The Rolling Girls

November 8, 2015

Imagine a great country split up into many independent nations. Actually, that isn’t so uncommon in today’s world. I can name a few countries but let us not get political here. But what happens when it happen to Japan? Oh dear. Japan’s prefectures splitting up into independent countries of their own? At least this is the setting of The Rolling Girls. Japan’s setting might be in the future or alternate world but looks like the mentality has gone back to the feudal era because these independent nations, each with their own distinct culture, custom and tradition, are using their best fighters to conquer each other. Yeah, who doesn’t want to rule the world? Might as well start small. Or maybe a certain people like a certain delicacy that is only available in another region and thus the quest to take over and take it all for themselves. Maybe. But that isn’t the point of this anime anyway. It might be a long shot but this is the story about a quartet of girls travelling around Japan to mediate and help solve problems between nations and clans. Sounds like an easy job? Well, you’ll never know if you don’t try.

Episode 1
As narrated, when leaders and wealthy people vanished suddenly, Japan’s regions became independent and each embraced their own culture and identity. Of course peace did not last long and soon each region started fighting each other over territorial disputes using their best warriors known as Mosa. Just like how Maccha Green is now taking on Kuniko Shigyou. Whatever disputes they have, Shigyou couldn’t care less because all she wants is to add Maccha Green’s sentai suit to her collection. And so begins a super power match that literally blows away all their underlings! Nozomi Moritomo always looked up to her next door neighbour, Masami Utoku whom she treats like an older sister. Today is the day she has been eagerly waiting for because she is going to help Masami out. Mother, though, isn’t thrilled with it seeing she is so eager to become a vigilante trainee but never once helped out the family store. So when Nozomi gets blown away in the crossfire, Maccha Green let her guard down thinking she heard her voice. This allowed Shigyou to gain an advantage of her as she tries to unmask her. Luckily she is able to tickle her way out. Maccha Green then calls for a giant mecha backup in which the enemy decides to retreat since they didn’t receive any intelligence on this. Masami picks up Nozomi who was unconscious from the fall. Thankfully no serious injuries. If you haven’t guessed it by now, Maccha Green = Masami. Haruka Misono, the president of Tokorozawa talks to Masami about Maccha Green being the talk of the town and she expects her to show the same devotion in protecting this city. Outside the Hiyoshicho Propellers’ HQ (that Nozomi is part of), Yukina Kosaka crashes her bike in front of it after riding straight for 3 days and nights looking for this place. She is so happy to have found it but the rest are perplexed it took her 3 days to come here since she is from a nearby town. Did she get lost? While Masami is going to have her ramen lunch, Shigyou sits next to her and wonders if she is Maccha Green. Because it is just too much of a coincidence since their voice and personality are very similar. Masami tries to finish her bowl quick and leave but the chef thinks this is some sort of competition and cooks more bowls for them to eat! Despite Masami suffering at the end of it all, Shigyou doesn’t consider this a victory but vows to take her suit one day. Yukina is given her ID and badge to join Hiyoshicho Propellers. For some reason, they’ve been invited to take a break and ride a roller coaster. It was all planned out by Shigyou’s faction. They can’t escape from the ride that won’t stop. Hold on tight!

Episode 2
Captain Masami arrives on scene to warn them about the risk of breaking some treaty but they’re not cowed. Shigyou thinks that with Masami here, Maccha Green won’t be around. She tries to make Masami confess she is Maccha Green but she remains steadfast that she is not. Does this mean she is going to stand there and watch her squad members fly off to hell? The ride gets faster but somebody changes the tracks of the roller coaster so it won’t go off track. But it is still not stopping. Yeah, everybody gets blown off. Only Nozomi and Yukina are holding on to their seats. In this distraction, Masami changes into her Maccha Green outfit. She then uses all her strength to stop the roller coaster. Before she can take a breather, Shigyou comes beating her up as she desperately tries to take off her mask. Don’t worry about the Hiyoshicho Propellers. They’re alright. Because they’ve been so used to being blown away, falling at that height is nothing! Shigyou takes a painful beating in her attempt to unmask. But this causes Maccha Green’s mask to rip open. The secret’s out. Seems only Nozomi is in shock. She is the only one who didn’t know of her secret identity. So why is she doing this? Long ago when Masami pretended to drown and worried Nozomi went all out to save her. That is why she didn’t want to know she was fighting and if she had knew she had done something dangerous, she would be risking her life again. Nozomi scolds her for thinking that way because she is not a kid anymore. Shigyou then gets up and it is like she is in a trance remembering her past. Something about a hero she admired when she was young. She found out he did not exist and was fantasy. Frustrated, she had to be the one who protected everybody. So maybe that’s why she wanted Maccha Green’s suit so badly. She wanted to be a hero? And so the power fight continues. Everyone once again gets blown away… In the aftermath, both are seriously wounded. Nozomi is eager to take Masami’s place to help those in need. Mom does not approve but look at all those letters coming in seeking help. Dad allows Nozomi to go on that journey (after getting romantic with mom?). Yukina joins her but soon Ai Hibiki too, an ex-member of Hiyoshicho Propellers who just got kicked out for resorting to violence (she accidentally punched a member back then). Initially Nozomi didn’t want her to tag along but since she is so insistent and nowhere to go, might as well. As they go meet the person in the letter, Chiaya seems to know about them like their childhood nicknames and takes a group photo. She says their next mission is to look for special heart shaped jewels.

