries and thinks next week will be western style meal. She believes making the other happier will in turn make herself happy too. So happy that she speaks out loud before realizing how embarrassing it is for the public to be staring at her.

Episode 5
Why do we have to go to class for summer vacation? Work hard now to avoid a repeat of next year… Shiina suggests coming to her home to have an authentic summertime experience. And who would guess she lives in a huge traditional Japanese home?! Big enough to have its own little vegetable patch farm. Kirin thought she saw Shiina’s mom there and is handed a tomato. When Kirin calls to Ryou and then turns back, mom is no longer there. Oh sh*t… Don’t tell me… There is a list that Kirin has to record things she wants to do for summer. Well, since the place is big enough to have animal traps, she can strike off going to the zoo. No swimming pool but there is a pond with a big fish! Can this double as a visit to the aquarium too? When Shiina introduces her mom, she looks totally different from the one Kirin saw and her personality is so lively. Heck, she looks young enough to be Shiina’s sister! She makes them lots of sweets and cakes (check that off the list too). When mom learns about the list, she suggests having nagashi soumen. Ryou and Kirin are in the bamboo groove looking for the right bamboo. Kirin wonders who that tomato lady was when they see a grave… Oh sh*t… Don’t tell me… Then they hear creepy footsteps… Can this be considered as ghost story? Please don’t joke… Oh no! Who the hell is this hack slasher?! As Shiina points out, it is their maid, Tsuyuko. Ryou and Kirin have fun cutting down the bamboo that it tires them out. Got to save some energy for the food… Shiina’s mom becomes distressed to see her daughter’s hand all bruised up from the cutting and Tsuyuko might prove to be a super maid because she’s got all the remedy and medicine ready at her call. More super maid in action as she cuts and prepares ingredients with speed and precision. As they get the nagashi soumen started, Ryou wonders why none are flowing her way. It’s because Kirin isn’t letting any get past her! After dipping the soumen, she quickly dips it out! They finished the entire pot of soumen and it is still not enough for Kirin?! Don’t be greedy! Kirin can cross off the rest of her list because they do tanabata, fireworks, watermelon splitting, looking up at the stars and most important of all, have lots of fun. This is sure one heck of a summer to remember and savour.

Episode 6
Finally! The kind of food eating scene that we expect to see! The girls eating ice cream!!! OH YEAH! It all began when summer’s heat is taking its toll. It’s zapping their energy that Kirin doesn’t even have appetite! This shocking revelation has Ryou take a picture of her! But it isn’t that Kirin doesn’t want to eat, she just couldn’t think of the right food to eat in this heat. It is suggested to eat eel meat so they head to the supermarket to get the stuffs (ah, such cool air-conditioning) and once they’re back at their place and sink their teeth into it, they get back their energy and liveliness. Albeit just for a while. Because they realized the air-conditioner is broken! Oh no! They’re sweating like hell! Hurry! To the bathroom! Obviously nobody filled up the tub yet. While waiting to be filled up, they play shiritori game but could only think of hot things. They find that they don’t have to fill the tub so full since both of them fit nicely in it. This is quite economical and they should do it all the time. Maybe not. This is when Kirin gets the idea of eating ice cream in the bathtub. Ryou gets duped by her to go get them as she can’t resist standing in front of the cool refrigerator. Wasting electricity… So Kirin goes to get her before they realize that the curtains are wide open. Ryou thinks nobody is watching. Who knows? Maybe some pervert watching through his telescope or viewers through their monitor screen? And now for the ice cream eating scene we’ve all been waiting for! Lick it, girls! After finishing their bath, Kirin craves for red bean soup. Ryou doesn’t think that is such a good summer food but makes it for her anyway. Seeing how she enjoys it, Ryou is also tempted to eat it although she knows she will regret this. Not! Tastes good! By the time Shiina comes, Ryou’s stomach is already upset. Yeah, regretting it now. Too bad hers isn’t an iron stomach like Kirin (that’s not supposed to be a compliment either). Ryou goes to bed early as Shiina wants to taste the red bean. She too might be regretting eating too much because now she has stomach discomfort as she makes her way home. And any couples who mentions about spicy food, gets that death stare from her!

Episode 7
Autumn is here and Kirin thinks it is going to be a boring season till Shiina invites them to her house for grilled saury party. Definitely going! However Kirin is disheartened that Shiina wants her help to cook for Ryou. Why her? Because she always noticed that Ryou is the one doing the preparing and cooking while Kirin just sat around doing her own thing and wait to be fed! Do something in return for once and who knows, Ryou might just praise her cooking. Shiina and Kirin are under the watchful eye and guidance of Tsuyuko. Despite being clumsy and messing up the kitchen, Ryou wants to help but Tsuyuko tells her not to interfere as they can at least handle this themselves. Once the preparations are done and the grilling of the fish over the charcoal is ready, it of course tastes heavenly. At least to them. Because to Tsuyuko it tastes horrible and over-burnt. She could rival Hell’s Kitchen and rival that Gordon guy and put him to tears without all the profanity. Don’t think she is joking because her cooking skills are top notched to put world chefs to shame! What the heck is she doing as a maid then? Ryou is still worried about them so Tsuyuko lets in some advice to put her trust in them because they can become the people whom she can rely on. The day isn’t over yet because there is still washing and cleaning. Yup. Tsuyuko becomes a Spartan coach as she guides the clumsy girls in doing the washing up. I don’t know why they can be this clumsy and panicky. Ryou can’t take it anymore… She needs to do something to help! Tsuyuko finally lets her. Back home, since Ryou wants to experience cooking saury with her, they have their own little saury party. Next day when Ryou sends Kirin off at the train station, she suddenly hugs her! Did she suddenly decide to go yuri in public! Actually she is trying to smell her clothes and it looks like the deodorant she put didn’t work. Please be mindful of the people in the train. Oh God… Is it an understatement to say it is packed like sardine? Something smells fishy…

Episode 8
Kirin helps Ryou train for her sports meet. It is going to be tough since the latter is not the athletic kind. Although the meet provides lunch, Kirin still wants to cook for her. Good thing because for this first time this year, it is announced students will have to bring their own lunch. One night, Kirin sees a crumpled paper in the dustbin. It is a list of food that Ryou wants to eat for the meet. This set is nostalgic for her since grandma used to make it. So the night before the meet, Kirin takes Ryou out as part of her training as she sweeps the supermarket to buy all the ingredients. Is she buying the entire store? Ryou can’t help feel worried when she starts cooking but it may be her worries are unfounded as Kirin is doing perfectly fine. I won’t say Ryou is doing well in the meet but I suppose lunch break is what she looks forward for. Her friends take a look at the bento but find it plain. Knowing somebody else made it for her, it couldn’t be her boyfriend or an adult because this meal arrangement feels so middle school-like. When Ryou pops the food in her mouth, she starts feeling like heaven. It makes her friends really want to try too. However… The taste just feels normal. Could it be Ryou’s imagination? Or is it that she only can experience Kirin’s love? Even more pleasant for Ryou is that the food is arranged like in the list (she is unaware Kirin looked at it). She gets so much confident that she can win the gold medal but probably everyone else sees her acting like a weirdo. At the end of the day, Ryou sees Kirin waiting outside. Suddenly Kirin starts crying and apologizing. She thinks she has made an awful meal for her (because she tried it herself with Shiina after that) but Ryou honestly loves the delicious taste, especially the sweet potato and lemon. Its warmth and gentleness reminds her of grandma and filled her with happiness. Kirin is relieved to hear that. Meanwhile… Shiina sounds a little sarcastic because she notes she didn’t get sick after eating it! Thank God, right?

Episode 9
New Year’s Eve and Ryou is working hard to clean every inch of her house. Yup. Everything’s sparkling! The only thing left is to clean herself… Sorry, we’re not getting this kind of fanservice. Ryou makes oden and soba but can’t help herself to eat some. Too delicious to resist. Better leave some before Kirin gets here. Speaking of her, she’s been lazing around watching TV instead of preparing. And when it’s time, you can see how chaotic she gets. First, she really gets up after hearing how her crazy uncle is coming soon. She didn’t book train tickets in advance thinking a countryside like here isn’t crowded. How wrong she would be. Looks like she will have to wait for the next train. That will be in the next hour. So she had to make an apology call to Ryou. She’s regretting not doing all those stuffs earlier. Yeah, the food is waiting for her, right? So when she finally gets there, you can see how relieved she is. How she misses Ryou (and the food) and how she smells so good (like oden and soba). After having her fill, it is time to make the visit to the shrine. Kirin tries to remain her composure as she does not mix well with adults (I guess Tsuyuko and Shiina’s mom are exceptions). Akira is here and probably she isn’t in her exception list so her face rubbing gives her the creeps. At the shrine, Ryou lets her taste sweet sake. It tastes so good that she acts and gives her natural honest opinion, making the adults laugh and think she is really an amusing person. Did she just embarrass herself? The girls head home first since Akira wants to continue drinking with the rest. What was it about her resolution to finish work early and spend more time with Ryou? Back home, they have nabe and this brings back lots of fond memories since this is the first food they eat when Kirin came here. It was the first time Kirin thought her that food tasted good while eating with someone else. Time passes by so fast, in a blink of an eye. Even if they’re grown up as adults, Ryou hopes to continue sharing and eating together like these times with Kirin.

Episode 10
If you’re wondering about that character, Ryou’s downstairs neighbour making short cameos in earlier episodes before ‘vanishing into oblivion’, well, she’s making her ‘debut’ here. Yuki Uchiki seems to be having self confidence problems as well as mixing with others. It is the season of worrying with lots of things occupying Kirin’s mind. Seriously, this girl thinking about anything else but food? Jokes aside, while talking this out to Ryou, the latter remembers she left the futon out on the balcony to dry. That is when they hear Yuki’s conversation (her window is open) and eavesdrop her sad condition about her pessimism and how much she wants to go back. It is probably bad to eavesdrop on people they can’t help it when they hear something about belly dancing. She sounds pitiful. Kirin slips while trying to grab the futon. Amazingly she lands on her feet on Yuki’s veranda (albeit in a funny position) and both girls scare each other. So in Yuki’s room, everybody is apologizing about everything. Yup, even Yuki who thinks leaving the window open was her fault to begin with. However Kirin sympathizes with Yuki and her earnest ways impresses Yuki. This has her mention her only friends are cats. Kirin thought Yuki ordered pizza for them (please don’t be rude) but this is her usual dinner alone. Ryou suggests they eat together in her room. Yuki’s depression starts working up the moment she enters Ryou’s nice apartment. Better do something fast to suppress the queen of darkness. The girls had a nice time discussing the kind of toppings to try on the pizza. Pizza lovers rejoice! Ryou can somewhat relate Yuki’s loneliness since she used to eat alone before Kirin came. For the first time, Yuki felt happy at the end of a meal (meal times are always a sad lonely affair, huh?). As she leaves, this experience her feeling confident and she feels her dwindling courage has been revitalized. Kirin also doesn’t worry that much now as she’ll eat her way through school and exams! That’s her best skill, right? Next morning, Yuki leaves for a meeting in a nicely dressed suit. Yes, she is an adult. What? She looked like a school student their age? Yeah, I thought so too… And it seems she takes her first brave step into a certain familiar arts school.

Episode 11
This is what happens when you love food so much and didn’t pay proper attention to your stomach. Because Ryou that ominous roar of a monster turns out to be her growling stomach! She receives another package from her parents. This time, instant noodles with a variety of flavours. Kirin can’t wait to eat them now but Ryou points out this is for late night snacks when they’re studying. Kirin wonders about Ryou’s parents because her mom certainly didn’t say much except that the city will stop functioning without them. They even had bodyguards at one time! Woah. Very important people, aren’t they? Kirin decides to cook the noodles for them and when she is done and goes to call Ryou, that girl was half asleep and sleep talking about how she misses her mom. She clings on to Kirin thinking she is her mom. A few parts seem to have shrunk… Of course she gets embarrassed when she comes to her senses. After meal, Kirin finds a note in the package addressed to her. Top secret? It is from Ryou’s mom thanking her for being by her side. But more mind boggling, she mentions about wanting to hire bodyguards for them! No thanks! Kirin will be Ryou’s bodyguard! This has Kirin curious about her parents’ job so she asks Ryou herself. She can’t delve deeper and just says they are very important people. I guess some things are better off not known for your safety. As the girls pray at the shrine, they are surprised Shiina is wishing for wealth when she should be wishing for exam success. This is when she lets out her secret. She secretly took an earlier entrance exam to the high school they want to apply and is accepted! You can see a person’s true colours here. Kirin frustrated and calling her a traitor while Ryou happily congratulates her. Kirin is eventually ‘forced’ to congratulate her. Shiina becomes the light of enlightenment by telling how you should be diligent before praying to God for success, etc. Can’t argue with that. Now it’s time to take a break. This time they are having pork cutlet sandwiches that Tsuyuko made. These sandwiches are what gave Shiina the strength and motivation to study and take that test. So when it is time for Ryou and Kirin to take their entrance exam, Shiina hands them those sandwiches that Tsuyuko taught her. Little do they know, this is how the good luck that Shiina is trying to imbue in the sandwiches. She is making a fervent-cum-passionate silent wish of good luck. I don’t know. It sounds like a curse…

Episode 12
Good news! Ryou and Kirin pass their entrance exam! On a side note, Yuki has also made it becoming a teacher. So Kirin is saying her ‘farewell speech’ to her parents but her father is the one crying and regretting this. Studied in Tokyo, worked in Tokyo, married in Tokyo… He really thought that far, eh? Ryou puts on her school uniform for one last time. Can’t zip up… Gosh, did she put on some weight? It is an emotional graduation day for Ryou and her friends and a slightly embarrassing fact is that her stomach is ‘crying’ too. Kirin could hear it all the way from the back! As Kirin goes back to the train station to collect her stuffs, Ryou heads home first and Akira thought she could scare her but got the door slammed in her face. She gives Ryou grandma’s apron. Grandma let Akira hold on to it and was told only to give it to Ryou when she graduates. But why didn’t she pass to her directly? Oh silly, do you know where grandma is now? Perhaps she foresaw this. So the first meal Ryou cooks with the apron is a celebratory meal that grandma cooked for her when she entered middle school. Kirin just arrived in time to feast on this lovely meal. Great timing, great taste. Ryou learns another lesson from Kirin when she says she can make new memories with grandma with the apron. This is true as despite the fond memories, it is time for her to stop looking at the past and look forward. But Ryou didn’t expect what is in store next. Kirin is going to move into her place and live with her. Eh? Nobody told her about it? Even disheartening is that Ryou is the only person who doesn’t know about this! Shiina knows about it (and thus the prawn sandwiches upon her arrival), Kirin’s parents are helping with the moving in and Akira has already done the paperwork for this arrangement. Feeling left out? Of course Kirin begs for forgiveness and gets emotional when Ryou does so. I don’t think Ryou isn’t the kind to hold on to grudges. After unpacking and cleaning, it is of course time for a big hearty meal. Ryou looks forward to her days with Kirin. Here is to more happy memories and delicious dishes to come!

Itadakimasu! Food Porn Never Tasted This Good!
Gochisou-sama! Let me be honest. This is actually a boring show and the only ‘exciting’ moments are when the foods are displayed and when the girls eat them. Food porn is definitely the theme here and the reason why we watch this series. There is no actual plot about this anime if you think about it. Every episode, the theme gives that episode a reason for a certain food-of-the-episode or food-of-the-season to be shown and eaten so stimulatingly by our girls. That is why at the beginning of the episode, they ‘entice’ you with those arousing food eating scenes just to ‘work up your appetite’ despite that same scene will be exactly shown somewhere in that episode. That is not such a bad thing, right? I mean, is there any other reason why you are watching this show? Heck, even the episode titles are juicily laden with delicious terms like sizzling, chewy, melty, moist, piping hot, crunchy, fluffy and bubbling. Yum!

Who needs pantsu fanservice when you already have cute girls eating stuffs like that? Of course it would have been much better if we see them eating in their lingerie for double fapping stimulation but I suppose there is only so much that we can fap to per episode. Right?! Therefore seeing the girls themselves eat in such an erotic manner is already orgasmic itself and even more if you do have a dirty mind. It’s pretty normal I would say because we’re just being humans. Yeah, an excuse to say that this is okay and to have more!

Character wise, they are ‘boring’ and lack any serious development. But like I said, that is not what you come here for nor you should expect to see some when you have already read the synopsis of what this show is about. The main trio are total opposites from each other and each bearing some sort of unique personality that could easily identify them. Like Ryou who is ever the gentle and responsible soul. Sometimes she feels lonely and it is evident as you can see this when she sleep talks. With Kirin by her side from now on, no more lonely nights? Whereas Kirin is the livelier and the more ‘mischievous’ one of the pack (though, I think childish is the better word). If Ryou is a gourmet girl, then Kirin is the exact opposite being a glutton girl because she devours anything and everything. Iron or endless stomach if that is what you call it. Whatever Ryou makes, she is fine with it. It is good to have someone eat your cooking but it makes me wonder if Kirin is the kind of person who lives to eat instead of eats to live. Yup, I think so. And she feels more like a freeloader living in Ryou’s house just to get free food without even lifting a finger to do anything until subsequently much later in the series. Mostly, she is quite an amusing girl with her honest speak-her-mind personality although she does have her polite side. Mind boggling question: If Kirin is scared of being around adults, what happens when she grows up into one? Will she be afraid of herself? Maybe it is all just about getting used to because some grownups she isn’t afraid like Shiina’s mom, Tsuyuko and yes, her own parents. Shiina gives off this atmosphere as a mysterious girl because she lacks displaying lots of emotions all of the time but can sometimes be scheming and witty too.

Other supporting characters are so-so and don’t expect anything much. Like Ryou’s kind grandma who has brought up her granddaughter with full of love. Lively women seem to be amusing characters such as the ever-busy-with-work Akira who lets loose her serial hugging spree once she gets a chance to be with her niece and the equally energetic Shiina’s mom who looks young enough to be her sister. It boggles me how the personality of mother and daughter can turn out to be so different like night and day? Don’t tell me that Shiina got it from her father. Then there is the gloomy Yuki, so depressing that it could affect your day but with the right food and friends, you can see her frown turn into a brilliant smile. You don’t need an energy drink to get motivated, right? I am very curious about Ryou’s parents. Ironically the ‘more’ you know about them, the lesser you know because with such ambiguous words like very important people and bodyguards will definitely play around with your mind to figure what kind of people they actually are. I hope they are not aliens from another planet pulling the strings in the background in running this world! But I would like to think they have something to do with the food industry because they keep sending foodstuffs back to Ryou and could be researching vital crops or something to find a cure for world hunger. Considering if they were that famous and really important, isn’t it dangerous for Ryou to be living all by herself like that? That’s why you have Kirin around…

SHAFT producing this series makes me wonder if they are diverging into many other themes. They did Hidamari Sketch for art, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei for the darker side of life and culture, the Monogatari series for a supernatural theme, magical girls in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, vampires for Dance In The Vampire Bund, lesbians for Maria+Holic, weird hobos for Arakawa Under The Bridge, the extra-terrestrial in Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko and even Nisekoi as a romantic comedy. Now we have Koufuku Graffiti as a food (porn) theme. However the art and drawing style of SHAFT’s trademark isn’t as obvious as you would find in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei or Monogatari series. There are cameo hints of their trademark like that neck tilt and zoom-ins but those are quite infrequent and it is like as an Easter egg if you get to spot them. Even with the character art and design looking like your conventional Japanese anime characters, at least Nisekoi had more SHAFT-like trademarks compared to this one. Otherwise had I not spot those intermittent trademarks, I would not have actually thought or this studio’s name would cross my mind. Is it me or am I seeing shades of Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso’s Kaori in Shiina?

But the art and animation of the food is gorgeous enough that you might want to suddenly take a chomp out of your monitor. Even more so if you are hungry. Okay, they do not look that all perfect but at least they give you such an effect. Unless of course you are not a foodie person at all. The art style and effects are ‘greatly enhanced’ when the girls start their erotic eating. Because suddenly you can see how luscious their lips, their big beautiful pretty eyes and all that sparkling sparkles around them complete with slow motion effects. Wow. Eating food like that turns you into a beautiful person for the moment? Well, it proves that they are enjoying and appreciating their food. Heck, I think if I try that in real life, I am going to attract a lot of stares and people would start thinking the weirdo I am. Will I be even reported for public indecency?!

But something tells me that sometimes they are breaking the fourth wall. Because there are scenes whereby after they cook the food, they show it like as though they are presenting it to us. I mean, from that kind of angle and perception, who do you think they are talking to? But the mind boggling thing is that the angle that we see is from a higher ground. Like as though the girls are showing the food to a CCTV on the ceiling. Maybe it is symbolism to show us viewers as the ‘king’ watching from high above? But if it really was a CCTV on the ceiling, it would be creepy to think that there is actually one fitted inside their apartment. Who the hell is watching them? I hope this isn’t some recording for Ryou’s overseas parents. Speaking of creepy, I am not sure in the initial episodes but later on I come to realize that grandma’s picture at the altar changes! I know it is just symbolic to ‘show’ that grandma is around (not talking about flashbacks) but unless Ryou changes it every minute or she has some sort of digital picture frame, doesn’t it feel spooky that the picture changes itself?

I think it is just a coincidence but somehow I think that this series draws a handful of comparisons with Hidamari Sketch. For example, the characters in both series go to an arts school. Hidamari Sketch in one season had some sort of food porn too (spamming of food pictures, not eating them). The apartment that Ryou lives in looks suspiciously familiar with the one in Hidamari Sketch although such double storey apartments are not uncommon in Japan. Then there is that pizza delivery woman. I thought the bike she rides reminded me of the same one that the Landlady in Hidamari Sketch travels in too. Is it me or does Yuki have this very uncanny resemblance to Hidamari Sketch’s Yuno? Don’t you think Kirin also look pretty close to Chika of that said series?

Nothing much about the voice acting except it is fun to recognize a handful of recognizable seiyuus. For instance, Rina Satou as Ryou reminds me of Haruka of Minami-ke series. Brings me back to the days of hearing her in such gentle voice compared to a certain Biri-biri. At first I thought Kana Asumi was behind Kirin’s voice but something felt that it wasn’t so. Turns out it is Asuka Oogame instead (Mikazuki in KissxSis, Mana in Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru). Ai Nonaka’s ‘craziness’ as aunt Akira reminds me of Tiramie in Amagi Brilliant Park and speaking of this crazy voice, although Yu Kobayashi is recognizable as Tsuyuko, I felt it is such a waste that she had to voice a gentle sounding character. This isn’t the first time she voiced such characters because she also did like Matabei in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls and Rio in Sora No Woto. Another thing that reminded me of this series close to Hidamari Sketch is Miyu Matsuki. As Shiina’s mother, that distinctive liveliness in her voice very much resembles Yoshinoya sensei of Hidamari Sketch. So much so I thought that this is an alternate universe and version of that crazy teacher. Really. Yuka Iguchi is yet another recognizable character although her worrisome voice reminds me so much of Yama No Susume’s Aoi.

I may need some time to recognize Mikako Komatsu because as Shiina, I felt there was something familiar in her voice but couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I gave up and look it up and instantly realize it was her behind this character. Looks like hearing her as Shione in Sora No Method, Miuna in Nagi No Asukara, Tsugumi in Nisekoi, Neko in K, Murao in Ao Haru Ride, Marika in Mouretsu Space Pirates and Inko in Aldnoah.Zero wasn’t enough. But thankfully when I heard my all-time favourite Mamiko Noto as Ryou’s mom, suddenly I jumped back to life just when I was about to doze off into slumber land (because it was that other usual scene that is not food or eating it) and felt happy just to hear her voice despite just for a few seconds. It’s like being stimulated all over again. In addition to food porn, then I get to hear this awesome seiyuu as extra added bonus! Surprise, surprise. It is just like finding bits of little extra pieces of something that you don’t normally do in your main dish. And for the record, other casts include Tamie Kubota as Ryou’s grandma (Sui in Hanasaku Iroha), Akeno Watanabe as Watanabe (Rito in To Love-Ru) and Ryou Hirohashi as Kirin’s mom (Kyou in Clannad).

The opening theme is Shiawase Ni Tsuite Watashi ga Shitteiru Itsutsu No Houhou by Maaya Sakamoto feels like some of the other songs she sing like the one in Kobato. Although I wouldn’t say that this piece is entirely appealing but at least it is pretty decent to hear. The ending theme is a duet by Ryou and Kirin’s seiyuu, Egao Ni Naru and there is this fun and bubbly feel to this upbeat jazzy piece. The way they sing it makes it sound cute. Not bad actually. There are a couple of background music I noticed and they have this fun feel to it and mostly played to fit perfectly during the food eating scenes. However my most favourite tune of all is the outro played or rather sung during the next episode preview. Now, the doo-wop style is very infectious and catchy because the voices humming the piece are so much in harmony and synchronization that it is just hard to concentrate on anything else. Each time I remind myself to hear the next episode preview’s narration again, only to be tempted to focus on this pitch perfect accord. Therefore I can never know what the next episode preview is about, whether it is about what is happening in the next episode or tips about certain foods or just some random ramblings. I am still having that song stuck in my head up till now (as in typing this blog). Adding to the cute effects of the song is the chibi-like characters doing some fun dance, bopping or jiving.

Overall, to cut a long story short, if you want to watch this show, just stay for the food. The ‘porn’ is nothing. It isn’t even close to being ecchi. The perversion is all in your mind. ALL IN YOUR MIND… This series isn’t exactly a cooking themed genre so you can’t really make direct comparisons with it but it is the food that is the major focus and if you love food, you should at least check it out. Food is love, right? And porn is lust. Haha! I guess if you can’t taste all the dishes featured in this anime, poor people can only be content with just watching the great food instead. Of course you can cook them yourself but like yours truly who is a horrible cook, I think I’ll just be happy watching others eat. Oh, I think it is rude to watch others eating…

So are you hungry after watching this series? Hungry for food? Hungry for porn? Or both? Meal times do not necessarily be something boring and mundane. Just like how mothers decorate their bento kyara for their kids’ meal, adults could try eating in such sexy manner to give the food more taste. But do only try this alone or with close friends. I know it is all the same when it enters your stomach but it makes it more palatable especially eating food you dislike. At least you feel less revolting in eating your vegetables. Just like how this anime is subtly teaching and reminding us, remember people, do not waste food. Always be thankful and appreciate them. Spare a thought on how the food is processed from its source to its preparation. Most important of all, hope you enjoy your food (porn). I know I can make many food and porn jokes but that will just make it quite distasteful.


August 22, 2015

Every name there is a meaning behind it. It is not just something plucked out from the air and meaningless. Even the generic and ‘boring’ once common first name of John had a meaning to it. It means at the mercy of God. Hah. Credit that to my lazy Google search. But you get the idea. So names aren’t just for fun and not just something that belongs to you that others use often as identification. It gives us character and is supposed to reflect truly who we are what our parents wished for. Well, that is the basic idea for it and before I start going off topic about names, well, it seems names do play a role in Isuca although not by a very significant manner. At first I thought of wanting to give this supernatural series the skip. You know, I’m not really keen about spirits and all that stuffs. Not even if it’s about a seemingly generic ‘boring’ plot of a normal kid who has been hired as a housekeeper of a girl of an exorcist family. He has a hidden latent power and they go hunting and sealing spectres. Yeah, nothing special, right? Then this last line in the synopsis: A story of comedic creature hunting begins! Holy cow! Is this going to be a funny show?! Must watch…

Episode 1
If a woman decides to show you her naked body in the middle of the night, you better run! Shinichirou Asano is having bad luck to experience this as that woman soon turns into a centipede spectre trying to devour his life force. But he is saved when a mysterious blonde archer destroys it. If it is not bad enough that Shinichirou is fired from his part time job, his parents left him to live alone so they can tour Europe, he had to bump into this cutie, Sakuya Shimazu. Hey, that’s not so bad, you say? That’s only the beginning… Shinichirou tries to find a job to pay his rent and his teacher, Nadeshiko Souma sends him to clean the chemistry lab that she made a mess out. Yeah, she even cheekily asks him to marry her! After doing a good cleaning job, he heard a blood curling scream. A couple of girls are shivering in fear because there is another girl with deep cuts across her body and lying in her own pool of blood. He tries to find if there is anybody else around (to prevent such tragedy), he sees a busty girl with an arrow securing her hand to a tree. He tries to pull it out as he feels some magic in it. Sakuya isn’t happy what he has done. She had finally caught her and now he released her. The girl claims she has been mistaken but Sakuya will not believe it. Shinichirou tries to protect her but to his shock, her true form is a nekomata (giant cat spectre). She runs away and Shinichirou gets beaten up by the blonde. First he got her way earlier this morning and now this. Better help her out to repay make up for it. Sakuya explains about spectres that are from the land of the dead trying to attack people and steal their life force to remain here. Sakuya’s family has been capturing and sealing such spectres since ancient history.

As they go around looking for the spectre in the hallways of the school (don’t worry, nobody is around at this time of the night), Sakuya shoots and strikes the spectre. She chases it down and meets that cat girl again. She insists that wasn’t her. Shinichirou points out there are claw marks on her arm. The true culprit is the raijuu spectre that controls lightning. All I understand is this spectre is super powerful and you better end this quick or get zapped. Yeah well, it’s becoming bigger by absorbing electricity in the vicinity. I have a feeling that each time Sakuya fails in her attempt, her clothes get shredded and now she is only in her panties. I can’t see what is being done to her because of that DAMN LIGHT CENSOR BLOCKING HER ENTIRE BODY! From what cat girl says, she is being given ultimate pleasure in exchange for her life force. Holy sh*t! You feel pleasure when you die?! Shinichirou tries to save her by whacking it with a broom. Hardly did any damage. Cat girl comes to his aid to repay the debt. During the commotion, Shinichirou lands on top of Sakuya and their lips met. He sees part of her memories and despite she is not happy her first kiss is taken away, nevertheless she feels life force flowing through her body. She uses some final bow technique to rid of the raijuu. However she didn’t finish it off and just sealed it temporary so it can’t move. To send something this powerful back, you need to know its true name. Cat girl thought everything is cleared up but Sakuya won’t let her go and points her bow at her.

Episode 2
Sakuya wants to seal cat girl. Just because she is cute, Shinichirou won’t let her do it. Now that cat girl has taken him hostage, Sakuya doesn’t care if he dies because it’s his fault for getting into this predicament. However Sakuya decides to back down because if he dies, she can’t repay his debt. But she is frustrated that only if she knew her true name. Cat girl is so grateful that she pecks him on his cheek. In that instant, Shinichirou sees some vision and wonders if her real name is Tama. Cat girl starts panicking and Sakuya gets the hint. She is pleading to be spared and once again Sakuya shows her ‘merciful’ side to spare her. Since she knows her true name, she can seal her any time. Feels like a weak excuse. Tama follows him everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE. Back at Sakuya’s house, it is like a pigsty! How can she live here?! Nadeshiko is her guardian and as explained, Sakuya lives here alone despite her main family is just in the nearby Kamakura town. She hires Shinichirou as the housekeeper. He is more than qualified. And I think he is dedicated too because he starts cleaning up right now as he can’t stand the pigsty. Next day at school, Sakuya takes Shinichirou to go look for a gate that has been detected somewhere in the school. It is a gate that connects the Netherworld to Earth. Sakuya doesn’t want Tama around but cat girl will only listen to Shinichirou who is her only master. As explained, everyone has a given name and a true name. For spectres, the first person who mentions the true name will gain the ability as its master. Therefore Shinichirou is rightfully Tama’s master. But how he knows her name, he is still wondering about that. So while we have more flirty time with Tama and Shinichirou (irking Sakuya of course), seems we have another sort of fanservice nearby. Girls in their undies changing are being attacked by rats! The screams attract Shinichirou and co as they see the girls under the illusion of being eaten by the rats (their life force are being drained). Ironically, Sakuya who lives in a pigsty is afraid of such pests. They stopped a girl being dragged down a hole in the locker and come face to face with a kodama nezumi. It escapes outside.

Tama tries to fend off the unlimited rat army but she grows weak. This proves that she has never taken any life force before. Sure, she can drain Shinichirou’s life force now but how long can he keep this up till he dies? Sakuya thinks of letting Tama die. Are you serious?! Or she can drain the life force of another spectre. You know which one, right? They are plunged deep into the underground where the kodama nezumi’s base is. Rat attack! Enough for Sakuya to pass out. Tama tries to help out but she is weakened and gets owned. This is when Shinichirou had no choice but to order Tama to suck his life force. Why does Sakuya have to wake up at this time and see the ambiguous kissing scene and freak out? Shinichirou’s life force must taste so good that it powers up Tama to destroy the rat monster and save the day in a single blow. Back home, Nadeshiko runs some tests on him and is surprised to see his life force replenished back to normal when it should have taken months. Noting that Sakuya also got stronger by his kiss (the tsundere claims it was accident), Nadeshiko deduces he has this uncanny power to share it with others. He has an immense spiritual power and this makes him an invaluable asset to exorcists. Also, this means he can continue feeding Tama his life force. Yeah, time for cat girl to flirt. Sakuya doesn’t like this a bit and orders her housekeeper to go clean up and cook. Later, Sakuya explains Nadeshiko has taken care of the girls affected by calling someone from her family to heal them and they will probably think no more of this as a dream. Tama has a request for him to give her another name to hide her true name. How about Tamako? Can’t say much about his naming sense but Tamako likes it and will treasure it. Nadeshiko is just off the phone with Suseri about Shinichirou’s uncanny abilities. There is more to him than meets the eyes.

Episode 3
Shinichirou can be proud he cleaned Sakuya’s house spick and span! And of course this is what you literally call a cat fight when Sakuya and Tamako start bickering and hitting each other with girly punches. More surprise in store because Nadeshiko has arranged for Shinichirou’s stuffs to move in to this place. You don’t want to make him come all the way here just to clean your house, right? This is a reason why men don’t understand women. On one hand Sakuya is worried this guy will rape her and when he says he won’t, she felt insulted she is not attractive enough! WTF?! Sakuya is fighting against a jibokko tree spectre taking a girl hostage while sucking her blood. Suddenly Suseri destroys the spectre but in turn also hurts the girl. Fortunately her attendant, Matsuri Souma heals her. Suseri is Sakuya’s younger cousin and you can tell they both hate each other. Sakuya doesn’t like Suseri’s methods of killing spectres when they’re supposed to seal them away. However Suseri believes it is she who has changed. She is keeping a nekomata around, right? Or maybe it is a certain guy. Suseri wants to take Shinichirou back with her and of course Sakuya won’t. She hired him. Lame excuse. Suseri won’t acknowledge her as the head despite her claiming so. Shinichirou doesn’t understand this family feud so Nadeshiko explains although Sakuya is the temporary head, the official decision will only be made once they become of age and thus they are locked in that kind of battle. Nadeshiko wonders who he will choose. Typical, he ‘runs away’ by giving excuse that he needs to go bath. He didn’t count on Suseri to come in and wash his back with her boobs! STUPID STEAM BLOCKING MY FANSERVICE ENJOYMENT!!! She wants to wash his front too but he puts up resistance and knocks himself out. Yeah, time to sneak him out. I wonder how she put his clothes back on. It is about time Sakuya and the rest wonder why Shinichirou is taking too damn long in the bath but too late. He is gone. So is Suseri.

In the limo, Suseri mentions she needs him. She needs his power. As he summons use up a lot of spiritual power, teaming up with her and restoring that power would prove vital. This way she can also beat Sakuya. Shinichirou feels like a tool but Suseri will compensate him. She will do anything he asks. Anything. ANYTHING! Why is he looking at her boobs?! Unfortunately the conversation is cut short when they suddenly drive into another world. A ghost town literally because they’re in a ghost world, right? Another unfortunate driver got eaten by his own car (just because he decided to pick up a lone pretty chick without knowing her background) and they merge to become some oboroguruma. Too bad their driver got eaten too. Suseri wants Shinichirou to kiss and power her up. No need for that because here comes Sakuya to the rescue. Did she interrupt something? Everybody tries to escape in the limo but they forgot the car key was with the driver. Damn. Now the oboroguruma is trying to crush them. It’s getting cramped in here. Shinichirou and Sakuya are face to face and are forced to kiss or else they’ll be flattened. No time to think about your stupid pride. When they do so, Sakuya powers to easily defeat the spectre. And at the end of it all, Sakuya continues to blame Shinichirou for kissing her twice without permission. But still, she won’t hand him over to Suseri. If that is the case, Suseri will back down now because this means even if she takes him, he will return to her. Finally, she tells her straight that she hates her just like the rest for being selfish and leaving the mansion. The feeling is mutual too. Sakuya did so, so as to prove her strength. This is the same reason why Suseri won’t let her become their head. Damn family politics…

Episode 4
Night at the museum… Must be too real and unfortunate for this guard because he gets killed by some samurai spectre, bourei musha just so a hidden cursed sword in a Buddha statue could be retrieved. If you think you’ve seen the end of Suseri, think again. She and Matsuri are now new transfer students in Shinichirou’s school. While the guys dig her boobs, the girls do not think highly of her since she doesn’t mix around (I think it’s partly because of her boobs). As usual, the cousin trade insults and Sakuya thinks she came all the way here just to chase after a guy. Suseri also mentions that there have been many gates opening up in the school area. Has she failed to notice them or did she not report to the family and kept it a secret? She crosses the line and earns Sakuya’s slap when she says only a western mage can summon magic circles that are believed to open those gates. I know Shinichirou wants the cousins to get along but does he have to go so far as to suggest Suseri live with them?! He doesn’t understand… After a group of agents get slaughtered by bourei musha, Sakuya is not happy she is not informed about this and believes Suseri hid this information from her. I suppose she wants to play hero and defeat the samurai on her own but looks like it can resurrect and reconnect severed limbs. Hey, it’s just armour, right? Sakuya doesn’t approve of Suseri’s ways since people died thanks to this. Now that more samurai minions are summoned and the same trick on it won’t work, Suseri suggests Shinichirou kiss her. Why is she always resorting to this? Of course the other concerned girls disagree and Sakuya is pretty confident they can beat this without doing stuffs like that. Fine. Have it your way. The plan is for Shinichirou to be the bait and at the right moment, Sakuya shoots off its helmet. Too bad it didn’t work. Time for a tactical retreat to think their next step.

Sakuya realizes the reason they can’t defeat it. Bourei musha is not a spectre but a golem. She saw the words ‘emeth’ which means truth in Hebrew inside its helmet. This means this manmade creation is not from the other world and somebody is controlling it purposely to attack them. Summoning golems is a western style magic. The only way to defeat it is to erase the first alphabet to turn it into ‘meth’ which means death (no, not drugs, mind you – but still, meth kills, right?). Because long range attacks won’t work, the best way is to steal the helmet and erase the word itself. Sakuya lets Shinichirou do the honours in doing that. Oh sure, you pay him enough for that? So once all the diversion and whatever tactics are in place, Sakuya shoots off the helmet and Shinichirou just sticks the dagger onto the alphabet. That’s it? I thought he was going to tear it off or something. Of course they know it is not over till they find that mage. Sakuya picks up the cursed sword and gets mind controlled. The mage who has been watching them from the shadows makes her appearance. Seems she has a grudge against the family and relishes see them kill each other. With Sakuya under bloodthirsty mode swinging the sword, Suseri has no qualms in killing her (why is she using her wind power to rip her clothes?). Oh, she sounds so noble saying she is doing so, so that he won’t get his hands dirty. Yeah right. But Shinichirou won’t allow it and protects Sakuya. There has to be a better way to save her. Yeah, think fast or she’ll cut you down. You think his talk of trying to snap her out would work. Almost. You can see tears welling up in her eyes although her body continues to go berserk. When he touches the sword, he sees the samurai’s memories and calls his true name, Yashaou. Immediately Sakuya is snapped out and returns fire at the mage. But that is not enough to bring her down. Since she has had her fill for today, she’ll take a leave but promises hell for them the next time.

