Punch Line

October 30, 2015

Get your little kicks by seeing girls’ panties, do you? Yeah, no harm in that and I suppose you won’t be intimidated even if you are being thrown sexual harassment lawsuits either. But be warned. Don’t go peep at them for too long. Because you know, the moment you have seen too much panties, it will go beyond the maximum threshold and this will bring an end to the world!!!!!! HOLY COW!!! Are you serious???!!! Watching too many panties can cause the world to be destroyed???!!! What kind of sick theory is this???!!! Are they trying to scare us perverts off so bad that they have gone desperate to cook up such an unbelievable lie?! Well, at least this is the storyline for Punch Line. Yes, people. The main character is just like any other healthy teenager, getting the typical nose bleeds when he sees girls’ panties whether intentionally or by accident. But if he sees too much, everybody can kiss goodbye in seeing tomorrow because it is like a flag to say that you screw it this time and then game over. Blam! End of the world. So panty lovers out there and all over the world… Beware… Please use extreme caution and judgment before going in for the second glance. You have been warned…

Episode 1
Yuuta Iridatsu is on a bus that is being hijacked. But do not fear. Our super hero girl, Strange Juice bursts in from riding her bike and beats them up with her giant metal straw. She is being surprise attacked by the bus driver so she tells Rabura Chichibu to take the steering. But the brakes are not working. Strange Juice’s comrade, Pumpkin Chair warns her she will unleash tyre killers after the toll. It spikes the bus’ tyres as it comes crashing to a stop but hanging on the edge of the bridge. One of the passengers is the mastermind as he points his gun at Strange Juice. He is going to shoot her when Yuuta sees Rabura’s red panties. He powers up like a Super Saiyan and pushes that guy out and into the river. Strange Juice saves Yuuta but the wind blows up her skirt. The moment he sees her pink panties, he ‘dies’ of blood loss. Then something strikes into his body and forces his soul out. Back in his apartment, he is shocked to find himself a ghost but Chiranosuke the ghost cat tells him he isn’t exactly dead. His soul is just separated from his body. He shows a live streaming website that he is well alive in his own room downstairs. What does this mean? Somebody else is possessing his body. They try to enter his room but it is filled with talisman to keep ghosts out. Chiranosuke suggests he go find the Nandala Gandala book with a secret ritual that will allow him to return to his body. Well, I suppose he has to go find it himself since Chiranosuke hints it is somewhere in this apartment. So the first suspect he goes to is the room of Ito Hikiotani. However she is in her panties. Although stimulated, he runs to the next room but sees the panties of Mikatan Narugino. That is when he can’t take it anymore and his stimulation is so great that it becomes an atomic bomb and destroys the world???!!! As explained by the cat, it seems he will obtain power by seeing girls’ panties. But seeing them again will cause him to be over excited and reach breaking point. Each time he does that, a comet will hit and destroy Earth! WTF???!!! Therefore the simple theory of avoiding apocalypse is for him to avoid getting turned on. Good luck in that. Yeah, he has to go back in time to redo it again. For the sake of a happy and peaceful future!

Back in Ito’s room again, before he could get a full view of her shima pantsu, he runs to the next room. He barely avoided looking at Mikatan’s panties as she is trying to find a book. He thinks it is Nandala Gandala and tries to look for it under the bed. He didn’t realize she is also searching there now. Flashback reveals when they first met 9 months ago when she first moved in. When they bumped into each other, he had this familiar feeling of seeing her before. It is no surprise. As explained by her friend, Meika Daihatsu, she is from the popular idol group, She’s Mai. Fellow neighbour, Rabura comes in to borrow some salt for some dish and also to return a book. Nope. It’s just some acting book. He goes to Meika’s room and thinks the book underneath the shelf is it. However as a ghost he cannot pick it up. The cat tells him his ghost level will determine how much he can move things and at his rate, he can only move a pencil. He uses his will power to move a ball and level up. Meika picks the ball up and sees the book which is her old photo album. On the news, a terrorist group called Qmay is taking a cinema hostage and believed to be responsible for the earlier bus hijacking. An enka alert song is played. Giving an excuse that Kamenishi has escaped to ‘rid’ of Rabura, it is time for Mikatan to get into her Strange Juice transformation. Unfortunately there is no magic so she has to strip and get naked to change. Are you stimulated, Yuuta boy? In the underground base after Mikatan rides off on her bike, seems Meika’s sweater was caught in it and now bespectacled girl is in her undies. Yuuta has reached his limit… Here we go again… Earth is destroyed!!!

Episode 2
Meika as the landlord comes to seek Rabura the fake exorcist’s late rental payments. But she’s too sad thinking that she has no spiritual powers unlike her ancestors. Besides, she doesn’t believe in ghosts anyway. Meika then points to Yuuta. For real? Nope. She was just faking it. What a coincidence. Meika then goes to see Ito since she hears her scream. However Ito seems to be cooking up strange excuses for just about everything. Meika doesn’t pursue further. Meanwhile Chiranosuke explains why Yuuta can’t go back further back in time thanks to his low ghost level using lots of boobs analogy. Yuuta then goes to check on Rabura who is wallowing in her usual love rejection-cum-depression. He remembers becoming her sister’s ‘substitute’ to vent out those frustrations when she suddenly decided to drop her 24 hour private life live feed and go study overseas. Mikatan comes in to share her pie. They talk about the hijacking incident that Rabura was recently caught in. She and Yuuta were seeing off her sister at the airport and the hijack happened on their way back. Mikatan freaks out seeing Rabura’s pet turtle, Kamenishi since she has fear of turtles. In the aftermath of the chaos, the turtle climbs into Rabura’s skirt… Hold on! Too dangerous! Almost happened. Shortly, Meika shows Rabura some lame necromancy dance wearing a pigeon mask. Seriously, is this really going to work? Rabura scolds her for making a mockery out of it so Meika leaves in a huff. But after that desperate Rabura tries it out herself. Seeing how pity she is, Yuuta assists by trying to move a vase (since Chiranosuke says cinnamon particles should boost his power) but breaks it.

Mikatan goes to share her pie with Ito but she seems to be hiding something and acting freaking strange. It gives Mikatan the impression that she might be turning into a Stegosaurus! Yeah, really freaking weird. Is she possessed or something? The cat is out of the bag when the thing she is hiding turns out to be a little bear cub. She found it abandoned and took it in. This apartment has strict rules of no pets allowed but does Meika have double standards allowing Kamenishi since it is isn’t noisy or disturb others? I don’t think cooking up a story that this bear is her brother is going to cut it. Meika is going to call animal control but Ito pleads her not to. Seeing how pitiful Muhi the bear is, Mikatan suggests finding out its predicament first so Meika gives Ito some reprieve. Yuuta eavesdrop Mikatan talking to Meika about why Ito stopped going to school. He remembers he realized she is a great legendary player of some online game. He asked why she doesn’t go to school. She got disowned. Meika expands on Ito’s background. Her dad is a member of the education board. It would look bad on him if his own daughter did not go to school and thus he disowned her. Thus Rabura who is also her cousin brought her to live here. Mikatan suggests throwing a party for her when Rabura wants to show them the necromancer dance! Is she indirectly begging for the ghost to help out? It won’t work this time since Yuuta doesn’t have the power. Must be the cinnamon, eh? Meika reveals this dance was supposed to cheer people up only. Feeling stupid now? Meika and Mikatan put on a mask to do that dance. See? It cheered her up. Ito receives a video link. It contains a list of victims for this year. Her name is on it.

Episode 3
There is a broadcast made by Qmay that the US and Japanese government are hiding the fact that a large asteroid will hit and destroy all life on the last day of the year to save themselves. Their demand is for the truth to be disclosed immediately. Of course many just think they are just some doomsday group. Yuuta sees this and wonders if the governments and experts are hiding the truth because he thought Qmay’s goal is to annihilate humanity and didn’t their leader, Tsubouchi Qmay recently die? Could it be that guy is possessing his body? Mikatan wants to celebrate Christmas in Ito’s room. This is when Ito shows a clip from that bus hijack as she is suspicious about Strange Juice’s identity. Mikatan runs to Meika’s room for help but sees an alien squid. Later we see Strange Juice talking to Ito. Of course we know it is a blatant lie to prove to her that Mikatan and Strange Juice are different people. The alien squid suit is actually an invisible suit that Meika made so Mikatan used it to turn invisible and head to another place so as to make it look like the duo are 2 different people. Suddenly they hear Rabura’s scream. A mercenary, Turtle Man holds her hostage and he wants Muhi. He beats up Strange Juice and puts Meika in the invisible suit out of commission. If not for Rabura throwing cinnamon, Yuuta might not have enhanced his ghost power to tackle him. When he captures Muhi and escapes, there is this hero dude, Kenji Miyazawa here to save the day. He gets beaten up. Weak! But he requests 20 seconds of time out and promises to return with a reward. And what will that be? A super beat down! Muhi is saved although Turtle Man got away. When Strange Juice reunites with them, since she is without her mask, Ito recognizes her as Mikatan. Busted.

Yuuta thinks back of the recent incident. Turtle Man had a Qmay emblem on his wristband. Muhi was stabbed by him but his wounds healed almost immediately. On top of that, the most shocking one was when Kenji carried Meika back to her room for repairs, he was shocked to see that Meika is a robot. While Yuuta goes to check on Ito’s computer and finds out about that victim list, Rabura and Ito eavesdrop next door and misunderstood about Meika’s inability to do handstands as she is pregnant and having morning sickness. When they can’t take it anymore and go confront them, Rabura passes out from the shock of seeing Meika’s robotic body. At least you can say her guts are made out of iron! Meika reveals that she was created by Professor Tenga Daihatsu, a super genius inventor. He died 8 years ago and left Meika this apartment. Although most of his inventions are kept in storage, the only ones left are a fax-refrigerator and Meika herself. She was born in this place as Tenga taught her a lot of things. However she discovered she cannot do handstands or anything athletic. Tenga told her robots are designed for a specific task and role it is assigned. In a few years, a girl will join Meika as a member of a secret force called Justice Punch to save the world. No prizes to guess who that girl is. Meika’s task is to protect and assist her in any way she can. Yuuta thought he won’t get stimulated in looking at young Mikatan in her kiddie panties. I guess that’s just his mind. But his body has different ideas. Yup, he still reacts to it. And his nose bleeding has reached its limit! Warning! Warning! Asteroid is coming sooner than predicted. Not Armageddon again!!!

Episode 4
Guriko and Pine are children playing outside some lab with Chiyoko. Pine wanted to escape instead of being trapped here forever but Guriko wanted to talk to Ishigata first. Rabura has invited some alien guy called Gliese to her room so she leaves her weird stuffs in Ito’s room so as not to let him have the wrong idea. Yuuta sees on TV that one of the victims on the list is dead. Fearing Ito is next, he needs to warn her. Chiranosuke suggests that the quickest way is to possess someone. He has levelled up a bit so he is able to do it but with certain conditions. Based on what the cat says, the area must have cinnamon and the possessed person needs to be in the same spiritual wavelength, say, a spirit medium. Yuuta makes his way to go possess Rabura. After he spreads the cinnamon and barely contains himself from the skirt flipping accident, he manages to enter her but the girls are suspicious she is acting strange and ask a series of questions regarding her favourites. By the time they are done, Yuuta is kicked out because apparently you can only possess a person for 7 minutes. When Rabura is with Gliese, he seems to be giving her lots of weird and smelly products. Is this the way to attract a woman? She becomes fed up with this as he says he only wanted to make her happy with her favourite things. He explains that he got those stuffs because he heard from her friends so I guess they really played on her. This makes Rabura remember something similar when she was young. She was said to have woke up in the middle of the night to do bizarre things like writing equations and then faxing them.

As Rabura apologizes and wants to start anew, Gliese also wants to come clean. Sure, he is not an alien. However he takes out his badge and he is a member of US Department of Defence’s intelligence bureau, NSA. Remember that Qmay hijacking and broadcasting incident? They claim the governments are covering up and doing nothing. However the US has secretly launched military satellite to destroy the asteroid with missiles. Unfortunately Qmay uploaded some virus to control it. Their objective is to destroy the human race. Eavesdropping Yuuta is more confused because he thought that was just a publicity stunt. So who is telling the truth now? But why is Gliese talking to Rabura? What has this got to do with her? It seems the plan was to get close to her to get Meika, the only one who can hack and break through the virus. Rabura becomes mad that she has been used. Gliese doesn’t want her to get the wrong idea as he is still attracted to her but Kenji pops up to beat him up. Rabura helps Gliese out by throwing the rafflesia pot at him and then beats him up to let Gliese run away. Meika then beats up Rabura and tells her Kenji is somebody they can trust and lets Kenji go after Gliese. The girls end up in a pool wrestling joined by the rest. I’m sure Yuuta wants to peep at this wet event… As the girls settle down and discuss this, Meika seems to blame Ito for bringing Muhi that started all this. Ito then reveals that Muhi was brought here by Rabura’s little brother, Randou. Rabura calls her a liar and in turn Ito calls her a fake. Rabura slaps her. Mikatan hopes Ito can forgive them but she has also something to say to her. Something about she knows Mikatan being a hero. After the girls leave, Mikatan starts to feel pain in her chest and takes some pills. Yuuta recognizes the familiar song she is humming.

Episode 5
Yuuta is shocked to see Ito’s dead body at the shrine. Sad boy. Chiranosuke is being sarcastic that he didn’t care about the world and when someone dies he weeps like hell. Isn’t he selfish? Yeah. So what of it? He thinks of going back in time since he has levelled up to do so. Chiranosuke warns that he needs a strong will for that to happen or else he will bounce off and never return to this world. Yuuta makes a strong wish to protect Ito and returns to earlier on that day. Yuuta sees Ito in her room going through her message of the victim list. She knows them and blames herself. Yuuta needs to stop her from going to the shrine so he possesses Rabura to talk to Mikatan. She confronts Ito who is just on her way but runs back up to the roof. Ito wants to be left alone but Mikatan won’t let her since she is her friend. Once inside and calmed down, Mikatan hums her a song supposedly to cheer her up. She tells she came from one of those Uber research labs that did some genetic thingy. Flashback reveals Chiyoko was about to be mutilated since the researcher wants to know why she couldn’t unleash her ability. This made Pine made and turned him into some Super Saiyan. Ito can tell Mikatan likes that boy. On this same topic, Ito reveals she likes her teacher but one day they were caught red handed together by the students. Because another fellow student girl likes him and she is the ring leader for them, Ito became the object of their torment and every day was a living hell. That is why she didn’t want to go to school anymore. Only her teacher was kind to her but she didn’t tell him so as not to bother him.

Subsequently she put up a prank video and that victim list contains names of all her bullies. But why is her name on it? Somebody must have subsequently edited it. Ito never told anybody this because it would make her look pathetic. Mikatan assures her that she will always protect her. With that, Ito’s death has been averted but Yuuta is still unsatisfied because they know nothing about the killer. When they hear some commotion upstairs, they rush up to see Meika tied up. She reveals Turtle Man was here and he took Muhi. He left a message that this is revenge to Ito for not coming to the shrine. Yuuta now knows the killer and goes to look for Ito but she is nowhere to be found. He wants to use his Rabura-possessing plan again but looks like they’ve run out of cinnamon. He gets an idea to use Ito’s handphone to send a message to the stalker to meet at the rooftop. Remembering that Meika created a mask that will allow you to look exactly like anyone, he sends a text to Meika and Rabura to help out. The plan is to have Meika disguised as Ito and Rabura in that invisible suit to tackle him and then use a stun gun to knock him out. But Turtle Man is no pushover. He knows that is not the real Ito and the snow piling up on Rabura makes her a dead giveaway. As he gets rough with Meika, Rabura dares him to shoot her first. Turtle Man warns this is not a game and fires a few warning shots. This looks like a joke because Kenji was at the spot where he fired those shots! Too bad, no cool entrance this time. As Meika struggles with him, she gets shot. Ito sees Kenji and tries to help him out. Because when he sees her panties, he powers up.

Episode 6
Kenji revives to beat up Turtle Man. Strange Juice joins him but Turtle Man power up himself since he is also Uber like them and beats them up. He reveals his goal in making this world an ideal one and to do so must rid of inferior humans so that the superior W can rule it. Before he can shoot Strange Juice, Ito gets in her way. Suddenly Turtle Man is struggling like as though he is fighting his inner self. Yuuta is shocked that Kenji can see him as he needs his help. Throwing him a cinnamon bottle so he can possess Rabura and pull off fighting combos on Turtle Man. Rabura is most emotional that Meika is still alive. When they unmask Turtle Man, Ito is shocked as she recognizes him. Chihaya Tomoda is her teacher. He claims he is doing this out of love. He knew she was harassed and sent out all those mails and killed her bullies. He had to. If their love was meant to be, he needed to punish them. However he claims the spirit of Tsubouchi was the one who killed them but now his body is useless to him. He made a contract with Tsubouchi’s spirit that if he used his body, he would grant him a wish to get revenge. There is an explanation of using Uber to enhance your power beyond normal limits. But the risk of using too much is that you will die. Just like what Tsubouchi did. Muhi was the key allowing he body to regenerate and avoided death. He wants Ito to live but she beats him up and sick of all this craziness. He is just a perverted teacher. Later Rabura talks to Meika and the latter confirms she has hacked into the missile system but found nothing wrong. Besides, if an asteroid is going to collide, the world should be panicking by now. So time to party to usher the New Year. Mikatan’s singing isn’t up to par so Rabura wonders if she has someone she likes. Maybe Yuuta? Meika then corrects this with this shocking revelation. Yuuta was born biologically a girl! His real name is Yuu and he just named himself as Yuuta.

Ito wants to hear more of Meika’s past with Mikatan. That was 8 years ago when Meika came to her. When Mikatan escaped the facility with Ishigata’s help, it was not long before they are discovered so Ishigata sacrificed himself by burning everything down. Meika then trained Mikatan to be a hero of justice till her powers are unleashed. She didn’t like people calling her Pantyhose Girl so Meika drilled into her head of their role to keep the world safe and gives her a new outfit as well as a new hero name, Strange Juice. But now Meika thinks it is time to end this hero game as Mikatan has gone Uber too many times. After playing fireworks, Rabura and Ito follow Meika to see some special fireworks robot she prepared. Mikatan collapses and does not have time to eat her medicine (Yuuta sees a familiar mark on Mikatan’s neck). That is when Kenji appears to give her some. She is surprised he knows that song but is made to go watch the fireworks with the other girls. Now Kenji talks to Yuuta and points out the asteroid is going to collide with Earth. Yuuta is shocked because Meika said everything was okay and Qmay hasn’t finished preparations with that W sh*t thing. Kenji says he’ll know the answer once he has his body back and throws him Nandala Gandala. Yuuta is appalled to see blank pages and only a word, “U-turn”. Is this a joke? Then it hits him. Is he saying to go back in time? Yes. But that alone isn’t enough as he must have a very strong desire to save someone. Kenji unmasks himself. OMG! It is Yuuta himself! He claims history is about to make a huge mistake, a future that cannot be allowed to happen. He has failed in his mission and so have the many others who attempted and made the same mistakes. He leaves humanity’s hopes in him. Yuuta vows to protect everyone and jumps back in time. It is the moment when Strange Juice saved him from that bus incident and pulled him out from the river. Now we know what forced his soul out then.

Episode 7
Yuuta is glad to be back and in his room, he makes a list of the important things that have happened during his ghost time. He thinks of going to find Gliese or Tomoda for answers when Chiranosuke kicks him back in! It seems Yuuta retained his ghost level skills. Chiranosuke tells him 2 things: He must not change history without his permission and he cannot tell anyone the truth. That Kenji guy was him from an alternate future and it won’t do everyone any good if he ends up like him. The cat continues explaining about the Human Preservation Project’s goal, which is to avoid the asteroid hitting Earth. When Yuuta was a ghost, he is being susceptible to stimuli since a spirit is walking around without a solid body. That is why seeing panties cause the world to end. The first step to prevent Armageddon is to write in Nandala Gandala. But Yuuta won’t write that “U-turn” word again since it is like admitting his failure. Mikatan then comes into his room to check on him as Chiranosuke hints she knows everything about that bus hijack incident. As similar events seem to be occurring, Yuuta remembers what happened during the rest of the day (rewatch episode 1 if you have forgotten). Remembering all those panty shots caused Earth to be destroyed, Yuuta tries to go stop his ghost. In Ito’s room while his ghost self is looking around, Yuuta tries to hold back the toilet door when Ito is coming out. When she barges through and sees him, she fires her bazooka! Yuuta runs to the next room to see the ghost in danger of looking at Mikatan’s panties. Yuuta dives at Mikatan but since he got his hands on her breast, she beats him up and he runs back to his room. His ghost gives chase but cannot further enter the room since it is laced with talisman. When it all ends, Yuuta is glad to have changed history a little.

Next day when Yuuta sees Rabura returning, he asks her for Gliese’s contacts. She is shocked he knows about this guy when Tomoda just walks out from the apartment. Yuuta goes to chase after that bewildered guy before getting a kick from Chiranosuke. Don’t change history without his permission. The cat explains the bond and friendship created by the girls, the discovery of identities, the fights that led up to all that. This is important because if they are to succeed in the mission, they must recreate a history close to that. Otherwise… he will add to the statistic of 6,737,153,740 times he ignored him and history remained the same! Holy cow! 6 billion times???!!! And you thought Endless Eight was bad enough… But Chiranosuke warns, fail this time and there is no next time. Yuuta learns how his return to the timeline pushed out his soul. But this didn’t happen to Rabura when he possessed her because he is in Uber mode that made his spirit to be easily detached. Chiranosuke has him remember the incident 9 years ago. When Ishigata took the kids and fled, his van went off the cliff and lightning struck before it sank into the river. A girl who lived in a cabin by the river, Akina Iridatsu took Pine in but he is shocked to see Chiyoko’s body in the mirror. During the accident, their Uber activated and the lightning strike made them switch bodies. Guriko’s spirit entered Pine’s body (which is Yuuta’s body), Chiyoko entered Guriko and now Pine is in Chiyoko. Confused? I am. Soon Yuuta receives a package from Akina. It is that Kenji hero suit! You got to be kidding him!

Episode 8
Yuuta is convinced he won’t wear this crap but since tonight is the incident where Turtle Man came to steal Muhi, he is forced to don it and introduce himself as Kenji for the first time. Remember he got beaten up and asked for 20 seconds? He ran back into the apartment to find something but since he saw Meika stuck in the squid outfit and tried to help her out, he saw her panties and powered up. Kenji then chases Turtle Man into the woods whereby he asks Tsubouchi who is possessing Tomoda a series of questions about Qmay letting the asteroid hit Earth. He admits they have no intention to bring down the asteroid as W is not completed yet. That bear is needed for W’s completion. Plus, Muhi is made in Uber labs that belonged to Qmay. Tsubouchi goes on to rant about true world peace by evolving humans into their perfect form. This is the reason he created Qmay to attract people who want to get superpowers to follow him. Tsubouchi wants him to return to them and he’ll understand that when that happens. Tsubouchi’s spirit leaves the body. When Kenji returns to the girls, he takes Meika to her room and knows that she is a robot and lets her repair herself. He wonders why she trusts him easily so she reveals before Tenga died, he told her to fulfil his 3 request. 1) Find Chiyoko; 2) Turn her into a hero of justice; 3) If a hero in creepy outfit appears, he is your ally and not a bad person. Apparently he will also become part of Justice Punch. Further revelation explains that ‘punch’ in Hindi sounds like ‘five’, therefore Justice Punch is a group of 5 heroes. Only 2 more to go. Kenji wonders how Tenga knows the future. Well, one day he got a message from the fax-refrigerator predicting the future. Sounds familiar? Something to do with Rabura?

Later Chiranosuke chides Yuuta for changing the future without his permission. Because he broke Tomoda’s limbs to avoid him killing the bullies. Now he is in hospital. The cat says a few sacrifices are necessary if he wants to save the world but Yuuta isn’t listening. He decides to go find Randou and wonders if Ito knows anything about him. In her room, he sees Muhi stuck under the kotatsu and goes to unhook him. But Ito returns and sits down, allowing him a full view of her panties. Power up time! She beats the pervert up as he tries to clear this misunderstanding. As for Randou, she tells him he is coming here this afternoon to check on Muhi. So he meets the guy and Randou realizes he knows all about Qmay. Randou used to be a fervent follower and was Tsubouchi’s close aide. Therefore he was tasked to handle Muhi and transport him to a facility deep in the woods. However he realized their teachings weren’t so fun when sh*t started to get real so he decided to betray them by not letting them have Muhi to complete W. After dropping Muhi in this apartment, he crashed his car to look like Muhi escaped into the woods. His injuries are not from the crash but the Qmay members beating him up for losing Muhi. He quit the group after Rabura paid the very expensive quit fee. After the gang have their little Christmas party-cum-karaoke, the girls wonder what to do for New Year’s Eve so Yuuta suggests fireworks in which Mikatan totally loves the idea. Later she thanks him for helping her out during the bus hijack. She feels something nostalgic about him the first time they met. Suddenly she collapses.

Episode 9
Luckily Yuuta knows where the medicine is. He wants her to stop becoming Strange Juice since her body is at its limit but she believes there are people who still need her. Mikatan is shocked to hear Yuuta knows Ishigata’s name and humming that song. Yuuta reveals he is Pine in her body. Mikatan/Chiyoko is overcome with emotion and hugs him. She reveals that during that accident, Ishigata only managed to save her. For a year they’ve been lying low living in some house. So when the lab guys come looking for them, Ishigata let her escape and lied he will follow her. He blew the place up with himself. The reason Mikatan has lots of cinnamon around is because it is Ishigata’s favourite. Later Yuuta sees a TV programme about the experts debating about the US using nuclear warheads to destroy the asteroid. Many call it crap because how can nuclear be effective when there is no atmosphere in space? This has Yuuta think that Gliese must have lied. Yuuta goes to visit the universities to get testimonies about the miniscule chance of an asteroid hitting Earth. He is now sure Gliese was lying. Now he understands why Kenji attacked him then. Meika comes to see him as requested to talk about Mikatan’s condition. He believes it is rapidly getting worse and hopes she can do some physical check-up on her. Yuuta checks the social media and one of the bullies that was killed by Turtle Man is still alive (she’s supposed to be dead by now) thanks to him being in hospital. But Chiranosuke warns him not to change history any further. This means when Gliese meets with Rabura, he is to go through with that plan to intercept him. Because the girls must fight and then make up and bond. An important ingredient to preserve the future of humanity.

Yuuta waits at the spot and right after Rabura chides Gliese for betraying her feelings, that is when he comes in. Immediately he runs and Yuuta chases him. However he is in a dilemma to attack him and cause a chain reaction of the girls fighting among themselves. Gliese has now run into the woods so Yuuta can’t let him get away and uses a picture of Mikatan’s panties that Meika sent to him as source of power up. He pushes him down the cliff and into the river. Although Gliese has broken a few bones, Yuuta threatens to break his fingers if he does not tell the truth. Gliese claims he is the leader of Qmay and admits the missiles won’t destroy the asteroid. But it will be enough to change its trajectory and slam into Earth. The problem is to hack into the system and that is why he was trying to get Rabura to get through Meika whose hacking skill is beyond anything human. Yuuta is sure Meika won’t give in to his threats but Gliese says they are not threatening her. She will not turn down a request when her friend asks for it. And when Meika checks into the system, that little moment is all he needs to tap into the system. Yuuta feels weak because Gliese had injected him with anaesthetic when they fell into the river. Yuuta still has energy to fight him. He is surprised to find Gliese is only wearing a mask. Who is the real person behind it? OMG! Isn’t that Pine?! Or at least his body?! Yes, this is Guriko in Pine’s body. With this shocking discovery, you can’t blame Yuuta for passing out now.

Episode 10
Rabura is so heartbroken that she goes to see Meika for consolation. Next day Yuuta rushes to Meika and wonders if she did something earlier this morning. She explains Rabura was ranting about some military stuff and although at first she didn’t believe her, she figured she would calm down if she checked it out. Nothing unusual. No virus or anomalies whatsoever. I guess that’s it. Yuuta falls to his knees defeated. Later Chiranosuke relays to Yuuta that Qmay has hacked into the system and released the missiles. In a few more days the asteroid will hit Earth. Game over. Yuuta is mad he never told him about this. It is because humanity must decide the future themselves. Oh? I thought the cat was just being a sadist? So while Yuuta lies in his bed in total gloominess thinking back 9 years ago (a little fight between Guriko and Chiyoko), he cannot understand why Chiranosuke is being so nonchalant about it all. Because there is a next time for him but not for Yuuta. The cat reveals he really had high hopes for him but is now disappointed. Time to pass on the baton to the next Yuuta. After he writes “U-turn” in Nandala Gandala, Rabura and Ito invite him to join the nabe dinner but he is showing his tantrum and not joining them. Then he remembers tonight is where Ito died so he asks her if she has received and strange mail. None. During the nabe party, they notice Ito is taking too long to get some stuffs. Yuuta and Mikatan go to check on her but see the window open. Mikatan suddenly gets a mail to bring Yuuta to the shrine. They rush there to see Ito unconscious and in the hands of Guriko. Mikatan is shocked to see him as she recognizes him as the hijacker on the bus. He wants them to become W or Ito will die. Mikatan goes into Uber mode to tell off Guriko to hand over her friend. He does.

Yuuta doesn’t want Mikatan to believe his lies but Guriko shows his healed finger. Didn’t they need Muhi’s regenerative ability to complete W? Guriko reveals they only heard it all from Tsubouchi. W is already completed and ready to go. Guriko fed him false information and is glad that old dude died. Can’t have a vile perverted old man at the top of the organization forever, right? He continues about the long awaited moment for revolution and the destiny of meeting with his friends again especially during the bus hijacking incident. But Mikatan is sad. What happened to Guriko? She missed her very much and wanted to do things with her. Please revert back to the Guriko she knew and loved! Unfortunately Guriko gives them the ultimatum. Turn into W and he will let them on his ark. They have a couple of more days to think it over. Back at the apartment, Mikatan continues to be sad especially about this saving humanity crap. This affects Yuuta a lot because now he is taking out his frustrations trashing all the stuffs in his room. Yeah, it’s over, right? Feeling useless? What else has he got to do than to remember his times with the other girls? Then he changes his mind. He hugs Mikatan and promises he is going to protect everyone and create a new future where everyone can live in peace and be happy. He dons his Kenji outfit and then confronts Meika. He unmasks himself before her and wants her help to save mankind.

Episode 11
Meika checks and confirms the asteroid indeed is going to hit Earth. Now she blames herself. But she isn’t going to mope forever. She has come up with a plan to hack all the ballistic missiles in the world to destroy the asteroid. However she can only launch when the asteroid is closing in on Earth and not now because the missiles cannot escape Earth’s gravity. However the problem is during the hacking she will be left vulnerable and the police will trace and interrupt her. This is where Yuuta comes in. He must prevent them from getting close to the apartment for an hour. Yuuta agrees to the plan and will need to look at her panties to power up. But she beats him up instead. Aren’t they girls? His soul is a of a guy. What better than to bide their time by having New Year’s Eve party and fireworks? As they go test the fireworks robot, the other girls who have eavesdropped on their operation (the apartment’s walls are so thin…) want in on this mission. Meika disagrees and will not let Mikatan join especially. Because one more time is all she has left. Mikatan tells her off the training they did all these years. If it is not for moments like this, then when will it be? All she needs is just not to go into Uber mode, right? Ito and Rabura although don’t know what they can do, they want to help out because they are friends. And so this completes the Justice Punch members that Meika is looking for. As Mikatan is the leader, she is made to say a few words. Let’s see… I love you all… I want all of us to be together… And let’s do this sh*t! Okay, I exaggerated the last bit.

Yuuta is seen kicking the police’s ass and he wants the commander to back down for an hour. However he won’t and even knows about the impending doom. There is a Qmay emblem on his wrist. I guess this says everything. It seems the entire police force is Qmay members. Strange Juice also kicks ass thanks to some martial arts suit Meika made for her so she doesn’t have to go Uber. The police are seen retreating. That is because the full US army is here complete with helicopters and tanks! Guriko wonders if the duo have made their decision. They sure did. They won’t turn into W and hell are they going to abandon their friends. Guriko leaves them occupied with his W fighters while he heads to the apartment. Ito wants to use the robot to fight the army since the controls are modelled after the game she plays. Meika warns her she cannot respawn and the danger is real. Even so, Ito wants to protect her friends. Now we see her like a pro handling the robot, smashing and pummelling the army like as though this is one big game. Yuuta and Strange Juice get help from Rabura so they can go after Guriko. Actually this is the disembodied soul of Yuuta possessing her and going Uber. But will all their effort be in vain because the army releases a flurry of missiles towards the apartment.

Episode 12
Luckily Meika has a final defence barrier to keep the missiles at bay. However Guriko is already inside the apartment. By the time Yuuta and Mikatan reach Meika, she is already offline. Guriko now understands why her hacking skills are super. Now that she is gone, Guriko wants them to become W. But Yuuta becomes mad and thus begin an Uber fight between the guys (at least technically). Yuuta could have won had not Guriko reveal the pain and suffering that she went through to explain her change in character. Snippets of the past shows after the accident, Guriko was captured by the lab guys and brought back and being conducted more experiments. It was painful. It was lonely. That is why he plan all this to wipe out the guys who did this to him. Meanwhile the US army colonel enters the apartment to find Muhi. Thankfully Rabura uses her exorcising skills to good use this time to kick out a familiar bad spirit possessing him. Meika’s backup power activates and she wants Ito’s help to initiate the last step to activate the missiles. Before Guriko could kill Yuuta, Mikatan comes between them. Then she did the unthinkable by going Uber and gives Guriko a freaking good punch in the face. That is for all the despair and trouble you’ve brought them. As dying Mikatan lies in Yuuta’s arms, all the missiles have already been launched and successfully destroyed the asteroid. Guriko hints that they can return to each other’s body but need for all of them to go Uber like last time. Flashback reveals Guriko created promise rings made out of simple wire as they made an oath to stay together forever. However Yuuta doesn’t agree to swap back to his body. Because he cannot forgive Guriko, he must live and atone his sins. Too bad he can’t have it his way. Yuuta shares his last moment with Mikatan. He is going to give her original body back. She protests to this but he tells her that he promised to protect of her. Once Chiyoko is back in her original body, she cries of Pine. Or is it her Mikatan body. A bit confused, isn’t it? The fragments of the asteroid fall down to Earth like shooting stars.

49 days later, the girls don the pigeon mask and do that silly dance as part of the ritual to summon Yuuta’s spirit to possess Rabura so he can talk to them. First, Yuuta is not happy that his Yuuta body is now looking so girly. Hey, isn’t that Chiyoko’s body in the first place? Yuuta says he has things to do and that is by going back 25 years to possess young Rabura to send that cryptic message to future Meika’s fax-refrigerator. And then he will head back to the future shortly after the bus hijacking incident to go back into his unconscious body by the river to start everything again. He assures they do not need to worry about the details and all they need to do is to continue living into the bright future. Later the girls pay their respects to an altar of boy Yuuta and Strange Juice’s Mikatan (for Pine – confused?). They each put their panties as offering. Even in death, Yuuta you are one heck of a lucky bastard! The girls hear a sound from Ito’s room. It is a white kitten that resembles closely to Chiranosuke. Ito reveals her friend in technical school wanted her to take him in and so she did. Chiyoko calls it Chiranosuke. Now that they’ve got another pet in the apartment, Muhi sure knows what it means to be jealous as the cub chases it around, causing havoc and cue for the girls to trip over and such to show us their pantsu. Yeah. Isn’t that what this show was supposed to be about? In the aftermath, there is a montage seeing how the quartet spend their time together. Chiyoko continues to play hero of justice when she can and Guriko goes on a solo journey of repentance.

Pantsu Mine Field
Interesting… This series may start out confusing (especially in the first half) with a lot of unexplained stuffs but as you go along, you’ll find the pieces of the puzzle to slowly fit in nicely like a glove. The hints to everything that has been seen or done here have been scattered throughout the series so if you have a keen eye or memory, you could have perhaps piece them together or come up with a logical explanation of the event (especially in the second half where Yuuta goes back and repeat stuffs again, thus refreshing our memory). There are many perhaps absurd and silly stuffs that don’t make sense but the charm of this show is in the execution in which they manage to pull it off without looking cheap especially about the concept of time travelling and time paradox. It is nicely done if I should say. It may not be perfect but at least you won’t be very much confused in the end as you were at the start. If you pay attention, that is. But I thought some of them were trolls like Mikatan being part of She’s Mai or Kamenishi the pet turtle. Maybe I’m just thinking too much and assumed everything and I mean everything would come together in the end as you know, such minute details are the ones usually that catches you off.

Oddly, come to think of it now, sometimes I feel ‘cheated’ in expecting to see ecchi panty shots and would be the staple of this series. Although there are a handful of panty flashes in every episode, it is not like they spam it every 5 seconds. It is both a good and bad thing. Good because it doesn’t dilute the value of the series and otherwise turn it into some tasteless and mindless fanservice anime whose sole purpose is to satisfy perverted otaku guys and rake in the money when DVDs are released. It is a bad thing only because if you really expected this show to be turned into some sleazy and crappy skirt flipping, panties exposing comedy. But with the interesting twist and turns and plot revelations, the ecchi stuffs will be quickly be put right at the back of your mind and you won’t notice or go “Where is my panchira shot?!” every now and then.

Speaking of the fanservice, there are a handful laced (pun perhaps intended) throughout the series with of course pantsu shots being the main feature here. The ‘lack’ of spamming those panty shots as I have said, in a way saved the series from being a mindless fanservice crap but with those shots sparingly being shown, somehow it feels like a ‘surprise reward’ while watching the series. The thought of seeing panties may be obvious during the initial episodes but as the mystery unravels further, the pantsu shots would seem less (only because we aren’t paying attention or hoping for it) and would be engrossed in the revelation of things. Therefore in a way, the panty shots fanservice and for Yuuta to nose bleed to signal the end of the world feels like a side distraction to the bigger things and revelation in the series.

As part of the trivia of making viewers guess and come up with all sorts of crazy conspiracy theories (well, at least there was a site that did that but now it’s gone), there are also a handful of puns in the names of the characters and certain items. For example, all of the main characters are named based on their personality like Meika whose name means great inventor and out-of-body-experience for Yuuta. Guess who is named after ‘swaying boobs’? Many of Meika’s inventions are also puns. Like the invisible squid suit called Tou-Maker which actually means ‘invisible squid’ (toumei ika) and the robot named Kaku-Maker which is definitely a pun of kakumei (revolution). Nice and cleverly done if I should say.

The characters themselves especially the main ones do not really stand out so much. Some feel cliché enough like the busty drunkard, a shut-in, an exceptional inventor-cum-hacker and an ordinary high school girl leading a double life as a hero of justice. They don’t get along very well at first but eventually with all that drama and the weird stuffs they go through, they’re like family in the end. Then you have Yuuta who spends half of the series in ghost form as well as having the unfortunate role of putting Earth in danger whenever he gets stimulated too much in seeing panties. Thanks to the time travel theme, I suppose they have to sacrifice character development and focus on the plot. Not to say that the character themselves suck but in a way I don’t feel they are properly fleshed out. Even the flashback of Pine, Chiyoko and Guriko just feels thin and just enough to cover the pace and development of the story. This includes other secondary characters like Akina, Randou, Tomoda and Gliese whose roles are minimal although their character just like the main ones do play an important part in the turning of the events as well as the progression of the story.

It was confusing at first when they reveal the body swap because I really did stop and think for a long time who is who. After a while, you’ll pretty much get it after knowing the characters a little better. It was sad that Yuuta/Pine had to die in the end but technically he isn’t dead because you know how his spirit is still around and goes back in time to redo all that crap again. Which brings me to another confusing case of time paradox. Because if that is what truly happened, then what of the 6 billion times he failed? Because this means on the 6,737,153,741st time it is only destined to be successful, am I right? Oh great. That parallel world conundrum again. I don’t want to think so much about it and give myself unnecessary headache and just accept it as it is. But another minor thing bugs me: How do they switch back bodies so easily? I thought there should be lightning striking them for them to do that? Unless this part slip the minds of the producers in the end.

The most amusing character I find is Chiranosuke. The ghost cat who is supposedly Yuuta’s guide in saving the world can be funny and a big mystery at the same time. For who truly is we will never know. That last scene there hinted he might have reincarnated or something. Oddly, a cat is the one to help guide save humanity but yet at the same point he leaves out a lot of details, leaving Yuuta in the dark to discover the truth and make the errors himself all because of the excuse that humanity should save themselves. In that case, shouldn’t Chiranosuke not be appearing at all? Well, after over 6 billion times going through the same failed crap, maybe it has got to that cat because he sure does sound funny talking although it sounds monotonous. Whether it is a big deal or not, you hear him speak in that same funny nonchalant tone. I thought they were going to make this a running joke of the series because when Chiranosuke shows Yuuta the live video feed of his room, he accidentally opens a video of cats having sex! Fornicating felines! Like as though he is doing it on purpose.

Drawing and art style wise, I don’t think there is anything to complain. They look pretty decent especially the girls still do look decently cute. But sometimes I thought I find the characters’ hair to look a little bit like, erm, how do I put it… Plastic? Well, they look ‘shiny’ enough to give off that kind of look. And sometimes I feel they put in more effort in designing the panties… Yeah well, they’re nice to look at even if most are them are just split seconds… Hey, isn’t that what this anime is supposed to be?! Just like the mid-intermission eye-catch whereby most of them you can see very fancy and intricate bra and panty designs. Are you turned on now? Oh, when the characters power up and go into Uber mode, the way their hair glows feels like they are turning Super Saiyan… Really. Especially when Yuuta gets his panty view power up, then it’s like a cue for lightning to strike him and give him extra strength. Just saying…

Probably it has been a long time since I have heard Rie Kugimiya’s tsundere loli voice so it is very much welcome to hear her voicing a main character role as Meika. Just minus the tsundere part and add kansai-ben (I think it’s that accent she’s speaking and she sounds quite natural in it). Although Rie Kugimiya is still active in the voice acting industry, most of the series (at least for those that I have watched) she is being casted in non-major roles and some just making cameo appearances. So it is nice once again to hear her voice a role that doesn’t last for just a minute or two and you can expect her to say something in every episode.

There was something familiar about Rabura’s voice but I couldn’t place my finger on it till the end. I don’t know why I kept thinking it was perhaps Youko Hikasa’s voice or even Marina Inoue but I knew it wasn’t them and yet was hoping it would be so. Turns out that Rabura is voiced by Haruka Tomatsu. Ah, now it does sound familiar. Yeah well, blame me for not hearing her voice lately enough. Yeah well, blame her for not sounding unique enough like Rie Kugimiya. Or Mamiko Noto… And Marina Inoue did have a role in this anime: As Yuuta. Damn, why didn’t I recognize her in the first place? The rest of the casts are Sora Amamiya as Mikatan (Asseylum in Aldnoah.Zero), Minako Kotobuki as Ito (Tsumugi in K-ON!), Yuri Yoshida as Chiranosuke (Mashiro in Mikakunin De Shinkoukei – no wonder she sounds bloody familiar. Besides, this is so far her only other voice acting role), Kenji Akabane as Guriko (Arashi in Triage X), Tadashi Mutou as Gliese (Ichiro Hanazono in Tokko), Jin Urayama as Tsubouchi (Clark in Francesca) and Takehiro Hasu as Tenga (Sanezu in Plastic Memories). I suppose Mari Yamada (Miyo Masuko on Yes! Precure 5) has got the easiest role as she plays Muhi. Little bear cub has no talking role and only make cute little squeaking sounds…

The opening theme which bears the same name as the anime is sung by the all-female idol group, Shokotan Dempagumi. I recently learnt that there is another kind of music genre that isn’t really just pop. Songs like this one fall under the denpa song category, in which the tunes are over the top, lyrics quite nonsensical and lots of moe. From what I read, this subculture is gaining ground in Japan especially among the otaku circles thanks to its catchy and intentionally off-key vocals. This is exactly what sums up this song. Silly but catchy tune with crazy visuals to go with it. Therefore don’t be surprised to see all the craziness in the opening credits animation especially with the opening lyrics spamming the panchira word as well as panty shots. Ah, I see this is the place where you can get your fix of overflowing panty shots. Hope you can hold in your nose bleed till the song finishes. The ending theme is Mitsu Mitsu Mitsu by Ayumikurikamaki and sounds like a generic anime rock pop. Sounds rather okay if you ask me. The insert song in the final episode, Yakusoku No Kanata by Sora Amamiya is a lovely and heartbreaking piece especially when played during Pine’s death scene. So sad…

It looks like they are painting to us at first that looking at pantsu brings forth world destruction. They’re saying that those little skin covering cloth piece that are attractive and libido-stimulating but at the same lethal and deadlier than an atomic bomb a thousand times. Oh yeah. Panties. Truly fearsome! Please don’t tell me the solution to fix this: Just get rid of panties to avoid the end of the world! I think that will lead to an even bigger problem with everybody going commando. Besides, don’t you think having lingerie is more fun than going in your birthday suit? No? You’re sicker than I thought then…

Overall, this anime is great or flop depending on your tastes in time travelling and panties. And how well you enjoy connecting the dots together. Yeah, somehow I feel both are the essential ingredients needed to save the world or destroy it. At least for where this anime is concerned. I don’t think it will scare any of us that looking at panties twice will cause the world to go boom. We’ll just laugh it off. Seriously. Because if that is the case, the world would have been destroyed over and over again with no chance of changing history. Sad, huh? At least it is good to know that being a peeping tom won’t lead to Armageddon and the most a lawsuit. That’s better, right? Because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But seriously, please don’t go peek at panties or even steal them. The world won’t end but it will be the death of a civilized mankind. Oh yeah. Panties. Truly fearsome…

Everybody has big dreams in life. Sometimes it might be too big that you might not be able to achieve it all by yourself. How are you going to make this happen then? Recruit a few people who share the same dream? That is one way. So as in the case of Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata. Our main character is a complete otaku. His dream is to create the world’s best dating simulation game ever. But he can’t do it himself. He needs to gather a group of people who can do the story, scenes and character designs. More importantly, he needs a heroine that would leave an impression in the hearts of everyone. An iconic heroine that will be remembered for generations to come. Well, the easy part is finding one (or accidentally stumbling into one in his case), but the hard part as he found out that for the rest of her character and behaviour, she is completely different than what even a basic heroine should be. And is that why he needs to guide and raise her up from a boring heroine to a respectable heroine? Well, there are no guide books for that as far I can see. Oh, did I mention the rest of his circle members are girls…

Episode 0
This serves as a prologue of the series and what to expect from it. Sort of. The opener already sees our usual girls giving us hotspring fanservice as they ‘debate’ about their perceptions of anime. And our lucky guy, Tomoya Aki is eavesdropping partly because he is a pervert but more disheartening to him is that the girls are discussing anime stuffs without him around. Yup, that’s his biggest concern. As narrated by him, Tomoya is a big otaku and his dream is to create the perfect dating simulation ever. Therefore he and his harem circle are taking this trip to scout locations for the game. We are also ‘introduced’ to his harem circle that includes Utaha Kasumigaoka the scenario writer, Eriri Spencer Sawamura the illustrator, Michiru Hyoudou in charge of music and finally Megumi Katou who is the face and role of the heroine in Tomoya’s game. While taking scenic pictures, Eriri relates her ‘trauma’ as Tomoya’s childhood friend only to see him being ‘snatched away by another woman’. That sums up this tsundere’s position. Then there is this steamy seduction scene by Utaha on Tomoya with an excuse to let him have an idea of the scenario. Is she acting? Is she for real? We won’t know since Eriri comes rushing in to stop their indecency but only to tumble down. And while the girls are arguing, they didn’t realize Tomoya has been snatched by Michiru. She brings him to the lake, a spot she wanted so much to show him. Playful and cheeky as she is, she flirts around with him, splashing water, pushing him into it, on top of him… Only to be interrupted when Megumi makes a sound. She was watching all along but perhaps enjoying it too much to say anything.

After that ping pong game, they retire to their rooms. Before Tomoya could work on his materials, he is kidnapped! The next thing he knows, he is tied up in the girls’ room as they start seducing him. Tomoya could guess they have gotten drunk from the whiskey chocolates. Something points to Megumi because she is the only one still in her usual calm demeanour and as though she didn’t put in ‘enough effort’ to prevent it. Maybe she gets her kicks by watching this folly despite her facial expression doesn’t show it a single bit. I don’t know how it leads to this but Utaha gets the right to ‘rape’ Tomoya. In the end, we won’t know what happened but it sounded like Megumi ‘rescued’ him. I suppose it is time for Megumi to have some decent screen time alone with Tomoya. He is talking about her negative attitude which consigns her to a background character. However he still feels she is more than just plain as she is their game’s heroine. Since she has no clue on how to act like a heroine, he explains what is typically expected of one. Yeah, whatever. She’ll try her best. Tomoya notices her hair has grown longer. It has been 6 months since they’ve met (or rather as she puts it, noticed her existence) and this is what happens when you spend most of your time with an otaku. But they can’t give up now since their game is almost finished. They hope to release it at Winter Comiket. She also hopes their circle won’t crash and burn… Is she trying to jinx it?

Episode 1
On a spring day morning, Tomoya describes it as the beginning of his destiny when he spots a girl in white dress and her white hat blown away by the breeze. Such epic life changing scene he will never forget. It is the start of a new school term and Tomoya who is trying to be the super otaku is ‘busy’ with his otaku stuffs rather than being interested in who is in whose class. You know he is one when he prefers 2D girls instead of listening to his friend rant about the beauty and elegance of Eriri. But Tomoya skips the opening entrance ceremony just to go speak to Eriri and catches her in the act taking out a limited edition anime from her locker. Anyway, Tomoya wants her to join his circle as an illustrator because she is a very good one. Unknown to many, she is the author of a hit erotic manga under the pen name Eri Kashiwagi. She takes a look at his project proposal and doesn’t hesitate to criticize this piece of trash! To the max! Because he cannot express what he imagines, the big reason why he needs her. She continues to shoot him down about his dreams but he remains passionate about it. He tries to remind her of their childhood promise that he would come hire her when he becomes the president of the game company but she’s not very amused remembering that (twintail lashing abuse?). She doesn’t want any more to do with this so he pleads for another chance to hear him out after school at the AV room. But she notes it is too late for him to be saying that.

When Tomoya finally joins the opening ceremony, Utaha has been called up to stage to receive her award as top of her grade. Again he hears his friend waxing lyrical about Utaha’s beauty that could only be rivalled by Eriri. Why bother telling this to Tomoya when he isn’t interested in 3D? But you know, after the ceremony, Tomoya goes to see Utaha at the rooftop. Silent treatment? After treating her to lunch, he gives her review his project proposal. Without holding back, she fires all the harsh criticisms on this piece of trash. She doesn’t want to be involved with him as she is busy but Tomoya knows about Utaha’s other identity. Aside from being the smartest student in school, she is also the writer of a bestselling series under the pen name of Utako Kasumi. He pleads for another chance to listen to him and to wait for him at the AV room after school. But she can’t understand of all times, why now. So this guy works hard to complete his proposal and as he is about to go to the AV room, Megumi passes by him and thanks him for picking up her hat during spring break. Tomoya didn’t really care too much about it since he is in a hurry. But then it hit him. Oh sh*t! Isn’t that his destiny girl?! Wait! Come back! Meanwhile, Eriri thought she could make her dramatic entrance as a tsundere but to her dismay Utaha is the one waiting in the room. We can tell both hates each other’s guts the way they insult each other with Utaha being more subtle in her sarcasm but Eriri and her emotions blowing up like fireworks. Anyhow, it looks like Utaha is the better one in this ‘conversation’. The standoff continues… When Tomoya finally catches up to Megumi, he didn’t even realize she was in the same class with him. Since last year! Meanwhile, the waiting ladies realize they have been stood up when a certain otaku didn’t show up…

Episode 2
Tomoya is talking to Megumi at the diner. He never noticed her but now that he does, he really finds her cute and all the physical qualities that a heroine needs to have. However she notes that she has a lack of presence, that is why people do not notice her unlike Tomoya who is considered a celebrity in school because of the otaku activities her organized. He doesn’t even know that? Tomoya becomes passionate in arguing that Megumi is not as plain as she think she is. He wants her to bring all that heroine qualities out. Since when is she already in his circle? Ah well, he sounds so determined, might as well consider her in. Because Eriri and Utaha are spotted outside the window with those cold stabbing stares, the tension is further tense with them joining at the table. I mean, this guy got the guts to stand them up and date another girl? Tomoya wastes no time in introducing everyone in his circle. Since when did they join? Eriri and Utaha are still at odds with each other, having that feet battle underneath the table. The girls try to convince Tomoya to give up his dream but he has decided. He will rewrite it as many times to get their approval. And for that moment the duo thought he has decided no which of them he would choose? See their disappointed reaction. Little do they realize that Megumi is gone. She is queuing at the drinks counter. Wow. She definitely lacks presence, eh?

So to train her to be the perfect heroine, Tomoya calls Megumi to meet. She doesn’t remember the street where she lost her hat as the first place they met simply because it wasn’t. It was last year’s opening ceremony. Oh, he can’t remember that, can’t he? Megumi is in Tomoya’s otaku room but she doesn’t display the kind of reaction he expected her as a heroine. Why so mad, bro? The best way to learn about a heroine is to play a dating game. As usual, Megumi is pretty clueless about everything and I don’t know how frustrated Tomoya feels. Hey, cut her some slack. She is an amateur, isn’t she? So they play the best dating game from start to finish. Megumi does have good comments on it as Tomoya departs more cliché advices. But does she understand it all? You guessed it. It took him to remember Eriri’s words to realize that he was the one who didn’t understand everything. What? I don’t understand what’s going on. Megumi thought she could leave for the night but wait! There’s more. The game has a sequel and true ending. Don’t tell me they’re going to play it through? Well, his parents are out of town for an overnight trip and tomorrow has no school. Oh sh*t… For the sake of his, uhm, their dream, stay for the night! You don’t know how ambiguous that sounds. I’m sure that he assuring he only likes 2D girls doesn’t sound that assuring. But when she agrees to stay, he panics that she should be suspicious and not to be so carefree. So what does he wants?! This guy is worse than a woman! The game finally ends in the morning. Megumi is so deprived of sleep that she would do anything just to get some. Even if it means joining his circle. So can she sleep now?

Episode 3
Seems Tomoya hasn’t even started on his proposal. Trouble getting ideas? I’m sure he is calling Megumi for another sleepover session but she can’t. She’s away for a family trip at Hokkaido. By the time she gets back, that’ll be his deadline. So Tomoya tries to make a resolution not to get distracted by his otaku stuffs to start his work. Well, maybe just one manga before he begins… And he wasted half a day on it… Before he knows it, Eriri is already at his place working on her porn manga. Her dad is holding a garden party and she doesn’t want to be around to show her face to the guests. So his place is the ideal place to work on her erotic manga? Anyway she wants him to give up seeing he sounded like giving excuses not to complete his game. To their surprise, Utaha is at his doorstep so I guess Eriri has to go into hiding and hide all her stuffs. Utaha enters his very clean room and starts teasing him with a little flirt. She also thinks he should give up at this rate but goes on ranting and getting worked up about deadlines and bad comments that put down her work. Tomoya’s conviction manages to convince her that he will come up with a satisfying proposal that will guarantee to make her agree to join his circle. She advises him that if he is serious in that, he should involve all members otherwise he won’t put out a quality product no matter how hard he tries or keep himself motivated. Oh, one more thing. He should have also tried hiding the bicycle. I guess she already knows… So how long is Eriri going to hide in the closet? That night, Tomoya calls Megumi to not worry about him. He’ll do something about himself. She asks what was it about her that appealed to him. Well, everything with her was fun. Was there any room for improvement? If she could be a little more overbearing. And so the next day he starts getting serious on his project. Each time he hits a dead end (which is very soon always), he takes a break doing something else. Before he knows it, he wasted another day! Nothing started! Blank sheet! The thought of giving up seems tempting than ever.

He returns to that hill he first saw Megumi and thought would get inspiration. Nothing. He is about to cry when he sees a white cap floating down. It’s Megumi! I guess he was so pitiful that she threw it for him. Her acting is a little different as she wonders if this is the ideal heroine he wanted. Is this the way he wanted her to act, speak and fall in love? Seems Megumi came back a few days ago after telling her parents she needed to help meet a deadline. She didn’t meet up with him because she didn’t think she would be useful contributing anything. But she wasn’t doing nothing during that time. She got the help of Eriri and Utaha. Eriri designed her dress while Utaha became the strict director teaching her how to act. She might not know what kind of game he is doing but she understands he is very serious about it so hang in there and make her into a heroine that everyone will envy of. Now that he is motivated, he brings her back to his place where they’ll begin their work till tomorrow 7am!!! Hope there would be enough time to get to school. Utaha and Eriri are watching them from afar. They note Tomoya has not started yet. Because Eriri is being contradicting herself by not caring about him and yet helping him, Utaha warns her to fix that attitude of hers or she’ll regret it later. Though Eriri can’t believe she’ll be in the same circle with her, on the contrary Utaha looks forward to working with her. And so when Tomoya hands over his proposal for the girls to read, it is as bad as ever! And he poured his heart and soul into it… Megumi isn’t saying anything because she is sleeping… Lack of sleep or boring?

Episode 4
Megumi read the entire manga volume Tomoya lent her. She is impressed she didn’t think it would be this good. Yeah, he lets her keep it. Utaha is not impressed that her editor hired Tomoya to interview her for her new upcoming series. Well, no ordinary interviewer is going to get anything out from a shy, uncooperative and foul tempered lady. So she thought somehow whom she is familiar with would do the trick. 30 seconds into the interview, she’s already dozing off… I’m not sure if Tomoya is asking boring questions. Anyway the interview didn’t go anywhere even with all those energy drinks. It doesn’t help when the editor even reveals shady details of how they do things behind the scenes. Finally he asks the last question of what she hopes to accomplish with her next series. In addition to the pretty good answer, a very good news for Tomoya because she agrees to join his circle and his project! He couldn’t be much happier. Eriri is preparing herself and comes into the meeting in her typical tsundere fashion but déjà vu strikes as Utaha tells her to cut that tsundere crap and join them already. So they’re here to discuss the development schedule. But the girls dismiss it being unrealistic as they will have to devote 100% of their time to it. So they try to outdo each other by rewriting the schedule and they end up drawing on each other’s face.

