So awesome the prequel that I guess that had to remake the TV series again. Yes indeed. Fate/Zero was just mind blowing and epic that another remake was in order. However they are not going to redo the original Fate/Stay Night series that debuted back in 2006. In fact, the remake is the Unlimited Blade Works movie. Therefore this remake is actually Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works and follows the route of this version. Hmm… Something was wrong with the movie that they felt the need to redo it again? As I found out, the original Fate series and movie were done by Studio Deen. Fans of the series didn’t like the ‘poor’ quality that it was adapted. Well, when you consider how superb was Fate/Zero, everything before that pales in comparison. Making it even horrendous was the fact that the UBW movie was a very condensed version of the route and thus the many disappointments and the disappointed. Thus when a new studio, Ufotable took over the production of this series and made the prequel fabulous, it was time to do some justice to that UBW movie and thus the expansion and the need for this TV series. Either way, I know it is going to be just awesome. I know. I can feel it.

Episode 0
In this hour long prologue, if you’re a fan of Rin and Archer, this is your episode. Rin goes to school one morning as she notices the clocks are an hour fast. No wonder the school is void of students. It’s an hour early! She notices this happened after she found her father’s pendant. She meets Mitsuzuri from the archery and then later that douche bag Shinji tries to flirt with her but she just tells him off and this pissed him off (he deserved it). Then she notices Shirou helping Issei to fix some heater. Coming home from school, Kirei left a message on her phone in hopes that she would participate in the upcoming Holy Grail war but she’s not really thrilled to hear his voice. In her father’s basement, she is set for the summoning ritual. She does what is needed and a loud crash is heard from her living room. To her disappointment, it wasn’t Saber she had hoped to summon but Archer. However Archer is not amused that a mere child is his Master and just tells her not to get in the way of his fight. Rin is upset that she is looked down so she uses a Command Spell to order him to listen to her every word. Archer is impressed by her tenacity and agrees to serve her loyally. As for the Command Spell, it is wasted since her command was too vague. At least she has 2 more… Rin wants to know Archer’s true form to formulate strategies but unfortunately he is a bit amnesiac. Archer thought Rin is ready to get down to business but the first thing she tells him to do is clean up the mess he made. I guess Rin overslept so much so Archer has taken the liberty to even make her breakfast! Surprisingly good? Rin decides to show Archer around the city before they make their important contract.

They arrive at an abandoned park where the last Holy Grail war had taken place. There is also a little talk on some of the terms like Heroic Spirits for the uninitiated but those who are familiar don’t need to even bother about this. They sense somebody watching them but they cannot detect who. They then have a bird’s eye view of the city. Archer asks about her wish for winning the Holy Grail but she doesn’t have any. She’s participating and winning it as it is her family’s dream. Archer also asks if there are other mages in the vicinity. Rin notes there is one family but they are a shadow of their former selves and do not even possess sufficient mana to become a Master. That night, Rin discovers there are several insignias placed around the school grounds. This is dangerous because if activated, it will harvest all the souls within the field. For a person doing this, it could mean that person is trying to summon a Servant. They realize Lancer was watching them and this leads to the much awaited fight between Archer and Lancer. Their fight is interrupted (thus saving Archer’s life when Lancer is about to use his Noble Phantasm) when they realize there was a student still on site and has witnessed this. Lancer races to catch him and to eliminate the witness. By the time Rin catches up, that student is already lying in his pool of blood. She orders Archer to tail Lancer to at least find out about his master. She is overcome with guilt over this innocent student’s death. But there is a way she can still save him. She uses her father’s pendant. Later back at her home, Archer reports his failure to follow Lancer. But now the thought if Lancer’s Master learns the witness is still alive, will he not send Lancer back to kill him? They rush back and Rin is not going to allow her hard work of revival go to waste. When they arrive, they see before them is Saber.

Episode 1
The proper series begin but also another hour long. This time the events are set in the same time as the prologue but from Shirou’s side. We see his daily morning life, Sakura always comes over to cook for him and Fujimura (who is also his landlord). Shirou as we know is such a good guy who doesn’t know how to say no because he takes up small job requests to fix things like the spoiled heater. He still has nightmares over what happened to Fuyuki City 10 years ago and continues to ponder how to become a hero of justice. When he notices Sakura’s bruises, Shirou believes Shinji must have abused her again although she denies it. He hears more about that douche bag about his temper in the archery club, taking it out on newbies. When Shirou visits the archery club, he is attacked by a club member who mistakes him as Shinji. She apologizes after realizing he is the guy who fixes things for free. How the heck could she mistake that jerk with this guy? On the way back, he passes by a house that has been cordoned off by the police. There has been a murder and the entire family except the youngest child was killed. This reminds him how Kiritsugu adopted him right after that devastating incident. That is why he hates it when people tried so hard to save others but to only die in the end. Is he selfish to wish from everyone to be happy with smiles? Even more frustrating was Kiritsugu once said that one cannot save everybody. Shirou believes salvation isn’t limited to certain people.

Sakura requests to take time off and won’t be coming to make Shirou breakfast. I think she’s going to need it. At school, Shirou sees Shinji flirting with a couple of girls. He wants to talk to her about Sakura. Not interested. And since Shinji thinks he is falsely accusing him and then retracted his statement, how about making it up by cleaning up the dojo. I mean, he likes to help out, right? Yeah, it’s Shinji’s turn to clean but he rather go flirt and leave the dirty job to this good Samaritan. And this guy really cleaned the entire dojo! Sparkling clean, man! It is already night time by the time he finishes. That is when he heard some clashing sounds in the school yard. He takes a peek and is shocked to see super characters fighting. That is when he is discovered. He makes a run for it but Lancer finds him and stabs him in the heart. After being resurrected by Rin, he is surprised to find himself still alive although very much in a daze. He goes home thinking he could rest but he narrowly avoided Lancer’s attack. He tries to fight back but despite pulling up a surprise tactic, it is still weak and definitely no match for Lancer. He runs to his shed and I’m not sure what kind of ritual he did or maybe it was just all coincidence that everything was in the right place. Saber is summoned. Saber fights Lancer as the latter uses his Noble Phantasm move. Luckily for Saber, she managed to escape with her life. For Lancer, that move has to end with a kill and since it did not, he takes his leave. Shirou is still confused what is happening so Saber goes to hunt down Lancer. This is when she comes into Archer and starts fighting. Shirou wants her to stop and accidentally uses his Command Spell, irking Saber very much. Rin is surprised to see Shirou but greets him as a start.

Episode 2
Rin uses her magic to repair Shirou’s house and is impressed he fought off Lancer before summoning Saber. Then she explains to him about the Holy Grail war, the Master, Servants and all the other terms that veterans would have known by heart. But for further explanation, she takes him to go see Kirei at the church. Kirei is somewhat surprised but delighted to hear Shirou’s name. The kid is not interested in this fight but it seems yielding his Master status is not as simple as walking away. Shirou has lots of questions about the Holy Grail and Kirei has his answers though it is hardly anything satisfying. Like how all the Masters fight but it is the Holy Grail that chooses who wins. So I guess there is no sharing business of the cup. Although it is not in the rules that one doesn’t have to kill another Master, but when a Master is killed, the Servant vanishes. This is of course the fastest way. Also as Master loses his status if all his Command Spells are used. Shirou would love to use them all up right now but Kirei calls him a coward if he does so. But if he wishes to do so, so be it. After that, Shirou will be sheltered under his protection in the church as this is part of his job to oversee the war. Shirou learns this is not the first Holy Grail war and since the cup can grant any wish, what happens if it falls into the wrong hands? The only way is for him to win it himself to avoid it being fallen into such evil. Still not convinced? How about this. Did you know that the last Holy Grail war was the reason Fuyuki City burnt down? That convinced you? Kirei adds about the previous winner who thought he could summon the Holy Grail without fighting but that foolishness made it incomplete. Therefore obtaining the Holy Grail is meaningless till you settle things with other Masters. Shirou agrees to fight in this war and then confirms with Saber to be her Master in which she swears her loyalty to him. Now that Shirou is in the game, won’t that make him and Rin enemies? Well, she’s giving some reason about repaying her debt. Some sort of ceasefire between them for the next 24 hours. Why don’t you just admit being tsundere? However before them is Ilya and her Berserker.

Episode 3
No magical girl Ilya here. Yup. After 3 seasons of magical girl loli and a prequel that she had almost close to zero screen time, it’s hard to get used to seeing the original cruel bloodthirsty Ilya. She sends her Berserker to crush them and while Saber engages in close combat, Archer provides artillery support as he is stationed from a building block in the city. No matter what moves they pull, Berserker is like an immortal! You can’t kill him! Not even a scratch! Even more shocking is how he can move fast and agile! Was he supposed to be a tank character? Isn’t this like cheating? Big strong guy who is fast and invincible and can adapt fighting without his cleaver. Like the final last boss you can never defeat! Shirou gets mad that Saber is fighting Berserker herself (because they pledged to fight together). Oh really? You mean you can fight that hulk? Sure you won’t get in the way? Rin tries to sneak attack on Ilya but she’s ready for him. Her tricks didn’t work and this disappoints Ilya that this is all she’s got. Rin could have died had not Archer supported her. Then she bumps into Shirou and takes it out on him. Why so mad? She saved his life and he is willing to throw it away like that? Why does she care? Oh, she has a lot to care. Yeah, I know… They see Saber continue to take on Berserker at the cemetery. This is part of Saber’s plan because fighting in the open without any cover is like suicide. However at a place like this, she cannot count on any support from Archer. Like his arrows would deal any permanent damage anyway. Saber uses her Noble Phantasm to kill Berserker but oh look, he resurrects! Did he have a cheat code on?! Shirou senses Archer is going to use some awesome arrow so he takes Saber to run for cover. That arrow causes a fiery mini atomic bomb explosion in the area!!!!!!! Of course Berserker survives it and without a scratch. Ilya calls it a day and for Berserker to return. Seems she is quite interested in Archer now and would let them live. She thought of getting the boring ones out of the picture first but now her plans have changed. See you next time. Maybe all that excitement has made Shirou starting to vomit blood…

Episode 4
Ilya’s maids are not impressed she did not kill her opponents even after risking Berserker to show his Noble Phantasm. Don’t worry. Berserker’s Noble Phantasm cannot be destroyed. Besides, she wants to make Shirou suffer like Kiritsugu. Thanks to Shirou’s fast healing, his wounds are gone. Rin continues to give Shirou a free pass to live simply because it’s not her policy to kill somebody sleeping and that she didn’t feel like it. Whatever. Shirou talks to Saber and he learns about identities of Servants and why they must be kept hidden because once it is known, it becomes their weakness. The same case for their Noble Phantasm. Because Shirou is not an experienced mage, others may read his mind so Saber cannot tell him her true identity. He is fine with that. When Shirou is made to bring Fujimura her lunch, Saber wanders around the school and it looks like something tense is brewing when she sees Kuzuki. Luckily Shirou finds her. Saber sensed something different about that teacher but nothing to be alarmed about. Imagine Fujimura and Sakura’s surprise when Shirou says Saber is staying at his place. Sakura asks Fujimura if she will allow it. She okays it and considers it as home stay. Oh, Sakura… Even more so when Shirou hopes they can get along. Oh, Sakura… Meanwhile, Rin and Archer are destroying skeleton familiars. They uncover a room filled with poison gas and believe the culprit is a woman and the Servant is Caster. With the recent coma cases, they deduce the flow is originating from Ryuudou Temple. Rin wants to put an end to this before Caster flees so Archer notes she tends to choose the hardest battle and ignore the easiest ones. Yeah, she is giving excuses that she can take out Shirou any time and ignoring him as long as he stays hidden in his home. So what if he decides to become a real Master and kill her? Then she’ll kill him. Yeah? Can she?

Episode 5
Shirou manages to convince Saber to stay home and replenish her mana instead of following him to school every day. He then hears from Issei that Mitsuzuri didn’t come home after yesterday’s practice. A witness saw Shinji was the last person who talked to her but Shinji is absent today and they can’t get a hold of him. Sakura couldn’t give any definite answers as she rarely sees her brother these days. With the recent events, all club activities after school are cancelled and students are to go home. But Shirou decides to play detective. Rin confronts him and is not amused at how big his idiocy can get. He is walking around without a Servant like as though he is having a death wish. Unable to tolerate all that, Rin is now going to kill him. Not feeling tsundere today? Or has she turned yandere?! Shirou escapes her magic attacks but before she could kill him, they hear a girl’s scream. They find her unconscious and drained of her blood. As Rin tries to heal her, Shirou felt something bad. A target meant to strike Rin, Shirou uses his hand to block! It’s bleeding like mad but he decides to go play hero and go after the culprit. In the woods he is confronted with Rider. She traps him but before she could finish him off, Rin comes to his rescue and Rider flees. With what has happened, Shirou has the guts to ask Rin if she wants to continue their match. Let’s end it here for today. She treats him back at her home. They talk about that girl who almost became a Master’s victim to strengthen his Servant. Rin suggests calling a truce because she wants to deal with other Masters first. Good idea. We’re tired of hearing her giving tsundere excuses not to kill him. When Shirou casually reveals his magic arts, Rin is not pleased to hear such information because a mage will always try to hide it. Shirou’s views are different especially when he starts talking about his father who is a real deal mage. Rin has her views too but believes Shirou’s late dad puts his role more of a father first instead of being a mage.

Episode 6
Rin orders Archer to escort Shirou home although the latter is not too thrilled about it. He also learns that Archer does not covet the Holy Grail. That may just be peculiar to Saber for Servants have no free will and are just tools. Shirou is relieved that Mitsuzuri is found though in a daze. Since it is getting dangerous late at night, he wants Sakura to stay here for the time being. Shirou talks to Saber about the truce with Rin till the Master at his school is discovered. Saber helps train him for hands on combat. When Shirou talks to Rin, he discovers an insignia hidden in the bookshelf. They go around deactivating it. Before Shirou goes home, he is confronted by Shinji who claims he was the one who put those insignias for insurance. He wants Shirou to team up with him but of course he refuses. Because Sakura is staying at this place, Shirou promises he won’t rat out to others about this conversation. Threads tangle Shirou as he sleeps. He wakes up from a weird dream only to realize he is now in Ryuudou Temple. Caster has caught him and is not going to kill him right away. She is going to extract all his mana via removing his Command Spells so she can implant them on her Master. She admits she is the one behind the cases of people fainting as she was testing out this extracting move and building up her mana. Saber senses Shirou in danger and makes her way but at the gates of the temple she is confronted with Assassin. He does not hesitate to reveal his identity. He stops her from reciprocating as his blade will tell him all he needs to know of his enemy. If she wants to pass, then force her way. Before Shirou is dead meat, Archer sets him free. Now be wary the wrath of a furious woman.

Episode 7
Shirou and Archer are shocked to hear Caster revealing Assassin is her Servant since this is somewhat like breaking the rules. Then Archer and Caster start their fight. Shirou being the useless derp almost gets killed when Caster targets him and Archer has to save his ass again. Their fight continues and it ends when Archer uses his mighty arrow technique that pierces through her barrier and blasts her out of the sky. Saber is puzzled that she cannot break through Assassin’s defence despite his weaker physique. As Assassin has sensed things are not going well for his Master, he is going to use his special move. A move so fast that it cuts Saber down. Fortunately she survives this fatal blow. Caster is healing from her wounds and wonders why Archer spared her life. He was just testing her and that his objective was Shirou? Caster finds them interesting and alike although they vehemently disagree. She wants them to ally with her but they of course refuse. Archer would like this match to be called a draw since he is here on his volition and Rin did not send him so he has no reason to kill her. After she leaves, Shirou is mad Archer let her escape. Even more shocking, Archer wants Caster to continue what she is doing by reaping the mana from innocent people. She is doing this so she could defeat Berserker. Once done, Archer will take care of her. Shirou will never agree to this plan to sacrifice others but as Archer drills the harsh reality to him, if Caster wins, it would be more than this city that will suffer. Thus his logic is to keep that sacrifice minimum and sacrifice only this city. This does not bode well with Shirou because it reminds him of Kiritsugu’s words. Seeing only hypocrisy in Shirou, Archer strikes him down! Despite the bloody scene, Shirou still leaves and crawls his way out to the temple gates. Saber abandons the fight and catches him. Assassin allows them to let them go because he admires her loyalty to that inexperienced Master. Besides, it will be a waste to defeat her when she is not at her peak form. Saber is grateful and promises to settle this another day. Archer tries to strike them but Assassin defends them. While they fight, Saber and Shirou make their escape. As Saber patches up Shirou back him, he lets her know of Archer’s vile plan although Saber finds it funny he is speaking ill of somebody for the first time. She believes Archer is not a cruel person as seen from the purity of his technique with his fight with Assassin. Shirou wants Saber to help train him swordsmanship to fight and not just for exercise.

Episode 8
Shirou wakes up from a dream that he turned into a metal hedgehog! Actually, blades are piercing through his body. Although he makes improvement in his training, Saber is jealous he is basing his style on Archer instead of hers. The guys in school are surprised to see Rin waiting outside their class. And when she beckons Shirou, the ultimate shock. I know she’s tsundere but why is she acting like his girlfriend? At the rooftop, apparently Rin’s behaviour was because she had to use another Command Spell to stop Archer from killing him last night. Rin also learnt that Shinji is a Master and that he wanted to team up with her. Of course she turned him down and even cheekily said she already had Shirou. Rin won’t attack Shinji yet as he has no power as a Master. However she is shocked to hear when Shirou tells her he is the one who put up the insignias. Too late, Shinji has completed the ritual and now the school is under an evil barrier that is slowly sucking the life force out of the other students. As the undead golems are proving to be a pest, Shirou would like to return the favour and now uses his Command Spell to summon Saber. With quick lightning speed, she dismantles the horde. Shirou wants her to fight off the undead while the rest go to stop the magic source. Shinji gets cocky but when he sees someone approaching, he turns chicken and runs away while letting Rider handle the threat. Saber faces off with Rider but she soon realizes that it is Caster behind that façade. When Shirou and Rin find Shinji, he is cowering in fear in a corner. He insists this is not his fault. In the room, they see Rider dead! The barrier dissipates. Rin tries to force the face of the Rider’s killer out of Shinji. But that chicken sh*t guy believes he is no more a Master and thus they are the ones who should be afraid as they’ll be targeted. The students are still alive. Rin thinks of calling Kirei to handle things from here. Saber reports about fighting Caster. It proves she hasn’t left the temple. Rin is surprised Shirou is calm and can still think of the injured. It would have been impossible for her. It is no big deal to Shirou. He is used to seeing dead bodies. Why the shell shocked face, Rin?

Episode 9
Archer finally arrives when everything is over and since Rin didn’t like how he took his own sweet time, she still needs to fill him the details. He views Rider as weak and useless and this irks Saber who wants to challenge him to a fight. But they cool their heads and agree to investigate more and find Caster’s Master who is probably under the Servant’s influence. Back home, Saber wants to sleep close to Shirou after what has happened. He has no say. Despite just in the next room and a sliding door between them, I don’t know why Shirou finds it hard to sleep. Shinji runs to Kirei to seek refuge. Learning that he is the first Master to go out this way, he starts blaming everything especially the weak and useless Servant he was given. Kirei asks him if he still has the will to fight. Because he is lucky there is still one more Servant. When Shirou goes to school, Rin immediately grabs him. What’s with the moody mood? She believes Issei is Caster’s Master since he lives at the temple. As he doesn’t want her to do the investigation on him, he’ll do it. But he’s not going to ask him straight in the face, right? So how? Inside the room… Shirou tells Issei… To strip!!! OMG! This is just so gay wrong! Of course he feels violated but even if Shirou can’t find Command Spells on him, he can’t tell him why he did so. On the way home, Shirou spots Rin spying a distance outside Sakura’s house. She then forces him into hiding. They see a blonde guy standing outside her house. Rin wonders if this is the guy she saw Sakura talking to earlier (he was asking for directions). After he leaves, Shirou reports about his findings on Issei. She believes him since he is not the kind to lie. Rin then asks the odd question of a family member being given away for adoption without their consent. I think Shirou doesn’t understand the question well. So if that person is happy, then everything’s alright I suppose. Fujimura talks to Saber about Shirou’s childhood days and especially about Kiritsugu. This turns into a topic of why Shirou is obsessed in becoming a hero of justice. He can’t explain it well either. Is it because he is afraid of something? He just feels irritated remembering bits of this.

Episode 10
Rin dreams of how Archer became a Heroic Spirit. A lone survivor atop a hill with blades. Archer doesn’t think Shirou is a winnable material and thinks Caster would be a better person to team up. However Rin will not categorize herself the same with that monster. She will honour her pact with Shirou. Are you sure it isn’t about anything else? Shirou learns that Issei is close to Kuzuki and looks up to him like a big brother. When Rin eavesdrop that Kuzuki also lives at Ryuudou Temple, she wants to know if Kuzuki has been acting strange lately. He mentions that Kuzuki is going to get married soon as he introduced and brought his fiancée to live at the temple with him 2 weeks ago. Rin suspects Kuzuki as Caster’s Master and wants to test him. Late that night as they wait for him on his way back from school, Rin shoots a light magic burst at him. Caster protected him. Caster thought being out in the open was bad idea but Kuzuki thinks otherwise because they have caught their prey. Shirou then asks Kuzuki if he is being controlled by Caster. As an honourable man who would not condone to Caster’s doings, if he is under her control, he will only fight Caster. If so, this means he is equally a killer and would show no mercy. Although Kuzuki says this is the first time he heard of this, however what Caster does is none of his concern. Lives of other people do not matter to him. About this Holy Grail war, he will not participate in it and allows Caster to do whatever she wishes. Saber attacks Kuzuki but she is caught off guard by his punches infused with magic. It’s very damaging that it sends her flying and unconscious! Caster offer to deal with Saber and the Masters handle each other. Well, Rin got knocked out with a punch. Shirou is still standing after taking in a few. He has to. Otherwise Rin will die if he gets knocked out. Needing a cool weapon like Archer’s swords to fight, suddenly he materializes them with all his might. Saber revives and could have had Kuzuki’s head had not Caster saved him. Kuzuki wants to withdraw for now. Rin is baffled she never knew he had such magic. He admits he can do projection but it was so weak and empty Kiritsugu told him to focus on his fortification magic instead. Meanwhile Shinji happily meets the blonde, Gilgamesh as he has gotten another chance from Kirei to participate. He wants to team up to kill everybody and get his revenge on Shirou. But Gilgamesh tells him not to concern with other Masters if he truly wants the Holy Grail and there are other matters to attend to first. He reveals his wish for extravagant luxury but this world is overflowing with that and too much of it is sickening.

Episode 11
Shirou feels some pain through his body as he tries to hold it in. He starts noticing his left hand slightly numb. The school is abuzz because Kuzuki calls in sick. Rin makes a surprise visit to Shirou’s house since he forgot their usual meeting. He almost shut her out! Surprised to see her here? With Saber, they discuss about the possibility of Caster will self destruct and destroy the temple if cornered. Fujimura is shocked to see Rin here but Rin is slick enough to threaten her back so she shuts her mouth. Shirou continues to accidentally drop and break plates so they think he is tired and have him rest. Rin talks to Shirou about their different family lives as mages. Then she gets mad over his personality since he is considerate to everyone else except himself (WTF?). So does this mean she is staying at his place for the night? Don’t worry. She already got permission from Fujimura. Later Saber knows something about his left hand so he tells her about it and she thinks it might be the after effect of that projection. Archer is surprisingly here as he heard from Rin about his projection. He offers to see what he can do and as he analyzes his back, he detects nothing life threatening except that when he did the projection he opened something that was closed. With mana suddenly flooding his circuits he never used, it sends them into a state of shock, thus the numbness. He puts in some mana to recover him. He knows a lot since he had a similar experience himself. Shirou questions his ideals so he explains about Shirou’s worthless ideal to save everyone is just fantasy. Saving others is not true salvation. Since he has no desire to save himself, he will repeat that cycle till he dies, clinging on to ideals that aren’t his. In the end, he can neither save others or himself. Shirou still thinks that is wrong.

Episode 12
Another hour long episode. Your ears are not deceiving you when Rin wants to go out with Shirou! She tells him straight they’re going out on a date! Fujimura’s not shocked or anything. Because she too has a date herself! Actually that is paying a visit to Kiritsugu’s grave. Shirou is being like a douche trying to rephrase that he’s just accompanying her. Can you be just as cool like Saber? Though she’s just following them as their bodyguard. Nice fund date outing. Rin isn’t a parasite and has made sandwiches for lunch. So that explains the mystery of the missing bread from Shirou’s pantry. Though he could have just stopped there and not comment unnecessary about his thoughts that he thought she ate them as midnight snack. As they take the bus back, they feel something strange. There is no bus driver and the bridge falls apart. Though safe from the crash, they realize they are sealed in a barrier made by Caster. She has water golems attack them. How do you cut water anyway? They cannot make any rash moves because Caster has Fujimura as hostage. She makes Shirou an offer. Work under him and she’ll release her. Refuse of course. Rin is surprised to hear Shirou’s past an as an adopted son of Kiritsugu and thus Caster’s deduction he hates the Holy Grail, which in turn why he wants to claim it as compensation. In fact, she claims she can summon the Holy Grail right now and it is not necessary to have a Servant left. Therefore Shirou can avoid all the fighting he is against. However he still refuses to team up with her and wants Fujimura released. In that case, she will have his Command Spell. This will strip him of his Master status. Shirou is willing to have his hand ripped just to save Fujimura’s life. Saber and Rin cannot standby any longer and attack. However Shirou uses his Command Spell to stop Saber and in this moment, Caster uses her Noble Phantasm that negates all magic to stab her. Command Spells now appear on Caster’s hand and Saber is now her Servant. Caster orders reluctant Saber to kill Rin. Thankfully Archer finally breaks through the barrier and lets them escape.

Back home, Rin discuses with Archer why he is rooting for Saber instead of Caster. They agree the need to defeat Caster as top priority. Fujimura is healthy and under a sleeping spell. No threats, though. Archer believes her pact with Shirou is over since he is no longer a Master but she doesn’t think so. Until he says the fight is over, the pact is still intact. Did she just shift the goalpost? Shirou stumbles out from bed in his weakened state. He sees the familiar pendant and realizes that it was Rin who resurrected his life. Now he falls into super guilt that this is a debt he can never repay. Caster tells Assassin to guard to temple gates and her Master while she is away. Because he says something about doing this behind her Master’s back and doing it in hopes her love will reach him, she rips apart his chest as warning! Seems Caster is going to find a new base now that she has Saber (thus not really needing Assassin anymore who is just insurance) and claiming her prize ahead of schedule. She goes to see Kuzuki at the church. He claims she is breaking the rules by appearing on this neutral ground that no Heroic Spirit should be. But she believes the rules have changed when she shows him her Command Spells and Saber as her Servant. As for the Holy Grail summoning thing, Caster said that single Servant remaining rule refers to the big Grail. It doesn’t apply to the lesser Grail which she wants now. Since he refuses, she sets her golems to attack him. He has got nice kung fu chops and his blades to save his skin but how long will this last? Weakened Shirou looks for Saber and he wants to save Saber. Rin tells him it doesn’t matter to him anymore as he is no longer a Master. Being the stubborn mule he is, she tells him straight that he is a wreck without Saber. Already powerless himself, how is he going to rescue Saber? No more Saber, no more Master, no reason for him to be involved in this war. Stay out or die. You think Shirou has always been a good listener?

Episode 13
Saber is being tied up at the chapel and trying to resist Caster’s will. Though it would be just a matter of time… Kuzuki discovers Caster’s doing and wants her to explain why she did this without his authority (I thought he gave her permission to do as she please?). From obtaining Saber from her master to attacking the church to get the Holy Grail but to no avail, long story short, it’s all for his sake. Anyhow, he doesn’t care how she did it but as long as he gets the results. Rin and Archer make their way to fight Caster. Rin will take on Caster and wants Archer to concentrate on Kuzuki. She believes this is the best strategy. Once they get Saber back, they can reform another pact with Shirou. So as they begin their fight, surprisingly Archer protects Kuzuki from Rin’s shots! What is the meaning of this? Archer knows Caster’s true identity as Princess Medea. He wants to form a pact with her. Of course this is for his own goal but Caster agrees to play into his hands and make him her Servant since she wouldn’t be much of a mage if she cannot control him. The Command Spells are forcefully taken from Rin. Kuzuki targets her. Shirou who has been watching all this jumps in to be a hero but I guess he is still recovering so he couldn’t put up much of a fight. Archer wants Caster to let them go just this once as condition for him to join her by his own will. Of course if they cross their paths next time, they’ll be dead meat. Archer doesn’t want Rin to be angry at him. After all, Caster is the superior Master than her now. Rin promises she won’t give up and will defeat Caster to take him back. Then he’ll regret it. Shirou tries to console her but I guess it only makes her cry. So now she blames him and wants him to take responsibility? By hearing her beating up herself the useless person she is and couldn’t get things done when it matters? Shirou returns the pendant since he has one similar to this that was left by his side when Lancer killed him. She wants to know the real reason why he saved her. The real truth… He likes her!!! Tsundere girl doesn’t believe it but it’s true! Believe it! Shirou admits he does have feelings for her!!! Wait, romance at this time?! I suppose it’s the only way to mend broken hearts. Still, she is grateful for saving him.

Episode 14
Shirou explains why he is fighting in this war. Although Rin still opposes his idea, she can’t say no since after he saved her. Plus, she knows better of his stubbornness. So they’re still partners? Hey, I thought they should be a couple! On a serious note, they think of aligning with other Masters. Since Ilya is the only one they know, they head to her villa in the forest. A flashback on Caster’s past. She was a Servant to some guy whose family is new to this mage thing so he is only participating to increase the family’s prestige. He demonstrates his research that he pours his money and time into by sacrificing fresh lives to create mana. But Caster saw this as inefficient and demonstrates with ease her power. Impressed but jealous, he uses his Command Spell never to use her Noble Phantasm on him. Later he goes to complain to Kirei about Caster as Medea and wants to switch Servants. He has a letter he wants Kirei to give to Lancer’s Master to dispose Caster. When he returns, his lab is all in flames. Caster has burnt it down. If he is willing to listen, she will bring him to a place where the Greater Grail is. He is not interested and uses his Command Spell to kill herself. Nothing happens. He uses it again. Nothing. Because Caster’s Noble Phantasm is nullifying magic, although she cannot use it on him, she used it on herself. Then she kills him via some illusion. Shortly, Lancer comes in to finish her. As she lies dying outside, that is when Kuzuki picks her up and hears her story. He agrees to be her vessel. Rin and Shirou are outside Ilya’s forest but it is laced with magic barrier traps. Ilya is not happy her maids opposed to bringing them in to talk so she tells them to go capture them instead. However Shinji drops in at the courtyard. Still full of himself and looking for Berserker, the maids scare him off but that is when Gilgamesh appears. Shinji is his Master. He gives them a chance to go away but they viewing him as the enemy and attack. They died a bloody death. Ilya bursts in with Berserker. Mad that her maids are killed, she orders Berserker to kill him. Gilgamesh relishes fighting this legendary battle to alleviate his boredom.

Episode 15
As the epic battle rages on, Ilya believes Berserker cannot lose for he is the strongest. Time to have her flashback. After events of Fate/Zero, Ilya was anticipating Kiritsugu’s return. However some evil spirit in Iri’s form told her he betrayed them all and died. Ilya was then brainwashed that Kiritsugu had a son and that they are able to kill each other in the next Holy Grail war. So she undergoes painful surgeries every day to install magic circuits in her body. She finds a pool where it lies dead maids. Ilya hates this war as they explain they are just tools to achieve the Holy Grail. Ilya is told that she is the fines creation the Einzbern made and cannot be replicated. For if she loses, the Einzbern will give up on this thousand year research and they will be freed from their obligations. Ilya grew up to be a cold loli, not even caring when Sella and Liz became her personal maids. Berserker is summoned and she views him just as a tool for the Holy War. She even thinks herself as enough to win it. She experiences pain while trying to make a contract with Berserker. Then she just abandons him and wanders into the snowy forest. Hungry wolves target her. Before she can become their meal, Berserker saves her. It is then she realizes he moved not because of the contract or this Master-Servant thingy. He protected her on his own will. Since then a bond formed between them. Back to the battle, Gilgamesh has killed Berserker enough that he is on his final life. He mocks the big guy he would have stand a chance had he forsaken his Master but Berserker continues protecting her. In the end, Berserker is trapped by Gilgamesh’s Chains of Heaven and stabbed to death. Heartless guy then blinds the loli and kills her outright. Shirou is extremely mad and wants to jump in but Rin is using all her might to shut him up. Gilgamesh almost gets a heart attack when Berserker breaks out and lunges at him. Gilgamesh’s defence saves him and kills the big guy. Now that Shirou can scream at the top of his voice, what is he going to do? What can he do?

Episode 16
Gilgamesh tears out Ilya’s heart just to make sure. Shinji is being a jerk in taunting Shirou and offering Rin to join his side. He gets rejected again so he wants Gilgamesh to kill them. However he won’t since they have run out of time. Any further and this heart prize will ruin. After burying Ilya, Rin chides Shirou for his twisted ideals and wants him to spill what happened 10 years ago because right now he is broken. You know that Kiritsugu saving him story. Then they talk about Gilgamesh whose every weapon is his Noble Phantasm. They get defensive when Lancer is here. But they start arguing for the other to take cover. Since when this is a lover’s quarrel? Rest assured, Lancer isn’t here to fight them but to team up with them to defeat Caster’s little army. I mean, who else is left to team up seeing Lancer’s Master even don’t want a douche like Shinji. Shirou still can’t trust him since he was almost killed twice but with Lancer waxing lyrical about Rin, Shirou agrees. But he has a condition for him to be trusted: Don’t make passes at Rin! OMG! Is it romance time now? Rin could just blow up in embarrassment right now! Archer talks to Kuzuki about Caster’s wish. Kuzuki knows it isn’t about freedom but to go home although she herself isn’t aware of it. Lancer and the kids make their plan to fight team Caster. Lancer is to face Archer and although there is the risk Lancer might fight 3 Servants, he knows Assassin won’t be at the church where the big battle will take place as he is bounded at Ryuudou Temple. Lancer is concerned if they can defeat Caster themselves. Rin believes she can blindside her. Now at the chapel gates, Archer stands before them. Lancer and Archer clash so the duo rush in. Rin takes this chance to say this pendant is the only one and was the one Archer returned to her on the day he died. That’s all she wants to say. What? No confession?

Episode 17
Caster asks Kuzuki why he doesn’t have any wish. Something about his past living like a robot despite having free will to choose what he does. Therefore it is strange to have something to wish for now. Now that Rin and Shirou have entered the scene, Rin tries to mock Caster’s lame fashion sense and such. Their ploy is to separate them but Kuzuki knows it well and is not giving in. Well, time to get down to fighting business. But first we take a peek at the awesome battle between Lancer and Archer. It ends when Lancer uses his Gae Blog to strike at him. Archer activates his ultimate defence shield, Rho Aias. Wow! An atomic bomb-like effect! Although Archer survives, he is gravely injured. It’s safe to say who has won the match. More importantly, they notice Caster is not watching them anymore. That’s because now we go watch the less epic fight. It’s so mismatched if you think about it. Shirou is having a hard time trying to keep Kuzuki at bay while Rin employs her magic tries. However Caster sees through all of it. But perhaps this is just a ploy to make Caster think Rin has run out of magic gems because Rin then uses magic to fortify her body and beats up Caster with her fist. A mage would never have expected that. But before Rin can deal the winning blow, Kuzuki stops her. Did Shirou failed? Kuzuki wants Caster to wake up Saber now when Archer betrays and attacks Kuzuki. Caster protects him and gets stabbed. Kuzuki promises to fulfil her wish in her place but she says it has already been fulfilled. With Caster gone, does Kuzuki have any reason to fight? Well, he wants to finish what he started. Archer easily kills him. Since the church is crumbling, the slab falling on him saves the trouble of Archer dirtying his hands further. Rin has her suspicions of who Archer is because he said Shirou’s same words of trace on. If you think it’s over, think again. Archer misses in killing Saber. Then he tells off Rin that she is still not his Master. Now he is going to kill Shirou.

Episode 18
Archer answers Saber’s question about his pride as a hero. He has none and only foolish regrets. He regrets being a hero. Saber is weak as she fights Archer. Shirou takes over and is equally the same. Rin then recites the oath for a pact in which Saber agrees to become her Servant. Saber is now powerful enough to fight on par with him. They both talk about each other’s twisted ideals. Archer then shows them his true nature by unleashing Unlimited Blade Works. They are transport to a different reality. A hill covered with swords and giant cogs in the sky. Archer mentions he isn’t a swordsman or archer and was a mage in life before he became a hero. This world is all he has left and is his Noble Phantasm. After Shirou fights off his arrow of swords, they are transported back to reality. Archer has taken Rin hostage. He is not at full strength to take them on now and since he can last only 2 days without a Master, she is like insurance. Shirou tells him to take refuge at Ilya’s castle because if his objective is to kill him, Shirou also has something to say to him. Rin dreams of Archer’s sad life and deduces who he is. As I understand, Archer worked hard and thought his efforts would make others happy but he wasn’t rewarded of that and betrayed and exploited even after death. Although Heroic Spirits are summoned from across time, the rules didn’t say about summoning into the time when he lived to the city in which he once lived. Rin knows a fool who would sacrifice himself for others and would voluntarily do so in the afterlife. He sold his peace after death believing he could save more lives but in the end was betrayed by everything. Including his own ideal. So when Rin wakes up, she tells Archer about Shirou despite his naivety, she thinks that itself is sweet because it changed her. Shinji is at the scene but he is not here to fight. Archer tells him he can have Rin once he settles his score with Shirou by dawn. The douche agrees to wait and will gladly have her by then. Shirou has rested well. Time to go save Rin. He tells Saber he will fight Archer and wants her to stay out of it. He has a feeling that he knows who Archer is. I guess Lancer is bored so he decides to join this quest too.

Episode 19
Shirou deduces about Rin’s pendant. There can only be one of its kind. As she used it to resurrect him and had no other catalyst to summon a Servant, this means it was the Servant that held the catalyst and was summoned. As a Heroic Spirit can be someone who will exist in the future, Archer’s identity is the alternate future Shirou. Lancer offers to save Rin as it is his Master’s orders. Shinji is harassing Rin as his plaything when Lancer beats him out. He will free her and she is free to do as she wishes after that. Kirei opposes to that as he reveals himself as Lancer’s Master. He reveals his plan of deceiving Rin for 10 years as an important pawn. He needs her as a vessel to summon the Holy Grail and that’s why he entrusted Lancer to take care of her. From what Kirei says, Rin figures out he killed her father. Then you hear her spill all those uncouth insults at him. Shinji reminds Kirei about their agreement and that Rin is his but Kirei has important business with Rin. He wants Lancer to kill Rin as a vessel doesn’t need a heart. Lancer won’t do that and says he’ll have to use a Command Spell for that. Very well then. Why, he has got tons of Command Spells! He orders Lancer to kill himself! Archer talks about becoming a Heroic Spirit not on his own merits and only posthumously. Something about Shirou becoming a champion of justice and when Archer became one, he knew it was a mistake. Saber explains her goal for the Holy Grail is to undo a mistake she did but failed to do so and did not reach her ideal. Shouldn’t Archer be the realization of Shirou’s ideals? Archer explains after his death, he became some sort of guardian out of time to safeguard human history as a tool. He killed so many that he couldn’t care anymore. He just didn’t want anyone to cry. That is when it hit him Shirou’s ideals were shallow. It’s impossible to save everyone. It drove him to despair. He throws a sword for Shirou to kill himself. The ideals he had were ridiculed. All those he wanted to save were killed. He is sick of cleaning up the mess and repeating this eternal cycle. His only hope for this to stop if the hero never existed. Never born. Saber argues Archer will continue to exist as he exists out of time. True. But there is that possibility. Even if it doesn’t, at least this world will not appear a certain champion of justice. After Shirou confirms Archer’s regret, he is now certain they are both different beings. Whatever Shirou does, he won’t regret it. If Archer is his ideal, he’ll just have to get rid of that misguided ideal. Enough talking guys. Time to fight.

Episode 20
Kirei is going to take Rin’s heart. Sorry Shinji. Your protests are ignored! But before Kirei could kill her, Lancer stabs in the heart! Lancer wouldn’t have been much a hero had he die that easily. Shinji thought he has the last laugh now that it is only them. Still being the jerk. Because Rin still rejects him, he is going to kill her and make her submit. Lancer beats him up. Still not dead? Shinji thought of calling Gilgamesh to kill him but that blondie is nowhere to be seen. Now you’re screwed. Lancer just scratches him and that coward runs away for his life! Lancer and Rin talk about a few things before he burns the place to take Kirei along with him to hell. Back to Shirou and Archer’s fight, although the latter is clearly superior, Shirou’s ability to master his past abilities will have him catch up in no time. I suppose it is time for a change in scenery so Archer invokes Unlimited Blade Works again. As Shirou takes a beating, Archer continues to berate him of his hypocrisy and ideals. Shirou is just someone who is trying to copy the ideals of a dead man who has failed to live up to. As Shirou is struck down, he is left to believe all that Archer has said had been through. Though, he feels that he is forgetting something. After seeing all of Archer’s pain and killings, Shirou is finally at the scene where he was pulled out from the rubble of the great fire by Kiritsugu. So the thing Shirou thinks he has forgotten was about the true wish for this hell to be undone then. Even if his life becomes hypocritical and a machine, he will still continue becoming a hero of justice. After he pulls out a sword, all his wounds are healed. Something to do with Saber’s scabbard, the link that Kiritsugu implanted in them to save their lives. Despite their severed contract, it still continued to protect him. Shirou mentions his body is built of blades. He might lose to anyone but he won’t be beaten by himself. His heart was weak thinking of accepting Archer’s words. But now he realizes being right isn’t everything. He doesn’t care about that. He will become a champion of justice.

Episode 21
Archer has had it with this stupidity. There’s more talk about this ideal rejection. As for Shirou, even if everything for him is fake, he still finds it beautiful. But he knows his dream wasn’t a mistake. Shirou charges up to Archer. I guess due to old sentiments, Archer was unable to strike him as Shirou stabs his guts. It is Shirou’s win. Even if this matter between them is over, Archer is stabbed by Gilgamesh’s swords. In the biggest irony of his ideals, Archer saves Shirou out of harm’s way to get killed and then tells him to save the day. Well Shirou, you’ve always wanted to play the hero of justice, right? After mocking about originals and fakes, Gilgamesh and Saber meet for the first time in 10 years. He explains he remained in this world and took this form after the end of the last war. He explains the entire process of summoning the Holy Grail is nothing but a farce and pretext. What the mages wanted wasn’t the Holy Grail but its contents. However they were unable to fill it. As the Holy Grail must be filled with the highest and purest mana, that is why Masters and Servants were summoned. The more sacrifice, the better. When the Holy Grail burnt down the city in the last war, Gilgamesh was caught in it and he saw its true nature. It is actually a weapon perfectly tailored to kill. Therefore Gilgamesh’s desire is to eradicate all humans in this era by using it. If humans are wiped out, how can a king rule without any subjects? He wants to find those who can survive his hell. Those who do are worthy to be ruled over by him and those who don’t, well, that’s just too bad for those weaklings. Gilgamesh won’t kill them since he has slain his true target. Their lives are worth less than soot to him. He warns Saber to act quickly because he will soon produce the Holy Grail and rain down hell on this world. That Shinji dude is still alive? Yeah, he is blaming Gilgamesh for his minor injury he got from Lancer among other complaints! After mentioning Kirei is dead, he wonders how the Holy Grail will be materialized since they don’t have a vessel. On the contrary, Gilgamesh knows a Master whom he can sacrifice. He sticks Ilya’s heart into Shinji, turning him into an ugly mass of painful blob. Good riddance. I know we can be sure this jerk is finally dead but to see him go this way… Nah! He deserves it!

Episode 22
Rin wants revenge on Archer but certainly they can’t fight Gilgamesh without a plan. She has deduced the Holy Grail will manifest at Ryuudou because of all the familiars she sent to spy, that was the only one destroyed and this means Gilgamesh must be camping there. They plan in destroying the cup before it materializes and figured out that Shinji became the vessel. On who is to fight Gilgamesh, it seems Shirou thinks Saber won’t be right for the job. So he is going to fight that dude? Even Rin thinks Shirou has a better chance against him but the problem is his overwhelming Noble Phantasms. But Shirou might stand a better chance if he were to fight him in that Unlimited Blade Works’ world. Since Shirou does not have enough mana to even open that world, Rin is going to transplant her magic crests onto him. It might be her ultimate family’s legacy but she is willing to sacrifice that for her ultimate fight. So… How are they going to do it? You have to undress, eh? Body heat transfer thing, eh? No wonder Rin looks so embarrassed. Don’t worry. It’s just their top. And disappointment if you want to see Rin in her bra because she’s just wearing a camisole that looks more like a singlet you wear casually around your house. The transplant is successful but Rin starts blaming him for seeing it. No, nothing naughty. It seems during the process, Shirou saw her secret memories. He didn’t realize he was watching from her point of view all the times she spied on him! Rin, you stalker! And he didn’t know that strange guy was himself! She repeatedly smacks him with the pillow and he still doesn’t get what is happening. Later Shirou talks to Saber and the latter vows to protect them so they both can return to this house. Gilgamesh is in his final steps in making the Holy Grail pour hell over the city. Shinji is a hideous gigantic monster although his painful face still looks silly.

