Ore Monogatari

April 24, 2016

It is only in fairytales that beautiful people get to meet each other and live happily ever after. Sure, in reality this does happen too but how often? And usually only at celebrity status. Even when you have people who are ‘not beautiful’ ending up with the most ‘gorgeous’ person in the world, one might think that the dollar signs are often behind it. But fear not, people. Blind love do exists in this world and even in the world of storytelling. Particular this anime that I am going to blog. Ore Monogatari has the main male protagonist whom almost every girl in the world wouldn’t want to have. At least from his physical looks. Big, hulking and looking more like a lowland gorilla, you’d wonder how this guy will ever land himself a cute girlfriend. The most is that we will conclude he will end up with an equally big, hulking gorilla girlfriend. But wait. He doesn’t ends up with one like that. Instead, he has got a major cutie girlfriend that qualifies enough to be in almost everyone’s girlfriend’s list! How in the world?! How is this possible?! This anime showcases the trials and tribulation of the uncanny pair in an ordinary and typical love romance that everybody experiences. Hmm… Sometimes I wonder if this anime is to give hope to otaku guys like me…

Episode 1
Takeo Gouda graduates from his junior high. There lots of guys who are crying their heart out of his departure. Those manly tears… But Takeo is more concerned about confessing to his love to his crush. To his dismay, she beats him to it. What does that mean? Takeo sees her confessing to his best friend, Makoto “Suna” Sunakawa instead! Good thing or not, he rejects her outright! As narrated, Takeo and Suna have been best friends ever since. Based on their looks, they are like Beauty and the Beast. Girls just swoon over Suna whom he doesn’t give a f*ck while the big guy Takeo people often keep their distance despite he is a very kind and nice person. Coincidentally, all the girls Takeo had a crush on ultimately confessed to Suna but were met with swift rejection. One day while taking a packed train, they see a molester groping a girl. Instantly he grabs the molester and they get down the next station. At the police station as they take their statement, the molester tries to blame Takeo for hurting him. Despite the girl, Rinko Yamato vouching Takeo helped her, the molester continues to badmouth her and Takeo couldn’t take it anymore and punches him out cold. Naturally Takeo gets suspended from school. But he gets a surprise when Yamato visits him. She hands him her home baked cake as thanks. Later, Takeo realizes Yamato has forgotten her handphone and naturally she calls her own phone via another number. He would gladly meet her somewhere to return it. Takeo brings Suna along, convinced that Yamato is smitten with him. They meet, she gives him more cakes. Takeo then asks her straight if she likes Suna since she is always blushing. He backs off when Suna tells him he is invading her space. Thinking that he can’t make her heartbroken and sad, he thinks of the need to help her out. How do you get her to see him again? He would like to eat her cakes again. Takeo isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed when Yamato asks for his number. Maybe she’s just too shy to ask Suna herself? Yeah… I bet she does…

Episode 2
Takeo narrates despite falling in love with Yamato the first time, he knows his history well and thus his mission to support her to get Suna. Like the manly man he is, he confronts Suna and asks him straight what kind of girls he likes. Oddly being together for so long, they’ve never talked on the topic about girls. What are they?! Gay?! Anyway, asking him to pick which general girl he likes only brings forth more confusion. Takeo thinks Yamato must really want to be Suna because she keeps texting him. Yeah, why him and not the handsome guy? On another cake meeting, Takeo tells Yamato the story of his best friend. There was this play they performed during kindergarten, Takeo was so nervous and soiled his pants. So as not to make him feel bad, Suna also wet his own pants. So… Trying to make Suna look good by telling his own embarrassing past? As they part and promise to meet again, a metal beam is going to fall on Yamato. Takeo instantly becomes the Flash and Hulk to hold up the beam so as for Yamato to escape. Takeo is ready to succumb to his fate and really happy to see the duo hook up but to his surprise they return to help him hold the beam. I don’t think they can help out much because eventually Takeo is the one summoning his super strength to toss it aside. He is bleeding a little so Yamato helps put bandage. This makes him confused that he couldn’t think straight. Walking into the pole or manhole. Still thinking that she is into Suna, he calls her later for another meet. However this time she wants it to be just them and without Suna. He thinks she is really serious going for him and asking for relationship advice. After all, he hasn’t asked her about her feelings on Suna yet.

Episode 3
Same time, same place. The cake meeting. Takeo continues to wax lyrical about Suna being a good guy. Though, he feels bad he always gets to eat her cakes and such. At least if he can see them smile and be happy, that’s good enough for him. Just when he thought everything is going nicely, she starts crying! OMG! What did he do wrong?! So Takeo barges into Suna’s place thinking he did something to Yamato. Since this guy is still dense, Yamato tells it straight to him: Yamato is in love with you, big guy. All the pointers that may look like she is interested in Suna, he explains that they were actually towards Takeo. Big guy is confused if he likes her or not. Suna further explains that all the girls he had a crush on and confessed to him, they were badmouthing him behind his back. That is why Suna rejected them when they confessed. He will never go out with a girl who says bad about his friend. The only way to get this guy to be convinced is to hear it from Yamato herself. Oh great. What a convenience, she is here too. Quick, hide under the bed! Uhm… I don’t think it’s working but they’ll go ahead with it. Yamato talks to Suna about what happened earlier in the day. Suna has her say aloud her confession she likes Takeo. Heard that big guy? Now it’s his turn to say he likes her. Surprised, little girl? Now that’s done, another day, another cake meeting, Yamato bakes a special cake just for Suna as thank you. I think he’d be more appreciative if they don’t spread their love. Takeo continues to praise Suna over his manliness of being his best friend. It is nothing to Suna. Isn’t it natural to want to see your friends happy? Takeo’s manly hug almost killed him…

Episode 4
Takeo continues his helpfulness but others just got afraid of his big size. Although Suna helps clear the misunderstanding, they usually thank Suna instead. Yamato gets a call from her friends. She tells them she is with her boyfriend now. Seeing that her pals don’t have boyfriends themselves, she suggests if Takeo and some of his other friends would like to go on an outing. Takeo announces to his classmates he has a girlfriend. All the guys are so happy for him. What a surprise because we always see the jealous reaction. They are interested with the outing but only 4 lucky guys will get to go. Janken-pon! So the both sides meet and you can imagine Yamato’s friends very surprised to learn Takeo is her boyfriend. This bear is hear boyfriend? More conflicting feelings for the girls because the more they look at Suna, the hotter he seems. And they thought he was Yamato’s boyfriend. So if he’s not taken, it makes thing clearer, right? Oddly, the other guys are crowding around Takeo for being the man. Don’t tell me these guys are more into bromance! Later when Takeo and Yamato head to the bathroom, they heard her friends badmouthing the pair as a couple. They realize too late what they said. Yamato feels sad. Maybe she didn’t explain enough how cool he is. Takeo talks to Yamato outside. He doesn’t feel hurt but doesn’t like to see her cry. Just then, a fire breaks out. Although everybody evacuated, 2 of Yamato’s friends are trapped inside. Takeo splashes a bucket of water on himself and rushes in. He brings out one and goes back in for the other. He protects her from the falling debris and tells her to get out. She manages to do so but laments about Takeo’s predicament. Takeo resigns to his fate. He got a girlfriend so this isn’t a bad way to go. Suna then calls him to get back out here quick because life would be pretty boring without him. Hearing Yamato’s cries in the background, Takeo gets his super strength t break out. Wow. It’s like he turned into some cool superhero when he breaks out from the fiery building! Man on fire! Don’t worry, he’s okay. Nobody could be more relieved than Yamato. He vows never to make her cry again. The friends thank and apologize to Takeo. Yamato explains in detail how cool he is but rest assured, they won’t steal him for they know he only has eyes on her. Are they sure they don’t want a bear as their boyfriend?

Episode 5
More heroic deeds from Takeo. He holds the train door open to let Yamato through although he misses the stop himself. Then he saves a drowning child while on his way to his date. Isn’t he the best? Suna’s sister, Ai returns home after a long time. The moment she learns Takeo has a girlfriend, she starts breaking down! OMG… Don’t tell me… She has feelings for Takeo???!!! WTF???!!! It’s true!!! She can’t believe that gorilla has got a girl and has always believed she is the only one who had feelings for him. She thinks he has been deceived and really wants to know his girlfriend. Oh no. I smell a cat fight. Next day when the usual meet, Ai tails them and for the first time sees Yamato in her own eyes. Yamato is being modest. Ai is being polite but continues to observe Yamato. Little girl mixes up salt with sugar in her cookies. Ai of course mentions how horrible it is but Takeo continues munching. Is his taste bud dead? Yamato is embarrassed by this screw up but Takeo doesn’t mind. He likes sweet and super salty things. When Ai asks Takeo what he likes most about Yamato, although he wants to say everything, if he has to pinpoint one, it would be her pure heart. Back home, Ai becomes a master deduce telling Suna that from Yamato’s actions, it looks like she has something to hide and can’t tell Takeo. She has not been entirely honest with him. There must be a big secret she is holding on to because something feels off if she fell in love with him at first sight. Trust her. Call it a woman’s intuition. When Ai is out shopping, she is shocked to see Takeo reading a woman’s magazine! What does this scene look like to the rest? He thinks as long Yamato doesn’t tell him what is wrong, he is too dense to figure it out so he thought of reading up to know how women thinks. Ai mentions about Yamato hiding something like maybe an affair or something. Takeo is fine with it because it’s more important to him that Yamato is troubled about it. Ai offers to help find out by talking to Yamato since they’re both girls. So please stop reading that magazine…

Episode 6
Takeo may be starting to notice too. But he hopes Yamato can laugh at the end of the day like he always. Next day, Ai calls Suna so they can go talk to Yamato alone and find out the problem. She lets her know Takeo knows she is hiding something but because she is not saying, it is making him worried. Yamato starts off that she is not the nice girl everyone knows her. First, Yamato talks about all his nice body parts (Ai couldn’t gleefully agree more) but Takeo said to her that he will not lay a finger on her until she grows up. In other words, she wants to hold hands, hug and do those other (impure) stuffs. Ai tells her to be upfront with him. And if she knows Takeo well enough that he won’t break down easily. Like he said, if she doesn’t tell him, he wouldn’t know. Yamato rushes to his place. But the siblings later find Takeo trying to save a cat stuck up a tree (it’s scared of him by the looks of it). Suna tells him Yamato is going to his place and crying so Takeo rushes all the way (faster than a pro cyclist). Suna wonders why Ai likes Takeo. When she was in middle school, there was an ugly lanky statue in school. Boys often teased her because they looked similar. Only Takeo saw her differently. He pointed she is more of a beautiful flower. Yup, that’s it. Call it love. Ai envies Suna and wished she was a boy because that way they can be friends forever. Lucky Suna… Once Takeo catches up with Yamato, she tells him her troubles. The first time he holds her hands, I’m not sure if they’re dancing or doing tango. Nervous, but they had a great time. Ai then leaves town sooner than expected seeing he is a happy man. Besides, she doesn’t want him to see her like this. Suna thought it was another of Takeo’s usual ranting of his day with Yamato. I guess this guy isn’t interested about his hand holding adventure. But when Takeo mentions he doesn’t mess up his kiss with Yamato and the need to practice… OH SH*T!!!!!!!!!! Try the pillow? It ‘died’. Try somebody else? Nobody keeps a good secret like him. Oh sh*t!!!! Don’t worry, he got wrapping paper. OMFG! Seriously, is it gay time already?! He is so dead… No escape! I am curious to know Suna’s ‘ugly’ face after this…

Episode 7
The judo guys beg Takeo to help them out in a tournament as they will be facing their old rivals. Can Takeo say no? But does this mean he will be spending less time with Yamato? Oh well… Yamato gives her blessing as she wants to see how cool he is too. So while he trains, Yamato texts him words of encouragement (that Rocky parody BGM…). One night, Yamato heads to Suna’s place to give him bags of scones she made for Takeo. Why didn’t she hand to him personally? Apparently he told her not to come (he didn’t make it clear that currently the place is prowling with molesters). Suna knows his buddy well and knows it is just a misunderstanding and over-thinking. Then they talk how impressive Takeo is so much so they can see his face in the constellation. Yeah, they should rename all the stars in his name. On the day of the match, Takeo meets his old rival, Tsuyoshi Iwayama and looks like he is on the other school. At first Tsuyoshi lost HP after seeing Takeo has got a girlfriend but thinks it is a trick to let his guard down. He believes Takeo who has been out of touch with judo couldn’t best his strength. As expected, during the tightly fought match, both teams are neck to neck and it all comes down to the final match between Takeo and Tsuyoshi. In this nail biting match, Takeo lands the winning throw. Yamato has fallen further in love with how cool he is and Takeo thanks her for being by his side and cheering him on. Then she points out his constellations. Takeo can also see Yamato’s face in the stars. Man, the sky is full of stars with their faces!

Episode 8
Takeo’s birthday is on January 1st. Easy to remember, eh? So when is Yamato’s? June 15th. Say, isn’t today June 5th? Holy crap! Yamato doesn’t want anything but just for him to spend the entire day with her. So Takeo tells this to Suna and they’re going to brainstorm for ideas? Another good news for Takeo is that he is going to be a big brother next January. Mom is already 40 years old… But Takeo notices has been acting strange lately. Come to think of it, isn’t this how he always acts? Takeo and Suna continue to brainstorm for ideas. Since the plan is flawed, Takeo makes lots of changes and suggestions. Each suggestion reminds him of a past funny episode. Now the big question: Has Takeo thought of a present for her? Oh no! And no money too! Since he won’t borrow, he will take up a part time job. A macho café? Those gay guys are loving Takeo… Later they go check out a present to get. Suna’s charisma has the clerk allow to hold the brooch till Takeo’s payday. Then one day Takeo’s mom tells her son that she has seen Suna coming in and out from hospital as his dad is hospitalized. Then it hit Takeo hard. He runs next door to ask about his family’s whereabouts. Mom and Ai are overseas. Can’t reach them. Dad is in hospital. He is trying to get his uncle to accompany him for dad’s surgery. When is that? June 15th. Takeo wants to tell Yamato believing she will understand but Suna doesn’t want so. Takeo is even willing to abandon his date plan to be with him but Suna tells him off even if he does so, it will not make him happy. Besides, wasn’t Takeo looking forward to this? Takeo does a lot of thinking. Although he knows a lot about Suna, there are a lot more things he doesn’t. Therefore he is going to respect his wish. He will continue his date so he doesn’t need to worry about him. It made Suna feel a little better.

Episode 9
Takeo and Yamato’s date goes on smoothly. They played bowling and at the café, the staff had a surprise birthday gig for her. She’s so happy that she said aloud about her wish to spend every birthday with him. And then of course the surgery starts getting to Takeo. He hands over the schedule to Yamato after explaining how the guys brainstormed it. He doesn’t want the tickets to the aquarium to go to waste and wants her to bring a friend there. He then reveals about Suna’s father’s surgery. She tells him to go to his side because he is the person Suna needs most right now. After handing the present, he makes a mad dash. Suna had a feeling Takeo would come. He starts talking about his dad who always has a weak heart condition. He blames himself he should have taken some action earlier but Takeo believes he is the only one who thinks that way. Nobody else did. Certainly not him. When the surgery is over, the doctor is spewing all the incomprehensible terms so Takeo shakes him to get to the point. Is it a success or not! Yes it is. Phew! Big relief. Ai and mother just came back from their trip. They’ll take it over from here. It’s their turn to shake up the doctor… When the guys leave, they are surprised to see Yamato waiting at the lobby. She has made some paper cranes and is relieved to hear the surgery’s success. So happy that she cried. Then they had to talk about Suna and wonder if he will be happy if he has a girlfriend. Yamato is willing to introduce some friends but Suna doesn’t really want it. I don’t even know how they even got the idea he might be happy with a girlfriend who looks like Takeo! Well, you can’t blame them. He rejected all the pretty girls so he must like big gorilla girls since he is stuck with Takeo for life, right?

Episode 10
To make up for that birthday outing, Takeo takes Yamato to the mountains for a picnic. But when an eagle steals her brooch, it has her fall off the cliff! Don’t worry. Manly Takeo is here to break her fall. But now they are lost. They have to find their way out and maybe spend the night together in the woods. The thought of being alone with him has Yamato’s inner heart screaming mad. He is so manly in protecting her from a boar and mosquitoes that it is hard for her to contain all her excitement. But night falls and looks like they have to camp here. Hold still your beating heart… When Yamato’s mom calls her friends as she has not returned, they think the couple are being adventurous and lie that she is staying overnight with them. They call Yamato about the alibi they made up but it seems there is no signal in the woods. And isn’t Takeo’s family worried? Nah. He’ll be back when he needs to. Yamato doesn’t mind living the caveman life with him. But she starts feeling bad that he has tire out from protecting her while she has her head in cloud nine all day. Next morning, they are still in one piece. Man, Takeo is such a safe guy that all the cute critters have even gathered around him! Too bad I think this means the mosquitoes have a field day sucking his blood. Finally they reach the road and take a bus back. Yamato receives a message from her friends, excited to tell her what has happened if she comes over. After spending the entire day and night with him, Yamato feels lonely to part. Yamato’s friends bug her for the juicy parts and Yamato is being ambiguous with her words (“I thought I was going to die!”), it sends her friends squealing in excitement. Then they realize something amiss. Disappointed about her mountain outing? Takeo returns home and they act like pretty normal. Manly normal. Takeo wakes Suna up from his sleep just to have him teach him how to use emoticons. I don’t there is any regarding his grunts and groans.

Episode 11
Yamato invites Takeo to the beach. Oh, bring Suna too. Because her friends really want him. Takeo scoffs the guys for looking forward to see girls in swimsuits. Oh, so Takeo won’t be swayed? Just clothes for swimming, eh? Speaking of which, why is Yamato picking risqué ones? So the guys and girls are at the beach. Takeo is still trying to convince about that swimming clothes thing. Then he sees Yamato. Although she has her shirt on, he is still blown away. He is staring too long… When Takeo takes off his shirt, Yamato can’t help be in awe with his muscles! He is swimming so greatly that he looks like a whale! So awe with his muscles, she stood in his path as he is about to split the watermelon. Luckily Suna calls him out so he stops. But now he sees Yamato’s swimsuit and becomes stunned. Then Suna psycho him that it is just clothes from swimming and he is back to normal. More awe from Takeo as he manages to keep the volleyball in the air for over 350 times and this even attracts the crowd. He even plays with other kids and their moms start liking this dude’s muscles! You worried, Yamato? While eating, her friends encourage her to be with Takeo. But since she is too shy, he misinterprets she wants to catch crabs. What? Yamato has been spacing out that she almost steps on the sand castle some kids are making. She feels bad of being selfish and runs away. Takeo accidentally steps on it. Now he has to make up for it. But Suna is here to cover him (heck, even little girls fall for this dude) so Takeo runs after Yamato and at the rocky area, they sit down and watch the sunset together. Takeo remembers this is his goal. She writes a love umbrella in the sand and he protects it by making a sand barrier! The mood is right for them to seemingly kiss. Then the guys ruined it as they call them to play fireworks. Damn. Yamato’s friends feel bad she tried her best to attract Takeo but to no avail. But she hasn’t given up yet and thinks the upcoming fireworks festival, she can do so with her yukata. So she invites him and he’ll gladly come since he loves them. Suna notes they aren’t on the same page but as long as they’re happy, it’s okay.

Episode 12
So unfair! Takeo as the goalkeeper, you can’t even see the goal post! And he can even score with a throw! Flawless victory! Then hanging out with Yamato at a skating rink, although it’s his first time, he can skate like a pro and do all those acrobatic manoeuvres! As Yamato plans to go to Murasakifuji University, Takeo vows to study hard to catch up with her so he can also follow her there. You know his grades are real bad so he has Suna help him out. Yamato doesn’t want to pressure him and would gladly change another university but Takeo vows not to give up. When Yamato comes over to help study and Takeo’s mom learns she is her son’s girlfriend, ordinary tea won’t do and she rushes out to buy high quality tea! Man, she even buys a new tea set! Because Yamato will be coming over a few times to help Takeo study, the parents are really eager to greet her. Mom even gets up 4am in the morning to clean the house! Wow. Their house looks so different by the time Yamato is here. But their study time is always interrupted as the parents can’t help enter to speak to her. Therefore they head to Suna’s place to do some real studying. Takeo is really focused in passing the entrance exam. Maybe a little too focused because when he bumps into a pillar, he thinks he has lost 10 things he learnt and tries to pick them up! WTF?! The test seems pretty easy since he has done them before during his study stint with Suna and Yamato. Then he realizes he put answers in the wrong question so he needs to retrace his steps and redo the answers again. Think he will make it? Thankfully this is just a mock exam. But when the real results come out, Takeo’s results are X. A denotation for indeterminate. What the heck is that supposed to mean? Can you have that kind of result? He calls Yamato about it and she too failed. At least they can try for Hakutou University. By the way, Murasakifuji was impossible for Takeo anyway. Why? Because it is only for females! Yamato got so caught up that she thought he might be able to go there anyway. Guess not. And Takeo realizes Suna tricked him because he knew it all the while!

Episode 13
If you’re wondering why Takeo and Yamato are doing all their lovely things together and Suna tagging along, no, it is not because it is one of their usual threesome outing. It is all part of the plan to surprise Suna on his birthday. Takeo brings them to his part time job place when suddenly this cool looking dude, Hayato Oda (I thought he was Suna’s twin!) starts sizing up Suna. However he realizes his mistake that Suna is not Takeo, the person whom he is looking for. This gorilla is Takeo? He shows his ID and he is a student from the same university as Ai. Speaking of her, here she comes to take him away. We are told Oda likes Ai and the reason he came to see who this Takeo guy she loves is all about. Surprised, right? So how did Ai reveal to him that she liked this big guy? Ah, hypnosis… When Takeo wants to bring Yamato to MM Land, she doesn’t sound too happy. So he goes over for Suna’s help to decipher what that means but since Ai is here, he tells her the problem. Don’t worry. Big sister will ask her directly. And that is precisely what she did. Yamato admits she doesn’t want to go there. At least not with Takeo. Then Oda interjects. This guy still around? Oda then reveals he likes Ai but his love is unrequited because that guy already has a girlfriend. Oh, Takeo wants to beat up that guy? After Ai threatens him in revealing more, Oda explains MM Land is a place considered as a jinx for lovers. Rumours say you’ll break up. This is exactly why Yamato doesn’t want to go. Oda suggests if they all go, it won’t look like a date and thus the jinx won’t happen. Yeah, the lovey-dovey couple are now oh so excited. Because Oda has no place to crash for the night, Takeo is so kind to let him sleep in his place. Oda explains the reason why he likes Ai. Next morning, Ai is shocked to see Oda at Takeo’s place. Don’t worry, he didn’t say anything funny. Then Oda reveals the plan to separate Takeo and Yamato. He wants Ai to take this chance to confess her feelings to Takeo. He knows she is lying when she said she is over him. She can’t move on because she never told him her feelings. So confess and find closure in this case.

Episode 14
Ai has no intention of doing that and that’s final. Oda doesn’t think so. If she doesn’t get over this, how is he going to have a chance? So the gang are at the amusement park. Oda is trying his best to separate the couple but eventually he gives up. He tells Ai it has become too bothersome and would rather make some memories with her. But that was just a plot to let her guard down and before she knows it, she is alone with Takeo. Knowing they would come and look for them, Oda leads them on a wild goose chase about their whereabouts. Oda and Ai communicate via handphone. Ai tells him she is not going to confess even if they are alone so he replies it is because Takeo treats her like a sister. Would it be different if he realizes her feelings? Are you curious to know? As Ai spends more time with him, she realizes he has changed but yet remains the same. He even said he doesn’t remember what he told her back then about that flower but coincidentally he now says that same line. I guess it is getting late so Oda is really getting worried and starts to look for them for real. He remembers Ai’s hypnosis when she revealed her crush. Oda didn’t like his friends prying into it and stopped them. He saw her crying face as she said Takeo’s name. It took all day for Ai to summon her courage and when she is about to confess, the damn announcer reminds the public about the parade. Bummer. He tells Takeo to look for Yamato so they can watch together. Oda is disappointed in that so Ai tells him she will never confess for the rest of her life because she likes the way Takeo thinks of her as his sister. Yamato is worried about the jinx so Ai tells her off to have faith in Takeo. A big guy like Takeo, I suppose it’s not hard to find him in the sea of crowd, right? The mood is right for Takeo and Yamato to get romantic. Somehow they realize Suna is watching. The parade, that is. Wrong place, wrong time? Bummer. Back in Takeo’s room, Oda bugs him to tell more stories of Ai when she was young. Next day when Oda tells her about it, Ai looks so impressed that Takeo still remembered and cared and Oda realizes he just made a mistake.