With their task determined, what shall Tomoya be? He could be the errand boy who buys them snacks or he can take over character designs, plot development or something else. Buying snacks has never been the easiest job for the director, eh? But Utaha brings up the next problem: Fundraising. You know how expensive it can get when it comes to printing and publishing, right? Yeah, Tomoya didn’t know. Feeling defeated already? Before Utaha can fully seduce him, Eriri separates them (and whips him with her twintail combo). And before another war can start, he just tells them to concentrate on what they do best. Agreed. So what will Megumi do then? Nobody noticed her the entire time, eh? And so Tomoya works hard and wears many hats to raise that million yen target! But to his shock he sees Megumi bringing a hot guy to the restaurant he works at! Keiichi is actually her cousin. This really bothers Tomoya. A lot. Since when did Tomoya become her father and after that long lecture about what it takes to be a standout heroine that moves the hearts of others, he wants her never to see him again???!!! At least until after the game is completed. Is he unreasonable? Is he obnoxious? Is he stupid? Yes to all! And it’s all over when she says she is meeting him this weekend at the mall. It’s like the end of the world for him. That’s like a date, right? At least to him. If that is how it’s going to be, he wants to be the one who accompanies her to the mall then. Hmm… Okay. She’ll just tell Keiichi it is off. Now… Tomoya suddenly has doubts. Doesn’t this look like a date? Shouldn’t she think more about it? I tell you, this guy is worse than a woman!

Episode 5
Eriri is having a hard time trying to sketch a decent heroine out of Megumi. She’s just not into that 2D thingy. On the other hand, it may look like Utaha is having writer’s block when she’s typing nonsense. But could it be a ploy to get Tomoya to feed her? But Eriri ‘broke’ her pencil so errand boy has to get new ones. Eriri is already tired trying to cast Megumi and she doesn’t need a shock to hear Tomoya asking her if she has gone out on a date before! No, he is not asking her out. So he is hypothetically getting her advice on what to do till she realizes he is going on a date with Megumi. So shock that Utaha suddenly starts writing a yandere route! Tomoya sounds like the victim… Utaha is done with her scenario as Tomoya narrates it. It goes something like this. A chance meeting of a guy and a girl at the hill slope. Pretty familiar, right? Coincidentally they are classmates. Slowly they pursue a relationship with each other. Then she starts acting strange. She remembers something about their past lives. They were not only siblings but were lovers too. Now they go off to fight… Monsters?! Despite Tomoya liking this awesome development, he feels something is missing. So for 3 days he has been cracking his head on it so Eriri tells him off his uselessness is hindering the progress of everything. If he has something better, then write it himself. Utaha warns her there are things she should not say and what she said did not help a bit. Since Tomoya isn’t giving any answer, Utaha notes that it is happening again. Megumi thinks to call off tomorrows date at the mall and postpone it to another time but Tomoya won’t run away and try it out. But he is at the brink of defeat after seeing so many people lining up to get in. Just tiring, eh? He can’t take it anymore but when Megumi misinterprets about the otaku and Comiket, this gives Tomoya an idea to consider the crowd as his fellow otakus. Then he has Megumi lay out all the stores she wants to visit. He devises his plan on how to visit them all like as though this is a Comiket convention. Such a pro. Thanks to that, she manages to get everything she wants for the day. Although she is grateful, Tomoya can’t accompany her home because there is somewhere he needs to go now. Utaha is seen waiting.

Episode 6
It’s time for Utaha to get her own episode. Utaha fans scream with joy! Utaha’s manager is teasing her that she is thinking about Tomoya although she denies this. Oh, just stop being stubborn and go after him already! We see some flashbacks of Utaha recognizing Tomoya at a book signing ceremony because he was ranting away and waxing lyrical about her characters. She used to call him out for opinions of her characters. I think she just enjoyed him talking instead of listening to what his passionate ranting is all about. I don’t think she fell asleep because it was boring. Then there was one time she wanted him to read her manuscript for her final volume so that she could make the necessary changes but he refuses because he will not take responsibility for her work. He wants her to decide on the ending and doesn’t want it to become an ending that reflects his opinions. She was desperate but he still would not because he is her fan. It shocked her. It has been 6 months then. Tomoya wonders if she would forgive him. After countless near misses, Tomoya finally meets up with Utaha while taking shelter from the rain. Since it is late and the last train has already departed, her manager sets them up to stay in the same room at a nearby hotel! After shower… She getting flirty… Then Tomoya’s passion blows up. He wants her to make him a man. No, a creator! She feels disappointed for this false lead up. For the rest of the night, he discusses about his ‘date’ with Megumi which is to gather materials but I’m sure any girl wouldn’t like to hear about a guy talking a lot about another girl. Then they talk about the plot which he thinks needs to focus more on the heroine’s current life and happiness instead of her past life. She thinks of cutting off the past life plot but he wants it included since it has its charm. Utaha turns into a yandere as she starts typing the revised plot. Like as though she’s hinting that he chose a plain character other than her to be his main heroine. Is it not right for an author to feel love and not go all out for a fan? Tomoya won’t fall for this since she is speaking as herself and not in character. Next morning, Utaha leaves early to continue her work with her manager. She is saying very ambiguous lines about their very passionate time last night (albeit it was just rewriting the plot). She leaves satisfied and thanking him for drawing out her determination, etc. And then we hear him scream because Utaha took a selfie of them in bed on the morning after!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Meanwhile Eriri happened to bump Megumi at the mall and is sketching her. Seems there is a subtle implication that she is not happy with that date. Eriri sketches a sulking expression of Megumi in which she denies ever putting on that face. Hey, didn’t she just do that?

Episode 7
Time for Eriri’s turn to have the spotlight? She calls Tomoya to her home, blaming him for pushing back the schedule, blah, blah, blah. So take responsibility! Is there a meaning behind this? Long story short, she wants him to help act out as a main character for her ero work. So they flip flop between acting and real stuff so you wonder if it’s just a ploy from Eriri to flirt with him. I don’t think so. Tsunderes aren’t like that… Don’t worry. They won’t be having sex unlike the character in her story. On the last day at school, Tomoya is fuming at Megumi. Why? She has changed her hairstyle! Imagine the shock she will bring to viewers! Well, only he noticed, right? So as he is lecturing her about overall characters (a certain tsundere and sharp tongue girl is out), he speaks greatly of having a little sister/junior character that always looks up to you in admiration. Well, it is about to turn true now because Izumi Hashima claims she has found him and hugs him! OMG! Shamelessly in front of his harem? OMFG. Seems she is his old childhood friend and 2 years his junior who moved away (Utaha seems to love teasing Eriri about her having a more middle school girl body than Izumi). Izumi praises Tomoya for everything he has done for her. Especially about teaching her about the pleasures of being girl! Alarm bells ringing! Wait a minute. If this happened when they were younger… Hold your horses! It’s not like that. Then Izumi hands him a letter. Big red alert! Actually it is an invitation ticket to her doujin circle at summer Comiket. This is her way of repaying him. If he had never shown her that game, Little Rhapsody he gave her as a gift, she wouldn’t be here today living a happy otaku life. Oh, I see there was another fine girl he corrupted. As she leaves, she tells Tomoya that her brother, Iori would be glad to see him again.

Well, that happens soon after. However Tomoya and Eriri ignore this handsome dude (he waited here for more than half an hour!) and continue arguing about the game gift Tomoya gave to Izumi. So when they cannot ignore him no more, the guys start their petty argument (WTF is this Nagoya food they’re talking about?). Tomoya remembers severing ties with him. Long ago they once agreed to rise up to the otaku world together. Their dynamic friendship back then sent all those fujoshi girls crazy. However Tomoya soon discovered his goals were completely different than his. Iori didn’t become an otaku to spread its joys. What he did was trying to get close to popular works and creators to make himself look important. Tomoya believes he should rise up from the bottom instead of just feeding on creators. Uhm, shouldn’t Tomoya do that himself too? Iori then hands him his name card. To their surprise, he is under Akane Kousaka’s Rouge En Rouge circle. This is a very famous superstar circle. Thanks to Iori’s ways, he has now risen this high and the circle cannot turn him down for he has helped them out with many things. Eriri won’t accept him but he informs his circle is interested in her. As he knows Tomoya is making a game with these famous girls, is he trying to stir something in the otaku world? So happen they too are making a game and are looking for an illustrator. Looks like it is a contest now. Does Eriri deserve to be on Tomoya’s side or will she shine further with them?

Episode 8
Megumi is here to discuss character designs, etc. But it seems Tomoya and Eriri are busy in completing the latter’s work before summer Comiket which starts tomorrow. Eriri thinks they’re fine since she will only be there on the third and final day. So Megumi passes time by playing Little Rhapsody. Tomoya is happy she has grown this much as an otaku. Shouldn’t he get back to helping Eriri? However since Eriri also likes this game, she can’t help get distracted in watching Megumi play. She manages to complete it without a drop in quality so Tomoya asks her about Iori’s offer. It is tempting and success is guaranteed. But what about her future? Is she going to keep drawing as a hobby? As Eriri plays Little Rhapsody, she assures him that she is part of his circle for now and won’t be taking on any guest artist jobs till winter Comiket. Tomoya and Megumi visit and help Izumi set up her booth on the first day of Comiket. Izumi is so happy to see he came that she hugs him. With tears! And she got the guts to call Megumi his girlfriend. Does she know the implication? When Tomoya looks at her work and finds out she has only been drawing for a year, he is impressed and takes a sample to go do something about it. He returns after copying an enlarged page and sticking it on a sign to attract people as a massive poster. But Izumi is embarrassed he chose that page because it wasn’t finished in time so it is a rushed job. Megumi agrees with Tomoya because she has read her work and she found it interesting all the way that it made her hard to catch her breath. A guy shows up and surprisingly buys it although her work isn’t aimed for guys. Then a long line of girls queue up to buy them till it is sold out. Izumi becomes emotional thanking everyone for supporting her. At the end of the day, Tomoya catches up with Eriri whom he realizes disguised herself to come buy Izumi’s works. She doesn’t seem happy. She asks him for his opinion on Izumi’s work. It’s totally awesome. Yeah. He was so hyped to help sell them too. That’s when she snapped back that he never reacted like that to her works. He never felt anything at all. He never went all out to help sell her works. Tomoya argues that they are both different and in different leagues. So does this mean Eriri’s works are better than Izumi’s? If so, why won’t he help to sell them? Her works sell fine without his help. That’s not even an answer. Eriri runs away crying, leaving Tomoya at the intersection. Cliché scene?

Episode 9
Suddenly Tomoya wakes up with Utaha lying next to him in bed! Is this some sort of revenge for not getting any screen time last episode? Eventually Tomoya reveals what happened with Eriri so Utaha thinks it is his fault for waxing lyrical the works of another girl in front of her. Tomoya believes he could not stay quiet when someone’s works stands out. Though it might not dent her reputation overall, but it sure dent her heart. This might jeopardize their circle as she might be too traumatized to even work. So Eriri doesn’t even get out of bed to go for the Comiket. She’s just lazing around in her bed. On the other hand, Utaha is lying around on Tomoya’s bed, smelling his blanket… Don’t worry. He is away at Comiket. He sees Iori and needs his help to drag Eriri back into his circle. That night as Eriri’s parents are holding a house party, it is part of Utaha’s plan to have Tomoya dress up as a prince to whisk Eriri away from her balcony. This scene resembles very closely to one in Little Rhapsody and will evoke that nostalgia factor. Away, the reconciliation isn’t going to be easy because it is Tomoya who is the one getting upset and wanting her to apologize for betraying him first. There is a short flashback of their days in elementary school 8 years ago. Eriri introduced Little Rhapsody to him and he got hooked to the otaku world. However she had to ‘abandon’ him to make new friends. That might look petty to Eriri but to him this was a big deal. It meant a lot to him. He had to make enemies out of every guy just to protect what they had. He won’t forgive her for the bad treatment. Eriri won’t apologize, instead she brings up that recent incident of praising another author’s work in front of her. She worked so hard and yet he praised Izumi. He admits Izumi’s work is much better than her. Eriri starts crying that she put in so much effort and that this is the limit of her talent. She put on a mask outside and worked hard at home to get back at those who broke them up. She wants to go back to how it was. He tells her to do it. He doesn’t know how but just do it. It’s her work. And so she finally decides to do it and make her be his number one. Next day, Eriri has completed the illustration of the circle’s banner. Looks very close to Megumi and she’s not pretty happy about it (because the illustration has her wear nothing!). Tomoya puts the finishing touches by calling their circle Blessing Software. Utaha points out that roughly translates to Megumi’s Software. Oh dear. Tempers are going to flare again… Lastly, Iori hands Izumi a drawing from Eriri for her. She is very happy about it although she didn’t know Eriri was at her stand. Iori starts laughing since the drawing also contains a note that Eriri won’t lose to her.

Episode 10
Tomoya and the girls are making progress with the game. It is getting late so he is going to take a bath and sleep. To his surprise, Michiru is using the place like her own home. Finally! After 3/4 of the series of no-show, finally she pops up! Tomoya screams not because she came out of the bath, but rather she didn’t have the typical girly screaming reaction she should have when she sees a semi-naked guy. Seems she had an argument with her family and ran away from home. She tells him about the new band she formed but he isn’t convinced since she never stayed for more than 6 months. Michiru is pretty bold and physical in flirting with him. You wonder if his neck is going to be okay with that kind of submission move. Next day as he tries to work on the scripting, Utaha and Eriri are more interested in flirting and getting his attention. Then they discover the other girl… Oh dear. Tomoya is tied up and interrogated. Who the heck is this Michiru girl? Tomoya explains she is his cousin who happened to be born on the same day and same hospital as him. Utaha becomes a smooth operation in creating a scenario the closeness of their relationship. The kind of childhood friend relationship that trumps all over others and make it look like cheap knock offs. Eriri can’t handle the heat and already passes out. Tomoya returns home only to see Michiru making herself at home. Yeah, she’s really turning his room into his. Throwing away all his otaku stuffs and replacing it with her music. She tries to convince him to leave the otaku life and will introduce real girls to him to hang out. Thankfully (or not), his otaku passion is strong and he won’t be so easily converted. Imagine, a girl who have family problems telling a guy in his own home to be concerned about his future. Despite warning Michiru not to plug her electric guitar to the amp, she does so after he has gone to take a bath. At first he is going to chew her out but after a while, the music isn’t that bad. In fact, it perfectly fits the scenes of his story. He wants her to join his circle. His towel then came off. Is that some sort of threat or intimidation? She isn’t, by the way.

Episode 11
Michiru is introduced to the rest. I wonder how Eriri is going to handle this. I don’t think she can’t. Especially seeing Michiru getting physical with Tomoya like as though it’s that norm. Of course Michiru has never agreed to write music for his game. She claims she has her hands full writing songs for her band. Utaha reminds Tomoya not to force her to join or she’ll be unhappy. Funny, wasn’t Utaha the same at first? Because Michiru looks down on otaku, Utaha retorts all that about the otaku world and how their works of entertainment make them nobles. When Michiru starts bringing up the past that she was always better than him in everything, there were times he was a reliable guy. Eriri seems to be interested in hearing ancient history. I don’t know how Tomoya can get out of this one with both girls suffocating him. Later when all the girls have gone home, Tomoya expresses he really needs Michiru but she is still not convinced. Somehow her band is on the verge of breaking up thanks to her so she has no time to help him out. Tomoya takes it that she has not received her father’s blessings yet. She reveals he will approve of it if they get a manager. Tomoya will help find one for her but Michiru says it is him. Well, they’re not going to have a complete stranger as their manager, right? So now it is his turn to claim being busy with his circle. What experience has he got as a band manager? Michiru tells him that his circle is broken and that he is the only one who is genuinely interested in making the game. The other girls seem to hang around for other reasons… However it is different in her case. Everyone in her band is seriously trying to make their dream come true.

Tomoya’s friend thinks he is spending more time with Megumi recently and Tomoya is happy to note that she has grown as a heroine since other guys are starting to take notice of her. Megumi is at Eriri’s home helping to work on the game’s scripting. She has her own ideas and views for certain scenes that make it work better. Early next morning, Tomoya calls her. Seems he is in a dilemma. He asks her if the circle is not working so she invites him out for breakfast. She shows him the scripting she has been working to help him out. Surprised? Megumi views herself as no talent like the rest but she wants to help out whenever she can because she really wants to finish this game. Just as Tomoya’s faith in completing the game and making her the heroine that everyone can envy renewed, he sees on the scripting demo something about Megumi hinting about his cousin when he was opposed to her own cousin. Remember that incident? Yeah… Immediately he prostrates himself to apologize. Tomoya then lets her hear Michiru’s music that he secretly recorded. Sounds good. This has Megumi ask if Michiru has really nothing to do with the otaku culture. Michiru gets a pleasant surprise when Tomoya agrees to become her band manager. There is a live gig for her band to perform. Apparently a band pulled out last minute and he managed to slot theirs in. He already contacted her band members to commit. All that is left is for her to say okay. Instantly she hugs him and starts apologizing for being selfish, sorry his dream might collapse, blah, blah, blah. Typical female character when the guy gets you what you want?

Episode 12
Tomoya is talking to Michiru’s Icy Tail band. They will be going out first since they have no past credentials. Time to do this thing. Meanwhile, Tomoya’s circle girls are supposed to attend to but Eriri has run away to a maid café. Megumi and Utaha are forced to drag her out. Utaha can’t believe Megumi and Eriri got close together while at the same time poking fun insulting Eriri’s trauma about losing her position as Tomoya’s oldest childhood friend. I wonder if Megumi is tired in rebuking the infighting. Finally when they arrive at the backstage, they see this very ‘horror’ scene. Michiru despite angry at Tomoya for the cat maid outfit that the band is supposed to go out and perform in, she is in a cowgirl position and that ambiguous humping just makes your imagination go wild. Tomoya reveals the biggest secret. Michiru thought she was singing pop songs but in actual fact all of them are anime songs. That is why the songs she writes are so anime-like. Apparently her bandmates are somewhat otaku themselves and have made a deal with Tomoya that with him managing them as an anime cover band, they will allow her to work for his Blessing Software. It is a win-win situation for everyone. She can quit if she wants but is she going to betray her friends? Even if she is not an otaku, he believes she will become a fine one someday. Icy Tail head off to stage and the crowd goes wild when they begin their gig. It ends with Michiru playing an original song she wrote. When Michiru says I love you to Tomoya, Utaha and Eriri beat him up. He had to explain she was saying Icy Tail (as in “Aishiteru yo!”). At the backstage, Tomoya continues his smooth operator talk with Michiru. Her dream has come true. Now it’s her turn to make his. Those otaku out there cheering for her today, they will soon be moved to tears when she writes music for his game. Michiru agrees to join him and decides to make it formal with a pact. It looks like she’s going to kiss him but in fact she gets back at him by doing a submission move. We see the circle working hard to complete the game as well as a glimpse of part of the game’s ending. Everyone is glad that they have completed it. Well, at least one route. Now to start again for the other routes. Eriri starts right away, Utaha takes a quick nap and Michiru going to cheer them up with her song. Everything is working so fine. Well, 2 months to go to Winter Comiket. Tomoya is going to make some narrative that their fight has just begun but Eriri smacks him so as not to jinx it.

How To Satisfy A Perverted Otaku
If I have to be honest, I am having a hard time determining if this series is interesting or, erm, boring. Maybe it is somewhat both. The interesting parts see how a nobody and high school kid Tomoya trying to create an ideal game with all the obstacles he is facing as well as managing the fickle relationship between his female members. But other than that, the drama of it all can be a bit draggy as I sometimes find it hard myself to keep focus for the duration of the episode. Personally, I have no idea about the direction or what they are planning about when discussing in making the game because it seems I only sit up whenever there is some sort of cat fight happening between Utaha and Eriri since with the former’s acid tongue and sarcasm, it is always fun to hear what comes out of her mouth and the reaction the tsundere puts on. I’m not saying that this is a bad anime overall but maybe I just got my priorities wrong. I thought I would see them making the game (like what you see in Bakuman or even Shirobako) and even though this is what their circle goal is all about, they do it behind the scenes and it is more of Tomoya trying to make his circle work despite everything looks like it is going to fall apart any moment. Good thing it didn’t, right? Could it be the power of (one-sided secret crush) love?

The clashing and contrasting characters in the circle make them interesting despite you can see certain clichés in them like a certain tsundere (why must they always be twintail blondes?) and sharp tongue yandere. The biggest irony is that the 2 of the biggest names in the otaku world are working for a complete nobody. It becomes obvious that they are willing to bring themselves down to his level thanks to the shared past and feelings for him. The show does have its pace to bring out Utaha and Eriri’s past with Tomoya and how they are somewhat connected to him, the reason they are going this far to help him make his ideal game. At the same time, Megumi is not going to be the running joke of the series whereby nobody notices her so it is not going to be the case for her character development to be ignored. Instead, we see her taking an interest and learning more about the otaku culture. Although that ‘boring’ nature of hers depends very much on the views and perception of others. Boring at first in the eyes of Tomoya because of his set stereotypes of what a heroine should be. But I think Megumi could be the ‘coolest’ character of them all in the entire series since she rarely burst into any fits of emotion. Even so, they look so emotionless. Even when she makes come back lines. Quite funny when she rebukes. Quite the irony. I know her sleepy voice makes her like a dreamy girl but I think it gives her character. Overall, the character development is satisfactory but not quite enough since you can’t do justice to them all with just a dozen or so episodes.

Tomoya looks like another typical and ordinary otaku character with big dreams. Yeah, what another irony considering Megumi is supposed to be the most ‘normal’ one. His passion in the otaku life is genuine. Sometimes I feel he just needs to have better communication skills to tell the girls what he want especially to Megumi who is a noob in the otaku world. With the girls having different sets of personalities, Tomoya feels like the punching bag for the big two and to a point plays the role of retorting them when they put words in his mouth or twisting the meaning of the entire thing. And sometimes I feel he is worse than a woman because based on my observations especially with Megumi, he expects something like this or that and when she agrees to it, he starts having second thoughts whether it is a good thing or not for her to agree so easily with it. So what does he really want anyway?

So I suppose with the characters interacting with each other in such a way, this is where mainly the funny parts of the series are. Yeah well, at least they aren’t that boring despite the cliché personalities. And I suppose they try to make it a little interesting because sometimes the characters do speak in a way that breaks the fourth wall. Like as though they are addressing to us viewers who are watching them. Some of them are cleverly played out.

Another one of the biggest ironies for this series is the romance part. I said irony because Tomoya who has proclaimed he only loves 2D girls (although he did say he does not hate 3D girls) to be working with real girls in the flesh. If that is the case, could it be that he only sees his colleagues as nothing as that? Perhaps. But I don’t think it is the same case for the girls. We all know very well that he is the reason why they are staying in his circle that may or may not be successful. So there’s the irony of beautiful and successful girls in their own right having feelings for a 2D lover guy. Unrequited love? Utaha and Eriri look like the front runners in this game but Michiru is threatening to usurp all that thanks to her bold physical moves. And she like only made her appearance so late in the series proper.

You thought Utaha was pretty bold in her up close flirting with Tomoya? Well, it was till Michiru smashed all that and took it to a whole new level. Don’t forget about Megumi. She might look like the one with the least potential but you know what they say about still waters running deep. I may be reading too much but I take it as a sign that she wants to help him and finish this game as an indication that she harbours some feelings for him. She might be the one who usurp it all because you know, Tomoya views her as his heroine. I don’t know what happened to Izumi but I thought the more the merrier with a cliché character playing the little sister trope (since she does appear along with the other girls in the ending credits animation). Well it seems childhood friend seems to be an important ‘ingredient’ in whatever romance factor the girls are pinning on. In that case, everybody would have lost out to Michiru flat, right?

There are also a few fanservice scenes but they are considered light and the ‘heaviest’ one would be in episode 0 itself (and possibly almost every scene that involve Michiru on Tomoya). With Utaha’s sexy seduction and after-bath scene, a scene with Eriri only in her lingerie and Michiru whose skimpy dressing like as though she is getting ready for a porn shoot and her extreme physical skinship on Tomoya might make it too tantalizing for us to handle. Even all that is pales in comparison to even call this an ecchi themed anime. Okay, maybe you can call it ecchi as long as we get more than 2 scenes of boobs and pantsu shots. Also, there are some anime trivia to spot but mostly they are the posters, mangas and figurines in Tomoya’s room like OreImo, Date A Live and Sword Art Online respectively among the many others. For the rest that are seen elsewhere like during the Comiket, I am not sure if they are real, made up or actual doujin work.

Although the art and drawing are rather okay being your standard Japanese anime style like you see these days, I can’t help notice if it is going to be a trend. Like in Grisaia No Kajitsu, I noticed that there is a red strip of line on the top outline of the girls’ eyes. I am not sure about the guys but I noticed that in some scenes, Tomoya also have this feature albeit it is very faint compared to the girls. Then there are certain scenes in which the colouring and the hue just become, how should I put it, single hue. For example, sometimes the scene will be in just tones and shades or red. Sometimes purple. Sometimes blue. Like as though they ran out of other colours for that scene and just dumped all that single colour just for the sake to get that scene coloured. This does not happen very often but enough to make you notice and wonder if there is some sort of implication or anything. Or it could be just to mess with your head and amount to nothing much. Oddly, there are also a few scenes using CG. But those scenes are also rare although it tries to blend in with the 2D hand drawing, it still stands out.

Voice acting is pretty okay. Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Tomoya somehow I feel is going to be stereotyped in playing such characters. Whether it is Aito from Mangaka-san To Assistant-san To or Sora from No Game No Life. Kiyono Yasuno (Koneko in Hamatora) playing Megumi might sound like she has the easiest job since her character sounds like she is devoid of emotions and just put on that single monotonous voice. But to speak like that for the entire duration of the series is not easy and can be tiring. Believe me, I tried doing that for a few minutes and it was already hard on me despite I myself am a boring person ;p. The rest of the other casts include Ai Kayano as Utaha (Inori in Guilty Crown), Saori Oonishi as Eriri (La Folia in Strike The Blood), Sayuri Yahagi as Michiru (Haruna in To Love-Ru), Chinatsu Akasaki as Izumi (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby) and Tatsuya Kakihara as Iori (Natsu in Fairy Tail). The opening and ending themes sound generic anime pop. Sounds okay but doesn’t appeal to me. Kimiiro Signal by Luna Haruna is the opener while Colorful by Miku Sawai serves as the ending theme. There are also a handful of insert songs that are sung by the heroines in the series but I didn’t find them appealing either.

Till the second season arrives (oh yes, there is definitely going to be a second season to satisfy us otaku perverts who love to see the eternal rivalry and cat fight between the tsundere and yandere as well as the deadpan rebuke from the most normal girl ever in the history of anime, not forgetting an extremely physical budding musician), I guess we’ll have to be satisfied this season to see how a guy manages his girls. Oh wait. Did it even come close to that? How do I describe this anime in a nutshell? It’s like a management sim but it doesn’t feel like it. It’s like your harem anime but it’s not. It’s like your romantic comedy anime but it really isn’t. It’s almost like your fanservice shots but not enough to classify so. Mainly everything feels mild and not serious enough to warrant to anything substantial but sufficient to keep your attention till the end. At least there are lots of positive comments about this show (I bet they are mostly either Utaha or Megumi camp).

So you think running a country or even a big multi-national conglomerate is a big tough headache job? Try managing a small group of only girls all of which whom have some sort of secret crush or admiration for you. It is like a dream come true for us otaku guys to have so many beauty and brains clamouring for us but at the same time a big hell of a mess when all hell breaks loose. Besides, don’t they have such management classes anywhere? Yeah, they don’t. You don’t try and manage girls as a guy! Never! Oh, how do you satisfy a perverted otaku anyway? Simple. Just give him lots of ero stuffs. What? You expecting something more complicated than that? I assure you, it is not that complicated to please a pervert even if he has the strangest fetish in the world. Really.

Dirty Pair

October 24, 2015

I didn’t know I went back that far in time to pick a retro anime to watch. I was surprised that it has been 30 years since Dirty Pair first debuted on TV! Wow. That was way back in 1985. Yup. I’m feeling so old right now. I am not sure if I could say that the series is ahead of its time because of the futuristic setting and using a pair of strong female leads as the main cast of characters but I suppose it was the root for certain animes that showcased a team of capable women like Cat’s Eye, Gunsmith Cats, Noir, Kiddy Grade and even the off-colour humour of Panty And Stockings With Garterbelt. Yeah, anime has come a long way. A very long way indeed. I really feel so old right now.

So what attracted me to pick this old school retro anime? Well, reading the short synopsis was amusing enough. With humans spreading across the known galaxy in the distant future, I am sure there give rise to a lot of problems. Therefore a corporation was established to send out agents that would ‘troubleshoot’ these problems. However there is an infamous pair that has a reputation of leaving a trail of destruction behind them and their most often used excuse for it all? “It’s not our fault!”. Wow. This I got to see.

Episode 1
3WA Trouble Consultants’ Lovely Angels duo, Kei and Yuri are having some sort of trouble. In fact, the entire tower is going crazy since Brian the computer is malfunctioning. The residents are panicking and running away from the chaos. So when the pair tries to address the crowd, they don’t recognize them and think they are a pair of female pro-wrestlers! Yuri thinks they should use the nickname everybody is familiar of but Kei will not allow it. Anarchy rises when the floods breach the safe areas. As the duo try to make their way to the top via elevator, a couple of enforcements recognize them as Dirty Pair (although the duo pretty much try to avoid acknowledging it) want to help them stop Brian’s malfunction but they got done in by an accident. So much for help. At the top, the contact their bear pet (or is it a cat?), Mughi to ride a capsule alone to bring their ship here along with Nanmo. The duo are attacked by robots and fall off the metal bar they are clinging on to. Thanks to Yuri’s parachute, they land down below but it’s not a pleasant one. They hijack a car and fly deep into the tower as robots are hot on their trail. When they finally make contact with Brian, this computer wants to destroy humanity for its betrayal. Something about a Z-box that wipes out its memories. Really? Then why does it still remember about this unit that he doesn’t recognize? They threaten to shoot it down with high temperature lasers that Nanmo is controlling since Brian needs low temperature to operate. Brian won’t comply. Nanmo fires the beams and the entire tower is now tilted! Boy, they sure live up to their nickname. Kei then asks Brian a question and promises they won’t bug him again if he answers. Which of the pair is better? I guess they are so notorious that it takes Brian a long time to process. Kei takes this chance to contact somebody and threatens him to warp some junk ship into the core because computers break down when they have the slightest dirt in their system, right? So when the warp commences, I can’t believe Brian is screaming in pain before going offline! The day is saved. But at what cost? Somebody is going to have to remove that junk ship and install a new computer… Not our Lovely Angels because when their boss, Gooley continues screaming at them (he has been doing it all day), they just turn off the communicator. Another good job done. Add that to their ever growing reputation…

Episode 2
A company’s plane explodes and they believe it wasn’t the engine’s fault but a bomb. They want the new route opening to be postponed but the boss will not and tells them to hire 3WA. Our Dirty Pair would have gotten their usual lecture from their boss for that tilting tower incident but looks like they’ve been hired for another job. This time they will be working with Nova Grave who will be their senior and giving orders. First thing Kei asks if he has chest hair because she hates them! WTF?! So as they board the plane to investigate, they believe it is a conspiracy from rival companies to sabotage them. Of course the ladies aren’t going to sit around obeying his orders. Grave spots a couple of suspicious guys while inspecting and it is confirmed that they might be the culprits because also reported in are a couple of staffs who were beaten up and their uniforms stolen. But that is not all of them. As Kei is checking things from the outside, she spots 3 space guys putting bombs all over. She engages them while ordering Nanmo to diffuse the bombs. Yuri tries to go to her aid but was attacked. Thanks to Mughi assisting, Yuri is able to put those Blues Brothers at bay. Kei screwed up and an explosion destroys part of the ship. If they don’t do anything soon, they’ll be down for. I guess it’s up to the ladies since Grave has been injured in the attack at the cockpit. As the passengers are in panic and trying to flee for the evacuate ships, the door is jam. How to solve this? Kei just shoots it open! Now that everyone is evacuated, Lovely Angels won’t abandon ship as they don’t want their notorious reputation to increase. So they’re going to pilot this ship? Despite the bombs are diffused, the ship went off trajectory and is projected to crash into a city. Because the boosters lack power, Kei is going to fix it while Yuri pilots and Grave monitoring the monitor. Too bad for all the tall buildings getting destroyed by the ship’s close proximity. But good news, they safely crash land in the dessert without destroying the city! Grave must be really relieved because he looked worried for the entire flight. The case is solved when it is determined a rival company was indeed behind the sabotage. Lovely Angels see Grave at the hospital, give him a kiss and hope they can work together again. Why? Because he shows them he has no chest hair! So that makes him a nice guy?

Episode 3
Kei is furious that their vacation is cancelled so that they have to go find some casino owner, King. She’s causing traffic accidents along the way! Inside the casino as they start to find him, they are met with Sydney who is King’s attendant. He shows the ladies to King and Yuri uses her suave charms and cool beauty to play a blackjack game of high stakes with King. She’s exuding with confidence like as though she’s going to win. She lost. Big. Yeah. They blew all the money. However you can say that they ‘won’ the bet when Sydney calls them as King is interested in them and has invited them to his mansion. Can’t say no to that. Of course King knows those ladies aren’t just your ordinary chicks and has run a background check on them. When Lovely Angels arrive at his mansion, Sydney frisks them for weapons before leaving them alone in a room. A huge fat guy enters and attacks them. In another room, King has his guests place bets while watching this ‘entertainment’. The ladies use their hidden weapons (I guess Sydney was just pretending) and then a flash grenade to wipe out the surveillance camera. While King tries to get his men fix it, Mughi and Nanmo have infiltrated the mansion in search of a chip (their true goal). They bust out and bump into Sydney who reveals he is their comrade. He tells them about the security system and some fusion reactor they must disable to obtain the chip. Kei goes to disarm the fusion reactor by simply pressing the buttons. Sure, it stopped. Now the mansion will self destruct! As apology for not telling her that, Kei will go back to try to minimize the damage as he tells her to escape. He shuts her up with a kiss. Yuri is in a room filled with people trying to find that chip. They’re more infatuated with finding that instead of evacuating? And why the heck does this mansion have so many guests?! Where the heck did they come from?! Yuri manages to steal the chip from the losers as they escape moments before the entire estate explodes! Unfortunately Yuri grabbed the fake chip. At the airport, Lovely Angels stop Sydney from boarding a plane. They know he went back to get the real chip. He reveals he went undercover for 4 years to earn King’s trust just to get the chip. Then he makes one last bet with them and he thought he could swindle them by switching the chip. He lost and gives the chip back to them before rushing to catch his flight. He realized too late that he got the fake one. Yuri teases Kei that she likes Sydney.

Episode 4
When Gooley calls his girls for a job, they don’t feel like doing it and give excuses. Just get to it! They meet up with some scientist dude who needs a cat named Malatesta to be retrieved because it was in an experiment injected with muscle fortifier whose time effect is unknown. As for whether it might be stolen, he thinks not because there are locations that it was spotted. Those are cake shops and Malatesta loves cheese cakes. Kei is surprised to see his sister, Lan who is one of the tag team pro wrestlers that she is a big fan of. But big brother doesn’t like her since she turned her back on science. As Kei stakes out at a cake shop, Malatesta shows its ugly side by snatching a cheese cake. Time for the chase to begin and of course the start of a trail of destruction. The worst hit one is a pair of newlyweds because Kei barged into their room and with that ambiguous talk that she has found him (the cat followed them) and this causes lots of tension for the bride. So when Malatesta escaped and Kei went after it, the bride thought of forgiving him but it is round 2 when it is Yuri’s turn to barge in and do the same thing (she followed the footprints). Can they just simply do that? Big misunderstanding leads to bride wants a divorce. So sad… The chase continues to a hair bank. Lovely Angels have to initiate a robbery so the staffs will have to open the vault. I can’t believe they didn’t even realize a cat was inside. Even more so, why didn’t Malatesta panicked in that dark and was just sleeping? Suddenly a train crashes in. Seems the Blues Brothers derailed the tracks just for this elaborated stint. Don’t you think this is lots of work? They want our ladies to hand over the cat but they won’t and beat them up. The place is now filled with police but the ladies feign they were being taken hostage to escape. But the police are once on their trail once they realize they are also the culprits. Now the chase ends up on a high dangerous construction site. Lan shows up and is the one hiring those mobs to get the cat because she wants to sell it to make money. So this becomes a silly game of tag and balancing act as the ladies duke it out while the police had to forward and reverse their cars just to keep balance. And the construction worker is just giving lip service… I don’t know how it all ends but when Lovely Angels return Malatesta to the scientist, he says it is the wrong cat because Malatesta is female. This one is male. So where is the real one? On some beach facing off with Mughi…

Episode 5
Yuri and Kei are fighting over a favourite playing on the radio. Yuri is annoyed that Kei keeps boasting about their date and not amused they rented this dorky ship instead. Suddenly they are hit by some warp but surprisingly come out unscathed. After forcing a hotel staff to skip procedures and give them a room (their reputation has him running the errands), Yuri experiences some horrifying countdown visions. The duo are then attacked by robots (time for mindless destruction of everything) as they make a run for it. When they manage to get into their ship and escape they have a feeling they are wanted alive because there were numerous chances of them being killed but yet those robots purposely missed. For now they play along. The robots hijack their ship and they enter another warp. They enter a huge familiar abandoned disposal plant, Criados. As far as they remember, it was closed a long time ago due to crew deaths. They have Nanmo scan a list of names of anyone in this plant who has a grudge on them. The robots start destroying the ship so the ladies are forced to put on their space suits and head out. Once more details surface, they believe the one behind this is J.S. Criados. But isn’t he already dead? They remember he was a mad scientist on some drugs. They were on that mission and busted him. He committed suicide 1.5 years ago. So is his ghost back to get revenge? They think before his death, he might set traps to activate their execution (perhaps that countdown thingy). So as the robots and structure try to crush them, time is running out in the countdown. Nanmo then takes out its memory disk and gives it to Yuri. Kei understands what Nanmo is doing. Because Nanmo was created later after Criados’ death, there is no way that scientist would know it had a self destruct mechanism in it. Nanmo then heads to the core and blows up to stop the execution. Well, they can always make another Nanmo as long as they have the disk, right? Once it is over, Kei quickly takes a ship and heads off leaving Yuri behind because her date is waiting.

Episode 6
Lovely Angels are to escort a ship carrying some important prism. But because a pirate group, Devil’s Syndicate has learnt about this, they are sending out many fakes on different routes. It is not known if Lovely Angels are escorting the real one or not but the real prism will explode if it is forced open. Lovely Angels are attacked by a ship trying to make them identify themselves. Kei won’t let this slip and goes to hijack their ship with Mughi. She is shocked to see they have all the data and passwords on the ships. Realizing they are targeting ships with certain names (the reason they are in a hurry to identify them), Kei knows their escort carries the fake. As she heads back, the boss ship attacks them. The captain seems to know Kei but she doesn’t remember who he is. He lets her go because he doesn’t want to hurt his childhood friend. Still don’t remember? Then it hit her. He is Kaia and he hates this vain guy because he is the kind who thinks women want him. Kaia says that they are after the prism and not them so why not cooperate and hand it over? No can do. Thus he promises to let them go if she tells the name of the ship. But when Kei does so, Kaia immediately knows this ship contains the real prism. He wants her to hand it over but she won’t. Time for a space chase. Since he is so persistent, Kei is exactly going to do that because she lied the name of this ship to get him thinking it was the real one. But when she goes to check the container, it actually contains the real prism! She then diffuses the bombs to take the real prism out. Finally after being cornered, Kei gives the container (after setting the self destruct timer) but she won’t join him like he wants. Therefore value the container in her place. Smooth words. Kaia can’t contain his silly laughter once he gets the container but then it explodes. Abandon ship! Gooley gives Lovely Angels a rare praise for a job well done. They accuse him of knowing everything all along but he genuinely doesn’t and only recently knew about it. Then he senses something amiss. Did they actually deliver the prism? He threatens to cut their pay and bonuses after learning the container exploded. But when Lovely Angels threaten to microwave the prism, he takes back his threats so they go deliver the prism and all they have to do now is wait for their special rewards.

Episode 7
Clicky Goldjeff is getting married to several women?! But why is he chained to them? He doesn’t look happy… Suddenly Joanca (disguised as the organist) starts shooting and causing havoc to free Clicky and run. He looks happy. This must be the women of his dreams, eh? So the father hires Lovely Angels to get his son back (the ladies must be trying hard to suck up to him – because they quickly call his ugly son a handsome man) and doesn’t care about the money. Give the money to that Joanca b*tch. All he wants is his son’s safe return. So Kei is complaining about this joke job in her room when they get a surprise call from Joanca who tells them the time and location of the exchange. She really knows how to strike a nerve with the Dirty Pair about the subject of beauty and all… And while they’re mad, Clicky is having a blissful tour with Joanca. They seem to be like too the next day so when Lovely Angels confront them and tell Joanca to drop the act and that she’s just doing this to extort more money, she doesn’t know what they’re talking about. When they throw her the suitcase, her character change. Now she says since the money is hers, she doesn’t need Clicky anymore. Everything was a lie. Clicky is such a sad boy. Kei attacks her but senses something amiss when she doesn’t evade. Joanca then breaks down. The culprit turns out to be Clicky’s dad and his secretary. That suitcase contained some sort of mechanism that controls her nervous system. Kei realizes last night’s footage was an animated photo of Joanca sent by the secretary. Father will not allow Clicky and Joanca to be together because he hates her. Why? Because Joanca was once a man! No wonder she looks so manly (can it also mean that Clicky is a little gay?). But Clicky doesn’t care about her past and loves her now. With Lovely Angels overwhelmed, they can’t do anything. Father takes Clicky and Joanca back. He is going to send Joanca on a space trip. Oh, she’ll come back. In 50 years! I don’t know how Lovely Angels break out from their bind but they manage to barge into the base. Accidentally they make the father push the blast off button. There goes Joanca into space… Clicky wants to follow her but father disallows. Kei becomes a strong supporter for Clicky to be a real man and go after his woman. And so there goes Clicky… Father is sad and all he wants was his son to be happy. Since he can’t live without his son, he is going to follow him too!!!!! NO SH*T!!! And there goes daddy into space… I am sure his secretary wants to go to but there are no more capsules… Man, who is going to run the conglomerate now? Ah well, see you in 50 years. Lovely Angels will become grandmas by then…

Episode 8
When Yuri gets a love letter transmission from Billy Galet at Lucia, she wants to resign! Heck, even Gooley doesn’t mind throwing a disbanding party! Turns out Yuri and Billy made a promise 12 years ago (that means they were kids then) that after he finishes a ship named Lucia, they will get married and travel around. Seeing the ‘stupidity’ of this, Gooley lost interest and just let Kei solve this. Of course while Yuri is eager for her awaited promise, Kei pours cold water on it that Billy may have changed and all that. But Kei is kind enough to do some investigation and turns out Billy is indeed an engineer instead of a gangster but what is worrying where the transmission came from. It is from Poisonville and rumours believed engineers were kidnapped to develop something secret. There, they even have and aerial visual of where the hidden factory is! The letter may be a call for help. Yuri wants to go save him but Gooley stops her. They are doing business not a hobby. Strangely, they get a call from a client who will pay millions to save them. I guess there’s a contract now. That caller is actually Kei. So they head to Poisonville and I suppose infiltrating is easy because the slacking guards never expected anybody to break into this SECRET base, right? Even if some spot the girls, they let their guard down (which is pretty ironic) and easily got owned. More hilarity ensues when Kei plants bombs and after they go off, Yuri ushers the engineers into their getaway ship. The baddies can’t shoot the engineers since they are needed alive. So how? Just stand there and get owned! More farcical when baddies’ bullet don’t hit but our ladies, their mini bazooka can bring down towers! Yuri goes off to find Billy but does she know how this dorky kid looks now? Because this injured engineer she helped looks handsome… Aren’t all the engineers handsome? Kei senses something amiss and counts short the engineers. She goes back to Billy’s locker and finds a machine. WHAT THE HECK ARE THEY KEEPING A MACHINE INSIDE THERE?! Instantly she knew Billy is dead but I don’t know how he timed the machine to send that distress signal. So Kei lies to Yuri that Billy is already onboard. Kei sacrifices herself for everyone to get away but Yuri turns back to help her. They’re partners anyway. Kei tells her she talked to Billy and looks like it is going to be a while for Lucia to be finished. Yuri understands. Yeah well, I think Kei put a bomb in the machine to blow up the hangar. There’s your Billy in pieces. Reinforcements arrive and Yuri is upset to learn Kei is that caller and the deposit paid was from their joint account. No millions reward, I guess… Oh well, at least they get to take out their frustration by gunning down everybody and blowing up everything.

Episode 9
Lovely Angels are shot down so while Nanmo is fixing the ship, they head into this Wild West planet. Everyone starts closing their doors and run for cover not because they know about Dirty Pair’s reputation. Seems Montal’s Private Police are doing their rounds. What are they? Mad Max parody? Of course with them bossing around, Kei won’t stand for it or their rules and beats them up. At first she wanted to be hired by them but now she is not too sure. Then Yuri comes into the scene as a gunslinger to settle the score (all part of Kei’s lame story plan). It ends with Kei dropping a bomb and everybody runs for their lives. Yuri is hired to be Montal’s bodyguard while Kei runs away with a rival faction, Tokech and is also hired as his bodyguard. Of course this is all also part of the plan as they both keep tabs and exchange information. Montal’s side is to load some weapons so Tokech’s faction goes all out to sabotage. I don’t know why Montal’s son tries to flirt with Yuri at such a crucial time but she beats him up. The girls pretend to fight and in the end Kei flies away in Montal’s ship. While Montal is cursing his luck, Tokech and his men come in with his son captive. However they claim they have saved him and reveal about Dirty Pair working in their midst. Tokech is just here to talk because they know better that their constant fighting over some weapon and mineral could actually destroy this planet. So the next day, both sides send their hired guns to face off at the mines. It is a one-on-one fight so they won’t get involved. Yeah, a nice plan to see them take out each other but they’re not putting much hope on it since they’re betting as comrades they won’t attack each other and get ready to shoot at them. But to their utmost shock, the ladies start slapping and punching each other! I know they’re acting but something tells me they have grudges to take out on each other. The tables are turned when Nanmo returns with the fixed ship. I guess everybody got so scared about its beam that they decide to let the girls go without any harm. As they board back their ship and Kei patting Nanmo for a job well done, I don’t know what malfunction occurred because this made the ship fire into the mines! Holy sh*t! It’s exploding! Everybody run for your lives! The chain reaction causes the entire planet to be destroyed! HOLY SH*T!!!!!! And Kei says it is not her fault???!!!

Episode 10
On Planet Caspia, during a parade the king suddenly got a heart attack! Although he is reported to be in stable condition, actually he has already passed on. Thus Lovely Angels are called in to protect and bring back Prince Heace who is currently away studying at a university. Why? Because if anything else happens to him, the throne will go to a distant relative, Duke Ruber. And we know this is a shady guy because he deals with drugs and already knows the king is dead after bribing the nurse to get the info. He wastes no time to set his plans in motion. Lovely Angels thought they failed when they arrive at the university because Ruber’s robots have blown everything up. But as they escape, they are shocked to come into the young prince himself. No, he is not a ghost. Luckily his friends snuck him out to the disco. One of those times when playing truant was good, eh? So Lovely Angels take him and escape but the robots are hot on their tail and shoot them down. Stranded and without any communication, instead of sitting around, better start walking to the nearest space port. The prince is less whiny than the women… As they make camp in a cave for the night, they thought an enemy is going to assault them. Turns out a group of travellers were camping nearby and since they’re going in the same direction, they’ll gladly give them a lift. However Kei has a bad feeling they are not trustworthy. It gets worse when the TV news reports that the prince has been kidnapped by a couple of Lovely Angels knock offs and there’s a bounty on their head. A young girl, Rita decides to help them escape but in exchange to get a cut (because Lovely Angels will get a big bonus if they pull off this mission). She reveals everyone is in cohorts to turn them in. As she has had it with her stingy boss and is going to use the money to live a better life in another planet. Heace can’t feel envious of her because she is in control of her destiny. It doesn’t take long before the rest realize their bounty is gone and they go on a chase. With multiple sides aiming for them, it is a good thing they turn on each other for our heroines to get out of their sticky river sand predicament. The travellers destroy Ruber’s men’s ship. The police arrive. Lovely Angels thought the day is saved but they are thrown into prison along with the travellers. The police don’t believe they are the real deal and claim the credit for themselves. They thought Heace would vouch for them to get out but he will let them stay in their cell a little longer to have them think of a change in career. Don’t get the wrong idea. He is grateful to them. But what is he going to do now? He is going to rendezvous with Rita and takes a quick field trip with her before he leaves this planet. You lucky bastard… And what is left for Lovely Angels to do in their spare time is to start blaming each other…

Episode 11
Lovely Angels are complaining they are working nonstop! So after forcing Gooley to give them a week off, they finish their current mission by blowing everything up! HOLY SH*T!!! But now that they are ready to call their boyfriends for a date, it seems none are willing to go out with them! Curses! They receive a party invitation from some guy G.A. Francess so I guess they have no choice but to go. Because Yuri feels her dress is not appropriate, she decides to stop by a planet to do her shopping. Suddenly police surround them and mistake them to be criminals, Pete and Moila. Especially they think Kei is a guy! What else to do? Run! I can’t believe the place is flooded with cops and their shooting destroy everything except hitting them! When Lovely Angels get back to their ship, there are several kids playing on it. They try to get them off but they won’t. The police interpret this scene is kidnapping. Inside the ship, the kids runabout to make fools of the ladies. Now that the army is called, they tell them to release the kids. But can those adults believe they are Dirty Pair when the kids don’t even believe it? Yeah, because Kei and Yuri are much prettier than them… They thought the kids were being abused but it is actually Kei crying from their abuse! When Lovely Angels argue among themselves, it is only then the kids start to believe they are the real deal. After rounding them up and pretending to take them hostage, the army lets them go. I don’t know how because the kids escape and the next thing I know, they end up in prison. Once the commissioner finds out their identity and is going to release them, they have already broken out. That’s Dirty Pair reputation for you. Be thankful they didn’t blow up the building. Along the way, they see a bank robbery in progress by the real Pete and Moila. Because the kids point out the real Dirty Pair, the public hounds them so they are forced to go save the day. Their slick and sharpshooting save the day and they are disappointed to see their real faces. Old and creepy people… They are rushing for the party but the press hounds them for interview. They manage to give them the slip and warp in time to the party. Be prepared for another disappointment because this party is hosted by Gooley to show his appreciation to them. They should have known better. Gooley Andrew Francess was him and that photo was a picture of him when he was young. No rich handsome studs around. Just old boring people… Might as well enjoy it since they’re here.

Episode 12
3WA building is under tight security as some security system called Algernon has been stolen. Ironic, isn’t it? However they realize the culprit has not left yet and thus the shut down. Of course Lovely Angels are not thrilled to learn they are on the job since it is the chief of R&D department, Fangoria who requested them. They better get the job done before this old witch gets pissed. But that is after negotiating for special bonus and vacation from Gooley. When they meet her, she does not give much detail about Algernon and just tells them to find it. So they try asking the computer. It won’t answer them too. So how? They destroy it! WTF?! They go check the kitchen and see their Chinese chef, Chan killing rats. He goes to the storage to bring their favourite food but it is filled with rats! Rat attack! The entire building is overrun with them! Rat revolution?! Heck, they can steal weapons and control the building’s system?! Even funnier is how Mughi is afraid of rats and gets taken hostage by them! It is discovered that Algernon is a rat with high IQ. Chichi is another rat with high IQ but is within their captivity. Fangoria also reveals this project is to see the effectiveness of intelligent mice to protect top secret data and what better way than to test Algernon’s abilities using the most reckless partners in history. Yeah, a setup, right? To see if that mouse can protect itself from Lovely Angels. Algernon makes contact that he is taking over the building and wants all humans to leave. The rats invade to free Chichi. Lovely Angels bring in a truck load of cats to fight but they all get scared after the rats fight back! WTF???!!! The only way left is to face off with them directly. Lovely Angels make way to their main base and fell into their trap. They’re supposed to use a flea that sucks out their intelligence but accidentally got it upon themselves. Now they’re bimbos? But it was just to let their guard down as they summon Nanmo to free them (and Mughi) to capture the brainy ones. As they’re about to inject the flea into Algernon, Chichi covers for him and returns into a normal rat. The flea escapes and before the girls get bitten, they crush it. Algernon escapes but soon leaps to its death. Too smart for its own good? Yeah, with dumb humans around, I see no reason to live anymore.

Episode 13
A couple of cleaners are checking out the cesspool when they are attacked by a monster! As they are reported missing, Lovely Angels are assigned for the job and the management chief doesn’t like this a bit because they tilted this tower before. What more misery will they bring? However somebody’s got to do the job. As they’re checking out, they stumble upon one of the missing crew. They rescue him in time and killed the monster. But the case is not solved yet as they think there are more of such monsters inside the sewers. Lovely Angels brief a team on how to lure out those monsters and destroy them with acid (it is believed the only way to kill them since some of its corpses are found with that). Everything goes fine until a big mother monster surfaces. They fight with all they’ve got but it escapes. So it’s no wonder the crew leaves feeling dejected and defeated. The management chief blames Dirty Pair that those monsters were eating themselves and what happens when their food source is gone? But nobody could have known a giant mother was down there, right? After doing a little more research on this monster, the plan now is to lure it out and Lovely Angels will be the decoy. All they want is for all the lights in the sewers to be turned off and constant communication. They sit and wait till the big mother surfaces. It becomes a cat and mouse game. When Lovely Angels lure it to certain points, the management team freezes it with liquid nitrogen. But it breaks out and regenerates. This goes on a few more times until it cannot break out from its freeze. Lovely Angels leave it to the management team to clean up but collide on their way out because it is dark.

Episode 14
Lovely Angels wouldn’t care about a damn thing if there is a presidential candidate speech at 3WA because all they care about is their cut pay! They want an explanation from Gooley but he scolds them as he knows they were fooling around and covering up entertainment expenses in the guise of their work. There is an announcement that a security personnel’s body is found. So how do you get Lovely Angels to get on the job? Offer a raise… They make a bet on the infiltrator’s target: The presidential candidate or the Pandora’s Vault security system. Since Yuri bets on the latter, she goes to observe the all-female crew doing its maintenance while Kei has the misfortune to bump into Chan who wants her to pay her gambling debts back. She hides in the women’s locker room thinking he won’t come in but he did! In all that commotion, a corpse falls out from a locker. Kei makes her way to the vault and confronts the maintenance crew. She knows one of them is an imposter. The imposter was dumb enough to give himself away by running back into the vault. So when Kei corners him inside it, the vault is locked down. As explained, when this happens, it becomes the tightest security ever because it is controlled by some independent computer. This means you can’t deactivate it. Great, why ever create such a problematic system? Furthermore, the computer is making Kei and the culprit see fearful visions. Yuri deduces the culprit must have planted bombs inside the vault to erase criminal records. How is she going to solve this? Destroy the independent computer! She did just that and Kei just apprehended the culprit who confessed he was hired to erase files of a particular man. When the presidential candidate is about to give his speech, Lovely Angels hijack it to show everyone in the hall his past files. He was a conman and murderer on the run. I guess that ends his presidential hopes. Yuri wants to know when Kei will pay her bet but Kei reneges on her promise that she never placed any bet and that Yuri told her she didn’t like gambling. But they have to run for their lives when Chan comes looking for them. Pay up!

Episode 15
While Lovely Angels are vacationing and being hit on by a handsome guy who wants to send roses to their room, an old cowboy dude bumps into them while running away from MIBs. Kei helps him by taking them out. Grandpa is looking for Lovely Angels and wants to hire them. Seems when he was young he found a key to a treasure of an ancient civilization. It took him years to decipher it and when he did, his assistant of 5 years, Clementine betrayed him (those goons she sent). He wants to hire them to protect him while he gets the treasure. He is willing to give them 10% of it but those greedy babes want 20%. Then a helicopter fires into their room. Willing to increase their share to be saved? What choice does he have? Then it’s settled. Kei easily shoots it down. While on the way to the treasure planet, grandpa cooks garlic to boost their stamina. Not only everyone can’t stand the smell, it causes the ship to malfunction and crash land! So while Mughi fixes everything, the rest go treasure hunting. However Clementine is already there and snatches the key from him before caving in the ceiling to separate them. Don’t worry, grandpa knows the temple better inside out. They hear Clementine screaming and she is faced with a multi-headed serpent. Kei shoots a camera and it turns out to be just a hologram. Grandpa wants Clementine to hand over the key but she throws it away. They try to catch it but fall into a trap door. Then the water starts seeping in and the ceiling getting lower. This isn’t hologram. Oh, how they regret they should’ve been hit on by that guy and being sent roses to go with. Thankfully Mughi and Nanmo are here to diffuse the trap. Grandpa is so grateful that he hugs Nanmo. His garlic breath malfunctions it. Fix it again? As they approach the final room, grandpa sees the door not opened yet. The key is on the floor and Clementine is caught in a trap. This is because he knows it takes 3 people to activate it. After having Lovely Angels stand at designated places, they have to push down blocks that pop up. So this is where your garlic stamina comes in? When it’s over, the door finally opens. Nothing but rocks? There is a note saying that the real treasure is teamwork. Disappointed? As Lovely Angels lament their fate in their apartment, they see the news how an old geezer sold an ancient note to the government (which is worth more than the value of the supposed treasure!). They’ve been had! But grandpa didn’t forget them. He delivers so many roses to them that could fill up their room. Yeah, they’ve been had but this isn’t bad either.