Episode 5
Priority now is to capture that mage but can they do it? Nadeshiko says they have Shinichirou as their ace. He has the Eye of Truth that allows him to see one’s true name but only via oral contact. That means a kiss, right? She has Suseri demonstrate on him. Don’t worry. She isn’t going to kiss him. Rather, he kissed her fox familiar. Instantly he knew its true name. Sakuya refuses to believe so because he did kiss her once but nothing happened. Actually, something did. Just that Shinichirou chose to keep silent about it. Because of that, Sakuya now forbids him to eat or touch the same plates, bowls and cups to prevent him from knowing her true name. Before you know it, exorcist agents are disguising themselves as transfer students in their school to look for the source. Aren’t there an awful lot of them? And how come they look young enough too? Sakuya of course is against this but as grandma tells he over the phone, her aunt Sagiri has already taken action ever since finding out the mage is targeting their family. She is one of those supporting Suseri as the next head and this is the perfect opportunity. The only way is to capture the enemy before Sagiri’s people do. Yeah well, with tensions between Sakuya and Shinichirou running so high (more perverted accidents, that is), how can they work well? They better because some of those agents snooping around are starting to get pulled into walls. And when their comrades try to pull them out, they accidentally rip off their limbs!!!!!!!!!!! So with the entire school under the mercy of the mage, Sakuya faces off with her and doesn’t seem to care about saving those agents who are being squeezed by the nurikabe spectre. And when she decides to help and uses her special technique to destroy the spectre, the entire team gets killed because, well, they are being crushed by the walls. Sad end. Sakuya goes into shock as the mage accuses her of killing them. But Sakuya can’t let this get to her. Because more people are going to die if she doesn’t take action. More importantly, if she doesn’t perform her duties as the head, Suseri will. Can’t let that happen, right?

But right after stepping into the gym, everyone gets caught in a simple web thread. Yeah, can’t blame the mage for being disappointed. Then she unleashes this spider jorougumo spectre to suck Sakuya’s life force. I don’t get it. How come her clothes vanish while so? But not her panties? WTF?! Now, if you’re wondering why the mage hasn’t just killed them yet, it is because she wants to see Sakuya suffer. She wants to make her pay. She wants her to weep blood from her heart! She wants to hear her voice scream out with regret! Quite the sadists, is she? The only way to get themselves out of this sticky situation is for Shinichirou and Sakuya to kiss (since they’re nicely wrapped together). But Sakuya is against this because she doesn’t want him to know her true name and ruin her chance to become the next head. That’s it? She’d rather be in pain and die instead of that?! WTF?! Just shut up and kiss him! Shinichirou has no choice but to force his lips over hers. He sees her past. Seems certain family members are badmouthing Sakuya for having a weak body and her father whom her mom married who brought tainted blood into the clan. It is a reason why they believe she can never become the next head. A man comes to give Sakuya a good luck bird toy to help her recover. Its name is Isuca. Once Shinichirou mentions that, jorougumo starts melting and everyone free from the sticky web. Sakuya then powers up enough to burn the spider away. But she doesn’t look so happy. Maybe it’s because she’s in her panties again… :p.

Episode 6
Sakuya. Gloomy. Remember about knowing one’s true name and becoming obedient to that first person who says it? Yeah… No wonder she is scared. But I thought it only works on spectres? Further explanations from Nadeshiko lets Shinichirou know that it isn’t a good thing when you intend to be a family head. I mean, it won’t look food if the leader obeys somebody else, right? Because of that, there is a family law that will banish such person. Yes Shinichirou, it is YOUR FAULT! She hopes he will take care of Sakuya when the time comes because she is all alone. Gee, he never thought about why she was alone all this while or why she lives by herself? Suseri tries to persuade Shinichirou to give up on Sakuya and choose her but he believes Sakuya won’t give up because of this. If that is the case, Suseri backs down and feels this isn’t the right way to become the family head. Shinichirou finds Sakuya to apologize for everything. He tells her the vision he saw. That man who gave her the bird toy was her father. She isn’t living with him because her parents disappeared 8 years ago while fighting a spectre. Nadeshiko and grandma were with them but came back heavily injured and will not tell her what happened. Shortly, it became taboo to speak about her parents in the household. You see, her father is a foreigner and a western mage. Because a clan’s strength and power will become stronger via inheritance, marrying within the clan is the only way to go to maintain supremacy. Despite her father was being hated, it was her mom who chose to marry him. Of course Sakuya was also ostracized as a child. That is why she wants to become the next head to find out if her parents are still alive or not.

Back home, Sakuya opens a package containing a mirror. But she got careless as she and Shinichirou get absorbed into it. She thought she is happy to see her parents but sees another of her self coming in between them. The rest can only wait outside because as explained, this ungaikyo spectre draws out the negative emotions of people and tries to use it against them. Don’t break the mirror or they can never get out. The only way is to conquer their inner darkness yourself. Sakuya fights her clone as the latter tries to play guilty mind games with her. Then the illusion changes as Sakuya sees her young self weeping. She then becomes hateful and wants to seek revenge by killing the rest of the family once she becomes the head. The mage realizes this is her true goal and continues to taunt her for being the black sheep, etc. Sakuya continues fighting her clone while Shinichirou tries to understand why the mage hates the family. Because they killed her! Since their goals coincide, why not make a pact to destroy the family? Before Sakuya is about to agree, Shinichirou steps in. He may not understand what happened in her past but he knows Sakuya is selfish, arrogant and strong willed. She will not be so weak to be ruled by hatred. She is fighting to find her parents and he will help her in that. Shinichirou grabs the clone and kisses her. He tells Sakuya her true name, Kousuisen. Eh, shouldn’t Shinichirou be the master then? Sakuya successfully destroys the spectre and although the mirror breaks, they return to some park in the real world. Despite the mage getting away, Sakuya is happier and friendlier now. Though, her tsundere bits are still visible. She wants him to call her by her first name now since he already knows her true name.

Episode 7
Wow. Sakuya in full tsundere mode when Shinichirou is around! Anyway, we’re distracted with Tamako trying out some lingerie all because Shinichirou told her to wear some clothes instead of running around naked. Yeah, but those lingerie belong to Sakuya! Shinichirou tells her off not to steal and that Sakuya’s size won’t fit her. Oops! She tries to slap him but as expected, they trip and he falls on top of her. Doki doki! More tsundere from Sakuya as she tries to blame him but without trying to be specific. He has had enough of this so he gets serious. Right before he can confess, Nadeshiko had to come in and give him Yashaou (the sword). He might not know how to use the katana but he feels it is time not to depend on the girls in fighting. So he peeps at the kendo club girls practising and surprisingly Sakuya understands what he is doing. The gang are called when a spectre attacks the subway. They examine the train in which everyone is fine but just passed out. Then they realize they are up against a smoke spectre, enraenra. Sakuya tries to shoot some of her arrows at it. Not working. Say, how do you hit smoke anyway? Tamako tries to be a hero by jumping in but gets trapped. Hold your breath! Thank Suseri’s familiar for busting her out. I guess it took them long enough that enraenra’s target is them and thus the subway attack was just a trap to lure them. Wait. Aren’t all such attacks are? They keep running but I hope the next station won’t be far. Say, how do you outrun smoke anyway?

Shinichirou has an idea to rid of it from the subway and that is to press some ventilation button used for fire emergencies. Time for him to be a hero. He uses Yashaou to slice through it to buy him some time. But just inches away from the button, enraenra envelopes him. I guess he really stretched it to press the button. The ventilation sucks enraenra out. But now he is unconscious. Guess who is the most worried girl? Uh huh. Sakuya tries to kiss him to wake up! Sorry, this method only works in fairytales and from prince to princess only. I guess this heartbreaking scene means Suseri will go deal with enraenra herself. Yeah, the rest can just stand there and watch Sakuya kiss do CPR on him. Outside, Suseri easily defeats with enraenra her familiar that slices through air. Now, why didn’t she use this in the tunnel? Restricted space? I think she is confident to think that she can take on the mage herself. How wrong she is. She gets easily owned by her. Boring. No wonder she’s so disappointed. Finally when Shinichirou does wake up, guess who is the most emotional girl that come hugging him? Once everything is normal, everybody can now be bothered to find Suseri. Too late, she’s been ‘crucified’ by the mage with her big boobs being bared. I guess she’s so bored that she just throws Suseri back to them. So bored that they keep calling her in second person that she tells them she has a name: Isuca! Oh dear. Can it be true? It is the name her father gave to her. Sakuya gets mad and releases her bow’s seal to fire at her. I can’t blame Isuca for standing there and taking the hit because, well, their attacks were never really that strong, right? Well, there’s a first time for everything. So powerful this arrow shot that it rips off her arm!!!!!!!!!! Surprised?

Episode 8
Sakuya is now in coma because that special move requires lots of spiritual energy. Well, only one way to kiss her. If you didn’t get the hint yet, Shinichirou boy, YOU HAVE TO KISS HER! Don’t go all shy on us now! You want to save her, right?! I suppose he did when nobody is looking… Meanwhile the Shimazu family is in a meeting and it seems grandma will not banish Sakuya whose real name has been known or breaking the bow’s divine seal, much to Sagiri’s dismay. Even shocking is how Suseri agrees with grandma, threatening to undo all the hard work. However Suseri seeks grandma’s permission for some exorcism ritual. Suseri bumps into Shinichirou on her way back and follows this guy to do errands buying food for Sakuya. In a way she is impressed because she was never taught to voice out her opinion. Then this mind boggling scene whereby a guy accidentally bumps ice cream onto her shirt. Shinichirou’s answer? Let’s go buy you new clothes!!!! WTF???!!! Hey, I wonder if my dad will buy me a new car if I accidentally scratch the current one. Sakuya’s friends spot them and thought they’re on a date. They really want to ‘report’ to her but decide to just leave them alone. Even Shinichirou’s annoying buddy is surprised to see them. Shinichirou’s answer? Run away!!! I think that’s for the best. Oh, Suseri’s best question of the day: What is a date? Oh God… But Shinichirou is worried if Sakuya finds out about this. You mean you’re going to regret this? Don’t worry. Suseri promises to not tell. Once her date is over, she goes back to perform the exorcism ritual. She faces off with the raijuu but gets injured. Of course Shinichirou is concerned but not to make Sakuya sound like a meanie by saying that it is her problem, the purpose of this ritual is to subdue the spectre and making it your shikigami by yourself. Guess what? Shinichirou doesn’t care about all the rules and sh*t. He just wants to help her. Uh huh. So I guess he gets to be her assistant the next time she returns for round two.

Shinichirou is wondering why she is pushing herself so hard. She wants to surpass Sakuya who was always free and having fun in her younger days. I’m sure Suseri too would like to be like that if not for her strict ‘tiger mom’ who keeps telling her to focus, work hard and not fool around like that blondie. Uh huh. She gets whacked if she gets wrong. She must not lose to Sakuya, blah, blah, blah. Sagiri won’t allow her to use the bow since she sucked (despite Suseri wanted to try so much) and even put has her undergo that waterfall meditation. Cold… Mommy’s soul, that is. No wonder Suseri hates and envies her. Nadeshiko contacts Sakuya’s grandma about this ritual. Despite Shinichirou was brought in to help, Suseri will still not be able to tame it if he figures out its real name. Suseri must get the raijuu to recognize her on her own. This ritual is to calm a wild soul and communicate with it and the spectre isn’t the only one with a closed mind. Suseri’s attacks do not have any effect and Shinichirou continues his useless streak by trying to attack with Yashaou but gets owned. Yeah, he admits he is pretty useless. Before he passes out, he tells her that everyone is with her. She is not alone. Nothing like a little motivation, eh? She realizes the true importance of this guy. At first she and Sakuya only wanted to use him but now it is different. She kisses him to power up and use her powerful technique on the raijuu. Although technically the spectre is still standing, Suseri hears his voice, impressed that he never expected to be wounded the slightest. He asks why she wants his power and how would he benefit from being her slave. All she wants is just his help for 3 years. By that time, the family would have chosen a new head. She won’t be a person who does what mother says or a person who envies her sister. Raijuu agrees to it since a senseless reason beats a stupid reason any time. Say what? Here is to 3 years of showing him a good time. I hope that isn’t misconstrued. Shinichirou has the honour of naming the raijuu: Shiro. Nice name?

Episode 9
Isuca is in a chamber and her arm being healed by her father. But that is not what hurt her most. It is her heart that aches. She won’t stand for this humiliation and vows revenge. Several religious sites are reported to be destroyed. At this rate, Yokohama will be spiritually defenceless. At first they think Isuca is behind this but report says a male did this. Sakuya is obviously worked up with Isuca, especially that name of hers. Nadeshiko tells everyone they are going to put up a defence at some church because if this one falls, Yokohama is doomed. But Sakuya doesn’t like the fact that she is being put as backup (because her powers aren’t back at full strength yet) while Shinichirou is at the front lines. She tries to make him understand why she is against this. This battle is serious and he will die. When he collapsed at the subway, she thought he was done for. She was really worried. She doesn’t want to feel that again. You know what? He assures her he won’t leave her side and that he’ll be fine. Oh sure, talk so easy… Before you realize it, all the agents are taken out and the church is this close from falling. It’s time for everyone to have their rematch with Isuca but she takes Shinichirou hostage. Way to go, buddy. By the time Sakuya saves him, Isuca escapes and the church is destroyed. There goes Yokohama… It is done for. Next morning, there is this young girl, Nami at Shinichirou’s doorstep looking for Sakuya. Who is she? THIS GIRL IS SAKUYA’S GRANDMA!!!! HOLY SH*T!!!! I know animes where mothers are young enough to look like your sister or daughter but this goes overboard!!! However, this is a good lesson never to judge a book by its cover! She is here to help reseal her bow’s divine power. She is warned never to do that again because she might die. MIGHT. This is crucial since they are up against the Asahina family. Who? The clan of Sakuya’s father and Shimazu’s eternal enemy. Like cats and dogs, huh? The Asahina family are western mages and Isuca is most probably a homunculi (artificial human) created by them. This pretty much explains why her arm grew back. Sakuya badly wants to know the truth and wants grandma to let her handle this no matter the cost. Very well. But when asked about Isuca, Sakuya feigns it doesn’t ring a bell.

Later when Nami talks to Shinichirou alone, she knows Sakuya is lying because she broke the seal after hearing that Isuca name. Since she lost herself after that and since only Shinichirou knows her true name, it makes sense. She knows what is going on. Nami warns Shinichirou about the conflicts he is about to get himself into. If he wants to lead a normal life, he should never involve himself with Sakuya again. You think he’ll give up just like that? You know the answer. Nami views him very much like Tokiharu, Sakuya’s dad. She entrusted her dreams to him. When Sakuya wanted to leave the house, they reacted as though they wanted to get rid of her. Nami was at a lost on what to do but now knows it was the best decision to let her leave Kamakura than let her stay on. Suddenly Isuca appears out from Shinichirou’s guts to stab Nami! Man, she sounds so happy to get her revenge. Now that the biggest obstacle is gone, she summons some serpent spectre, uwabami to wreak havoc. This is the reason she destroyed Yokohama’s spiritual defences to summon it. The rest face off with it while Sakuya defies the warning and breaks the seal to fight Isuca. Nami’s body is actually just a doll (I guess this answers your question why she looks so young). She speaks to Shinichirou to protect Sakuya. He is the only one who can do it. Sakuya has powered up enough to rip a hole in Isuca’s dress and reveal a boob (I don’t know if this is supposed to be funny fanservice). But enough to make Isuca mad that killing her won’t be enough. Time to power up.

Episode 10
Sometimes it is a good thing to lose power. This is what happened to Sakuya and this allowed her to escape from Isuca’s power attack. But she’s clinging on the edge with a hand. Care to drop the bow? Meanwhile, everybody knows Shinichirou is freaking worried about Sakuya and gives him permission to go to her side while they take care of the uwabami. One big kiss to Tamako for the road. Isuca is about to torture Sakuya but she rather drop down and die. Thankfully she landed on Shinichirou. Nice timing or just coincidence? I’m sure there are lots to argue but let’s handle Isuca first, shall we? Isuca too has complaints. She is complaining that father told her to let uwabami take care of Sakuya but she wants revenge on her so bad that she’s about to be a bad girl and disobey him. She really wants her to suffer. Shinichirou protects Sakuya from her blast and gets knocked out. Way to go. While she badmouths Sakuya, this looks like a WTF scene because Shinichirou bumps Isuca away (didn’t she see him coming?) and because he hesitates to kill her, she mocks him about that and is going to kill him too (another order to disobey because father said to leave him alone). This time Sakuya comes to protect him but they get blasted into the burning house. Meanwhile, our ladies are having it tough facing the uwabami. Heck, it powers up by shedding its skin and turning psychedelic. Their attacks don’t work, its blood is made of acid (Tamako lost her clothes just to prove that) and it shoots dangerous scales. They’re really screwed. But they notice its scales need time to generate and maybe they should use this chance to attack. Suseri then pleads for everyone to lend their help as she can’t win this alone (wasn’t everybody fighting together?). She learnt this from Shinichirou. Ah, that name. The ultimate testimonial to get others to help you.

Sakuya is telling Shinichirou to get away from this. She doesn’t want him to get involved because she is not sure she can win or not. Then here comes his long speech of why he won’t leave her. First, he tells her all her bad points as the worst employer. Then he realized with her house so big, he thought she needed somebody to look after her. Strong on the outside, kind on the inside. In short, he is staying because he wants to. Whatever. And that my friend was good enough to make Sakuya jump and give him a kiss! SHE IS THE ONE WHO KISSES HIM!!! With Sakuya now powered up, they return to face Isuca who is now starting to sweat in her pants (or long skirt) because Sakuya is more powerful than her. With the uwabami destroyed from the combined might of the girls, she gets desperate. Their blasts collide and I’m not sure because I can’t see whether her boobs are fully exposed or there’s a big hole in her chest. DAMN YOU CENSORS! Isuca has gone crazy enough to rip off her own right arm (because it has been itching and giving he pain ever since it was attached back). Sakuya thought all is lost when her ultimate technique didn’t work o her. Remember, Shinichirou is here to help her. So with him assisting her in powering up her bow, this final blast final puts Isuca down for good. They killed her again, she says? Who is keeping the record? She then turns into a lifeless puppet. Her father then swoops down to retrieve her and disappears without saying a word. Sakuya is shocked to see him because she recognized his ring. Could it be really her father behind that mask? In the aftermath, life returns to normal for them (for now). Sakuya fails Shinichirou in making the Irish stew she wanted so much because it was what her father used to make her. Don’t worry, he’ll master it even if it takes years! Doesn’t this mean he sucks at cooking? Anyway, Sakuya is determined to find out if that masked guy is really her father and she need not worry again because Shinichirou is by her side. Yeah… THEY’RE HOLDING HANDS NOW!!! Lastly, Isuca is seen recovering in a chamber. Holy sh*t! Lots of chambers with Isucas!!!

Thy True Name, Thy True Nature
And so… Does it feel lacklustre? Does it feel mediocre? Well, if your thoughts are that then it is because some parts of the series were rewritten and deviated from the manga it is based on. No, I didn’t read the manga but I read comments here and there over the internet something about this. Many felt the original manga was better and if you somehow like the anime adaptation, there is a very good chance you will like the manga even better. Me? What if I am just so-so? Does that mean I don’t have to go read the manga because I am really not that interested? Hah. Excuses, excuses… Overall, with episodes equalling the number of fingers on your hands, there is hardly any much development in every aspect and many parts that leave a lot to be desired. Not even the cliff-hanger ending of Isuca still living (technically) could save the day because at the end of it all, it actually does not matter if you think about it.

Heck, now that I remember, I think I’ve been misled to think this is really a story of comedic creature hunting. Where the heck is that? Oh sure, seeing the unlikely pair of a normal boy with hidden powers and a tsundere ostracized exorcist family head together going on hunt is already funny because they’re so different day and night that it is sticking out like a sore thumb. Hunting down spectres is nothing funny or comedic in nature. They’re just plain scary and could bring death if you make the wrong move. So, was I really misled into believing it was so? Maybe. Partly myself to blame. Partly they want to draw audience to watch this adaptation with such a ‘witty’ motto.

Character development is nothing to shout about. Seeing the interaction between Shinichirou and Sakuya sometimes feel annoying because the latter keeps acting like a tsundere but doesn’t really want to go into full force as one. Like a true woman that men would never understand, sometimes you just don’t know what Sakuya wants. I mean, remember that one time where she greatly voiced out she doesn’t want him living with her because of fear of being raped (something like that) and when he denies he would ever do such a thing, she becomes mad because this means she is not attractive enough for him to activate his horny libido. WTF???!!! So which is it do you want girl? Maybe she is just being confused and alone for the entire time so having a guy by her side feels awkward and thus all that crap about her being cold to him, blah, blah, blah. Lots of accusation and blaming about him being a pervert, blah, blah, blah. Eventually she comes to accept him because if you want to keep sealing spectres and be the next family head, this guy is your best and safest bet. Besides, he even gives his assurance he will not leave her. He is doing it on his own volition. He says everything that would warm up cold girls and make her believe in him. All that but just short of saying the 3 magical words of “I love you” to make it official. His Eye of Truth via kissing feels like a sleazy excuse for kissing scenes because even if this show does not turn out obviously to be a harem one, you can see Sakuya, Tamako and Suseri ‘fighting’ for his attention. And they all kiss or being kissed by him, right? And if you’re hoping for romance, don’t hold your breath since Shinichirou and Sakuya drop lots of lame excuses and hints (is there a reason why Shinichirou wants to be with a girl who hasn’t even paid him once?!) but nothing solid to admit that they want to further their relationship as master-housekeeper to something else.

The rest of the other characters are just so-so too. Nothing much that really happens to make a great impact whatsoever. Like Suseri who once envied and hated Sakuya (despite her permanently emotionless face doesn’t show it), learns to accept that you don’t grow stronger by despising people. You have to accept yourself for who you are and maybe for her case, ask a little help from others when you very well know you can’t do things all by yourself. And from various hints, does Suseri resigned to be the second fiddle to Shinichirou? Looks like it. Then there is Tamako who is the show’s mascot and somebody bold enough to flirt with Shinichirou so as to keep Sakuya on her toes. Matsuri is just awful in her secondary supporting role. If she wasn’t featured, we won’t lose much either. But I guess this is to enhance the fact that Sakuya is alone has nobody. Nadeshiko who is supposed to be the guide but takes on the watching role more often for the Shimazu family who is just feeling like insignificant in this series. Because their past background and deeper connection with Sakuya are not thoroughly explored, it feels just for the convenience of this adaptation. Who cares about Sagiri’s plot to put her daughter as the next head, right? So, what about that toy bird that shares the same name? Oh, I almost forgot about Nami. I don’t believe she is dead but from what Sakuya says, it is like she believes she has been killed. There is more than meets the eye to this granny who likes to look like a middle school girl. And what was her role in this anime besides as a stepping stone for Isuca’s revenge? It was unbelievable that the most powerful family head didn’t see it coming and got easily owned. I thought it was part of her plan. Then you’ll never hear of her again.

Finally there is Isuca who is overwhelming with hate to make the Shimazu family suffer but we never know what it is and instead we just hear her keep reminding us how much she wants to torment them. Something must have happened in the past, right? Well, not explored here. We can’t make head or tail if she is the real big boss villain or just the antagonist of the season of just someone who is misled because storylines like these tend to make a u-turn somewhere that it is not and something more vicious lurks behind it all. Okay, so this season isn’t enough to make it that complicate. But when you have a series named after you, especially this homunculi antagonist, there must be something more to it, right? Or am I just thinking too much? Also teasing is Isuca’s ‘father’. I suppose the mask is to keep us guessing if he is really Sakuya’s missing dad because nobody ever said her parents were dead. Or it could be his brother or something. It’s the ring. They never obviously said it is his or belongs to the clan. You know, hints that tend to led you astray and make you go paranoia just thinking about it. Good news. I don’t care!

Now, when you have such an adaptation, how do you attract more viewers to watch it other than what is said above? You add fanservice! I am not sure if the original works contain such elements but this show certainly does have its fair share. I’m not saying that they spam you with fanservice every 5 seconds but there are enough to make you believe that fanservice is one of this show’s genres. But the very annoying thing as you have seen the TV version is the blinding light or black hole censors. However not every fanservice bit got this treatment. For those that are ‘worthy and long enough’, those censors will be prevalent and it really annoys the heck out of you like as though it is a sign to say to just go buy the DVDs. I have not seen them but saw comparative screenshots and they are really uncensored. Because the first few episodes with Sakuya getting close to naked somehow and he reputation in danger of becoming the fanservice poster girl of the series are already enough to give you hints on what to do if you want to see clearly and in detail of her delicious plain white pantsu. Really.

The fanservice censoring woes get even more annoying with the final battle with Isuca because as she is having one of her boobs exposed for the entire duration of the fight, it is as though that some sort of black hole is following her all around and it really gets to you whether or not you want to see her tits or not. Irritating enough because it distracts you from everything else and as you try your best to focus on the background or other scenes, the attraction of the black hole is just too great to divert your eyes to look at it despite knowing it is fully censored. Yeah, just buy the DVDs already and maybe if they get enough, they’ll make another season and add more fanservice to that. Adding your two cents worth of fanservice is Tamako who loves to move about naked and even if she puts on some skimpy clothes, she doesn’t wear anything beneath it. I can think all sorts of reasons for this and her character but let’s just stick to simply fanservice reasons, okay? For fanservice bits that do not require the censors, they are short and teasing in the sense that if you blink, you might miss it. Like when the girls are in a certain position and angle that flash their panties (Sakuya is the main offender). It’s one of those scenes that make you look again and rewind to replay the part if you were focusing on somewhere else. Maybe they are really trying too hard on this fanservice area because I feel some of the scenes are just WTF just to force a fanservice (like how sucking out the life force tears your clothes but leave only the panties) it just feels ridiculous. More fanservice bits for you in the ending credits animation and it is all about Sakuya and Tamako in the nude and of course the necessary parts are ‘cleverly’ blocked. Hey, why is Sakuya as an angel?

Also attracting you to watch this series is the blood and gore. I won’t say there are excessive amounts of it but there certainly are enough and also to warrant certain scenes with those censors. Action bits also feel okay, nothing spectacular but nothing that bad. Each of the characters have a move or two of their own although I can’t really see the difference like Sakuya who keeps shooting her arrow but when she shouts out a different name of her move, I don’t really see how this arrow shot is different from the previous one. Suseri also have a few familiars she can summon and throw at her enemies and acquiring Shiro makes her power up a lot although it seems she needs to learn a lot more in how to use him effectively. Then there is Tamako who is just clawing her way in action but I guess it is better than Shinichirou who makes me wonder if he has mastered using Yashaou or not. Because I think just by watching kendo practice of others isn’t really enough to make you being skilled with the sword.

Drawing and art feels okay but at times I feel that there is a drop in quality in parts that the producers think it won’t matter. Well, it does. So buy the DVDs again for better quality? Whatever. Not me. Special effects using magic seems okay but nothing that flashy either. As for the design of the spectres, I guess they are okay and not too scary for a horror-adverse guy like me. Because almost every episode we have the monster-of-the-week feature but I am guessing that they are spectres of Japanese folklore since their name (or the category of their spectre type to be more specific) is mentioned in Japanese.

Voice acting feels okay and I thought there was this familiarity in hearing Sakuya as a tsundere. Learning that Ayumi Fujimura had a role in it, I assumed she was the one voicing Sakuya since she had also voiced various tsundere characters before like Mafuyu in Seikon No Qwaser, Ayano in Kaze no Stigma and more famously as Misaki in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama. Unfortunately for me, Ayumi Fujimura was behind Isuca’s voice whom I thought was devilishly revelling in seeing her enemies suffer. She really sounds so different from her tsundere type. So instead, Sakuya is voiced by Ibuki Kido who also voiced a couple of tsundere roles herself like Nanami from Kanojo Ga Flag Wo Oraretara and Claire from Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance. I initially thought Jun Fukuyama was behind Shinichirou’s voice although there was something a little off about it. Turns out to be Keisuke Koumoto instead of Raul from Yuushibu fame. The rest of the casts include Kaori Sadohara as Tamako (Chocolat in Noukome), MAO as Suseri (Renge in Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda), Saeko Zougou as Nadeshiko (Bohdan in Hitsugi No Chaika) and Akane Kohinata making her debut as Matsuri. The generic anime rock pop opening theme is Never Say never by Afilia Saga and the rock outfit ending theme is Somebody To Love by Two-Formula.

Fanservice bits, bloody action scenes and under-developed plot and characters are the elements that won’t look good to leave a lasting impression for years to come. Isuca isn’t a bad anime per se but definitely it could have been better (even better if you just buy and watch its DVDs for the fanservice – just saying). So it makes me wonder if this series had another name, another true name in which if I say it out, everything about it will improve. Or not. I guess there are many reasons why we tend to have many other names from nicknames to even aliases. Because in some cases when people find out about your real name, it can really damage your reputation or leave a very damaging effect in your real life that you do not wish to. Now you know why porn stars go by a different stage name, right?

Angel Beats OVA 2

August 21, 2015

Wait a minute. Hold on a second now. I thought they were done and dusted with this?! Almost 5 years after the TV series and only OVA came out and ended the damn thing, suddenly there is another OVA out. What are they trying to do? Play on our nostalgia factor? So when Angel Beats came out with a second OVA back in June 2015, it just sends mixed feelings to me. I wasn’t a big fan of the series since there were a lot of stuffs that I didn’t comprehend (and couldn’t remember) so I’m not sure. But there is no harm in checking it out, right? I believe this OVA takes place in between one of those early TV episodes because Iwasawa is still around and Yui hasn’t joined GirlDeMo yet.

Hell’s Kitchen
Yuri has gathered the guys for another operation. It isn’t your usual picnic in the mountains. Because she wants them to kill each other! The only catch is that they cannot use guns as Tenshi will confiscate them. The last one standing will become possessed by a demon. I don’t know what Yuri is planning but the guys think she’ll get something out of it so hell they’re okay in participating in this. Although the picnic is in a week’s time, they have a week to prepare traps to deceive each other. Of course, only Yuri and Yusa will not be participating as they will observe Tenshi’s actions. Who is the real demon here? Yuri goes to seek permission from Tenshi to hold this event and she approves it hoping things don’t get out of control. So our guys leave for the mountains. After setting up tent, Takamatsu suggests playing volleyball. Noda charges with all his might at the ball. It explodes, killing him. Seems Takamatsu rigged it with the guild’s help. Meanwhile Shiori has drafted (forced, rather) Miyuki’s help to kill Iwasawa. First they let her rant about her music days as they walk along. Then Iwasawa drops into a pit dug by them! But she climbs back out like as though nothing has happened! The ranting continues. Don’t worry. There are more pits up ahead…

As the guys play badminton, Ooyama smashes the shuttlecock at Takamatsu. The fiery impact kills him! Yeah, Ooyama had the science club help him with this trap. Then they decide to go fishing. Matsushita gets strangled by the vines before being torn apart! Fujimaki admits he got the theatre club’s help for this trap. While fishing, Fujimaki caught something big. However he is being pulled into the water where he drowns (in this shallow river?). They deduce this was Matsushita’s trap and he enlisted it from the synchronized swimming club. And then model Apache helicopters attack them! Hinata’s trap with assistance from radio communications club. Everybody runs for their lives as the helicopters spray oil on them. TK saves Ooyama and gets burnt but before he dies, he warns them to beware the manga club. Ooyama then gets reeled in by the fishing rod into the river and drowns. Otonashi and Hinata decide to go back but the latter gets caught in a net trap and being stabbed by knives. Actually they are the pen brush of the manga club. Otonashi is surprised that Tenshi is before him. She confirms that he is not the one who killed Hinata.

Meanwhile, Shiori and Miyuki must be starting to panic because pit after pit, Iwasawa continues to climb out and continue her boring story!!! There is nothing to stop her! Is her love for music that great? They are approaching the final trap… A flashback 3 days ago, Shiori and Miyuki mixed some raw liver trap in a bucket. Then they bribe Shiina to help them out. Hisako, who has been lost for a while, sees her fellow bandmates. Seeing how messed up Iwasawa is, she gets mad thinking it was Shiori and Miyuki’s ploy. As she charges, she falls into a pit. But she climbs out! Shiina waiting to pour the raw liver screws up and spills the bucket over Hisako. This causes her to become mad as she turns into a demon to pound Shiori (because she turned tail and ran away)!!! OMG! She makes Shiori eat the raw liver until she dies!!! Tenshi and Otonashi see this and the former is going to do something to kill this demon. Seems this is all part of Yuri’s elaborate plan. Because there is a demon that no one here can handle, this will force Tenshi to call upon God. But to her surprise, Tenshi doesn’t call God and attacks Hisako. Guess what? Tenshi lost!!! OMFG! We’re all doomed! All the other resurrected guys who unknowingly waltz into the scene got violently killed off again as Hisako stuffs the raw liver in their mouths. The survivors better run for their lives. This isn’t a demon. This is just a rampaging monster!!! In the aftermath, all this is actually a history lesson as told by Shiori to Yui and the rest on how GirlDeMo got their name. I can see why now… Then Shiori excuses herself to the toilet and I think she will experience eternal retribution because the raw liver has been giving her relentless diarrhoea ever since! It won’t stop! The biggest loser…

Survival Hell…
Rather okay, I suppose. Here I thought this was going to be a cheesy cooking show based on the title of this OVA but I must say that they surprised me with this so called survival theme. So I suppose the only Hell’s Kitchen would be most appropriate for is Shiori as she got what she deserved most in the end. Yuri once again shows she is a sneaky operations leader by using the clueless dumb loyal guys at her disposal just for her goals. Well, try again. And also, a silly and coincidental reason why the all-girl band was named so. Maybe. Overall, this second OVA isn’t that bad but it won’t evoke any nostalgic manner for me for this series but it is still a fun watch after all these years. But thanks for evoking my suspicions in even eating well cooked liver…


August 16, 2015

Having problems that you can’t fix yourself? Missing Cat? The pipe is stuck? Need somebody to do the chores? Don’t worry. With only a price as cheap as 5 Yen, you can get all that done and with satisfaction guaranteed. Wait a minute. What kind of human would ever provide all that service with such a cheap price? That’s right. No human would. All this is possible if you call a certain god and pay your 5 Yen to him! Sounds like a good deal and too good to be true? Well, it is the real deal! Ah, yes. It might be mind boggling that a god is stuck doing such chores that only humans would do and I supposed that is what being a Noragami (literally means Stray God) would do. Well, I suppose this god is trying to collect funds to make his own shrine. I know there are lots of questions you want to ask about that but this story isn’t just about a god trying to do odd jobs to achieve his goal (thus eliminating any speculation this is totally a slapstick comedy show). When he accidentally saves a girl from an accident that would have killed her, she turns into a half spirit, they work together battling Ayakashi monsters who bring harm to humans. Along the way, gradually revealing a dark secret from his past.

Episode 1
Yato just finished destroying an Ayakashi. However his Shinki (Divine Instrument), Tomone wants to call it quits! She can’t bear to be with this poor God in a tracksuit. How insulting. But you can see how happy she is with her newfound freedom. Yato is adamant he’ll get 120 million worshippers and stand above all Gods! Yeah well, good luck. I mean, he needs to advertise via wall graffiti about his problem solving business. And any call he gets, he becomes an eager beaver to be at your service for a mere 5 Yen. This includes finding somebody’s lost cat. Hiyori Iki is a martial arts lover when she spots Yato trying to get a cat crossing a road. As expected, a bus is in the path. She pushes him away. Good news: They live. Puzzling news: Isn’t that Hiyori’s body in the middle of the road? Wait a minute. Is she dead? The next thing she knows, she is in a hospital bed and her family and friends are relieved that she has woken up. CAT scans show she has no problems whatsoever. When Hiyori mentions about a guy in tracksuit, they don’t remember and think she might still be in a daze. That night, Hiyori is surprised Yato pays her a visit. From underneath her blanket! She wanted to call the police but he is here to clarify that although she is the first human who tried to save him, it wasn’t really necessary. He claims he is going to be God although he is a stray one right now. Maybe she should call the police… He warns that without a Shinki, he can’t stay here long and this place is crawling with bad Ayakashi.

Over the next few scenes, Hiyori seems to feel heavy and can’t keep herself up. It’s like she wants to fall asleep or something. I mean, your friends would be really worried if you just suddenly collapse in the middle of the corridor, right? Then she remembers. Yato was trying to find a cat. She decides to go look for it. Yato is trying to use catnip as bait. Sure, he got the cat. But now he is confronted by Ayakashi monsters who want a piece of him. Yato can’t do much against this giant toad since he doesn’t have a Shinki. Surprisingly it is Hiyori who comes to his rescue. That’s the second time. She uses her martial arts move she copied from her favourite martial artist, Tono and it worked. Well, if only it didn’t regenerate… Now run! After at a distance, Yato points out her soul slipped out. You can see her body ‘sleeping’ on the fence. After handing the cat back to its owner, Hiyori wants some questions answered. What is happening to her? Far Shore and Near Shore. The living world people live in is called Near Shore. Far Shore is what people call the afterlife. Then there are those in between like Ayakashi who are incarnations of emotional energy. Hiyori panics upon thinking she is an Ayakashi. What can she do to stop letting her soul slip out? He’s a God, right? Maybe he can help. For a cheap price of 5 Yen, he can make her wish come true. I hope it won’t be the case of you pay peanuts, you get…

Episode 2
Hiyori has a hard time adjusting to life. How can she when her soul keeps slipping out in most unlikely of places and her pals thinks she is such a heavy sleeper. Despite in her soul form, she still can touch and contact things. Of course it is fun hopping around town but when she starts to notice Ayakashi around her, it doesn’t sound so fun anymore. It is explains the Far Shore denizens coming in all shapes and sizes. They are everywhere and only animals and babies can see them. It has been 2 weeks and Hiyori is of course furious that she has already paid him and nothing has been done! Well, he is busy with other jobs… He warns her that she is both a living and an Ayakashi. This makes her stand out and attract other Ayakashi who wants to eat and corrupt her soul. Then he goes on ranting about his dream of saving up all the 5 Yen coins to build a shrine of his own… So why can’t he just fix her problem? He doesn’t have a Shinki. In other words, he is useless without one. Thinking that if she could help find one for him to speed up solving her problem, she goes to find spirits that would serve Yato. Well, she looks like a weirdo peeking into corners and holes to call Ayakashi to work for Yato. I think she’s scaring them. Yato is definitely a useful guy to call to when you have plumbing problems in your toilet. Heck, he even fixes your bath as freebie! All for a meagre 5 Yen! I want this God! Yato gets a call from Hiyori as she claims she has found him a Shinki. This giant spider… That’s not a spirit, it’s an Ayakashi! Now run! Hiyori thought she could fight it but Yato saves her and in return got his hand bitten. It’s a kind of disease and defilement if he doesn’t cure it soon, he will die. The chase continues as Yato spots an uncorrupted spirit in the form of a tiny snowflake. He initiates the ritual to turn him into his servant and Shinki. He names him Yuki and as Shinki named Setsu. His casual name will be Yukine. Yato now has a sword in hand and cuts the spider. Hiyori couldn’t understand but see Yato crying (he must have peeked into Yukine’s past during the bonding ritual). Yato heals his hand with holy water from the shrine. Yukine then turns into a boy who feels cold from his surroundings. Yato gives him his tracksuit to wear but he won’t wear that stinky piece and would rather borrow Hiyori’s scarf. That’s just insulting, isn’t it?

Episode 3
Yukine can’t believe this God he is serving. So poor, living off the streets, finding their food from the dumpsters and his wall graffiti advertising that is just so unprofessional. And Yato even got the cheek to make Hiyori treat them at a diner. At first she is surprised that others can see him. Yato explains that he is not invisible, just hard to notice. He tests Hiyori how many waitresses she noticed. She guessed wrong. It’s the same that applies to him. People see him but forget him soon after. I mean, you don’t remember all the people who passed you in the streets, do you? More unbelievable, Yato and Yukine are eating like there’s no tomorrow. That hungry, huh? Yato gets another call for a job. Hiyori won’t let him run this time and joins him. They find themselves in a shrine and Hiyori recognizes the recited poem. He is Tenjin, the god of learning. Now this is what you call a real God exuding charm and reverence so Hiyori and Yukine bow before him! He is even wise to give Yukine advice not to prostrate before other Gods as it would be an insult his master. He also introduces his Shinki (feels like they are miko priestess cosplayers). As he is the one calling Yato for a job, due to exam season, he has his hands busy with the number of requests so he would like Yato to take care of the Ayakashi in this area. He knows Yato has been sleeping in his shrine without permission and has nothing better to do. Heck, he even teases Yato to join him and could make him branch manager of his shrine over the country. More mockery when he gives a 10,000 bill and seeks change… The income gap… Tenjin then has his Shinki, Mayu to guide Yato around. Does Mayu look familiar? Yup. She was formerly Tomone! I can tell she is living a better life under Tenjin. Hiyori asks Tenjin if Ayakashi is bad. He didn’t give a direct answer except he hints she can easily interfere with them.