Episode 23
The plan is for Saber to enter via the front gate to fight Gilgamesh while the duo sneak from the back to save Shinji. Saber notes she can only user her holy sword one more time as she is running out of mana. Rin has to split her supply of mana to them. Why you so unhappy, Shirou? Someone else tries to be a little bit heroic and that is against your policy? As Rin and Shirou arrive, they see the huge blob that Shinji has become. Plus, the Holy Grail is spilling its curses and overflowing the place. To their shock, Gilgamesh approaches them. Then who is Saber facing then? How can Assassin still be around when Caster is gone? I don’t know about this special rule explanation since Assassin isn’t your typical summoned Servant. He even mentions he isn’t that Heroic Spirit. Although that person might be real somewhere in time, they are definitely different people for that Heroic Spirit might just be a mantle so Assassin was one who was most qualified to wear that using his skills. Rin pops some booster pill so she can wade through the curses to find Shinji while Shirou fights off Gilgamesh. He tries to trace all his swords and spears but it takes quite some time and energy. The Holy Grail then starts to absorb the malevolent wishes of humanity all around the world. Because Rin has pulled out Shinji, the curse that has lost the core is now seeking a replacement and trying to get Gilgamesh. He pulls out the greatest sword, Ea (a sword so fearsome that Shirou can’t even copy it) to put it back at bay. Shirou got caught in it. No, Gilgamesh. You didn’t hold back at all. Saber is hesitating over her options as she continues clashing with Assassin. Thus he has to hint to her about the things they are protecting and therefore there should be no doubt. He hints they are both running out of time. Seeing Assassin is near transparent, Saber reveals her Excalibur as both prepare their ultimate move. Assassin strikes with Tsubame Gaeshi but Saber dodges them all and cuts him. He lets her go before he vanishes. Oh, looks like Shirou still breaths.

Episode 24
Gilgamesh mocks the faker Shirou is. I thought Shirou was done with this? Because now he is reconciling the fact that he indeed borrowed his ideals, blah, blah, blah. Anyway Shirou is still going to believe in his dream even if he doesn’t achieve it. Saber comes to Shirou’s rescue but he tells her to help Rin because he knows he can defeat Gilgamesh. But first he apologizes he couldn’t save her. He believes the Holy Grail isn’t what she is looking for and should destroy it properly this time. Shirou then uses his power to transport Gilgamesh to his Unlimited Blade Works world. Because his body is made of unlimited blades, he doesn’t create swords. But a world with unlimited swords. Even if he is a fake and can’t rival the real thing, he just needs to surpass everything that is genuine and beat him. He even mocks Gilgamesh that he is a king and not a warrior. Therefore just like Shirou himself, he is a jack of all trades and master of none. He might possess every kind of sword but he never took the time to master any of them. I guess this pisses him off now. Going to fight with all your strength now? Stranded and weakened Rin warns Saber not to touch the curse or who knows what will become of her. She even uses a Command Spell to make her stay away since she is adamant in risking her life to save her. But when Rin realizes she cannot make it to safety, she uses another Command Spell to order Saber to destroy the Holy Grail now. In a twist of fate, Archer cannot stand this pathetic state and blasts open a path for her to safety. Rin uses her final Command Spell for Saber to obliterate the Holy Grail till no traces of it are left. She did such a good job that it is raining mini golden light balls. With the contract with Rin over, Saber disappears. Shirou powers up to repel every sword Gilgamesh throws at him and is even fast enough to slash off his hand before he uses Ea! It ends with a deep cut across his body. Back in reality, Gilgamesh acknowledges Shirou’s victory but will still kill him. However the Holy Grail turns into some sort of black hole and trying to absorb Gilgamesh. It might seem Gilgamesh is trying to pull Shirou in too but in fact he doesn’t want to die yet so he wants Shirou to stay put till he can crawl out. Archer fires right into his forehead before the black hole swallows him up. Rin talks with Archer and wants him to contract with her again. Although he has no more goals, she feels bad he cannot be saved at this rate. So he tells her to look after his other self and she agrees to do that so he won’t end up a twisted jerk like him. Rin meets up with Shirou and they go home.

Episode 25
2 years have passed. Shirou still feels nothing has changed ever since. Currently he is living in an apartment with Rin in London. Seems they are studying magic at Clock Tower, the Mages Association’s HQ. Shirou is more of her pupil due to some rule. Then there is also Luvia. Her first debut in this series. Already an annoying rival for Rin, she is also her classmate and neighbour. Sparks going to fly? Shirou treats her kindly because she helped him when he was lost and was the one who found them that apartment. Rin can’t stand her any longer and requests to fight. So in this wrestling match with magic, Luvia wins. Hey, at least Rin has got Shirou to console her. Rin talks to him about his invitation to officially join the association but he is still contemplating about it. Next day, Rin takes him to King Arthur’s grave so he could properly say goodbye to Saber. Then they talk about the big wide world, their insignificant selves and how the Holy Grail war was just one of the many events that sowed the future. We jump back to the past when Shirou is in high school and in the aftermath of the Holy Grail war. Issei is fine although Ryuudou Temple is undergoing major renovations. Shinji is recuperating in hospital as Sakura continues to stick by his side. Fujimura has them gather Kuzuki’s stuffs since that guy has gone missing. Issei still despises Rin but is shocked when she hints about her romantic relationship with Shirou. He never saw it coming. Later Rin tells Shirou about her invitation to Mages Association in London after her graduation. She is allowed to take a pupil under her care. So care to go with her? He is too shy to say it so she takes that as a yes. Now back in London, Shirou is grateful that she took him along. When a teacher passes by him, he asks about his reason to study magic because he doesn’t look like a mage and as a survivor of Fuyuki City, what motivation brings him here. Simple. He wants to become a champion of justice. But of course, Shirou turns down the enrolment to join Clock Tower because he feels he cannot change his way of life. Rin is not mad and expected this although she will be thrown out in 3 years too. Shirou has a feeling he will meet the same fate as him and Rin agrees too. But the difference is how far he can go before ending up in the same destination. Since Rin hints she wants to see the world too, looks like it is Shirou’s turn to drag her around. They’ll share the fun, the pain and everything together because the future is in their hands. Lastly, Archer narrating about a certain kid and his ideals and despite all that, he continues to believe himself is right.

The Cup Of Death
It doesn’t disappoint, to say the least. It was as of my expectations as it was as great as its prequel. And no, I did not set and lower my expectations like how I do to some of the anime sequels. I just couldn’t. And it was a good thing that this remake lives up to its awesomeness. Kudos and a very good job well done. As the series has a very deep and rich storyline with multiple alternatives, casual viewers like me who do not even play the visual novel game that it is based on might not understand some of the deeper aspects of everything. Nevertheless, the execution was smooth and seamless that even though I may not grasp entirely on everything, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the epic greatness of it all. Just that maybe the ending and final episode felt a bit lukewarm with its chatty drama but I suppose there is no other better way than to wind down and end the series after all that bloody bloodbath.

As I am not familiar to the routes of the Fate series, it was quite a shocker for me at first when I it was played out that Shirou and Rin are ending up as an item. In fact, this route is supposed to have them end up together. I only learnt that the original Fate series which is also dubbed the Fate route was Shirou x Saber. And now that there have been an announcement for another production of another route, Heaven’s Feel is going to be a movie for Shirou x Sakura. I suppose that is why they need to do justice to her character seeing she was completely missing in the second half of the series. Like her character didn’t matter anymore. Especially when Shinji the douche was used as the vessel instead of her in the original Fate series.

Watching the first few episodes at first had me thinking if they were going to just repeat what happened in the 2006 production. Everything felt the same but before I know it, it soon branches off to another route with different outcomes for different characters. Most notably is how Saber has been very much reduced to a supporting side character. As said, since she isn’t Shirou’s love interest in this route, personally I feel her presence was minor and not really of a great significant importance. I mean, Saber is still important. But not in the way that her character was played out in the original series. I figure that so as not to waste this, Saber ‘reprises’ her role again in destroying the Holy Grail and become the saviour of mankind for the current era. But then it feels like they want to usher her out of the scene quickly and make way for Shirou x Rin. I don’t know. I just felt awkward that it was like this way.

Another notable character is Archer. As this route is also about him and Shirou’s other self, he ‘lasts longer’ compared to the original series where he was taken out by Berserker. There are still some things that I don’t really get between Archer and Shirou but to each his own. Though, the only thing I can’t understand is his return to help Rin and Shirou in the final battle with Gilgamesh. I thought he really died and that was done with. By making his short comeback, it feels like ‘cheating’ because there was no other way our heroes could get out of this. So how? Bring back Archer when you least expected it! I don’t know about this. It just felt weird. Maybe there is something that I don’t understand but this kind of move makes me think it feels a bit cheap especially when you bring back a dead character. But who cares, right? Archer is a likeable character, right? Yeah well… I’m more into Saber… :-).

Taking a big hit this season is Rider. Her appearance reduced to a mere pathetic state since she was killed off as fast as she made her appearance! At least last season she had that fight with Saber, revealing her Noble Phantasm. Ah well. You can’t have everything. And I thought this would also in turn ‘kill off’ Shinji but that guy lasted till the end albeit he became a pawn for unbecoming reasons. Also the biggest casualty is the fact that Ilya died! It was shocking and heart breaking to see that this loli was killed off in a cruel fashion! Because in the original season despite she lost, she continues to stay with Shirou and thus contributing to the harem factor. As a result, this harem factor is also cast aside. Ilya’s dead, Sakura is ‘missing’ and Saber is just another loyal Servant. Oh, I forgot about Luvia but that is another story. As a result, the romance with Rin feels a bit on and off. I mean, you can’t have full blown romance when you are in the middle of a war, can you? So… No kiss at the end?

Caster seems to have more screen time this season albeit her role feels like she is playing the mid-boss and middle antagonist. Unlike in the original she was abruptly killed off by Gilgamesh, Archer betrays her and takes over the antagonist and final boss role before Gilgamesh becomes the ultimate final-final big boss for Shirou to overcome. I almost forgot about Lancer. That guy’s fate in all seasons feels tragic. No doubt he has more screen time here too, the original series sees him being killed off by Gilgamesh. Now, he had to kill himself. This was somewhat the same too in Fate/Zero. Poor guy. Same case with Kirei. Although he is a scheming villain, instead of being killed by Rin’s dagger before, now he gets killed off by Lancer.

One of the greatest contributing factor I believe in making this season as great as the predecessor is the awesome visual effects. They still have not lost their touch in producing all the visual eye candy and retain many of the good stuffs you see in Fate/Zero right here. So whether they are the air particles, the smoke steam, the water ripples and even the majestic effects in the fight scenes, it really does evoke that grandeur sense and everything you see here is made in top notch quality. Even the shadow and lighting of every scene are excellently done. Very good indeed. Hence it is clear to see why this series under Ufotable fares very much better than its predecessor. This is what you call quality.

The fight scenes are still as awesome and amplifying that effect as said are the special effect visuals that come with it. You will be in for a feast for your eyes when you see Servants taking on each other and guaranteed there is no short of breath taking epic blockbuster. Even if it might seem ridiculous, but please bear in mind and remember that these aren’t any ordinary people in an ordinary fight. You can feel the power impact each time they unleash your magic or strike their weapon. Well, at least I experienced it since I was quite engrossed and glued to the screen during the fight scenes.

Another great thing is that all the seiyuus who lend their voice in the original series, reprise their role in this season. Therefore there is no ‘shock’ in hearing your characters sound different than before. Although the visuals greatly improved, there is no reason for a change in the voice acting department since everybody did a splendid job before. Thus it is good to hear all your favourite seiyuus in their usual roles like Noriaki Sugiyama as Shirou, Kana Ueda as Rin, Junichi Suwabe as Archer, Ayako Kawasumi as Saber, Shinichiro Miki as Assassin, Hiroshi Kamiya as Shinji, Mai Kadowaki as Ilya, Jouji Nakata as Kirei, Nobutoshi Canna as Lancer, Noriko Shitaya as Sakura, Rikiya Koyama as Kiritsugu and Tomokazu Seki as Gilgamesh.

The first opening theme is Ideal White by Mashiro Ayano. Although sounding like a generic anime rock piece, the liveliness and upbeat pace will get you into the mood of the series. The second opening theme is slightly less lively, Brave Shine by Aimer. But it is still a good rock piece to hear and befitting the direction of where the series’ plot on where it is heading. The main ending themes are done by Kalafina. If you are familiar with their trademark voice singing style, you will feel right at home here. Believe is the first ending theme while Ring Your Bell is the second one. While the songs do sound great, sometimes you wonder if it is just the same song with a few modifications because many of their songs basically sound almost the same. There is a special ending theme but it lasts only for a single episode. The dramatic This Illusion by Lisa marks the halfway point of the series. Last Stardust by Aimer is an insert song in the form of slow rock.

Overall, this is definitely an amazing and epic series. Even if you are not a fan of the series or even one who is into the action fantasy genre, I will still recommend to watch this series for its great epic visual effects, fight scenes, characters and while maybe not so much the plot, at least enough of a story to drive the direction of the series and its characters. Some may say not to watch the original series but I recommend doing so in order to fully appreciate the great quality of this one. Not too sure if there is going to be any more arcs that need animating (not even sure if there are other routes in the series), but I am sure I’ll be waiting to watch if Ufotable picks it up. And I do know I don’t need the wish of the Holy Grail to make that happen. Speaking of which, aren’t there better, faster and easier ways just to destroy humanity? Like, taking away internet connection? Yeah…

Ah well, the remake of the Fate series is over. Feeling the hangover about it? But do not fear. In its absence we still have Ilya’s little series that is still ongoing albeit being split into many small seasons. And for those of you who are staunch Ilya supporters and were devastated about her ultimate fate (no pun intended) in the remake of the said TV series, don’t worry folks. She is still kicking and alive, doing well and going strong in the third season of her own series, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya 2wei Herz. More magical Ilya and friends goodness coming right your way!

Episode 1
Summer is here. I can understand the lolis being excited but Fujimura too? Yeah. No damn kids to babysit. So Ilya and friends head to the shopping centre to buy swimsuits for their beach outing. Ilya’s friends bow to Miyu like a God because she carries a super rainbow credit card. Not sure if Miyu is being sarcastic as she says she doesn’t remember being friends with them! With the friends in their usual folly, trying to put a very risqué swimsuit on Ilya and Tatsuko being an exhibitionist, their rowdiness has the customers irritated and leave that the clerk has to apologize and put her foot down. Meanwhile Luvia and Rin have to get busy for summer. They never expected to detect the presence of the eighth card under the sea. Chloe is running low on mana so she tugs Ilya to help replenish. In a very ambiguous scene that would have outsiders caught dead in misinterpreting this yuri loli fuss, unfortunately they didn’t know Mimi is eavesdropping and every single ambiguous line they spew makes it sound like they are in some horny lesbian relationship! Mimi gets even more shocked when they go deep into kissing and mention even about the prospects of Miyu as a threesome. Mimi is surprised when Miyu interrupts her and tells her to not get in their way and forget everything she saw. How can she? When the outing is over, Miyu stays over at Ilya’s place. Everyone gives her a warm welcome but it just makes her feel awkward. As Shirou is the only guy around, some tease him for his loli harem and he is caught between a rock and a hard place about his answer in following the girls to their beach outing tomorrow. Either he is a pervert lolicon or gay, depending on his answer. Chloe continues to tease Shirou by wearing a see-through lingerie pyjamas. During bedtime, you wonder why Iri is joining in with the lolis. Maybe she feels this young, eh? The bed is getting cramped… Of course they talk about Shirou, the sinful guy he is. Being quite noisy, Shirou comes in to check what is going on only to hear them talking about neutering him! They think he might need one for barging into a room filled with women on their talk.

Episode 2
It is here for real. The girls rushing towards the beach. Ruined only when Tatsuko starts stripping naked. So as not for Shirou to make it look like this is a harem, he brought Issei along. Suzuka is interested in their relationship as Issei ambiguously expands it. Great. Now her fujoshi mode is activated. Ilya notices Miyu not having fun so she explains this is only her second outing in her life to the beach. She once lived in Fuyuki City with her dad and brother. When her dad died of illness, he was taken in by a family abroad. Her brother resembles a lot like Shirou. Premonition for something? Suddenly Bazett is here. Don’t worry. She is not here to fight them but sell popsicles. In the last event after destroying Luvia’s house, she is forced to find money for repairs. Luvia used her authority to freeze her credit as she ran out of cash. So she had to take up multiple part time jobs and only eat grass. Yes… GRASS!!! So care to buy a popsicle for 500 Yen each? Ripped off… The reason for this beach outing is to also celebrate Ilya, Chloe and Miyu’s birthday. At the beach house run by Tatsuko’s family, because Miyu doesn’t understand the significance of celebrating birthdays, Shirou explains about the celebration and gratitude of being born. After getting their presents and Miyu’s heartfelt speech of thanks, Suzuka and Nanaki won’t lose out and try to give the birthday girls their risqué swimsuit as present.

A commotion is heard nearby. It seems Luvia and Rin have cordoned off a large area of the beach to dig for the eighth card. If it is bad enough for them all to meet, can it be coincidence if Bazett too walks into the picture? With Issei being sharp and questioning the ladies of this shady construction, before the loli magical girls can push their friends away from this conflict, Nanaki recognizes Luvia and Rin. And it isn’t a pleasant one. She blames them for ruining her sister Nanami’s love life. They threw frogs at her and now she is afraid of them. Ilya is forced to do something although is not directly involved but it involves the groups that revolve around her. When they realize Nanami’s love was Shirou, many of the girls try to claim Shirou as theirs. Hey, even Issei is trying to claim Shirou as his! And Bazett is still selling her popsicles. So what is Ilya going to do?! Run away! This is when Ruby has the perfect solution. In view of her rising love rivals, she has prepared an injection. Oh no. Doesn’t look good. She injects it into Shirou and he falls flat on his face. Luvia tries to take advantage of this and smother him in her boobs. But when he comes to, he starts describing her boobs and this makes her embarrass as she throws him to Rin. Now it’s her turn for breast analyzing? Yeah, he has a word or two for others too. The injection is actually a truth serum. Oops. Looks like Ruby blundered. Then she injects everyone with sedatives that has them so calm that they turned into some Buddha statue. Then another injection into Shirou to set the stage for Ilya’s romance with him. As things are about to get steamy, Mimi freaks out at this. How did Ruby miss her? I guess this is what happens when your character doesn’t stand out. So Chloe and Miyu aren’t enough and she is now resorting to her bother? Shirou gets owned… Ruby is happy to see everybody’s reaction. That happiness is short-lived as Sapphire initiates her punishment. Although nobody could remember that chaotic moment, at least they remember having fun prior before. I think that is good enough. Bazett couldn’t sell her quota so her boss thinks she was slacking and cuts her rate!

Episode 3
Mimi is having nightmares of that yuri loli scene! To get it out of her system, she needs to write it all down! So when the friends are over to do homework, Mimi seems to be troubled over something. Ilya tries to help her out despite Mimi clearly doesn’t want to show it to her. This causes an intense argument between Chloe and Miyu about a situation like this. And Ilya has to choose sides… When Suzuka notes about the pain of being a woman and such arguments like this won’t happen if they were guys, suddenly it hit Mimi. What if she changes their gender to male? Oh God! It sounds so good that she starts writing and cannot stop! Looks like whatever problem is solved. When Suzuka returns home, her sister forces her to come up with a manuscript because her assistant screwed up. Suzuka knows it is impossible in this short time but remembers there might be one… Suzuka has noticed Mimi’s fujoshi’s behaviour and tricks her to come to her place and bring her notebooks. After tying her up and letting big sister read it, she finds this yaoi threesome story to be absolutely good. They then rein Mimi to their side by explaining they are comrades of the same fantasy. Mimi also attends her first yaoi doujinshi to help sell that newly published story. Eventually Suzuka rats out Mimi’s character to Ilya and co. Because they do not understand a bit about BL and even in the plainest term that Mimi has turned fujoshi, she brings them to her house. Wow. Cabinets filled with fujoshi books… However Mimi is at the door so Suzuka hides them in the closet and to observe her behaviour. They see how Mimi is reacting and talking with glee about yaoi. Not that they understand anyway. So they refer to a yaoi manga that Suzuka gave them to find out more. Oops… Looks like men being gay with each other! Now you understand?! They hear Mimi spewing yaoi terms like a pro so much so they have to be censored out! Ilya is very embarrassed with it while Chloe is just being cheeky. Their commotion accidentally reveals their location. Mimi’s first reaction? Were they doing something hot and steamy in the closet?!

So they listen to Mimi’s story that she only recently got hooked. I guess it’s Suzuka’s fault to begin with. However Mimi doesn’t want them to blame Suzuka because she wrote the stories in her own taste and it means her soul was already shaped by BL. I think it also means she’s a gone case. Mimi then reveals a dozen notebooks of short stories she has already written! That addicting, huh? Even more surprising is that she can’t stop having lewd thoughts of Shirou and Issei! The commotion has Suzuka’s sister barging in for interrupting her yaoi simulation. Yeah, this girl is on a totally different level. First she has Mimi explain her feelings towards BL. Although it is embarrassing, she can’t help like them. What about Ilya? She doesn’t think that is normal. The solution? They should stop being friends. If you have to stop someone from something just because you don’t understand about it, who needs friends like that anyway? She continues that they know their hobby is weird and that is why they hide it from others. They can’t stop liking it. So if a friend interferes just because it is weird, does this mean friendship is about rejecting things you don’t understand? If you can’t do that, at least pretend not to notice. The lolis are inspired. Ilya and Mimi reconcile. But Ilya wonders if fujoshi have no interest in getting boyfriends then. Big sister explains BL is just fantasy and shouldn’t be mixed up with real life. However Mimi explicitly states she doesn’t need a boyfriend and she really thinks that dating should be of the same gender. Oh dear… She is already a hopeless case… I think it’s time for her friends to leave. Oh, Miyu has finished a volume and now understands about BL. Let’s hope she didn’t convert too.

Episode 4
The magical girls are now doing construction work, using their magic to bore tunnels under the construction area. As thanks, Luvia gives them tickets to an amusement park. So we have the usual suspects at this theme park with a weird lion mascot. Only now replacing Shirou is Iri accompanying them. I suppose Ilya’s friends are talking good things about Iri that she even starts talking a bit of family history about her romance, much to Ilya’s dismay. They have all the fun rides and since this is Miyu’s first time, this might be the first time hearing her scream from riding a roller coaster. After the crowded parade, it seems Iri has been separated from them. They thought she might be at the lost children centre but to their surprise it is their school nurse, Caren Ortensia who is manning the place. Then Iri calls them. Due to her luck being some 10,000th customer, she is made to wear some wedding dress for some commemorative shot. Suzuka and friends want her to continue what she is doing. Mama has got to have some fun too, right? But what about a guardian? Some rides need a guardian to accompany. Don’t worry. They’ve got Caren. Surprisingly Caren agrees to that. Along the way, they see a lion mascot pulling up cool acrobatic manoeuvres to save a kid’s balloon. Caren then whispers to her to tag along with them. Nearing the end of the day, Ilya realizes her bracelet charm is missing (from Shirou’s present). The friends go all out to search and the magical girls even transforming to locate it but to no avail. Just as the park is closing and Ilya about to give up, Miyu is given a hint by Caren about they’re doing such useless things without a plan. This has Miyu start thinking about the bracelet’s structure. From the looks of it, it wasn’t broken and just unfastened. But it was designed not to unfasten easily and it must have fallen off by some special force. Thinking back, it could be during the parade. Miyu finally finds it in the shallow rivers. Ilya is so happy that she dives down into the river to hug her. She thought she lost it for good. When Iri finally meets up with them, she learns Caren had been their guardian. She doesn’t look too pleased although both grownups try to put up a polite facade but you can tell bad blood is boiling underneath. Caren is refusing to tell why she accompanied them when she could have rejected them outright. The person underneath that mascot suit is Bazett. Yeah, another part time job. This time she is happy she could keep the suit because it will act as her sleeping bag!

Episode 5
Time for the fireworks festivals. The friends are there early in the day. Since this is Miyu’s first time too, she can’t help do her calculative analysis how the prices of these stalls are ripping off everyone! You can’t put a price on fun, eh? I guess in that sense, Miyu is going to have a hard time living up to that version of fun. The usual fun at the festival. Then Ruby gets jealous when Ilya buys a mask of a young bushido girl. She is threatening this disloyalty with lawsuits! Ilya just dumps her in the dustbin. Then one of the stalls is manned by Bazett! She is intimidating them to play. Her friends tried and they win nothing. Not even a consolation prize. Now she is trying to make Ilya and the rest play. Till Luvia shows up and buys the entire prize with her big money. Bazett gladly closes the store with this much money. And of course Miyu analysed with this amount of money wasted to cover the excessive total expenditure… Shirou is helping Tatsuko’s father in one of the stalls. This guy is here too? If he is short of manpower, why not call Tatsuko? This is his damning line: Tatsuko is a big help when she is not around… Oh sh*t… Father frees Shirou to let him join the rest. Why also give free food? To keep Tatsuko away from them. Oh sh*t… That speaks volumes. Luvia and Rin are perhaps enjoying a nice time with Shirou. Earlier on, Rin tricked Luvia in not wearing any underwear beneath her yukata. Now she is telling Shirou those who do are sick perverts. Upset of being tricked, Luvia smacks a water balloon behind her back and pops it. It looked like Rin couldn’t hold it in and is starting to leak. Right back at ‘ya! This reminds Ilya that she is wearing any underwear beneath. Coincidentally, her sash starts to unrobe. To prevent from being an exhibitionist, she transforms into her magical girl. Ruby is totally upset she used this to hide her nudity and is against it. Luckily Miyu helps Ilya put back her yukata nicely. Then she asks Miyu about becoming a magical girl via coincidence. It might happen in anime but it’s not the same for some. How was it for Miyu? It was the same. While everyone is watching the fireworks, Chloe laments about Ilya refusing to take that step again. She believes Miyu is hiding something and something intimately related to them. Bazett gets an earful from her boss because he tells her all that money is still not enough to cover the costs. That will be deducted from her pay. NOOOOOOO!!!

Episode 6
Too hot a summer. Too hot to do anything. Rather than being cooked up in the house, Ilya and Chloe go help Shirou water the plants only to find Iri and Liz soaking in a mini pool. Mother teases them to come in and then pushes them in. Shirou comes by and is shocked to see this. Lolis in wet clothes. And when Sella is here, she misinterprets Shirou being a pervert and beats him up. It’s always his fault, eh? The entire household is then invited to Luvia’s mansion that has recently finished its reconstruction. Luvia is treating them to a house party for the inconvenience. I think Iri loves to see the brewing cat fight between Luvia and Rin over Shirou so she gives them sexy pictures of Shirou. Luvia says she doesn’t need them but her body is doing the opposite. As a result, master and maid get into their usual argument. After that, the related parties gather to discuss retrieving the eighth card lying in the mirror world. Bazett will be joining them but not as an ally but a competitor. Also, there is a problem that the card has been absorbing a ridiculous amount of mana enough to shrink the ley lines. It might turn into an unimaginable monster. Their tactic is to engage with maximum firepower and end it with the first strike. Late that night, Luvia talks to Miyu and knows she has been acting strange since the eighth card was discovered. Miyu will gladly opt out from this operation if so but Luvia understands she is deeply connected to it. She won’t ask if she doesn’t tell. After all, Luvia considers Miyu as her little sister. Ilya hears Chloe questioning Iri about the cards and the Holy Grail War because they are related. She thinks Iri is playing dumb as Chloe felt the system of summoning the Holy Grail has changed. Because the classes of the cards are similar to the classes of the Heroic Spirits. If you are familiar with the original FSN works, you would know that cards are not used to summon Heroic Spirits and there is no eighth card. Ilya pulls Chloe away because she believes mother is not playing dumb. Even so, it is not right to get involved in their problem. Their problem? Chloe has serious problem with that definition because the existence of the cards will affect her existence. She believes Miyu is also deeply affected with this. Rin talks to Bazett about their upcoming operation. Bazett is not impressed those kids are in this operation but Rin tells them they might be very related to this. Ilya and co get ready for the operation. She can’t let these thoughts bog her down but she does know their answer lies in finding them.

Episode 7
The gang are ready to teleport. Bazett makes the cut right before they start. Upon arriving, they see a very ominous dark mana. Ilya and co do all that elaborate preparations to kill him off with their first strike. But surprise! He blocked their most powerful attack. When he starts attacking and the attacks are getting fiercer, the ladies have no choice but to retreat. I guess it is time for Bazett to get out of the joke character and remind us why she kicks ass. As she charges directly to it, all the swords and spears pierce her body! OMG! She just get killed off like that?! Is this a joke?! But the final stab to the heart, it is like some sort of condition to revive Bazett as she turns into a powerful punching berserker. To everyone’s dismay, with all the swords the enemy has, they realize that each one is a Noble Phantasm. The swords attack everyone. Chloe’s shield cannot hold on much longer and they really need to escape back to their world as they won’t have any time to recharge for another attack. Bazett continues to directly attack. A sword almost pierces her forehead but if not for Chloe’s counter attack, she could have been dead. I guess the girls don’t really want to escape without her. The temporary binds on the enemy has Bazett using this chance to rip through his core and grab the card. To her shock, she sees an Archer Class Card. But even in this state, the enemy continues to be as powerful as ever, initiating his next attack. Although everyone barely and safely teleport back, Bazett mentions she has learnt a couple of things. The enemy is of another Archer class and they cannot defeat it. They must find another solution and forget about retrieving that card. Chloe agrees because she doesn’t want to fight that thing again. Before they can even rest, the enemy breaks through into this world.

Episode 8
One of his Noble Phantasms might have the ability to break through space and time. Luvia detonates the ceiling to crush him and buy time to get to the surface. You think that is enough to kill him? Well, now he turns into a giant black spaceship heading towards the city. The girls are contemplating their next move when Caren pops up mocking their pathetic state. The little ones are surprised when they learn her true identity. Caren is from the church and is sent as an observer and backup to retrieve the cards. Although the church and Mages Association are enemies, currently they are having a truce. Giving them hints on the situation, it seems the church has also seen this coming and put everyone in town to sleep so everybody don’t have to worry about mass panicking. Noticing the ship is hovering about town and not attacking indiscriminately, the girls decide to take this short moment to rest. This means a little loli yuri from Ilya and Chloe for those who have forgotten what this show is partly about ;p. Caren then gathers everyone as she has found out the enemy’s goal. The way he is hovering on top seems like he is looking for something. They remember they heard him say Holy Grail during their fight. Then the ship moves towards Mt Enzou. Beneath it lies a cavern supposedly where the Holy Grail sleeps. Ilya and Miyu head there first as they could fly. While the rest make their haste, they explain to us about this. 10 years ago, the Einzberns conducted some ritual to call down the vessel of their wishes. This incident is brought forth by the remnants of that. It can be stated that the cards are unrelated to the Holy Grail war. Also explained is the magic formula used to summon the Holy Grail and that Ilya and Chloe are important ingredients to it and thus they are the Lesser Grails. The Holy Grail war ended before it was completed then and thus never formed. The formula should still rest half broken under that cavern. The problem is that if the enemy was seeking the Lesser Grail, Ilya and Chloe would have been targeted. Pursuing the formula would be futile as it is broken. The Einzberns also never used cards to summon Heroic Spirits. Long story short, there is another Holy Grail war aside from the ones by Einzberns. The enemy turns Mt Enzou into a crater to reveal a huge cavern. He starts activating the big magic circle. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out it will be big trouble so Ilya tries to push him out of it. But it seems she pushed out a naked blonde dude. And she was grabbing and squeezing his crotch… Ilya, you have been tainted!

Episode 9
A guy telling a girl to take responsibility? Now that’s a change. Before we can make naked jokes and make the girls fluster and act unnatural in his birthday suit, blondie boy whom I’ll name as Gilgamesh puts on some decent clothes to initiate a serious talk. This subsequent technical talk is also explained by Caren who is starting to suffer from bodily injuries. Can’t last longer so have to tell the gang what is happening, eh? So this is what I understand. Caren and her church have been observing people going in and out of the cavern. One day the number didn’t match. Somebody came out although no one entered it. This was before Chloe came about. That person is Miyu. She is a princess from the parallel world. The Holy Grail war was created for her sake as she is a complete version of it. Call it a Holy Grail with a full human personality. She is the reason why the Class Cards exist. Miyu seems to have resigned to her fate. She blames herself for all the troubles and that she should not have come. As she is being pulled in, Ilya tried to save her but all Miyu did was pass Sapphire to her and tell her to destroy her along with everything. Bye. What emerges is a very huge and hideous Heroic Spirit monster that is on the verge of going berserk. Gilgamesh also gets absorbed into it. He tells Ilya she has no chance in winning and if she doesn’t want to die, leave the cards and run. You think she will? Gilgamesh stabs her with a weapon but Ilya turns out to be a decoy (Sapphire in disguise). This enables Ilya to go up close and slap him! Where is Miyu? Right in the core’s centre. Don’t worry. She is still alive. Chloe and Bazett have arrived on scene to rescue Ilya. She explains what has happened so Chloe tells her to rest and heal those wounds and find her answer. Chloe and Bazett have a hard time trying to get to its core and do some serious pounding. When Gilgamesh is going to drop his gigantic sword, to everyone’s shock, Ilya breaks it! Is this the power of a mad loli? She realizes what Miyu said is not supposed to be what a friend should say. So she has decided to pull Miyu out of there and slap her!

Episode 10
With Iri arriving, I guess Caren is obligated to tell her that a different Holy Grail formula aside the Einzbern’s one is activating. Ilya powers up greatly after combining Ruby and Sapphire’s power. This means there will be great strain on her body and in turn this is affecting Chloe (the curse has whatever pain Ilya feels, Chloe will also feel the same). Instead of stopping reckless Ilya, Chloe wants everyone to help her push forward instead since she is going to great lengths to help a friend. Gilgamesh relishes fighting Ilya because he believes he is going to have a lot of fun fighting someone powerful. The final attack has Gilgamesh unleashing his ultimate sword that divided heaven from Earth and Ilya firing her ultimate magical beam. Meanwhile trapped Miyu is reconciling what is happening. The life she once lived, the live she is currently living, the dream that is all is. Before she knows it, Miyu is back in the real world. Looks like Ilya finally defeated Gilgamesh. They are in a huge crater and it is raining golden showers. Oops. I mean golden bubbles. At least that is what it looks like. Ilya and Miyu reconcile. They thought prying into the other’s identity/life would change the way things are but now they don’t want to run away anymore. About that slap, I guess Ilya didn’t have the heart to do it. And everything ended well that they didn’t even need Iri’s intervention. At least mom can heave a sigh of relief.

Ilya is sleeping in bed back in her room only to be awakened by Chloe’s kiss! You think that was Shirou, eh? Speaking of him, he comes in to check on her and sees this. Woah! Too much to handle. But this misinterpretation is the least of their problems. They haven’t done their summer homework yet! Same case with their friends. Nobody did it. Not even Mimi. I think I know why… The friends are afraid of asking Miyu because she rejected them once but surprisingly this time she gladly comes over to help. When Tatsuko reads questions that coincidentally have words like rearranging the eighth card and a parallel queen, it sends our magical lolis into panic. Their actions are so obvious that their friends are starting to get real suspicious. Then they just burst into laughter. What? I didn’t get the joke! More troubles for Ilya when her friends bug her to help with their work. Even off duty being a magical girl, Ilya is such a busy loli. Rin wonders what to report to her superior because the eighth card disappeared. Luvia says just to lie about it. As for Miyu’s existence, they aren’t going to tell of course. What about Bazett? She’ll report everything as she has seen. Won’t their reports be inconsistent then? Not to worry. The higher ups are currently infighting and with different factions fighting for power, it will take them some time to notice this. What happens when they do? She’ll think about it when the time comes! When Iri and Caren revisit the site, they are shocked that the crater is gone and replaced with lush greeneries. It is deduced that the space between the parallel worlds might have been swapped.

Special 1
After watching a cat DVD, Ilya is so loving it but Chloe thinks otherwise. Shirou also mentions he loves cats but why the family never got one? When you have one as close as Liz… Back in the room, Ruby shows Chloe and Miyu a very sexy pose of Ilya in cat outfit. She tries to coax Chloe into doing so as this might steal Shirou’s heart. Chloe knows it is a trap but tries it out anyway. Miyu is also coaxed to participate under the pretence of not letting Ilya feel lonely doing this. So we have them in very sexy cat outfits. Ruby has them practice to act like cats but it seems she is making them do ambiguous sexy poses and filming it all! I guess Miyu is looking cute so Chloe can’t resist and flirt with her. Before she could kiss her, Ilya returns and sees this horrifying scene. Ruby boasts all this is her work and that Ilya should turn into beast mode as well. Time to punish the culprit. Ruby argues they did this on their own volition. Ilya won’t allow Chloe to use what she has learnt to seduce Shirou. Then Miyu does a sexy cat move and it turns Ilya’s switch on. I think the shock didn’t make her go berserk like a pervert. She just wants to start off taking a commemorative photo.

Special 2
Ilya didn’t like how Chloe wears her clothes without permission. Since she has the ability, why not just materialize some clothes to wear? Chloe gives lots of excuse that she needs some visual model and that other clothes don’t suit her well in battle. She has a bad feeling when Ilya wants her to try and materialize several clothes from the magazine so that she can get a good idea how they look like on herself. She has to do it otherwise Ilya threatens she won’t help replenish her mana anymore. Besides, the clothes she makes come from her mana. Chloe plays along and tries out a few outfits. Finally there is one where Ilya takes a liking. Shirou comes back early from school so Ilya rushes to show him. Bad idea? Yes. As the clothes are of Chloe’s mana, it will disappear when Ilya strays too far. This means Shirou has got a full view of Ilya’s naked loli body! OMG! OMFG! His eyes! HIS EYES! Child porn is illegal, don’t you know that?!

Special 3
Nanaki is so mad complaining to Ilya and Chloe about Rin and Luvia that she is about to explode! Apparently they did something to her sister and she has been bedridden for 3 days. And all big sister did was trying to stop them from fighting. Now little sister is going to make them apologize with some sort of family torture method. That is why she is in Ilya’s room to spy on them. Just great. Now she is dragged into this. From her binoculars, she sees Rin and Luvia engaging in some super fast fighting combo. After Chloe explains their superhuman level combat prowess which they practice every day, Nanaki becomes distraught that she is no match for them. A mysterious voice then asks her if she wants to become stronger. Without hesitation, she wants to. This voice turns out to be Tatsuko and she is more than happy to introduce her to her family dojo. I guess this means Ilya and Chloe have to be dragged into this. They meet Tatsuko’s dad who runs the dojo. First, he asks their reason to learn martial arts because he will turn away any unjust reasons. Nanaki without hesitation tells him about her quest to make those b*tches pay. Daddy likes it and approves! So we see daddy applying his techniques by adapting them to his opponent’s move. Making their traditional moves more suspicious is Tatsuko’s explanation how their style was developed by the peasants oppressed by the samurais! Which is perfectly in line with Nanaki’s unjust goal! Nanaki seems to have grasped the basics by just looking. Daddy doesn’t think she can master in such a short time but the next thing we all know, he is beaten up like hell and conceding defeat! He regrets everything! Even Tatsuko has been ‘paralyzed’ from shock and unable to accept reality!

Special 4
The face off begins. With Nanaki spewing tough words, it makes her feel insulted that Rin and Luvia don’t remember who she is. Or even that incident at the beach. Nanaki demonstrates her strength by destroying Tatsuko’s dojo plaque! She is even more traumatized now. Luvia then remembers that dojo. On that festival night, she beat up Tatsuko’s dad for being rowdy with Shirou. That guy is just really weak, huh? Since diplomacy has failed, time to let the action do the talking. Both sides power up and you can just feel the tension. Any spark would make all hell break loose. Suddenly Nanaki blows her top that they are not attacking. Because the martial arts she learnt can only do counter attacking! If they don’t attack, it is useless! I’m sure Tatsuko is further breaking apart after hearing how Nanaki badmouths her dojo like hell. Rin and Luvia don’t really want to fight her as they have somewhere else to go: Visit Nanami and apologize to her. And with that, all the animosity is gone and Nanaki is okay with that. Upon entering the room, everyone is shocked to see Shirou cleaning Nanami’s naked back with a sponge! I’m sure they are at a lost to explain this with the right words. Especially when Nanami says how happy she is. Looks like the animosity is back up. Rin and Luvia are ready to kick her ass and let their fists do the talking. Nanaki falls into shock that her sister’s crush has been Shirou. She never knew… She gets ready to fight her sister’s rivals again. Ilya and Chloe can’t trust Shirou anymore so that means they’re not going to stop this fight. Chaos reigns inside the room and hearing from the lot of it, looks like Shirou got owned pretty bad. Tatsuko’s dad has created a new plaque for the dojo. He is looking forward to start anew when Tatsuko has become enlightened like Buddha, telling him that violence solves nothing! Only men can engage in dialogue! Well, at least all the violence did her some good. I think.

Special 5
Bazett wakes up nice and refreshed when she realizes when she cannot use her card. Asking the receptionist, it seems there is a letter from Luvia about the 2 million Yen debt she owes for the previous engagement. And if she tries to run away, Luvia will find her no matter what. Need to find a job fast… Meanwhile, Suzuka is forced to wear a maid outfit for her big sister’s manga inspiration. Unfortunately she lacks in every department (yes, EVERY department) and looks like a high school cosplayer (isn’t she one?) and the duo end up in a heated argument. Eventually Suzuka tells her off to visit a maid cafe to see for herself. And here she is. It seems Bazett is working part time at a maid cafe. Before big sister knows it, she is dragged in by her. The way Bazett greets her in her loud voice makes her feel like as though she is a yakuza boss! She orders an omelette rice and Bazett becomes crazy in making it delicious by splattering the ketchup all over. I think big sister is going to have some trauma. If losing her appetite was bad enough, Bazett wants to feed her. She’s not going to take no for an answer. Bad feeling about this. Thanks to her enthusiasm, here comes to train! Or rather, bullet train! I’m sure it is a very traumatic experience for big sister… Bazett got fired. She sees a poster for a part time job at the beach house. It is by Tatsuko’s dad and he pops up thinking she is interested. He will take her interview right now. There are lots of questions she can’t answer due to confidentiality so he doesn’t think she is the right person for the job. Then she punches him away claiming physical violence is her forte. When big sister returns home, she tells Suzuka that there fiction should remain as fiction. They don’t mix or nothing good will come out of it. Suzuka can’t understand what happened. Hey… Why no Ilya or Chloe featured in this final special?!

Magical Loli, Yuri Loli, Fujoshi Loli, Friendship Loli… A Loli For All Seasons!
Just like last time, they also announced the inevitable next season right at the end of the season’s final episode. With all that is happening and nothing really solved yet, I guess there is still a lot of material to cover from the looks of it. Frankly, this season feels like half of it was fillers especially the first half that didn’t really contribute much to the plot except showing Ilya and her friends how they enjoy their summer break. Therefore like in its anime title suggests, it feels more like a continuation and extension of the second season rather than a true third season itself. Sometimes I wonder why they just didn’t put it all into one season and the need to split it into seasons with the number of episodes equal to the number of fingers on an average ordinary person’s hands. Perhaps it is the case of not having enough episodes to extend it into 2 proper cours and at the same time not short enough to put it into 1 cour because if they opt for the latter, they would have to cut out a lot of materials and cram in everything, which is a big no for fans. Therefore I guess it is much safer to take a break and put in some fillers before resuming with the serious parts.

I have to admit that somewhat watching the fillers for this season are more enjoyable than the serious plot. Because I just find it now quite confusing. Maybe my brain is not working while watching this season. So I am left to wonder if this series is running parallel to the Fate universe now that they are talking about parallel worlds, the relation of the Class Cards to summoning Heroic Spirits like the ones in the Fate TV series and a different kind of Holy Grail war. I’m not really a fan of the Fate series and perhaps diehard fans could easily piece the puzzles together but for a casual viewer like me, it just gets confusing. At least it isn’t that bad that I totally didn’t understand a single thing. I guess I will have to wait for the next season to find out more. Or get my mind confused even further with more twists, plots and revelations. I don’t know if my mind can take it anymore even if this is a loli themed show. Yeah, there are some serious sh*t going on for this loli themed genre.

Back to the filler episodes, they are fun in a way because we get to see the lighter side of the girls especially Ilya’s friends who will definitely not have any appearance or hand when the going gets tough. So might as well make their appearance while they can before real sh*t happens. This time around, hogging the spotlight is Mimi, the girl who can be up there in the list of people whose existence can be easily missed. Quite the irony, eh? I suppose this season showcases how this honour student has fallen (or rather awakened) into the rotten fujoshi trap and will likely to stay there. Things will definitely not be the same. Now the entire loli group of friends are corrupted or at least not that innocent. I am not sure if they are trying to kill 2 birds with a stone by flashing yuri and yaoi stuffs here albeit the latter is still considered minimal. It is kinda heavy stuff for a series where you have lolis as the main protagonists, don’t you think? The fillers we also get to know a little more about Tatsuko who has been the big monkey of the group. Especially about her family and how much it means to them for her to stay away from their business! If she brings this much ruin, maybe they should recruit her to fight monsters because she’ll just kick ass and destroy the big boss in no time. As the comic relief and idiot of the group, she acts like one, her talk never make sense and sometimes she is a lot more bothersome than fun to be around with.

With yuri and fujoshi-cum-yaoi already in the picture, did they have to remind us about the subtle gay moments between Shirou and August? What is this series becoming too?! Because there was this scene during Luvia’s house party whereby Shirou stumbles upon August cutting some meat with his very sharp knives. Probably it is Shirou’s instinct to walk away before something undesirable or open to misinterpretation occurs but alas, August strikes! He says, “Don’t you like my meat?”. WTF?! The butler then proceeds to subtly warn the kid about touching the opposite gender because this is when his knives will really cut up some inedible meat. So is he trying to tell us not to touch his oujo-sama but he himself is a substitute is okay? Now with Issei in the picture (albeit his appearance was just one episode), the gay force is getting strong with Shirou (I hope it has nothing to do with that scene from FSN: UBW TV series). In short, Shirou is the guy whom almost every darn character would love to take out their sexual orientations with.

Not too sure if Bazett is an ally or enemy at the end of these events but during the filler episodes, she seemed to be turned into a joker character, a role that is more comical than Tatsuko. I guess when you are in the filler zone, everybody fierce or not become docile and comical. So for Bazett’s case, it has become a running joke about her poverty that she wears so many hats just for money. And sometimes it doesn’t end well for her because if she falls short of it, she gets her pay cut. It only goes to show that she isn’t really cut out for this kind of jobs and the only most appropriate field where she would feel at home is fighting head on with monsters and the likes. Super enforcer, check. Able to live life as an ordinary person, big fail. Caren shows her true colours this season (I can’t remember if she made any appearances in previous seasons but if there were, it was quite minimal) but for now despite the uneasy truce, I have a feeling she is more foe than ally.