Episode 16
Lovely Angels aren’t thrilled to be called in for an escort job for the chairman of Yorozuya Corporations on their day off. Gooley knows how to make them do it: Bonus… So the duo are here to escort the chairman but are shocked to find her a young lady, Sakurako. She just took over the helm after her dad and president passed away. So why do they have to be her bodyguard to town? She just wants to see it! So she acts like a country bumpkin, excited to see everything for the first time that it makes her stick out like a sore thumb. Some gangs try to hit on them but Kei beats them up. As Sakurako excuses herself to the toilet, the duo complain about this babysitting job when they realize she is taking too long. She left a note she is gone. Looks like she wants to do outing on her own. Lovely Angels got the guts to return and report to her executives that she is missing. But since there is no time for the evening banquet, they want one of them to act as her double since the guests don’t know how she looks like. Yuri must be fuming that she is the one who has to go look for Sakurako but she doesn’t know that is an easier job. Because Kei thought she could live the rich life only to discover her food is carefully inspected for poison before she eats and she has to stamp heaps of documents! Hard work! Meanwhile an agent of a local rival company spots Sakurako alone and the big bad boss thinks of a plan that would revoke Yorozuya’s project contract so his could have another contract chance again. Yuri finds her but she runs (causing a traffic pile up). She catches up and Sakurako would love to see more of the city but promises to fulfil her duty. A sniper shot almost hits her (he’s a bad shot if you consider it) so they run into an arcade game whereby Sakurako had fun playing shoot the aliens. No, some effects are not real. It’s the sniper out to get you! So the cat and mouse game continues till the entire complex is destroyed! But can they make it back in time now? Because punctuality has been the corporation’s biggest credibility and if she’s a minute late, it’s all over. The executives are sweating over it (have more faith!) and Kei whom I believe is lazy to think of a plan is putting her trust in Yuri. Then here she comes with the local gang escorting them. They throw smoke and put up a commotion as diversion for Kei and Sakurako to switch. Big bad rival boss thinks his sniper has done his job seeing Sakurako hasn’t showed up. Imagine his shock when he sees her. Lesson: Never count your chickens. Later, Lovely Angels see Sakurako in a TV interview. I don’t know what dumb question is being asked about what she would like to be when reincarnated. She didn’t hesitate to say she would love to become part of 3WA Trouble Consultants!

Episode 17
Alan Jamis, the best crime consultant of 3WA has died. He spent 13 years chasing an assassin name Sundric. However he left a vital clue. For sure, Sundric will be aboard a certain plane to a certain planet. So Kei masquerades as a nun and Yuri an air-stewardess on board this flight to nab that assassin. The other passengers include superstar heartthrob Bobbit Huey, shady political lawyer Marcus Brannigan, nurse Margaret Tyner and her son Jack, and illustrator Ralph Ray. One of these suspects is Sundric as believed. Suddenly the captain goes crazy. He kills his co-pilot before turning the gun on himself. Worse, he locked out all communications and set the plane towards a black hole. As Ralph recognizes Dirty Pair, they then make a plea for Sundric to decode and overwrite the flight route. Well, you think the assassin is just going to come clean? They suggest everyone stays in their room for 20 minutes to allow whoever this Sundric dude to come out and decode it. Fair enough for anonymity? However Ralph steals a plane to escape himself, not heeding warning there’s a bomb on it. After a short distance, it explodes. Well, at least he isn’t the assassin. As everyone waits, Yuri is attacked by Marcus. He thinks Sundric will reveal himself if he kills her. What kind of logic is that? Meanwhile Kei is being ‘attacked’ by Huey. He is trying to score with her since he has fallen for her but she is not impressed with his perversion. Heck, he even admits he is the world’s biggest pervert. Even more shocking, he admits he is Sundric and will act depending on her answer. Lovely Angels see Margaret sneaking into the cockpit. When they confront her, she reveals it was to retrieve a locket from the captain who is Jack’s actual father whom he has never met. The locket indeed has Margaret’s portrait. He probably did this after seeing them. Huh? As they inch closer to the black hole, Lovely Angels are resorting to pressing random numbers, huh? But when Jack starts playing on his melodian, Mary Had A Little Lamb, it gave Yuri an idea. She keys in the number corresponding to the tune. Unfortunately it set off the self destruct mode. It is all up to Kei to go diffuse the bomb at the back of the ship outside. She thinks Marcus is the culprit but to her surprise, it is Ralph! He is the real Sundric and trying to defuse the code. Seems he killed Marcus and assumed his identity since he has business to take care using his identity. So that escape ship was just Marcus’ dead body on it. As they struggle, Kei is thrown off into space. However the bomb goes off and Ralph gets burnt. Kei resigns to her fate but here comes Huey to the rescue. He picks up a woman with an equally cheesy pick up line.

Episode 18
Lovely Angels barge in to capture BJ, a petty thief. However he returns fire and before you know it, the entire hotel is destroyed! Turns out this is the wrong guy! So why he fired back? He thought they were thieves. Also, they got the wrong hotel. It is next door. Oops! So they got it right this time although BJ has some petty tricks up his sleeve. He also has some wise cracks but with that electric handcuff to zap him, he’ll be put back in his place in no time. Lovely Angels hate the delivery job of ending him to the police station but after Gooley ticks them off for destroying a hotel, you better be good girls and do what you’re told. After refuelling, they find the car a little more than heavy. Because there is a bomb underneath? How now? Abandon ship! They let the car crash and explode… The police chief confirms with Gooley that it seems a certain gang is out for BJ and will do what it takes to kill him. With no car, the trio now takes a bus. Better than walking. Of course those gangs start pulling up and making road blocks but Kei tells the bus driver to drive through. The passengers are badass too because they start throwing whatever they get their hands on at those MIBs. When a stink bomb is thrown in, Lovely Angels and BJ escape via sewer but more MIBs await and they are only saved thanks to some giant cleaning ball rolling by. So they contact Gooley who informs them that BJ is an important witness and his testifying will bust some big drug syndicate. Lovely Angels cannot fathom that the gangs know their exact position since the only one who can track them is the police chief. Gooley will go talk with him while the ladies continue to bring them in. They are attacked by more MIBs but a shocking find is that they have police badges. When Gooley confronts the police chief, he learns he is the biggest culprit behind it. BJ’s testifying will cause problems for many people so the police are going to get rid of him. The police chief shoots him but thank goodness he is such a bad shot. With Gooley giving Lovely Angels to go all out (it’s like the word they’ve been waiting to hear), Lovely Angels hijack a trailer and ram through the police defence! Unstoppable. Even more unbelievable is how they run through the station chasing the police chief till he gets cornered. He is arrested and Gooley is taken to hospital. They even joked how they could be criminals had they completely destroy the police station. You don’t say… Because it is crumbling down now! Oh sh*t! What to do? RUN!

Episode 19
I guess when you’ve worked and planned everything so hard only for Lovely Angels to destroy everything, you can’t blame big bad guy Giloss for being persistent in taking them down, right? But he lost in the aerial dog fight. However Lovely Angels’ pod ran out of fuel so they irresponsibly eject and let it slam into a mansion of a wealthy young man, Reamonn and ‘killed’ his beloved Meshuzera (a doll). Therefore Gooley gets a request from him to find out Meshuzera’s killers as Reamonn expressed he wants to kill them himself. Reamonn is a strange man as we know it since he hates real woman and thus the only woman he could love was a doll he made himself. But that is not 3WA’s concern. They are to find the killers. Of course when Lovely Angels realize the date, time, place and what ‘killed’ Meshuzera, they’re sweating in their pants. They think of ways to settle this but decide to charm him and teach him that real women can be wonderful. They also have ulterior motive to show their superior feminine side to the other. So when they meet him at Meshuzera’s grave, he starts getting disgusted because the duo are trying to outdo each other in tackling him. His maid, Miralda warns them not to get too close because he is allergic to women and starts sneezing. As they investigate the site, Yuri touches him to soothe his heart but he goes crazy and starts bashing things up! Is his allergy that bad? Miralda puts him to bed although he is grateful that she stays by his side despite his condition. Lovely Angels try to win Reamonn’s heart via cooking as they sabotage each other when the other isn’t looking. Remember Giloss? He wants his revenge as his submarine surfaces from underneath Reamonn’s mansion! As his men attack, Lovely Angels throw their food at them. They start squirming in pain! Holy sh*t! How bad was it! Kei takes Reamonn to run but realizes to late when he becomes Hulk and smashes! I don’t know how during all that attack, Kei is thrown off the cliff but barely hanging. Giloss takes Reamonn hostage as Miralda braves all the attack to go rescue him. Reamonn pushes Giloss down the cliff and he would have followed him too had not for Miralda catch him by his hand. Hey, no allergy. Then they hug. This part feels unbelievable because Reamonn is explaining how he realized what love is and that cured his allergy. WTF?! Though, this is only for Miralda because he still sneezes when Lovely Angels are close by. Because he is going to devote his new love to her, he cancels the mission to find the killers. That’s good, right? Reamonn and Miralda are about to kiss but Lovely Angels play a prank to make him sneeze. Yeah, the maid is always the superior woman, yeah!

Episode 20
Blues the assassin went missing but 3WA has new information on him and thus Lovely Angels are sent to bring him in. On this lawless planet, as usual local gangs want to hit on them but the ladies aren’t interested. Even at the bar while drinking, they come to disturb them again so when Kei throws her drink, it becomes a big bar brawl. Hmm… I thought the ‘synchronized’ fighting, everyone is dancing! Anyway a guy helps them escape when he realizes reinforcements are called. But after he destroys a helicopter with his hidden gun, Kei handcuffs him. He is Blues. They want him to return to 3WA HQ with them but he wants to do his final assassin job. His target is Melpot (Colonel Sanders?), the organizer of a current beauty contest, Creamy Gal. Blues wants to kill him by throwing him into the lava because that was how he killed his mother 30 years ago! Melpot is going to shoot a commercial on a monorail through the volcanoes so this is their perfect chance. Yuri infiltrates as a waitress on the monorail to hear Melpot and the local gang leader talk about how passing a certain point will activate some bomb that will erupt a volcano and destroy a hotel. Something about some rival insurance going bust after the payout and their stocks will rise. Whatever. It is bad enough for Lovely Angels to side Blues in his quest. Blues and Kei begin their ambush as they ride up on the monorail. Blues could have gotten Melpot had not Yuri screwed up and been taken hostage. Although she breaks free, Melpot detaches the coach and presses forward. The reason why Blues never broke free from his handcuff was because there is a bomb that will explode a minute after it is cut. So now he shoots it off, runs to his pod and rides into the front monorail to explode and take Melpot with him. But what about the other coaches? It’s not stopping in time. Lovely Angels pull the back breaks in time. Phew. And when it’s all done, they start thinking Blues wasn’t such a bad dude after all. Yeah well, a good assassin is a dead assassin, right?

Episode 21
After a plane docks, all 463 passengers and crew are missing! Therefore Lovely Angels are once more forced to skip their vacation to solve this. They will be working with Eddie Ross, an accident investigator. At first they thought he is a kid but it turns out to be his son, Arthur who is worried about his sister, Melody. Checks indicate nothing was wrong with the plane and it seems something wrong happened in a time frame before it was due to land. Yuri thought all the passengers cancelled their flight but it’s not possible because the only thing left behind was a doll belonging to Melody, Eddie’s daughter. Well, he seems pretty calm since his daughter is missing. Lovely Angels talk to Arthur on why Melody is onboard the plane alone. Seems their parents lived separately and Melody lived with their mother. They secretly arranged to meet up as she wanted to see his planet. Yuri feels he is hiding something else although he dismisses it. More investigations yield nothing. Eddie thinks they’ve been kidnapped but why no ransom note? Speak of the devil. Suddenly a ransom note pops in demanding the release of all passengers. Thinking that money isn’t their only goal and perhaps a particular passenger is in target, they search who might be the probable target but as usual nothing. Kei goes down to the pilots bar to learn more about the missing pilots but the bartender thought it was funny since a woman recently asked about them. That woman tails and ambushes Kei but she turns out to be Shannon Ross, Eddie’s wife. She is also an investigator but because husband and wife are at odds, they’ll do things their own way to find Melody. Poor kid. I guess that is why Lovely Angels go to see him. Maybe because Yuri has a hunch Arthur can do something like a magician to vanish 463 people at the same time. So when they go talk to him, some car tries to ram them over but of course failed miserably and destroyed somebody else’s lawn. Lovely Angels try to coax Arthur into revealing more but he remains silent. Suddenly another ransom note. Looks like the ransom has increased 10 times the original amount. Arthur becomes worked up not to believe this lie.

Episode 22
Further to the ransom, File E is demanded. Arthur finally caves in to pressure and reveals he is the culprit behind this. Because he heard his parents are getting a divorced, he is sad Melody won’t become is sister anymore. So with his computing skills and great memory of all the passwords (how did they allow a kid to wander around in such important places?!), he hacked the system and switched the flight passengers list with another flight. That means, the disappeared passengers are actually on another route path. Arthur also controlled the plane to auto take off and land, etc. It was an empty plane to begin with. Wow. A kid did all this? Because he was close to the pilot captain, Clocker, he also played along with it. But now that actual plane did not arrive at its destination. Eddie is forced to reveal File E as proof of some smuggling group. He never said it because some of his team members were connected. It didn’t take too long that Clocker was the one behind this and used Arthur by taking advantage of the situation. So while Eddie believes in preparing the money and handing over File E, Arthur is trying to figure out the password for the flight’s location. Good luck and be patient in trying all the hundreds of combination. I’m sure it’ll be faster with Nanmo’s help. Eddie receives another threat from Clocker so he goes himself to meet him. Arthur has broken the code and the missing passengers are being kept in some junkyard warehouse, the very same place where Eddie is going. Like the naïve good guy he is, he gives Clocker the file and money but like the typical baddie he is, he reneges on his promise and shoots at him. Although it is just a flesh wound. Shannon comes flying in like a reckless pilot (otherwise Eddie would have died). But they are forced to give up since Clocker threatens to blow up the passengers. This is unbelievable because Kei says she wants to powder up herself beautifully before she dies and Clocker agrees! Actually Kei is relaying info to Yuri and enough time to diffuse the bomb. So once that is over, they attack and bring in Clocker (who did a silly move by getting himself trapped in the dump). So with the family united, Eddie and Shannon are worried about Arthur because computer crimes are grave even if he is a minor. But they can heave a sigh of relief when Lovely Angels pass them a report to be sent on behalf to3WA (because they’re busy going on a much needed vacation). They claim that Clocker is the only one behind this and no other accomplice. Good news they can be a happy family together again.

Episode 23
Lovely Angels are in a drug busting operation but it goes awry as Yuri gets injured from the counter attack. A handsome guy saves her but he kisses her to hide her from bad guys looking for her. Yuri wakes up in his mansion and learns he is the famous con artist, Daniel Sezar who is also targeting this drug operation. He saved her because he wants to work with her. She’s not convinced. Yuri latter calls Kei that she has teamed up with Daniel to cheat some priest, Mahogany and make him buy the worst planet in the Milky Way. The team uses their disguise to lead Mahogany (in pretence of mistaking him to be another rich guy) to a hidden posh place to make him feel good and then take him to planet Heldora. There is even a fake report that Yuri is a rich princess of this planet. They even put up fake heaps of gold to make it look like she is rich and come up with a story Yuri never revealed it because she didn’t want to pay taxes. Mahogany needs time to think about the risks involved but when he hears Yuri in a transmission with the guy they’re supposed to sell the planet (Kei in disguise), Mahogany panics and ups his offering prize to 30 million before Yuri accepts. With the deal done, the trio celebrates but Yuri wants to know Daniel’s true motive. He tells her she works too hard. Can it just be because he loves her? She doesn’t believe such words especially from a conman. Next day when both sides meet for the exchange, suddenly Mahogany’s men tell him about this rip-off and those are Dirty Pair in disguise. Daniel instantly takes the money and run but Lovely Angels already foresee this. They knew Daniel will rat them out to Mahogany and leaves him hanging above the incinerator. You got to admire Mahogany’s love for money as he crawls his way up just to get it back. Yuri snipes the suitcase open to scatter the money into the flames. Priest dude devastated, conman just smoking his cool cigar and our ladies driving away as the real winners.

Episode 24
Paying homage to murder mysteries? Anyway lots of beautiful women living in apartments have been murdered by a serial killer masquerading as a salesman. The only clue is that he left an alphabet carved on their foreheads. And so Lovely Angels are tasked to stay cooped up in an apartment till that killer shows up. Well, I’m sure if he does it could only mean they’re beautiful, right? Then a laser knife salesman shows up. He jokes around by cutting his artificial finger. Scary? Next is a bra salesman and I suppose he is quite handsome so they let him in. But he sells not just ordinary bras. They’re equipped with self defence mechanism that zaps perverts who try to touch them. When he excuses himself to the bathroom, he starts rummaging through their room. Kei catches him in the act. He tries to attack but she just shows her bra to zap him! It worked against him. They try to make him confess as the serial killer but he is adamant he isn’t. Yuri feels strange because why would the killer carve alphabets just to shut them up? Next is a kid selling acupuncture needles and he hates women because it reminds him of his mom. And the next one isn’t a salesman but a police officer. I guess with so many salesmen in town, every one of them is a suspect, eh? As they’re thinking for clues, they see a news report of the murders. Then it hit Yuri. She realizes all the murders take place in apartments with similar structures. Structures that have 8×8. Don’t they resemble a chess board? The alphabets correspond to the chess pieces and the murders take place on where that piece moves. But wouldn’t this mean there are 2 killers? Yes. So as they play the game using the moves, they realize the next move is checkmate. This means the final move is in this very apartment they are right now! So is the killer among them? After Yuri accidentally pours sugar on the policeman’s head, she has Kei unleash the bird they’ve been keeping. Seems this bird was the pet of one of the previous murder victims and should recognize the killer. It tries to peck the policeman. With his identity blown, he pulls out his Freddy Krueger claws to slash them but Lovely Angels got the better of him. The case is solved when the murderer’s twin brother is captured. Yuri reveals she just created a story using the bird. She realizes with news reports going around, it will be hard for the killer to play the salesman and continue his killings without a break. So the best disguise was in the form of an officer doing his investigation. She poured sugar on his head because she knew the bird had a sweet tooth.

Episode 25
Kei is furious that she is stuck at home while Yuri is out on a date with a guy! However that guy seems to be more interested in reading his book than her. Ignored? It’s no surprise Yuri drives like Initial D on the way home. Can’t read his book in peace now, can’t he? Gooley calls Kei to resume her mission on Jobs Garun in some money counterfeit case since he has got new info. But can Kei do it alone? Don’t worry, he’ll send a handsome guy to assist. I guess all is not lost for Kei. But soon it will be that when she discovers her assist is Gooley’s assistant, Carico. Regret? As they approach Garun’s house, Garun sends robots to scare them away since he was once a mechanical engineer. But it is going to take a lot more than that to scare them. I suppose Carico equipped himself to the brim with all his arsenal. But does he know how to use it? More of a nuisance than anything. But they got tranquillized shortly. When Yuri reaches home, she learns from Gooley about the mission. There is more info now. Garun had a son, Mack who committed suicide 6 years ago. Because the bank he worked in got caught in a scandal, Mack was made the scapegoat. Therefore, Garun must be making counterfeit money as revenge. Yeah, it’s causing an economic crisis in some city! Kei and Carico are tied up in Garun’s underground lab. He admits he made the counterfeit money for revenge but planned to stop and live the quiet life shortly till they turned up. Yuri sneaks in and because she freaked out seeing the robot version of Mack (so life-like?), she starts shooting at him. I guess that’s where she made the mistake because Mack goes berserk and starts throwing and smashing things. He even turns against his own ‘parents’. I don’t know how Carico screwed up but he activated the laser that is inching closer to Kei’s crotch! But thank goodness Yuri made it in time to save her (she shot Mack and lets him burn in the fire place). Had Kei been a guy, she’d be a goner ;). But now Mack comes back as Terminator! OMG! What the heck is that T-800 model doing here?! He is strangling Garun! How do you fix a bad machine? Well, Lovely Angels hit it with their tools. Yeah, that’s it. A simple solution to a complex problem. Garun is arrested and Carico is willing to testify to reduce charges. Lovely Angels plead for him to be released and left alone here and threaten to report to Gooley about Carico’s screw ups. I guess he’s got no choice…

Episode 26
When Gooley enters 3WA’s research lab, Marcus and his men from the defence department take him hostage. Lovely Angels are rushed to HQ to learn of this. Marcus has demand a ransom in exchange for Gooley’s life or he will blow up the city with this super godly cannon. Don’t think he won’t use it. Because he tests fire and it destroys an island! But 3WA has made its decision. They will not yield to Marcus’ demands. Because the lab is on a dormant volcano, some self destruction device has been set to make it erupt and destroy it in 12 hours. Yup, no rescue plans for Gooley. Of course our ladies won’t allow it (who are they going to ‘negotiate’ for bonuses and holidays?) so they sneak out in the dead of the night over there. But via air balloon? No wonder they get shot down. But they fight their way through the guards. As they ride up the rail, Marcus knows they are coming and derails them off the cliff. Gooley knows they’re too tough to be defeated that way and true enough, the duo come raiding the lab and take care of those goons (getting flirty with them was all it took to get their guard down?). They scan the area to see where Gooley is held. Although both use the air vent to infiltrate, Yuri goes to the cannon while Kei faces off with Marcus. His whip wraps around her neck so she can’t do much. As he brings up his cannon, Yuri is waiting inside and takes him by surprise shooting him. After freeing Gooley, I can’t believe all the other men just came in just to be shot by Lovely Angels. Marcus won’t let them leave and will have them die with him as he seals all the doors. Lovely Angels are going to use a strong capsule that contains all the important research data to eject out. Screw those data if they can’t make it out alive. However it seems the capsule cannot contain all their weight so Lovely Angels step out only to let Gooley live. In the dying minutes before the eruption, Kei gets the idea to use the cannon to fire to escape. It is risky since there is a chance they will be blown away at the close range. Might as well take the risk since they’re going to be blown up if they don’t try. After the volcano erupts, Kei seems to be the only one landing safely in the forest. She’s sad and confessing all her bad deeds she did to Yuri. Promises this, promises that. Will it bring Yuri back? Well, if she only realize she was on top of her! So I guess the legend of Dirty Pair carries on…

Dirty Pair Flash

A decade after the original Dirty Pair series aired and countless OVAs released after that, a new OVA spinoff, Dirty Pair Flash was created as an alternate retelling of the duo. Initially as I found out, it was supposed to be the sequel of the original but one of the seiyuus of the duo has long retired and move to America while the other half refused to work with anyone else except her partner. True loyalty? Therefore the result of this remake instead of what many thought to be the younger versions of Lovely Angels. But they’re still technically the same. Reckless 3WA agents causing collateral damage in every job they do, everywhere they go. The legend lives on…

Episode 1
Right from the start, section chief Garner is dreading reading the misconducts, poor records and misdemeanours of the Dirty Pair. They’re on the road to be delinquents and how far 3WA has fallen to even hire such people with poor records just to keep up with the quota. Even worse, the computer logarithm somehow paired Kei and Yuri together. They’re going to really soil the name of Lovely Angels. You better pray very hard… Kei and Yuri aren’t getting along well either. When Yuri is about to go on her date, an injured man passes her a card to be handed to 3WA before he dies. The baddies want her to hand over it but Yuri throws the card to Kei and they both make a run while arguing and blaming each other. The police think they are the ones who killed that man and start going after them. So it begins a high speed high powered chase throughout the city leaving trails of massive pileups and destructions. Heck, they even sent a helicopter with missiles to gun down Dirty Pair but lady luck is on their side. The card continues to change hands many times as all sides get determined to possess it. When Dirty Pair end up in an alley filled with local gangsters who want to take them out. Because the Chinese boss will pay them money. Ah, those magic words. Dirty Pair transform into their kickass outfits to slice all their armour (leaving them only in their underwear) and blast through everything just to reach 3WA. When Garner sees them coming, he orders his men to back them up. Dirty Pair reaches HQ in time while the baddies are rounded up. Garner laments that all that destruction just for a crummy card. Yeah, the city is utterly destroyed. Well, Kei and Yuri still hate each other…

Episode 2
Waldess, the head of GCN Corporation is proposing to old geezers about how is corporation will pump in capital for the Siren Project reconstruction to revitalize the galaxy’s economy that was halted by the Gamorian Riots many years ago. They are not convinced since they know he has many enemies trying to target and sabotage him but he is adamant since his plans has already entered phase 3. Kei is supposed to guard a couple of guys but they’re shot dead by the revolutionaries! So Lovely Angels go all out to chase the assassins. But they can’t best this one-arm assassin chick. Heck, she doesn’t kill them and runs away. Insult? When they continue to chase, they see her being arrested by the military police. Yuri reports back to Garner that Kei is bent on getting her revenge on that chick (since she is cooked up doing research and training) although Garner’s report says the assassin has been shot dead. Kei believes she isn’t that dumb to be captured. Yuri requests to change partners but Garner tells her she can’t do that easily like she changes her boyfriends! Seems that assassin was being invited as a technical advisor to the Barrage cannons whom the military feel will end the civil war. Although she is not affiliated with GCN and was just invited here by their executives, some know her true identity, Lady Flair who is the universe’s best sniper. Yuri tries to convince Kei to give up and that it is not their job but her pride won’t allow her. They argue so loudly that it’s just embarrassing. Heck, they didn’t even know Flair was there eavesdropping and just shaking her head. Yuri talks to the mechanic and currently they remind him of the previous Lovely Angels, Iris and Molly. They were the best until Molly died in an accident during the Gamorian Riots. Iris realized how precious her partner was, blamed herself and disappeared. Since Molly was Iris’ other self, he wonders if Yuri can be Kei’s Molly. Kei is going to face off with Flair as Yuri once more tries to dissuade her. Not listening. They barge through the enemy lines and even board the plane. They cut a hole in the ceiling to suck everything out. So as everybody abandons the crashing plane, Kei and Flair have their face off. Flair feels disappointed they are the Lovely Angels. But the Barrage cannons start shooting at them. Flair escapes while Lovely Angels have no choice but to do what they do best: Go out on a rampage! Destroy everything! Garner sees the news that the civil war ended thanks to an unknown third party intervention. But he chokes on his coffee upon seeing the familiar destruction and that familiar pair of faces. Satisfied now that you’ve taken out everything?

Episode 3
Kei forces her way in to demand Waldess about Flair as she believes she works for him. But all the guards take her out. Kei gets a polite lecture from Garner that was unauthorized to dig up info on Waldess. It is not Lovely Angels’ jurisdiction to investigate on GCN but Unit 9. They are assigned to protect Professor Kupps who is deciphering that card. Only Yuri is guarding him now. Kiss that date goodbye. Waldess’ assistant talks to him about the card. Seems there is some programme in it that will reveal Project Siren. Kupps seems to be blackmailing them but Waldess is not cowed. Flair infiltrates Kupps’ lab to kill him and escapes before Kei could fight her. Kupps’ body is a dummy. The real guy fled. Yuri must be cursing Kei as she recuperates in hospital because her boyfriend dumped her… She is surprised to learn Kei has quit 3WA but it seems if she can’t go after Waldess under 3WA, is she going after him as a civilian? At least she is not bounded by rules. Yuri has an idea what she is planning and goes after her. Kei barges in on Waldess’ luxury liner to face off with Flair. And lost. Waldess wants to interrogate her and injects a truth telling serum. However she doesn’t know a damn thing about what 3WA has dug up on him. They don’t believe her she quit 3WA and that she might be putting up a good fight. Yuri sneaks in but starts destroying everything just to take care of the robots. How can she say it’s not her fault? Thanks to that, the controls are berserk and the ship is heading for a whirlpool. Yuri rescues Kei but her true intention is to arrest her. The ship is done for and Kei still has time to tell Flair for a match? Kei has a hidden gun in her back but Flair has a hidden knife. As both girls fight, Kei latches the handcuff onto Flair to the pole. Flair remembers about that accident between Molly and Iris. Iris lost an arm. Waldess ejects to safety. In the aftermath, Kei and Yuri are stranded on a rock. Kei believes Flair is dead. But she would be to since Yuri is still serious in arresting her. Hmm… Maybe Flair isn’t dead yet. Because we see her mechanical arm only being latched to the pole.

Episode 4
Kei is released from prison and as Garner explains, that was necessary to smooth things over. As Kupps has been found, Yuri is on his way to retrieve him. However he seems to have locked himself in a virtual reality game that he has been addicted to. It was a reason why he tried to blackmail GCN to feed this habit of his. Yuri will be diving into his mind to bring him back and wants Kei to guard her since she’ll be vulnerable when that happens. However Kei won’t listen since she quitted and storms off. However Kei sees those baddies from the first episode and tries to get ahead of them by making her way to Kupps’ place (they’re trying to infiltrate that place). Yuri is in Kupps’ mind as she becomes an adventurer saving the villagers (all looking like Kupps!) from monsters. Although they tell of a terrifying Demon Lord reigning over them, they seem to not want her to get near a tower that is believed to hold something that the Demon Lord fears. Yuri heads over to fight more monsters and opens a treasure chest containing a young boy. Kupps of course. This is the key to defeat the Demon Lord? Well, Yuri is okay with him but he is reluctant. They are attacked by monsters but I don’t understand how this teleports them to the Demon Lord’s castle. Meanwhile Kei causes havoc in the place as those baddies try to penetrate but met with resistance. Yuri attacks the Demon Lord (Kupps himself, who else?) but is defeated. Kupps Jr is scared but after seeing Yuri in pain, he sums his courage to tell the big bad boss to stop. The Demon Lord cowers in fear and when Kupps Jr tells him that he is him, they merge and Kupps returns to normal. Yuri wakes up with Kupps who is now all reformed. Yuri is glad she did this all by herself but cannot believe the damage she sees around. You know who. The baddies are rounded up while Kei escapes into the shadows and calls it even. Waldess receives report of his henchmen’s failure but vows not to give up in securing Siren yet.

Episode 5
After Kupps testifies, 3WA moves into confiscate everything from GCN. Those old geezers plan to eliminate Waldess before anything happens and they have the right chick for the job. Oh, look who is back? Flair! Kei seems to be the bodyguard of some gang in the slums. But when the Chinese boss got interrogated by 3WA, Garner recognizes Kei’s gun with him (she left it with him to get it fixed). However Yuri isn’t concerned about Kei leaving 3WA although Garner did mention he received her resignation notice but never accepted it. When Unit 9 receives word of Waldess’ whereabouts, they request support. Garner orders Yuri to join this mission. Hey, she has a new partner, Lily. Heck, she looks familiar. She’s more concerned about leaving early for her date! Yuri tells her off they are here to work! LOOK WHO IS TALKING!!! Everyone is at their station at the airport. Waldess is spotted coming in but he had to sit next to Lily. As 3WA slowly surround and getting ready to apprehend him, suddenly an assassin is spotted approaching him. Lily panics and calls out to Yuri. Then all hell breaks loose because everybody starts shooting everybody. Heck, I don’t know who is who. Everyone in public must be 3WA agents or assassins in disguise. Holy sh*t! They’re just firing everywhere destroying the entire airport! And I thought only Dirty Pair could do this! In the end, Waldess got away, the mission is a failure and they blame Yuri who blames Lily. Where the heck is she anyway? She was standing frozen stiff during the mayhem but now she’s missing. Yuri is imitating Lily in the shower and is adamant that she is not her?! Garner goes to see Kei to convince her to come back. What will change her mind? He says Flair is still alive but take note her gun is not to shoot her. So Kei ponders what will be of her once she kills Flair. Chinese boss has the cheek to say she’ll be the next Flair. And because of that Kei has nightmares transforming into Flair. But I guess she has not the luxury of time so she leaves the slums to return to 3WA. Meanwhile the space chase for Waldess continues. His loyal assistant would gladly become bait and die for him just to let him escape.

Episode 6
Lily is plucking flower petals to decide to quit or stay. Does it really matter? And she submits Garner her resignation notice right when 3WA is scrambling for an important mission. Good riddance. Since Waldess has taken over Siren, 3WA are in a rush to apprehend him. Waldess takes over all the broadcast to rant about corruption, geniuses and history of mankind. Like everybody cares. Teams from 3WA try to take out Siren but Waldess keeps them busy with his defence system. Yuri does what she does best by doing reckless damage. Kei and Garner join her before they crash into Siren. Seems Flair has also done the same. The duo run about trying destroy the place (that’s what they do best, right?) while Garner gets shot in the leg and shoulder. He is face to face with Flair whom he recognizes as Iris. But she refutes him that Iris died along with Molly. She remembers she called for backup but 3WA refused her since they are short of manpower!!! This led to Molly’s death. It is no wonder that Flair is still bitter about the whole incident. However Garner says he was rushing to save her but all communications with her was cut. Wait. Now she has a change of heart? When Lovely Angels come to apprehend Waldess, he won’t give in but changes his mind when he sees Flair. Yeah, he tells Lovely Angels to protect him if they want him arrested. Garner tells her not to kill him. Since Flair is more worried in tending to him, sneaky Waldess activates some beams to destroy the entire place! Then with Siren missiles being activated, Waldess becomes a madman playing God and proclaiming about the new humanity he will create. Then he gets all scared again when he sees Flair standing up. He is trying to tempt her to join him but she only says he is under arrest. But as she goes to deactivate the countdown, Waldess shoots her. I guess she lost her edge as an assassin. Yuri throws Kei her gun to shoot Waldess. Flair manages to stop the countdown in time. Yeah, like 0.003 seconds left!!! Too bad they can’t be sentimental for long as the place is collapsing. In the aftermath, Iris was temporarily reinstated back as Lovely Angel and given a posthumous award after dying in the line of duty. Records might still say the previous Lovely Angel is better but Garner thinks the current ones aren’t too bad either.

Episode 7
Have Lovely Angels gone back to the past? Because they’re in current day Japan right now. Actually they are on a mission to be the bodyguard of Touma. Thanks to Yuri crashing her ship at the airport, I guess those relying on airplanes will now have ‘extended vacation’. Actually they are here to find the HQ for World’s World. You see, this Japan you see is actually a huge amusement park and this company remakes cities of the past so customers can relive in them. Currently it is infected with an unknown virus and Touma who is skilled in computing is to fix it. They almost got killed when a taxi they ride had a bomb planted. Had not Touma stepped out to get cigarettes, they could have been blown away. World’s World is hidden as a snacks bar and they have a tough time finding it. And when they’ve done so and being informed of everything, Touma gets right down to work. So boring for our Lovely Angels that we see a flashback how they were called in by chief Poporo (replacing Garner who has retired) for this bodyguard mission. He might be tough talking with them but on the phone with his wife, he’s like queen controlled. Kei learns that a rival company, Cosmo Planet is also running a similar theme park. It is deduced that with the virus planted and their systems crashing, guess where will the customers go for similar experiences? As they take a lunch break, Lovely Angels sense something amiss. There is a bomb planted underneath their bowls! Better have an empty stomach than an empty (blown away) head. This is the last straw as Lovely Angels has Touma walk around as bait to see who is after him. Suddenly a woman pulls him into an alley. Lovely Angels beat her up and it turns out to be a cross-dresser wanting to hit on him. And he thought Kei was a fellow cross-dresser too… When Touma retires to his room, a room service did not order comes in. Turns out to be an assassin who wants to kill him. So he is the one planting the bombs but has no idea about the virus. Lovely Angels intercept him but he is dropping bombs everywhere. Then he screws up and blows himself up in the elevator. Man, half the building is ripped apart. In the aftermath, they discover a room where he is working from. Lovely Angels thought the case is close since a virus vaccine has been found and the assassin is dead. But Touma says there still needs to be thorough tests before the system can go back running as there may be a hidden transforming virus. It will take at least 2 weeks. Lovely Angels sees this in a positive light. I mean, they can have vacation for 2 weeks, right? All they need to do is keep it from Poporo.

Episode 8
Due to the havoc in the system, blah, blah, blah, there is not enough room for accommodation for our protagonists. But when there is, management has them temporarily stay at an elite all-girls’ high school dorm. Don’t worry, Touma will be staying at the all-boys’ dorm. Since they are temporarily enrolled as exchange students (that is why they can stay), Kei is not happy becoming a student while Yuri can’t wait to relive her teenage years. Of course they hear this school is haunted and the girls want Lovely Angels whom they look up to, to solve this. This includes one of the haunting legends that every day at the exact same time, a scream can be heard while playing the piano. So don’t play the piano, says Kei. Of course it really comes true when they test it out. Kei is so freaked out that her instinct has her whip out her gun but short of firing. Upon seeing this, Yuri has that devilish grin… A junior calls Kei at night and only wants her to help out. Legend has it that a ghost sits alone in the dark in a classroom. Reluctantly, Kei goes do the job. See somebody sitting there? Holy sh*t!!! The ghost gets up and starts walking towards her! HOLY SH*T!!! Kei whips out her gun but when she fires, it is blank. The ghost turns out to be Yuri and everybody was in cohorts to play this prank on her. Of course Kei is sore and she had to listen to yet another ghost legend about some illicit relationship of a teacher and a student and thus an aborted child that she is unwilling to abandon. That is why there is a sealed off stall in the toilet. When Kei drank too much beer, she goes to relief herself but after that finds the cubicle door locked. Thinking this is Yuri’s doing, she breaks it down but she is nowhere to be seen. Suddenly a ghost girl carrying her child walks out from the sealed stall! If that is not Yuri, that could only mean… HOLY SH*T!!!!!!!!!! Kei is so scared that she whipped out her gun and started shooting. Well, ghosts don’t get hit, right? Yeah, the entire toilet is destroyed. Thanks to that, they got expelled. Must be a record since they have only been there for 3 days. Meeting up with Touma, they learn the boys also told him similar experiences. But Touma explains the ghosts are made of hologram and were not told to teachers and students to keep the experience authentic. Oh dear… Touma remembered he told Yuri but forgot to tell Kei… Oh sh*t… Kei… Super mad… Somebody is going to die and become a ghost right now… Meanwhile ghost girl in the toilet continues to stand there because I guess the hologram mechanic is broken. Well, at least the toilet is too destroyed for them to use it anyway.

Episode 9
While eating lunch, Lovely Angels overheard somebody boasting to be from 3WA. They check his ID and it is definitely fake. Once Calbee learns about this Dirty Pair, he immediately runs and the duo instantly give chase. He hijacks a helicopter but Lovely Angels cling on to it. This incredulous helicopter scene… So dangerous yet so unbelievable. And when they crash, they got out without taking any scratch. Anyway Kei is very furious with Calbee because she was swindled by this conman once. She is determined to bring him in because there is a rule in 3WA that even if they’re not on the job but bring in a wanted person, they’ll be greatly rewarded. Looks like they can have a treat at that expensive restaurant they’ve always wanted. But of course it won’t be easy to bring him in as they are lost in the forest and with his smooth talking ways, Yuri seems to enjoy it but Kei won’t be falling for it. Heck, do they think that tying up his hands with panty stockings is going to be the end of it? I think anybody can easily become free of it and he did while they’re sleeping. Fortunately they catch up with him although he was smooth in giving excuses like trying to make breakfast for them. With such raw jungle fruits? Calbee tries to make daring escapes like stirring a bee’s nest but ends up running away from it and falling into a bush of scorpions. Why doesn’t he get stung? As night falls, they stumble upon a hotspring so they tie and blindfold him. I don’t know if Lovely Angels know how to tie because he broke free and escaped. He even got the time to entangle their clothes so they’re running through the jungle in their undies. When they give up and return, they see him soaking in the hotspring. Given the run-around, eh? Calbee screws with them but is ‘useful’ too since he has a lighter to light fire and got creepy critters for dinner. Calbee then says he was supposed to be the management owner of the New York section due to complete next year but ended up losing all the money. With his dreams ended, he believes Yuri can be the president in his place with Kei as her vice. The duo can’t help daydreaming and fantasize this great possibility. So nice… But Yuri knows this is just a dream and has her feet firmly planted on the ground. It was nice while it lasted. Too bad Calbee. You can’t con her too. When they reach a construction site, as Lovely Angels revel in finally getting some water, Calbee hijacks a truck and escapes. A short chase ensues before he is captured and apprehended. They return to Touma who wasn’t the least bit worried about them since he thought they went somewhere. They gave him that raw jungle fruit as ‘present’. Next day when Lovely Angels are about to leave for their reservation, they hear a familiar suave voice in the next table. Isn’t that Calbee trying to hit on another woman? The duo feign ignorance and quickly leave. Don’t want to get into all that trouble again, huh? Not when their expensive dinner is so close…

Episode 10
Thanks to the cram space, Touma has to sleep in the corridor. Well, you don’t expect him to be sleeping with the girls, right? On a rainy day, Touma and Yuri take shelter at a flower shop. It was love at first sight for Touma and the florist, Leena. She was kind enough to lend them her umbrellas. Because Kei spotted Touma making weird poetic diary entries, Yuri could grasp what is happening. That cheeky grin… Touma becomes chirpy returning the umbrellas although the ladies are quite annoyed at this. Yeah, even bringing back flowers for them? Next day on the streets, Touma gets lucky as she asks him out for tea. He is boring her with his programming stories and lame jokes?! But that concerned look on her face. She asks… Who is Yuri to him? Oh… The other woman question, I see… He vehemently denies he has any special feelings for her and this makes Leena happy as she reveals the reason she gave them an umbrella each was because if it was only one, they would be too close together. Oh… Get the hint?! Of course Yuri is not happy about this so she tries to hint to Touma that she is the more attractive one. Dumb Touma think she is the one in love! Thanks to that weird dream about Leena ‘complaining’ their relationship isn’t going anywhere, Touma talks to Kei for advice. Why not go to Yuri? For some reason she is mad at him. Kei suggests giving flowers. To a florist? As the girls are suspicious of Leena that she might have an ulterior motive, Touma proudly shows his research on her background! He can write a novel this thick! Not only that. He followed her to her home secretly and hijacked the satellite to take pictures of her! ISN’T THIS BEING LIKE A STALKER?! Of course the fear that their relationship may not be heading anywhere bugs Touma as he wants more advice from the ladies. Think for yourself. Hmm… How about bringing her to the electronics street?! You dumb ass! Yuri and Kei then start trying to outdo each other in suggesting what to do. Reverse psychology? Since he is still worried he might be rejected, Yuri forces him to call Leena and meet. Just get it over with! Panicky Touma even told Leena that Yuri made him call her! WTF?! So annoying that Yuri hijacks the phone to speak to her to meet up. WTF?! Surprisingly Leena agrees to meet. Touma goes into full mode planning his perfect date and the duo somehow become his lackeys for the date preparation. Touma is a gentleman come that day and he rushes happily to Leena when she is in sight. However… Something feels wrong… She misses him and heads for Yuri! She reveals she has fallen in love with her since they first time they’ve met and heard a lot about her from Touma! OH SH*T! LESBIAN GIRL!!! Leena wants to call Yuri her big sister!!! Yuri freaking out. Touma frozen and heartbroken. And the one having the last laugh and laughing best is Kei. Laughing her ass off nonstop…

Episode 11
A cargo plane, Star Horse 60 is carrying a very dangerous explosives is threatening to crash into the city so those guys are forced to delay the opening of the airport to make it safely land there. Touma didn’t order any pizza. Well, he really didn’t because there’s a bomb in it! The ladies return from their morning bath and are shocked to see the devastation of the apartment. They cry over Touma’s body but something feels amiss. Is Touma an android?! Till the real one pops up and they punch him for making them worry. Touma explains that he is being targeted. Remember the culprit who implanted the virus in World’s World? He is still at large. As Touma continued his investigations secretly, he has discovered the perpetrator so he ordered an android as precaution. True enough, he is being a target for assassination. The culprit is JAIC (Jointed Artificial Intelligence Criminal). It is a type of artificial intelligence comparable with humans. Thus it has no physical body and exists only in the virtual and circuitry world. Thanks to their efficient quarantine, it didn’t escape World’s World. Touma has been sealing off sectors during his investigations to narrow down where JAIC would be. Better hurry because android bombs come in the form of cats, secretaries and high speed car chases. When Touma finally locates JAIC hidden in an android making lab, JAIC is nowhere to be found. He finds a manual to make androids and deduces JAIC may have escaped in an android body. This means he has escaped via assimilating in the crowd but because JAIC has to carry around lots of memory, his body has to be bulky. They think JAIC is heading for the airport because it is the only means of escaping this world. The trio make their way there and relay what is going on to the air traffic controller guys. As ordinary humans have completely evacuated the place, Touma puts all the android guards to sleep. Then they see JAIC. Man, he stands out like a sore thumb disguising himself as a sumo wrestler. So the big chase is on to stop JAIC from escaping but JAIC boards Lovely Angel’s ship. To prevent him from escaping, Yuri sees Star Horse 60 approaching its landing. She has Touma take control to steer and ram into their ship. I guess it is too late to tell them it contains those explosives, huh? EVERYBODY EVACUATE THE AREA!!! BOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!! Well, at least the airport is only destroyed. So is JAIC. Thanks to this, everybody will have an extended stay on World’s World but good news: Their stay and absence from work will be fully compensated! I want to go on this vacation!

Episode 12
Kei is travelling on a passenger plane when a jet fighter pulls up and fires into it! It is amazing that with all that turbulence, Kei’s gun can shoot and destroy the jet! If that is not enough, a dying mother entrusts her with her baby. Then she jumps off before the plane crashes into the snowy mountains. Yuri is furious that Kei hasn’t come back yet. Because the more she waits, she’ll be late for her date! Count it as you’ve lost that boyfriend. Then on the news it is reported some senator got killed by his wife for his inheritance. Although she has been arrested it seems the senator had a baby son that he fathered with the maid. Say, doesn’t that baby look familiar? I guess Yuri has already blown her date so might as well do her investigations to go help Kei. Kei should know better than to argue with a baby. Eventually she has to feed him milk and change his diapers. First time, eh? Then bad guys start hunting them down. Even mind boggling that the baddies are appropriately geared whereas Kei is able to keep her distance and not even split her hair while firing back and carrying the baby! She could even feed the baby while running away and do jump further than any skilled Olympic ski jumper! Unbelievable! Uh huh. She can even outsmart a helicopter and take it down with her pea shooter. I wonder how the baby can survive all this trauma. Luckily there is a cabin for them to take refuge. I guess the baby is tired from all the running so he’s sleeping nicely. Of course the baddies found them and fire a missile into it! They search the grounds for the body but Kei is hiding in a secret underground basement. The baby wakes up and is going to cry for milk. Oh dear. Not now. No choice, Kei gives him suck her breast! First tits shown in the entire series! Hey, is Kei lactating? For some odd reason, before the baddies clearly leave the area, Kei surfaces. Out for some fresh air? She takes them all out but how is she going to deal with the helicopter? Don’t worry, it is Yuri’s turn to take it out in her power suit. She updates him about what is going on. Despite the baby has no other family, he is set to inherit his father’s fortune and be a loaded rich kid. Because they don’t know his name, Kei takes the liberty to call him Keitarou. And she happily becomes his godmother. Oh gee, did the bonding with the kid made her love him or the money?

Episode 13
Monica de Noile isn’t your typical 15 year old oujo-sama. She comes from a family of assassins and her family is happy that she will be making her debut by taking up a request to take out Dirty Pair! Meanwhile Poporo is not giving in to Lovely Angels’ vacation request. Till his wife called. Henpecked husband has no choice… Yuri is having the life. A luxurious cruise, a handsome hunk, what more could she ask for? Till mechanized seagulls nearly killed her. Even more insulting was the guy is crying over his papa’s boat instead of being concerned with her. Likewise, Kei almost get killed as she fishes out an octopus which was hidden with a weapon. Kei thinks somebody is trying to kill them but Yuri thinks somebody is just jealous of her beauty. They barely avoided the acid pool at the hotel and cobra attack in their room. So still don’t believe somebody is out to kill you? Unknown to Yuri, she sees Monica feeding seagulls and is interested join her. Monica gives her a hairpin which soon turns into a homing device for those missiles inside the seagulls to target her. Once they realize Monica is the culprit, they go after her. She escapes but leaves them an invitation to her castle. Lovely Angels take up her offer as they face off with Monica and her sneaky traps. Yuri is upset Monica calls her an aunty simply because she is 2 years older than her. Monica then turns into some sort of magical girl and shoots… Exploding bubbles?! The turning point is when they slap Monica and she reverts into a typical little girl. Lovely Angels ‘bully’ her by snatching her teddy bear (it contains all her weapons and traps) and empty it. Monica then rides a giant mecha teddy bear to finish them off but of course Lovely Angels are still the better one. The mecha explodes and destroys the entire castle. Gee, it is amazing they are still alive. And the showdown turns into a childish and girly affair… Slapping… Pulling hair… Screaming… Accusing… Blaming the other… Oh brother… When will they finish this?

Episode 14
Poporo orders Lovely Angels to participate in a beach volleyball tournament. At first they refuse but he explains this is not a game. They are to apprehend the sponsor of this tournament known only as President. 3WA has been targeting his organization who has done some pretty shady stuffs. However as President has made many enemies and the target of assassins, he does not appear in public. Nobody knows his whereabouts. The only time he does so is during the winners’ award presentation albeit he’ll be surrounded by heavy security. This will be their chance to nab him. As they know nothing about the game, Poporo has assigned Gazelle as their special coach. He becomes a demon coach and imposes strict unforgiving training for them. The biggest irony ever. Special agents that undergo dangerous life threatening missions find themselves out of breath in training???!!! WTF???!!! Is this how unfit they are?! To say athletic fitness is much tougher than real life battles?! It becomes tiring for them that they just drop asleep each time they retire to their room. And if they don’t want to wake up early for training? Flood the room! I don’t even know how this is possible. The harsh training continues till Yuri breaks down and starts crying. She can’t take this no more and quits. Good thing Gazelle doesn’t believe her because they were just crocodile tears. Then he reveals that 50 people have been sacrificed to take down President and whatever methods they’ve been doing, none of them worked. This will be 3WA’s final play. The ladies get motivated to continue training without whining. When it’s test time, they manage to return the bomb ball back at Gazelle. This means they are good, right? So good that you don’t even need to see them playing through the tournament as we see them nailing the winning shop and snatching victory from the tournament favourites. As President appears to award their medal, this creepy old guy/chicken/frog can’t keep his eyes of the hot bodies of our ladies. Using this chance, they nab him and instantly the entire 3WA fleet arrives. WTF. What the hell are his bodyguards doing???!!! In the aftermath, Poporo commends them for a job well done. Lovely Angels are sad for those who were sacrificed so Poporo shows them the list of those ‘sacrificed’. Turns out they just had muscle aches and common illness. Lovely Angels are so freaking mad that they head to the hospital to beat the hell out of Gazelle! His scream echoes throughout space… How the f*ck is that even possible?! Note: Most boring episode ever!!!

Episode 15
Kei sees Yuri with a young girly boy. She goes over to tease her but when she slaps her back, her head comes off!!! OMG! Robot Yuri? Kei is soon called in by Poporo who doesn’t look happy with what Kei had done. That boy, Julian is the grandson of Dr Winston. He is a fanatic of Yuri and that life size robot he made it himself. It is very precious to him. This must be a serious case because the council are interrogating Lovely Angels to set this back right. Yuri opposes to be the substitute for 3 days in which Julian needs to repair everything. But when they reveal Dr Winston is the main fund contributor for 3WA, Yuri instantly accepts this mission! It’s all about the money, eh? Can’t pass up this chance to marry the galaxy’s richest family, eh? Arriving at the mansion, Yuri feels creepy to see all the different models of herself. But she is impressed the life size robot is so, erm, life size. So exactly like her. He views Yuri as a pure and innocent angel. Best compliment? As he doesn’t want her to help with the repairs, she is made to stay in this giant doll house. But she’s already bored. She talks to him how she knows so much about her. He once setup different types of cameras around her to gather information. Surprisingly, she didn’t freak out and call him a perverted stalker and instead is impressed that she really likes her. I guess she took it the positive way. Now she feels hungry and wonders about dinner. However… Julian says she doesn’t need to eat because of that angel crap! WTF?! Therefore Kei becomes her secret delivery boy to deliver the food she wants. Oh, there’s no toilet for her too… I wonder how she does her business. On the final day when robot Yuri is finished, real Yuri asks if she stays by his side, he wouldn’t need that robot. He can do whatever he wants with her. However… F*ck that angel crap thing!!! It is understandable Yuri gets upset. The real one is right here before his eyes and he is obsessed with a perfect fake? Julian can tell she is only here because grandpa told her to. You can’t blame Yuri for taking the cutter and cutting the robot’s hair (heck, I thought she was going to tear her apart). Then she lectures him about the possibility of love like she’s a real expert. Wow. He is easily convinced? He wants her to return tomorrow as he wants to show her something. Yuri can’t wait and expects an engagement ring. That’s the thing when you assume big… Because to her utmost shock, he introduces Wendy. Who is she? The girl who has been sending letters of admiration to him. He decided to take up Yuri’s advice and date her. WTF???!!! What happened to his obsession with Yuri???!!! Ah well, how else to take out all the pent up frustrations by blowing up everything on her next mission.

Episode 16
Mad Dog Carmen hijacks and frees a prisoner transport. Seems he wants the skills of Beringer who used to developed weapons for the army. There is a mecha suit that has been abandoned all research because of its demanding requirements (anybody who rides this will die). Carmen is thinking of using this to build an army of his own and he wants Beringer to join and train his new army. He agrees to this but wants to loan it for 100 hours to get revenge on Poporo first. While Lovely Angels are stuck writing apology letters, Poporo’s daughter, Rosa visits daddy. Just then, the alert is sounded as a terrorist attack occurs nearby. Poporo has Rosa scoot home (all by herself?). After 3WA dispatch all available men, it seems this is a decoy because Beringer in the guise of an elevator maintenance staff has placed bombs in the elevators. Time for a blast. Thankfully Rosa was in the toilet instead of taking the elevator home. But now she is trapped on that floor. Beringer makes his move in that mecha suit to pay back Poporo for his humiliation. Of course when Poporo sees the suit, he can tell Beringer is behind it. The one and only crazy guy who can ride thing. Poporo knows Beringer has a deep grudge against him despite Poporo lost an arm in the midst of capturing him. Lovely Angels play ‘dirty’ that they have nothing to do with this. I mean, they’re stuck in writing apology letters, right? And so Poporo waives this punishment and the girls are happy to play bodyguard. But no matter how much missile they pump or even trash another mecha suit at it, Beringer is still tops with all the high technology sensor and whatever sh*t is inside it. Kei comes up with a dangerous idea in using the main power station underground and wants Yuri to stall for time as much as she can.

The fight with Beringer has him crash to where Rosa is. You can’t blame little girl for being so scared and screaming for papa. Aha. Got you by your Achilles Heel. Poporo begs him to release Rosa as she has nothing to do with this. But Beringer won’t let him go so easily. He wants to see him suffer before he kills him. Carmen contacts that time is up and he is here to pick him up. Beringer tells Poporo to settle the score on the rooftop. Poporo is defenceless as Beringer shoots and injures him before his daughter. Yuri tells Kei she cannot activate the beam yet as Rosa is being held hostage. When Beringer releases Rosa, she runs to her daddy but Beringer plans to shoot them both. Luckily Poporo moves so as to become Beringer’s target and save Rosa from harm’s way. Poporo takes in a lot of shots. Rosa is horrified as Yuri takes her away. Then she relays to Kei of Beringer’s position to finally release a powerful beam to fry Beringer once and for all. Because Carmen’s ship is hovering directly above Beringer, they also get fried! Wow! Killing 2 birds with 1 stone! No time for an emotional father-daughter reunion because the ship is going to crash on the building! Not only 3WA headquarters is destroyed but the surrounding area too! In the end, not only Lovely Angels have to write tons of apology letters but Poporo is made to join them too. Don’t the higher ups have anything better to do to utilize manpower in times of devastation? And for goodness sake use a paper weight. See? You let all your hard work fly away and that’s what you get when you write out in the open.

Somebody Needs To Get The Job Done
Well, it was a fun ride while it lasted. Since it is old school, I can’t really complain that much. In fact, the original Dirty Pair series has much more movies and OVAs in addition to the TV series. Good thing or not, I couldn’t find them anywhere on the internet and basically my interest for the series waned after I reached the end. It didn’t really matter if I saw them or not because I knew it was going to be following the same formula. Well, I got bored with that eventually. Besides, I am not sure if this series was famous or not now because I don’t think many younger generations would know about them. Besides, back then we didn’t have a lot of choice in entertainment and the selections were limited. What I am trying to say is that there was even a spin-off of an American version of this series. Maybe it was famous back then but not so now seeing the abundance of shows and series coming out every season and year.

Like many series that follow an episodic nature, Dirty Pair is one that doesn’t and I think it is both good and bad thing. It is good because every episode serves as a standalone and you can watch them in any order you like even without knowing any sort of back story. You do not have to worry if you have missed an episode or two because you can jump in straight in watching the next without having to crack your brains to think what plot and development that you have missed. In a way it gives a fresh and novel feel of what kind of adventure that you would expect the pair to be in instead of following a pre-determined set of storyline (although each episode is predictable the same and follow a certain pattern).

Of course the big down side to having episodes that are non-related is that you do not feel that they are connected to each other. Sometimes it is annoying to find that an episode ends like that without any follow up. Sometimes it ends in a dissatisfying way that makes you question more than it could answer. It makes you wonder what happens to that character because I am very sure for example you might want to know what actually happened to that Kaia pirate guy seeing curiously he and Kei had some sort of past together. But you will never anyway seeing how every character-of-the-episode come and go like as though they’re changing toilet paper.