Episode 15
After Takeo does another good deed, Yamato is worried he might become popular with other girls although he clearly denies he would be. For the sports festival, Takeo is drafted into a relay race as the anchor. One of the members sprained her ankle and thus petite Mariya Saijou became her replacement. Man, she’s a very slow runner… And so Takeo becomes her trainer. Because he looks like a mad guy chasing after her, she becomes scared and runs faster! OMG! That did the trick! But his intention was to return her dropped handkerchief. During the race, Saijou makes a bad start and even trips. But seeing Takeo before him, she gets up and passes the baton. Now he becomes a running machine zooming past everyone and taking the win by storm! Seeing how cool Takeo is, something inside Saijou’s heart activates. Say it isn’t so… When Saijou gives Takeo a towel as thanks, this is the first time she and Yamato met. It’s that worried face Yamato has… She talks to her friends about this and they are pretty well worried too. I mean, she’s cute, she’s nice, she’s got bigger boobs (what?!) and Yamato is losing confidence that she could lose to her! She tries to be positive that they can be friends as they like the same guy but her friends know better it is very well the opposite. They tell her to fight on and show her who Takeo’s real girlfriend is. Next day, Saijou twists her ankle while trying to talk to Takeo. Since he is too tall to lean on his shoulder, she wants him to give her a piggy back ride home. Oh gosh, she even turns down Suna’s offer! Yamato sees this while waiting outside the gates. Takeo acts normal. Says hi. Sends her home and returns. Next day, Saijou wants to meet him at the chicken coop. Suna tells this Yamato. The worse thing for a girlfriend to hear is for another girl confessing she likes her boyfriend. But Saijou says she likes him as a human. Although Takeo doesn’t understand, he feels he can’t let her down and allows her to call him her master. In a way, this doesn’t impact Yamato much because she only liked him as a human and it isn’t like she has feelings for him, right? I don’t know if this is positivism or denial. Takeo reminds her he doesn’t need to be popular with girls. He only needs to be popular with her. Saijou leaves with a big happy smile on her face. Spring time for her?

Episode 16
Saijou wants to call Takeo her master. Okay. It seems Yamato and her friends are pretty okay about Saijou liking Takeo as a person. I mean, who wouldn’t? At least those who know him. Saijou heard Takeo is going to Hakutou University’s cultural festival. To her surprise, he invites her. He also asks Yamato’s permission. Given the green light! This feels awkward. Even more surprising is how the girls get along very well. I guess when they’re talking about all the good points of Takeo, they just can’t stop. Next day, Suna asks Saijou how it feels to like someone as a person. I think she’s trying to look for the right words so she asks him back about his friendship with Takeo. Pretty much like that. But Suna knows her feelings are different than his. She threatens him not to tell Takeo that or else. Saijou continues to hang out with Takeo as her disciple (whatever that means). She thinks Suna has that disgusted look and reveals she knows she is taking advantage of the situation since Takeo and Yamato are nice people. She starts feeling guilty about it. He replies unless she tells them, they’ll never doubt her. But if she keeps this up, she will be the one who is getting hurt. He is just worried how she is doing. Then after class, alone with Takeo, that is when Saijou confess she likes him not as a person but a man. She wants him to be her boyfriend. Takeo realizes the situation and quickly turns her down and apologizes. It’s because he already loves Yamato. Later Suna brings a box of tissues to Saijou. I don’t think that is going to be enough. Poor girl is crying her heart out. She wonders if she can love again. Takeo runs to meet Yamato and tells her about Saijou’s confession. He turned her down not because he has her, unpopular with girls or won’t go out with others. He did so because he loves her. So happy that Yamato cries. She realizes she really loves him too. Takeo seeks Suna’s help since he hurt another girl. He tells her to just accept it since that is what everyone likes about him. Takeo’s worries if she would stay friends with him are unfounded because the next day, she still wants to call him master. He is happy. She is happy. Thanks for liking me. If she ever falls in love with someone next time, he wants to help in her any way he can.

Episode 17
Christmas is here. Takeo and Yamato organize a party for their friends. Osamu Kurihara asks Takeo permission if he could use the event to confess to one of Yamato’s friends, Nanako. Similarly, Nanako asks Yamato advice about Kurihara’s actions because he asked her out to a movie and held her hands. What does this mean? It means you’re in love! When Takeo and Yamato learn of this, they agree to help out the duo as much as they can. At the party, Kurihara is being his typical lively self while Nanako is just uncomfortable at everything. During the gift exchange, Takeo and Yamato rigged the ribbons so the duo can get each other’s gift. Nanako doesn’t seem amused with this exercise gift of his. Then during the karaoke session, Nanako just walked out. She couldn’t take it anymore. Yamato goes after her but unfortunately several punks try to hit on them. Nanako sees Kurihara coming by but she thought he chickened out. Actually he went to call Takeo and the sight of this big bear has the punks running for their lives! But still, Nanako is not happy. She is upset that Kurihara didn’t help her himself as she storms out. Yamato tries to salvage what is left but is told off that they just can’t be lovey-dovey just like them. Takeo and Yamato feel bad that they have erred. They thought they were helping but were just thinking they were based on their own feelings. They should have kept quiet and watch over them like what Suna for them. Because Kurihara continues to be dejected, this pisses off Takeo as he tells him to shut his trap. Takeo might not be able to do anything about this but he still can. When Nanako gets a call from Yamato, she runs back to see Kurihara trying to climb the tall Christmas tree to get a special star. It is believed the one who does so, when you confess to the other person to go out, she will say yes. After many tries and perseverance, he gets it. He gives it to her and asks her out and we hear a public confession from them. In the end, the duo become an item. Kurihara is waxing lyrical about his girl but Yamato and friends are just pretty shocked the very changed character in Nanako because she is acting so lovey-dovey now that she has got a boyfriend. Even more shocking, they already kissed!

Episode 18
So Takeo learns Kurihara has kissed Nanako during Christmas. Is this appropriate? When is it appropriate for your first time? To Takeo, it is during his autumn of third year high school. Don’t ask… Ai visits Suna and Ai to discuss on what to give to Takeo for his birthday which also falls on New Year’s Day. Then she asks about the appropriate time for a first kiss so Suna reveals about that autumn plan. Can’t wait that long? Heck, why did she even ask Suna if he ever kissed anybody? Don’t remind him of that training kiss with Takeo… Just don’t! Yamato calls Takeo right at midnight to wish him happy birthday. Next day, they visit the shrine. Whether it is big luck or small luck, it’s still good luck. Heading back to his place, Takeo’s old pals visit before they can have their own private time. She gives him a little teddy bear as present and baked cheesecake. When she starts singing the birthday song and he is so deep in his thoughts about his thankfulness to her, she kisses him on his lips. Unfortunately… I guess she was so faint that he didn’t notice it! Bummer! The rest of the day has been a happy one for him. Takeo visits Suna to tell him all that happened. Especially a certain bug that landed on his lips when he was thinking. You don’t say. When Suna tells him it could have been a kiss, Takeo realizes it wasn’t a bug and rushes down to Yamato’s place just to request to redo it properly! You know, it is pretty funny to see a big guy crouching to kiss this petite girl. Such a meaningful kiss that they both cried. Best gift ever. Takeo then goes back to thank Suna. Let’s hope he won’t thank him with a kiss! No way! Now Takeo asks when the second kiss comes and he would like to practice reading people’s mood. Better turn him down now to be his practice model. He suggests during an anniversary and looks like the next big event is Valentine’s Day.

Episode 19
Yuriko, Takeo’s mom is already having a baby bump and Takeo is certainly not happy that she continues to do heavy work like as though it is nothing. So while Takeo tries to help out, Yuriko and Yamato had a nice chat together. Yamato gives her a safe birth charm. Father talks to Takeo why he married Yuriko. They were working in the same company and as she was the new employee, she was selfless and always helpful. Everyone admired her. When he asked her out, the rest is history. Of course with Yuriko being such a strong woman, dad never really had a chance to prove his worth to protect her. One day as she is taking a walk, a fellow pregnant woman slipped. Yuriko catches her but she felt something. Then later when Yuriko starts feeling pain in her stomach, Takeo starts panicking. Call the taxi to the hospital. If not for Suna, it would have been chaotic. Despite Takeo telling himself to calm down, he is the one most frantic. Keep calm and carry on, dude… Ironically, Yuriko is still the one who is telling him what to do and Takeo turns into Sonic, faster than the speed of light to get stuffs or things done. Yuriko will be hospitalized for a while. Yamato heard about this from Suna and offers to cook and help out in any way. Takeo continues to worry and space out. Thanks to Yamato, he calms down. One day, Yuriko cannot hold on her contraction anymore and is going into labour. Takeo still frantic as usual. Yeah, he is talking to his unborn sibling to hang in there. But the lady in the next bed is also going into labour. Yuriko want the nurse to take that lady first since it is her first born. Takeo then carries Yuriko to the labour room and continues to tell his unborn sibling everything is going to be okay. The anxious wait is over when they hear a baby’s cry. Congratulations to the birth of a healthy baby girl! Well, a big baby girl. The doctor thinks Takeo is the father and congratulates him. Not sure if this is even a joke when Takeo agrees to let Suna date his sister. Doesn’t that make him look like a lolicon? Yamato is thrilled in carrying his sister for the first time and wants to become a kindergarten teacher or midwife. Takeo? A job that helps somebody. How vague is that?

Episode 20
Maki is the name of Takeo’s sister. So why is he talking to her about Valentine’s Day? Does she understand a thing? So this big guy is really happy to expect a homemade chocolate from Yamato. Never in his life has he received any chocolate from girls unlike Suna. Even if he does, they’re from old ladies and obligatory ones. Takeo’s pals are losers too so they bug him to hook them up for another outing with Yamato’s friends on Valentine’s Day. And like the good people they are, the date and place is set. Nanako has Yamato teach her how to make chocolates so the other friends also converge at her place to make them. On Valentine’s Day, Suna as usual receives piles of gifts like as though his locker is a magical portal to another world. The groupies meet, Yamato gives everyone baked cookies. Takeo’s friends are happy to just receive their part. After having fun and as they part (Takeo and Yamato’s friends trading contact details to meet next time without having going through the middle man next time), Yamato excuses herself early. Then it hit Takeo, did Yamato forget to give him chocolates? Then he falls into depression thinking it is his fault of not making his intention clear. Or maybe the chocolate was in the cookies? Further agony when he realized he ate it all without savouring the taste. Trying to bring back memories of its taste now? Feeling the need to go buy a thank you chocolate for her, as he rushes out, Yamato is standing before him with a big gift. This is her special Valentine’s chocolate to him. She needed some time to do it since she made some mistakes. With Takeo happy as a jay bird, he gives her flying kiss! She caught it! He savours every delicious bit of it. The next day, Saijou gives Takeo and Suna obligatory chocolates out of courtesy. When Suna notes every girl who falls for him is a nice person, this has Takeo think that Suna rejects all the girls who asked him out because they talk bad about him behind his back. He wonders if there is just one among the chocolate givers who wasn’t doing that. Maybe…

Episode 21
Takeo bakes cookies for Yamato for the first time. Tastes good! One day while walking back with Suna, Takeo senses somebody stalking them. He confronts the person but turns out to be a girl. Frightened by his size, she accidentally drops her letter meant for Suna. Takeo dives into the river to save it and since the letter is soaked, he could read from the contents that she likes Suna. Yukika Amami was from the same kindergarten as Takeo but of course he is having a hard time trying to remember it. He hears her out how she came to fell in love with Suna. It was during a dodgeball game. He was considerate enough to block a shot that would otherwise ruin her glasses. Love worked its magic then. But that was the last time she spoke to him. Yeah, that was 10 years ago in kindergarten! What has she been doing since? Watching him living his life… OMG… Like a stalker! That is why she somewhat also knows Takeo and Yamato’s romance and feels envious. She mentions she did not idealize him but rather Suna became her ideal. When Suna comes by, Yukika becomes the master of hiding like always. Back home, Takeo checks the photo albums and in every photo, Yukika is always there. Next day, Yukika talks to Takeo about wanting to setup a scene not for her to confess (since she has no guts yet) but for Suna to acknowledge her. On pretence that Yukika guided lost Takeo, instantly Suna could recognize her. That is when she blurts out how much she loves him. Once she realizes it, she runs away. Takeo goes after her. She was shocked that he still remembered her and probably in that moment it made her unwittingly confessed. She is so embarrassed that she wants to wipe out his memories?! Sorry girl. Can’t do that. Takeo brings her back to talk to him. Suna could guess she was the one who sent him Valentine’s chocolates every year but left them unsigned. Had he written her name, he could have at least replied. Again Yukika’s reflex kicks up. Because she thinks he doesn’t know enough about her yet, she doesn’t want his answer whether he likes her or not. As a start, they exchange contact details. Over the next few days, Takeo can sense Yukika has been hiding nearby. It got irritating enough that he had to bring her out and make her walk home with Suna. After they part, Takeo gets a call from Yamato. As he is not the kind to keep secrets, he is asking Yukika’s permission to tell all! Yamato understands Yukika’s case after she explains. They plan how to bring them closer to each other but with Yukika being so shy and all, it could be a challenge. It is decided to go somewhere together and her first email to Suna sounds really formal. Takeo talks to Suna that if he doesn’t want to go then he shouldn’t because his feelings are important. But since he says that if he didn’t want to go, he wouldn’t, I guess that means a yes.

Episode 22
Yamato accompanies Yukika to buy a dress for their outing. They are visiting the zoo but Yukika mostly freezes up before Suna and she talks more to Takeo and Yamato rather than him. There is a moment they did hold hands for a while but that is to enter some zoo quiz in which Yukika aces all the questions with her animal knowledge. Overall, I think it was a rather a good time even if it wasn’t the most ideal. In school, Takeo thought it was just another one of Yukika and Suna’s talk but he is shocked to see her crying after that. When he hears her out, she explains about Suna liking her and doing things for her because he is kind. Because he doesn’t hate her doesn’t necessarily mean he likes her. She feels Suna doesn’t like her the way she does for him and this relationship won’t last. She regrets telling him how she felt. So when Yamato senses something wrong when Yukika doesn’t reply her mails, Takeo mentions about the heartbroken story. What can Suna do about this? He just goes to the bookstore to buy his book. Just like that. Takeo and Yamato are left unsure what to do but Yamato is certain disagreeing with Yukika’s regret statement because it means she is denying the fun time she had with him too. One day Takeo senses Yukika ‘stalking’ so he chases her but she ends up hiding in the women’s toilet. They talk about things especially Takeo accidentally saw her letter she wrote to Suna during kindergarten. He was and still is impressed. It is probably that reason why Suna still remembers it. Yukika comes out of hiding when the policeman suspects Takeo to be a peeper. When Yukika wishes to speak to Suna one more time, speaking of the devil, here he calls to want to see her. After giving her gifts for the chocolates and thanking her, then he apologizes. I guess it had to come to this. Yukika instead thanks him and hopes they can still talk like normal as friends. Yukika returns to tell the rest what happened and is glad her world with Suna did overlap. She wishes to be like Takeo whom Suna likes and laughs with. So when Takeo asks Suna if he likes him, that guy feels really awkward with that question. Takeo hopes he finds someone he likes but Suna like always is fine with the way things are now.

Episode 23
As advised by Takeo, Yamato takes up a part time job at a cake shop. So why is Takeo suspiciously spying on her outside? The baker, Kouki Ichinose seems to be the cocky kind and telling Yamato how to ‘work properly’. Although she gets disheartened, she won’t let that stop her and continues trying her best. As you can see, the more time Yamato spends working there and commenting all the good stuffs on Ichinose’s original cakes he makes (because she is eager to increase her baking skills), you can tell that this guy is going to have the wrong idea about her. Yup, he thinks Yamato likes him! The more she compliments his cakes, the more he thinks so. On another day of ‘spying’, when Takeo hears Ichinose calling Yamato by her first name, this is where all that stuffs start running through his mind. Heck, why not just call her by her first name too? He tries it on Suna. Not used to it, right? So there is this thought that he might even regret telling her to take up this job and the thought that there might be someone else she likes more. Of course with Suna giving his timely advice, Takeo is back to normal. When they go buy a cake from the shop, Suna notices Ichinose has not taken his eyes off Yamato. Once Ichinose learns the big guy is her boyfriend, immediately he rushes out to catch hold of him and tells him to break off with Yamato! OMFG! Can he do that?! He believes Yamato is much suited for him and that he needs her. He is fast in making up excuses why Yamato’s love for him isn’t real before Takeo could even finish his sentence. Of course Takeo can’t give her up that easily and Ichinose believes he was abrupt in this. But will he break up if Yamato said it herself? Therefore he will show him he is better in every way for Yamato. When Suna hints about Takeo’s complexity, Ai could guess something is wrong. Talking about some lost dog story, Ai explains that Takeo loves to see others happy and put their feelings before his. This is both his greatest strength and weakness. On a rainy day as Takeo rushes to give Yamato an umbrella, it seems Ichinose has already given Yamato a ride. As he is joining a competition, he wants her to help him. She agrees. Takeo then sees Ichinose’s car pass by with happy Yamato inside.

Episode 24
While Takeo is feeling down, he gets a surprise call from Yamato who invites him out on her next day off. However, Ichinose is really working hard for the competition and really needs her help. Unfortunately she has to call Takeo again to cancel their outing. There are lots of doubts going through Takeo’s head if Yamato is suited for him. But when his friends talk to him, he realizes he might not have other qualities Ichinose has but he still doesn’t want to lose her. Yamato may choose somebody else in the future but right now he wants her to smile by his side. Ichinose catches Takeo spying outside as the latter thinks the duo might be doing something funny behind his back. Ichinose assures he is doing things the proper way. After he wins gold from the competition, he will confess to Yamato. Surprisingly, Takeo wishes him good luck. Ichinose talks to Yamato about how he was alone before he met her. After the competition, he has something to say. Although she can’t help him on that day, he hopes she’ll be at the competition. On the day of the competition, Yamato visits Takeo early. She tells him what Ichinose said and thinks he is going to tell her about making her a full time employee! I know Takeo’s dense but I didn’t know she is this too. All Takeo can do is hug her and although he hopes Ichinose win the gold, he still wants Yamato by his side.

At the competition hall, everything seems to be going fine till Ichinose realizes he forgot his tools! He is doomed! He can go back and get it but won’t make it in time. He doesn’t want to call the owner because he would have left the shop unattended. Yamato then calls Takeo for express delivery. Wow. That guy runs faster than the cyclist! Ichinose is stumped that there is no way his rival is going to help him and even if he does, this would make him lose points with Yamato. Takeo delivers his tools and though Ichinose is grateful, he is still carrying out his confession. In the end, Ichinose wins gold. Before Takeo, he dedicates the gold to her and confesses his love. He needs her and wants to go out with her. Takeo thinks that if she chooses Ichinose, he will respect and support her to be happy. Although Yamato praises Ichinose’s cakes, she rejects him because she has fallen in love with Takeo since the day they met. She also disagrees she is his muse or whatever. He won because of his hard work and ability. Well, I guess it’s goodbye then. Later Yamato hears everything from Takeo and feels bad she didn’t realize Ichinose and Takeo’s feelings. But he hugs her and thanks her for liking him. He calls her by her first name and she puts on the cutest shock face ever. Takeo and Suna are in the same class in the next grade. The girls love Suna. The guys love Takeo. Saijou rues for not being in the same class with Takeo while Yukika is just happy to be in the next class. Ichinose names his new cake after Yamato and advertises it to others as a cake that will bring happiness to those who eat it. Oda still bugging Ai to be his. A surprising scene shows Yamato’s molester now a kind hearted soul. As always, Takeo and Yamato continue to be together. With Suna too.

Beauty And The Beast
Just like in fairytales, another happy ending for our main couple. For now. Well, let’s just hope that they will continue to have such a happy life from now on. I guess the story is pretty cliché as you could have guessed all the plots and ‘suspense’ there needs to be in a romantic comedy. From our main lovers trying their best together, the potential love rival for Takeo, a short distraction of their friends hooking up and even a little detour to prove that Suna too isn’t just some deadweight furniture that follows Takeo around and that he too has his own genuine love. And to prove he isn’t gay. But then… And lastly when you have love polygon issues for the guys, it is Yamato’s turn to have her own admirer as the final arc. I mean, a girl this cute doesn’t have any guys falling for her? It’s unrealistic considering a handful of girls took interest in Takeo. The only ‘ingredient’ that this romantic comedy genre did not feature is Takeo and Yamato having their first lover’s quarrel. Yeah. I mean, that is one of the staples in such genres, right? Thus the little dilemma of confused feelings may be there but eventually it doesn’t put even a dent in their relationship and therefore a somewhat happy fairytale-like ending.

Their difference in size and physique is this anime’s theme of proving that love is blind. I’m sure it also tries to prove a lot of other proverbs like not judging a book by its cover, etc. But I’m not going too deep into that. You know what it means. It is definitely odd and unusual to see a lowland gorilla and a petite fairy muse as a couple. It goes to show that anything can happen when you are in love. And when you are truly in love, the outside looks doesn’t matter because when the inside is good, naturally you would also see how good the outside looks and come to accept it as a whole. As proven, a couple of other girls like Ai and Saijou prove that they fell in love with his good heart and for the latter’s case, not even Suna’s good looks could sway her. Heck, she was even disgusted!

The characters are pretty likeable although a big portion of the series focuses on Takeo x Yamato and the rest just mainly as second fiddlers. Takeo as the main guy is a pretty nice person whom everybody in the world would love to have as a best friend. That is, if you know him. Otherwise like any other people, you’d scorn him off as some criminal. He has got a nice personality and a big heart but he just lacks that physical good looks. Oh well, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad. That is why in a way it is a pity for those who jumped to conclusions about this big guy and a big bonus for those who know him and are his friends. Takeo overall is just a simpleton. He might look like a retard considering his gruffy voice and sometimes his limited vocabulary. With his habit of putting his face close to you as he waits for an answer and coupled in the fact that when Yamato does something cute that thugs his heart, he’ll be going “Suki da…” and you wonder if he could say anything more than this. Also that fact he is such a simple guy, why need complicated words to express what he says? Even his expressions are simple. But towards the end with the appearance of Ichinose, it seems that Takeo has transformed into a slightly better boyfriend. Look at the way he gives his big hug. It seems so filled with love.

Yamato is a girl whom every guy would love to have as a realistic girlfriend. Sweet, caring and understanding. Why can’t every girl in the world be like this?! Yeah, I’m just dreaming… Anyway, it is a good thing and a blessing our main couple met because after what we have seen they have both gone through, they are the right person for each other. We can have what if thoughts had they not get together and the different people they will end up with but by the end of the anime, it is hard to think that they are better suited to other people. Their romance might not be the most excited in the world and by today’s standard, it could even be labelled as boring. It’s your usual hanging out with each other and getting to know more of each other. Perhaps their romance and relationship are so safe that you could fall asleep if not for the funny quirks they both have due to the fact that they are amateurs in love. So if you are hoping to see some sort of risky and risque-cum-sexy romance, you’d be in for a disappointment. The most we’ll get out of this is just big hugs and awkward kisses or two. So yeah, normal romance for a normal couple (if you don’t mind the difference in size, that is).