Episode 3
Thunderoad might be petite but she is the best protector of Always Comima (Tokyo) and captain of the Knights of the Twin Towers. Seems she is going to retire after one last job and buy a life size model of her hero, Rick (as in the pair of Rick and Shaw?). However she receives a threatening from Dynamite Bombers. Thunderoad talks to Kuranosuke Momiyama, Haruka’s assistant. She is supposed to give them the jewel but thanks to Dynamite Bombers showing up, coincidentally her stone has been missing. Momiyama will keep his end of the bargain if she can get it back. Our Rolling Girls are talking about those jewels and how they see them being possessed by Shigyou and Masami. They decide to head to Comima to look for them. They see lots of those similar jewels around but they’re just ordinary charms you can buy at stores. When they ask around if they have seen the real deal, suddenly the alert is sounded and the girls are taken into custody. Before Thunderoad, she thinks they are Dynamite Bombers (since Chiaya possesses a real jewel) and do not believe otherwise. Ai thinks she can challenge her to settle it but was easily owned. Nozomi suggests helping to find it and Thunderoad gives her till sundown to do so or their heads will roll. Meanwhile Nozomi’s dad regrets sending Nozomi out because he is worried sick that her daughter may need his help. Masami wants to go help but seeing how badly hurt she is I doubt she could. She goes to see Shigyou to borrow her jewel but it seems it has been stolen. Rolling Girls are searching for a needle in a haystack as Thunderoad is stumped because their comrades have not contacted them yet. Her plan was to let them roam free, follow them to their HQ and capture them all in one fell swoop.

Haruka talks to Momiyama about the jewels she is trying to collect. Some are overcharging the jewels but if she feels she has to pay for it then she’ll pay. It might be over the budget but there is no time. They don’t have enough of it. Then there is something about Maccha Green beyond recovery and she wants that fact to be hidden for now. Momiyama suggests she should spend some time with her daughter because she looks lonely. Haruka thinks it is time to talk to her (Chiaya). Thunderoad remembers she wanted to sell her jewel to Momiyama so she can buy that Rick model when Dynamite Bombers struck. She hoped he could wait till she catches them. And now somebody else is threatening to buy that Rick model so they start haggling and pushing the price up. Though Thunderoad won, she begins to wonder if it was a scam to set her up. Surprised to see her crow here, it picks out her lost jewel which was stuck in Rick’s afro hair. She realizes everything is her fault. She goes to hand Momiyama both the jewels and he is wondering why she has 2 (one is from Chiaya). Since the situation has changed, he wants her to hand them over right now but if she insists in waiting after dealing with Dynamite Bombers, the price will be reconsidered. Can’t bear to think of leaving Rick, she straightaway gives him both. Rolling Girls fear they are going to be executed when a guard calls them to follow. Don’t worry. She won’t bite.

Episode 4
Dynamite Bombers unleashed a cleaning robot that contains some prank to teach Comima citizens some lesson. But they realize too late it contains a bomb that will explode. Oh sh*t… Noriko takes the Rolling Girls back to her place. Her mom has repainted their bikes since she confiscates them when its owners cannot be found and then rents them out to tourists. What? Noriko and Yukina know each other because the latter was once here before albeit she looks a little different now. As gratitude, she sketched the family a portrait (looks horrible) and they thought the guy was their father but he was actually a freeloader novelist and has already left the place. As he was also the founder of Comima but a failed novelist, Noriko’s mom theorizes that based on his handwritten manuscripts, he might be the culprit to get back at Comima for ignoring his works. Noriko suggests the girls leave this place first thing tomorrow because theft is treated the same as murder and they’ll be tortured till they confessed. But Nozomi won’t leave until she gets back Chiaya’s jewel. This led to an argument with Ai and causing Chiaya to cry since she really didn’t steal the jewel and it was really hers. Momiyama meets Thunderoad at the Rick model. Since she is in a dilemma, he gives her back a jewel since the original contract was just only to buy one. However on her way back, she trips and she loses it. Damn. Momiyama calls Haruka that he is coming back now but he hears her being frantic that her daughter is missing. Took you this long to notice? Yukina is about to question Chiaya how she knew their childhood nicknames but it seems Thunderoad is here. She apologizes for suspecting them. So now she’s asking their help to go find it?

Soon they receive word about the bomb but Thunderoad feels useless without the jewel. As explained, it brings out one’s latent abilities. Nozomi thought this is why Chiaya wanted the jewel but she doesn’t know anything about that. But finding the bomb is like a needle in a haystack. Noriko’s mom suggests to order all cleaning robots to return and the one that doesn’t obey is the one containing the bomb. Once the bomb is identified, Thunderoad rushes there. Rolling Girls continue to search for the jewel. When they do, Thunderoad’s crow brings it to her where she powers up to take out the bomb. The bomb runs but why must it run to that Rick model? Seeing ‘hallucinations’ of Rick telling her to do it, she slices the model into half and the bomb safely detonates in the sky. When it’s over, Noriko confesses she is the real Dynamite Bomber and behind the prior explosions. When she learnt Thunderoad wanted to retire, she didn’t want her to quit as she always wanted to protect Comima with her forever. So she cooked up everything. But when she lost her jewel, she was at a lost. Noriko returns Chiaya’s stone. She agrees not to retire but as punishment, Noriko will be the new captain. Thunderoad will be just an ordinary member. Surprisingly Chiaya gives her stone to Noriko. After they leave Comima, Chiaya calls her mom who is worried sick about her. She wants to send Momiyama to pick her up but she will be travelling with her friends for a while. She asks why she is collecting those jewels. Does she consider the jewels more important than her? She’ll explain everything when she comes home. Looks like she won’t be back in a while. Rolling Girls continue their journey travelling through several cities to help those who wrote for help in Maccha Green’s letters.