Each episodes are so disconnected and unrelated that it feels like there was a contest to come up with a short story for the pair and they pick a few to animate. Therefore it lacks the epic feel by having standalone episodes (my similar sentiments when I watched Cowboy Bebop that followed this same format). However when they remade Flash, they changed this formula slightly as they made it episodic. Although certain episodes feel like fillers, they are somewhat connected to each other. As Flash is divided into 3 ‘missions’, the final mission they returned to the original roots by switching it into completely unrelated standalone episodes. It feels really odd then because like that Monica assassin episode, it just freaking ends like that! WTF?! It was interesting that they had a small back story about the original Dirty Pair in Flash for the Waldess’ and even in World’s World arc despite the storyline wasn’t much but all that came crumbling down in the third and final mission when they decided to pull random stories and South Park style ending for each episode.

Therefore sometimes the independent little stories in the original TV series might feel somewhat silly. The plot and how everything is solved in the end sometimes make no sense when you think about it. Even though they are supposed to be simple but it is just plain silly and not feasible in the real world even if with such technology. For example, a mere computer genius kid hijacking a big plane and corporation just to fool his parents. And everybody indeed gets taken for a ride. How could this even happen in the first place you ask. But I guess things back then are like then. If you were to question the logic to everything, you wouldn’t be watching anime in the first place.

Somehow I can’t help feel a little ‘cheated’ because when I read the synopsis, they said something about Dirty Pair wreaking havoc and causing destruction wherever they go to get the mission done. Sure, they do that in most episodes but I don’t hear them go saying “Hey, that’s not our fault!”. In fact, I remember just hearing them say once at the end after it was completely their fault in blowing up the planet! I guess it is my fault for having such expectations to hear them say it as I thought it would be the catchphrase of the series. Eventually most of the destruction that has happened can be pinpointed to them as the source whether they are guilty or not. Yeah, somebody has got to take the blame.

Personally, I thought the original pair is slightly better as compared to their Flash counterparts. They are not perfect and sometimes their relationship can amount to as frenemies. Sometimes they tease each other, try to outdo each other (when it comes to snagging a hot guy) but they know each other well enough to put what is important first. The Flash pair feels like they have nothing in comparison to the original ones and just took after their names. In Flash, Kei is too tomboyish while Yuri is too girlish to make you even wonder if they are fit for the job despite we can all blame the stupid computer glitch for pairing them up. The original Kei and Yuri too show the tomboy and girly side respectively but it is not as extreme in Flash. The original pair also seems to know how to work better than a team although I won’t say the Flash’s pair cannot cooperate. They started out hating each other and despite they tolerate each other in the end, it just doesn’t feel that they are as close as the original ones. Like as though, you’re my partner so might as well deal with it instead of b*tching about it. I mean, Flash’s Yuri had it worse when Kei temporarily left, right? You really don’t want an airhead like Lily to be your partner. Definitely.

The Flash pair is only ‘better’ in aesthetics and visually. Somehow I prefer Flash’s Kei with unrealistic towering spikey hair compared to the original Kei with an orange afro. I don’t know. Personally she looks like a jungle woman in that hairstyle. Flash’s Yuri is also much slimmer and it makes the original Yuri looking a bit chubby. Really. It feels like a running joke that they have to constantly correct people they are Lovely Angels when they are being referred to as Dirty Pair. Hey, at least they don’t tease them as dirty pair of underwear, hehehe… Ahem. Well, no matter what their methods, at least they get the job done, right? Maybe there should have been another better way… Oh yeah, the irony. Troublemakers getting the job done. Ah well, somebody needs to do it. Another running joke for Yuri is how she always gets stood up on her dates. How the heck did the guys date her in the first place? Must be her pretty face, huh? And then when she is always too busy with her job, boyfriend feels lonely that not enough time is spent. Dump zone. WTF. And she must be one heck of a dump masochist to be tolerating this in and out since if this has been going on for so long, this means she is putting her job before love, right? Work over romance? Can’t she just walk away and find a rich guy to support her and live the dream life? Yeah well, if she could ever find one.

Also, I feel that Gooley seems to be more of a ‘proper’ boss compared to Garner and even Poporo. At least Gooley has this assertiveness in his voice in ordering the ladies despite they always threaten him for pay and vacation but he knows how to deal with them. Whereas Garner feels weaker and is a wuss compared to the rest. I think he might be a kind boss or pacifist but I figure when you’re dealing with troublesome b*tches, you can’t go soft on them. Poporo might be intimidating seeing he has got that looks as a black bald guy but seeing the henpecked husband he is, he isn’t that fearsome after all. At least in the final episode, Poporo is given a lot of reprieve when we see him kick ass with the girls. Aside from that, they soften our hearts by showing her that he is a caring father who loves his daughter very much. Yes people. Love always wins in the end. Even if father is black and daughter is pale white. Whoops! Don’t tell me that line sounded racist!

Sidekicks like Mughi didn’t play a big role in the original series have been reduced to an unimportant pet in Flash. And I mean, they really reduce him in size too! They should have just tossed this character away like they did with Nanmo who was nowhere to be seen or mentioned in Flash instead of turning this big ferocious bear into a cute alien cat who has no sort of role in anything whatsoever. Besides, isn’t Mughi in Flash despite belonging to Yuri as mentioned, doesn’t it spend more time in Poporo’s office? I don’t think it is for safekeeping. As for the other characters-of-the-episode, thanks to the nature of the series, don’t go hoping to learn or find out more about them. You just watch and forget. This goes for the same in Flash although the characters would at least decently appear for the few episodes for that duration of the arc like Waldess, Flair and Touma.

Old school drawing I won’t complain since it really showcases the art style of that era and how far anime has really come. Looking at the original’s artwork, it really makes me feel old and sometimes I have that feel that I can’t tell whether it is anime or American cartoon. Although Kei and Yuri both have that anime looks, some of the other characters like Gooley and even the backgrounds have this American cartoon feel. With Flash debuting 10 years later, the art is more updated but at this point it already looks pretty much outdated. Also, the character designs have also that one kind feel. Good looking guys have this one kind look. Same case with bad guys. You can tell them apart in an instant unless they’re playing a deception game. As said, Flash is visually more updated and more anime-like although at this point now it seems so like 90’s era style.

Speaking of outdated, I also want to mention the ‘outdated’ futuristic technologies that were being used in this anime. I remember seeing them using a landline phone! OMG! Landline telephone! Such a futuristic setting in space with so many planets and galaxies to connect and they still use landline phones? Well, at least on the planet. If future generations see this, they’ll be wondering what kind of object that is. And then this… Using floppy disks to transfer data! OMG! OMFG! I wonder how big the data is. Yeah, such technologies are so obsolete now that you can’t even find them anywhere today. Finally, there are those robots or artificial intelligences that are so human-like. What I am trying to say is that it feels like a human putting on a robot outfit/disguise and moving about. So fake? And I suppose for the World’s World arc in Flash, they put a current day Japan setting as an excuse not to have too many space futuristic backgrounds and sceneries. It’s easier that way to animate something that you are familiar with.

Therefore the action and fight scenes are just well, okay. And some of them are just freaking hilarious especially bad guys who can’t shoot straight, you just want to tell them off to go back to training school. Like as though their role is just to be there for our infamous pair to take them out. The numbers doesn’t matter because our ladies will always nail them in the end. Yeah, pretty funny, huh? If you want to complain and compare about today’s standards then I think it wouldn’t be really fair. Because I am very pretty sure back in 1985, you don’t have the technology to put in all the cool special effects so you might see certain action scenes as unbelievably lame or with low quality. Especially the explosions. Of course it is all updated in Flash and it definitely fares better. Otherwise it would be such a waste and insult to have worse action scenes than the original, no? The final episode of Flash is perhaps the most exciting action scene (even better than its first episode) and I suppose they are leaving the last for best and ending it with a bang. If only more episodes in Flash were like this then it would have been truly a much better spin-off sequel than the original.

Of all the opening and ending themes that I have heard while watching both series, I still feel the original one is the most attractive. Especially the opening of the original TV series, Ru-Ru-Ru-Russian Roulette by Meiko Nakahara which has this old 80’s disco feel to add to its tune’s catchiness. The ending theme, Uchuu Renai also by Meiko Nakahara isn’t too bad either with its space-y theme. Perhaps the reason why I don’t find the opening and ending themes for Flash memorable or appealing because they are only showcased for that arc before changing a new one unlike the original whereby it is the same ol’ song from start to finish. Yeah, I guess back then they don’t have the budget to change the songs and animation as often as you see today. Many of the opening and ending themes are sung by Rica Matsumoto and/or Mariko Kouda (the voice of the new Kei and Yuri respectively). Of all the themes in Flash, I suppose the first opener, Kagirinai Answer and the third ending theme, Kokoro De Mitsumeteru fare better than the rest since this anime pop rock sets the pace of the series. Honki Shinaide (third opening) sounds more like a festival song, Kimi Ga Daisuki (second ending) sounds like a moe-moe piece, Thrill Ni Koishite (second opening) sounds a bit genki and out of place while Dai Ni Shou (first ending) is the only theme that isn’t sung by the duo but by MANA.

The series may be long gone and dusted at this point in time. But it sure does go back a long way that it was perhaps ahead of its time showcasing and empowering women kicking ass that led to many animes featuring such strong female leads. Or maybe we perverted guys just like to see boobs jiggle in action :). This series is good for those who really never grew out from the old cartoon era and those who like to watch their episodes simple without having the headache of keeping up with the twists and plots. Because what randomly happens in that episode, stays in that episode. That’s it. You move on to the next. Also good for current generation viewers who have grown fed up with today’s crappy standards of everything and want to rewind back to the good ol’ days for something different (and perhaps better?). And so we learn that whenever there is trouble cropping up somewhere in the darkest edge of the galaxy or just the corner of the toilet, don’t be too quick to call in trouble consultants to fix the problem. Try it yourself first. Like they say, if you want something done, it is best you do it yourself.

I thought everything had ended. What would the series be without that super intelligent robot? Therefore I was wondering how Suisei No Gargantia: Meguru Kouro, Haruka, a double OVA episode that lasts an hour long each would fare since it takes place after the events of the TV series. Ah yes, I remember how awesome it was watching that and sadly despite it has only been a couple of years since I last saw this series, it felt like ages and I couldn’t remember much in detail. But at least I still remember generally what happened. Phew. Not so bad, eh? Anyway, like any awesome series, it has become my ‘obligation’ to follow up if there are future episodes of it and here I am finally watching this OVA albeit being very, very late. Well, better than never. So it interests me to see what kind of story will unfold for Ledo since he doesn’t have Chamber anymore. And will there be any sort of development between Ledo x Amy? One can only hope…

Episode 1
Bellows leads her team in another undersea wreckage salvaging. Thanks to Ledo, they are able to find a good catch of usable ships. Amy has a junior under her wing, Leema as she guides her through her postal and messenger job. Being the newbie around, her curiosity of those Yunboro has her fascinated but almost got her into trouble with one of the engineers for casually touching it. Pinion tries to recruit Leema into his engineering section as he needs all the help he can get. But seriously, you need this little girl to help out with all the heavy metal stuffs? Not sure if Rackage is a citizen of this ship as she is seen making herself home on Gargantia. She claims she is taking a vacation before her next big expedition. Leema and Ledo meet for the first time and the former wants to hear all his stories with Chamber. Ledo also learns that Leema was from the Providence fleet and during the time Kugel played God. He is also interested to know what happened there but before any story can begin, Melty and Saya interrupt Ledo for trying to two-time Amy. They even let out this secret that they eavesdropped Amy asking Chamber what are Ledo’s favourite stuffs but of course the machine didn’t get it and Amy was left frustrated. Imagine Amy’s embarrassment when she finds out her friends knew about this conversation. Leema tells briefly about her fleet joining Providence and after the priestesses died, Kugel began to change and everything went downhill (see OVA 2 to refresh your memory). Ledo believes Kugel’s way of getting rid of the weak and convincing the rest to fight and give whatever to support is the same motto as the Alliance. He believes had he been alive, he would have found a way.

That night, Amy doesn’t understand why Ledo still lives in fear every day. Right now, humans are still fighting Hideauze and he feels that war is somewhat necessary. But he is here right now away from all that conflict and unrelated. On the contrary, all of them are connected to it no matter where they are. This makes Ledo think if he would handle things differently from the Alliance if he ever comes into conflict with the whalesquids. With Leema accidentally eavesdropping on the story, she wants to hear more especially that stormy incident. It was the worst kind of storm that Gargantia has ever seen. The waves were violent enough to damage the pillars, pylons, bridges and interlocks of a connecting ship, Altemia. Only a bridge is left but it could snap any time. Fairlock gives the orders for the ship to evacuate and for Altemia to scuttle. Amy notices that Saya is still onboard Altemia helping others to evacuate and goes to help look for anymore that are left behind. The only other one left is Fleiss, Saya’s brother who has evacuated his crew (after the captain threw a tantrum he would rather go down with the ship than leave it and is clinging on to his chair). After Amy evacuates an old grandpa and his grandson, back at the bridge, Melty calls to warn for them to get out now because a huge wave is going to pound them. Too late. A direct hit. This causes the last bridge to break. Now they are floating adrift. To add to the problems, a connecting ship is tilting and will capsize. Ledo and Chamber come in to push it back up. At the same time they realize Altemia’s predicament. Ledo knows well he cannot leave his position. Altemia drifts back thanks to the waves but is in danger of slamming into the ship. Once Chamber has successfully put this ship back up, just in time to cushion the impact and save a few more lives. Leema is impressed with the story although Ledo credits everything to Chamber. Amy believes even if Chamber isn’t here, Ledo will not give up.

On a beautiful clear sky day, Bellows leads her team to scavenge the undersea wreckage. Everything goes well until some gas burst that causes the rocks to collapse. In Ledo’s bit to save one of the trapped crew, he is pulled down into the abyss as his cable got caught by the falling rock. Things are not looking good. Life support is dangerously low and all communications are cut so he improvises the reserve tank for a little more oxygen. During this moment of loneliness, he remembers a similar incident when he was fighting Hideauze. He was unable to contact to any of his comrades and a horde of Hideauze is coming. Chamber suggested to stop all communication to avoid being detected but Ledo does not want to be a sitting duck and be eaten alive. He can’t trust this machine to make the decisions. Chamber agrees that Ledo should call the final shots and all he can do is to provide the best support. In short, Chamber’s power depends on Ledo and this way if he screws up, you can’t blame the machine, right?

Bellows and her crew resurface and tell what happened to Ledo. Guess who is being all worried and emotional? Of course everybody can think of going back down to bring him back up but the grounds are unstable and if a search party was dispatched, they might get buried too. Before we can turn this into Amy’s crying fest, all other Yunboro who can still dive take the initiative to dive down with whatever resources they can carry. Amy wants to go help too (because Leema is going but I can think of another good reason why) but Bellows would rather have her stay here to greet Ledo with a smile when he returns. I thought it could have been there are no more spare Yunboro for her to spare. Anyway the search party dives down and finds Ledo’s unit pinned under the rock. Time for Rackage to have her screen time by doing something useful. Her unit is strong enough to lift the rock. Bellows and Ledo communicate via Morse code and the plan is once most of the rocks are pulled out of the way, Ledo is to eject the unit’s limbs for propulsion to freedom. They only have one shot at this. And as expected it is a huge success. Amy, you can stop praying real hard now. Oh, she’s crying again. At least tears of joy. The biggest heave of relief in her life. When Ledo steps out, he receives a hero’s welcome. A better ‘prize’ with Amy giving him a big hug. Nobody better interrupt this. Life proceeds as usual on Gargantia but it ends with a cliff-hanger. In a secret room, Leema unveils and activates a Machine Caliber!

Episode 2
Rackage tries to remind Pinion about this and that as he promised but Pinion like the typical guy he is, never remembers he made those vows! Ledo and Bevel examine a blueprint extract. They believe it is of a technology that is very similar to Machine Caliber. Leema seems to be interested in all kinds of stuffs related to machine so she is much impressed with Bevel’s mechanized wheelchair as he explains despite having a weak body, he is strong because everyone supports him. If you had your suspicions on Leema, then it comes true now because she is seen talking to her underlings about their objective to get Ledo to come with them. Originally they wanted to get Kugel but he died. They have to act fast because their higher ups aren’t going to wait. Ridget listens to the community leaders about their supplies being exhausted. So when she announces they will be stopping by Dragon Palace, a major trading hub from the land, the residents rejoice. Ridget negotiates with the top officials for whatever is necessary. As a token, she is given an updated world map. They also invite her to drink after that but she got drunk. Ledo and the girls walk around Dragon Palace. This includes playing games at the carnival and getting into their swimsuits to play with dolphins. Since Leema didn’t bring hers, they shop for one and this is your few seconds of Leema fanservice. Leema somewhat envies how close Ledo and Amy are and she always wished she had spent such times with her older brother. When a pretty redhead passes by Pinion, this guy tries to make a pass and flirt with her with his cheesy lines but she ignores him. Hmm… Why do I have a feeling I know who this chick is?

Leema talks to an informer who tells her the higher ups cannot wait any longer about their top military secret weapon being outside the country. They are afraid of information leak more than anything so if you see them coming, it’s game over. She must complete the mission before they arrive. Leema remembers showing Ledo the Augmented Body (their term for Machine Caliber), Muzzle. She wanted him to follow her to help her country research this robot. Leema sits inside Muzzle and still cannot understand the sophisticated language it speaks. At this rate, the more she spends time on Gargantia, the more she is starting to hate the idea of war. Continuing her mission, this time Leema tries to persuade Amy to convince Ledo to come with her. Of course Amy and Bevel can leave with him too. Because Ledo didn’t give her an answer, she thought Amy would help him decide. In that case, Amy won’t do it. But what if Bevel’s condition can be cured on land? And so Ledo and Amy discuss this including the possibility if Bevel cannot be cured. Decisions, decisions, decisions… An unidentified fleet is spotted and because there are no interlocks, they conclude it is a war fleet from a land nation. Leema recognizes and confirms it as the special forces armada. She gets desperate to get Ledo to come with her (throwing in that Bevel cure case). Even shocking she reveals she was born on land. A distress call from Melty and Saya has them know that Amy has been kidnapped by a couple of suspicious guys. Leema knows this is the work of her underlings. She doesn’t want Ledo to follow her as Amy is bait to lure him. If he is captured, he will never return. Of course Ledo doesn’t care and follows her into her breakaway ship.

When the fleet fires to destroy the ship, Muzzle activates to protect them. The fleet warns Gargantia not to get involved but Ridget won’t sit back and let her citizens be harmed. She gives orders to fire back. Pinion sees the redhead running somewhere so he tails her and recognizes her too late. Never realized this pirate queen could look so different and beautiful, eh? She was here in disguise to gather information. Now that she has discovered something, time to stop playing good citizen and return to the ways of her pirate life. She is not risking some war with the land and aggravate the situation. Leema hops into Muzzle as she feels sorry for trying to use Ledo for her own gains. She was trying to get him involved in a centuries-long war between land nations. After living on Gargantia, she feels she has no right to take away their way of life. Ledo hops onboard with her and since the system is closely similar to Chamber, he guides in how to pilot Muzzle (some device Ledo has is also enhancing its system). With its electromagnetic attack, it tries to destroy all the fleet’s cannons. Ledo neutralizes Leema’s subordinates and frees Amy. Save the hugs for later because the fleet is now targeting Muzzle. They plan to sink the machine and the pilot deep down into the ocean to prevent it falling into enemy hands. Leema tries to continue take out the remaining cannons but her skills are not as good without Ledo guiding her.

Muzzle stops activating when it takes a direct hit. Sinking into the deep ocean, all Leema could do is just sit there and reminisce her times with the machine. Still not understanding what it is trying to say, though. But surprise! Muzzle says her name! And then it displays on the small screen a montage of ‘important events’ from its monitor. Like the time Leema was assigned by the scientists to pilot it, all the hours she spent fine tuning it, the time she joined Providence, then coming to Gargantia, showing Ledo this Augmented Body and finally recently how she piloted it. Muzzle can now decently speak in Leema’s language. It then detaches the cockpit to let Leema float up. After a safe distance below, Muzzle self destructs. Once sad Leema resurfaces, she feels guilty that her only friend is gone. What will she do now? Don’t worry. Rackage offers her to join her crew. Leema joins her as her way of atonement. While Ridget praises the people of Gargantia and their efforts to keep damage to a minimum and maintain peace, Ledo talks to Amy about the many things on Earth he still doesn’t know and this device is somewhat connected to that Augmented Body. Amy wonders what kind of life Leema had led as she was born in a land in perpetual war. But for them, no matter what troubles they may face, they’re going to live here and Ledo is going to protect Amy here. Okay. Time to continue the emotional hug.

Home, Wherever You Call It
And… They cancelled the second season!!!!!!!!!! WHY, OH WHY???!!! For whatever reasons, let is not hold a grudge for the future that has not and will never happen. As far as this OVA is concerned, despite some drama parts, it is still very interesting and brings back a whole lot of nostalgic memories of the TV series. Personally, watching the entire duration pulled a lot of heartstrings within me even if that scene wasn’t meant so. Just because of the nostalgia. With the revelation of land nations who love to fight, I guess this is what most probably how the story will continue and as seen there are lots of potential and development. But sadly as mentioned, we won’t be getting it unless somebody or a group of people start changing their minds.

Even with Chamber being reduced to just flashback memories (heck, that was just only the first OVA and the second one he did not even appear), it somewhat proves that the plot can still be interesting without the Ledo-Chamber combo. Of course the Ledo x Amy romance is still a long way to go but it is developing nicely between them. It feels like a little reward to see them together from time to time after a little ‘adventure’. It is hard to say about the recurring characters given the couple of episodes so it is unfair to say they’re just showing their faces as courtesy. Like Pinion who didn’t really do anything major here. Except the fact he might have regretted for losing the coolest chick ever? So guys out there, never judge a book by its cover or scoff of something when it doesn’t match your taste at first. I think we’re all guilty of that. I figure with the pacing and development of the second OVA, it was supposed to be an introduction for the next season but… Oh, can I not stop harping on that already?!

Another great and big plus of this OVA is the top notched quality they put in animating the visuals. The art and sceneries are just freaking spectacular and breathtaking to look whether they are hand drawn or using CGI. I tell you, they are just magnificent and awesome. No wonder I felt heartstrings being pulled within me. And despite the certain ‘slow’ drama parts, it is this art and visual that makes me feel awed instead of being ‘bored’. So if I don’t want to follow the little drama, I can always look to the background and admire the pretty sceneries. It makes Gargantia quite a majestic and beautiful place despite it is just a fleet of ships connected together to form a bigger floating vessel. Very good indeed. Even during action scenes, there is no drop in quality and the animation continues smooth sailing. This is definitely worth your money if you buy the DVDs.

On a very trivial note, I just wanted to point out that since Gargantia a very huge floating vessel, I can’t help keep thinking that shouldn’t the animation give the feel like they’re living on a floating vessel? You know, when you’re on a ship, you’re moving with the waves so there is this wavy motion effect to it. Uhm, not sure if I described it correctly. But you get the idea. Therefore sometimes seeing the scenes, it feels like the people on Gargantia are living on stable rock solid land. Get what I mean? Okay, you may argue that Gargantia is so big and thus stable. But the ocean is big too. Very big. Wave currents can be big too even for a mild one and Gargantia is essentially floating no matter how stable it is. In a way it is also good not to have that kind of effect. Can you imagine having the entire duration watching this anime with this effect? I think I might get seasick due to the realism.

Overall, a very good addition to the TV series and a must-watch for fans of the series especially for people like me, invoking the great nostalgia factor. For those who have not, please start watching. It goes to show that even if it is deep down inside our blood and genes to lust for war, peace and harmony are possible when you make it possible. It is just ironic that be it Hideauze or your own kind (technically, Hideauze originated from us human beings), men still can sure find ways to pick a fight. I guess it’s our way of saying what’s the use of being alive without having some sort of ‘excitement’. Better than being a living zombie. Or an otaku who constantly watches anime and plays games all day long on his computer. Hmm… I think this isn’t kinda bad either…

Etotama

October 17, 2015

Have you ever wondered why the cat is never in the Chinese zodiac? Such a well-known animal and yet it doesn’t have its own spot. Yeah, who is the damn dude who only restricted it to 12 freaking spots? Don’t tell me he has the fear of the number 13 and thus decided to limit it to only 12. Anyway, I am sure there are many stories, theories and nonsensical craps out there to tell you why the cat is not part of this legendary family. No, please don’t say the tiger is from the cat family. It does not qualify. And so in Etotama, it isn’t exactly an origin story to see why the cat is not accepted into a zodiac. In fact, the cat is working hard to join it. If only the rat wasn’t so against this and trying to stop her. According to this series, there is a rotation system on how other animals can join the zodiac. You have to beat the 12 main ones. And so, this is the journey and struggles of a cat as she makes her way fighting the best to claim her rightful place. Or it could just be the daily life of a scatterbrained amnesiac cat doing things her way (including living as a freeloader in a normal human’s house) as she takes it one step at a time to achieve her goal.

Episode 1
It is narrated that thanks to the rat’s trickery, the cat was excluded from the zodiac and deprived to become part of the divine messengers. The Eto Shin (the Chinese zodiac girls) are asking Takeru Amato to list the zodiac in order. He starts but could not name those after the snake. The top half revel in joy while the bottom half feel defeated. The same trend continues so they thought the zodiac in the bottom half is hard to pronounce and suggest pronouncing it the Chinese way. Well, it sounds awfully weird. Takeru arrives at his newly rented house. There is a fluffy hole but a cat girl, Nya pops out. She starts flirting with him and giving mixed signals of wanting to be flirted and not but since he isn’t really amused, she puts up some dramatic scatterbrain act. From naked bathroom folly to playing housewife to wrapping up in ribbons as her present, Takeru is sure one patient guy not to kick her out of the house for good yet. However Takeru’s kindness has him emit some sort of golden ball on his head. When Nya absorbs it, she feels its warmth. Boar girl, Uri comes to see Nya to check on her training progress to join the zodiac and is appalled that she has been fooling around. As she begins to explain, dragon girl, Dora attacks the place. She even tries to attack Takeru. Nya is not happy with Dora’s betrayal and wants Takeru to give her his Sol/Lull. Eh… What? That golden ball of warmness. That moe power is some sort of sacred power given from gods to people and then from people to Eto Musume (animals possessing Etotama, the spirits of the Chinese zodiac. Eto Shin is the highest form). Once Nya receives his Sol/Lull, she powers up and turns into a chibi version and takes on Dora in this icy battle stage. Takeru and Uri get to watch it on some divine TV channel. They trade punches as Nya tries to find out Dora’s betrayal but she won’t say claiming she wouldn’t understand. It ends after Nya takes a beating and runs out of Sol/Lull. Dora laughs at her idea of becoming Eto Shin. Nya is crying like it’s the end of the world so once again, Takeru’s kindness has him pop up a first class Sol/Lull. Then it is revealed all this is just a convoluted setup to touch Takeru’s heart. Dora is Nya’s spirit master and took on the role of the bad guy by attacking him. Explaining Takeru’s first class Sol/Lull, it is rare and finest in both quality and quantity. That little amount was even enough to give Nya a lot of power to fight her. As the girls are happy with today’s development, Takeru thinks of fixing dinner and getting some rest. Oh, he just remembered his house was destroyed!

Episode 2
I don’t know how Takeru’s house is fixed but he wakes up in the morning and Nya is happy to cook him breakfast. Holy cow! Isn’t she cooking Moo the ox and Piyo the chicken???!!! Takeru pours water to douse the fire but was given cooking oil! Mmm… Smells good! It seems the other Eto Shin are also staying in his house. He observes Nya loves to bully and pick on Piyo but is afraid of Moo because she always wants to pulverize her with her (boobs) love. Takeru asks about Nya’s chaotic character and they explain she is amnesiac and perhaps is trying to find her character type. They also explain about the other clans and the cat clans are of the strongest Eto Musume. Can’t say the same for Nya, though. After Nya tricks Takeru into making his Sol/Lull, they clarify Nya is not part of Eto Shin. Unlike them who get their Sol/Lull from humans’ devotion and do not need to lift a finger, Nya needs to constantly find Sol/Lull herself as it is the life essence of Eto Musume. Because Takeru’s Sol/Lull is quite exquisite, Dora begins an auction to sell him! The bidding price is escalating very fast. More explanations on Sol/Lull. Proper emotions like gratitude create it and when Eto Musume collects it, they can transform into 3 modes: Adult Mode (human form to exist in human world), Pretty Mode (chibi version to fight and can use Sol/Lull more effectively) and Natural Mode (animal form). Because Nya continues to be clingy to Takeru and won’t accept Moo’s love, the latter suggests a fight and if she wins, she’ll give Nya her seal. There is an Eto Shin Selection Festival AKA ETM12 held once every 60 years where Eto Musume can attain the rank of Eto Shin with their own fists. To do so, one must defeat all 12 Eto Shin in battle and obtain their Sol/Lull seals. This is the case for Nya. So if she loses once, she’s out. Oh, that bout with Dora was just a skit do it doesn’t count. Moo suggests a game of tag and if she can protect her socks for 3 minutes, she wins! Sick fetish she’s got there. You bet Nya is going to run away from her sick love. It’s going to be tough since cow girl is freaking strong in bulldozing down everything. Nya tricks Moo that she will give up and this let her guard down. Nya fires her cat gun to send her flying and win the match. Nya is happy to have got the seal but her boasting about is being ignored as the rest discuss that little Sol/Lull from Takeru was enough to power her up this much. Nya beats up Takeru for ignoring her and wants to be praised. Meanwhile, news has it that Chu the rat has defeated all 107 Eto Musume. She has a vendetta not to let the cat clan exist.

Episode 3
Takeru is shocked to see a house built next to his! Dora built a home for Nya? Is this legal? Takeru goes out shopping with Nya and Uri. All they wanted was to get sesame oil but got attracted by the washing machine. Can they afford to buy this? Don’t worry. Nya is going to get her advance pay. Maid Cafe Eto is a place where Eto Shin work as maid cafe to earn money. Oddly, these ladies are good in making money. They even play the stocks! Nya wants to rip apart the cash register but was told off she never worked, lazed around, stole food and even annoyed the customers. If that doesn’t get to her, then perhaps the cafe manager will. This galaxy character lectures her about no work and no pay. He kicks her out since she didn’t learn her lesson. Now it’s Takeru’s turn. He tells her she has done wrong and must apologize. I don’t know how they afforded the washing machine (they also got the sesame oil), but suddenly Chu appears before them. Ironically, Dora and Shima rush to defend Nya but cat girl isn’t the least worried. Chu is not happy to see her reincarnated and what irks her further is that Nya doesn’t remember a thing. The rest tell Nya not to accept Chu’s challenge but Chu makes it tempting for her. If she can defeat her, she’ll swap her Eto Shin place with her. Immediately Nya agrees. Time for battle. The rest don’t understand why Nya is doing this. Simple. She has always wanted to do things herself with her own powers. But she is begging and relying on Takeru for his Sol/Lull? Not so fast. She hasn’t apologized yet. With her heartfelt apology, Takeru feels glad and lets her have his Sol/Lull. The rules of this battle are simple: They fight until one dies! Simple, enough? Of course Nya takes a beating and is no match for Chu’s strength. Rat girl thinks Nya is playing dumb when he questions her. Takeru is puzzled why Chu wants to kill Nya and annihilate the cat race. Because based on the old story of how the rat tricked the cat, shouldn’t the cat be the one angry and not the other way round? Nya uses all her Sol/Lull and puts a big gamble in this single cat gun strike. Chu is able to deflect it. Game over. Uri can’t bear to see her friend die so she dives into the battlefield to intervene. As she staggers her way there, Chu preparing to kill Nya accidentally stabs her! The battle is declare void and everyone is thrown out. Uri is injured badly and taken home to be treated but unfortunately nothing more could be done as she dies and disappears… URI!!! NO!!!!! And so that is why we have the entire ending credits dedicated with snippets of Uri…* Sniff, sniff*.

Episode 4
Such a gloomy day for Takeru. He knows Nya is trying to cheer him up and make him laugh. Or is she naturally an idiot? While visiting Maid Cafe Eto, Takeru is surprised Uri is serving them! She’s alive! But how?! It is true that she died but all Eto Shin will reincarnate after that. She didn’t return soon because she got lectured by ETM12 committee for interfering. With this over, they talk about standing out a character in which Nya doesn’t have. In fact, those lower half of the Chinese zodiac also face this problem. Usa is a pro in this as she points out their character flaws. Since Nya wants to have a character planning meeting tonight, those unpopular Eto Shin girls also come. But Usa is also here since she can’t leave it as it is now that she has said all that. Yup, she is going to offer her service to use her production services! Wow. Such a production pro. She’s like the master of production in everything. Even that cool realistic helicopter crashing scene was all special effects! First, Usa goes through the list of Eto Shin members who are for, against or neutral of Nya joining Eto Shin. Based on majority results, more do not want her to join. So what does this has got to do with anything? Usa has devised the perfect plan for her character to stand out. Does this include some mind control thingy? Thanks to Moo’s boobs in breaking the spell. Kii and Inu are interested to have a production makeover so Usa turns them into long lost twin boys. But there are double standards for Nya because she has to pay lots of fees upfront just because she is not part of Eto Shin! So Nya suggests a battle and if she wins, she’ll get her seal and free production as well. Agreed. They’ll play 3 times and if Nya wins in any one of them, victory goes to her. Usa does lots of distraction in this rock-scissors-paper game. Nya loses the first round and Usa uses her stopwatch to stop time and slap her. Nya also loses the second round but thinks of snatching the stopwatch. She did but nothing happens. She gets slapped. Uri and Takeru rewind to see in slow motion Usa’s super speed in stopping time. Wow. She has got so much time that she did other things while waiting for time to resume. In the third round, Nya grabs Usa’s foot (legend says a rabbit’s foot is its erogenous zone) and throws her off balance. Nya not only slaps Usa once but 3 powerful times! Nya wins! She gets the seal and a thick booklet of for her free production programme. What’s this? This isn’t the same as she was told. Because Nya is not Eto Shin, she must endure lots of hard physical training to shape herself up. Oh dear… Doesn’t look so fun now, eh? Usa won’t back out of it since she accepted her production request. It’s hell time…

Episode 5
Nya and Eto Shin are making some curry meal. Nya must be desperate for some Sol/Lull that she steals Mei’s secret sauce to dump it all inside the curry and ruin it. Takeru hasn’t been giving off his usual Sol/Lull ever since Uri’s reincarnation and you know who is the culprit, right? But Nya doesn’t learn, she thinks of getting some and goes to wake him up. Ah, there he is. Sleeping defencelessly in his bed. When she touches him, man he is hot! Turns out he has caught a cold. But it is no ordinary cold. This divine cold virus only infects Eto Musume and has never infected humans before. The first sneeze changes everyone’s outfit into swimsuits. Wow! Fanservice time already? The only exceptions are Mei and Nya who remain the same. The second sneeze only has them clad in towels. I guess you must be hoping for the third sneeze, right? Well… It is those damn light censors. Will the fourth one be the charm? Instead, it turned them chaotic. Different sizes, different personalities and different clothing. Nya notices that if she retorts them, they’ll return to normal albeit temporarily. So she goes on a retorting spree but thanks to everyone’s idiocy, Nya is being a natural. Who’d knew retorting is such a tiring job? An emergency occurs. Looks like the virus is devouring Takeru’s Sol/Lull and at this rate he will never wake up. The only way is to dive inside him and take out the virus. However Mei is left to do that task as Nya is busy keeping the idiots away. Mei manages to destroy the virus. She is touched that Takeru thanks her. Suddenly the virus tries to break free in its new variation. It is blabbing how it is the supreme ruler of realms, blah, blah, blah. What did Nya do? She gives a super delayed retort that destroys it for good! Everyone returns to normal although Nya herself is now naked. Mei heals Nya’s bruised hand (for retorting so much) with her seal and this also means Mei has approved in giving Nya her seal. Telling Nya to put on some clothes before she catches a cold, she remembers something like this vaguely. Last night she already had a little cold. She came into Takeru’s room, sneezed on him and stole his blanket. So it’s her fault, eh? Mei is mad that Nya is the one responsible causing this new strain in virus. She is going to give her and everyone else a new vaccine shot! When Takeru is well and compliments Mei for working hard, she could feel the warmth of his Sol/Lull. Oh no. Mei can feel she is coming down with a sickness. Love sickness!

Episode 6
Shima catches Nya in the act of trying to trade the seals of Kii and Inu with some high quality stuffs! Because after beating up they still do not learn their lesson, Shima talks to Takeru that at this rate Nya will not be able to be part of Eto Shin. He could guess this too. As Takeru’s Sol/Lull is of high quality, Nya has been complacent being around him and not exerting any effort. She thinks she’ll be fine by just stealing or getting them for free. That is why Shima is going to challenge her to a duel and then take her away for training. Next day, Shima looks for Nya but again sees her trying that sneaky trade. Nya threatens to blackmail with rowdy pictures of Shima from last episode. Shima is saddened her student turns out this way and will commit seppuku as atonement! But the trio will also be coming along with her! They are easily defeated when they attack. Even more disappointing for Shima is how her kick is so pathetic. Shima will have all of them battle her now. If Nya wins, she will get all their 3 seals. The game is kick the can. Shima is it and whoever gets to kick it from her wins. Seeing her tigress aura, the trio converge for a plan. Kii and Inu get beaten up as distraction so that Nya can sneak up. It didn’t work. Kii and Inu are out of the game. With another pathetic weak kick, Shima scorns that at this rate she cannot defeat Chu. Speaking of her, she is being confronted by Dora who wants her to let go the past. Nya is already a different person despite being eliminated 60 years ago and reincarnated. But Chu is hell bent in destroying Nya. Her soul screams of it. She has also added a new rule that no outside third party can intervene during a battle. Dora notes the new rules will take time to be in effect and she needs to do something about this. Shima wants to take Nya away for training and start anew but Nya doesn’t want to leave Takeru’s side. Can she name all the good things and memories they did together? Can’t express in words? Here are some recycled scenes as flashback. Heck, it is repeating itself! Not enough memories made, eh? Shima tells her to treat Takeru not as a human being but a battery to fully reap his Sol/Lull. Nya won’t do that because his Sol/Lull comes from his heart and because Takeru is with her, she can do her best to make her dream come true. This heartfelt speech makes Takeru want to support her. I think his Sol/Lull seeps into her as Nya defeats Shima with a new powerful move. A happy cat sleeping with a big grin on her face. Who wouldn’t after getting 3 prized seals at one shot?

Episode 7
Takeru and Nya thought Shaa is into gardening but she is planting food for her snake ornament. You mean that is real? Nya fools around with it and gets bitten. Oh, it’s a venomous snake. She’s turning into stone! Where’s the antidote?! Not sure. You serious?! Well, maybe if they go on this galaxy express journey, they’ll find it. They stop by a shrine whereby Shaa introduces the Eto Shin members, their personalities and the area of Japan they protect. Hmm… She must have really condensed the bottom half to save time, eh? The next shrine feels like a recap episode… Uh huh… It tells us the basic rules and laws pertaining to ETM12. Takeru wonders he has not seen the rest of the Eto Musume that is because they have already been beaten by Chu who is the most powerful and leader of Eto Shin. If you’re hoping to find out why the rat hates the cat, Shaa lazily puts their relationship as a messy tangle that no one can unravel or else it will destroy them. I don’t think anybody knows it either. Because the flashbacks were just begging for it, the remaining half of the episode becomes a recap episode of the first half of the series. The final shrine they enter is decimated. It belongs to Nya and this means her soul hasn’t been completely regenerated. Takeru sees some of Nya’s memories and wants to take it back to Nya but Shaa wonders if it is such a wise thing to do. There are some memories that are better left forgotten. Takeru admits he is not a god or part of Eto Musume, but he feels he is the most suitable person to support Nya right now. However Shaa says he cannot even look at all of Nya’s memories because this place is collapsing soon. Before he knows it, he is back on the train. And it seems this entire journey was just to kill time so that Shaa could finish cooking her curry dish with that plant as the antidote. Biggest troll ever. Nya returns to normal after eating the curry but a big bonus is that Shaa gives Takeru her seal. She believes that if there is anyone who can touch the cat and rat’s relationship, it is him. Maybe.

Episode 8
It is time for the commemorative Maid Cafe Eto Manager’s Cup. Uma is pretty serious (is desperate the right word?) in seeing this year’s cup will be a success. The reason being because throughout the years, the viewership ratings among the gods for the event has been plummeting. Last year was at 1.8% and if they get less than 1% this year, it will be cancelled. So what is the big deal? Well, Uma fears that people won’t remember the zodiac from the horse onwards… There’ll be no meaning to her existence! However nobody is interested in listening further and that is when the manager comes down (striking Nya) and proposes some sort of reward. He will grant the winner a wish. Don’t believe? Let him demonstrate. A broken cup? Magically fixed it. A dying bird? Cured and healed back to health. Stale curry? Now it’s fresh again! This has all the girls fantasize their utmost crazy desire if they win. So you up for it now? The cup will be a futuristic Mario Kart race. Nya thought she could be in pole position to take Chu’s place but Shima tosses her to start at the back. The race starts and there are already a few fouled ups that send some out of the race. The real race is between Dora and Shima but the interviewer had to interview them in the middle of the race, the blinding light causes them to crash out. With the rest crashing out in high speed blooper fashion, only Uma and Nya are left. Oh dear. The rating is dropping as low as 1.3%! Uma is panicking… The interviewer interviews Nya about her wish. It is to join Eto Shin. However he tells her that wish can only be granted by wining ETM12 so Nya loses interest in racing. Uma becomes desperate that she will give her seal is he beats her in the race so it becomes a neck to neck race to the finishing line. Uri’s ship that went out of control earlier, returns to damage the final stretch, sending the duo falling off. Uma resigns to her defeated fate but Nya won’t give up and uses every last ounce of power she has to get back up and cross the goal. In the end, Uma has learnt a valuable lesson. She was so fixated on ratings that she forgot the true meaning of divine rituals. She feels ashamed but Nya praises her for trying her best and that it was fun overall. Nya emits too much Sol/Lull that it turns her naked. What? Cue for Moo to get perverted. A big smile for Uma when she learns that the climax of the rest has the viewership shooting up to 40%. The cup is a huge success. After-party celebration, girls?

Episode 9
Piyo is about to join Takeru in a game of shogi when Nya crashes in to ruin it. This has the cat and chicken argue so Piyo is adamant Nya can never beat her let alone Chu. Nya wants a challenge right now and despite the game is shogi, Takeru suggests playing a friendly game first since Nya is not familiar with the rules. Despite having a handicap, Nya still loses. Since Nya talks bad about shogi, the duo start talking about shogi philosophy (shogi is the universe!). It is set. After Nya is done with her shogi training, they can do battle for real in which Piyo will place her seal on the line. And so Nya undergoes strict shogi training under Takeru’s guidance. I guess physical pain is the only way she’ll learn anything. To expand her mind, Nya is made to read shogi proverbs for strategies. Despite the hectic cycle, Nya perseveres till she can read her opponent’s mind. During the final test game with Takeru, she is so zen that she saw herself as her own enemy and overcomes it. The real battle is here. It is very strange to see Nya and Piyo exchange polite pleasantries although they are talking in shogi proverbs and terms that only Takeru can understand and translate for the rest. Wow. It is like Nya is a completely different person with her civil and well-mannered demeanour. At first Nya seems to have the advantage but Piyo makes a move that turns the tides. It is getting difficult for her when Takeru realizes he might have been suppressing Nya all this time. There is one proverb he has not taught her because he feared she would never learn to play it properly. That proverb is: A master needs no patterns. You don’t rely on a single pattern and use many unique moves to win. With that, Nya finds an inner piece of herself and uses a secret technique to win the game. Once they return to the real world, Nya quickly turns back to her old scatterbrain self. She has had it with shogi because sitting at such a position made her legs numb. Then she causes an accident with Piyo and starts another argument. Ah, back to the Nya we know. With her usual random fickle mood, Takeru notes Nya needs no patterns.

Episode 10
Nya doesn’t want to fight Uri but if she doesn’t, how will she get her Sol/Lull? I guess we should have seen this coming. Uri is easily defeated with a single kick to her face. Hey, at least she didn’t die. All that happiness turns into despair when Moo continues her extreme sexual harassment on Nya. Takeru wonders why Moo loves her so much so she briefly states their encounter on that one rainy day. So Nya proposed to her? Sure she is not making this up? There is recorded proof of this! Nya is forced to give a sock if she wants the proof. Yeah, Moo already has her 67th Nya sock so she can make a bed out of it and roll in her love forever. Pervert. And as you know, she has infinite copies of the proof and the one she just handed over is a dud. On to more serious stuffs, the other Eto Shin are concerned about Chu making her move because the new rule has been approved. Dora is the only one who hasn’t given her seal to Nya. She would love to but her amnesia is what making her hold back. So with a silly excuse of slapping mosquito, they use the old fashion method of beating her up in hopes her memories will return. Nope. They explain to Takeru this is to avoid the worst case scenario to get her memories back as they protect her. Moo is praying at a shrine reminiscing how she met Nya on that day. It was at the grave of her human family. She feels sad humans have short lives and always die before her. Nya assured her she will always be her family. Before her reminiscing can get erotic, Chu is here. Moo won’t allow her to fight Nya. So they’re going to fight? Chu has something she wants to test out. Everyone is shocked to see the rat and cow engaging in battle. Moo makes a great start but becomes wary when Chu starts using a move that only gods could use: Etotama Kagura Senguu. Chu believes she might have mastered this move 60 years ago so it is highly likely the reason why Nya died and lost her memories. More bewildering, it didn’t break Nya’s Etotama. Moo’s answer is simple: She loves Nya! Moo thought she finished her off with her special pile driver attack but she got up and used her Kokushi Tenchuusatsu attack. Chu doesn’t care about the balance falling apart if she kills Moo as her only goal is to destroy the cat clan. She rips out and destroys Moo’s Etotama. Then she declares only Nya can challenge her to battle. Back in the real world, before Moo succumbs to her fate, she plants something inside of Chu.

Episode 11
Flashback shows Chu is concerned what Nya is about to do would incur the wrath of the gods. But she isn’t afraid and is positive it will work out. When the first ETM12 is held (a footrace), Nya is notably missing so Chu told them all she tricked her into not coming. Now everyone is sad and gloom over Moo’s death. But she’ll be reincarnated, right? Not quite. Her Etotama was destroyed. Then what is this little Sol/Lull of Moo floating around then? It is just a residual of her thoughts. Moo is here to warn about Chu. Since she has seen the battle, she must know about that deadly move. If she cannot defeat it, she’ll never win. She has bought Nya some time by implanting some of her Sol/Lull inside Chu to stop her from rampaging. Moo points out Nya has a very important emotion called love. Then a hug before she disappears completely. But this puts Nya to sleep. It seems her damaged Etotama is being repaired. Takeru confirms everyone would love Nya to have her memories back. They describe how she is the one who always go solo and does things at her pace (why does Piyo always get tentacle raped by her tentacle gifts?). Meanwhile Mei and Shaa are healing Chu’s Etotama in hopes of calming her down. But this would only delay the inevitable as they still need the Sol/Lull of other Eto Shin to save her. They go plead to the rest as Mei explains Chu’s Etotama is turning all the Sol/Lull she absorbs negative. So if they give theirs, it might heal it via suppression by force. They want Takeru to come but he will stay by Nya’s side till she wakes up. When the Eto Shin begin giving their Sol/Lull, the negativity is so great that it is trying to absorb every last Sol/Lull in them. Nya wakes up and is her usual scatterbrain self. Takeru is glad she is still the same but Nya has got her memories back. She now remembers why she needs to be part of the zodiac. With Takeru, they head over to where the rest are but they have already been defeated. Nya heals them all with just a little touch of her Sol/Lull. Seeing she has got her memories back, Dora gives her seal to her. Now for the final face off with Chu. Nya thinks they are being punished by the gods now.

Episode 12
The great battle begins. But when Nya pulls off the same Etotama Kagura Senguu move, she claims that she is the one who used that move first. Chu, you look so shock. Nya reveals that Chu’s greatest point is her being direct and upfront more than anyone. This is also her weakest point because she takes in all the pressure until it is breaking point. There were signs that Chu was already at rampaging point back then. Because Chu needed to put up a good example as the strongest Eto Shin, the reason she acted so cold and such. She was trapped. She couldn’t confide in anyone. That is why Nya underwent a lot of training to master Etotama Kagura Senguu. Further flashback reveals something like this. Their last bout 60 years ago, Nya wanted to save Chu by destroying her Etotama with this move. She believed it was the only way. Chu didn’t take that lightly. She thought it meant Nya didn’t need her anymore and therefore breaking the promise they had. She became enraged and called Nya her enemy. Nya became disheartened and during this distraction, Chu struck back with that same move that she just saw, destroying Nya’s Etotama. Nya now powers up to fight back but she claims it is not her power that has come back. It is her love for Chu! Not convinced, Chu tries to finish her off but Nya grabs her Etotama and won’t let go. Meanwhile, the cafe manager paralyzes all the other Eto Shin and asks Takeru if the zodiacs are needed. Because if they aren’t he will invoke a law that will cause them to disappear and the selection process will begin again from scratch. Right now, all the Eto Shin are imperfect and cannot protect the land or do their duty as messengers. Takeru boldly ignores him to continue watching the fight.

Nya laments that she thought destroying her Etotama was the only way to save her. She realizes that it is wrong. Therefore no matter what Chu becomes or what becomes of Nya, she will never give up. It seems this move repairs Chu’s Etotama. Suddenly… Suddenly! Chu turns into an emotional wreck! Not the evil kind but of the girly kind! While ‘beating up’ Nya, she complains how she was lonely as Nya travelled the world to keep the balance in check (although she did supported Nya from the shadows as per agreed). Despite the balance and order in the world, the fact remains that Chu was lonely. She wanted Nya to be by her side. For 2000 years she couldn’t just say it. So this is the big reason that led to this mess? Takeru’s advice to Chu is that she can be out of character as much as she wants. This will give rise to all kinds of feelings and she’ll be able to say what she wants like she does now. Being with Nya made him understand that. He supports both of them to go on. His Sol/Lull purifies Chu that her purple outfit now becomes white! Time to finish up this battle. Now he answers the manager’s question. After naming the zodiacs in order, he says he needs them. Although they are imperfect but this is what makes them great. The manager accepts his words. Besides, he feels relieved because he doesn’t need to conduct interviews and do everything from start again. Thanks boy. In the aftermath of the battle, Mei examines Chu’s Etotama and it is fine and stable. But Nya is throwing tantrums and bugging Chu to give her seal since she claims she has won. But Chu won’t. She has to take responsibility for killing Moo. Everybody ignores Nya to discuss about ETM12 laws and such. Aw, Nya… So sad all your efforts this season are wasted… Chu tells her this is a good thing because she is free and not bound by the rules. She can go anywhere and do whatever she wants. Suddenly, Moo in Sol/Lull form pops out from Chu. Although she previously planted part of herself inside her, it is Chu and Nya’s love that aided her reincarnation. So all is well, end’s well? Except for Nya… Still not part of the zodiac…

Special 1
As Usa, Uma, Kii and Inu take a break during their shift at Maid Cafe Eto, the monkey and dog aren’t too pleased the horse and rabbit are talking about girly things. Don’t they get tired of it? There is no break time from being a girl! So what’s it like being a woman? Usa has some tips (personal opinion, that is) and that is to say “That’s so cute~”. Kii says it to Inu and it makes her blush. She returns the same before they both get carried away calling each other cute. Usa snaps them out of it and they realize how scary being cute is!

Special 2
Chu and Shaa are soaking in the hotspring as the latter talks about beings walking on toes or heels. It may just be a bad pun or tongue twister thingy. Chu gets up and says they walk with the soles of their feet with no worries and no matter how sloppy the mat is, it will not be worthy enough to obstruct their path.

Special 3
Piyo is resting on the tree and is annoyed at cat’s purr. It is falling off the tree. No choice, she goes to put it down on the ground. Nya then runs zooms past her. With Piyo’s recent memories erased, she cannot fathom why the stray cat is rubbing at her legs. Annoyed?

Special 4
Takeru notices they are out of eggs to make sukiyaki. But don’t worry. Mei is here to share the eggs that she bought too much. She even knows and suggests where in his kitchen to get a certain sauce. Creepy stalker… After she has gone, Uri feels something suspicious. Nobody in their right mind would buy extra eggs. Mei might look normal coming from the front door but noticed she has already opened the door before Takeru did? It was locked, right? What does this mean? She has the keys to the house! Change the locks! Oh, Mei is back with a locksmith… Oh sh*t! She knows!

Special 5
Takeru never knew that hole had a life of its own. And no, it is not Nya playing any pranks. That hole is alive! And so Takeru becomes best friends with this holey and they do great things together. WTF. A guy and a hole?! Then one night while watching the stars together, a comet is going to crash on them. The hole turns giant to absorb it all to protect Takeru before vanishing. Takeru becomes distraught of his best pal’s ‘death’. Of course this entire sequence is just a dream as Takeru has fallen asleep and his head inside the hole while Nya tries her best to pull him out.

Special 6
Time to learn English from Moo. Yeah. Listen to a cow on how to use very good English. Very, very good English indeed… Just wait for it… A is for… Ny-A!!! An excuse to take out her horny kiss on her hand puppet Nya. Next is alphabet B. What does it stand for? Nya!!! Does she know the alphabet or not?! Or is this some lame excuse to take out her gross sexual fantasies on the hand puppet that it even needs a cow censor! And finally C is for… I don’t know, how does it fit in Moo stealing a sock of Nya and adding it to her collection? And she should have at least made a pun of C (see) ‘ya instead of saying goodbye to end it. Go back to English class, you perverted bovine!!!

S-CAT-terbrain CAT-titude!
So this is the true reason why the cat is not in the zodiac? And the fact that cats and rats are actually best of friends? Woah. Wait a minute. Then why does Tom still chase Jerry and the violent rivalry between Itchy and Scratchy continue till this day? Oh, that is their way of showing their love to each other, eh? Anyway, I guess the simple story of this anime is rather okay. The cat trying to join the zodiac and the eternal rivalry with the rat boils down to something deeper but if you have watched lots of animes and even movies from Hollywood these days, you can guess that stories like these would have some sort of twist to them and not as straightforward as it seems. Therefore it wasn’t a big surprise when the revelation between Nya and Chu came about. Not that I perfectly guessed what it was. Rather, I knew Chu wasn’t going to be a true villain from start to finish and there was something that made her to play the role of the antagonist.

The characters themselves are pretty lovable although I feel some of them do not get enough screen time despite most of the episodes at least dedicate one episode for an Eto Shin for Nya to challenge and obtain her seal. Each of the Eto Shin are unique and their personality somewhat becomes a running joke of the series. For instance, Uri is usually the character that ‘dies’. Until Moo broke that death streak by dying for real before being somewhat reincarnated as a mini version just to make us all happy that the 12 zodiacs are together. Uri also loves the sesame oil sauce and can’t leave home without it. The part which I find ‘funny’ about her is that she usually ends her sentences with ‘desu-desu’. It sounds cute but when I’m not concentrating, sometimes it sounds like ‘tes-tes’, close to as in ‘testes’!!! OMG!!!

The rest of the characters with ‘running joke’ include Piyo who seems to forget everything exactly after 3 steps, Moo’s brazen display of affection for Nya and unashamed perversion towards her in broad daylight, Mei’s creepy love for Takeru, Usa the business genius with everything in this damn world you buy originating from her UTC company, Shaa’s lack of emotional display and the irony that she can make bad puns and jokes with such a poker face, Uma always in constant depression thinking that she is the reason why people cannot name the bottom half of the zodiac and Kii and Inu whose characters are so similar and overlapping that they don’t amount much to anything. Also another form of running joke is how the characters from time to time break the fourth wall like as though they know and are pointing out to viewers who are watching the episode.

Nya herself may start out as an annoying character with her scatterbrain personality and doing things at her own pace. But that itself is what makes her likeable (unless you are not a cat person). Whether or not she remembers her past, she is still the same person and nobody else could beat that kind of liveliness you see in her. For most of the time, she is screaming, throwing tantrums, running about, getting into trouble and all sorts of other stuffs that make her funny and amusing. I thought with Moo’s ‘death’, she can be happy and free from all those unwanted sexual harassments. But now that Moo is back to mini size, I wonder how she will take out her harassment and annoy Nya. I mean, she used to use her big boobs to smother all over Nya. How is she going to do that now she is Thumbelina’s size?

For Chu, I had a feeling she wasn’t really a bad guy. Maybe she was just playing the antagonist just to keep everyone in line and especially about the reputation she had to keep up. Who’d knew that she was just a lonely rat and all that pent up frustration and emotions built up inside her, turned her into one big ticking time bomb. So don’t worry Nya. All your efforts this season may not get you a seat as part of Eto Shin. It was to save Chu. That wasn’t your goal? Don’t go crying over spilled milk now, cat girl. Takeru feels a bit redundant for most of the episodes. Most of his role goes to giving his Sol/Lull to Nya whenever he experiences positive feelings and watching the special TV of Nya in battle. It is hard to see him making a direct impact on Nya and the Eto Shin since from what I can see, he is trying to understand more about them and the zodiac girls can be sufficient in dealing with Nya to achieve her goal even without Takeru around.

The art and drawing of the characters lean towards the cute type. After all, when you are going to personify and anthropomorphize Chinese zodiac animals, might as well make them as cute as possible. Yeah, I suppose they’re cuter when they are in their Pretty Mode. But sometimes I feel that the character designs of Eto Shin make them feel like they are cosplaying. Because you have Uma in a miko priestess outfit, Mei dressed up as a nurse, Usa looking like a cross between a Playboy bunny girl and Alice In Wonderland, Shaa an Egyptian pharaoh and Moo who looks like some sort of sexy cowgirl. But the most disturbing design goes to Nya. Why? Well, let’s see. I don’t know why but the first time I laid eyes on her I thought she is the cat and chibi version of Haruhi Suzumiya! OMG! The striking resemblance! Did she reincarnate into a cat?! The sailor uniform also looks almost similar.