Suna is the odd and quirky one. Always following Takeo around and despite his lack of emotion, he actually departs good advice from time to time. Making it even more ironic is that this guy has never got into a serious relationship, he is such an expert in giving lots of advice. I guess all that reading as his hobby must have helped by remember, Takeo is a simple person so it doesn’t take much to convince this guy. This kind of person, every guy wants to have as his best buddy. Isn’t Takeo the most fortunate guy in the world? He might not have great looks but he has a great friend and a great girlfriend. Well, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad, eh? But sometimes I feel there is more than meets the eye on why Suna doesn’t want to get into a relationship. Yes, it feels respectable that he doesn’t want to date b*tches who badmouths his best friend just because of his looks. Yes, he finds it amusing to hang out with Takeo because he laughs the most whenever he is with this guy (you mean, his life is so boring that a gorilla is the greatest source of amusement?). But when he rejects Yukika, it just makes it even suspicious that he might just be gay. Heh. Aren’t all good looking guys these days are? But if you think about it, perhaps Suna isn’t ready to commit himself and thus the rejection. Might as well disappoint now rather than regret it later. Sometimes I feel it’s like trying to ‘kill off her character’.

The other characters are rather okay too with Yuriko could be the world’s strongest mom. She does almost everything singlehandedly even when she is pregnant. Nothing keeps this lady down. She’d probably be strong enough to take down all the bank robbers herself and leave everyone speechless. Then there is Ai the big sister who will always remain the big sister. There will always be lots of unrequited love as long Takeo x Yamato continues. Looks like the only other couple would be Kurihara x Nanako but they’re so minor that we don’t really think about them, do we?

There was something strikingly familiar with the animation style and drawing. It looked so much like Chihayafuru. I mean, take a look at some of the characters. They look quite similar. For instance, when I first saw Suna, I was wondering what the heck is Taichi doing in this love story! Did he give up on Chihaya and decided to find solace in another anime? And looking at Yamato herself, I thought she was the mini version of Chihaya. Even the animating style of kanji comments popping up on screen to indicate the character’s thoughts is uncannily familiar to Chihayafuru. Well, it is no surprise that both animes are animated by Madhouse, the same studio that brought to you One Punch Man, Highschool Of The Dead, Chobits, Black Lagoon, Nana and many, many, many more of your popular and obscure animes out there. It is just funny that I find that the art style in both the mentioned animes are so similar like as though they used back the entire team to work on this one.

But other than that, the simple artwork of this mainly romance and drama filled anime is satisfying enough. But some characters do look a bit odd like Yuriko whom I thought popped out from old kiddie animes like Doraemon, Perman and Kiteretsu Daihyakka. Worse, Yuriko might look a bit like that mom from Atashinchi! Minus the afro. And yes, I thought Takeo looks like that gorilla dude in Slam Dunk too…

Voice acting is pretty decent for this genre although I don’t particularly recognize any seiyuus in the main or supporting roles. Learning that Takuya Eguchi behind Takeo is surprising. Not because I recognized his voice but hearing him voice characters like Hikigaya of Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Come Wa Machigatteiru and Kon in Ixion Saga DT, it feels hard to visualize him voicing this gorilla character. Oh wait. Doesn’t Mushibugyou’s Koikawa sound a bit similar? And oh, is that Kikuko Inoue’s voice behind Ai? I should have recognized her voice for the umpteenth time by now… The other casts include Megumi Han as Yamato (titular character in Mushibugyou), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Suna (Shido in Date A Live), Rena Maeda as Saijou (Ayaka in Jinsei), Daisuke Namikawa as Oda (Mystogan in Fairy Tail), Ai Kayano as Yukika (Inori in Guilty Crown) and Jun Fukuyama as Ichinose. Taking a look the full list, I am quite surprised that there are lots of people being casted in this anime. Though, they are mainly as background characters for one or two episodes but seriously, can’t they just recycle them for other episodes because we won’t really notice them, right?

The opening theme, Miraikei Answer by Trustrick sounds pretty okay as a generic anime pop. For some reason, I thought the singer was Miyuki Sawashiro singing this song. Perhaps it is just that close similarity of their voice. The ending theme might be a slow ballad but Shiawase No Ari Ka by Local Connect isn’t too bad at all.

Overall, this is a nice romantic comedy despite some of the typical and stereotypical clichés, it is still a good watch if you are into this genre. Even though it is very rare in real life, it is not impossible and who wouldn’t love to watch a good love story? I know this is a long shot that it is trying to give us ‘ugly’ otaku loners hope that even us as ‘useless creatures of society’ can still find true love if we make the effort. So any takers out there? I might not good looking and I might not have any money but I’m certainly… Oh wait, no. I don’t think I can even match Takeo’s big heart by a fraction. Ah geez. 0 out of 3 is definitely the worse. Sighs. Back to more 2D girls for me.

Lance N’ Masques

April 23, 2016

Do knights exist in today’s modern era and world? Even so, is there a need for them? More importantly, do people still have that chivalrous nature? Well, you certainly do not need to be prince charming in shining armour to do all the good deeds but I suppose almost every girl grew up dreaming to be swept off their feet of such handsome prince on a white steed. Don’t worry, girls. At least in Lance N’ Masques, knights are now a global thing with its own worldwide organization although it is said in its synopsis that it is the last remaining order of knights in the 21st century. So is it dying out? Whether it is a good or bad thing, our main protagonist is a well-trained knight. Sort of. But he wants out. Actually he yearns the normal life like every kid his age. Heh. Which main protagonist wouldn’t want that sort of life? Probably he is so shy about his identity that he hides it while battling evil behind a mask. Something like Zoro, eh? Till he becomes the source of inspiration for a little girl he saved. Now he has to continue battling evil and saving the day keeping his identity a secret. Oh, did I mention that the little girl lives together with him? I know… How can a man be at two places at one time…

Episode 1
Youtarou Hanabusa saves Makio Kidoin when she is falling from rock climbing. I wonder what the significance putting on his mask, cape and lance are for? When he kisses her hand, she believes he is her hero. Earlier on, Youtarou has been knighted to be part of Knights Of The World, an international organization of knights with 900 years of history. Unfortunately his father, Shin who is one of the greatest knights and the first one in hundreds of years to be chosen by the holy lance, Rhongomyniad is missing. When Youtarou hears a damsel in distress, he goes into action to fend the punks off. He starts spouting his cheesy chivalrous lines and kisses her hand. If you thought that was bad, yup, the girl thinks that too and calls him a pervert! Thanks for nothing. Youtarou is embarrassed too but he explains to us his White Knight Syndrome of his tendency to go into that cheesy knight mode due to his strict knight training in his younger days. So I guess that is why subsequently when he saved Makio, all that cheesy said stuff. Meanwhile Alice Cleveland and her stubborn talking horse, Shirohime are trying to locate Youtarou. As they argue, they get back to work after realizing the head maid, Yoriko Sudou isn’t pleased of them fooling around. While Youtarou is reeling from yet another embarrassing syndrome, Makio comes looking for her hero whom she has termed Knight Lancer. But since Youtarou isn’t in his disguise, she doesn’t recognize him. She brings him back to her huge mansion and introduces her to her maid, Liu Yuhua. She has her make arrangements for Youtarou to stay here for the night.

That night, Youtarou dreams of his dad telling him to become strong and protect the princess before he goes missing. What’s worse than that traumatic dream? Finding a loli sleeping next to you! And you bet Makio will get the wrong idea when she sees this. Makio relishes having breakfast with him since it has been a long time she has eaten with anybody. Youtarou notices the other maids excusing themselves after finishing their jobs. He is told she is the only one who leaves here. Her dad lives elsewhere and her mom is dead. This entire mansion and only this little kid lives here?! Even more baffling, there is some kind of order that the maids are not allowed to get closer or friendlier with Makio. Yuhua gets suspicious when Makio calls him to her room. Has he seduced her that far?! Actually is to show him her drawing of Knight Lancer and among the other imaginary heroes that she believes in. Suddenly several bad agents barge into this low security place to take Makio. Youtarou is easily owned by them but when he returns in his knight outfit, wow, it’s like he turned the tide against them and beats the crap out of them till they retreat. It only serves to solidify Makio’s believe that true heroes could never lose. When Alice and Shirohime have found Youtarou, they are certainly very happy. But all that turn into seriousness when Yoriko shows up. Heck, even Youtarou is afraid of her despite she is ‘smiling’.

Episode 2
Wake up late… A reason to fear Yoriko. Fool around over Youtarou… A reason to fear Yoriko. Sleepy Makio falls off the balcony. Youtarou transforms into Knight Lancer to safe her. As narrated, Youtarou somewhat ran away from home to live a normal life instead of becoming a knight. Alice is his squire while Shirohime his stead. No explanations needed for Yoriko, the person responsible for his syndrome. Makio is still unaware Youtarou is Knight Lancer and he hopes Yoriko could keep it that way. When Makio wants to do her rock climbing training so she can fall off and her hero could rescue her, Youtarou lightly knocks her head that putting herself in danger would only make Knight Lancer mad. When Yoriko confronted Yuhua about Makio living all by herself and how nobody cared about her situation, she told her the other maids don’t have to come anymore and that Yoriko and the rest will stay here. Oh, this means Yuhua too doesn’t need to show up anymore too. Back home, Yuhua’s sister, Yuyan thinks Yuhua is getting bullied so she is going to avenge her. What is she going to do with that gun?! Yoriko drives Youtarou to Akira, Makio’s dad’s HQ so that he could talk to him about his daughter. However he meets his old friend, Gai Kongouji who is now working as the security of this place. Kongouji won’t let him see Akira and hints Makio is going to go overseas. To Youtarou’s dismay, she won’t be living with her dad or any other family members. It’s like being alone all over again. Kongouji blames himself partly for this. The agents that stormed the mansion where remnants from the Ban organization he was tasked to destroy. While seeking revenge on him, they must have learnt about Makio. Still, he won’t let Youtarou see Akira. Time to fight. Unfortunately, Youtarou is thrown aside and his lance got crushed in a single blow! I wonder how he will face Yoriko. He gets a little lecture about being too confident that he could win this. I mean, Kongouji is the third strongest out of 9 Throne Knights. Could he seriously believe he could beat this guy when he just graduated as a small fry knight? More disheartening lessons about reality that it is money that you need while protecting the powerless instead of chivalrous knights. Yuhua gets a call from Yuyan that she has accomplished her mission. Youtarou is devastated when he sees defeated Alice and Makio is missing.

Episode 3
Flashback shows how Yuyan and her agents beat up Alice and then threaten to kill Shirohime. They are under orders from Akira to take Makio. Makio agreed to go quietly if she spared them. Youtarou finds Yuhua picking up Makio’s stuff as she relates her past. She and the rest of the children were trained under Ban to do bad things till Kongouji saved them. Alice throws a tantrum that she wants to go save Makio since this was her responsibility. She isn’t too pleased when Youtarou said it couldn’t be helped because he wouldn’t say something like this. Before Makio’s plane takes off, Youtarou barges into the airport complex on Shirohime. Yoriko will take on Yuyan and the other agents. OMG! She kept a lance in the car! How freaking cool is that?! Youtarou recalls Makio’s letter that thanks Knight Lancer for this and that. Yuhua uses her hacking skills to dismantle the building’s security to let Youtarou through. Now he faces off with Kongouji. Because Youtarou transforms into Knight Lancer, as knight etiquette Kongouji will face him with full strength. But how can Youtarou fight with a broken lance? I feel this part is playing cheat a little. Shin drops a coffin that contains Rhongomyniad. Surprisingly, it responds to Youtarou. No guesses who wins when both knights charge. Makio is rescued by Knight Lancer who makes an oath he will forever protect her wherever she is. Yuyan is sad that Kongouji her boss and father figure is defeated. Yoriko does some chi magic to revive Kongouji and hears about Rhongomyniad resonating with Youtarou. He wonders what has happened to Youtarou. Shin is seen talking to Akira. The latter is not happy he interfered as he warns nobody must go near Makio although the former says he can’t imprison her forever. Akira doesn’t want him to project his failure to protect Yuma onto Makio but Shin replies Makio is a princess and Youtarou a knight. They are fated to be together. Makio tries to become a proper lady worthy of Knight Lancer. Also, she misinterpreted that oath to mean he will marry her. You know what they say about knights have to stick true to their words? Oh Youtarou, you look like a lolicon now…

Episode 4
With arrangements from Akira, Makio now gets to stay in Japan and attend Shinra Academy with the rest. But uhm… Do horses go to school too? As usual Youtarou becomes Knight Lancer to save damsels in distress. Sae Igarashi, the girl whom Youtarou first saved and being labelled as a pervert is now his classmate. She still hates that perverted incident so Youtarou must do all he can to hide his identity. Yuyan is upset that Yuhua has sided with Youtarou. When Silvia Marlowe return from USA, Yuyan still doesn’t believe Kongouji has lost and wants revenge. But Silvia has not returned for this reason. Still unwilling to accept her boss’ defeat, Yuyan storms off and on the streets bumps into He Yufeng, a character who seems to have left traumatizing memories in those ex-Ban kids. Yufeng is here to look for the strongest man in Japan. Scheming Yuyan tells his name: Knight Lancer. Youtarou saves Sae from Silvia’s greeting kick. Youtarou knows her because she is his senior but since he can’t let Sae know, he just says she is his childhood friend. Silvia brings them to an abandoned building where Makio and co are now using it as their Knight Club (because Shirohime was bugging to go to school so Yoriko ‘arranged’ for it). Also in this club is third year Nori Hizuki. She is the person who made Makio believed in heroes when she was down and all alone. When you have Yoriko as the club’s advisor, you can expect hell. Because it’s back to those hellish training for Youtarou. Brings back memories, eh? Yufeng is confronted by several Ban agents who want her to team up with them to seek revenge on Kongouji. Youtarou’s knight’s sense must be tingling so he arrives as Knight Lancer to beat up those guys under the impression they are ganging up on this girl. So you’d expect Yufeng to fight him after witnessing how strong he is, right? Wrong! She hugs him and calls him her papa! WTF?! Didn’t see that coming!

Episode 5
Knight Lancer’s strength reminds Yufeng of her master. That’s why he is like her father. Guess what? He accepts! OMG. I hope he didn’t interpret that as he knocked up some girl and now he will take responsibility as her father. Silvia talks to Youtarou that the reason she came back to Japan is that she is chasing after Yufeng. Sae eavesdropped their conversation and got slightly jealous with their little hug. Shortly, she is kidnapped by Yuyan. Back home when Youtarou gets a call from Sae, it is actually Yuyan’s voice at the other end. You know what this means. Sae doesn’t understand what she has to do with Knight Lancer but she might now when Yuyan hints it. Knight Lancer will do anything for Sae’s safety even if it means laying down his weapon. Yuyan is about to shoot him but her guns are cut by Yufeng. Because she tried to hurt papa, now she must die! Yuyan got so scared that she fled. Youtarou stops Yufeng from pursuing but that girl remains stubborn. Yuyan is lucky to bump into Silvia. But now Yufeng is going to kill her too. She gets stabbed in the thigh. More trauma for Yufeng when she is told her master didn’t die of an illness but was murdered for trying to betray Ban. I think it just made her mad. When she thrusts her sword, Knight Lance comes in between. OMG! She stabbed her daddy! What have you done?! What does she do? She runs away crying! But the tears are put on hold when she is confronted by Yoriko. When this maid arrives, you’re dead meat. Time for punishment. Yufeng fights back but it’s like her sword skills went down to 0. Or is Yoriko that awesome? Although Yufeng manages to scratch her, now it’s her turn to feel her wrath. Her whip lance pushes her off the cliff. Knight Lancer saves her. Why is he doing this? She is his daughter and naturally he will protect her when in harm. Great. You mean he accepted it? This means a big face off between Yoriko and Knight Lancer. I can’t bear to watch… Fortunately or not, we won’t get to see their clash but in the ‘report’ by Silvia, it seems he lost and even nursed back by the maid. Everyone is shocked when Makio brings Yufeng to live with her after finding her alone and crying. Just like how she did for Youtarou? Makio calls Yufeng her daughter! Because if Knight Lancer is her husband, this means she is also her daughter, right? Man, this is getting confusing. But what does Yoriko have to say for all this? Does she accept this? At least she doesn’t kick her out but hints that bad girls need to be punished instead of constantly spoiled. With Makio giving her permission, sh*t is going to hit the fan. Be very prepared…

Episode 6
Hotspring episode! And when you have Youtarou as the only guy among the girls… Yeah… Oh look. Yoriko… Mmm… Nice thighs. Nice butt. Nice boobs. Angry face. SH*T! Apparently this hotspring is supposedly for the family especially Yufeng to bond closer but she is the one sitting out alone. While others try to coax her, Yoriko’s anger only made it worse because she wrecked the hotspring and ran off into the forest. It took Youtarou to chase her down and bring her back but as he puts on his robe on her naked body, the other girls misinterpret this. You know what’s coming especially when Yoriko is angry as hell. The other girls tease and put Youtarou and a maid outfit to serve Sae but when she mentions she hates such cosplay perversion and masks, this has Youtarou privately talk to her and confess that he is Knight Lancer. Apparently 10 years ago right here, he did the same knight syndrome thing to the daughter of this inn. It made her cry. Ever since, he longed to be normal. So he is going to take responsibility by quitting school? Don’t be silly! Sae doesn’t want that. Just stay the way he is. The romantic mood is interrupted when they hear cheesy adlib voices coming from spying Silvia. It seems it is her ploy trying to bring them closer together. Yufeng apologizes for wrecking the hotspring and tries to make up. I guess it’s time for Knight Lancer’s appearance to help turn the dry hotspring back to where it was. Yeah, his lance is like a drill… Conveniently with all the girls here, it’s time for naked family bonding. I mean, if Knight Lancer is here, this means the family is complete, right? I wonder how he can stand soaking with his mask and cape. Must be freaking uncomfortable… For once, Yoriko doesn’t ruin this fun by going angry and just let this slide. Next day when everyone goes back, it seems Yufeng is angry at Youtarou. Why? He was the only ‘missing’ at last night’s hotspring family bonding. I guess she doesn’t realize it. With the only other person too who doesn’t realize Knight Lancer’s identity, Makio chides Youtarou for that and this means everybody will have to go back in for another round of soaking. Well, some things are best taken again.

Episode 7
Knight Lancer faces off with fellow knight, Dorgon and his allies. And lost! Makio has sketched Knight Lancer’s allies that are modelled after some of the girls. Folks, meet Silver Lancer (Silvia?), Sunny Lancer (Alice?), Rose Lancer (Yoriko?) and Shadow Saber (Yufeng?). Makio eagerly waits for Youtarou’s return to show him her sketches but he never returned… Of course Yoriko and Kongouji have their intelligence (a bunch of kids hacking computers in a shed?) to locate Youtarou. From the footage at the port, they realize he is at Penglai Island. Yuyan is also kidnapped along with Youtarou on that island because she happened to witnessed Knight Lancer’s fight with Dorgon. Youtarou is shocked to learn the reason he is brought here. The knight chief of the East Asian region, Sun Dafei wants Youtarou to become hers! OMG! This big old hag wants Youtarou?! Yoriko and Silvia leave for the island. Alice is supposed to take care of the house and prevent Makio and Yufeng from coming. However she is overcome with emotion (and the most emotional) when she too wants to see Youtarou that bad. Yeah, why not all of us go? Dorgon isn’t really a bad guy and is a close friend of Youtarou during their training days. He is loyal to Dafei because she gave him a chance to be a knight. It was the same for Youtarou but only difference is that he is trying to hide the fact he is a knight. And it might seem Dafei’s obsession for Youtarou was because she heard he defeated Kongouji. You have got to be the strongest if you beat this dude, right? Yoriko and Silvia arrive on the island. Some punks want to flirt with the maid but they get owned. Serves them right. I Gil Ha greets them. As he is one of the 4 personal knights under Dafei, Silvia is afraid Yoriko’s bad blood with them might cause troubles. Yeah, it’s that bad that if a fight broke out, the entire East Asia region will be antagonized! So poor Silvia has got to live every second praying that Yoriko would restrain herself. Of course Gil Ha has orders from Dafei to stall and keep them where they are while she agrees to Dorgon’s ideas for Youtarou to have more time to think about becoming hers. Things take a turn for the worst when Yuyan falls ill.

Episode 8
Dorgon takes responsibility by bringing Yuyan to see a doctor outside. But Yuyan is just put up a good act to be sick. Once alone, she escapes via window. However she bumps into Hana, one of Dafei’s knights. Yoriko has had it and will search for Youtarou herself. Gil Ha won’t allow that and a big fight is going to erupt. Gil Ha’s colleague, Francois Ming tries to quell the situation but she too is freaking afraid of Yoriko. Though she calms down, Ming talks to Silvia about what is happening. Makio and co are here. Since they have no lead, they fear they have to find Yoriko. Yeah, that name is synonymous with punishment! But Makio braves up that she will bear the punishment as she brought them all here. Yuyan happen to bump into them while she is fleeing Hana. Alice tries to talk to Hana but she is not in negotiating mode. This has Yufeng pick up a mask (there is a whole loot of masks that Yuyan stole to sell) and becomes Shadow Saber to fight Hana to let the others move on. Silvia is surprised after hearing Ming’s explanation. In fact, Ming wants Silvia’s help to convince Yoriko to change her mind. Because if Yoriko and Dafei fight, one of them will die! Makio and co run pass by. Ming stops them and Silvia thinks she is going to kidnap Makio as bargaining tool against Yoriko. Silvia readies to fight Ming to let them move on. At first she is scared but when Yuyan tosses her a mask, I see it’s time to play Silver Lancer. Inside the building, they are now confronted by Gil Ha. Alice is the only one who can protect them so now it’s her turn to become Sunny Lancer to fight him. As Yuyan is injured while assisting her, Yuhua stays back to help her while Makio ventures alone. She can tell the room Yoriko was in because there’s a huge hole in the wall! Yeah, she’s gone. Dorgon hears his knight mates are having their fights. He feels responsible for all this is and blames Dafei for this. He is going to leave to take responsibility and thus leaving Youtarou to his own device. When he returns to the building, he catches Makio as she is falling from a tree. Meanwhile Dafei is cooking a huge Chinese buffet, hoping this will make Youtarou his. Well, you know what they say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Then Yoriko crashes in. Care to explain what the f*ck is going on? Heck! Even Dafei is scared of her! Wait a minute. Yoriko is going to play out this knight thingy as Rose Lancer? Whatever. After Dafei promiscuously describes Youtarou’s body, this only makes Yoriko even mad. She’s going to kill this shotacon! And now the big fight begins.

Episode 9
We see snippets of everyone’s fight. Our heroines are having a hard time holding their ground. The biggest surprise came when Yoriko lost to Dafei’s might! OMG! Can Yoriko lose?! Dafei takes this as her victory and that Youtarou is hers. However Yoriko revives and claims Youtarou does not belong to anyone. Drawing monstrous strength, Yoriko returns to the fight and turns the tables on her. Yufeng is about to lose to Hana but after thinking about her master’s words and her current family, she barely defeats her. Ming tries to convince Silvia to become her daughter because she intends to make Kongouji her husband. This is nothing but a ploy to rile her up and bring Silvia out of her hiding. But because of that, Silvia unleashes her sharp shooting skills that even made Ming submit! Alice is not doing well against Gil Ha. She remembers she was begging Kongouji to teach her to become stronger. He will not seeing she is Youtarou’s squire. But after all that tears, he will only teach her the basics of martial arts and wants her to keep this a secret from the rest. After some lecture from Yuyan, the duo cooperate to take down Gil Ha. Well, you know how stubborn Alice is so this means she’s got a thick skull. Yup, she heads butt him in the gut to knock him out! Wow. A lowly squire beat a highly ranked knight! But Yuyan is not amused that is just head butting instead of any real martial arts. Yoriko remembers her harsh training on Youtarou. She might look mean but deep inside, she was hurting too. I know. It’s to show us she isn’t really a monster. Dafei continues her attack and relishes having such an epic fight that she has always dreamt of. When Dorgon returns, he is shocked to see Dafei defeated and badly bruised (Makio left to get Shirohime). He is so mad that his beloved is hurt (don’t tell me this guy has got a thing for this old lady) that he is going to kill Yoriko for revenge! And of course, here comes Youtarou to defend her. If he is going to get in the way, he’ll kill him too.