Episode 5
Just great. How can our Rolling Girls forget to put gas in their bikes? Start pushing. Himeko returns after 4 years away but her dad Mamoru ignores her. Since the other villagers are bugging him, he tells them to shut up. Coincidentally, all the shachihokos (golden fish statues) blow up. One nearly landed on the Rolling Girls. As they enter town, they start eating away in a café run by Dandy. So hungry Ai is that she ate off Himeko’s plate. So now they’re trying to compete in eating? But Nozomi remembers Himeko. She was the one who carved a jewel for her years ago (to give to Masami). She also has a jewel herself but she can’t give it to them because it is not hers to begin with. She thinks she is the one who wrote the letter to Maccha Green for help but Himeko insists it is not her. Suddenly the vice captain of the Mie Motors vigilante group barge in picking a fight with Dandy. Seems Mie Motors are being blamed for the shachihokos bombing and they think the Aichi Tenmusus are the one framing them. He requests a challenge but Dandy turns him down because this violates some treaty thingy. He isn’t a captain either and frightened the Rolling Girls who are here as peace brokers. Dandy’s men try to persuade him to fight and settle this via bike race but he reminds them the captain of Mie Motors is trying for reconciliation. Nozomi and Yukina stay at Himeko’s place as they hear the old folks talking about their rivalry. Of course the best course of action is to fix the shachihokos before the blame game starts. However Mamoru says that won’t do because his arm is injured. They suggest Himeko take over but she won’t. She hates those shachihokos, the reason she left home and only came back because she was bored. Nozomi thinks Mamoru wrote the letter but it’s not him. He believes it is Tomoki Suzuka. He is the captain of Mie Motors and the only one in town running a bike taxi. You can’t miss him. Later as Himeko suspected, Mamoru’s arm is fine. She deduces he lied about his injury to force her to take over the trade. When she wishes for the shachihokos to disappear, he slaps her. Nozomi and co see the Mie Motor gangs confronting Tomoki and trying to get him to sign an agreement for the bike duel. He will not give his permission and rides away leaving his comrades eating his dust. Now Dandy’s men are trying to coax Tomoki in doing the same but they couldn’t catch up with Sonic on a bike. Worse timing possible, both sides clash. Time to settle this personally. Himeko remembers Mamoru told her those shachihokos are like guardians of this town. She was impressed and loved them. Himeko and Tomoki are surprised to see each other for the first time in years but are dragged away by some host club guys in fried ebi costumes.

Episode 6
Himeko loved to make her own shachihokos and put them up on the castle roof one day. A jewel floated down into her palms and she gave it to Tomoki. Tomoki apologizes to Himeko for impersonating as her to request for the peace brokers who in turn wants the jewel as payment. He understands why Mie Motors are being blamed. But Tomoki seems to have lost his love for racing as nobody could beat him, he just feels empty. Himeko gives her jewel to Nozomi since she doesn’t need it anymore. The old people want Himeko to help bring some stuffs to Mamoru since he strained his back for real and is hospitalized. Himeko won’t do it. Mie Motors confront Dandy about the race to settle the score. Nozomi butts in hoping they could settle this peacefully like try coming up with a new name for the country but was told to butt out. Dandy agrees to the race but how will Mie Motors convince Tomoki to do the same? Vice captain tricks him that Dandy is the legendary racer that went missing. After he stamps his approval, vice captain reveals it was just a lie. Dandy is only an old geezer running a bar. Tomoki gets tied up while vice captain will take his place at the race. The race format is for them to race from one point to another, retrieve whatever they want to put on the castle roof as the finishing line. Ai tells Nozomi that they have gotten the jewel so they have no more reason to be around but Nozomi feels they have not earned it and wants to stay and help. Seeing Mamoru’s backpack, she thought of returning it to him at the hospital. Mamoru thought it was Himeko and apologizes he slapped her and knows she has always loved shachihoko. Each one is different and that is why she can only make her own shachihokos. He realized too late it was the Rolling Girls hearing this. Yeah, they’re emotionally touched by his story!

Rolling Girls start making the shachihoko. But isn’t this an orca?! The townspeople help out to remake it but this one has a funny face! This isn’t going to cut it. Himeko who is about to leave the country sees this atrocity on TV and returns to make it right! Vice captain thinks of using this funny face shachihoko as the item just to piss off their rival. As the race begins, it dawned to vice captain that Dandy might be that legendary racer! He is! Himeko works hard to complete her shachihokos. She narrates she loves shachihokos but the thought that she could never surpass her dad made it depressing. Mamoru seeing what is in the backpack, gets out from his bed to return to Himeko and help her make something additional. Tomoki can’t sit quiet so he gets out from his predicament to join the race. He realizes he still loves racing. It becomes a tight race between Dandy and Tomoki so vice captain won’t allow this and cheats by shooting missiles at them. Is this legal?! Tomoki’s bike is ruined but Dandy wants him to take his and continue. Whether he is on Mie Motors side or not, it doesn’t matter. He wants to race with these feelings. Tomoki catches up as both riders now are bringing the shachihokos up the ramp. But it is heavy that Tomoki’s bike breaks down. He rides a bicycle to continue the race. A bicycle faster than a bike???!!! Again vice captain cheats but it backfires this time as it destroys the ramp and sends him falling off. Tomoki peddles all his might as the ramp continues to collapse. He is pushing so hard till the bicycle dismantles! But it gave him enough momentum to toss the shachihokos exactly in place on the castle roof. He then adds checker patterns on the fish’s scale (like a chequered flag). Nozomi and Yukina shoot additional ornaments that Himeko and Mamoru finished on the shachihokos. They are motor wheels and fried ebi. Specialties that represent both sides of this divided nation. Father and daughter are satisfied. She thought she eventually needed his help but he is glad to have fulfilled the promise. She wanted to be like him and make everyone a shachihoko together. As everyone celebrates the victory, Chiaya thought she saw a falling jewel on the roof.