There is also that bonding and relationship between Ilya, Miyu and Chloe but I’m not going to delve deep into that because at the end of the day, you can see that they have gotten close and even closer now that they have decided to face whatever that is bugging them head on and move forward. So what if Miyu is the princess of a parallel world? So what if Ilya and Chloe were ingredients for the Holy Grail war? The most important thing that matters to them is being friends, right? Enough said. Period. Just like in last season, I feel that Ruby’s sarcasm has waned a lot. Like as though she is getting lesser screen times as the seasons go by. Therefore she is being a cheeky and mischievous self for a longer period only in the specials. It also never ceases to amuse me the spat between Luvia and Rin but that too is kept to a minimum this season.

The action scenes are still good and perhaps the main draw of the series although personally I feel that this season is not as exhilarating as before. Don’t get the wrong idea. Maybe after the first half of fun and laughter and coupled in with the previous seasons, maybe the effect isn’t as great as it used to be as it was the first time. There are still some cool magical girl beams laced with special effects, big explosions, punches and kicks as well as Gilgamesh’s swords and shields that as his animation during monster mode is usually rendered in CGI. Heck, you only get one proper magical girl transformation scene and that is atrocious to a magical girl series as this is an important and must have component of the genre. Well, not that it bothers me a lot.

This season, Fhana takes over the opening theme duty singing Wonder Stella. Sounds pretty okay. Sounds pretty generic. Hmm… Maybe I just felt her voice sounds a little flat, that’s all. Yumeha Kouda reprises her role in singing the ending theme just like in last season. But this time and for the first time, the series has 2 ending themes instead of one. For the filler episodes, we have the happy fun filled Happening Diary and when the plot starts to get serious, we have the more serious and slow rock of Wishing Diary. The seiyuu casts from previous seasons are retained. Only joining the cast this season is Aya Endou as Gilgamesh (Fuuko/Sky Raker in Accel World) although the character’s name is never explicitly stated in this season, but there is enough evidence (at least for those who have watched the Fate series) to indicate so. Oh, there is also Tatsuko’s family members but their role is just small enough for me to not bother ;p.

Overall, not a bad season with a good mix of comedy, drama and action. All in one for a magical girl series. I don’t know how many more seasons this one is going to have. Whether they will catch up and follow closely with the source material or add in a lot more fillers. Then they can add in spin-offs after spin-offs and turn it into something like that Pretty Cure series. That series is still popular and ongoing with different spin-offs, versions and seasons in Japan? Geez. Thank goodness I am over that craziness for that series a long time ago. I hope this series won’t last that long too or follow that formula. Then it would make me want to wish on the Holy Grail just to end it for good. Eventually all magical girl series must come to an end. And all lolis will have to grow up too. Oh, the horror! (For all you lolicons, that is).

Anitore! EX

March 25, 2016

Do we need another exercise anime? Wasn’t that Hinako one enough? I guess not. I suppose with so much animes every year, we otakus have been building up the fats and sitting on our lazy asses. Our sedentary and inactive lifestyle is going to help contribute to the statistics of cardiovascular diseases and deaths. Don’t want that, do we? And so it is timely we have another exercise themed anime that will have you move those arms, legs, flab and body. This time you won’t have one busty chick that looks like she came out from some hentai show to guide us. We have 5 cute girls to help us. So get ready you fat lazy otakus as we watch Anitore! EX and at the same time move our bodies to reduce those fats percentage by 1000%! OMG! Did I read that right?! By 1000% seriously?! This would make The Biggest Loser look like a baby.

Episode 1
Hosted and demonstrated by Asami Hoshi. Push-ups for your arms and boobs. After doing 10 of them, she wants to head to the convenience store to eat ice cream. Oh yeah. I’m sure most of our workouts are like this. Next is sit-ups for your abs. She is struggling to do 10 but gets motivated thinking she could have ice cream at the end. Finally she finishes and when she heads to the store, the ice cream is already sold out! Healthy body, broken heart. What’s the use?!

Episode 2
Eri Higuchi watches us do push-ups but she thinks we are peeking underneath her skirt thanks to our very low visual position. Thus she is forced to demonstrate a different push-up, Hindu style. Not hinnyuu! After 10 counts, she demonstrates reverse push-ups using chair as support. She turns into a typical tsundere when we give her a towel to wipe her sweat.

Episode 3
Shizuno Saotome joins us in exercising after cooking. She demonstrates squats for the thighs and butt. While she is counting to 10, we hear her talk about the kind of meal she was cooking that is supposedly good for our body. This means no cheeseburgers and ice cream? Next is back extension. This one has you lie on your tummy and try to extend your body upwards. Somehow I have her feeling that her boobs are help propping her up. All that exercise is making us hungry so she cooks more than enough and even feeds us. I hope we don’t get back to square one… Or round one in this case :).

Episode 4
If Akiko “Shion” Tachibana is speaking using fancy words that you can’t understand, it is because of her chuunibyou. Don’t worry, there is a literal translation of what she meant by all that. So why does some witch girl have to exercise anyway? But be warned that this might be the most challenging exercise yet as the bow pose and camel pose are derived from yoga. So if you are a beginner, I believe this is not to be attempted since I myself can imagine all the pulled muscles and broken bones just by contorting like this. Yeah, they make it look so easy…

Episode 5
Asami, Eri and Shizuno come together to teach us dancing. But first, Eri wants to come up with a name for their group and she calls it Eri With Dancing Flowers. Because Eri is the group’s leader. So she thinks… Anyway, the dance moves that they’ll be teaching us are enough to learn if you ever wish to dance like an idol on stage.

Episode 6
Soft spoken Yuu Hiraoka believes that if she exercises, she could sleep better seeing her gloomy face is because she lacks sleep. She demonstrates back kick to us. Unlike previous exercises, she only counts to 8 seeing she needs to do them for both legs. She even reveals to us her klutz nature whereby she thought she lost her glasses but it was on her head all along. Next is reverse trunk twist and this one too is count to 8. Yeah, that little exercise is enough to make her sleepy. Sweet dreams.

Episode 7
Asami and Eri team up to demonstrate a harder push-up exercise. This time each push-up you will need to clap your hand. Eri plays a prank on her by holding her boobs as support but gets jealous after realizing how big they are. I guess this exercise is hard enough so the count is only until 5. Next is Hindu squats. Not hinnyuu squats! Since Eri is pouting about her small boobs, Asami shows pictures of herself when she was as flat as a washboard. Regular exercising and not being a fussy eater helps. This mean Eri has to like natto? Hindu squats are easier so they can do up till 10. Asami helps Eri stretch to cool down but accidentally falls on her. Eri feels her enormous boobs pushing on her back and vows to have a great body at the end of it all.

Episode 8
Another dance exercise and an extension of the one a couple of episodes back. This time Asami teams up with Shion and Yuu for the demonstration. Shion is spouting those exercise lines like some sort of dark magic ritual… Once done, Asami wants to go get ice cream but Shion panics since Asami knows she works at that convenience store. Shion denies everything and maintains she is a dark fallen angel.

Episode 9
Finally. A poolside exercise for swimsuit fanservice exercise. Eri and Shizuno demonstrate how to do stretching before you dip into the pool. These exercises takes 2 to tango so you can’t really do them all by yourself and need a partner. Before they could do the final stretching, Shizuno’s naughty pet ferret steals her bikini top for a little nip slip. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see any tits.

Episode 10
Asami and Yuu visit the gym to work out on some of the machines like the butterfly machine to build chest muscles. Yuu notices everyone is friendly with Asami. It makes her worry what she should do to make more friends and stop being shy around strangers. Instead of worrying, she looks up to Asami and wants to be like her. They try out more machines.

Episode 11
Shion leads Eri and Yuu to do some resurrection ritual which is basically Tai Chi. Her fancy words are confusing Yuu but thankfully there is Eri to translate all that. I believe Yuu has some self confidence problems so Eri blows all that away with her encouragement and past experience. Not that I care anyway. Asami and Shizuno join in but the rest won’t tell them what secret training they were doing.

Episode 12
This entire episode is basically one big exercise dance music video with snippets of previous episodes put in to get you to move and grove along with the girls. And what better motivation for all of them to don their swimsuits, right? The highlight of this dance is when each of the girls imitates a strange pose from animals. I mean, does that look like a panda whose husband cheated on her? What about an intense seaweed? A rebellious penguin? Fried Mexican salamanders? WTF?! I don’t know but they sure look funny. The funniest scenes and dance moves ever!

Get That Ass Moving! ;p
Let me guess. You didn’t really move along with those exercises, did you? Yeah… Guilty as charged. We are all still sitting here watching those cute girls doing all the moving just because we figure out that the only reason this show was created is purely for fanservice purpose masked under an exercise category. Do you not agree? I mean did you not notice that the camera angles keep zooming in on those delicious parts of those girls? It is just short of showing any tits or panty shots. With the camera angle supposedly to be the viewers’ eyes and point of view, I guess we really enjoyed watching them do we?

Therefore I am deducing that the only body part that would get rigorous exercising would be your right hand. AM I RIGHT???!!! Hahaha!!! I mean, how can 4 minutes of each episode be enough time for us to exercise seriously? Even 30 minutes should be the minimum and that is if you focus and concentrate, cutting out all the nonsense and crap. Thus this is the reason why I believe that most of us guy viewers didn’t really move along with the girls because the duration of each episode is so short that it is not worth getting up from your comfortable chair and move a little because by that time the episode has already ended. Whaaaaaaaat?! I just got up and getting warmed up and it is already over? This sucks. I’m not moving anymore. Yeah… That. Besides, the number of exercise examples here I believe aren’t just enough and if you just plan to do just all these featured here, I don’t think it will turn you into Mr Universe even in 10 years. But hey, this series is meant to make you healthy (albeit slightly) and not buffed up.

So as not to make this just some mindless exercise and cute girls to bait and lure you to move, I suppose they try to put in some personalities for the girls. However I do not think we will really care what kind of problem they had or overcome since we don’t really see or connect how relevant it is to the exercise they are doing whatsoever. Therefore it feels like a waste and with mixed feelings for the girls to have a little personality but in the end it feels wasted. We have the typical tsundere, the generic tomboy, the shy bespectacled girl, the chuunibyou and even the elegant beauty, all typical stereotypical tropes of anime girls and yet we don’t really care about them except to see them moving their bodies.

In the end, this series might not be a proper exercise video but if it is supposed to motivate you to get you to do some exercise by yourself, then I think it also fails in that. Because you can get even more detailed exercising tips from Google or even old proper workout videos compared to the ones featured here. At the end of the day, it all depends on your will power on whether you really want to get up and move about. Cute anime girls can only motivate you so much. Eventually, you otaku slobs will have to get up from your chair and go take a dump, right? So let us not give otakus a bad image and name as we shed some pounds and strive to become a healthy otaku. Can we all do that? Shucks. I guess I’ll have to put this one off indefinitely since I have a tight schedule of anime shows to watch for the next few months… No, I’m not lazy! I’m just busy, damn it!

Classroom Crisis

March 20, 2016

It is one of those shows where the synopsis doesn’t say much. A very general statement that could just mean anything, everything or nothing. But when you start watching it, it turns out differently. Of course that is mainly because you have formed your own perceptions and beliefs onto it. At least that was the case for me when I got to know Classroom Crisis and after I watched it. I knew it was going to be some sort of sci-fi as it states about human settlements throughout the solar system. This means colonies and duplicates of great cities like Tokyo (what else?) on planets such as Mars as seen in this series. The rest of the bland synopsis tells us what the main characters do. That’s it. I’m not sure if the charm is in the mystery of not telling us the rest and perhaps to pique our interest in watching the series. And then it turns out a little different than what you anticipated. It could be really great or just shockingly disappointing. But I’ll leave that at the end of the blog.

So judging by the anime title itself, I was thinking that the school is going to shut down due to the minimal number of enrolling students and thus they take it upon themselves to save the school. Oh wait. They did that already in Love Live. Futuristic version of it? Nope… Well then, hmmm… The main characters are a brother-sister pair whose relationship is also a teacher-student connection. So is there some sort of incest going around and when it is busted they go into damage control while trying to maintain status quo? Nope… How about a new transfer student that turns out to be some sort of crazy killer and picking off everybody in class one by one? That’s absolutely crazy! Definitely a big no on that. So if it isn’t all of the above, what else could it be? Hint: Business and politics… Oh…

Episode 1
There is a discussion among the big wigs of Kirishina Corporation about a demand of a hostage. There are threats to kill him if payment demands are not met. The CEO, Genzou Yanai is really tearing his hair out of this. However, the conglomerate which is run by the Kiryuu family, led by Kazuhisa the president and his brother, Yuuji the vice president, it seems they do not intend to give in to such demands despite the hostage is of an important person in their corporation. They want to label this as business related and not incident. So please keep your mouth shut on this. At the technological department, Kaito Sera is fixing a prototype craft. His outgoing chief Saigou Sasayama hopes he could be there to witness its official performance before his tenure ends. Kaito is also a teacher of the A-TEC (Advance Tech Development and Education) section. But looks like he isn’t so keen on teaching his students and wants to get back fixing his prototype. The class is abuzz of a new transfer student today but when he doesn’t show up, rumour has it that it has been delayed. In actual fact, he is actually in that hostage situation. As explained by Sasayama to Kaito, one of the mining asteroids owned by Kirishina. Coldwood experienced uprising by local workers not satisfied with the payment. The hostage got dragged into it. However Kirishina seems to be withholding payment despite Yanai wanting to just pay them off since that mine is slated to be closed and the banks have withdrawn their financial support. As the kidnappers have no bank accounts, the demand is to deliver by hand the cash. Failure to meet that deadline means the hostage will be killed. Kaito then starts to map out the fastest route and seems he knows he can make it there in time. The hostage tells the kidnappers their demands won’t be met. Not because of their faulty plan, but rather they chose the wrong hostage. He shows them his business card as he explains because of who he is, there are others who are going to snuff them out while taking him out too. He wants them to think of a plan that will benefit all parties and make a profit.

Kaito tells this to his students and he is confident he can reach there in his prototype, X-2. Of course the students protest since it is not tested and Kaito’s qualification as a pilot is questionable (he wants to play hero and ride that thing). Not to mention Mizuki is not only his student but his sister. Before Kaito can explain the rest of his plan, they realize their ace pilot, Iris Shirasaki has already taken off! Clearly lots of protocol violation here. They have no choice but to rush down to the control room and support her. Iris flies through a restricted zone which is asteroid belts. Each time a part of X-2 gets damaged, Yuna Nouen heart breaks. Oh, the cost… She is going to have a heart attack when Iris is forced to discharge a damaged booster. Cost rising, heartache rising. When Iris arrives before Coldwood, the landing system is down. No time for repairs? No problem. She’ll crash land that thing. It is amazing she is still in one piece but X-2 is wrecked beyond recognition. Oh, poor Yuna… When she heads in, she is surprised to see the hostage freed and alone. He too is surprised to see her. When he is safely returned, he chides Kaito for making the worst decision ever! He explains of the bloated costs in this rescue mission. Hundreds of millions! But that is just trivial. The X-2 they just wrecked? Billions! It’s a good thing they managed to salvage all the damaged parts, eh? When he shows his name card, he is Nagisa Kiryuu, the chief of the Advanced Technological Development department at Kirishina. This means the transfer student is their boss and his job is to downsize them. Cost cutting measure, eh?

Episode 2
A narration of Kirishina’s history in the aerospace industry for 70 years. It even goes as far back as how it all started. Founded by a couple of high school students after they exhibited their rocket at a local science fair, Takahisa Kiryuu and Renichirou Shinamiya. Nagisa’s introduction in A-TEC is most cold and business-like. He’ll be shutting down this department in a year. It’s been only a short while, so nice to meet you folks. Jerk. He also maintains his unfriendly disposition as he has read up the failure of this current A-TEC class. No worthwhile results and that scandal 2 day ago. Another narration of Kirishina’s A-TEC department that developed some SWNPR engine that led to the popular SWNPR Race. Call it the formula one of outer space. It goes without saying that Kirishina dominates the race with their advanced technology. Kaito is also highlighted under this review as he had been racing in junior grand prix and also developed his own engine that brought about major changes to the rules. Nagisa confronts Iris about her reckless piloting that was suicidal but she just ignores the jerk. Mizuki tries to be friendly with him but that guy is just being a plain jerk.

Nagisa then sees big brother Yuuji who feels the dismantling of A-TEC is a must to preserve their legacy. Nagisa suggests using that scandal and they’ll be gone in no time but Yuuji doesn’t want him to do that as the Coldwood incident cover-up will be for nothing. Yuuji gives him a time limit of 6 months to get the job done or else. Nagisa then hints of the many snags during his trip to Coldwood that led up to the hostage situation. He felt like there were higher hands playing into this. That irk on Yuuji’s face tells it all. Kaito and his students discover the big achievements Nagisa has made. He joined the company at 16 and has done lots of high end deals and elite meetings. A highly successful businessman groomed to be the future CEO of Kirishina! Just too awesome to ignore. The footage of A-TEC interviews continue as we hear the students’ varying goals of joining this class. Then there is the interview with Kaito himself. His speech is so awesome, filled with hope and motivation that Kaito himself is touched when he rewatches it! This gives him the motivation to march down to Nagisa’s office to tell him off that he won’t accept his way of things. Although Nagisa says his position here was decided by the company, feel free to do whatever underhanded tactics to drag him down if he feels like it. But Kaito is going to play fair and make the big guys at Kirishina see the usefulness of A-TEC. Nagisa dares him to convince the current management and hopefully he would succeed before he becomes CEO. This leaves Kaito in surprise since Nagisa has planned his future that far ahead.

Episode 3
Yuuji tells Nagisa that A-TEC’s budget has been cut by 70%. They will perish in no time. When Nagisa says he didn’t have to do this, Yuuji screams back all he needs to do is listen to his orders. He points out their problem is not the fact Nagisa had 100% successful business record but his refusal to obey him. After Kaito and his students continue to develop their engine, Kaito then marches into Nagisa’s office and throws all the cost proposals to seek additional funding. Nagisa throws it all back at him because it doesn’t tell him why they should invest in this or its impact on the company. As the students head to their lab, they are surprised to see this woman, Angelina packing their recycled and waste papers away nicely. She then chides them for leaving it in such a messy state that they risk leaking their secrets to rivals. Cost cutting is one thing but this is just too much. As she is from the accounting and budget division, she is sent by Nagisa to be their vice homeroom teacher and observe Kaito too. Later Kaito tries to convince Angelina to side and invest with them. But he is being told off about the way they are spending money that is just bleeding the company. At this rate they will not last 3 months. She advises him to stick to her budget plans. When he mentions being a teacher first, a researcher second, Angelina again chides him for being a tyrant boss instead because from the way she sees it, the students are overworked to the bone.

Next day, the students are shocked to see their lab turned into a manufacturing factory. All in just one day? It seems Kaito unknowingly agreed to her budget cut plan but he didn’t count taking away their workspace was part of it. Don’t worry. She has prepared an appropriate place for them. The abandoned memorial house of Kirishina is a good place for them. In fact, the small lab where the founders made their rocket is going to be their base. Behold! Technically the birthplace of A-TEC. The students protest at this place lacking infrastructure and proper equipment so Angelina tells them off about their lax attitude towards status quo. She mentions about the high cost in keeping their lab running. They won’t even get to cover and pay back all that working their entire lives. This at least is 1/20 of the cost. What about proper tools? Use your damn creativity! And that’s final. Later Kaito talks to retired Sasayama about the current problem. Even more heartbreaking was half of his students quit the team. He is at a lost that all that they have done is for nought. Sasayama tries to look positive at things. At least they have a chance to prove themselves albeit a tiny one. Angelina talks to Nagisa about him assigning her to A-TEC which means he is trying to preserve the class. Angelina’s other job is to spy on Yuuji. She has found out that A-TEC’s budget cut is not widely known. Only the very top management knows about this. This question is where all that money would go to. Angelina thought she could share a night of passion with him but he only agreed to let her stay to use his shower. That’s it. What a letdown. We see a big hideous scar over his back as he ponders who is going to survive this. Him or A-TEC.

Episode 4
What can a small group do without proper funding and equipment? Nothing. When a teacher begs Kaito to go to some political speech, this gives him an idea to take his issues through the union. So he goes see the union leader, Shigeru Yamamoto and he agrees to fight for his cause. So we see the union putting up some little protests and getting people to sign their petition to overthrow the management’s decision. Mizuki is even cheeky enough to try and get Nagisa to sign but he warns them the union is not as clean and selfless as they think. Kaito is even made to go out on stage to do a political speech as Yamamoto suggests expanding their fight to cover the entire nation and hit the corporation where it hurts most. Yuuji summons Nagisa and is furious about Kaito teaming up with Oozora Party. Though Nagisa doesn’t find it a big deal for A-TEC to join the union, Yuuji tells him to dismantle this partnership. He doesn’t care how. Just do it. This only serves as a hint to Nagisa that Yuuji might have something planned for the next general election or something else that is troubling him. He has Angelina do more digging. When Nagisa and the union agree to sit down and talk, before anything could began, Kaito is handed a letter. It states his promotion to assistant chief. The union workers are devastated and they leave. Because now Nagisa is an executive, it will make the union his enemy as they only fight for the labourer’s rights. Congratulations on his promotion. Now left with no help from both side.

At their wit’s end, Kaito gives the greatest motivational speech to his students that he wants to become a great teacher and boss for them and that is why he is never going to give up. He hopes they will keep supporting him. Surprisingly, the students who quit returned after hearing such heartfelt speech. 2 weeks later as Angelina goes to check on them, she is shocked to see the garage now filled with proper equipment for them to do their R&D on X-3. What is the meaning of this? How did they get the funds? All I understand is that since Kaito is now a high level management, he gets to make decisions without going through certain protocols that involve higher management for fund approval up to a certain amount. Even if that limit is not enough, he sent out 30 circulars to secure funds of 599,700,000 Yen! Angelina leaving without saying anything is a resounding victory for them. But she warns Kaito that whether she lets this slide or not, A-TEC is still doomed. Then they get into a petty argument and Angelina is most pissed when Kaito mentions her real name: Hanako Hattori. I guess they did a little snooping too. Kaito gets a slap in his face. Later, when Nagisa talks to Kaito about his funding method, I think he is putting in a long winded way that he approves of it.

Episode 5
Yuuji is not pleased that A-TEC has not been shut down and now they have resources to continue their work. But didn’t he say to sever their ties with Oozora Party? Yuuji quickly changes the subject and it seems Nagisa has got a deal done in just a week. A deal that would have at least taken a month. Impressive? A-TEC is on their way for their class trip at the beach. The partying and singing in the bus really must have got to Angelina’s nerves. I wonder how Nagisa can still work calmly in all that partying. Wondering if all his data is secured, Nagisa assures it is all saved in the company’s server but Sakugo Maioka easily hacks it. At the beach, Mizuki tries to persuade Nagisa to join them instead of working. Kaito misinterprets he is trying to hit on his sister. Angelina misinterprets the brat is trying to hit on him. Because Angelina is seemingly going to do something dangerous, Iris goes into defensive mode as both girls go into showdown. Mizuki tries to diffuse the tension. Angelina knows about Iris’ amnesia that she cannot remember her childhood, a secret only known to Kaito and Mizuki. During the tension, Angelina accidentally flings her sausage-on-a-stick. Can you believe it? The stick destroyed Nagisa’s laptop monitor! It is either Angelina’s super strength or they don’t make durable PCs like they do nowadays. Nagisa borrows her tablet to continue working. Even during meal time, Nagisa is seen working. Mizuki again tries to persuade him to join them. Because the guys are fooling around with their invention, they accidentally break the tablet. Meanwhile Angelina forces Kaito to accompany her and drink as they pour out their sorrows.

Nagisa wants the guys help to repair this tablet since they broke it. And as their boss, he orders them! However they tell him about the class caste so as a transfer student, he ranks lowest. They will fix the tablet but in exchange must do something for them. With no time left, he agrees. But when he realizes that they are going to peep on the girls in the hotspring, he just leaves. No time for their stupidity. It’s a good move. Because the girls predicted this and the boys step on a trap and turn them into fireworks. When Mizuki learns of Nagisa’s troubles, she mentions a Kirishina branch nearby but it is 2 hours drive. No time. Nagisa only has 1 hour. Iris then borrows a van and recklessly drifts and drives all the way there! Hang on! Every corner it feels like death is, well, around the corner. Eventually he arrives but the branch has no authority to log on to the main server. That is when Angelina calls and tells him to input the password that enables him to do so. Actually she threatened Sakugo to do some hacking… Job done. The ride back is slow and peaceful. Nagisa and Mizuki soak in separate hotsprings that night. She still tries to be friendly with him but he tells her outright he has no intention to befriend any of them. Despite this being his first class trip, it feels awful and he doesn’t want to do it again. When Iris enters the wrong bath section, Nagisa panics and brings down the barrier. It’s not his nice ass that Mizuki is shocked to see. It’s his back scar.

Episode 6
Nagisa rejects Kaito’s request for another funding. Asking at this rate will kill his department faster so he advises him about innovation being born when there is an obstacle to overcome. It’s not his words. That is what the founders said. People like him with no money, no time and no support should think outside the box and use their creativity to succeed. Not too sure if this is Kaito’s revenge because during a class test, Nagisa fails. He has to take a make-up test. I guess he never learnt all those technical stuffs in school. And now Kaito has the last laugh of telling him about innovation and outside the box thinking. In Mizuki’s bid to be friendlier with him, she stays after class with him to help tutor him. After a little small talk, he seems ready to reveal a bit of his family past. Similarly, Kaito who is out drinking with Sasayama to complain about the funding reject (he is also advised to think out of the box), is also being told the same. We learn that Nagisa is the son of Yasuhisa and his lover, Chisato. He was taken into the family at the age of 6. Yuuji rejected and hated everything about him and even resorted to abuse in those younger days. Even more shocking is that Nagisa’s mother was the only remaining blood relative of the Shinamiya clan. Having both blood means he is directly related to the founders. This is the reason why Yanai is trying to win over him so he could win over Kazuhisa and Yasuhisa who is the current CEO.

If it caused many complications, why take in Nagisa in the first place? It was stocks. At the time, Nagisa’s mom owned 30% of Kirishina’s stocks. This was the reason Yasuhisa approached her and the reason why he took Nagisa in after she died. All of Nagisa’s success, Yuuji took credit for it. As thanks for all that, he carved his gratitude on his back. Yup. That scar. I guess Nagisa has to stop now that Mizuki is crying. But she too stops and resumes the tutoring. When they leave very late, Iris has been waiting for Mizuki! Wait a minute. She’s been waiting this long? Maybe Mizuki told her she’d be back in a short while but don’t you think after never coming back, should she not have sensed something amiss and gone to look for her instead of sitting down there like an idiot? Seeing Mizuki’s red eyes, she is quick to blame Nagisa might have done something to her. To Nagisa’s shock, the A-TEC students are breaking the rules by working overtime. However they reword it as after school activity. Nagisa still chides them because it is still work related. Seriously, because of him rejecting their funding, they are currently trying to find ways to reduce their costs to save money for other things. Mizuki then has everyone help Nagisa study and everyone is glad to oblige. They’re not going to be as kind as Mizuki. Because of that all-nighter, Nagisa barely passes the make-up tests. Iris wakes up from a nightmare where her grandpa is dying in his pool of blood and telling her to protect Nagisa at all costs and not let him being taken away.

Episode 7
Surprise! A-TEC is actually doing their job on schedule and within the allotted budget! See? You can do it if you want to! But they still lack the 1.5 billion funds needed to buy the reactor. Ah shucks! The final piece to the puzzle. Don’t worry. Kaito will think of something. I hope. Currently, Angelina and Iris are away for a seminar. It was so boring for Angelina that she just slept through it. But the worst part is that they had quite the nice dinner and probably she was drinking too much that they missed the last flight back to Mars. And she has an important meeting tomorrow. Nagisa uses his authority to arrange a flight for them home. Also on this flight is Professor Jason Li. Imagine Angelina’s shock to hear this great system engineering professor tutored Kaito. After a while the flight takes off, Iris notices their path is not towards Mars. That is when those agents whip out their guns as they want Li to accompany them to Earth. Angelina uses her ninja skills to easily disable them. Even Iris had at least a moment by knocking one with a lamp shade. A-TEC is shock to hear the ship’s hijack but thankfully they are safe. The pilot is also in cohorts and has locked himself in the cockpit. When Nagisa calls Yuuji to inform what is happening and request authority to handle this, big brother doesn’t want him to do anything and to leave everything to him. And that he means is to wait and see since he doesn’t want anybody to discover whatever plans they had. Nagisa knows he can’t sit still and do nothing. Kaito’s answer is more straightforward. Just go rescue them like last time. Well, if they only had a ship.

The plan now is for them to get into the cockpit and take control so that they can send some guidance data back to A-TEC for them to help out. It gets better when Nagisa gives them his permission to do what it takes to rescue them. After relaying the plan to Angelina, she talks to Iris about Nagisa’s family who had another family who once protected them. They are called Shirasaki. She believes has something to do with him before she lost her memories as her family’s name was stitched on her clothes when they found her. After subduing the pilots and taking over the control, all that is left is to turn the ship around and let it fly back to Mars. Could have been a closed case if not for the pilot regaining consciousness and trying to shoot Iris. Angelina sees this coming and uses her arm to block the shot (it’s just a flesh wound). But this scene evokes horrific trauma for Iris as she passes out. The ship veers off course and is going to collide into a satellite. The only thing Angelina can do is to protect and cover Iris. A passing ship luckily pulls it away. Iris is grateful Angelina protected her. A-TEC’s ground control is glad that everybody turned out safe and even happier they get to talk to Li. However suspicions abound for Nagisa. Especially about that unidentified ship. It is definitely not Yuuji. Speaking of him, he is being told off by Kazuhisa for his bad decision to let Li die as he is an important man in Kirishina. He won’t reprimand him but just notes that he failed to reach an optimum conclusion. Kazuhisa than welcomes Li into his office.

Episode 8
As the bottom of the file and rank, Yuuji has to do the groundwork for the cultural festival. Meanwhile Yuuji sees a couple of politicians from the ruling party, Seimin. It seems the general election is near and the polls indicate Oozora is taking a very big lead. The politicians want Yuuji to cough up more money and assure crowds at their candidates’ venue. They lambast him the irony that Seimin has always worked closely with Kirishina and despite Oozora and the union are supposed to be under their control, they are taking the lead. Do something about this or he will not achieve his goal. Meanwhile Sadayuki Murakami from Oozora talks to Kaito about the possibility of having his speech before his cultural festival activity. Kaito is not so sure because he remembers the union and party bailed at him before. Murakami then switches mode to apologize and like the smooth operator he is, convinces Kaito that his true goal is to fight for the labourers’ rights. Safe to say, the simpleton is taken in by his speech and will support him. As A-TEC work on their rocket to be on a flight demo during the festival, Iris as the test pilot starts to experience her past trauma. Something about being alone in a capsule floating in space and it is about to hit an asteroid! Mizuki pulls her out and takes her temperature. A little high. Don’t worry. We have Kaito as the replacement test pilot. Looking a bit clumsy… Mizuki hopes Nagisa could make it to the after party. She will be eagerly waiting for him. Then Iris asks Nagisa if he knows anything about the Shirasaki family because when they first met, it was like he was very familiar with her. He says he was only surprised to see a female test pilot. He asks if she plans to be a pilot for the rest of her life. She doesn’t answer but I think it means a yes. He believes that is the best choice since revenge is only for fools.

Angelina returns with her findings on the channelling of A-TEC’s budget. Because someone noticed this new trend and reported it to the superior who is no other than Yuuji and that news doesn’t move anywhere, it is clear Yuuji is diverting large amounts of money. This money would have been a big boost for them. If they can find out, not only A-TEC’s budget will be saved but their survival as well. They both note that they have become sympathetic for A-TEC although Angelina points out Nagisa has changed after spending more time at A-TEC. He has become more likeable. The festival proceeds well. So does the rocket demonstration. Big success. Then it had to run out of fuel and crash land. I wonder how much this is going to cost with Kaito ejecting from his seat. Yuuji wants Nagisa to do something about Murakami and do it by any means like a scandal or election violation. Nagisa reminds him he is now part of this corporation and no longer his shadow lackey. If he gets caught in foul play, Yuuji will also fall. Yuuji then punches him and tells him off that if he gets caught, don’t you dare mention his name. All the doing was of his own and nothing related. This only serves to make Nagisa realize that Kazuhisa also has a hand in this. Now he can destroy both of them depending on his approach. Time to get planning. Mizuki waits for Nagisa at the allotted time but he doesn’t turn up.

Episode 9
Yuuji is furious that there have been no updates from Nagisa. Last minute he calls to confirm Murakami is history and that their candidate, Kenshou Furubayashi will win. For a clearer explanation, please watch the news now. It seems Furubayashi has quit from Seimin to join Oozora. Murakami is also panicking at the implication of this. He should be because with him in Oozora, the union will now support him. Out you go Murakami. Yuuji continues to scream his head off at Nagisa but he is just being cool. Hey, you told him to do whatever he wanted, right? And he did it all on his own accord. Plus, Furubayashi also made a pledge for a personal favour to Nagisa if he wins. He knows Yuuji was supposed to ensure Furubayashi’s win as Seimin assemblyman but couldn’t comply with Kazuhisa’s wishes. But it didn’t happen. With this, Yuuji is finished. Angelina reveals all that has happened to A-TEC. A week before the elections, Nagisa met up with Furubayashi. First he showed him the missing funds and Furubayashi thought he want his money back or drag him to court or something. Nagisa just wanted to be sure… Then he suggests him to switch party. This is a sure way for him to get elected. As personal reasons are not the cause of his struggling campaign, it is the party itself. Seimin is to blame and if he continues aligning himself with it, he will definitely lose. Furubayashi isn’t convinced with this verbal tactic so Nagisa brings in Yamamoto and Takehiko Sonozaki, the secretary general of Oozora. I believe they are old buddies. With that, Furubayashi made the switch. All this has been the backdoor planning between Nagisa and Yamamoto. With Nagisa siding with the union and promising them many favours after he takes over, Yamamoto indulged him in some insider information. A win-win situation.

The A-TEC students are just looking gloomy after hearing this story. Heck, I thought they turned into zombies! Kaito confronts Nagisa. But he is not going to censure and save him. This surprises Nagisa because he expected him to do that since this is where A-TEC’s budget has gone. But Kaito only says he is sad and disappointed. He thought it wasn’t the Nagisa he knew when he did this kind of thing. Because if he wanted to play the villain, he should do it with confidence. At least believe in his own philosophy instead of looking like he is about to cry (Kaito too is about to cry). If he can’t do that, it is like saying he doesn’t believe he can make himself happy. The election came and went. Furubayashi wins on a landslide while Murakami who became an independent failed to mount any comeback. Yuuji gets a call from Kazuhisa. He is apologizing to the max and blames it all on Nagisa. But big brother is cool. He is not blaming him for the defeat but he is going to make up for it. He is going to be transferred to some distribution department at some faraway outskirts. Don’t worry. He’ll still be the director. That is all. Yuuji still wants to blame Nagisa but Kazuhisa says he should have acknowledged his talent at a young age. Or was it his very talented pawn? Goodbye. Yuuji’s finished. Breaking furniture won’t do him any good. Now Nagisa sets his sights on Kazuhisa.

Episode 10
On the news, Oozora although won the election has no clear majority so it is trying to form a coalition with Southern Cross Party and form a ruling government. Nagisa has been promoted to director, taking over Yuuji’s place as he heads into his first board meeting that includes Kazuhisa. A-TEC is shocked by this sudden news since this means Nagisa is no longer their classmate (nobody to boss around?) but Kaito wants his students to continue working on their project. Nagisa talks to Yanai who is glad Yuuji is gotten rid of and this will give their faction the majority within the board of directors. Yanai believes Nagisa is not a Kiryuu despite his name and the true and last descendent of Shinamiya. He wants to put Kirishina back to its original path of making only rockets. Because the company has going into more trouble ever since they expanded into other areas. He is trying to play the hate card since they both hate Kazuhisa as well as Yasuhisa, they can form an ally to take them down. Nagisa then brings about A-TEC’s disbandment and convinces Yanai they can use this as their advantage at the next board meeting to bring Kazuhisa down. Angelina is wary of Yanai because his words seem hollow and his goal is to gain more power. Nagisa isn’t the one to say as he knows he too isn’t the hero of justice. As long as Kazuhisa is a common enemy, he is one to rely on. He has Angelina go around arranging a meeting with those who are not aligned with any higher ups as Nagisa will need to convince them for their cooperation to overthrow Nagisa. Mizuki and Iris take a break. They talk about things. Especially about Nagisa. It dawned to Iris as she asks Mizuki if she is in love with Nagisa. Stunned for a while, Mizuki then acknowledges she does. Then they go back to work. How un-dramatic… But it was hardly surprising too… The snippets show Nagisa and Kazuhisa trying to canvass allies and A-TEC finally finishes X-3.

In the next meeting, Nagisa quickly initiates an emergency vote on the resolution to dissolve A-TEC. Angelina gets a call from Yamamoto who tells her to watch the news as an unexpected development has come into play. The party leaders of Oozora and Seimin have just finished their press conference and came to a conclusion that they will form a coalition. This will give the ruling party to run as an unopposed government. The shocking developments mean that Furubayashi is no longer the trump card that Nagisa can use and that the union cannot protect Furubayashi. In a way, he will have to seek a greater power. Angelina fears Kazuhisa is behind all this. It gets bad to worse when Nagisa is the only person who votes against the dissolution of A-TEC. All his allies remain silent. Including Yanai. When A-TEC tests run its new prototype, everything is going fine till Iris starts to veer off course. Her trauma is reigniting as she screams of running into an asteroid field. Ground control checks there is nothing in visual and that all her checks and equipment are running fine. Iris then remembers fully the flashback when her grandpa died before her eyes. Then this shocking twist of development: Iris is Nagisa???!!!

Episode 11
The resolution is shot down and A-TEC will be disbanded as scheduled. Although Iris crash lands, she is recovering well in hospital. Although the ship is badly damaged. There’s no way they can fix this without incurring high costs, right? Li picks up Kaito and tells him he is a fellow employee at Kirishina now. He then brings him to a warehouse to show him the latest project he is working on and Kirishina’s newest product: Bipedal war robots?! As Nagisa sits defeated, Kazuhisa comes to talk to him. He praises Nagisa’s plan at throwing a curve ball at him and then explains his goal in all of this. Kazuhisa always needed the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Economy and Trade by his side, which were helmed by Hanamura and Furubayashi respectively. In his new venture, Nagisa must have realized that with the dwindling resources, there will be military clashes. Now that he has both ministries in his hands, all that is left is to manufacture the goods. Nagisa is shocked to see the war robots. Kirishina never made this before so how did he? It then dawned to him that Kazuhisa got Li on board this project (the hijack incident was because there were other parties after him for his expertise). This is the reason why A-TEC will be disbanded. Similarly, Li has gathered his engineers to work on this project but all that he is missing is a person specialized in making the power unit. That’s right. It’s you, Kaito. Kazuhisa says he now has 5 trump cards in his grasp to make this project a success: Hanamura, Furubayashi, Li, Kaito and Nagisa. He will appoint Nagisa as the executive for this project thanks to his countless business skills he acquired as experience.

Kazuhisa praises Nagisa for taking Yuuji down. Had he gone on to be his dog, Kazuhisa would have no use for him. This is prove he is worthy of this project. Kazuhisa also knows about his revenge plot for the Shinamiya and also Nagisa is just a stand in and fake. This means he has neither Kiryuu nor Kirishina blood running in his veins. With Iris remembering her entire past now, Kazuhisa explains about the Shirasaki clan who served under Shinamiya plotting to set Nagisa (who was Iris then) to flee to Earth. But Yasuhisa got wind of this plot and started pursuing them. They used a boy of the same age as decoy (this Nagisa as we know). However the real Nagisa never made it to Earth and it is assumed they died in an accident. Yasuhisa doesn’t care about this fake Nagisa’s lineage and took advantage of the situation. As long as the world sees him as the last remaining Shinamiya survivor, he took him in and stole everything that belonged to that family. Even though Nagisa knew all about it, he played his role well, just as Yasuhisa wanted, seeking revenge for Shinamiya. But Kazuhisa doesn’t care about all that and his past. What he cares about is his abilities he has now. Forget about revenge and work under him. They can strike it rich and at the same time please the shareholders and protect the employees, which is what their position is all about, right? Wow. Nagisa looks pretty convinced to join him. Especially when he has such big long term vision. Later when he learns Iris has had an accident, he rushes to the hospital but she is already discharged. She is now looking for him at his office but Angelina is only there. She asks Angelina why she works loyally under him. Is it because she has something to do with Shinamiya? She only cares about him and has nothing to do about that clan. Angelina believes Iris has remembered something important but unfortunately the first person she needs to tell first is Nagisa. I hope Angelina didn’t get the wrong idea it is about love or something.

When Nagisa heads to A-TEC, he sees Mizuki working alone. As usual, he screams his head off at all the violations and ignored warnings but Mizuki is just playing cool and smiling back. Then all the pent up frustrations has him break down as he starts feeling guilty for being responsible for A-TEC’s disbandment. All Mizuki can do is console him with a smile and says he tried his best. She realizes too late her dirty hands made his face dirty. The more she tries to clean it, the dirtier it gets. So much so he looks funny! And then… They started hugging! Oh, his shirt is dirty too. I guess it is heartbreak for Iris seeing this scene so she flees. Well, I don’t know if she could it if she ever saw them kissing! OMG! They’re doing a real kiss! Of course Kaito sees this and he isn’t too happy what this grumpy ex-boss is doing to his sister. Yeah, boss or not, he punches him (because Nagisa told him to too). The guys talk especially about Nagisa’s next move. Kazuhisa’s proposal seems tempting and right from a businessman’s perspective. But Kaito tells him despite so, they are forgetting another important factor: Customers. Kaito wants to put a smile on customers’ face so of course he will turn down Li’s invitation. Even if this means being fired from A-TEC and disappoint his students who admire him? Didn’t think that far, eh? Nagisa suggests teaming up to disrupt their plans. Nagisa works out a plan for A-TEC’s restructuring. But then he gets stabbed by an assailant in the streets. OMG! It’s Yuuji!

Episode 12
Nagisa is kidnapped and beaten up by Yuuji who of course is clearly out for revenge. He will make him suffer like hell before killing him. Angelina sees the footage of Nagisa’s kidnapping and reports to Kazuhisa. Of course he also knows about this and is trying his best to locate him. As he doesn’t want this to get public and that this is a Kiryuu family problem, he has his hands tied in utilizing the few people for the search. I guess this means you need to get the job done yourself. When Angelina tells this to A-TEC, they right away go into action to help retrace everything. Angelina is surprised she thought they would resent him but I guess nobody else is their better slave than him. Whoops. Although they manage to trace the whereabouts, when Angelina reaches there, they are already gone. Yuuji and his men used the tactic of switching many cars and locations so it will be hard to trace them. But Kaito tells them all to go back and rest because they have to finish their X-3. So is he abandoning to save Nagisa? Actually Nagisa left Kaito a draft of A-TEC’s restructuring. He has put a lot of effort into this. So even if he comes back alive but A-TEC is gone, it will kill his ambition. Therefore they are going to do what they know best and leave the fighting and combat to Angelina. Kaito assigns Yuna and Kaoruko Takanashi to assist Angelina who has also been given a contact card of Nagisa’s connections. Yuuji continues beating up Nagisa but all he can think of is A-TEC’s presentation and worried if they caught on the clues he left behind for them. This only fuels Yuuji’s anger. But since Nagisa wants so much to see how their presentation goes, Yuuji will delay his death till that day.

Angelina goes to see Ibra of a construction company. He and his men were those initial kidnappers of Nagisa on Coldwood. They are already on the move to trace Nagisa but cannot act too rash or the enemy will run away. A-TEC continues to fix X-3, Kaito manages to secure several big wigs for the presentation and Iris is still having that asteroid trauma while in her practice simulation. On the day of the presentation, Yuuji surprises Nagisa by loading him up in X-2. Looks like he got the money to salvage it and employ guys to do some adjustments. Nagisa will crash into Coldwood with this baby and with that vanish along with A-TEC that he loves so much too. That is, if it doesn’t explode on the way. But Nagisa apologizes to Yuuji for his trivial revenge that made him unhappy, only to provoke him and furiously turning Nagisa into a punching bag. After loading him in, the construction guys barge in to attack Yuuji and his men. Angelina would love to kill this bastard who is cowering in fear but she’ll leave the administration to deal with him. Sometimes you wonder if that is a good idea because as she tries to stop the launch, Yuuji shoots her from the back before being taken out shortly by Ibra. X-2 launches and the operation is a failure. When A-TEC learns of this, Kaito mentions the change in plans. The mission to rescue Nagisa and the presentation will run simultaneously.

Episode 13
Mizuki catches Iris red handed when she tries to sneak in to ride X-3 to save Nagisa. She knows something is wrong with her. She must have remembered something. Because previously she was never afraid and look at her, her hands are still trembling. I guess Iris still can’t say it so she starts crying. Meanwhile Kaito begins his presentation although the board members aren’t pleased that he is continuing it despite Nagisa’s emergency situation. Kaito argues that if they don’t do this now, it will be hard for all of them to gather like this again. So once he has done presenting all the juicy facts, Kazuhisa mentions it is all great only on theory and not practical. After all this is all still done by Kaito’s brain. When he mentions Kaito doesn’t have a demo test model today, the others believe that his students are not on par with him. On the contrary, Kaito shows them the X-3 model right now in action, on its way to Coldwood. Previously before Iris could tell the truth, the other A-TEC students interrupt them because there’s no time for the sappy drama and time to get things moving. That is when Mizuki told her she was here to convince Iris to fly X-3 and not stop her because there are no other pilots who can match her skills. But Mizuki will also be tagging along with her so that somebody can tend to Nagisa while she flies the craft. Kaito continues his presentation about X-3’s speed and time bettering X-2’s performance by half and at lesser cost. They even use the original cockpit model from the museum to fit on the engine. The guys don’t think this old wreck can withstand the power of the new engine so Kaito explains how his students did all the modifications to make it work. They are doing everything they can to save their friend and that is why Kaito wants to continue working with them.