Not many animes that employ the use of CGI would do well to mix it with traditional 2D animation. Personally I think this one does a good job in this area although CGI is mainly used during the battle scenes during the Eto Shin’s bout. The action and movements are fluid and smooth and sometimes giving me a feel I am watching a cut scene from a video game, which isn’t that bad. But the most breath-taking and amazing designs would go to the backdrops and sceneries of the battle scene. I kinda like some of the designs and layouts of the stages and the CGI effect enhances its awesomeness.

Therefore some of the action and battle sequences are quite good although I won’t go so far as to say it is so awesome that my eyes were totally glued to the screen and craving for more when it ends. As said, thanks to the CGI effects, the battles that involve using their fists and kicks feel like they are coming from a video game and they do pack it with a lot of power. I suppose to stem the monotonous pattern that Nya needs to fight every Eto Shin, some ‘battles’ like in Piyo’s case are more brains oriented and Uma’s kart racing so it is good they provide variety in how Nya can earn their seals. Heck, some don’t even need to assert any effort like Shaa, Kii and Inu.

The best voice acting goes to Rie Murakawa as Nya (Hotaru in Non Non Biyori). Nya might sound annoying with her exuberance but it is not easy to voice such a lively scatterbrain character in every episode for most of the time. I think if I were to try and match that liveliness in Nya, I don’t think I would even last half an episode. Heck, maybe the first line would have killed me. So you have got to give Rie Murakawa a lot of credit points for perfectly portraying Nya and giving her character a lot of, uhm, character. The only seiyuus that I recognized in this series are Hiro Shimono as Takeru and Sayaka Ohara as Chu (she sounds like she is in her badass mode like Erza from Fairy Tail).

The rest of the casts are Eriko Matsui as Moo (Isuzu in Log Horizon), Yuka Tatsumi as Shima (Riko in KissxSis), Yuka Aisaka as Usa (Muse in Amagi Brilliant Park), Maaya Uchida as Dora (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Hitomi Nabatame as Shaa (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Ari Ozawa as Uma (Nozomi in The Rolling Girls), Mai Fuchigami as Mei (Miho in Girls Und Panzer), Megumi Toda as Kii (Yuzu in Sakura Trick), Mikoi Sasaki as Piyo (Hercule in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Mariko Honda as Inu (Kurimu in Seitokai No Ichizon) and Yumiri Hanamori as Uri (Chiaya in The Rolling Girls).

The opening theme, Retry Rendezvous by Rie Murakawa is a lively and fun anime rock piece, just very much like the Nya character herself. The playful opening of this song is already enough to make you want to listen to the rest of it before you start your episode. But it is a slow rock ballad for the ending theme, Blue Moment by Soruraru BOB. It is quite a touching and lovely song and could have more emotional effect had not the silly comedy parts get in the way. I mean, after watching the hilarity of it all, hearing this piece is just clashing with your emotions. Unless the episode gets serious or ends on a gloomy note. Like how when certain characters ‘die’, the ending credits animation will turn and become into a montage/snippets/clips on the character like as though you’re paying your last homage to her. Is this supposed to be funny? Can you laugh when you’re sad?

On a trivial note, there are lots of illustrations of the characters of the series especially during the sponsor screen, mid-intermission eye-catch and the end card. For the mid-intermission section, there are interesting bits, trivia and details in brief about the series’ terms and the laws of ETM12. It is a good place to get to know more about those stuffs if you are really fascinated with this series. As for the end card, the seiyuu will draw her version of the character she voiced. Some looking funny (Usa), some looking just plain simple (Takeru’s is just glasses) and some looking cool (Uri). Just sad that Kii and Inu didn’t get their own versions since Takeru and Nya replace them. If you believe in horoscopes, don’t ever listen to the one as told in the next episode preview because they’re just a load of bull designed only for comedic purposes. Seriously, don’t.

Overall, this might not be the best anime of the season or the year or would anybody remember it in time since the use of Chinese zodiac animals in animes isn’t something new (Fruits Basket comes to mind). It has a decent plot, lots of cute characters, lots of funny moments (though mainly relying on breaking the fourth wall and repeated running jokes) and some fight scenes to go with it in nice 3D effect. It is not bad so give it a try. If you like to add another theory to why cats aren’t in the zodiac, then just watch this show so you can impress-cum-bullsh*t your friends.

Houkago No Pleiades

October 16, 2015

They really did it. After debuting as an ONA a few years ago, Houkago No Pleiades has now received a proper adaptation as a TV series albeit it is only 1 cour. Just like the vast space that is expanding at a fast rate (theoretically, that is), the TV series has also expanded from just approximately 4 episodes of 6 minutes each into a dozen episodes that lasts your usual 24 minutes of screen time each. I might not remember much since the last time I watched the ONA but reading back from my blog, there are some familiar elements that they have taken and expended the storyline. And yeah, I’m thinking of a possible reason why it took them so long to give this series a proper anime adaptation is because it is time to promote the Subaru cars that this anime was intended to in the first place. Car sales haven’t been good, eh? Oh, don’t expect to see Subaru car models around. It will be sending wrong and bad messages if you see underage girls driving in Subaru models. Really.

Episode 1
From the sounds of it, Subaru loves watching the stars. On her way to the observatory, before her is a sick boy, Minato. They talk about things like how Subaru wants to see a meteor shower tonight and wants to invite him but feels awkward an embarrassed. Her wish to see the meteor shower is dashed when it is raining. She didn’t see a cute blob next to her so she steps on it, causing it to bounce and somehow ‘steal’ her compass. She follows it to a classroom and when she opens the door, she is surprised to see 4 girls in white magical outfit. One of them is her friend, Aoi. They are also surprised that Subaru can see them and despite they think Subaru is the chosen saviour, Aoi dismisses this because it is common knowledge that Subaru is a slow retard. But this blob which is their president and from the Pleiades star believes she is the one (you can’t hear a thing this blob mumbles and is translated by Nanako). He gives Nanako a drive shaft (a sophisticated broom stick that sounds like a motorcar) and before she knows it, she is already flying with it in the sky and transforming into her own magical girl outfit. A large star (sea urchin?) is falling from the sky. The girls claim this is fragments of the engine they need to collect. I don’t know what Subaru and Aoi are arguing about leaving each other behind by transferring to another school but they failed their mission and bounced right back into the classroom. Turns out the girls have never successfully captured an engine before so how can they explain perfectly to Subaru what they should do? But with Subaru believing that everybody can do it, I guess it’s time to try again. As explained, this is part of the president’s engine when he crashed land on Earth 7 years ago. They’re trying to gather them so he can go back to his planet. They are going to do some magic barrier to stop it. Everything is working fine till a dark star zooms pasts them, breaking their formation. Although Subaru manages to get the shrunken fragment, the dark star continues to target her until it directly collides into her. Turns out to be a guy who blames Subaru to be clumsy. Then he flies away to the dark side of the moon. But everyone is happy that Subaru has successfully captured their first fragment and believe she is their saviour. A big bonus for Subaru is that now she is able to see the meteor shower. Well, they’re floating above the clouds so why not?

Episode 2
Is it a coincidence that Subaru and Aoi seem to be heading to school and doing things at the same spot? Even their seat in class. Yup, nobody remembers if this spot belongs to Subaru or Aoi. Why so complicated? Itsuki just brings in an extra table. There, settled. Later President explains about something to do with the intertwining destinies from his accident 7 years ago that caused all 5 of them to gather at the same spot. All of them are in the same world. To cut that complicated story short, if they collect all the fragments, their threads of fate will return to normal. The girls teach Subaru how to use her drive shaft but demonstrating won’t be enough. Aoi becomes her guide but I think Subaru needs a break since she’s getting a little sick for flying too fast. She remembers she needs to return the observatory key and again she sees Minato there. He returns to her the broken telescope filter she forgot to take the last time but she gives it to him since it is of no use to her. They talk about people changing so Minato suggests they should become friends. Subaru returns to Aoi and wants to continue her flying lessons while reconciling their friendship. Hikaru, Itsuki and Nanako spot a variable star in the distance and think they are fine collecting it on their own. Till that dark guy intervenes and it causes the star to split into 2 although the centrifugal force is making them spin. Subaru and Aoi now enter the fray and from what their friends explain, they need stop them both at the exact same time. Time to put what you learn to use. Remembering an old childhood song, they start singing it and their perfect synchronization has them capture the stars. But now the stars are being drawn to each other. Using speed and altitude, they manage to stop them from colliding. Then the dark guy snatches Subaru’s portion and claims these fragments are his. I guess he is cocky to believe that he can outwit and take the rest from them any time. Yeah, that’s enough for today. He’ll be back next time. Subaru blames herself for being a retard but Aoi consoles her and promises to protect her next time. More good news because while the duo was training, Hikaru and the rest have applied for a permanent clubroom. Under the guise of a cosplay research club with President as their, erm, president, they’ve got a place to call home. Hey, if nobody can see President or the girls (when they are transformed), how did they nominate President as the president? How the heck did it get approved anyway? President spits out a jar so they can put all the fragments they collected in it.

Episode 3
The dark guy just beat the girls to collect a fragment all by himself. All thanks to Subaru being nervous. So I guess the girls are in no mood for celebration back at their clubroom. Then there is this lecture by President about possible potentials that I don’t think rocket scientists can understand. Just STFU. Even more gloom for Subaru when she sees her dad assembling parts of some machine together. Although he mentions the power they produce if properly assembled, Subaru can’t help cry after thinking it is still defective no matter how many parts you put together. As Subaru is in her cleaning duties, she stumbles into the observatory and talks with Minato again. Relating the problem she is facing, he tells her he is free to decide and hesitate. She might be afraid but is she sure she is the only one afraid? The girls detect another fragment over the ocean. They are perfect in obtaining it but the dark guy usurps them and steals their hard work. Hikaru fights back and this causes the fragment to go missing. To take out their frustrations, Hikaru suggests going swimming and invites him. You think he wants to join them? Well, it seems Nanako detects the fragment at the bottom of the ocean so put on your swimsuits and dive in. I wonder how they can breathe… They need to be calm and not startle while collecting it. To their surprise, the dark guy joins them! But it wasn’t him that startled the fragment. A passing eel tickles their feet. It then becomes a giant waterspout that reaches far above the stratosphere. Itsuki finds she cannot go higher than a certain altitude. Adios, dark guy is going ahead. With tips from Subaru, Itsuki uses the wind and transforms her drive shaft into some vacuum cleaner and links the others to tag along. It is a race to grab the fragment and with teamwork, the girls win. With the waterspout dissipating, the girls are now floating in space. I wonder how they can breathe… Dark guy isn’t giving up yet but I don’t know what Subaru is ranting about in this heartfelt speech of hers. She wants to be with her friends, blah, blah, blah. I guess she was nervous that she accidentally bumps her butt in his face! He has had it and lets them off for today. So the girls admire space as they float down. I don’t give a damn what the blob is trying to say. When Aoi notes they are like Cinderellas gathered by a glass slipper, the rest tease her for having a cute side. Well, they admit they aren’t any different from her and feel happy. Lastly, Subaru remembers her father comforting her about people aren’t like manufactured parts and don’t have to settle by taking only 1 shape.

Episode 4
The girls are amazed that Hikaru can precisely identify the piano notes just by hearing them. President then detects a fragment orbiting the moon so the girls undergo training to fly at higher mach and also some g-force training. Wow. Magical girls doing it like a piece of cake. It is decided to retrieve the fragment on Thursday but Subaru notes there is a concert by Hikaru’s accomplished parents she wants to attend. However Hikaru points out on that day there is no concert. Seems they have discovered some planet and want to use that day to send piano music towards it. If they only knew there was an alien already here… Subaru goes back to class but stumbles into the observatory. She finds it hard to explain things to him but he believes she has never lied to him. That is why when she says she is going to the moon, he believes her. So the girls make their flight there. Of course, the dark guy too. During the fight, their magic barrier dissipates and Hikaru finds herself in a dream. She knows she is in one because the moon is made of cheese! And there is Subaru too being a retard. Hikaru talks about her little problem that she is a nobody. When a certain song is heard emitting from Earth, Hikaru becomes scared and covers her ears. She is returned to reality and Subaru recognizes this song as the one composed by Hikaru’s parents. Could they know she is at the moon? Well, she did left a note she was going there. Hikaru further reveals that when she was young, one day she was sick and she heard the sound of the piano from her father’s room. The piano tone sounded like it was troubled over something. Hikaru was surprised she could see a note and added it, knowing it was the note daddy was searching for. But later she started feeling scared that the note would cause him trouble. She couldn’t bear to hear it and has never heard the full song. Her parents achieved their dreams on their own and she didn’t want to interfere. Subaru can tell her father is playing like this to let her hear it and knows she was interfering then. As they go trap the fragment, somehow dark guy is drawn-cum-forced into helping them. Once the fragment is captured, he is blown away. Like no more need for him, eh? Hikaru’s parents are happy the song reached their daughter and the moon. They believe she is there because she has never lied to them. The girls are surprised to realize they are back in the clubroom. They are shocked to see tears from Hikaru although she tries to change the subject. Tears of joy?

Episode 5
Aoi is furious. Thank to the blob fooling around in class, a minor accident led to Aoi being casted to play the prince role in a theatre festival. Of course without a doubt the princess will be played by Itsuki by a near unanimous vote. The play they will be putting up is The Lady In The Tower whereby a princess of a certain nation has the power to materialize whatever she says. It was good at first till she summoned a lion and was locked away in the tower. A long time passed and a prince journeyed to come make her wish come true but she is gone. He heard her last words that she wanted to disappear. Aoi gets motivated to design a beautiful gown for a princess as they start their work in making the dress. As Subaru returns the log book, again she wanders into the observatory and sees Minato before her. She wonders if this is a dream because he is always there. He notes that if he is a resident of her dream, all she needs to do is wake up. But where would he end up then? Later Subaru talks to Itsuki as the latter reveals she has no wish or dream because it would only cause trouble for someone else. Long ago when she was more of a tomboy than anything, she fell off a tree and her parents blamed her brother for not stopping her. She thought this scar on her forehead was a punishment and warning (a reason why she kept the bangs). President finds another fragment and this time whisks them away to Jupiter. I love it how the girls describe the space bodies like as though they’re some desserts. Chocolate chip cookies, lemon sherbet, milk tea… Mmm… Makes me hungry… The fragment is hard to spot since it is in the midst of Saturn’s rocky rings. But looks like the dark guy is here too because somehow they pulled him over when they went into overdrive. So another competition to get the fragment begins. Itsuki has an idea to search for the fragment faster. I don’t know. Putting holes in the rings? When it is spotted, Itsuki and the dark dude make a final dash and I suppose Itsuki has a longer reach than him. Yeah, he is calling it foul for her playing rough! Nobody said anything about the rules, did they? Back on Earth, our girls are next in their play. The shocking part isn’t the ending rewritten that the prince saved the princess but rather Itsuki who always wanted to play the prince part is now casted as one. Aoi plays the princess and she doesn’t look comfortable in this girly role. Making Itsuki happier when she spots her brother watching.

Episode 6
A band of light is visible in the sky. President explains that is actually his spaceship! They are running out of time and need as many engine fragments as possible. Then there is this mumbo-jumbo of his species trying to find a decent place to live but space was too far. Their technology allowed them to select their desired outcome and so they chose nothing (because by living means you have to make choices). Now they exist outside the laws of space as they are frozen in time on an endless journey. WTF?! Who writes this crap?! Anyway, the accident 7 years ago caused their ship to lose the ability to escape the laws of space and the ship is at risk of falling apart without the power source. The engine has split into 13 fragments. The tally right now is that they have 5 and the dark guy 3. Despite not having all the parts, President will do all he can to create the engine with the available fragments. It’ll be bad if the ship materializes. It can crash into the entire planet! When Subaru is left behind in the clubroom, she sees an earring belonging to Minato and a familiar fragment. Isn’t this the one that the dark guy has? She touches it and the trap activates. The entire school is now barricaded in a magic barrier. Seems he used his own fragment as bait. The other girls cannot enter and need Subaru to find a way to open from within. Dark guy is already inside searching for the fragments. But when Subaru bumps into him, she runs away as fast as her drive shaft could and ends up in the observatory. Because she is in panic, her scatterbrain words have Minato confused. He doesn’t understand about a thing about the fragments. When she shows his earring, he starts feeling pain. He points her the direction to get out and claims he will be fine. When dark guy comes into the observatory, he sees the earring but the moment he picks it up, it turns into poison gas. Subaru manages to open the observatory door and let her friends in. President wants the girls to keep him busy while he finishes the engine. However he has the entire school building floating in space. He shoots his magic to destroy it and wants the girls to hand over the fragment. They won’t but he easily takes them with his telekinesis power. President wants the girls to use their drive shafts as spark plugs to start the engine. However it is not powerful enough. Dark guy doesn’t care what happens to everything so long he has got the fragments. Subaru’s earnest feelings of whatsoever has the space light glow so bright that it blows him away and seal the ship. He is now in the observatory and being confronted by Minato who says he has to go now. President is happy that they got back their fragments including those that were in dark guy’s hands. But they have to continue finding the remaining fragments since this measure is only temporary. When Subaru returns to the observatory, it is dark and wilted. She takes the flower Minato left behind and hopes they’ll meet again.

Episode 7
Subaru is planting the flower and her friends wonder if she has joined the gardening club. But she looks so gloomy… Aoi goes to talk to her as Subaru explains about this Minato person she met but nothing more that she knows of. However this left Aoi upset because as her friend she never told her anything. Subaru stumbles upon Minato doing his gardening. Seems he is cold and indifferent to her. She tries to refresh his memories about the greenhouse-cum-observatory but he says the school has no such place. President detects another fragment but this one is acting like a comet and is going to crash into the sun. Well, you know what to do before it is too late. I wonder how roast octopus tastes like… And it seems that dark guy is also here to take the fragment. Predictable… As they being their operation, the friends can tell something has happened between Subaru and Aoi. Were they fighting? With a lot of flashbacks on their pasts, etc, it finally took the friends to scold them about hesitating after coming this far. Long story short with all that additional flashbacks, they patch up their relationship and finish the job. Yeah, they’re closer than ever like the fight never happened. I’ll always be with you, I want to protect you… That kind of stuff that friends say to each other. Later when Subaru and Aoi compare their necklace charm they gave each other, looks like the missing parts are also exactly the same. They realize they both received a treasure from a precious friend and were never left behind. Next time Subaru sees Minato, she sums up her courage to get his attention. He thinks she is mistaking him for somebody else but Subaru says even so, she learnt something from her friend. That Minato is still Minato. He is glad she has managed to find another way to open the door and Subaru welcomes him back.

Episode 8
With Subaru spending more time with Minato, the rest wonder if their club is going to be disbanded. Furthermore, aren’t they looking quite close to each other that it gives out that po-warm feeling? Is that a new word? President detects another fragment but it is at the edge of the Solar System. Somehow the previous methods in reaching there won’t work and they will need to send one person there via the power of their drive shafts at the speed of 0.25 light years (equivalent to 3 months). Who can skip school for that long? Apparently Nanako volunteers. Since she is going to be gone, President disguises as Nanako’s substitute but with a preset of phrases, can they fool everyone? Nanako believes they can! So our friends see off Nanako as she begins her 3 month journey. The friends borrow Hikaru’s parents’ telescope to see where Nanako is at now. Nanako has finally past the final planet in our solar system. I guess all that loneliness has her think back about her past. She is always alone and adults are liars. Apparently her mom left with her brother to travel around the world. They said they’ll be back for her but they never did. That is why she believes no matter who you love or how much, you’ll be alone again. Naturally? But she can’t help think about Subaru and co despite arguing that being alone suits her best. Suddenly there is an unknown planet before her. She never knew a planet existed this far. Has it been sitting alone without anyone noticing? Oh sh*t! Nanako discovered a planet! She names it Apate, after the goddess of fraud and despair. She tries to communicate to her friends and bets they would love to see this. Subaru and co receive Nanako’s message and instantly teleport to where she is! Everyone is happily reunited. Nanako remembers she found a glowing stone, cracked it open and a shapeless light communicating with her telepathically. It took the cute octopus form we see because Nanako imagined it to be so as it was the alien her brother drew. Nanako realizes despite being alone, memories with everyone will never disappear. Time to grab the fragment but that dark guy is here. How the heck does he do it every time?! The struggle to get the fragment somewhat has it activate the planet’s sea of hydrogen. All that mumbo-jumbo from president means that this planet will be reborn into a star. So our sun won’t be lonely anymore? After grabbing the fragment, everyone suddenly finds themselves in the clubroom and on the day Nanako left. Apparently one of the ways to come back is for someone to wish hard enough to return to this moment. It might be Nanako because today is her birthday. Wow. They reverse a 3 month timeline just like that? Now they’ve got to take the test again…

Episode 9
The school’s cultural festival is here and the girls realize they don’t even know what their club does aside serving as a disguise to collect fragments. That is when Subaru remembers she is from the astronomy club! As President is worried the dark guy might show up to steal the fragments again, Subaru suggests letting her keep in her planetarium club since not many people have access to the room and is always locked. When Subaru wants to be excused to go help do a planetarium for her astronomy club, it starts ringing alarm bells for the rest. Is she rendezvousing with a boy?! Just in time. There is a best couple contest too… Although Minato is not from the astronomy club, he is helping her out as repayment for her help in his gardening. Little does Subaru know, Nanako has been secretly taking photos of them as in item! Subaru and Minato test their planetarium. Why experience an artificial one when you can have the real one! Yeah, Minato takes her through an amazing space journey. No Subaru, you’re not dreaming. Minato explains that sci-fi crap because of that not existing in the laws of space, it makes them able to be here but at the same time not here. WTF?! Save the crap. Let’s just call it magic. Meanwhile the friends are outside the planetarium and their minds running while thinking of that do-not-disturb sign outside. They’re tempted to see but Itsuki won’t allow them to interfere. She turns hypocrite as she wants to know or else she cannot sleep tonight. But when they open the door, nobody is there. The space trip continues as Minato shows her a cluster of blue Pleiades stars and her name bears the same meaning. Then a journey to a lively centre of stars. Everything is so bright that space doesn’t look dark. This has Subaru ponder the limits of space. He mentions they can enjoy this now because they won’t remember it all when they get back. Subaru recognizes this feeling. When she was young and used to visit grandma at hospital, one day she got lost and stumbled into a room. This young boy (Minato) showed her visuals of space and even lets her experience the real deal. He says it’s magic. They had fun learning and discovering space together but shortly after that, the boy was gone. She never knew his name and only remembered it just now. Eh, wait. Minato is crying? Subaru wonders if they don’t go back, does this mean they can remember all this? OMG! Did they kiss?! When he reveals he was that boy, they’re already back in the room and Subaru doesn’t know why she is crying. After they leave, Minato returns to get the key. The fragments hidden in the clock resonates with his earring and float around. He now remembers. Looks like it is time to say goodbye to Subaru.

Episode 10
Minato proclaims he is cursed and that his memories can only exist within himself. Subaru suddenly transforms. She returns to the room and sees Minato turned into that dark guy (which is hardly surprising). From what he says, Subaru realizes he doesn’t recognize her. By the time the other girls come, he has stolen all the fragments and blasts up to space and uses it to attract the 12th piece. The girls give chase but find they ran out of ‘fuel’. It seems the fragments enhanced their power but now that it’s gone, they need to combine their drive shafts and only has room for one. Guess who is going? As Minato floats in space, he remembers his times in the hospital. One day some superhero boy jumped into his window. He is shocked Minato could see him. He explains he is collecting crystals since their engine is broken and leaking energy to repair it. As he wants to be named, Minato calls him Elnath, the second star of Taurus. He also gives Minato some fancy prince outfit. I suppose this is to have magic effects? Every night they go out hunting for those crystals as Elnath explains about possible potentials that their spaceship is hovering in between. He also akin humans to this. Especially infants when they have a lot of potentials before their host taking shape. Once they do so, those other lost potentials become this crystal and disappear, amounting to nothing. Shortly, Subaru came into his room. Now she is here pleading him to return to fragments but Minato sounds bitter about that alien boy who was just a coward and abandoned those once he knew had no choice left that would save them. If this world won’t accept him, then he’ll abandon it.

More flashbacks surrounding the time young Minato spent with Subaru. Minato had hope after meeting her. One night, Minato felt confident he could capture a fragment but his magic collapsed. Next thing he knows, he sees himself in ICU and on life support. He becomes sad that all that he experienced were just illusions. He becomes disillusioned of using the fragments to choose another potential from the past. Elnath warns him the engine is designed to move towards the future and if he denies his present self, his magic will become cursed. Minato turns Elnath into a rock when he tries to stop him. As hard as Minato tries to get the fragment, he loses his consciousness till he disappears. His other self in hospital fell asleep for who knows how long. While flowers bloom from the crystals, he knew the only thing that wasn’t an illusion when Subaru opened the door to the observatory. But if she doesn’t remember what happened and he continuing to curse himself, if he disappears, all this will just be an illusion. Therefore Minato is going to gather all the fragments to disappear from this world. Subaru doesn’t want him to do that and reverts to her normal form. Now you recognize her? After he pushes away, he gets stabbed by the fragment. He thinks she is also cursing herself like him because her wish might be to collect the fragments forever. Minato disappears and only the fragment remains. Subaru returns to her friends with all the fragments but she doesn’t look happy.

Episode 11
It seems Subaru has lost her magic and cannot see President. Her drive shaft is now a normal compass and more crap from President about lost potentials that will never return. But the girls cannot stay gloomy because the cultural festival is about to start. Everyone carry their duty well especially Subaru doing a great planetarium show. Father is so happy that he cried that he never realized she has changed this much. Oddly, this makes Subaru start crying. Did he say the wrong word? Why is ‘change’ such a taboo word? Subaru sees the unattended garden. Even Minato’s classmate doesn’t even remember Minato’s name anymore. Subaru is happy to find the flower and picks it up. President speaks to the other girls about the final fragment that is getting further and further away at the speed of light. They’re going to use some dark energy to leap and jump at the speed of light to catch it. Well, this method sounds more magical than sci-fi. The girls leap and leap and notice the lesser stars as they go further. President says they’re only getting farther from the fragment at this rate. They might not even obtain it. Then there is even this crap that if they don’t collect the final one, it means the laws of the universe forbade them. Currently it is operating slightly at their favour because of their earnest wish deep in their hearts. This is proven when their wishes, big or small have come true. This means if they cannot collect the last fragment, it means they didn’t wish for it. It means it was President’s mistake to turn them into magical girls. WTF???!!! Sounds more of fantasy than science. Of course the girls say that they really want to do this. That counts, right? Subaru is opening doors in hopes something familiar will pop out. Nothing. More flashbacks about her younger days with Minato. On one of their space journeys, she had a star decoration but felt sad she couldn’t hang it up. Where the heck can you hang it up?! In return, Minato gave her his tiny star fragment. The next door she opens, it is Minato in ICU. She is happy to see him holding on to her star decoration. That is when her star fragment lights up. She is whisked to where the real Minato is, in the deep depths of space. Hmm… Subaru and Minato swap outfit colours? He explains he didn’t avoid choosing but rather lost that ability to choose. He’ll gather all the fragments and disappear. In that case, she’ll open the door as many times as it takes. He flies off telling her to go where she wants to go. Her friends happened to warp by and are glad to reunite with her. President is amazed at this new magic Subaru has. Subaru has renewed confidence to go capture the last fragment.

Episode 12
In the final jump they make, they reach a strong gravitational lens and all that mumbo-jumbo President said can be easily summarise this phenomenon: It’s a black hole! The fragment is inside it and they feel it could be impossible to gather all the fragments in this universe. Don’t quit now that you’ve come this far. President gives each of them a couple of fragment pieces and they are going to use it to draw out the last one. Because President lacks the power like them, they need a final sixth member to pull this off. Immediately Subaru can only think of Minato. She sees him trying his luck inside the black hole and goes to catch him. Seems Minato doesn’t mind being swallowed and erased by the black hole if he fails. Although he betrayed her, Subaru doesn’t want to forget all the warmth she experienced with him. Because no matter how many universes she has been, there will always be one Minato to her. If he can’t make himself happy then she’ll do it. Hey wait a minute. Aren’t guys supposed to be the one to say this kind of lines? If that doesn’t convince him, this kiss will! OMG! THEY KISSED! Friends in shock! Why the heck is Itsuki covering Aoi’s eyes?! With Minato joining the girls, he turns to President and wonders when he turned into a blob. Apparently President was Elnath but you can’t blame him for not recognizing Minato because he has changed so much since. President’s giant spaceship appears. It is still broken and they’re going to use this chance to fix it. From what I gather, they’re going to fight fire with fire. Meaning, they’re going to use the engine fragments to draw out the last fragment by making another black hole. With all their might, they do the greatest pull ever in the universe. Literally. Now they find themselves in completely empty space. Did they fail? Actually they passed through the black hole and were able to barely get the final fragment that President used to fix his ship. Minato is confused that they possess the power to control probability but rejected the act of choice. President says it is only true in his universe. He points out their next destination, another universe. As long as there is hope they can continue their journey crossing whole universes. Minato realized he only cursed himself by looking at the past and got them involved. The girls realize Minato was trying to save those crystals, potential life that was never born into this world. President will continue this goal of his in the next universe. This is possible thanks to them going beyond the universe’s laws to gather the fragments. That itself is magic! I’m feeling the irony here. President likes to give them something as thanks.

After the ship blasts off, the gang sees multiple threads believed to be possibilities of their world. Of course no matter what kind of possible futures there are, it all boils down to a single source and that is where they are going. So they’re going back in time where Earth was just created? OMG! The first humans on the planet were them! The ‘gift’ granted by President is that they can start over at any point in time as they wish. All the friends make a wish they would like to have the good traits that they each have but importantly they were there because they helped each other a lot and they want to become themselves. So our girls say their goodbye in this final bag of drama and emotions till they are all finally separated. Minato is surprised that he is with Subaru. Remember about her promise that she will make him happy? Oh great. So he is stuck with her forever? Haha! They sit together watching the sunset till she falls asleep. Subaru wakes up back in her home and she remembers about the meteor shower tonight. As she heads off, she sees Aoi alighting from the bus. They talk and Aoi admits she decided to take an exam to enrol in this school because she liked the uniform but was too shy to say it. Subaru hands her a flyer for the meteor shower watching. As she distributes the flyer at school, a group of interested people that includes Hikaru, Itsuki and Nanako gather to seek more information. Minato is seen in his ICU although I’m not sure if he is sleeping or in comatose state. Subaru narrates about the stars in the sky, the long time they spent passing each other, repeating the lonely sadness and joy of meeting each other. Each time she looks up, it makes her think of the people she has still yet to meet somewhere and those who look up and think the same and the stars that watch over them all from up there.

Reach For The Stars
I may not remember much from my initial watching of the ONA series but when I look back at my blog for reference, my sentiments for most of what has been done in the TV series are mostly the same. For example, I still find the bright shining stars of space to be still awesome and magnificent. This I find is the biggest draw for me in the series. Though, I am not sure if they are real images or hand drawn. They’re fascinating nevertheless. Also, not forgetting the funny and amusing gibberish way that President talks (you might want to argue it is alien language that he is speaking, thus our ears cannot understand) and instantly being translated by Nanako. Therefore, the TV series I feel is somewhat a ‘proper’ expansion of the ONA version.

Of course there are some things which I found a bit silly and not enjoyable (from my own personal views, of course). Mainly it is the sci-fi gibberish when President/Nanako starts explaining to them. Maybe it is partly my fault in thinking that this is just going to be a simple magical girl plot and perhaps it is. But they put in sci-fi explanations that some even sounds like magic. Like as though they pluck it out from the air but put it in a way that it sounds convincing enough to sound like sci-fi. Each time President starts ranting about that, my mind just automatically turn off and I would just smile and be amused at the fast way he is yapping. Yeah, then I can say “You’re talking too fast, I don’t know what you’re saying!”. But it is also interesting to note that if feels like they are weaving together sci-fi and magic. But that is just about it. Because thinking about mixing both genres reminds me of that nightmarish To Aru Majutsu No Index. Uh huh. Science and magic clash… One big confusion!

Therefore it is both interesting and yet confusing to hear about the possible overlapping possibilities that affect everything that exists in the universe. So if you don’t want to be bound by the laws of space, just exist outside it! Simple, no? With Minato having this thinking of going back to the past and finding another possible future that suits him feels like in a video game where you go back to an earlier save point and redoing things differently again. So if he keeps doing this again and again, doesn’t this mean that he was never meant to have a possible future? Oh heck. Why so confusing? Just exist outside the laws of space and everything will be fine! I think.

The other silly thing which I find is whenever the girls manage to detect and find a fragment, the evil version of Minato will be there. All the time! Like as though he knew the girls would be after this piece and hence always pops up slightly later than them just to annoy them and then challenge to get the fragment. Sometimes it feels like as though he has a spy camera put in the clubroom and listening to the girls’ talk, which is why he somehow knows when and where to be there. Always. I mean, there are other fragments spread out throughout the Solar System and they have to bump into each other for that same targeted piece. Coincidence? Yeah, big coincidence alright. A big coincidence to have some magical girl action bits.

The other thing is President’s ability to warp the girls if he has discovered a fragment that is in outer space. I believe they want to put some variety in the way the girls travel to space to reach that fragment. It would be boring if they use the same method every time, right? Besides, I am sure they’re trying to hint about this idiom about the journey instead of the destination. You won’t get to see the magnificent space if you take the short cut of just warping there. Yeah, there is some sort of sci-fi explanation from President about the method to use to get there but you know, it sounds so confusing that I wasn’t listening anymore. I just know they’ll get there.

Then there is how President speaks via Nanako’s translation. I noticed their mouths move at the same time. Logically speaking, if you are going to translate or even exactly say the words that someone tells you through the phone or whatever receiver, there is going to be some sort of time lag. But in this case, it is almost instant like as though 2 mouths are speaking at the exact same time! This isn’t actually a big deal but I thought it makes this Pleiades translation thingy a bit unrealistic since it is being done exactly at the same time. Like as though Nanako’s words are to drown out the muffled chipmunk voice that President spews. Because if you wait for President to finish and then hear Nanako translate, it’s like wasting time, isn’t it? Cut the chatter and let’s go find the fragments! Heh. If only President’s sci-fi explanations weren’t that confusing. Maybe it sounds so because it has to be put in human tongue. Besides, I am not sure if Nanako herself is the one putting up a dramatic act or acting out as per President’s emotions because sometimes she does get dramatic during the speeches.

Despite the expansion of this anime, somehow I just feel the characters are not that very in-depth. Just scratching the surface. Sure, they have one episode to focus on a character and their past issue but that itself doesn’t amount to anything much. Because at the end of it all, the usual lesson of friendship and togetherness is the lesson of the day. Like Hikaru’s trauma when hearing a certain piece of her parents’ music, Nanako’s penchant to think that everybody will be eventually alone and thus an excuse to give herself to be isolated from the rest and Itsuki’s ‘I-have-no-dreams’ just because that way it will satisfy everyone by not bringing up trouble.

Aoi is like a bag of emotions but at least she is being true and honest to them. Somehow she always ends up as Minato’s saviour and perhaps it is the laws of the universe that dictates so. Yeah, I think this is an easier way of putting it. Whereas Minato isn’t exactly the antagonist of the series despite seemingly starting out as one and is just a confused boy who only wanted a place to belong. And he can always count on being by Subaru’s side as the place he will always belong to. Laws of the universe? Yeah, just put the blame and excuse on this. How convenient. And I suppose that is the exact same reason why in the final parting scene, President was able to speak with his own bloody mouth instead of using Nanako as a translator. Now we can’t always blame him for speaking gibberish, can we? And he was also able to switch between his blob form and Elnath boy form with ease. Or is this just in the eyes of the beholder, the girls seeing him as a blob and Minato sees him as a boy?

If this series is in collaboration with Subaru, where are the car models you ask? Well, they might not appear visually in the anime but at least they’re being heard. Noticed the drive shafts that the girls ride on? Don’t they sound like the engine of a car whenever they accelerate? Yup. As I found out, those are actual recordings from real Subaru vehicles. That is how a Subaru vehicle sounds like. Personally, I can’t tell the difference with other brands so it doesn’t really matter. Besides, doesn’t it sound odd to have magical brooms sounding like car engines? Yeah, you will be wondering where is would the carburettor, pistons, crankshaft or spark plugs located inside this thin stick. Unless they just have a chip inside to produce that kind of sound just for effects.

The art and drawing remains constant with the ONA. Nice cute looking magical girls in equally cute white magical outfits (but each with different hat types for differentiation?). Other than the majestic space, the other thing nice is the special magic effects you see when the girls release their magic. Not as spectacular as space but it provides eye candy with ooohhhs and aaaahhhhs. In addition to that, the mi-intermission provides cute water colour paintings of the characters in the series. There are a few scenes that utilize CG but this is minimal.

All the casts who lend their voice for the ONA are retained for the TV adaptation. They are Natsumi Takamori as Subaru (Misaki in Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo), Houko Kuwashima as Minato (Sango in Inu Yasha), Ayuru Oohashi as Aoi (Ayumu in Hoshizora E Kakaru Hashi), Saki Fujita doubling as Nanako and President (Ao in Yozakura Quartet series), Yui Makino as Hikaru (Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle) and Kanako Tateno as Itsuki (Kiyomi in Iriya No Sora, UFO No Natsu). There are a couple of new casts of course and some of them are recognizable like Yui Horie as Elnath and Yuuki Kaji as Minori’s classmate. The opening theme is Stella-rium by Kano and the ending theme is Koko Kara, Kanata Kara by Fragment.

Overall, this isn’t a bad anime but there is nothing unique that will make it stand out maybe except for the starry stars of space. The laws of space in the works? Those who have watched the ONA previously should see this one to get a complete picture of the series. If you’re still interested in the series, that is. It is still nevertheless a simple magical girl tale of friendship and togetherness. Helping their alien friend out to return to his universe and in the mean time having loads of fun discovering the mysteries of space that scientists and astronomers have been working hard and being left stumped over the centuries. Yeah. Don’t play-play. These girls discovered a new planet and even travelled to the far edges of space! They make it sound so simple with magic. Don’t go blaming it on the laws of space again.

Here is a fun fact. In the video game genre of shooting games, there are no first person shooters developed by Japanese. Only third person shooters. Okay, so there are first person shooters that the Japanese made but they are so rare, obscure and ‘not popular’, it is as good they do not exist. Can you name a handful of first person shooters made by Japanese companies then? No? Well, neither can I. Anyway, what has this got to do with today’s blog? Well, it isn’t about first or third person shooter games definitely. Having learnt that Gunslinger Stratos: The Animation was recently adapted into an anime series, it brought back this little thought of mine. Not that I happened to play lots of first or third person shooter games (heck, I don’t even play that much games), seeing the last first person shooter I remembered playing was Half-Life! That was ages ago!!! Oh yeah. That felt like a very long time ago. I didn’t read the synopsis when I decided to jump in to watch this anime. I only did when I was halfway through… Because of some ‘obvious reason’…. All I knew was if this game was going to be adapted, hell, there is going to be lots of cool sci-fi gun totting action, right? Well… Let’s say that was the reason why I decided to check out the synopsis halfway through…

Episode 1
Tooru Kazasumi sees a little girl writing rocket scientist equations on the sand. Either she is a genius or this indicates something ominous. See the crows flying about? Yeah. Then he gets shot! By himself! Thank goodness it is just a dream. Or is it? As he heads to school and meets up with fellow classmate, Kyouka Katagiri, there is also her brother whom she is disgusted with, Kyouma and that midget who is always sucking up to his balls, Shizune Rindo. Tooru tells us he hates standing out that is why boring clothes like the rest suits him. He also tells us about the KK Matrix ranking system that determines your best occupation based on your abilities and genes but it is all a lie since if you have got rich parents, you get rank A. Tooru who has none, automatically gets a D. There are rumours that people are being spirited away but you know, Tooru doesn’t give a damn about all that. Then there is that futuristic paintball match during gym class. As expected, Tooru and Kyouma face off with the latter in victory while Kyouka wins her bout against Shizune. Of course the observers look at Tooru’s stats and know he isn’t just your ordinary kid. It’s always like this, isn’t it? After school, Tooru and Kyouka walk back as he tells her about the little girl in his dream. She just looks like the one over there! They feel something is wrong when they see her writing “Help me!” in addition to those equations. She runs away and Tooru chases her to an abandoned side of town. What does it tell you when you see crows ‘bullying’ her? When he catches up to her, she disappears. But the ground gives way and he falls into another dimension, another city, another world. Here, we see weird guys fighting each other with heavy guns and swords. From weird banchou guy to weird kid in a mecha. Tooru falls safely with Kyouka shortly following suit. They wander about in this dark mysterious place and realize the danger there is because there is a fresh bloodied corpse! Before they know it, they have to start running from an enemy who wants to shoot them down. Kyouka gets a little injured and Tooru thinks he can outwit the enemy because this feels like gym class. He is in for a shock when he realizes the enemy looks like him and shares the same name! I am you and you are me…

Episode 2
Tooru is able to do bullet time and dodge his clone’s shot. After Remy Odhner saves Kyouka, she recognizes him as a junior from their school. Meeting up with Tooru, they realize they are in old Japan (modern day to us). Remy brings them back to the lab. Tooru experiences flashbacks of his parents’ funeral. When he wakes up, Xi 988 the robot maid brings him to see Brian Odhner, the supervisor of this lab. In fact, that is just a facade. They are actually researching weapons and the likes as they are fighting a war against… Wait for it… Themselves! It seems Kyouma, Shizune and even their sensei, Olga are in on this. Brian relates the Desert Syndrome whereby people simply just turn into sand. This phenomenon is increasing and happening all over the globe. Of course the higher ups cover it up because those Timekeepers (those crows?) have a list of who is going to turn into sand next and at the exact time! Around 2 years ago, they also warned them about humanity facing destruction this way. So let me get this straight. In order to get the technology to save mankind, they have to play some kind of game with them and only being victorious they would do so? And their opponents are themselves from another universe? And for some reason the battlefield is Japan of 2015. Who writes this crap anyway?! I suppose they have no choice but to play along. This lab also researches some time machine using Timekeepers’ technology. But it is still a mystery how Tooru came here falling from the sky. Also another technology that the Timekeepers gave them was the Energy Cube. Think of it is energy to charge your ray guns. Think you’re good at them? Each battle, the enemy only gets tougher. So if they wish to do the Matrix and join in their cause to save the world, no, they won’t be given any pills but a suitcase with weapons inside that will seal their contract.

I don’t know what Olga’s purpose is because she shows Tooru a live footage of someone degrading into sand right now. It gives the boy trauma. Thankfully Shizune puts a stop to this. As she talks to him, she apologizes on Olga’s actions because despite looking like a teacher, she is actually a wanted terrorist and her elder sister whose real name is Orika! WTF???!!! Then she explains the greatness of Kyouma and she’s not exaggerating it because it is true how Kyouma built this lab and invited Brian to help out. Also, Kyouma personally picked Tooru and it shows how much he thinks highly of him. Really? I thought this guy was just a siscon. Because you know, if Tooru is in, that means Kyouka would follow him too. You get the idea. Shizune doesn’t force him to make a choice. He should do what he wants. As long as she could be of use to Kyouma, she is okay. Later Tooru talks to Kyouka about his parents who died in a traffic accident. When he learnt he could go back to the past, he was happy thinking he could see them again. She notes Tooru didn’t tell them about the girl but he couldn’t give an answer why he wants to help her either. So after lots of thinking and deliberation, Tooru finally opens his suitcase. No turning back now.

Episode 3
Kyouma picks up Tooru in his mini kingdom (his limo) to ask his reason of joining the battle. He knows it is for sure he isn’t going to save the world or protect Kyouka (because that girl also opened her suitcase). He tells him about that girl. Kyouma also knows about it and each time something unusual happens around her, he gets a report and bodyguards will be there to protect her. That girl and other fuzzy image of humans are termed as ghosts and there are many accounts of people reporting them. However Kyouma has never seen this one as clear before. This ghost is the reason why Tooru is fighting as he wants to know more about her. Really? Saving the world sounded much better in this case. Tooru is going to be given training and he is shocked upon seeing Aaron Burroughs. Wasn’t he that first corpse he saw? Well, that is his other clone he killed. Aaron will be his trainer and mentor. Kyouka spars with Remy but she gets overconfident in her win and leaves the fighting field, which is a big no-no because it means you lose. Tooru spars with Shizune and lost. Remy tries to stir up trouble by tossing rocks at them but Tooru’s bullet time reaction kicks in. I don’t know what Brian’s assistant, Kumi Minakata is explaining about this special ability of his to control his location within his time flow. Blah, blah, blah… Whatever. Then the big alert is sounded. Time to play a game with Timekeepers. Kyouma and co transport down to current day Japan. Ah, there are their counterparts. Wow. They look so alike. Oh man, how can I tell them apart ;p. The big battle starts. Tooru gets cold feet while Kyouka becomes overconfident (and needs saving from Shizune). Tooru then spots ghost girl so Kyouma gives him permission but limited time to go after her. When he catches up, ghost girl warns him to be careful because time will end and that the future is not decided yet. She disappears. Remy happened to be scouting and heard this. He thinks such ghosts are from the future and the Timekeepers’ enemies. Maybe they are fuzzy because the future isn’t determined yet. Tooru realizes he has run out of time and needs to regroup. Kyouma and co’s energy field is dangerously weakening since their formation has been broken and the team separated. Just as clone Tooru is about to shoot Kyouma from the back, Shizune protects him with her body. Oh sh*t! A huge hole in her chest!

Episode 4
Kyouma felt he always troubled Shizune. In that case she wants a reward. 60 minutes of his time after the next battle. Well, looks like now that won’t likely ever to happen. Call it a good thing because she also took out clone Kyouma with her with a hidden bomb. And so this side we have everyone reeling over Shizune’s death and on the clone side, they’re crying over Kyouma’s demise. Tooru becomes annoying as he blames himself. Had he not go scouting for the ghost girl… Cut that crap out will you! Kyouma fulfils Shizune 60 minutes of having tea with her. Only, Shizune is missing. Tooru’s self guilty is so infectious that it affects Kyouka too. You think she doesn’t feel sad for being a useless girl who can’t protect her brother and the rest? Oh, now you make her cry… So please cut your wallowing crap. I think they’re trying to put in some sort of romance drama. Because the duo get close to comfort each other only to be called to the meeting room with everyone else. Because Timekeepers have come up with a new rule for the next game. The side that reaches this gate first will receive 5 times more Energy Cubes. Tooru seems to be not paying attention at the briefing and going through the stats of everyone (and thinking about Shizune). Then when Brian needs a volunteer, he opts in. I hope he heard what this operation is about. Kyouma doesn’t believe him because a while ago, he was a big cry-baby. He tests him by shooting him but his bullet time activates. As they head to the battlefield, Tooru tells Kyouma he thinks Timekeepers are trying to hide something, the reason they are trying to kill ghost girl. Then he talks about his past how he thought he would never lose anybody again after his parents died and not wanting to get involved with anyone. I guess he’s wrong. Now he is going to fight that cause. As the battle begins, Olga and Shizune clone take out each other (although both are heavily injured), clone Kyouka plays mind games with her that Tooru has abandoned her since he is not by her side. In fact, he is waiting for some cue. As usual, he faces off with his clone. When he sees Olga injured, his confident shakes. Kyouma needs to remind him again. What he said just now, was it a lie? Yeah… That changed his mind. Both Toorus fight and dash through the gate at the same time.

Episode 5
Inside the building, both Toorus continue to trade shots but they are stopped by the Timekeeper since the game is over. Wait a minute. Shizune is a Timekeeper???!!! Actually she is just taking her form since Tooru’s mind is pretty much preoccupied with her. Since both reached at the same time, she rewards them with Energy Cubes as promised. But this is not what Tooru wants. He wants to know about this whole crap. Fine. Time for explanations. Shizune admits Timekeepers are from the future and they are holding this game to save them. WTF. Killing each other to save them?! To minimize damage?! Seems there are 2 parallel worlds. In 10 years, they will create a time warp technology that allows them to teleport to each other’s worlds. Problem is, they started fighting and killing each other and this ended up in both worlds being destroyed. It has been proven throughout history that humans will kill and destroy each other for what they don’t have. Clone Tooru agrees with this. Therefore the degradation of people turning into sand is occurring because their worlds do not have a future. That affects them in the past and thus turning them into sand. Huh? You mean now final Armageddon or something? Shizune says there is a way to fix this: Get rid of 1 world. At least better than both worlds being destroyed. And thus both sides will fight till there is a winner. 2015 is chosen because it is a neutral ground to both sides. Timekeepers only reward winners with Energy Cubes. They try to be involved minimal. This is fair. And so life is awarded to the winner and the loser will be destroyed. Tooru doesn’t believe this because of what ghost girl said about their future isn’t decided yet. He thinks there is another way around this and the future that Timekeepers see isn’t necessarily their future. But clone Tooru is up for war. If there is no future, they should just take it from others. Before the fight resumes, Shizune whisks them away. Meanwhile the others outside are trying to retreat with some doing the attacking to buy time for others to escape. Remy faces off with the clone of Lyudmila N. Ignatova. Despite his psychic power having a hard time against her evolved weapons, his bait and trap has him slamming the building down on her! Kyouma is forced to sacrifice his old man master to retreat with Kyouka. Old dude has made up his mind he is already going to die anyway. Tooru wakes up in a strange land.

Episode 6
Tooru is in the other world as clone Kyouka finds him. But she won’t shoot him. She takes him back to the orphanage where they are operating from as a base. They talk about things in this world and especially about Tooru of this world. Kyouka and him are pretty much considered lovers. I wonder if it is considering as cheating since clone Kyouka takes him out to town as a little date. She seems pretty friendly and nice unlike her violent persona in the battlefield. Meanwhile back in the other world, clone Tooru manages to give the sparse security the slip. He even enters the lab (since it looked pretty familiar like the one in his world) and hacks into the light security system. Ghost girl appears before him and tells him not to believe what Timekeepers say. Of course. This means he doesn’t trust her too. When he sees Remy who is to be the next victim of degradation, he is in shock. Tooru asks clone Kyouka about Remy because he saw his picture in the group photo. She takes him to the grave where all the children are buried. This Remy didn’t die in battle but due to his weak body. Although he came here around 3 years ago, he was like family to them. Everybody was devastated when he died (personally, I thought a kid crying in the background sounded more like laughing!). Clone Kyouka talks about clone Tooru’s ‘bad habits’ like as though there is some sort of distance between them now. She asks him about herself in his world. Tooru admits despite Kyouka always bugging him when he wanted to be alone, in actual fact he was happy about it. It sounds odd for them to thank each other for being at the other’s side. Kumi has located Tooru and is going to force transfer him back before the link breaks. I guess friendship is over. It was good while it lasted. Clone Kyouka warns they’ll be enemies the next time. Tooru returns in the midst of his clone having a standoff with Kyouka and Remy. His appearance startles his counterpart as he fires. Tooru’s bullet time activates and he fires a precision shot to knock away the bullet. But the ricochet hits Kyouka. Oh no! Don’t just stand there and yell her name, take her to the emergency room! Clone Tooru runs into the time machine while Remy is hell bent on chasing him down and killing him. In the battlefield, Remy becomes furious in throwing every brick and rubble at him. Then he uses clone Lyudmila’s Energy Cube to power up. He is feeling great unleashing all that power when suddenly he feels strange. Instantly he turns into sand! Timekeeper Shizune notes it is earlier than planned and incomplete but is going to let this go ahead. The entire place turns into a huge desert storm.

Episode 7
What’s this? Tooru having a happy time with his parents? But he knows something is wrong. They’re supposed to be dead! Then he bumps into Kyouka… And Shizune. They’re trying to convince him to stay in this bliss. Something feels really wrong. He knows this is not the truth when Kyouka doesn’t care who is alive or dead. No matter where he runs, this Kyouka is always there and showing him the horrifying degrading effects. Hey, at least he turned into a bag of bones first. When he sees that equation and touches it, Kyouka screams and disappears. Ghost girl is now here. She explains the Energy Cube causes time to advance to the future. He was caught in that sandstorm called Dead End. Time to go back in past to learn how it all happen. It all started when some super energy substance was found at the edge of the solar system. It was easily mass produced to a point humans were able to go to different parallel worlds. And that’s when the war started. She demonstrates no matter how ultimate a weapon is, it is useless when dropped. Therefore a weapon is created from using one’s body. So what if the body is targeted? Well, unless it is made of sand, right? This is the perfect weapon where time ends and what the sand Dead End is. In ghost girl’s world, Dead End was used as their weapon in the war and ultimately destroyed everything. They thought they were using Dead End but were being used by it. Those who lose become absorbed by it. In no time, the world will be swallowed by it and thus the apt name. Timekeepers are countless humans who have been absorbed by Dead End and melded their psyches and harbour one will. Ghost girl was a scientist in her world and before Dead End could swallow up her world, she went back in time to warn this world. Timekeeper Shizune interrupts to say they do not kill humans but render them powerless while storing their psyches as data. They are a humane weapon that ended the war without killing anybody and now everybody can have salvation and eternal bliss in that hallucinating bliss Tooru just experienced. Tooru needs to do something about this but knows he’ll be playing into their hands if he uses the Energy Cubes. Ghost girl deduces the Energy Cubes are linked to the Timekeepers’ future. Ghost girl can help disconnect it with her power but it will be very dangerous. If Tooru fails, it will be Dead End. Better try than doing nothing. Shizune tries to convince Tooru not to believe her. How do you know what she says is correct? Perhaps she is trying to force her ideal future on him as well. But you know Tooru, he can’t live his dream knowing that everyone else is suffering. This made Shizune mad and the sand explodes! Tooru activates the Energy Cube. Ghost girl disappears and hopes to see him in his future.

Episode 8
The rest are trying to destroy the sandstorm but it destroyed one of them. Who the heck is this Jonathan kid? Tooru returns to the battlefield to tell everyone about the frightening ultimate weapon. Kyouma doesn’t care and wants to kill clone Tooru but is made to open his eyes that killing each other is what the enemy wants. Temporary truce would be a good idea. Meanwhile Brian is happy to see such data on the phenomenon and looks like he has some ulterior motives going on because it would mean being freed from Kyouma’s leash. Remy isn’t dead but is trapped in the core of Dead End while having a recurring nightmare. He wants Xi to protect him. Both sides take a breather as they plan their next step. Tooru gets a much needed motivated call from Kyouka that she is alright. The plan is to dismantle Dead End before both worlds turn into sand. Tooru is worried this will kill Remy but the rest cannot be concerned if he is dead or alive. All they know he is inside the core. Tooru thinks of using the Energy Cubes like how he did escaping Dead End. It might interfere with the sand and destroy it. Clone Tooru puts his trust in him to do the job. Because he will do anything to ensure his world is safe even if it means teaming up with his enemy. Kyouma gives Tooru one of Shizune’s daggers as charm. Partly, he is mad for the Timekeeper popping up in her appearance. So both sides go on the offensive but Dead End unleashes waves of Xi clones. With a handful of casualties (characters whose name I never knew nor remember kicking the bucket), to prevent more of that, Xi leaves the command centre to dive down into Dead End’s core. I don’t know what she did in this self-sacrificing move to dispel the sandstorm and protect Remy but it gave Tooru a chance to use his Energy Cube and evolve his gun to break Remy free from the core and safely into his arms. Timekeeper Shizune did not expect Tooru to dismantle Dead End at this point and despite calling this experiment a failure, she is very sure they will create another Dead End on their own accord because they have Pandora’s Box in hand. My, what a big Energy Cube is floating there.

Episode 9
Tooru is forcefully teleported back but the moment he opens his eyes, Brian has the guards lock him in a cell. Why am I not surprised at this turn out? First he apologizes for this rough treatment but this is necessary to save mankind. Care to explain? He’ll do that. Twice. Because he is in cohorts of his clone!!! Thanks to the Toorus ‘visiting’ each other’s world, they are able to lock down the coordinates to contact each other. Also, the data collected from Tooru saving Remy will be used to evolve human technology by 100 years. However there is a tiny obstacle they need to get rid of: Those who are capable of time transfer. Both Brians join forces to stop them from running rampant. The biggest threat is Kyouma because he takes risk and makes decisions on the spot. But so far so good, right? I guess it is ironic that they’re being pessimistic right now that such luck won’t be around forever. So to prevent walking on the tightrope every time, they’re going to take action. They are also confident they will have no need to fear Timekeepers once they recreate the technology and dismiss Tooru’s warning it is only because that ghost girl did something or else normally it will turn out as Dead End. They want Tooru to join their cause but Kumi intercepts them for him to break out and escape. Brian has his clone return to his world and promises he will settle things. Tooru meets up with Kumi who explains Brian as a kid has always been crying for attention and that is why he is doing this to be recognized. First they have to find everybody else first (who are being held up the moment they returned from the battlefield). Lyudmila hacks the security cameras so Tooru can sneak around without worry of being spotted. Brian realized too late that the screens on the security monitor has been hacked and starts to sweat. He orders his men to capture them dead or alive. You frustrated, bro? I don’t know if the soldiers are given shoot to kill orders because that’s the first thing they do when they enter Lyudmila’s room. She was just sitting there, resigning to her fate and unarmed. They just freaking shoot her like that?! Tooru thought he is late in rescuing Kyouka but thankfully she gave those soldiers a taste of her badass kung fu chops. Best move I have seen so far from her. And of course with him in the picture, she collapses into his arms in relief. Timekeeper Shizune continues to think humans cannot give up on Energy Cubes. No matter how much they run, they cannot escape. Dead End is their ideal. To deny that is to deny humanity. Or rather, is she the one in denial?