Episode 7
The girls are resting at the hotspring. Ai doesn’t understand why Nozomi didn’t take the jewel since it defeats their purpose. Nozomi couldn’t bear to do it as the jewel meant something more important to them. But it seems Ai herself really wants one. The girls now enter Kyoto where it is the holy grounds for rock music. There are 2 different vigilante groups keeping the peace, the maiko and rocker group. The Rolling Girls are here as extra help to prevent anything that stops the rock festival from going on. During the concert that Misa Ichijou is performing, Doji Shuten and his men kidnap her. The rockers want to get their captain back and are confident they can do it since they think the Rolling Girls are Mosa. See how much they’re trembling? Ai sees Shuten having a jewel so this gives her motivation to fight him. She gets knocked out instantly. Nozomi and Yukina clumsily trip on each other while Chiaya is asleep. Oh rockers, you’re so screwed. Mamechiyo and her maiko team join the fray to warn Shuten to return Misa. It becomes all out war on both sides but I’m not sure it all ends because Misa gave Mamechiyo the cold shoulder when their eyes met. The legendary rock group of Momiage Hammers AKA Momi-Han pay the rockers a visit. They help out with the festival every year and although they can go brawl with Shuten and his group, this means they will have less time to prepare for the festival. Nozomi suggests they do preparations for the festival and the Rolling Girls will do something about this. Momiyama manages to catch up with the Rolling Girls as he spies and observes them from afar and gives periodical reports back to Haruka. Because the Rolling Girls learn that people here consider those jewels that fall from the sky after a good concert as bad luck and return them to a box, they wait for one to pop up. But some postman takes them away. They follow him but it leads them back to Shuten’s base. They get touched watching Misa putting up a performance for Shuten’s men. WTF. I think Shuten has some sort of ulterior motive because he is trying to pit the captain of the rocker and maiko group to fight. And he has got those carpenter guys build some missiles inside the Buddha statues!

Episode 8
I don’t think Rolling Girls did anything to save Misa but she is freed. They notice Mamechiyo spying on them and Misa wants them to ignore her. But when she comes out to confront her, Misa avoids looking at her in the eye. Could it be she just wants to make friends? No? That sounds tsundere. Later as Mamechiyo talks to Shuten, it seems he kidnapped Misa just to kill time. He tells her about his plan to interrupt the festival. But since she calls him boring, it irks him so much that he is bent on making it more interesting. Misa is practising with Mom-Han and they talk about the taboo subject of the breakup due to the firing of one of their members. Mamechiyo sneaks in that night to steal Misa’s jewel. But she got clumsy tripping on bloopers before succeeding. So next morning, Rolling Girls are going to help her find it. They claim to have seen the perpetrator. Well, it was dark but they know the culprit is the one with a bump on her head since she tripped. Oh God… Mamechiyo thinks about her past with Misa. They’re good friends. She feels she is nothing to her and throws their jewels into the river. Rolling Girls see this and quickly go to find it. Ai tells her that if she didn’t need it, she should have told them first. Besides, Misa needs it. Nozomi wants her to help find it and then tells her even if they are fighting, all they need to do is make up. Ai and Yukina try to get a jewel from the box. Momiyama sneaks into Shuten’s base to destroy the launcher. However the manual says that there is a manual way of launching the missiles. Say, how come the button is in that box! And you know how violent Ai is. She’s pressing the button like hell! Oh dear. Missiles away! Mamechiyo’s mom is better than Moses. She uses her umbrella to split the river open for them to retrieve the jewels!!! She tells Mamechiyo about her duty to raise her as a geisha and thus told Misa not to lead her astray that day. Mamechiyo breaks down knowing that Misa’s cold treatment was to make her resolve stronger. But could they not have remained friends? Mom tells her Misa has always been waiting for her. Waiting for her to become a geisha. As the rock festival begins, missiles are seen approaching. The concert also has their own cannon defence. Hmm… Colourful fireworks upon contact? The crowd panics but Momi-Han starts playing to wow the crowd. But Misa looks gloomy. A missile is about to hit her but Momiyama’s rickshaw saves her. They recognize him as an ex-member of Momi-Han. Just that he has gotten fatter! Mamechiyo throws Misa her jewel and they both apologize. Misa gets back into her rocking groove with Mamechiyo joining in with her shamisen improvisation. Shuten adds a final big bang as he destroys the missiles with his fists. It’s gotten interesting now, eh?