X-3 catches up with X-2 and Iris has no room for mistakes. Oops. But she almost did one when she tries to latch both ships but failed. Time is running out and Iris must manoeuvre quickly. In the dying seconds, she manages to latch the ship and miss Coldwood by metres! Wow. What a heart pounding action drama! At least for those who are watching. As Mizuki checks the ship, Iris goes to check on Nagisa. She becomes frantic in seeing his injured state. But could she be gentler in untying him? Her tears wake him up and everyone is happy to hear Nagisa is safe. With everything in order, Kaito now asks the guys to reconsider disbanding A-TEC. They really find it irresistible. Low cost and high performance. However Kazuhisa points out their disbandment was made in the last meeting and cannot be overturned. But Kaito isn’t panicking. He never counted on him to save A-TEC. He gets a call from Yuna confirming several sponsors willing to invest billions! This presentation wasn’t only shown to them but live streamed to others. Kaito throws down all their resignation letters. They will just leave and start up another company. This was all Nagisa’s plan and his resignation letter is also there. Li is starting to worry because he only joined Kirishina because he promised Kaito would work with him. Kaito then lectures those money making guys about some things in life that money can’t buy: Ambition. They don’t want to make money making technologies but one that can make people smile. So instead of a prize in physics they rather get a prize in peace (because with his technology in use, there is no need for wars to hunt for scarce resources).

But Kazuhisa still has a trump card. Even if Kaito and A-TEC leave, X-3 belongs to them since they use Kirishina’s resources to build them. Well, Kaito didn’t think of that! Oh no! What now?! This is when Nagisa interjects. He agrees that the rights belong to Kirishina but mentions he made the wrong choice. What Kazuhisa wanted wasn’t the engine but Kaito who made it in 6 months with limited resources. Because if he wanted Kaito, he should have just taken A-TEC and the entire team itself from the start. Kazuhisa is offering 100 billion but Nagisa rejects him. Kazuhisa will make him regret this but Nagisa believes big brother will be the one regretting more. The presentation is over and now we are presented with Mizuki and Iris fighting over Nagisa?! WTF?! Kazuhisa gets a call from Yasuhisa but he won’t answer and feels it is not his time to step up yet. Iris and Mizuki plant to visit Nagisa at the hospital but looks like he fled and went out drinking with Kaito. So is Nagisa his brother in law now? Angelina comes in with good news that she has found and executive for their new company: Sasayama. Nagisa and the bunch of A-TEC guys attend the launching ceremony of their newly incorporated company: A-TEC Inc. With Nagisa as the head, his opening lines are “Let’s take over the world”. Hey wait. Do you mean the galaxy?

Money, Power & Politics: Business As Usual
Uhm… Well… Okay… I guess. The fight goes on. The business goes on. So what I expected to be some sort of sci-fi series turned out to be one that is filled with power politics in corporations and business making propositions. Although not entirely confusing and boring, surprisingly it was still interesting enough to keep my attention till the end of the series. Most probably it was because of me wondering who this Nagisa kid really is as well as Iris who is somewhat connected to him. Even so, Nagisa’s thinking and turning things around with his business-like mind is also another factor that retained my attention. Although I do not fully understand some of the political or big corporation manoeuvres, at least it was simple enough without going into the deep complicating details. All that politics throughout the series died down in the final episode as it quickly turns into a simultaneous rescue Nagisa and A-TEC plot. Can’t complain with that ‘happy ending’, right?

Another major surprise was so when I thought the series was going to be about A-TEC and their struggles, the surprising part is that it wasn’t entirely about them. Their striving and toiling were all just in the background as the big star of the series is Nagisa himself trying to take down his big brothers in the corporation. Come to think of it, it would be pretty boring to see a bunch of engineering outcasts of a doomed division trying to stay afloat. Now that they have freed themselves from Kirishina’s bounds, I am sure they can work together incredibly again and come up with something even better. Just hope Kaito doesn’t spend and waste money like water. Whether or not this move will be a good one in the long term is yet to be seen. But at least they are not under the shenanigans of Kirishina.

The big main character in focus is of course Nagisa. I think this is the only character development we would see flesh out properly and the most in this series. For a young corporate kid to be making big business decisions and his obnoxious attitude to match with it (playing the role of the villain, I suppose), you know there will be something more than meets the eye to this kid. So whatever the complicated relationship between the 2 founders that causes this complicated power struggle and faction fighting within the company, what would be of Nagisa if he successfully carries out his petty revenge? In the end, not getting a direct revenge was probably the best outcome for him. He can make Kazuhisa suffer more by pulling away from Kirishina and do things that rival the big company. When A-TEC starts rising and Kirishina starts crumbling, this would be the best revenge yet. Kaito remains a simple and true person to his passion. Without all the politics and greed in his brain, it is the reason why he flourishes in what he does. Just don’t let this guy be in charge of your finances. I think his is more of financial crisis than classroom crisis. Haha! So while he doesn’t do well in business, this is where Nagisa comes in. I think with the duo as a team, the new A-TEC will be a formidable force to reckon with. It’s the best answer they can come up of showing their disapproval of Kazuhisa’s ways.

Due to the nature of the plot and direction of this series, it is with mixed feelings about the students under A-TEC. Because seriously, they don’t even matter. If they were all nameless students, it wouldn’t really change a thing (heck, I don’t think I even remember their names). But they all are so as to give them a little more character :\. Each of them has their own personality and specialty but their very limited appearance does little justice for them. Like Sakugo who is a great hacker and gentle Kaoruko whose role in this anime seems to be gently reminding her fellow students to not use such ‘harsh’ words while they comment on criticise on their boss-cum-fellow-transfer-student. And I think there is one student whereby whose gender is a little ambiguous. The one wearing a lab coat. One normally would think he is a boy but there was this very subtle hint he may not be so because during the class trip, he somewhat refuses to go into the same bath at the same time with the other guys. But all this don’t really matter, right? We all know that they work great as a team and are tightly close to each other. Unfortunately we just don’t really see and feel it here.

This means Mizuki and Iris as the characters also feel a little under developed. Iris is like your typical amnesiac girl with a past and trauma waiting to explode on a crucial day and it happened. So when the big revelation is out and that Iris is the real Nagisa, somehow it just makes us go, “Okay… Uh huh… So what?”. Mizuki on the other hand is your typical best friend and friendly person. When she kept continuing to bug Nagisa, I just knew where this was going. At least in the department of feelings as where this is all concerned. Because for a guy who acts obnoxious and everything, he would have easily become everybody’s public enemy number one. And yet Mizuki continues to be perseverant in trying to talk nicely to him. It would be strange to think a normal girl would have this much patience. Then the inevitable happen and in a way felt weird for throwing in a little romance for side distraction because after all that business and political drama, the thought of Mizuki and Nagisa becoming an item felt just out of place. And now with Iris too heavily suspected to have feelings for him, will best friends turn to best rivals? From the look of it, yes. Oh wait. Do I need to bring in Angelina into the equation? Gosh. Polygon romance can get even more complicated than business proposals. But Angelina did hint that she doesn’t mind playing second fiddle. Or third. Or fourth. Sure about that? Well, there’s always Kaito whom she can drag out to drink out her sorrows. Is this some sort of minor running joke?

Not too sure if this is a running joke too because it seems like almost everybody knows about Angelina’s real name and prefer to call her by that, in which she would subsequently remind them not to do so. A warning very often ignored. She too felt under developed because we would like to know more about her and why she is so against that real name of hers (could it be something to do with her ninja lineage since her skills and name are a big hint) and her actual relationship with Nagisa. She was missing for the big part in the final episode but even if the hijack and penultimate episode is where she takes the centre stage, it just doesn’t feel enough.

Last but not least is Kazuhisa himself. He isn’t a bad person because if you think about a guy who sits in such high profile position, he has a different set of goals and ambitions to take care of. Although still smart and smooth, but I figure he was too calculated and obsessed in getting to put forth his plan in having key people in his war robots manufacturing that he failed to grasp the basic 101s of trying to get a person to your side not via arm twisting or mud throwing tactic but the simple method of talking true to a man’s heart. Get what I’m saying? Well, Nagisa explained it all for us already. Because he wanted Kaito so much and not A-TEC, he failed to see that A-TEC was the reason that kept Kaito around. So had he kept A-TEC instead of wanting to dismantle it, he could have had a better chance in retaining this guy. But I believe he is just like Nagisa. Despite he doesn’t have the necessary key people in his plan now (not too sure if Li is sticking around after that), he doesn’t look like he has panicked yet and I am very sure he has a plan B up his sleeve. Because if he doesn’t think it is time for the big daddy to show up yet, then it mustn’t be that all grave. And about Yuuji? That guy did a good job in being so hateful that we just hate him to the last bit of molecule he is. So what happens to him eventually, we couldn’t care less. His obsession of hating Nagisa is so great that he was blinded by the fact Nagisa had been using him all the while. I mean, did he not really think that by abusing him all this years, this kid will simply continue to comply 100% and not get his revenge? That’s why I say he is too fixated in hating his half brother.

Art and drawing are pretty okay and standard. Nothing that really catches your eye. Because the technological advances seen here are, well, let’s say they might be here in a few more years like that hologram-cum-projector handphone. Only maybe except space travel and colonization on other planets. Although the character designs are simple, somehow I get the feeling I have seen them from other animes. Like Nagisa whom I thought was Kyousuke from OreImo, only looking much meaner. And then there is Iris whom I thought was that Nagato from the Haruhi series. Mizuki on the other hand has a little resemblance to Ano Natsu De Matteru’s Mio. It was just the case of changing hairstyle? I’m sure I have seen the others somewhere before but I’m too lazy to start thinking ;p. Uhm… Hey… Doesn’t Sasayama look like a fat version of that Monopoly uncle? This anime is produced by a relatively new anime studio, Lay-duce whose only other works at the moment are Magi: Sinbad No Bouken and that what-the-hell-is-this-tanka-and-haiku-theme-anime, Go! Go! 575.

There are quite a number of veteran seiyuus lending their voice to this series. Most notably, Yu Kobayashi in the main role as Angelica. She is still active in the voice acting role but the recent animes that I have watched her in are just minor supporting roles like Tsuyuko in Koufuku Graffiti and Smith in Monster Musume No Iru Nichijou. Although Gintama is still currently ongoing, I believe her character Ayame only make cameos. Speaking of which, it’s nice to hear that crazy trademark voice again whenever she starts screaming her head off. Another notable voice acting is Hiroyuki Yoshino as Yuuji. He has this comical voice that makes him suitable for comical characters like Bossun in Sket Dance, Favaro in Shingeki No Bahamut: Genesis and Saruyama in To Love-Ru series. But here, he sounds quite scary as the antagonist Yuuji. There is so much spite in his voice that he is just convincing that it makes you really want to hate his character to the bone. Kudos.

There is Yui Horie and Kana Asumi doing Kaoruko and Yuna respectively but their character roles are so minimal although it’s a good thing that I can still recognize them :). The rest of the other casts include Showtaro Morikubo as Kaito (Shikamaru in Naruto), Yuuma Uchida as Nagisa (Claus in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid), Ari Ozawa as Mizuki (Sakura in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun), Sora Amamiya as Iris (Isla in Plastic Memories), Kazuhiko Inoue as Kazuhiko (Gildarts in Fairy Tail), Junpei Morita as Li (Doctor White in Black Jack 21), Motomu Kiyokawa as Yanai (Tippy in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka) and Yusaku Yara as Yamamoto (Chin Chinchin in Toriko).

When I first heard the opening theme, Cobalt by TrySail, I thought I was hearing an AKB48-like music. From the beat and style of this song, I thought it was pretty similar. At least to the themes that I heard in the AKB0048 anime. Checking them out a little (read: lazy and fast browsing over the internet), TrySail is yet another one of those units formed by seiyuu rather than being ex-members of the world’s largest pop group. Oddly, not all of the trio in the unit had a voice acting role in this series (considering Denpa Kyoushi was their debut as a unit). Sora Amamiya had the biggest role and Shiina Natsukawa was one of the students in A-TEC. So what happened to Momo Asakura? The ending theme is Anemone by Claris. Sounds rather okay and like another one of their trademark style music.

Overall, not a bad anime but its misleading and synopsis may surprise some for the better or worse. I’m glad it was the former for me. Although this series won’t be as near as any masterpiece and perhaps overshadowed by other anime series that was running concurrently in the same season, it is still a pretty good show to remind us that big corporations aren’t as squeaky clean as they proclaim to be and have all that politics, power play and even prestigious family status or lineage if it has been run by the same family for generations. Amidst all that, it tells us that even a small unit with true passion can still overcome such a high wall and that nothing is impossible in the corporate world. But even so, you still need money for capital and other stuffs. Eventually money makes the world (the galaxy in this case) go round and round. If you think asking money from your company is easy, just remember how hard it was when you have no money and had to ask and convince your parents to give you money so that you can buy something you want? Yeah… It feels pretty much the same.

Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa

March 19, 2016

Sometimes it is always written on your face. No matter how hard you hide it, other people can just read it like an open book. This is particularly bad when you have a crush on someone and your friends can actually tell without having so much to guess. Heh. You should take some kind of acting class then. But that’s not the point. Our protagonist in Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa has this sort of face and character that makes him unable to keep secrets. So we know what kind of porn he watches? So sorry. Actually that didn’t happen. There is a girl in class he particularly likes. I know. You’d be guessing that the entire world knows about this. Maybe. But my theory is why nobody makes a big fuss is that they aren’t any celebrities whom people would care if they even dyed their hair. Anyway, it isn’t his crush on this girl that is the main point. He discovers that she too has a secret identity that she must keep or else she will have to quit school. So, let me guess. She’s a porn star?! So sorry to disappoint. That actually is way off the mark! In view of discovering this (perhaps the biggest discovery since Columbus discovered America?), he vows to keep her identity a secret. I know. You must be thinking. How can a guy who can never keep a single secret keep such a big secret of hers under wraps? Who cares? This is supposed to be a romantic love comedy, right?

Episode 1
Asahi Kuromine has a crush on fellow classmate, Youko Shiragami. He rushes back to class after school to confess to her but he sees the biggest secret ever about her. Asahi is known in school as a leaky basket because he has never been able to keep secrets. His face tells it all. So is it no wonder why he sucks in a poker game with his friends, Okada, Sakurada and Shimada? So when he thought having a crush on Youko has been the only secret he has been able to keep, to his surprise his buddies already knew it a long time. It was so obvious. Although they support him but Okada doesn’t feel positive the last time. Remember the humiliation he had to endure when tried to confess to Nagisa Aizawa, the class rep and was instantly shot down (she even went as far as to say she was never interested in him)? He never had a chance to say a word. However Okada gives him a push that it is better for him to confess first before getting rejected. And so this gives Asahi the motivation he needs to run back and do his confession. That is when he saw the unimaginable. Youko is stretching in class. Not just stretching her arms but her wings! Embarrassed she has been found out, it doesn’t help that Asahi is a bad liar too. Thank goodness it wasn’t panties… While his friends figure out he could have been rejected, they are approached by the vile Mikan Akemi. As the school’s newspaper club, she likes to dig up scandals and gossips and spread all those juicy stuffs in her publishing. Asahi is always her number one target. You know the reason… She suspects something is going on with Asahi and is going to make his friends spill every bean. Youko regrets that her vampire identity is discovered. Of course she isn’t like the stereotypic vampires seen on TV. She stays out of the sunlight not because she would turn into ash but rather she tans easily. She talks politely instead of her kansai dialect to hide her fangs. She also reveals that since her identity is revealed, she will be forced to leave school. This was the condition her dad gave for her to attend this school. Fearing the girl he loves will go away forever and hearing how heartbreaking it is she is having a fun time, he promises he will keep her identity a secret. Really? Can he? But for him to do that and be close to her, he asks her to become his friend. She agrees. As they walk out together, Nagisa spots them and wonders why they are still at school this late.

Episode 2
Asahi is happy to think he has become Youko’s friend before realizing he has been friend zoned instead of becoming her boyfriend. Better than nothing, right? Nagisa continues to spot them together. Nagisa remembers when she rejected Asahi, some time passed after she realized he turned his sights to Youko. She thought he must have taken her advice to look for somebody else and has gotten over her already. However thoughts that she might be wrong about his feelings since she never gave him a chance to convey his message. She becomes bothered if he was really interested in her and goes to confront him head on. Saying that out loud in public, doesn’t it make it feel like she’s confessing to him? Then she turns tsundere and rejects him again after realizing she is giving his friends the wrong idea without giving Asahi a chance to say anything. Asahi has lunch with Youko alone in the classroom. She thought he bought her cream puffs and when she bites one, it contains wasabi. Hot! Hot! HOT! As she squirms around in her vampire form, Nagisa comes in to see what the commotion is all about. Oops. Another witness. And then something ‘amazing’ happens… A mini version of Nagisa pops out from the head and seeks Youko’s true identity! Nagisa accidentally reveals she is an alien on this planet with a mission. How could she be so careless? This body is an external unit she uses to move about for her mission. Although she has caught Asahi and Youko together several times, she assures she will not reveal this secret. That’s because she is going to erase Asahi’s memories with this hammer! She has seen many TV shows to believe it works! She can’t be serious! Oh, you bet she is. She chases and corners him. But when Asahi resigns to his fate to have his memories just to protect Youko’s secret for her peace of mind, Youko stops Asahi from doing this stupid thing. She already told him he doesn’t need to go this far to protect her secret. She wants him to know she is very grateful to him. Nagisa feels bad and will let this slide. Just when everything seems to be okay, Youko had to say that she knows about Asahi’s feelings for Nagisa and will root for them. This is getting awkward… Both give her a stinging rebuke. Lastly, the cream puffs were placed by Mikan and there is a recording device in it. Just look at her devilish face. She just can’t wait…

Episode 3
Mikan ties up Asahi’s pals and threaten to publish embarrassing photos of them peeing (turning on the hose attached their crotch). But now that Asahi is here, Mikan sets her sights on him and is going to get him spill out his relationship with Youko. The device only recorded a short segment of their conversation although it was enough to give ambiguous hints that they did something after everyone was gone. I wonder how he is going to keep this a secret because Mikan is a master torturer. Fearing she might target Youko, Asahi runs back to class. Since he doesn’t see Youko in, he desperately asks the teacher what happened to her. She’s absent with a cold you idiot. He is then given the task to hand printouts to her home. Of course Mikan heard this and starts chasing him. Asahi bumps into Nagisa and tells her what is happening. She lets him go ahead while she blocks Mikan’s path. How does Asahi know where Youko live? Easy. The house with lots of bats… She invites him in and he is pretty thrilled to be inside the room of his crush. However he gets a call from Nagisa that Mikan managed to slip through. Nagisa’s mind got distracted when Mikan mentions about the curiosity of the duo doing something steamy alone. Mikan in her bid to find secrets, opens Youko’s cupboard and all her embarrassing junk crushes her. Well, at least this put her out. Next day, Mikan displays a draft of her fabricated gossip of Asahi and Youko dating although it is clearly Photoshop. Now he chases her around in her bid to get it back. He begs, gets on his knees and is willing to do whatever she wants just to let him off the hook but this only proves more tantalizing for Mikan to do it. After all, targeting him makes her feel superior. Remembering what Okada says about Mikan that she does so because he resists, he tries reverse psychology that he would be more than happy for her to publish it. Instantly Mikan loses motivation and drops her objective. She feels disappointed if he this makes him happy. Later Okada talks to Asahi that Mikan isn’t all that bad person. Because every fabricated document has a small print to say the article is fiction. Besides this character of hers feels more like an act and there seems to be a reason she is doing so. Looks like Mikan too has her own secret. She has a pair of talking glasses! Fuku is some sort of fortune god and can easily grant her wish but it seems Mikan wants things to stay the way it is now. By being the perpetrator and Asahi the victim, she can stay childhood friends with him forever. I think I know why and it makes sense now… Ironically she refuses to believe her pair of glasses can talk. Then what is she doing?

Episode 4
Nagisa is oddly missing in class although she was seen earlier on. Asahi feels something being shot at his head. Mini Nagisa is telling him to get out of class. After feigning excuse to go to the toilet, he hears her out. Apparently Nagisa blames him for this. Earlier she overheard Asahi and Youko and got the wrong idea they did ambiguous stuffs together like 5 times! She flustered so much that she forgot to recharge her unit and it is now lying in the girls’ toilet. I suppose Asahi has to go in and get it, right? Oh, that ambiguous talk? It was Asahi lending Youko is Rambo DVD. As Asahi carries her out to the infirmary, Youko spots them and thinks they’re doing pretty bold things by skipping class. After being explained and Asahi puts the body there to recharge, Nagisa checks to see if the coast is clear for them to return. However Mikan’s scream is heard. She cannot believe seeing a mini Nagisa. Of course she is trying her best to act like a figurine. But so life-like… Mikan is getting more suspicious and even lifts up her skirt. It gets worse when Shimada comes in and really wants to ‘examine’ this figurine. Asahi’s reverse psychology and lies that he made this figurine only backfired and now everyone including Nagisa thinks he is a pervert! Asahi snatches Nagisa by force. Although he can hide from the ladies in the boys’ toilet, there is Shimada to deal with. Now hiding in the storeroom, somebody who is watching them uses some power to turn Nagisa big. She would have passed off as normal if not for her antenna sticking out like a sore thumb. She can’t say it has something to do with courtship rituals. When they are cornered, Asahi is willing to sacrifice his reputation to hide hers. They feint Nagisa beats the crap out of him as punishment for the figurine. She has also destroyed it (and destroyed whatever hopes Shimada dreamt of). After the commotion, the mystery watcher reverts Nagisa back to her mini size. Asahi later clears up the misunderstanding with Youko. Nagisa cannot help feel this fuzzy feeling inside her and doesn’t feel happy Asahi mended his relationship with Youko.

Episode 5
Nagisa thinks Youko went to the beach and got tanned. She has to proof she easily tans by taking off her blazer. So why does Asahi has to get slapped for it? Thus Nagisa decides to train her to avoid being tanned easily by jumping from shadow to shadow. It took the entire day. And why does Asahi even need to be there? He was just standing and watching painfully the training. Next day, it is time to put to use what she has trained. Youko is quick and creative to remain in the hiding of the shadows. When she enters the shopping arcade, Asahi fears a man handing out garlic samples might turn Youko weak so he eats all of them. Then a hippie tries to sell a silver cross. Thinking Youko like other vampires will turn into ash, he buys it and throws it away! A stray dog brings it back. Well, isn’t it good news that Youko isn’t susceptible to such vampire myths? Now Asahi reeks of garlic. Then they hit a dead end when the path ahead has no more shade. Asahi and Nagisa suggest armour for her to wear but it just looks ridiculous and attention pulling. Then they realize that Youko has never tried sun block before and when she does, now she can mingle in outside activities underneath the scorching sun without any problem. Why hasn’t she ever thought of that?! Another day, Asahi must be a lucky guy because he is going on a date with Youko to the amusement park. Both are scared sh*t riding the roller coaster but even so, Youko seems addicted to it. Asahi finds out her parents once dated here. She is half human and half vampire. Her mom is human. It feels like history repeating itself because dad too tried to hide his identity while attending school while dating mom. In the haunted house attraction, the irony of Youko being scared at all these stuffs. But when a vampire tries to scare them, she ticks him off thinking he is a real one! But the most shocking thing Asahi learns is that Youko also had a childhood friend but he is a werewolf. He seems more worried the fact her childhood friend is male. Ah… Speaking of which, Youko’s dad seems to be giving this werewolf dude a job to check on Youko to see if she is hiding her identity well. Otherwise, he gives him permission to end her school life without mercy. If that happens, werewolf boy wants Youko to be given to him.

Episode 6
Asahi is still bothered about Youko’s male childhood friend. Oh, here he is. Shirou Shishidou waits for Youko but he gets the wrong about her and Asahi together. He leaves in tears so Asahi mentions that they are just friends. I think he just killed his chances. His chances are further reduced when Youko continues to repeat about them being friends. Shirou then confirms with Youko about Asahi being human. He senses something amiss because why isn’t he afraid of his fangs? This proves that he knows about their kind. This means he’ll be taking back Youko. Asahi panics and starts acting tough and lying through his teeth about all that although you can obviously see that he is a bad liar. The argument fest ends when Shirou looks at the moon. Oh no. You know happens to werewolves when they look at the moon, right? Shirou turns into… A woman???!!! Shiho proclaims herself as a pervert and continues to seduce him. Back in Youko’s room, Youko introduces Shiho to Asahi as her childhood friend. Shiho explains that she is always 100% aware even when Shirou takes over but it is not the same for Shirou. He is not aware when Shiho is awake since this body is primarily hers. Shiho continues to boldly seduce him. To stop her, Youko shows her a picture of a full moon. She transforms into Shirou. Hey, it works! Because Shirou is getting mad and all, Asahi shows the picture again and he reverts back. Nagisa seems to be having unholy delusions about Youko and Asahi being close together. She can’t get it out of her head. She ends up at Youko’s place. Imagine her shock when she sees Shiho on top of Asahi. At first she thought she got the wrong house but when she realizes it is indeed Asahi, she feels disappointed about him and runs away. Asahi tries to go after her but accidentally touches Shiho’s boobs. Now Youko even thinks he is a pervert. He accidentally swings the picture… Nagisa calms down and thinks she might have overreacted. She goes back to apologize but sees Shirou on top of him now! Oh sh*t! So gay!!! She can’t take this BL sh*t! When Shiho continues to seduce Asahi, she can sense Youko’s jealousy and that love triangle so she takes her leave. She may be a pervert but she knows how others feel. As souvenir, she takes Youko’s panties. Next day, Asahi and Youko clear the air with Nagisa that Shirou and Shiho are Youko’s childhood friends. Think it’s over? Why, their class has a new transfer student: Shiho! Even more shocking, she introduces herself as a pervert!

Episode 7
Shiho loves flirting with Asahi. Mikan loves taking photos of this new scandal. Only Nagisa isn’t happy. Not because of this unholy public display of affection. It’s because Asahi didn’t have any sort of nose bleed when this happened with her! What is she saying?! Asahi thought he had seen all the weirdoes in school. Then he sees a girl with horns. Oh dear… He observes she interacts with other students like normal (not minding about her horns sticking out like a sore thumb) and lots of crows gather around her. Youko can’t resist petting her since she is so cute. They learn she is Akane Koumoto. Hey, is she the little sister of their homeroom teacher, Akari? Asahi finds it hard to ask about her horns and after the few misses, she reveals they are just accessories and takes them out. As she walks away, Asahi spots her devil tail! He is going crazy. Akane notes they are fun to tease when she bumps into Akane who starts harassing about playing pranks on them. If you think learning she is a devil and making illusions are bad enough, wait till you hear this. Akane is Akari’s great-great-grandmother! FFFFUUUUUUUU!!!! Since the secret is out, might as well tell them. Akane is the principal of this school and she knows non-humans exist. Thanks to her grace, the reason why they are still enrolled here. Akari admits she is the descendents of demons but has very little of their blood in her. And yes, she knows Youko is a vampire, etc. Because Youko continues to treat Akane like a kid, this has devil girl mock her back. Now all the claws and fangs are out. They’re going to settle the competition of who is more adult. So a sexy competition? Great for us. Not so for Asahi because the one who makes him nose bleed to most wins. Unfortunately, the duo are so lame in their sexy presentation that I think Asahi would rather vomit. Shiho shows them how it is done and easily makes his nose bleeds gush out like water. And for all the rest of the subsequent competitions, vampire and devil girl are just so lame that sexy Shiho just takes the cake effortless. Man, that guy is going to die with loss of blood. Finally a battle to eat spicy cream puffs laced and not show any distress. This isn’t going to end well. Akari knows Asahi is trying to keep Youko’s secret and he hopes he would do so as she doesn’t like her students quitting school. She knows about this because Akane has some sort of clairvoyance too. The dumb competing girls cannot take the spiciness anymore that the entire gym just explodes!!! WTF???!!! The place is a crater!!! Looks like the road to taking care of this is long…

Episode 8
Asahi thinks it is his lucky day for him to join the girls in cooking. But seeing how they are all amateurs, he’s screwed. Even more so this is a setup by Akari so they can make curry. Nagisa starts off pretty confident and ends up making a chocolate cake! She is embarrassed by this failure and throws the cake out. It lands before Akane. She tastes it and loves every bite of it. Mikan who wants to get an interview of this horned lady becomes her gopher to do errands but Akane is just milking her money. Luckily Akari is there to stop it. Asahi and the girls team up to make proper curry. Just as they are an ingredient away, Nagisa and Youko suddenly get a strange motivated idea to do better and go beyond making curry. Let’s open the doors to new possibility! Nobody can stop them. As Akane comes to check their progress, she sees some sort of warzone. Nagisa trying to kill herself for this failure while Youko trying to convince her otherwise. Asahi and Shiho are ‘dead’. Ah well, I think Akane will order take-out. At night, Akari is going on a rampage! She needs to taste more of Nagisa’s chocolate cake and if she doesn’t she will destroy the world! Oh look, she destroyed Akari’s apartment already. At first the girls don’t believe her but when they see on the news that an asteroid is going to crash in 3 hours, better start scrambling. Yeah, I wonder where everybody else in the world can run to. Nagisa makes truffles and Akari really wants to taste them. Unfortunately Nagisa thinks this is failure and throws them away. Akane then ties up Akari. She notices that if Akari loses concentration, the trajectory of the asteroid that she is controlling will be off. Akari realizes that this is Akane’s setup because she is going to make grandma taste all the other chocolates that the other girls are going to make, the reason why she called them here. Getting her revenge on grandma for all the pranks she did to her over the years? So it’s like playing chicken, eh? Will the world get destroyed first or will Akane die first?! Akane die? Oh yeah, she’ll go to hell either way. Haha! Akane survives Shiho’s rotten choco banana and Youko’s curry chocolate. Don’t even ask. Mikan who has a bone to pick with her makes something even hideous! With the montage of the world in its final moments, coupled in with stupid horrific faces of Akane. In the end, I don’t know what happened, it became a miracle as the asteroid flies away from Earth. Everybody rejoices. Asahi doesn’t understand what is going on in the cooking room because we see the girls and clones of Akane, all frozen with that stupid face! Must be real bad, huh?

Episode 9
It’s already summer and Asahi hasn’t made any progress with Youko. Okada suggests he ask her out to the pool. At first Youko was reluctant because she can’t swim but Asahi also says he can’t swim. Eh? Why the pool then? Youko gets this idea they can learn swimming together and invites everybody else. So much about the date. Because of Shiho’s tendency to do perverted things, I guess Nagisa takes over as Spartan instructor, pushing Youko into the water. Because Youko teases Nagisa that she is quite close in training Asahi, she almost drowns him. Feeling guilty, she resigns as instructor so the duo have to continue teaching each other. Mikan is also at the pool with her little twin brothers. The other guys spot her and this made her very embarrassed especially when the twins make fun that one of them is her boyfriend. Not the devilish Mikan we use to know? Observing Asahi teaching Youko, they notice that it may be the first time it might not just be admiration but real love as all the girls he had a crush on always took the lead. And always he got rejected. At the end of the day, Asahi excuses himself for something important. But his friends can tell from his leaky face that he has a ‘date’ with Youko. Even Asahi himself is surprised that Youko is asking for a date. Actually what she meant was to extend their swimming lessons by sneaking into the school’s pool. While they take a break, Youko tells him how her mom would tell stories of she and her dad having fun at school. It made her hopeful. But it turned out to be different as she was always alone. Till she met Asahi and the rest. It got more fun. Although it is important to protect her secret, it won’t mean a thing if it is so she won’t have to quit school. Thanks to all that has happened, she loves school. Akane continues to love watching over them as she is interested to see what kind of romance will turn out between a human and vampire.

Episode 10
Asahi invites Youko to a cake buffet with the guys. But he has a hard time trying to hide her identity as she is getting careless. Mikan seems to be working at this place part time. She tells Youko that she has completed her ultimate cream puffs. To avoid Youko from testing, Asahi would eat them all. You mean she made this much?! Shimada doesn’t understand the implications and joins him. Let’s say they both ‘died’ on the first bite. Akane spots this and has a devilish idea. Next day, Mikan is frantic because she lost her glasses. She is really panicking over it. I’m sure Asahi wouldn’t mind it because he knows the glasses are fake and if she puts it on, she’ll turn into her usual sadistic side. But those glasses hold far more than that. It was the pair that Asahi gave it to her. Can’t say that now, can she? She looks for it (why is Shiho looking for it in her ass?!) and Nagisa confronts her after hearing about it. To her surprise, Mikan apologizes for publishing an article about Nagisa rejecting Asahi then. Then Akane pops up wearing those glasses. She finds it interesting for them to chase her. After Asahi joins in, Akane throws fake glasses but didn’t realize she is still wearing the original ones. Even when she makes clones of herself, none are wearing glasses. The prank ends when Akari picks her up to give the ultimate pain lesson. Now that Mikan has got her glasses back, Fuku starts talking and this is found out by Nagisa. Mikan admits that to her as Fuku explains her status as a fortune god trainee. She demonstrates as proof but could it be mere coincidences? When Mikan learns Fuku can inherit all her memories once in her possession, she wants to get rid of it. Too late, Fuku rants about on Mikan’s embarrassing past, including one where she said she was going to marry Asahi. Nagisa realizes she is in love with him too. So she herself is admitting she likes Asahi? Speaking of the devil, here he comes with Youko! This spectacles has been bringing misfortune, eh? Mikan still wants to throw her away but Fuku says once she puts her on, she will confess to Asahi. Because if she doesn’t like him or anything, she should be able to face him without her glasses. Because Mikan is struggling with all this, Nagisa thought of distracting the duo. As their identity is being risked of discovered, they too get the wrong idea they should distract the other. With all the distracting antics, Mikan and Asahi’s face get close enough. She is about to give in and put Fuku on when Nagisa snatches it and puts it on herself. Fuku then confesses. It made it look like Nagisa confessed to him.

Episode 11
Nagisa and Asahi meet at the festival. They know they have been set up by Youko and Shiho who are both spying close by. Mikan is also here with her twin brothers. As things are awkward, Asahi doesn’t want the night to be ruined so he treats Nagisa to play at the several stalls (some of them feel like business rip-off). Doesn’t this look like a date? When they finally spot Youko, they go after her. Nagisa trips so Asahi catches her. She falls on his body and I don’t know how her hair got stuck in his button. She gives up trying to unfasten it and just sleeps on him. After all, she has resigned to her fate that she likes him! Is it wise to conduct such romantic drama in public? Because Youko is feeling some sort of heartache. Next day in school, Mikan chides Asahi to go find Youko and explain everything properly if he has time to agonize over last night. Youko is so spaced out at Akane’s office that the principal isn’t sure what to do. When Youko reacts to Akane teasing about their love, Akane gets this devilish idea to tease her by impersonating as lovely couples Asahi and Youko getting lovey-dovey in public. No matter where Youko runs to, she sees embarrassing clones of themselves engaging in sexy time (those horns are standing out like a sore thumb). Akane’s fun is put to a stop when Akari exacts her punishment and chase her all around. When the real Asahi comes by, I guess he is too slow to explain so Akari thought this Asahi is Akane and gets rough. But Youko can’t bear to stay around with him and excuses herself she has plans with Shiho. Similarly, Nagisa continues to space out thinking about Asahi.

Episode 12
The friends can tell Asahi is down. Did Youko dump him? Actually, Youko has been avoiding him lately. Nagisa feels guilty for creating that distance and wants to apologize. Then here comes Akane to shake things up as she blackmails Nagisa to make cakes with that photo of her lying on Asahi’s chest. Thankfully Akari sets things back to normal. Unfortunately the guys see this photo when she fails to hide it. I don’t know where she got that ice creams and planted them in Asahi’s face to avoid him from looking. Because of that, he pins her against the wall. Youko happen to come by and misinterprets this. Then Asahi wakes up from this dream whereby Youko tells him she has to leave school because her identity is found out. Heading to school, Youko wants to talk to him at the rooftop later. He thinks it is a confession but his friends think otherwise. It could be that complicated relationship with Nagisa. In that case, they tell him to confess before he gets dumped. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Nagisa has been eavesdropping and she fears this confession. This is when Mikan tells her off to be honest about her feelings that she likes Asahi. As typical as a tsundere, she denies. Mikan continues to tell about Asahi who has changed over the years. He couldn’t even talk properly to the girl he likes and with Youko around, she looks like his first serious love. Try to come up with an answer before she starts regretting. So I think this is her answer. As Asahi is going to meet Youko, Nagisa stands before him. Not only she is going to stop his confession, she is going to kill him? With a shovel? As she chases him around, her thoughts of stopping this confession is that if they become a couple, he would spend less time with her. He was the first to know about her alien identity and accepted it. That is why she loves him. In fear of changing the status quo, thus this silly mission. Asahi doesn’t understand if she doesn’t explain. As a typical woman, she can’t explain it or even say it in detail what is bugging her. Yeah, guys have to guess, right? Asahi doesn’t give a damn anymore on what she is going to do. He is going to meet Youko. That is final. As he opens the door, he sees Youko being taken away by a giant bat! Then it hit him. This wasn’t some confession. It was just like this morning’s dream. She wanted to say goodbye. Turning to Nagisa, he requests her help to bring back Youko.

Episode 13
Akari drives the related party to Youko’s house. Because she is sticking to the speed limit, Akane uses her magic to fly the car there, wrecking it all the way. There goes her new car. So while Akari tries to teach grandma a lesson, it’s up to the kids to save Youko. Nagisa apologizes for everything she has done to him and that is why she earnestly wants to help him save Youko. As they sneak in, they are confronted with this huge man. Shiho introduces him as Genjirou, Youko’s dad. Really a big guy… Nervous Asahi tries to request Youko to be released when the said girl waltz into the scene. Father and daughter get into a petty argument as Nagisa throws garlic as diversion. Asahi takes Youko to run. That is when he learns Youko was just taking care of her sick mom. Disappointed? And you wonder why Youko had worded it so ambiguously then. As Genjirou is on their tail again, Youko takes Asahi to hide in her room. After both sides apologize, Youko mentions there was some other thing she wanted to say to him at the rooftop. She can’t explain it well but it is something to do with feeling awkward when she sees him. Asahi comes clean about all the misunderstood accidents with Nagisa but Youko already knows about it. Genjirou is knocking on the door getting the wrong idea. But the big guy cowers when his little wife, Touko comes in to put him in his place. Hey, doesn’t she look fine? As explained, she was indeed sick but Genjirou overreacted and panicked trying to nurse her. So that bat carrying Youko away was Genjirou panicking and wanting her to come home. I’m not sure about their plan to hole up in her room till morning just in case dad comes breathing down their neck again. But then the furniture comes crashing down on them. The ambiguous position of Asahi over Youko. Of course this is cue for Nagisa to come in and look at this indecency. Now she is going to kill him with that hammer? Or more precisely, erase his memories? That is when Asahi gets an idea.

Confronting Genjirou, he tells him about this memory erasing hammer. Asahi is willing to have all his memories of Youko erased so she can remain in school. Because Youko now has many friends. He is one of them. Don’t just say it. Prove it. He lets Nagisa do the honours but she can’t bring herself to do it. Asahi will then do it himself. Not easy, eh? Youko then stops him and tells him off for being stupid. She already told him not to do extreme stuffs just to protect her identity. If he forgets her, how can her school life be fun anymore since he was the one who helped her befriend others? She wanted to confess something but Genjirou is already knocked out. Seems when Youko stopped Asahi, the hammer accidentally flew from his hand and into his forehead! Let’s hope the memory erasing effect works or else he’ll wake up into one angry big guy. Next morning, Akari comes to pick them up after apologizing to the household. Did Akane use her magic to make another new car? No. Akari made her pay for it in full! Genjirou won’t see off Youko but when the car gets going, they see him chasing after them. Actually he is waving goodbye. Youko waves back. Asahi wants to know what Youko wanted to say to him then. But she gets embarrassed and didn’t answer. I think we all know what it was. Asahi promises never to use that memory erasing tactic again and promises to keep her secret identity. So far so good.

Love… Actually…
Status quo? Typical happy life-goes-on ending? No real confessions were made but we all pretty know much how everybody feels about each other. Even before halfway. Heck, right at the start after watching the opening credits. And yet nobody said those 3 magical words that would have a high chance of ending the harem route. Well, look on the bright side. At least Asahi still gets to be with the girl he loves and all the other girls who like him still get to be together. Youko isn’t going to quit school any time soon and what could be better than that? So pushing for them to become a couple might just be asking too much. Oh. What am I ranting about here anyway?

Having varied characters for a harem anime is a given. I mean, wouldn’t it be just freaking boring if all the girls had the same personality? Maybe the only exception would be twins but that isn’t the point. So what I am saying is that despite the series having giving the characters their varied personality, some just feel cliché because you know, I have been watching so many of such similar genres that they all seem to be looking the same and overlapping. From your typical tsundere to the naughty and cheeky brat to spice things up to the standard childhood friend, these characteristics do ring very familiar bells when you are watching a romantic love comedy and harem theme. If you don’t employ them, it would be such a waste. Damn if you do, damn if you don’t. Also in short, when you watch this kind of shows, don’t expect any sort of deep character development because you know how everyone will turn out in the end.

I don’t know if there has become an increasing trend to have a harem with girls who are non-human. Remember Rosario To Vampire? That is the furthest I can remember about a guy having monster girls as anime. Don’t forget High School DxD too. Then you have some alien girls in a harem when it comes to To Love-Ru and Date A Live. And more recently you have a harem with real monster girls, Monster Musume No Iru Nichijou. So having differing and cliché personalities is not enough these days that they have to even make the girls’ origins and race different? Thus it is getting pretty obvious here for this series as the main girls around him aren’t 100% human to begin with. Although you might argue that Mikan is human, heck, she has a talking glass! No ordinary human would have that, right? So when is Asahi going to get a cat girl, zombie, android, ghost and even an angel as part of his harem? If he ever gets them, can you say this fate of his is written in the stars?

So for the main character like Asahi, he is just like your typical guy who has a crush on a girl and very nervous in trying to confess to her. The more chances he gets, the more he screws up and it looks like he might end up in the friend zone before you know it. Well, that’s pretty normal in real life, isn’t it? Depressing, isn’t it? The only thing I’ll comment on him is his leaky basket disposition regarding keeping Youko’s identity a secret. It might seem that he has been doing a fine job. At least from his other normal friends and other humans. But my theory is that maybe it is not that it isn’t written all over Asahi’s face about this secret, but perhaps that vampires and aliens don’t exist in this world so his friends and others who never experienced encountering one before surely have not seen the ‘words written on his face’. Therefore the only reason why the secret is safe is because everybody does not believe in the existence in such creatures.

You can’t call Asahi as a 100% leaky basket because the only person who doesn’t seem to get his feelings is the very person whom he has a crush on. That’s right. To think Youko is this dense? And as expected, the more time she spends with him, the more she starts to really show it. Yes. It is all written over her body and face. It’s so obvious that it might get to an irritating point where you just want to scream out to her to just say it. Maybe she is just like him on being conscious of their friend zone. I am sure the duo have been very aware the friend zone status they have put each other many times. So that is why it is just getting harder and harder for them to set their feelings straight the more they drag this on. But the girl who ends up having Asahi as her boyfriend can be lucky he won’t cheat on her. At least, with everything so easily written on his face, you can tell right away whether he is cheating on you or not.

Nagisa feels more irritating than Youko thanks to her tsundere-cum-denial personality. But you can’t blame her after rejecting him once and if she really goes back to him, wouldn’t it feel like she has lost some face value? But I guess that is the charm of being tsundere. Well, maybe. First she acts too rash of wanting to kill him. Then after cooling down, she feels sorry. Apologizes. And then the cycle repeats again. I suppose that is why she is an alien. Not even aliens can comprehend human behaviour although she is clearly acting like a tsundere. Mikan started off as a b*tch whom everybody loves to hate. But after the revelation of her talking glasses and that she has feelings for Asahi (obviously), it seems she is pretty docile once you take away her devilish behaviour. She’s just so tame without that badass character that it made me wonder if she had some sort of split personality (even tamer when she was completely missing from the final episode). Perhaps. The only reason I can think of she always picks on Asahi is to hide her feelings for him. It is some sort of distraction so that she doesn’t have to fluster irritatingly like amateur-in-love-Nagisa. I suppose she knows she is down the pecking order of girls in line to steal Asahi’s heart so she gladly plays the tragic heroine of helping others at the expense of her own love. How sweet…

The only reason why Shiho exists is to satisfy horny boys who always dreamt there would ever be such a girl. Imagine if her character was a guy (no, I’m not talking about Shirou), what would be the impact if she goes around saying he is a pervert? Although a girl going around admitting she is a pervert is still frowned upon in society but in anime world, the impact is much less and horny guys are more inclined to forgive her behaviour. Say, I wonder what happened to Shirou? Have they forgotten all about him? I don’t know. The way things are going it seems pretty obvious that wolf boy has been totally left out. As if this guy was just to help introduce Shiho. I mean, really. There are lots of very curious things about this guy. Firstly, how did he and Shiho ended up like this in the first place? As Youko’s childhood friend, the typical cliche trope states that there must be some sort of love triangle but because he was forgotten, that never really happened. I guess with Shirou’s absence, in a way it is good too because we prefer to see more of sexy and perverted Shiho compared to this ‘ugly’ Shirou, right? Thank goodness for no full moons!

Taking over Mikan’s devilish behaviour is no other than the big devil herself, Akane. I guess when you have been living for so long, you get bored and she gets her kicks when she spies and plays pranks on her students especially Asahi and co. It is safe to say that Akane won’t be part of Asahi’s harem anytime (and because her face isn’t in the harem group shot in the opening and ending credits too). Besides, won’t it feel just odd that a great-great-grandma as a harem candidate? No way man! Not even if she looks like a cute little girl! It feels like a running joke that each time she tries to cause her own brand of havoc of fun, Akari will always be there to put her in place with her exaggerated abuse. And she never learns her lesson so the cycle is doomed to repeat itself. Another joke that Akane loves picking on Akari is teasing about her single status. Why do female teachers her age always have this stereotypical character of being single, yearning for a guy and drinks?

Although Asahi’s friends are pretty stereotypical for a typical group of guy best friends, aside the bespectacled and idiotic monkey character, I want to point out that the weirdest of them all is Sakurada. No, I’m not talking about his mature personality. The fact that this guy looks like a middle aged guy is what bugs me. I thought he was a teaching staff or even the gardener but what the heck? Asahi’s classmate?! Come on. He has got that little unshaven looks and even wears his flamboyant Hawaiian t-shirt to school. He looks more like an adult than a student. Sometimes I feel that this guy failed his exams so many times that he just stayed back in high school forever! This is the only way I could reconcile his looks assuming that I’m judging a character by its book. Yeah… But then again, when you have a school that houses a vampire, alien and even the principal herself is a devil, what is an ossan to all that?