Mayu brings them to a site where Ayakashi possess them and drove them to suicide. A waste of young life. However Yato says if people want to kill themselves, go ahead. They are already possessed so it doesn’t matter if they’re dead or alive. They can’t even become Shinki. Hiyori is mad about this and goes off to stop the Ayakashi herself. But they soon overwhelm her and try to coax her to join their side. They pin her on the rail tracks but before the train runs her over, Yato comes to her rescue. He warns her to take care of her tail. That is what connects her soul to her life and if it is severed, she will die. A depressed student is being possessed by an Ayakashi to walk into the middle of the tracks. Yato rushes and makes it in time to cut the Ayakashi. However Yuki was too frantic that his blade was so sharp it cut other surrounding objects. In the aftermath, Hiyori asks Yato about saving the day when he said to let them die. True, but he refused to let anyone die in front of the Shinki. Even if life is tough, they should be grateful for being alive. Hiyori realizes all the Shinki didn’t die via suicide and are people who still wanted to live. Therefore having other people waste their lives in front of them is something Yato cannot stand. She felt so touched that she started crying. Don’t bother, it’s just debris in her eyes. Yato and Yukine sleep in some shrine and the latter accepts his tracksuit as blanket for the cold night.

Episode 4
Yato is famous! He has lots of worshippers and living the rich life! He is trendy! He’s got his own limo and shrine maidens! Too good to be true? That’s right. Just all a freaking dream. Yukine kicks him down the shrine stairs… Too noisy to sleep… What is even more frustrating is that Yato bought some pot from a lady who guaranteed his happiness (among other stuffs). He’s been had. Hiyori breaks it! After that advice to pull himself together for Yukine’s sake, Yato wants them to meet somebody. OMG. This cute chick, Kofuku Ebisu is his girlfriend?! She’s not faking it either! He makes up some emotional plea he can’t provide enough for Yukine so she gives him some money! Then this big guy, Daikoku beats him up! Oh dear. Is this some love triangle going on? They learn Daikoku is Kofuku’s Shinki and be careful not to stare at him too long. He looks scary… Especially when Yato ‘jokes’ about him liking kids. But Kofuku warns them that Yato despite his goofiness, he is actually a scary god. Yato happily gets a call for a job. Yusuke Urasawa is about to jump off the building and kill himself. Then Yato pops up and accidentally pushes him off! OMG! You killed him! This is going to be a really long fall. Because Yato has got time to introduce and advertise himself, exchange name cards and even have time for Yusuke to tell his sad story of why he wants to kill himself. His company just went bankrupt and he wanted to call his mother but accidentally dialled Yato’s number. I can’t believe his advertising is that effective.

Anyway, flashback reveals Yusuke picked up a high school girl who ran away from home. For the sake of anonymity, Hiyori’s face is used. Don’t ask. He took her in and they had a pure relationship. Bad luck started when he took her to an amusement park she wanted to go so much. It affected his work performance and his savings dried up. Before he knows it, he started accumulating debts. At that point, he still loves her but couldn’t bear to be a burden. Yato asks for her picture and true to his suspicion, his girlfriend is Kofuku! In actual fact, Kofuku is the god of poverty. Yato shows Daikoku as her ‘boyfriend’ and wants him to forget her and sever ties. But Yusuke won’t. He truly loves her. Yato tells him off that he isn’t worthy of love if he can commit suicide. Yusuke’s last words for Kofuku are for her to lead a happy life. Yato has Yukine transform into a sword and sever his ties. A soft landing for him. They go confront Kofuku who doesn’t think it was her fault since she was just trying to have some fun. And Daikoku is sad she did it behind his back. Of course, he didn’t allow her to do things because of the bad luck she brings. Daikoku is impressed that Yukine is able to cut ties, something that is harder than creating ties. Hiyori thinks Yato as a scary god is a hoax but Kofuku insists it is true. He killed a Shinki a long time ago. He also killed people since he was the god of war. Because people’s wishes are what allow gods to exist, distinguished gods are remembered while obscure ones are forgotten. What do you do to avoid being forgotten? You grant any wish you get no matter what. When Hiyori asks Yato why he brought her to see Kofuku, he just says if anything happens to him, go straight to them. A girl, Nora appears before them. She wants Yato to call her by the name he gave her and will always be waiting for that.

Episode 5
Yato teaches Yukine how to open a Boundary that prevents Ayakashi from crossing over. Only a Shinki is able to do this move. Yato and Hiyori argue over to look after Yukine. Obviously that kid goes with Hiyori. Who wants to be with a stinking tracksuit guy living in shrines? She lets him live in her older brother’s room as he isn’t staying here anymore. Of course her plan works to perfection as the housekeeper and parents can’t see her. Till Yato drops in. Not that they notice him either. He is here to check things out as he explains unlike this house, shrines are sacred grounds that protect them from Ayakashi. He doubts Yukine can handle it because he is afraid of the dark. He can’t sleep alone in the room so he goes to Hiyori’s room. Despite with the night light, he can’t sleep since she is sleeping right next to him. Before he could harbour perverted thoughts, Yato makes his appearance. Next day, Hiyori takes Yato to the mall. Although he is just borrowing stuffs, Hiyori views it as stealing and doesn’t want him to do that. He wanders off by himself before Hiyori realizes it. Yato is again watching them as he explains how he can feel Yukine’s pain. This is the price to pay for having a Shinki. It is only one direction too. Only negative emotions like jealousy, fear, desperation and greed. Because Shinki are once human. And people sin. Therefore even if what humans perceive to be right or wrong, it doesn’t apply to Gods. This includes hurting or killing someone. He will give Yukine his divine punishment in due time. Yukine realizes too late that night has come. He hears a girl cowering in the alley and calling out to her mom to pick her up. However he knows she is a ghost who died in a car accident. He agrees to wait with her till dawn till her mom comes pick her up. When Hiyori comes by, the girl is lured by the voices of the Ayakashi. Yukine creates a Boundary to prevent them from crossing but the girl has been tainted and now wants a piece of him. Hiyori saves him from being devoured but she also requires some saving from Yato. He agrees to help that girl and has Yukine turn into a sword. However Yukine is dismayed that he is going to kill her. A person who is this corrupted by an Ayakashi will only experience living hell of utter damnation. It is their job to release her. Yato cuts thorough the Ayakashi like a hot knife through butter. He feels Yukine’s pain.

Episode 6
Yukine is freaking out at any Ayakashi he sees and wallows in depression. Hiyori tries to find him but bumps into her friends who think she is having a secret boyfriend. Yukine’s dark side got the better of him as he steals a skateboard but Yato stops him and wonders where he got it. He lies Hiyori bought it for him. Nice timing, Hiyori is here as he asks her and seeing the circumstances, she also lies that she did. Suddenly Yato is attacked by a war god on a lion, Bishamon. This S&M lady is the strongest war god?! Yato flees with Yukine as Bishamon is adamant in hunting him down. Yukine’s instable emotions are also affecting Yato’s stamina. In fact, his back neck is partly tainted. Yato doesn’t want to hide anymore and takes on Bishamon head on. She has so many Shinki that it makes you scared. Like Yukine. Taking direct hits could kill him but I think they were really lucky. Yukine is shocked in hearing that Yato has killed a Shinki before. Meanwhile Hiyori runs to Kofuku and Daikoku for help. They don’t want to help since it is a problem between Yato and Bishamon. Then Hiyori realizes that Bishamon’s grudge on Yato may be because he killed her Shinki. They tease that she likes Yato. Or could it be he blackmailed her? Kofuku decides to help anyway. Hiyori uses the distinct nice scent of a God to locate where Yato is. Yato is catching a breather in the woods as Yukine’s dilemma is continuing to affect him even further. He worries that Yato may kill him if he becomes useless or screws up. No time to argue because Bishamon is here. Kofuku drops in by opening a vent that has lots of Ayakashi gushing out. Did she blunder? Yato wants to use this chance to escape but Bishamon orders her lion to bite him. Yato cuts its eye to free himself and this makes Bishamon mad. Kazuma suggests they retreat now and when she doesn’t want to, he reminds her she can become Ayakashi food if she wants to. But does she have the right to put the rest of her Shinki in such predicament? She backs down and everyone makes their escape. The taint on Yato is getting bigger and he can’t cleanse it. He worries it might not work out with Yukine. But Nora reminds him he can always use her.

Episode 7
Hiyori comes to give Yukine breakfast in his room but it seems Yato is here! Did Yukine run away from home? She goes to Tenjin for help and he admits Yukine was here earlier trying to work under him but was rejected. Because if Tenjin takes him in and calls him by a new name, he will become a Nora. Wait, Nora isn’t a name? As explained, Nora is a Shinki with many masters. They are despised because they are more likely to betray their master. He gives an example of becoming Hiyori’s godfather and calls her by a different name. Would she like that? Hiyori cannot ask more since the mere mention of Nora sends shiver down their spine. Hiyori later spots Bishamon but Kazuma caught her. He casts a spell that makes her unable to move. She is praying to God for help but all she could think is Yato. She is so screwed. But this spell is to avoid Bishamon detecting her as she and her team are out to exterminate Ayakashi that escape the vent. After she is gone, Kazuma reveals his ability to grasp everything that is going on around him. He warns her not to meddle too much in this affair and confirms Yato is their enemy. However he also owes him his life and hopes she could save him. He knows the blight Yato has is not from outside and from within. It is caused by his Shinki and must be disposed off before it is too late. A Shinki prone to misdeeds will cause his master to fall ill. The pain will accumulate and spread throughout the body. Yato finds Yukine as there is a job. But who could have figured out it was manning a convenience store counter?! Hiyori leads Kofuku and Daikoku here as the latter duo have a request they want Yato to handle that isn’t their style. Yato senses Yukine’s misdeed and thinks he has stolen cash from the register. Actually he stole the donation box. He runs away. Yato accepts Daikoku’s job to take out an Ayakashi but makes them man the counter. Hiyori feels confused after all that has happened and slaps herself to come to terms that Shinki isn’t just instruments. Yukine is Yukine. Meanwhile Nora is trying to play mind games with Yukine and telling how pathetic he is. Yato is here and Nora wants him to use her. She can kill anything he wants. Yato tells Yukine not to listen to Nora because the enemy he must slay is this moth Ayakashi. However Yukine’s blade is dulled and cannot cut through. This also weakens Yato. Nora tempts him to use her but Yato uses purified water to reforge Yukine and cut through the moth. Rabou notes how Nora has been rejected. Back home, Hiyori is left to think about Kazuma’s words that if Yukine isn’t dealt with soon, Yato will die.

Episode 8
Toilet is where you do lots of thinking, right? Hiyori is doing just that but what the f*ck is Yato and Yukine doing here???!!! Well, apparently their client is also here. So is Manabu Ogiwara a peeping tom too? Actually he is here hiding. His classmates always harass him so he is hiding in a place where they won’t find him. Manabu is getting depressed just thinking why all this is happening to him but Yukine is just getting pissed and leaves himself. He gives Manabu something dangerous to solve his problem. Manabu experiences yet another bully so the voice of an Ayakashi starts egging him to kill them. Yukine observes the students go about interacting and stuffs and he starts feeling envious. Bishamon visits Kofuku to consult the possible openings of other vents. Bishamon hints that she knows of Kofuku’s relationship with Yato. But Kofuku doesn’t care. It’s none of her business. She threatens back if anything happens to Yato, be prepared for a big storm. Manabu confronts one of the bullies and throws him a cutter. As Yato said, if he is going to use one, give his enemy one too. The Ayakashi dares Manabu to cut him and be free but he manages to suppress that feeling. The bully is so scared that he peed in his pants! That should teach him a lesson. Manabu remembered what Yato said. Had he used it, he would be tossing away his humanity and will have nowhere to go. With Manabu’s case solved, Yato starts feeling weaker because Yukine is closer to the dark side. He is envious he cannot join those ‘friends’ and Yato knows he has realized what he wants but cannot cross the line yet. When it reaches boiling point, Yukine starts smashing all the windows with a bat. Yato collapses and Hiyori is terrified to see blight all over him. She realizes he was enduring this all the while. She also gets infected when she touches and carries him. She then ticks off Yukine that each time he does something bad, Yato has to suffer and has been enduring it. She regrets not trying to stop him. Hiyori brings Yato to Kofuku but upon seeing their condition, Daikoku immediately draws a Boundary to block them from getting closer.

Episode 9
Daikoku only lets Hiyori in so Kofuku can cleanse her. The only way left to solve this is via ablution. Yukine must be punished or else. Daikoku leaves to find 2 more Shinki who will help with the ablution. He begs to Tenjin for help and only Mayu comes forward. The other Shinki aren’t so keen because they heard news of its failure, friends that never come back after performing it. Daikoku continues to beg at other shrines for help but nobody is willing to lend a Shinki as they do not know who Yato is. Hiyori can’t sit around and do nothing so she leaves to find the last Shinki. She thought of calling Nora but decided to go for Kazuma. It is no time to be worried about Bishamon connecting her to Yato. Yukine continues to be unrepentant so Daikoku tells him to take off his shirt. To everyone’s horror, there is a big Ayakashi patch stuck on his back. Because Yato will not revoke Yukine’s name and banish him, the Shinki trio start their ablution by forming a Boundary to trap him. It is some sort of beating that goes on till he confesses his sins. Otherwise, he will turn into an Ayakashi. Which is what is happening right now. Yukine continues to feel jealous that the living has got what he has not. The Shinki trio can’t hold out for much longer. Yato feels the need to call Yukine’s name before he turns to the other side or the corruption covering his mark but he is too weak to eke out a sound. This is when Hiyori steps in to convince Yukine that Yato was like a father to him. He endured everything despite what Yukine did. Is he going to betray somebody like him? If so, she is no longer his friend anymore. Yato gets the strength to say that Yukine may not be able to interact with Near Shore people. However he has given him a human name so use it to live like one. This is when Yukine is overcome with guilt and starts apologizing and confessing all his sins with all his heart. It is a tiring experience for everybody and Yato couldn’t be grateful to everybody. Especially for Hiyori. Had she not brought him here, he would have died where he was. Had she brought Nora, he would have used Nora to slay him due to the unbearable pain. Had she not intervened in it, they would not have been saved. Time for emotional group hug!

Episode 10
Yukine is working part time with Daikoku to pay off his debts. But Kofuku’s services don’t come cheap. That will be 5 million Yen per service. And she sought her help twice… So young, so in debt. Hiyori takes it out on Yato. She contracted him and he hasn’t fixed her problem yet but got her into the debt trap. Yato then visits Tenjin to convey his thanks. While the guys argue, Mayu talks to Hiyori and Yukine. They notice one of Tenjin’s Shinki is missing. She explains Hiyori’s corruption was infectious. She stung Tenjin and was immediately banished. Yukine was lucky to have Yato believe in him but take care never to do that again. Yato wants Tenjin’s help to solve Hiyori’s problem. He doesn’t know how and has been putting it off. So that’s why… But Tenjin suggests cutting ties with her. It might fix her condition since his connection grants her too much focus on their world. Hiyori meets up with her friends to make arrangements for the shrine visit. They mention about rumours that if you pray to some God called Rabou, he’ll rid the person you want. Hiyori calls Yato to invite him to visit the shrine on New Year’s Eve. He would love to come. Right after he cleans this dog kernel job he took… Rabou spots Hiyori and wants to slay her for deluding Yato. However Nora wants her alive for now as she has some use. Hiyori thought she spotted Yato and tries to follow him. Actually, he is running late to the shrine since he had to meticulously clean every dirt in the kennel. They’re going to be more late than that since they are ambushed by many scorpion Ayakashi. This is of course a test by Rabou to see his Shinki’s power. Hiyori comes into contact Nora who didn’t like how Hiyori played a big part in Yukine’s ablution since it was a big chance for Yato to revoke his name. She sends her wolf Ayakashi to hunt her down but they disappear once the sun is up. Nora warns a god of calamity known as Rabou has awakened. If someone wishes for it, he can kill anything. Even a God. He has come to kill Yato. She blames Hiyori for weakening Yato and the only way is for her to stop existing. Yato finishes his Ayakashi slaying and makes his way to Hiyori (Rabou looks disappointed). Hope he isn’t too late. The food stalls are still open, right? It better be since he thinks Hiyori is going to treat them. But boy are they surprised that Hiyori doesn’t recognize them. This isn’t a joke, right?

Episode 11
Yato and Rabou are killing people like the wind in the past. Even now, Yato continues his murder spree. Yato on the other hand is annoyed that it is only him that Hiyori doesn’t remember. He tries all sorts of methods to make Hiyori remember. Not working. Then he made the wrong move of being desperate. He thinks coming to bed with her will return her memories! I think she would love to forget about this. Yato bumps into Nora and knows she has a hand in this. She admits she has easily taken Hiyori’s memories easily in this little marble. She tries to tempt him about the fickleness of human feelings but for once Yukine snaps him out. Nora becomes Rabou’s sword to fight Yato and tries to tempt him to remember who he is. Again, Yukine snaps him out. Yato is forced to withdraw as dragging this out might kill Yukine. Rabou is disappointed this is not the Yato he knows. Nora promises to give Hiyori’s memories back if he visits them. As informed, not many know of Rabou now although back then he was famous. He was also the god of calamity alongside Yato. Rabou was once human and probably worked as a spy. At the end of his job, he was killed to be silenced. Those who feared being cursed made him into that god. So those with unjust wish will have it granted through Rabou. Humans, Ayakashi or Gods, Rabou will kill them. Yato seeks Tenjin’s advice but the latter believes this is the best time to cut ties with Hiyori. She gets to live her normal life. Thus Yato decides to give up on her. But Hiyori has this faint feeling she might have known Yato before. Yukine calls to meet Yukine to narrate a picture story (drawn by Yato) about their previous adventures. You know the last page is drawn by Yukine because it sucks. Unfortunately she can’t remember. Nora sees Yato and warns Hiyori’s memories are fading. At this rate she will be an empty vessel. Better make that visit quick. To Yukine’s horror, Hiyori now doesn’t remember him. He is so sad that Yato felt it. It’s decided. They’re going to get back her memories. They go see her one last time to apologize and state their plan. She starts crying but doesn’t know why. When she tries to hug touch them, they disappear.

Episode 12
Hiyori’s soul seems to be transported with them to Rabou’s domain. As the calamity gods fight, Yato gets trapped in a water bubble. Hiyori pulls him out instead of running away. Rabou is not happy this is not the real Yato and wants to know where that god of calamity has gone to. Believing Hiyori is the one responsible for this, he tries to kill her but Yato blocks his sword and takes her to run. Rabou then throws away the marble. As Yato desperately tries to get it, he slashes it, scattering it to bits. Hiyori falls unconscious. She is just an empty shell now. You mad, bro? You hate him now? Good. Because Rabou got cut and a kick that sends him flying metres away! Yato is mad. You’re going to regret this. Yato finally lands a strike on his shoulder. Rabou has been waiting for this moment as he summons the Ayakashi storm and absorbs it into his eye. In the fight to the death that is enough to shatter rocks and change the landscape, falling rocks threaten to crush Hiyori. Yato goes to save her but Rabou intercepts. Hiyori is in some dream-like state. She smells a familiar scent (because Yato is protecting her via hugging). And then she wakes up. She remembers. She’s back! Yato is so happy that he starts rubbing his cheeks against hers! She beats him up for that. Nora is surprised she could break her spell all by herself. No time for happy reunion yet since Rabou takes her hostage. He is mad that Yato will not return to his old self but Yato doesn’t give a damn. He doesn’t care about the past that has no meaning now. Rabou blames Hiyori and is going to kill her. Yato tells Yukine they’ll end this in a strike. Hiyori might get hit but this is where Yukine needs to draw up his Boundary. He can do it. They can do it. That strike works. Hiyori is freed and the Ayakashi inside Rabou is destroyed. Yato lands the final blow. Rabou’s face starts cracking. He reveals that people will always hate and forget gods of calamity. Therefore when he woke up from his slumber, he wanted to be eliminated not by just anybody, but by Yato who knows him. Time to get going. Bye. Nora notes his failure and needs to talk to father. Yato wants Hiyori to cut all ties with him to return to her normal life. But she won’t because she wants to be with him forever. Kofuku interprets this another way and looks forward to it. This calls for a celebration? But with only 5 Yen, he’ll hear her out. Yup, he heard her loud and clear. May their fates intertwine.

Hiyori is making her high school debut and she thought she’s going to have a pretty normal high school life till suddenly a change in image! I didn’t know Hiyori is bold enough to go up to class to make such a cool/embarrassing debut. Actually, it is Yato who has possessed her body and Hiyori’s soul is only left to watch in embarrassment about the things he is about to do. This is the start of hell… Even more disheartening is how Kofuku is Yato’s partner in crime as they go ‘have fun’. It might seem ‘Hiyori’ is flirting around, joining activities and serving others with utmost politeness. This is because it is all part of Yato’s ploy to increase his business potential by handing out his name cards to them. Hope they don’t get the wrong idea. Her friends are freaking shock at this new badass image of hers. Meanwhile, Kofuku is seducing the teachers. They are willing to give all their money or break up with their girlfriend just to be with her! This school is done for! Yukine and Mayu are watching this and don’t like this a bit. They report to Tenjin who is also worried because if the council gets word of it, Yato will be reprimanded. Time to take action. ‘Hiyori’ will confess to the entire football team if they win. Great motivation? Tenjin and Mayu dressed in swanky outfits are about to do their job but several girls start admiring them so they get distracted by their company to show off.

‘Hiyori’ laments the pathetic state of their football team. Supernatural bad luck befalls on the team thanks to Kofuku as Daikoku takes her away. Can’t take this anymore, ‘Hiyori’ joins in and plays football herself to defeat and win the game! 10 goals!!! The goal is almost destroyed by ‘Hiyori’s’ super kicks! Everyone celebrates how cool ‘Hiyori’ is. Including the original one. Then it’s time to take a bath. Oh no you don’t! There is nothing the original one can do to stop the imposter. Unknown to ‘Hiyori’, a pervert has placed a hidden camera and is watching this changing scene from his classroom. Hiyori and Yukine wonder why the former is appearing on the video in real time when the pervert gets startled. More surprising is not how he can see them but rather what he is doing. The pervert destroys the camera to hide evidence. They realize he is being possessed by an Ayakashi. He starts panicking and jumps out to kill himself. Hiyori grabs his hand but how long can she hold on? Stupid Kofuku had to bump into them. The pervert falls but ‘Hiyori’ jumps down to save him. Despite ticking him off like a badass delinquent, everybody finds her so cool! Unfortunately her shoulder is dislocated. Play time is over as Yato is being punished. I’m not sure if they’re going to stick his head into a bucket of cement. Yukine is chiding him like mad especially about the injury that would have been permanent on her. Yato reasons he did all this because he was lonely. That sounds pathetic. Surprisingly, Hiyori forgives him. Next day in school, Hiyori has gained lots of followers and admirers! Everyone loves her! Well, it’s better this way, right?

Yato thought he could enjoy the food and hanami alone with Hiyori and Yukine. Turns out that girl invited everyone else. Including Bishamon! OMG! She is giving them a chance to clear things up? How can a few minutes together clear things up when they’ve been fighting for hundreds of years? Before any fight can begin, Yukine points out his friend who was also once her Shinki, tended to this tree. She can stay to appreciate its beauty but if she is here to fight, please leave. Despite Bishamon staying, it is a pretty awkward situation sitting right next to Yato. It’s like they can explode any second. So we see the rest of the characters (including all of Bishamon’s Shinki in human form) interact with each other. Yukine is shocked to learn that the Shinki enjoy a better life than he is and that is pretty normal! They get to go on trips and vacations! Why is he stuck with a poor god who even stole his hard earned money?! The tension between Yato and Bishamon is rising so Bishamon’s lion decides to play circus and jump through fire hoops. Your mane is on fire… But it’s back to hating each other for the duo as they drown it with bottles of sake. I don’t think that is going to help. It reaches boiling point when they are going to go at each other’s throat. Suddenly Bishamon becomes an emotional wreck. She’s saying that is not his fault that got her Shinki killed and that it was her fault to begin with for the obliteration of some clans. Something about her being saved by him twice too. Guess what? Yato covers her mouth with his hand and kisses over it!!! Everybody is in shock except for Kofuku who must be the only one enjoying the spat from start. It gets worse when drunk Yato insults and badmouths her so Bishamon beats him up like a coin box! Tenjin wanted to diffuse the situation but was told to stay his boring butt out of his. Just great. Three fighting gods… Kofuku may not join in but she got owned by having bowel discomfort from the sake.

Back at Kofuku’s home as Yato recovers, a magazine from heaven drops into Yukine’s hands. It is a magazine that advertises jobs for Shinki and also does survey. Why doesn’t Yukine know about it? Because Yato is hell bent on not letting him know as he rips the magazine to bits!!! After Daikoku have a hard time to restrain him, Yukine goes through the magazine to see lots of tempting offers. There is also an interview with Mayu in which she complained about the poor life with her previous master that shall only be known as Mr Y! So they’re just knitting out in the cold in their spare time? I don’t blame her if putting his hand over her shoulder while boasting about his future shrine to be considered as sexual harassment. This gives Yukine the motivation that he can do anything. All he needs to do know is to fill in the form and throw it back to heaven. Yato will also of course be punished. Sounds good, no? Bishamon is recovering as she goes over the surveys from her Shinki. Kofuku runs over to give Daikoku a big hug because his big simple loving words for her were just enough to warrant that. Yato laments he got his punishment that his golden crown logo has turned into a golden poop logo! But at least something that everybody can smile about because the survey that Yukine filled in to change jobs, he declined it and wants to stay on as he is. That’s good, right?

It’s A Bargain!
I know it is dirt cheap and really worth your money but that is only when the job gets done. So in the case of Hiyori, it all rings a familiar bell in real life of the contractor you hire putting it off many times with lame excuses despite being paid the deposit upfront. And in Hiyori’s case, it gives her a reason to stick around Yato and gang a little more. Overall, this series is not too bad with a decent mix of supernatural, action, drama and comedy. Though the same level of decency can’t be said for its plot and direction of the story because as seen in the biggest non-solving case of Hiyori, it fails to give us that satisfying conclusion for a short one season anime series. But of course you do know now that at this point this anime has been given the green light for another season, right? I theorize that more than enough people have been paying him 5 Yen to warrant enough funds for another sequel. Yeah…

Most of the character development surrounds the trio of Yato, Hiyori and Yukine. It is the interaction between the trio that gives off most of the comical effects and probably one reason why decided to check out this anime despite knowing it is a supernatural theme that is not my usual cup of tea. The lack of understanding between Yato and Hiyori, especially the different worlds that they come from and the frustration of Yato never ever getting her wish done are the source of the many instantaneous funny factors that make you burst into a little grin from time to time. I would say that they put in a good balance in it so as not to turn it into a total slapstick comedy and dilute the worth of what this anime is about: Fighting Ayakashi. Thank goodness the supernatural factor isn’t that scary or else I would have sleepless nights. Though, it does give me the creeps.

So back to our main trio, they are as interesting and amusing as they are. Yato feels like he is deluding himself trying to become the best god ever with the best shrine he will (eventually) make. I don’t know how long that will take since if you do the calculations, it will take years for him to finally build his shrine. Has he ever thought of increasing his price? Accept more donations? Has he factored in inflation? Will the cost of building a shrine go up in the future? Who is going to build his shrine anyway? I suppose humans would since he is collecting 5 Yen. Oh, will he take foreign currency? Is there any other better effective way to advertise his services other than name cards? Ever heard of the internet? Facebook and Twitter? And of course, with his character always wearing a jersey, it makes him look like one whom you shouldn’t take seriously. A weirdo. Heck, his idiotic behaviour is also top notched. Maybe he wants to get away from his bloody past and what better way to do that than to totally change your character to the other end of the pole. But you can’t beat his enthusiasm in taking up jobs. If only people were like that. But it might make him sound desperate to do things for a meagre price. Even odder is how he tends to spend them all on useless charms. I can see why he is never going to get that shrine of his in the near future. He needs to take classes on financial management. Of course Yato isn’t all just a plain idiot. He cares for his Shinki and Hiyori because he is responsible for them. He doesn’t use conventional ways to deal with Yukine when he goes astray and continues to believe in him even when he is close to turning to the dark side. That is why he is perhaps a stray god in this sense.

Hiyori on the other hand, must be the most patient and yet frustrated client in Yato’s clientele base. Because her simple wish of keeping her soul intact is still unresolved. Doesn’t it feel like she’s been cheated out of her 5 Yen? Can she wish for her money back? Well, I don’t remember Yato having this money back guarantee policy. So she gets dragged into all those supernatural stuffs just because Yato prolonged his case in helping her out. I suppose it is his policy to solve it once he takes the case because it is true that he hasn’t founds a solution yet. Besides, he can’t refund her 5 Yen or else he will be 5 Yen short to achieve his dream! Every penny counts! I can speculate that deep down inside Hiyori doesn’t want her soul to get back to her original state. It is more evident at the end of the TV series that she wants to be with him. Did she forget about her original goal then? Well, good or bad thing, she has saved Yato a couple of times but she’ll have to be contend that she’ll have to slip out of her body more often than before. Won’t other people find her habit of suddenly falling asleep in the middle of streets to be just too odd?

Yukine started off as a lost, conflicted and confused young lad. He doesn’t know where he belongs and the more he sees the interaction of living human beings, the more he gets irritated in getting something he could never get. His untimely death made it all worse. Turning into the dark side is easy. It was the case of spare the rod, spoil the child. Yato’s hope that Yukine would come to his senses but he left it too late and till the verge of death (and lots of beating up) before Yukine turned back to the right path. All a good lesson and reminder that all he wanted was just a place to belong and somebody to accept him for who he is. Like a family. It is a good thing that he is given a second chance in life. So don’t go wasting this one. I’m sure he’ll finally appreciate it. All in all, the 3 main characters have bonded and grown so much together that it would be just sad to see them break up or for Hiyori to return to her normal life.

The rest just feels like a side distraction and some disappointing. Basically their past is not delved in very deeply. Just felt like an introduction for this season. Like Kofuku and Daikoku are a funny and amusing pair as they are but they don’t really do anything that really makes a great impact on the overall series. I suppose Kofuku being a cute girl even in her personality, do we let it slide? Or maybe it is her bad luck that spreads to bringing poor character development to others? Tenjin is there mostly for some advice and Mayu helps out a bit perhaps out of nostalgia because Yato was once her master. Most disappointing character development goes to Bishamon. After appearing halfway through the series and letting us know that her goal is to kill Yato (although it is only hinted but not confirmed that Yato killed one of her Shinki), after that first battle that got distracted by an Ayakashi storm, her presence felt redundant. It is like she is around just to remind us she is so, just keeping the city safe with her Shinki, patrolling and watching over it. That hanami event didn’t do much justice either despite revealing a little juicy interesting bit. It’s not like they reconciled and probably worst off than before. And I thought she would be the character, the ‘final boss’ of this season that Yato would face off with.

Turns out the villain of the series is to be that Rabou guy whom I later found out that he is an anime-only character. Many confused him to be one of Bishamon’s Shinki because he certainly looks close to it. I too would have fall into that confusion since I don’t read the manga. So maybe that is why there are mixed feelings from fans for the series because the anime ended by deviating from the original source material by including this Rabou guy. Well, it was mind boggling that all he wants is Yato to become his original bloodthirsty self so that he could just die by his hands. Maybe had he told the truth from the start, Yato wouldn’t have been so eager to do it. So I suppose with the outcome at the end, perhaps it ties things up neatly without deviating too far from the manga. Nora remains the most mysterious character because not much is known about her especially about her past relationship with Yato. Going by her status as a stray with many masters, in our terms, doesn’t that make her a whore?

Action scenes are okay. If you like supernatural stuffs and characters fighting them, I would say that this one would be satisfactory. Although some may find it boring that there aren’t any special moves or power ups (heck, Yato himself is already a god so why does he need to go Super Saiyan for?) because mostly it is just slashing and cutting the Ayakashi to finish it off. However it isn’t just mindless slashing to kill off Ayakashi but in the midst of the action, you’d see how the characters interact and grow especially with Yato and Yukine trying to forge a trust between them. But if you are looking for more exhilarating and gory action (say, Shingeki No Kyojin or even Akame Ga Kill), then you have to look elsewhere.

Art and animation style looks good especially during the fight scenes, they are fluid and laced with special effects that are nicely done. Maybe it is because I was watching the DVD version of this series and that is why there is quality in it. (The reason why this blog is over a year late since the series ended). Ayakashi designs are rather okay but sometimes it may feel a little scary (but not to horror lovers and experts) because personally seeing scary eyeballs pop up from the darkness do send shivers down my spine. Okay, it is not that bad but I’d prefer to see pantsu shots than that. Speaking of fanservice, you only get a handful panty shots in the OVA (the first one only for that matter) that aren’t anything much. Even so, those aren’t really close ups at all. Just from a distance. If you have very bad eyesight, you might not even see it. It just feels like a little reward and thanks for sticking around to watch the OVA.

There are a handful of recognizable seiyuus lending their voice to this anime. For example, Hiroshi Kamiya as Yato feels typical like some of his other ‘idiotic’ characters like Mephisto in Ao No Excorcist and Araragi of the Monogatari series. Then there is the ever omnipresent Yuuki Kaji as Yukine, Aki Toyosaki as Kofuku, Daisuke Ono as Daikoku, Miyuki Sawashiro as Bishamon, Jun Fukuyama as Kazuma and Takahiro Sakurai as Rabou. The most surprising one was Rie Kugimiya as Nora. It never crossed my mind it was her behind that soft voice since after all these years, I am still used to recognizing her trademark tsundere loli voice. Though she did voice characters that aren’t of this trademark, at least there was something familiar that would make me think it was her. It wasn’t in this case. Maybe it wasn’t the fact that she doesn’t appear much but because I wasn’t listening close enough. The rest of the casts are Maaya Uchida as Hiyori (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Asami Imai as Mayu (Noire in Hyperdimension Neptunia The Animation) and Toru Ookawa as Tenjin (Saazbaum in Aldnoah.Zero). The opening theme is a rock outfit, Goya No Machiawase by Hello Sleepwalkers. Sounds rather okay but nothing that special. The ending theme is another rock based, Heart Realize by Tia. Also sounds okay and nothing spectacular.

We all know how desperate Yato is to get business, right? Therefore if you have anything in mind, feel free to give him a call and I am sure he’ll do it all for a dirt cheap price that no other human competitors can match with such efficiency, speed and service. Why go through the hassle of praying the traditional way at temples and shrines when there is a better and faster way to fix it? Need somebody to do your homework while you play your video games? Call Yato. Want to break up with your lover but don’t have the guts to say it in his/her face? Call Yato. Want to get more porn material for your fapping desire? Call Yato. This guy gets it done without complaining. Except putting your soul back together he can’t guarantee that. Suddenly I now know what he meant by let our fates intertwined. Me, stuck with this cheap idiotic stray god in a jersey (now with a poop logo)? I’ll give it a pass even if you pay me a million dollars to be with his friend. Some things are not worth the money.

Absolute Duo

August 15, 2015

Just how long till you find your soul mate? Your lifetime partner? Your Absolute Duo? Apparently in this series, you are paired with a person that you are going to be working, playing, eating, sleeping and doing whatever things with as young as in high school already. Geez, it is like they are starting young on this matchmaking thing. You know what they say about two heads being better than one, right? Despite the pairing is meant for a security agency, what happens when a guy and a girl gets paired together? And I am not talking about forced pairing but teaming up on their own will. Yeah, that sums up pretty much what to expect from this series. Yes, don’t make me repeat myself again. This is what you should expect from this kind of anime.

Episode 1
Tooru Kokonoe and Imari Nagakura are freshmen heading to the opening ceremony of Kouryou Academy. It’s like a dream school. No tuition fees, 3 meals a day, all expenses paid for and what they do is train you to fight. But everyone is going to be in for a shock because this goth loli, Sakuya Tsukumo who is also the chair of the school board, tells them they need to take a qualifying test. They will fight the person seated next to them now! The winner will be accepted and the loser will have his/her Luciful taken back and kicked out. Everyone protests as they never heard about this (should they?) but this is how it works. If no winner is decided within 10 minutes, both are kicked out. Tooru requests to switch partners. Sorry, no can’t do. And they’ve just become friends… And so the place becomes a battlefield. Imari has something to accomplish so she has to defeat Tooru. He too has something to achieve and won’t give up (something about him being too weak that led to someone’s death). Tooru materializes his shield weapon and blocks her attacks. He powers up a punch to knock her away. A move that is unblockable. It is Imari’s lost. How convenient, it is also the end of regulation time. Imari is impressed nobody was physically hurt. Because when people summon Blaze, it is from their soul and the only thing it can wound is just that. Tooru wasn’t all out serious with her because his weapon isn’t Blaze and would have wounded her. She admits defeat and wishes him the best. Tooru sees his old friend Aoi Torasaki AKA Tora in the same class. The latter mentions this means they are both lab rats for Sakuya because they were administered Luciful to harness their Blaze powers. In class, there is this silver haired girl, Julie Sigtuna, beautiful enough for everyone to turn their heads and stare. She sits next to Tooru and starts staring at him. Whenever he tries to talk, she turns her head away. Rinse and repeat… Annoying?

This spunky lively bunny maid is their teacher, Rito Tsukimi. As childish as she looks… She explains the school system like their ID doubles as a credit card and how they will form pairs and live/eat/train together with that partner. Because once they graduate they will be assigned to the Dawn Agency Security Force so they’re starting the partnership early. This is what you call the Duo system. The official pairs will be decided this weekend but for now the temporary Duo pair will be the one sitting next to you. Tooru couldn’t be more troubled than this. Yeah. He has to live with Julie? Can he switch, pretty please? You mean he wants his bespectacled friend than this cutie?! What is he? Gay? Anyway, Tsukimi won’t allow him and thus making us viewers with the prospect of fanservice hijinks. And true enough, Tooru gets a shocker seeing Julie in her pyjamas which is only a shirt itself. She remembers his name because it reminds her of that Thor God in her northern European language, Gimle. Don’t be disappointed that Julie’s ambiguous actions that she is interested in him are actually in fact she is interested in the technique he used in the qualifying exam. She wants him to teach her that but he warns it puts a great strain on one’s body. Maybe next time. Because she starts feeling sleepy and he puts her to bed. Next morning, they look forward to working with each other till their official Duo is decided.

Episode 2
This was to be expected. Tooru is freaking surprised to find Julie sleeping next to him. With rumours about them going about, Tomoe Tachibana and Miyabi Hotaka talk to them to ask if there is anything indecent going on between them because it bothers them. Really? It bothers them? It doesn’t sound so convincing when Miyabi who is shy of men starts hiding behind Tomoe. Julie chooses the wrong words. She says Tooru was holding her in his arms and this is enough for Tomoe to get the wrong idea that he is a pervert. In class, Tsukimi teaches us about the basics of everything. Those compatible with Luciful and can use Blaze are called Exceeds. Only through more practice and training using Luciful can your body become exponentially stronger. Therefore this curriculum contains a lot of battle practices and if they don’t level up at least one level by the end of the year, they’ll get expelled! After Julie explains the misunderstanding to Tomoe, she goes to apologize to Tooru on her knees. That bad, huh? I don’t know what forces suddenly push them to each other and had each their face in the other’s crotch. Oh heck, enjoy the fanservice. Tooru must be gay since he is talking to Tora and wanting to team up with him for the official Duo. Only on a condition that if he is strong. What better way to find out than a battle practice. For a week, we see the gang train and practice with each other and Tooru even teaching Julie the finer points of Japanese (her mom was a translator so she learnt the basics).

Julie talks to Tooru that she plans to form a Duo with Tomoe. She notices they are watching the sakura petals just like on the opening ceremony. He realizes she was watching him then too. But she is glad they could watch it together this second time. Tooru is surprised that Julie crawled into his bed once again but this time he hears her calling her dad in her sleep. Knowing she is lonely, he holds her hand to soothe her. On the day of the official registration, Tooru and Tora head to the counter to get things done. They see Tomoe and Miyabi coming by. Tooru asks about Julie and Tomoe replies she asked her about it too but turned her down because she always had Miyabi in mind. Then Tooru starts to get worried… I suppose this is proof that he is not gay because he rather ditch registering with Tora to go find Julie. Specky guy expected this and lets him go. He searches everywhere and finds her at the clock tower. What is she doing here? Trying to see if she could see Gimle from here? I guess she’s sad enough not to think straight. So she got rejected. She didn’t want to tell him as not to bother him. Besides, there is nothing he could do. As expected, he suggests they officially become a Duo. Whatever issues are bugging her, Tooru has the right assuring answer. Because he wants to protect her. After saying all that, no girl would turn that down, would she? And so Tooru and Julie are now official Duo pairs. He should have expected Julie would continue to sleep with him. Because she used to sleep with her mom. He is not her mom! But Tooru is special. He gives off that father-like feeling… This is going to be a long night. Make that long nights.