Episode 9
In Hiroshima, the Nayotake yakuza clan was a chivalrous vigilante group till it started fighting over succession rights. Till this pirate girl, Shima Ishidzukuri usurped them all and seized control of the town. Although the Nayotake clan is forced to a little corner of town, now they face eviction. When Momiyama reports back to Haruka, she knows he has been lying all the while and helping out Chiaya. He admits he had too seeing how pitiful she is and that she has settled in her surroundings. After Rolling Girls have fun at the beach, cracks start to appear between Nozomi and Ai. The former accuses the latter for being selfish and all she thinks is getting a jewel to be powerful. Likewise, Ai accuses Nozomi for playing the leader. Who made her the boss? So they ended up splitting ways. Nozomi and co visit the Nayotake clan’s house and as stated in the letter requesting for help, they are being evicted with the excuse to pave way for a new landmark. Momiyama then comes in and takes Chiaya away for a talk. He wonders how she knows about the jewels. She overheard them talking about it. Because mom wanted them so much, she decided to go on a trip to help gather them. However that goal changed when she realized the journey would end. She wonders if the jewel would really make you a Mosa. Momiyama wants her to listen close to this revelation: She is an alien and must go home! Say what?! Chiaya remembers how she wanted her mom’s attention but she was always busy with work. Sure, she left Momiyama as her friend but which little girl wanted an old guy as a friend!!! That has got to hurt. Meanwhile Masami wonders why Shigyou won’t come out of her hospital bed. Her assistant, Yukari Otonashi mentions she is faking it to avoid being discharged. As she has lost her jewel, she fears all those who have lost to her will come for revenge. Because Chiaya can’t bear going on the journey without Ai, Yukina decides to draw posters of a missing person. As Otonashi is trying to find Shigyou’s jewel, she sees a guy sneaking into Haruka’s Office. Otomo is Shima’s subordinate as he and his men ransack the place to find pots. They find them but he realizes one is missing. They happen to catch Otonashi in the act of searching for them too. Otonashi tries to pass off as Haruka’s daughter to warn them there’ll be an international issue if she is harmed. So? Take her along! Of course Otomo knows it is all a lie as Chiaya’s picture is on Haruka’s desk. Momiyama discovers some hidden ship being prepared for some attack. Yukina can’t find a proper landmark to pin up the posters and Ai is being chased by… An ostrich?!

Episode 10
Haruka was with her Professor and they successfully opened a portal to Earth, although this phenomenon only happens once a few centuries. After their ship is being hit by a beam, Haruka punches him out to turn him into his original octopus form. Then she puts him in the escape pod to blast him back into the portal before it closes. She realized too late her daughter was still onboard. And this unbelievable story is what Haruka is telling to Masami and Shigyou. Hard to believe, eh? Ai wakes up in the outskirts home of master fencer, Haru Fujiwara and her daughter, Momo. Seems that ostrich incident (Momo’s pet) was because Ai was trying to steal their peaches. Soon, a tax collector from Okayama Demons comes to collect tax. Momo tries to fight him but Haru tells her not to be stupid. She pays the taxes. As explained, Ura Kukino the captain of the group was once beloved by the nation till she started imposing high taxes. I don’t think Masami can understand further if Haruka has already told the same story 5 times! Once every 415 years, both moons will touch and open the portal. She needs to send Chiaya back then. Shigyou doesn’t care since it is Otonashi that has been captured. There is of course a ransom note for her return in exchange for the eight octopus pot shaped engine. Unfortunately Haruka doesn’t know where it is and it went missing shortly after she crashed land. But Masami has a feeling she has seen it somewhere before. Aha! In the museum! How come Haruka has never noticed this before? Momiyama sneaks in to discover Shima and Otomo talking about the need of one more pot for activation. Because of the posters of Chiaya, Momiyama lost his balance and cover. He is thrown in prison along with Yukina (because she tried to wake up a guard to help free Otonashi trying to steal his key. WTF).

Some villagers plead to Haru to go fight Ura to protect everyone. She refuses because despite being poor, she is living a peaceful life with her daughter. Shima and Otomo visit Nayotake’s house clan to take their licence. The husband, Kuramochi gets beaten up since he didn’t fight back. But his wife, Kaguya is furious and beats up all the small fries. Shima doesn’t need to move since Plamo is blocking all the strikes for her. Each time Nozomi tries to stop Kaguya from fighting, she is pushed away. Shima mocks her about the irony if this is what she calls chivalry. She is beaten up and they leave with the licence. Kaguya is mad at Nozomi as an outsider who doesn’t know anything and tells her to leave. Chiaya (in octopus form) is about to be dinner on Haru’s chopping board but mother is distracted when Momo comes in to confess she has joined the vigilante (the reason the villagers were seeking Haru’s help). Haru doesn’t want her to worry since she is not weak. But Momo cannot help worry. She is her only mother and there is no other country like this. Haru still won’t approve this so Momo runs away. Chiaya pops up (in human form). Seems she was sleeping at the pier, fell into the sea, got caught by the fisherman’s net, Haru bought her at the market and the rest is history. Nozomi is left to reflect Ai’s words that if she were to become a Mosa, how helpful would she have been to Masami? That night, the villagers tell Haru that Momo has left for Okayama Demons’ castle. She challenges Ura to a fight and if she wins, Ura must reduce the taxes. Bring it on.

Episode 11
No matter what tricks Momo pull, Ura is always better. It is Momo’s lost but she won’t give up. Haru is here to pick her home but since she is stubborn, she knocks her out. Haru reveals to the rest that Ura is Momo’s real mother. Haru then exposes the tax collectors only look intimidating but cannot do more harm and only Ura herself lives in this castle. She wants answers why Ura betrayed the people but she won’t say. Time for the big fight. Nozomi tries to stop Kaguya from doing her revenge. She has brought Kibino, an ex-member of Okayama Demons as he has been looking for Kuramochi. Due to some secret agreement between Hiroshima and Okayama, Ura chose to become a villain and took on the citizens’ hate to protect the country instead of watching it crumble. But the charade has come to a limit. If Kuramochi exposed this, it is not for retribution but for justice. Kaguya is appalled her husband never said anything about this. Ai borrows Momo’s jewel and thinks she can become a Mosa by interrupting the fight. Nope. Blown away. She finally stops it when she shows Momo’s dog to Haru (she has phobia of them) and tells them both that they are both mothers to Momo. In the aftermath, they made up and Kaguya is on her way to deal with the misconduct of a branch family. Rolling Girls need not help since she was given assurance by Ura to do so. Good news as Nozomi and Ai made up. But where is Yukina? She’s still in prison with Otonashi. The latter starts singing an old Momi-Han song so this wakes up Momiyama in the next cell. The girls realize he is an ex-member of the group. With his secret gadget, they bust out of their prison.