One of the funniest segments is the random quiz variety section after the credits. It is one of those silly segments just for laughs. Usually it has some sort of twist as its punch line. For example in the guess this character game, we are presented with a very familiar shadow. Think you know the answer? Normally one would easily recognize that shadow belonging to Youko but the real answer turns out to be Shimada cross-dressing as her! Didn’t see that coming, did you? So we have the characters taking turns hosting this segment asking various silly questions or choices and usually some other character like Asahi or Nagisa would just retort everything in the end. From spot the difference to yes or no quiz to a memory test and even a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire parody, this light segment is surely to bring in some laughs.

The art and drawing seems pretty normal. The colours are bright and vivid and with the characters are distinctive enough so you won’t confuse yourself like in some animes when they look very closely to each other although unrelated. So colourful and distinctive that sometimes I feel that each of them can be a coloured Power Ranger or something. No, really. So who is going to be the red for leader? No, pink is not red! So you can’t be the leader, Akane. (FYI, Shiho is purple and Akari is dark maroon red, which isn’t that kind of red). It is both funny and silly when the characters put on that dumbstruck face of theirs, which seems to be the trademark art style. This anime is produced by TMS Entertainment who brought us Kamisama Hajimemashita, Itazura Na Kiss, D. Gray-man and Buzzer Beater. But they are more famous for their Detective Conan and Lupin III series. Hmm… Maybe that is why I find it a little familiar, the design style of the ears of the characters in this series. Well, almost.

Voice acting sounds pretty decent. It is been a long time since I have heard a main character speaking a kansai accent so I suppose with Yuu Serizawa doing so as Youko (Tenma in Mushibugyou), it reminds me that Japanese has lots more accents and isn’t just confined to the one I often hear these days. Other casts are Natsuki Hanae as Asahi (Inaho in Aldnoah.Zero), Inori Minase as Nagisa (Hestia in DanMachi), Reina Ueda as Mikan (Katai in Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyouku), Aya Uchida as Shiho (Kotori in Love Live), MAO as Akane (Suseri in Isuca), Emi Nitta as Akari (Honoka in Love Live), Rikiya Koyama as Genjirou (Kiritsugu in Fate series), Youko Hikasa as Touko (Mio in K-ON!), Kenichi Miya as Shirou (Entre in C -Control- The Money And Soul Of Possibility), Daisuke Hirakawa as Okada (Makoto in School Days), Hiro Shimono as Shimada (Keima in The World God Only Knows) and Wataru Hatano as Sakurada (Gajeel in Fairy Tail).

Surprisingly the opening theme is quite a fun song to hear, Ars Magna doing Himitsu Wo Choudai despite having that sleepy sound in his voice, the song has this playful and lively beat to it. The ending theme too isn’t bad. Ienai Ienai by Hilcrchyme resembles very much like hip hop. There is the very sultry and sexy insert song, Hologram by Minmi. Perfect for seemingly romantic moments. Actually the one played in the series as I found out is just one of the versions of it. The original one is fast paced and very techno. I think I definitely prefer the former very much and many times compared to the original song many times over.

Overall, this anime has still been enjoyable and funny (if you like this sort of genres anyway) despite it doesn’t break any new ground and seemingly using the overused formula of a romantic comedy genre. It lacks something that would make it memorable in the long run and stand out from other very similar animes in the same category. I’m pretty sure that animes like Nisekoi and High School DxD will overshadow series like this one in no time. Not to say those animes are great considering recently their sequel just… Well, let’s leave that another time. These days you don’t have to worry if something is written all over your face and trying to hide it the best you can. Whether you like it or not, everybody already knows. So just stop posting damn stupid things on social media!

Tari Tari Special

March 18, 2016

Wait. What? There was a special episode of Tari Tari released? And that was way back in December 2014?! What? When? How? Where? Why? I know. It came of a surprised to me recently when I saw this title while randomly browsing the internet. I thought my memory was bad (it is) so I was wondering if this must be an OVA of the series that I have watched (there was no OVA for it whatsoever). Then I double checked and discovered that this special is supposedly a new animation to be bundled with the BD box set. Ah… Well, if you are a fan of the series, you might as well want to grab this. Me? I can’t even remember what happened…

Being Cloudy, Shining, Singing Again Someday
It seems to be taking place after the events of the TV series considering everything feels like in the midst of winding up. Christmas is coming and Konatsu is definitely bullshitting about the origins of Christmas in feudal Japan. We know the fat guy in the red suit and white beard is the same too but it has been accepted worldwide ;p. So our Choir Club quintet are cleaning up their clubroom for one last time since nobody is going to be here next year. Next door, they hear the wind instrument club giving its seniors a retirement ceremony. Taichi wonders if they should hold their own retirement ceremony and Konatsu might sound like she is a wet blanket as she is against it. She even tells him to go and sing karaoke by himself if he wants it so badly. Her reason is that one can never quit music. It is all around them. You sing when you want to. Therefore it is meaningless to have such a retirement ceremony. Meanwhile Sawa is having an argument with her dad. I believe she wants to move out and live on her own. Dad is of course against it. He wants her to graduate from high school first and think about it but her mind has been made up. Eventually he puts his foot down that he won’t let her do part time work. Because he is her father. That’s final. But mom says that is his way of saying she can go. Wait. What? I don’t understand. Complicated family matters… Sawa then texts Wakana to have some tea since they aren’t having any retirement ceremony. Later in town, Konatsu must be embarrassed seeing Wien dressed as Santa as he sings in public with Taichi as his backup. Well, she did say to sing when he feels like it, right?

Tarinai? Mou Juubun Da…
Translation: Not enough? Enough already… So erm… Wait. What? I don’t really understand what this epilogue is supposed to mean since there is literally nothing important that goes on here. The fact that this special is only 11 minutes but only 7 minutes of it is actual running time and the rest at the end is just the ending theme in which it showcases snippets of scenes from the TV series. Hmmm… Come to think of it, I believe I did read this is what this special is about too. To showcase a new recorded song for the series. Well, I could say that the full length of Itsumademo Kagayaki Wo is quite a lovely piece especially the harmonization of their voices in this slow and lovely ballad. This song is the saving grace of this little special that would otherwise leave a dull impression on the series’ end. Okay, so I can’t remember much to remember what kind of impression I had on the TV series. Except for that really funny bad English line, “I don’t money”!!! Oh yeah. I really remembered that one.

Sore Ga Seiyuu

March 13, 2016

It is time for another edutainment in the anime industry. Not long after we have glimpsed the workings of an anime production studio in Shirobako, now we take a look at the lives of being a voice actor/actress or better known as seiyuu. However, Sore Ga Seiyuu isn’t the first anime that depicts the lives of seiyuu wannabes. Many years ago, Love Get Chu covered this and then subsequently there is one too about voicing for hentai, right? So do we need another anime about seiyuu? Why not? If you love watching animes or even play games, this kind of series is no better way for you to know the workings and appreciate how these amazing people bring you the things to love and enjoy.

Episode 1
Futaba Ichinose is nervous because today will be her debut recording as a seiyuu for the anime Buddha Fighter Bodhisattvon. Although she is just voicing a mascot character, at least she is a regular cast. Therefore she is talking to her doll on what needs to be done. Other people might see her as creepy… Her first visit to the studio, she is a bit surprised it isn’t as extravagant as she thought it would be. A little rundown… With so many people around, Futaba starts panicking as she tries to greet each and every one. She gets even nervous that she gets to meet the famous seiyuu, Masako Nozawa. She even greeted her twice. Then some jerk, Yamori had to put her down that she can’t even remember faces so can she do her job? Thinking everyone is out of her league, Futaba thinks Ichigo Moesaki is one whom she can relate to. It is definitely a big lie that she comes from some strawberry planet! Everything about her is about strawberries so people can easier remember her. When Futaba’s senior, Hikari Shiodome teases her about it, Ichigo goes out of character. Then Futaba sees a little girl, Rin Kohana. Guess what? She is still in middle school! The session is about to begin so Futaba and Ichigo panic upon which seats to take in the room. Can’t sit next to Nozawa. Too awesome! The ideal seat is taken by Rin so I guess they have to settle on the other side. The sound director comes in to tell everyone of the changes to some of the script. I think Futaba is at a lost where to change or what is even going on.

Then everyone has a dry run to test things out. Futaba being nervous as usual overdid her first part. And she had such a great visualization of her character. So great it deviated on what it is supposed to be… The sound director tells her to do it more normally. Yeah… What the heck is normally?! Ichigo is also having similar problems with her. Sound director wants her to sound like a girl with big boobs? How can she when she is so flat?! Whoops! The duo are in awe when they hear Rin say a freaking long and hard line without making any mistakes! There is a part where an unnamed character has a line or two and on the spot Futaba is chosen to play that part. She fumbles a lot and after several retakes, they just ask Hikari to do it. Flawless. The session ends and although Nozawa gives nervous Futaba some encouragement, Yamori again had to tell her that she is a failure if she can’t even say such a short line. F*ck off! Naturally it has been a tough day for Futaba and Ichigo. So tough that it is reflected in the sky. It’s gloomy and raining. Rin is kind enough to lend them her umbrella while she takes the bus. They are motivated to do as well as her. They talk about why they became a seiyuu. Ichigo likes to be one. As for Futaba, when she graduated, there weren’t many jobs around so I guess this was her only viable choice. It is not that she is taking this seiyuu thing lightly. Rather, because there weren’t too many jobs, it was hard to break into any industry. If that is the case, might as well make her hardest dream come true and be that to do work with her voice.

Episode 2
Futaba goes off to do her other job: Part time worker at a convenience store. Likewise, Ichigo is working at a food factory. The older ladies think she is unsociable but in actual fact she doesn’t want her status to be known for the fear of being hounded for favours. Futaba heads off to her agency, Aozora Production to get the script for Bodhisattvon’s next episode. She notices a pile of scripts for the more famous seiyuu, Hiroshi Kamiya. OMG! You mean that Hiroshi Kamiya! Yup! That guy. In the flesh! Don’t blame her for freaking out. Oh, he’s got lots of fan letters too. I guess the only reason he is talking to her is because he thinks she likes cats (she is wearing some lame t-shirt with cat prints). The new seiyuus praise Futaba but can’t help feel anxious because their future is uncertain if they would get any work. Atsumari, the manager of Aozora introduces Futaba to new manager, Aoi Konno. It seems she wants Futaba to attend an audition for a new anime. Likewise, Ichigo and Rin also get word for audition. In order to get to know her role well, Futaba is very much poorer this month as she buys all the manga volumes and start reading up. The trio are surprised to see each other on audition day although they are glad they are auditioning for different roles. Too bad it is going to take some time since there are lots of people, famous and not so famous auditioning for various roles.

Futaba acts out her character when it is her turn. At the end, she notices the committee yawning! Oh dear! As for Ichigo, she is told to read a line from another character in addition to her auditioned role. When it’s over, she notices they got bored and distracted with something else! It is Rin’s turn and the committee is impressed. The trio hang out together at the end. Futaba and Ichigo lament the waiting of results which could take up to a month. Ichigo is bent on passing this one as she wants to stop her losing streak and stop having her bookshelf filled with mangas of animes she is not part of. Futaba is also on a losing streak. She explains the strict working system of her agency. People who have worked for a full 2 years and do not show promise will be fired. Because of it, she thinks of quitting the industry if she doesn’t do well in her assessment. Rin feels bad for her because she never thought about it seriously since she didn’t choose this line herself. As the trio are in another recording session of Bodhisattvon, the sound director as usual comes in to mention about script changes. Futaba then asks a question if her character will revive after this. He tells her straight the character will stay dead and this is its last appearance! OMG! Futaba falling into shock of unemployment! They just killed off a regular character?! Ichigo and Rin try to cheer up a very depressed Futaba when they are approached by a guy who wants them to host a web radio.

Episode 3
Nervous as usual. So what better way to practice with her doll before the real thing. Although her character is dead, Kaibara the producer of the web radio wanted to keep the series fresh and thus thought it is a good idea to have fresh faces from the series. But before that web radio, Futaba is invited to go on the air with Shiodome’s radio show first. Excited? Till Shiodome warns about the show being live. No mistakes… Gulp… And this is the killer advice: A careless remark can never be erased once it is aired. But the person who made it might be… Holy sh*t!!! So Futaba calls Ichigo and Rin just to initiate an emergency meeting and also invite them to join her on Shiodome’s radio show. After the trio meet the small crew of the radio show, here comes the guest star, Yukari Tamura. OMG! You mean, that Yukari Tamura?! Yup. In the flesh. The trio are in awe that the duo can talk so naturally without any script. When it is their turn, they are stiff as a rock. Even stiffer for Futaba when the duo start teasing her a little. At the end of it, I guess the trio are somewhat relieved and down but thanks to Tamura’s encouragement, they get motivated. Now they are at the studio for the web radio, they are given just a sheet of paper and no script. Free talk. Oh… It gets awkward when the recording goes live. Who is going to say what? Some bad timing here and there. Futaba’s voice goes a little soft thanks to her nervousness. They read some fan mail and when the director wants them to expand on a topic they are talking, they get the wrong idea and talked about something else. At the end of the day, they feel deflated but the producer absolutely loves them! They might be all over the place but it is the best he has seen and they sure have potential. Wow. He really means that? This brightens up their day. Then they go watch the first episode of Bodhisattvon. They can’t believe this is how they sound and Futaba is so embarrassed I think she might trash the TV! They feel frustrated that they could have done better. Rin surprisingly also feels the same way. At least seeing their names popping up in the credits make them feel better.

Episode 4
Futaba’s is praying to her handphone like an altar… Yeah, that audition… Please, oh please… Then a call from Konno… It’s about next week’s web radio job… The audition? Well… She didn’t get the part! So I guess Futaba is still coming to the studio just to show face despite having no roles. And before they know it, they have finished recording the last episode of Bodhisattvon. Futaba talks to her friends about her failed audition and thus she won’t have a job. The rest also mentions they didn’t get the part. Though Ichigo has a narration job for some supermarket’s promotion and Rin is worried about her upcoming exams. Futaba laments she wanted to voice her character more. She felt she let her guard down. The trio attend the wrap up party for Bodhisattvon. Futaba bumps into Banjo Ginga. You mean that Banjo Ginga?! Yup. In the flesh. She mentions about her character’s early death so he also tells her the many characters he played who got killed. Whether the character is main or not, if it dies you have got to die with it. Futaba feels encouraged and enlightened. Soon, the web radio also ends, Kaibara has some good news for them. Thanks to their popularity, the web radio will be extending. Even better, he plans for the trio to form a unit. Ichigo is excited that this is the moment she has been waiting for. Futaba is another bundle of nerves. Didn’t think she’ll have to do a CD debut so fast, eh? So they have to come up with a name for their unit, right? Sure, the girls have them especially Ichigo who really wants it to be a reference to her favourite strawberries. But Kaibara has got a better name: Earphones. Eh… What the… Futaba may be thinking too much about the prospect of getting famous since she notices her flabby arms. Diet time! The first interview they attend for an anime magazine, Ichigo perms her hair, Rin wears mini skirt to get a feel of what it is like to be an idol and Futaba showing up in sneakers because she walked all the way here as part of her diet. The trio have their fair share of nervousness as the interview takes place. A photo shoot at the end. They are happy to see their article appearing in the magazine.

Episode 5
The hits on their website are paltry. It can’t be help since they are a newly formed unit. Ichigo believes they’ll soon reach a million. In next week! Have no fear. Ichigo is here! But there is problem for her: The factory manager calls her to say she doesn’t need to turn up for her next shift since she always misses them. Sure, he knows about her other work but if she can’t make their company the priority… She thought going home to her strawberry kingdom (her room) would ease things a little. No electricity! And then the factory manager calls again to tell to get her stuffs because he got a new replacement. Damn. But for every darkness there must be light. So the next call is from a guy telling her she got a part to voice a character in an upcoming video game. Although it is a minor bug character, she is more than happy to accept it. But before the recording, she has to attend an event for the main cast members in which the main star Yui Horie will attend. You mean that Yui Horie?! Yes, it is her!!! So her friends and Kaibara get to know this and they couldn’t be happier. They talk about bigger things and it just scares the heck out of them. The event is going to be held in a hall that can hold thousands! Naturally Ichigo gets nervous but with encouragement from her dad, she is fine. She stops by at the game company to pick up the script for the scenario. Gosh… 3 full boxes of script! Although hers are just a few pages, she needs to go over the rest for reference. The morning of the event day, Ichigo is nervous to be in the same room with Horie. And then comes in this plain looking geek. Wait a minute… This is Yui Horie???!!! THIS IS HER???!!! ARIENAIIIIII!!!!!!! Ichigo is overwhelmed by the stage and very nervous during rehearsal. Horie gives her some good advice to calm her nerves. Before the event starts, Ichigo is blown away by the fully crowded hall. Even more mind blowing is that now Horie is all dolled up and looking like her usual kawaii idol! OMG! IT’S YUI HORIE FOR REAL!!! KYAAA!!!!~<3. Ichigo is still nervous and stiff as a robot as she walks out on stage. Before she knows it, the event is over. She feels bad for being useless, doing nothing right and talking big about making big as Earphones. But she gets her hopes up as Horie performs a mini concert at the end of the event. She captivates the crowd and it makes Ichigo really want to be like her. In the end, Ichigo although felt nervous, she had great fun. All is not lost because she gets a single fan letter. Even sweeter for Earphones is that Kaibara already has their debut song out. Version 2.3?

Episode 6
The CD is just a temporary song for them to practice. There is going to be music video shooting, photo album cover photo shoot and lots of dance lessons before that. So it’s going to get busy girls. Yeah, you writing all that down? The best part? Kaibara has got the single named: In Your Ears. This guy should stop naming things… This excitement has Futaba recall she went for a recording of a drama CD for Spiral Cafe. She get to voice a sister character to Rie Kugimiya. You mean that Rie Kugimiya?! Yup. In the flesh. But no tsundere mode. When an anime adaptation of Spiral Cafe is announced, you bet Futaba is just freaking happy. You can’t blame her for expecting a call from the recording company for her to reprise her role. Earphones take dance lessons from a teacher (why do they always have to be gay men?) but he can’t stay long and tells them to practice themselves. During their web radio, Rin makes a self promotion by informing the upcoming Spiral Cafe anime. She will be voicing a sister character to Kugimiya. Oh sh*t… Suddenly Futaba’s world collapses. The shock is just too much to bear. You can tell the stormy weather is a reflection of her heart. Because of that, she declines joining her friends in whatever outing or practice. Poor girl feels so frustrated that she throws away all her Spiral Cafe manga. When in is doing research on her character, she spots Futaba’s name in the credits. Then she just realized why Futaba has been acting so strange lately. Futaba skips her Earphones’ practice to hang out and do nothing at her agency. The pain is too much to bear so she starts crying and bumps into Shiodome. She hears out her frustration and tells her how uncommon it is for drama CD and anime to have different seiyuus due to change in production company or budget and is usually done unannounced. Because Futaba still feels hurt and can’t face her colleagues, it’s time for a little tough love on reality. The fans don’t care how you feel. Even if you have a family member in hospital, you must still do your job otherwise it is deemed rude to your fellow colleagues. Futaba thought being a seiyuu was a dream. Nope. It is the audience’s dream. A seiyuu shows them that dream. Futaba has revitalized and thanks her. When she meets Rin, they both reconcile and made up. Then she rehears her drama CD and notes she was bad but did not let it affect her performance. Earphones continue to do an amazing job when Kaibara relays the bad news they can’t make an early release of their debut CD in time.

Episode 7
Thankfully it isn’t cancelled but just delayed. The trio make their way to the studio they recorded Bodhisattvon together. Each will be recording for a different category. Futaba will be dubbing a foreign movie, Ichigo doing an audio book (recording while reading aloud a book) and Rin voicing a game character. Right before the room, Futaba had to bump into that jerk Yamori again. Trauma? All is not lost because Rikiya Koyama is also here for the dubbing. You mean that Rikiya Koyama?! Yes. In the flesh. As a pro, Futaba has to keep her emotions in check instead of flustering like a fan. But she goes into a bit trauma when she hears a character he is playing got killed off in the first episode. The recording begins and for dubbing, seiyuus have to wear headphones to hear the original language. Futaba remembers when she tried watching to film for her character part, she got freaked out because she is supposed to voice a zombie character! It’s going to give her nightmares. Ichigo also has her own problems like mispronouncing words and Rin has a hard time visualizing the situation because the script only contains lines for her character. During break time, the trio realize their hair is ‘flattened’ thanks to the headphone. When Rin is worried about the different type of punch sounds she needs to make, Ichigo would gladly help out by punching Futaba in the gut! I think Rin will figure this one by herself. Returning to the recording, Futaba notices Koyama very focused and pro in his job. It is not unusual in dubbing for seiyuus to voice multiple characters. Futaba does a handful of them and aces. At the end of the day, hey, even Yamori compliments she got better! That’s a big motivation for her. He even ‘invites’ her to go to the wrap up party.

Episode 8
Today is Earphones’ first debut event. Don’t get the low ticket sales get to you… Before it starts, Futaba wants to see the crowd but Konno stops her. After giving her the slip, to her dismay sees the staff putting more space between the chairs and even sitting in themselves just to make the hall look full. Disheartened? Kaibara introduces them. Rin is doing fine until she realizes her friend, Sayo among the crowd. Embarrassed? Ichigo is more daring but Futaba remains shy and stiff. When it is time for them to sing, it starts off with a little glitch as the song didn’t play. But once it gets going, everything else flows fine. At the end, a handshake event. Ichigo and Rin are clearly more favourites compared to Futaba. But there is a big fan of her so it’s not that bad. Too bad there is a time limit to talk and shake hands or else the line will be piling up. The event naturally increases their web traffic. Sayo is so amazed at Rin that she imitates what she did in front of class! Futaba gets a narration job but starts panicking when the script will only be given on that day. Oh, how will she prepare? As usual, nervous making her way to the studio, she thought she heard a familiar ‘TV voice’. Turns out to be Yuji Machi. She is given a script and the panic continues because there are so many names she doesn’t know how to pronounce! And the recording starts now?! Machi starts off first and Futaba is amazed at how flawlessly he narrates despite being given the script in a short amount of time. He can even tell how long he has been narrating so as to fit his narration into the video. Now it is Futaba’s turn. As usual. Nervous. Even if hers is a dry run, the producer doesn’t even know where to begin to correct her. During the break, Machi calms her nerves. He was once like that too. He has done narrations where the script is only given 5 minutes before. Sometimes he is told to adlib. Sometimes he has to say what the producer whispers. He got used to all this. Futaba is encouraged and continues her recording. At the end of the day, she is surprised that Atsumari has been watching her recording. Futaba is glad she learnt a lot today. Atsumari hopes she can get more jobs like this too.

Episode 9
We take a break from seeing the rise of our newbies and focus on the new manager instead. We start off from Konno starting her job at Aozora and meeting Futaba. We learn she has to juggle with many schedules and jobs with other parties. They are like the intermediary between seiyuus and their voicing jobs. As a newbie, Konno is fretting to tell about Futaba’s audition when she didn’t get the job. But Atsumari tells her to do it quick since it won’t change anything if she delays and it will be easier on Futaba. Konno works hard keeping up her schedules (and replenishing with lots of beef bowls in between). Then she learns the girls will be forming a unit and will have to work together with Kaibara whom Atsumari thinks he is a bit hard to work with. Konno continues to look out for the girls. Then that Spiral Cafe incident when Futaba falls into depression. Konno is worried about her but she herself doesn’t know what to do or say. But to her relief she sees her get back in her grove. Konno tries to get a voicing job for Futaba. Although she gets it, Futaba isn’t sure if she could pull this off. Then they meet Noriko Hidaka. You mean that- Oh wait, I don’t know her ;p. Futaba is nervous in her role because this is the first time she is voicing an older lady. Konno tries to cheer her up saying she did a good job but Atsumari tells her not to say irresponsible things. Sure, it’s a manager’s job to give motivation but getting her hopes up is just temporary and the after effect might be opposite. Hidaka interjects that doing an unfamiliar part is what makes seiyuus happy. From her experience, she always voiced girls’ role until she played a boy’s role. It was trouble at first but now she is glad to have gotten that part. It is all thanks to the manager in otherwise a role she would not have gotten. Konno then manages to get another voice acting job for Konno for a game albeit just a small role. The traffic jam is bad so they have to make by foot, which is actually faster and makes sense. If they’re rushing for time, why do they even help an old lady crossing the road? Ah, you mustn’t forget your respect to your elders. Futaba is in better shape running than Konno thanks to her idol training. Eventually Futaba has to ‘abandon’ Konno to get to the studio in time. She is saying like she has been killed off… When Konno finally arrives, Futaba got the part and she is so happy that the sound director actually loves it. Konno is brought to tears when Futaba hugs and thanks her.

Episode 10
When Kaibara mentions about the change of date on an interview to Saturday, Rin doesn’t seem too pleased. That’s because she has to cancel her outing with Sayo. But she understands it is her job since, well, Sayo claims she is her number one fan. But Rin is called by the teacher to talk about her future. As she will be in high school next year, the school she wants to enrol in strictly takes into account attendance. If she wants to continue her seiyuu job, she will have to enrol in a different high school. Rin is in a dilemma because she can’t bear to part with Sayo. When she goes home, mom is looking through photos of her in kindergarten because the anime magazine called about doing a special on different seiyuu when they were in kindergarten. Too bad, all pictures has her hiding behind something. Mom even remembers an embarrassing incident when she asked Rin what she would like to become in the future: A cucumber! Rin is bothered by her future so she asks Ichigo and Futaba if they ever get worried about continuing as a seiyuu. They do and there are times when they felt like they want to quit. But after working so hard in making it a reality, they can’t quit that easily. But Rin still doesn’t feel convinced. She didn’t choose this job and just kinda continued after joining the children’s theatre troupe that her mom recommended to overcome her shyness. Even the first time she met Sayo, she was hiding behind the curtain and trying to avoid her.

Rin’s manager has got good news for her. She will be voicing a role in an anime movie playing as Kamiya’s sister. I can tell she’s a big fan of Kamiya… But Rin has doubts whether she can play the role of a 15 year old. At the studio, she meets Kamiya in person. During recording, many times she cannot get her takes right. While on the break, Kamiya comments Rin’s calmness in which she is surprised he saw her as so. Kamiya explains he always felt pressure and tempted to be pessimistic so much so he doesn’t want to go to the studio anymore. Sometimes he feels he is not cut out for this line of work. When Rin notices the original works of the movie in his hand, he continues although they only do this job for a day, lots of people have spent a long time making it. Amazing amount of effort was put into this. Seiyuus play important role by giving these characters voices. That is why he has to live up to that trust. Rin is encouraged and those her subsequent takes well. Rin then tells Sayo about her decision to enrol in a different high school so she can continue being a seiyuu. Sayo is only worried if she would be alright by herself because Rin has always followed her since young. But she noticed she has grown stronger little by little. She assures they’ll always be together as promised because Sayo is her number one fan. They can always still see each other on weekends. Time for an emotional girl hug.

Episode 11
Futaba is happy to get a part as a programme regular in a new anime. Although there is no specific role, each episode there is only a few lines to play. Making even more exciting is that Ryoko Shiraishi is going to be here. You mean that Ryoko Shiraishi?! The one that played that Hayate butler?! Yup. In the flesh. Futaba notices how versatile she is. I guess Futaba overdid her part so she starts coughing. Her fellow seiyuu colleagues recommend several stuffs to help take care of that throat. One of them being herb honey cough drops. The worst part for a seiyuu is to come down with a cold. Futaba got it and so she has to make her health a priority and her recordings will be done separately. Luckily she recovers in no time. After finishing another recording, Futaba and Shiraishi talk. The former mentions about not as famous compared the other duo in her unit so she needs to work harder so as not to drag them down. This has Shiraishi mentioning she hurt her throat around her age. Something about vocal cord nodules. She had to go for surgery and felt uneasy. Eventually she had to take it because she wanted to be a seiyuu for life. Although Futaba is inspired, she thinks she got the wrong idea. It’s not that she is afraid, but rather impatient because there is a huge difference between her and her friends.

Kaibara has great news for Earphones. They will have their first solo concert. For some reason, he got a hall that fits 500 people but currently only manage to sell 12 tickets! The girls would love to scold him but they can’t say that out loud. Or risk hurting their voice? I think they have to hold in their scolding because since Earphones do not have enough songs to cover a full concert (only 3 songs so far), he is asking them what they should do! Don’t worry. He has some suggestions. It seems Ichigo pretty much wants to do cover songs. It might take time for them to learn the song, lyrics and choreography but she is pretty adamant in that. Ichigo teaches the rest the dance moves and it is like she’s the boss around because she is quite picky of what kind of songs they should sing so as not to give the crowd the wrong idea. They practice hard and for Futaba and Ichigo as to show they are still young, they pretend their muscles aren’t aching. Several self media promotion has the current ticket sales up to 52 tickets. Not bad, right? Kaibara suggests going to Anitumn, an event where famous artists gather for them to promote their concert. They thought they would be singing on stage, right? Who’d knew it was just handing flyers outside the hall. Freaking cold… Nobody is outside because everyone is inside for the live performance that is about to begin. Feel like scolding him? Eventually their hard work pays off because ticket sales go up to about 200. The girls are about to do the last practice for tonight when Ichigo trips and sprains her ankle. Gasp! Oh no! A performer’s worst nightmare!

Episode 12
Ichigo claims it isn’t that bad. She must be in denial. Yeah, mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. The reason she is putting up with the pain is so that all their hard work won’t be for nothing. Of course during practice, Futaba notices her sluggish movements and then spots the swell getting worse. When Kaibara comes in, Ichigo acts like nothing. He has good news. He has made special outfits for the concert. Each costs 500,000 Yen! Oh sh*t! Once he is gone, Futaba thinks of telling everyone of her swell but Ichigo says no. She wants them to keep this a secret. Otherwise the dance set they’ll have to redo everything from the beginning again and all that they have worked for will be for nought. She will see this through no matter what. Futaba is further thrown in dilemma. On a recording session, she gets to work with Horie again. She asks about her feelings before the concert starts. Horie explains from experience about the pressure and everything. Once it is start, there is no stopping and you must see through it the end. Horie shares her experience as being part of a unit as she is in one currently and no matter how you feel, you can split it between all the members. Next day, Futaba tells Ichigo she should tell everyone about her injury. Still stubborn? Futaba will tell herself. So when Kaibara turns up, Ichigo right away tells her foot injury. Now he is going crazy with all the worrying that the concert will be cancelled and become a bankrupt! I think this hurts his heart more than her foot. As for the performance, they do not have to cancel songs and just cut out the dance parts. For example, they can sit on a chair or wave their hands without moving their feet too much. Thanks to the concert DVDs that Futaba researched, she is getting quite some ideas on this.

When Ichigo has her foot taped, the swell is obvious. Kaibara still worrying? Forget about him. They have to worry about their new choreography as Futaba is the centre so she will have to learn the new moves. She better learn quick and cut down on her mistakes… Sayo has made flags for them. Seriously, are they going to wave them during the performance? Futaba, get your sh*t act together! To conceal the swell, Konno has an idea. All of them will wear furry leg warmers. The outfit was used in one of Aozora’s events. During event day, the slightest bump into Kaibara would send him into worrying frenzy. Will you stop worrying? The girls said they got this covered. Futaba has made bracelets for each of them as good luck charm. Even more encouraging to hear is that tickets are almost sold out. Only 20 left. It is like they will be playing to almost a full house. When Earphones go on stage, the crowd goes silent. Can’t believe those leg warmers, eh? And what is with that rabbit ears getup too? Too weird? Is this going to fail from the start? Then the crowd starts cheering and loving them. Earphones do their stuffs and everything went without a hitch. For the final performance, Ichigo wants to go all out in her performance. They manage to pull it off flawlessly (well, almost) and it was indeed a night to remember for everybody.

Episode 13
Hello. Earth to Futaba. The concert is over. You can stop dreaming now. It’s back to the daily grind. Don’t think you’re famous after that single stint. Futaba has been spacing out lately and Ichigo believes it is burnout. As all the big events of the year are over, one is left to ponder about the next year and where they will go from here. Remember that assessment at Aozora? Konno reminds Futaba hers is due. Futaba gets undue pressure when Konno warns she heard some has their contract terminated despite getting lots of jobs. Worry time… Futaba talks to Ichigo about this and the latter thinks her agency’s system is kind. Because she is being taken care of for 2 years and in the event there are no jobs and you get fired, firing you is a kind way of letting you go. Futaba remembers around this time a year ago when her schedule was so free (aside from her part time job) and being new at everything. She remembers her former colleague, Su-chan who helped her a lot when she first came to Aozora. Speaking of the devil, she calls to hang out with the rest of their old friends. They catch on old times but because Futaba has low self confidence about her prospects, they think otherwise because for her to be taken in would be considered as an elite. Still not convinced? It’s Shiodome’s turn to ask her. Where does she see herself in 5, 10 or 30 years? The question is not whether she thinks she can continue as a seiyuu but rather if she wants to or not. Shiodome puts of more scary stories about the assessment because Futaba doesn’t know what to do with her future and this will certainly have an impact during the assessment. If you can’t shoulder that, you’re not cut out to be a seiyuu. When a colleague passes by, Shiodome asks what she wants. To be rich! See? Didn’t flinch at all. Later, Futaba asks Ichigo about hers. A singing dancing seiyuu idol princess. Wow. She’s not joking, right? Futaba imitates a couple of boys’ voice after hearing them talk. Ichigo is impressed she sounds very fitting for a boy’s role and teases her she fits such roles rather than sexy ones. Futaba took it as a compliment…

Futaba arrives for her assessment. On her way in, she sees a candidate on her way out crying. Damn… Suddenly where did all the nerves of steel go? While waiting her turn, the guy before her sounded like he didn’t make the cut. That depressed face… Oh sh*t… Inside the room… Why does everyone have this serious face?! Long story short, they think she is lacking since her only other notable job is Earphone. It is like she is no different now or then. Even her self assessment she assessed herself with low scores. Futaba is close to breaking down. But when she remembers Ichigo and Shiodome’s words, she collects herself and answers their question of what kind of seiyuu she would like to become. She would like to become one for a long time. It might sound ambitious but this doesn’t change her desire to continue working for a long time. Session’s over. All those puzzled undecided faces… Spring arrives. Futaba meets up with Ichigo and Rin. Ichigo is happy to be chosen as a voice of a local strawberry mascot (looks hideous) while Rin just took her entrance exam. Then Atsumari calls regarding Futaba’s assessment. At first it doesn’t sound too good… Gulp. But her face brightens up when she learns she could continue staying. What does this mean? The ‘council’ couldn’t decide and thus deferred her decision. Hey, doesn’t this sound half assessed? Well, at least Futaba has got another year. She’ll really have to work harder in this grace period. Definitely. Kaibara has some big news for Earphones. He shows them something really big going on for them. Thanks to this cliff-hanger, I guess we will have to imagine what kind of big job that is based on their super shocked faces. Can’t tell. Not too sure if it is for better or worse.

Is That All You Have Got To Say?
So… SO WHERE THE HECK IS MAMIKO NOTO????????!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahem… More about this later on. It has been an insightful and enjoyable ride, if I should sum up my experience in watching this. Although I may be wrong, I have a feeling that what probably goes on in reality is somewhat not as rosy and smooth as seen here. Sure, there are problems that the characters faced but it all works out quite well in the end. I’m sure in real life that rarely happens unless the goddess of luck is smiling upon you on that day. But as far as this anime is concerned, this has been quite an entertaining as well as informative series about the seiyuu world. It goes to show that they aren’t just people voicing in one particular section in the industry. As long as an event has sound and the need of a voice, this is where the job of a seiyuu comes in. Whether it is anime, movies, games, TV commercials, anything that just needs a voice, you can bet there will be some kind of job for the seiyuu to give life to a character or make viewing more pleasurable.

Something about the way it ended for Futaba in this season bugs me. I am not sure how frequent such postponement of a decision is made in the seiyuu industry or how often such practice occurs, but the thought of having her assessment extended by another whole year reminds me of those harem romance animes. Yup. Can’t decide with which girl to go in the end? Can’t decide to let her stay or let her go? Don’t worry. There is always the status quo answer of not choosing! Or at least defer your decision. One year might sound like a long time but I figure when you are in this business, you are going to be kept busy with so many events that it is likely that a year isn’t even enough for everything. As far as this anime is concerned and especially Futaba’s case, it is like trying to catch us viewers off guard because most of us will either be deliberating she is going to fail (a sad ending that would earn the wrath of fans and thus affect DVD sales) or she is going to pass (a boring generic happy ending). Therefore having her status as status quo means that there might be a possible second season if they ever intend to make one. Or if Futaba ever gets too famous that the need for another season is inevitable.

I would love to draw some comparisons with this anime and Love Get Chu. But unfortunately although it has only been a few years ago that I watched that series, I can’t remember much of it. Thus the reason why I might be saying that this series is slightly the better seiyuu themed one. For one big reason, there wasn’t some sort of love triangle drama that Love Get Chu had and thus turning it into some mini drama and deviating a little from the seiyuu theme. Whereas in here, we have no such romance and love problems and therefore we are very much focused on the girls and the obstacles they go through in order to become the seiyuus they dream to be. Secondly, each episode you can learn a fair share amount of the seiyuu industry as narrated by Futaba’s doll. So whip out your paper and pencil and write them down if you are really budding to become a seiyuu. Like I said, I don’t remember much of Love Get Chu so I am not sure if that series had some informative narrative about the seiyuu industry just like this one.

One thing great about this series is the cameo appearances of several famous popular seiyuus. I didn’t realize this in the first episode because I sure didn’t recognize who Nozawa is as I am not a big fan of Dragonball (that Goku voice… Yeah, that’s her) so I thought she was just another character in the series. And when they start rolling seiyuus that I do recognize, it got me excited and this becomes a motivation for me to look forward to the next episode so that I could guess whose turn is it to appear. The only downside? NO MAMIKO NOTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How can you leave out the most beautiful and respected seiyuu ever in history!!!! THAT’S A FACT!!!!!!!!!!! Hey… Maybe they should do an OVA and just put her in as cameo! A minor downside to this seiyuu cameo per episode is that, well, a couple of episodes do not feature new seiyuus but repeat a featured one. I thought maybe they might do a double cameo feature but unfortunately no. Perhaps they have budget constraints (getting a popular one to voice costs more) or scheduling conflicts. So why does Horie and Kamiya only get to appear twice? Well, Horie is definitely the big goddess, right? What about Kamiya? Is he some sort of God too? Well… Kamiya… Kami-ya… KAMI… Technically he has God in his name… Yeah… And the last episode had no guest seiyuu and instead we are spammed with a montage of all of them. Heck, they didn’t even voice. Just clips of them in action. I feel cheated.

The cameos of veteran seiyuus are also not for show and to appeal or attract viewers. They also provide great advice to Futaba and to those who really want to enter the seiyuu industry. Being in the industry for quite a long time, their experience is very much appreciated. Some have already been voice acting for a decade and it is no doubt that the oldest would be Nozawa as she has been voicing since the 60’s!

Later as I found out, although there is a popular seiyuu making a guest appearance as themselves in every episode, there are also other decently known and new seiyuus appearing as themselves throughout the series such as Akemi Kanda, Madoka Kimura and Chiaki Takahashi. The only problem was their cameos were even shorter and they were not mentioned by name anywhere during the episode. I only found this out when I was browsing the list of seiyuus after I have finished watching this series. But not all popular seiyuus make cameos as themselves as some that I recognized were playing characters in this series like Ayane Sakura as Sayo, Jouji Nakata as one of the sound director and Satomi Satou as Rin’s mom. Those I did not were Hitomi Nabatame as Shiodome, Kenta Miyake as Kaibara, Ami Koshimizu as Atsumari and Nobuyuki Hiyama as Yamori. Of course when you have an anime about new and upcoming seiyuus, normally you would use a newbie as well so it is only right for the main trio to be voiced by up and coming seiyuus. Futaba is voiced by Rie Takahashi (Mii in Gakkou Gurashi), Ichigo by Yuki Nagaku (Aki in Medamayaki No Kimi Itsu Tsubusu), Rin by Marika Kouno (Nemu in Overlord) and Konno by Nozomi Furuki (Mashiro in Chaos Dragon). What a great way to use a mix of new and old seiyuus.

It wouldn’t be right if you have an in-anime idol unit but not take advantage of this and have them sing their songs as the opening and ending themes. In fact like some seiyuus who form a unit idol together (namely Sphere and Petit Milady), they are also starting to take off as one as they have released a few debut singles to coincide with the release of the anime. Let’s hope they stay afloat and not sink into obscurity after their debut. The opening theme is as the same name as the series. But the more interesting and catchy one is the main ending theme, Anata No Omimi Ni Plug In. It is a cute song that wants to make you dance and sing along with the girls. Making it even more interesting is how this song is mixed with other stuffs. There will be a short segment in the middle whereby the girls are free to talk whatever they want or read fan mail. The song then continues with lyrics to summarize the important points of the episode. The best part of it all is the request corner where songs from other anime openings make their cameo by playing a line or two such as Slayers, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s, Sailormoon and Martian Successor Nadesico. Other songs by Earphones such as Mimi No Naka E and Hikari No Saki E are also featured only as special ending.

Futaba is the main character in focus although the rest of her Earphones members also have their own episode in focus albeit it was just one each. Like any other amateur, she is not perfect and has lots of anxiety because the seiyuu industry is just like many other cutthroat industries out there. You might be popular today but something goes wrong and you find yourself out the door the next. Yeah, just like that scandal that hit a certain Haruhi seiyuu years ago… Although this series is not to depict exactly what a seiyuu goes through, at least it gives an idea on what they do and face. So if you are a newbie like Futaba, half of the time you’ll be waiting and feeling anxious over results of whether you get the part or not. In a way, this makes her a funny girl because it is like almost everything that she finds new and unfamiliar, she starts panicking and having butterflies in her stomach. But once she gets busy and gets used to her job as a regular, she becomes a natural with all the experience points gained. Although to say that if she has matured at the end of the series is both yes and no. Futaba is still very much the same person at the end as she was at the start. Anxious, indecisive and low self esteem. But she has improved much on her seiyuu skill ever since. So while it is good that she is moving forward, let’s hope that she doesn’t stay too long and learn fast now that her agency has got their eyes on her. No more fooling around. At the same time, we hope that Futaba won’t drastically change her character (like how fame and money drastically change some) because that was how we know her and we are used to seeing the panicky and clumsy girl that never fails to amuse us. Really.

Having a group of people with different personalities is what makes them popular. It wouldn’t be so much fun when you have overlapping characters, right? That is why Ichigo and Rin are also quite the amusing characters in their own right. Ichigo the strawberry maniac is the bolder and cheekier one of the pack. I thought it would be a running joke that each time she Whatsapp her dad about her feelings or what she is doing, there is a tendency that he would have jumped the gun and putting up some sort of embarrassing old photo or video of her on the social media. Guess it was a good thing this didn’t happen too often, eh? Rin at first looks like a perfect prodigy. Then we get to see that she too has her fair share of problems and dilemmas. The greatest problem for her that she has overcome was her shyness. If we did not have a glimpse of her past, we would never have known that she was this shy of a girl. So shy that she even hides when her mom is talking to her! So this seiyuu job did her something good in the long run. It goes to show that even idols are not perfect and are just human beings. But in that span when they perform on stage, they become perfect angels and show us our dreams.

Other characters feel pretty okay too. Like Konno as the new manager is still hanging in there and learning a lot as she continues working in the industry. Kaibara feels like a joke character grandpa because of his bad naming sense although he is a good guy trying to look out for the girls and give them the very best. Futaba’s senior, Shiodome may something sound harsh in her advice but in this industry, sometimes having sweet words all the way won’t make it. At times Shiodome might regret in perhaps giving such harsh advice but don’t worry, Futaba is a strong girl (we hope) and it will take more than that to break her down. Although, the occasional falling into depression and the need to pull her back out again. Then there are guys like Yamori… The kind you wish you’d never bump into for the rest of your life. Heh. Let me just stop talking about this guy. Remembering his face might just ruin my mood for this series and blog. There are many other more characters that look insignificant and seem they made no impact at all. After all when you are in this industry, you will have to meet lots of people down the line from various sections. But I believe no matter how small interaction they have with our main girls, it still goes a long way.

The art and drawing of the characters seem to be leaning to moe and cute. But I personally feel it is a mixed case for the guest seiyuus. How should I put it… They look as close as they are in real life but so as not for the realism to be very contrasting, they are somewhat reduced to their animated form. Get what I’m saying. It is something like if you want to animate yourself or turn 2D without losing a great deal of your features. Generally the guest stars eventually still have that moe and cute looks. Especially the ‘young’ seiyuus but the older guys seem to look a bit more realistic. Like ossan… Duh… Well, at least overall the characters look cute unlike the chubby-like style for the characters in Love Get Chu.

It goes without saying that if an anime revolves around the anime industry, it would be such a waste not to put in some anime trivia in it. Thanks to my limited knowledge and exposure, I can only spot a hand few such as the titular character of Hayate No Gotoku’s very short cameo. How few? Let’s say I have more fingers on my hand than spotting that trivia. There are also parodies especially that Seven Coloured Titan which is supposed to parody Shingeki No Kyojin (Shichi-iro No Kyojin?). Not too sure about the ethics of self-advertising and promotion because since Gonzo produced this anime, there are a few scenes that blatantly advertises their company. Heck, they even had their HQ animated.

Overall, this anime gives a fun and informative insight on the seiyuu industry. It isn’t just an exclusive industry on its own and it is very much interconnected with the rest of the industries in entertainment. Just like any other show business out there, it is not all that glitter, glitzy and glamorous. There is a lot of hard work to be put in if you are going to reach that stage of stardom. Even so, you’re still going to continue slogging just for the sake of making your fans’ dreams come true. Who’d knew that having a voice and the ability to talk would give such a big hope and dream to everyone. If I was 20 years younger and still in school, I’d probably give this excuse of wanting to be a seiyuu as the reason why I am talking a lot in class. But then again, I was never really much of a talker anyway and more of the silent type.