Episode 10
Tooru and Kyouka escape the lab and are being picked up by Olga (who is just fresh from avenging Lyudmila’s death). She brings them to her secret hideout where tired Kyouka rests. Then we have an extended flashback of how ghost girl who was a scientist in her time use the newly discovered substance to treat people. It isn’t long before the military decided to use it for their own purpose. Then all hell broke loose. She joined the resistance force and before Dead End consumed her world, she jumped back to the past. However it was too late since both worlds are already starting to kill each other. Strangely, visions of Kyouka popped up before her, telling him to believe in Tooru because he can change things. That is why she started writing that equation at that spot. You might be shock in suddenly seeing Tooru sleeping with Kyouka… On the couch! I know they didn’t do it but it gives off that suspicious feel… Olga then brings them to Kumi’s secret lab to reunite with the rest. Remy is so happy to see Kyouka that he rushes to hug her. But it is a different story for Kyouma. Big brother rushing to hug little sister only gets a slap in the face. What’s with the double standards? They discuss the plan to rid of Brian and destroy the time machine to minimize Timekeepers’ interference. As of how they can go back to the past, Tooru has an idea. For some reason, I think they are trying to have forced romance here because we see Tooru and Kyouka spending a lovely time together in the greeneries of the evacuation shelter. Oddly, Kyouka who isn’t his official girlfriend, starts acting like one especially when she starts suspecting him of seeing other girls because he suddenly got good in dealing with girls!!! WTF?! She can tell by the looks on his face!!! Oh, that ‘cheating’ with that clone Kyouka in the other world…

This ‘argument’ is to set up so that Kyouka can fall on top of him and they give each other a kiss. And then they hold hands and enjoy the view and they talk about the different possibilities and futures based on the actions of one. So their logic that what they do differently in history can result the future turning out in different ways means that humans have infinite possibilities! It might come a little late because they finally confess that 3 magical words to each other + hug. And then Kyouka said Tooru should become the president of the world because he can change the world thingy. Huh? Hey, don’t give me this philosophy crap to cover this poorly written romance scene. Thank goodness it ends because Brian and his scientists are in disarray since the lab is under attacked. It is a one (wo)man show as Olga is the one responsible. Brian didn’t even realize his throat was slit by her until a little later. There, problem easily taken care of. Similarly in the other world, Tooru shoots Brian and won’t let him decide their future. He will decide it himself. Yeah, I’m sure they cut out the scene because who wants to see crazy old scientist getting killed. Tooru brings everyone to the spot where ghost girl wrote her equation. Turns out to be some expanded but basic time travelling theory. Whatever. Kyouma can even joke they’re not coming back once they go in. But seriously, he thinks they can come up with something to return to their timeline by using the big Energy Cube. Yeah, he thinks. So everyone hops into the portal one by one. Before Tooru can do so, Kyouma punches him because big brother has seen him flirting with little sister and does not approve of him yet! WTF?! What kind of big brother spies on his little sister on her date???!!! And that isn’t even officially a date! So he is going to give him a chance to prove himself worthy of Kyouka. Tooru ends up thinking about his other self, what would he be like had he led a different life, the differences in upbringing and the impossibility of understanding that him because he is him. Just shut the hell up and dive into the portal.

Episode 11
Clone Tooru narrates the tough life in his dog eat dog world. That is why he is bent on making through it even if it means stealing and invading the other world. Both sides now face off and as usual, the Toorus square off. Tooru wants his clone to cooperate to prevent Dead End but he isn’t so interested. They’re doing this for their future and have nothing to do with Timekeepers. Tooru’s team has caused some interference wave to activate the giant Energy Cube to form a barrier. His goal is to open a gate to where Timekeepers are. However the Energy Cubes from their side are not enough and need theirs. Clone Tooru thinks it is a trap. In that case, Tooru will give their side full control of the Energy Cubes. If they refuse to team up, they’ll do this the hard way and kill them to take their Energy Cubes. Clone Tooru agrees but will use it themselves instead of giving it to them. Both sides cooperate to open the gate enough for both Toorus to enter. A sandstorm greets them. Timekeeper Shizune plays mind games with both of them. Trying to convince them her Dead End method is ideal and that destiny cannot be changed. Tooru shoots her. Likewise, she thought telling clone Tooru that he cannot protect and resolve anything would change his mind. Guns cannot change anything. But he has determined to avoid that mistake by seizing that Energy Cube. He will never lose anyone dear to him again. Those who died live inside his heart. Isn’t that just delusion? Sure, then Dead End is one hell of a big delusion too. Clone Tooru shoots her. And now that they’re out of their illusion, hordes of Xi clones attack them. Despite taking damage, both continue to fight back. Timekeeper Shizune is confident as long as they cannot pinpoint her temporal axis whatever sh*t, it is useless. Too bad her confidence is now shattered because Tooru’s team manages to do so. They have been researching the link via Energy Cube all the time. She cannot believe they can do this much with such limited technology so Tooru tells her off that she is the one who fears them because of the possibility of the unknown. Tooru fires all his energy at her but her barrier is tough. Clone Tooru helps out with another shot. Her barrier is breaking and she’s freaking out. They both help each other up and are relieved Timekeepers aren’t omnipotent gods and just humans like them. In the aftermath of the explosion, ghost girl thanks them for saving the future. When both Toorus return to the battlefield, clone Tooru wants to settle the score. Just great. See how history is repeating itself? Humans just like to fight, eh? Now do you understand the ideals of Dead End?

Episode 12
And so both Toorus begin attacking each other. So much angst. So much arrogance. So different ideals. Yeah, it won’t end till somebody is killed off, right? The rest too want to fight but they realize they better not hog the limelight of the youngsters and agree to let the main character settle it. Well, except for the Kyoukas. They’re angrily fighting each other for their beloved. Then they get caught in the Tooru’s crossfire. Clone Kyouka is willing to die for this and Tooru is willing to protect his Kyouka. In the aftermath of clone Tooru’s fire, he is shot. Everyone is still alive thanks to Tooru’s barrier. Clone Kyouka points his gun at Tooru. Clone Tooru tells her to shoot. Shoot! SHOOT!!! Despite clone Kyouka hating Tooru a lot, she can’t do it and goes to tend her clone Tooru instead. Clone Tooru tells his other self to kill him or the war will continue. Tooru’s answer? He shoots and destroys the giant Energy Cube. This causes the link and history of both worlds to be separated and the cube rains down golden sand. Wait a minute. It was this easy to solve the problem?! Yeah, with humans being selfish and greedy, they couldn’t see this simplest solution. Everyone disappears from the battlefield. And of course, Tooru and Kyouka share a kiss because they’ll never come back here again. Tooru finds himself with that ghost girl. Her future is save thanks to him but regrets dragging him into this mess. Wait a minute. You went back to the past desperately to seek help and after all that has happened, you’re worried about the selfish decision you’ve made? Because Tooru destroyed the Energy Cube that could have been used to create a real time machine to go back and see his parents, Tooru doesn’t sweat it because it’s great to have memories but he needs to move forward. He asks her name but she forgot. Must be the side effects of travelling to the past. What shall he call her? It’s up to him. He names her Miki, something to do with the future. See you again? Back in his original world, degradation has reduced significantly but it is still around and this means the threat of Dead End is still there. Tooru gets philosophical about people looking the same outside but different inside. Kyouma tries to kill Tooru for flirting with his sister but she beats up the siscon. People think it’s a love triangle. Out of the blue, Kyouka asks Tooru to marry him in his quest to become world president and then go for world domination! WTF?! Oh hell, it sounds good. What kind of future have they got to lose? Curiously many years into the future, it is very much hinted this freaking old dude is Tooru and he is the first president of the world! He is seen calling to Miki who is his granddaughter. He is happy they’ve got to meet again but she doesn’t know what grandpa is talking about.

Clone Wars – You Are Your Worst Enemy
Ugh… Wow. After a dozen episodes of mediocrity, that was some heck of an ending. The time skip to show us where Tooru has become a major super power in the world. I don’t know how but they really did it, huh? I can think of a joke about listening to your girlfriend and then stuffs like that happen but I don’t think I can contain my laughter and finish this blog. If you think that this is the fixed ending, remember what they said about the future not being decided yet. Because there were a couple of alternate endings to the TV series but those were only streamed on the Japanese site but by the time I have reached the end of the TV series, my sentiments were already so and I have lost interest in wanting to know what really or could have happened. I just didn’t matter anymore. So I’ll just stick to the ending of Tooru becoming world president and having a cute granddaughter. It’s much safer that way.

I have mixed feelings about the storyline. At first it looks interesting when both parallel worlds collide and need to eliminate each other to ensure their own world’s survival. Then it gets a little complicated and messy. Especially about what Timekeepers are doing to ‘preserve’ mankind. I just thought it was crap trying to make both worlds kill each other so that the winner can forever live in some vegetable bliss (like The Matrix?) and the loser just dies. I don’t know how they term this as efficient. I thought it would be better for them just to kill both worlds. In fact, they don’t even need to do anything. History and track records show that mankind loves fighting each other and in the end just wipe each other out. Heck, why be such good people in saving the winner? Doesn’t make sense. Just let them kill each other and that’s it. So when you put plot over plot just for the sake of having some sort of twist in the storyline, it is just as good as not having any. In the end, Timekeepers wanted to play God but unfortunately God wasn’t on their side. Hmm… Come to think about it. Should they use the Dead End on themselves and continue to dream of the illusion that mankind bow to their ideals?

Having said all that, this brings me to the point that I am convinced humanity is one big masochistic dickheads. Even if Timekeepers are offering some sort of unrealistic deal of having them end all wars by living the ecstasy dream world forever, but instead mankind decided opted not to go for it and prefer to fight each other just because they won’t let some so seemingly omnipotent being control their fate. Sure, it is a good thing that mankind decides on where they want to go but if this is the ultimate peace and harmony, why not go for it? After all, everybody gets to live their dreams here. I wouldn’t mind if they can give me my maid harem! And for Tooru to reject this offer despite admitting there is pain and suffering, this means there is also hope. WTF. What kind of reasoning is that? So you’re telling me that you humans prefer to bear the torment of everything just for that little thing called hope? Oh yeah. Humans. Complicated creatures. And as seen right till the very end, with Timekeepers out of the picture, they continue fighting.

The characters feel weak. I don’t know. I just feel they don’t connect overall. Like for Tooru, this guy who told us from the very beginning that he doesn’t like to stand out, suddenly is thrust into the limelight and the guy who could change the world. Yeah, I have seen tons of main characters like that. They want a normal boring life. But the script says he needs to become a hero since he has some sort of latent powers and there you go. He stands out more than the rest of the other characters. Speaking of them, with a handful of them, they don’t even make a decent impact on the series especially those other guys. Like the banchou dude, the gay ninja, the old pirate-samurai dude, a Final Fantasy-like character (note: both games were made by Square Enix after all) and a pair of mecha riding kids (one is a scientist kid and the other I believe his ‘girlfriend’). Sometimes you don’t see some of them on both sides simultaneously because in previous battles, they were killed. The clones from the other world aren’t bad themselves. Just that they have different ideals they believe in thanks to their environmental upbringing. I was wondering why there are so many survivors in the end since I expected lots of them to be killed off just to save us the tying up parts. Because in the end those people didn’t even really matter. We didn’t really care about them either.

Remy feels so insignificant throughout the series that I thought his only major role was to be absorbed and become Dead End for our heroes to figure a way out of this. I thought they should just kill him off in the end. Why is he still around with the rest? The same case for ghost girl. They tease us with her presence from time to time like as though she is the key and revelation for something. Hardly. So her formula only serves as the gateway portal to the past? Holy cow. I couldn’t figure that one out myself because you need a rocket scientist to decipher those mystic symbols. Oh yeah… Very complicating. Even more ‘insulting’ is how they don’t even give her a decent name and often referred to (in the credits, that is) as mysterious girl. I prefer to call her ghost girl due to her flickering holographic presence and it is much shorter and saves time trying to type out her name each time I want to refer to her. Seriously. Really. And when they do decide to give her character a name at the end, the show has already ended. Uh huh. By the time we know your name, it’s over. And she even game the liberty to Tooru to name her. What is she? His pet? Sure, I can create a name for her like Aya-tan or Ai-chan or Rin-rin but she doesn’t look like the kind of girl to have that kind of cute loli name… Miki? Oh, okay. It is already bad enough Shizune gets killed off so early in the anime, so what better way than to make her character ‘return’ in the form of the villain taking on her shape? Oh yeah. Everybody must be thinking so much about her that is why the Timekeeper is projecting to us Shizune’s shape all the time. See Shizune, you are the most missed character of the series. Not!

I knew Brian was going to be somewhat of an antagonist because when you have scientists with their own ulterior goals, it can’t be good. Besides, you really can’t have clone Tooru as the bad guy, right? He is just survival-bitten, that’s all. True enough, he became greedy with his own ambitions but the saddest (and funniest) part was after he revealed all his plans, he got killed off. And that itself didn’t even take any effort. Heck, they didn’t give him one decent episode to play a megalomaniac. Okay, to be fair, 2 episodes the most. Side distraction? I thought there was going to be some sort of connection with Brian and Remy revealed (father-son thingy?) since they share the same surname. Well, nothing came out of it. Like we care. Olga who is a wanted criminal doesn’t really display her assassin-like behaviour, thus rendering her so called background redundant in the first place. As good as no need for any background stories like Aaron, Kumi and Lyudmila. Heck, I thought Xi was just going to some ordinary background robot when suddenly before sacrificing herself to save Remy, I don’t know what short narrative they’re blabbing to make it look like she and Remy have some sort of connection. WTF. Does it really matter then? Kyouma started out as a cool guy in command but with Tooru becoming the main character and after Shizune’s death, he turned into some dumb siscon brother. Since when did his role turned into a comic relief character because Kyouka’s response to him is always “Stupid bro!”?

The romance part feels atrocious and forced because sooner or later in animes like this, we all know those hidden feelings between the main characters would just surface. There were so many tell-tale signs about it. Even right at the start despite portraying to us that Kyouka is no Tooru’s girlfriend, that is already a dead giveaway that he’ll end up as his girl. Besides, there are no other ‘reasonable’ girls in this show that would amount it to a harem. Thank goodness. Less complication. Therefore when they start showing that forced cheesy romance between Tooru and Kyouka before the big battle, it felt like they needed to rush things ahead. Make it as though they have one last fling and no regrets to whatever happens next. Because all you know they could be dead in the next moment. Which fortunately AND unfortunately did not happen. A boy and a girl who go to the same school, enjoyed each other’s company but short of making it official as a couple, spend a few days killing their clones from another world and suddenly they realize they are so important to each other. Suddenly they kiss. Suddenly they hold hands. I don’t think this is The Sims they’re playing. I did not expect this but they did it. Tooru and Kyouka getting married, becoming the rulers of the world and having a daughter who visited them from the future. Wow. Just like sci-fi fairytales.

I was relying on the action part as this was the main reason why I jumped into watching this anime. Unfortunately and sad to say, it didn’t live up to my expectations. I should have known better than to put such a high expectation but thinking that the gunfight sequences would be the saving grace of this sci-fi series was probably a mistake after all. So blame me for not even playing the game in the first place. Sure, you get to see your gun action battle but that is mostly you see the characters holding down on the trigger button and let the unlimited ammo fly everywhere, not hitting anything. It only does when they want to kill off a character or add some drama by injuring the character. I don’t know if it is supposed to be insulting to the genre or not because Remy doesn’t even hold a damn gun since he prefers to use his telekinetic powers to throw objects. It also feels unrealistic to see the characters to be able to fly like Peter Pan even though they are not wearing any sort of jet packs or something. Can they really fly so freely in the battlefield? Tooru’s bullet time skill feels it doesn’t make an impact on anything except an excuse to make this kid dodge bullets to continue breathing. It is never even explained how he got this skill. Ah, I see that is why they just simply call him an irregular whatsoever. Anyhow, the action is rather okay, if not just passable just to past the time and forget the storyline. I have a gut feeling you would be more satisfied by playing the game itself.

The art and drawing are your typical conventional Japanese anime style. However even despite that, the art style especially the characters feel dull. I don’t know, you just look at their faces. It looks one kind. Looks simple. Feels like they didn’t put enough effort in it. Therefore it must also be the case of “I-have-seen-too-many-animes-and-thus-the-characters-look-like-they-are-ripped-off-from-another-series” syndrome. Because looking at Tooru for the first time, I thought he looked very much like one half of that manga team, Ashirogi Muto! Hey, both are even voiced by the same person! As for Kyouka, I don’t know why but I see shades of Yuno Gasai in her! Yikes! Remy looks like that kid from World Trigger while Brian oddly resembles like a certain American director whom I shall not name ;p. Olga’s flamboyant and outrageous fashion design had me think that she is the anime version of The Hunger Games’ Effie Trinket! And I think that dress design of hers makes her butt look big! Serious! Don’t believe me? Take a closer look at it again. The rest of the other characters have that I-have-seen-them-somewhere-before feeling but I’m too lazy to think of it right now.

There are a handful of CGI employed but those are only limited to the battlefield scenes and nothing to really shout about. Seeing shooting genres are all about guns, I expected to see a variety of cool gun designs but unfortunately with everything that is going on, you won’t notice them. Heck, I don’t think they are even given much focus either. The most prominent one you will notice is Kyouma’s big chaingun since its bright and colourful design catches your eye. The rest just felt like meh and didn’t even matter. Not even Tooru’s evolved guns.

There are a handful of well-known seiyuus landing their voices to this anime but that still isn’t enough to save the anime overall. My ears must be failing me recently because I identified wrongly or wasn’t sure about the voice behind the character. For instance, I knew Nana Mizuki was playing Kumi. But I also thought she was doing double roles and voiced Shizune. However something felt off and I couldn’t determine whether it was really her or not. It sounded close like her but it couldn’t be her. But then again, maybe it could. Finally, that was dispelled when I just look it up. Kana Ueda was the one behind Shizune’s voice. No wonder so familiar and still… Yet another wrong guess is the character Kyouka. I thought it was Kana Hanazawa behind her. Again, something felt strange. Was it really her, but it didn’t sound like her. You know, that dilemma. True enough it wasn’t. It was Hisako Kanemoto instead.

Thankfully for the rest of the seiyuus that I am familiar with, I could recognize such as Miyuki Sawashiro as Remy, Sayaka Ohara as Olga, Saori Hayami as Lyudmila and Takehito Koyasu as Aaron. There are also others like Junichi Suwabe and Rikiya Koyama but they voiced very minor characters so I didn’t even notice them. For the rest that I am not familiar with, they are Masakazu Nishida as Kyouma (Shimon Izuna in Gundam Build Fighters Try), Hideaki Tezuka as Brian (Tatara in Triage X), Saki Fujita as Xi (Ayano in YuruYuri) and Akane Fujita as ghost girl (Sae in Death Parade). It is interesting to note that although Tooru is mainly played by Atsushi Abe (Mashiro in Bakuman), there are 2 other seiyuus voicing his character to reflect the different stages of his life. Yuka Nishigaki (Autumn in Infinite Stratos 2) voices the young kid version while Minoru Inaba (Neptune in One Piece) takes on the old man version. The anime pop rock opening theme, Vanilla Sky by Mashiro Ayano sounds fitting for the anime. Only if it had lived up to that kind of hype. The ending theme is a slow ballad, Mirai by Garnidelia and I prefer this compared to the opener.

Overall, maybe it is because I am not a fan of the game or even a fan of Square Enix’s creations, I do not see the romance behind their storylines. To me, this is just a mediocre anime and believe me, that itself is already a merciful review that I am doing. A lot of comments out there weren’t so kind. I guess they weren’t fans of the game either. Anyway, to be even ‘fairer’, this is not the worst anime out there (I won’t name them here in this blog) since the action does not suck but could have been much better and I have seen better fights/battles/conflicts/wars/skirmishes/clashes elsewhere. If there is one thing I learnt from this anime, if ever some random dude tries to tell you to resign to your fate because your future is sealed, just tell that dude to f*ck off and shoot him in the head. Because for the umpteenth time watching this kind of animes, I would have known better that it is I who decide the future for myself and not some shady creature who doesn’t even have the balls to show its true form, some conman who wants to sell me the most groundbreaking innovative product, the fortune teller down the street trying to make a quick buck, my parents or even God. But somehow my future seems dedicated in watching animes… Like I am a slave to anime forever… I can see where this is going…

Log Horizon S2

October 10, 2015

It is time to resume the adventure. The adventure of players trapped in a game and trying to adapt and live their normal life while trying to find their way back. No, this is not Sword Art Online II. This is Log Horizon S2. Ah yes, the first season had lots of potential with many characters that it was no doubt interesting enough for me to return to watch the second season. It left us with some sort of a cliff-hanger at the end of the first season. No, no major character died. Our good ol’ strategist in glasses plans to leave his base of Akihabara to achieve a big goal. So how can you not be interested to see what more adventures our Log Horizon and the other guilds will have in store for us this season? I know I am.

Episode 1
Akihabara is so peaceful and brimming with life that they are even going to hold some After Halloween Party. I don’t really know the details but I think it’s going to be fun. But beneath all that, the Round Table is talking about money problems. Serious money problems. They may have bought a few strategic buildings under their name but maintaining them is going to cost a bomb. Therefore, Shiroe believes there is only one solution. It is bad enough that he doesn’t show his face during the festival like his comrades want and when he does, he drops the bombshell that he is going to leave Akihabara for a while. And he can’t tell them the problem as he fears there are spies and would lead to info leak. So much about trust. So much about the Christmas event. Naotsugu wants to go with him to be his guard. The same for Akatsuki but Shiroe tells her to stay put as he has a favour of her. Shock! Rejected! With Regan, the duo meet Kinjou, a representative of the Kunie clan in some cabin in the outskirts. Shiroe plans to seek financing help from his clan. Because money lending job doesn’t exist in this world, the only way to get money is by killing monsters or treasure chests in dungeons. Over time, they spawn. Kinjou is not willing to do so due to some ancient treaty. Even if Kunie is not going to help in financing, Shiroe suggests getting that money from the one who put it there before they respawn. According to Regan’s records, there is some whirlpool of gold located deep within the depths of the Palms belonging to Kunie. Their plan is to go there and steal it. Shiroe can’t explain more and will only do so if they help them. Can’t. Goes against ancient treaty. Kinjou suggests meeting at the depths of Palm and the clan’s answer will depend on their result of their challenge that requires a raiding party. Shiroe can’t bring the Round Table members in as he doesn’t want them to know what he is up to but he knows a place they can go recruit members.

Episode 2
We are explained the meaning of full raid (4 groups of 6 members each) and how teamwork and strategy are important to succeed in raiding big challenging dungeons. Shiroe and co are at Susukino to meet William Massachusetts of Silver Sword. This guild was the one who decided not to join the Round Table (in the first season) and left Akihabara and made Susukino their base. Shiroe seeks to recruit them for his full raid. However William says that some of them have retired as they had a hard time keeping up with raids so they don’t have enough members. Suddenly Demikas barges in and he has a grudge to settle with Shiroe. But Shiroe isn’t cowed and I’m not sure if he is doing it on purpose because he still mispronounces his name! You angry, buddy? Meanwhile Naotsugu and Regan meet some spunky idol, Tetra who keeps following and teasing Naotsugu. Tetra talks about Demikas’ guild lost members when Silver Sword came in and wrest control. That is why this place is peaceful as what is left of Brigandia now is working under Silver Sword. And Demikas has a great NPC wife… Embarrassing! William suggests if Demikas and Tetra who is a healer type join them, they can go on this full raid. Demikas agrees so they can settle their score there. And so the 24 members start their raid with hot headed Demikas letting off steam and just slashing away. He can’t wait to rip things apart. Good for him. Naotsugu makes periodic calls back to Marielle while Akatsuki is tasked to guard Lenessia. Little ninja girl is still reeling from that rejection… The full raid party is now at the lowest depths of Palms. This is where the real fight begins. But Demikas isn’t going to let Shiroe have his way and will make sure things won’t go smoothly for him.

Episode 3
Shiroe explains the offense and defence strategy of each party as they raid the big layout of the depths. The monsters here are much more powerful than normal raids but at least if you die, you get resurrected at the start of the gate. They encounter their first raid boss and this big bird is no pushover. It has very peculiar but powerful moves. They are forced to retreat and revise their strategy many times and can only experiment via trial and error just to find its weakness. Finally they understand its cool down period and that is when they go in to take it out. This goes the same for the second raid boss they encounter. Of course the more tries and longer they stay, their supplies are in risk of running out and their weapons dull from each hard attack. Demikas is more worked up and angry just thinking about Shiroe. He can understand his lost to Naotsugu and Nyanta then because they were using their own powers but he can’t accept Shiroe for just lurking in the back and giving orders. Even more insulting was in one of the recent raid attacks, Shiroe indirectly saved him by powering him up and stunning the enemy. Shiroe is at his wits end thinking of a strategy and Tetra doesn’t understand why he is doing this so Naotsugu explains about the family (his guild and place to belong) and probably the world he is trying to protect. Speaking about Akihabara, everyone is happily preparing for the Christmas event as the young ones talk about the rumoured Teachings which are basically a new rank for skills. Think of it as some sort of upgrade or power up to your existing skill.

Episode 4
We take a detour back to Akihabara in this boring ‘peaceful’ episode. It is almost Christmas but Akatsuki is experiencing some sort of melancholy because she is not by Shiroe’s side. She thinks she is weak for Shiroe to let her guard Lenessia although she is happy this also means he relied on her. It gets more depressing when her favourite sword she is saving to buy is already sold. In order to get stronger, she thought of watching trainees in DDD practice. More misery for Akatsuki when she starts comparing herself to Minori whom she thinks is much better than her. Seems melancholy is possessing Lenessia as she is still troubled in her duty. Nyanta sees Roderic to check on his progress about some high end phantasm and treasure class items he is researching on as requested by Shiroe. Lenessia joins the other girls to head to some restaurant as she tries to understand the adventurers. Each of them is as unique as they are. They are special and thus she can’t call herself their friend. Akatsuki’s melancholy reaches boiling point when she decides not to join the ladies, giving an excuse she has something to do. Yeah, yeah. She really misses Shiroe. Wants to be by his side doing things. We get the point. Meanwhile Kyouko thought she spot Santa in the alley. But this mean looking Enheart Nelreth of the samurai class stabs her!

Episode 5
Everyone knows about the serial killer lurking but they wonder why the Royal Guards didn’t intervene to stop fights in no combat zones. So the Round Table guys are having a headache trying to solve this problem and they have little information on who he is. Soujirou is pretty mad that the killer did in one of his mates so he really wants to kill him. Don’t worry. That chance will come very soon. Kinjou sees Lenessia to inform one of the armour in the guardhouse of the Royal Guards is stolen. He thinks the perpetrator is from the Kunie clan. The reason for stealing it is unclear though it is explained the armour is charged with massive amount of mana and works very well within the city limits so there is no point of taking it out from the city. Kinjou admits it is his clan’s fault but they can’t shut off the magic because this will make the city vulnerable to monster attacks. How about a quick reboot? That will take decades. Gosh… Later Lenessia is feeling frustrated that she has to face such trouble at this time. Where is that Crusty guy when you need him? Sure, he is away for some operation but she finds it annoying he is always there when she doesn’t need him. She realizes Akatsuki was listening to it all. She thinks the killer is hiding in the sewers because that is the only place they haven’t searched. Soujirou’s guild members encounter the killer. They could have been done for had not Soujirou stepped in. They find it odd that despite hitting him lots of times, his HP never decreases. Soujirou may be mad but that isn’t going to get him anywhere since the killer is still far more superior and cooler. Akatsuki jumps in to help. She shows some of her techniques to match the killer. But even that is ineffective. She wants Soujirou to run but he won’t. He just orders his guild members to escape. Is it because he wants to use some ultimate move? Yeah well, it didn’t work either. To end the bad day, Akatsuki is also cut down. All she could think of is where Shiroe is at this time. She misses him. Oh, speaking of him, he and the rest just got owned by another super raid boss. Call this an insult because the killer even leaves a parting message for Akatsuki: Merry Christmas! I don’t know if this is supposed to be funny…

Episode 6
Yet another boring peaceful episode with Lenessia talking to Rieze about her insecurities, blah, blah, blah. Then there’s Akatsuki who remembers some real life problem of hers but was just running away. Whatever. I guess she is in a place where souls go before they reincarnate. Some quiet sandy beach. She frolics in the shallow waters and Shiroe is there too. I guess he is dead too. They have a short chat before ‘returning’. Akatsuki wakes up in the cathedral as some of the girls come to pick her up. Some of them are surprised to learn that Shiroe is away from Akihabara and thus Akatsuki was desperately trying to solve the situation herself. However she realizes she can’t do it alone and wants their help. Meanwhile Roderic makes his report on his findings. Firstly, about gender. If you are a male in the original world and used a female character, you will gradually be turning into a woman. Vice versa. Holy sh*t! Second, he notices the distance between Akihabara and Mt Fuji is gradually increasing. Lastly, flavour texts which are supposed not to have in-game effects are beginning to have real world effects. The Apocalypse may not be over yet. Akatsuki is given an earful lesson about how she tried to solve things herself without relying on others. It is like as though she is insulting them. It is true that she too thought as long as she has Shiroe, she doesn’t need anyone else. She never tried getting close to others. But with Lenessia supporting her that they need help, I guess the rest agree to help out to stop the killer. They are friends after all. Crusty stumbles upon what he believes is a training ground for goblins. Misa’s weapon starts acting strange and she gets caught in some painful paralyzing beam. Crusty pushes her out but in turn gets trapped. She tries to reach for him but he disappears (along with her right arm!). Akatsuki informs what she knows of the killer and it seems he has the sword she wanted to buy. Rieze gets a distressing call.

Episode 7
Henrietta catches Rieze in tears. Until more details are known, Rieze doesn’t want word to get out about Crusty’s disappearance. They discuss about Byakumaru, the sword in the killer’s hands. According to the legend he was Rugrius, once part of the Izumo Knights and a hero. However he was betrayed by the Daughter of Elm and turned into a vengeful and hateful raid monster. Rieze forms a raid team to take out the killer. Akatsuki joins it and also hopes to learn Teachings but no luck. Well, at least she made some great friends. Rieze and Henrietta inform the Round Table about the properties of Byakumaru. It causes blizzard around and buffs up the killer’s stats as more people are around the vicinity. That is why a group attack is not possible. His own HP will also increase depending on the number of people around it. Rieze plans a raid attack on Akihabara but with a smaller team consisting of only 2 people. She also wants the place to be on curfew till New Year’s Day. They wonder if it will work because he possesses a power that can teleport anywhere. This is where Lenessia comes in. She is to temporarily disable the magic. She is still in a dilemma about what Kinjou said and in the end can’t give an answer. So we have Akatsuki’s melancholy continuing because she keeps thinking Shiroe is always pushing himself. So why can’t she? Lenessia too has her melancholy. She talks to Akatsuki about the responsibility she is shouldering and the friends she has made, blah, blah, blah. At the end of the day, she can’t run away and joins the raiding team. The teams begin their patrol. Akatsuki and Marielle must be in luck because here comes the killer. Seeing only 2 of them, he thinks he is being underestimated. He wants more people to gather so he can take their lives and destroy everything.

Episode 8
Akatsuki fights Nelreth with confidence (at least she is no longer ashamed of her petite size). After landing a few hits, they retreat to the next zone. This strategy has the teams apart from each other so that when Akatsuki and Marielle lead the killer through each zone, each group will simultaneously heal their allies and attack the enemy. Lenessia sees Kinjou and she has decided to shut off the magic temporarily although he questions if this will cause more harm than good. She believes this failure isn’t just the Kunie clan but all the People of the Land. This is their way to apologize to the adventurers. Kinjou agrees that his clan may have failed to protect the city, but they can’t move forward if they keep rejecting. He is indebted to her for this lesson. He takes her to a room where she can shut the magic down. If you’re wondering why Nelreth is just chasing Akatsuki and Marielle instead of finishing off the other adventurers, in his eyes they look like the Daughter of Elm. He must be very deluded. Akatsuki wished to go fast (like Sonic?) so much so she gained a Teaching of her own. She is able to clone herself and do multiple attacks! However she still cannot beat him and her HP is dangerously low. Akatsuki is then given a new reforged sword, Haganemushi Tatara that matches her size. She realizes she must destroy Byakumaru to end this and Haganemushi Tatara has the properties to lower that cursed sword’s condition. Nazuna saves her when she almost gets stabbed by him. When the time is right, the signal is given to Lenessia to shut off the magic. Rieze then rains down an ice block to trap him and allowing Akatsuki cutting Byakumaru with no worries at all. The flavour text of Haganemushi Tatara is rewritten and sounds like Akatsuki has become a legend. What better way to celebrate this victory and New Year’s Day via pyjamas party? Akatsuki now understands why Shiroe is always trying so hard. Having something to protect means a place to belong and be happy. She gets a surprised call from Shiroe to congratulate her. Looks like he is going in for another retry and won’t give up.

Episode 9
Shiroe and co are up against another raid boss. They’re making progress in observing its patterns and everything. Just when they thought they had it, it unleashes a never-seen-before move. Its armour can shatter and become little minions. If you defeat them, they return to being part of his armour and increase its HP. They’re repeating this cycle for a few times and when Shiroe thought of a plan to beat this pattern, suddenly here comes in a couple of raid bosses! OMG! How are they going to defeat them all? Isn’t this against the rules?! Was it impossible in the first place? Too bad. Everybody gets owned. So the rest of the episode chronicles Shiroe’s time during his ‘death’. We get to see his ‘realistic’ face and the small uneventful town he lives in. As his parents worked late, he often goes out for a walk to think at the park. Big little things this kid thinks. He thinks back of all the people who follow and trust him but at the same time he couldn’t trust them enough. Shiroe always believed there was something besides the players and People of the Land. Perhaps a third party who brought them here. Therefore he used the members of the Round Table to research on various stuffs without letting know this true goal of his. But so far there were no proofs. Then as he finds himself on that beach, it is actually the moon! As there are 13 servers for Elder Tale, the 14th one is believed to be a test server said to be located on the moon! Could the rumours be true? As he meets Akatsuki, he saw something ‘disappearing’ from her. Those snowflakes turn out to be fragment of memories of fallen players. This might be the price they pay to rise up again. So they talk about working hard, doing their best and try to get back up again. Time to revive and get back into the fray.

Episode 10
A long boring episode of William’s motivational speech… Everybody is about to give up from the impossibility to beat this game. William wanted to say comforting words but he knows it’s all just a lie. He fights against his inner self to say what he wants. All of them may be losers in society. But so what? They decided on this and dedicated their lives to Elder Tale. He won’t let anybody insult in what they’re doing because what they do is amazing. So what their win-loss ratio is recorded in the server? So what if everything is real or fake? It is real to them. He tells them a secret he never told anyone before. He had nothing in real life. That’s why they are his friends. Without this game, he couldn’t make friends. Elder Tale taught him many things and he was able to communicate with others. He talks about the ups and downs of raiding and his guild. They might be finished now and can’t win but he is happy to have come to this world. A world where they make raids better than anyone else. If they go back now, what will they have? They spent their time, energy and everything else on this game and he doesn’t care if others call him a weirdo. So if they run, where will they go? Demikas breaks this long monologue that is he telling them to keep dying instead of running? It is fine if they had a way to win but now they don’t. They are useless people in either worlds. Will he still tell them not to run? William’s long speech continues… He one ran away. That was from joining the Round Table. He thought it was silly to protect Akihabara then and wanted to do raids. He realized he was just running away. But Shiroe never ran away. Funnily, he admired him during his time in Debauchery Tea Party. He wanted to join that group. But by the time he levelled up, they already disbanded. Calling Shiroe an incredible leader, he stood his ground and build up Akihabara. That is whey when he sought his help on this raid, he was happy to accept it. Long story short, they are gamers, damn it! I guess almost 20 minutes of screen time motivational speech is enough to make everyone get back up and try again. William wants to win this time. Not for himself but for his friends. Shiroe wonders if he can speak so honestly like that. He has decided to tell everybody about the truth and his real goal. He has a slightly better plan and even though it is just 15% success, that will do.

Episode 11
Everyone’s motivated to retry again. Everyone’s better communicated and such. Even Demikas is reflecting upon himself. He came to this world thinking he could do anything he want because he thought it was just a game. But then he lost to everyone and everything. However when William pathetically lost, nobody left him. From what I can see in this new plan, after making this knight raid boss shed his shadow vanguards, they run into another cave to fight another hydra raid boss. The key is to fight the raid bosses separately but they cannot fight too far from the radii or else their healers won’t be effective. Their positions will be very crucial. Tetra can be flirty with Naotsugu even during this time. She drops the bombshell that she is going to join Log Horizon and Shiroe approved of it. Why? So that she can continue to play with him! The attack and healing goes well till does shadow vanguards show up and threaten to derail the plan. Shiroe concludes that the knight raid boss may have inflicted damage on itself to clone more of those shadow vanguards. They need to be drawn away so Demikas does so but also takes Shiroe along. Shiroe thinks Demikas is planning to get his revenge by ruining it all now. Demikas runs far enough for the shadow vanguards to stop following. He wants Shiroe to say his name. Seeing the seriousness in his eyes, he calls his real name for the first time. They both tell that they still hate each other. Demikas throws Shiroe down to a giant door. There is where he will die. He then runs off when the shadow vanguards come chasing. Shiroe realizes this is the deepest level of the Abyssal Shaft, their goal. Upon opening the door, rivers and streams of gold coins everywhere! Yeah, who says money come from trees? Before him is Kinjou.

Episode 12
Upon closer look, he isn’t Kinjou but another member of Kunie. Shiroe deduces his tears as being afraid. Who wouldn’t after his raid party keeps coming back like a zombie attack. Kunie explains all coins are born and returned here. The clan has been keeping this dark secret since. According to the law, since he reached here he has the right to take the gold. Shiroe has no intention of telling this to anyone but he wants to say what he couldn’t to Kinjou. He takes out some contract and rips it apart. This is to complete the contract. He reveals the Round Table doesn’t need wealth and now have the power to live peacefully in Akihabara. The contract states that all the buildings they have bought will be assigned to the Yamato server and ripping the contract makes it eternal. They bought the buildings to prevent it from falling in enemies’ hands but since it costs a lot to finance it, this expedition was his idea. Let me try to understand this. So Shiroe is using all the coins here to finance and buy all that? This includes all the zones in Yamato and then reassigning them? Shiroe finds it unfair that adventurers can purchase them but not People of the Land. This may be a problem in the future. He hopes Kunie will lend them money to do this so they will not destroy themselves. The land of Yamato should return and belong to Yamato. Silver Sword amazingly defeats all the raid bosses. Can’t blame them for laughing like mad. With it, all the super items and gold are theirs. There is also a tomb with their names erected stating them as the first adventurers to clear this. They return to Susukino as Shiroe talked to Silver Sword on many things. Regarding Demikas, he felt that he took out his frustrations on him by never calling his real name before. Now he realized it is wrong to steal someone’s name because it means you’re unwilling to recognize them as human. As they head home to Akihabara, Tetra continues to tease Naotsugu. Shiroe doesn’t want her to do that too much because he knows a little secret: TETRA IS A BOY!!!!!!!!!!! Meanwhile we see a short glimpse of that Plant Hwyaden guild biding their time doing nothing. I don’t know what they’re planning but it seems they’re surprised to hear Shiroe has returned to Akihabara. Log Horizon greets Shiroe’s return. Tetra purposely flirts with Naotsugu to irk Marielle and a tussle for the big guy begins… And where is that Akatsuki so to speak? Oh, she’s there. Too short to see her? I thought Shiroe teased her for growing taller! But he notes she has matured. It is one of those little times it’s okay to still be child-like as she hugs his back. Welcome back.

Episode 13
Valentine’s Day is around the corner. You know what this means. Is there some ulterior motive for Nyanta as he tells Serara about the coconia fruit that has you reveal who you love for the one who eats it? Then he also helps Isuzu make some cookies. But tension is running high for Akatsuki and Minori. It gets worse when Tetra teases Shiroe who is from Tea Debauchery Party and probably likes the leader, Kanami. Can this older woman be his girlfriend too? Shiroe’s surprised reaction even makes the girls worry. Could it be true? Rudy and Touya know Tetra is a boy but are confused how to address this cross-dresser. Even more tension when Minori and Akatsuki gathered lots of coconia fruits and at the same time they want Nyanta to teach them how to cook. Oh dear… Tetra then suggests working together since their goal is the same. She’s enjoying this, isn’t she? On a serious note, it has been 6 weeks since the magic barrier is down but there are no reports of monster attacks or PKs. Misa is given a mechanical arm as replacement. Since healing didn’t work, it is deduced the original one may be where Crusty is. Speaking of which, Lenessia’s gloom continues because Crusty is missing. Nobody to give her chocolates to? Marielle gives her sweets to Naotsugu (much to Shouryuu’s dismay). He eats it and experiences the effect of the fruit. She asks what kind of girl he likes most. He is about to say panties but that running joke of Akatsuki popping up to beat him in a flash ruins it. I don’t know how she left the kitchen so fast to go beat him up. Ah well, Shouryuu at least got leftovers and he’s happy about it. Shiroe’s cake trauma must be resurfacing as Minori and Akatsuki want him to eat their hard work. When he does, the girls are in a dilemma to ask that important question but ultimately can’t. Touya is hungry and wonders what is for dinner and this has Shiroe scream out he loves curry. I guess they’ll be having that tonight. The girls are relieved that this is for the best. Serara couldn’t find the fruit and gives Nyanta flowers she picked. Rudy eats Isuzu’s sweet and blurts out he loves everyone so they realize the effects aren’t just limited to romantic love. Meanwhile we see Indicus of Plant Hwyaden verbally abusing Nureha to forget about Shiroe and how nobody cares about her. Seems there is a contract between them for Nureha to collect wooden dolls to make a castle of a world of her own so Indicus will gain the entire Yamato server. But Nureha won’t give him since she has a promise with Shiroe.

Episode 14
As the Plant Hwyaden guys watch over the Minami town, KR talks of how he met Kanami in the China server and is coming back here. While his horse avatar was roaming for information, that is when he met Kanami travelling with an American player, Leonardo (despite he is in a frog suit, I can’t help see more resemblance in Ninja Turtle), Coppelia (the maid!!!!) and Erius Hackblade (a progenitor like the Izumo Knights). Seems the Apocalypse only happened in Japan server for the time being thanks to the time zone difference. As KR joins them, they enter a village whereby some plague demons start possessing people and attack others. They also meet Chun Lu (so familiar…) of the Rakurou Wolf Brigade whose entire members were wiped out in a raid. Kanami thinks of joining in this fight but Leonardo can’t see why she is doing so much to help NPCs. He understands Erius is an NPC but he is surprised to learn Coppelia is also one but created from a farming bot by a Chinese money laundering group. Leonardo also decides to join Kanami and that is when KR switched his other avatar to be part of this raid. So they face off with hordes of dog beasts and a couple of bosses, namely Lasphere who can control others by using a second name and swapping their status to take damage for her, and Paps whose slimy tentacles are trying to brainwash Erius that he is just a software personality! I don’t think that was meant to be funny. Of course Kanami can’t be bothered with all that and drops in to fight. KR doesn’t know what happened after that most probably because of the Apocalypse taking shape. Nureha comes out to greet the crowd and they are charmed by her while Indicus knows she is just being a puppet with a pretty face. KR of course didn’t tell Indicus any of this and this means she doesn’t know Kanami is back yet. Plant Hwyaden seems to be moving out for war in the east.

Episode 15
Isuzu performs on stage. Personally, I’m not impressed… But Rudy is praising her so much that it makes her embarrassed that she wants to beat him up?! Then Touya talks to Isuzu about her talented skills as we hear her being humble and modest about her musical background back in the real world. She is glad to perform since it makes others happy. The young ones are called by Shiroe because he intends for the rookies to go on a quest themselves to get materials to make some magic bag. It’s time for them to be independent. So we see them packing their stuffs, shopping around for weapons, accessories and a mode of transport (so they settled for a horse drawn carriage?). Then the entire guild has a feast that night to celebrate the beginning of a new journey. Next day, the young ones are sent off with lots of hope and encouragement (and some of them getting emotional too). What a boring episode…

Episode 16
Log Horizon rookies continue their journey. Boring… What’s funny is how their horses kick them off due to some time limit per day thingy. WTF. Yeah, they can even laugh it off. Nothing special about their ‘learning’ journey. They take breaks, set up campfire and in the next town, Isuzu uses her bard skills to perform so they can stay at the hotel for free. Rudy is puzzled of Isuzu’s treatment of him which is very different from Touya but the latter can’t tell him that Isuzu’s treatment over him leans more towards of a dog. Meanwhile back at Akihabara, it is Rieze’s turn to experience melancholy since Crusty is still missing. With the rest of the friends to support her, you know everything is going to be alright. Easy for Akatsuki to say since Shiroe is around. However there is only so long of Crusty’s disappearance can be kept secret. Because at this rate, guild members are leaving DDD and joining Honesty. Some of the old members are not happy with the increasing members because they feel those newbies are just leaches. They think of putting some limits but the guild leader is just having headache to think about it. Because Honesty is having a lot of influence in the Round Table solely based on grounds as the third largest guild. Finally we get to see some action as our Log Horizon rookies save a couple of the People of the Land from some ogres. They may be able to easily handle them but wait till the higher level spectres they are about to face. Luckily, a travelling summoner saves them from being casualties. Roe 2 suspiciously looks like a female version of Shiroe… But since she is also a vampire, she collapses from the sun’s rays.

Episode 17
Roe 2 is still weak from the sun but the rookies’ horse ‘broke’ so they have to push their carriage to the next town. Thank goodness it isn’t that far. They learn Roe 2 is heading to Ikoma to get rid of her vampire subclass that she hates. It is in the same direction as they are heading. Because she likes being called a big sister (because it makes her feel being relied on), she will gladly summon as much horses they want for their trip. And then a short hotspring fanservice scene with Isuzu teasing Serara and Minori on their crushes before Roe 2 usurps the conversation with her bigger boobs. What…? We take a detour back to Akihabara whereby the Round Table guys are discussing about the worrying income gap widening. Some suggests sharing wealth or publishing secrets for fair distribution but some argue about losing motivation on all the hard work you put in to achieve it all. No offence Marielle, but holding events for everyone to participate may actually look like arrogance to some. But how? You can’t leave and abandon the poor and those who are still not used it. What does Shiroe have to say? He knows making bug decisions among themselves like this will only destroy Akihabara. Our Log Horizon rookies enter Boxurt Mountains with heavy fog everywhere. They stumble upon merchants having trouble transporting their abundant cargo. Dariella, a travelling writer and People of the Land suggests helping them out. I guess Touya is smitten with her to agree. Passing by is an eerie group. They are actually Odyssey Knights from Plant Hwyaden. They are carrying an equally eerie contraption believed to be a mobile cathedral that allows adventurers who die to respawn anywhere in its vicinity. But how come they all look so lifeless and their march like a funeral procession? Must be a side effect, huh? And there are rumours that say it disturbs the voices of the heart when used… No wonder those scary eyes…

Episode 18
Nureha has gone missing because she went off on her own but Loreil is adamant to go find her. But if you remember well, she is currently masquerading herself as Nureha. But for the first half of this episode, it is about Rudy and Isuzu talking. After yet another sterling bard performance, Isuzu talks to him about her music background because her dad was a pro musician and was famous although only for a short time. Because Isuzu plays down herself that she has no talent, Rudy disagrees otherwise and how everyone is happy to listen to her play. Then it is like she realized something that makes her so sad. Because the People of the Land has 42 songs to go with and cannot create any more. That is why when Isuzu plays her simplest songs, they feel so happy. That is why Isuzu is considered a hero who has brought in so many songs. Then he talks about People of the Land having future and dreams, the reason why many of them start heading towards Akihabara. This only serves to make her feel more miserable and irresponsible about singing songs with such themes although Rudy and the rest clearly do not feel offended. I don’t know. I don’t really understand what’s her problem. So she locks herself in her room trying to write something. Next morning, Touya talks to Dariella but it feels something tense between them because he can’t look her in the eye and speak. Then he even says this weird thing that she won’t look odd if she stops smiling or something. Is he saying she is faking her smile? We take a detour back to Shiroe as Akatsuki happily reports all she knows about Lenessia’s father. Did she sneak into the castle? No. Lenessia told her. So? Should he be proud that she used her feminine skills to get such info? Well, I suppose. Minori feels strange as she cannot contact Shiroe. She thinks that mobile cathedral may be the side affect and what Dariella meant about voices of the heart being disturbed. She might be referring to telepathy. Suddenly a big ominous cloud approaches the town. Actually it is a horde of wyverns! Ah, got to wait till the next episode for the action. And what is this? Nyanta is nearby?

Episode 19
The People of the Land aren’t afraid since the Odyssey Knights are here to protect them. However Touya and co cannot be in more shock to see them happily and crazily attacking the wyverns. Even more shocking is that how they don’t mind getting killed since the mobile cathedral revives them. Then they start all over again. Plus, everybody is all over the place. No plans, no teamwork. Meanwhile Plant Hwyaden release some nightshade creatures to attack because from what I understand, based on some experiments they did, it will act as a vessel while drawing experience points from whoever without affecting the player much even if it dies. It’s like becoming immortal. Minori becomes suspicious of who Roe 2 is (because she seems to be talking-cum-hinting about things that I don’t understand and don’t care) while Touya who cannot stand it all goes to attack the monsters. Then he confronts one of the Odyssey Knights about his reckless action especially sacrificing their own lives. He is told many want to go back to their old world. When they die, they can see glimpse of it and perhaps a chance for them to return. He then talks about he is getting married and giving up this game for good, blah, blah, blah. Touya argues there are lots of people he loves in this world but is told off a world where one can’t die isn’t real. Touya is more upset. He remembers his real life he got into a car accident. Although alive, it was so bad that I guess he kissed his football dreams goodbye and needed to be wheeled around by Minori. That’s like being dead, right? Isuzu decides to stop being a worrywart and do what she does best. She is going to pick a fight with the god of this world for creating only so few songs. She’s going to sing. After Roe 2 throws back several questions to Minori and made her question herself if knowing Roe 2’s origin and destination are important, she realizes that knowing herself and where she wants to go is perhaps her wish. She wants to be a person like Shiroe who opens new paths and a big sister like her. I guess with that magic word, Roe 2 can’t refuse to help her as she summons her giant zebra and they ride into the battlefield. Nyanta starts his action by destroying the nightshade creatures.

Episode 20
Nyanta fights Londark who seems to be wanting to let People of the Land start a war to kill each other (something Shiroe had tried to say at the Round Table). Seems Londark is bitter because he wasn’t invited but forced into this world so he’s just doing what he wants with it. Nyanta knows what he says is true and tries to talk him out. But Londark wants to die. That is when Mizufa Trudy kills him to shut him up. She fights Nyanta and is impressed by his skills but sad that he has no intention to kill. Nureha is wondering what went wrong. She thought of interfering a little when she tagged along with those Log Horizon newbies. She only thinks Shiroe is special but after what Touya said about not smiling so that she wouldn’t look like she is lying, she thinks his teachings is in them. She can’t wait to see Shiroe and when Loreil finds her, she learns Mizufa ordered this wyvern and nightshade attack. She orders to help out. Mizufa is about to let Nyanta kill him but Kazuhiko intervenes. Nyanta knows him since he was part of Debauchery Tea Party. He believed Kazuhiko is trying to change Plant Hwyaden from inside but from the looks of it, he might have lost his goodness. Mizufa continues to attack and dares Nyanta to kill him but again Kazuhiko stops Nyanta’s blade, this time with his bare hand. Since top orders from Nureha have been received, the mission is cancelled and everyone is to back down. When Nyanta tries to ask Kazuhiko about Plant Hwyaden’s goal, he is kicked off from the train. Roe 2 is happy to help by summoning her angel to destroy the enemies. Should have done this earlier. Isuzu continues with her self reconciliation about her love for music, etc. We get it already! After seeing Touya trying to prevent those Odyssey Knights from killing themselves, she snaps. That is when she is going to introduce a new song to this world and starts singing it. Believe me, I prefer much better the ending theme that just rolled in right after hers. Haha!

Episode 21
The town is destroyed. The rookies are sad they couldn’t save it. The Odyssey Knights leave for their next death adventure. Touya is sad he couldn’t make them understand. It is time for Roe 2 to part but she gives Minori a letter for Shiroe. The best parting gift for her is for everyone to call her big sister. Music to her ears. Also, it is time for Dariella to part and return to Plant Hwyaden as Nureha. The rookies want to stay back and help clean up despite their mission is over. Rudy tries to convince them not to overstay their welcome but a little help never killed anybody, right? We take a detour back to Akihabara. Naotsugu notices lots more people becoming gloomy like when the Apocalypse first started. He hopes he is just over-thinking. Shiroe receives report from Nyanta about his meeting with Kazuhiko as well as Londark’s words. He fears that there are more people who can’t adapt and it makes them angry to the point that they will help the People of the Land to fight each other. If war erupts, can they stay out of it? What will the Round Table do? Also, there seems to be a strange travelling merchant, Camus going around hitting on girls. Some of the girls in West Wind Brigade were hit too but they weren’t amused and rejected. When one of them does, Kurinon punches his face! Suddenly she gets hypnotized to date him. Soujirou comes to her rescue and points out that thanks to the barrier being down, lots of weirdoes have been creeping in. When Camus hits on Soujirou, the other girls beat him up! Nobody touches their man! As Log Horizon rookies clean up, they hear cruel comments from the locals claiming the adventurers don’t care about them in the end. Isuzu realizes this might be why Rudy wanted them to leave. Isuzu still feels glad they came and despite creating a new song for the people, it won’t mean a thing if it doesn’t remain. But on their way back, they hear the kids humming to her tune so there is still hope after all. They won’t have to walk all the way back as Nyanta is here to pick them up on his Griffin. Hey. How can all of them ride on a single Griffin? Anyway, the rookies are glad to be back in the familiar warmth of their Akihabara guild. Home Good to be home, eh? Shiroe opens the letter from Roe 2.

Episode 22
Contents of the letter include Roe 2 claiming some of Shiroe’s memories are with her. Just like other adventurers, she is also part of another sentient being that came from another world. They are called Navigators. Shiroe talks to Soujirou after his guild destroyed Camus when he turned into a monster. He felt strange in slaying him because it was too easy like as though he was fighting a monster from a video game. During the Round Table discussion, they discuss another monster, Bagris that could control and distort measurements, making it difficult for them to attack effectively. But with Roderic creating some ‘ruler’ with Kunie clan’s help, Bagris was destroyed. For now, they term these monsters as Geniuses. We take a little detour with Akatsuki and Minori meeting up with Shiroe. But with Tetra clinging on to him and making ambiguous moves, the tug of war begins. At this rate he’ll be torn apart! Shiroe is counting his blessings ever since he got here. Because it has been a year since the Apocalypse and more and more adventurers are feeling homesick. With the impending war, the advent of adventurers is partly to blame for it so it is best they find a way home quickly. Shiroe calls the old Log Horizon members to discuss Roe 2’s letter. Sorry, it’s not a love letter. Yeah, Shiroe can joke! It claims she is the person Shiroe is looking for. Roe 2 is actually Shiroe’s other avatar he left when he was a tester on the test server. As Shiroe has long thought why they came to this world, it is illogical for a game to suddenly become real and they absorb into it. Their technology is not that advanced. With physics of both worlds mixed up, he thought there is a third party who is neither adventurers nor People of the Land who can explain. Informing them about Roe 2. In their language, she would be an alien. Apart from Navigators, there are also similar beings like them called Harvesters who are out to harvest resources called empathion. Too bad she didn’t explain what it is. But it seems their society had begun to run out of it and a new world was needed to solve this crisis. Therefore Roe 2 and her kind came here using something called Match which is something similar the adventurers experienced during Apocalypse. Roe 2 wants Shiroe to establish communications with the moon because that is where her society is observing the situation. She warns about Harvesters, powerful monsters using bodies prepared for them on the moon. They are what the Round Table calls them as Geniuses. Exercise extreme caution. Shiroe believes the validity of this letter because he saw it when he died at Abyssal Shaft. Akatsuki also remembers. So if they can get back there, they can go home.

Episode 23
Shiroe talks to Roderic about the lunar communication. Bad news. The cost is going to kill them. Even so, they cannot guarantee it will work. Log Horizon rookies are in a dilemma about Shiroe’s decision to send the adventurers home. Some feel they have made friends here but Touya doesn’t hesitate that he wants to go home. Because he came here without effort, he wants to work hard so that he can find a place to call his own. The rest of this episode focuses on Isaac and Iselus, Lenessia’s younger brother at Maihama. Yaoi-shota setting? Isaac is here to train the local guards and be Iselus’ bodyguard. He can’t stand the teasing in the form of praises. Isaac sees the Sergiatte who informs here he intends to officially announce Iselus as the heir during his birthday celebration. He hopes he can teach Iselus what they could not. Easy for him to say. Looks like it is going to be a long road. There is also talk about how the land was once ruled by only Westelande and its dynasty but a war split the land into regions as it is known today. Lenessia returns to celebrate Iselus’ birthday (making Tetra a sad idol because she wanted to form a new idol unit with her!). She warns Iselus to be wary of the adventurers especially those with glasses. Don’t worry. Isaac doesn’t wear glasses! During the celebration, Isaac catches a perpetrator trying to poison Iselus. He takes the kid and run but later finishes them off after being pissed at their hypocrisy. They’re claiming they’re doing this for the peace of the land and yet they want to kill a 9 year old kid? Regan returns to Shiroe having finished investigating the portal at Susukino that might have relations with the moon. Shiroe has always thought the communication equipment in an abandoned broadcast building was broken but during Regan’s investigation, he detected a slight signal of it. Suddenly everyone around the land collapses.