Masami and Shigyou see Shima to exchange the hostages for the pot. However Shima tells them they have already escaped but will take the pot nevertheless. Masami and Shigyou have become jokers because they are so weak that they lost to those small fries. After securing the pot, Shima reveals her plan to expand this area to the surface of the moon. Here comes Kaguya to punish Shima for her misconduct by making the Mosas fight and taking the people’s money. She must also relinquish her position as state vigilante and the licence. Shima refuses and refutes Kaguya’s talk about their past unity and chivalry. As they face off, Shima says her true goal isn’t the licence but a little chip that is inside it. She uses it to activate and pilot a super robot, Daimon. It is said to be more powerful than the robots that clashed during the great war. Then she blackmails those carpenters to create an army of these robots if they want some sacred object returned to them. Ai and Nozomi are puzzled that they didn’t become a Mosa despite having a jewel. They spot Kuramochi on the ground. He explains about Daimon which was supposed to be piloted by a Nayotake successor. During the internal fighting, it was stolen and fell into the hands of several branch families before ending up with Shima. Of course Daimon cannot move by itself and fears Kaguya might have rushed in to the fight without knowing this. He wants the girls to bring this takoyaki to her.

Episode 12
Daimon needs some sort of coat of arms to activate so Shima screws this and fights Kaguya with her fists. Haruka intercepts Nozomi and wants Chiaya to return now. However Nozomi says they are on an important delivery mission and will be sure to come back. Haruka lets them go. Momiyama talks to Yukina about Chiaya’s weak body, the reason she never went to school or outside. Even that she needs to wear some mask. But all that fear was groundless and had they known, they should have let her go sooner. Shima is about to finish Kaguya but it seems the carpenter guys are doing a surprise attack. Shima orders her men to fight back. She is going to take this stonefish ship to attack them and orders Otomo to protect this shrine. If they crush everything, no one else can buy their automation. Otomo is worried about the risk but Kaguya reminds him that he said he would be on her side. She says this place is like a lab and everyone is watching to see how human ego can go. She’s going to drag them all out and crush them. End it all. It’s like they’re being tested to see how they use those carpenter guys. Otomo replies that by the age they live in, that doesn’t change, no matter the time or planet. Kaguya suggests they return what they stole but that is exactly the reason why Shima can’t do it. Shima takes the stonefish ship to fight the carpenter guys. As Otomo is going to give back the sacred object, he is intercepted by Momiyama. As he struggles with Otomo, he tells Yukina and Otonashi to take the sacred object out and end the war. Thanks to the commotion, the bridge collapses. Shigyou goes to save Otonashi before she gets crushed. Then they realize something. They still have power despite not having a jewel. Masami and Shigyou start beating up each other. You done testing out? Nozomi and co arrive in time to give Kaguya the takoyaki package which is Daimon’s coat of arms. She pilots it to save Shima from doom. Shima remembers when she opened the pot, an octopus dropped out and turned into Otomo. Speaking of which, Momiyama’s head butt must have him remember his past. Outside, Rolling Girls flag the sacred objects to signal the end of the war.

In the aftermath, everyone helps out to fix the ship. Haruka recognizes the professor as Otomo and they hug. He reveals that when he escaped the pod, he went back in time and put himself to sleep to wake up tonight but made a small mistake somewhere. Rolling Girls sit and talk about stuffs. Yukina tells them about her tardiness in joining Hiyoshicho Propellers because she ran out of money after using it to help Maccha Green. But thanks to that, she was able to travel with everyone. The girls faintly remember they met an alien octopus when they were young. But could that be just a dream? The ship is ready and it is time for Chiaya to return. Nozomi feels she hasn’t fulfilled her requests but on the contrary Chiaya believes she has fulfilled many of them. Chiaya says her last goodbye and blasts off in the ship. Flashback reveals Chiaya indeed did meet those girls when they were young and when she was in her octopus form. When the ship blasts off into the gate, it scatters jewel throughout the different eras, the reason why we see jewels randomly falling from the sky. And there’s some narration about passion and tomorrow that I don’t understand. Not that I care anyway. We see snippets of everyone in the series going about with their normal lives. Nothing notable. Fighting clans make peace, enemies and friends get along, some still playing vigilante, Yukina trying to submit her manga work that is based on Rolling Girls and Haruka is still around but I think that sexy dress even makes Momiyama’s jaw drop!

Special 1
When Shigyou tries to unmask Maccha Green, the latter reveals half her face but the blinding light blinds her eyes. When Nozomi asks Masami too many coincidental questions about Maccha Green, Masami is starting to run out of excuses to keep her secret intact. Luckily she manages to change the subject and has Nozomi not speak any further if she is to concentrate on her riding. When Chiaya first meets the trio, she starts giving them nicknames that describes their character. Depressing, isn’t it? Ai protests and wants a different one. Yeah, she gets one. But it doesn’t sound so good either. Could it be that Chiaya isn’t really giving nicknames but doing so based on their physical observations?