Time to get more analytical and critical comments from the point of view of a loner. Time for more ‘psychological lessons’ from a lone wolf’s point of view. That is why we needed another second season, right? Well, not too sure if I really needed another lesson from Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru Zoku but just in case I can find something related, maybe this will help. Since I am still a loner after all these years, might as well. I think. Though, I am not placing much confidence in learning a lot since the first season had lots of stuffs that I couldn’t understand albeit it was still amusing to listen and note what our main protagonist had to say and comment. So I hope this time around, things will be easier to my ears and I would pick up something or two.

Episode 1
School cultural festival. While the band is performing in the hall, there seems to be some bust up between Hikigaya and Hayato. The usual boringness at the Service Club. They talk about their upcoming school trip to Kyoto. Hayato then brings his friend, Kakeru Tobe. He wants to confess to Ebina without the risk of getting shot down. Hikigaya isn’t too confident about his prospects because he also experienced something similar before. They try to list down his good points. I guess they can’t. They then try to list down what Ebina thinks of him. This means calling her in person to find out. Like the true fujoshi she is, she wants to see Tobe and the other guys get down and dirty! The plan now is to create an atmosphere during the school trip for Tobe and Ebina to get together. During the trip, the duo are paired together during many sightseeing but nothing much happens. Hikigaya and Yui are paired together to keep an eye on their progress. Late that night back at the inn, Hikigaya and Yukino were talking when Hiratsuka brings them along out of the inn so she could go buy some liquor. They could get into trouble if somebody finds out. So they just need not to let anybody find out, right? I don’t know why but after she reaches her destination, they drop off and she lets them walk back together.

Episode 2
Before Hikigaya left on his trip, Komachi had a list of things for him to buy. She’s really looking forward to it. The second day of the trip, the same usual routine. Then at the magazine store, Yumiko hints that she knows Hikigaya is trying to do pull off something with Ebina. Whatever it is, she doesn’t like it. Because it is going to change things as it is now and she likes the way things are now. Later, even Hayato confronts Hikigaya about this. He likes things to be status quo. Because if this gets messed up, once you lose something, it’s gone forever. The bamboo pathway will be the perfect place for Tobe to confess. He is nervous as he waits for Ebina while the rest of his friends hide and watch from afar. Then Ebina arrives. Hikigaya who has deduced that this confession is doomed to fail from the start puts forth his plan. As Tobe fumbles in his words, Hikigaya quickly goes up to him and usurps his sentence. Hikigaya claims he has liked Ebina for a long time and wants to go out with her. Ebina then shoots him down and says she is not interested to be in any relationship now. Although it did save Tobe some face, he still won’t give up on her. Besides, she did say she isn’t interested now. Who knows in the future? Despite the friendship between the friends remain status quo, Yukino is not very happy with Hikigaya’s method. Perhaps Yui too. She’s crying how he could be so smart but yet couldn’t spare a thought for how someone else feels. Later when Hikigaya talks to Ebina, he knew that when Ebina talked to them at the Service Club, she wanted to prevent Tobe’s confession. She must have talked to Hayato too or else why would he be acting so strange. Ebina adds that she likes the way things are now. If she were to date someone, it won’t work out because she’s rotten to the core. That’s why she hates herself. But it might work out if it’s with him. He cheekily replies he might fall for her in that case. Hikigaya narrates about people having things they hold dear and do not want to lose. That is why they lie. But the biggest liar of them all is himself.

Episode 3
Komachi can tell something has happened. Hikigaya brushes it off. She continues to bug him. He tells her off. Fine. Back at the Service Club, the strain between Hikigaya and Yukino can be seen. Hiratsuka then brings in Meguri. Seems her friend, Iroha Isshiki has been nominated to run for student council president although it was meant as a prank. Now that it is official, she doesn’t want that. So why not just lose? She can’t. She is the only candidate so far. The only hope is for a vote of no confidence, something she also doesn’t want because it’s embarrassing to lose that way. Hikigaya thinks of somebody writing a bad speech for her. The question is who is going to write it for her but even so, don’t you think it will also affect her in addition to the speech writer? Yukino does not favour this idea. Since it cannot be solved today, Hiratsuka calls it a day and the find the solution another time. Yukino then wants Hiratsuka’s evaluation of who is leading (remember, the purpose the ‘trio’ joined this club was so that the winner could have the loser do something). It’s a tough call. Hikigaya is a step ahead with his results. Yukino is best for her long term vision. Yui has made some contributions too. In short, it’s a draw. No clear cut leader. In that case, Yukino believes they don’t have to use the same methods. She thought Hikigaya was like her, they hated superficial things above anything else. At the café, Hikigaya bumps into Haruno. Or rather, he forces him to accompany her. Then Hikigaya’s old female classmates happen to see them. One of them was the one Hikigaya tried confessing to and failed, Kaori Orimoto. I guess he is forever in that friend zone thingy since she coolly brushes it off that was all in the past now. Haruno then calls Hayato to come by to entertain the girls. Because it’s fun. I don’t even… Next day when Hikigaya arrives in the clubroom, the girls are already mapping out their plan with Iroha. But Hikigaya interjects that what they’re doing is only making things worse because it makes the candidate like a puppet. The difference in methodology has him clash with Yukino again. The tension got bad enough that he just got up and leave.

Episode 4
Haruno is like God. She calls Hikigaya and knows about his spat with Komachi and even about the invitation he turned down from Hayato when Kaori and her friend invited him to hang out with them. And like the God she is, she forces Hikigaya to turn up for that invitation. So they watch a movie, go shopping, bump into some classmates, all the while you noticed those girls are having fun teasing Hikigaya, right? And then at the café, Yui and Yukino pop up. Hayato called them. He is tired of them running their mouths over Hikigaya because this guy is more than they think. They shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The girls just get up and leave. Bye. Yukino mentions they were called here to discuss about Hayato running for president. Haruno who has been spying (and probably loving it) then makes her presence known. Seems there is some sort of high level tension between the sisters despite all the politeness, you can just feel they hate each other. Something about Haruno mocking Yukino that she doesn’t need to do anything and get her hands dirty. Others will do it for her. When all the ladies are gone, Hayato tells Hikigaya why he is doing this. To fix something he broke. Something about pinning his hopes on him and the need for Hikigaya to realize his own worth. He needs to stop sacrificing himself. Hikigaya disagrees with all that and doesn’t need his pity or force his ideals on him. He is not like him. He is always alone by himself. Next day, Hikigaya learns from Hikigaya that Yukino is running from president. She hasn’t told anybody yet because she wants to know what Hikigaya will do. When he confronts Yukino about it, she claims she is doing it not because of what Haruno said and on her own volition. Because she has so much free time in this club and she is familiar with the student council duties. Because their ideals clash again, Yukino warns him about overestimating and thinking too much of himself. Later Yui talks to Hikigaya that she too is running for president. Despite she believes Yukino will be the best student council president and improve the school, but it will be at the cost of the club that she has come to love so much. Sure it’s only the club? So by becoming president, she can do things half heartedly as nobody has expectations of her.

Episode 5
Hikigaya and Komachi can’t stay mad forever. So when he needs her for advice and she is all big smiles, they patch up after each apologizes to the other. Even Zaimokuza is so willing to hear Hikigaya out (after all that bugging). Komachi even brings Saki and Saika as ‘reinforcements’. They don’t like the idea of Yukino and Yui fighting each other especially Komachi who would love for them to remain at the club. Even if Hikigaya has got a job, Komachi makes him think if Iroha is more important than those girls. Hikigaya thinks about Iroha wanting to maintain her image and that his approach was wrong. The only way is to renegotiate with Iroha. Hikigaya and Zaimokuza did some sneaky preparations first like creating a fake campaign website to drum up the number support for Iroha. Of course it would be deleted once it is all over but so as long as nobody discovers this entire lie, it won’t be a problem. Next, Hikigaya talks to Iroha and asks her opinion on Hayato. He explains that those who nominated her won’t even vote for her and would be laughing hard when she loses. Doesn’t she feel the need to get back at them by winning? He shows her the list that he was making her copying. The list that contains names that support her. That’s quite a lot of names there. As Iroha still isn’t convinced she’ll do a good job despite the sweet perks as mentioned by him, what sealed the deal is that she is able to ask Hayato for advice or even order him around. With Iroha’s case solve, Yukino and Yui are still being stubborn to run. So he shows them the list and mentions about the campaign account. With that, they have no more reason to act. After Yukino goes off to inform Hiratsuka, Yui thanks Hikigaya for working hard although he as usual denies it. Iroha eventually becomes student council president. Hikigaya gives her motivation to do a good job since Komachi will be enrolling here next year. Iroha takes it as his creepy way of trying to hit on her.

Episode 6
Things return to normal. Their routine returns to normal. But it feels forced. Like as though they’re putting in a lot of effort just to keep up with it. Then Iroha comes in with a problem. There is a Christmas event that they need to work with Kaihin Sougou High School. Iroha wanted to turn down as she has her own programme but since Hiratsuka said she needs to do it, I guess she’s here. Hikigaya kicks her out saying that this is the student council’s problem and not theirs. But this is his way of not wanting the rest to get involved. But why doesn’t she ask for Hayato’s help? Don’t want to trouble him? So bugging Hikigaya is okay? So both schools meet to do brainstorming. Coincidentally, Kaori is from Kaihin and is sitting in this session. It seems Kaihin is the only side putting forth their ideas while Iroha has no idea what they’re talking, just nodding and putting up her sweet smile. Of course, Hikigaya having his own sarcastic monologue comments. Iroha’s own student council team doesn’t think highly of her as they rather do the work procedures themselves. Then Hikigaya uses flowery terms for his idea that he doesn’t understand himself what he is saying just to match the moderator Tamanawa (also Kaihin’s student council president) and his annoying hand movements. Oddly the moderator got that and I’m pretty sure Hikigaya is just as lost as Iroha. After the session, Kaori talks (tease, rather) to Hikigaya about the girlfriend he broke up with (how could he if he never had one in the first place?) and how he might be targeting Iroha. She starts laughing upon knowing those girls are from his Service Club.

Episode 7
Komachi’s present list. Electrical items? Yui seems to be worried if Hikigaya would be coming to the clubroom. Since he will, she’s happy all over again. Iroha didn’t turn up for a brainstorming session so Hikigaya thinks she is held up by her club activity and goes to get her. But talking to Hayato in his football club, seems she has already left. Hayato knows about Iroha’s problem but didn’t help since she didn’t ask. Besides, isn’t Hikigaya the one whom she relies on? The brainstorming good also got a bunch of elementary kids to help out with the Christmas decorations. Among them is Rumi. Hikigaya confronts Tamanawa about short listing what they need to do because they have not much time but he doesn’t want to narrow their views. I don’t know what they discuss this next. Hikigaya and Iroha walking back, bump into Kaori. From the way they say things, Iroha gets the hint that something happened between them but is left hanging about the details. Hikigaya continues to work hard and streamlined the activities that are possible and impossible. Most of them the latter in terms of budget wise. Tamanawa’s answer? Let’s discuss it too. Reminder: Only a week left and if they don’t get started even with the shortage of manpower right now, it’ll never be done. Wanna discuss that too? Hikigaya sees Rumi making Christmas decorations alone. He helps her out. On his way back, he bumps into Yukino. Seems she knows he is helping out Iroha but since it is on his free time, it is not that he lied about it. After coming clean about their own methods, Yukino suggests he take some time off from the club. Because if he is trying to look out for them, he is wasting his time. He can stop forcing himself. Because if this is all it takes to break them apart, they were never close in the first place. Therefore he doesn’t have to force himself to turn up anymore.

Episode 8
Hiratsuka picks up Hikigaya to send him home but she detours just to hear him out. He mentions about the problem at hand. Tamanawa and Iroha are scared of being the cause of failure and thus this collective brainstorming. The initial problem was nobody wanted to pick a leader to shoulder the most responsibility. Hiratsuka praises him for knowing what people think but not knowing how people feel. Then there’s a bunch of other advice she mentions like hurting others, emotions and some other sh*t that I just couldn’t get because I was too bored watching… She thinks he doesn’t need to worry about Yukino or Yui because somewhere down the line, they’ll change. It might or might not be him. Hikigaya notes if he was 10 years younger and met Hiratsuka 10 years earlier, he would have fallen in love with her. Hikigaya returns to the club, shocking the girls. He is requesting for their help but Yukino thinks he got into this mess himself and should clean up after himself. He is about to agree to that so Yui gives them her piece of mind that it isn’t his fault in the first place. There’s some sort of argument about not understanding each other if one doesn’t say it and it is bringing both girls to tears. Even more shocking, Hikigaya is actually crying while he blurts out what has been his wish the entire time. I believe it is genuine mutual understanding. If you don’t get what he said the entire time, don’t blame you. Because Yukino also doesn’t understand! But the situation is worsened as she runs out crying. It’s now or never so Yui pesters Hikigaya to go chase her. So at the rooftop, Yui also assures she doesn’t know what the heck Hikigaya said. Or what the heck is going on. But she knows currently she hates the way things are now. Time for the girls to get emotional. Girl cry. Girl hug. And so Yukino agrees to accept Hikigaya’s request.

Episode 9
Thanks to that, Hikigaya feels so embarrassed that he could just die right now! And Komachi doesn’t believe this identity crisis crap of his. Yui and Yukino sit in the brainstorming. Let’s say it was even enough to give Yukino a headache! So when they relay their findings to Hiratsuka, she gives them 4 tickets to some amusement park. She got it at some after wedding party. They’re supposed to use it to do some research. Yukino doesn’t want to go since it is crowded but Yui begs her. With Hikigaya mentioning he needs to get gifts from Komachi there, looks like they’ll be going. Since Yukino has a season pass, they have an extra ticket. Who is Iroha going to invite? It’s no surprise. Hayato. Somehow his friends too tag along. We have scenes of them having fun and some talk about stuffs that don’t really interest me. I wasn’t paying attention. Sorry. There is this ride that Tobe wants to pair up with Hayato but Iroha and Yumiko tell him to butt off. Ebina suggests Hikigaya help mend Tobe’s broken heart and make it Hikigaya x Tobe! Don’t worry. Hayato eventually chooses Tobe. I can’t believe guys prefer being gays… At night, there is some parade but Yukino wanted to ride some ride that she has been afraid of so Hikigaya accompanies her. More talk that was so boring that I failed to even listen to a word they say. I can’t be bothered to replay those lines again. They might have missed the parade but Yui at least got photos of it. Now it is for the fireworks display. It could have been a memorable one if not for this little matter. Thanks to the fireworks drowning out the sounds of everything else, it looks like Iroha and Hayato said things to each other. It ends with Iroha running away in tears.

Episode 10
Hayato confirms he did reject Iroha. Something about there is more than meets the eye about Iroha’s feelings. I suppose Hikigaya has to ‘take responsibility’ by accompanying Iroha home. From what I understand, she still hasn’t given up on Hayato and ‘blames’ Hikigaya for making her change so she has got to stick with it. Hikigaya calls his side to do something about the endless meeting. He knows it will fail because everybody gets their say but nobody is making any decisions. So when Iroha mentions about putting up a play, as usual Tamanawa goes into his usual crap mode. That is when Hikigaya tells him off about inflated egos and sweeping the problem under the rug. If that doesn’t convince him, now it is Yukino’s turn to tell him off about his meaningless prattle and his fun of playing upper management. If this goes on, they’ll never create anything. I’m not sure in between the scenes but the Christmas event finally takes off and proceeds without any hitch. After Hikigaya and co make their prayers at the shrine for New Year’s Day, Komachi wants to leave big brother alone with Yukino. Since he doesn’t get it, she insults him (his first name is also considered an insult word?) and this makes Yukino laugh. This is also because Yui and Komachi are planning to do something about Yukino’s upcoming birthday. While Hikigaya and Yui are choosing a present, they bump into Haruno and Hayato. The latter duo are together since their parents are good friends. Haruno then calls Yukino to come over. She is about to hang up but Haruno passes the line to Hikigaya. I guess she has to come then. Shortly after when she arrives, Yukino’s mom is also here. She wants them to come along for Yukino’s birthday party. Yukino doesn’t look to happy but is forced to. Hikigaya glaring at Hayato indicates that it might be partly his fault.

Episode 11
When the friends are trying to decide which stream to pick, suddenly somebody mentions about the rumours that Hayato is dating Yukino. Shock! Not as shock and annoyed as Yumiko. Iroha should have known better than to ask Yukino herself because she knows they aren’t dating or anything. Iroha notices more and more girls are trying to ask Hayato out ever since the rumour as Hayato was not associated with anyone before. Like he belonged to everybody. And now here comes Yumiko. Yeah, I think she’s got a real problem. She’s trying to hold in her b*tch anger while Yukino is trying to control her sarcasm. So keep calm and just talk what is going on. Yumiko feels Hayato is acting strange and distant. Hikigaya could guess she even knows this won’t last forever and wants to be besides him. Because Hayato has not made it clear which stream he chose (the cause of all this anxiety?), Hikigaya asks him directly and of course no clear answer. Yukino probably put aside her pride to even ask Haruno but she tells her to think about it herself. So when Haruno forces Hikigaya to walk her home and asks about his attempt with Hayato, she thinks Hayato is hoping for a certain someone to find him. During the school’s cross country run, Hikigaya confronts Hayato again. This time he irks him be saying Yumiko was a convenient way of keeping away other girls. He tells him to pick sciences as it will be the only way to be freed from everyone’s expectations. Many girls don’t choose this stream too. Then there’s some talk about groups naturally breaking up and thus he doesn’t have to betray everyone’s expectations and nobody will get hurt. Hayato’s answer: He hates him. He feels inferior to him. He can’t stand losing to him. That’s why he won’t do as he says. Hayato eventually wins the race and during his victory speech, thanks Yumiko and Iroha, dispelling those rumours. Hikigaya got hurt during the race. Yukino treats him in the infirmary. Some talk. A catalyst for their faces being close enough to… Oh, is Yui eavesdropping at the door? Nah… Then a party to celebrate. Hayato notes Yukino has changed. Hayato mentions his unwillingness to pick. Because if you are given a set options to choose from, can you call it your decision? That is why he refused to pick and choose. That’s the best way he believes to go about things. Hikigaya forgot to say this to him too: He hates him. On a side note: Hayato went with liberal arts.

Episode 12
Valentine’s Day is coming. But everybody knows Hayato won’t be accepting chocolates from girls. This puts a damper on those who’d really want to give it. Yui starts flustering when Hikigaya asks her if she is free someday. I guess she needs some time to think about it. I’m pretty sure it’s not what it is she is thinking. Iroha is seeking their help to make chocolates. They know her purpose so they tell her about Hayato’s policy. So she’ll settle for Hikigaya? Yui and Yukino feel creepy when they realize Hikigaya knows about Iroha’s birthday. Now here comes Yumiko. Request to make handmade chocolates too? Oh, here comes Saki too with the same request although it is her little sister who wants to try. Before any hostility could blow up between Yumiko and Saki, Hikigaya suggests instead of doing this for Valentine, they could hold an event where they make chocolates and have the rest test taste and eat it. It’s a great idea since all of them can make together without making any obvious ulterior motives and they can act natural too. Yukino and Yui can help teach all of them. Iroha has got Tamanawa and his side to join in. Unfortunately, Iroha has also called Haruno to come. When Kaori asks if she had given Hikigaya any chocolates before, all the concerned girls are all ears. Nope. None. In that case, she’ll give him some this year. Those annoyed looks. This has Haruno mentioned Hayato got some from Yukino before. He mentions it was a long time ago. Haruno then teases Yukino about making chocolates to give to somebody. This causes her to be clumsy with the utensils and awkward with Hikigaya. Yui saves the day by showing off her cool balancing of utensils. The event goes on quite well. Till Hikigaya tastes Yukino and Yui’s chocolate. Haruno then stirs up trouble that she is disappointed that this is their way of spending time together. She finds them boring and lame and prefers the old Yukino. Night ruined. It is going to get worse when Yukino’s mom arrives. She heard from Haruno about her future plans. She feels responsible and might have erred in her decisions letting Yukino do as she pleases. She fears she might go down the wrong path at this rate. Yukino will explain it all to her but wants her to leave just for tonight. Then there is Hikigaya’s narration of us dictating others by our own stereotypes and finding something genuine.

Episode 13
Yukino made some cookies for Yui but when the latter notices none for Hikigaya, Yukino gives some like as though she’s doing her a favour. Things get awkward between Yukino and Hikigaya. It is made worse when Haruno is here to accompany Yukino home as instructed by mom. Then there’s some b*tch talk about Yukino being herself so Yui assures her they are giving this a serious thought. Haruno agrees to let her be for now. They gather at Yui’s place. They think Yukino should sleep over here for tonight so when Yukino calls Haruno for this, she knows this means Hikigaya is around and wants to speak to him. She really just knows how to ruin it. Late that night when Yukino can’t sleep, Yui suggests going on a date. Next day after Hikigaya sees off Komachi for her entrance exam, Yui contacts him to go on a date. It’s not what you think. And certainly it is not going to be a double date with those ladies. Let’s just call it a casual outing to the aquarium. There’s some talk about things in between, but I didn’t really get it. Finally the biggest question of what they’re going to do from now, Yui looks like she is going to admit something. She hands Hikigaya her cookies as thanks for fulfilling her request then. Calling herself a coward who plays dirty, she has already decided. If they figure out how each of them feels, they won’t be able to say the same. Thus she wants her final request to fix their problems. Yui says she knows how to fix Yukino’s problem. And that itself is the solution to their problem. But if she wins this bet, she is going to take it all. Hikigaya notes Yui might have the right answer all along and accepting it would be easier for all of them. Before Yukino can answer to that, Hikigaya interjects. He is saying how this is wrong for her. Yukino is going to put her future in the hands of another, which is totally unacceptable. He wants Yukino to solve her problems herself. Since he doesn’t want vague answers or superficial relationships and be left with nothing, he wants them to think and struggle to find the right answer no matter how many times they go wrong. Yui had a feeling he would say this. Yukino reminds they still have his request. She also has one. Care to listen to it?

Yahari… Ore Wa… Wakaranai!!!
Seriously. I admit. Again. I had a hard time trying to enjoy this anime! Wait. That is just an understatement. In fact, I don’t think I enjoyed this season. I couldn’t understand what the freaking hell is going on. All I know is that, everybody has some kind of problem. Problems that they had to face and overcome. Problems that I don’t even understand what is it all about. Then there is some sort of disagreement between Hikigaya and Yukino’s method. Each has their own way of doing things but the end result of it is somewhat similar. So I’m not sure what happened if they just accepted their different ways or not because if they are still sticking around each other, it means they must have worked out something, right? Even more puzzling is that I know that there is some sort of hostility between Yukino and Haruno. There is some sort of tension within her family. But not hostile enough for the ladies to get physical. I just don’t get it. Maybe it is because I have mainly forgotten much of the first season and thanks to my sentiments this season, I didn’t really go back and read it again to pick up if I missed something important. I didn’t really care anymore. All I knew was I wanted to just finish this anime and get over with it. Move on. Thank goodness I’m here. Yeah…

Making it even worse is that cliff-hanger ending. Can you even call that an ending? It just leaves you hanging. Maybe smarter audiences will be able to guess what the problem is and what Yukino’s request is about. But for a dumb guy like me whereby watching and trying to understand what is happening is already damn hard enough, ending the season at such a state makes it even worse. I need to be told what is happening to at least have a chance of understanding or I will forever be stuck in unanswered riddle land. Heck, the final episode was just a big drama between the trio. Aside Haruno and Yui’s mom, the entire final episode was just them making the appearance (all other characters ‘killed off’?) and about them contemplating about their current status (I think) and where would they take it all from here. What would they do? I don’t know. From the looks of it, I think they are going to try it out till it works. Besides, if you want things done, you better do something about it instead of wishing for a miracle to happen and the problem to fix itself.

Sad to say, I have to assume while I am watching this season, that I am actually a newbie watching this series since I do not remember a lot of what happened in the first season and couldn’t connect the stuffs (if there was any). Therefore I am not sure if Haruno is the villain of the series. Despite her eternal sweet smile and gentle tone, she manages to pick the right words to irk Yukino. Not too sure if she is trying to make Yukino realize something with this method of hers, I’m not sure. Is she playing the bad guy for her sister’s sake? Not too sure. Whatever it is, it sure made Haruno look like a total b*tch in my books. A selfish b*tch who seems to take pleasure in watching others suffer. Whoops. Was that too harsh? Well, she seems to love calling and teasing Hikigaya for her own amusement (perhaps she views him as something different) and perhaps it is because she is a woman (like any in the real world) don’t really get to the point and dumb guys like me have to think a lot trying to figure what she is getting at but never got quite close to the answer. In the end, I don’t really know what she wants. The old Yukino? Can you please be clearer? No? Well, just my luck. The fact that she always had that gentle sweet sounding voice but her words sting always make me feel that a full blown out high pitch screaming is going to explode any time. It is ironic that the sisters do not ‘fight’ or even ‘spat’ as Hikigaya puts it, but I think this kind ‘argument’ (can I term it so?) is still as scary if not worse than if they get physical or raise their voices.

With this season, somehow I feel that Hikigaya’s psychological analyses were not as amusing and interesting as he once spouted last season. I don’t even remember if this season he had said more of those this season. But I do know this time that I don’t really quite understand many of them. Even if there were some funny ones and those that I ‘understand’, I would have probably forgotten by the time I reach the anime’s end. Oh wait. Not even that far. Even before the next episode starts. That bad? Yeah. To me. Sadly, as his comments and sarcasm were one of the funny points of the series, it has become a bane this season trying to understand what he just said. Sorry, I just couldn’t understand.

I also can’t see the relationship between Hikigaya, Yukino and Yui as the Service Club members going anywhere. Like I said, there is some sort of disagreement between their way of doing things. Sometimes I even forget the reason why the trio was in the Service Club in the first place. Hiratsuka reminded us for a while by giving her own unofficial records but it all feels like back to square one or never moved at all. Yui also reminded us in one of her final narrative but I think with time running out, there is nothing more that can be done for this season. And I think the problem theme of this season is about staying the way as it is. Surely the gang are having fun at how things are right now. Status quo. We’d love things to stay the way it is forever. But reality dictates nothing lasts forever. And so perhaps this thought of trying to preserve the current moment as long as possible becomes the big issue of the entire series. Yui wants the Service Club members as it is. Hayato and his circle want their friendship to stay as it is.

Iroha seems to be taking the spotlight this season as a new character. Noticed how she spends an awfully lot of time at the clubroom? Not too sure if she really has that much of a problem that needs some help or she is just there for a certain guy. Yeah… My guts tell me she secretly likes Hikigaya although continuing her crush on Hayato seems to be just a big façade. After all, she feels like a tsundere to Hikigaya in this case. Because at times she will warn him about trying to hit on her and mock about his weird non-existent fetish. Speaking of her retorts to Hikigaya, I find them more amusing and understandable than Hikigaya’s serious narration.

Some of the minor supporting characters from the first season didn’t really make an impact this season. For example, that girly looking Saika. The only reason why he makes his limited appearance from time to time is to remind us of that running joke that whenever Hikigaya is with him, he has to control and remind himself that Saika is a guy and not to fall in love with this pretty boy. That’s about it. Saki feels even worse. Making even less screen time, she is mostly forgettable and the show would go on even if she didn’t appear at all. Same case with that chuunibyou fatty, Zaimokuza. Maybe the producers don’t want us to forget them but since they have no important role to play here, thus their limited appearance. The same idea that had me thinking why Rumi was brought back into Hikigaya’s life again. It could have been a random girl but I suppose we need a reason why Hikigaya decides to spend a little more time and help a loli.

Not too sure if there will be a third season and what made me say that is the possible fruition of the love comedy that the series carries in its title and something that I was looking forward to instead of this psychological drama. I am speculating that there are a handful bunch of girls that secretly has a crush on Hikigaya. Some subtle hints of Yukino and Yui although nothing confirmed. Therefore the final episode from my perspective feels like a big troll of this. There were a number of scenes that would make you go, “Will she say it or will she not?”. With their ambiguous body language and facial expressions, it is all the more reason why it was a big troll since nothing conclusive was actually said. I am not psychology or love-cum-romance expert, but I can say that the trio hold some sort of degree of feelings for the other.

Yui and Yukino might be the main runners if ever this romance race comes true but don’t forget the other potentials like Hiratsuka too because Hikigaya may be into older woman if you remember his comment about marrying her if he was born 10 years earlier. Remember Ebina’s cheeky statement about things working out if it is him she is dating? Can I take that joke seriously? I deduce Saki too seeing that reaction she had during the chocolate making and testing stint. Iroha playing the tsundere and Kaori as the ex-flame sending mixed teasing signals of possibly coming back to his life may just add some spice to it. I might add Rumi for lolicon and Komachi as siscon to expand the harem but I’ll leave that to my fantasies. If I ever have time to think about it ;p. And then maybe even Hayato for some gay tropes ;p.

This season’s opening and ending themes aren’t that appealing to me either. Usually when a series fails to keep me interested in its story, plot, characters and everything else, the themes would be the saving grace of the series. Sadly, this isn’t the case and thus my overall views of this sequel plunging even deeper. Nagi Yanagi, who sang the opening theme for the previous season, again takes up that same role for this season’s opener, Harumodoki. The song is not really that bad but it just feels like another generic anime pop. Just like last season, Saori Hayami and Nao Touyama do a duet for the ending theme. This season’s Everyday World doesn’t live up to last season’s Hello Alone. It wasn’t as attractive enough. Just like last season too, there are ballad solo versions of Saori Hayami and Nao Touyama singing this song. Not too my liking either as both versions are slow ballads as opposed to the main’s pop style.

Overall, a disappointing and frustrating season simply because I just couldn’t understand. For those who do, I believe you will find a lot of character development amidst the dramatic moments and other stuffs that gives this romcom genre a different breath of fresh air (not too sure if I am deceived about it because I just don’t feel so). This season sits well for those who really understand the deep and slightly complicated stuffs instead of those relying on slapstick comedy and shameful fanservice to retain its audience. After all these years, it only goes to show that those kind of elements for romcom would be my typical cup of tea. And I’m sure with lots of similar otakus like me around the globe, they’ll keep making lots of those for years to come. Yes, such love comedies are once again on course in making the world on collision course with tragedy. The kind of tragedy so sad that you’ll find yourself laughing so hard at. Just sad…

P/S: Can I make a request? I hope the next season would be easier to understand. If it ever happens…

Hibike! Euphonium OVA

March 11, 2016

Well, well. What do you know? Hibike! Euphonium is indeed getting a second season! Hooray! And what better way than to celebrate this by releasing a movie (which is just a condensed summary of the TV series) and another extra special episode that comes with the DVD. Hibike! Euphonium OVA focuses on the members who did not make the cut for the competition and especially giving Hazuki more screen time compared to your Kumiko x Reina yuri. Really…

Dash Monaka
After the unselected are given an encouraging speech by Taki not to lose heart, they are given a set of scores for them to practice. First, they need to decide a name for their little band. Taking the syllables of their first name seems to long and funny. But if they cut it down to just the seniors, Team Monaka just sounds right. As Hazuki carries her tuba downstairs, she bumps into Shuuichi. You know the awkwardness between them after that confession and rejection. Nevertheless, he still helps her as she talks how she was ‘conned’ by Asuka into joining the bass section. We feel it isn’t going to be alright but Hazuki tells Shuuichi she is going to be alright so don’t worry. When Hazuki talks to Midori about how Kumiko and Shuuichi sit together in the ensemble, Midori gets the wrong idea that Hazuki wants to steal Shuuichi away and will support her. What Hazuki is trying to say is that she doesn’t want their relationship to be awkward just because of her. On the other hand, if she becomes too nosy, she might aggravate matters. She just feels clueless in love. Ironically, it is Midori who gets emotional about this hopeless case. The only thing she can do is to treat her. Then Hazuki talks to Natsuki for advice in love. I guess she doesn’t know the answer and just suddenly hugs her. The only thing she can say is not to regret it.

On the day of the competition, Hazuki talks to Kumiko for a while and will support her (I believe it is both her music and a certain guy). After loading up the equipment and giving everyone their personal charms, they head to clean up the music room before making their way to the concert hall. But suddenly one of the members remembers he forgot to take the mallets that were left in the clubroom. What can they do? Team Monaka is already at the train station. Don’t worry. Hazuki volunteers to run back and get the mallets. As she runs back, she remembers her conversation with Natsuki on why she joined the brass band. It made Hazuki think that if she had to start all over again, she will still join the brass band. Hazuki grabs the mallets and runs the entire way there! OMG! For real?! Sure, tuba players have very great lung capacity. But I’m not sure about her stamina. Well, since she did make it in time, it just proves it. Hazuki sees Shuuichi doing a fist bump with Kumiko as Midori praises her for a job well done. It is now Kitauji’s turn to begin their performance.

Didn’t Hit A High Note…
I didn’t have any high expectations for this OVA and perhaps I am looking forward to the next season, this is one reason why I didn’t find this OVA a bore. If you take a closer look, this OVA is not anything much. It is boring and doesn’t go anywhere. You thought it is about Hazuki trying to sort out her feelings before the big competition but from the looks of it, it is far from over and although that loving feeling still lingers about, it is not going to be a major drive that will wreck their friendship or jeopardize the entire brass band. This OVA feels more like a dessert to complete the first season and an appetizer before the next main course in the form of the second season comes around. Only fans of the series will appreciate this little extra episode. In the mean time, let me go back and practice my brass instruments before it gets rusty. Oh wait. I don’t play any brass at all…

The norm of stories of this kind of underdog story is that we have a responsible leader or head leading a group of undisciplined misfits and ragtags, training them, instilling core values to work together, etc until they’re strong enough to beat the odds and stand above the rest. You have your moments of bonding and mutual respect that they crew finally warms up to the leader that he is like family and it would be unthinkable if they part. Rarely you have one of this formula where the chief is the irresponsible idiot and the crew the responsible ones (well, most of them anyway). So when you have an irresponsible person in charge taking the lead, can things work out for the better? Normally we would assume it would be for the worst. That is why it is with such intrigue to know if that is the case with The Irresponsible Captain Tylor. A slacker and carefree young dude enlisted as the captain of a warship and leading his crew into several important battles and moments and always emerges victorious. Wow. I didn’t know being irresponsible can be this good because when I was that during my younger days, I got an earful and lots of reprimanding. And that is even for the simplest of things. What’s more, this guy who is leading a military crew. Oh, the fate of the universe is in the hands of an irresponsible guy!

Episode 1
Justy Ueki Tylor sees an ad about recruiting members into United Planets Space Force (UPSF). He decides to get enrolled simply because he dreams of the luxurious life. Free food, free lodging and free uniforms! But the officer lectures him about sacrificing for his country so Tylor mentions about rising up through the ranks fast. How can he do that? He points to the officer who will make him a fleet commander and waxes lyrical if he does so he will be famous in future memoirs and the likes. Meanwhile the top military brass is discussing to strike the Raalgon Empire whose young empress, Azalyn Goza just succeeded the throne. However the general doesn’t agree since they are underestimating them and the plan would backfire. Meanwhile Azalyn’s chief advisor, Wang is coaxing her to enter the war to avenge their fallen emperor. Although reluctant, she is pressured to do so and gives the command to fight. Meanwhile Tylor barely passes the aptitude tests and his interface with the AI unit, he is flirting with it and not paying attention. So much so the AI unit (whom he took the liberty to call Betty) starts falling in love with him! Short circuit! It exploded the core! WTF?! Because Tylor doesn’t want to take responsibility, Betty views him as the enemy and more explosions occur. UPSF thinks an enemy spy has planted bombs to distract them as a Raalgon cruiser commanded by Captain Ru Baraba Dom approaches. With the impending war, Tylor is immediately drafted into the army. I mean, who needs to past all those tests when war is coming, right? And that officer hopes Tylor would remember him in his memoirs. He really believed it? And so Tylor’s easy life in the military begins…

Episode 2
Tylor is assigned to the pension department. He hears about a retired Admiral Robert J. Hanner who is now living under pension but his pension is rejected due to change in address. In fact, his living conditions are paltry considering he was a former decorated commander. He is being taken care of by his twin daughters, Emi and Yumi and Yuriko Star, a family friend. A couple of guys from the Universal Peace Revolutionary Front (UPRF) barge in to take everyone hostage. Their demands are to end all wars and disband UPSF. Lieutenant Makoto Yamamoto is called from his vacation to handle this hostage crisis. Tylor waltzes into the scene to hand the pension. Yamamoto thinks he must be a secret agent sent by Admiral Mifune. Yuriko works up the UPRF guys that they could be Raalgon agents and lowly ones so that she could buy time for the rest to escape. Then here comes Tylor to hand the pension. Seeing the pretty girls, he decides to stay and flirt. When UPRF makes another video deadline, Tylor does his usual idiocy. Yamamoto confirms from Mifune he didn’t send this idiot. Yuriko pulls off a sexy stunt to distract the terrorists and disarm them. But dumb Tylor gives it back to them! When the twins see how handsome one of the UPRF guys is, they start loving him and this causes the ugly one to be jealous. Tylor joins in teasing the ugliness in him. After much deliberation, Yamamoto decides to fire a missile to sacrifice a few lives to save humanity. Tylor talks about the beauty of the heart which touches the ugly one’s heart. So touched that he is going to blow up himself and everybody along with him! Yuriko is so mad at Tylor, blaming everything is his fault. To make amends, he allows her to hit him. She swings the briefcase but he ducks and it hits the ugly dude, causing him to drop his bomb outside the window. Poor Yamamoto got bombed! Ugly dude is so sad he can’t die and when Tylor tries to comfort him about women will someday love his ugliness, he jumps out of the window! And he lands on freshly bombed Yamamoto who is just in a daze what just happened. Tylor thinks the mission is over but Yuriko this time gives him a good punch!

Episode 3
Yamamoto is made the first officer of the destroyer class, Soyokaze. He is addressing his crew that includes Yuriko and the twins about the enemy within. You don’t say… Then here comes Tylor who says he has been reassigned here. Yamamoto thought he could boss him around till Tylor shows him a letter that thanks to the hostage crisis handling, he has been promoted to Lieutenant Commander and is now the captain of Soyokaze! Believe it! Tylor of course uses his new authority to set sail the ship. Even if his crew warns him of the serious breach in rules, he reminds them he is the captain and the highest authority around this ship. Yes sir, captain sir! Now he is literally sleeping on the job! Yamamoto is agonizing over an irresponsible man having higher authority over him. He receives a present from a crew and when he opens it, it explodes! He is cursing to have them court martial when Yuriko tells him not to lose it. She mentions her mission here to reform the crew of Soyokaze. Because Tylor saved the military some face, Mifune saw the need to promote him. But he realized his irresponsible attitude and thus assigned him to Soyokaze as the crew is made up of space outlaws. No captain has ever lasted for more than 3 days and this is part of Mifune’s plan to throw him out of the military. Despite Mifune’s objection, Yuriko wanted to be assigned here to reform Tylor and make Soyokaze’s crew into real soldiers. Yamamoto feels ashamed of himself and believes the enemy within is himself. Report comes in that a brawl is taking place at the hangar between the marine punks against greenhorn cocky young pilot, Kojiro Sakai and the mechanics. Yamamoto puts a stop to this while the twins wake up Tylor and bring him here. First thing he asks is who won the war! Yamamoto wants Tylor to say something and give his orders. Sure thing. Forget all the rules and do whatever you want. You heard that? Yes, sir, captain sir! The brawl continues. Yamamoto is holding in his seething anger. He believes the real enemy within is Tylor.

Episode 4
Yamamoto wants Tylor to rescind his order but the captain keeps denying him. Why? He enjoys using his position to give orders! The marines now resort to mutiny and are making their way to storm the bridge. Yamamoto wants to take hard disciplinary action but Yuriko thinks they should use diplomacy. Tylor likes her idea but she slaps him for trying to be funny. When the marines communicate, Yuriko tries her diplomacy talk. As opposed to strength as the marines need to win a war, Yuriko says it is love. They laugh it off and barge through the bridge to take everyone hostage. Suddenly the ship is about to warp to a random location. It cannot be cancelled. Yuriko is worried billions will die if they suddenly appear on a planet but Tylor remains positive. Maybe it will be a luxury planet? Well, what do you know? They warp in front of a Raalgon fleet. They’re in its firing path so what is the captain going to do? Yeah. He’s not sure either. The crew would rather die fighting so Yamamoto thought of motivating them with his fight to the death speech. Suddenly Tylor says they will surrender! It’s not fun dying so better to give up. Raalgon’s captain agrees and then boards Soyokaze. He couldn’t believe Tylor is the captain and even tries to be nice to him. The captain wants all of UPSF’s operation orders and even gives advice on the ingredients for victory: Love, strength and discipline. Tylor is pretty much impressed and has been praising him since. When the captain leaves, the rest are going to do a suicide move but they stop when they notice Tylor gives him his present. Could it be he purposely surrendered for this trick? When the captain returns to his ship and opens the present, the explosion causes it to crash into the mothership and send haywire commands to shoot each other! OMG! They took out each other while Soyokaze just flies away! The crew praises Tylor for his brains but to their shock he doesn’t even know it was a bomb and truly gave it away as goodwill! When Dom reports to Azalyn their fleet was destroyed by Soyokaze’s Tylor, she wants him to bring him to her as she wants to meet in person. As she asks the key to victory in war, he says luck. She wishes him luck then.

Episode 5
While Soyokaze is undergoing repairs, they will receive a new medical personnel. It’s no surprise that the guys are going wild over this beauty nurse, Harumi Nakagawa. She heads to Tylor’s room but she thought he was trying to ambush her in the dark. He was just waiting to pop a personal welcoming party. All the men, weak and tough alike start lining up to seek Harumi’s treatment. All the excuses they’re giving just to see her… Except for Kojiro. No, he’s not gay. He has fear of women. I’m sure Yamamoto would too but since everybody else is teasing him, his pride has him not give in to her. He reports to Tylor that he needs to do something about the men’s indiscipline but Tylor sees no problem about this. Harumi continues to examine the other men and find out more about Tylor but they call him an idiot. When she thinks somebody is tailing her, she hides in the bathroom. Turns out to be marines, Karl Bjorn Andressen and Mickey Cryburn. Dressed in tuxedos, these tough guys are here to give her bouquet of flowers? Harumi tries to contact her boss but realizes Tylor is in the bath. She cuts communications to take up his offer to join him. She tries to find out more about him when Yuriko knocks on the door to check. Harumi then runs out feigning she didn’t realize Tylor was there. That dense captain doesn’t seem to understand what’s happening and instead asks Yuriko to join him. That’s the last straw. She beats him up. Yamamoto has made up his mind and contacts Mifune to tell him Tylor’s victory over Raalgon was accidental. It is revealed that Harumi is working under Dom. Dom is puzzled that she is Raalgon’s best intelligence officer and she can’t figure out who Tylor is. She requests more time to study him.

Episode 6
After Yamamoto’s complaint, Tylor is summoned to the military HQ as Mifune hands him a medal of honour. Tylor doesn’t think too much of it but in actual fact the medal contains some sort of device that would attract Raalgon fleets. Once they are all gathered together, Mifune will activate some laser to wipe them all out. Killing 2 birds with a stone. Tylor is so bored that he wants to play cards. With Yuriko’s constant reprimanding, he gives up and he hopes some enemy will pop up to elevate the boredom. You don’t say… Because here comes a huge fleet of Raalgon destroyers led by Donan. Immediately he orders to fire on Soyokaze. It takes great damage and since Tylor is out, Yamamoto assumes command and is going to show how it is done. He orders to fire back but all weapons are destroyed! When it is time for the laser to activate, Donan detects some large enemy fleet and immediately has his fleet teleport away. They appear before Mifune’s fleet. Tylor has woke up and isn’t sure why the enemy suddenly disappeared. Then they warp to a beautiful area of the galaxy and he believes this is the reward that Mifune wanted to give them. While admiring the great view, Mifune and Donan’s side are heavily locked in battle. Mifune can’t lose this or else he’ll be the laughing stock of the galaxy. Donan then has his men target the laser. Although successfully destroying it, the explosion is so great that it threatens to engulf them all. Donan and his fleet retreats. Mifune is luckily to have drifted in Tylor’s path and gets picked up by Soyokaze. The crew is shocked to learn Tylor got a medal but as he is about to show them, it seems there is a hole in his pocket! Yeah, I guess that medal was dropped somewhere back on Mifune’s fleet. Mifune is so mad that he is going to kill himself! Stop him! The rest thought it was just over a single medal…

Episode 7
Yuriko is chiding the marines to clean up their area but of course they won’t listen. With Tylor contributing to the garbage mess, this isn’t personal anymore. She takes Tylor along hoping with his orders they will follow. But Andressen wants a challenge. If they win, things stay as it is. Otherwise they will follow her. She accepts even if the challenge is arm wrestling. Obviously Andressen is stronger and is fooling around although Yuriko isn’t giving up. Surprisingly Tylor supports Andressen. This throws everybody off and makes Yuriko mad that she got the strength to win the match! Now everybody start cleaning. This includes you, Tylor! Soyokaze is so sparkly clean that it is hardly the junk we use to know. Suddenly Raalgon fleets appear before them. Yamamoto wants to escape seeing Soyokaze cannot handle that many. However Tylor orders to stay their ground. He will not surrender. Tylor then orders to display fireworks before returning to the bridge dressed in his real military suit. OMG. He is acting so proper. What gives? Is he really Tylor? Then he contacts the Raalgon fleet who is helmed no other by Dom. He wants some time before they fight to the death so Dom agrees. Since they have time, Dom wants them to drink. Because the ship’s alcoholic doctor, Hidezaburo Kitaguchi cannot join them, he sulks and accidentally presses the siren button. The marines and pilots take it as a sign to begin their attack! Dom’s fleet is caught off guard and they suffer heavy damage. Soyokaze escapes and they dump all the garbage around Raalgon fleet for their getaway. Dom is pissed that he has been had but notes Tylor’s success was due to his ability to handle his men. Although Tylor is out cold, the crew wonder if this success method was for the best.