Episode 24
It seems only the People of the Land have collapsed. Eyewitnesses say they saw shining wings and they conclude it could be moths. During the Round Table meeting, it is suggested that they continue investigate the antenna since the people are only asleep. They have no time or energy to spare with all the weird events happening. Shiroe suggests keeping an eye on the situation since even if they can go home, it won’t be right away. Next night, swarms of moths descend on all the cities and this time adventurers who come into contact with their shedding scales fall asleep. More Round Table discussion as they believe people are asleep because their MP is drain away but not quick enough to recover. Shiroe thinks this might be empathion and the moths may be Geniuses. More shocking discovery as the moth’s nest is located at the broadcast building. It has also turned into a raid zone called Calling Fortress. Regan suggests destroying the antenna but that would mean destroying their only means of going home. He is not sure about the servers in other areas, if there is one or even functioning. Shiroe calls for a full raid and will have to finish it before the next moonrise as this is when the next moth swarm will appear. Regan also tags a long because there is a special seal at the entrance and since this is the first time something like this happened in this world, he has the responsibility to witness it. As they move in, they are attacked by… Moon rabbits?! Then minotaurs, ogres and monster boars join the ambush to make it tough for the raid team. They get stuck in the labyrinth so Shiroe suggests retreating to a safe area where they can rest and recover their MP. Some feel Shiroe is being pathetic because it doesn’t feel like the real him calling such shots. But no rest for the heroes as the monsters barge in to continue their attack. A new plant monster emerges from the ground. Casualties are raking up so Shiroe is forced to call it off. Instead of returning to the dungeon’s entrance, they reappear at the studio room. Shiroe apologizes but Henrietta slaps him! Minori and the rest tell Shiroe they are staying in this world. They know he is worried about destroying the antenna and their chance of going home. It’s not that they don’t want to go home but they’re not sure yet. Besides, they can’t leave the People of the Land like that. They don’t know when they’ll be able to go home but knowing they can makes them happy. After they settle everything, they can go home after that. New report shows there is a character appearing on the rooftop. He could be the raid boss. Shiroe is enlightened by the newbies and gets his scheming groove back. He is not going to pick either the world or antenna to save. They’ll save both!

Episode 25
The raid team is back in their groove attacking at full force. Thanks to Shiroe’s great planning and observation, they make lots of headway till they face off with the raid boss who seems to be interested in just putting everything to sleep. Shiroe shows why he was Debauchery Tea Party’s best strategist as he is able to figure out the raid boss’ attack patterns in a short amount of time. Then everybody attacks simultaneously and wins the entire thing. Good news that with this victory, the attack on everywhere else also stops. Regan has finished fixing the antenna. A voice is heard once the signal is connected. Shiroe recognizes and dreads this voice… It is Kanami! Gasp! His ex-girlfriend! Akatsuki… Minori… Hold still your beating hearts… If Kanami is making the communication, is she on the moon? Nope. She’s on the China server. During her journey, she stumbled upon a broadcast studio and messed around a little. She got lucky, huh? Kanami tells Shiroe that her daughter is now 3 years old. Wow. Is that a relief or what? Shiroe is surprised that Kanami isn’t desperate in going back. Because she wants to show her daughter how beautiful this world and the many friends they made. Then it hit Shiroe that it isn’t about staying or going home. There is a third option: Connect both worlds! Kanami wants him to do that and since Shiroe has already formed his guild, he will accept her request. The shocking revelation comes when Kanami says Crusty is here with her! Before more can be said, the communication breaks down. You did something, Regan? True, Crusty is there and he wonders who will be first to get him. Rieze or Misa. Hey. You forgot a certain spoilt princess who is still pouting your name that you’re not around! Meanwhile Indicus is not pleased to be told to restore the relationship between Westlande and Eastal. Even more insulting to her is that it is suggested to cooperate with Shiroe and the Round Table. There is no more time for infighting seeing what just happened. Indicus says no way Jose and won’t even let Shiroe go home. Nureha orders Indicus to stop the war with Eastal so Indicus thinks it is time to remind this b*tch her place. Too bad she won’t get to slap her because Kazuhiko stops her. Nureha tells her that she made a promise with Shiroe and she will not be the one to deal with him. Our raiding heroes return to savour the great taste of Nyanta’s curry. And now a new war begins… Minori and Akatsuki trying to outdo each other feeding Shiroe. He’s full…

The Melancholy Of Log Horizon
No wonder… Before I started watching this series, I had read comments from around the internet that they find this season totally boring. I wasn’t going to let that get me down and was going to maintain my optimism for this season. After all, everyone is entitled to their opinions. Sad to say, I have to admit that my final thoughts for this season are the same. I cannot believe this anime has fallen so far from its amazing first season to downright boring! Yes. It is sad for me to even say that but I think this is my overall sentiment for this season. Sure, there were some interesting bits but they were so miniscule and not making an impact that it couldn’t and retain my interest and eventually save the season.

First let me start off with the bad ‘boring’ points. As I can see, melancholy is the word that I would describe in what is going on for some of the characters in focus. During the first arc with beloved Shiroe away, Akatsuki started annoying us with her melancholy. She is thinking about her usefulness to her lord. After being with him for so long, I am pretty sure he is not the guy who would simply cast her aside for this silly reason. So why you so sad, girl? The saddest part? This is the only part where she has more screen time and in focus! Otherwise it feels like she has been relegated to a side character in subsequent arcs. Similarly, Lenessia is also experiencing her melancholy time. Again, she feels there is not enough she could do for everyone. So what are you sitting here lamenting about? Get out there and do something! Oh, she isn’t the only want feeling melancholy of Crusty’s disappearance. Rieze too. At least for a short while. Next, the Log Horizon newbies. Especially Touya and Isuzu who started feeling sad about this world. About death and music. Whatever. I know empathy is good but they’re being so sad like as though it is a hopeless thing (which isn’t). There is something that is eating Dariella/Nureha but I don’t know what it is either. Not that I care. Finally, Shiroe himself. I am sure and can understand this guy is carrying the responsibility and all the burden on his shoulders. He has a reputation and responsibility to keep up. So when he doesn’t, it isn’t like him anymore. Thankfully he has got great pals to support him and since the season is going to end, it is a good thing his melancholy is short and won’t span for episodes. Thank goodness.

The next boring point is the storyline. I don’t know. The adventure this season feels like it is lacking so much of something. Lacking the adventure magic that I felt when I saw the first season. Despite showing twin stories simultaneously side by side for the first arc, sadly they do not possess the wow factor. Mainly because Akatsuki’s melancholy has been hogging the limelight for the wrong reasons so it takes away the enthusiasm even when I am watching Shiroe’s full raid. Having Akatsuki redeeming herself by fighting and defeating Nelreth didn’t quite cut it. This mysterious killer story felt like it was put in just to match the full raid’s action sequence. Even the revelation of Shiroe going on this full raid, I didn’t comprehend it very well. Buying up the land to return it to the People of the Land? What? Me no understand still. It takes the fun out of everything.

And after Shiroe’s return, it is time to give the Log Horizon newbies a fair share of the limelight. So we send them away to do some sort of mission and they learn something or two and then mature and grow stronger from what they have learnt. Boring. Even if the impending war between the People of the Land is averted for now, it still doesn’t dismiss the fact that it could happen again in the future. With episodes running out for the season, they quickly mash together a sudden threat to Akihabara so it is a race of time to save what they deem important. Well, honestly after watching the boringness for so long, it isn’t a bad thing to see Log Horizon and some of the other guild members band up together to storm into the raid zone. Maybe it is because I have become a sadist in seeing them lose for the first time! An enemy they cannot defeat? Wow. This is interesting. And of course they won’t make losing as their streak and eventually turn the tables.

To be fair, not all of the plot or revelations are boring although there is a big portion of the show that I still do not understand. Heck, if some things in this world are still a mystery and Round Table is having a hard time understanding it, what are the chances for a guy like me? Therefore the most interesting plot for this season to me is about the server on the moon. Shiroe and Akatsuki’s temporary pit stop there looked fascinating and mysterious. Although not proven, it could be the answer for the adventurers to get home and I believe this is probably the biggest goal in the plot of the story. I don’t know. Personally having connected with Kanami at the end felt both great and disappointing. Great because Shiroe gets to reunite (sort of) with Kanami. Disappointing because it didn’t really connect with the moon and leave us wanting for more. Not even a freaking cliff-hanger.

Therefore even with the fleeting so called romance (if you can call it), it might be little and it might be just distraction but somehow I prefer to see the rivalry between Minori and Akatsuki and taking it to greater heights. That curry battle might just begin it all. Can the giraffe best the crocodile? Heck, if they had shown more of this, they might have turned the show distasteful, even worse than how boring it is. I would also like to see the rivalry between Tetra and Marielle but then again, that would turn everything distasteful. This idol cross-dresser sure knows how to tease about. Nothing major happening between Serara and Nyanta. Feels like status quo since last season. Same case for Rudy and Isuzu. Touya and Dariella could be interesting but it could just be the spur of the moment. Thanks to Crusty missing most of the time and trolling us if he is alive or not, we don’t see that romantic stuffs he pulled on Lenessia he did in last season.

Continuing the boring stuffs, I would like to talk about the characters. With so many major characters, it is hard for all of them to have a decent share of the spotlight. Unfortunately some of the supporting characters from last season didn’t make a decent impact. Heck, I don’t even remember some of them by now. For example, Lenessia is close to being forgotten after she played an important turning point in boldly standing up to challenge the status quo last season. Because with Crusty missing, I see no reason why we should see her being sad over his disappearance. Keep blaming this guy for not showing up when she needed him, eh? Oh girl, why don’t you just get over it and admit you like this guy!

I thought Nureha and her Plant Hwyaden would become the main antagonist this season as I expected last season but it all falls flat. Indicus is seen like a likely villain (she is after all another character in glasses) and could be the next big one at least standing in Shiroe’s way if there is ever another season. Or they could be just trolling us again. Plant Hwyaden seems intimidating enough but when it is time for action, their appearance is just so limited that I thought it was better for them not to appear at all. Okay, so it is my fault for putting up such expectations. Even Demikas and William make up for their sorry appearances last season despite just being confined to the first arc. But that is better than nothing. At least we can see that they’re not so bad people after all. Demikas just needs anger management and all William wanted was to make friends. At least Demikas shows he isn’t just all hot headed and filled with angst. I didn’t know he can joke because he ‘drools’ when his wife gets injured. Yeah, he doesn’t cry. His eyes drool! I didn’t know he can say funny stuffs! Old characters like Naotsugu, Akatsuki, Nyanta, Marielle and Henrietta (and the majority of the rest whom I have forgotten their names) didn’t do enough to make much of an impact. Akatsuki’s beating up of Naotsugu when he says the ‘P’ word becomes a faint reminder that it was a running joke last season. It didn’t work this time.

As for the handful of new characters, well, it is a mixed baggage. Because Tetra is the most amusing one with her penchant to be as happy as an idol and sticking around Naotsugu just to cause some jealous riffs with Marielle. I don’t know if she has some sort of skill to summon mini portals because she can pop up anywhere she likes over this big guy and very quickly. Trying to catch her is like trying to play whack-a-mole in extreme difficulty mode. Despite Tetra being freaking annoying, thanks to the boringness of everything, her lively teasing seems to be more amusing and interesting. Really. Then there is Roe 2 whom I thought would drop the bombshell and claiming to be Shiroe’s long lost sister or twin since they both look suspiciously similar, only just gender swapped. Didn’t happen. She was mysterious as the wind, came in and joined the rookies for a while before leaving. Her penchant for being called the big sister serves more of a comic relief when everything is getting boring. Though, the interesting bit about her was the revelation that she belongs to another sentient being and there could be another life form trapped in this world. Finally Iselus. I can’t help imagine this kid to be of yaoi-shota pairing with Isaac. *Shudders*.

Action wise, they are still okay but not exciting enough to retain my attention. Therefore I don’t remember if they spam a lot of new spells or techniques since I wasn’t really paying attention. Even if I did, I wouldn’t remember them. Despite the final episode filled with the action packed stuffs and a reminder of what Log Horizon should have been, but it was too late to save everything. Even so, I didn’t think that final raid boss battle was that exciting. Just satisfying enough. Personally, I thought the artwork remained the same like last season. But as I have read some comments, some say that the quality is lower this season. Hmm… There are a few scenes which I thought weren’t up to par but it is because I thought this was how the anime was. You know, the characters especially their facial expressions and the likes are simple looking instead of anything complicated.

As many of the big casts from the first season are retained, a handful of new ones join them in this new season. Most notable would be Tetra. At first I thought she was voiced by Aki Toyosaki because of that idiotic liveliness in her. Nope, it’s not her but Yukiyo Fujii (Latifa in Amagi Brilliant Park). Roe 2 is voiced by Ayumui Fujimura (Misaki in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama). Interestingly, Mariya Ise who voiced Lenessia in both seasons now also voices Iselus. I can’t tell the difference anyway. I also didn’t know it was Marina Inoue’s voice behind Kanami. Maybe I did but perhaps I wasn’t concentrating. Lacking of other new seiyuus I can find this season, I’m just going to list down Hiromi Igarashi as Coppelia (Hina in Papa No Iukoto Wo Kikinasai) simply because she is a maid character :). But there is a little pleasant surprise in this department for this season. I can’t be wrong or mistaken because I think that is Mamiko Noto’s voice making a cameo as Demikas’ wife! I know it is her! Yes it is! YES! Ah, this season is saved from being a complete disaster! Though, it is still boring overall. The show, that is.

I thought this was freaking familiar because then it soon dawned to me that this season’s opening theme is exactly the same one used in last season! Don’t have the budget to get a new opening theme? However I still feel this rock theme isn’t suitable. I thought they were going to reuse the same ending theme but thankfully they didn’t. Though, they maintained the same singer to sing it. Yun*chi sings Wonderful Wonder World and although I prefer this much better than the opener, however my preference still has me liking the first season’s ending theme better. Trivial note: I guess this season was boring that right at the beginning of the ending credits animation Akatsuki is seen yawning. My, what a big yawn. Then for the rest of the animation we see her sleeping and dreaming weird dreams. My, she must be tired after the boringness, eh?

So my guess is that overall this season fails to live up to its predecessor and the only thing now for this series to redeem itself is to make a super awesome third season. Hmm… Maybe that is what is intended in the first place. You make something real good to get people wanting for more and then you make a disappointing sequel that has those same people giving the thumbs down or booing or throwing rotten tomatoes. And then you surprise everybody with the unexpected by making an epic final in the trilogy. Simply because nobody who has watched the second season would expect the third season to surpass it. It is all about the tactics of lowering your expectations and then hit you when you least expected it. Heh. Doesn’t it sound like a strategy for Shiroe? In conclusion, this second season might be dull but do not lose hope. It may or may not get better. You won’t know if you don’t try. Now that Log Horizon is gunning to bridge both worlds, imagine both humans living together with computer game characters. I wonder if this makes it possible for you to live with your 2D hentai/porn characters. You live and play the game altogether.

It was inevitable. Sooner or later they will have to put in the much obligated hotspring fanservice episode. Even if it the series is a loli magical girl. There are no more morals in this world. Heh. And so with that, here we are watching Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya 2wei OVA. A hotspring episode for those of you who have been crazily waiting to see Ilya and friends in their naked loli bodies. Perverts. Me? I just want to ‘complete’ watching the series before I start the third season. Really.

A hotspring we will go…
Ilya and her entire family are here at the hotspring. They see Rin and Luvia really relaxing at the massaging chair. Shhh… Don’t bother them… Of course later the duo explain that they aren’t here for fun (it looked like they were having the time of their lives). They were ordered to apply some magic stimuli to a certain location. Why them? Who cares? Maybe it’s a job only they can do. While they are not sure about the exact location, they will need to use dowsing rods to pinpoint it. When Shirou walks in, the duo start to fluster greatly. Of course that mister popular just tell them to spend time with his family if they can. And so here is the much awaited hotspring fanservice. Ironically even if this is OVA, the steam censors are just horrendous. Wait. You really want to see naked loli bodies?! Yeah, maybe the steam really did us a favour… Shirou thought he would be alone but… There is that old geezer August waiting… No Shirou, you’re not seeing things. Gay time… When Ilya realizes Chloe is missing, she fears the worst. True enough, she is trying to seduce Shirou in the men’s section. Before anything steamy could happen, Ilya throws Ruby at him to knock him out and Miyu retrieves Chloe back. And Shirou gets blamed for being a pervert. Ilya is going to initiate the ‘trial’ when Chloe runs out of mana. Oh… Time to replenish. Time for hot yuri French kiss! OMG! Hot loli yuri loli French kiss! Not enough. Need more. OMFG! Hot loli yuri sex now!!!!!!!!!! Damn steam censors!!!!! OMFG! That ahegao face on Ilya… Miyu, please don’t stop them. But she volunteers to continue on Ilya’s behalf. Really? Can she handle it? But all she gets is a little peck before Chloe passes out. Back in the room as Luvia and Rin explain, there is some sort of high mana conductivity in the area. Somehow in this place she is consuming mana at a higher rate when she comes into contact with the water. As long as she is supplied with more and sufficient mana, she’ll be alright in no time.

So as not to ruin their vacation, Ilya suggests doing other fun stuffs. Like ping pong. Chloe beats Ilya flat. When Chloe plays with Miyu, she hints a wager and something to do with Ilya. All motivated up now, isn’t she? There is also an intense match going on between Liz and Sella but we’ll leave them as they are. The rest of the day sees the lolis doing other fun stuffs like at the shooting gallery and accidentally walking into a ‘treasure’ museum that actually turns out to be a sex exhibition. Nope. Not for your loli eyes. Ilya and Miyu want to take Chloe to a certain place but they see Rin and Luvia in the midst of their locating job. When they have found the spot, they remember part their job to administer as much magic stimuli into it. So I guess with the lolis here, it doesn’t hurt if they lend their help. After blasting magic deep into the earth, shortly the ground shakes. Water starts gushing out. Did they discover another hotspring? Analyzing the water, it seems it has no mana conductivity. And because the magic stimuli reached all the way to the water source, the water that feeds to other hotsprings has also been affected. With the composition changed, now the water has all the good and beneficial properties. This also means Chloe can soak in without worrying about losing her mana. So what else is there for the girls to do than to be the first ones to soak in it? They think those higher ups made them to this job because old people love to soak in hotsprings. Yeah well, at least they get to taste it first. Shirou who has been out for a night jog got lost and ends up seeing the naked girls. If he knows better, he should start running! Good news: He managed to escape. Bad news: He runs back to the men’s bath where August is waiting for him. Gay time again? That scream. Somebody got screwed… Is it a wonder on the way home the next day, Shirou is feeling more stressed than relieved? As for our cute lolis, they’re sleeping nicely on each other’s shoulders.

Come On In. The Water’s Fine…
Cute lolis. Check. Hotspring. Check. Fanservice. Check. OVA passed then. Ah well, I supposed this is essential another one of those filler OVAs with nothing much ado till the next season comes by. So fill up your yuri loli gauge that almost crossed over into the hentai category (only to be thwarted with all the steam censors) before the next big thing arrives. Just too bad that Ilya’s classmates didn’t make their appearance here because they already had theirs with the sports festival for the first season’s OVA. So it’s fair that Chloe gets some screen time, focus and bonding moments with Ilya and Miyu in this OVA. It could have been a lot messier and havoc should those classmates be in it but I doubt that will bring in any difference. Heck, Sella and Liz tagged along but were reduced to just cameos. Now that the lolis are relaxed and rejuvenated, it is time to head back and open the third season. I won’t be watching it so fast yet… Need to find that secret hotspring location and revitalize myself first…

Junketsu No Maria

October 4, 2015

Everyone who has read old fairytales would have been told countless times that witches are evil and ugly creatures who use their magic to create chaos. But do you know that there was a witch who loved peace instead and tried to put an end to the feuding humans? I don’t blame you. History and stories of the old has never recognized nor recorded this fact. Hah… At least that is what I think when I watched Junketsu No Maria. As ironic as it can get, our titular character is not only a witch that loves peace, she is also named after the holy mother and also share a similar trait: A virgin. Something that most devout of Christians would find an insult to. At least for those living at such dark ancient times. Although this anime does not intend to test, challenge or even ripple the waters of the Christian faith, there may be some elements that question about God’s role and the likes so it is best if you decide to check this series out (whether you are Christian or not), please have an open mind at all times. You know how religion is such a touchy subject these days.

Episode 1
France and England are at war during the Middle Ages. Anne and her mother trek through the woods to find the hut of Maria the witch to fetch medicine for her sick grandma, Martha. Anne is an innocent young girl and she speaks with honesty as she converses with the old witch. She is worried about her father who is selected to participate in the upcoming war. Maria could only promise to watch over him. Maria’s owl familiar, Artemis (now transformed into her sexy human female version) stumbles in to ruin the mood, revealing Maria as a young sexy witch instead. Maria is not amused since this ruins the cool first impression she wants to give. After Anne leaves, a young lad, Joseph now visits her. He is here to tell her that he is joining in the war, much to Maria’s dismay because she hates all that fighting. She calls him an idiot but you can’t blame that kid for never living in a time when peace reigns. Maybe Maria can make that happen. Maria knows that his superior knows he came to visit her and if questioned, tell the Church she manipulated him to gain their forgiveness. Touched by her kindness, he kisses her hand. Hope nothing smells funny. As dawn breaks, all the drafted French men (a motley crew of them – I wonder if they are even properly trained) start trekking to the designated war destination. Joseph and Anne’s father meet war veteran, Galfa. As the monk rallies to the men about God being on their side, blah, blah, blah, he gets hit by an arrow! So much of God’s divine protection. The war begins as the English rains down arrows on the French troops. Casualties are mounting and it gets worse for the French’s side as the English’s reinforcements arrive. Now how the hell are they going to win against knights in shining armour armed with lances on horses? No wonder Anne’s dad is already resigned to his fate, apologizing that he can’t keep his promise to Anne he will come back. Joseph then makes a plea of wanting to see Maria just once. A pot falls from the sky. Maria warns them to cease fighting and summons a dragon to send both sides scattering. Artemis noting Joseph happy, lectures Maria about being a virgin and this doesn’t give her the right to impose her ideals on others. It is ironic that all this chaos is caused by a witch who is the embodiment of Christian teachings: A pure, untainted virgin. I don’t know what Maria is ranting about some historical figure, a girl who was betrayed and burnt at the stake. She believes they’ll treat her as a maiden of patriotism or something. Because Maria won’t lose to the Church, she would gladly give up her virginity to anyone. Even a dog. Really? I wonder if she knows what she is saying because it sounded like she doesn’t know that ‘s’ word.

Episode 2
Artemis’ true form is a succubus so she starts seducing the English captain and probably he had a very good time so the next morning he orders his troops to withdraw from the battlefield. Some of the monks are not pleased that Maria is behind this doing but they have to admit they have been saved from the English’s attack. Anne goes to see Maria to thank her for bringing back her father. Maria isn’t happy that Joseph has got the guts to show his face but he is here to thank her for saving them. After they leave, Artemis complains her ‘painful ass’. Must be one hell of a night, eh? However she got every guy except one. Yup, that guy was gay! She thinks homosexuality is the in-thing now. She suggests Maria make a male familiar but she won’t. Is it because she has never seen a male anatomy? She takes up the challenge and turns another stray owl into a young boy, Priapos. However he lacks that male anatomy. Artemis cannot believe this and tries to force Maria to go see what a guy’s thing looks like. This is going to take a while… But first, Maria stops another war by summoning a Cyclops. Then, time to make Priapos do his first male succubus job. At first he thought he is going to seduce this pretty lady. Turns out to be a macho gay man! Oh sh*t! But that man doesn’t care as long as he can ‘stick it in’! Double sh*t! Artemis then throws Maria inside to solve her problem. Who wants to go first?! Maria busts out via riding a serpent. That is when she is hit by the light of Archangel Michael as warning.

As they head back, they notice Anne’s village being pillaged by soldiers turned bandits. Maria is disappointed of the people’s ugly hearts. She cannot let this slip as this is the first village who accepted her as a witch. Maria drops in and warns those bandits to get out. But as she uses her magic, Michael’s light strikes her. The light also temporary blinds the bandits. Maria is mad that God never do anything to help these people despite praying for salvation. That is why she is trying to help others. Michael tells her, there are other villages being pillaged right now. However Michael says this is the law of their world and that Maria is the one disrupting the flow. The villagers pick up the weapons ready to kill the bandits but Maria tells them to stop as they are no longer a threat. Michael warns they will be once they can see again. Everyone listens to Maria. Michael takes Maria away as she adds that people’s prayers are not requests or commands. These are concern of men and heaven does not meddle in it. That is why Maria is the one disrupting the flow of the world. Maria still believes if everyone followed her way, there won’t be fighting in the first place. Besides, she is a witch and doesn’t need any sermon from God. Maybe Maria got a little too confident to attack Michael but nothing happens. Michael gives Maria warning or would she rather ascend to heaven right now. Joseph and Anne are drawn by the light head over as Joseph fires his arrow at Michael for her to let go of Maria. The next one will be at her head.

Episode 3
Joseph is in shock to learn he just shot Michael. But he is forgiven since he didn’t know. They plead to Michael about Maria’s good deeds. But when told Maria will be punished, Joseph raises his arrow at her because they love Maria the witch. Isn’t it part of the Ten Commandments, love thy neighbour? The heavens start to light up and it is a sign that they have decided to grant Maria clemency. But with a condition that she is never to use magic in front of people. Also, the moment she loses her virginity, she will lose her powers. Michael summons Ezekiel as her representative to watch over her. Ezekiel can also take a form of a little owl but this only makes her an easy bully victim for Artemis and Priapos. Priapos is still frustrated he is lacking that guy thing and his libido is screaming to get it all out. Back to serious discussion, Maria asks Ezekiel to go stop the war because it will be okay if it is through Church’s power rather than a witch, right? That same answer of heaven only watches and never intervenes. Joseph has always wondered what a world of peace would be like and although it is unfortunate heaven can’t help, is it too much to ask for a sign or omen? He does not believe Maria’s actions are evil and worthy of divine punishment. Yet another war between English and France. Ezekiel keeps a close tab and warns Maria not to intervene. But once she confirms that Michael cannot always be watching her 24/7, when Ezekiel is not looking, she summons a monster cat to break up the fight! Ezekiel is appalled that she did it but hey, she didn’t see that, right? Maybe it just fell out of the sky.

Word of Maria’s doing goes around so Bernard the monk wants to have a word with her. Joseph brings Maria through the city as she is appalled to see a pig being judged and sentenced to death for trampling over others. They meet drunk Galfa who thinks Maria is his girlfriend and tells her to satisfy this kid. Maria meets Bernard alone. He is bewildered she shares the same name as their holy mother. Maria doesn’t remember how she got. She already knew herself as that. Bernard is willing to put a good work to the bishop if she confesses her sins. Her actions are unorthodox but she has followers and he can’t overlook the fact she calls herself a witch. Confession is the only way to go. But what’s in it for her? She’ll gain great love and a peaceful life. What’s in it for them? The Church doesn’t act out of self interest. They offer their hand to those who seek God’s love. Maria realizes she should not be hesitating. She is a witch and doesn’t give a damn about God or heaven. Send her regards to your other Maria. Bernard would like to request a confession for he has spoken to a witch. For now, he suggests letting Maria be and lending her aid to the villages. There is no need for drastic measure till she becomes a problem. Late that night, Maria is visited by a being known only as Cernunnos. It must be the umpteenth time Maria has been asked what she would like to achieve with her actions. Simple. She hates wars. And if she doesn’t like what is happening before her, she can’t let it go. Cernunnos tells her the harsh reality about pain and death. Living things inflict pain upon others before they die. When new life is born, the cycle repeats. Her efforts are futile. Well, you won’t know if you don’t try. But to Cernunnos, it looks like the same pattern is just repeating itself. He will watch her with great pleasure.

Episode 4
Rogue soldiers are trying to pilfer a village and rape its women. The villagers put up resistance but it is not enough. They’ve got guns! That is when a wyvern appears to scare them away. Yeah, thank Maria. Ezekiel has her eyes covered by Priapos! Can’t report what she can’t see, eh? It is no surprise Ezekiel is screaming her head off at Maria but she doesn’t give a damn as she is curious about the gun she found. Boom! Don’t let it frighten you. Maria is visited by an English witch, Viv. On behalf of the complaining guilds, she wants Maria to stay out of the war because there is gold to be made the longer it lasts. Viv even thinks of drafting Maria to be part of the team to earn money but when Maria says she isn’t doing this for the money but for peace, Viv chides her for being naïve. Without war, it is the reason why those soldiers tried to rob a village. Isn’t she just forcing her ideals on others? When Viv learns Maria is a virgin, she tries to persuade her about the thrills of sex. First time is painful but once you get passed that… Is Maria curious? Is Maria interested? She seems panicky. Ezekiel shutting her ears? Can it work? Viv wants to take her to find a man now but since Maria needs time to prepare her heart, watching will just do. Viv sees Priapos and thinks he is the perfect start. Imagine to her horror when she finds the missing goods. Disappointed? She wants Maria to finish this the next time she comes.

As Ezekiel is forced to deliver medicine to Martha with Priapos, they pass a nearby village that was ravaged by a plague. They get into an argument especially about Maria being selective on who to save. Why didn’t she save this village then? Oh, really? Why didn’t God? After they deliver the medicine to Martha, the old lady starts to speak of the fine days with Maria. However Ezekiel is not pleased. Despite Martha praying to God and yet she uses a witch’s medicine and thanks her? Martha tells a story that before Anne was born, a nearby village was being ravaged by an epidemic. Fearing it would spread here, they prayed to God day and night but it was Maria who came to their aid with medicine. Because of that, not a single person fell ill. Thanks to that, Anne was able to be conceived in this world. How can she not be thankful? Don’t get the wrong idea. Martha is still loyal to God but in this complicated world, one needs to keep an open mind. Maria visits the abandoned village and the truth is she wanted to help but the villagers chased her away and do not want help from a witch. They paid the price for their blind faith. Ezekiel wonders if Maria would become the next God if people desire her. Well, the best way is to ask her yourself. When Bernard receives news that the last survivor of that ravaged village has died, he wants his deeds to be remember because that is true faith. As there are rumours the forest around that area is related to Maria, he decides to send a message to the noble lord about an upcoming battle.

Episode 5
Bernard goes to see his uncle, Guillaume over Maria’s increasing influence. As she brings chaos to the battlefield, the king has no choice but to raise taxes for the war the longer it holds out. It is suggested that Maria only attacks the English side. Bernard has a friend that will keep them inform of England’s plan and will use a messenger to relay messages to Maria. Although this might seem to increase Maria’s reputation, but this is only because the people see her as a need during the war. Once peaceful time reigns, she will be no longer needed and forgotten. And then they will step in at the end to rid the English and ward off Maria. Joseph becomes the messenger to deliver messages to Maria although mostly feel like petty quarrels. As the French mercenaries under Yvain are getting paid in advance ahead of the war, his troops celebrate. But Galfa is caught with his pants down. He was too drunk and ended up bedding a knight’s lady, Eugenie. It is no surprise Jean de Drouant and his men beat him up but since this will affect both sides, Bernard suggests holding a duel to uphold the honour of both sides. What are the odds since Galfa has a broken arm? Joseph is worried that Galfa will die and he has dreams to achieve but Galfa tells him off that he might do anything to achieve his dream but this is what he has chosen to live his life. Dilemma ridden Joseph seeks Maria’s advice about his friend going to die and he is chosen to be the witness of the duel. He wants to know how she keeps her cool and resolve. Maria disagrees with that because the people she saves usually turn on themselves and there is no end to the conflicts each time she intervenes. The biggest puzzle is how to end the fighting for good but what is most important is that she decided on her own. So duel day comes. Looks very unfair. Jean on his horse in his armour and sword. What does Galfa have? That helmet and small shield won’t do him any good. Besides, his fellow mercenaries are mocking him to die fast since they bet against him. Jean like the noble knight he is decides to fight him at the same level. On his feet, without armour. But he won’t use only an arm, won’t he? The duel begins and it is definitely one sided. Galfa takes a beating while Maria is reduced to just watching, wondering if she should just intervene. When the fight is seemingly over and Jean is about to win, sly Galfa uses his broken arm (which actually isn’t) as he has hidden a metal shield there. He turns the tables on Jean and beats him up with his own sword! Bernard signals the end of the match to declare Galfa the winner. Was this all part of his plan? Galfa is now rich enough to repay Joseph. Jean killed himself as he couldn’t bear the humiliation of his peers mocking and Eugenie disappeared. Like Galfa cares.

Episode 6
Maria once again drives away the English by summoning her dragon and giant mermaid. She didn’t even bother hiding using her magic! But did Ezekiel really see her summon those? Joseph sees Galfa and brings him to his master, Guillaume who wants a word with him. Galfa explains why he shared his rewards with others from that duel. Bernard was listening and after confirming his faith in God, he hopes he could help save Maria and kill her if she continues her sinful ways. Joseph didn’t like what he hears and tries arguing about Maria saving many lives but Bernard silences him about his faith in believing in a witch. Plus, if Maria desires to end the war, the will be no more need of her when peace reigns. Joseph does not like his new mission one bit but he has to go deliver a message to Maria about the upcoming war at Normandy. Joseph brings Galfa to see Maria for himself though he doesn’t mince his words about the need to kill her later. Maria then whisks Joseph away to talk. Since planes weren’t invented at that time, the flight must be a real scary one for him, eh? With a heavy heart, Joseph tells of the upcoming war and the big decisive one that will end it all. That is why he is telling Maria not to interfere this time. Anne’s dad laments he is being called to fight again. Anne is not worried and will go seek Maria’s help when she goes to get grandma’s medicine. But father isn’t too sure this time. Is it right for them to rely on a witch always? Anne goes to Maria’s house but only Ezekiel is there. She has made wreaths for them all and hopes she could do her a favour by telling Maria to keep her father safe during the war. Ezekiel won’t give in at first but I guess Anne’s cutie begging has her relent. But only just to tell her.

After happy Anne leaves, Michael appears before Ezekiel! Oh sh*t! Somebody slacking on the job? You can tell Michael is not pleased by the way she lectures and reminds Ezekiel about her duty. However Ezekiel is also in doubt as she asks if it is wrong for someone in this world to listen and fulfil wishes that Heaven only hears. Michael says humans are limited in their abilities. There are many things they don’t understand and thus there is no choice for them but to accept the kind of world they live in. Oh, one final reminder: Should Maria use her magic again, she will be returned to heaven by Ezekiel’s own hands. Bernard’s assistant, Gilbert is about to relay more info about the English soldiers but Bernard starts laughing hysterically that Maria is a virgin! He looks like he’s being possessed by the devil! Artemis cannot understand why Maria is lying around and taking no action when the war is about to begin. After all the scouting she has done and now she is doing nothing? The French side ambushes and flanks the English. Viv and her English witches are gleefully watching it all but Viv feels something is wrong. Where is Maria? Ezekiel remembers after being told off by Michael, she got scared sh*t and went off to search for Maria. She spotted her with Joseph and eavesdropped on them. Maria knew Joseph was being made to inform her. Joseph wants to help Maria fulfil and share her dream by her side but she finds that cruel. Ezekiel finally relays Anne’s message to Maria but that is just that. She won’t let her go to the war since that is her purpose. Wrong choice of words? Because Maria’s mind is made up now as she flies into the battlefield. Artemis and Priapos tie Ezekiel up in a sack but she manages to break out and go after them. You don’t want to be f*cked by Michael again, do you?

Episode 7
The English are being routed. Galfa thinks they won’t be making much money and suggests joining the main war. Joseph is about to get his first kill but gets cold feet and lets his enemy run away. The English dude is grateful but is shortly killed by Joseph’s fellow man. Just shocking, eh? Just as the French are gaining the upper-hand, here comes Maria in her usual ways to tell them to stop or else. She even gives the English a chance to escape. Everyone has no choice but to abide till a disgruntled Englishman fires back. Then all hell breaks loose again. Maria is going to use her magic when Michael turns Ezekiel into her spear and is moments before striking her down. Viv saw it coming and tries to warn her but too late. Maria was struck down. Viv becomes frantic in trying to look where Maria fell. Meanwhile the battle rages on as the English push forward. Guillaume panics as they come closer and wonder where Yvain’s troops are because they’re supposed to be protecting him. Guillaume orders to fire canons at them despite knowing there are allies in the field. Well, he paid good money for those canons. Time to earn their keep. When Yvain finds out, he orders his men to quickly return because they won’t get paid at this rate. He blames Galfa for this idea and that he will not get a single gold after this. Galfa slits his throat! Lolotte cannot believe he did that but as he tries to explain himself, a canon blew off his left arm. Several soldiers find Maria. They blame her for everything and are about the get their revenge. Artemis shoos them away but it is not enough till Viv comes kicking their asses. Meanwhile Ezekiel must be scared sh*t. She cannot answer Michael why she missed hitting Maria on purpose. Guillaume sees the advancing English and has no choice but to call for a retreat.

Maria wakes up in the place of Edwina, Viv’s witch friend. Viv lets Maria talk to the other witches about their differing views on the war as she needs to hear opinions of others. Maria is steadfast in her stance to stop the war even if it means going against Michael. As her pitchfork is missing, Artemis and Priapos go to look for it. Thankfully it is in Joseph’s hands as he sees Ezekiel sitting dejectedly alone. She tells him about her dilemma. She told Michael she doesn’t know how she feels about Maria anymore and was told she is her spear and spears do not think or have emotions. The next time, she will strike down Maria. Ezekiel believes she made a mistake but Joseph didn’t think so. Everyone makes mistake. He realizes he only brought more grief to Maria. The problem is to face Maria now because Ezekiel thinks she will be mad for shooting her down but Joseph knows it wasn’t done by her own will and Maria will understand. The owls are here to pick them up to see Maria. First a big emotional hug and sorry from Ezekiel. Then Maria thanks her for saving her. Bernard heard lots of complains about Maria’s doing and that she may not be on their side. Gilbert wondered why he went all his way to save Galfa. Because that guy has a grudge against Maria and knows of a plan to deal with her. Yeah, friendship is a wonderful thing. Anne is glad that her father has returned. She calls out to grandma daddy is back but there is no answer.

Episode 8
Maria returns home but sees a clan of Yoda orcs outside her house. They are here to get some medicine for those injured in the war (not sure if it is with humans or their own kind). As they leave, they claim they saw a young girl (Anne) coming and desperately calling out to her. Maria sends Priapos to go check it out. Martha is doing fine as Gilbert has delivered medicine from Bernard. But Anne is not happy. She tells Priapos that she heard Gilbert saying it was Maria’s ‘poison’ that was making grandma sick. So who is telling the truth? Joseph is tasked to deliver something to Galfa who is now the chief of Guillaume’s Red Army. Galfa questions Joseph over Maria’s betrayal because he thought he had convinced her to stay put. Joseph thinks Maria’s intervention was because she decided to stay true to her beliefs. Galfa thinks that it is because of that they ended up losing a winning battle. He also heard rumours that everyone is now blaming Maria for this loss. It is best for her to lie low now. When Priapos reports to Maria, she cannot help feel upset that her medicine is being labelled as poison. She wants to go clear things up but Artemis advises her not to as the village has lost trust in her. It took an emotional Ezekiel to calm her down. She’s saying that everything happened because Maria is a heretic. She is reminded of the village that refused her. Since she lives a life where people punish her for the slightest mistakes, yet she still acts purely based on emotions. She should have realized it by now. All this would not have happened had she listened. If she keeps acting childish and swayed by emotions, she’ll end up alone. Joseph believes Maria’s doing is not wrong. Even if the world is against her, he will always be by her side so please continue to walk the path she believes. Maria hugs him before realizing how embarrassing it is.

A soldier confronts Galfa and believes he killed Yvain. So he is going to kill him too? Well, he thought it would be easy now that Galfa lost an arm. Remember that package? It contains a metal arm. Oh man, this is going to be sweet. Easy victory. Artemis teases Maria for doing it with Joseph in the woods since she took her time. That classic blushing-cum-denying face… Cernunnos visits Maria again and warns her it is going to begin. People are going to remove her acts from their life and she will be easily forgotten. Again, the umpteenth question he asks about Maria wanting to end this war. He invites her to be their companion but Artemis shoos him away. Bernard visits the village and speaks to Martha. As usual, he calls her speedy recovery this a miracle of God. Then when he mentions about her association with Maria, she is made to confess. What choice does this old lady have but to sever ties with Maria in the name of God? Anne is such a sad girl. Bernard continues to give his smooth speech about Maria wanting chaos and thus her existence unlike humans who strive for peace and free of conflict. They can do this by believing in their faith and forgetting Maria. He assigns Gilbert to assist the village in their faith. Galfa is on his way to see Maria. Apparently Bernard told him about Maria losing her magic when she loses her virginity. Guess who is going to do that job? He has prepared some concoction for him and leaves it to him on how he wants to do it. It would also serve a good revenge. When Galfa notes Bernard’s devilish side, this is the best reply ever: There is a little devil inside everyone’s heart and that is why we need God.

Episode 9
After her familiars leave the house to bring back some help, Galfa releases a gas that weakens Maria. She tries to summon her magic and could only bring forth a mini phoenix. But that wasn’t enough to stop him. Priapos and Ezekiel return to help save Maria but when she cannot use her magic anymore, Galfa dances happily on his way out. Gilbert and the soldiers prepare to storm in to apprehend her so Maria tells Priapos and Ezekiel to take her pitchfork and run. When Joseph passes by Galfa who didn’t say much, he finds something amiss. Maria’s home is burnt down and the witch is taken away for trial. Next day they see the monks making the villagers confess before Maria that they saw her summon demons. Bernard makes Martha show her unwavering faith. Maria can tell Martha is sad and hurt so she allows her to throw a stone at her. Ezekiel blames herself for letting Galfa knows about Maria’s secret but Joseph believes Maria’s purity is still intact because had she totally lost her magic, her familiars would not have retrained human form. He has Artemis and Ezekiel go seek Viv’s help while Priapos is to observe Maria who is being held at the monastery. Since she will be put on trial, there will not be branded a heretic immediately and this should buy them some time. Joseph then speaks to Guillaume that he wants to save Maria but was scolded about the trouble he will bring. He is told to forget about her and prepare for war since he heard the English are preparing for another attack. Later Guillaume talks to Galfa about not finishing his job because Maria’s purity is still intact. Galfa says he was tasked to make sure her magic didn’t work and not screw with her.

Viv is on her way with Artemis and Ezekiel when Michael pops up before her! Why is she going to save Maria? Because she is her friend. Viv doesn’t care who Michael is and harvests all the weapons from the English army to strike her. You think that will work? Bernard talks to Maria that he finds it curious that despite the doctor examined and confirmed her purity, she lost her magic ability. He learns of Maria encouraging Martha to throw a stone so that her family could be spared. When Bernard starts talking about God, Maria talks back about him preaching gospel that he hardly understands. Because if God really appeared, he would have solved everything instantly. But now it looks like it is better to rely on themselves instead relying on a silent God. This makes Bernard rant about the existence and non-existence of God. If you don’t understand all that he is saying, don’t worry because Maria also don’t know what the f*cks he is blabbing. Her reason is simple. All they need to live in this world is to be able to stand on their own 2 feet. Bernard is so enlightened by Maria’s thoughts that he kisses her foot! OMFG! So disgusting! Don’t think there are no witnesses. Aside God, Priapos and Gilbert see this unholy act.

Episode 10
Viv doesn’t care who Michael is and continues to attack. She tells Ezekiel about why God doesn’t help humans who seek and pray for His love. The answer is simple: God doesn’t know what love is! So stop trying to rule over them! Viv must be proud she said that but that slight distraction was enough for Michael to turn Ezekiel into her spear and stab her! Michael tells Ezekiel that it was not Viv’s words that made her strike but the fact Viv pointed her sword at the Heavenly Father. She gives an example about humans and wheat. Will humans ever listen to wheat if they could tell them when they will be sowed? Luckily Viv still lives although she is heavily injured as she recuperates in Edwina’s house. Guillaume is fed up of Joseph thinking about Maria so he tells him to fight for him in this upcoming war with the English and he’ll personally settle this Maria thing for him. I don’t think Joseph is convinced but he is going to do his part and return from his war to save her. For once we see Joseph getting mad. But overturning tables won’t make Galfa show up. Lolotte tells him to find him at the battlefield. He’ll definitely be there. Maria is under Gilbert’s inquisition. She will not seek the Lord’s forgiveness and continue her ways. Gilbert reports her failed confession to Bernard but he seems to be not paying attention like as though he has lost interest and lets Gilbert do whatever he wants. Artemis tries to convince Edwina to come help rescue Maria but Edwina is scared and doesn’t want to risk being killed by Michael. All she wants is a peaceful life. Ezekiel hoping to find answers, visits Martha and Anne. They are in great pain for hurting Maria especially Anne who is now thinking what the church did to Maria was totally wrong.

It seems with Gilbert’s power, Maria’s burning at the stake comes early. It will be tomorrow. Priapos desperate for help, reports this to Artemis and is even willing to lose his virginity to Edwina for it! You’re scaring her without a dick, kid! Sorry guys, Edwina is too scared to help. You’ll have to do this by yourselves. Ezekiel visits Maria and tells her about her visit to Anne. She is still puzzled that all this could be solved had she just said those words. It‘s only words. But Maria being the staunch believer in her beliefs, knows better she can’t no matter what. Maria must have the whole night to think why she is doing this. Was she doing this for the praise instead of really helping the people? Yeah well, she can’t be as shocked to see the villagers coming to see her burning at the stake. Some are so happy and giving applause! Meanwhile Guillaume leads his troops to storm the English castle. It looked like the French isn’t making any progress with their puny attacks. I mean, how can they bring down a castle wall?! They can. But it takes time to load this super cannon! And it only takes one hit. Once the wall is down, the invasion begins. Before Maria could be torched and her owl familiars barge in to save her, Edwina crashes down. She blames Maria for making it easy for witches everywhere to be witch hunt. Does she want other witches to be harmed? Although still trembling in fear, she keeps the guards at bay with her magic as they try to kill them. The owls free Maria and off they go into the sky. But Maria doesn’t want to go back home yet. She wants to head to the battlefield. Joseph is being ambushed by Galfa. Looks like they have more than just serious talking to do.

Episode 11
Gilbert remembers one of his informants. He now realizes she is a witch (Edwina’s cat). This means the medicine he got is also from her. This means Maria’s temporary paralysis (how Galfa did her in) was one of Edwina’s medicine and they never thought humans would go this far to use them. When Gilbert confronts Bernard about this, he doesn’t deny it was medicine from witches. This means he was associated with them for a very long time? Well, he thinks everything that can be used to make this world a better place, will be used. Joseph is mad as he fights Galfa but the latter is also mad thinking about Joseph’s sheltered life and never had to worry about food or shelter. Once Maria crashes into the battlefield, she quickly goes to find Joseph. Good thing she did it fast because he is no match for skilled Galfa. Maria is not happy that this is the umpteenth time he told her he was against war but yet again he rushed off to fight. Joseph gets even more upset now that Galfa wants to really finish them off. Thanks to everyone cooperating, Joseph deals the winning blow. But he didn’t stop there. He is filled with so much rage that he continues to punch Galfa! It took Maria several calls to make him stop. Lolotte waltzes in like as though everything was a joke to take Galfa away. Enough for today, boys. If their chief gets killed, nobody is going to collect their reward. Yeah, she’s even singing a sick fighting song…

Meanwhile Anne is at Maria’s devastated home. Cernunnos speaks to her as she feels guilty for what she has done for Maria. He tells her to forget and the pain will go away but Anne will not and tells Cernunnos not to drag Maria onto his side (since he claims Maria is not on human’s side). Maria updates Joseph on what happened to her. He feels he does not deserve to stay by her side since he gave in to his rage. He realizes he is weak and only Guillaume’s puppet. Maria had to slap him for beating himself up. I mean, she came all the way here instead of home for one obvious reason, right? To save him! But he still considers himself weak and unable to do things. She tells him to just do it. Stay with her and support her. Doesn’t this sound like a proposal? Joseph has decided. He apologizes for not seeing her more than a witch. He confesses he loves her and proposes to marry her. Maria’s face lights up so bright that not only it reconstructs her house back to normal and heal their wounds, this believe in herself has return her magic. Huge overgrowth envelope the entire battlefield. Maria takes to the skies with Joseph and rounds up all the weapons from the soldiers’ hands. With a loud happy voice, she thanks everyone. Every single soul. Because she has found her happiness. Then she happily summons all her monsters to scare them away. Maria is then lifted up further into the skies. Michael has summoned her. Oh, Maria happily introduces her new boyfriend!!! Such a happy witch!

Episode 12
So what does Maria have to say for all this? She believes that everyone should just find their own happiness and that way the balance of the world would balance out itself. Well, it doesn’t sound like the answer Michael is looking for. She is going to kill Maria but backup arrives. Artemis, Priapos, Viv, Edwina, the English witches and their summoned monsters are supporting Maria. Looks like they don’t give a hoot about God or heaven. They’re sick of hearing this order thingy because it makes you angels look like puppets. True to Maria’s spirit, she doesn’t want them to fight. I guess they’re not listening. Power battle! No different than humans, eh? Meanwhile Gilbert confronts Bernard to go on a witch hunt but he seems more preoccupied in writing his scrolls that contains ‘new teachings’. Bernard is obsessed with this new idea they can create a new world without God’s protection. Michael of course bests her opponents. She wants Ezekiel to become her spear and kill them. Surprisingly Ezekiel resists her. As she has spent time living with them, she has decided Maria and co are good people. With the heavens lighting up, Michael will review Maria’s doing. She projects herself in everyone’s thoughts to have them opine about Maria. Some call her a pest, some aren’t sure and there are those who are 100% behind her. Bernard is most shocked seeing Michael before him. He cannot accept this because it contradicts his new learning. He is going to strangle Michael???!!! Nut case! He got turned into sand upon contact. Martha’s testimony of Maria has her view Maria as an important person in her life and is sorry for stoning her. Finally, what has Joseph has to say? He once met a hermit who told him about world peace. But living in a world rife with war, that is only a dream. He never did anything to change it unlike Maria. She made him realize that he wanted to make a difference. From now on he wants to fight on her side.

Maria also wants a say. She’ll continue doing what she does whether she has magic or not. If Michael wants to kill her then go ahead. She has an idea how heaven is feeling with everything happening right now. So for this once, she will forgive God! Amazing?! So amazing that Michael is laughing! The heavens lighting up again means they have accepted her as part of the world’s natural order. Of course the heavens will not heed Maria’s words and will continue to watch her. Each time Maria does her thing, Michael will be there to stop her. Michael relays to everyone that Maria’s judgment has been decided. She will be everyone’s good neighbour. Remember the commandments, love thy neighbour. Because Ezekiel has gone against heaven, she is no longer fit to serve there. She will become human in this world but she may choose which mother she wants to be reborn from. Everyone is looking at Maria… She doesn’t want to take this responsibility but with everybody begging her, I guess it’s decided. Hope she comes out a healthy baby. In the aftermath, Edwina continues to stay put in her place. She is still scared because she thinks witches are not being forgiven yet. Viv thinks of going back to England and getting a job. Then maybe she’ll try to bring peace to the world. Joseph resigns as Guillaume’s messenger. The latter isn’t shocked but notes he has grown stronger like his father. Bernard’s scrolls are burnt away. Maria departs with Joseph to live in the human world. Before she goes, Cernunnos talks to her. She thanks him for his answer to Michael. He considered himself the past and Maria the future. One day Maria will be like him but she still has a purpose. This world is built upon each and every living thing. Not even Michael can escape from this process. As long as Maria remembers him, he will not disappear. So please do not make her something of the past. Maria invites him to join them but he will return to the forest and with permission, use Maria’s old house. Maria and Joseph now live in Anne’s village (the owl familiars as their pet?). They are happy to welcome them and they’re just in time for the harvest festival. England returned to their homeland and there was no more war. Everybody lived happily ever after! All thanks to a witch.

War Veterans, Peace Virgins
Hmm… Despite being quite a good anime, something in the end feels lacking. I am not saying that the end is bad. It is a good one. Satisfying. Ties up everything nicely. But somehow it feels like it lacks the oomph to make me marvel and consider this an epic anime. This an epic anime? When you have God and his archangel seemingly like the ‘antagonist’, how can you not consider this to be not epic? Anyhow, it is still a good ending for everyone because eventually with peace reigning over the lands, Maria doesn’t have to risk her neck in the battlefield and in turn risk being killed by her usual stalker- oops, I mean the archangel. Hmm… Maybe that is what feels lacking. The sudden resolve and peace to end the story makes it feel like a happily ever after fairytale. Well, isn’t it?

Without a doubt after hearing arguments about if God actually cares about his creations and the fact if he knows anything about love, there is going to be divides and differing opinions from all sides. I hope it will be a fruitful one so I hope to give my 2 cents worth of it too. Although I am not a very religious guy (can I consider anime as my religion?), what is being said about God and his angels is neither right nor wrong. In fact, both could be correct. After all, who are we puny beings to try and understand Him? Perhaps it is something that goes beyond science or even explanation in words that we do not comprehend how He thinks. But as far as the setting in this anime is concerned, it is of course ironic that a witch is trying to make pace while the very being that people devoutly pray to day and night does nothing and watches over them. Because peace would have reigned for a very long time and war never to even start if He wanted to set things straight. But He did not. How do you explain this?

But the funny thing is that if people are left to decide to do what they want even if this means killing themselves, going by that same logic, I do not see why Michael should stop Maria from trying to save a handful of lives. I mean, this is her will, right? This is her choice, right? Why does she label Maria from trying to interfere and disrupt the flow of nature if considering and assuming Maria is part of that flow? Just that she just doesn’t want to see people fighting. So if Maria continues her ways as usual, don’t you think this is also part of the flow of the natural order? Because by obstructing Maria and letting humans fight, doesn’t this mean God loves watching humans kill each other? Now that the heavens have declared Maria as a good neighbour, I suppose nobody is going to have the guts to go against that decree. So she is safe to come out of her hiding and assimilate with the humans.

Therefore it is a big irony, pity and shame that Maria who desires peace, goes all her way out to do what she believes is right, only for her doings to be backfired. All because everybody only recognizes her status as a witch and only praises her when she does things that turns out favourable. Humans being humans can be cruel and forgetful as seen here. Each time Maria goes to do her usual stuffs, only to be hindered and obstructed. You can’t help feel her efforts in danger of going to waste and you want to root for her so bad that you might go to the extreme lengths in labelling Michael and God as the bad guys! OMG! Is this considered as heresy? I know there is a limit to how much Maria can help but at least she is doing something instead of nothing. It might not make a dent in the world. It might not make any difference in the big wide world. It might not even be remembered for the generations and times to come. But at least she does make an impact and matters to those that she got involved with. Even if everybody is against her, not everyone is. As seen in Joseph, Martha and Anne who are considered her staunch believers, you can’t blame them for siding with Maria because she gets things done and has the results to show for. To these people, it is not who you are but what you do to make a difference.

All in all, Maria is not perfect but everyone forgets that aside from being a witch, she is the same living thing like everything else on this planet. Even more so, she is considered more human than most humans would be. All she wants is love happiness. But even if she can’t change the world or her area, at least she found happiness for herself. It’s like lowering your goals and screw the world, eh? Which isn’t a bad thing because how can you make the world a happier place if you yourself aren’t happy? So I feel that it is a good thing to start small and achieving smaller things before proceeding to bigger stuffs, one step at a time. The most important and biggest fact is that Maria believes in doing what she thinks is right regardless of what others tried to tell and impose on her. She might be lost at certain times but eventually she stays true to herself. This is what I think the anime is trying to tell us all in real life too.

Ezekiel was a pretty amusing and fun character. She was like a joker and comic relief seeing as the newbie and freeloader who only knows how to give lip service, she often gets ‘bullied’ and even easily ‘conned’ whenever Maria uses simple loopholes to prevent her from witnessing the use of her magic. And then when she starts hanging out with Maria a little too long and observing her actions firsthand, she starts to fall into a big dilemma that she might start experiencing nervous breakdown anytime. It wasn’t so fun seeing her anymore…

Artemis and Priapos are good familiars but I wish that they would do something more but I suppose that would mean usurping Maria’s role and overshadowing her. So they’ve been relegated to just her sidekicks with a little quirky habit whenever they’re not in any mission like Artemis’ penchant to tease Maria about her virginity (she must really like to see her blushing reactions) and Priapos desperately trying to cross over his manhood. I wonder if he can since he still lacks that important genital. Viv strikes as an interesting character as she takes interest in Maria’s actions. But before I knew it, suddenly Viv becomes Maria’s friend. I don’t know when this happened but I guess it is better than being foes. Oddly, if witches lived so long and assuming Viv and her English witches watching human battles for so long while Maria has been doing her war disrupting efforts for equally the same amount of time, why only now does Viv take notice of her? Maybe she did. Just that they never talked and when they first do, it was fascinating enough for Viv to take a liking for her.

It was obvious that Joseph took a liking from Maria from the start. It might take a while for Maria after a few prodding from Joseph but I guess it is more fun for them to be in denial and only confess it all in the end. So do you see the power of love triumphing in the end?! So with everyone putting their hopes on Maria to give birth to Ezekiel, I figure that means she is going to lose her virginity to Joseph, right? Unless she becomes the second Mother Mary giving birth to Jesus Christ. Well… I can imagine this awesome family… An ex-messenger and his wife who is an ex-witch. They have a daughter who was an ex-servant of heaven as well as a couple of owls as pets. A goddaughter and a godmother grandma as extension family. If the witches took a pledge of sisterhood, Viv and the rest could have been Maria’s sisters. Awesome family indeed.

Other minor and supporting characters do play their role and bit in the development of the climax of the story despite it feels like they make less of an impact overall. Like those English witches who are just watching from the sidelines and then all of a sudden in the final episode they want to play hero and gang up against Michael after they spend a little time bonding with Maria. Edwina is commendable for her bravery despite always being scared and pessimistic. At least she is being realistic. But when it comes down to what is most important, she’ll do what is right. Albeit still scared sh*t. I thought Cernunnos would be Michael in disguise. The archangel taking another form just to troll us and try a different approach to change Maria’s mind. In the end he was entirely a different being and his role in this anime was only reserved in the last moments as one of the testimonies for Maria. Well, if words could change the outcome and world like that. Galfa must be the biggest loser because he lost everything and at the end of it all, his testimony to Michael is he doesn’t want any more to do with her. He’s had it.