Episode 10
A short flashback showing a little romance between Dorgon and Dafei?! I’m sure they’re just being friendly but looks can be deceiving. The mask that Dorgon is wearing is personally made by her. That is why he is going all out against Knight Lancer who is going to protect Yoriko too. Both knights are on par with each other till Makio enters the scene. When Makio puts on that disappointed look, it affects Knight Lancer’s performance as he loses. When Dorgon is going to kill him, Dafei shields him with her body. Yeah, he almost killed her too. She apologizes for making things turn out the way it is. They were so close like brothers then and now they’re fighting. Besides, Dafei didn’t make that mask so that Dorgon could do this. Dorgon comes to realize he almost killed them and takes Dafei and leave. Makio’s disappointed face continues as she sees Knight Lancer tend to Yoriko. Meanwhile Gil Ha wakes up from his ‘sleep’. Looks like he is in cohorts with Shin. Something about letting Alice win and making sure Dafei and Yoriko clash. However Shin believes things aren’t supposed to turn out as they are and advises Gil Ha to lie low till Yoriko’s mood improves. Dafei knights and promotes Youtarou into the rank of Arch Knight. This is her way of apologizing to Yoriko. But since she is still trying to get close to him, this earns the ire of Yoriko. Want to have another go? A revenge match? Bring it on! Oh no! Here we go again?! Later Youtarou learns from Ming that Dorgon almost quit being a knight to repent his actions but was stopped by Dafei since she will quit too if he does. Youtarou couldn’t read the atmosphere as he comments about Ming having a crush on Dorgon so she had to beat him up to stop. Back home, I’m not sure if the rest have succeeded in fooling Yoriko that they have taken care of the house because they’re working real hard to clean it. I don’t know. Although Makio the only one that appeared before Youtarou and thus Yoriko should have a hunch how this loli got here? Or she’s just letting this slide… Alice notices Makio is still down as she reveals what is bugging her: She has figured out that Youtarou and Knight Lancer are the same person! Woah! Big revelation, dude! Not too sure if she turned into a sadist in welcoming Youtarou back because she blames him for slacking and worrying everyone. Therefore a reason for Yoriko to become stricter on his training. Sh*t. With Dafei temporarily out of the picture, looks like some Egyptian pharaoh empress knight of the African branch is going to make her move.

Episode 11
It’s back to school for the kids. Except for Alice… She’s still playing Sunny Lancer! Chuunibyou?! However the crowd thinks she is a phony and lame. Then Yufeng pops up as Shadow Saber. She’s into this too? With her cool acrobatic moves, the crowd loves her better and views her even way cooler than the fake! Youtarou relishes his normal life. But I didn’t think that meant even harsher training from Yoriko! Because Makio still brings her disappointed face to the club, so young and acting like a true woman, she won’t tell what the problem is, blames it on Youtarou and runs away. Sweet. She is then met by Shin who puts a ring on her finger as he proclaims how similar she looks to Yuma (Makio’s mom). Everyone tries to find Makio but to no avail. Alice then tells Youtarou the truth about Makio’s realization about his identity. Great. It just makes him feel guiltier now. Yoriko has a bad feeling when she sees Shirotsubaki. She gets info from Kongouji that the African branch leader, Cherub Wadjet Raja is already in Japan. Additional info: Dafei and Wadjet have bad blood between them. Youtarou has the bad luck of meeting Wadjet. Now it’s her turn to invite him to her home, a floating vessel. Now it’s her turn too to invite him to join her African branch. She doesn’t care if his fights were flukes. They are still truths and she wants his talents. Still refuse? She shows him her elite soldiers who have captured some of his girls. How is this reflecting the goodness of a knight? As the leader of her branch, she has the responsibility to raise her organization’s status. Youtarou is her means of that. Youtarou becomes Knight Lancer to prove he can protect his girls. Unfortunately, the soldiers gang up and beat him down. See? He is this weak. You still want him? Yeah, it pisses her off that she fights him and breaks his mask. Then she uses some magic eye to hypnotize him that he cannot protect anyone. What is worse than seeing visions of Yoriko defeated? Makio leaving him all alone! Only with Wadjet’s strength and guidance can he protect others, that’s what she’s trying to tell him. Someone crashes into the scene and it scares the sh*t out of Wadjet. No, it’s not Yoriko. It’s Shin! She didn’t know he was around and made sure he wasn’t so to make her move. Well, looks like she’s wrong. Shin claims he knows everything about Youtarou because he is his.

Episode 12
Shin easily defeats the elite guards. Wadjet narrates Shin is one of the 4 Seraphs who presides over 10,000 knights each. Well, that sounded like a Godly statement. And she dared messed with him? Shin has warned Wadjet about messing with Youtarou. Unlike Dafei, he knows of her unholy plan to misuse Youtarou. Wadjet’s life is spared when Youtarou pleads to Shin. Run, lady. Run. And now, Shin wants Youtarou to fight him. What the heck is going on? I don’t blame Youtarou who is confused like us why the heck he needs to do this but that stern voice from Shin reminds his son not to disappoint him. Gulp. Yoriko barges into the scene to fight Shin to allow Youtarou and the girls to escape. Shin thanks her for shaping Youtarou stronger. For had Shin done it himself, Youtarou would have been broken. Poor confused kid. More confused than ever. I guess Yoriko lost. It’s back to father and son squaring off. Shin is now riding Shirotsubaki and wants Youtarou to fight a knight’s duel. If you wonder why Shirotsubaki looks similar to Shirohime, it’s because the former is her mom. Heck, I can’t tell between horses. I thought it was her sister… Since Youtarou is still complaining, Shin continues to remind the disappointment he is seeing. This is the reason why he lost the love of his princess. Speaking of which, he’s got Makio captured in a cage. Makio is sad this is happening and wants Shin to stop bullying his son. At least it got Youtarou to change his mind and fight. Oh, now Shirohime is against this. Even her mom is throwing a hard question of which side she belongs to. Don’t worry. Youtarou won’t make her fight. Shin won’t make Shirotsubaki too. I guess it’s just the guys then. When they both clash, we hear Shin’s explanation of the chivalry knights fight for, how Rhongomyniad is the essence of every knight’s soul and that’s why he was happy to see Youtarou wield it as he would become the knight he hoped for. However Youtarou cannot defeat Shin as his lance starts to disappear.

Makio then apologizes to Youtarou and reveals what has been bugging her. Finally. She has always had a hunch that Youtarou and Knight Lancer were the same person. She feared that if she really knew it, it would mean the hero would lose his identity and thus no longer a reason to stay by her side. WTF. Can’t blame a little girl’s thinking. Her ring resonates so hard with Youtarou’s soul that his lance is able to reappear and defeat Shin. Wow. This easy? Shin admits defeat and rises to heaven. It gets even weirder when angelic Yuma hugs him. Even weirder with abstract background while we here conversations between Shin and Yuma. From the time they first met (her circumstances were strangely similar to Makio), their times together till the time she had to part and left Makio in Shin’s care. In the aftermath, we see Dafei and Kongouji visiting Yoriko in hospital. Hey. Yoriko is laughing?! What a rare sight! Dafei explains why she did what she did then. She heard Shin saying his son is going to fight and become better than him. After getting to know he defeated Kongouji with Rhongomyniad, she thought Shin was ready to act. Though, she never expected him to defeat Shin. Shin pops up just to tell them Rhongomyniad chose him and will always be there when he needs it. He knows it. He can feel it. Yeah. Whatever. Meanwhile, Youtarou is going to leave for a knight school to become a better knight. Guess he changed his mind. Sae also mentions that she is going with him to pursue her dreams in medicine. So is it just coincidence that they are going to the same overseas school? Oh Sae, you make it sound like you’re a tsundere. So does this mean Youtarou will have to leave Makio? That’s why he is here to explain. Makio talks about the need for herself to become stronger and thus the training and doesn’t need a hero. But a hero is something she doesn’t want to be by herself. What she wants is her family by her side. Don’t worry. Youtarou won’t betray her. He’ll always be by her side. This means she is coming to the same school as him. Yeah. How convenient. Happy ending. The end.

What A (K)nightmare
Well, I can’t say that I’m confused of where the direction of the plot is heading. It gets even confusing in the final episode with things regarding Shin (more on him later). Because all the while, this entire series has just been mediocre, about a kid who doesn’t want to become a knight but destiny wasn’t so kind to let it go so he gets drawn into knightly deeds. Oh, did I mention this entire series too felt like the characters just playing family? Yeah… So other than being together, training a little and going on rescue missions, I can’t say if there is more to this series than it should be.

The characters themselves feel shallow and generic. Like Youtarou who is the biggest wimp of them all but helming the main character role means he gets to power up in the end and show his true strength. Even if it isn’t a test of physical might, at least he wins out in the strength of determination. After all those tears and lectures, if he doesn’t then something must be terribly wrong and therefore could not have been the chosen one. Which would have been pretty ironic, right? Get what all I’m saying. So at the end of it all, the kid who wants to quit becoming a knight turns over a new leaf and yearns to become a better one. Uh huh. He spent his entire life hating it and trying to run away, only for his weird syndrome to activate, and now he goes back to it. Well, if you can’t beat them, join them.

The rest of the other characters feel like it is to make up the numbers for the family so it just doesn’t feel like it is going to be Makio and Youtarou. Like Yuhua, I’m not sure what her role is after Youtarou and co move into the mansion. Yes, she is still Makio’s maid but Yoriko has got almost everything covered. Therefore the only role she’s resigned to play as a hacker is to check and updated on Youtarou’s stats during Yoriko’s harsh training. Basically, some of the characters have their pasts waiting to be explored but conveniently forgotten along the way. Like Youtarou’s relationship with the daughter of the hotspring inn’s owner (it was just so hinting that I thought it would pop up somewhere again), the children that used to work for Ban, Yufeng’s relationship with them and the reason Silvia was chasing her (it felt like an excuse to well, increase Youtarou’s family). Of course, the history between Shin and Yuma. It felt like they were lazy to animate the thing so they made us hear their conversation, which is like listening to a drama CD and leave the rest to our imagination. How cheap.

Then there is Sae who is supposed to be the romantic interest as well as the tsundere. She is greatly missing in the second half of the series where the characters have to go on rescue missions, thus diminishing her impact overall. I guess it is better than Nori whose entire role I am still guessing what the heck for. She could have easily been done away with. I thought it was to make up the harem but with Yoriko around, oh heck, I didn’t even dare think it would turn out as one! Then the rest of the family are just like, well, how should I put it. Silvia the senior knight colleague, Yufeng the ‘retard daughter’, Alice the loyal squire and Shirohime who sometimes have the magic ability to turn herself into a humanoid version (or is it just us on drugs when we see her in this form), add to Youtarou’s little family of knight fighters. Add Yuyan the tomboyish one and voila, you have your very own harem. Now that Youtarou is going overseas, I wonder if they will follow. Because I clearly recall they didn’t say anything about following him. Naturally Alice and Shirohime should. Yufeng as Makio’s daughter should too. Yuhua as Makio’s maid should also. Ah heck, everyone should just follow him.

Yoriko is the best character of the series aside that she is already a maid ;p. She is like the Terminator and untouchable lady in the series. Almost everybody who knows her shivers whenever she is around. In a way, nobody gets to step over her head as she is always in control of just about anything. However having this cold hearted attitude also makes her look like a b*tch. There is no room for compromise and you certainly can’t tell jokes about her because the next thing you know, she’ll be breathing down your neck and you’ll be sweating enough to fill a swimming pool! Her harsh and strict training-cum-torture time is like the running joke. Only, you won’t be laughing but feel the pain that Youtarou is going to go through.

I wonder what happened to the antagonists. With Ban remnants still bent on getting revenge on Kongouji, when Dafei made her move, they seemed to have ‘died out’. Because Kongouji seems so relaxed ever since he lost to Youtarou as his role is reduced to just assisting in whatever intelligence he could gather. And the other reason he continues to hang out with the gang is so that he could find the perfect timing to apologize to Youtarou for what he has done. Yeah, an excuse to stick around, I guess. I’m sure Wadjet has learnt her lesson. And I can safely assume that this serves as a lesson to all other worldwide knight branches that if they have the same reason to misuse Youtarou for their nefarious ends, big daddy will be here to kick your ass. So it’s safe to say that there won’t be any great villains for Youtarou to take on for a while. Heh. At least he can study becoming a knight in peace. Dafei isn’t all that bad. In fact she’s quite a sporting old lady. On a trivial note, I wonder the name Dafei means Big Fat. Well, it sounds like it in Chinese and naturally it describes her physique too, right? Shirohime’s limited performance means she gets to fool around in the next episode preview, a segment in which she fools just everybody with her nonsense and takes Alice along with the ride.

Is it me or am I the only one that thinks Shin looks more like a teenager than a father. Maybe it is to add to the mystery. So much so he looks more like Youtarou’s brother than his dad. Because you do notice that even in flashbacks, Shin looks exactly the same as he is right now. Is he some sort of God character because he has a tendency to pop up anywhere and even do stuffs like as though he is reading out from the script. You get the hint when Wadjet hinted us about him being a Seraph. I don’t know if that is just one of the fancy knight titles but with Shin being able to appear and teleport anywhere he likes and fight off anything without exerting so much strength, could this dude really be some sort of supernatural creature? But how can he be Youtarou’s dad then? One theory of mine is that he was human before turning supernatural, though this doesn’t explain his youthful looks. My other theory is that Youtarou looks up to him like a father figure and treats him as one. Because like many of the ex-Ban kids whom Kongouji saved, they call him their father. So it could be just that. Or it could be they are really related but Shin has been elevated to Godly status because of his ability to wield Rhongomyniad. Shouldn’t Youtarou become one too? Argh! So confusing!

The fight scenes are rather okay and nothing to shout about. Each of the knights has their own special and uniquely designed lance that houses a special ability. But we don’t really get to see them use it often and most probably once or twice. When you have lances imbued with other weapons like whip, bow and guns, heck, it looks more like some oversized sci-fi weapon than your conventional lance. Besides, sometimes it is funny to see the knights carry their big lance. I know they are trained to have such immense stamina but sometimes it feels that it might just break their hand just by lifting those huge metallic ice creams. Really. I mean, if those lances can cause a huge crater when you exert their full power, can their puny hands handle all that pressure? I guess that is why they are knights.

Something about the art and drawing style turn me off. Generally the character designs look like a cross between Kanon, Clannad and to a certain extent, Hidamari Sketch. Only somewhat less cute. I don’t know. Maybe it’s a personal thing. Because with that kind of faces, sometimes I thought the characters have derp faces. Get what I mean? Everybody is supposed to be cute but when you have that kind of derp face, it is hard to think so. Not even Yoriko is spared for this but the effect is less because she is wearing a maid outfit ;). Oh, Shirohime in her horse form, I thought she looked like she jumped out from that My Little Pony series and lost all her colours. Really. Another that I find baffling is the fact that in some battle scenes, the background colours tend to become negative colour. Like for that entire episode featuring the knights battling each other to rescue Youtarou was completely in this colouring. Like as though they are fighting in a parallel dimension or something. I don’t know, it just seems a little odd.

The only notable voice acting goes to Ayana Taketatsu as Yufeng. She isn’t like your usual Date A Live’s Kotori, Sekai De Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai’s Sakura, OreImo’s Kirino, Dog Days’ Eclair or even K-ON!’s Azusa. That very soft spoken shy-like voice of her character clearly reminds me of her role as Fuu of Tamayura. Not even High School DxD’s Koneko was near this. It sounded so similar that I thought they transplanted that character into this anime. The only other voices I recognized were Akira Ishida as Shin and Sayaka Ohara as Wadjet (in yet another devilish villainess role). Oh, isn’t that Kikuko Inoue having her cameo as Shirotsubaki? I should have guessed so…

The rest of the casts are Daiki Yamashita as Youtarou (Touya in Log Horizon), Ari Ozawa as Makio (Otone in Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku), Manami Numakura as Yoriko (Narbarel in Overlord), Suzuko Mimori as Alice (Sherlock in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Ayaka Suwa as Shirohime (Ikumi in Jinsei), Mao as Yuhua (Renge in Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda), Aimi Tanaka as Yuyan (Umaru in Himouto! Umaru-chan), Lynn as Silvia (Maya in Sabagebu), Takashi Matsuyama as Kongouji (Lovro in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Mami Koyama as Dafei (Balalaika in Black Lagoon), Ryohei Arai as Dorgon (Toshiie Homura in Battle Spirits Burning Soul), Souichiro Hoshi as Gil Ha (Kaoru in Ai Yori Aoshi), Rikako Yamaguchi as Ming (Charles in Freezing Vibration) and Yumiri Hanamori as Sae (Chiaya in The Rolling Girls).

The opening theme is Light For Knight by Suzuko Mimori. Another generic anime pop. Nothing that attractive to me, though. The ending theme is Little Lion Heart by Ayana Taketatsu. Yet another generic sounding lively anime pop. And yes, nothing attractive too. There are a few flamenco-like background music played especially during fight or rescue scenes. I don’t know. Somehow hearing this never fails to make me smile or laugh. Does it sound that funny?

Overall, not to call this anime disappointing but mediocre too doesn’t quite feel right. All I know is that this is one of those animes where you watch for the season and then toss it to the back of your memory as one of those animes that you have seen. Over the seasons (heck, perhaps by next season), you would probably have forgotten all about it. Nothing really stands out. But perhaps in my case would be the badass and kickass maid. But that itself has nothing to do with the overall of the show. It proves that you don’t need a mask, some fancy cape or a freaking huge lance to become a hero. All you need is just a good heart maid :-).

Hot handsome guys always attract girls around them, do they? Don’t you just hate it? Too bad. Many of us don’t have good looks to begin with so why the jealousy? I know it is only human nature. So many girls clamouring around that only guy makes you feel like you want to scream to God about this injustice. Well, not only guys have this problem. Even girls. There are only a limited number of girls who can hang around him. Those who can’t even get close are doomed to only watch it all from afar. But don’t worry. Somehow the laws of attraction are pretty funny and mysterious in the way it works sometimes. In some animes, opposite attracts because the most popular high school boy would prefer to take interest and fall in love with the school’s unpopular/normal girl. Bad taste, you say? Of all the good fish swimming in the sea and he had to pick that lousy one? That is love for you. It goes to show that looks and popularity aren’t necessary when it comes to love. Just be careful of vengeful b*tches…

Anime: Bokura Ga Ita.
Popular Guy: Motoharu Yano.
Unpopular Girl: Nanami Takahashi.
Love Rivals: Masafumi Takeuchi for Nanami.
Comment: How do you get a popular guy whose ex-girlfriend is already dead and he still hasn’t overcome it? I don’t know, but Nanami was there for Yano through thick and thin, constant arguments, breakups and separations and in the end they were united (as of the manga). You can say that they were there. Been there, done that.

Anime: Kimi Ni Todoke.
Popular Guy: Shouta Kazehaya.
Unpopular Girl: Sawako Kuronuma.
Love Rivals: Ume “Kurumi” Kurumizawa for Kazehaya; Kento Miura for Sawako.
Comment: This show should be the most classic and famous of this topic. Nobody could have guessed the school’s most eligible bachelor would fall for the school’s most misunderstood girl who resembles a ghost girl from a certain horror movie! It goes to show that once you know the real person underneath it, she’s just like any other. Only better because she got the guy in the end, right?

Anime: Sukitte Iinayo.
Popular Guy: Yamato Kurosawa.
Unpopular Girl: Mei Tachibana.
Love Rivals: Megumi Kitagawa for Yamato; Kai Takemura for Mei.
Comment: Girl has trauma. Girl hates making friends. Becomes anti-social. Becomes gloomy. Doesn’t talk much. Then popular guy comes around and tries to turn it all upside down. I don’t think other guys get kicked on their first meeting even if it’s an accident. Don’t tell me he likes her kick…

Anime: Kaichou Wa Maid-sama.
Popular Guy: Takumi Usui.
Unpopular Girl: Misaki Ayuzawa.
Love Rivals: Tora Igarashi for Misaki; Hinata Shintani for Misaki.
Comment: I think I should count this one in because Misaki can be considered unpopular as she is the student council president and gets tough with her brand of tyranny on the boys to protect the girl minority. Not good. Then popular boy finds out a secret job she does (no, it is not in the adult industry) to support her family and sort of ‘blackmails’ her. Misaki tsun-tsun. Lots of it. Love blossoms. True story.

Anime: Itazura Na Kiss.
Popular Guy: Naoki Irie.
Unpopular Girl: Kotoko Aihara.
Love Rivals: Kinnosuke Ikezawa for Kotoko; Reiko Matsumoto for Naoki.
Comment: Smart handsome boy with high IQ. Dislikes: Dumb girls. Too bad, Kotoko falls under this category and even more embarrassing is the fact that her love letter to him is outright rejected. Thankfully with her perseverance, they eventually become a couple. Did he just dumb down? Because I don’t think Kotoko levelled up except maybe in the charm department. But you can tell this guy is so popular in the future that even his own daughter wants to marry him! I don’t even think… And mama thought she had no more rivals after she married him…

Anime Hiyokoi.
Popular Guy: Yuushin Hirose.
Unpopular Girl: Hiyori Nishiyama.
Love Rivals: None. Not in the anime at least.
Comment: This anime was too short to analyse anything with only one episode. But I figured it must be the same since Yuushin is the popular cool slacker while the Hiyori is a shy person with not many friends. After getting struck by a truck on the day of her opening ceremony, she struck it big in love with this guy. God’s way of compensating her?

Anime: Nagareboshi Lens.
Popular Guy: Touga Yuugure.
Unpopular Girl: Risa Hanakago.
Love Rivals: Nil.
Comment: Pretty similar to Hiyokoi except that this may be the fastest become-a-couple series thanks to its only single episode (they became one right after the first few minutes). I don’t think Risa is that unpopular but rather if she has no boyfriend prior to this and she started thinking about it only when her best friend told her she got one, well, I think it’s safe to say that in this term, she isn’t that popular to begin with. Right?

Anime: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge.
Popular Guys: Kyouhei Takano, Takenaga Oda, Yukinojo “Yuki” Toyama and Ranmaru Morii.
Unpopular Girl: Sunako Nakahara.
Love Rivals: Mob Boss for Sunako.
Comment: These guys have got everything and yet they hang out with a girl with an obsession with anything dark and horror (thanks to her trauma of being rejected by her first love). Heck, she has even got an anatomy figure as her partner! When you have annoying girls screaming all day long around you, you just get tired of this sh*t and go for something more ‘natural’. Natural? Heck, yeah. Sunako is more natural than those fakes.

Anime: Peach Girl.
Popular Guys: Kairi Okayasu and Kazuya “Touji” Toujigamori.
Unpopular Girl: Momo Adachi.
Love Rivals: Individually I can’t think of any except the fact that Sae Kashiwagi remains a real b*tch trying to screw up Momo’s life to a point of dating a model to break up Momo’s relationship.
Comment: Actually, Kairi is the popular one as I think Touji is just pretty normal. Thanks to Sae’s lies and schemes, you can bet Momo is unpopular and made worse due to her tanned skin that she got from her swimming. She’s even got the ‘luxury’ to be torn between these guys and eventually ‘dumps’ the ‘normal’ one for the ‘popular’ one.

Anime: Hana Yori Dango.
Popular Guys: F4, mainly Tsukasa Doumyouji and Rui Hanazawa.
Unpopular Girl: Tsukushi Makino.
Love Rivals: Kazyua Aoike for Tsukushi; Sakurako Sanjo for Tsukasa; Shigeru Okawahara for Tsukasa.
Comment: Guys who rule school like their mini kingdom. Poor Tsukushi (circumstantially and financially) becomes a target of their malice when she stood up against them. Yeah, what are you going to do when the entire school is against you? Suddenly everybody hates her. Probably it is that perseverance and not giving in that even led to the Tsukasa starting to fall for her. Take that, all you losers!