Episode 8
Dom tells Harumi to assassinate Tylor. This is a test to see whether he can defend himself. If he is easily killed, he is not worth investigating further. She goes searching for him and finds him discussing with the marines. Turns out they plan to hold a beauty contest. Harumi wants to join. Of course Yuriko protests as this would rack up the stress level (hers, I believe). Naturally Yamamoto also disagrees but when Tylor mentions of leaving him as acting commander, he agrees to it. The marines and mechanics start building the props and stage while Harumi is on standby for any injuries. As Tylor talks to her and at the end of the conversation, seems she has laid the perfect trap for the stage to collapse on him. Luckily Kojiro fires his staple gun to pin Tylor away. Harumi then takes him to her quarters with pretence to examine for any injuries. She’ll soon be frustrated she can’t kill him with injections or poison his coffee. This guy is just too damn lucky. Yamamoto might be happy with a big grin on his face playing captain. But what’s the use when he is the only one on the bridge? It’s like watching the house when everyone else is away at the beauty contest preparations. Later Harumi goes to Tylor’s quarters and tries to stab him. His place is full of junk that she mistakes the pile of garbage as his body instead. Desperate now, she tries to kill him outright but that guy is just too lucky! She breaks down in dramatic fashion. Frustrated alright. Surprisingly, Tylor knows she is a spy as she has always been the mysterious type. I thought he was going to get lucky with the guess but it seems it is true. After Harumi reveals the Raalgon spy she is, she tries to kill herself but Tylor stops her. He tries to convince her she can’t die while her job isn’t complete but if Raalgon finds out about her failure, it will be death. So he suggests that he has fallen for her and will keep her identity a secret. This will enable her to continue her observation while she feeds her people with lies. Well, that convinced her. And even Dom too because if she failed her assassination it means this Tylor guy is worthy to be observed and thus her mission will continue. Finally the beauty contest begins.

Episode 9
Harumi sends her periodic reports to Dom who in turn reports it to Azalyn. She is disappointed that there is still nothing much known about Tylor. Mifune seems to have gotten the unanimous decision of the board. So when Soyokaze receives word of a new order, they are devastated that they have been downgraded. Of course everyone believes Tylor is the source of this new order. Yamamoto wants to invoke some article that would revoke this new order. Although it has very strict conditions that go with it, everybody thought they would get through it except when they realize that only the highest officer onboard may send in that request. Guess who? They’re so doomed… And so when Yuriko and Harumi is on their way sending Tylor to the HQ, that irresponsible guy thinks there is still much time and wanders off by himself. Can you blame the waiting crew for not feeling so worried and anxious? Even resorting to superstitious stuffs like plucking leaves and tea stalks. Tylor bumps into Hanner who is now in a retirement home. He starts narrating his adventures. Man, that is going to take all day! So much so Yuriko can’t stand him anymore and slaps him! She lectures him about thinking how the crew is feeling and explains to Hanner about the situation they are in. He lets them go so Yuriko steps the pedal to the medal. As Soyokaze’s crew is deeply praying to all the religious faiths (I don’t believe they’re being this religious), Tylor comes back. They assume the order is rescinded since he looks so happy. Till he apologizes he couldn’t make the deadline. Oh sh*t… Despair! As Tylor talks to the twins about meeting Hanner, Yuriko just couldn’t understand why Tylor looks so happy about the demotion. Could he seriously have wanted it? Just don’t understand… And the only other happy person is Mifune who is glad no applications to rescind the order were received. Case closed.

Episode 10
Kojiro aces in his training as always. This has the twins want to become pilots more than ever. Of course Yamamoto and Yuriko won’t allow it since they scored very low on their aptitude test. So now that they take their plea to Tylor, as expected he allows them. Furthermore, Kojiro also supports them but with a condition. If they show any signs of trouble on their first flight, they will give up and never fly again. This of course is his plan to rid of them to bug him for wanting to become pilots. Not surprisingly, they screw up. Since they are Kojiro’s responsibility, he still needs to go save them. He relays the instructions that need to be done for them to avoid crashing into a nearby planet. Although successful, when they didn’t respond, he fears they might have accelerated too much and crashed into the asteroid field. Now he feels guilty that he put them up to this. Don’t deserve to be called an ace pilot, blah, blah, blah. He wasn’t concentrating and could have slammed into the asteroid had not the twins fire it out of his way. The wreckage he saw must be from another craft. He sees them skilfully manoeuvring their ship and he thinks their natural ability to fly must have awakened. Although he says they won’t fly again, it means he will become their personal flight trainer till they are good enough to be pilots. Because Tylor says he has a good eye in telling people’s talents, Yuriko wants to test him and asks hers. If he can pick out right, maybe he does deserve to be captain. This is Tylor’s response. She is not cut out to be a soldier and should marry him and bear his children! Slap! Hey, that was his honest answer, no? I guess she was a fool to have her hopes up.

Episode 11
Yuriko must be furious with everybody slacking their duties despite they have been demoted. Especially when communications officer, Kyunghwa Kim is all dolled up during duty. Yeah, Tylor gives the green light. Yuriko tries to set an example but I think the stress is going to ruin her skin. And when the twins said Tylor allowed them to wear casual clothes on duty, that’s the last straw for Yuriko. She confronts him about this order and as usual, he thought it would be good for everyone since they’re so bored. When Kim is in her casual clothes, Yuriko starts lecturing her about discipline and responding to emergencies in that outfit. Kim lectures her back about judging others by their appearance. Oh dear. Looks like there’s bad blood brewing between these ladies. Yamamoto should know better than try to quell 2 feuding women. Yeah, they never thought him in the military anyway! Yuriko and Kim’s feud is getting obvious. So much so the Marines are tapping it and enjoying to the last bit. When will the cat fight start? Luckily Kim discovers their shenanigans and puts a stop to it with a little court martial threat. Yuriko works herself to the bone and maintains she is fine with this kind of job. Then one night, Tylor snuck into one of the Marine’s room to play some virtual whack-a-mole. He didn’t even know he caused a fire and continued playing. Doesn’t it feel getting hot? So the ship is on alert but they can’t get into the room. Kim uses her hacking skills to enter and then has everyone use fire extinguishers to put the fire out. And Tylor didn’t even know what hit him. In the end, Yuriko and Kim reconcile over a drink. To a point that they sound like they are such good friends and that’s scary! And Tylor can’t even get in between them for once!

Episode 12
Cryburn is telling a past ghost story of Soyokaze to the crew. Especially about its previous captain who killed himself at 11.59.59pm when all his crew killed themselves out of boredom. Yuriko and Yamamoto are not amused he is spreading such rumours but it seems Tylor is also in, in this ghost scaring plan. When Yuriko is lecturing him about this, suddenly Soyokaze passes through some warp. The ship walls are now dilapidated and the time has stopped at 11.59.59pm. We learn something from Harumi as she observes the rest. She is an android and doesn’t understand this fear emotion the rest is going through. She also observes Yuriko is more strong willed than Tylor. A ghostly voice wants to know who the captain is so Tylor makes Yamamoto take responsibility. He always wanted to be the captain, right? With this, the ghost voice has Yamamoto enter through some warp. Yuriko wants the rest to go rescue him and abandoning a comrade is more shameful. So Tylor can sit here all alone if he wants. Not going to happen. Yamamoto sees the rest of the crew trying to kill themselves by opening the airlock. The ghost wants Yamamoto to feel his anguish and realizing he is not the real captain and his hatred for the real one, he hypnotizes Yamamoto to go kill him. Yuriko and co stumble upon the corpse of Soyokaze’s ex-captain. Harumi deduces he’s been dead for 10 years. Tylor is not happy Yuriko fainted before him! The ghost then possesses Yuriko and is going to make her kill herself to let Tylor fall into despair. Luckily Harumi’s anaesthetic prevented it. Can it work on a ghost? As they run, they bump into Yamamoto. Harumi slaps him into his senses. The ghost chases and corners them to the airlock. He possesses them and is forcing Tylor to open the hatch. Tylor and Yamamoto start arguing about responsibility and being the strongest. This causes the ghost to be so appalled at their pathetic behaviour that it’s not worth killing them! Soyokaze moves out of the zone and time resumes like normal again. Tylor picks up the ex-captain’s wooden pipe. They wonder if that ghostly encounter was hallucination. Shortly, Admiral Fuji contacts them for anything suspicious. Yuriko and Yamamoto don’t want Tylor to say about the hallucination as it will further demote them. But when Fuji sees the pipe, he fears that Tylor knows something about the ex-captain that connects him to Soyokaze. You see, Fuji betrayed the ex-captain for his own promotion. Though Tylor poorly tries to cover up, Fuji thinks he is trying to make some covert deal. He orders the crew to rendezvous with the UPSF main fleet now. The rest are unsure what happened but they believe the downgrade order has been rescinded. So happy that they waste a few rounds of ammunition, beams and missiles. On an unrelated note: Animation of this episode was horrendous!

Episode 13
Everyone celebrates Soyokaze’s promotion. Meanwhile Donan still lives and he is requesting Azalyn’s permission to settle the score with this enemy whom he doesn’t know his name before he becomes a bigger threat. Mifune is about to kill Fuji for rescinding the downgrade without his permission. Then the screen of Soyokaze’s flight path surfaces. Seems they will be heading towards the battlefield frontline where fighting is heavy. Mifune thinks this is Fuji’s trick to get them destroyed there. I guess Fuji will go with it. Some of Soyokaze’s crew are not happy when Tylor says he prefers being demoted. Some who support Tylor claim it was peaceful and not entirely boring. So when drunk Yamamoto tells Tylor about the crew are here to fight, Tylor throws him a series of what-ifs when the enemy is stronger, smarter and outnumbers them. Suddenly the red alert. They’re being attack by Donan’s single vessel. Soyokaze takes so much damage that they can’t fire back, can’t launch their fighters, can’t call for backup and the navigation system is broken. Tylor sees Yamamoto’s advice but is told to think about it himself! Then Tylor just orders to warp blindly. Donan anticipated this and follows them through and continues attacking. Tylor repeats the warp process and so does Donan. Then finally Soyokaze appears above a star and has run out of energy for another warp. This is when Donan summons all his other fleets to finish it off. After he commands all to fire, it seems the beams miss Soyokaze. The star’s gravity pulls the beams in and the high energy causes the sun to burst into a solar flare, engulfing all of Donan’s fleet! Dom who has been watching it all wants to aid Donan but the fatty still doesn’t want his help. All he wants to know if Soyokaze is destroyed. Dom has no choice but to lie to give Donan a piece of mind before he succumbs. Soyokaze still lives and Yamamoto knows it is purely Tylor’s luck instead of strategy. True enough, Tylor didn’t plan this and was just running away. Yamamoto hopes this would make Tylor learn the basics of strategy but Tylor remains indifferent. Because if it’s their time to lose, they’ll lose. This is proven despite the enemy was way better than them, they still lost. Instead Tylor tells Yamamoto that he should return to study the basics of strategy. The kind that all kindergarten kids know: Running away always wins! Fuji can’t believe Soyokaze survives again and Mifune is about to commit seppuku! Harumi is baffled Tylor didn’t want the enemy to die like that. It’s the same reason for why Harumi who is a Raalgon spy to still worry about him.

Episode 14
Azalyn believes with Donan’s death, the situation for Raalgon is now grave. She wants Tylor to be brought back alive. He sends his underling, Shia Has to do the job. The crew are repairing the very damaged Soyokaze. All thanks to a certain irresponsible captain. There is an order from Mifune for Tylor to collect another medal for another Raalgon victory and since Yuriko says they can’t move till repairs are finished, Tylor takes Harumi with him on the little ship, Galileo instead. I think most of the guys are jealous the captain took off with their beauty queen. Shia’s fleet is close to Soyokaze. The alert is sounded for all crew to return and cease radio transmission. They are like sitting ducks since they can’t fire any beams (still undergoing repairs) but luckily the gas clouds hide their location. Tylor realizes he and Harumi don’t have a nice dress for the medal ceremony and u-turn back to Soyokaze. As usual, Tylor hails noisily. After Yamamoto informs him about the situation, he tells him to run away. However Tylor orders the crew to shut off all electronics and run on silent mode. Although this means oxygen supply is cut, a big ship like Soyokaze can last for hours. But what about Galileo? Harumi is confused with Tylor’s kindness. This guy is willing to die so his crew could live? Had he run now, they would be spotted by Raalgon anyway. He believes everyone on Soyokaze is like his family and very important. Harumi is so impressed that she reveals herself as an android (that is why she is still holding up pretty well without air despite Tylor weakening greatly). However he still isn’t mad because to him Harumi is still Harumi, regardless she is a spy or android. So touched that she shed tears! She turns on the electronics and is going to call Raalgon for help and promises to protect him. But that won’t be necessary because Soyokaze has disobeyed captain’s order by turning back on their electronics too (they feel they can’t let him die just like that). Therefore Soyokaze pops up right in front of Raalgon’s ship and rams it till it is destroyed! Shortly, Galileo is retrieved. Tylor wakes up and is back to his idiotic self. The marines wonder if Tylor had done anything to Harumi but she tells them off he is a wonderful man and the fool they see him is not the real him. Shia then contacts Harumi to inform her next mission to capture Tylor. Harumi is worried if he would be executed but Shia tells her to do her job as android do not need emotions.

Episode 15
Tylor is shocked to hear from his crew that Harumi is transferring away. Of course a guy like him doesn’t know the rules. A nurse who has served at the frontlines for certain hours will be transferred to the rear and of course guaranteed promotion. Tylor looks for Harumi to confirm. After all, if she is a spy, how can she get more information if she is away, right? She assures she will always be by his side. She also vows to protect him if Raalgon ever captures him. A trap Harumi set prior causes 70% of the crew to fall sick. Tylor is still well because Harumi injected him with some antibodies under the guise of vitamin deficiency. Kitaguchi analyzes the virus and believes it is artificially created. Like as though a spy snuck onboard to intentionally release it here. When Harumi sees all the suffering patients, she feels scared and their pain. And she’s an android… Shia contacts Tylor. If he wants the vaccine then he must turn himself over to Raalgon. It goes without saying that he will take up her offer. Yamamoto and Yuriko despite their less than optimum condition, think they can steal the vaccine. But they are shocked to see Harumi handing over Tylor. They realize she is a Raalgon spy. However Shia can sense them and calls them out of their hiding. After Tylor confirms the vaccine, he is ready to give himself up with no qualms, shocking Shia. That is when Harumi takes Shia hostage. But Shia warns if she kills her, her men will destroy the vaccine. Harumi backs down. Shia wants to destroy this defective android but Tylor comes to her defence. He makes a plea bargain that since she doesn’t need her, why not give Harumi to Soyokaze? In exchange for that, Tylor wants Yamamoto to join him as Raalgon’s prisoner! Not so keen, eh? Shia agrees to give Harumi but since she isn’t interested in incompetent people, I guess Yamamoto is ‘lucky’ to stay. After Raalgon is gone, Harumi cries her heart out for Tylor. She realizes the human heart he has given her after spending time with him. Her confession is only drowned out by the ship’s engine. Tylor is brought to see Dom for the first time. Dom then congratulates Shia and wants to know her opinion of Tylor. She wouldn’t want him as her commander or subordinate. He might not be an ordinary man and looks like a fool but he is very dangerous and there is madness to his methods. Dom believes the UPSF higher ups also have the same thinking as her: Narrow minded.

Episode 16
Tylor is imprisoned on Raalgon’s flagship, Melva. Many can’t believe this kid is the one who destroyed Donan’s fleet. Dom warns not to be fooled by his appearance. Tylor sees a hole in his cell and escapes. This is of course set up by Dom so he can follow him. Azalyn sneaks out to have a midnight snack. Seeing there is only a chef around (Tylor), she tries to steal a bowl of snacks but slips up. Tylor then invites her to eat as she wants. Azalyn thinks he is new since he doesn’t recognize her and furthermore he wants her to show him around the ship. In a simulator room, Azalyn accidentally initiates projection of her homeland as she happily frolics around. Dom and his men are waiting ready to ambush. Azalyn then sees her former pet, Pecopeco and with Tylor’s help they try to catch it. You can be they had a lot of fun together. When Azalyn returns to her home, she sees her father before her. She becomes stunned as her father calls her to come over. The simulation is over and since Azalyn is spacing out, Tylor does funny faces to cheer him up. Dom enters the scene to return a pendant Azalyn has dropped. She surprises everyone by giving it to Tylor before taking her leave. Tylor is then thrown back to prison. When Wang presents Tylor before the empress and wants him executed to make an example of him, Azalyn is shocked to realize this chef she thought is actually Tylor. Feeling odd now? However she surprises everyone yet again when she declares she won’t kill him but make him her royal pet. He shall now be named Pacopaco. I guess this is better than being dead.

Episode 17
The Soyokaze crew is being quarantined despite being cleared of any virus. They realize they have been set up by UPSF to be locked up. Meanwhile Wang suggests to Azalyn to use all their force to attack UPSF using an old and famous general. However Tylor has his 2 cents worth of suggestions. He thinks the elderly should be treated kindly and furthermore he teases Wang he wants to be by Azalyn’s side to get special favours or manipulate her. Wang maintains his cool and denies all that. Meanwhile, the quarantined crew must be going crazy. Yamamoto blames himself for this shame and should have gone with Tylor. It is already bad enough some of the guys are fighting among themselves but it gets worse when Yamamoto is going to hang himself! Luckily the ladies are more level headed. Yuriko wants Harumi’s help to think of a way to get out. They pretend to kill each other or have a relapse for those dumb guards to open the door and quell the situation. Seriously, they think they can take on all of them? Musclemen and women armed with items to knock them out? As they sneak away, seems their hearts are in unison: They want to rescue Tylor. They make their way towards Soyokaze as more dumb guards fail to stop their advancement and even got tricked by their decoy. Moments before Soyokaze, they are surrounded. Cryburn accidentally shoots the pipes above. The cold dirty water makes them sneeze. But the dumb guards think the virus is relapsing so they become chicken and run away. WTF. With Soyokaze crew back onboard, Yamamoto for the first time gets to play captain for real. How does it feel, eh? Full speed ahead! But they better escape fast because orders to destroy Soyokaze have been given and tons of ships are hot on their tail.

Episode 18
Tylor must be having the good life as a pet. He eats until he is so full that his stomach hurts! Dom asks why Azalyn is so attached to Tylor. It is because with him, she feels secured. Soyokaze is in a pinch with UPSF hot on their trail. Oh, what will they do? Yamamoto looks so lost. When Yuriko hints what Tylor would have done if it was here, I guess Yamamoto took her words literally so he starts acting like Tylor and make rash decisions! This means escaping via asteroid belt (as long as you don’t hit one!) and then recklessly detecting and warping to the main Raalgon fleet to initiate their hasty rescue. Raalgon scrambles its forces but Soyokaze’s chaff confuses them. As the marines break in to rescue Tylor, Azalyn and Tylor are whisked away to a safe zone. Azalyn seeks an advice from Tylor. She has a friend who has fallen in love with a man at first sight (I think I know who she is referring to). However they cannot be together for various reasons. From age difference and different race, the big reason that hinders their love is because he is a dense guy! Tylor just proves it when he agrees! This causes Azalyn to be sad. Now she hates him! Wang has been planning Azalyn’s downfall with this attack. He already placed a bomb there and detonates it. I guess the bomb went off so slow that it gave out warning signs, enough time for Tylor to take Azalyn to safety. It blew up the entire ceiling. So the safe zone was just a level under where the marines and Dom’s guards were fighting?! Azalyn is devastated that Tylor protected her and is unconscious. Therefore she has decided she will go to the enemy to seek treatment for him. That is her order and no one shall stop them. As she also has something to say to Tylor, she promises to come back. Kitaguchi and Harumi do surgery on Tylor. Everyone is waiting anxiously. Even those Raalgon dudes are worried about their princess. Wow. These 2 people must be very important lives.

Episode 19
The surgery is over. Kitaguchi has found some sort of mind control implant in Tylor’s brain. Probably that is why Raalgon let him live instead of killing off the prisoner. Kitaguchi cautions that even if Tylor wakes up, his personality might be different. Because it is too risky for him to do brain surgery, there is a possibility he will never wake up. Yeah, so terrifying this outcome that Azalyn fainted! But Kitaguchi has some sort of brain synchronizer equipment. From what I understand, they need a person to dive in while synchronizing their brain waves to pull Tylor out. It is a very dangerous method and may result in death. Yuriko offers to do so seeing if they don’t make it, at least Yamato is still there to lead Soyokaze. The synchronizing begins and for some silly reason, Azalyn was quick enough to enter the pod and enter Tylor’s deepest conscious with Yuriko. Even mind boggling is how Kitaguchi can communicate with them inside via microphone and lead them to where the implant is when he can’t see a damn thing! The ladies touch nerve threads and see Tylor’s memories. Wow. So many different women in his life. Then weird face parts (eyes, ears, mouths, nose, etc) pop up and they talk about contradicting things but essentially are Tylor’s personalities as a whole. I think it got so confusing that when Azalyn screamed, they are transported into a deeper conscious. Azalyn is able to communicate with Tylor-like blobs and understand what they say. Yuriko couldn’t and Azalyn notes it is because she’s always mad at him! Azalyn’s brain waves synchronize with Tylor’s. She wants to stay in comatose mode with him. Yuriko then screams about the reason they’re doing this. The reason they save him. The reason why he is the only one worthy to be Soyokaze’s captain. I guess the impact was great enough that it blows the ladies out and back to consciousness. Not only that, the electronics short circuit and the implant disappears! Wow. I don’t understand it at all! However… Tylor is dead! OMG! Yuriko blames herself for not trying harder. But suddenly Tylor wakes up. Azalyn hugs him and she doesn’t care if she squeezes him to death. Tylor comments on Yuriko’s dry skin. It makes her want to slap him but eventually she can’t bring herself to. Just happy to have him back, eh?

Episode 20
Wang thought he is in total control but there are some who will only move under the empress’ orders. If Azalyn doesn’t get back soon, it is going to tear the empire apart. Meanwhile everyone on Soyokaze is having a big party for Tylor’s return. The marines give him their finest porn movie but warn him to handle it with care. He returns to his room to watch but Azalyn lies in wait to scare him. Suddenly the twins knock on his door and in his surprise accidentally presses the record button! Oh no! How to undo! Seems the twins are taking an awful long time to get what they want to say, Tylor is agonizing over the porn video instead of hearing about the twins who want to become his lover. They misinterpret he is not interested in them and leave in tears. Now it’s Kim’s turn. She gets straight in wanting to ask him out and build their future together. But since his mind is so preoccupied in trying to stop the recording, this makes Kim mad and she leaves in a huff, never ever to talk to him seriously again! And Tylor doesn’t even know what he said to her. Next is Harumi. She seems to be desperate in wanting to love him as a human! However Tylor says there is no time for this and she thinks it is because they’re at war. Actually, it’s the recorder… When Tylor grabs the remote, he sees Azalyn hiding (she must have got lots of hints on planning her confession based on these women). But Yuriko knocks on his door. Now it’s her turn? Actually she wants to discuss about Azalyn. Her earlier talk with Yamamoto, he believed in handing her over to UPSF, their forces will win and their name will etched in history. But Yuriko although felt that is technically the right thing as a soldier to do, she felt Azalyn was just a girl and it is wrong to use her as a tool of war. So what does Tylor think? He throws back the question. What will she do? She doesn’t know. He too! But whatever it is, he isn’t planning to hand Azalyn over. And no, he has no other plan. Tylor now smashes his VCR and it explodes! Azalyn thinks this is the right time to confess but Tylor is asleep. She lies closely next to him. Meanwhile the UPSF higher ups discuss about rendezvousing with Soyokaze as they have the trump card to defeat Raalgon. Whatever wrongdoings by Soyokaze have been forgiven and this doesn’t sit well with Mifune.

Episode 21
Some of the Raalgon guys who are disgusted with Wang’s ambition feel the only way left is to rescue Azalyn. They hope Dom can pull off the risky job. Yamamoto goes to wake up Azalyn but she is not in her room. Fearing the worst, the crew goes to Tylor’s room and to their shock sees them sleeping together! Tylor isn’t even fazed about it. Yuriko and Yamamoto reprimand him about this despite Tylor saying Azalyn was afraid of sleeping alone. Because of this, they want to hand Azalyn over. Azalyn heard this and believes they are trying to separate them. So she lies she cannot leave because… She is pregnant with Tylor’s child! Everyone is in super shock. Except for Tylor. He’s just cool about it. These things sometimes happen… Yeah… But can she get pregnant after a one night stand? For a human it’s not possible but she is Raalgon… Tylor is so carefree that he even has time to think up names for their child! Unlike Yamamoto who is such a worrywart thinking about the punishment UPSF will hand down if this gets discovered. Suddenly the ship is under attack. Actually the marines are fighting among themselves as they were betting if Tylor’s child is boy or girl! That is when Yuriko talks to Azalyn to be careful with the words she says because it will affect lots of people. However Azalyn thinks she is being blamed and scoffs her off. Real Raalgon fleets appear before them. Dom wants everyone to hold their fire and just wait and see. Soyokaze cannot fire back because that scuffle took out all the weapons and must be repaired. Yuriko furthers lecture Azalyn about being a role model as she commands lots of people behind her. Unless she understands what she says, she will send many people to the frontline and die a meaningless death. Azalyn isn’t amused with her lecture but she takes time to walk around Soyokaze and ordering those who want to fight to stop. Then she returns to the bridge to tell everyone that carrying Tylor’s child was just a joke. She decides to return to Raalgon as she has duties that she must carry out. Just like that? If she wants to go back, so be it, says Tylor. Azalyn has a little send off and she hopes the crew will take care of her pet. Dom is glad Azalyn has returned. Shia wants to initiate fire on Soyokaze but Dom stops her. Their mission is just to retrieve the empress. Wang is ‘happy’ to see Azalyn again. But that turn to horror when she tells him she is pregnant. Emergency meeting with the councils? Of course Dom and a few others know she is just joking.

Episode 22
Fuji is happy to see Tylor. Once he hands over Azalyn, UPSF can use her as their trump card and destroy Raalgon. So where is she? She has gone home. What? But why? Because she says so. Because of that, the council has decided Tylor to be strip of his rank and captaincy of Soyokaze. In addition to disrupting the plans of UPSF, he will be executed via firing squad at noon. All Tylor can say is how unfair it is. So when Fuji tells this to Soyokaze’s crew and rejoice that their dumb captain has been removed, nobody looks happy. Yamamoto might be for a while seeing he is now the captain. But then he realizes this is at Tylor’s expense. Meanwhile Wang tries to rally support for war against UPSF since Azalyn is back. However Dom and his small group are against this as they are still unsure of the enemy and themselves. This will only spill unnecessary blood. Wang scoffs off this small group and since the majority calls for UPSF’s blood, Azalyn is in a pinch. She later talks to Dom and wants him to do something before the war starts. It will be no turning back then. He tells her to say things from the heart and then let fate take its course. That cleared her mind very much. She summons Wang to recall their forces but he warns that somebody may be using this to exploit the confusion to usurp her throne. She thinks it is him but he denies and is only speaking hypothetically. He shows her videos of the force getting ready to fight and if she recalls them now, what will they think of her? Harumi has hacked and discovered Tylor’s position. But she isn’t the only one who is going to save him. Everyone is. Only Yamamoto stays back because he believes in the superiors’ orders. But eventually he too succumbs to his conscience and joins them. When Fuji and Mifune learn Soyokaze’s crew is coming, they want Tylor executed now. With a heavy heart, Azalyn orders her troops to go for an all out attack now. Right before Tylor is executed, the red alert sounds. Raalgon has gone on the offensive and UPSF’s defences are falling like flies. Fuji and Mifune blame each other to take responsibility. Tylor now speaks up. Just leave the entire force to his command and he’ll guarantee they won’t lose. What do you say? After much deliberation, they decide to put off the execution and give him a chance to clear his name. After all, he is the only who was captured by Raalgon and returned alive. The crew is happy Tylor is back but save your happiness for later because Raalgon is advancing real quick.

Episode 23
Fuji advertises Tylor as the one who will bring victory to UPSF. Fuji and Mifune will also be onboard Soyokaze for this battle. But instead of going for a strategic meeting, he goes around Soyokaze waving to all his crew. This earns the wrath of Fuji and Mifune but he doesn’t care because he is the one in control, right? When Azalyn learns Tylor is leading the UPSF side, she starts worrying. Wang believes he has the last laugh because if Raalgon wins, it will cement his place as a warlord but if they lose, Azalyn will take the blame. Dom suddenly laughs out loud. Later he wants Azalyn to give him command the Raalgon fleet. She fears he wants to kill Tylor and he admits he will need to if it is for the empress and Raalgon’s sake. Thus Azalyn makes Dom the leader for this battle, much to Wang’s dismay. Both sides enter the battlefield and it seems both have the same idea of giving orders just to advance instead of begin fire. The fleets are close enough that they’re starting to give out static electricity! Still won’t fire? Just advance! Playing chicken? Playing wait and see? The tension is getting to both sides. And WTF is this Lone Ranger BGM???!!! Tylor is looking so calm and smiling that I suppose the pressure got to Mifune. He wants to kill him but is restrained by Yamamoto who believes Tylor must not be disturbed. Then Dom also starts panicking. He cannot understand what Tylor is thinking. When both flagships pass by each other, Tylor then salutes to Dom. He also salutes back. Both sides safely pass each other without a shot being fired. The battle is over. Tylor then gets a personal message from Hanner who was watching. He praises both sides for emerging victorious. Dom is also praised by Azalyn that both sides achieved victory. She was glad to have chosen him. When Dom explains about his intention to kill Tylor, he added that he trusts Tylor and if he is that great man he thinks he is, then the war will end without a single bloodshed. And now he can sure be was right about it.

Episode 24
When Soyokaze returns to base, the crew sees the newly completed hi-tech ship, Aso. They wish they could be on that one so Tylor thinks of requesting for them. The Soyokaze crew members are rewarded for their heroic efforts and Fuji even giving Tylor command of Aso. There is a party tonight in honour of Tylor but he wants to go visit Hanner. Unfortunately they receive bad news that he recently passed away. Tylor’s sad. The twins are sadder. During the party while Fuji sings praises of Tylor, he seems to be in a lot of depression. Drinking the entire champagne bottle, eating food with his hands, wiping them on his clean shirt, climbing up a flag pole and dancing. And he still can give his crew members about being careful before life creeps up on you? News of Hanner’s death also reaches Raalgon. Azalyn wants to pay tribute so she sneaks away with Dom. A ceremony is held for people to pay their last respects to Hanner. Everyone turned up except Tylor. Even Azalyn and Dom are here courtesy of Harumi making arrangements for them. So when the gang believe Tylor won’t show his face, here this guy comes in humming some sad song with a freaking huge flower bouquet in hand. I wonder how he made his way here seeing the flower clearly obstructed every point of vision. After placing the flower, he shouts aloud a happy thank you. Nobody understood what Tylor was thinking but Dom can see the relief in his smile and it feels worrying. Later Tylor calls Yuriko to personally tell her something. I can guess what it is. And I believe it is not a confession because of the way Tylor casually walks away and leaving Yuriko freaking shocked. And no, I don’t think it is “I’m the father of your unborn child”! F*ck, no way!!!!!!!

Episode 25
Soyokaze’s crew takes a first look at Aso and they can’t wait to get on board. Except Yuriko who is spacing out for quite a while. She is then summoned by Fuji and Mifune. They noticed her exceptional skill in the intelligence and offer her a promoted position in the intelligence department. Mifune tries to persuade her that it is better than risking her life in the frontlines. While the Soyokaze crew party, Yuriko continues to ponder about her future. She calls Tylor and when she finally gets through, she meets up with him. She tells him about her dilemma of serving as deputy intelligence, she can’t serve onboard Aso. Perhaps she should just resign like him. Tylor replies she just answered her own question. Eventually Yuriko takes up the intelligence job. The alert sounds when an unidentified ship appears on radar. Yuriko deduces it is Azalyn’s mini ship leaving the area and so as not to blow this out of proportion, she remembers an abandoned satellite in the area. She calls Harumi about this and after making some arrangements, the base picks up the unidentified ship as the satellite and everyone backs down. Azalyn got away safely and sends a personal thanks message to Yuriko and her crew. This job has Yuriko remember those old feelings of what it is like in the military. She is surprised that her juniors are surprised of her politeness, something that is unheard of in the military. To her it is normal all because of Tylor. He never did things by the book and made the impossible into the simple just by doing what he felt it was right. This is when Yuriko has decided. I guess she is not going for this job after all. The Soyokaze guys can’t stand Tylor not being with them so they’re going to drag him out from his house. But when they get there, he is not in. His place is all neat and his uniform is still there. What is the meaning of this? Yuriko then reveals Tylor told her he is leaving the military. They want answers. That, you’ll have to ask him. How? Find him! Everything else will fall into place! Now you’re thinking like him, eh? It’s a big planet so it is going to take a while. Tylor, where are you?! Yuriko is before Soyokaze. She really wants to fly with him again and still can’t do anything by herself. She hears familiar footsteps approaching. She turns back and salutes Tylor.

Episode 26
The duo are on board Soyokaze for what probably would be its last time since it will be scrapped. Hey. I didn’t know there was such romance between Tylor and Yuriko? At least, the way she is lying on his chest as though she’s his mistress or something! Tylor doesn’t want to go back to the military and command Aso. Learning the rest are looking for him because they still haven’t found what they are looking for, he believes they shouldn’t waste their time on that. You have only one life. So make the best of it and do what you want. I suppose it’s time for goodbye so Yuriko gets up and back to where the rest of the crew are waiting and tell them what Tylor said to them. Of course they are confused and want to beat him to his senses and drag him back but Yuriko tells them that perhaps Tylor just wanted to be alone. Fuji and Mifune promote and make Yamamoto the captain of Aso. He has the liberty to choose his crew and can even pick his old Soyokaze mates with the exception of Yuriko. So Yamato recalls his former mates who are scattered across the land doing what they want to be reenlisted again. They gladly take up the offer. On the day of Aso’s launching ceremony (WTF?! Light Cavalry Overture BGM?!), Yamamoto is grinning like a big happy idiot. The biggest day of his life, right? When all systems are checked and ready to go, Yamamoto then passes to Tylor to give the next order! Tylor is back?! Suddenly Soyokaze wreaks havoc and pops up through the UPSF base, all shiny and clean! When Azalyn learns Tylor is back, she orders Dom to go get him because she wants to see him. Dom is not amused and delegates this job to Shia. Yuriko also quits her intelligence post for good and her colleague salutes her. Though, she’d rather give him a handshake. That guy envies if he could just meet that irresponsible captain once. Tylor, now sporting a cool pair of shades, gives the order to blast off and retrieve Yuriko while they party to their glass of champagne in the bridge.

Trust Me! Everything Will Work Out Just Fine…
They don’t make shows these days like they used to in the old days… Yes, people. It is I once again, singing heaps of praises for this retro series. Watching Tylor and his crew going from one misadventure to another or just watching their silly antics just brightens up my day. I don’t know. They make being irresponsible so fun and funny. It is just sad that it is clearly not acceptable in the real world. I guess that is why when this anime was adapted, it was such fun and hilarious all the way. It made me wished it had more episodes to go with.

To my glee as I found out, there were 10 OVA episodes after the TV series. At first I was interested in wanting to watch them since the TV series is quite enjoyable. However the reason why I didn’t get to watch of them is because of my enthusiasm in wanting to find out more about what the OVAs are about (I don’t know, shouldn’t it be somewhat the same?), it led me to find a couple of reviews on the internet, rating the OVAs as disappointment. Seeing that this is an old retro show, there aren’t as many reviews as you could find out there. Sure, the reviews did give some good points but the cons outweigh them so much so that I began to lose interest. It was a far cry compared to the TV series. Yeah, I’m taking their word for it. Better not be disappointed and let the OVA ruin my overall sentiments. Let the TV series crystallize as the best of it. Plus, I couldn’t really find any OVA episodes to stream over the internet. And even if there were, it is all dubbed. Yeah. That sealed it.

Some of the episodes feel like fillers and some of the stories feel silly or unexplained like that brain dive into Tylor’s mind to wake him up but left unexplained is how Tylor came back up alive like it was nothing or the time Tylor was acting so proper when he first communicated with Dom (I thought he was under some spell but it wasn’t the case). But if you’re trying to think too hard about the details, remember, this is an old show so such logic is forgivable. Really? Yeah. I mean, look at the kind of ‘futuristic technology’ they had in this anime. At the time of this anime’s airing (1993), do you not realize the ‘futuristic phones’ in the series? I guess iPhone is not heard off yet so you have land lines and wireless telephones as your ultimate communication then. Yeah, very advanced indeed…

I suppose all that melodrama about Tylor quitting the military for good was just his way of trolling and fooling around? Because it would suck big time for the Soyokaze crew not to be together at the end after being through thick and thin for every other episode. My theory of Tylor making a u-turn decision to come back is not because to warrant a happy ending for the series but rather the fact that he wouldn’t want to be the high commander of any other ship in UPSF other than Soyokaze. It makes sense, right? The ship that brought them lots of (mis)adventures and memories. Just because it is old, why the heck scrap it when all you need is a little maintenance and cleaning up to run like normal. Perhaps all that melodrama from Tylor was him being worried about Soyokaze the ship? Also, the other reason why Tylor doesn’t want Aso not because it is new or unfamiliar, it is because it is a ship under the military’s direct rule. Soyokaze is for outcasts and no hopers. In this sense, they won’t be expected to follow strict orders or live up to expectations, right? This is the reason why Soyokaze surpasses expectations. Because nobody expected to do it. The best part is, everybody is back because they wanted to on their own will.

To say Tylor is a great man might be inaccurate. But as far as this series is concerned, despite his slacking and irresponsible ways, he is the greatest of all. Do you not agree? My theory is that the only difference why such a slacker and lazy dude like him succeeds in everything whereas others who might have the same attitude will fail is probably because of luck. Yes, this man has an extreme amount of luck. If you think about it, for every irresponsible decision and act he made, surely it would have caused grave results for others. For him to come out tops and unscathed means he has a very good streak of luck, no? That is why he can continue with his seemingly irresponsible ways. Because as long this so called luck is on his side, he will never fail!

Of course being irresponsible might just be a term used from the point of view of others because if you are holding such an important position, there is some sort of expectations to live up to. But Tylor rips through all that strict military protocol and procedures. He does what he wants and feels like. Can this be called true freedom and being true to one’s heart? Can this be called thinking out of the box? Yeah, luck, right? Many decisions he made might seem selfish and going against what is supposed to be but hey, being a coward has them survive this long. Heck, sometimes he doesn’t even have a plan! So do you not think it is all because of his extreme good luck? But Tylor is not totally irresponsible as a few of his ideals are quite commendable. Especially about caring and looking out for his crew even if he doesn’t seem very much like it.

The only reason why Tylor is not as hated as much in the end as compared in the beginning (both the characters and us viewers would like to strangle this guy for being irresponsible, right?) is because he gets things done. He gets the results. Even if that is not his intention in the first place but fate has it that it turns out for the better. Now, imagine if he fails. Do you not think his crew and higher ups will not hate him? Therefore it is no surprise that in time to come, the crew of Soyokaze who initially do not think much of him eventually fall under his charm. He is after all their beloved captain. Everyone comes to respect and gets used to this captain and his irresponsible ways seem like the norm that they too start thinking like him! I see his luck too spreads. Can you imagine the entire military taking after this approach? I know. One Tylor is already bad enough. Everybody a Tylor? No way, man!

The rest of the unique crew members of Soyokaze are amusing enough although some don’t really catch your attention. Soyokaze is after all a ragtag group of people whom the higher ups want to get rid of, right? Yamamoto and Yuriko are by-the-book people and whose early roles in the series were to remind and rebuke Tylor of his irresponsibility. Especially Yamamoto whom I think he isn’t such a great guy as it was painted in the beginning. He is like a joker and being useless with worrying as his best asset. This guy thinks he can be a better captain but when the real situation calls for it, he just couldn’t do it. Tylor seemingly makes a better captain even if he doesn’t have a solid plan. I thought the final episode of Tylor and Yuriko’s seemingly romance was just to troll us. After all, Yuriko who has been spending almost every episode reprimanding and scolding Tylor even finally finds herself unable to be away from his crew. See what irresponsibility can do? Strict people by the book even lose out. Uh huh. Ironic to say, Tylor’s irresponsible ways teaches his crew real lessons that they won’t find in any military training or course.

I wished the other characters had more fleshing out but seeing this is an old anime, I’ll forgive this. Like Kojiro and his fear of women (which I don’t see him having a very extreme phobia of it all the while) but with the twins as his disciple (they seem to be taking a liking for him lately and follow him wherever he goes), he looks like he is handling it pretty well. The twins are just there to look cute and Harumi after being dumped as a Raalgon spy, is she relegated to being just a pretty face on Soyokaze? Not much about communications officer Kim or that handsome helmsman, Katori either (so his blonde hair is just a wig?). Then there is Kitaguchi who works his magic best when he is drunk and never seen without an alcohol in hand. Or the marines whose crude ways means they are quick to jump into any kind of fight even among themselves. I find it funny that the exo-skeleton suits the marines pilot. I don’t know, personally doesn’t it look a little cramp in there? And why does Cryburn have a different colour suit than the rest? And why pink???!!!

Can Fuji and Mifune be the ‘antagonist’ of the series? Because they always scheme to rid of Soyokaze but their plans always backfire thanks to Tylor’s irresponsibility and lady luck. While Fuji is more receptive of them (probably because of a haunted past that would connect him to the ship), Mifune seems like he needs to undergo anger management to keep his sanity. Maybe that is why he always carries a sword. To commit seppuku once he can’t take the pressure anymore? I think at the rate Tylor continues to piss him off, he is going to get a very high blood pressure. And he is already this old…

I guess the true villains would be the scheming people and higher ups in UPSF and Raalgon, the reason why the war is prolonged. Because Azalyn and Dom are all for peace but Wang wants to cement himself as a warlord in his empire. Young and naïve to the throne, Azalyn would certainly have fallen into Wang’s web had not Dom been her great advisor. Even more so, the turning point of spending time with Tylor. See, this guy is just so amazing that the princess of an empire falls for him. Now I wonder if there would be eternal peace if there is some sort of marriage between them. Not too sure if it would amount to a political marriage but assuming Tylor returns Azalyn’s feelings, there would be a big chance that peace would rein over the universe. No more fighting. No more UPSF, right? I suppose that is a big no for warmongers.

As the marines are comprised of ragtag tough looking members, I noticed that some of them are designed after several characters of popular culture. I am sure everybody noticed that there is a Jason from Friday The 13th here because of that very familiar hockey mask. Heck, this one even shares the same name and wields a chainsaw! So this is where he went once the franchise ended? Then there is one guy who looks like that Snake guy from Metal Gear Solid and another Snake looking character, the one that Kurt Russell starred as. I have a feeling Andressen is taken after Dolph Lundgren. As for the rest of the marines, they look like they came out from a Mad Max setting with all their punk-like looks.

One thing that continued to bug and then amused me for the entire series… I was wondering how familiar the word ‘kanchou’ was. No, it was not the fact that I watched lots of military or naval animes or the fact that I knew kanchou meant captain a long time ago. I started thinking why did this word irk and bother me so much. Like something behind this word meant something else. And then it hit me… Kanchou!!! I remember that Japanese prank whereby you put together your index fingers and jab into one’s butt!!! What is it called? You guessed it. Kanchou! OMG! Once I realized this fact, I cannot stop laughing each time the crew keeps calling Tylor his position! OMG! And they have a penchant to call him many times. Guaranteed in every episode you’ll hear Tylor’s crew calling him so. OMG! Every time this is said, my mind immediately starts imagining an alternative prank scene whereby a naughty kanchou was played out! KANCHOU!!!!! OMG! I still can’t stop laughing! KANCHOU!!!!!!!!!!!! Especially Yamamoto who has a penchant for being a serial kanchou caller-cum-screamer.

I like the opening theme of the series. It is quite a good and catchy rock n roll style track. Sung by Mari Sasaki, hearing Just Think of Tomorrow sometimes want to make me get up from my seat and do a little rock n roll dance. The one thing that I don’t like is the fact that to show the irresponsible theme of the series, the song ends by being cut abruptly as Tylor tells his crew to launch. Well, the good news is that the original full length version doesn’t end this way too. At least it just fades. Mari Sasaki also sings the ending theme, Downtown Dance. Not a bad piece either. Yet again, I feel that to show the irresponsible theme of the series, this slow rock is peppered with laughter from time to time while Tylor himself is nonchalantly swaying himself in daydreaming land while holding a glass of champagne in hand. Personally, I feel that it just spoils the song. Like as though somebody mixed the wrong tape of comedy applause in it. Again, I went to hear the original full length version. No such irresponsible laughter.

Overall, this is quite a fun and enjoyable retro anime. A success story despite following the tried and tested formula of rebellious crew to trusting comrades and love for their leader and overcoming all obstacles. If there is one thing I learnt, if there is ever for me to be drafted into the military for some reason or caught in some long haul transportation, I want Tylor or a guy who looks like him to be on board! Yes, people. After watching this series, I know I will feel pretty safe just to be around this dude. To end this blog, I thought I felt the need to make puns and jokes about responsibility (that overused superhero quote… You know what I mean…) and irresponsibility but I don’t want to be irresponsible and making insensitive comments that would make a mountain out of a molehill and have everyone in the world after my head. That kind of responsibility I don’t want to take… Better for somebody else take the responsibility and we just point fingers, eh? And no, not point fingers the way as in KANCHOU!!!