It is hard to say if the monks are the real villains because based from history and our stereotypes, the closest aides to God can also turn out to be the biggest devil. So we see Bernard’s actions that make us wonder if he is genuinely good or otherwise. Some of his intentions are sly and it is surprisingly shocking that after his inquisition with Maria, he seemingly lost all interest in her. So he lets Gilbert take over his role? But from what we have seen from Bernard, he remains the biggest hypocrite ever because despite preaching to others about God and the evil of witches, he himself has been associated with them for his own purposes and recently seeing that unholy act of kissing Maria’s feet! Is he considering her his new Maria? He reaps what he sows eventually. The one who is supposed to be closest to God pushes Him far away even when a miracle appears before his eyes. Needless to say, he paid with his life. May God bless his soul.

For some reason, I thought the character designs remind me of those from Dragonball but it is actually only in Maria that I see this. Maybe it is because I am just fresh off from my Nanatsu No Taizai stint so this may be only a big coincidence. The characters look pretty okay but not too much anime-like characteristics that might have diluted the ‘realism’ of the history setting. But when I first saw Ezekiel, I jumped up thinking what the heck was that squid girl from Shinryaku! Ika Musume doing here?! OMG! They look so similar! At certain points there were times that my mind will go crazy thinking when would her hair turn into long tentacles and start using them as extensions to her arms. Heh… Most of the witches’ sexy outfit somehow makes them feel out of place because you know, this is the Middle Ages and then you have some like Artemis dressing in what looks like S&M bondage outfit. Maybe that is how such getup got brought over well into our current era? But Artemis and Priapos in their owl familiar form do look cute. So cute and lovable that you’d wish they get a spin-off series like how those Minions did. Really. You should see that scene when Priapos as an owl fitted just nicely inside the window cell that Maria was held. Freaking cute! Aside the characters, the sceneries and backgrounds are also okay, depicting well the old European lifestyle.

It was such a pleasure to hear Mamiko Noto in a supporting character role as Viv albeit not much. Lately she has been only voicing cameos and very minor characters so it was such a big relief and ultimately my overall happiness (yes, it’s true!) to hear her voicing lines that lasts more than a couple of scenes or episodes, characters that aren’t so insignificant. Kana Hanazawa was also pretty fun as Ezekiel. At least initially when she was a newbie who was a constant ‘bully victim’ to her senior owls. I guess the voice behind Ika from Shinryaku! Ika Musume has grown up. Because as the voice of Maria, there wasn’t the slightest shred that reminded me of that squid girl. Well, at least Takahiro Sakurai as Bernard was recognizable. There were a few seiyuus that I have mistakenly identified. For example, I thought it was Ayane Sakura behind Anne’s shrieky voice but it turns out to be Ai Kakuma instead (Isuzu in Amagi Brilliant Park). Also, I thought it was Kazuya Nakai behind Galfa but it was Yuuki Ono (Zenkichi in Medaka Box).

And thus others that I should have recognized but didn’t include Kikuko Inoue as Michael, Mikako Komatsu as Priapos and Youko Hikasa as Artemis. The rest of the casts include Kensho Ono as Joseph (Slaine in Aldnoah.Zero), Natsuki Hanae as Gilbert (Kousei in Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso), Bin Shimada as Guillaume (Ken in You’re Under Arrest), Yumi Uchiyama as Edwina (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Sachiko Kojima as Lolotte (Sayako in Bamboo Blade), Miyuki Ichijou as Martha (Elizabeth in Mars Daybreak) and Takaya Hashi as Cernunnos (Bacchus in Mirai Nikki). The opening theme is Philosophy Of Dear World by ZAQ is surprisingly a catchy rock outfit. The ending theme, Ailes by True is a total opposite. A slow rock ballad but yet a beautiful peace.

Overall, this series is a remarkable and entertaining story that makes you think a little bit although it is not meant to encourage you from deviating from your faith. You are just questioning to understand better instead of questioning to go against. It might not be deep in religious values as I believe this is also not what the anime is intended to, so it is safe to watch for all people from all kinds of faith or no faith. Unless you are the close minded kind than this series would already be blasphemy just by reading the synopsis. Because it is just unthinkable for God to sit back and do nothing but let a witch run about and ruin the so called world order just to achieve peace. Well, it worked out fine in the end, didn’t it? Yeah… Maybe all this was also part of God’s greater plan as well. Oh, you sly Father. You knew this would happen and that is why you sat back and did nothing. Yup, a part of God’s plan indeed.

Triage X

October 3, 2015

Got a certain fetish for say, nurses? Not just cute sexy nurses but those that are badass enough to kick ass? Well, you can satisfy that fetish of yours since Triage X has got that covered. Don’t worry. This isn’t some sort of anime that borders dangerously with hentai. You’d be better off watching true hentai flicks if you really want to see nurses getting screwed like your wildest fantasies. Ahem… Don’t mess around with these nurses if you what is good for you. Remember, this is anime. Despite the medical theme, do not expect this series to be something like those American medical drama productions like ER, Grey’s Anatomy or even House. It is far different than that. Much different.

I thought it is a very interesting concept to use certain medical terms on the city as a whole as compared to the human body. Because the city is just like the human body. In order to keep it healthily function especially from those life threatening pathogens, you need to purge the disease before it spreads, right? And thus, these doctors and nurses aren’t the kind that are confined within the walls of the surgery room. The cancers are corrupted and unscrupulous villains. The kind that the arm of the law cannot reach or even touch them. It is their job to ‘remove’ these lesions before it infects the rest of the city. Yeah. Dark justice as you may want to call it. With so many scourges popping up every minute, the operation is going to take a while.

Episode 1
Our Black Label team are in position to take out one of the biggest baddies in town, Hideo Aranami. Once the green signal is given, Mikoto Kiba races her bike with Arashi Mikami as her pillion into the big mansion as they pulverise all the small fries till they reach Hideo’s room. Arashi points his gun at him and calls him a lesion without a cure. But he gives him a chance to die as a human and throws him a gun. Predictable as he is, Hideo takes it and shoots back at him. Thank God for his bullet proof helmet. Now die! Once mission is completed, Oriha Nashida bombs the entire mansion! Leave no evidence behind? The team returns to HQ as Chairman Masamune Mochizuki commends them for another successful mission of preventing another lesion. He considers the city like a human body and any maligned tumour must be eradicated to prevent further damage. In the shower, Mikoto is not amused that Arashi pulled that gun stint at Hideo. He says it is to confirm his own conscience. She stops when she sees his body full of scars. Meanwhile another crook, Kyouji Tobishiro is taking out his (sexual) frustrations on his busty ninja personnel, Goryuu. He is not happy Hideo is dead because this means no more money. He wants her to investigate the unknown organization who killed him. Arashi is a high school student when not in operations. Same case with Mikoto. Looks like fellow classmate, Hinako Kominato has a crush on him. He agrees to walk her home since he wants to eat in her family restaurant. Too bad he won’t get to see her in that lovely waitress outfit since he has been called for another mission.

Hideo’s son, Taisei and his men are torturing the busty daughter of one of Hideo’s men because when that fatty died, he tried to turn over the books to the cops. Detective Isoroku Tatara waltzes in like he knows the place. They both try to be ‘polite’ with each other till Taisei snaps that he is the boss around. That is when Mikoto-Arashi team barge their bike into the scene. I don’t know how they fly into the window since this is 4 floors up! Arashi successfully kills Taisei but his PA, Jin Masaki takes a hostage. There are orders not to kill Tatara so in this confusion and free-for-all, the hostage is killed and Masaki got away. Masaki sends more reinforcements but they got puzzled by this idol show put up by Oriha before the entire place blows up. Tatara manages to rescue the victim’s daughter, Fujino and returns to his busty assistant Konomi Suzue waiting outside (Oriha just passed by her and ‘apologized’). I guess she was being so worried about everything that she didn’t see the car being rigged with a bomb. Good thing they didn’t get in because it blew up. Mikoto and Arashi are riding away. Their secondary target got away and a person who shouldn’t have died was killed. Mikoto remembers Arashi telling him about his scars. It was from a terrorist attack during an international medical conference. She is surprised he wasn’t the only survivor. The other is Ryu, the director’s son. Arashi used his body to shield him from the blast although Ryu suffered serious head injury. Mochizuki then had Arashi undergo surgery whereby he implanted Ryu’s limbs and organs to save his life. Therefore Arashi views he is here because of Mochizuki’s ultimate decision, his Triage. As Ryu is inside him, he doesn’t know how much of himself he is because Ryu is compelling him to test it. To examine the truth of Triages he sees with his own eyes as he himself is born of such a Triage.

Episode 2
Arashi remembers he killed for the first time but didn’t feel scared. Ryu wonders if this means he doesn’t have a conscience. Tatara is at the hospital and is mad nobody can see Fujino despite she suffered only light injuries. Fujino is later discharged and our Black Label nurses believe she doesn’t know anything about Aranami hidden funds that would have made it easier for them to figure out Masaki’s next move. Mochizuki commends Black Label for a job well done despite their objective not met yet. He officially makes Arashi a full fledge member of Black Label and has him form a team together with Mikoto and Oriha under the name Ampule One (Ampule Zero is made up of Yuuko Sagiri, Miki Tsurugi and Sayo Hitsugi). It doesn’t take long before Fujino is kidnapped by Masaki’s man. Yeah, they ram over a poor granny just to get away! She is being interrogated about the hidden funds but of course she doesn’t know anything. Masaki gives her drink a drug to let her know ‘who the real villains are’. Masaki knows those pesky assassins will come back again but he is confident because he has got an army of junkies who are more than happy to kill.

As usual, Black Label is in position but they see Tatara being a hero going in alone. When he sees Fujino, she stabs him and blames him for her father’s death. Mikoto goes to check on him but Suzue thinks she stabbed her partner. Then all those junkies come in to take Suzue as hostage (and molest her boobs). Mikoto cannot do anything rash or there will be unwanted casualties while Ampule Zero takes out all those unsuspecting junkies. What a befitting way to slice and shoot all those useless trash of society. Arashi makes his appearance in time. Mikoto saves Suzue as the baddies pump bullets into him but thanks to his super polycarbonate suit, he still stands. Then they return fire and kill everybody. A baddie thought he could get away by ramming his car. He didn’t know Hitsugi’s coffin was tougher and Yuuko’s sword can cut through everything. Yeah… Arashi and Mikoto face off with Masaki at the rooftop. Fujino attacks Arashi but he shoots her! Masaki is in shock he could do that so Arashi talks about that conscience thingy and about being on the verge of death. He has found his answer: He always had a conscience within him but in the form of his unwavering resolve. Fujino still lives because he shot rubber bullets at her. Masaki thought he had won since he is going to escape via helicopter. He didn’t count on Oriha in shooting it down. Game over. You lose. But he is still ranting away about this and that so Arashi just shoots him! He fell off the ledge and got impaled by the helicopter’s fins. What a way to die. And yeah, you can’t have a great finale without Oriha blowing up the entire place!

Episode 3
Ampule One are about to kill another target but a mysterious ninja babe got there and killed the target first before escaping. Informant Shinichirou Inunaki shows Mochizuki a video that Masaki recorded during his final moments with Arashi as ‘parting gift’. Despite he doesn’t call this blackmail, Mochizuki has already prepared cash for him. Inunaki also gives information about a cargo containing a new drug that supposedly heightens one’s senses and abilities. The problem is its cost. It is cheap enough to be spread easily. Ampule One is in another mission to take out 2 baddies. Although they complete it in time, the ninja babe was there too although she escapes again. Mochizuki believes Ampule One will not have the resource to find out more about her and has Ampule Zero figure out this babe before they can take further action. At school, Mikoto sees several bullies ganging up on a new transfer student, Chikage Hizaki. Her presence was enough to scare them away. They both quickly become friends. After school, Mikoto almost rams her bike into Chikage when she tried to save a kitten from crossing the road. They sit and talk as Mikoto reveals she got this bike from her brother and almost died in that accident that took her brother’s life. Thanks to a certain doctor, she started living again. Chikage understands her. She starts stripping not because it is time for yuri sex but to show and let Mikoto feel her burn scars. They still feel hot. Her parents were killed at the medical conference. She had a little sister and they were taken in by relatives but feel they do not belong. Until a certain doctor taught her how to live that they were able to live again. But tragedy strikes when she returned home only to see it on fire. She tried to save her sister but failed. This is where she got the scars. So every time she remembers her family, she feels she needs to become stronger. Chikage is surprised Mikoto is crying for her. Reward? She strips her and it’s time for yuri sex!!!

Hitsugi is having no luck trying to get more information about the drug. Then she sees Inunaki walking about in the shady parts of town and tails him. However she enters a room filled with crooks. Inunaki is nowhere to be seen. At first she feigns a ditzy girl who got lost but apparently they don’t buy her crap and knock her out. I guess these guys are gay not to think about f*cking a busty girl like every other small villain fry we saw. But Hitsugi gets back up. Now she’s pissed. She correctly identifies every one of them as a weapon’s dealer or smuggler. Then she uses her monstrous strength to slam, throw and kill them all! Hulk Hitsugi smash! Seeing Inunaki nearby, she realizes it was a ploy by him to let her follow him and clean up this sh*t. Tatara and his rookies (Suzue and Makoto Ogawa) are staking out and ready to barge in but of course they are thwarted when lockers fall and block their path. Hitsugi believes she has got a lead when she interrogates a guy but an arrow is shot through his head. The mysterious assassin got away. Kunio Oomichi from the Kabuto group is mourning the death of his brother. Several kids who took free drug samples from him are in sh*t because he wants it back now. They are held hostage but one of their friends escaped. Too bad he is so high on drugs that he assaulted and nearly raped his friend. Had not Mikoto and Chikage pass by, she would have been done in. Despite the super beating, this guy crawls away like it was nothing. He dropped his handphone so they see a ransom note to return the goods if they want to see his friends in one piece. Looks like these girls have some unfinished business with the Kabuto group and they remember they just had something to do.

Episode 4
Oomichi receives a return message from that kid’s message that he is next. He knows something is wrong because it also confesses that she was the one who killed his brother. And so Mikoto confronts Oomichi who isn’t the least bit scared because he planted explosives as well as human bombs everywhere. Any spark will ignite and blow the place up. Want to settle it the old fashion way via sword fight? Oomichi is bragging about his sword skill. Mikoto wastes no time in taking him down and would have had one of his men electrocute her. After stabbing her thigh, he suggests playing a game. If she can escape this warehouse, she wins. But those human bombs are also trying to get her. She tries to convince them not to play this game but they believe if they beat her up, Oomichi will free them. Then before them is the ninja babe. She is appalled they use hurting others to justify their self preservation and there is no hope saving such people. She shoots them all! Mikoto is surprised she knows her name. She unmasks herself. She is Chikage (why am I not surprised?). Chikage believes they are drawn to each other because they are killers. They kill in the name of justice. However Mikoto thinks whatever she is doing under her Doctor’s orders are just revenge. Oomichi is blowing the place up. Mikoto can’t reach her bike so Arashi slides it in before the gate closes and tells her to settle this her own way. She rides up to the rooftop in time for Chikage and Oomichi’s standoff. Oomichi is not sweating because he has snipers placed all around. All he needs is to give the signal to blow their heads off. But Mikoto issues a challenge. Can their bullet be faster than her bike? Before he can blink, Mikoto rams him to fall into the flames.

Mikoto wants Chikage to stop but she won’t. She won’t rest until all the evil in the world is purged. Doctor is the only one she has left. Oh, the Doctor just called. Mikoto is her next target. As they fight, Oomichi climbs back up and signals to his snipers. But they’re not firing. Ampule Zero took them out. Then he got stabbed by Doctor who is no other than Ogawa (why am I not surprised?). He speaks about dark justice and all. Chikage is in awe with him but that turn into shock when he claims they are all lies. Then he shoots his crossbow into her! The truth is, her little sister found out about his true identity. She went crazy and he kept giving her some sort of hot injections but that never helped. Ogawa is going to kill Mikoto too but since she believes in her friends, Arashi throws a gun to her and she was fast enough to pull the trigger. It is the end of him but he warns Black Label will also meet their end someday. Now he meets his end in the fiery explosion. I don’t know how Chikage is still alive but this time she kills herself for real by jumping down into the flames. She wonders if she can reborn to be with Mikoto and her sister. In the aftermath, Suzue shows uncovered proof to Tatara that the Ogawa person they knew was completely different. It is appalling all the documents were fake and nicely forged and this went unnoticed for 8 years! She wants to make a complaint but again Tatara wants to handle this alone. He knows this one goes very deep and his detective experience won’t help him out. Mochizuki receives report about the mission but it is baffling that no more information is known about Ogawa. Not even Inunaki knows about his background. Ampule Zero discusses about the same list that Chikage has and Inunaki brought them. It indicates somebody wants full control of the new drugs. It also brings forth the question of why they are operating ever since their organization’s incorporation.

Episode 5
In addition to being an idol, Oriha is making her debut on TV acting as some world’s greatest detective. Mikoto can’t help laugh her ass off but Arashi is clapping like a robot… Oriha herself loves it but she faces rivalry from her fellow idols, Asymmetry (consisting of Haron and Sumire Mikazuki). But today they are not going to take their rivalry to new heights and are in this studio to promote their new song collaboration. Suddenly a black out occurs. Looks like Halloween costumed guys have disabled security and taken the entire building hostage. Luckily for Oriha and Asymmetry, they have been wandering around before the baddies came in. They even joked about this being a hostage drama but soon realize how true it is when they spot an underling walking around with real weapons. Besides, how come their building is the only experiencing blackout and where are the rest of the staffs? Their handphone has no reception because somebody is jamming the signal and internet. They fight and knock off a crazy henchman in a mascot (Haron’s half baked karate…) before a hijacked broadcast begins. Wild Hunt, the big bad wolf and the leader of this group warns the police not to do anything rash as they will execute the hostages. However he has a message not for them but for those who kill to exact justice without expecting to be killed. You know who you are. This is what happens when you kill their comrades and pick a fight with them. To show he means business, he shoots an idol on live camera!!!! NOOOOOO!!!!!!! THIS IS NOT CG EFFECTS YOU IN-DENIAL FANS!!!!!!!!!! You mad, Black Label? Jun Midou of the police’s special investigations call and try to negotiate what he wants. He has the rest of the idol girls stand on the 18th floor only in their undies. For every 30 minutes he will make one dive down into the crowd if his demands are not met. First, procure 1 billion yen in cash. Then they can move on to the next demand. Time to start the show. I guess it’s going to be big headache so Midou gets HQ and Ministry of Defence for help. Oriha manages to bypass some certain to let Asymmetry to safety at the stairwells but goes back up to settle unfinished business. Mikoto is upset that Mochizuki is giving them standby orders. She is worried about Oriha. Who isn’t? But believe in her…

Episode 6
Time for one of the idols to jump… Suddenly Oriha puts up a stage performance. Some of the guys go to intercept her but got into her bomb trap. She contacts Wild Hunt whose keen observations know she is part of Black Label and one of the missing idols. She threatens she has placed bombs on all exits to cut off their exit but Wild Hunt is not convinced since that requires time. Oriha takes a risk telling Wild Hunt there is something they are after because they’re not here to just die. Wild Hunt agrees not to kill the idols. Instead, he shoots one of the male staffs! Midou has a team trying to cut the power lines of the building before storming in but the engineers are baffled by the layout because its blueprints are different. Anyway they just cut the entire thing and the entire block is blackout. Oriha is at the security room figuring out something is wrong. One of the broadcast staff tries to kill her but she evades. He is the sub-commander of the group. Oriha is surprised when Asymmetry return to help her out. They’re idols. They have to protect each other’s dream. However they are knocked out by Wild Hunt who reveals his true identity. A woman?! Her real name is Siren. I suppose she has the ability to imitate voices? By the time the police storm in and rescue the hostages, Siren and a few of her men are already gone. Oriha must be petite enough to be kidnapped inside a bag. They are making their way through the underground train lines that runs along the building.

Mochizuki receives some sort of communication from Oriha so he has Black Label go into action. Mikoto and Arashi catch up with Siren in time. Arashi follows Siren into the darkness while Mikoto handles the small fries. It is too dark for Arashi to see anything and he can’t simply fire or he will give away his position. Siren has another ability: To hear the heartbeat of other people. Using a voice impersonator as Oriha to distract Arashi, she gives her sub-commander the directions to slash Arashi in the dark. However Arashi takes a deep breath and has Ryu to guide him. He shoots the sub-commander point blank when he strikes. Siren panics and shoots randomly when she cannot hear his heartbeat anymore. All it takes is for one bullet from Arashi. Siren’s last words are she realizes Arashi is a monster just like them. Oriha is rescued but scolds Arashi what if he shot her. He claims he will never mistake a friend’s voice. Asymmetry hasn’t seen Oriha since and fears she might have traded herself as a sex slave to the terrorists for their freedom. My, what vivid imagination they have. But who is standing there right next to them then? Haron instantly gives her a big hug. Oriha is happy to have avenged her fallen idol rival-cum-comrade. As Mikoto and Arashi leave, they remember Oriha telling them that this hostage drama was just a diversion for Black Label and the police. She doesn’t know what it is but Mochizuki might. They discovered a tattoo of a syringe on Siren’s arm. Suddenly a wild masked biker from the opposite direction starts shooting at them.

Episode 7
Thanks to Arashi’s fast reflexes, any untoward incident is avoided. The perpetrator turns out to be Inunaki who is also Arashi’s mentor. This is just a test to see if Arashi is up to mark. He lets them in on some information. The cargo carrying the new drug, Platinum Lily has arrived. That hostage drama was a diversion for this. A certain family that has ruled over this city for generations, Joutarou Tobishiro, the Prime Minister and capitalist has interest in the drugs. With him as the biggest cancer, it will spread and this means his son Kyouji also inherited his influence. The drug has another unique effect that they do not know. That is why another rival organization, allies of Ogawa and Siren are after this drug too. They are Black Label’s true enemy. Ampule Zero is already on the cargo examining it but they are ambushed by this weird group, Syringe. It is a monster strength brawl between Hitsugi and Kaoru Murasaki. She didn’t know she had a win, Kaori and was taken out by surprise. Yuuko on the other hand has a sword fight with Astro while Miki chases D to retrieve the drugs in his suitcase. However she only gets one of them when sneaky D has well planted bombs around the ship and escapes via helicopter. Miki contacts the rest to finish up and leave because Kyouji’s men are here and there are too many of them. Hitsugi has lost too much blood and could have died had not Yuuko come to her rescue. Everybody abandons ship since it is sinking. Yuuko calls for emergency to operate on Hitsugi since her heart is not beating. Arashi is mad to see Hitsugi in this state. He is frustrated he wants revenge but knows too well he is powerless. All Mikoto can do is let him sleep in her boobs.

Mochizuki calls Arashi and Mikoto. The suitcase only contains half of the drugs. He knows because he created it. Flashback time. When he was a doctor in a mercenary unit, he stumbled upon a strange village. People with limbs blown or cut off from the war had transplanted surgery of limbs. In such a backwater village with no basic medical facilities and yet such a highly advanced medical technology. He found out there was a certain ritual one would undertake before undergoing this transplant. First, a person would drink a black liquid said to be poisonous enough to drive anyone crazy just by touching it. After the surgery is done, a red liquid is given to complete the ritual. His research shows the black liquid is a virus strain that he calls D99. The red liquid is vaccine. When D99 is taken, abnormalities occur in the immune system and growth of cells becomes rapid. But this leaves the brain being corroded and will lead to death. That is why the vaccine that easily kills the virus is given after that. To a surgeon, this was the power of God. Mochizuki created a secret research team that included Inunaki and his PA, Fiona Ran Winchester. It is discovered that the way the virus could be transmitted by mucous membranes and blood would mutate into a variant strain. It could wipe out humanity. Dangerous at it is, they gave up on this research and went back to the village to tell of its danger but it has been ravaged by the war. They tried to destroy all research work and samples and could have if not for that medical conference terrorist attack. Arashi is the last person to receive this drug. After that, all samples of the virus were destroyed. He apologizes he might have used it to save him but was also using it for his own personal ego. Arashi isn’t mad. He is grateful he is here today and has friends worth protecting. Now it’s not the time for regrets. He doesn’t know how D99 has returned or what Syringe wants. The drug is only useful together so you can bet they’ll be looking for the other half. Joutarou reprimands Kyouji for another mess he made but is willing to clean up if he redeems himself. Of course this spoilt brat curses his dad and hopes he dies, blah, blah, blah. So why take it out on your busty ninja servant? Seems he is bored and wants to spread chaos or something to make his old man pay. He can’t rape Goryuu since it’s time for his meeting. Hitsugi suddenly gets up and breaks out. Revitalized?

Episode 8
Hitsugi once oversaw Arashi’s recovery. He was pushing himself so hard and she could relate his trauma as she had also experienced something similar although she lost most of her memories. He was bent on becoming stronger quick because had he stopped, the limbs and heart he received from Ryu would ‘die’ since he is living inside him. Ran has Ampule One rein in Hitsugi before she goes berserk. Oh sure. Send those kids to do a dangerous job. Not that they are strangers to danger but before Hitsugi who is going berserk, even Oriha is paralyzed in fear! Should have called Yuuko in Miki to do the job. Yuuko doesn’t want to kill her again. Arashi gets in the way because he believes in Hitsugi. He has a debt to repay her still. So Arashi leads her to the bottom of the facility while the area is being cordoned off. Yuuko wonders if mere words can bring her back. But Mochizuki believes true emotions may and not from her guardian but from somebody who stands on her level. Flashback reveals 9 years before Black Label was formed, Yuuko and Miki stormed into an abandoned lab to find Itaru Togo, one of Mochizuki’s secret research team who secretly stole samples of D99. They found his body and his research notes that he was experimenting with the drug that has a side effect of psychological issues. Yuuko was set upon a masked girl (Hitsugi). She was on a violent rampage and had no choice but to kill her and then subsequently saved her. That was the first time they met.

The cat and mouse game continues as Ryu thinks Arashi is foolish to bring Hitsugi to a place of her past. Arashi says he learnt there are times people shouldn’t hide their awkwardness. I don’t know how Hitsugi can miss when he is walking slowly and straight towards her as he tells her about the promise they made on the day they left rehab. After he hugs her, she experiences mental breakdown. He knows that mask is to hide her true heart and when he unmasks it, he sees her tears and shows her reflection on a broken glass. It calmed her down. Further flashbacks revealed Hitsugi told young Arashi about her recurring nightmare that someone stabbed her and she died. It could have been fragments of her lost memories. She was scared that she won’t be herself if she remembers it. Arashi thanked her for her help during his rehab. He was able to smile again. Therefore he promised that he would become stronger and not let her cry again. When the rest enter the scene, they see Hitsugi kissing Arashi! Was it so shocking that Mikoto fainted? I hope she didn’t have a heart attack. Now that Hitsugi remembers everything, back then the drugs make her lose most of her memories and she hid her face with a mask as she was scared and lonely. She remembers clearly the face Yuuko put on when she stabbed her. Yuuko and Hitsugi make amends. The latter owes him one but Arashi insists he was just fulfilling his promise. Meanwhile hacker girl and leader of Syringe, Kaname Makiishi realizes someone has been periodically tracing them over the public safety server ever since the hostage incident. However she is baffled if this detective is being careless in letting them find out his identity or if this is a trap. The solution is simple: Just kill him. Of course that wouldn’t be fun because they are going to kidnap him and let him spill all the beans first. Then they kill him.

Episode 9
What’s this?! Mikoto is having nightmare that she is lagging behind Arashi’s harem???!!! Don’t worry. This show won’t turn out that sleazy because despite that short intro of Mikoto flustering when she asks Hinako for Arashi and Hinako having some sort of panic thinking her best friend has a crush on Arashi too, it is back to violent business as the Syringe twins have found Suzue. Before they could kidnap her, yakuzas under Tobishiro tranquilize them and kidnap Suzue. Therefore Kaname thought it was a joke that the best fighting unit of Syringe actually failed their mission and lost to a bunch of weak yakuzas. Of course Tatara right away starts his investigation as Suzue is missing. He thought Yuuki Hijiri was supposed to be with her but they parted earlier in the day. Hijiri believes this is his responsibility and needs to call Mochizuki. He contacts Ran about this and although there was a transmitter placed on Suzue, the signal was lost 8 hours earlier. It was last traced to one of Tobishiro’s hideout. Once Ran reports to Mochizuki and linking Suzue to the server that she was trying to access, it’s time for Black Label to go on a mission. Goryuu tortures Suzue and I’m not sure if she’s a tough nut to crack playing dumb or just not knowing anything. Thus Goryuu gives her small dosages of the drug (not Platinum Lily) to torture her heart and make her hover between pain and pleasure. How kind of her. Eventually she’ll end up like those mindless dolls not being able to think for themselves. Goryuu has her men clean her up as she needs to go pick up Kyouji. He’ll be happy with a new play doll.

The yakuzas must be slacking to have Oriha waltz up to them and blow up the gates to let Mikoto ride in. But she is just for distraction as Arashi has snuck in to find Suzue. The twins are also here to find Suzue but they have to face off with Hitsugi in a revenge match. Ever since Hitsugi has been freed from her past, she doesn’t need that mask anymore. As the power match starts, Hitsugi starts talking about this doctor Togo who had a daughter with an incurable disease. He was desperate to try all methods (by hook or crook) to save her. He eventually did but the side effect was his daughter lost her heart and became a monster. He too was captivated by this and continued to research the drugs using his daughter’s body. So what of this story? His daughter who is no other than Hitsugi went crazy and killed everybody so there should be no person alive left associated with this project. So who made the twins? Kaoru is about to reveal but Kaori shuts her up. Kaori becomes crazy and mad that Hitsugi is like them and should lust for blood and destruction. They’re going to prove it by beating her to death. Sorry, but Hitsugi doesn’t fight to win or lose. Her job is just to remove lesions. She could have won it had not Astro interrupting. Time is up. Time to fall back. Hitsugi however feels she has settled her things despite losing Syringe. Meanwhile Arashi secures Suzue but when he killed those men, one of them accidentally presses the button to free all those mindless dolls. Look how they’re running out and scattering.

Episode 10
Full 10 minutes of bathing fanservice as a start???!!! We see the ladies discussing Suzue in ICU although her condition is pretty much stable. Also discussed are the professional torture methods and drugs that were used on her. Fortunately, none related to D99. Gosh. So complicated. Might as well just enjoy to eye candy fanservice. If not for those damn steam censors… I am not sure what it was, Yuuko blames it to be all Hitsugi’s fault and serves her some sort of S&M towel punishment? But Hitsugi is grateful to have guys like them so she won’t lose. Because more importantly she is in love! OMG! Mikoto is the first one to jump up to protest she won’t allow such indecent things with her partner! In school, Hinako tries to ask Arashi out but panics when she realizes it would seem like a date since her friend isn’t tagging along. I don’t see what’s the problem? Arashi then hears the girls talking about rumours going around on social media lately whereby people suddenly disappear. Hinako, are you on drugs to even suggest kidnapped people become harem to some alien emperor? Her friend relates a story of another friend who witnessed something similar. A girl who went missing but was seen dancing in torn and bloodied clothes. She realized too late she was surrounded by similar ‘zombies’. I don’t know. This horror story sounds so fake. All Arashi can tell them is to stay away from anyone suspicious. Miki ambushes Inunaki to force him to spill the details. However she got distracted by his molestation (something about comparing boob size with Yuuko too) and he got away. Before another mission, Mikoto talks to Arashi about something very concerning about Hitsugi. I think I know what it is. Thinking she has uncertain feelings, he tells her to be just that. But they must perform their mission with certainty. Some guy is high on drugs leading the police on a wild car chase. They can’t do anything rash as he has a hostage in the car. Of course time for Mikoto and Arashi to do their stuff. The moment their bike pulls up along the car, the baddie starts feeling scared about them. It is like he has stared death in the eye! Arashi has an idea to stop this chase. I don’t know how, he shoots the tank to make the oil leak out and then the tyres. Begging for your life now? He spills everything but eventually he is just a small time drug dealer and has nothing new for them. Take this second chance in life to turn over a new leaf. Mikoto becomes a sadist, throwing him a hacksaw. The fastest way to escape before the police arrive is to saw off your own hand! Man, she always wanted to say that? The hostage needs medical attention so Mikoto rides her back. What about Arashi? Don’t worry about him. He’ll be just fine walking back. Make that a long walk back.

Just What The Doctor Ordered…
Heh. The final episode nearly killed it. Nearly threatened to destroy and unravel the satisfactory levels that I have come to decide overall for this show. After great and intense fighting scenes, the redundant final episode feels like a freaking waste of time and I thought it was in the risk of being turned into some sort of cheesy fanservice and romance harem thingy. And then with the final action scenes, luckily that managed to redeem itself. I mean, that is what this anime is supposed to be all about, right?

As usual, there are quite some promising potential for this season and with the never ending battle just heating up and the loose ends not tie yet (heck, it may turn into split ends), there is going to be a lot more on Black Label’s plate if they want to free the city of lesions and tumours. So I suppose bad guys like Kyouji didn’t do much this season except setting up the role as the antagonist whom Black Label must rid for good the next time. Not to mention Syringe who are the biggest rivals and stumbling block in Black Label’s way. So it is going to be a multi-way fight in the city. I hope with so many parties involved, it won’t damage the body/city. You know, you have viruses and bacteria invading your body but in addition to your own immune system, there are outside medication and vaccine in the fray that may assist and cause havoc to everything.

The action sequences are the main selling points of this anime. Not the huge boobs fanservice. That is right. You heard that correctly. It is more like the fanservice feels like extras and icing on the cake. It is a good thing because it doesn’t distract and detract from the course and the plot. Of course the irony is that those boobs are great distraction for us viewers :). The action might not be hardcore but at least there are enough in each episode to keep casual viewers preoccupied. There is a sheer amount of violence although I won’t say it is over the top but when you have main characters showing no mercy or hesitation to shoot and kill, you don’t expect these guys to have goody-goody chivalry traits as ‘brainwashed’ by Disney. It makes the series more realistic in that sense. So be prepared to see blood spills and bodies being cut apart. If it gets too violent, they’ll just use the infamous black hole as censors. Always works. And yeah, there are deaths in every episode but those are usually small fry bad guys. But the worst and most disturbing death of all is that of an idol… It is just atrocious. Like sort of a shocking wake up call.

Speaking of fanservice, as said they bring additional appeal to the service. Mostly the big boobs. For almost every female character you see that has big boobs, they are given such a huge enlargement. So huge that it looks unrealistic. So unrealistically huge that you would think that only such boobs would only appear in hentai series. It somehow enhances the slutty value. Each time you see them, your mind starts to wander and wonder if they would suddenly get down and do a blowjob. Really. I mean, how do some of these girls kick ass with that huge pair of racks in the way? Maybe that is why the baddies always die like flies. The distraction kills! There are also a handful of panty shots fanservice but this is minimal compared to the boobs fanservice. Of course some are too dangerous to be shown on TV so they are censored with that infamous black hole. Especially that entire sequence when Arashi was facing off with berserk Hitsugi who is going commando all the way. That little black hole blotch there if you are not focusing on it, might look like her pubic hair from the side of your eyes… Just saying… Overall there aren’t any cheap sleazy fanservice stuffs except for when baddies think their libido is good enough to keep the girls in line then you have all the cheap groping and molesting stuff.

Speaking of the characters, first and foremost, nobody is an angel in here. Okay, maybe unrelated cuties like Hinako would but that is only because she doesn’t have enough screen time. I am sure given enough of so, you’ll eventually get to see her dark side. But that is not related to this story for now. As you can see, our heroes aren’t your typical chivalrous types for they are prepared to pull the trigger on anybody who has been given the black label. Fighting fire with fire is another way of putting it. Because when you are up with the worst kind of human beings, rehabilitation is only a dream for them. Therefore it gives rise to dark justice and it questions whether their actions are morally right or wrong. It all boils down to your perspectives and stereotypes. Of course for this anime we would view Black Label as anti-heroes and the ‘good guys’ because they seem to be purging evil for the greater good. But is it the right way? But as I have said, if such humans are beyond saving, diplomacy is not in their context, what else method is there left?

It is nice to see that some of the Black Label characters having their own screen time in the form of mini arcs and shedding bits of their past with us. Like Oriha and Mikoto, their past and even what they do currently gives us and insight of why they are here and doing what they’re doing right now. Too bad it feels rushed since the series has the same number of episodes as the fingers on both an average person’s hands. Each of them has their own demons of the past they have to face and come to terms with. Sometimes when I see Ryu popping up to talk to Arashi, it feels like he is speaking to an imaginary friend and that he might need some serious help. Sure, Ryu is living inside him but if you try to think logically, doesn’t it feel like Arashi is just having hallucinations? Black Label’s intentions are good but whether or not they can be considered as true unsung heroes is entirely up to you. Therefore it is hard to place Syringe as the baddies although for now they are seen being positioned as Black Label’s enemy. Rival would be a better word but we don’t know more about them as being portrayed this season. If this was going to the direction of a shonen anime, my guts tell me they might end up joining forces and fight together against a common big bad evil. But that is another story.

Some characters like Inunaki are shady enough to make you wonder whose side he is on. This guy although an ex-member of Black Label and currently from a different organization may look like their ally, giving valuable information from time to time. But could there be more underneath? There is certainly more to meet the eye to him. Same case with Mochizuki. His intentions to rid the city of the worst lesions are good but you also wonder if he had an ulterior motive and is just putting a façade. Especially when he admitted into making D99 but was honest enough to come clean when his past resurfaces. I may just be over-thinking it all… A point to ponder is that if Mochizuki calls the shots on which scum to be assassinated and such, I hope his decisions have been 100% accurate all the time because it would be really a big blow if suddenly they realize the target they killed is wrong. It gives rise to what gives Black Label the right to judge others despite the arm of the law being unable to persecute them. Like I said, they are no angels and no better off being another secret vigilante organization. They better have their facts and facts right all the time!

Other supporting and characters feel lacking like Tatara who seems to be working very hard to crack the case but is often met with obstruction. I don’t know. To me it feels like a running joke. Because it makes him go nowhere despite he knows that the cases can go so deep you won’t be able to see the ground. Speaking of running joke, I thought Oriha’s bomb blasting finale is going to set the tone for every darn mission they complete. What better way than to leave no evidence than to just blow everything up, eh? Then there is Hinako who is just there for us to keep dreaming about the possible harem romance for Arashi. Seriously, even if it did happen, I personally don’t think it fits. Thank goodness none of that (or at least to a minimum) happened.

Racking up the body count, I think there have been a number of villains making their short cameo appearance before getting killed off for good. It is like telling us they have no staying power, no? Yeah, who would want to remember them anyway? They are introduced and before shortly being killed off and if they are ‘good’ enough, they last for at least an episode or two. It is more pitiful for those henchmen without names. Like as though they are just there to add to the body count statistics.

If the art style of the characters is looking very familiar, it probably is because the characters are designed by the very same person who illustrated for Highschool Of The Dead. Yeah… No wonder those humongous unrealistic boobs gave me such a sense of nostalgia… Where in the world can you have females having such over-sized boobs and still go about their daily lives like normal? Thank anime for giving us the unrealistic expectations for that. The very same illustrator is probably the reason why I see some of the characters of both series resembling each other. Like how Arashi resembles a lot like Highschool Of The Dead’s Takashi. I also noticed that all bad guys (especially low level punks) have this typical villainous look. You can’t run away from it. Besides their bad attitude as a dead giveaway, you can spot a baddie from miles away thanks to this one-kind look they have. Makes it easier for us and Black Label to identify them, eh? Then there is the case of Miki, Suzue and the twins. They look so close to each other that I can’t tell them apart! I know I could never for the twins but there are some differentiations between Miki and Suzue. However seeing either coming into the scene, it confuses me at first as to which is which.

This might be trivial but I thought I was a little ‘scammed’ because I was expecting to see the main characters in doctor or nurse outfits when they go into battle. I am mainly to blame for having such expectations since I didn’t read the original manga whatsoever. Because the only character that you will mainly see in a nurse outfit is Hitsugi. The rest aren’t. Arashi and Mikoto’s fighting uniform is their biker outfit while Oriha goes into action with the same idol clothes she wears onstage. I wonder why nobody could identify her. I guess baddies don’t watch idol shows, eh? Yuuko dons loose clothing that exposes her belly and cleavage while Miki wears a tight suit. So where are the nurses in action?! Haha…

Voice acting wise, it sounds pretty okay. The only ones I recognized are Ryoko Shiraishi as Hitsugi, Shinichiro Miki as Inunaki and Hiroki Yasumoto as Wild Hunt. The rest of the casts include Kenji Akabane as Arashi (the Producer in Idolmaster), Yui Kondou as Mikoto (Furano in NouKome), Amina Satou as Oriha (Yuuka in AKB0048), Fuyuko Oura as Yuuko (Ren in To Love-Ru), Masumi Asano as Miki (Hakufu in Ikkitousen), Takaya Kuroda as Mochizuki (Renjou in Kurenai), Aya Hisakawa as Ran (Maya in Tenjou Tenge), Misato as Suzue (Mana in Date A Live), Hideaki Tezuka as Tatara (Kurahashi in Zankyou No Terror), Kiyono Yasuno as Kaori (Koneko in Hamatora), Misa Kayama as Kaoru, Takanori Hoshino as Astro (Nobuyuki Kai in Haikyuu), Setsuji Satoh as D (Joseph Yaht in Turn A Gundam), Sayaka Nakaya as Kaname (Orine in AKB0048), Sachi Kokuryu as Goryuu (Arthur in Nanatsu No Taizai), Kenji Nojima as Kyouji (Yuuto in High School DxD), Iori Nomizu as Haron (Nymph in Sora No Otoshimono), Yumeha Kouda as Sumire (Zita in Hitsugi No Chaika) and Ryouka Yuzuki as Chitoge (Ino in Naruto). Both the opening and ending themes are rock based, which are quite fitting to the style of this series. Nagareda Project sings Triage as the opener while Kazutomi Yamamoto does the ending theme, Soleil More.

Overall, this is not an anime for everybody thanks to its violence and big tits fanservice. But it does introduce an interesting concept of treating villains like cancer and the way they are ‘removed’ but not surgically. I guess medical advancement has not come to a stage whereby it could cure humanity of their stupidity and greed. Heck, I don’t think that has even got to do with medical technology. It is all part of our genes and bad blood. The next time you try to get funny and flirty with the nurses, this should serve a good reminder why their ass isn’t just meant waiting to be molested by you. They’ll always have the last laugh when it is their turn to stick up a huge giant syringe needle up your ass. Well, better than a bullet in your head any time.

I read the reason for producing Hyakka Ryouran Samurai After was to introduce a new character to the series and give her some screen time. Well, nothing wrong with that but I thought it was just an excuse not to make another season and introduce her somewhere along the way or at the start instead of condemning her debut to a couple of OVAs. Heh. That’s just my opinion after all. And of course if you know about this series, you would know better about its brand of fanservice offered and thus all the more reason why we buy the DVDs to see samurai boobs and more samurai boobs. Oh yeah, samurai boobs save Japan!

Episode 1
WOW! Samurai girls making out right at the start!!! Keiji and Kagekatsu Uesgi making love, kissing and caressing!!! Kagekatsu has Keiji’s hand put on her stomach and it starts glowing! Wait a minute. Is she going to give birth to some super samurai?! Keiji notes her great qi thanks to all the training but there is still room for improvement. Meanwhile, the tussle for Muneakira continues. They’re arguing there is a big difference being a Samurai Bride and a wife. Yeah… Big difference… Even Gisen gets into the fray although she’s more into being his mistress thingy. Kanetsugu… What the heck is she talking about changing wives every 3 months?! Before things get ugly, they’re being attacked by Kagekatsu’s power arrow. Kanetsugu recognizes her friend. Seems she respects her for being kind to her. Yeah, unlike some girls who loves to subject this retard to abuse, right? Seems Keiji is here too and to see Muneakira. This shocks everyone especially Kagekatsu. Maybe except Juubei who is more than delighted thinking she might want to be Muneakira’s bride too. Since everyone starts arguing they are the best to be his wife, Keiji proposes a match to determine who will be his wife. However it will be decided via third parties. Yup, something like a reality TV. All of them will try to act and please him as much while raking votes from online viewers. The one with the highest votes wins. Matabei and Hanzou are in a dilemma to enter or support their masters so Gisen suggests they should refrain so as not to embarrass their master. Because Juubei thinks the more the merrier, Keiji agrees to join in. This causes Kagekatsu to be jealous and she also wants in. But shortly Keiji withdraws because somebody needs to take care of the notes. Did Kagekatsu get tricked into this? Thanks to some technology, viewers will have a first person view via lens that Muneakira is wearing. What he sees, everybody sees.

And so on day 1, we see Sen ordering her servants to clean about as she acts like the dominant master. I guess some guys dig this sadistic side. Yukimura shows her great finance management skills by saving more power during hot summer by wearing swimsuits. That sure brings in the votes. But it couldn’t be more insulting to them because Juubei is just fooling around with Muneakira and she scores the most points! Kanetsugu and Kagekatsu do the naked apron gig. The latter’s clumsiness causes the ingredients that like some ambiguous liquid splash over her face and chest. And with clumsy Kanetsugu slipping and accidentally pulling down her pantsu, wow, the ratings are going up. This infuriates Sen and Yukimura. Two can play that game! So they try more lewd stuffs by getting wet or skimpier swimsuits (saves 70% more energy!). Juubei continues to fool around her usual way and gets Muneakira into a compromising position. Kanetsugu thinks she can show her the better way so she transforms into her magical girl outfit. Only 1 problem: She’s totally naked! OMG! Ratings shoot through the roof! And this was unintentional for her side. Everybody got free fanservice. Meanwhile Kagekatsu is feeling down and the one lagging behind. Keiji talks to her and hopes she would actively participate. But Kagekatsu is in a dilemma. If she wins, she will no longer be Keiji’s bride anymore. Keiji says the problem is not becoming somebody’s wife. She hints she wants to have a size of a football team for children! At least half of them if Kagekatsu can’t ‘produce’ that much.

For the next few days, the intense competition continues with all the competitors being neck to neck in ratings. The weirder the attempt, the higher the votes. I think the one getting the most kick out of this is Keiji. Look at her laughing… On the last day, things get desperate. The girls are competing to wash his back. Kagekatsu’s accident with her boobs has the rest start using their boobs on him. The ultimate one whereby Muneakira slips and has his face planted in Juubei’s crotch! Matabei and Hanzou are helpless in seeing this fight as they too want to help their masters. But Gisen tells them they must win this battle by their own terms. And the servants just relegate to taking a bath while listening to Gisen’s ‘wisdom’. Since the tug of war might tear apart Muneakira’s limbs, I guess the girls are getting serious now to beat the crap out of each other. That is when Muneakira has had it and tells them to stop. He believes this is not the right way to choose and become his bride. He has them remember when they all turned into their Samurai Bride form, their hearts were in unison. So why make this disappear now? Choosing a bride is something that requires reflection and time. The girls couldn’t be more ashamed of themselves. Keiji lauds Muneakira’s words. Hey wait. Isn’t she the one who suggested this game? Of course. All just to see Kagekatsu’s worried face. Don’t worry. She had a great time. Yeah, everybody just felt they are the biggest loser. The participants, the viewers… Scammed… The only real winners are perhaps Gisen, Matabei and Hanzou who were right in staying behind. Keiji asks Kagekatsu’s opinion on Muneakira. Truly, he is an interesting man.

Episode 2
Unheeding Nia’ word, Sen breaks into a sealed tomb and opens a sealed box. Oh no. Looks like Pandora’s Box from the way things look. Muneakira thought Gisen crept up into his bed again but surprise! It’s Sen! Oh, Gisen is on his other side. So she did creep into his bed. As usual, the morning jinx with the girls around, Muneakira rushes to the toilet to clean himself up but bumps into naked Kanetsugu and sees her entirety. The rest of the day must be tiring for Muneakira because he has to escape from Sen’s seduction attempts. While Kanetsugu is complaining in her kennel about Muneakira, suddenly Sen kisses her and turns her into her minion. Muneakira can tell something is wrong when Juubei and Gisen start wanting to do bold things with him. Looks like they are under Sen’s spell too. This is all part of Sen’s plan to force Muneakira to marry her since he is taking too long over her proposal. She transforms into the legendary wedding dress that she got from Toyotomi’s hidden treasure. Hmm… This black revealing jester outfit is the legendary wedding dress? Luckily Yukimura and Matabei are here to stop their shenanigans. They have noticed Sen acting weird lately and have been observing her. They have also done their research that she is not wearing the legendary wedding dress which is supposed to be white. This dress is supposed to be worn after the wedding ceremony. Based on records, those who wear the legendary dress will be married for sure. To counter other powers, the black version was created to please men by gathering concubines. In other words, a harem. Sen is not convinced since she did her research based from Yoshihiko’s documents. But if so, how come Muneakira is not charmed by her? Before Sen and her underlings could give him the ultimate pleasure, Yukimura’s light bomb comes in handy for their escape.

Yukimura explains about both dresses being kept in the same place to balance out each other’s power. Separating the dress would mean unbalanced power and Sen will slowly go berserk if she is left alone. The only way is to take off the dress and put it back in the seal. Sen interrogates Nia about the dress but her lips are tightly sealed. Sen does some nipple torture but why is Hanzou the one feeling ‘good’ about it? Muneakira and Yukimura barge into surprise attack and capture Sen. There is some sort of ritual to take off the dress by fondling and squeezing the boobs in certain directions 3 times? Finally, press the nipples! Did it work? When Muneakira goes to free Nia, Sen wakes up and kisses Yukimura followed by Matabei. Game over. Juubei is still her usual self as she continues to flirt and then kiss Muneakira. She transforms into her Master Samurai form. Seems she wasn’t under Sen’s spell. Was she playing along? Don’t know. She’s too airhead as always to tell. As they make a run, Nia explains that Yoshihiko sent her to stop Sen from this mess when she learnt about the treasure. Although she failed, why didn’t she fall into Sen’s spell? Yoshihiko gave her a charm to protect her against that. In order to defeat the black dress, they need the white dress’ power. To activate it, Juubei will have to wear it and kiss Muneakira. Why is he flustering? Hasn’t he done this many times? No time to think or even be hesitant (because Juubei can’t help wonder about the implications of putting on a wedding dress) since Nia is at her limit stalling Sen and co. Juubei puts on the dress. Looks magnificent. Now for the kiss. Sen tries to intercept them. Muneakira freaks out so Juubei forces kiss him. The superb power frees all the girls and a special warmth feeling as bonus. But now another battle will take place… Juubei back to her airhead self is claiming she is his official wife since she is wearing this. Not so fast! The other girls claim this dress belongs to their family’s property and start fighting over it. Don’t rip the dress apart please!

Special 1
A short special lasting 5 minutes, a first person view, through the eyes of the protagonist, although no dialogue from the him but I am guessing it is supposedly Muneakira (those manly hands) or the viewer. Kagekatsu is the featured girl as we see her waking you up and you getting naughty with her while she makes breakfast. Then you both go for a walk and you fell asleep on her lap in which by the time you wake up, you see her sleeping face. Back home, you join her in the shower (I thought this borders like porn logic since which girl would be more than happy to let you in and when you surprise her while she takes a bath). And yeah… Washing those delicious parts… And the moment you’ve been waiting for. After shower sex… And then suddenly Kagekatsu wakes up from this dream… What a letdown…

Special 2
It is Sen’s t turn but this time the view is from a video camera. Here we are at the beautiful beach but Sen tells us to stop recording the beautiful blue sea, skies and sandy beach and record her instead! Okay. And when you’re too focused on her ‘prized assets’ she tells you not to just record her all the time! Women! Make up your mind! Now it’s time to put sunscreen. Man, I think you’re good in filming with one hand while putting lotion on her back with the other. Can’t help resist poking her? Now it’s her turn to do the same. With her boobs. Damn. Why did the recording stop! Hands can’t be still? Anyway the filming continues as we see Sen in various beach activities. But during the watermelon breaking one, she accidentally smashes your head! Thank goodness the camera is still okay! Finally as she basks in the sunset glow, you have the cheek to record up close her boobs and fondle them! Then I guess she has really had it. Drop the camera and screw with her! Oh yeah! Sorry, folks. No footage for this one :).

Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride Specials

Prior to Samurai After, there were short specials lasting around 3 minutes for Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride if you get your hands on the DVD releases. What else? Fanservce! Even samurai girls need to take a break from their rigorous training and missions to relax and let their boobs out. Oops, I mean let their hair down. But really… They let their boobs out literally.

Special 1
Sasuke and Musashi are about to enter the public bath. Only one problem: No pets allowed! Juubei has got this ‘brilliant’ idea and turns Sasuke into her human form. Yay! Next problem: No money! I suppose Musashi has to pay for them otherwise we won’t have our fanservice fix of seeing their tits, rubbing, molesting and even licking them! I think it got too intense to Sasuke reverts back to a monkey. A staff heard an animal sound and comes in to check. What is this monkey fooling around in the bath? Erm… That’s not a monkey. That’s a towel! Gee, ‘brilliant’ cover there, ladies. And to prove it, she uses Sasuke to scrub Musashi’s back. Monkey abuse!

Special 2
Kojirou believes this maid outfit is the one corrupting her beloved Musashi. She puts it on and tries to act one to see for herself. Gisen catches her in the act and despite how embarrassed Kojirou is, Gisen is going to teach her the finer points of being a maid so she can snag the heart of that special someone. First, she rips the chest area and the skirt to make those delicious parts more exposed. Then she teachers her how to pose in very sexy poses and greetings. Is she teaching her how to do maid porn? Later when Matabei realizes that one of the maid outfits is missing and from her smell realizes the missing outfit belongs to Kanetsugu, Gisen lies that it could have been blown away by the wind. In actual fact, Kojirou has taken it back with her, fantasizing Musashi will be all hers…

Special 3
Mataemon is trying different swimsuit outfits and the more she tries, the more risqué and super sexy it becomes. And she loves it! Then she hears Sen is also trying out in the next cubicle. Can’t believe that she has chosen a boring outfit, she forces it off her and force dresses a sexy one on her. Wow. This looks good on her. Your unique charm is really shining. Kanetsugu in the next cubicle heard this and also wants her opinion. As usual, Mataemon is appalled at this boring fashion sense and proceeds to strip and dress another sexy swimsuit for her. Flawless victory! But it cannot be more insulting for Mataemon as the ladies leave satisfied after their purchase thinking how this store clerk looks so much like Mataemon.

Special 4
One of the most taboo things for Yukimura: Talking about her small boobs! But Keiji asks her if she is really content with them right now. Of course not. Don’t worry. She has a method that will help increase it up to D-cup in no time by using qi. I suppose Yukimura must be desperate enough to follow the silly rules of pinching her nipples and then rotate her hips both ways (so as to evenly grow both sides) round and round. So this method is supposed to bring out your female hormones and accelerate your boob growth? Well, do it a few more times and she’ll get that bust she has always wanted. It seems Inshun is also eavesdropping on them and trying out this embarrassing method. Once done and Yukimura leaves, Keiji tells Inshun to stop following it because it was just a trick! Yeah, she had her fill of making fun of small tits for today.

Special 5
Nia sounds tired as she comes home, completed her secret report. There are hidden videos she has recorded of Matabei and Hanzou doing intensive training. Nia is not sure what the points of these training are for but tries them out and thus that weary and unfortunate soul you see her now. Whether it is sitting on an exercise ball, soaking for a long time in hot water or standing under the waterfall to detect and avoid falling logs, she is not sure if these training methods are somewhat related to them transforming into Master Samurai. Then she receives mail about her credit card that she lost a little while ago. It is the bill. Why do all the charges come from the maid cafe???!!! OMG! Musashi and co you sneaky charges!!! Wow. You can say Nia is completely drained out physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially!

Special 6
Juubei and Musashi are soaking together in the hot bath. The rest of their group are sleeping because it was indeed a fun filled day for them playing at the beach. They reminisce at all the fun things they did together from building sand castles to beach volleyball to eating shaved ice cream and sunbathing. Coincidentally they also checked into the same inn and took a bath at the same time. Yeah, fun and crazy indeed. Juubei hopes everyone should come back here again.

Samurai Bachelor & Samurai Harem
Well… To be honest, it was rather okay. Just like any other OVA that does not contribute to the main plot of the series. If you remember them, that is. But personally the funny thing is I thought Kagekatsu would be appearing for both OVAs and instead only appeared for the first one. Doesn’t it feel wasted? Because the second seems to be focused on Sen like as though Sen fans have written a complaint about their favourite samurai girl not getting her due screen time but eventually it has to be Juubei who steals the limelight, eh? And so having Kagekatsu appear for just an episode like I said feels wasted because although she isn’t interested in Muneakira (for now) why bother getting her mixed up in the cat fight over him? If Sasuke’s role was just pathetic in the second season, then in the OVAs she is even more so and reduced to only appearing as a mascot during scene changers. At least better than Musashi and co who are non-existent, which make the OVAs feel like all this happened before them. But if Keiji is around then they should be. Or could it be after, like the second title suggests?

Seeing the other recurring characters does bring back the nostalgia for the series in me. Like Juubei’s airhead and completely in a world of her own, Sen and Yukimura continue to butt heads and lead the harem cat fight over the main man, Kanetsugu continues to be the resident idiot and bully victim of the pack (you always need somebody to be a punching bag and to be treated like a pet dog), Matabei still looking dangerous as she is still wearing a skimpy loincloth as her underwear, Hanzou still having that masochist fantasies for her master, Gisen being deceptively playful and sly although it is still hard to read her intentions if she is really gunning for Muneakira or if there is an ulterior motive underneath it, Nia the very loyalist to Yoshihiko and Keiji love screwing around with others and have fun watching their reactions. Well, I suppose it is the right thing for Muneakira to bring some sense to the samurai girls about their desperation to pick one of them to be his wife (and the rest his concubines) because it is true to what he said. Outwitting each other to be his wife isn’t a competition. Nor is it for the amusement for others to watch. Being his wife means responsibility and respecting the sacredness of marriage. And now that he has ‘delayed’ choosing his bride, looks like the harem cat fight will continue… Yeah, the very basic cliché problem of every undecided harem shows. I think it is worth the run for a few seasons material of reality TV…