Anime: Vampire Knight.
Popular Guys
: Kaname Kuran and Zero Kiryuu.
Unpopular Girl: Yuuki Cross.
Love Rivals: Ruka Souen for Kaname.
Comment: I guess this counts… How can you not have girls squealing at you when you are a hot handsome vampire? Heck, they’re waiting outside the gates just to catch a glimpse of him coming to school. Our Yuuki is considered unpopular because she is part of the disciplinary squad to keep those girls at bay. Yeah, that. I won’t say Zero is a heck of a popular guy but at least many girls think he is better off than fellow Yuuki since he himself is quite handsome. Now, if he only smiles and have a warmer personality.

The Laws Of Attraction
There are quite a number of others that I was in a dilemma to put in and decided to leave it out. For example, Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun has the main guy more of a delinquent and the main girl who prefers to be alone and studying. Special A isn’t counted because the protagonists are respectable and accomplished students. The heroine in Skip Beat dropped out of school and never made it to high school and this series feels more like a revenge plot to get even than loving the popular guy. Then there is Ao Haru Ride, this guy isn’t popular actually and he suddenly came back to town after moving away for so long. Something similar about Lovely Complex too because the guy is just average (but rather small in size) and with a tall girl, their popularity is because of their tendency of others seeing them as a comedy duo. Kuragehime could have been considered if not for the fact that the characters are already out of high school!

Can it be considered as a successful failure when such love at different pole ends happens (at least in terms of social popularity)? For the unpopular/normal girl, it is like nailing the grand prize. It is also like as though the love cupid decided to ‘compensate’ on that unpopularity by making the handsome guy fall in love with that girl. Sometimes, such guys are just tired of all the shallow artificialness and something ‘different’ caught their eyes. Something that isn’t easy to get is always worth it, right? True love is better found elsewhere than all those fakes who suck up to you just because they want something out of it. As seen, there is a miniscule few who also take an interest in the unpopular girl. Bad taste too? Well, it shows that maybe you just need to be at the right place and right time, then the right person would show up. Love is always there. So it pays sometimes not to over impress and just be yourself. Now, what happens when there are uglier and plainer girls around… Spoilt for choice! I hope such guys don’t have ‘the uglier/plainer the better’ mentality because it would be just so screwed up. Things can get ugly real fast…

Charlotte

April 17, 2016

With great powers comes great responsibility… Argh. Are we done with that overused superhero cliché line? But from the way super powers are being used in this film, it won’t so easily die off yet. What I am saying or being reminded of this quote is because of the Charlotte anime series. There was this little hype when this series was announced and produced because it was made by the same people from the kings of visual novel game and storytelling, Key. Yes, this original anime even has music and character design from people from Key. With their critically acclaimed past works like Air, Kanon, Little Busters, Clannad and including the critically acclaimed Angel Beats, it was hard to see why many anime fans were quite excited over this project. Our main protagonist discovers he has quite a special power. He misuses it and is caught by another fellow power user to put it to good use. He learns more about his power and of course the inconvenient truth and conspiracy behind it all. Even people with special powers have to take responsibility and pay the price for having it.

Episode 1
Yuu Otosaka narrates he has this strange power to switch bodies of a person he sees. Albeit it only lasts for 5 seconds and this leaves his own body slumped like a dead corpse. Despite this shortcoming he abuses it for his own benefit like starting petty fights to get revenge and also copy answers during tests. Therefore via this vile method he is able to enrol in a prestigious high school and becomes the top scoring student. Thanks to his good looks, he has got lots of girls confessing to him but he always rejects them down. No, not because he is gay. Maybe there is some sort of fun in saying no. Because the only girl he has his eyes on is the school’s belle, Yumi Shirayanagi. His plan to win her heart begins when she is about to cross the road, he possesses a truck driver to steer towards her. Yuu then pushes her to safety. He further acts like a gentleman by bringing her to the infirmary. Based on Yumi’s body language, he can tell that she has fallen for him. All as planned… And so begins his swell time hanging out with her. But one day the student council president calls Yuu to his office. He wants him to retake an exam because there are suspicions of him cheating. If he gets lower than 90%, he will be considered guilty. Yuu starts panicking. Thinking the answer is in his hands, Yuu uses his power only to find that guy looking at porn! Suddenly this strange girl, Nao Tomori pops up with a camera. She has recorded what he has done. Yuu lies his way about his medical condition but apparently she has his records. All clean. Now Yuu has pressed the panic button. He runs away. He is supposed to meet Yumi so she doesn’t understand why he is in such a rush. He tries to take her and run but she slips. Guess what? He abandons her and continues his run.

Yuu is baffled that some sort of missile may be high on his tail because the buildings behind him keep ‘exploding’. Turns out to be Joujirou Takajou. His special power is to move at breakneck speed. Only flaw is that he cannot stop. Nao wants Yuu to transfer to their school, Hoshi No Umi Academy. There are many people like him with powers in this world. Although many would lose their powers when they hit puberty, she wants him to stay at their school till then. They have already done all the necessary paperwork. Not convincing enough for Yuu? After Nao mentions all the things he has done with his power abuse, she turns invisible and beats him up. This is Nao’s power although she can only be invisible to 1 person at a time. When Yuu returns home, his little sister, Ayumi is excited that she got word from their uncle that they will be transferring to Hoshi No Umi. She celebrates by making their favourite rice omelette. She even used the secret ingredient of pizza sauce. It was Yuu’s childhood favourite dish but he is now sick of it. He can’t say that to Ayumi, right? When Ayumi talks about their mom, Yuu doesn’t want her to mention her name. She abandoned them at their uncle after her divorce. Their family is only the 2 of them. Ayumi can’t help feel sometimes they have another sibling but Yuu thinks she is just hallucinating. Ayumi is excited about her transfer that she couldn’t sleep that night and does her favourite stargazing hobby. Yuu eventually tells Yumi about his inevitable transfer and hopes she could come visit him sometimes. However since she says they are not officially dating and doing so would only make her look like a stalker, I guess they’ll have to go their separate ways. Thank you and goodbye. This guy just got dumped. I wonder if he is going to put that shell shock face the entire day. Till Nao and Takajou show up to help him move his stuffs to the new place. That night, Yuu also has a strange dream whereby there was another person believed to be their sibling walking beside them.

Episode 2
Yuu makes his debut at Hoshi No Umi. Nao further explains that not every kid here has powers although they show symptoms of it. The reason for this school is to safeguard them. In the past, such people with power till be sent to labs and become guinea pigs. Her brother was a victim of it before this system was implemented. Nao also has Yuu join the student council that she and Takajou are part of. They want to use his power to help stop others abusing theirs. Yuu hangs out with Takajou during lunch. He uses his speed to grab rare and limited food. Each time he always caused damage and injuries to himself so he is somewhat ‘immune’ to all the crashing. Nao then mentions their collaborator is coming and she wants them to be at the student council office. So who is this collaborator? Some dude who comes in dripping wet to pinpoint on the map where the next super power person is and what that power is. They make a move to some high school where Yuu is forced to use his power to stop some suspicious guy linked to the power person. Not that he likes it anyway but he has to do it. This leads them to the president of the archery club whereby Nao uses her innocent yet devilish wiles to reveal about his psychic photography. Photos he took have the subject in the nude and he is selling it for the money. He threatens one on Nao but her team uses their power to confiscate the photo. When Nao chides him for being disgraceful, he shoots his arrow at her! Takajou barely saved her. After a few more lectures from Nao for him to turn over a new leaf and lead an honest life, I guess he finally relents.

As Yuu is wondering about Nao’s brother, she agrees to take him to go visit him. Along the way, she tells him about their past. Kazuki is a budding music artist and Nao was about to get into a prestigious middle school. But all that came crashing down when mom wanted and begged them to go to some boarding school. While Nao made new friends at her new school and underwent some normal medical examination, it was different for Kazuki. He underwent a torrid experiment as the scientists wanted to see if his powers to vibrate air at will can be used for hijacking broadcast and telecommunication signals. The horrifying torture turned Kazuki into a vegetable. He was no longer the brother Nao recognized. He couldn’t even recognize her. After she learnt her friends were jut actors hired to keep her distracted, that is when she ran away. She never trusted anyone again except for that 1 person, the reason she is here today. Nao brings Yuu into Kazuki’s room. Chaos. That guy is screaming and tearing up the sheets. The sedatives ran out. So that is him composing and strumming his guitar? Sad… After he calms down, Nao continues thanks to that person she trusted, Kazuki was admitted here free of charge. Nao seems to have accepted fate. Nobody cares enough to find a cure for him. People with super powers are like batteries. Once they run out of power, the scientists will just find a new one and toss the old ones aside. Yuu feels a little sympathetic. But Ayumi isn’t because he came back late and missed dinner. She forgives him learning that it is because of his student council job. Oh no… It’s that secret ingredient in the food again… Late that night, Ayumi continues her stargazing and she is excited about a comet that will fly by Earth once every several hundred years.

Episode 3
The collaborator appears again. I suppose now Yuu has to ask why he is always wet. It’s the only way he could use his power. This time the target is a little different. Can a person wield 2 different sets of powers at the same time? Spirit channelling and pyrokinesis? As they head to the area, they can tell their target is being chased around. Asking the locals reveal that their target could be the popular idol from How Low Hello, Yusa Nishimori. Guess what? Takajou is a big fan of her. So is Ayumi. Then they chase and corner a shady guy and make him spill the beans. Seems someone from the TV broadcast has ordered him to get Yusa. Later they are approached by this guy, Shou asking about their intention to target Yusa. He believes they did him a favour and after Nao shows her power, he takes them to his hideout where his buddy, Kouta is accompanying Yusa. Yes, the idol in person. Takajou, please control yourself. Yusa explains her narcolepsy that she tends to fall asleep and finds herself in a completely different place. Nao believes it is not split personality but rather her power of channelling spirits. She thinks she has been communicating with a ghost name Misa. She is actually Yusa’s older sister who died in an accident 6 months ago. These guys are her street friends. Suddenly Misa possesses Yusa and displays her uncouth and rude behaviour. The 180 degrees turn must be shocking for Takajou, eh? How can his idol act like this? No way! Misa burns down the place but soon puts the fire out. Nao deduces Yusa cannot summon her and can only be possessed. They explain why Yusa is targeted. She accidentally took home the handphone of some TV corporate bigshot. Some of his texts contain pretty shady dealings. Of course it is too late to turn it back because either way, tell the police or not, Yusa’s future in the industry is sealed. They need to do something about this and it is not burning down the TV station. You don’t want Yusa to get arrested, right? Don’t worry. Nao has a plan.

When Yusa agrees to meet the bigshot and his goons, as usual he tells her to give back his handphone. Even so, her future is dead. Actually this is Misa he is talking to. She instils fear in him by burning a couple of his goons (Shou and Kouta abduct and trade places with them to get burnt. Don’t worry, they’re wearing fire proof vests). Misa then make it looks like she has some sort of telekinesis power to beat up the rest and the bigshot from afar (Nao and co in action of course) to make that guy genuinely believe her power is not to be messed with. With this episode over, Nao wants Yusa to transfer to Hoshi No Umi. It would be the safest place for her. The guys are sad because this means they won’t get to see Misa anymore. Therefore Shou wants to say his last goodbyes to her. Actually it is his confession to her. Misa sets him free to live his new life without her. She belongs in the past. And in the ground where corpses should be. Yuu returns home and again gets reprimanded for being late for dinner. It is their family’s policy to eat dinner together. We all know what Yuu is going to have for dinner… When Ayumi gets excited seeing How Low Hello on TV, this reminds Yuu to inform her that he met her in person and will be transferring to Hoshi No Umi. Since Yuu might do her a favour and make special arrangements to meet her, she can’t contain her excitement and starts nose bleeding.

Episode 4
You know Yuu’s day is going to start off badly when Ayumi serves him bread with pizza sauce… The class is abuzz when Yusa transfers in. She holds more power than the teacher, so to speak… Nao brings her to the student council office for the first time since the collaborator is coming. This time the place will be Kannai Academy and the power is telekinesis. Nao knows something about that place. That school houses a baseball prodigy, Arifumi Fukuyama and Nao has done some research from the video, the way he throws his ball. Based on his finger griping, his pitches are no way could be incredible unless he used telekinesis to change the ball’s direction. So they go to see him during his practice about using his power to cheat. Of course he feigns ignorance but Nao demonstrates her power and Misa taking over Yusa to do a little fire threatening. Nao suggests they settle it this way. Their schools will compete in a match. If Hoshi No Umi wins, he must do as Nao says or else they have to butt out of his business forever. So does Hoshi No Umi have a baseball team that can best this prodigy? Well, the only way is to be part of the team and use their power. Yuu doesn’t look too happy. Hoshi No Umi’s baseball players are perhaps feeling scared facing Arifumi. I guess that is why Yusa is here. To give them some motivation and clear up any bust up. The baseball match begins. I’m going to skip the details since there is lots of baseball play here I don’t really get. Nao’s team of course use some power but a miscalculation puts her team at a disadvantage. Then with more play and on the last match she tells Yuu to just play fairly, they manage to win by a whisker. Arifumi reveals his reason for doing this is because of his friend. Arifumi considers himself average but his friend is the better pitcher and deserves to be noticed. That is why he is using his power to bring him to the Koshien where he will be scouted. Nao admits her side did use some tricks to win. But she says there is someone he doesn’t need trick to impress and can always cheer him from the sidelines as a friend. Then one day he can proudly say that guy is his best friend. Nao then has Yuu possess Arifumi for a while for some experiment but nothing comes out of it. Yuu’s day doesn’t end well too. After all that praying that dinner won’t have that pizza sauce, Ayumi already made stew with it.

Episode 5
Yuu notices a group of girls calling out to Nao. Then they beat her up and she just stood there and did not fight back. No time to sympathize because the collaborator is coming. This time a person with levitation power. Nao believes it is this person in this article. It writes about a mysterious figure flying in the air. Because they are going to camp at that area for a few days, they go get food and camping supplies. Seems like a group of kids having fun on a camping trip. Eating BBQ corn, eating BBQ meat (I guess Yuu is the only one eating his vegetables), fishing by the river, bathing in the barrel (the guys only get to bathe in the river), etc. That night, Yuu notices Nao sitting by herself and listening to her music. The band she is listening to is ZHIEND, her brother’s favourite group. When Yuu listens to it, he felt calmness and like as though he is in a big open plain. Nao reveals her goal is to shoot a PV for ZHIEND although it seems she is shooting pathetic videos of cheaters. She gives him the player. That night, he has another strange dream of a third person in his family. This camp routine goes on for few days and Yuu would like to go home. Nao rejects that idea and believes the end will come tomorrow. Next morning, a guy approaches them so Nao lies about them being runaways and staying here forever. He knows they are not leaving and threatens to call the police. That is when Nao shows him the article. He is that flying guy. She deduces he was practising his flying here instead of risking being caught in public. But do you know this is private property? Yeah, even her own team doesn’t know. Nao and co have been camping here so he got tired of waiting for them to leave and showed up to get rid of them. Nao dares him and starts filming. He fell into a trap hole she made and she got it all on camera when he flies out. He snatches the camera and flies away so Yuu is forced to switch bodies. When he crash lands, Nao tells about the experiments and salvations. He believes after Misa demonstrates her power. He always thought he was the only one with power and agrees to stop using them. When Yuu gets home, Ayumi is not happy. I guess if it is work, it’s alright. She makes him vegetable noodles and he couldn’t be happier it doesn’t have pizza sauce! Freaking delicious! Thank goodness she ran out of sauce and the officer at the supermarket stopped her when she wanted to buy some. Yuu must be so happy. Reward comes to those who wait. He learns a guy asked Ayumi out. Worried? Don’t worry. She turned him down. She then starts coughing so Yuu takes her temperature and confirms she is having a cold and puts her to bed.

Episode 6
Ayumi is sick. The collaborator points out collapse as the next power. But the location is the dorms. Well, there are many power users there, right? But how many will be in at this time of the day? So it hit Yuu that it could be Ayumi. So far she has not show any signs but the probability is higher if the sibling has it. It is suggested to go check on her but so as not for everybody to go, Yuu thinks of cheering her up by sending Yusa. The only problem is to get the annoying fan boy out of the way. Don’t worry. Nao has already thought of that. After distracting him, she kicks him out of the window!!! OMFG!!! The trio make their way there. Yuu goes in first and seems they have visitors. Ayumi’s classmates, Nomura (the class rep), Oikawa (the guy who confessed and got rejected) and Konishi (extremely quiet girl with yandere eyes). After they leave, the rest comes in. Ayumi instantly recognizes Yusa under that poor disguise. Her nose bleed is gushing out like a fountain! I think her fever is going to get worse. But it made her a little better. After Yusa leaves, Ayumi tries to play match make with Yuu and Nao but they quickly deny it. They’re so in sync in that too. When Nao tries to ask Ayumi if she had any nightmares, Yuu thinks it is in bad taste. Nao agrees that they don’t have proof Ayumi has powers and could be somebody else in this complex. But you can never be too sure. They lack information and she leaves him to ask her. So when he does, Ayumi faintly remembers about things breaking and the ground splitting. Just to be safe, Ayumi is told to stay home even if she is feeling a little better the next day. But she is stubborn and sneaks out to school. When reports that Nao was sighted in school, they have a bad feeling and rush over. After Ayumi barely escapes from another of Oikawa’s flirting, she bumps into Konishi. She blames her ever since she came, Oikawa only had eyes for her. if she was not here, they would have been dating. It’s like Oikawa has forgotten about her. So this is her problem? True to her yandere character, she takes out a cutter. Run Ayumi, run! When she is cornered and at the pinnacle of her fear, her power starts to activate. The walls break and the ground collapses. Yuu and co arrive too late. Big brother panics in seeing the mess as he disregards his safety to dig through the rubble. Now the wall is going to fall on him.

Episode 7
Yuu wakes up in hospital. But here’s the bad news: Ayumi died! OMG!!! He falls into depression and just like any others who take their little sister for granted, he realizes he never told her how much he appreciated her. Well, it’s too late. At least he doesn’t have to put up with that pizza sauce anymore. Holy sh*t! Truly sorry. Not the time for jokes! Yuu is now holing up in his room and eating nothing but cup noodles and watching TV. Even Yumi comes to talk him out of it but if she isn’t going to buy him more cup noodles, then she better go home. Since she is persistent, he throws his tantrum and she leaves. Eventually his cup noodles run out so he needs to go get them. Realizing agents knocking on his door and they might have put Yumi up to this, he uses his power on them for a clean escape. He thinks of running away far enough so the collaborator won’t track him down. In some rented space, now his diet changes to pizza. After being bored, he takes a walk and changes his died to dango. Then he gets addicted to playing a video game shooting monsters. One day when his favourite game is being hogged by others, he blows his top. Of course they take it outside and he uses his power to best them. Yuu even resorts to injuring them. Even when the big boss and his gang confront him, Yuu continues to act tough and with his power beats them all up till the boss has to admit defeat! He goes around beating gangs and finds this even more fun. Then he discovers drugs. He is about to take his first sniff when Nao suddenly kicks it away. If he takes that, he will be at the point of no return. Seems Nao was with him the entire time. Only invisible. She felt responsible for everything and vowed to stay with him till he recovers. What will they do now? She suggests returning to a healthy diet. She promises that they’ll stay away from each other’s business after he takes one bite. Back at Takajou’s home, she cooks a nostalgic rice omelette dish. It tastes like how it used to be. Apparently Nao borrowed the recipe book from his mom and believes Ayumi was trying to replicate it. Now he chows down everything. Pizza sauce never tasted so good, huh? She asks him to come back to the student council. But didn’t she say they would stay out of each other’s business after this? Well, that was if he took one bite. He ate the whole damn thing. I guess she’s right. He agrees to come back.

Episode 8
With Yuu back in school, Nao calls everyone since the collaborator is coming. But since they have time, they watch Yusa’s newly released music video promo. I’m sure Takajou loves it to the max. Nao gives a decent score but minus points each time Yusa acts ‘stupid’. Hey, she isn’t a fan of idol music. Since they have more time, why not watch it again? So when is this collaborator guy coming? He isn’t. So why did Nao call them? It’s to hand them tickets for ZHIEND’s concert tomorrow. I guess she is a big fan of this rock group’s music. Oh sorry. Post rock. Whatever. Since Yusa and Takajou aren’t fans of this kind of genre, I guess by deduction Yuu has to go. When Yuu is walking home, a blind woman passes by him. When he thinks how familiar she is, she starts ranting about okonomiyaki so he is forced to bring her to a shop. Turns out this blind lady is Sala Shane, the lead vocalist for ZHIEND. Her good hearing makes her tell Yuu has some sort of grief. Like he has lost someone close. Care to talk about it? Upon hearing his story, she is so touched that she wants to offer her respects. He then tells her about Nao and her brother who loves her band so much. Yuu gets an idea to surprise Nao that he is with Sala but to his surprise, she isn’t, well, surprised. Sure, she loves their music and all but isn’t that obsessed that she’ll go out of her way just to meet them. Yuu then gets permission to meet Kazuki as he hopes this might change something. Sala agrees to let him take her there since he sounds like he cares a lot about this. Although her concert is tomorrow, her producer will take care of it somehow. Somehow.

Along the way, he asks if she is really blind as she can sign autographs so she isn’t blind to begin with. The blindness is penance for her sins. Her dream was to be a big rock star but never achieved it. She ended up wasting her life idling while watching other musicians zoom to the top as she cursed God. The reason she ended up big right now is because she ‘cheated’. She was once a huge phenomenal star. Of course some people looked at her differently and this caused her family endless grief. There was once her brother was kidnapped for ransom. She stopped all that to become a lead vocalist of a small time band by trading her eye sights with God. He might not understand now but when the time comes, she hopes he will make the right decision. Arriving at the hospital, Sala notes he is quite a nice person. It must be someone he met. All he could think of is Nao. Remembering his permission for Sala to meet Kazuki, she wondered why he is going so far for her brother even though the chances are close to impossible. It made him realized all he ever did was trample on others and now he is doing such good deeds. Why? Because he felt like it. Upon entering Kazuki’s room, the usual screaming and pillow tearing. Damn those sedatives ran out again. Sala can feel the ‘deepness’ in his ‘composing’. She starts singing and slowly Kazuki calms down. When Yuu mentions about Nao, he somewhat recognizes her. In the end, both leave with very feel good feelings and a very meaningful day. Learning Yuu has a ticket to her concert, she will sing for him and also the person he cares about whom she feels will also be there. Yuu cannot be more thankful to Nao for changing him. After Sala gets dragged back by her agent, Yuu gets a call from Nao. After the nurse called her, she is at the hospital and saw this amazing miracle. Kazuki does recognize her. She thanks him for doing this. Back home, Yuu can’t help shake off this familiar feeling of ZHIEND’s song.

Episode 9
Trying to choose a great outfit for the concert, eh Yuu? It could have been a great time at the concert till Sala starts singing Trigger. This song suddenly causes Yuu to feel pain. And I’m sure the fans are pretty sure he isn’t screaming because he is into the flow of the concert. We are brought to another reality whereby Yuu and Ayumi are in a research facility like many other power users. Yuu is just fresh off hearing ZHIEND’s song and felt quite deep. He noticed an old researcher listening to his classical music and when he asks why he is always in this place, he replies about being scorned by his fellow researchers for having a different thinking. Just like when the heliocentric theory in the past. This place is like his sanctuary. Yuu and Ayumi talk about their big brother, Shunsuke’s ability to change time and space. It is so dangerous that the researchers have locked him up differently. Kumagami briefly talks to Yuu that he has found a guy with telepathy. He passes a small piece of paper and the rest is up to him when to execute it. That very same night, Yuu is shocked to learn Ayumi has been called in for further study. His pleas that she has no powers fall on deaf ears. Deep into the night, a short earthquake rocks the place. When Yuu is freed from his quarters, the old researcher soaked in his own blood tells Yuu how his colleagues have discovered Ayumi’s collapse power. The entire block is now in lockdown mode and they are going to dissect and then dispose of her. He wants him to use his true plunder power to save her.