Episode 3
With the new pairs decided, it is time for the awaited Blaze mock battle, New Blade Battle. To put it simply, it is a team battle royale. Tooru and Julie do more training and Julie took the liberty to name Tooru’s move. Tooru spots Miyabi running till she collapses. He carries her back as she explains the uselessness she is compared to everybody. She thought by increasing her physical stamina by running till she dropped. Well, keep trying. During the New Blade Battle, Tooru-Julie team own every other Duo that we don’t care about. Finally they have to face off with Tomoe-Miyabi pair. Tooru stops Miyabi’s thrust and although the girl laments her uselessness again, Tooru is in fact impressed that she could push him back that far. Keep up the good work. Julie sees through Tomoe’s attack from behind to seal the victory. I thought I heard some chicken scream but it turned out to be Tora! So this dude teamed up with that macho guy, Tatsu? So he decided to go gay? Hey wait a minute. Dragon and tiger combo?! Anyway the duo are out and the culprit is no other than Tsukimi who reveals it is her job to take out new recruits. She attacks Tooru and Julie but Tooru suddenly starts bleeding. Time for a couple of lessons for them. First of all, Blaze indeed can harm you if you have an intent to kill. Yup, it can kill. Secondly, what happens when you destroy the Blaze? As demonstrated on Tora, the excruciating pain proves that his spirit is damaged to the extent he’ll be incapacitated for an entire day. End of lesson. Now to kill them both. The duo cannot best Tsukimi as she is fast and powerful. Not even when she said the taboo word about weaklings dying, Tooru powered up to punch through the classroom and that still wasn’t enough. In the end, with the desire to protect each other and nice cooperation, all that training paid off as Tooru tricks Tsukimi and shatters her weapon. What a painful scream… The duo might have won but at the cost with lots of injuries. Tora and Tatsu are rescued while Tsukimi has been arrested. They are concerned what her job is. When Tomoe and Miyabi come to check on them, they see Julie on top of Tooru (she accidentally tripped and fell on him). I know what they’re thinking… Tooru still wakes up in the middle of the night from that horrifying nightmare. Julie overheard him talk in his sleep. Who is Otoha? Who is he going to kill someday? Is that why he needed Luciful and Blaze? He is reluctant to talk about it so Julie takes off her shirt and shows a horrendous scar across her back. She is the same like him. An avenger.

Episode 4
Beautiful naked blonde babe taking a bath in the river! DAMN YOU BRIGHT LIGHTS COVERING HER BOOBS! Looks like it is time for her to go meet that special someone. I can guess who that person is… In class, Tora and Tatsu are grateful to Tomoe and Miyabi who helped administer first aid to them. Tooru is shocked that Tora can actually bow down! They are concerned of Tsukimi’s goals but can be assured she won’t be around anymore. Suddenly, Tsukimi walks into her class and conducts her lesson like normal! WTF?! They confront her after class but were brought to Sakuya’s office for explanation. She reinstated Tsukimi as the school’s instructor because she managed to train well several students in a short period of time. But she tried to kill them! Well, they’re standing here alive, right? Sakuya admits that she only cares about the results and doesn’t care whatever method or curriculum is used because she wants to find the Absolute Duo. She will have the 6 of them take the Ritual of Sublimation to advance to Level 2. Back in class, this blonde babe, Lilith Bristol, a new transfer student from England walks right in and wants Tooru to come with her. But they’re right in the middle of class. Don’t make her repeat herself. She is special. She wants a nice quiet place to talk with him. So at some luxurious garden, she explains that she is an Exception. When she heard there was an irregular at Japan, she came all the way here just to be his partner. That’s right. Don’t make her repeat herself. She wants him to be her Duo. But he already has a partner. Doesn’t matter. She is special. She gets what she wants! So what will it be? Tooru has the best answer for her. There is no need to think about it. He declines her offer. WHAT?! Lilith looked so shocked. Don’t make him repeat himself. The answer is no. N-O. Right back at you b*tch! And if you are wondering why he is running 4km laps at night, it is Tsukimi’s punishment to him for skipping class. She can’t touch that English b*tch but she can sure hell take it out on him! Curses!

To avoid Julie’s question of sleeping with him tonight again, he manages to switch the topic to bring her out shopping next time. Tooru did ask Miyabi for places to go (although she thought he was asking her out). He invites her and Tomoe to come but she declines, citing they have something ‘busy’ to do. And so the duo are in town. So pretty Julie is that everyone can’t keep their eyes off her. So cute that the clothes store saleswoman purposely wants to let her try a few more clothes. Heck, she even gets swept away by kindergarten kids. And as expected, Tomoe and Miyabi are being stalkers watching from afar… Waiting for any indecent movements… Julie amazingly got drunk on a rum raisin ice cream. That is when several punks try to hit on Tomoe and Miyabi. They are not interested but they get physical. They want to teach those girls a lesson but Tooru comes to their aid and says they are with him. They are not convinced. Suddenly, Lilith shoots her rifle Blaze at them! What was that for?! Tooru thinks this is what she means of being an Exception. Later as Julie tries out bras with Tomoe and Miyabi, as expected, Tooru had to be the unfortunate soul who sees them in it. Guess what he is being branded as? No, Tooru! How can you say you are an unfortunate kid after seeing such lovely figures?! I don’t care about your reputation! You just saw ‘men’s paradise’!

Episode 5
The friends are discussing Lilith’s rifle Blaze because it is a complex weaponry to materialize. During swimming lessons, everyone thought they’re about to see some Julie grace as she dives in. Turns out she can’t swim and sank like a hammer! Because Lilith has never attended class, our concerned Tooru goes to look for her at the garden. She has already finished her education and this place is just for her to kill time. Does she look like the type to make friends? Then she asks to go out on a date. You heard that right. Don’t make her repeat twice. And so skipping yet another class, it seems the date is an outing to a horror theme park. Lilith is so happy that she’s acting like a kid. Really. It must be tiring hanging out with her through all the rides… Then there’s the right mood, the right atmosphere, the right moment for Lilith to ask that very question after she replies him she showed him her Blaze in public was because it was only natural to show it to her partner. She’ll let this slip for once and say it again: Become her partner. We can’t hear what he said but we know it broke her heart. Ah well, at least the fireworks in the background of this fake horror Disneyland was worth it. So back in his room, he reveals to Julie about Lilith’s goal to make him her Duo but turned her down. Julie is alright since he had his reasons. I thought it was more of because he didn’t agree to it. Now we hear exactly what he said to Lilith. He already has a partner who is dear to him and swore to protect her. Those feelings never changed and thus he can’t team up with her. Since that already ruined everything, Lilith slapped him and won’t forget this humiliation of being rejected twice. And all the more reason why Julie is grateful and should start hugging him because he chose her, right? Soon, our first years will be having another inter-class battle with the second years, Dragon Bite Battle. Don’t underestimate the latter because despite only a handful of them will be selected for the battle against the entire first years, they are a few levels above and much stronger. Look at this as a big team battle. Suddenly Lilith waltzes into the arena and wants to take on all the second years herself. Is she joking? Don’t make her repeat twice. She’s special. She can do whatever she wants, right? She demonstrates by shooting them all out! No chance! Sakuya finds it bothersome that despite she is the best, she disrupted something she worked hard to put together. Don’t worry. Lilith will pay it back with a ‘dance party’. In short, a survival battle with her classmates. I guess she’s on a roll now that she wants to take on everybody herself. This is one pissed rejected woman…

Episode 6
The lowly classmates get owned. Hardly any challenge. Now Tooru is before her. Surprise, he apologizes for turning her down. Not that he changed his mind. He wants to fight her with full strength so that they can understand each other. Is this some sort of shonen ritual? The ambush tactic of letting Tatsu be the decoy to slice her so Lilith will jump and let Julie slice her didn’t work since she is faster. Shortly, Lilith then camouflages as a fallen classmate to take out Tatsu. Before Julie gets owned, Tomoe saves her but the duo sustain damage that render them unable to fight at their full ability. Tooru may have guessed something on Lilith’s Blaze when Julie talks to him as she is worried about him. He looks more worked up than usual. Nothing like a few nice words to assure and sooth her. It is interrupted when Lilith wants to let the game going. Tooru has got her where she wanted as he slams the ground. The floor collapses. She jumps. In midair, Tora and Julie attack but surprise, she is fast enough to shoot them without reloading her Blaze. Suddenly Julie gets back up and slashes the rifle off her hand. They have predicted Lilith always shoots at the heart so Julie was wearing a metal plate there (a reason why her movements were sluggish). But it’s not over yet. Before the fight can resume, Tooru is shot with real bullets. Several armoured troops come in and want Lilith to come with them. Lilith refuses as they were rude to intrude on her ‘dance party’. Till his blonde guy, K takes Tomoe hostage so Lilith agrees to go with them. So for the rest, now it is a mission to rescue her. I don’t know how Tooru was fast enough to be before them. He then takes in so many shots while powering up his ground slamming move. As everyone falls, Tora and Julie take out the soldiers while Tooru guiding Lilith’s hand shoot her rifle at K. Double whammy when a slab slams on him! With Lilith back, what else to do? Finish the match! They’re both injured so they’re even. In the aftermath, K reports his failure to his master but he is okay since what is important is the data that was gathered. Their true aim is the Blaze Witch, Blaze Diabolica. One of the injured soldiers pleads for help. He was shot. I’m not sure who won the battle but Tooru is in hospital all wrapped up in bandages. Lilith only with an arm cast comes in to visit. They’re friends, right? She apologizes for slapping him and also looking down on his friends. As for being her Duo, he turns her down but if he changes his mind, let her know. Oh, there is one more thing she wants to say. Listen closely because she won’t say it again. She kisses Tooru on the cheek and declares him her future husband! OMG! What will Tooru be branded now? She will definitely get him to return her feelings.

Episode 7
Miyabi is thinking about her uselessness during that hostage situation. More importantly, her mind is pretty occupied about Tooru. Wonder why… The class is taking a ship to an island. Julie is feeling a little queasy so she’s lying on Tooru’s lap. Miyabi thought of sitting next to Tooru but the ship shakes and she got a little too close to him. If you think this is going to be a first class cruise, think again. Tsukimi announces everyone must swim to the island in their uniform. Yeah, Sakuya must really want to test her guinea pigs, right? Lilith the cheater comes by helicopter but I suppose she wants to have some fun as she changes into her swimsuit to dive down to Tooru. If it’s bad enough he is already carrying Julie, now he’s got to carry her. So he is tired out once reaching shore and he could use less of Lilith’s tease kissing and Julie losing her panties to the wind and into the ocean. As everyone make their way to the training camp in the middle of the island, they are attacked by ninjas. More precisely, ninjas with Blaze. Julie and Lilith team up and you can see how formidable they are when they do that. Why, Julie’s sword spin is enough to cut down all the trees in the vicinity! Tomoe and Miyabi are also having a tough time but with Miyabi remembering how useless she is and Tooru’s words, she gets the strength to break out and fight to help her partner. When Tooru unmasks one of the ninjas, he is surprised to see Imari! Turns out this is a branch of Kouryou Academy and this is their way of welcoming them. Don’t be surprised. Remember the qualifying test during the entrance ceremony? As explained, those who failed were given a chance to study at this seaside branch and Imari didn’t waste time taking up that offer. So we see the gang having BBQ party. Julie eating Tooru’s sausage that is big and hot… Lilith wanting Tooru to feed her since her hands are full but Julie is the one doing it. Tooru goes to apologize to Sakuya as he thought she was a heartless person. Thanks for taking in Imari and the rest. She doesn’t want him to get the wrong idea. She was just gathering personnel for Dawn Agency and thus her goal of achieving Absolute Duo. Miyabi feels weird for being praised. But after talking to Tooru and remembering how he always gave her words of encouragement, she finally connects the dots of this feeling of love for him. Yeah, took you long enough to notice. Meanwhile, K talks to Equipment Smith about some mission he is being entrusted, Competitive Exhibition: Selection. He is sure not to report to the top brass and believes they too want results. After setting up the tents, Julie has learnt an important lesson. To keep her panties safe, she hands it to Tooru for safekeeping… I don’t know what to say…

Episode 8
Heaven: When you are dreaming of 2 naked girls sleeping by your side. Hell: When you wake up to really find 2 naked girls sleeping by your side. Tooru is in hell courtesy of Lilith and Julie… Guess who is jumping the gun to call him pervert again? And it is no surprise that Tomoe once again grovels and buries her head in the sand just to apologize to him after they explained what really happened. Tooru is invited to hang out with Miyabi and her friends at the beach. You don’t say… Is there anywhere else to hang out on this island? As expected, swimsuit fanservice in which our main character has to honestly comment on each of them but he blatantly ignores Tsukimi despite she threatening to beat up his ass. What else to expect? Miyabi huge boobs, some bikini tops coming off, Miyabi’s huge boobs, Julie and Lilith fighting over Tooru’s attention and oh, before I forget, Miyabi’s huge boobs. So much so it is the highlight during the hotspring scene with Tsukimi turning into a serial boob molester with Julie her accomplice. Because Miyabi has been acting weird (spacing out, that longing look), Imari can tell and even gets admittance from her that she likes Tooru. Well, if only Imari had been accepted into the main school, maybe things would have progressed differently but seeing things turned out like that, the reason why she wants to support Miyabi. What? Really? So you don’t want Tooru for yourself? When Miyabi sprains her foot, Tooru the man is no other than to carry her. Imari then signals to the other girls that they need to head back to cook (even if it’s not their turn tonight). Tsukimi wonders if Lilith is okay with this. Yes, everybody deserves a fair chance and it is not like she is going to lose. Highly confident, isn’t she? So we’ve got Tooru carrying Miyabi on their slow walk back. Talking about things. The right setting sun mood. The right atmosphere. The right time for Miyabi to confess she loves him. She wants to go out with him. Will that be okay? What is his reply? Then that stupid trauma of his had to influence his answer. He can’t. Because he is weak. Stupid Tooru. You just made Miyabi heartbroken. Look at her heartbroken face! No, it’s not okay! Lilith talks to Sakuya whose other identity is Blaze Diabolica. She is being targeted by Rein and suspects they will strike tonight. Thus the reason why she is on this island. But she is just a decoy and has been prepared a sacrifice just like the branch school students. That night, armoured troops skydiving down and start shooting at all the students!!! MASSACRE!!! As K says, they’re from God Slaying Corps, Libers and Exceed.

Episode 9
Everybody fights back but the toll is still no match. Just utter chaos. There are no casualties because this might be that old man’s way of Selection. Believing their target is the underground facility, Sakuya allows Tsukimi to release her limiter and display her full power without restraint. And there she goes, wild and berserk with another Blaze lesson for the kids. When you pass Level 4, you’ve got a secret Blaze power! I’m not sure what this hula hoop thingy she has but it’s dangerous and kills! K then enters the office to get Sakuya. The commotion outside was just a diversion to lure her out. Lilith protects Sakuya but K says she is not invited this time. After the explosion from the office, Tooru and Julie head to check out while the rest go find Miyabi who is missing ever since (she never came back from the beach). Tooru sees defeated Lilith who asks a favour of him to go rescue Sakuya. Well, they got on his ship just in time. Since they won’t take up his offer to jump into the ocean for their lives to be spared (Julie can’t swim anyway), I guess it’s time to fight. Despite taking the full force of Tooru’s punch, K is unscathed thanks to his new prototype armour. He beats them up and is about to kill Julie when Tooru comes to protect her. This seems to irk K. Especially like this protect thing is like a taboo word for him. He takes it all out on Tooru. Julie wakes up thanks to her trauma of remembering her dad being killed. She powers up and turns into some demon, so fast that K couldn’t see the slash across his chest. He gets slashed left and right. Julie probably can’t tell friend from foe and is about to attack Tooru when she collapses. K continues to mock Tooru he can’t protect Julie like that. Oh, it’s that taboo word again. He is weak. K gets a call from Smith that they have acquired what is necessary and that Sakuya is no longer needed. Seriously?! Plans must be made for the next ‘banquet’. All troops retreat now. K vows to Tooru that the next time they meet, he’ll kill him. Abandon ship! I don’t know if Tooru had to steer it all the way back but anyway they made it back to the island. When Lilith gets a call, her shock expression has Sakuya know that she has been invited to Rein Conference. Julie tells Tooru how her dad went to battle and got killed. He was kind to her till his last breath. The man who killed him also put that scar on her back. That is why she enrolled in this school to become stronger to kill him. Meanwhile Miyabi is seen with Smith and is being assured she can get stronger with this new prototype suit. Let me guess her logic. Stronger = Tooru will love her more? What are the odds?

Episode 10
The main branch leaves the island. There’s nothing they could do if they stayed back, right? So what if a student is missing? When Sakuya says return, you return. Tomoe may not show her emotions but deep down she is deeply hurt that her friend is missing. Though, to prevent the rest from worrying, they are thought to believe Miyabi is in hospital and recuperating from the attack instead of been missing for a few days now. And now Miyabi and K has become part of Tooru’s damn nightmare trauma. Give this kid a break, will you? Sakuya summons Tooru and wants to reward him for saving her from Libers. She gives him permission to take Ritual of Sublimation to Level 4. Tooru believes everyone else should have the same chance as it wasn’t just him saving the day. Sakuya doesn’t understand why this bothers him. Doesn’t he seek power? The power to become stronger to protect others? Can’t argue with that. He is also told about the conference that will be held in this academy. Smith who founded Libers will also be attending. The place is under heavy security as Tooru and Julie go talk to Lilith to ask something. No, it’s not her love for you. It is about Rein Conference and Smith. Oh. How disappointing? Listen closely. She’ll not repeat herself. Smith is a high ranking member of an underground military who established Libers for one goal: To attain Absolute Duo. It is the final domain when your soul’s power reaches its ultimate capacity. The conference is where a group of individuals gathered because of Absolute Duo. Sakuya is part of that group and with names like Grave Phantom, Tempest Judge, Dark Ray Disaster and Silent Diva, you guess what kind of characters they are. Be awed or laugh. Tooru realizes the travesty of why this school was formed, to find individuals with Luciful and to awaken that hidden power within their souls to create Exceed. You mean he never suspected it even when Tsukimi tried to kill him or all the guinea pig tests he went through? Smith suggests Sakuya join forces with him but she declines because they have very different desires and that means what lies for them at the end will be in different places as well. She continues to mock him like how he lost to her grandpa and was once kicked out of the agency. Smith doesn’t take that insult likely and suggests settling this via game. As the name suggests, Killing Game is about his Libers fighting her Exceeds at this academy. The winner is when one side eliminates the other. Challenge accepted. And right away those Libers guys skydive down to the academy grounds. Ready for battle? The friends thought Miyabi came back to them but that happiness turns to shock when they see her siding Libers and in that power suit. So, is she strong enough for you Tooru?

Episode 11
So Miyabi wants to show off the new power she got. More worrying, she looks like she has turned into yandere mode and love Tooru enough to kill him! So being strong gives her the right to badmouth her friends as weak? Everyone thought she has been brainwashed but Miyabi insists this is what she asked and wanted. What is worst is that the entire island was under surveillance. This means that confession drama was seen by those guys and that is how they recruited Miyabi into this. And you thought reality TV was bad enough. Even more proof of her yandere when she is mad Tooru looks at everyone else except her! K lets Miyabi to handle her friends while she goes to pay Sakuya a visit. Tomoe wants to handle Miyabi alone because this is her responsibility as her partner. The rest head along and put her trust in Tomoe. Tora and Lilith form a temporary alliance to take out the Libers guards to let Tooru and Julie advance. But K is waiting before them. His true goal is to avenge what happened that last time and knew Tooru would come after him if he said Sakuya’s name. Tomoe is going to have to do a lot more convincing than that to bring back Miyabi. She laments she doesn’t know much about her friend and even more heartbreaking that she hears Miyabi’s aspiration was only to want Tooru, the boy she likes to acknowledge her. After confirming she did confess and got rejected because he said she was weak, Tomoe makes a comeback. It is all the more reason why she doesn’t need this fake power. She is already strong enough. Something inside Miyabi resonates. Tomoe continues she is in fact stronger than she is and that she wants to support her all the way as her partner. Now, the only thing left to snap her out of it is a good face slap! That was even enough to break her suit! Woah! So this is how you welcome your friend back? K relishes in seeing Tooru’s distress face by over-killing Julie. Tooru uses his body to protect all the bullets from the Libers soldiers. When Julie wakes up, although she is horrified, but she keeps her emotions in check. Tooru’s iron will pisses off K that he is the one to show us his frustrated face. Bloodshot devil eyes? With Tora and Lilith providing backup, Tooru materializes summon super shield to block K’s attack (why didn’t he do this earlier?) and knock that guy out with his super punch. Victory for Sakuya’s team! Smith cannot believe he has lost. I cannot believe he hasn’t died from heart attack of this humiliating loss. Yeah, he lost to a little girl. Only gave her more ammo to mock him. So I guess the only thing guys like him can do is beat up K and insult his very existence to let loose steam. And probably that is what made K snapped and killed the crazy old fart before he could detonate and destroy the school. K summons his ultimate armament and now he has that crazy look to kill Tooru.

Episode 12
Our friends thought it is over. Till K pops up before them. For some reason, this made Tora’s blood boil. He charges angrily but gets his Blaze destroyed. I guess they want to put him out from the final fight. K is also faster than Lilith’s bullet and takes her out. I guess it’s the same for her. So it’s up to Tooru and Julie to take him down but with K being cocky that he is powerful, he feels like he has been given the right to destroy everything with his power. Uh huh. Don’t get hit by his blasts. It’s freaking devastating! Then he wants to destroy the entire school but luckily Tsukimi was there to slice the beams apart although this causes her to bleed everywhere but no cause for worries that she is dying or anything. I guess you have to make this bunny sensei look cool once in a while. This is probably the umpteenth time because when Tooru tries to protect Julie again, he gets stabbed. No sh*t. Happy now K? You get to see Julie’s anguished face. In turn, she goes out of control like before, turning into a killing demon. K must be sweating in his pants that Julie is stronger than him. The only thing he can do is take a beating. Now it is up to Tooru (this dude is still alive of course) to bring Julie to her senses. First he lets Julie slash him so he can get up close to hug her. She struggles. He whispers for her to come back. That heartfelt plea makes her come back to her senses. He now understands why his Blaze is a shield: To protect. Uh, I figured that out a long time ago too. Apparently K doesn’t like this scene. Because he too had something traumatic. Something about his brother. But we don’t care because he tried to destroy Tooru’s harem so he can die for all we care. The duo combine their strengths and will to form an impenetrable shield. K is in more shock of such awesome power they have. For the finishing blow, Tooru takes Julie’s sword and strikes him down. Game over.

In the aftermath as Tooru recuperates in hospital, Miyabi comes to apologize for causing this mess. You know he is not the one to hold grudges so he notes everyone has gone stronger. Something bizarre just happened. A group of mad fan girls are chasing after Tsukimi because she protected their dorm during K’s madness. Tsukimi hates it and is running for her life. At least this proves she isn’t into lesbianism. After Tooru is discharged, Lilith hands him the data on K. His real name is Kevin Wayfair. After shortly losing his brother and family, he strayed underworld where Smith brought him in and raised him as a soldier who used nothing but power to obtain results. This data is actually from Sakuya because she believes if Tooru understands the enemy’s feelings better, it might help him grow and in turn achieve her goal of Absolute Duo. Tooru meets up with Julie. She mentions she is more El Awake than Exceed because she wished for strength to exact revenge. The only difference with Exceed is that Exceed has their soul’s power awakened naturally. Julie reveals that she was unable to control that power and Dawn Agency rescued her. She had been lying to him because she feared if she knew about it, he would leave her. Seriously, she should know better by now. Above all, she feared this power would hurt him. And as always, Tooru’s statement of wanting to protect her, blah, blah, blah. You know they’re going to be together forever and ever. If it helps alleviates your anxiety, they renew their partnership vow again. Till death do us part. Doesn’t this sound like getting married?

Absolute Fanservice/Harem
This is actually a harem series. Don’t make me repeat myself. Yes, this is absolutely a harem genre being masked under whatever other genres you may find here. All you need is a decent main character guy and a bevy of babes around him. How they love him varies from being oblivious to obvious to not so obvious. After all, there is a reason why this bunch of girls would stick and hang out with him compared to the rest of the other girls in the academy. It would be a very bad thing if every chick in this academy starts falling for this guy because you’ll have a hard time remembering all their names, there will be great injustice for some of them to have very limited screen time or even put them all in one same screen, and Tooru’s reputation of being a total faggot will rise so steep that you will be knocked out unconscious by the g-force.

With a string of fanservice elements to keep you satisfied, you don’t need anything else to remember this show because I am sure the rest of the other factors are not so important nor as memorable as the fanservice (which isn’t that great either). Starting with Miyabi whose F-cup boobs (as admitted by her) are already the ‘big’ fanservice factor because it looks like they put in more effort to animate her bouncing and wobbling boobs more than anything else. At least they make it too obvious to divert our eyes to focus on that pair. Yeah, definitely the Absolute Duo for us! Haha! Then you have Julie’s penchant for sleeping naked, her wrong choice of words that makes it ambiguous to other girls when they hear it (and it proves they are dirty minded to jump to such conclusion) and certain scenes that has to do with her panties or something. Don’t forget Lilith’s bold flirting and Tomoe herself who also has a nice endowed body that sometimes becomes an indirect contribution for fanservice.

Which brings us to the romance department. Disappointing? Well, with guys like Tooru upfront, you can expect the kind of outcome we’ll get. Safe to say that everybody likes him. Lilith and Miyabi are more direct while Julie might be masking her love under this partnership thingy which is yet to be seen since she hardly shows any emotions. Don’t write off Tomoe and Imari too because girls who stay in the friend zone are very much likely to change and turn those feelings into such romance. Especially Imari who has been away for so long only to reappear halfway, bringing back old feelings when this guy showed up. Scenes like that messes with your feelings. No conclusive studies were done to find this but call it a gut feeling based evidence. Yup. Guts. Don’t be surprised that Tora too might be in the running for Tooru’s love! Hey, love comes in all forms. Despite he has got this mean look, there are very few subtle hints that might indicate Tora likes this Tooru guy. After all, they’ve been best friends for so long, right? Long enough for that friendship to turn into romance. Yeah, guts again. So would Tooru have accepted Miyabi’s confession had he not perceived himself to be weak? Will a cat fight then occur because Miyabi is the weakest and down the pecking order considering Lilith and Julie are the top contenders for Tooru’s attention.

Characters feel weak and pretty much like stereotypes you’d find in any other similar shows. Tooru the main character, nice guy with a traumatic past he needs to overcome. Has an unusual power that makes him different from the rest of the generic characters. Makes friends (although a majority of them are girls) and will not hesitate to help them if they’re in trouble. What else is there to be said? Then you have an emotionless girl, a foreigner-cum-transfer student, a slow girl, her friend whose role seems to be memorable as one to accuse Tooru of being a pervert, and a returning ‘old’ friend. Julie’s tragic past for revenge was briefly mentioned but it didn’t make much of an impact for this season. Like it didn’t really matter overall. The same about Tooru’s trauma or the past/expects of other characters. It wasn’t really explored further which frustrates us who are looking something deeper to connect the characters with the plot and storyline. Because like for the final episode, everyone else is casted aside so we could see Tooru and Julie work and bond closely together. And you wonder why those strange people of Rein Conference even bother to be introduced when they didn’t do anything in particular. What a waste.

The plot seems to be building up towards making Miyabi a ‘temporary antagonist’. Because you thought that a slow weak girl won’t have pretty much to do with the plot whatsoever and maybe something of Julie’s past or Lilith’s circumstances are the ones that are going to take this season somewhere. Who knows it was this girl that got things rolling leading up to where we are now. Ironically for a shy girl who is always scared of men, Tooru is the first guy she falls in love and confesses to. Pretty much powered up in that sense, right? She is only weak because she herself believes she is so. Otherwise, Miyabi has the most brute strength compared to any of the other characters in this series (even more than that Tatsu guy). Thanks to friends like them especially Tomoe, she gets back on the right track. So now you know each other better? I thought it was rather odd that they ‘killed off’ Imari after the first episode. Like as though they want to surprise us by making her look good enough to be a supporting main character. Then she went away and reappeared halfway through the series. Who knows when she’ll be back again? Will there be a chance for Imari to transfer to the main branch to conveniently let this friendship/harem/romance thingy take off?

Lilith suddenly comes barging into the scene and automatically becomes part of Tooru’s harem with a flimsy excuse that he is an irregular like her. To say that English chicks will gladly become your bride if you are different from the rest? I don’t know, I feel that Lilith’s penchant to say “Don’t make me repeat myself again” seems annoying infectious and could turn into some internet meme if people ever wish to pursue it. I am sure they can make lots of jokes out of it. On the same topic, Julie too has this penchant to say “Ja” (yes) and “Nei” (no) a lot that it might sound annoying. Okay, it might sound unfair to say that since she is a foreigner and this stands way out compared to your typical “Hai” and “Iya/Chigau”. Ever since Lilith has decided Tooru to become her future husband, she seems to constantly remind us about this. Think that guy will forget? Guess what? That guy didn’t promise you anything! It’s already so obvious that he already chose Julie when he made that pact vow twice. Twice! Oh, one more minor thing seems to bug me. I wonder why her butler, Sarah is dressed as a butler instead of a maid! Does Lilith have a thing for butlers? Too bad, she too doesn’t make any great impact in the series save for loyally serving her master.

Tsukimi and Sakuya are the shadiest and mysterious characters of the series. Because of that I think they are much more interesting than the main ones. Because like for Tsukimi, you keep wondering what side she is on. One second, she puts on her cute energetic bunny display enough to melt our hearts (for those who love such moe types anyway) and suddenly the next second, she dramatically changes and has got this evil look and grin enough to scare the sh*t out of you. Then there is Sakuya who doesn’t show a shred of emotion like Julie (so much so I think they could be sisters separated at birth) and might just be playing the villain with her seemingly cold hearted approach. I thought Smith was a cool old geezer till he lost it when he failed to get the better of Sakuya. He looks so pathetic then. I don’t know what is Tatsu’s actual role in this anime besides being just a side character to distract you while he flexes his muscles and macho style. Where was he in the final attack on the school? Other than that, it is to give us a yaoi possibility so that the Tora guy won’t feel lonely and left out after his best friend ‘dumped’ him for a cutie. So to oddly have this ‘dragon’ and ‘tiger’ combo not making a big majestic impact, it feels pretty weak their roles just thinking about it.

Action wise, somehow it feels mediocre. Personally I feel that they are just a distraction for the harem and fanservice drama that we are all here for. We are here for that, aren’t we? Because when they fight, it doesn’t feel convincing enough that they are fighting for real. Plus, with the characters armed with only a single type of Blaze, their move set has hardly any variation so you’ll see more or less the same thing. Especially Tooru who only has a shield to block attack and a non-Blaze move punch that is set to blow you away upon contact with all that energy packed in it. Lilith is just shooting her rifle which is hardly anything exciting while Tomoe swings her chain-sickle weapon and Miyabi just thrusting her lance with all her might. Heck, even holding up and thrusting it is already a challenge to her.

Therefore the Duo system, the Blaze and Luciful terms may sound interesting and although they are briefly explained, it hardly makes any difference or impact of where this season is going as far as viewers are concerned. It is just like they are being used as a reason for the setting of this series and then if you don’t remember them or what it is about, it is okay. There is so much about it that we don’t know or fully understand. Like how Julie suddenly throws us a new term of El Awake in the final scenes that make us go, “What the heck. Since when did this northern European chick turned Latin?”. Because certainly like I have said, this anime is more about harem and fanservice. Oh shucks. I just repeated myself there again. I don’t know about this Absolute Duo thingy because from where I stand, it looks like the characters are fighting solo when they reached that higher level. Like Miyabi who may just be some prototype but if she succeeds, wouldn’t that make her alone as Absolute Solo? Why need a partner when you are already this strong?

Also, we often see Duo pairs fighting alongside each other but this is hardly the case. Because we are conveniently shown so since they are close to each other. Because I am sure that everyone can fight as well as they are when they are alone as when they are with their partner. For example, the Libers’ attack on the island branch. When Tooru was away with Miyabi when the attack happened, Julie is holding her ground just fine. Remember Sakuya wanting to level up just Tooru alone to Level 4? Didn’t say the same for his partner Julie, right? Besides, you don’t need to be officially a Duo with somebody else because teamwork with others also works as in the case of Tora and Lilith. So you see the official Duo pairs fighting together only because, well, they are close to each other in the vicinity. So do you really need a partner for this Duo system? Having groom a student individually instead as a pair also works. I don’t know. It’s because I am not sure of how the system works, that’s why I’m saying this.

Nothing to shout about in the drawing and art department because it is your typical conventional Japanese anime style. Though, I noticed that during certain scenes the quality drops especially during the fight sequences. Like as though they thought if they could save on this part and nobody would notice it all during that fast action pace. Unfortunately I did. As for character designs, some of the characters remind me of other anime characters like Sakuya’s goth loli outfit, when I first looked at her I thought if Kuroneko from OreImo has found a new anime to continue her existence. Then there is Tsukimi who suspiciously reminds me of Infinite Stratos’ Tabane. I know, the bunny ears and the childish personality. Even more suspicious is how they are both voiced by the same seiyuu. Oh, and that Smith old dude, I thought Colonel Sanders gave up making KFC and turned into making highly powered suits now! I am sure that I have seen the other characters from somewhere else but I am just too lazy to remember them.

CGI is also employed and mainly when the Blaze weapon is materialized or that army of Libers soldiers. Anyhow, I can’t say that it is good. That includes the special effects whatsoever. On a trivial note, the next episode preview has the characters in chibi form. When you have the art this way, it means funny and comical moments, right? Alas that is not the case in some of them as they are grim and serious. Thus it gives off this mixed feeling while watching this segment. It’s supposed to be light hearted but it’s not. Like when Tooru is doing his monologue about discovering the truth of the academy’s establishment or when Miyabi lamenting about how strong she would love to become. So, is it supposed to be funny or not?

In the voice acting department, I suppose only a couple of veterans stand out. Yukari Tamura is delightful as Tsukimi as she goes back and forth between her cute squeaky trademark voice as well as her darker and lower one. Yui Horie on the other hand as Sakuya reminds me of her Miss Monochrome character. Only take away that computerized voice effect. I am starting to think Yoshitsugu Matsuoka is beginning to voice very similar male characters recently. As Tooru, it feels similar to Yuu in Juuou Mujin No Fafnir, Arata in Trinity Seven and Godou in Campione. The other casts include Nozomi Yamamoto as Julie (Yukimura in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai), Haruka Yamazaki as Lilith (Ruka in Hayate No Gotoku series), Ayaka Suwa as Tomoe (Tokaku in Akuma No Riddle), Ayaka Imamura as Miyabi (debut role as a main/supporting character), Haruka Tomatsu as Imari (Asuna in Sword Art Online), Natsuki Hanae as Tora (Inaho in Aldnoah.Zero), Takahiro Sakurai as K (Suzaku in Code Geass) and Tomomichi Nishimura as Smith (Anzai in Slam Dunk). The person who voiced Tatsu must have the easiest lines ever. Heck, no lines even! This guy doesn’t have a proper dialogue and the most you’ll ever hear from him are his grunts and groans. Oh, he is voiced by Yoshihisa Kawahara (Yasu in NANA).

The rock based opening theme is Absolute Soul by Konomi Suzuki. The ‘amusing’ thing about the opening credits animation is this dance sequence between Tooru and Julie. It looks pretty neat the way they spin, twist and turn. I am not sure what type of dancing this is (although it does seem to incorporate figure skating in certain parts) but it could have been cool to watch had not been for the horrendous animation quality. Eye cancer. Did they think that nobody actually watches the opening animation? Well, one reason why I won’t now (at least for this series only). The ending themes feel like character songs because they are tailored to a particular girl. Therefore you have Julie singing BelievexBelieve as the first ending theme. Then you have Julie doing a duet with Lilith for the second ending theme, Apple Tea No Aji and finally 2/2, another duet but by Tomoe and Miyabi as the third ending theme. No Imari ending theme? I guess that sums it up about her prospects in this harem ;p.

Overall, this series is absolutely mediocre. Please don’t let me repeat that line again. Because with weak characters and the plot that hardly goes anywhere (sad to say Julie didn’t even start anywhere on her revenge nor Tooru settling or getting over about his traumatic past), constant reminders from the main character to always protect, might as well just tune in for the fanservice (which is in a way disappointing too if you think about it). That itself at least gives some motivation to the soul to sit through and watch through a dozen episodes of nothingness. Maybe if they put in some more ‘meat’ inside the next time, I’ll come back for more. Geez, sounds ambiguous and embarrassing enough. Don’t make me say that again!

With the great success of the TV series, it is no doubt that there would be a second season. But while we wait for that to happen in 2016, fans in the mean time get to rejoice with a couple of OVA episodes that tell the historic meeting of the most beloved characters of the series. Sorry guys, it is not Mikasa. Instead, Shingeki No Kyojin: No Regrets is how the fan favourite characters of Levi and Erwin meet each other and become one of the strongest and most respected members of the Survey Corps.

Episode 1
Levi comes from the underground district and despite being the safest place ever from Titans, the area is abandoned and all those here are leftovers from the sealed Immigration Plan. I know this looks like the slums but what is so bad about that since there are no Titans? Well, sunlight doesn’t reach here and without sunlight, your legs start to rot. Geez, it’s like between the devil and the deep blue sea here, huh? Levi and his friend, Farlan Church are no better than the thugs next door. They have been targeting underground merchants and their job has become easier ever since they stole 3DMD and are very good in using them. Life is tough. Especially their friend, Jan whose legs are getting worse and the toll to the Stairways have increased. The Stairways are the only means for these people to head up to the surface for sunlight but even if they can pay their way out, without citizenship, they’ll be thrown back down shortly. One day, a girl named Isabel Magnolia seeks refuge in their house. Of course Levi wants her to get out since she is dirtying the place. They realize a few punks are looking for her since she tried to sneak past the toll without paying. The thugs confront Levi and they see Isabel. They want her handed over or else they’ll be charged as accomplice. The thug leader made the mistake of touching Levi and got his hands cut. Don’t ever touch him. He doesn’t like being dirtied. His men are smart. They know these guys are dangerous and retreat. Levi notices a small bird Isabel has been holding ever since. She thinks it got lost through some ducts and wanted to bring it back up. So that’s whys she tried to sneak out? As she is impressed with them, she wants to join them. What do you say, Levi? If she wants to stay, make sure she knows how to clean before learning to use 3DMD. I guess that means a yes! And so Isabel learns how to ‘fly’ with those guys and finally they find a big hole where the sunlight reaches to release the bird. Hey. Why didn’t she come here and do so in the first place? Unless you need 3DMD to reach it.

One day, a guy seeks them for a job request. They are not interested but he has already paid a ‘deposit’. Jan is being taken to hospital on the surface to get his legs treated. The trio have no choice but to follow him. At the top of the Stairways, some big shot tells them about the job. In addition to being paid a large sum of money upon their successful completion, they’ll be offer full citizenship. Tempting, eh? After confirming who this big shot is and Jan is really being treated in a first class hospital, it is time to get this job done. At first it looked like stealing something from those underground but the Military Police is soon hot on their trails. However Levi and co can tell something is off. Those moves aren’t from the Military Police. That wing emblem… Yup. Those guys are from the Survey Corps. Levi is going to test how good they are as they soar and dash through buildings till it turns into close quarter knife combat. Levi is forced to give up when he is cornered by Erwin and his friends are captured. Erwin questions them how did they get the 3DMD and learn how to use it. They remain silent. Till Levi is messed up did Jan admit they learn it themselves. Erwin finds it hard to believe so he makes a deal. He can let his crimes go unpunished but in exchange lend him his strength and join the Survey Corps. Or else they will be handed over to the Military Police and you know it isn’t going to be pleasant after all the crimes they have done. Levi agrees to join him.