Special 2
Thanks to the noisy bike engines, Nozomi and Yukina cannot hear each other well especially the latter misinterpreting she wants to go to toilet. Nozomi is amazed that Ai can sleep with all the noise and Ai says the vibration makes it good to sleep. They talk about music but Yukina again misheard that now Ai wants to go to toilet. And nobody knows that Chiaya is the one who really needs to go to the toilet. Ai is sorting the cleaning robots and thinks she has got the knack to order these guys around. Chiaya believes she can do this job too although Ai remains sceptical. To everyone’s surprise, Chiaya easily orders them to do impressive stuffs. And nobody is listening to Nozomi who is trying to dismantle one to find the bomb…

Special 3
When their bikes ran out of fuel, they thought Chiaya could help them call some cows to help push since the birds are attracted to her. Nope. No cows. How about koalas? Nope either. Do koalas live in Japan? Ai suggests something big and strong and before they know it, a shachihoko comes crashing down! Nozomi, Chiaya and Ai are trying to help make the shachihoko but they get distracted with whatever they’re making with the mould. The final product also turns out funny (because they had a ‘discussion’ on how a shachihoko should look like) and Yukina continue to tell them to take this job seriously.

Special 4
Ai continues to remind Nozomi about the stones. When Chiaya says she’ll help all of them, Ai suggests she’ll be the next one to use the stone. That way they can tick off her request and it will be real easy to help Nozomi with hers. They discuss what Chiaya would become if she becomes a Mosa. A photographer who can snap rapid shutters with super accuracy? Chiaya notes she can already do that… The girls dress up as maiko and since it is hard to identify or tell each other apart (Nozomi already gets it wrong despite travelling together all the time), each wear their trademark. This means Ai is wearing her bra and that feels like it ruined everything…

Special 5
Chiaya asks Yukina how one holds it in (the nervousness of letting her guard down) but she gets the wrong idea of stomach cramps and dispenses the wrong advice of wearing haramaki. Of course this isn’t what Chiaya is looking for. The rest didn’t help too because they also got the wrong idea. Tooth cavity? Speeding? All wrong! Chiaya talks to Ai if she is still mad at Nozomi. She feels she is no longer mad and all they need to do is reconcile. The more they talk about her, the more Nozomi sneezes but could it be she is sleeping outside instead of the warm futon?

Special 6
When Nozomi and co are riding, they thought Yukina was lying on the ground when it is actually Kuramochi. Ai is certain that looks very much like an old man but the duo are sure that is Yukina. They describe Yukina’s habits that tend to mimic an old guy. When they arrive closer, Nozomi confirms this isn’t Yukina and Kuramochi. Ai is annoyed they know each other and shouldn’t have mistake him for someone else then. On the night Chiaya is to leave for her home planet, Nozomi is thinking hard about the parting words she needs to say to her. Yukina and Ai naturally say theirs and this puts pressure on Nozomi. Can she do it? Cat caught her tongue? Need to say something! Nozomi felt she is ‘saved’ when Chiaya says she will always be her Maccha Green. Nozomi also says the same thing but this makes it even more awkward.

Just Roll With It
Sadly I must admit that what started out with great expectations of the series, the enthusiasm and all of it starts fizzling out not even reaching the halfway mark! In the end, I never really understood what the entire plot is all about. Sure, it is about Rolling Girls going around to provide help as per the letters. But each time they get involved in something, solved it and go on their way to the next town. Pretty much the same formula for this series since many of the episodes can form a mini arc of its own. I never really understood the deeper parts of the problems that each nation faced. I am just as blur as whoever doesn’t know what is going on. I don’t know if they ever explained crucial pieces of information in the series because my interest was wavering so I might have missed it. I think this is the biggest factor that made the series flop. Lots of stuffs remained unexplained. And then they finally twist the story in the final arc which takes up more episodes than your usual 2, with Chiaya being an octopus alien from another world and must be sent back. Eh? So? SO?! I just didn’t get it. Ultimately I just gave up thinking and just accepted whatever it is as it is. Just take what I can understand even if I understood it the wrong way. Just go with the flow. Just roll with it. Just end it.

Even sadder are the main characters that aren’t much. Feels a bit boring. What you see is what you get. Nozomi the airhead, Yukina the seemingly gloomy girl and Ai who always charges in straight with her fist first because they do the talking better than her head does any thinking. Something in me feels like I want to sing that Pokemon song each time I hear Ai wanting to become the best… “I wanna be the very best, like no one else ever was”… Then we have Chiaya with a slight mystery about her especially they keep us wondering how the heck she knows their childhood names. And when the big revelation comes, I don’t know, I just felt it didn’t live up to expectations. So I don’t know what the quartet actually wants. Sure, to travel together and make memories during their trip while not forgetting their mission to help those requested for assistance in the letters. Because despite clearly stating that the payment for help would be jewels, in the end Nozomi just couldn’t take them because it would make her feel just bad. So what is she? Doing charity? And Ai is always desperate to have one for her own because she just wants to become stronger. Eventually they had to fight, break up, reconcile and reunite. Ah, main ingredients of a friendship anime. Hardly exciting… I want to make a pun out of rolling stones don’t gather moss in relation to this but I just couldn’t find the right inspiration for it…

Thanks to the nature of the episodes in which they form mini arcs of their own, the characters that appear only in that arc also do not amount to anything much or memorable. Each one has their fair share of problem, some sort of misunderstanding, some sort of tussle of something. In the end, it all works out. Bonds are created or repaired. Enemies become friends. At least that is how we see it in the final credits montage. Everybody is just getting along with each other so well that you’d never believe they had some sort of fight in the first place. Now, care to reunite your independent nations into the big ol’ nation that we once knew as Japan? Well, I don’t see it turning out that way. Speaking of minor characters, I noticed that in every arc they utilize those carpenter guys to do something. I don’t know much about them but they look like they have some sort of ulterior motive and I thought they aren’t humans because they feel like clones or something. I don’t know. Remember those Hiyoshicho Propellers? No? Neither do I. Forgotten? Probably.