Yuu makes a mad dash around the facility to find the telepathic person. Once he finds his quarters, he possesses his body for a short while. Yuu’s true power seems to be copying the power of the other power user he possessed. Now with telepathic abilities, he tries to locate Shunsuke and tells her what is going to happen to Ayumi. Other of his friends help obstruct the guards as Yuu uses his power to absorb it and inch closer to Shunsuke. Once he frees big brother, he uses his time and space changing ability to change the world. Yuu wakes up in hospital screaming. Nao wonders if he has something wrong since he collapsed during the concert. Yuu believes what he saw wasn’t a dream. Realizing he did have an older brother, Kumagami makes his appearance. He is the collaborator and because he wasn’t dripping wet, Nao couldn’t recognize him. Kumagami will answer all his questions and bring him to see Shunsuke in hope they can save Ayumi again. Can they? She’s dead, right? Well, if you remember what Shunsuke’s power is. Nao is excited to meet Shunsuke because he is the person who helped her brother and the only person she trusted. Kumagami brings them to a remote area. Their high tech secret research facility is hidden deep well inside a cave. They see Shunsuke and Nao is quite ecstatic to meet her saviour although the former is completely blind. But the same sentiments can’t be said for Yuu. He isn’t going to jump teary eyed into the arms of his big brother he missed. Yeah, he is a bit confused by everything. So buckle up and hold on to your seat because Shunsuke will begin his time travelling story now.

Episode 10
When Shunsuke travelled back in time, it was 3 years before they got captured. In his bid to solve this mess, he meets up with Kumagami who brings him to a place where he has gathered a few fellow power users, Shichino (going through walls), Medoki (hypnosis) and Maedomari (memory erasing). Soon they gathered more power users but the end is always the same. They get captured and try to mount an escape but chaos ensued. Each time Shunsuke jumped back, he realized he gradually loses his vision. So once the idea of collecting funds to establish a school to protect their kind is in the cards, the next time Shunsuke jumps, he will be completely blind (and thus unable to use his power anymore). He doesn’t mind since it will protect his siblings and give them a future. After securing the school, Shunsuke wants Kumagami to erase memories of him from his siblings so that he can move freely. Second, he wants similar schools to be established across the country but since Kumagami fears he would be recognized, he suggests covering his face with his long hair and making it wet. Shunsuke says goodbye to his siblings one last time before having his pals erase their memories. The rest is history. So now Shunsuke wants Yuu to steal his power so he can leap back and save Ayumi and then steal her collapse power. Shunsuke explains Yuu’s true plunder power and even Nao knows about it from the start thanks to the collaborator. They thought he would be dangerous but realized he misunderstood the extent of his power. Yuu not only can steal people’s power but that person would lose his power forever. Because Yuu never realized this himself, they have got lucky so far. Yuu wonders why they didn’t use him to just steal other people’s power to make things easier. That would be inhumane and it would be a good lesson to teach others why they shouldn’t misuse it. Plus, they don’t know what kind of power Yuu will have if he accumulates them all.

Yuu jumps back in time somewhere when the collaborator pinpoints the collapse power. Nao is surprised that Yuu seems to know a lot and especially this collapse power coming from his sister. After visiting Ayumi, Yuu tells Nao that he is from the future to change the past. She believes him since he looks like the kind who would do anything for Ayumi. He thanks her for being his guiding light to the right path after falling into depression when he lost Ayumi. You’re welcome. When Yuu puts Ayumi to bed, he steals her power. Next day after sending her off to school, it seems the student council members are here to help. Too bad Takajou disguised as a teacher is caught because the faculty doesn’t recognize him. The students clamour around Yusa because they know who she is. Isn’t she supposed to be in high school? Who cares! It’s Yusa! And seeing how cute Nao is, they think she is a fellow idea. Failures… Yuu hides inside a locker until the moment Konishi threatens to kill Ayumi. When the time is right, Yuu leaps out to protect Ayumi and then demonstrates a little of his power to scare the sh*t out of Konishi. Don’t you dare hurt my sister again you little piece of sh*t! I think that’s enough for today. Ayumi couldn’t be more relieved collapsing into the arms of her heroic big brother. I’m sure Yuu doesn’t care if his reputation turns into siscon but he doesn’t want to lose her again. On the way home, Kumagami is here to pick him up and Yuu already knows it well that he will be brought to Shunsuke.

Episode 11
Now the siblings have met, Yuu wants them to live ordinarily like before. However that is not possible. Yuu now has accumulated many powers inside him and thus countless organizations will be after him. They must stay here in this research facility researching their power. Shunsuke brings them to see Dr Tsutsumiuchi, the head staff who is trying to develop a vaccine to prevent an outbreak before the dust falls again. The comet named Charlotte passes by every 75 years and its dust is what gave some people the strange powers. The last the comet passed was 12 years ago. The vaccine is effective on those whose powers have not sprouted. Even trying to create a vaccine for dad will take years. There is also the danger of people with super powers banding together to bring chaos in the future. Yuu wants Ayumi’s memories to return but that cannot be fixed. The reason Yuu’s memories return is purely coincidental. Ayumi seems to be getting used to her new place very well. It just makes Yuu a bit lonely now that Shunsuke is ‘hogging’ her. When Kumagami receives another notification of another power user, he is going to meet Nao but the driver, Furuki cannot comply with his wishes. As his family is threatened, he is forced to bring him to see the ringleaders. The big boss is a foreigner. Furuki doesn’t get his family’s release yet and must continue to do their bidding. Kumagami is beaten up and interrogated via lots of painful torturing measures to make him spill details of their secret organization. Nao is shortly kidnapped by them.

They then contact Shunsuke to exchange Yuu for Kumagami and Nao’s release. They have been planning this for a long time so if they suspect that any part of their plan fails, they will assume they have used time travel to leap back and change the future and will immediately kill Furuki’s family. Shunsuke tells his friends but they run out of card to play seeing it is too risky to let Yuu jump further back in time. They have to bet their hopes on Yuu. He then talks to Yuu about rescuing Kumagami and Nao by using his plunder to steal their power. This serves only to stress Yuu because he cannot handle something this big. His collapse power is in risk of activating so Shunsuke hugs him and just tells him to leap back in time if something goes wrong. Furuki brings Yuu to see them. This time they throw the details of Furuki’s family’s whereabouts. Yuu possesses the ringleaders to check if they are armed. They’re not. Seems they purposely let him do this. Then their henchman blinds one of Yuu’s eyes to prevent him from time travelling. He cannot use plunder or else he will kill Kumagami and Nao who are held in the basement. However he becomes enraged and his plunder activates. When Shunsuke and friends arrive, they fear the worst scenario has happened. They find Yuu’s unconscious body (he is still alive) and realize the reason he cannot time leap. Looking around for Kumagami and Nao, Shunsuke is devastated when he realizes Kumagami has used his body to protect Nao from being pierced by the steel beams. Sadly, he cannot hold on to his life any longer.

Episode 12
Yuu wakes up in hospital screaming. Shichino stabs a sedative into him. He is told the culprits have their memories erased and Nao is alright. But upon hearing Kumagami’s death, Shichino gets worked up because now Shunsuke is depressed. It makes Yuu think the possibility of how Ayumi would feel had he died back then. Takajou and Yusa visit him to feed him his favourite food. Yuu asks Misa about death since he came close to it. He also tells Yusa to go visit her parents because you don’t know when death will strike. So Yusa visits her parents and at the same time does a food interview with them. Although Misa didn’t like the taste, she cannot help but cry tasting the love of her parents. Ayumi also visits Yuu to feed him his favourite rice omelette. Now the secret recipe doesn’t taste bad and in fact very good. Yuu sees Shunsuke who has been spending most of his time on the hospital’s rooftop. His depressed state reminds him of himself. When he returns to his room, he is surprised Nao is doing fine. He tells her what Shunsuke said to him about foreign terrorists trying to make inroads in Japan. Because he is at a lost on what to do, she suggests absorbing every power in the world. This is a risky method as nobody knows what will happen to him. Will he stay sane then? Surprisingly, he agrees to do that despite she says she was just joking. Why? Because he loves her. You were hoping for her flustered reaction, eh? Nope. In fact, she’s just disgusted and not quite believing it. Because he is persistent despite all the rejection, she agrees to be his girlfriend after he returns from his mission. If he pulls off that greatest feat, she’ll hopelessly fall in love with him. It’s a promise. For a start, she has him take away her powers. Yuu then talks to Shunsuke about this plan but he is against it since he is still reeling about Kumagami whom he never once thanked for saving his ass many times. That is why Yuu will do it so Kumagami’s death won’t be in vain. Shunsuke recovers and tells his pals about Yuu’s plan. They will let Yuu go abroad to do his mission while the rest remain in Japan and do what they can. As Yuu is approaching adulthood, he must do it fast before his power fades. Takajou and Misa see him so he could take away their power. Misa left a heart warming note for Yusa. Nao gives him little notes to expand his foreign language vocabulary and in return he gives her the player as safekeeping.

Episode 13
The most international episode ever. If your country doesn’t appear here, feel free to file a complaint for being left out :-). So it begins, Yuu’s globetrotting adventure to steal powers from others. Seems pretty fine and convenient the way things are going. I mean, he got powers that allowed him to instantly translate and understand other languages, a power that lets him find other power users and one that even identifies potential carriers. So much so he earns enemies who try as hard to kill him but failed, as well as the dreadful nickname of One Eye Grim Reaper. When he plunders a healing power, he feels bad because this person has been using it for good. But a job is a job. He gets this idea of healing his eye so he can time travel and save Kumagami but decides against it since he must stay true to his original mission. His turning point came when after taking in so many powers, he starts to go crazy hearing voices in his head. He becomes agitated and attacks others although he is conscious enough to stop himself from harming or killing. His memories start to get hazy. He couldn’t even remember Nao since he doesn’t know who gave him these little notes. The more he carries on his mission, the more reckless and crazier he becomes. It’s like he just doesn’t care anymore and doing it just because he had to. Then at one point he can’t even remember why he is doing this and feels like taking over the world since he is so powerful. Despite mistreating Nao’s notes, he can’t bring himself to throw it away and feels an emotional attachment. Then in China, while he is already weakened, a bounty hunter shoots arrows in his back. Yuu is protected by a girl who is willing to die to save him. Yuu realizes she is the last power user on Earth and her power is foolhardy courage. He plunders her power and after having her run to safety, gets one more shot by the bounty hunter. Before he could claim his prize, conveniently the helicopter piloted by Shunsuke and co arrive to pick him up. How the hell do they know?! When Yuu wakes up in the hospital bed with Nao by his side, he cannot remember who she is. I guess this hurts her as much. She explains and admits she is his girlfriend and they promised to go out once he returns. Sorry. Can’t remember all that. She also says she made those little notes. She is reduced to tears after hearing how he treats it as a charm as always. In a way, it got him back ‘safely’. With no memories of his past, the only way is to make memories of the future. Nao records him with the rest. Aptly, Yuu is looking forward to the future.

OVA
This definitely takes place before that turning point of the series. The power user detected this time is a mind reader. They find Iori Sekiguchi sitting alone in an alley. When Nao goes to ask if she could read minds, suddenly everyone can hear her thoughts. Nao continues to test out by insulting Takajou. So he too gets back at her by insulting ZHIEND! They start fighting and this is when Iori blows her top blaming herself as the reason why everyone around her starts fighting. They also notice that everyone can read each other’s minds within a 2.5m radius. The plan now is to act friendly and thus convince her they won’t fight around her. This means Nao and Yuu are the only ones who will do the job because Nao can’t let Takajou be alone with Yusa and let his unspeakable fantasies go wild. Despite Nao punching Yuu many times, she convinces Iori they are playing boke and tsukkomi. Yeah… Poor guy. They head to the diner for food and even hang out at all the scary rides that Yuu is afraid of. Each time, Nao taking advantage and playing around with mind reading as well as that tsukkomi act of hers to cover up her violence on Yuu. Iori is a happy girl but in her haste to go to the next ride, she accidentally spills ice cream on a couple’s clothes. The girl is alright with it but the guy blames her. Because their thoughts could be read, the couple start arguing and break up. Iori descends into despair and runs away. Back to square one. They find her sitting alone again and this time she doesn’t want her to come close or they will be jinxed. But Nao won’t and uses her power to get up close with her. Although she admits she is also a power user like her, she lies about it that she can’t leave girls like her alone. Iori is willing to trust her again. She then tells her story. She had a childhood friend whom she is very close, Honoka. One day she stopped playing with her and because she didn’t want to tell her, Iori wished to hear her thoughts and her wish came true. Nao gives her hope that she can control this ability. Although she has no solution to it, she will help her solve this.

Iori is currently staying at Nao’s place. I guess when you spend a lot of time with a mind reader, Yuu must be glad Iori isn’t staying with her otherwise Ayumi could have heard his stinging comments on that sickening secret ingredient. Yup. That dinner again… He gets a call from Nao to go talk to Honoka. Outside her house, they try to ask her why she stopped being friends with Iori. As she won’t say, this prompts Nao to tell her about some classified information about Iori’s abilities and how she caused everyone around her to fight. They also demonstrate their powers to her. Because Iori is also a power user like her, they are going to take her away to the underworld. They will never see each other again and the purpose of this visit is to ask if she has any last words for her. That is when Honoka spills the beans about Iori having an incurable disease that would make her paralyze eventually. She feels it is worse to watch a best friend waste away and would rather have Iori hate her instead. That is why she severed ties with her. But this only proves to make Nao mad. She gets so angry that she gets rough with Honoka while screaming about her hypocrisy. Her best friend is dying and she continued to play with others and at the same time she could say how important Iori is to her. Some best friend she is. She wants Honoka to do something instead of running away herself. The confrontation ends when Honoka’s mother comes to stop this. Yuu is left shocked over Nao’s outburst. He had never seen her genuinely this mad. In the aftermath, Nao and Yuu continue to visit Iori in hospital. Honoka also resolved to stay by her side and Iori promised to fight her illness till the end. It makes Yuu feel how great girls are. That’s not in a perverted sense, right? Although Iori’s power issue is not solved, at least it is important her friendship with Honoka did.

The Future Lies In The Past
As I have read, this series wasn’t well received although it was praised for some of its elements, overall it didn’t fare as well compared to its predecessors. It was eventually a big let down due to high expectations. Personally, I am not sure if it is all the animes that I have watched over the years that have numbed me or that I’m just an idiot who doesn’t know how to tell a good anime anymore unless it is just freaking significantly awesome (like Shingeki No Kyojin). There were funny bits that made me laugh, there were dramatic moments and those usual times when I was trying to understand what is going on. Well, at least it isn’t so bad that I am confused like hell. But if you are talking about the emotional level that it is supposed to invoke, I didn’t really feel it. I remember that feeling of watching the tragedy in Air and Clannad ~After Story~ but here, I didn’t feel anything close not even when Ayumi died or Yusa’s tears after reading Misa’s letter. I believe the producers wanted to evoke some emotions and pull some heart strings but sorry, I just didn’t feel it. Blame it on my excuse of animes numbing my feelings.

The height of the series where it is most interesting is when Yuu had to deal with Ayumi’s death. It was pitiful to see this guy going into depression and interesting to see what he will do next once he bounce back. And then I felt it somewhat went downhill when they go back in time and brought Ayumi back. I know we hate to see cute little girls die but what is done, is done. I felt that bringing her back to live just to change the future felt a little cheap. I mean, we have already gone into the darker aspects of power abuse and misuse (which isn’t that dark at all), Nao getting bullied by others (what the heck was this scene for anyway? What was it supposed to imply) and how bad guys want to get all those super powers for whatever ulterior motive, but bringing back the dead just doesn’t quite cut it. I mean, you can’t call that ending a happy one too, right?

Although the final episode of Yuu’s international adventure seems interesting, it feels bogged down by several unrealistic stuffs. This is up for debate but I’m just going to say why those unrealistic stuffs also made the ending quite rushed and thus feel anti-climatic. Firstly, Yuu has been going everywhere. And I mean every nook and corner in this little world to pursue and hunt down every power user. The problem was, he randomly went from one country to another instead of going systematically. I mean, it is a long journey so it is going to take a while. So when he has finished with one country, why not go to the next neighbouring country instead of going to another continent? Then he finishes up and then returns to another country back in that continent. Isn’t this time and energy consuming? Of course, you might argue that the snippets of countries shown aren’t in chronological order. However seeing how Yuu slowly degenerates, I highly doubt that he was doing so. Another argument is that he might be giving his enemies the slip. You know, if you’re in America, the most likely you’ll go is to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean. So you stem that by heading to the other side of the world instead.

Then there is the case of Yuu taking in so many powers and basically at the end he is actually the embodiment of every darn power user in the world. Because of the various powers, Yuu has become stronger than any superhero you can think off and heck, he could even surpass God himself! Because of that, the irony is to see Yuu deteriorate. Well, at least he didn’t explode in the end. That would be even worse (not to mention comical no matter how you think about it) and earning even more wrath from viewers. I mean, this guy even told us something about a power that made him need not sleep! So what happened later on? I know every power has its quirks like how Yuu used to taunt the rest of their power’s defectiveness. But having so many powers and yet becomes such a vulnerable and deteriorated state just feels like a big irony. He doesn’t need to remember any power. Heck, he could just think what he wants and it will happen or do for him. Speaking of powers, I wonder if each power user has a unique power. Meaning, just like in One Piece, there could only be one type of power existing in the world. No duplicates. If there were, would it double enhance Yuu’s current power? Yeah, something I shouldn’t think too much or I’ll lose brain cells and end up worse than Yuu. Because had there been another same power user, what happens if there is another guy with the same plunder power? Epic battle showdown? Thank goodness it wasn’t so, right?

The next part in my long list of ‘complaints’ is the fact that when Yuu goes around the world and garnering his infamous reputation, I kinda noticed that every power user who got plundered by him reacts the same. It is not the fact that they got freaked out by seeing him or getting their power stolen. By the time he earned his nickname, shouldn’t all the power users be very cautious about this guy in the neighbourhood? And yet you see them casually around walking in broad daylight without any caution. Shouldn’t they have banded together and do something? Sure, you may argue that we do not see what happened when they come into contact with Yuu. They may have tried something but Yuu always got the upper hand because he is God. Then there is the argument that the power user may fear being ostracized if found out by other normal people. Other than that, it just makes Yuu’s mission looking pretty easy. Hey you. Found ‘ya. Say bye-bye to your power. Easy peasy. Piece of cake. Speaking of bad guys, what happened to them? I thought there was some international terrorist organization whatsoever? We can argue again we are not shown such scenes. It just makes them so tame and forgettable that there was even such a big bad group. But what the heck was Shunsuke and co doing holing up in Japan during that time? I don’t want to think they were just waiting and sitting around, praying Yuu would be successful. Because I think they get most of their information from international news as and when they report Yuu’s trail of plundering.

When they started putting in the going back in time element, that is where all the mind boggling questions start to surface. Especially with this time paradox thing that I am not good with, it just messes with my mind and thus took the fun and enjoyment in everything so far as I try to reconcile and understand what the heck is happening. Because the biggest headache for me about going back in time to change the future was going back to a point in time to redo the thing. History changed. It never happened. Like Ayumi’s death. If you think about it, if Yuu had came back to change the future, then don’t you think Ayumi’s death would have never happened in the first place? I know, I’m confusing myself now but bear with me for a little while. Because when this happens, I thought it would be more probable if they were talking about parallel worlds but come to think of it again, that would be even more complicated because there would be another Yuu. So let’s just assume there is just one world and one timeline. So, if like in Shunsuke’s case if went back in time so many times, don’t you think the past that we have all seen and they have experienced would never have happened? Thus, rendering this time trip a little redundant.

It is understandable that the one who leaps back in time is the only one retaining his memories but the way they show it is as though everyone knows about what is going on. I am assuming they were such close friends that they believe the time traveller’s reason that they came from the future to change it. I’m sure even if they say they are aliens from Mars trying to take over the world, they’ll believe it too. Conveniently, this is shown when Nao believed Yuu is from the future with that flimsy reason he would do anything for Ayumi. Given with all the super powers, time travelling isn’t hard to dismiss. Even making it more confusing is how like when the bad guys say they suspect their failed plan due to changes in time travelling. I mean, how the heck would they know if it is due to time travelling? Are they that freaking confident their plan will work? Oh sure. I know why I failed my grades. Because somebody time travelled back and changed it all. Man, I should have used this reason back in my school days.

Another mind boggling fact is how the school that Shunsuke established is supposed to keep all the students enrolled in it safe. It is like telling us that bad guys are immune from entering and setting foot in this special territory. If so, some bad guys they are. Heck, if they want to get a certain student with certain power, they could just barge in like how they did when they kidnapped Nao, right? Therefore it is strange for me just to think that if you are not under the protection of this school, you are more susceptible to be captured by scientists who will do all sorts of evil experiments on you till you become a useless shell. And I don’t even know what the scientists are trying to do such experiments for. They know such a precious sample is rare and yet they treat it like toys and zap them out all their energies and find the next thing. I mean, assuming Kazuki was the only one with air vibrating powers, the scientists carelessly experiment on him and now he is useless. So what? Aren’t they curious to find out more? Or are they just satisfied that his power is just that and since we can’t do anything more that gives us benefits, let’s toss him aside and find another new power to toy with. Yeah. That. Why haven’t these science terrorists been arrested yet? Where the heck are the police? Unless all adults are bad and are in cohorts to turn children into similar evil adults like them. Sighs. The problems of just having super powers. And it is all because of some comet’s dust. Curse you, Charlotte!

Phew! That is the longest essay I have written on mind boggling things that I don’t understand! Now with that out of the way, let’s move on to something else. The characters are a mixed baggage. I don’t know how to describe it but calling the main characters as okay may be inaccurate. For the first half of the series, it felt like Yuu took a back seat while we see Nao strutting her stuff. I was wondering if Yuu was going to be anything more than just a lackey who is just following the student council around and doing jobs to find and prevent other power users. Then the turning point came after Ayumi dies. Now it is Yuu’s turn to take the spotlight and Nao’s turn to take the backseat. And slowly how this guy who turns from a selfish narcissist cheater into one who takes on the greatest responsibility of a hero to save the world. Well, nothing wrong with that but hardly anything refreshing or different. I know, we’re partly to blame that we have seen this trope being used in so many films and series that it has hardly become exciting anymore. My only question is that now that Yuu is back safely but has forgotten his memories, are his powers still intact? Maybe he just forgotten on how to use them or doesn’t even know he has them. But that doesn’t mean it is gone. It’s still inside him and since he is the last standing power user in the world, don’t you think bad guys are going to come after his ass? You think the facility he is in can save him? Nao herself isn’t all that angelic. She has that bratty attitude that sometimes annoys you although she is quite a resourceful person. She should smile more often like how she did in the closing scenes of the final episode. She’s looks more likeable that way.

The other side characters are rather okay too although some I felt it was just lacking impact. For instance, Takajou and Yusa felt like deadweight and their main roles are to be as jus comical and moe character respectively. Because you have Takajou who is a big Yusa fan and thus you have this silly running joke of him gloating and going passionate about his favourite idol. Then you have Nao who is not very amused with this disgusting portrayal of behaviour as she beats him up to snap him out of it. Yes, it happens every time. For Yusa’s case, she is the cute airhead who is just there to look pretty and make our hearts go “Kyun~” if you are ever a fan of idols. And Misa’s there too to provide some little mean brute force so that we don’t see Yusa as 100% airhead all the time. If Yusa’s cuteness isn’t enough, there is Ayumi for the loli section. Yeah, I suppose her secret recipe is to be another running joke for Yuu to choke on. Others felt like they were tossed aside like Kazuki, we know he has been saved by he isn’t the point where I can consider him to be fully recovered. He has some sort of ‘happy ending’ because we see his very calm face listening to songs from ZHIEND. But he isn’t pretty much as he was, right? Even so, the big dilemma of having Kazuki returning to who he was would have probably diluted the value and made this series even cheaper. After all, this series is already dealing with some dark tones so not all is going to be a happy ending. But nobody said it should have been a crappy one…

I don’t know, with all that drama, sci-fi and bits of usual comedy, I’m sure they want to cram some romance in. Although I did see this coming about Yuu and Nao and expecting it somewhere in the series but when it came, it just feels forced. Yeah, we are running out of episodes so what a better way as an element of surprise by making Yuu suddenly confesses he likes Nao. Did they think of catching us by surprised there? Not amused. Just like her. And then it was a little too late for Nao when she somewhat confessed. What is the use when he has no more memories of you? Yeah, he is now officially a cool superhero who saved the world. So what?