Episode 2
Some of the Survey Corps guys are against Erwin’s decision to have criminals join their ranks since it will demoralize the troops. Erwin vouches for their 3DMD skills and the commander says Erwin’s groundbreaking new formation is most important now because it is not how to kill Titans best but how to avoid them. This should reduce their casualty rate. The trio are assigned to be under Flagon’s squad instead of Erwin because he is in charge of the formation. Flagon doesn’t like these punks a bit and tells them to clean up their dorm. I guess that is a taboo word for Levi. Farlan apologizes on his behalf and later reminds Levi not to pull off that kind of stunt. Remember why they are here. That big shot, Nicholas Lobov told them the Survey Corps will come after them and will have them achieve 2 things for him. Meanwhile the commander talks to Erwin about the sudden approval of the budget for the next expedition. Lobov was so against it but suddenly turned around. Did he use some indecent means to change his mind? He warns he is taking a dangerous path and can never come back out. Erwin recounts the first time he saw his comrades being eaten by Titans. It made him realize the fragility of humans. Wealth, power and noble ideas do not mean a thing if the Titans breach the walls. That is why he will do anything and everything to ensure the expedition and efforts to take back this world from Titans are not abandoned. All for the sake of mankind’s humanity.

Levi remembers the 2 things Lobov wants them to do: 1) Obtain a scroll that Erwin possesses; 2) Kill Erwin. The newbies impress the rest with their exceptional skills. It’s like they’ve received military training before (but didn’t). Levi even impresses the non-believers with his unconventional way in holding the blades. It makes him faster and more effective in slicing the Titan’s neck. Farlan sneaks into Erwin’s quarters to find the scroll but could not find it. He thinks that he might be carrying it around with him. He thinks using the expedition to their advantage is the only way. Levi agrees to this idea but he will do it himself. Is he saying he has no confidence in his friends? Yes. Don’t give them that sh*t! He won’t move from his decision. So would they. Levi sees the clouded night sky. It is the same as underground. However they point out there is no ceiling compared to the endless sky. After bugging him about believing in them, he relents. And so the expedition is on the way and it is that flabbergasted look on their face when they head outside the walls the first time. They are told off to keep focus and stop fooling around in being over confident as they have never met a Titan before. They do not know how many good soldiers have been eaten. Speaking of Titans, here comes a few of them. Levi and his friends defy orders to go take down some of them. Wow. Their first kill. Impressive. But not Erwin. He tells them they are using too much gas on their 3DMD and should be conservative outside. Also, Levi is making many unnecessary moves. Is he beginning to have doubts? If so, that will be the end of him. That shock look on Levi’s face…

The weather turns for the worst as the heavy rain limits their visibility. This is when Levi wants to go in to deal with Erwin. Since it will be suspicious for all 3 of them to break formation, he’ll do it alone. Levi rides up till he stumbles upon a sea of fresh human corpses! He realizes too late from the footprints on the ground that the Titan passed him. He races back and when his horse trips, to his horror there is Isabel’s head! And Farlan is freshly devoured by the Titan. Shock turns to anger as Levi starts cutting up the Titan till it loses its head!!!!!!!! Mince meat!!! Erwin notes he is the only survivor in his squad. Levi gets mad and wants to kill him, revealing the reason he is here. Erwin then throws down the scroll. This is the fake one. The real one which contains Lobov’s crimes is already in Zacklay’s hands. Lobov is finished. Levi is stunned Erwin knew this all along. Words of his friends echo through his mind. Erwin leaves him with this advice: If he begins to regret, it will dull his future decisions and make others decide for you. If that happens, all that is left is for him to die. Each decision he makes holds meaning only by affecting your next decision. Erwin walks away, noticing Flagon’s corpse on the side. In the end, Levi never understood anything, even if he believed in his own strength or the decision of his friends. This man Erwin is looking up at something that he can’t even see. Whatever it is, he will not regret this decision as long as he lives.

No Turning Back!
It is without a doubt from start to finish that the double episodes do not disappoint. It is just so excellent and made me love the series even more. The only down point for this series is that is so freaking awesome that I have become impatient in wanting for the second season to be shown right now! Oh dear! It might be a few more months away but it seems like eternity! Don’t give me that go read the manga crap excuse! I want to see this anime!!! Back to this series… Fans who loved the original TV series are going to love this one too as it provides excellent insight and the past of Levi and how he turn out to be as we know him. I guess his obsessive compulsive disorder to be clean isn’t just a running joke, eh? His badass attitude may dangerously churn out more Levi fans screaming his name and swooning over him each time you see those mean slanted eyes. Then there is Erwin who is rising up the ranks of the Survey Corps with his unwavering and unparalleled vision for mankind. Leaders like him are rare and more so why he is so respected. Overall, everything in this little series is so awesome that I have no words to describe. Everything. The drama, the story, the pacing, the characters, even the same art style and music used, it is just perfect. Everything adds up and leads to where everything is right now. So do yourself a favour and watch this series if you haven’t already. Still not convinced? Then I hope that every decision you make, make sure you do not regret it. I can assure you will not if you watch this one. I know I didn’t.

Akame Ga Kill

August 9, 2015

What happens when the system becomes so corrupted that the people who are supposed to protect you are the ones that you fear of? More importantly, who will be there to judge them and bring the hammer of justice on them? Why, you use assassins! Isn’t it no different from being a villain, you ask? Something like Robin Hood who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Because a thief with a cause is still a thief no matter the reason. As in the same case of Akame Ga Kill. I suppose everybody is so corrupted that you need assassins to do the dirty job done. Hey, somebody needs to do it. Somebody needs to die for their crimes. So when a young boy from the countryside comes to the capitol with dreams of making a living to save his poor village, all that comes crashing down when he finds out about the deep corruption that is plaguing the country inside out. He’s no saint but I suppose he has his conscious clear in not making dirty money. Dirty hands okay. Not dirty money. Where’s the justice in that?

Episode 1
Tatsumi impressively kills a Danger Beast singlehandedly. Boasting to the guards that he plans to make it big by joining the army at the imperial capital, they warn him of even more dangerous ‘beasts’ there: Humans. As narrated, the imperial capital which has prospered for a thousand years is now on the decline. Corruption is rife and the poor are marginalized. Such evils that cannot be judged by the heavens are dealt with in the darkness by those who are known as assassins. Tatsumi hits a dead end when he goes to the recruiting office. He gets kicked out for expecting too much. Busty girl, Leone claims she knows a few connections that will get him into the military. Tatsumi gives all his cash as instructed. This should be a ‘valuable lesson’… He waits for her to return but never did. Till the bartender had to tell him it is closing time and he has been conned. Well, he only has himself to blame for being too trusting. Nowhere to go, he sleeps out in the streets but a kind rich girl, Aria picks him up. Although he is already learning to be sceptical, but what else has he got to lose? He is taken in by Aria’s family as he explains his goal coming here. Apparently he didn’t come here alone but with friends, Ieyasu and Sayo. However they got separated during an ambush. They are confident he will see them again. Tatsumi accompanies Aria shopping the next day. More like her lackey to carry all the shopping bags! Rich people… Tatsumi learns from one of the guards that the emperor of the imperial capital is only a child. However he is only a puppet as the one pulling the strings is the prime minister, Honest (don’t be fooled by his name). He is the reason why this country is rotting. There are posters of members of an assassin group called Night Raid. They target high ranking executives and the capital’s upper class. As their name suggests, they attack at night.

That night, Aria’s mother got beheaded by a Night Raid member, Sheele. The alarm is sound and Tatsumi sees Night Raid outside the mansion. All the other guards got easily killed. Leone kills Aria’s father and does not even intend to listen to his plea to spare his daughter. A guard takes Aria to a warehouse, supposedly the safest place. Akame is here to kill them. Tatsumi is scared but tries his best to defend Aria. To his surprise, Akame skips him as he is not the target and kills the guard. Because Tatsumi will still defend her, Akame will kill him. She won’t get to do it because Leone pulls her back. Also, his village charm protected him when Akame’s sword pierced his heart. Tatsumi has a score to settle with Leone but she shows him the warehouse to change his mind. Inside, lots of tortured and dead people! The owners take in people from the outskirts and toy with them till they die. Hey look. Ieyasu and Sayo are unfortunately part of it! Sayo feigns she doesn’t know until Ieyasu who is barely alive blurts out everything. This causes Sayo to rage rant about their different status and her jealousy over Sayo’s beautiful hair. Without hesitation, Tatsumi cuts her down! Before Ieyasu’s last breath, he tells Tatsumi that Sayo never gave in. He too won’t… Since they can’t leave Tatsumi around after knowing their identity, they recruit him as a member. Tatsumi has no say…

Theatre 1: Short web clips lasting around a minute of random nonsense from the characters of the series. After Tatsumi puts up a tomb for Ieyasu and Sayo, he is furious of Leone’s swindling so she thought she could get away by letting him sleep in her boobs. But the other girls aren’t impressed and got the wrong idea of what he is doing. Dead meat…

Episode 2
Back at their base, Leone introduces him to the rest of the other members of Night Raid. Some aren’t too happy in accepting him like Mine the sniper and Sheele. Some easily accept him like Bulat (because perhaps he is gay!) and the perverted Lubbock. And finally there is Akame who is just a bundle of mystery. Their leader is Najenda and she wants their report of their recent mission. She offers Tatsumi to join them but he is still in a dilemma over his mission to join the imperial capital. Bulat was once from the imperial capital’s military. He thinks it is better to eliminate evil rather than working for the corrupt. But will killing all the baddies change the world? Najenda explains of the Revolutionary Army that is the main group against the imperial capital. Due to their sheer size, they need a smaller group to carry out covert operations. Night Raid is that small group. Tatsumi gets his hopes up thinking they kill in the name of justice but the rest laugh at it because no matter what, they are still committing murder. There is no justice in that. To start Tatsumi’s training, he is put under the care of Akame. Well, cooking and getting its ingredients can be a form of training. Leone gets a requested from a woman of a village who is terrorized by the merchant Gamal and Ogre the swordsman. They even framed people and execute them to cover up their corrupted ways. Tatsumi wants to finish those guys now but they caution him of talking big. Despite he made his first kill, that was out of hatred. Is he saying he can kill any time without hesitation? Akame warns him that his arrogance will cause his death. Leone and Akame easily take out Gamal while Tatsumi goes up to Ogre under pretence of wanting to join his army. Just when he thinks Ogre’s guard is lowered, Tatsumi strikes. But Ogre also could tell he is bluffing although he gets a big cut across his stomach. That scratch won’t be enough to kill him. Ogre continues belittling him and how he is superior to others. When he blurts out his future plan of framing others and the likes, this riles up Tatsumi about such selfish people. In his rage, Tatsumi kills Ogre. He vows to eradicate the world of such people. When Tatsumi returns to report his success, Akame suddenly strips him! She checks his body to look for wounds and is glad he doesn’t have any. A friend of hers died because he was too proud to report his wounds. Akame passes him. Tatsumi learns that she was hard on him during his training was because she doesn’t want him to die. But that is not the end of his training yet. Because Najenda assigns him to Mine next.

Theatre 2: Leone’s cooking looks horrible. Is this even edible? Well, Akame gives the thumbs up! Leone even saved his portion. Here goes… Hey! It isn’t that bad after all! And what do you know? He sees his dead body on the floor. You don’t even know you’re a ghost now…

Episode 3
Some bandit group has discovered Night Raid’s base. Everyone engages the enemy and eliminate them without hesitation. No mercy. Not even if you’re a girl. As Tatsumi waits for Mine, she still isn’t here and is told to go wake her up. Apparently he didn’t know about knocking so he enters her room to see her changing… Is it no surprise she wants to blast a hole through him. Too bad for the wall… Tatsumi becomes Mine’s lackey as they go around the capital (her face is not on the wanted posters like Akame, Najenda, Sheele and Bulat). She shows him the harsh reality where people have this sad looks on their face. They also stop a couple of punks harassing a little girl. Mine doesn’t want her thanks and tells her to learn to protect herself. So what it seems like a date outing between them before Mine reminds him she is the boss. She is on top and he is below. I hope there aren’t any sexual innuendoes here. They see a public execution of people being crucified. It is believed the current cabinet minister did this and without remorse. Meanwhile, a minister under the emperor, Shoui is sentenced to death for speaking out against his policies. He tries to warn the emperor that he is being deceived by Honest but since the kid views he is never wrong, that is the end of him. Najenda tells her team of a new mission to assassinate Iokal, a distant relative of Honest. He kidnaps women and beats them to death. Tatsumi wonders if Mine can hit her target because Iokal has a large entourage surrounding him. She might hit innocent people. Don’t be such a pessimist. Mine isn’t a genius sniper for nothing. A shot directly into his head from a distance. The guards go in search of the assassins. Mine takes this chance to tell Tatsumi about her past. Since she is half foreigner, people used to bully her. It was a tragic childhood. Because the Revolutionary Army is allies with the western foreigners, once they take over and open up the borders, others won’t go through like what she did. Also, she’ll get rich and live the luxury life while at it. Akame and the rest take out the guards but realize one is missing. That one almost kills Mine but Tatsumi was fast enough to save her. He holds him down and believes in her genius sniping to take him out. And no, not because he wants to die for her. Mine puts a hold in his chest but this has Tatsumi furious because that shot glided over his hair and is disappointed she isn’t genius sniper like he thought. They quarrel but the rest are glad they are safe and are getting along well.

Theatre 3: Leone is furious that they are having hotspring fanservice in this section. How can you call it fanservice when everyone is in chibi form? How is this appealing? Here is a realistic Bulat in his naked form… Okay! Enough of that! Leone tries to bounce her boobs to get us stimulated. Lubbock got baited by the temptation and is kicked away into the mouth of a Danger Beast.

Episode 4
Zank the Beheader is back and beheading random people at night. He was the imperial’s execution head and used to behead people. It became a habit that he started killing others to satisfy his urge. He disappeared when a punitive squad was formed but is now back. However he is an Imperial Arms user. As Najenda explains to Tatsumi, a thousand years ago the king was worried about his legacy so he created 48 weapons from Danger Beasts and rare metals. All retainers received them and made them very powerful. But a civil war 500 years made scattered some of them throughout the land. She explains each one of the Night Raid members’ Imperial Arms and its abilities. Thanks to the immense power of these Imperials Arms, when both users clash, it will result in one of them dying. As Night Raid goes out to hunt Zank, Tatsumi goes take a piss but sees Sayo. He follows her and cannot believe she is alive. It turns out to be an illusion from Zank. One of his Imperial Arms’ ability is to read the thoughts of others. Whatever Tatsumi does, Zank is always a step ahead. He knows what he is going to do even if it is just a bluff. Tatsumi’s bravery could only get him so far but thankfully he didn’t get beheaded. Because now it is time for Akame to jump in and take over. Zank can also read her thoughts and even if she blanks her mind, Zank can still read her muscle movements. He goes on ranting the voices he hears in his head of those he executed, telling him to join them in hell. However Akame heard no such voices. He is disappointed and thought they could relate. He then reads her heart and puts up an illusion of the person she loves most, Kurome. Thinking she will not be able to strike the person she loves, to his surprise she did just that. How come? She loves her enough to kill her! Zank realizes his blades are breaking and needs to end this quickly. But Akame is faster and after they shatter, she cuts his throat. The voices in his head stop and he couldn’t be more grateful to her. Tatsumi wonders who she saw but she will only tell him when the time is right. She lets him know that everyone in Night Raid is important to her. Including him.

Theatre 4: Lubbock hosts a TV shopping channel trying to sell Murasame, Akame’s sword. He will only sell this free to women provided if they give their photo, 3 sizes and contact number. Mine shoots him.

Episode 5
Tatsumi dreams that Sayo and Ieyasu are saying goodbye forever. Today he will be under Sheele. But can she be reliable as she is blind as a bat without her glasses. Not only that, Sheele reveals she is clumsy and a klutz in normal chores. Her flashback reveals she was never good at anything and often ridiculed. But she had a friend who never belittled her. One day, her ex-boyfriend high on drugs resented her for leaving him and strangled her. Without hesitation, Sheele takes the knife and slit his throat. Her mind was calm but her friend was obviously shaken. That was the last time she saw her. A few days later, that guy’s men came for revenge and killed her parents. Again, Sheele was calm and killed them all. She realized that she is good in taking out trash and it was something she could do. She was a freelance assassin before joining the Revolutionary Army. Najenda gives Tatsumi Zank’s Imperial Arms. He uses one of its abilities to see through clothes! Wow! However he loses strength and it is a sign it rejected him. Najenda will hand it over to the Revolutionary Army to research it further. Tatsumi is given a book on the Imperial Arms and told to learn as many as he can since it is part of their job as Night Raid to collect them. Asking for the strongest Imperial Arms, Najenda personally feels it is the one that controls ice. Numa Seika is the hero of the northern race and wields it. They are a threat to the imperial capital and as they speak, an army has been arranged to subdue it.

Tatsumi is excited because he believes that one of them may have the ability to resurrect his friends. However they dash his dreams because in the end you only have one life. The king is proof of this when he created Imperial Arms to leave behind a legacy. They warn Tatsumi to give up on this or it will hold him back and kill him. Tatsumi is disappointed so Sheele allows him to cry in her arms. She’ll keep this a secret. Meanwhile General Esdeath has subdued the northern race and even turned Numa into a naked obedient dog licking her feet! She feels disappointed there is nobody stronger. News that several generals have defected to the Revolutionary Army. The emperor calls for calm since it will be easier to attack them all once they’re gathered. Of course for Honest, the bigger problem is traitors closer to them because his close aides, relatives and even Zank have been killed. He suggests recalling Esdeath to return and eliminate the traitors. Tatsumi follows Leone to town. Because a group of people want her to pay her tabs, they run and this causes them to be separated. Tatsumi meets Seryu Ubiquitous of the imperial police. He notices her strange dog, Koro but she explains that it is an Imperial Arms that somehow only she is compatible with. Don’t worry, it won’t attack those who are good. They part ways after leading him back to the main road. Seems Seryu is a disciple under Ogre and she wants revenge on Night Raid for killing him. She has a strong sense of justice and wants to rid evil but that evil has killed her master. She’ll never forgive Night Raid.

Theatre 5: Sheele loses her glasses (again) and wants Leone to help pick one from her spare box. She has got so many so does it matter? Well, different glasses design give about different character… Unknown to Leone, there is a pair of glasses caught underneath her boobs and a ghost hand is going to retrieve it…

Episode 6
Leone and Tatsumi are in a red light district. But it’s to have fun. They’re going to kill those drug dealers who have been drugging prostitutes and make them continue to work for them. Those who are broken and addicted too much will be disposed and replaced. And indeed it is a bloody affair with their torsos split in half. Mission accomplished. Though it is not their responsibility to look after the prostitutes, Leone knows a doctor from the slums who can treat them. Mine and Sheele are done in their mission killing another drug dealer. However they are ambushed by Seryu. She is glad to have finally meet Night Raid and is going to serve them absolute justice. Her obsession in this might have just made her face broken… She’s really bent on getting her revenge. With Koro as her absolute offence and defence, it seems it can regenerate no matter what damage taken. As it is a biological type Imperial Arms, as long they don’t destroy the core, it will regenerate. Sheele tries to kill Seryu. To avoid a fatal blow, Seryu sacrifices her arms. Although she has modified body parts as weapons, Sheele is able to avoid. Seryu uses her last resort to turn Koro into a monster dog and crush Mine. Sheele cuts off its arms to save her. However Sheele got shot by a hidden gun inside Seryu’s mouth. She gets devoured by Koro. Holy cow! She died?! Sheele makes one last move to allow Mine to escape as imperial police reinforcements have arrived. And when you’re at the last leg of your life, you see all the happy times, right? Indeed, those were happy times in Night Raid. It is where she belongs. In the aftermath, Seryu continues to be broken and happy she has defeated one of the evils. Mine breaks the sad news to everyone. Shock. Despair. Anger. Tatsumi wants to know who did this and get revenge. However he gets punched by Bulat for being disgraceful. Running in without a plan will hasten his death. Everyone knew what they were up to when they joined Night Raid. Even him. Najenda views Sheele’s death not in vain because now the capital should understand it takes Imperial Arms users to fight one. This means more chances to fight and collect them.

Theatre 6: Esdeath is not amused how her men torture others. She solves it all by freezing everything. Everyone is enlightened by her sadistic soul. WTF.

Episode 7
Esdeath has returned from her conquest as the emperor rewards her with gold. He wants to give her more so is there anything specific she wants? She wants to fall in love. Did I just hear that right?! However she is a picky person and will have a list of the kind of person she wants to fall in love with up. Tatsumi sees Akame holding a snack. It is supposed to be Sheele’s favourite. Her name probably won’t be written in the Revolutionary Army’s records so she’ll do as much as she can to remember her as she is the kindest of the lot. Tatsumi is impressed she is this calm but that is when she loses it and snaps back at him. Of course she is in pain. It is unbearable. She has to act calm because it will affect their next mission. Tatsumi is shock to see this reaction. He realizes being miserable won’t bring her back. He needs to move forward. And by that he means punching his own face? So he trains hard under Akame and Bulat to be stronger. Elsewhere, a politician visits a poor country and intends to go against Honest. However his convoy is confronted by Esdeath’s loyal subordinates, Daidara, Liver and Nyau who are known collectively as The Three Beasts. They killed everybody! Then they scatter posters of Night Raid around. Najenda reveals the bad news that Esdeath is back and wants Leone to go the capital and observe her. Also, there has been a spate of murders of politicians opposing Honest and it seems posters of Night Raid were found at the scene. This is a blatant attempt to frame them and Esdeath’s subordinates are believed to be doing this to lure them into a trap. Of course they can’t sit back and let their name be sullied.

Since there are 2 potential politicians targeted, the team is split to Akame-Lubbock and Tatsumi-Bulat. The former team has no suspicious movement on their part so which means the latter’s team might run into trouble. On this extravagant Chinese ship, Bulat explains this Imperial Arms armour, Incursio he is using is like a partner. He used it to fight in the south. A general he admired got dismissed. Although he did nothing wrong, he went to the capital to defend himself albeit it all fall on deaf ears. Bulat was made the scapegoat but he escaped. Leone knows it is tempting to strike Esdeath who is alone. However she knows it is a trap and could feel her evil aura. She feels scared and follows her guts to retreat. Good move because Esdeath was waiting for that chance. Tatsumi suddenly feels weak after hearing the sound of the flute (played by Nyau). Everyone else collapses but as he heads outside, he is confronted with Daidara who fights to gain experience so he can be stronger. Tatsumi almost falls for his boomerang axe bait when Bulat beats him up for that. Is this time to joke? Anyway Bulat wounded himself to avoid the flute’s hypnotism. As they attack, Liver and Nyau also simultaneously attack. However all in that single moment, Bulat kicks the old guy and vampire kid away and slices Daidara in half! So awesome that Tatsumi is just dumbfounded. Then he realizes who Liver is. Isn’t that his ex-general? Why am I not surprised?

Theatre 7: Tatsumi and Bulat are exploring the Chinese ship but Bulat is more interested in looking at his ass… The attacks by The Three Beasts narrowly misses Tatsumi but Bulat dismisses them as some sort of performance.

Episode 8
Liver swore his loyalty to Esdeath since she saved him. While the power battle between Bulat and Liver rages on, Tatsumi takes on Nyau. Liver’s ultimate move isn’t enough to kill Bulat and could have been done for had not Nyau intervened. What happened to Tatsumi? That wuss lost. He is still alive, though. But Bulat is impressed since he can hold his own against an Imperial Arms user. With Liver and Bulat using up their energy and can’t use their Imperial Arms, Liver wants Bulat to join Esdeath. He refuses because Bulat considers himself defender of the people. Working for Esdeath means working alongside Honest. Since it’s come to that, Liver injects some vile into his own neck and they continue their power punches. They don’t look injured to be this fast, do they? When Liver uses his ultimate blood squirting technique, Bulat could sense something is wrong and took evasive action although he still got hit by some. His blood contains poison from that vile and Liver laments this last ditch technique didn’t work. Liver’s final words are the reasons he joined Esdeath because he idolized her, the way she expunged his fears and insecurities. Bulat is weakening from the poison but it’s not over yet since Nyau plays his flute to turn his skinny self into a macho dude. I don’t know, he looks funny like this. Bulat lends Tatsumi his Incursio to fight but Nyau plays it down that anybody random holding an Imperial Arms will die and wouldn’t risk it. Bulat punches Tatsumi for listening to the enemy. Remember his training. He is more qualified to use it. So when Tatsumi uses it, it seems Incursio that was made by some super Danger Beast starts evolving itself to fit him. Nyau thought of striking first but Tatsumi’s single power punch sends his body splattered all bloodily over the wall. Bulat is glad he is already this strong and will surpass him. He closes his eyes as Tatsumi apologizes for doing stupid things to earn his punch. He promises to grow stronger and learn how to use it. So it’s okay if he cries all his heart out now. Meanwhile Kurome sitting on a pile of corpses is eating her snacks. She receives word to return to the capital because she has been chosen as one of the 6 to form a new organization.

Theatre 8: In this twisted folktale version of Momotarou whereby Esdeath is the titular character, she owns and dominates everybody! Nobody can rule over her! When Honest opens one of the boxes from spoils of her victory, it contains lots of glasses.

Episode 9
Mine is now well and wants to help train. But she’s too late because the girls are already helping the guys train especially with Tatsumi who is determined to train and become stronger. Najenda is going to the Revolutionary Army’s base to return Imperial Arms for research and also to find new recruits. Tatsumi apologizes for being weak as Bulat’s death but Najenda wants him to be proud because he survived the onslaught of the Three Beasts. In the mean time, Akame is to take charge. Wave makes his debut at the capital and is full of confidence although everyone around sees him as some country bumpkin. In the conference room, his confidence takes a dip when he sees a weirdo sitting there. Is Bols a masked wrestler? Awfully quiet and sitting there staring at him. Oh sh*t… Kurome comes in next and Wave thinks she is normal. She won’t let him have her snacks. Not normal. Is lively Seryu normal? She’s scattering a rose path for Dr Stylish who claims he is a man of etiquette. Oh, he might be gay because he hints he likes Wave. Wave is already giving up by the time Run enters but surprisingly this pretty boy is normal! Thank goodness! Even more shocking is that Bols serve them tea and admits he is a shy person although he is from the incineration squad. Esdeath comes in wearing a mask and immediately attacks them. Nobody is able to stand up to them till Kurome cuts her mask with her Imperial Arms sword, Yatsufusa. Everyone recognizes her. She calls their new group Jaegars as they will be a special police force hunting down traitors. Noting that there is a spare Imperial Arms (Sheele’s scissors), she decides to put it to the test or else Honest will claim it if nobody does.

Now that Mine’s face is up in the wanted posters, only Tatsumi, Lubbock and Leone can run free within the capital. Learning about the formation of Jaegars, Tatsumi wonders how powerful Esdeath is. They explain an expedition to the south to eliminate some tribe who opposed them. The capital thought it was easy victory but the land was too intense to make headway and the tribes attack at every opportunity. Till Esdeath was sent. Najenda was also part of her group. With Esdeath running amok, she even insulted the tribesmen by not killing them and letting some live. Because she wants them to get stronger and kill her. Najenda had her conscious and felt she can’t be among these people who enjoy such savagery. Esdeath intends to have more rebellions and prolong the war she enjoys so much. Besides, there is a martial arts tournament organized by her. Meanwhile the emperor and Honest are going through Esdeath’s strict list for the person she wants to love. I don’t think many will pass the first requirement. Esdeath is bored during the tournament. Everyone is too boring. Till the last match that pits Tatsumi and some bull guy. After what he has gone through, this is nothing as Tatsumi easily subdues him without much effort. At that moment, Esdeath is attracted to him, especially with that sweet smile (one of her requirements). She goes down to meet him personally and is going to hand him the prize. She puts a collar and leash on his neck, claiming that she belongs to him now and knocks him out to take him to her room! Lubbock and Leone are shock and report back to Akame. They aren’t sure if Esdeath has found out he is part of Night Raid. But for now they have to move their base further into the mountains. They can’t rush in to save him and need a plan.

Theatre 9: Honest is running an interview for the Jaeger recruits. However all of them are so weird that it scares him off. Finally when Run comes, he is disappointed this pretty boy is male. Not a single one who is normal…

Episode 10
Tatsumi is not only Esdeath’s lover but Jaeger’s reserve member. He is taken to see Jaegers in action and they’re pretty brutal in their methods, slaughtering all the resistance fighters. Since Esdeath wants to personally train him, he thinks she has a soft side and wants to convince her tonight. He didn’t expect to end up in her bed… After getting Esdeath to assure she loves him (that kiss says it all?), he asks that he is unhappy with the current situation in the capital. He is thinking of joining the resistance army when Esdeath slaps him. She assures she will always protect him, including his family as well as her promise to not take on any other lover. However she cannot understand the feelings of the weak and believes in the survival of the fittest principal. Tatsumi tells her she should change her outlook if she loves him but on the contrary she says it is he who will change. He excuses himself to go take a shower but is warned not to escape or she’ll kill him. She remembers introducing Tatsumi to Jaegers and asked if the rest has a significant other. Surprisingly Bols is married as he gives her advice never to give up, etc. She’s taking those notes down seriously. Tatsumi learns that Kurome is Akame’s sister and the reason she wants to meet her is so that she could kill her. As part of Esdeath’s plan to impress Tatsumi, she is going to hunt Danger Beasts in the mountains. She splits the team with herself pairing with Kurome and Tatsumi with Wave.

Tatsumi and Wave are attacked by some tree Danger Beasts. Although the menace is quelled, Tatsumi uses this chance to escape in Incursio. Wave realizes Esdeath will kill him for this so he too dons his Imperials Arms armour and goes in search of him. When the armoured guys come into contact, Wave believes this guy is a Night Raid member, not knowing Tatsumi is underneath it. Wave calls Night Raid evil and Tatsumi is upset, tempted to fight back but he needs to remain cool and escape. Tatsumi takes a blow in his stomach. Wave thought he escaped down the river but Tatsumi was just being invisible where he is. His armour wears out and just his bad luck that a Danger Beast is going to eat him. Akame cuts it down and Akame is glad to have him back. Wave is punished for not only having Tatsumi go missing but a Night Raid member escape as well. She gives him one more chance and if he fails again, she will administer the punishment herself. Run wonders what will she do if Tatsumi becomes their enemy. Even now, she is still in love with him. She believes he is strong enough to survive and will meet again. Then, he will not resist her feelings. Tatsumi reports back Jaeger’s strength to his comrades. Akame now knows Kurome is there. When Akame fled the capital, she wanted her sister to come along but she chose to stay. In her eyes, Akame is a traitor. As for Esdeath, although she is on a different level, Akame believes she still has a weakness. As long as she has a heart that beats, she will take her down. Meanwhile Dr Stylish who has suspected Tatsumi from the start has his army of enhanced humans trace his steps back to Night Raid’s base.

Theatre 10: A commercial on the promotion of Incursio toy… Najenda seems to be replaying it so Leone believes she really wants it in which she admits. Little did she know that Leone bought it in advance and is hiding it in her under boob.

Episode 11
I guess Tatsumi’s homecoming party was too much that everyone passed out. Leone tried to wash her face at the pool but a guy stabs her knife in the face! Dr Stylish’s S&M foot soldiers begin their full assault with Akame taking on Toby who has blades and guns in almost every part of his body. With a little help from Lubbock, they win of course. Tatsumi fights Kaku but what makes him angry is the fact Kaku is in possession of Sheele’s scissors. Not as angry as Mine, thought. Kaku thought he could withstand her blast. He thought wrong. Bye-bye big guy. Mine is happy to have the scissors back in possession. The guy who killed Leone is aiming for Mine but Leone beats him up. He thought his hidden knives could take her out but she grabs them by her teeth! That is how she survived the surprise attack. Now he’s a goner. Dr Stylish is losing men and foot soldiers fast but he is not worried as he has many human experiments as soldiers. Besides, he is here to test out the compatibility of Imperial Arms and collect data. Najenda returns by riding a tamed manta ray Danger Beast and she has brought back a couple of new recruits. As Night Raid reunites, all members go paralyze due to Dr Stylish’s poison in the wind except Tatsumi (because he is wearing Incursio). It is time for newbie, Susanoo to do his job. With a club with spinning blades, he rips through the foot soldiers like paper! Dr Stylish detonates all the bombs inside the foot soldiers. Susanoo still stands and all his limbs regenerate. It dawned to him that Susanoo is a living Imperial Arms. Once Najenda has located Dr Stylish, she orders Susanoo to eliminate him. Dr Stylish injects a serum into himself and turns into a gigantic monster. He then eats his remaining foot soldiers to grow stronger. Tatsumi carrying Akame as well as Mine’s gun help Susanoo fight him. Eventually Akame’s sword cuts through his core and the mad scientist is left with dying regret that he wanted to do more human experiments. This is bad luck? I thought he got karma.

Theatre 11: Tatsumi and Lubbock plan to climb the stairs of adulthood by visiting a girl’s bar. However greeting them is Dr Stylish in a cheongsam and his merry gay men. They are so screwed…

Episode 12
Najenda brings her team to the mountains where they will train and make their new base. She introduces the newbies, Susanoo (neat freak) and Chelsea (she loves pissing off Mine and bribes Akame with her candy). She has Susanoo demonstrate his abilities. He chops wood, creates the base, cleans and cooks! He’s great to have household chores! Esdeath deduces Dr Stylish is dead instead of ran away because his lab equipment is left behind and all his soldiers are missing. This greatly affects Seryu who looked up to him as a supporting figure. She is sad that he is dead so Esdeath gives her an assuring hug. Tatsumi can’t believe the Revolutionary Army could give Susanoo to Najenda. Actually he was inactive and only responded when Najenda was around. She thinks it is her charm. Susanoo says she reminds her of his old master which is male instead. A cute kitten starts sucking up to Mine. Taken in by its cuteness, the cat then steals her cake and she turns out to be Chelsea. Her Imperial Arms allow her to change into anything. I think these 2 are going to hate each other. Tatsumi and Leone fight Danger Beasts as training as Leone notices Tatsumi has powered up that he is closely resembling Bulat. Najenda asks for Chelsea’s opinion of the team. She admits they are better than her former team but strength alone won’t ensure their survival. She read their records and how they lost a couple of members. She notes they are failures as assassins and if they want to survive, they must change their carefree attitude. This doesn’t sit well with some of them for badmouthing their friends so Mine wants the guys to teach her a lesson. Lubbock comes up with an idea for Tatsumi to become invisible and splash water while she is bathing. Of course he is using her to test if she is the type who gets mad when peeked at. Tatsumi uses Incursio’s invisibility but as he closes in, he sees Susanoo in the bath. Did he get the wrong bath? Susanoo says although he is invisible, he could sense his presence. Tatsumi thanks him for that great advice and will remember it in battle. Susanoo then changes into Chelsea. She knew he was there all along since deception is her skill and it would be unwise to think he could best her. She adds her cruel analysis of the team was because she doesn’t want to lose anyone here. She recently lost her entire team. Tatsumi is glad she is thinking about everyone and thinks she is also naïve. She splashes the water at him and warns if he peeps the next time, she’ll cut it off! Esdeath has this unsettled feeling in her heart. Is it because she misses Tatsumi or is a final battle looming? Run has some ulterior motive and is keeping an eye on her. Finally, the first deaths of this episode. Miners are being eaten alive by some Danger Beast and a mad guy getting his hands on some toy in which he will enjoy to the fullest.

Theatre 12: Another shopping channel with Lubbock as he has Chelsea demonstrate her Imperial Arms. He has her turn into the ladies of Night Raid and saying embarrassing things they normally won’t. And when they find out, they beat the crap out of him.

Episode 13
The emperor is impressed with Jaegars that they are keeping the rebels in the capital down and thus Night Raid has remained out of sight. Though, he laments he still can’t find a suitable man for Esdeath. Rest assured, she is still passionate in getting Tatsumi back. Honest has Esdeath on a mission. There are new Danger Beasts that closely resemble like humans, barging their way into homes and devouring people. He would like her to get rid of the menace but save some for him alive to experiment. Wave is sad that people judge Bols by his looks (is he any different?) but Bols says he is not a good guy like Wave said because he has killed many despite it was part of his job. Therefore those scornful reactions are punishment. Even more surprising are his beautiful wife and daughter showing up and they know about his past and continue to give him support. Susanoo is helping Tatsumi the finer points in fighting when Akame tells them of an emergency meeting. They are to take out those new Danger Beasts while moving to their new hideout. Najenda adds their numbers have been increasing and despite the capital is struggling to contain them, this time only they will help the capital eradicate them. Chelsea thought of leaving it to Jaegers to deal with it but Tatsumi still believes in his ideal to side with the people. All that coolness went down the drain because his fly is unzipped! Run talks to Esdeath about the new Danger Beasts. It seems they were once humans. Could it be Dr Stylish experimenting them in hidden lab? But he is away too long and if he was the one behind this, their numbers should be limited instead of increasing. Or there could be an Imperial Arms using responsible for this. More importantly, did those things escaped on their own or did someone release them? While Tatsumi patrols with Lubbock, he learns the latter was the son of a wealthy merchant and got everything he wanted easily. He was bored with the world. Till he saw Najenda and it was love at first sight. He joined the imperial army just for that reason and also the same reason he followed her to Night Raid. Of course he made sure the records stated said he is dead and everything. He vows to win her heart one day. But first he has to stop peeking at women bathing, right? Tatsumi heads up to the summit to have a better look of the area. Esdeath happened to be taking a night stroll. She thought she saw somebody below and it would be better if this was a Danger Beast to take out her frustration. What do you know? It’s Tatsumi! Holy sh*t! Not the moment he wants to reunite with her. Bad timing has powerful Danger Beasts appearing. But Esdeath cuts them all in one strike! So much about using them as distraction and running away.

Theatre 13: Najenda shows her new hideout. It looks cool as it is activating-cum-transforming. Hmm… Does it feel like some sentai show? Tatsumi is launched into the sky. And his fly is open…

Episode 14
Esdeath is so glad to see him and won’t let him go again. Tatsumi lies he was training to become stronger. She senses somebody hiding nearby and out this mysterious guy comes. He wants them to clean up some ‘big toy’ and uses his Imperial Arms to teleport them to a deserted island. Tatsumi thought this is an illusion and wants Esdeath to hit him to wake up. She kisses him! Everything is real. I’m sure Esdeath would love this date only to be interrupted by a giant Danger Beast that resembles like the one Dr Stylish became. Esdeath thought she could impress him but Tatsumi nails the first one before Esdeath herself gets a chance to drop some giant ice comet on the second. So these are the big toys they’re supposed to clean up? As they explore the island, it feels like a date (at least to her). Esdeath knows where this island is and is the farthest from the capital. She thinks she knows a way of returning. Observing that guy’s Imperial Arms, seems it is limited and such. It is concluded they can return once he opens the gate back here again. But now it is time for more flirting. Tatsumi uses this chance to get to know more about her and hopes to make her change her mind and join him. Esdeath was from a tribe that hunts Danger Beasts in the north. She learnt about life that the strong lives and the weak perish. One day when she returned from her hunt, her entire tribe was eliminated by another. She accepted they lost because they were weak. She continued hunting herself and when Danger Beasts became scarce, she moved to the capital and slowly it shifted to killing humans.

Wanting to see her Imperial Arms, it is a mark on her chest. When Honest wanted to give her an Imperial Arms, none seem to fit her. She noticed an urn containing the blood of some Danger Beast. Many who drank it became insane instead of getting its ice power. Esdeath dares take up the challenge as she felt it was calling her. She drank the entire urn and suddenly heard voices telling her to kill and destroy. As she was already this crazy, she won’t be subdued and takes control of it. Learning that Esdeath’s affinity for torture was way before this and her hobby, Tatsumi realizes it is hopeless to change her. That mysterious guy activates some portal and he hints he is Honest’s son who will someday surpass him. As Esdeath is trying to catch a Danger Beast to ride back home, a portal opens. Tatsumi thinks of sneaking in but feels bad for leaving Esdeath alone since she helped take care of him. He calls out to her but heads in first. They return right to that summit. Esdeath is stumped that Tatsumi is not around. She thinks he has been transported to a different place. She feels sad to be separated again and wonders if they’ll meet again. Actually, Tatsumi is using Incursio to become invisible. He can’t move or else Esdeath will sense his presence and will wait for her till she is gone. Now that he has realized she cannot be changed, the next time they meet, it will be as enemies.

Theatre 14: Tatsumi and Esdeath alone on the deserted island but with a dating simulation twist! I don’t think his options are any much of an option either. Because anyhow he chooses, Esdeath always gets what she wants on him. And the final sexy moment where all the choices are only “Take her on!”. Tatsumi cannot escape or quit! NOOOOO!!! Happy ending?