To Love-Ru Darkness 2nd

March 5, 2016

The following of this series must still be going strong. Otherwise, why come up with another season a few years later, To Love-Ru Darkness 2nd? Or maybe it is because since the last time when it aired, it ended in an unsatisfying fashion and now that we have some materials to cover and animate, the time is right. Well, forgive me. I’m not really a fan of the series so I might be just speculation a lot. Seriously as over the years my interests over it seem to have gradually waned, I suppose the reason why I am picking this up is because of the nostalgia factor. You don’t believe me, right? After all, for those who watch this popular series in the first place has to be in it for the fanservice. It is a paradise and must-have for ecchi lovers. Yeah well… I’m not saying I started disliking the series but I don’t feel the enthusiast in it when I decided to pick this one up. Heck I didn’t even go back and re-read my previous blog on the season to refresh my mind. I have a very faint gist of what happened but other than that, I can’t be bothered to even wanting to remember the previous season. And yeah, I can’t even be bothered to wait for the uncensored version…

Episode 1
Fanservice from the start. Rito sexily licking Momo’s tail in his sleep. Who is to blame? Because Momo crept into his bed again. More trouble fanservice when he slips onto Lala when she just got out of the bath and has his hands at her sensitive areas. Rito you monster! At school when Mea learns of Rito’s horny perversion, it really gets her hopes up. Momo reminds Rito that Mea is still a trans weapon although for now she is harmless. Rito gets into more trouble when he bumps into Yami. I don’t know how he got his hands under her clothes. As expected, she beats him up till he has butt face. Only Lala’s mercy has Yami drop her killing intention. Hey, wasn’t she supposed to kill him? Momo reminds Rito about the harem plan and will help him as much as possible. Lala asks Haruna if she would tell Rito her feelings today. Momo then talks to Haruna about becoming Rito’s harem. Haruna feels uneasy because despite so, in the end it will turn into a competition. Momo mentions about polygamy is common in space. If Rito marries Lala and Haruna, both will live happily together. Besides, Rito is no ordinary human and will be Deviluke’s next ruler. This has Haruna in a dilemma because if that happens, then it won’t be a competition anymore. She wonders if she is being selfish thinking about her own happiness. Haruna suddenly becomes drunk since she was drinking an energy drink laced with some Deviluke herbs. Since Rito is passing, she becomes clingy to him and he has no choice but to take her home. Everyone is staring at them and bad enough, the principal sees them. Before he gets suspicious, Rito lies about Yami nearby so the pervert instantly strips and runs that direction. Back in Haruna’s room, she strips herself to her undies. This ‘shock’ has Rito spill water on her. That made it worse. Then she hugs him and they end up in a very steamy and sexy ambiguous position. She asks him about the harem thingy. Because she could confess her feelings, she sobers up and becomes embarrassed realizing her disposition. It gets even more awkward when Akiho returns, thinking they’re doing it this early. Rito leaves and Akiho feels bad for interrupting them. Momo apologizes to Rito she should have stopped Akiho earlier. Yeah, she was watching the entire thing. To steamy to pay notice to anything else? Rito thinks the harem plan is impossible because he can’t understand about Haruna wanting to make her love as her own. Momo hints a girl’s heart is complicating. Of course Rito doesn’t understand. He’s a guy!

Episode 2
This time Momo is sleeping with her boobs and crotch exposed next to Rito! You wonder how he lives every day. She reminds him to be cautious about Mea and try not to be alone with her. On the other hand, Mea wonders something is wrong because her Master Nemesis has not contacted her for a long time. At school, Tearju talks to Rito if he has noticed anything changed about Mea. She is also worried about Yami who still maintains her distance from her. She would like to get to know Mikan because she is best friends with Yami. When Lala zooms past Rito, she accidentally drops one of her quirky inventions. He picks it up and like always, it malfunctions and turns him into a little rat. Now he can see those glorious pantsu! Oh wait. Better run to avoid getting stepped on. He runs to Momo but those VMC guys didn’t like the rodent touching their princess. He hides in the girls’ changing room. Yeah. Tits galore. Saki and co kick him out. Rito’s fanservice trouble run continues. He somehow ends up squished between Haruna and Yui’s camel toe. He thought Nana could help since she can communicate with animals but the stupid principal bumped him away, excited he could read his porn. Rito flies into Yami’s tight outfit and scurries his way down her body. By the time he encounters Mea, he is tired. She takes care of him until he wakes up. That is when the curse is lifted. Big naked boy in front of her. Because Yami’s panties were stuck on his head, Yami knew he was the culprit and proceeds to beat him up, short of killing him. Mea asks Yami if she becomes uneasy sometimes. Yes she does. Nemesis never thought her about this so Yami tells her to think about it herself.

Mea is looking depressed and Nana can tell. She talks to her to cheer her up that with the support of her friends, things aren’t so bad as they used to be. Rito thought Mea is going to do something dangerous when he spots her in her assassin clothes. He questions if whatever Nemesis tells her to do is right. Mea finds this offensive and insulting and quickly takes control of Rito’s body to force him to do embarrassing pervy acts on her. I think she likes it. She thinks their emotions are in sync but he mentions about her uneasiness and loneliness like as though she is a lost child. She isn’t amused by his words. She still thinks what she does is based on Nemesis’s orders. Rito asks back if it was Nemesis’s orders when she tried to save Nana from that truck. Can’t answer. Rito knows that Nana was grateful from the bottom of her heart when Mea saved her. Suddenly several aliens start attacking Mea. They have a grudge against her for destroying whatever they had. Apparently Mea did lots of things to earn money so she can collect information on Yami. She wonders how they found out about her location. To her shock, it was Nemesis who told them. That is when Mea goes on the offensive and beats the crap out of them with her strength. She likes this feeling. Then she realizes why Nemesis did this. It is to make her remember that she is a weapon. Now the aliens are fleeing when Mea is just starting to have fun. The fight spills before Nana’s eyes. Mea sees Nana’s disappointed face.

Episode 3
Mea is absent from school. Nana tries to act find but that disturbed look on her face is hard to ignore. Based on last night’s events, Mea told her this is her true form. Even heartbreaking is how Mea is done pretending to be friends with her. Obviously Nana sinks into depression. Momo also feels bad. She thought Nana being friends with her would turn out something like Mikan and Yami but if this was going to happen in the first place, she should have separated them. Rito decides to go talk to Nana. In her digital safari, Nana pours her heart out about being foolish and naive in hoping Mea would open up her heart to her. It was sad she was earnest wanting to be friends but there was not a shred of it in Mea. Rito wants her to talk to Mea again and hugs her to calm her down. He asks if she would like to be friends with her again. Of course. Without a doubt. Nana doesn’t think Mea understand those feelings but Rito recalls when his feelings synced with his. He felt the uneasiness and loneliness. Like she was lost between a person and a weapon. She was pretending to be friends because she was hiding her true self. But now she knows, they can start over again for real. This gives Nana to go talk to Mea again. At the river bed, Mea threatens Nana not to come close but Nana inches closer. Mea strikes her blades but they all seem to unconsciously miss her. Suddenly Nana finds herself being groped by Rito! Or something that looks like him. Mea used her ability to create a strong image from her heart. More crap from Mea why she should stay away from her. I’m a weapon, you’re a human, blah, blah, blah. Nana breaks free and hugs her. She doesn’t care for all that crap. The most important thing is their feelings. She pleads to be real friends this time. I guess that heart tugging speech makes it hard for Mea to reject. Okay. Let’s be friends. Yami just beat up those aliens planning to blow up the vicinity just to get even. Yami and Mea reconcile. Mea now understands what Yami meant. Back home, Nemesis finally contacts Mea. But she is not mad and allows her to stay as long as she wishes. Thanks to recent events, Nemesis now understands better what is leading her astray. Nana can’t sleep and visits Rito’s room. She thinks of sneaking in and sleeping with him but naked Momo is already there. This must have become a nightly affair, eh? You mad? So why beat the hell out of Rito who is sleeping so soundly?

Episode 4
The festival begins. Momo had the bad luck of meeting those VMC guys there. But the moment they see Rito with her, they start warning her about the lewd beast he would become (horny fanservice delusion cue). Yeah, I think they are the ones in danger of become the lewd beasts. Thanks to that delusion, Momo manages to escape them. Rito asks Momo about her mom. She describes her as a great lady whom everyone respects. He wonders if she ever gets lonely to see her. Because of him and the rest of her friends around, she never feels lonely. Rito also asks about the harem plan. More importantly, why she is eagerly doing this for him. That’s because she loves him. She doesn’t mind being his second or third choice but as long as she wants to be loved by him. That would have been great if she said that out loud instead of in her mind. Instead, she gives the excuse that she wants everyone to be happy. Momo notes that because of this deception, Rito is playing along. The plan will succeed even before he realizes it. The only problem is Yami. Based on her recent reconciliation with Mea, seems that she still views herself as an assassin and weapon. When Mikan comes looking for them because Tearju is in trouble, they make haste but Rito bumps into Yami around the corner. He is a master in somehow getting his face in her crotch, isn’t he? Yami teaches him a lesson and reminds him that she is still after his life. Then Mikan starts to act strange. She is telling Yami just to kill Rito in that case. Mikan then transforms into Nemesis. This little girl is her true form. Rito still manages to slip and gives Nemesis her first taste of fanservice. She likes it and continues flirting with him. She mentions about the 2 types of destruction: Physical and psychological. She prefers the latter. Nemesis then proceeds to humiliate Momo by molesting her tail, only to be stopped by Yami. She backs off since her goal is to make friends and not start a fight. Hard to believe that. Nemesis has observed Yami via Mea and her surroundings and realized her true feelings. Something about Yami knows she does not belong here and she will eventually have to leave. Unconsciously she realizes it in her heart that her true nature is a weapon which can never love a person. That is called Darkness. She believes Yami will eventually awaken to it without her guidance. She’ll patiently wait till that time comes and in the meantime will just hang around and play with them. Momo asks Tearju about Darkness. But she mentions it is nothing to worry about. Even so, it will be okay as long as everyone who thinks of her is here.

Episode 5
Celine is messing with one of Lala’s inventions. What does it do this time? It is supposed to summon a friend here. And it had to summon Yui when she is in the middle of her bath right onto Rito. Oh no… Hey, at least it works! Mea meets Nemesis in person for the first time. She wonders what is Darkness but Nemesis will let her see it for herself when the time comes. When Rito is done with his errand, he is surprised to see Yui taking the same train home. Yeah, that incident still fresh in your mind? Then she brings him away to a corner. No, it’s not she allows him to get horny on her but she doesn’t want him to take out his lust on the other girls. How kind of her. At the next stop, the crowd comes in and packs the train like sardine. If Rito is wondering why Yui is glaring at him, he realized too late that his hand is groping her butt! He tries to break free but unconsciously his arm touches her breasts. Then the cat paw toy he bought for Celine activates and starts fondling her crotch. Wow. Just super. I wonder how long she can hold it in. I don’t think she can… When they’re out at the next station, Rito can’t understand why she screams at him for being shameless. Mikan spots Mea at the supermarket and invites her home for dinner. Although she doesn’t feel close to her, after learning she is Yami’s sister, she thought of putting in some effort to understand her. She lets Mea help out cutting the cabbage. She seems to like it and it flipped her chopping switch. Because Mikan knows her identity, she doesn’t hesitate to transform her blades and start her chopping fury. It’s like she is getting orgasmic doing this. So much so she accidentally cuts everyone’s clothes and Mikan had the unfortunate view of having Rito’s dick in her face! Luckily she stops (perhaps nothing left to cut) right before Lala comes in (she was ‘stalled’ in the bath when Celine was sucking her tits). The friends had a wonderful feeling especially Mea starting to feel this fuzzy feeling of closeness in her heart. Mikan sees the similarity of Mea and Yami. She is still just like how Yami used to be. Mikan feels although she won’t get along with Mea as well as she does with Yami, it is okay once in a while to invite her to dinner again.

Episode 6
After helping father at his manga workplace, Momo wants to show Rito an eroge and perhaps this will lead to something steamy and ‘unleashing of the beast’. Double click! However they bump into Nemesis who is still bent on making Rito her manservant. Momo is wary of her but Rito agrees to accompany Nemesis in hopes of learning something about her. There goes Momo’s quality time with him. Nemesis has lots of fun with her time with him but Momo isn’t looking thrilled. Since he is so good to her, Nemesis explains what Darkness is. Some sort of release of a dark power, the ultimate transformation that will bring chaos to the galaxy. Momo is not amused with that generic answer so Nemesis tries to convince Rito that Momo is a dangerous woman that is not to be trusted. However Rito doesn’t think so as she was just getting angry on his behalf. Unfortunately this pisses off Nemesis. She does not like his attitude of trusting others so easily. Fun is over. She claims it is Momo’s victory this time. Back home when Momo thinks she can seduce Rito in the bath, it seems he is tied up and being seduced by Nemesis instead! Damn this girl beat her to it. Momo tells her off that Yami is her target and Rito has nothing to do with this. On the contrary he has very much to do with everything. Yami and Mea became interested after coming into contact with him. He is the catalyst why Yami has become more human-like. Nemesis reminds her it is her goal to take the desires of others. This means Momo’s harem plans she can forget about it because Rito is hers. Nemesis imitates Rito’s voice to scream for help. Mikan rushes in to see Rito passed out in Momo’s arms. She misinterprets the situation and gives Momo an earful. Nemesis finds it fun to tease Momo but for the latter, she is definitely her, well, nemesis. Next day, to avoid what happened, this time Mikan goes to bathe with Rito. Hey, they’re siblings and once bathed together, right? Besides if there are already people in the bath, this means no more can come in, right? So be grateful for that. She sits with him in the tub (it’s gotten smaller since they’ve grown bigger) and they talk about things. She accidentally mentions some harem thingy and this gets him startled and as he runs out. Momo is seen happily peeping on them outside. Mikan is not too happy when she learns it was Momo’s plan to have them bathe together. Just as planned…

Episode 7
Tearju is now a full homeroom teacher of Momo’s class. There is concern because Mea hates her and Yami still won’t reconcile. When Tearju makes her first homeroom debut, Yami is as usual absent. Attempts by Momo to convince her to attend class only fell on deaf ears. Rito is looking for Yami after school but Mea finds him and dives into his mind. I suppose this is cue for fanservice because Mea is giving some naked bathroom fanservice to him (and us). Mea is conflicted that Nemesis takes a liking for him and if it stays this way, it will be hard for her to play with him if he belongs to her. Fun is over the moment he mentions Yami’s name. Rito believes it will be good if Yami and Tearju made up but Mea is clearly uninterested. So Rito sees Yami at the library. Yami knows that if he is here, it means Mikan must have already told him about it. So he tries convincing her but looks like she is still stubborn. There is something about her reputation that makes it harder for Yami to reconcile despite viewing Tearju as family. Mea interjects. She mentions that she has always lived according to Nemesis’ wishes but now that she has tasted living by her own will, it isn’t all that bad. Surprisingly Mea gives her the best advice. From her experience with Nana, she knows she is afraid of moving forward but if they don’t face each other, they will never make amends. Oshizu and Momo have been spying on them. Oshizu realizes too late a dog is licking on her leg. This causes her telekinesis power to go berserk, controlling Momo to ram into Rito and co. The point of it all is so we can have Rito in yet in another ambiguous threesome fanservice scene. It is such a mind boggling thing to even wonder how he can even end up in such position. Yami follows Rito back home, much to Mikan’s delight. Next day in class, Tearju thought Yami is playing truant again. Surprise! She turns up late and in her school uniform. A moment of happiness for Tearju. Yami has Mea to thank for. Since her little sister is moving forward, she can’t lose and lag behind.

Episode 8
Zastin is warning about some cursed sword when Mikan gets a call from Rin. So why is Rito the one who turned up in Saki’s mansion instead? Mikan had something to do and sent her brother instead. Seems last night when Saki hosted an appreciation dinner for her butler and maids, I guess they got food poisoning and none are able to work together. Her loyal subordinates are here to help but I guess Saki needed the extra hand. Don’t worry. Because Momo, Nana, Mea and Yami are here to help too. Even sweeter, they’re going to be in their maid outfits! WOHOO!!! Momo thinks it will be tough for Saki to be part of the harem plan since she is smitten with Zastin. But there may be a chance for Rin. Speaking of which, yet another freaking ambiguous fanservice position for Rito on her. Mea thought she saw Nemesis in the compound for a while. When Momo teases Rito about helping to get Rin’s heart, suddenly Rin comes attacking them with her sword. Momo is quick to save Rito. Yami enters to scene to fight her. She thinks Rito’s perversion made her mad until she realizes she is being possessed. Heck, even Nana thinks Rito’s perversion is the cause of this. Yeah, always blame him. Rin continues slashing, a reason for clothes to be ripped at lightning pace. As the Trans sisters explain, it is that blade, Bladix that is possessing her. But it is not a cursed sword but a parasitic life form. As it is on the same wavelength with Rin, killing it would mean killing Rin too. So how? Rito has an idea. He wants Mea to use her ability so that he can dive into her mind and separate her. He is willing to risk his life for her because Rin once saved Mikan before. Don’t worry. He believes things will turn out fine. It’s that baseless confidence we’re worry about. After all, it won’t be fun if Rin isn’t part of his harem, right? Rito enters her mind and tries to break free of her tentacle rape but he also gets caught in it. Bladix doesn’t like another to gain control of this body and that Rin’s body is hers. But Rito rebukes him about all the kind people around Rin. It gives him the strength to rip her out before Mea drops in. Bladix thought he could possess her but he is left running for his life. He is crushed by Yami. Zastin has been watching the entire episode and he wonders who Mea is because she possesses the same abilities as Yami. When Saki calls out to him, Nana chides him for hiding and not doing anything to help. Was his help ever needed?

Episode 9
Rin properly thanks Rito for saving her. Although Rito claims it was Yami but she was very sure he was the one who pulled her out of the darkness. Saki teases Rin that she is falling in love with Rito. Because Yami sees Rito getting into another ambiguous fanservice scene this time with Tearju, I don’t think she can spare his life now. Only by Lala’s mercy yet again that his life is spared. Momo seems to be irked that even Nana is showing more interest in Rito (although the tsundere disagrees) despite this is all part of her harem plan. Momo then talks to Lala who in turn is worried if there is any progress with her relationship with him. Because Peke has been bugging her that she is too kind in wanting Haruna to close the gap with Rito. Observing that Lala is still only making pure innocent love moves to Rito, Momo calls Lala to her room to teach her… Eroge! However after teaching her about the kiss, Momo cannot go further as she cannot bear corrupt her sister’s innocent heart. And so Lala joins Rito in his bath and wants to kiss. She knows he loves Haruna more but wonders if his love for her has changed. If he still loves her, please kiss her. Of course with all that nervousness, he slips and ends up in the 69 position. Lala then tells him it’s his lips that she wants to kiss! Too bad he is knocked out. Call it a night. I guess that bump on the head means Rito has this strange steamy dream about naked Haruna steamily kissing him followed by Lala. Next day, he confronts Lala to tell her he can’t kiss her. It is because they are not lovers yet. True, he still loves her but his feelings for Haruna has not changed. He can’t accept the idea of marrying both of them now so accepting the kiss with this half hearted feeling will make him feel useless. Lala is glad. Last night she talked to Nana about it and even revealing Rito’s feelings for both Lala and Haruna. Nana said that she can tell Rito didn’t want to do the kiss because if it was her, she wouldn’t too. Lala apologizes for not thinking about his feelings then. For now, she pecks him on his cheek and will wait for the day to get his special kiss. Then she hopes he will answer her feelings. Eavesdropping Momo admires her sister and perhaps why she can’t best her. That is why she is going to tell Nana about her plan.

Episode 10
Mea is calling Yui the Shameless Woman because this is her favourite line when she chastises Rito. Could it be she wants to experience the shameless thing too? Somebody stop Yui before she turns into a killing machine. Nana talks to Mea about Momo’s harem plan. Seems she knows about it because she dived into Rito’s mind. Nana seems to be against the plan but Mea mentions about its good points. She gets to have fun with Rito every day. She stimulates a fantasy whereby Nana gets licked by him. Nana is not appreciative of this and denies having feelings for him. Oshizu tries to follow Mea and sees what she is up to. But she was scared the sh*t out when Mea plays a prank. Oshizu continues to hate her but Mea doesn’t. Because she is easy to tease! Oshizu wonders why Mea doesn’t just reveal true self seeing she talks freely with her friends. Although her initial mission was to observe Yami and there is no reason to continue pretending to be an Earthling, she feels she just cannot abandon this personality. Oshizu’s scare just caused one of Lala’s inventions to malfunction. It is sucking all the lingerie of any woman it can find. Yeah, fanservice time. Oshizu feels responsible (but partly it is Mea’s fault too) and wants to stop this but Mea doesn’t feel interested in doing so. She thinks it is interesting sometimes to have such chaos. Rito tries to stop the machine but it seems it has to take him to places where girls are changing. Not only he failed to stop the machine, he gets beaten up for all the eye candy. Was it worth it? The ultimate one is where the machine sucked all the girls’ clothes at the changing room and then somehow manages to pin those naked bodies all on Rito like some Katamari Damacy ball. Rito you lucky bastard!!!!! Finally when Nana destroys it, the mini black hole which is the source of its suction goes berserk. Now it is going to suck the entire school. Who is going to save the day? Rito is a wuss. Yami doesn’t look interested. I guess Oshizu will have to use her telekinesis to suppress it. There is a danger she’ll use up too much energy and disappear but she can’t bear to have the school gone. That is when Mea reveals her true form to help out. Though the black hole is gone, everybody has seen Mea’s true form. Before they can jump to conclusions, Yami introduces her as her long lost sister. Not blood related. Everybody now loves her and applause for them. Since Tearju is part of the crowd and emotionally applauding, Yami feels embarrassed and leaves. Mea makes up with Oshizu and becomes friends. But this is just another prank to scare her. This time her disturbance causes Nana’s butt to be shoved into Rito’s face. Rito you lucky bastard!!!!!!!!!

Episode 11
Rito is like a monster ravaging Momo’s tail in his sleep. Though Rito has not accepted her harem plan, she believes he has what it takes to become harem king. Besides, the greatest hindrance to the plan who is no other than Yami is no longer a threat. With just a little push, she might even fall for him. Rito talks to Yami about her relationship with Tearju but she won’t talk more than it’s needed. Another slip up for an ambiguous position has Yami wanting to kill him again. So Momo, think she still won’t kill Rito? This time Haruna’s plea has Yami give up. During pool lessons, Mea talks to Yami. The latter feels that she is has accepted to being part of here. Suddenly something inside her activates. Yami turns Super Saiyan? Her own hair goes berserk and does perversion on herself? Seems this is all part of Nemesis’ plan. The condition to wake up Darkness has been fulfilled. Slowly, Nemesis takes over Mea’s body as she explains that the condition for Darkness is to have a peaceful heart that a weapon should not possess. This is also some sort of limiter release as Darkness contains unlimited Trans power that will become an anti-planetary weapon. When Tearju tried to suppress Yami’s awakening but treating her good, her fellow scientist did not appreciate it. So after Tearju was exiled, they planted this Darkness system into Yami’s mind. Nemesis thought it was making Yami a killer as the shortcut to awakening Darkness but after observing Mea changed, she realizes peace is the key. Nemesis appears for the first time before Nana and Tearju. If she is here, where is Mea? Nemesis says Mea never existed in the first place. She was just a quasi personality she created. After all, how can the warmth of a person’s heart reach a little sister when she does not exist in the first place? Yami falls into despair while Nana still refuses to believe Mea is non-existent. Yami’s blades start stabbing herself. The thought that peace is impossible and Mea is just an illusion puts a great strain on her heart. Yami turns into a flash of light before transforming into her true Darkness form. Uhm… Is this some sort of sexy swimsuit? Nemesis is glad to meet Darkness and asks her how she feels. She is feeling perverted. I can see why she is in that skimpy dress now.

Episode 12
Darkness wants to see that perverted guy. No, she isn’t referring to you, my perverted principal. That guy she meant is Rito and she pulls him out from his class via her portal. She lets him do all the perverted stuffs to her. And then she summons the water tentacles to tentacle rape all the other girls. Since she is going to kill him, what a better way for him to die surrounded by ultimate pleasure of boobs and butts! Nana and Momo also got tentacle raped but by Rito clones. After they break free, Nana summons all the cats to whisk Rito away. Darkness remembers she once awakened like this before. It was after she lost Tearju and became an assassin, at some dump planet, Darkness awakened and split the planet into half! However that transformation was only brief. She reverted to Yami and had no memories. Now that she has returned, the only difference is now she has this perverted feeling. All thanks to Rito and his accidental perversion over the seasons. That is why she needs to hurry up and kill him. Nana and Momo won’t allow that but they are teleported to Mea’s home. Seeing that the recent stuff Mea did, Nana refuses to believe Mea never existed and vows to bring her back. Similarly, Mea knows Nemesis lied to everyone that she never existed. Nemesis won’t be swayed in letting her go. She can’t. They are after all one mind and one body. Looks like the cats bump Rito into Haruna and Yui looking for him. Darkness finds them and Yui of course did not hesitate to reprimand her of her risqué attire. Darkness then uses her portals to fondle Haruna’s boobs and let Rito tastes Yui’s butt. But she realizes she needs to kill him and before she can split him in half, here comes Lala to the rescue. Darkness summons a giant golem in Rito’s image. Nemesis still thinks Mea is trying to struggle to break free and persuading her that she wanted Rito as her manservant. Mea is actually grateful for her that she was able to continue living. Although she can’t do anything with her own power, the difference now is that she has friends. And that friend to her rescue is Oshizu. She uses her telekinesis to separate them. Mea thanks Nemesis for everything but will choose her own path from now on.

Episode 13
With Mea getting her own body back now, first sign of gratitude for Oshizu is to scare her! Nana is glad Mea is back although Nemesis can still materialize in a separate body. They have lots of things to ask her but right now the big priority is returning Yami back to normal. Lala easily defeats the golem because she knows it is not the real Rito. Darkness plays cheat by using her portal to make Rito’s face contact with Lala’s butt. Luckily she uses some slippery measure to break free and free Rito from Darkness’ grasp. When Darkness uses some high energy output to slice her, I wonder if Lala’s tail laser beam can hold it despite it is her plan to wear her out. Somehow she manages to counter attack although Lala is now out of power and her body has shrunk to loli size. Darkness is also out of power but she can recharge. Darkness can still use her Trans weapons and before she can kill her, Zastin and his guys are here to help out. But before they too can charge, they are held back by Nana’s animals. They explain they are not here to fight Darkness but to return her back as Yami. When Mea’s persuasion to Darkness fails, Darkness becomes mad and considers her as a pest like the rest. Mea has no choice but to use her blaster on her and then they take it to the skies to fight. Eh? But I thought they weren’t going to fight? This is all part of a bigger plan. Mea has noticed that from Nemesis’ observations, Darkness’ transformation is incomplete thanks to her fixation on perversion and Rito when she should actually become a weapon. That means Rito himself is the cause of the bug and thus there is still hope for Yami to come back. Momo tell Rito this plan of theirs and it seems he has to do something unholy. Even though this is all based on speculation, they are willing to take the gamble on Yami’s heart and bet on Rito. He agrees to do it even if this is just a slight possibility for Yami to return. Darkness has caught Mea and lets her Rito clones lick her into ecstasy. Before she can die climaxing via licking, a beanstalk interrupts them. The gang is here. Rito wants to do all the wild perverted stuffs on her! Come on baby! Let’s get down and dirty!

Episode 14
Because Rito’s act of perversion has always been acts of God, for him to do it naturally is suspicious. That is what makes it irresistible for Darkness too. The problem is whether Rito can pull it off. He rushes towards her put slips and falls short. But when memories of Yami flash through his mind, he gets back up. He shows how serious he is by taking off his clothes and starts his extreme molestation! OMG! He’s a monster! This scene reminds us of the principal because he has always been trying to harass Yami like this. I guess those nightly monster acts with Momo also paid off too. Darkness tries to run away but Rito clings on tightly and continues his molestation. With memories of Rito flashing in her head, she gradually returns to Yami. Conveniently they crash in Rito’s backyard and Yami has to slap him to stop his molesting. Too good to stop? Mikan just came home and sees them in this perverted shape. Lots of explaining to do. Life returns to normal. Yami is seen profusely apologizing to everyone at school for yesterday’s trouble. She also has supplied Lala with lots of milk for her growth. As for Rito… She ignores him. Well, better than beating him up. Tearju is overcome with emotion that Yami is back and cries all over her face! Yami and Mikan still get to eat taiyaki together. A good sign, right? And of course, Yami can’t ignore Rito forever. She tries to say thank you but that word is so hard to come out. I guess she is not used to it. But it is Rito who apologizes first. I guess he is so used to this. Making it even more embarrassing is how he describes in detail about the perversion. Those old ladies in public are going to have the wrong idea. Yami tries to shut him up but this lands them in another ambiguous fanservice position. Quickly she tells him Darkness’ perversion wasn’t the real her and that she isn’t a perverted person. She doesn’t think anything of him. Oh really? Nemesis appears before Mea and laments Darkness’ failed activation means no new galactic war could start and made those weapons feel at home. Mea believes it is alright. She now understands and can get use to this. Will Nemesis leave this place? Don’t worry. She will always keep an eye on them from the shadows. It’s her way to kill time. Lastly, for those who are wondering where the principal has gone. He is frozen somewhere in South Pole and researchers think he might be a yeti! But who cares, right?

Rito is about to go to sleep when Nemesis pays him a night visit! Hey, at least it’s not Momo. She is interested in ghost stories after stumbling upon them at the book store and wants him to tell her one. Momo objects as she comes out from the closet. So that’s where she is hiding? She will do the ghost story instead. So she begins about a space traveller stranded on an uninhabited planet. After getting lost in the jungles for hours, he stumbled upon a mansion in which an old lady takes him in. In the middle of the night, he gets up thinking somebody is watching him and it turns out the old lady is staring at him. Nemesis interjects thinking it should be a young woman instead. Then she proceeds to re-enact everything again but this time taking out her flirting on Rito. Momo stops her when Nemesis is just dripping candle wax on him. Now it’s Momo’s turn to show how it’s done. Her flirting includes using a plant that squirts out suspicious sticky milky liquid. With those ambiguous hand movements to let it squirt all over her body, she proceeds to rub it all over Rito’s body with hers, claiming it is supposed to recharge your weariness. I think Rito is only getting more stressed up. Nemesis joins in for double seduction. Wasn’t this supposed to be a ghost story? Mikan is awakened by the commotion. You can imagine her shock and surprise to see Momo on top of Rito and weird liquid all over. Momo tries to blame Nemesis but she is nowhere to be seen. Curses. She has fast escaped again. Mikan reprimands the duo while Nemesis feels refreshed with that liquid.

Yami visits Mikan and the latter thinks she wants to apologize to Tearju. We think and know it is Rito since they act strangely when they see each other. Momo picks up a call from Mikado saying she needs their help at her clinic as it is overwhelmed with patients. Since Tearju lives with Mikado, Mikan gets an idea to bring Yami along to help. So we’ve got everybody in nurse outfits and even Rito is temporarily transformed into a girl just for it. Mikado can’t help fantasize all the naughty checkups she’ll do to examine his body afterwards. The gang works hard to serve the many different alien races. Even Rito gets sexually harassed but saved by Yami. When the crowd simmers down, Yami takes Rito to talk to him at the basement with pretence to go find Tearju since she has been there for quite a while. Yami is eking out her courage to thank him when they see Tearju in trouble. She is being raped by a robot! Actually, Mikado’s old mechanical assistant. She put it away as it was so much trouble. Now you know why, eh? I guess Yami and Rito are too sexy for the pervy robot to resist so it also rips their clothes and throws lots of bandages for BDSM play. It is role reversal when Yami has her hands on Rito’s boobs and he screams calling her a pervert! Tearju has not escaped since she doesn’t want to run away and leave Yami alone again. This has Yami revive and slice the robot in half. It was that easy? Rape play ends. At that time, Rito has turned back into a boy and Yami sees a full view of his ‘little buddy’. After putting clothes back on them (they don’t have any recollections what happened), she leaves very embarrassed.

The Darkness Of The Ecchi Heart
Well folks, whether or not this is really the end or not, at least it ties up the loose ends and had a closure in Yami and Mea’s case. For now. In a way, it gives a better and satisfying end compared to the previous season. Reading back my previous blog, I have to say that my findings for the plot, the characters, the fanservice and overall sentiments of the show stayed somewhat almost the same. Forgive me if I am going to repeat them here again. I know I did say in my opening paragraph that I did not go back and re-read the previous season but that was for the summary of the episodes. I did after all go back to read my opinions on it just for comparison. At least this season round, it has a bit more plot than the episodic ones in the last.

For instance, the fanservice level of this series is done in such a way that you would expect it to be spammed at least once in every 5 minutes. That is the nature of this series and probably why the fans keep coming back. As I have said, I did not bother to wait for the DVDs to come out so that I could watch some clean and uncensored boobs just like last season. I did watch a few initial episodes uncensored but after that, by then it was more or less the same. It seems that this time around I could put up with the atrocious white light and steam censors that are abound in the censored aired versions. Maybe a few years ago I would have been annoyed but is it because of my failing libido? Nah!!! I mean, I wasn’t that desperate since I could just ‘imagine’ what kind of perversion would be going on behind those censors. I guess it is more ‘fun’ trying to imagine those boobs and fanservice scenes yourself. For a series that has ran several seasons of fanservice, it isn’t hard for me to imagine the characters and perhaps their prized assets ;p. No, I’m not saying I am a closet fan of this series, but I can vividly imagine Lala and Haruna with my eyes closed. Heh. Does that make me sound like a master pervert? But not every entire scene is censored although a minimal panty shot scenes are left spared from the censoring. It feels like a little teaser and the extra motivation for horny guys to go buy the DVDs if you want to see the other more risqué scenes.

Another mind boggling thing is Rito’s ‘ability’ to get into steamy ambiguous fanservice positions with the usual girls. Every season he seems to be flawlessly doing it. I know we can blame God and this is His act, so does this mean the God of this series is a pervert? It is like He is channelling his perversion through this poor kid. Because from the way he trips, how can he actually end up in such a position that is worthy to be placed in the Kama Sutra? Near impossible sexual positions that would break your bones and muscles before you could reach climax. So that is why it has got to be acts of God, right? This series is also so good in bringing fanservice to viewers, that by this time you realize that they can make a fanservice scene out from nothing. One moment everything seems to be pretty normal and the next suddenly this Rito’s molestation and groping scene. Even during battle scenes they can even slip in some fanservice to satisfy all your ecchi perversion. And make us wish we guys are in Rito’s position. But can you withstand all the pounding and berating over the years? Rito would have been immune to such situations and it seems so because you don’t usually see him nose bleed every time. Otherwise he would have bled to death. And so it can be concluded that every girl in this series has been molested by Rito one way or another, directly or indirectly. Including Mikan too. In short, many of the girls love him. Whether it is Momo who thinks she is fine being second or third, or Yami who is obviously being tsundere, or Mea who just likes the idea of Rito licking her. Rito, you da harem king! Come to think of it, after all the fanservice troubles and accidents he got into, it seems to have prepared him for this day to take it all out on Darkness/Yami. You could say that his perversion actually saved the world! And thanks to that, we can all live another day and continue our perversion. Thanks Rito! You da man!

Obviously it was Yami, Mea and the Deviluke princess twins (and Rito of course) being the stars of this Darkness arc. We find out a little more about them, see them trying to reconcile, butt heads and then life goes back to being normal like how it used to be. Therefore many of the other characters from the series didn’t really play much of a role or impact again. Some like Lala, Haruna and Yui may have slightly more screen time and even at least half and episode focusing on them with Rito. But for others like Run and Ren (I guess there is nothing much to tell about them since they got separated with individual bodies in last season) and even the perverts Risa and Mio (as side characters, even relegating them to mere background characters although they still have a few but limited dialogues). Mikan is still there but nothing much and same with Saki and her underlings. The same can be said for Mikado and Tearju. Sometimes I feel that if they don’t appear, it won’t have a big impact on the overall series itself. But ultimately you can’t because these characters are related and it would be just odd to have them totally cut out and missing. Maybe the only exception was that Kyouko character… Still remember her? Not in this season too. What is Celine’s role here again? Having more screen time than last season is Oshizu so we could see how she becomes Mea’s friend aside Nana (another reason for me to enjoy this series since I get to hear Mamiko Noto say more lines than usual). Zastin also feels he has more screen time but he is still not being useful when it matters since he is spending an awful lot time helping Rito’s dad as a mangaka assistant.

Nemesis finally shows her face this season whereas in the last season she was just a mysterious being only known as a voice. At first I was convinced that Mea was just a figment of imagination and part of Nemesis’ personality. All because I noticed that Mea and Nemesis are never seen together in the eyes of others. It is only either one when interacting with other characters other than themselves. Even more so when they both are seemingly at the same scene, for example when Mea spots her Master and her friend starts looking where, Nemesis is no longer at that spot. It could be a big indication that Mea actually never existed in the first place and she had been Nemesis in disguise or her split personality all along. And then of course that separation happened. It disproves this theory I had. But even so, it made me wonder if the personalities were extracted out then as they were never separate entities prior to Oshizu’s action. Now that Nemesis’ plan has failed, I doubt she won’t be dumb enough to try and reactivate Darkness again. Her real form is still a mystery and I wonder if she will go somewhere else to start the galactic war she wanted. But if she is sticking around to watch the Trans sisters just to kill time, does she mean she is going to have a lot of time on her hands and doing nothing? I think Rito too might have influenced her in staying on this planet.

This season’s opening theme is Secret Arms by Ray, a bit of techno in what would have been another usual anime pop. The ending theme is Gardens by Mami Kawada. If you have heard her singing styles and also from her group, I’ve Sound or her co-member, Kotoko, you can tell that this one also sounds the same with the rest. Well, not to say that I am a big fan of her nor have I listened to many of her songs but hearing this one reminded me of such similar style like I hear from animes in the past like Onegai Twins, Onegai Teacher and Hayate No Gotoku. Side note: VMC sucks in singing at all levels!

Overall, this season is still okay and if you are a big fan of the To Love-Ru series or even an ecchi lover, this series is rightly tailored to your needs. No doubt I still had some fun and laughs watching this season but I can also feel the enthusiasm isn’t there. Even more so when I realized that over the years that the Darkness arc has been releasing quite a few OVAs over the few years between the TV seasons but I only saw half of them and was never interested to watch the rest when it came out. Still not planning to watch them. Sighs… Well, maybe if they make another season, I will still go watch it but only for nostalgia reasons. You don’t believe me, do you?

So many harem animes around. Is it just me or we just keep loving them despite the fact we always know that either the sole main guy of the series is a douchebag for not even noticing a shred of the girls’ feelings for him or the girls themselves have such a bad taste in falling for such guys. Oh what the heck, I guess it is always easier to criticize others than looking at ourselves. That is why such animes exist. Therefore I have picked Infinite Stratos and Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance as today’s versus blog. And it also gives me a reason to criticize… Hahaha…

Main genre:
And also the only thing that females can control.
Infinite Stratos: Exo-skeleton mecha called IS.
Blade Dance: Elemental magic.

Sole main guy:
The douchebag… And the first guy that broke the rule that only females can control.
Infinite Stratos: Ichika Orimura.
Blade Dance: Kamito Kazehaya.

The harem girls:
What do they see in this guy anyway?
Infinite Stratos: Houki Shinonono, Cecilia Alcott, Charlotte Dunois, Fan Rinrin AKA Rin, Laura Bodewig, Tatenashi Sarashiki, Kanzashi Sarashiki and Ran Gotanda.
Blade Dance: Claire Rouge, Ellis Fahrengart, Rinslet Lauranfrost, Fianna Ray Ordesia and Est Terminus.

Harem category:
The ‘composition’ of those girls…
Infinite Stratos: By nation.
Blade Dance: By element power.

The tournament:
Infinite Stratos: Mondo Grosso is an international fighting tournament held every 3 years as each nation sends a representative into a one-on-one IS match. The overall winner gets the title of Brunhilde.
Blade Dance: The Grand Battle Tournament AKA Blade Dance is held with each country sending representatives in a team battle. The overall winning team gets protection from the spirits and the winner a wish granted. Unfortunately for both, you don’t see them participating in the real tournament as far as the season is concerned.

Infinite Stratos: IS Academy.
Blade Dance: Areishia Spirit Academy.

The class:
Noticed the guy and his harem girls must be placed in the same class?
Infinite Stratos: Class 1-1.
Blade Dance: Raven Class – A class for troubled and gifted students.

Teaching staff:
Infinite Stratos: Chifuyu Orimura and Maya Yamada.
Blade Dance: Greyworth Ciel Mais and Freya Grandol.

Untouchable girl:
Probably the best girl of the series that is hard to get.
Infinite Stratos: Chifuyu and Tatenashi.
Blade Dance: Restia Ashdoll.

Tsundere girl:
I know most of the girls are but this one is probably the most obvious one and the one our leading male is favourites to end up with.
Infinite Stratos: Houki.
Blade Dance: Claire.

Strict discipline girl:
Infinite Stratos: Houki.
Blade Dance: Ellis.

Prideful snob girl:
Infinite Stratos: Cecilia.
Blade Dance: Rinslet.

Boldest flirter:
Infinite Stratos: Tatenashi.
Blade Dance: Fianna.

Soft spoken girl:
Infinite Stratos: Charlotte at first before Kanzashi debuts.
Blade Dance: Est.

The trusted aide:
Someone who can give you great advice when you’re lost or relay something to somebody when you yourself don’t have the guts to.
Infinite Stratos: Clarisa Harfouch, the vice president of Schwarzer Hare who gives Laura advice with full confidence thanks to her ‘extensive knowledge on Japanese culture’.
Blade Dance: Rinselt’s maid, Carol Nastassja who may be clumsy but often relays her master’s true when she is not being honest with her feelings.

Bad cook:
Infinite Stratos: Cecilia.
Blade Dance: Claire and Fianna.

They don’t mind getting naked and flaunting it before his eyes.
Infinite Stratos: Laura. Only wearing her eye-patch.
Blade Dance: Est. Only wearing her knee socks.

Elderly lady:
Look so aunty…
Infinite Stratos: Squall.
Blade Dance: Greyworth.

The other guy:
No one cares about him. Do you?
Infinite Stratos: Dan Gotanda – Ichika’s close friend in middle school.
Blade Dance: Jio Inzagi – Supposedly the other male who can use magic.

The cross-dresser:
Infinite Stratos: Charlotte first appeared dressed as a boy under the name of Charles. Everybody knows about in the end.
Blade Dance: Kamito cross-dressed as Ren Ashbell in a previous Blade Dance tournament. A tightly secret that not many knows.

The maid:
Infinite Stratos: No resident maid but we have seen some girls like Charlotte, Laura and even Chifuyu donning a maid outfit.
Blade Dance: Carol the maid of Rinslet. And at one point, Ellis…

The eccentric older sister:
Infinite Stratos: Tabane the child-like elder sister of Houki who is also the creator of IS. Laura also has an older sister, Chloe but her moment was recent and brief so I’m not pretty sure.
Blade Dance: Rubia Elstein the fallen noble elder sister of Claire who brought an unparalleled disaster and downfall to the Ordesia Empire. She has been labelled the Calamity Queen.

Super strict big sister:
Infinite Stratos: It goes without saying about Ichika’s sister, Chifuyu.
Blade Dance: Velsaria is Ellis’ big sister although not related by blood.

Childhood friends:
Infinite Stratos: Ichika with Houki and Rin.
Blade Dance: Claire and Rinslet. I don’t consider Kamito and Fianna to be this since their chance meeting was just a short one.

The first real kiss:
Dismiss all those nearly-nearly moments and indirect kisses that don’t count.
Infinite Stratos: Laura kissed Ichika when she protects him from Rin’s rage. It also marks officially that Ichika is her husband (at least in her mind).
Blade Dance: During a mayhem, Claire kisses Kamito to make him as her contracted spirit and quell the chaos.

Female antagonist:
Infinite Stratos: Phantom Task led by Squall and her underlings, Madoka and Autumn.
Blade Dance: Vivian Melosa.

The cat:
Infinite Stratos: Well, in a scene, Charlotte and Laura dressed up in cat pyjamas.
Blade Dance: Scarlet is Claire’s fire feline elemental spirit.

You’re beautiful, it’s true:
When he casually commends her without realizing the implication.
Infinite Stratos: Ichika compliments Laura’s beautiful gemstone-like eye underneath her eye-patch. Also, he did flatter Cecilia’s body just to pacify her before she goes into ranting rage about taking responsibility, blah, blah blah.
Blade Dance: Kamito wasn’t complimenting on how beautiful Ellis’ spear is during their bout. It is you yourself, baby! You’re beautiful, girl!

Badass sword:
The male protagonist shows that he is not only a chick magnet.
Infinite Stratos: Byakushiki’s only weapon is a powerful sword that can defeat you in a single blow!
Blade Dance: Est as his contracted spirit, her true form is a legendary holy sword and the only one that slew the demon lord, Sulaiman.

Intrusion and the steal:
Infinite Stratos: Intruders especially those believed from Phantom Task invaded the base to steal top secret IS documents.
Blade Dance: Jio infiltrated the academy’s library to steal sealed documents to unleash a sealed spirit Jormungandr to prove he is the demon lord’s successor.

Out of control:
Infinite Stratos: An unmanned IS named Silvario Gospel threatens to remind Japan what it’s like when the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima.
Blade Dance: Restia caused all low ranking spirits to go berserk during a contracting ceremony, something Kamito believed her doing was because she was trying to grant his wish back then. Also, Velsaria during her battle with Team Scarlet, she went crazy and unsealed some dangerous spirit so as not to lose.

Infinite Stratos: Madoka’s terrorist attack by putting a bomb on a train holding students on a field trip just to kill Chifuyu. Thankfully the shield barrier was able to contain it.
Blade Dance: Velsaria alone (when it’s supposed to be a team match) running rampage and going all out with her Gundam-like spirit during her match with Team Scarlet, paying no regards about her destruction of her surroundings.

Birthday celebration:
Infinite Stratos: It is Ichika’s birthday and how do you celebrate it? Have everyone dress up in seductive outfits and put on a seductive performance to see which he likes best. He had to choose big sister’s…
Blade Dance: It is Claire’s birthday and how do you save up and buy her a present? For Kamito, he took up a part time job by temporarily joining Sylphid Knights.

Dipping in:
Infinite Stratos: Final episode of second season whereby Ichika entered the wrong section of the hotspring. Then all his harem girls start streaming in…
Blade Dance: Elementalists need to be pure and clean so they dip into some river or lake to purify and clean themselves. You don’t bath with your clothes on, right?

Studio production:
Infinite Stratos: 8-bit.
Blade Dance: TNK.

Number of episodes:
Infinite Stratos: 2 seasons of 12 episodes + 1 OVA each bringing a total of 26 episodes so far.
Blade Dance: Only 1 season consisting of 12 episodes although there are 6 specials.

Personally, I prefer the girls from Infinite Stratos because they all look much cuter and prettier. The ones in Blade Dance just looks a bit one kind. Seriously. However the guy in Blade Dance is a much better person than the faggot in Infinite Stratos although we know they both have this caring side, hidden and talented power. But Kamito isn’t as annoyingly oblivious as Ichika since the former has his badass side. Maybe they should do a crossover and let more hilarious and chaotic cat fights ensue. Basically all the harem genres in a nutshell follow the same formula of a varied harem trying to vie for the guy’s attention. What’s so hard in doing just that? If they’d only be more honest with themselves. Ah, not to mention other rivals too. So now you see why having a harem isn’t as easy as you think? Nothing is ever simple when you have a harem. It’s complicated.

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