Art and drawing feels okay. Nothing really to shout about. Animated by P.A. Works who also did Angel Beats, the character designs feel closer to this one instead of Air, Kanon or Clannad. I suppose they’re going with the moe factor here with lots of good looking people. Although I can’t help keep referring Ayumi to as the ‘forehead girl’ (odeko onna)… Seriously… Initially when I looked at Yuu, I thought how similar he was to Lelouch from Code Geass. First there is already his striking similarity in looks and then the way he uses his power that activates his eyes like as though using his Geass. I thought they copied this character…

Voice acting is okay with only Ayane Sakura as Nao, Daisuke Ono as Shunsuke and Miyuki Sawashiro as Sala as the recognizable ones. The rest includes Kouki Uchiyama as Yuu (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Momo Asakura as Ayumi (Yuyu in Hidan No Aria AA), Maaya Uchida as Yusa/Misa (Irina in High School DxD series), Takahiro Mizushima as Takajou (Taichi in Kokoro Connect), Eiji Takemoto as Kumagami (Bols in Akame Ga Kill), Kazuyuki Okitsu as Kazuki (Andre in Prison School) and Mai Nakahara as Yumi (how the heck did I miss Mai-HiME’s Mai? Not enough appearance?).

As I have said that this series is produced by the people behind Key, it is no surprise that their music also have that similar feel to Clannad, Air and Little Busters. Therefore hearing Bravely You by Lia invokes memories of nostalgia from those animes with its dramatic tune. The main ending theme is Yake Ochinai Tsubasa by Aoi Tada. Also very Key-like albeit the piece is a bit slower. Then there is Rakuen Made by How Low Hello lasting for a couple of episodes for Yusa/Misa’s arc. This one leans more towards anime rock. But I still prefer the former. There are also a number of insert sings mostly either by ZHIEND or How Low Hello but personally I don’t find them that appealing. Maybe because I am not quite into rock (sorry, post rock, is it?) or idol type songs. Idol songs maybe. Only if they are very catchy. Not this one.

Overall, many called this a waste of potential and how things started to get old and boring halfway. Well, I suppose they are comparing it to past Key’s works. Personally, I won’t go so far as to say that. Yes, I do agree that a lot of things could have been better and this series too doesn’t fare much higher than its predecessors. The overused clichés of super powers and teens saving the world thingy has been done to death. If I would have to put it, it would be just decent. I don’t know if some unsatisfied fans are willing to go as far as to go back in time never to watch this or make sure the producer never made this hideous production but I certainly wouldn’t. I don’t want to watch all my animes again! But just to think, if there was a power to take away making bad animes…

I know we are all excited for the second season of Shingeki No Kyojin to come. Even with that Levi and Erwin short origin story, it still wasn’t enough to whet our appetite. The wait continues to look very long. So what other better way than to distract us by turning our favourite heroes of the series into chibi form? Yup. That is what Shingeki! Kyojin Chuugakkou is all about. Just like how that Haruhi series and even that Naruto character, Rock Lee had a chibi series spin-off of itself, it is time for this one to get its spin-off too. Before we get ready to deal with terrifying and horrifying Titans, might as well take a light hearted comedy stance of the characters in junior high. Don’t worry. Although there are lots of ‘eating’, there are none who will die. Trust me.

Episode 1
A typical Japanese setting. A setting where everyone dead is still alive. For now. Eren and Mikasa are running late for their first day at middle school. As typical as it gets, they bump into girls running with food. I guess Sasha wasn’t as cute as Krista so Eren didn’t compensate her watermelon like he did for Krista’s bread. Or is it watermelons are expensive? With so many accidental bumps, Mikasa also devices her plan to be bumped by him. But Connie got in the way and Eren is sent flying into the air. When they reach school, everything seems to be so large like as though they have shrunk. When stationery sets start falling on them and they realize a Titan is in the class, all hell breaks loose. Till Hannes brings them away to the right school. That school is for Titans. This is your middle school. Now everything here is the right size. Keith is the homeroom teacher of Eren’s class which features familiar faces. Eren and Jean get into a petty argument about being superior to each other and parodying the anime itself, Keith catches Sasha eating onigiri in class. Cheaper alternative to a watermelon? When everyone gathers outside for the opening ceremony, the Colossal Titan strikes! The wall breaks and many Titans stream in. And as usual, Thomas becomes the first to die again. But wait! It seems the Titans aren’t eating humans. They are eating their lunches! Yum! I suppose you would have figured out something fishy when Eren has been reminding us how much he hates Titans and wants revenge on them for taking away his precious which isn’t his mother who is very much alive right now. That precious stuff turns out to be his lunch. So when he gets into action to kill them, he realizes too late he didn’t have his 3DMD and flops. The Titan gets his lunch while Eren is left to regret he couldn’t savour his favourite cheese hamburger steak. It leaves everyone stunned. Crying over lunch is like crying over spoilt milk?

Episode 2
Eren and some of the guys have not joined any clubs. Keith tells them to do so by tomorrow or he will put them in whatever club he chooses. This means they have to get forms from Armin but that guy has never been to school as he is always out with a cold. As they buy food to visit him, they are attacked by another lunch-stealing Titan. Levi came to save the day and when Eren sees how cool he is, he wants to join whatever club he is in. However Levi leaves to tend to Armin’s grandpa who seems to be beating the futon the wrong way. Eren and Mikasa enter Armin’s room. He is afraid of cold and thus why his room is so hot. For some reason, Levi steals his favourite futon. Since he dropped his badge, this is the only clue they have to track him. They return to school to find the rest of their pals having bad experience with the clubs with joined. All Titan related problems. When Eren shows the badge, they think this must belong to a secret organization in the school and supposedly rumoured the strongest man in the world. It didn’t take long for them to find the secret hideout of the Survey Corps. Even busting their secret identity is dumb Oluo who denies everything so secret which just reveals the secrecy of everything. Like in true parody to the series, his argument with Eren has him accidentally bite his tongue. While Petra welcomes them in, Hange returns from a Titan expedition. She is ecstatic that more Titan-loving weirdoes would like to join this club. When Eren shows the badge, Hange knows a fast way to summon Levi. She has Eren throw a plastic bottle in the bin. Instantly Levi comes in and beats him up for throwing the wrong rubbish in the wrong bin. Levi took Armin’s futon because it was broken and sewed it back. It feels warmer now and his chronic sneezing stops. Eren wants to join this club and so do the rest (to avenge their lunches). Levi gives them a smack of approval. Welcome to the club. However the next day, Eren and some have been enlisted in the Wall Cleanup Club. Although they submitted their application, but bear in mind the Survey Corps is an unauthorized club so there was no way it was going to be accepted.

Episode 3
When Krista asks, Annie is going to reveal she loves cheese hamburger steak too but upon hearing how the rest are making fun of it, she is forced to lie that her favourite is some seaweed. Now she hates Eren and challenges him to dodgeball tomorrow. Jean is fired up for his team but to his dismay, it consists of weirdoes. From stupid Connie to glutton Sasha who can only dodge while she is eating and Mikasa completely useless and losing her capabilities at a steady rate since Eren is not around. Where is that guy anyway? He overslept! I think their team barely won. Then there is Annie’s team whose teammates are all at their freaking top form! OMFG! They’re playing them next! Jean is so screwed. Because Keith already warned if he found anybody slacking, he will send them to become Titan’s food, the rest try to disguise Jean as Eren to fool him. Annie is suspicious till the real Eren shows up. You’d expect that loving from Mikasa? A warning threat never to be late again! So when both teams are ready to fight, the match turns out this way. Eren rushes in but trips, Annie slams the ball hitting him, Mikasa saves the rebound, rinse and repeat. Till the final showdown between Annie and Mikasa, they’re going to collide and somehow Eren got in between them and bear the brunt of the collision. Poor guy. Eren asks Annie’s hatred towards him and she reveals the truth. With Eren and Annie making up, the crowd applauds but only Ymir is not impressed with the stupidity. As Eren and co eat lunch, he is devastated his only cheese hamburger steak accidentally drops on the ground. What a waste. Annie joins them and gives him her portion. Jealous Mikasa forces food down Eren’s throat and Annie joins in. You have guessed it like Armin. A love triangle may be brewing at this rate.

Episode 4
Eren dreads going to do his first activity for the Wall Cleanup Club. The only member of the club, Riko forces them to get cleaning the area. After hearing how some girls call this cleaning lame, Jean wants to escape but not on Riko’s watch. Everyone is impressed at how she uses the 3DMD in which she uses it to scale walls for cleaning. Eren and Jean fight over to borrow and use it so Riko tells them off about taking responsibilities. They must do their duties of cleaning windows first if they want to have a chance of using this gear. When she checks on them later, the windows are so freaking shiny that it is blinding! As promised, she trains them to use the gear. Just like in the anime, Eren seems to be the only one who can’t balance himself unlike the rest who easily fly around with ease. If he cannot master the basics, he might be kicked out of the club. Because brains or abilities have nothing to do with it, Armin deduces the only possibility that the gear is broken. Riko is confident it is flawless and even bets to eat spaghetti through her nose upside down. You don’t say… Because she spots the gear is indeed broken! Then Hannes comes by to show Eren how it is done. The gear breaks and causes him to slam into the wall. He thinks he was drunk and Riko uses this as a cover up that he broke the gear. She goes back to fix it and the next day, Eren gets to use it flawlessly. Suddenly they have to hide when Titans rush into the area. They are vandalizing the wall with paint graffiti. I suppose this is the reason why the club was founded. Eren is so worked up that he rushes in to fight them. But since he didn’t have enough practice using 3DMD, he blunders greatly. The Titans get away scot free. It’s back to training for him.

Episode 5
You know Sasha did very badly for the tests when Keith blows his top and beats her up. She would love to have Eren tutor her but he’d rather visit the Survey Corps. Mikasa? Following Eren… Jean? Don’t want this proud bastard. Connie? This guy did worse because he got all zeroes! So I guess Armin is left, eh? Using food to substitute algebra in maths, Sasha seems to be quite motivated. Meanwhile Eren, Mikasa and Jean are at the Survey Corps and they are forced to hear Oluo lament about his bad scores while Petra wants him to quit acting like Levi. Then it turns out he scored 94 and that is bad because scoring perfect was the goal. So he just wants to brag? Petra punch + tongue biting folly. Hange thought she could get Levi to treat her food if her scores were higher. When she learns his is higher, she tries to change the subject for him to treat her. He tells her to go buy some squid with her measly 21 Yen. She’ll go harass her juniors then. When Levi enters the clubroom, he sees Eren and Jean tying her up for the rampage she is causing. The club members know what is coming when Hange seems interested to reveal why she is short of money. They run away and leave Eren and co wondering what the heck is going on. Hange brings them to a room where she is keeping a couple of Titans as specimen. She calls them Sonny and Bean while almost getting her head chewed off a couple of times. Levi sees this and now understands why she is poor. She spent her money to feed them. Hange thinks Levi felt pity and gave his food. Dog food? Those are for the Titans. She can go buy that squid with her own money. Ah, she just eats the dog food. Meanwhile, Sasha is doing well thanks to Armin. She is confident for the makeup test tomorrow and views Armin as a kind and smart person. But then again, he might be weak since he is afraid of the dark. Next day as she takes the test, her mind is so filled with food she cannot concentrate and flunk. What about Connie? He totally forgot about it.

Episode 6
What’s this? Jean finds a love letter in his shoe locker?! Because of that, he changes his hairstyle and puts on heavy cologne. He shows his pals but they wonder if it’s a prank since the letter is unsigned. Jean begins to wonder who it is from. Sasha? Is she capable of writing girly stuffs? But the thought of her breaking his wallet with her empty stomach is unfathomable. Hmm… Krista and Ymir aren’t bad too? With Riko and Petra in the picture, he starts fantasizing all the girls fighting over him! But could it be Mikasa? When Annie wants to talk to Jean, this sets a showdown between Mikasa and Annie as the tension rises. Jean thought he could be a gentleman and stop them but gets beaten up by them. Then Jean sees a love letter dropping from Annie’s pocket. Could it be? After school, Jean and co caught Annie putting the love letter in his shoe locker. It says to meet at the park after school. After happy guy rushes there, Annie is seen wanting to talk to the rest about the love letter. When Annie meets Jean, he misinterprets her shy ambiguous moves and proclaims he is willing to date her. He sounds like a jerk now. He thought she is going to kiss her but actually judo throws him. She thought of talking to him nicely as suggested by others but it seems he was pushing his luck too far. She reveals the letter is written by her friend. What friend? You mean this Titan lady is her friend?! OMFG! How are they friends? They go to the same cram school. Annie helped her write the letter. Flashback reveals when Jean and Marco tried to run away from this Titan lady, they threw their lunch and it seems she took it as a sign of love. I think Jean is so disappointed that he became broken and accepts this Titan as his girlfriend. But the sheer size difference means he gets pounded. Once he returns to reality and rejects her, the heart broken Titan smacks him and runs away in tears. I don’t know if this is Sasha’s way of cheering him up because she plays out a silly act of her food fighting over his love. So broken and even further broken when Jean fantasizes his food lovers fighting over him. Yeah, he’ll make them both his girlfriends.

Episode 7
Because Jean has been skipping his duties, Riko punishes all of them collectively to cleaning duties. Because of that, they end up late for the Survey Corps’ meeting and also get chided for their uniform violation. Another collective cleaning punishment? Although they have just started cleaning for 10 minutes, Levi is not amused at their slowpoke pace. Some rebel against his high and mighty attitude so it is decided that they will face off at the sports festival and the losing grade will have to clean the Titans’ building. While cuties Krista and Annie are acting as cheerleaders, the first bread race pits Sasha and Hange. However Hange ‘cheated’ by riding her Sonny and ate all the buns. Boo hoo. None for Sasha to eat. Jean is showing off using his 3DMD for the ball tossing game but eventually everybody targeted him and he got defeated. The juniors are vastly behind in the score so Mikasa rallies them by calling them disappointments unlike herself as strong. What has she been doing? Jean rallies the rest with his positive words to work together. In the final kibasen event, Mikasa and Armin sacrifice themselves so Eren can face off with Levi. Unfortunately he got easily defeated. Hange then accidentally releases a huge ball containing confetti and flood the entire place. So the juniors are forced to clean up the endless tiny colour papers when they are surprised the seniors too decide to help them out. Both sides apologize for being disrespectful to each other. If you thought seeing such big mess would click Levi’s cleanliness obsession, where the heck is he? Trying to get Hange for making a big mess of this in the first place.

Episode 8
In order to deepen their bonds, Hange suggests a kimodameshi. Eren has his first scare when Erwin greets him from the back. He is the Survey Corps’ advisor? I thought the club was illegal? The kimodameshi’s route is for the juniors to head to several rooms and write their names before ending up in the gym. Eren and Jean sure act tough but they are as chicken sh*t as Armin. Eren’s group is in the first room and they got freaked out by the first of the 7 mysteries of the school, the laughing Mona Lisa. Reiner and Bertolt are puzzled to see an endless stairway so as they walk up, Bertolt felt they’ve been going up forever despite their school only has 3 levels but Reiner always replies it is his imagination. Ymir thought she could pull off that Hanako prank but when they hear her voice, the girls run out of the toilet. Heck, Ymir took the wrong Krista and Sasha instead. Eren and co continue to be freaked out by the school’s other mysteries like the ghostly Beethoven, the girl ghost in the mirror, the dancing human figure and screaming skeleton. Krista is lost and is comforted by a girl in white dress outside the building. When Ymir is reunited with her (must be a big relief), Krista wants to introduce her to her friend but she is gone. As everyone has reunited, in the gym they see a basketball player (Levi?) dribbling his own head. Then all the other ghosts appear to freak them out. A huge cannon joins in the chase (from Reiner and Bertolt’s endless stairways). Levi has had it with this folly and destroys the cannon. It is revealed this ghost prank is done by Hange and the seniors. The ghosts were just them in costumes. When they ask about the girl in white, nobody recognizes her so Erwin says she is the final seventh mystery, the girl who got lost during kimodameshi and hasn’t realized she has turned into a ghost. She still wanders the hallways looking for someone to scare. Eren continues to be scared when Mikasa claps her hand to kill a bug. The ghost girl watches over them.

Episode 9
Reiner plans to confess to Krista at the festival. But why is he asking Bertolt to come with him? Embarrassed? Reiner knows he has a crush on Annie and wants him to ask her to come too. Instantly Bertolt flusters. It’s all written over his face. Reiner successfully asks Krista to come to the festival. I’m sure Ymir doesn’t like this a bit but knowing Bertolt likes Annie, she joins Reiner in teasing and planning to get them together. After setting them up, Annie is about to reject going to the festival but after hearing how Eren is going (and the rest too), she decides to go. Yeah, it’s going to be a challenge with lots of unwanted people. At the festival, Bertolt’s chance to compliment Annie’s yukata but instead he compliments her sandal strap knot. Huh? Part of the plan is to make Bertolt look cool in the shooting game. However Mikasa and Annie end up in a competition to win items for Eren. The shop closes down… Then there is the plan to accidentally pour shaved ice on her and Bertolt will come to her rescue. Well, only if Sasha and Connie didn’t get lost buying the shaved ice. And when they return, Ymir purposely pushes them. Bertolt protects Annie from getting stained. He goes off himself to wash up. The rest felt they went too far in their plan and split up to look for him. Annie finds him playing die-cutting. They talk about stuffs and when the rest arrive, they hide behind the bush, waiting to hear those magical words. Just when Bertolt is about to say it, the stupid fireworks had to drown his voice out. But the pals rejoice when they hear Annie agreeing to it and though this gave away their position, they couldn’t feel happier for him. Then it all turns out to be Annie agreeing to do die-cutting with him. So disappointing… What else to do but to join in this patient game and watch another round of lovely fireworks.

Episode 10
Ilse is running away as she writes in her notebook the terrible evidence she witness in the student council. Thanks to her exposure, the student council is brought down and a new election will be held. So Jean and Eren become interested to run for president. Armin helps to a poster for Eren but I think Eren has a bad sense of fashion because he finds it cool his face like Picasso’s painting. When Jean and Eren try to put up their poster, the bulletin board is hogged by Oluo’s posters. Just paste over it! Unfortunately the duo scored 0% in the opinion poll. Hange and Levi suggest that their rating might increase if they get Ilse’s notebook since it contains deep information that every student would die to know. So it becomes a race for all the candidates to get her notebook and confused Ilse is left to run for her life. After it exchanges many hands, it is revealed the info inside only contains detailed tips on how to clean the school. I guess that is why Levi wants it. Disappointed? Marco hands the notebook back and tells Ilse that these guys have good intentions and anyone would be a good student council president. All the candidates are to give their final speeches. The crowd boos Riko when she wants to enforce compulsory cleaning. Reiner will hold aggressive training camps and swimming meets with cute girls. Though popular with the boys, the girls hate it. Especially after hearing Krista calling him the worst, a shocked Reiner withdraws. Oluo bit his tongue before he could speak. Eren’s passionate speech about killing Titans did not go well. It took Armin’s eloquent speech to turn the tide in his favour but Eren blew it when he orders everyone to vote for him. Finally there is Jean. He gets honest. He only wants to become the president to be popular. BOO! Marco then takes the helm and says all the right words to support Jean. Ilse is touched by his speech and rallies for everyone to vote for Marco as the president! In the end, everyone votes for him while Jean and Eren and left to rue their failure.

Episode 11
For the school cultural festival, Eren’s class are split up in doing several different things. But the main bulk is Eren and co doing a cheeseburger stand. Because of the strong competition next door by Riko selling her rice, Armin is made to cross-dress as a girl to advertise! Reiner loves to patron Krista’s maid cafe. Her omelette rice is always sabotaged by Ymir pouring other condiments to ruin it. Hange is organizing some biology class demonstrating her Titans and almost getting eaten several times. And she’s laughing the hardest about it. Jean is in some Snow White play. Because Eren and co are so focused in making their stall the best, they won’t switch and do the play. Gradually, Jean is left to do all the acting by himself. Even accidentally kissing that hideous Titan mannequin. I wonder who is watching all this. The cheeseburger stall has drawn considerably a long queue but the real battle is about to begin when Riko is close to finishing her rice. When she is about to open the pot’s lid, Eren unleashes his sales tactic for Armin to advertise their cheeseburger with double the cheese with the same price. Everyone starts rushing to buy this fabulous offer. However, the red alert is sounded when Titans are heard stomping into the scene. It seems they are here to steal all their food stalls. Eren won’t allow it this time and goes to fight them. Too bad he got stomped. Don’t worry. He still lives. The Titans make a clean getaway with all the food and history marks it as yet another lost for the cheeseburger. Curse you, Titans!

Episode 12
Eren wants to go to the Titans’ building and retrieve them. However the teachers are against this. Eren’s pals defend him and tell him to head there while they hold back the teachers. Eren and co head to the Survey Corps but it seems Levi has ordered them to be on standby. Eren disagrees on this and because he continues to be adamant of getting his cheeseburger back, Levi just tells him to decide what he wants to do and then only later choose what he will regret on. Eren and co make their way to the Titans’ building but are left running away because they don’t have their 3DMD. Hannes lures them into a secret spot so that Riko could hand them their 3DMD. It is believed the principal office houses their food stalls but as they head in, there is a miniature town inside. Also, there is a key in the middle in which they believe must be inserted to the door where their food is. Hurry up, the Titans are coming. While the rest distracts the Titans, Eren tries all his might to lift the key out but to no avail. Their entire heroic fight is being recorded by Ilse and viewed live by everyone back at school. Jean almost got eaten but his Titan lover saved him. Eren manages to take out the key by turning into a giant form. After opening the door, it leads them to the gym where several Titans are paying homage to the food stalls. Since their cover is blown, Levi and his Survey Corps initiate some rock concert to have the Titans worshipping like crazy fans. Then they realize they are actually inside the principal’s lunch box. He is no other than the Colossal Titan. Eren tries to save his cheeseburger and gets eaten! Oh, the disbelief! However he is spit out since he was carrying a mustard sauce and to everyone’s joy, Eren has saved his cheeseburger. Wait a minute. Just 1 lousy cheeseburger?! Erwin lectures the other teachers how Eren’s act has given hope to others the students can still enjoy a fun school life without fearing the Titans. Eren returns to the rest and enjoys his cheeseburger. Yummy.

What’s For Lunch?
Due to my biasness for the awesome series, perhaps it is the reason why I find this comical short to be very funny and entertaining. It is hard to just comment on this spin-off series as itself without referring to the original TV series because there are many aspects here which draws a lot of references and parodies to the original TV series. Therefore it is better for one to watch that awesome show first before jumping into this one. Otherwise there are many of the jokes and references that will make you feel lost. Even if newcomers who have never watched the original series start watching this one, they can still find it funny although they will miss many of the reference points that parody the show.

Although many of the characters retain their typical personality as we know them, many of its aspects are amplified for comical purpose. Like Sasha and Connie who are already the jokers and lucky dimwits of the series, their idiocy is further enhanced making them even more comical than ever. Connie is even more ‘stupid’ while Sasha continues to be the glutton and thinking nothing but food. Then there is Ymir (whom in the original TV series, she was only referred to as Sobakasu) who is constantly overprotective of Krista. It becomes a running joke that whenever Reiner or some other guy or thing tries to get to Krista, she’ll kick them away and after proclaiming she’ll protect her from this and that, it always ends with her asking Krista to marry her. I think her overprotective case is far worse than Mikasa for Eren. That girl is still does and goes whatever and wherever he goes. If Eren is doing it, she’s doing it. If he is going there, she is coming too. It’s like she is his shadow or something. There is also that running joke from Oluo as he keeps biting his tongue while he talks. Only thing is that he does it more often here than in the TV series. Sometimes Petra would just retort about biting it off and die for real or tell off that vain guy to stop pretending to be Levi because it just disgusts her.