Episode 15
Chelsea just killed another rich ruthless bastard seconds before Jaegars came in. Thanks to her Imperial Arms, she managed not to be detected. Najenda has Night Raid assemble for a mission. The Revolutionary Army will be making its first move to bring down the capital. There is a religious group called Path of Peace gaining popularity among the people. They are going to use this chance for the uprising. Tatsumi is against it because this means many people will die. Najenda adds that with Esdeath in charge, strong organizations will still be no match and be suppressed anyway. The Revolutionary Army has allied with the western tribe and they will raid the capital. As there are many guard towers that stand in their way, because some of the soldiers are unhappy (being demoted, etc), they have been bribed and so advancing through to the capital will be easier. Once they get in, Akame will kill Honest. Swiftness is the key to their plan. But Path of Peace as the crucial key is currently unstable. Although their leader is charismatic, his advisor, Bolic is actually a spy from the capital sent to quell the uprising. Night Raid’s job is to take Bolic out. Esdeath summons her Jaegers as they move out. She senses Night Raid might be putting up a trap because they have been spotted on the outskirts of the capital. It is like as though they are purposely trying to be seen and even split into groups. She splits her group to take out Night Right. Wave, Kurome and Bols are riding along the canyon when they see a strange scarecrow in the middle. Definitely a trap. Mine snipes at them but Kurome’s super human reflex dodges it. Susanoo bursts out from the scarecrow to attack her but Wave blocks it and is sent flying away. The rest of Night Raid appears and they realize Esdeath’s group was a decoy. The sisters prepare to face off but Najenda realizes her gamble and plan is useless because Yatsufusa is able to control dead corpses and become Kurome’s puppet. Even this dead skeletal Danger Beast.

Theatre 15: Seryu teaches us what to do when confronted with assassins. Don’t beg for your life or give in to them or run away. Blast them to smithereens with no mercy!

Episode 16
Kurome even has a dead former friend and comrade, Natala fighting by her side as a corpse. I don’t know. The few other warrior corpses she summons to fight Night Raid, they look pretty fresh for a corpse, don’t they? While Susanoo handles the Danger Beast, Mine takes on gunslinger Doya, Tatsumi against Apeman and Hentarr, Akame fights Bols and Woll while it is Leone versus Rokgough. Natala stands guard by Kurome as she watches. Leone let her guard down and lost her left arm when Kurome strikes in swift fashion. She is told to go support Akame while she wants to face Rokgough, her former comrade. Merely stabbing the corpses won’t do anything good so they have to cut them into bits to immobilize them. After Najenda is done with Rokgough, she helps Susanoo and allows him to use a secret technique. This means absorbing her life force to turn into some badass God and reflect the Danger Beast’s landscape changing blast and slice it in half. Tatsumi gets help from Chelsea who impersonates as Hentarr’s ex-comrade to sneakily take him out. Tatsumi is able to finish Apeman himself. After Mine finishes Doya, she is eaten by a hidden giant corpse frog. Its stomach acid can dissolve everything. However Mine blasts through it and climbs out. Tatsumi, Najenda and Susanoo come to her aid but Kurome will kill them all at once. Akame and Leone team up to fight Bols and Woll. Bols is focusing too much on Akame after she has immobilized Woll so Leone thought she could attack him. However Woll had a hidden weapon and shot through her hand. Bols turns his attention to Leone but she manages to bite off part of his Imperial Arms. Now that it is useless, Bols is going to destroy everything by detonating his giant canister. Is there an atomic bomb inside it?!

Theatre 16: Wave when he was young saw a mecha toy advertisement and wants mom to buy it but she won’t since she doesn’t have money. Wave went to sleep sad but the next morning he is happy that mom left a present by his side. Unfortunately it turns out to be an action figure of Bols! Why can it contort into S&M positions? This suck… Thanks anyway, mom…

Episode 17
Kurome escapes thinking she has no chance if Bols is dead. Leone protects Akame with some shield that I personally think looks flimsy. However Bols is very much alive and somehow escaped. He remembers Esdeath asking why he prepares meals for them but refuses to join in. Thinking he fears them seeing his face, she unmasks him but is disappointed of his ‘normal’ face. She orders him to join them. Bols meets an injured girl and treats her. However this is Chelsea in disguise as she sticks a needle in his back. This girl is one of those he killed as suspected grounds of joining the Revolutionary Army. Bols knew such retribution would come but he wants to also get back to his family waiting. Unfortunately he couldn’t. Chelsea then copies his form and will go take out Kurome. She wants Lubbock to report back to Najenda and request for reinforcements. It might be dangerous but she can’t let Kurome regain her full strength and control puppets. They might not win the next time. As Kurome rests and eats her snacks, she remembers she and Akame were one of the hundreds of children kidnapped to be trained as assassins. Of course other kids fell like flies and they were the part of the 7 who made it out alive. Because they don’t want the siblings to rely too much on each other, they were separated. As Kurome was the weakest, she was given some sort of drug. When Lubbock returns and reports, Najenda orders Tatsumi and Akame to go support Chelsea. She has now met up with Kurome but will wait for the right moment to kill her. Just as she starts weakening (because she has not eat enough of the snacks), Chelsea takes the chance to stick a needle in the back of her neck. Mission accomplished. Chelsea remembers of wanting to work her way up but realizes her employer is corrupted and hunts humans for sport. She discovered an Imperial Arms in his basement and learns it was sealed because nobody could use it. She took it as her own and killed him. She thought of using this ability to restore the world into a better place. But she is in for a shock when Kurome revives. She likes like a scary mad ghost! I’m not sure what super drug they inject her but she says if you want to kill her, you must either destroy her heart or decapitate her. Although she is feeling the strain, she sends Natala and Doya to hunt her down. Chelsea has her arm slashed off and shot in the gut! She thinks this is her retribution. So much about getting praised when she returns. Her last thoughts are about Tatsumi. Speaking of him, he thought Chelsea might have accomplished her mission and returned to base and just missed them on the way back. As he checks around town, he sees a crowd gathering near a square. To his horror, it is Chelsea’s head sticking on a pole! HOLY SH*T!!! CHELSEA, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Theatre 17: Lubbock tells everyone a scary story in his puppet theatre. Tatsumi and Mine enter a haunted house. Tatsumi’s girly screams sound so weird. The scariest thing they meet at the end is Bols. Everyone feel cheated of this unscary and incomplete story and beats Lubbock up.

Episode 18
Tatsumi is still reeling from Chelsea’s death but he needs to put it together because they are now here at Path of Peace’s base for their mission. Jaegers are also here and meet Bolic who introduces the Four Rakshasa Demons that Honest hired and sent to him for protection. These are assassins trained to gain full control of every part of their body and do not use any Imperial Arms. Wave notices Kurome is still weak and regrets not being there at the crucial moment. He wants to take her off the mission but Kurome won’t allow it for fear of being disposed. This is not her purpose. If she is to die, might as well die in battle. Akame meets up with a few allies to confirm a secret entrance to Bolic’s basement. However they are taken out by Rakshasa’s Ibara. Time to fight. She tricks him into taking Murasame and because the cursed sword is not compatible with him, she takes this chance to slice him up. Run makes a futile surprise attack on her but he is only here as reconnaissance and has gained great insights on Murasame’s abilities. Meanwhile, Lubbock is spying around but they can’t fool Mez and Sten as they attack him. Lubbock plays dead and his attackers would have left him alone had not they pick on the girl spy Lubbock was supposed to meet. He gets up and fights them with his flashy wire moves but this is just a distraction so his ally could run away. Once done, he also runs away but Sten won’t allow it and goes after him. He gets trapped in his wire trap as it completely crushes his heart. He might have trained every body part but he never trained his heart to be that strong, right? Now Lubbock gets trapped in Mez’s sweat trap and takes a direct hit. One more blow and he is dead. However a retractable wire knife trick turns the tables and he kills her. Tatsumi and Mine are staking out. So peaceful that they got time to argue. They are met with the founder of the Path of Peace, The Lord who believes they should confess to each other and become a couple instead of fighting. Yeah well, this only increases their heated argument and vehement protest. Bolic is about to do some ‘special ritual’ (sex) on an admirer who has been ‘chosen’ (she’s cute) to be his ‘noble disciple’ (sex slave) when he receives bad news that 3 of his Rakshasa members are dead.

Theatre 18: After Mine spots a cockroach and Susanoo takes it out by punching the wall! Tatsumi never thought Mine would scream like that but she says that wasn’t her. Turns out it was Najenda…

Episode 19
Susanoo cooks everyone’s favourite meal and it’s freaking awesome! I hope this isn’t the last meal or something. Tatsumi and Mine are staking out at the outskirts of the city. Seryu spots them and is disheartened to see Tatsumi with that evil. She is going to serve justice. She wastes no time in firing all her missiles! Overkill! Mine faces off Seryu in a grudge match while Tatsumi fights Suzuka, the remaining member left from Rakshasa. He also does an overkill by destroying the entire ruins to bury her. The assault on the temple begins with Susanoo and Leone against Wave and Kurome. Bolic panics so Esdeath tells him to not move from this room if he wants his ass protected. A clash of ideals of justice between Mine and Seryu. Although she knows Koro’s moves and weakness spot, she is still no match for their combo. Lying as though she is defeated, she remembers her past of being discriminated just because she is half foreigner. But she won’t be defeated now as she draws her powerful emotions which power her gun to slice Seryu in half and render Koro unable to regenerate again. Seryu’s final weapon is a super bomb planted inside her head. She laments she couldn’t rid the world of evil and have to die early. Mine tries to run away but her injuries are slowing her down and her gun has overheated. Well, she didn’t say she would die happy after getting her revenge, didn’t she? After the freaking huge blast, Mine is surprised she is still alive. Tatsumi has saved her. After failing to save Bulat and Chelsea, he vowed not to let anyone die. Najenda confronts Esdeath and informs her that Bolic has ignored her warning and secretly fled. Because of that, he has been taken out by Akame and Lubbock. Mine wants to tell Tatsumi something once this war ends. She can’t say it now. I think I know what it is :). So he better promise to stay alive till the end.

Theatre 19: Rakshasa’s stand up comedy is being usurped by Lubbock’s shopping channel. But Mine points out where this is going and can predict his plan. Spot on! She knows he is trying to take the spotlight to get his ass kicked again.

Episode 20
Some of the generals are concerned that the viceroys in remote regions are surrendering without a fight. Honest is not surprised as those are demoted and their betrayal is expected. Great general Budo isn’t pleased about this either so Honest introduces a new elite team that is led by his son, Shura. This will prove if he is worthy to be his successor. Tatsumi and Lubbock meet a girl from the resistance to meet up with the rest. However they have been slaughtered by Shura’s team. Recognizing Tatsumi, he answers his question of why he let those Danger Beasts free. He was bored. He’d do anything to have fun and wants to change the world by taking over the throne. Tatsumi is enraged and attacks but he has to deal with Budo who possesses great fighting skills. Try not to get too close to his lightning powers, though. Lubbock fights Shura who is out to have fun with his prey. So much so, he reveals his Imperial Arms ability to transport anywhere he has marked. At first it was tiring but with a new drug, he has managed to mark lots of places in the capital including the air. There is no escape. Resistance girl holds back Lubbock to let Shura kill him in hopes he will let her family free. However he kills her because he told everyone not to interrupt. Shura thought it is his victory when suddenly his right hand gets cut off by his wires! Lubbock wasn’t just running around but placing his wires. Since Shura was showing off his teleporting, Lubbock was able to mark those places. Resistance girl uses all her strength to stab Lubbock but her wish will never be granted because Shura says her family was dead a long time ago. Shura then teleports Lubbock into another dimension where he will spend eternity there. Lubbock has tied Shura to his wires and drags him in. Shura tries to escape back but Lubbock stabs his heart and crushes it. Looks like he won’t be the next king. They return to the real world but they are free falling. Lubbock knows his time is up as his Imperial Arms breaks. He didn’t fall to his death. Defeated Tatsumi sees before his eyes how Lubbock lands and gets impaled by spears! Honest shed crocodile tears upon Shura’s death but eventually doesn’t care. They want to make an example of Tatsumi to make the resistance back down. Esdeath who has just returned from an excursion wants to handle this. She won’t let anyone else have Tatsumi. A notice is all over the capital that Tatsumi will be publicly executed.

Theatre 20: Mine hosts a game show to execute Lubbock for hogging the shopping channel. This wheel of fortune will decide his death. But there is a small chance he might get a hotspring bath with boss Najenda. Lubbock eagerly gambles on this chance and a miracle happens! He gets it! But Mine reveals it is a trick. He gets a hotspring bath with Bols! Worse than death… Enjoy…

Episode 21
Esdeath sees Tatsumi in prison and knows all about him being in Night Raid. Still, she wants him to be by her side. He refuses and is even prepared for death. He doesn’t want to be with a person who spreads destruction. Esdeath has no choice to execute him personally tomorrow. So come tomorrow after the emperor makes his speech, Esdeath is about to execute Tatsumi but here comes Night Raid. The stadium is evacuated. Najenda and Susanoo fight Esdeath while Mine and Leone take on Budo. Because Leone got electrocuted and her body temporarily paralyzed, it is up to Mine to fight the big general alone. But thanks to her Imperial Arms’ trait, the more she is in danger, the more powerful her weapon is. It is risky putting herself in danger but what to do, she really wants to save Tatsumi. And after all that exchange, Mine fires a freaking powerful shot that blasts away Budo. It took a toll on her body. Akame was in charge of retrieving Incursio and then frees Tatsumi. Najenda has Susanoo turn into his God mode to fight formidable Esdeath but even so, not a scratch on her. With Tatsumi freed, Najenda orders to retreat. Esdeath won’t allow Tatsumi to run again and uses her secret technique she recently developed just for this. She freezes time and space for a short while to stab and destroy Susanoo’s core. Najenda uses her life force to rebuild that core. Tatsumi wants to help Susanoo but is made to remember what their mission was. Night Raid flees as Susanoo stays back to company Esdeath. He knows he can’t win but it buys his comrades time. Mine knows she has not long to live so she has Tatsumi put her down. You can tell those are her last words but all I remember was that she finally confessed she is glad to have fall in love with him. And then a last kiss… NOOOO!!! MINE!!! :’(

Theatre 21: Yet another twisted folklore. You know, the one about the crane. Tatsumi saves one and Lubbock thinks karma will repay him with a hot chick. That hot chick turns out to be the cool Snow Queen, Esdeath! She starts making love with him! Lastly, I’m not sure about this one but Lubbock is a fox that got shot by Mine.

Episode 22
Tatsumi cannot believe a few died just to rescue him just so as to protect the Revolutionary Army’s morale. But he must not give up now or else those who died would be in vain. Najenda is hardest hit since she lost Susanoo. By right she should have lost her life because she used it to power him. But Susanoo used his own to let her escape. He wasn’t a mere weapon but her partner. The citizens of the capital are in an unrest for the capital to protect them. Wave is frustrated he can’t do anything as Run explains the reason why he joined Jaegars was so he could change this rotten kingdom from within instead of foolishly protesting from the outside. The emperor is worried he might have made the wrong decisions but Honest’s smooth talk has him convinced that they need to use force to demonstrate his true strength and authority. Several rebels are crucified and Akame notes that one of them has a coded message personally for her. She knows it is Kurome and looks like time is not on her side as she wants to settle things. They meet at a chapel, a place where they reunited and Akame betrayed her. A fitting place to kill her sister. After being separated and carrying out their assassin missions, they were reunited simply because to replace fallen comrades. They become the best combo ever and Kurome was the happiest sister ever till Akame left and joined Night Raid. Akame realized what they have been doing is wrong and the capital is the source of it. Kurome was miserable after she left so she is going to kill her so that Akame could always be hers. Their fight awakens some giant monster. It takes out her zombies. The sisters cooperate to take it down. Just like old times. Then it’s back to more fighting but Wave comes to stop her, only to be stopped by Tatsumi who is here to prevent others from interfering. He believes everyone has a reason or else they can’t move forward. Kurome is grateful that Wave came and wished they could have been closer in a different time. In the final blow, Akame stabs through Kurome. She dies with a smile. But Wave is sad. He couldn’t do anything for her. But at least he came for her. He is confused what he is fighting for now. Tatsumi’s soothing words that he is done losing what is precious to him has Akame break down in tears. Cry your heart out. It’s raining anyway. Honest brings the emperor to activate the capital’s supreme Imperial Arms. This giant mecha is the ultimate weapon?

Theatre 22: Run mediates an interview with the sisters but Kurome cannot help mock Akame and talk bad about her. Especially about being the main character but being upstaged or have no role in certain places. The last straw came when Kurome says some profanity. Outside now! I think this radio station is haunted because you see lots of strange things and dead people passing by in the background!

Episode 23
Wave is at Kurome’s grave. Telling his story how he joined the army because he was saved by the navy and admired them. He is supposed to protect the people but is not sure what to protect now. Najenda gives Night Raid’s final mission to eliminate Honest. Inside the palace, they run into Run (pun not intended). He admits the capital has been corrupted for so long and that he was once a teacher of a poor village. Everyone was killed by bandits and the capital did not deem it a crime to stop it. That is why he joined Jaegars to change it from within. Till Night Raid had to show up. He doesn’t approve their ways because it involves too much bloodshed. Leone’s fist does the talking. She buys time so Akame and Tatsumi can press ahead. Honest continues to convince the emperor he has done right when Akame and Tatsumi bust in. Tatsumi tries to tell him what he is happening but Honest plays it all down as he summons Shikoutazer, the first and most powerful Imperial Arms. Man, it’s freaking huge! Its single blast can destroy a very huge area!!! Better than the atomic bomb! Puny Tatsumi fights him and tries to open his eyes that he is destroying and harming the people. The citizens are suffering. However that damn kid decides to listen to Honest instead (because this fat ass is always right). Tatsumi takes a beating but Wave comes to his rescue. He hasn’t defected but remembers his responsible to protect the people. Leone and Run put aside their fight to save the people. As Tatsumi and Wave cooperate to bring this huge thing down, it is like they hit some nerve. Tatsumi remembers Susanoo’s words of everything have a weakness. Because they kept attacking the same place, it is worn out. Plus, it takes a lot of burden to control this big thing. The emperor continues to beat him up and hoping he would just fall but Tatsumi won’t be beaten. He will not fail his fallen comrades. With Bulat’s voice giving him determination, Incursio evolves into a golden dragon to punch right through Shikoutazer! Now that big thing comes crashing down. Damn, I hope it would fall on Honest but instead it is threatening to plunge on the people! It seems ridiculous that Tatsumi is trying to stop it with all his might. Maybe he should have waited because it crashed a few metres away from them. Or could it be thanks to Tatsumi’s little push? Anyway he is bloodied all over. Akame is sad he didn’t keep his promise to live. And Esdeath, where the hell have you been all this time?! Your beloved Tatsumi is dead before your eyes now!

Theatre 23: Tatsumi is picked up by his dead Nigh Raid comrades to go over to the other side. But why is Akame here? To say goodbye? But it is just a dream she had…

Episode 24
Esdeath accepts Tatsumi’s death as he is weak but what is this unsettling feeling in her heart? The Revolutionary Army thought they could get her but they’re wrong. She freezes them all in her ice wall. Now it is the final fight between Esdeath and Akame. It is the capital that has lost, not her. The war is over, she’ll merely move on to another battlefield. The exhilarating fight begins with Esdeath pulling all swords of ice tricks and weapons. Finally, someone who can land a hit on Esdeath! But she won’t give in yet. Despite her hand being stabbed by Murasame’s curse, she cuts it off before it spreads through her body! Akame then stabs herself. Devil version? The curse from all the grief and pain that Murasame remembers flow through her. Esdeath uses her time stopping technique but when she tries to stab Akame, it is just an after image. She looked everywhere for her except up! Akame is able to cut a nice one across her body. Seems it Akame was waiting for her to use this. The after image she saw was her bloodlust that she inflated via the curse. Esdeath admits her defeat and since she gets to choose how she dies, she lies next to Tatsumi, crystallizing themselves in hard ice before breaking apart into nothing. I don’t know. I thought it looked like they vanished instantly. I hope they won’t come to a revelation that they transported to another world where they lived happily ever after. Honest thought he could run away but Leone corners him. He feigns fear to use his Imperial Arms that nullifies hers. But no matter how much bullets he pumps into her body, she still stands because she trained her body hard. Then she clobbers his face till it becomes some smashed flatten piece of sh*t! Leone later sees Akame and they part ways since Night Raid is over. When the Revolutionary Army takes over and brings peace, Leone quietly goes to one dark alley corner and dies. The emperor is in a public execution. He will be beheaded via guillotine. He realized he has failed his people and accepts this way of death. This is the only way to reclaim his honour. Wave and Run are at Kurome’s grave and they vow to make the new kingdom a better place. Tatsumi’s village receives a huge amount of gold. They believe those kids are successful and can’t wait for their return for a big celebration. Hate to break this to you, but they’re never coming back… As the townspeople pick themselves up and slowly rebuild their future, Najenda speaks to Akame for one last time. Najenda will be part of the rebuilding team while Akame will leave the place. She accepts all the wrongdoings of the Revolutionary Army to befall on her. Akame continues to wander and does what she does best: Assassinating.

Theatre 24: An after party for all the characters in the series, dead or alive. Everyone is having fun with drinks and food. If they were only like this in real life. And what’s this?! Tatsumi and Mine together?! Holy cow! Who says you can’t be a couple in the afterlife?

Kill Everybody! Kill The Anime!
I read that certain comments call this a poor adaptation of the series. I don’t know. I have not read the manga and thus I don’t have anything to compare or the right to say if it is better. Maybe it is because they didn’t follow faithfully to the plot or some of the chapters like how some of the characters who died are supposed to be alive as the manga is still ongoing. But I do know that the action and all that blood spilling, guts cutting violence are what made this series entertaining. That’s right. If you want to watch this show, stay for the action and violence. Not for the faint hearted because like I have said, there are lots of people being cut apart and blood gushing out like as though that there is a mini geyser waiting to burst out whenever you cut off limbs, torsos or the head. Also, I am guessing to show how ‘serious’ the action and violence are, a death is guaranteed in every episode. At least somebody dies in every episode whether that character is a major character, supporting character or a side extra character who is just existing for this unfortunate moment to be cut up. You can tell when the title of each episode is to kill something.

And though I also expected Night Raid to lose its members, I never thought Sheele would be the first to go and that was so freaking early in the series. A quarter into the anime, she’s gone! WTF?! I thought everybody should just die in the end then. No, don’t get me wrong Sheele is my favourite character but you will see why later on… That is why I was baffled why there are ‘so many’ survivors in the end. I was expecting only Akame to be the survivor of this deadly war since at least this is her anime and one that is named after her. But what the heck, not only Najenda is alive but Wave and Run as well? Why did you let them live?! Tatsumi dies but Wave lives? Nothing wrong with that but like I said, this anime kills off everybody like how Game Of Thrones does so I’m expecting the worst case scenario finish where there are no survivors left.

The uniqueness of each battle and some of the characters are thanks to the different Imperial Arms and its unique powers. They are interesting to note at first but you realize that with so many things going on and the fights that normally don’t last long, you don’t really see much variations of the Imperial Arms. Mostly they pack a punch and it is like you don’t waste time in using all you’ve got to bring out the best in that weapon and everything ends quickly or drags on just a little longer. Otherwise, why wield it in the first place? And some are just crazy like Seryu who is able to equip almost every part of her body with weapons that it blows your mind away. At least they provide flashy extravagance during the fight with some oohs and wahs but that is about it. Once the wielder is defeated, you will usually never ever see it again. Where do such Imperial Arms go? Well, Najenda did say they end up in the Revolutionary Army for research but that just feels like convenience never to hear from it again. I have not been keeping count of how many Imperial Arms users that have appeared, but they said there were 48 of them so my guts tell me that we have seen quite a number of them. Does this mean there are all to it?

But I suppose that is why some people do not consider this anime to be great because of the stereotype casting of the plot in which the ruling government is made to be truly corrupted and thus must be eliminated by a group of justice assassins who go around assassinating corrupt people. Like fighting fire with fire. Then they cover up with all the clichés and filling it with blood and body count to make it look badass and dark enough to make us think that this should be okay. Well, if you’re going to nitpick how it fails in other areas like the character development (too many characters, too little screen time) and pacing (refer to character development problem), then I am sure you can find faults in every other area too. Especially if you are a loyal manga fan. It may not be the perfect anime but at least I was entertained by the fighting bits so the rest didn’t bother that much.

Sure, the dark concept of killing people makes you think if this is the only way to get things done and change the world. Because if people themselves are open to talks, you wouldn’t have all this corruption in the first place. Night Raid is made to look like the hero only because we are made to think and believe that the capital is such a rotten place. No doubt Honest is the true villain and puppet master here. But are Night Raid’s actions something to be condoned for? The evil people they took out had taken many innocent lives before their time is up so sometimes you question if this is the right case for using fire against fire. Because for all you know, they themselves may become corrupt and the vicious cycle repeats again. After all, what do assassins do when the war is over? Don’t say it won’t happen especially to our heroes. Just look at what happened at Nanatsu No Taizai. I rest my case.

So basically character development is close to impossible when you have so many characters dying. Why give a character a long winded past or even half an episode focus for their flashback when they are going to die? Such a waste it would be. But I guess for those that matter like the main characters such as Tatsumi, I guess like any other main characters, a boy from a poor village powers up to become the champion of justice for the people. That sounds so typical and so cliché in this kind of genres but I guess when you put yourself in Tatsumi’s shoes, it is not easy to be where he is now. He may be the luckiest man on Earth to survive this far and also the unluckiest kid around to watch all the tragedies and many of his comrades die in battle. Yeah, how is he going to have a harem once the war ends? Haha! Girls like Chelsea and tsundere Mine definitely have a thing for Tatsumi but I suppose it sucks that they leave it too late to realize or tell their feelings. Heh. If Bulat was still alive, he would be a great contender too!

Oh, I just found out that Tatsumi and Mine did become a couple in the manga. Maybe that is why some don’t like the anime adaptation. Because our hero dies in the arms of Esdeath. Uh huh. Esdeath might be seething in anger in the manga but at least she died happy in the anime. Personally I think Esdeath remains the most awesome and powerful character in the series because of the inability for anybody to even lay a finger on her. Untouchable. And when she strikes back to those weaklings, she doesn’t even need to break into a sweat and in fact is so bored that killing them is just like an obligation to entertain us viewers with blood. Besides being a vicious blood killer, she has conflicted sides that makes her interesting. Like a part of hers wanting to fall in love which really surprises us because we never thought a person who loves conflict and fighting would ever be able to love. There is always an exception and Tatsumi must be one hell of a guy to be that exception. She is also always cool and oozing with confidence in anything she does. That is what makes her great and powerful.

Other characters in Night Raid also feel like some sort of stereotypes like Akame the emotionless one, Najenda the cool boss (I believe most of her roles are just giving orders), Leone the flirty sexy animal-feature type, Mine the tsundere, Lubbock the typical pervert, Bulat the big brother type, Sheele the klutz, Chelsea the pretty girl and Susanoo the all-rounder that can do anything and everything. Speaking of Akame, I thought it was just me noticing this but she did even say to herself (in the theatre) that as the main character she lacks a decent amount of screen time. Yup. Akame isn’t as much focused as Tatsumi as the series builds up. Till his death, it is only then Akame takes back the spotlight and shows us why she is the star of an anime that is named after her.

Some of the other supporting characters may not have their deep background but at least they are enough to give them a bit of character although ultimately it doesn’t matter in the end. Like Wave and Run with their own version of justice and from their past tragic stories, you can say that they are good guys in a way too but on the wrong side of the divide. I suppose that there are many characters like them who are not sure which side to pick so the best way is to stick with your beliefs. Can’t believe that those two are still alive in the end… Therefore Night Raid and Jaegars are ‘fun’ groups of people because they have an equal amount of weird and amusing characters. It is just sad that they are pitted against each other just because of the side they are on. I am sure if they would have gotten along well had not for this war. Because Bols is actually a nice and reliable guy (something tells me he also has this macho gay potential…) while all Kurome wants is just to be with her sister. Seryu might be obsessed with justice but can you blame her for the influence of this justice she believes in? But to normal people like us, she’s just crazy… Freaking crazy… Make that super freaking crazy!

See? When the big bad people are those at the top and those at the bottom suffer. The further down the line you are, the greater your suffering. That is why the common poor folks are the ones experiencing the greatest agony. So there was no love lost when Honest died a gruesome death because you know this fatty who is the one pulling all the strings behind the scene, one day he would get what he deserves. Too bad it came after so many had died. Including his own son that he doesn’t even care the least bit. At least even the emperor himself had some honour. But pretty much most of the time he is being misled so you can’t blame him entirely. I noticed that there are other weird looking generals by the emperor’s side. Weird enough to even think that they may be freaks with certain powers to join in the fight. And get killed. Guess that didn’t happen.

Drawing and art are rather okay. It goes well with the action scenes. The effects that go with it are also good. The designs of the characters as well as the unique Imperial Arms are also okay. The colourful and some even outrageous character designs do add personality to the character like Bols who might look like some S&M freak with his mask always on. See how crazy Seryu’s face contorts when she is in crazy mode? Is this how crazy people look like to us? The designs of the Imperial Arms can range from absurd (Shikoutazer – how on Earth did they keep it under the palace grounds when it is so bloody huge?) to freaky (Koro – don’t be fooled by its cute looks. It gets creepy when it is in its ferocious form). But I suppose that is why only certain people can wield them.

So another reason why I wanted everybody to just die in the end is because of this silly reason. Just when I thought I could hear Mamiko Noto’s voice on a regular basis as Sheele despite not as the main character and good enough she is casted as a supporting role, then she got killed off! The first in Night Raid! After a quarter of the series’ duration! What the hell?! Where is the justice?! It is like they don’t need her anymore!!! WHERE IS THE JUSTICE, YOU TELL ME???!!! Ahem… It was no more ‘fun’ anymore in the voice acting department so I’m going to make this quick. It is a freaking lost list anyway since there are so many characters because when you have a show that kills off everyone and on average one per episode, your cast list is going to grow longer than your mother’s grocery’s list. Believe me. It is that long. So the obviously recognizable ones to me are Yukari Tamura as Mine, Kana Hanazawa as Seryu and Jouji Nakata as Liver. Yeah, that’s about it. There might be others too but I wasn’t so keen in identifying them anymore :/…

The rest of the line-up includes Souma Saitou as Tatsumi (Touji in Zankyou No Terror), Sora Amamiya as Akame (Asseylum in Aldnoah.Zero), Satomi Akesaka as Esdeath (Arsene in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Yuu Asakawa as Leone (Rider in Fate/Stay Night), Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Lubbock (Kirito in Sword Art Online), Shintarou Asanuma as Susanoo (Yoshiyuki in Da Capo II), Kaori Nazuka as Chelsea (Nunnally in Code Geass), Katsuyuki Konishi as Bulat (Laxus in Fairy Tail), Risa Mizuno as Najenda (Shigure in Nabari No Ou), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Wave (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin), Junji Majima as Run (Ryuuji in Toradora), Ayaka Ohashi as Kurome (Momoka in Sabagebu!), Eiji Takamoto as Bols (Mitsunari Ishida in Sengoku Musou), Ken Narita as Dr Stylish (Sesshoumaru in Inu Yasha), Kouji Ishii as Honest (Fisher Tiger in One Piece), You Tachi as the emperor (Sayori in Love Lab), Hozumi Gouda as Budo (Kaien in Vampire Knight), Masami Iwasaki as Bolic (Iemitsu in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Ryohei Kimura as Shura (L-elf in Valverave The Liberator), Hitomi Nabatame as Nyau (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Anri Katsu as Daidara (Tsuchimikado in To Aru Majutsu No Index) and Satoshi Tsuruoka as Zank (Caster in Fate/Stay Night).

Skyreach by Sora Amamiya is the first opening theme and the rock pace of this outfit befits the action genre and gets you into the mood of this series. Although the second opening theme, Liar Mask by Rika Mayama is also another rock piece, I didn’t quite like this one. Perhaps it was because I am used to the first opening theme but in this second one, the pace becomes like a waltz somewhere in the middle of the song so it really feels odd. Miku Sawai sings the first ending theme, Konna Sekai Shiritakunakatta and I prefer this slow rock piece compared to the rock pop second ending theme, Tsuki Akari sung by Sora Amamiya. Although the latter doesn’t sound bad but I just personally prefer the former.

Overall, I didn’t really find this anime bad although there are parts that it could be improved. But that would probably drag out the entire series and turn it into another 2-cour and run for the entire year. Especially the character development part if you don’t kill them off. I suppose it is sad to see your favourite and amusing characters go before they are fleshed out properly. All for the sake for blood and action. Yup. If you want to watch this series with some sort of expectation, it is just that and nothing more. It feels like I’m the villain liking to watch all that death and suffering that despite they are just 2D animation. I hope it won’t come a time where they send people like Akame or Esdeath to eliminate ‘harmless’ otakus like us just for ‘watching wrongly’. Between those 2 babes, it is like between the devil and the deep blue sea. Or like when a dragon and tiger clash and you’re just an ant. You know you’re screwed…

Sora No Method

August 8, 2015

You know how UFOs literally generate lots of buzz and commotion, right? So it would be really odd if there was a UFO hovering right above a town and for nobody to even give a damn about it! Sure, it was a peculiarity at first but that sure didn’t last long. And everybody goes about in their normal lives as the UFO continues to hover above town. What is wrong with you people?! Okay, so that may be the setting of Sora No Method and despite how fascinating this is, it is more about a group of close childhood friends drifted apart when one of them moved away. And now she is back and the memories come flooding back as well as the wish they made. Oh yeah. The UFO has something to do with it all.

Episode 1
Nonoka Komiya and her father, Shuuichi return to the little town of Lake Kiriya after spending 7 years in Tokyo. So forgive her if her room feels messy with unpacked boxes and she can’t find the alarm clock that’s begging to be shut off. When she finally does, she goes down to cook for her dad not knowing that all the while there is this blue haired girl, Noel sitting and waiting in her room. Must be still sleepy, huh? Oh wait… Don’t tell me she can’t see her because she’s a ghost! Anyway, Nonoka is looking forward to clean the house with daddy today. However… That apologetic look and action… He has been called for work today. Sorry dear. She’ll have to do it herself. Dad, you traitor! As Nonoka goes to clean her room, it is probably the dirty footsteps of Noel that stunned her more than anything. Noel is happy to see her but not Nonoka. Now she needs to do double job of cleaning her up. Nonoka doesn’t remember who Noel is despite the latter wanting very much to see her. She goes out for a while and bits and pieces of her memories start returning although it is too vague to call. Something about Noel who would gladly wait for her at the observatory. Nonoka spaces out at the park when Shione Togawa speaks to her. She wonders why she has come back here after all this time. Then she walks away, leaving Nonoka puzzled if she was talking to her. More flashbacks. Nonoka and her friends were at the observatory and did some summoning ritual. Nonoka wanted to tell her friends that she would be moving away soon but she didn’t get the chance as her friends thought she could say it the next time they meet. They never.

When Nonoka gets back, she sees Noel unpacking several boxes. Even more upsetting, a picture of her late mom Kaori is cracked. Thinking it was her fault, Nonoka scolds her and doesn’t want to see her ever again. Noel obedient leaves. When Shuichi comes home, Nonoka apologizes and tries to sound that she was the one who broke it while unpacking. However father admits that he was the one who broke it while packing back at Tokyo. He thought he could change it before she noticed. Guess not. Immediately Nonoka feels guilty and goes in search of Noel. Well, how big can this town be? Still can’t find her… Then she remembers. The observatory. Another flashback of Nonoka talking to Noel as she is moving away that day. She thought of telling her mom and about this place. But father didn’t want to waste time since the ferry would be leaving soon. Besides, they can’t make things hard for Kaori. Nonoka hasn’t said goodbye to her friends yet and wonders if they’ll return. Of course they will once mommy feels better. And Nonoka left without saying anything or coming back. Until 7 years later… So true enough, Nonoka finds Noel at the abandoned observatory. Noel always knew she would come back here as Nonoka collapses in emotional fashion, apologizing for today. Noel says it is time to keep her promise since Nonoka kept hers. The promise to make her wish come true.

Episode 2
Looks like another ordinary morning for Nonoka. Till daddy reminds her today is her school’s opening ceremony. They start earlier in the outskirts. And so becomes another hectic morning for her to get ready and rush over. On the bus, she meets Koharu Shiihara and easily become friends. I suppose in this small town with not many classes, there is a high chance you’d end up in the same class with your friends. Also in this class is Shione who seems to be ignoring Nonoka’s calls. She is curious what she said the other day but Shione doesn’t give a damn and leaves. When Koharu learns that Nonoka lives by the house near the lake (actually it’s closer to the mountains than the lake), instantly Yuzuki Mizusaka starts bugging her about her feelings on that disc. Yeah. It’s a big deal to her. She explains ever since that disc hovered over their town 7 years ago, everyone was abuzz then but it died down and now nobody bothers and treats it as a normal everyday thing. She believes everyone is being fooled by it and is hiding something sinister. They need to do something before something bad happens. Before Nonoka knows it, she is being drafted to help spread the word about the dangers of the disc. Seriously, it could get embarrassing when Yuzuki starts shouting in public to protest about the disc. And since they’re doing it in front of Koharu’s family store attracting unwanted attention, they better run now or who knows what this airhead girl might do.

Trying out other methods like going to some government to make an inquiry (always the same ol’ fill in the form, eh?) that didn’t work, Yuzuki returns home to find a ‘weapon’. A water bottle rocket launcher? Her twin brother, Souta tells her to stop and make things difficult for others but Yuzuki won’t. She still thinks it is that disc and girl’s fault. I think Yuzuki is being desperate. She tries to throw her backpack at the sky and when Nonoka tries to stop her, they fall into the lake. While drying themselves, Yuzuki further explains how some things changed when the disc appeared. They used to have fireworks here and the reflection of the lights over the lake was beautiful. Now they don’t do them anymore. To cheer her up, Nonoka suggests using the rocket. Well, it hardly reached anywhere but it was fun launching it. Nonoka agrees to help Yuzuki out in doing something about that disc as long as her methods are safe. So they need to find more people to support their cause? At least that’s a start. Nonoka also remembers watching the fireworks here with her mom. Nonoka goes back as Noel greets her. Noel agrees to help out Nonoka and her cause to rid the disc. It’s not about getting rid of the disc but something Noel would like to do to help her friend. And so Nonoka easily got another member to help out.

Episode 3
There is some extra curriculum for the class going on. And you can bet Yuzuki is being damn competitive trying to beat her ‘enemy number 1’ who is no other than her twin brother. Souta’s group is just being cool while Yuzuki must have a hard time with hers. I mean, Koharu is a slow poke, Shione is interested in doing something else and Nonoka is taking it easy. How to win like that? Nonoka is also trying to be friends with Shione but that b*tch remains unfriendly. Heck, she even warns her if she calls her again like as though they’re friends, she’ll slap her! Of course Nonoka won’t let this get to her and is going to try again. Maybe it was the way she said things. About how she used to live here and not remembering much. This made Shione mad and never wanted to see her again. Oh, don’t forget the slap. I don’t know, the bruise on her cheek looked like she got punched. Koharu talks to Shione about her hostility towards Nonoka. She just doesn’t like her. That’s all. Also, no one expected her to come back now of all times. Continuing their activity, they see Noel fooling around outside Koharu’s family store. Yuzuki totally loves this loli and even asks for permission to kidnap her! She even recruits Noel as an extra member just to beat Souta. That desperate, huh? As Nonoka’s team is walking through some bridge, they realize that Shione is not with them. Nonoka decides to go back and look for her. She didn’t return after some time and the rest are surprised to see Shione ahead of them. Taken a different route? She didn’t see Nonoka either. Noel gets frantic and returns to look for her. The rest also follow and Souta too joins since his group has finished and is in charge of watching out for slackers.