As for other minor recurring characters, they fare as bad as the main characters. Like Masami and Shigyou who once started out as respected Mosas, suddenly I find them turning into jokers and clowns of the series. Each time they thought they can do something, they get owned. And then it is revealed that the jewels don’t actually give them those super powers. I mean, what are those jewels for then anyway? Yeah, putting that time travelling thing now confuses the hell lot of me. So does this mean the Mosas everywhere aren’t necessarily strong because of the jewel but due to their latent power? At least this solves the problem of why when Ai finally got her hands on one she didn’t power up. Momiyama feels like a multi-tasking agent who is there at the right place, right time while Haruka’s obscure goal in collecting the jewels was perhaps a big troll because all she is was worried about her daughter and sending her back. But why isn’t she going back herself? Argh! So confused. Okay, I promise myself not to talk about the characters or the plot anymore. To summarize: It’s confusing and poorly done.

Many of the things that I thought would be running jokes of the series start to fizzle out later like Shigyou’s obsession in collecting sentai masks. Yeah, I don’t get it about her past either. Then there is Yukina and her hideous drawings of facial expressions. I don’t know how she improved on that. What about Chiaya when she turns into her octopus form, something bad usually and almost happens to her? For example, she could have ended up in her friends’ stomach as dinner! There is something about Momiyama and his ex-band. But I suppose I was just thinking too much and there is nothing more to that. Isn’t it funny that people recognize him as part of Momi-Han just after looking at his sideburns? Yeah, it is like sideburns define the band. Oh, it is. And oh, I noticed that the guard at the checkpoints at every nation is the same person. Look the same, sound the same. Sisters? Clones? Robots?

If there is one thing that greatly stands out for this anime, it is the special effects in the drawing and art. Firstly, let me mention that almost in each episode, it has become some sort of a running joke to see ‘weaklings’ being blown away thanks to the powers of the Mosas clashing. Yeah, it was fun, ridiculous as it may seem. It was some sort of ‘trademark’ for this show. And when you have super powered people fighting, you can see lots of super special glittering effects that makes them look cool. The big booming action may seem ridiculous but I guess it is more tolerable and easier to understand than the plot or the characters. At least the over the top action makes the overall series palatable although it is still not quite enough to save it. Another nice thing is the drawing of the characters especially many of the girls do look quite pretty. You know I’m a sucker for a pretty face. So many of them despite their simple features, they surprisingly look beautiful. Yes, seriously.

As for the general art and drawing for the background and sceneries, this one is a mixed call. You will tend to notice that it looks very much like water colour painting art that your 5 year old drew. And then the producers decided that these are great works of art and decided to slap them into the episodes since our usual animators can’t get it done in time. Yes, certain scenes obviously look so sloppy and so water colour-like that you wonder if they put in any effort in drawing them. Or could it be that they don’t have enough budget and thus concentrate on the characters and objects in the foreground and just leave the backgrounds as it is. But on the bright side, having such water colour-like drawings make this series unique. Because the colours and hues are quite bright and vivid like as though you are in some fantasy land although you’re still mostly in Japan but as said, each prefecture has become an independent nation and embraced some sort of weird culture.

Voice acting, nothing really stands out. Thanks to the many characters appearing, the list is a very long one. Don’t worry. I won’t be listing even a quarter of them. The only voices I recognized are Sayaka Ohara as Haruka and Saori Hayami as Mamechiyo. There are other veteran seiyuus lending their voice that I couldn’t recognize like Tomokazu Seki as Momiyama, Mai Nakahara as Misa and Ayumi Fujimura as Masami. The rest of the main casts include Ari Ozawa as Nozomi (Sakura in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun), Rina Hidaka as Yukina (Airi in Ro-Kyu-Bu), Yumiri Hanamori as Chiaya (Uri in Etotama), Risa Taneda as Ai (Mirai in Kyoukai No Kanata), Fuyuka Oura as Shigyou (Ren/Run in To Love-Ru) and Nozomi Furuki as Otonashi (Miwa in Barakamon). The opening theme is Tsuki No Bakugekiki by The Rolling Girls and the ending theme is Hito Ni Yasashiku also by the same quartet. The rock outfit of both themes do sound fun to get you into the pace of the anime. Till the episodes somewhat ruined them… There are quite a number of insert songs mostly sung by them although I don’t find such rock pieces to be as appealing as the opening and ending ones.

Perhaps this series tries to do something unique and different but ultimately eventually falls flat. It tries to be flashy and over the top but couldn’t maintain the overall momentum. It tries to have everything from robots to aliens to music and bikes but it was just confusing in the end. I doubt with that kind of ending, there is very little chance any sort of sequel is possible. I mean, would it really be the same if the girls minus Chiaya continue their journey? And if so, for what purpose? Don’t tell me about that journey-destination crap thingy. So unless they suddenly decide to bring back Chiaya with an outrageous excuse that some sort of mechanical failure made the rocket return… But in the future! Woah! Let me not get ahead of myself. As far as I can see with everybody having differences, looks like talking isn’t going to settle things peacefully. The fists are going to do the talking. At least in here is where action speaks louder than words. Better than being NATO. No Action, Talk Only. Yeah…

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