Nonoka must have fell off some path and stumbled onto an abandoned building that she never knew existed (or remembered). What else to do but sit and wait? Nonoka hears a familiar hum. It is Noel and to her surprise she remembers everything now. Nonoka and her friends used to hang out at the observatory. Seems she was quite close to Shione. She hinted about trying to summon a disc with them all as she might not be around this winter. Thinking that the snow will make it hard for them to gather, Shione agreed. As the gang searches for Nonoka, Yuzuki continues to blame that girl. Had she not said that back then, the disc will not be here. She hates that girl who called forth that disc. Shione wonders why she is friends with her then. Yuzuki cannot believe Nonoka is that same girl. I mean, she’s her friend and helped her try to chase away the disc. But didn’t Nonoka also admit she used to live here, got them all to help her summon the disc and then just disappeared from this town? And now she’s back and becomes your friend? Isn’t she just mocking them? Yuzuki still believes Nonoka and that girl are not the same. They find Nonoka as Noel mentions that it was Nonoka who called for her. Because Noel is the disc.

Episode 4
Now that Nonoka remembers everything, she needs to tell her friends. However Yuzuki slaps her and runs away! Next day, Noel apologizes that she thought if everyone had gathered, her wish would come true. That’s why she should cheer up. Nonoka and Koharu try to talk to Yuzuki but she continues to be a mad girl, blaming everything for what has happened since the disc appeared. Koharu laments she can’t do anything still. Yuzuki takes drastic measures trying to hand flyers outside Koharu’s family’s shop (since it is one of the tourist spots). Everybody ignores her as usual. Seems Yuzuki has been doing this since young but the same ignored response or they just throw the poster on the ground! Haven’t they heard about recycling or at least a dustbin? Ironically, Noel agrees to help her out and it seems she attracts more attention. Who doesn’t love this cute loli? Nonoka talks to Souta and it seems he is thinking of studying abroad. He remembers Yuzuki wanted him to take her to see the fireworks as promised but because the disc appeared, it was cancelled. She hated him. It could be their relationship dwindled since then. Koharu tells Yuzuki to stop as she is bothering her customers. Yuzuki unhappily leaves while Koharu has to clean up all the mess of posters strewn over the ground. These tourists have no responsibility, do they? She remembers how all the classmates teased Yuzuki although she remained adamant to chase it away. Despite Koharu not joining her, she did not allow others to say bad about Yuzuki when they don’t know what’s going on. Even more drastic measures from Yuzuki. She is holding up the traffic with her protest! Holy cow! What the heck is this one girl blockade?! I wonder how long the jam stretches… Koharu tries to stop her again but was being told off she is more concerned about her store than her. She’s the same like everybody else. That is when Koharu got the guts to tell her what she is doing is pointless. With that, Yuzuki stops her protest and leaves. Thank heavens. Now traffic can move again. Koharu continues working at the store till closing time when she finally breaks down. I don’t think it is because she couldn’t get the poster back into the store… That is when Nonoka pops up and requests her help.

Episode 5
Nonoka talks to Yuzuki that they are going to hold fireworks at the lake in a week but she is not amused and remains mad. She enlists Koharu and Souta’s help to make it work. Now it’s Souta’s turn to talk to Yuzuki. Since she ignores him, he had to raise his voice to grab her attention. He tells her what she is doing is futile and that everyone is really working hard to make the fireworks happen. She doesn’t believe. Short flashback shows Yuzuki wanted to watch the fireworks so much on the night the disc appeared so she snuck out herself. When Souta realized that, he went to look for her but end up crashing his bicycle. It was bloody all over. Since Noel doesn’t know what fireworks are, Nonoka explains it to her and shows her photo album. There is a picture of Nonoka and her mom at the lake with fireworks in the background. Nonoka lends Noel the album. Nonoka talks to Yuzuki again and explains at first she wanted to do the fireworks for her. But now she herself wants to see it. Still not opening her heart, eh? Shione spots Noel and asks her relationship with Nonoka. Nonoka thought her some song on a snowy day. Shione thinks Nonoka is a liar because it hasn’t snowed since she came back. Later, Koharu talks to Yuzuki but the latter is still mad that Nonoka who doesn’t know anything talks like as though she knows them and wants to have fireworks. Further flashbacks revealed when Souta was hospitalized, he blamed himself and didn’t tell mommy the real reason why he got hurt. Yuzuki felt guilty. It wasn’t like that. It was her fault… No, it was the disc’s fault… And so that’s how the hate began. Am I seeing some sort of pattern here? Somebody talks to Yuzuki. She doesn’t like it, gets mad and runs away. WTF. On the evening Nonoka and co setup the fireworks, Noel pays Yuzuki a visit and shows the album. Seeing that photo, she realizes Nonoka has not forgotten. Then she makes her way to the pier where her friends are waiting. In dramatic emotional fashion, Yuzuki breaks down and begs for forgiveness. She had wanted to say sorry to all of them and that it was her fault. Not too sure if it’s a bluff because they only end up playing sparklers at first. Then Noel lights up the disc to make it sparkle like fireworks.

Episode 6
Noel and Nonoka are at the lottery. Noel really wants to win the hotspring prize although she doesn’t even know what that is. Unfortunately she got second place, which is some disc shaped cushion. WTF. Shione won it instead but it’s not like she wanted to go. Meanwhile Yuzuki receives 4 tickets to the hotspring from a nice old lady. Now, what to do with them? Well, you can count Souta out because he says he isn’t going even if she invites him (liar!). So Yuzuki uses Koharu to invite Nonoka and herself to it. Noel would have been invited too but it seems Shione invited her. So there is an extra ticket. Hmm… Who to ask? You can see Souta is just waiting for that call and when he gets it, he is glad Koharu is on the line. She has a favour of him. Guess what? Help cover her shift at her family store while she’s away. Bummer… The girls make their way to the hotspring inn. Nonoka and Noel’s group miss each other by a whisker the entire time they are there. Of course Koharu reminds Yuzuki of her true intention here to say something to Nonoka. But each time there is a chance, something gets in the way. Finally when she does, Yuzuki apologizes for all the horrible things she did to her and wants to be hit to move on. Yeah, she just remembered Nonoka’s super punch at the punching game machine, she scored maximum points! Oh sh*t. This might hurt. However Nonoka lightly touches her cheek. Let bygones be bygones. And so they make up and the usual hotspring soaking. But Yuzuki feels her friends are boring because they don’t have a clue when she hints about talking about anybody in their life they like. They genuinely didn’t have a shred of an idea… At the end of the stay, Yuzuki expresses her wish to visit Nonoka’s house someday. Noel thinks Shione likes the disc because she always observed how she is taking photos of it. She gives her cushion to her. I don’t know why she accepted it despite saying she won’t be caught dead carrying it around. Now she’s doing just that. Nonoka returns home and blows her top after learning dad tried to cook some leftovers curry soup. She notices a picture of her late mom on the dining table in which he states it looks much better here than in the room.

Episode 7
Noel must be messing around with the monster poster outside Koharu’s family store that she accidentally broke it! So much so she wants to help fix it instead of following Nonoka, Yuzuki and Koharu to go visit her mother’s grave. It doesn’t help when Souta plays a prank by giving the monster a voice over that he is in pain! I think she really believes this. Better stop. He helps her make repair the monster. Time for ‘surgery’. He wonders why she doesn’t follow Nonoka despite being invited. She can’t see the disc if she is far away. Does this mean she can’t go farther than the edge of town? Nonoka and co must be taking their time. Or they got lost. Because if missing the hourly train isn’t bad enough, they walk far enough to Easter Island! Okay, so what are those Moai statues doing here?! Eventually they reach there as Nonoka explains how she left the town so they could take better care of mom’s health. Eventually she passed on. She felt so sad and lonely that she stopped thinking just about anything on mom. The pain went away. In the process she also forgot about her friends. She believes her mom hates her for turning into such a person and maybe she didn’t love her at all. But Yuzuki says she is here visiting means she is ready to work out the problems. Koharu is glad that Nonoka became a person whom she could call a friend. Shione is also here to buy she won’t say much and doesn’t stay long. How is Shione related to Nonoka’s mom? Apparently she was the one who helped them become friends. Nonoka invites her to come to the lake tonight to watch the meteor shower but is ignored. Souta and Noel are painting the monster as Noel is glad that Koharu won’t be changing to a new monster. Souta says this one is special to her. She loves it with all her heart. When she came up with a draft, Yuzuki drew on the cardboard and he cut it out before all of them painted on it. Once the girls return, Noel is proud of her ‘surgery’ on the monster. Not the best looking patch up but at least Koharu still loves it. Nonoka is at the lake but Shione is nowhere in sight. However Shione left a message to Noel to tell them. “She wanted to watch the meteor shower with them”.

Episode 8
Nonoka realizes Shione has been waiting all this time. She wants everyone to take part in Hokubi Festival. So Yuzuki forces Shione’s name in the application form and they make preparations for the mini planetarium that they will be doing. I don’t know why but Koharu, Yuzuki and Souta are trying to outdo each other in giving their tickets to Noel to come to the festival. I guess it makes Nonoka stop short in giving hers. But Noel tells Nonoka she can’t come because if she is away, the disc will be in trouble. Next day, the gang test the planetarium but Souta put on too much power and it exploded! Koharu splashes water on everybody so they take a break while they dry their blazers. They talk about the old times and the disc but Shione is not impressed and leaves. Flashback reveals Nonoka taught Noel to hum her mom’s song. Then that event when Nonoka had to leave but couldn’t get a chance to tell her friends. Shione learnt about this from Noel but was also told she will be back. Shione waited through the seasons but she never did. Until recently. Shione goes to give Noel her ticket and Noel doesn’t understand why she doesn’t want to go watch the meteor shower with Nonoka. Isn’t that their wish? Shione calls Nonoka a liar because she believed in her for so long. But Noel has always believed in her. Shione reveals she is afraid to have her trust betrayed again and hates herself for being unable to trust her. She views herself at fault for changing but Noel sees everyone as the same as they are then. Since Nonoka kept her promise, it is Noel’s turn to grant it. When Shione returns to the room, she sees Nonoka testing the planetarium. Chance to set things straight. Nonoka admits she would have forgotten about everything if not for Noel. But she really does want to watch the meteor shower with her and that feelings have never changed. Because she is her dear friend. I guess that is the magic word that melted her heart. Instant big hug. Instant apology. Wow. Everything just reconciled back to the way they were like their friendship never went away in the first place. But for formality, they renew their friendship. However you’d be wrong if you think everything is going to be fine and normal the next day. Because Shione was thinking about Noel and the disc, it is back to that gloomy face again. Now this is what she says. Nonoka used to be the girl she knew and can’t be together anymore. WTF?!

Episode 9
So I guess Shione’s back being a cold b*tch and leaves alone. Yeah well, Nonoka continues to believe in her. Shione goes to ask Noel what will happen to the disc if Nonoka’s wish is granted. It can be called by someone else to fulfil their own. Shione doesn’t seem amused about it and leaves. Nonoka and the rest help to complete the planetarium and they’ve asked some of their classmates to help speed things up. Shione remembers she had a book about some ritual to summon a UFO. She was worried nobody would believe her but Nonoka did. So she called the rest of the friends and they thought it was cool to summon one and make a wish. Noel hints that it is everyone’s wish to be happy. The Hokubi Festival makes a great start with Nonoka guiding Noel around the school grounds. It is time for their planetarium show but Shione is not seen. In fact, she is absent from school. Nonoka decides to go look for her. Does she even know where she stays? She doesn’t have to because she saw her in the streets. She catches up to her but Shione makes it clear she doesn’t want to see her anymore. She doesn’t like her and her friends and doesn’t want to hang out with them. This includes the planetarium. She continues being a b*tch to push Nonoka away but the latter continues to make her plea she wants them all to be like it was. To laugh and play together. Shione threatens her with a slap if she casually calls her name again but with Nonoka putting up tearful puppy dog eyes, Shione also gets emotional. She says there is no way they can be together and hints something will happen to Noel. As nobody expects anything from her, it will be okay for her not to keep her promises. Since b*tch mode is too hard to switch off, she says her goodbye. The festival has ended and the friends are still waiting for the duo to show up for their own personal planetarium show. They realize Noel is missing (she was with them a second ago) and think she must have gone looking for Nonoka. More shock for Nonoka because Noel collapses before her.

Episode 10
Noel says to take her to the disc so with Nonoka’s father driving, the day is saved. Noel is still weak and put the bed in her room. The rest of the friends visit as Nonoka explains that Noel is the disc who granted their wish from then. Yuzuki couldn’t believe it because Noel helped out the most with the protest. Yeah, the irony. Once Noel is well, she hopes Nonoka can continue to be good friends with Shione. But learning that they are on bad terms, Noel starts thinking what it was that went wrong. Maybe the last reason gave us a big clue: If the wish is granted, Noel will disappear. Short flashback during their younger days shows Nonoka introducing Shione to her friends and they immediately become friends. Nonoka tries to ask the teacher about Shione but gets a surprise when she learns she is transferring away! So Nonoka goes to talk Shione. The latter claims she is not so attached to the observatory like them and doesn’t seem to have a problem to let Noel stay in exchange if she leaves. Is she okay with that? Of course not. But she had to go put up that tough girl act. Later Noel tells Nonoka that she came to this town at first because they called her. But seeing her amazing wish, everyone was happy and together, that is why Noel wants everyone smiling together again. Shione then pops up at Nonoka’s friends to tell them the truth about Noel and circumstances. Just great. Now everybody wants to be the lone wolf. Souta feels he can be the one to be isolated if it keeps Noel around but Yuzuki feels guilty over her disc protests. In the end, everyone left with that confused and sad feeling. It just got worse, no? Noel tells Nonoka how she heard their voices that day and knew right away Nonoka when they first met. They spent lots of time together and everyone was nice and friendly. Noel was really happy. Now that all of them are happy together, it is time for Noel to say goodbye. She can say that with a smile?

Episode 11
Everyone is keeping their distance. So gloomy. Nonoka tries to get everyone to come to the observatory tonight but she’s not sure if her message is getting through to their heads and hearts. Nonoka then visits Shione who still wants to be left alone. If she is her friend, then please try to understand. Nonoka starts describing her friends including the stubborn Shione who believes it is okay for everyone to be happy as long as she suffers. Nonoka’s wish is for everyone to be happy and Shione’s happiness also part of that wish. Souta barges into Yuzuki’s room to talk to her about the day they summoned the disc. Earlier on, they had a fight so he wished they would make up. Yuzuki also wished the same. And since it happened, could it mean Noel really did grant their wish? So what is Koharu’s wish? That they can stay friends forever. Shione talks to Noel and is puzzled she can still be happy despite knowing she will go away. Noel is happy seeing everyone together and that means Noel was able to grant their wishes. Therefore Shione should send her off happily with her friends. When Nonoka comes to the observatory, everyone else is already waiting. With Shione popping up, Nonoka reintroduces her to them. Starting anew again? They pass the time by taking photos but I think Yuzuki is at her limit. She can’t hold in her tears any longer. Get ready a box of tissues because it’s going to be a tearjerker right till the end. The disc starts lighting up and this is a sign Noel has to go. So she has last words for everybody. Cue for emotional time. I’ll never forget you. I’ll always remember you. Then they all watch the meteor shower and finally Noel succumbs to tears. She is so happy that she loves everyone. Before Noel and Nonoka could get a last hug, a bright light flashes and Noel disappears. The disc is no more.

Episode 12
Déjà vu scene. Nonoka and her dad are just driving into this sleepy town after leaving Tokyo. Wasn’t Nonoka back at the observatory with Noel and her friends just now? Noel who? Father doesn’t remember. And the moment they enter town, there is no disc in the sky! So Nonoka rushes off to Koharu’s family store. She doesn’t recognize her at first but eventually does. She doesn’t know who Noel is too. Nonoka spots Yuzuki and talks to her. It takes some time for Yuzuki to remember who she is. Not even Noel too. She invites Nonoka to play water bottle rockets but she wants to go find Shione. Koharu talks to Souta and he is surprised Nonoka is back after 7 years. The last thing they remember doing together was trying to summon a UFO at the observatory. However nothing happened. Koharu has always wondered what would happen if it came true. Nonoka is outside Shione’s door but a different person answers. She has never heard of a person named Shione living here before. Sorry, got the wrong person. Nonoka heads to the observatory but is only even more dilapidated. No Noel. Only a wild fox. She finds it odd that she remembers everything about Noel. Next day in school, Nonoka is not in the same class with her friends. When she meets up with them, she asks about Shione but was told she moved out of town when they were in elementary school. Then Nonoka tells them about Noel and that day at the observatory. They want to believe her but it’s hard when you don’t remember. Souta says maybe she is the only one who remembers this Noel. Maybe she is just misremembering things. Could it be just a dream? Depressed, she even starts questioning if Noel really does exist in the first place. The only way left is for Nonoka to record down everything she knows about Noel. The rest feel like they’ve forgotten about something important. Nonoka makes a plea for Noel to come back. She wants to see her. But it isn’t Noel who came back. It is Shione. Do you remember? Yes, she does. She remembers the night tears were streaming down Noel’s face when they watched the meteor shower. Finally, somebody who remembers!

Episode 13
Nonoka is sad that nobody remembers Noel so Shione gives some words of encouragement that she once knew a stubborn girl whose words moved the hearts of everyone around her. She was one of those people moved by her unwavering will. Nonoka’s wish is for everyone to meet at this observatory. So as she gathers everyone at the pier, Souta becomes the ‘antagonist’ and tells Nonoka to give up this Noel thing because they don’t know who she is. Koharu has also thought hard about Nonoka’s words but can’t seem to find anything yet. Yuzuki believes in Nonoka and Shione wants to go ascertain themselves of it before those precious memories inside them disappear. At the observatory, they gather and do the wish summoning ritual that they all want to see Noel again. Well, no disc. Only a field of sunflowers. Nonoka sits with Shione as she remembers her mom told her she will face tough times in her life. When that happens, always smile and she’ll get through anything. Next morning, Nonoka notices Shuuichi making omelette rice. Doesn’t look good but at least it was better than last night’s cooking experience when he was trying to cut the radish and he looked like a nervous doctor doing a major operation for the first time. Anyway, Nonoka wonders if Shione asked him to make this (she is living with them temporarily) because daddy said it was for her. No, it wasn’t Shione. Some girl whose name he can’t even remember! She was here a while ago… Then Nonoka got the hint. She goes out to look for her. No Noel. Only a sunflower petal. So we see the rest of our friends doing their own stuffs (Yuzuki making a signboard to welcome to disc?!) and they sense something each time they hear Noel’s voice and see a floating sunflower petal. It leads them all to the sunflower field. A straw hat floats down and before them a familiar blue haired twintail loli. Guess who is back? Welcome back, Noel!

This only lasts 11 minutes and explores the origins of that monster, Kirigon… And Shione! Oh my! That girl has got something to do with that monster?! It all began when Yuzuki wanted to borrow that monster movie and since it is the only one in town, it is always being rented out. Then she notices Shione leaving the place. Could it be? Yuzuki then tells this to the rest of the girls and believes Shione is hiding some sort of secret of Kirigon. She convinces them to go spy on Shione and observes her actions. Like how she seems to be buying lots of chocolates from the mart. Kirigon has as sweet tooth? I don’t know how the quartet can hide behind the monster board but don’t you think it is so freaking obvious that they are dragging it and using it as a cover to follow Shione? The further observe Shione heading to the lake and a place where Kirigon was summoned in the movie. So is she going to call out Kirigon with the food? Yuzuki then puts Koharu’s glasses on Noel for her debut. Because she cannot see well, she stumbles into Shione and they both fall into the lake. Shione learns about their doing and can’t believe it. Yeah, neither can we. She says the chocolates are for herself because she likes them. But why hog the video? Shione won’t say and runs away. Noel must be disappointed that no big monster appeared… Nonoka then remembers she has a copy of that movie since it was part of her father’s collection. Back home when they watch the movie, they are shocked to see this revelation… Shione has a cameo appearance acting in a small part. A cute kid who pleads to Kirigon to save her! Oh my! So that’s the embarrassing secret she wants to keep from everyone?! So cute!!!

Friendship No Method
ZZZzzzZZZZzzzzZZZZZ… Oh… Ah… Actually I didn’t fall asleep but that is enough to tell you how I felt. If you still don’t get it, let me put it in a word: Boring. Bored is the feeling I have while watching this series and I think I would be surprised if I were to see my ‘long face’ in the mirror as I sit through 24 minutes of boring-ness. There was nothing magical or even supernatural to excite a worm at all. I was hoping at least such a twist would happen in the end but it didn’t materialize, thus extinguishing my hope of even trying to help consider this series as passable. There were so many questions that left me questioning if they were aiming for a happy ending and thus the rushed feeling (despite still being a draggy drama). For instance, why the heck is Nonoka and Shione the only ones to remember Noel? Is it because they are the closest? Wouldn’t it be cruel to make everybody forget and only them to remember? Because all that final episode drama would not have happened have they too forgotten about Noel. I know it would make the ending of the series sucks but that would spare the girls the agony of going through all that trouble (which isn’t much if you closely look at it) and summoning her back.

Next, so they made a wish to see Noel again. So no disc this time? How can she be doing fine without the disc? Sure, when they first summoned her, they were summoning a UFO and what came with it was Noel. So no UFO this time? And why was she at the sunflower field? Shouldn’t she be at the observatory like the last time? Change of scenery? And if they could make such an easy wish to see Noel again, why didn’t they do the same before she disappeared and lose their memories and avoid all this last episode drama crap? Why do they always have to leave it to the last minute and then go through all that troublesome stuff? They know they want her to stay but kept thinking, oh, one of us must go. Why the hell not just make another wish to rewrite the older one for all of them to stay? I mean, it was freaking easy to summon her, right? Gather around and wish with all your heart. Heck, if this worked, this place would be swarming with people all over the world praying for their wish to come true. Oh, they’ll get it alright. And it comes with a Noel! Haha! And now that Noel is back, who is she staying with? Assuming it would be Nonoka. But how is she going to live? Will she go to school? Will she continue to bum around smiling? Because with this reset thingy (a timeline where the disc never appeared before), wouldn’t Shuuichi find it weird if Nonoka decides to adopt this alien? Oh yeah. Small little town. Everybody is welcomed as a family.

How should I put it? This entire series has been dragging out the drama of lost friendship and trying to mending it back together. In some way it was going to be predictable and you could guess how it should it turn out in the end. I mean, a girl who has been away for years comes back and it wouldn’t be sitting too well with viewers if they don’t mend back their friendship, right? And you’d guess that the disc and Noel will have something to do with it. You’d guess what their wish was but hoped that there would be something more than to just that. Nope. Disappointingly it didn’t. Just plain ol’ friendship drama.

I don’t know. I find it really odd based on reality’s context. Because for people not only of this town but for the rest of the world to actually ignore this UFO while it was floating there for the past 7 years, it just shows that we humans don’t really care about extraterrestrial lives, do we? Because certain groups of the world will always to continue to fawn and chase after UFOs for their entire lifetime. Heck, even the US government would have intervened and classified this as part of their Area 51 and conduct classified experiments and research. So that is why it is just mind boggling to see people here not giving a damn about the UFO. Ignored its presence? Accepted its presence? Oh well, as long as they’re not out to steal our women and plunder our planet, I guess it is okay to leave it alone.

The character themselves feel lacklustre. In a character driven story, characters are supposed to help play an important part in driving the plot somewhere. I am not sure which is at fault. Is it because of the story that makes the characters inspiring or is it because the lacklustre characters are the ones causing the story to be dragged out? Or it could be the case of both! Because of that, the effects of the drama have made the characters boring and they think they could save it by exaggerating the moe and cutie effects of Noel. Yeah. Either her cuteness makes you fawn all over her or just annoy the hell out of you.

Nonoka as the main character already suffers from this lacklustre-ness. We know she has some guilt of her past. She returns to town. She wants to get back with her friends. She tries hard. In a way, it makes her look like she is desperate because you know, she seemingly keeps trying to impose (lacking a better word here) on others to change or accept her views. About the disc. About Noel. About her. And does Nonoka herself change? Not really, right? So she might be a little after she remembers but that didn’t really affect anything in a big way as she tries to continue playing friendship maker. If she wasn’t cute and sincere, she’d probably be written off as annoying. Oh wait, maybe many of us already did.

Shione too also feels like her character falls flat (although ironically she is the bustiest of the lot). She acts tough. She acts cold. She acts indifferent. Trying to play the part of the villain. That little slap to make our hearts skip a bit. All just to make us guess if there is something more than meet the eyes with this b*tch attitude. Sure, there is a reason why she just doesn’t want to be friends initially. But you could hardly feel any emotion with that kind of reason. She is just like Nonoka and probably the rest too. All they want is to be friends. It is just so simple but they make it so complicated. And I thought kids are supposed to be honest with their feelings. Ah well, I guess they are at that growing up age where they are being in conflict with their emotions and everything else. And once you have passed that stage, are you considered grown up?

Noel could have been the best character because she is like in a world of her own (literally she is actually from another world so that may be technically right). She does nothing but bum around and hang around, having fun in her own ways. Her friendliness and cheery disposition would light up smiles wherever she goes. But like I said, her moe and cuteness overwhelms the overall mystery that I believed her character is supposed to be because when she admits she is the disc quite early in the series, nothing pretty much happens after that. Despite constant reminders about her turn of granting Nonoka’s wish. You’ll guess what it is but again you hope there would be something different. Something like a twist. Nope. Disappointing. Well, at least she fares better than Nonoka and Shione. But it just got me wondering what and where the heck was she doing or hanging out for the last 7 years when Nonoka was away? Maybe 7 years are nothing to an alien. If she was happily waiting at the observatory for her to come back, doesn’t that make her like the ghost of the place? No wonder nobody visits that place other than those kids. Scary. Even scarier when you see a cute friendly ‘ghost’.

The rest of the other supporting characters and friends also fall short. Yuzuki was pretty amusing at first with her angst and was totally against the UFO. She was really all out in protest against it. Better than being the b*tchy Shione. And then when she was ‘tamed’, she wasn’t so amusing anymore. Koharu is so gentle that she couldn’t even possibly scare a fly away. She has this aura that exudes that she is the slow and retard of the group but that may just be my stereotypes. Finally there is Souta to add a little masculinity to the anime in which otherwise would have totally been a girly anime with a higher chance of viewers thinking up some yuri possibilities because this show is so goddamn boring. Oops! Not that anybody would stop thinking about any yuri possibility between Nonoka and Shione anyway. Oh, and what is Souta’s role in the group? Somebody to straighten Yuzuki, bring her to her senses, somebody supportive of her? I don’t know. Take your pick. Sometimes I find that the ‘plot’ of him going away to study overseas didn’t matter. I thought it would but as the story plays out, it was as good as if it wasn’t mentioned at all.

Looking at the art and drawing, I thought it was PA Works since the art style looked similar like Nagi No Asukara. Overly cute looking girls. Yeah, that ‘trademark’. But something about it felt a little off and that it wasn’t really PA Works. Studio 3Hz is a newly formed anime company that animated this series and this is their debut anime. There isn’t anything to complain about the art quality as everything looks fine and vibrant although I won’t go so far as to say it comes close to even as a masterpiece. Character designs feel pretty okay but nothing extraordinary but with the girls looking so cute that I thought they had this baby face trademark and that the cuteness ‘never changed’ since they were kids. The scenery and background are also okay but nothing spectacular. It’s passable since you know, a sleepy town have more ‘refreshing’ greenery as opposed to your concrete jungle.

Among the cast, only Aki Toyosaki as Yuzuki was recognizable to me. Haven’t been hearing about her much in anime roles lately so it is very much welcomed to hear her again ever since I got to know her playing as Yui from K-ON! The rest of the casts are Shiina Natsukawa as Nonoka (Kanna in Witch Craft Works), Inori Minase as Noel (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Mikako Komatsu as Shione (Tsugumi in Nisekoi), Haruka Yoshimura as Koharu (Kouko in Akuma No Riddle) and Kaito Ishikawa as Souta (Harutora in Tokyo Ravens). Surprisingly the opening and ending themes are quite pleasant to hear although it won’t be ending up in my all-time top 50 anime songs. Stargazer by Larval Stage Planning is a nice satisfying pop piece greeting as the opener while Hoshikuzu No Interlude by Fhana as the ending theme also gives off that exuberant feel.

Overall, this series is disappointing for a lot of reasons (although I read online there are quite a number of viewers who liked this series because it is like Da Capo – just without the romance). It is just one long drama on a group of friends getting their friendship back like old times. Sure, the alien had something to do with it but basically it is their own determination that made it happen. There was a UFO hovering over town but it didn’t start blasting its beams or take over the world so I guess that is why people lost interest in it and just let it be. Nothing sensational, magical, supernatural to move our hearts but at least they didn’t make it complicated. Because if it was this easy for a bunch of kids to make a wish to call a UFO at an abandoned observatory, God must be playing a cruel joke on UFO chasers and enthusiasts for ages. It must feel like an insult. Well, you won’t be catching me making a wish like that because I don’t want it to come with a free Noel no matter how cutie pie she is.

Yum! Yum! Apparently I thought it was over but since I recently only found out there were short specials of Shining Hearts: Shiawase No Pan, it serves as the perfect moment to remember those nostalgic bread moments. Mmm… Those delicious and tasty breads… Oh darn. Thinking all that bread is making me hungry. Maybe I should prepare a light snack while catching the 6 specials lasting 2-3 minutes each.

Special 1
Rick and the girls are at the beach. Airy is worried that God will be mad at her for showing some skin as she dons her swimsuit. By the way, she already put it on. Too late to retract your statements. Hope your God loves sexy babes in swimsuits. Meanwhile the rest notices Amil not in her swimsuit. So they ‘strip’ her to reveal the one she wearing underneath. After a hard day of playing at the beach, the girls head home but they think they have forgotten something. Maybe not. Poor Rick still buried in the sand. The tides are coming in and weird people are starting to think he is some sort of merman!

Special 2
You know Rick’s bread is so good when you can’t stop eating them. But there’s a limit to it. Notice something different about Airy? Oh my… SHE’S FAT!!!!!!!!! Amil and Neris help her to slim down but I don’t think jogging and cutting down her portions are going to do any good. So they go see Alvin for help. Uhm… Isn’t he fat too? Anyway he suggests sauna so the girls alternate between the hot and cold sauna till Airy gets back her sexy slim figure. Hooray! Rick has baked lots of new bread. Oh God… No… AIRY!!!!!!! TOO GOOD TO RESIST!!!

Special 3
Melty is thinking what kind of sweets to make for the Le Coeur girls. She thinks she knows what they like but she is basing that on the clothes they wear. Judging a book by its cover? So she mixes several ingredients together. And then a handful of non-edible ones into the mix. Oh God. Is she serious? Her little devil familiar, Sorbet has to test eat them, you know? The verdict? I think that vomiting scream is enough to tell us.

Special 4
Rufina is running a confession stand. Amil goes first as she confesses she has become a bit lazy ever since Rick came. Time to repent. Water splashes down on her. Next is Neris who believes that it is because of her charming face that is making the store popular. Time to repent. Water splashes down on her. Airy talks about organizing such things herself and despite trying to praise Rufina, it sounded like she’s saying bad about her as well. She got a basin dropped on her head for repentance. Finally Rick confesses and apologizes as he thought Ragnas was an impulsive prince at first. Ragnas sings him a song for his honesty. I guess it’s so boring that Rick fell asleep. Guess what? I guess now it is punishment time. 98 more songs to go… Oh God… Please forgive me!

Special 5
Xiao Mei’s room is filled to the brim. At this rate there won’t be enough room for all her antiques. She clears them out by holding a clearance sale. This means our Le Coeur girls are eager to get some stuffs they want at a bargain and Xiao Mei easily recommends and sells it to them. When Rick spots an odd item, Xiao Mei accidentally reveals it is a unicorn’s horn. This startles the girls since the unicorn’s horn is supposed to be confiscated by the kingdom. She tries to change the story that they heard wrong and when the girls seek Rick to vouch for them, he tells them he heard unikonbu no sunomono (pickled sea urchin and kelp). The girls are relieved and leave. Xiao Mei is grateful for Rick’s help and wants to kiss his cheek as reward. However he turns her down that he doesn’t need it. She turns into a mad cat and kicks him away! And he had no clue what he had done!

Special 6
Rick is reminiscing his time ever since coming to this island. Well, they’re just clips from the past specials. Yeah, so he is thankful and grateful. He’s happy as can be. Blah, blah, blah. We get it. Our Le Coeur girls also have a reason to be thankful for him and bake him a little bread. And of course, not forgetting the viewers for watching till the end.

The Bread And Butter Of Happiness
Hmm… Okay… It is just sad that I didn’t get to taste any bread! Damn it my mouth is still watering as I am typing this. I know. You’re going to tell me to go to the store and buy some, right? Anyway, I guess the specials are a nice way to end the series seeing it ended a couple of years before and I’m just late in watching the specials. Lots of nostalgia factor nevertheless. With the characters mainly in chibi form, sometimes they turn into their normal/bishoujo form for ‘fanservice’ scenes (albeit it is very minimal). So much so I thought they should have renamed this special as Shiawase Nopan or Shiawase No Pantsu!!! HAHAHA!!! Holy cow. I don’t think I would ever stop drooling if they put in such fanservice and bread. So delicious that I want to eat them all!!!! YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Uhm… They don’t make those PAN-tsu no pan, do they? Heh…

Juuou Mujin No Fafnir

August 2, 2015

Am I seeing some sort of trend recently? Or has my mind gone numb after seeing too much of the same thing every season? Because somehow in a certain way, some animes have the same ‘feel’. The theme of ecchi fanservice, harem (including a typical single male protagonist), magic and dragons/monsters/beasts or a combination of them. That is why when I started watching Juuou Mujin No Fafnir (Unlimited Fafnir), immediately my thoughts are how similar this anime is to Seiken Tsukai No World Break in an overall sense. Heck, both shows are aired during the same season back in early 2015. Then there are Seikoku No Dragonar, Seiken Tsukai No Blade Dance, Cross Ange and Dragon Crisis to name a few… Have they run out of ideas lately?

Reading the synopsis itself is amusing. Try and make a guess from it. The world changes with the appearances of dragons… People (and by that they mean only girls) with dragon powers are then born… Suddenly there is a single boy in the whole wide world known to only possess this power… Gets “forcefully thrown into the school where such girls are gathered”… “…Where he saw the naked body of one of the students”… “Meeting his long lost sister…”… He said this to one of the girls, “When there is no choice, I will – kill you”… She says, “Can I really… Believe you?”… And finally, “The curtains open as the ‘one and only story’ about the boy who is supposed to become the strongest assassin and the incompetent girls unfolds – Ultimate School Battle Action!” Woah! I don’t know what to make out of this. Lines like that in the summary are mostly pretty ambiguous and sometimes misleading. Is this a whole lot of drama, harem, action and comedy mixed into the fray? Well, it better live up to its synopsis…

Episode 1
As narrated, dragons appeared in the world 25 years ago and destroyed a big part of it. Since then, there are people born with the same powers as those dragons. They are called Type D. Just like Yuu Mononobe who sets his first foot on Midgar only to find naked Iris Freya bathing in the sea (she lost her swimsuit to the waves if you must know). She tries to beat him up but screws up. After quelling the misunderstanding, Yuu’s sister whom he has not seen for 3 years, Mitsuki comes to pick him up. Starting today, he will be a transfer student on this island and the first male student in this academy. Colonel Haruka Shinomiya isn’t just the high commander on this island but also a teacher in the Brynhildr Class. We have a brief history of how Midgar came to be. From breaking away from the military NIFL (that Yuu is from) and being internationally recognized as having human rights, they have joined Asgard under UN to become an autonomous educational facility to help promote the use of D’s powers for society. Mitsuki who is also the student council president introduces Yuu during the assembly. But in class, some of the girls, Lisa Highwalker in particular isn’t convinced so Yuu has to demonstrate that he is D material by materializing some dark matter. But they question his decision to materialize it into a gun since it will be useless against the Red Basilisk dragon that they are trying to fight. Hey, didn’t they say just to show proof? Iris tries to stand up for Yuu but screws up in her line about this morning’s accident. That’s a quick way to be known as a pervert.

Yuu is brought to the underground training facility whereby the girls demonstrate in their practice how they fight a dragon. Shinomiya explains to us the use of vivid imagination and dark matter allows the girls to use elemental powers and magic in their fight. Wow. The power of imagination! The rest of the girls, Firill Crest, Ren Miyazawa and Ariella Lu also strut their stuffs. Shinomiya reveals the reason why dragons appear in this world: To find a mate. Those with the Dragon Crest mark are their target and Ds who come into contact will turn into a dragon. This was confirmed when they fought with the Purple Kraken. Therefore Midgar is also serving as a fortress to protect Ds and intercept dragons deprived of their mates. When it is Iris’ turn, she screws up no matter how many retries. Later Yuu talks to her but I don’t think being realistic is helping to cheer her up. She mentions her parents were killed by a White Leviathan. She survived and that’s when her D powers awakened. She says it isn’t for revenge that she joined Midgar as she doesn’t have hatred but just feels like she needed to fight. Oh sure, can you say that when it is a harem, can you? Yuu notes Iris reminds him a lot like Mitsuki during her younger days when she is full of strive. That’s why he can’t leave her alone. She wants to get to know him better too. Their friendship is about to hit off when a Level C emergency is sounded.

Episode 2
Wow. 47 hours till Leviathan is here. So much time… Major Loki Jotunheim contacts Yuu and tells him to kill the D when the time comes because he is NIFL’s strongest Fafnir. Otherwise they are forced to use other ‘inefficient’ methods. As Mitsuki addresses the crowd, she is seeking those whose Dragon Crest is resonating. Yuu remembers Iris’ acting weird and may be it. He goes to find her and she is at the rooftop. Trying to jump down? Thankfully she doesn’t have the guts. It’s not that he is a pervert and wants her to show her Dragon Crest. It’s just to make sure. Well, it’s resonating. Iris is sad that she doesn’t want to hurt everyone. Leave it to Yuu to assure her that won’t happen and everyone will protect her. How cock sure is he? Well, if it really comes down to it, he’ll kill her. Oh, that’s reassuring alright. Iris is sheltered in a safe room as Yuu tells Mitsuki about this. She isn’t pleased and wants to kill Iris when it happens. WTF. Fighting over the right to kill her? Yuu then contacts Loki to accept the job so please don’t interfere. Yuu bumps into Lisa who is still putting up that b*tch mode with him. She also lets him know about the 2 Krakens they killed a couple of years ago. One of them was Shinomiya’s little sister, Miyako and her friend. Lisa won’t forgive Mitsuki for killing her.

Yuu goes to guard Iris in her room but it feels more like some flirting fanservice if you ask me. Because she has screens that can view the camera outside, I don’t know what on Earth was the camera focusing and it gave them a glimpse of one of the girls’ pantsu! Suddenly I can have a million devilish thoughts about this! This causes Iris to worry if he likes to see panties and is willing to show it to him. YES! I WANT TO SEE YOUR PANTSU! Oh… Don’t tell me you’re gay, Yuu???!!! And don’t tell me I have to buy the BDs just to see this?! And then… I suppose Iris let Yuu take a bath first so she can sneak in to wash his back but got freaked out seeing his ‘little dragon’. WTF?! Therefore it is right for him not to be sleeping in the same room. She thanks him for being kind. I don’t know what the heck they’re talking about future possibilities because he really believes there is a future he doesn’t need to kill her. Why the complication? Anyway, let’s just believe in everybody that they’ll protect her. Simple. Yuu falls asleep and dreams of his childhood with Mitsuki. Lively little girl wants to be with him forever and since mom says kids can’t get married, she agrees to wait till they’re adults to do so. And here’s an engagement kiss as promise. Eh, what? Yuu wakes up after some sinister voice tells him the price of something is his memories. Well, Yuu isn’t too late in missing the show because Leviathan is here and it easily breaks through the first defence. So much about that.

Episode 3
I guess you’re screwed when Leviathan has the power to deflect ANYTHING! Now it’s up to the girls but they too can’t stand its might. Shinomiya then calls Yuu but he already knows she has already called for NIFL’s help since she can’t let what happened 2 years ago happen again. It’s better than letting those girls shoulder the burden. But you sent them out, right? All Yuu wants is their infiltration route. Since Iris entrusted her life to him, he won’t let anyone have it. Can he do it alone? As long as his opponent is human… So we see why Yuu live up to his name as the best Fafnir because he singlehandedly take out all those NIFL soldiers who are equipped with real guns! A soldier almost shoots Yuu from the back but Iris’ reflex blasts him away. How did she do that? Then they go to the cliff to wait for Leviathan to fight it. But Mitsuki is back and injured. She wants to kill Iris. Yuu understands the pain she went through when she killed Miyako but he won’t let her kill Iris. So they’re going to fight just to see who get the right to kill her? The oldest trick in the book: Yuu tricks Mitsuki he can see her panties and she lets her guard down enough for him to defeat her. Fighting over the right to kill her won’t do any good so he suggests fighting Leviathan till their last breath. When they reunite with the other girls, they aren’t too please Iris is brought here. It’s like a big signal to tell the giant narwhale that she’s here.

Since it is Iris’ call, she decides to fight it and calls forth her wand, Kerykeion to let loose some blast at Leviathan. It did some good in slowing it down as the rest of the girls provide support. But this only makes Leviathan angry and its anger scream is enough to blast and destroy the rest of the barriers! You’re so screwed. Seeing Iris trying so hard reminds Yuu the same of Mitsuki then. He felt so bad she wanted to protect their home and that he lacked the power. Suddenly the voice of Gaia’s oldest dragon, Tohue, a green dragon also known as Yggdrasil wants to confirm his contract with Yuu. Who the hell called this dude? As Yggdrasil seeks the annihilation of other dragons, in exchange for power to Yuu, the price to pay are his memories. Moments before Mitsuki is going to shoot Iris, Yuu calls forth Yggdrasil to make another contract. This time he materializes a freaking huge cannon gun! This is more like it! Unlike those pee shooters from those girls… With Iris, they repel Leviathan away and Mitsuki delivers the final blow, shooting it into half with her arrow. They did it. Iris’ mark is gone. They’ve won. Later Iris talks to Yuu and wants to be his friend but she is surprised that he has already considered her his friend. Since when? Does it matter? To show her gratitude, Iris kisses him.

Episode 4
I think Lisa must be hinting something when she tells Yuu she is promoting him to apprentice classmate, tsundere style. Whatever. Iris must be having a bad day because it is obvious she has forgotten to wear her pantsu and today’s schedule is physical examination. Of course Yuu won’t be any part of it as he is made to go see the headmistress, Charlotte B. Lord (a little girl as the school head?) and her personal secretary-cum-maid, Mica Stuart. She claims all the girls in Midgar are her harem and thus an excuse she will examine Yuu herself. How can she say she hates men when she starts licking his hand?! She reveals that today’s physical examination is just to check the Dragon Crest as the Red Basilisk has begun to move from its nest. Then she suggests to go peep at girls as she is finding an accomplice! Thankfully Mica puts a stop to her craziness. During the assembly, Mitsuki introduces a couple of girls who were found by NIFL to have Dragon Crest resonating with Basilisk. One of them being Tear Lightning and although she has horns, Mitsuki says she is human. However this loli asserts she is a dragon and so angry she is that her dark matter starts zapping everything. When everything calms down, Tear recognizes Yuu and is happy to see him. She quickly hugs him and says she was born to be a dragon’s bride and thus Yuu is her husband. Eh? What? Yuu explains that he was once in a rescue operation to save Tear kidnapped by the mafia and forced to make gems.

Shinomiya assigns Yuu to guide Tear and Mitsuki to help him since the other girls have become scared of her. So with the loli hogging Yuu (including sitting on his lap as her seat in class), this doesn’t sit well with a certain little sister and friend. Yeah, she’s sticking to him like a leech. No fair! It’s always Tear, Tear and Tear. Iris joins the siblings and Tear in a study session but we know it’s going to be hard to concentrate, right? However Tear shows she isn’t just an annoying loli because she answers all her questions correctly! But we don’t care about that because since Iris wants to bath with him as a reward, the rest of the girls go in just to keep watch. They’re in their swimsuits of course. The bathtub is freaking cramped… Yuu tries to teach Mitsuki about friendship and thus to make friends with the other classmates. She is reluctant thinking there are some bad people. But after a little nudging, the first step is always the hardest. Once she greets everyone and they greet back, it is all easy flow from here. Yeah, it is like as though they’ve been best friends forever. And when Iris thought she got the chance to ask Yuu to sit on his lap, instant rejection! Sad girl… Now that Tear has warmed up to the girls, Lisa even says Yuu is too incompetent to handle her and will take over from now on. Yeah sure. Thanks. A burden just got offloaded from his shoulders. Lisa teaches Tear how to materialize weapons via dark matter. It starts out great till Tear remembers this trauma that some hooded lady keeps telling her she is a dragon. Her power becomes stormy and goes berserk.

Episode 5
Tear turns into a dragon and starts zapping everything. Yuu saves Lisa from being toasted so that we could have a little cheap fanservice thrill of his hand over her boob. Once Lisa fires back at Tear, she reverts back to normal and faints. Later at the infirmary, Yuu meets the other girl, Honoka Tachikawa and helps put anti-septic on her back. A few chat and my harem senses start tingling that she definitely likes this guy. Then Yuu gets a call from Loki about the dragon worshipping cult. They have begun their move to retrieve Tear. Midgar’s defence is impenetrable and thus no doubt that woman will make her move, Kili Surt Muspelheim, the D who opposes NIFL. When Tear is awake, she is devastated to learn the trouble she has caused. Yuu understand she didn’t do on purpose. He wants her to promise never to think herself as a dragon again but she still insists as she has this strange power. So do the rest. But they live as humans. If she chooses to live as a dragon, he can’t be with her. He wants her to live as a human. Asking about her parents, she mentions they are all fake. She was living a nice life till all that deception was revealed and that was when she met Kili. After Tear apologizes to everyone, Lisa imposes a quick punishment (a light bump on the head). What better way to forget all about that and to go out to the beach and have fun. I know. Your obligatory fanservice scene with girls in swimsuits. Tear recognizes Iris as her rival and they challenge each other to some sand hill digging game. Tear won. And of course, Lisa being tsundere as usual. Perhaps Mitsuki is being hypocrite when she warns Yuu about his comments on girls’ swimsuit that borderlines sexual harassment. So what if he comments on hers? Go ahead. I am not sure what Yuu did wrong. Because all he said was she looks good in it and it’s like she’s not happy and pulls his ear. What?! Not enough compliment? Said too much?! Women, can’t understand them! Charlotte also joins in the fun since her harem is here. She brought lots of BBQ stuffs and when it is time to party and dance, Mica takes her away. When Yuu returns to his room, he receives information on Kili in his laptop. Hmm… Involved in over 300 terrorist attacks! Can burn people or things upon touching! Chose to live as a dragon. Yuu won’t let Tear turn out into someone like her. It couldn’t be worse timing as a dragon appears right smack in the middle of the academy.

Episode 6
Good thing or bad thing, Blue Hecatoncheir is just standing there doing nothing. Even so, Shinomiya says it is immortal! Past records show any damages are instantly healed. Their job now is to reduce possible damage. Lisa is assigned to protect Tear while the rest go on standby. Of course Yuu can summon Yggdrasil’s power to drive it away but if he does so, Midgar will suffer enormous damage. Well, he argues if he can’t use it now, then when? I guess this is what happens when you leave just a guard to protect Tear. Kili blasts her way in with no resistance. So will Tear quietly go with her? Didn’t think so. I have a feeling she can end everything with the snap of her finger but something tells me she is just toying with them. I mean, you see Lisa and Tear trying to run and escape but Kili is always there. Finally she gets tired of the game and a super blast that is big enough to make Yuu’s sense tingle. Yup. He rushes back to realize his worst fear has come true. Lisa is down and Tear is in Kili’s hands. Yuu fires a bullet at Kili but it was melted by his barrier. Then she melts his gun. Kili says she is going to take Tear to Basilisk and marry them. She starts brainwashing Tear that because she refused to come, a lot of people are going to get hurt, including this boy. But don’t worry, everything here is fake. She is going to listen to this woman instead of Yuu? When Kili starts giving Yuu a real taste of pain, Tear agrees to come along with Kili and is convinced she is a dragon. Yuu reminds her of the promise she won’t disappear and how everyone here right now is real. Kili must have said the wrong word about happiness because Tear starts thinking about the happy times with her friends here. She wants to be here. She rejects Kili and claims she is human. When Kili is going to make her regret saying that and also to see to it she can’t live as a human anymore, Yuu becomes desperate to save her that he somehow could use Leviathan’s repelling force to push Kili back. Play time is over. They’ll regret not handing Tear over. Kili has Hecatoncheir start moving. Let the rampage begin.

Episode 7
Mitsuki’s idea is to push Hecatoncheir out of the academy by generating lots of wind. But nobody ate burrito last night? Just kidding! So as all the girls generate their wind power including Tear using her dragon or angel wings, Yuu again makes a contract with Yggdrasil to ‘download’ anti-gravity ability from Leviathan. In this tiny bullet he fires, Hecatoncheir is levitated into the air as all the girls push the limit of their wind powers and finally Yuu blasting it away with his cannon. Heck, I thought he should have levitated it into space, if not blasted it there. So it’s gone and their academy is safe? Where did they blast it anyway? Remember, it is immortal! Oh, who the hell cares since our harem is safe. Charlotte is still alive, coming out of the rubble and this loli talks big because she really wants to teach Hecatoncheir a lesson the next time for ruining her room and ‘collection’. Mica tells her off about building her room in high places and should have been more practical like Shinomiya because she built and underground shelter where all the other girls emerge unscathed. Lisa is fine although in lots of bandages as Tear goes on an emotional apology spree. As Mitsuki’s room is destroyed, Shinomiya gives her stay at the lodging house temporarily. Then there is this argument between Tear and Iris of wanting Yuu to stay in their room. Tear the ever I’m-your-bride loli kisses Yuu to signify their engagement, something Iris is not happy with. She starts revealing she kissed Yuu first much to Tear’s surprise. Mitsuki tells the girls off for being too noisy. Yuu will be staying in the room next to hers. Oh, she blames Yuu as the one being at fault the most! WTF?! He is the quietest one and she blames him???!!! Now you see why it’s hard to understand women???!!!

And Yuu knows Mitsuki is mad. She talks about Hecatoncheir who suddenly vanished from its Siberia base where it was contained and appearing here. It is not known to have teleporting abilities. Also, she is concerned about his anti-gravity skill. Where did he get it? She feels he is keeping secrets from her. It is fine that he doesn’t want to tell her because the most important thing she needs to know is whether he really kissed Iris. He did. And something must be wrong for her to remain cool and not blow her top. Uh huh. She tells him to be sincere of his actions or it will be deemed as an act of indecency. That’s because she notes his first kiss was with her when they were kids. Oh sh*t. You know what? He can’t remember! And great news. She wants him to pretend not to remember that kiss and that promise. How convenient. How can he when he doesn’t remember? Heck, he even thinks she is making up this joke! But it’s not when you see her crying and say she doesn’t need such childhood wishes anymore to atone for her sins. She’ll keep on fighting. And Yuu had to be the ever happy ending hero because if the only way she’ll forgive herself is via fighting, then he’ll end that battle. Because he isn’t going to let her give up on her happiness. How touching.

Episode 8
Mitsuki is still reeling from nightmares over the death of Miyako. Tear and Iris are yet again in another WTF competition to put more cube sugars in Yuu’s coffee… And for some reason when Lisa thanks Tear for her help, Yuu had to compliment Lisa’s beauty. Was that called for? Is he hinting something? Shinomiya calls the gang as Basilisk is reported to be heading towards Midgar. Its beam turns anything into rock, ash or salt so Midgar will be done for if it is in the vicinity. Their plan is to take a boat out to some volcanic island and destroy it with the island. Charlotte laments she can’t go with her harem and had to stay back to fix the academy. Pay attention and don’t daydream to avoid accidents! Safety first! As Lisa is injured, Shinomiya has drafted Honoka temporarily into the team. Later Yuu overheard Lisa and Mitsuki arguing. It’s something to do about Miyako’s death and Lisa won’t forgive her about it. Because Mitsuki confiscated Firill’s book (since she was so engrossed in it that she got seasick. Don’t ask), she comes to his room to get it back. She really wants to read it so he teases he is going to reveal the spoilers. She immediately jumps on him! Bad joke backfired? Then she starts ‘experimenting’ by touching her body with an excuse she wants to be a writer someday and needs to know a lot of things. Is this part of what she wants to know? His nonchalant comments that she’s pretty too but she doesn’t want him to fall for her. Instead, she wants him to hit on Lisa more. In that case, Yuu also has a request of Firill. He wants to know more about Lisa. No, you don’t start off with her 3 sizes. He is concerned that they do not get along but Firill points out he is already wrong because they don’t resent each other in the first place.

That night, Yuu talks to Mitsuki to ask about Miyako. She doesn’t want to talk about it but wants a hug. I suppose that gives her the strength to talk about Miyako. When they first met, they instantly became good friends. They were so attached to each other that you could say they’d be a great potential for a lesbian couple. Heck, they even share the same bed! One day, a Kraken attacked Midgar and Miyako felt it was resonating with her. She willingly got devoured by it and turned into a Kraken. Just great. Two dragons to deal with now. Mitsuki was so sad that she activated her dark matter and destroyed the original Kraken. But she can’t for the second one because that is Miyako. Shinomiya tells her to do it and will take full responsibility for it. She even hears Miyako’s voice to do so. And the rest is history. Yuu suggests Mitsuki give Lisa an opportunity to forgive her because it is tiring being angry and bitter for very long. Next day, Lisa confronts Yuu and she knows he said something to Mitsuki because she asked for forgiveness. Yuu just told Mitsuki to consider how she feels and that it is not like Lisa hated her too. In that instant, Lisa realizes Firill also had a hand in it. If it lessens Mitsuki’s guilt, Lisa will continue to be her punishment.

Episode 9
Loki sees Major General Dylan. Seems their experiment on a weapon to destroy Basilisk is complete. After a great loss of lives to obtain this data, it better hell work, whatever this UFO looking thing is. Since Basilisk is still very far off, you can’t just sit around and do nothing. Honoka has taken the liberty to come up with a hotspring programme. I have a feeling what this is about… Of course Yuu can’t go as he is the only guy. But Firill gives him a coupon that has the hotspring all to himself. This is thanks for resolving the issue between Lisa and Mitsuki. But that smirk… Something is up… True enough, when Yuu thinks he is going to have a nice time by himself, the other girls come in. Deep sh*t alright. Fanservice galore… As expected. More surprising for Yuu is how Firill is next to him (how did she creep up to him?) and wants his opinion if he is happy? Why not? If he isn’t, he is definitely gay. She wants to add more to his happiness as she gets closer to him… Closer… This causes him to raise his voice and the other girls think they might have heard him. Thanks to Mitsuki’s handphone ringing, they forget all about it. Mitsuki informs that NIFL has decided to carry out an operation tomorrow. In the briefing room, Dylan explains further that NIFL wants them to let them handle this one. Research shows that Basilisk’s beam is a weathering effect as it breaks down components via accelerating time. So a second is like 2000 years?! They have found some material that is resistant to aging and that is mithril, earth’s strongest alloy. They have constructed a huge bomb, Mistelteinn packed with mithril and will drop it on Basilisk. The operation begins the next day and once the aircrafts are directly over Basilisk, Mistelteinn is dropped. Basilisk blasts it with its beam and at first it seems the plan is going to work as there is no effect on it. But then it uses its hidden third eye to shoot an even bigger blast! OMFG! No sign of Mistelteinn! I wonder if that blast could reach the moon. As I expected. It failed. Or else how do you give our girls a chance to shine? So much for those who were sacrificed. All in vain. Suddenly Tear weakens and her Dragon Crest starts resonating.

Episode 10
And so now it is up to our girls to do the job. Shinomiya briefs the girls on their mission. They’ll attack when Basilisk is 6 kilometres away from the island. Thanks to the world’s circumference, it is not like Basilisk will shoot straight into them. Sure, they’ll be hiding behind the volcano and safe from Basilisk’s vision but its shot’s trajectory will be upwards, leaving a small safe zone for them. Tear will be on a boat heading away from the island to distract Basilisk. That is when the rest will use all they’ve got to fire through the island and hit it. Shinomiya splits the team into pairs. As Yuu practises his anti-gravity move, he remembers Charlotte telling him that he isn’t the first to gain such ability after fighting a dragon. Mitsuki was the same. Therefore his ability to make such dark matter is triggered during such battles. She also had this interesting theory that because this is like stealing the dragon’s ability, could it be that the dragons are just wanting to get it back. Then Yuu and Iris have a little chat (because their screen time together is getting lesser recently) especially about the time they said they wanted to know each other. He asks about that gratitude kiss and her reply is that this is how her family greets although it is on the cheek. He is the first on the lips. I know what this means… Everyone sees Tear who is still in pain to give her some confidence. Don’t worry. Put your trust in them. The operation begins as everyone begins powering up their dark matter and Yuu too also summons his giant cannon. They blast through the island but Basilisk counters it with its third eye. Heck, the blast is so freaking big that it makes the one from our heroes like a pee shooter! And it goes right through the island! Holy sh*t! Can’t blame them for looking this surprised. A look that also says, “Holy f*ck, we’re really screwed this time!”.

Episode 11
Honoka sinks the ground so the beam misses them. Yuu shoots a bullet into it to dispel it. After Shinomiya gives the retreat orders, Basilisk fires another shot to destroy the island. It’s a good thing everyone is still alive but they’re sad the mission is a failure. It’s like they’ve failed Tear who is already in coma. Later Yuu talks to Mitsuki who once again blames herself for the failure. He doesn’t want her to give up yet. Simple words, enough to cheer her up. As they watch footage of Basilisk (it boggles me how they get such high quality close-up footage when everything around it should have been turned to stone), Yuu notices something amiss. How come it didn’t use its third eye when it was pursuing them? It could have easily blasted them away. Yuu then contacts Loki and wants NIFL to hand over a prototype of Mistelteinn. He doesn’t believe its concept is flawed. Yuu has a briefing with the girls and from what he mentions, Basilisk didn’t continue to use its third eye because there is a limit on how much it can discharge. Something like a cooling point too. Theoretically it would be weakened after using it up and this is where they’ll use Mistelteinn to attack. Everyone agrees with this except for Honoka who has doubts. Because if they screw up, this will be the end of Tear. Yuu believes the help of Ds can control Mistelteinn’s descent but Honoka believes Basilisk has another ability. Since it blows away time, it might be able to see what’s at the end of time. Their chat is cut short when Lisa and Mitsuki are in a heated argument. Mitsuki’s plan is that she’ll descend down with Mistelteinn to adjust its trajectory. Trying to be a hero? Lisa slaps her for even thinking the worst (asking them to take care of Tear if she fails). When Firill volunteers to be the one, suddenly everyone else wants to do it. Including Yuu. Lisa adds a condition to forgive her is that everyone participates and they all come back alive. Boy, that’s going to be tough. Later Yuu talks to her to cheer her up again but he feels perplexed when he can’t remember a childhood promise that Mitsuki mentions. Yuu goes to check on Tear but is devastated to see the place torn apart and she is missing. Thinking Loki may have made his move, he goes to search for her but finds her in the hands of Honoka. She believes Tear would be happier becoming a dragon than a corpse. She snaps her finger to send some warning explosives to him. Yuu recognizes this familiar move. Honoka adds that the easiest way to find Tear was to disguise herself and infiltrate Midgar. And the biggest revelation ever in the series… Don’t hold your breath… HONOKA IS KILI!!! Surprised?

Episode 12
Kili is trying to argue that Tear’s future might be better as a dragon. Of course Yuu disagrees seeing Tear has already decided to live as a human. In the fight, Yuu defeats Kili simply because he remembers Loki’s words that he can defeat anybody as long as they’re human. So why didn’t he win then? He stops short of killing her. Because he also thinks of her as human despite she keeps saying she is a dragon. Well, if it looks like a human, talks like a human, acts like a human… Kili decides to let Yuu have Tear. She wants Yuu to show her that he is a lot better than Basilisk. And a goodbye kiss! Wow. This Yuu guy is so cool that he even got a kiss from the antagonist?! After Tear is brought back to the ICU, he reveals the truth about Honoka and Kili’s hint that Basilisk can see the future. Iris is most distraught especially about Honoka as they’ve been close. You know what they say about keeping your friends and enemies close… No time to be depressed because Mitsuki soon briefs everyone about their plan to drop Mistelteinn on Basilisk. They have a few backup plans in case a certain scenario shows up. So once they drop the bomb over Basilisk, it uses its third eye to attack. As predicted, it uses its shot too early to buy time for itself to recharge and attacking using its normal eyes. That’s when the girls leap off Mistelteinn and start attacking. Basilisk sees its future of being pierced and tries to escape. But how fast can a turtle go? Dragon abuse till it is completely destroyed! You can’t kill it without Yuu’s cannon, right? Proof of that is the mark on Tear disappears. Lisa keeps her promise and forgives Mitsuki. Then it is time for everybody to celebrate with a big group hug. Yuu was forced into it… And everybody else are impressed that those kids defeated Basilisk. Including Kili who has to be satisfied with just kissing a picture of Yuu. Maybe next time you want to make him yours? Mitsuki talks to Yuu that she won’t give up on him (typical harem declaration?). Her feelings back then when they made the promise have not changed. A time when they become siblings. So they’re not blood related? Yuu, don’t bother cracking your head. You can’t remember. Right? Luckily she doesn’t force him to remember and just wanted to let him know. Gee, thanks. Later Yuu talks to Iris about his memories exchange thingy with Yggdrasil each time he uses his weapon. But good news is that he still remembers meeting Iris. She assures that even if he forgets, she’ll be there to remember them. Yuu goes to school and all the girls happily greet him in class.

Limited Fapping…
So when will the next dragon come and ruin their life and lovely harem? We will know. Because a certain mark will flash somewhere over their body that makes the girls feel so uncomfortable. And so all is well ends well but with nothing much to shout about. I guess it is better than killing off everybody or ending in a cliff-hanger that leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. So despite Yuu didn’t choose which girl he wants to be (heck, he wants to be with all of them), but it doesn’t really matter because we never placed any hopes around it anyway. He is already a winner when he has got a bunch of them by his side. Ultimate soldier, a hit with the chicks, has super weapon that kills dragons. Wow. No wonder everybody loves or has high hopes for this guy. And I feel cheated and misled that they call this an Ultimate School Battle Action. I just don’t feel it in any way.

I am not very sure if this show is about the romance/fanservice and the fights against the dragons are a distraction or the other way round that this series is about fighting those dragons and the romance/fanservice is just a diversion. Because either way they both feel disappointing and the drama feels draggy. There are a handful of fanservice scenes from naked bodies (censored of course) and the obligatory beach swimsuit and hotspring scenes. Feels pretty generic if you’re a veteran ecchi watcher and even to casual viewers, it feels limited. That is why your fapping is also limited. Haha! Unless of course you are completely a newbie in the anime world. Welcome to your first big step in being corrupted! Haha!

Even the plot of how dragons appear, vanish and constantly attack humans seems loose. It may sound like adding to the mystery at first but eventually you’ll come to think of it as lazy writing because there aren’t conclusive answers to anything. I mean, dragons descended on our world and cause havoc. Why? Don’t know. Don’t care. Let’s just leave it unexplained. Or how Yggdrasil came into contact with Yuu (or is it the other way round?) or whatever contract they made. Because if Yggdrasil really wanted to annihilate all the dragons, why use Yuu? Can’t he do it himself? If he can’t, again why Yuu? Strongest Fafnir? What? Aren’t those cute chicks good enough? Apparently not. Does Yggdrasil really like taking his memories so much? Don’t know. Don’t care. And how Yuu becomes and is the only D male person in the whole wide world is still a freaking mystery. Because sometimes when you think about it, it also feels like lazy writing to give some sort of harem setting to the show. And his lapses in certain memories are also a convenience not to cover certain loopholes and at the same time add some mystery effect to it.

You can guess that many of the girls and perhaps all of them in Brynhildr Class will start falling for Yuu. Some are so very obvious (Iris and Tear) while there are others that are not so obvious (Mitsuki, Lisa Firill). But you can make a guess from their body reaction. When you even have antagonist chicks falling for you, well, you’re definitely one guy that others would really envy over. If you are expecting something to develop in at least the romance department, eventually it didn’t go anywhere. The feeling of this Yuu guy he wants to protect the girls’ happiness and the way he can nonchalantly tell a girl straight in her face she is cute and beautiful sounds like he doesn’t know the implication of what he is saying. I know it’s good to be honest but can’t he take a hint or ever consider the consequences of such things he said? Does this have to do with his military training? Oh right, his memories thingy he paid… He might have forgotten his love etiquette.

And thus this brings to the next topic of lacklustre characters. Because they just feel stagnant. Especially about the big loophole about Yuu’s memories. It feels like he hasn’t forgotten a big part of his past yet so it makes me wonder what kind of memories Yggdrasil took in exchange for his awesome power. And I was pretty convinced to borrow that kind of firepower will require a lot of memories and heck, maybe his entire memories up till now. But nooooo, Yuu is still here as he is, remembering what he did with the girls ever since he came to Midgar. So if that first kiss and small promise with Mitsuki was one of the price, it is relatively small and unimportant compared to the magnitude of what is contracted, isn’t it? Unfortunately too, we don’t get to really see how much why he is the best Fafnir because his enemies aren’t human and that short interception of NIFL’s soldiers wasn’t actually shown. Too awesome to see, huh?

The girls themselves are disappointing. Some of them don’t have enough screen time like Ariella and Ren so I wonder if they will ever be part of Yuu’s harem. I’m sure they would because like for Ren, it is hinted that she is afraid of grown up men but Yuu is okay since he isn’t. WTF. So what happens when Yuu grows up 10 years down the road? Lisa and Firill don’t get lots of screen time too but at least they’re ‘more prominent’ compared to Ariella and Ren. But they’re still being the typical stereotypic archetype of girls that you would expect in a harem. A tsundere and kuudere respectively. I wonder if Lisa’s surname is some sort of tribute or in any relation to that Skywalker from Star Wars… Nah! Then you’ve got the little sister who is trying to shoulder the entire burden and responsibility of her past sin (if she isn’t doing this, she’d probably be blaming Yuu about something during harem moments- like everything is his fault), an energetic loli who has no qualms in claiming her husband and a friend who wants to be more than just a friend.

Charlotte has the potential to be an amusing character but too bad, limited screen time. Same case with Mica. She’s just relegated to being a maid and someone to put Charlotte in line when she steps out. And Shinomiya… Just always watching over the girls. I wonder why she doesn’t help out with the girls during their missions. Because when she was a student, she too entered the battlefield. Sure, somebody needs to be in the command centre. Too old to fight dragons? I thought you can only be too old to be a magical girl. Loki sounds like he is an antagonist from the way he interacts with Yuu because the latter just doesn’t trust that guy like as though there is always something sneaky going on whenever dealing with him. I guess so. He does have that sneaky look. When you have a military unit with initials that sound very close like one of the greatest and favourite sports in America, everything sounds sneaky alright. And sometimes I think might be in love with Loki because of the tone he sounds every time he calls Yuu his Fafnir. So gay…

The action part doesn’t seem so exciting despite not being many of them. Despite each of the girls having their own unique dark matter weapon they materialize, eventually it doesn’t impact much because at the end of the day, it is Yuu and his freaking big cannon that does the job while the girls are just reduced to being assisting and supporting roles. Therefore it is odd to see some of the girls’ weapons like a magical girl wand (Iris) and a book (Firill) to even just a glove (Ariella) as oppose to your typical bow (Mitsuki), spear (Lisa) or hammer (Ren). The dragons themselves are pretty badass because they rank from extremely tough to immortal that you would just sh*t in your pants that even super abnormal methods can’t bring them down. It is like fighting the last boss on an eternal cheat code. If those D girls can’t do the job, who else can? Maybe a D guy… Ah well, I guess that is what makes them formidable.

The art and drawing style of the main characters may be very freaking similar to Seiken Tsukai No World Break especially the main guy. So much so you may think that this is an alternate parallel universe of the other anime. This is because both series are animated by the same studio, Diomedea (whose other works include Shinryaku! Ika Musume, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu, Akuma No Riddle and Noukome). CGI is used to animate the dragons that I feel they resemble more like monsters that are worthy to appear on your weekly Ultraman series. In fact they should be called just monsters instead of ‘tainting’ the dragon name. I know, dragons sound more majestic. Like they give a damn anyway. At the end of each episode, an end card by different illustrators provides a little eye candy.

Voice acting wise, nothing special with a handful of recognizable seiyuus. Most notably Ayane Sakura as Tear because she is in her typical trademark bratty voice which she always voiced so perfectly like Suzuka in Tokyo Ravens and Eno from Love Lab. Also recognizable are Kana Hanazawa as Firill, Saori Hayami as Honoka and Marina Inoue as Kili. Nobuyuki Hiyama (Madarame in Bleach) sounds weary and lacks the enthusiasm like his other characters such as Sanageyama in Kill La Kill, Madarame in Bleach and Kankuro in Muteki Kanban Musume. I thought it was only confined to his character but apparently the higher ups in NIFL also have this sort of weariness in their voice because Dylan also sounds like the part very much. He is voiced by Atsushi Ono who did Marcus from Aoi Sekai No Chuushin De. Who wouldn’t after fighting against ‘undefeatable’ dragons for years. Heck, not only them, some of the girls too like Mitsuki and Firill have this weariness in their voice.

The rest of the other casts include Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Yuu (Kirito in Sword Art Online), Manami Numakura as Mitsuki (Riko in Love Lab), Rina Hidaka as Iris (Airi in Ro-Kyu-Bu), Hisako Kanemoto as Lisa (Ika in Shinryaku! Ika Musume), Rikako Yamaguchi as Shinomiya (Charles in Freezing Vibration), Fumiko Uchimura as Ren (Haruki in Akuma No Riddle), Sora Tokui as Ariella (Nero in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Risae Matsuda as Charlotte (this is her debut and her only voice acting role so far) and Mariko Higashiuchi as Mica (Kanegami in Nourin). Surprisingly the opening and ending themes aren’t that bad. Flying Fafnir by Trustrick as the opener somehow evokes memories of Air and Clannad’s theme. Maybe it is the similar feel of the song’s tune. The ending theme is Ray Of Bullet sung by the duet of the voices behind Iris and Mitsuki but the final episode’s version places the entire girls of Brynhildr Class singing this piece.

Overall, this isn’t exactly one of the greatest harem masterpieces. Nowhere close. You thought putting in dragons might help a bit but it really doesn’t. They could have put in aliens and monsters as the creatures of the day and it still won’t work. Action and character development are mediocre with lots of unexplained stuffs (like they expect us to just accept things as they are without questioning). If you want to watch this show, do it only because you have so much spare time (like yours truly), a fanatic harem lover that you must watch all harem genres whether they suck or not, and to further appreciate ‘better’ harem shows that you are planning to see in the future. Because what better way than to do so by watching a mediocre one first and then be awed by a superior one later. Unfortunately, we all do not have Basilisk future seeing ability. Otherwise we might have simply avoided this and save for one which has better fapping material.

Here is another versus blog that I wanted to do a long time ago but kept delaying it. I know. It’s that dreaded ‘P’ word again but let’s not talk about that, shall we? Now, for a long time we have always heard of this ‘pairing’ that is no other than a hero fighting the demon lord. If you watch these kind of shows, you’ll get the idea that the duo are ‘inseparable’. It’s like a cat-dog relationship. Maybe even worse. But what happens when one day they find themselves ‘out of a job’? I know it sounds out but I mean, you can’t always be that, right? Therefore it was a curious case between Hataraku Maou-sama (Hataraku) and Yuusha Ni Naranakatta Ore Wa Shibushibu Shuushoku Wo Ketsui Shimashita (Yuushibu). I suppose as long as you’re on Earth, you still have got to go through all those society crap. You still have to eat, right?

Official English title:
Hataraku: The Devil Is A Part Timer.
Yuushibu: I Couldn’t Become A Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided To Get A Job.

The working main character:
Hataraku: Satan AKA Sadao Maou, ex-demon king.
Yuushibu: Raul Chaser, ex-hero.

Employment location:
Hataraku: MgRonald, a fast food outlet.
Yuushibu: Leon, a magical appliances store. Hey, you have got to start small from somewhere. Don’t expect them to suddenly take up a managerial position of some super corporate, didn’t you?

Reason for working:
Hataraku: After barely escaping from a near defeat from the hands of the heroes, Maou needs to work his way back up to reclaim his throne one day.
Yuushibu: One day, there is an announcement made that the Demon King has been defeated, thus putting all heroes out of a job.

His powers:
Hataraku: As the Demon Lord, it is only obvious that he wields a range of super powers like teleportation, shape shifting, protective barrier, high speed regeneration and restoration, magic transfer, flying, and a whole lot of magic power that gives him increased speed and strength. You’re doomed when he is in this Incredible Hulk mode.
Yuushibu: The ability to channel his magic into his weapon to boost its power attack. Raul Slash is his signature and ultimate attack.

Hataraku: Unlike in the home world of Ente Isla, magic is not free flowing and very limited on Earth. It must be restored via other methods like absorbing emotions from other humans.
Yuushibu: Magic flows freely in this world and commonly used to power many appliances that run on them.

I guess when one side is out of a job, it also puts the other in the same shoes.
Hataraku: Emilia AKA Emi Yusa who is now working in some call centre.
Yuushibu: Fino Bloodstone, the Demon King’s daughter now working alongside Raul as his apprentice.

Store manager:
Hataraku: Mayumi Kisaki.
Yuushibu: Seara August.

Female colleague:
Hataraku: Chiho Sasaki.
Yuushibu: Nova Luminous, Lore Beliferal and Fino.

Those with him from the previous ‘employment’ and currently with him or in the same predicament.
Hataraku: Asiel AKA Shiro Ashiya, Maou’s ex-general is now his homemaker.
Yuushibu: Airi Ortinet, Raul’s ex-hero colleague is now working at a rival store.

Ex-colleague turned rogue:
They must have lost their path somehow.
Hataraku: Lucifer AKA Hanzou Urushihara.
Yuushibu: Blaze Dis and Klein Art.

Rival business:
Hataraku: Sentucky Fried Chicken (SFC) – Selling fried chickens of course.
Yuushibu: Amada – A giant magic appliances corporation with large market share and branches everywhere.

Infiltration mission:
The best way to understand the bigger rival is to visit the store itself, right?
Hataraku: Maou sends Ashiya to spy on SFC.
Yuushibu: Raul and Fino visit Amada to check out what they are offering.

Deadly Alliance:
Hataraku: Orba Meyer from the Church conspires with Lucifer to kill the hero so that the former can seize power while the latter return to Heaven.
Yuushibu: Raid Mirroring, a demon conspires with Blaze and Klein to revive the hero industry.

The city in danger:
Hataraku: Lucifer turning the city into a big battlefield during his fight with Maou as he feeds off the people’s negative emotions.
Yuushibu: An emergency is declared over the city since a volcano is in danger of erupting any time.

Mysterious person:
More than meets the eye…
Hataraku: Miki Shiba AKA Miki-T, Maou’s fat landlady. She seems to know what is going on and possibly more. (Later I found out she is a powerful Earth guardian).
Yuushibu: Lamdimia Do Aximemor AKA Lam whose family is believed to be a scion and famous in the demon world.

The girl next door:
Hataraku: Suzuno Kamazuki – A girl in kimono living next door to Maou who is actually part of the Inquisition whose original mission was to kill him.
Yuushibu: Elza Crucial and Lam – Girls who work in a convenience store, Lawson next door.

Potential romance:
Even guys like them can get the chicks…
Hataraku: Obviously Chiho has a crush on Maou and despite Emi has been constantly reminding us she isn’t in love with this guy, her constant stalking and tsundere attitude is hardly convincing.
Yuushibu: More obvious for Elza since she did confess (although not in Raul’s face) and not so obvious for Fino since there are a few hinting scenes for speculation. And of course, Airi the tsundere. Enough said.

The date:
Hataraku: Maou and Chiho in Shinjuku. She talks to him about the strange voices she hears in her head.
Yuushibu: Raul and Fino play the part as part of their mission infiltrating Amada.

Hataraku: Sariel the archangel kidnaps Emilia to extract her sword, Better Half.
Yuushibu: Raid kidnaps Fino and wants her to wake up to her Demon King role using the Bloodstone of Control amulet.

Emotionless girl:
Hataraku: Suzuno.
Yuushibu: Lore.

Hataraku: Maou has been promoted to shift supervisor and subsequently shift manager.
Yuushibu: Amada employs idol group Sphere to promote their newly opened store in addition to other low price promotions. Also, when Airi becomes a new employee at Leon, Seara is promoted to be her senior.

The otaku:
Hataraku: Urushihara after being defeated by Maou, he becomes a NEET only facing his laptop in Maou’s apartment.
Yuushibu: A group of otaku nerds are seen stampeding into Leon to buy leftover or old stuffs that they have.

Bald guy:
Hataraku: Orba.
Yuushibu: There is a perverted old customer who is fond of harassing Nova’s butt that looked like Patrick Stewart!

Unusual weapon wielder:
Hataraku: Suzuno uses a giant hammer that she keeps hidden in her hair clip.
Yuushibu: Raul uses a ruler. Don’t ask.

Money woes:
Hataraku: Being a part timer at a fast food chain isn’t exactly the highest paying job so they have to be freaking frugal and save a lot while eking out a living and make do with what they have in their poor life.
Yuushibu: Raul who has to eat the same food every day. I understand Fino wants to spend her pay to buy stuffs to make people happy. But how is she going to survive for the rest of the month if she uses them all up on mail order products? Hasn’t she heard? You can’t buy happiness with money. Also, Airi ended up in Amada because she needed the money badly and thus the reason she is putting up with its job requirements she hates.

Buying spree:
Hataraku: Fino spending her paycheque on lots of useless stuffs. And possibly much later when she earns enough, Elza’s dream to buy all the items at Leon in the catalogue she has.
Yuushibu: Urushihara ends up buying so many useless stuffs over the internet that could hardly fit into Maou’s home.

Sick food:
Not for those with a weak stomach…
Hataraku: Suzuno’s poison food laced with magic literally floored and weakened Ashiya for many episodes.
Yuushibu: During Fino’s stint at Lawson, she tries to make their oden by mixing in everything! Ironically it tastes good!

Lending a hand:
Nothing like helping out others temporarily when they are short of hands.
Hataraku: Kisaki assigns Maou to work at MgRonald branch at Fushima amusement park.
Yuushibu: Elza requests for extra help at Lawson and turns down eager beaver Seara for Fino.

Customer service:
It is always the small extra services that put a smile on the customers and make them come back for more.
Hataraku: A familiar customer drops and delivers a free Tanabata plant as gratitude for some volunteer work they did. This results in customers streaming into their outlet after the plant is decorated.
Yuushibu: When a grandma and her son erred in double booking of an air-conditioning unit, they go for Amada’s cheaper price. However it is Leon’s employees that help solve their magic meter problem for free. The biggest reward for Leon could have is that the family doesn’t mind paying high cancellation fees to Amada because they would love to shop at Leon in the future. Later, an article written on them about their hard work and honesty helped increase their reputation.

Hataraku: Low fanservice level. The most we get are uninspiring bath scenes from Emi and that amusement park scene for swimsuit fanservice.
Yuushibu: High fanservice level with Airi being the main offender because it is like her role to be stripped and her armour that makes her look more like a slut. Then there’s the swimsuit scene of the staffs selling and promoting in their bikinis, the hotspring and even a seemingly tentacle rape spectacle.

Brand names spoof:
To avoid being sued of course.
Hataraku: Not many of them. Examples: Papasonic (Panasonic), Amada (Yamada Denki).
Yuushibu: Lots of them. Examples: Holy Potter: Blood of a Sorcerer and a Dragon (Harry Potter series), Pasta Vita (PS Vita), Unislo (Uniqlo), Docodemo (DoCoMo), Moonbucks (Starbucks).

Naming of episode titles:
Hataraku: Based on what the demon or hero (or both) is/are doing.
Yuushibu: Based on what the Demon King’s daughter is doing or what the hero (or somebody) couldn’t do and thus decided to do something else instead.

Number of episodes:
No second season?
Hataraku: 13 episodes.
Yuushibu: 12 episodes + 1 OVA.

Studio Production:
Hataraku: White Fox.
Yuushibu: Asread.

The basic moral of both series is that you don’t need to be big and famous to pull off the very basic thing in sales and services to make your customers happy. A polite service with a smile always beat any price cuts any time. As for which anime is better, I can’t really say since both have its strong and weak points. Because if you want something with lots of fanservice, then you go for Yuushibu. Hataraku has more decent action, though. When it comes down to it, even both sides of the divide can put aside their differences and work together for the greater good. It’s all about the money, eh? It’s all about the dum-dum… The cha-ching cha-ching… The ba-bling ba-bling… It goes to show that one can never be too complacent with your current job. There is no harm in starting small and working yourself up. It just takes time. I wonder if one day otakus will go out of a job too if that’s the case. How ironic that would be.

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