Some of the characters are given ‘additional’ traits like how Armin cannot be seen without his blanket so he becomes some sort of hooded character wherever he goes. Then there is Jean who is very obsessed about becoming popular with the girls but usually ends up butting heads with Eren. Making it even more ‘shocking’ is the fact that a Titan female likes him! I guess it is good to have a little variety and detract from the original source. Another instance is Marco’s crush on Annie. We know this will never ever happen because we all know what happened to Marco, right? And we also very well know what happened to Annie at the end of the series, right? So there is no hell way in the world they will ever be together, right? Unless you’re talking about a parallel universe but that is a different story altogether. Like this spin-off. Say, I wonder what happened to that Annie’s crush on Eren? Was I just overthinking it?

Some characters never change like Levi who is still the unapproachable and serious guy. His clean freak behaviour is still there but it is hard to make him look funny considering the serious mug his has. Hange is also as wild as she is in the TV series especially her uncanny love for experimenting with Titans. Keith is also that scary drill instructor whom you’ll always wish to pass you by without picking you out for something to yell at.

The plot of having Titans rampaging and stealing food instead of eating human is quite a clever theme for this spin-off. It makes them feel like big bullies out to get your lunch other than horrible mysterious creatures trying to end mankind. It reduces the scary effects of the Titans that we see and know about. Even in the TV series, they look comical to the point that they look like mutated retards, the effect of them looking so feels less despite many of the Titans retain that look. Speaking of the art and drawing, with the chibified look on all the characters, somehow it enhances the cuteness of all the female characters. Like Krista who is (personally) already a cutie in the series and here, she is even cuter. Same case for Annie and the rest.

The opening theme, Seishun Wa Hanabi No You Ni is a parody of the series’ first opening theme, Guren No Yumiya in terms of the pacing and the tune. Even the opening credits animation is very much a parody of the show except everybody in chibi form. Also sung by Linked Horizon who sang that song in the TV series. At certain points of the song, I thought it sounded like a Christmas carol considering the background choir voices. The rock based ending theme is Hangeki No Daichi by the trio behind Eren, Jean and Mikasa. Oddly, I could only hear Jean’s voice in the foreground for most of the time.

Overall, like I have said, this spin-off is a good appetizer for those who are eagerly waiting for the second season to arrive. Fans of the series will definitely enjoy this parody version with some fun and laughs although I do read some comments that some ‘purist’ fans call this distraction a deviation from the original source material and it isn’t something to be proud of. Hey, come on. It’s a funny spin-off done well. What else more do you want to ask? Next time when your mother tells you to eat your vegetables, make sure you finish them before the Titans steal ‘em away. Not a bad deal you say for Titans eating vegetables on your behalf? Wait till they move on to your favourite cheeseburger and then acquired taste for… Human flesh and blood! Horror! That would be a food for thought.

Fushigi Na Somera-chan

April 15, 2016

Bored of the taking the same drugs again and again? Need something higher and different for that fix of yours? Don’t worry. There is always a better drug. Before you get the wrong idea of what this blog is going to be, please be reminded it is anything but that. When I watched Fushigi Na Somera-chan, it reminded me so much of how similar it is to another wacky nonsensical show. It is no surprise. From the same author and producer that brought you that drug filled Ai Mai Mi, comes another spiritual successor that is no less different. With all the bizarre and crazy crap going on, you’re going to love this new drug more than ever. You think you have cleansed yourself from all that anime drug crap? You’ll be back to total addiction once you see this!

Episode 1
If an animal looks cute, don’t be deceived by it because like Somera Nonomoto finds out the hard way, it stabs through her guts! Back to our story proper, Kukuru is the youngest daughter while Somera is the first. They are so hungry but only have 3 grains of rice each! I don’t think Somera can accept this reality. Their next door friend, Shizuku Tendou interrupts and suggests Somera uses her magic fists that she inherited from her late parents. Well, she summoned mayonnaise… Somera juggles oden and dreams of the rich life till she accidentally spills them. Again, she uses her magic to put them back together again but their pet dog Koro gets sucked in. I don’t know what funny animal it turned out to be. Kukuru remembers how Somera brought back this stray dog to help Kukuru cope with her loneliness. They spend their money on its food. Poverty mystery solved. You think it’s time for a heart warming scene? This weird Koro bites Kukuru’s hand off! Ah, biting the hand that feeds you literally…

Episode 2
If you are wondering what the hell is this Menoussoue animal is, don’t worry, it is explained ‘in detail’ in this short opening. Not that I care. Somera and co are holding auditions for a new anime character. Man, it’s a long line. Then they notice Ai Matsushima having a French bread on her hands and is currently looking for her sister. Then the next person also has French bread on her hand. Her name is Aya Matsushima. See the similarities? Kukuru goes to bring Matsushima and reunite with her sister. But… Who the heck is this person?! Not related???!!! Oh well… I guess to cut short their work, they just pick Matsushima as their anime character. She is forced to pay upfront 8,500 Yen and every anime character does this every week! Poor Matsushima is going to eke out her little savings but Kukuru points out it was a joke. You mean it wasn’t real? I thought I had to pay for my anime!!!

Episode 3
Somera is impressed that Matsushima can play a CD via her mouth! What’s this song with a baby crying?! When an alien UFO lands on their backyard and Matsushima decides to visit it so she can take a shower, she got zapped! Her last wish is to have the anime studio animate her life’s work! When the UFO blasts the radish farm, Somera becomes furious. A little alien girl pops out and Somera abuses her. Seems her UFO needs radish as fuel to go home. Why destroy the farm then? Just for fun. FFFUUUUUU!!! More abuse! The alien general might look intimidating warning Somera about bullying but he is just as small as alien girl. Since road kill can also serve as fuel, Shizuku brings them dead squirrel and they return home with a fuel tank. Oh, Matsushima is also revived.

Episode 4
Matsushima made a stupid dance about a perverted eel. This causes an instant hit around the world and internet. Everybody loves it! Everybody loves her! She is the newest and best sensation ever! Shizuku tries to store tension by telling the sisters Matsushima is now on her high horse. To her happiness, Somera agrees. However she is not going to bring her down for revenge bur rather for being cocky. Because Matsushima must realize she is on the lowest level of the pyramid, even lower than bugs! They try to sully her name with the free food samples she hogs on. But everybody finds it cool! They love her even more! But her popularity only lasted 2 months since her followers are her groupies and in turn they too lost interest and now she is back to zero lovers. Hey, at least she has Somera and co. Yeah, I figure they don’t have other friends too. All seems to be fine when Somera brings up that food samples thingy to blow Matsushima’s top.

Episode 5
Matsushima is used to fish a huge haul. I wonder how she can use her body to haul up so many fish. Then again, don’t even think about it. As they are talking about legends of this lake, this huge Nessie creature, Hideyuki pops up to tell them about the plague that is poisoning the waters (he thinks they are here to search for the source and stop it). I am sure the girls aren’t interested but he goes on to explain the cause of it. Some Dr Wormie failed his driving test and came to hate humans. So he created an underwater lab here to pollute the lake. I guess Somera would take on the job since Hideyuki will give them his huge pearls. The girls easily sneak into Wormie’s lab and tickle him to submission. Then they hook him up to the computer and made him undergo a personality change to love humans. Hideyuki rewards them with the pearls but it turns out to be bowling balls in paint. Time to buy poison and put it in this water…

Episode 6
Kukuru is getting creepy since her friend, Konomi is clinging so close to her. Yuri? Shizuku sees this and reports to Somera that homosexuality isn’t right. However something is wrong with Somera today because she can’t help see every woman on the street as beautiful. Konomi is using every excuse to hide her blatant harassment on Kukuru. Till it gets obvious she wants to do something with her in the bushes. While Kukuru struggles to free herself, here comes Somera to the rescue. However she doesn’t act and Konomi thinks she is also into yuri. She starts flustering. Shizuku then gives her some pills that will cure her. Konomi doesn’t think it will when suddenly Somera finishes her off with a pile driver! Back to normal. Next time, the girls notice Konomi has turned into a stalker. Even worse, she loves the verbal abuse since the shock last time last time turned her into a masochist. Now they call her woman-womanizer.

Episode 7
After Matsushima licks Somera’s dropped ice cream on the ground, Somera punches her! Matsushima threatens to unfollow her and if that is the case, Somera will close her account! Shizuku suggests settling this via sumo match. However with Somera having nothing much to eat, the only thing she is having big is her debts. On the fated day, Matsushima has turned into a buffed up giant! OMG! So hilarious! She is really going to kill Somera for that unforgettable incident. Naturally Somera is no match for her monstrous power. This is when she evens the odds by using her magical hand. The sumo match eventually ends with a draw. Matsushima returns to normal size and both reconcile. Yeah, friendship is the best, right? They suggest having ice cream to cool off but Kukuru knows better to have something that started it all.

Episode 8
Kukuru wants Somera to be her art model. But sister is going to charge her! How could she do such a thing? Anyway Kukuru sucks at drawing so much so Somera tore up the picture. This has her to bring Shizuku and Matsushima into the picture. When Matsushima asks if she will be paid, Somera chides them for taking money from a friend! Look who is talking?! Anyway the painting sucks. Shizuku suggests drugging a teacher on pretence in helping somebody finish her homework. The girls hide in the closet as Maari Miyamoto sits and waits. However she gets freaked out upon hearing noises in the closet. But all that turn into excitement as she thinks it is Domunperg! Who the f*ck?! The girls dress up as a ghost acting as Domunperg. She gets even more excited. She is told to make a pilgrimage to a doctor and thus immediately hospitalized. She alone continued to believe that she was being helped by Kukuru’s hideous artwork of Domunperg as a homework assignment.

Episode 9
What is the difference between a genetically modified Matsushima with the original one? The latter has a taller mouth to catch salmons on their way to spawning grounds! Somera just lets her go and Matsushima doesn’t really care about her except for Kukuru pleading for them to help her. They thought releasing her into the forest would be fine but soon the clone appears in the news after racking up a reputation of terrorizing a village. It even starts randomly biting people. With the military men called in, our girls head to the jungles to take action. Man, those military guys are using all-out offensive to bomb the village just to corner this clone! Kukuru protects the clone while Matsushima goes to talk to it. The clone is going to bite her but Matsushima hugs her, apologizing for all the suffering she has brought her. Suddenly that little alien girl pops up and knows a good planet where they can take her in. And so she is on her way to Planet Funyanko never to set foot on Earth again. Matsushima mourns her lost and always looks up to the sky ever since.

Episode 10
A skinny Santa comes in to give sleeping Kukuru a present. But Somera has been hiding and wants to know what an old guy is doing in her sister’s room this late! Somera doesn’t believe he is Santa and must be a burglar since nobody gives free presents in this economy. He shows his bag of toys but she thinks it is the loot he stole. To prove himself, he gives her a toy car. But that is not enough. She wants passive income! He tells her off not to think like the devil and make easy money. Anyway he gives her a protective amulet and a toy train rail for Kukuru. Next day, the sisters show their presents. Shizuku got a heater while Matsushima a remote controller that is connected to a cannon in the mountains pointing at their house! You know what this means… Then they discuss about Santa’s intentions of giving free presents. He must be some rich dude who got everything except people’s heart. So he must be doing this and forcing others to accept his presents just to make himself feel good. Despicable…

Episode 11
Matsushima tells her friends of her new part time job whereby she lies on her back and spins some gear. She brings her friends to check it out and along the way they see a hideous monster, U-ko. It speaks English! Matsushima knows her since she is her employer. They are taken to the workplace where all of them start spinning the gear. Unknown to them, they seem to be activating something. When the machine goes boom, Somera tries to blame it all on Shizuku and will even give her a free 4GB flash drive instead of compensating for this. But U-ko is happy she has completed her artificial human and will fill the world with despair. So this artificial human… Looks like a derp? First thing she does is to punch out U-ko for modifying her with no permission. She goes back to her hometown to find a job. As for U-ko, I think she has better integrity than Somera because she still pays them despite the outcome. 400 Yen isn’t bad, you know…

Episode 12
Somera laughs off a magazine’s prediction a meteorite is going to hit Earth. Then it isn’t so funny anymore when Shizuku says so and there are posters of it everywhere. Kukuru tries to calm her down that it won’t probably happen but Somera tells her off for being the worst for not trusting her friend! With the entire town panicking, I guess there is nothing better for them than to go eat unagi. Matsushima crawls in and they think the smell attracted her so Somera zaps her! After they revive her and she has her fill of unagi, she says she is waiting for this day because she has built a shelter. Too bad it is only for one person. Bye dorks. As the meteorite approaches, Shizuku chickens out and saves herself. No use for regrets now, Somera. But there’s time for revenge as she goes to flood Matsushima’s shelter with unagi sauce! That should teach her! When the meteorite is closing in, Kukuru suggests Somera to use her magical fist. But she is too nervous to say the right words. In that case, she’ll die in a funny pose! OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!! End picture: Somera holding an unemployment notice. Yeah, I guess that is worse than death…

Magical Idiocy Delight!
Oh no! It ended already?! I was just enjoying myself, damn it! I’m sure we couldn’t care less about the so called official plot about the sisters inheriting that magical fist since it was hardly used and they go about in their random and crazy adventures. It was so irrelevant that it shouldn’t be there in the synopsis but I felt they had to put something up as part of the obligatory series synopsis. So that dumb viewers can stop asking what the heck is this show is all about. Really? This show has a plot? After watching the dozen episodes worth 3.5 minutes each, you’ll be glad there isn’t any confusing plot or even a decent plot to begin with.

As far as this series is concerned, it is so weird and crazy that I really loved it as much as that crazy Ai Mai Mi series. I hope they do another season because I am really getting addicted. Whoops! To say it is better than Ai Mai Mi might not be accurate but I will definitely say that it is on par with that show. Everything you see here is a reminiscence of it. The style of everything is a reminiscence of it. The characters, the art style, the exaggerated jokes and the way it is executed is so freaking familiar that you would definitely believe that the characters in Ai Mai Mi underwent some sort of facial surgery to change their identities to get new ones to fool us viewers who might be bored with them if this ever turned out to be the third season of Ai Mai Mi. Am I right?

But not everything in this series is totally nonsensical and aimed to melt your brains and dumb you down. Am I saying that there is educational value in this bizarre series? Yes! You think I’m joking right? No I am not. Because at the beginning of every episode (except for one episode), there is a short narrative of the Menoussoue being! Yes! That’s right! Believe it! From its characteristics to its mating style to its legendary status in history books, man, I never knew there were lots of trivia and facts I didn’t know about this creature! Just like that fake panda in Senyuu, eh? What? You think I have been taken for a ride and being duped with this imaginary creature?! It is real, I tell you!

What can I say about the characters? Wacky and crazy aren’t just enough. If they are going to be in this sort of anime, might as well have that crazy attitude, right? So each of them are like stupid troublemakers one way or another except for Kukuru whom I feel is like the punching bag for the rest at times. Because she is different in the sense she has more heart and cares about other things that the rest don’t, it is like she also serves as the butt of jokes and rebuttal of just about almost everything. Poor Kukuru. Wrong character in the wrong anime. I guess you need a character like her who is less a sadist so as to make the rest look even more a sadist. Imagine if all of them were just selfish hypocrite cold hearted b*tches, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, right? As for the other characters, don’t think too much about them as they never recur maybe except for that little alien girl. Heck, they should have just introduced another alien character instead of reusing her again. If you are sharp enough, you can spot the characters from Ai Mai Mi making a very short cameo in one of the episodes.

Matching the outrageous style of the series is the equally crazy opening theme. But unlike Ai Mai Mi’s retro video game animation, we get just the normal but crazy opening credits animation with all the crazy stuff that some would never even appear in the episode proper. Though, Prism MAX~Heishi Ishin Full HD Remaster-ban by the voices behind the main quartet, sounds more like a typical anime rock for an all-girl group. It isn’t anything that special in terms of its music. Replacing the ‘ending theme’ is a drawing song that ‘teaches’ you how to draw certain characters. Somehow I think they are just trolling you as I feel the lyrics don’t really match up to how the lines are being drawn for most of the time.

So if you are feeling stressed out and the need to laugh out loud or just shake your head, this series is just the perfect tonic for that. Or if you want to dabble in anime drugs and get high in anime land, this is also the perfect tonic. Even more so, a slightly higher dosage for those who have watched Ai Mai Mi. Somera might not be magical and suspiciously a lunatic mental patient that has escaped an asylum (only this world is one big asylum), but the drug effects of this anime certainly is! Oh and remember, always stay away and never do real drugs.

Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry

April 10, 2016

Oh my. Do we really need another kind of this harem genre? I mean, watching Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry brings back memories of how similar it is to some of the recent harem animes that I have watched. It has those generic ingredients which made it so. Sometimes I feel that they took elements from that Blade Dance series, mash it up with that Sky Wizards series and even perhaps a little bit of that World Break series and voila, you have another harem series called by a different name. I mean, come on. Look how similar this is when I generally describe the series about a young lad in high school who is not looked up by the rest because of a tag/reputation that labels him as the worst. However he harbours some sort of latent ability when used in fights that makes him super and mighty. Then there is this bunch of girls flocking around him. See? How freaking similar this is? And here I am still watching the same thing every season. Do I sound like I’m complaining? Yeah, bring me another harem series I love this season.

Episode 1
It is all over the news. Stella Vermillion, the second princess of the Vermillion Empire will be visiting Japan today. Ikki Kurogane narrates about the gifted and ungifted and how the system separates and treats differently both categories. Long ago, his grandpa analyzed him of having the worst of everything and indeed he does. However those feelings of being the worst, he wants him to hold on to it as proof he hasn’t given up yet. There is also a definition explanation about Blazers, special people who can summon and control magic. Ikki continues to train hard to be a Magical Knight. When he returns to his dorm at Hagun Academy, suddenly a vision of Stella in sexy lingerie greets him. Before she could scream, he is going to even the odds by stripping his shirt and let her see his abs too! Nope. Wrong move. Slap. So after being lectured by the director, Kurono Shinguji I guess he needs to be a man and take responsibility. Good news: Stella won’t turn it into an international issue. Bad news: He must do hara-kiri. Fast turning into a b*tch, eh? Sure, he did say he would do anything but isn’t that just a figure of speech? And because he calls that underwear peeking accident a little incident, this really makes her incense. She is going to burn the entire place down so what has got a man to do but say the reason he was looking at her was because she was so beautiful. Instant calm down. Wow. It’s like magic. Don’t tell me she’s turning tsundere now. But here comes the worst part. Shinguji says they will be roommates. Her idea is pairing the worst one and the best one at Hagun together. There are a handful of other roommates of mixed gender too. If they don’t like it, they can quit. Being the typical woman Stella is, she lays down the rules of living together. One of the don’ts including breathing. Ah yes, breathing. The reason why all women cannot stand men. To solve this petty argument, Shinguji suggests a mock battle where the loser must do what the winner says.

Heading into the one-sided match (at least on paper), Stella remembers telling her mother the need to become a Magical Knight to protect their tiny kingdom. The mock fight begins with Stella going aggressive with her flame sword, Laevatein and Ikki is just reduced to blocking with his Intetsu. From her strikes, he can tell she put in a lot of effort in her swordsmanship. Although he lands a blow on her, it must be that rank thingy that makes him unable to defeat her. Although she knew this would happen, she wanted to proof she could win without her magic ability. Now she turns on this mode to finish off the match. However Ikki has trained hard and combines all his training for some super power for that short moment in time, avoiding her flames and striking the victorious blow before passing out. Ikki wins. Stella wakes up in the infirmary only suffering from light wounds. She asks Shinguji about Ikki’s abilities because that kind of skill couldn’t have made him the worst. Unfortunately, ranks are based on one’s ability as a Blazer and don’t evaluate other areas. Yeah, this sounds pretty familiar. Stella remembers her reason to study abroad in this country was because she couldn’t excel as everyone already ‘trapped’ her in this box called genius. When she returns to the dorm, she sees him sleeping. Now she gets curious to touch all over his body?! Then she gets caught in the act. Hi, what are you doing? She admits her defeat so does this mean she has to follow whatever the winner says? Oh, trying to change the topic that was just a figure of speech? To keep her honour as a princess, she agrees to do whatever he wants. Including becoming his sex slave. How the heck did she come up with this? His first order is to become his roommate. Handshake? Hmm… Is fist bumping the current trend these days?

Episode 2
Yuri Oriki will be their teacher. More like a zombie teacher looking at those bags under her highs. Oh, she is prone to vomit out litres of blood too. After the duo leave her at the infirmary, suddenly Kagami Kusakabe hugs Ikki! She is a big fan of his after watching the mock fight and as a member of the newspaper club, she wants to interview him. I can smell jealousy reeking from Stella… What is worse than having 1 woman interested in you? Having 2 women! Because the next one is Shizuku, Ikki’s little sister whom will be attending this school for the first time. Guess what? She kisses him! Scandalous! What the heck is this bond strengthening and haven’t seen each other for 4 years got to do with it? Time for Stella to step in and interrupt. This means… I smell a big b*tch fight coming up. It gets worse when Stella describes her relationship with Ikki as master-servant. Enough for Shizuku to summon her Yoi Shigure to cut her up. Stella draws her Laevatein too. Then they insult each other’s boobs before the big clash that thankfully didn’t bring the entire place down. Although they are made to clean all the toilets for a week, the boobs insults continue… Wow. Just amazing. I never knew there were so many things that could be used to refer to boobs. It ends when Shizuku tells her off she will never understand how Ikki feels. The feeling of being treated like as though he never existed. Shizuku returns to her dorm and meets her roommate, Nagi Arisuin AKA Alice. He’s a guy, by the way.

Curiosity got the better of Stella so she directly asks Ikki about that never existed treatment. Could she be a little more tact? His depressing story begins with the world’s greatest samurai known as Ryouma. That’s his grandpa. As the Kurogane household has produced many talented Blazers, because Ikki had no talent, he was treated as an outcast. Even during family meetings he had no place. One stormy day he decided to run away but got lost. Before he succumbed to his fate, grandpa appeared before him and spoke those motivating words. At that moment he wanted to become a man like him. But to be the kind person he wants to be, he needs to be strong. That’s why he wanted to become a Magical Knight. Unfortunately no one would teach him and he had to train alone. Although he was accepted to this school, the Kurogane didn’t like a failure to become a knight and pressured the school. This means Ikki could never graduate. Although this was imposed by the previous director and now it is slightly better under Shinguji, the Kurogane will still find ways to suppress him. Shizuku tells the same story to Alice. So when she found out how her beloved brother was mistreated, she despised them with all her heart. That’s why she will give all the fatherly love, motherly love, brotherly love, sisterly love and whatever kind of love to him. Lastly, we are treated to fanservice because Stella comes in to wash Ikki’s back in her bikini. I knew this had to come sooner or later. And yeah, using her boobs to rub his back when her top comes undone. Guess whose fault it is and guess what happens to Ikki?

Episode 3
Ikki helps Stella train for the upcoming Seven Star Battle Festival (7SBF) qualifying match. She blushes when he comments they get along well despite at odds. Huh? Then she tries to hint to him about going out on a date tomorrow but I guess she took too long (or thought a guy like him would know what she is trying to say) because Ikki gets a mail from Shizuku to go out shopping tomorrow. And he replies yes. Curses! So with the excuse she is her servant, she tags along with him and you can tell sarcasms are going to fly when both girls meet. Alice is also here as requested by Shizuku. Ikki meets him for the first time and is curious about his name. Although physically he is male, he jokes his heart is of a maiden. Because yaoi images of them start flashing in Shizuku’s mind, she becomes a demon threatening to take out Alice if he continues. Stella is at a disadvantage because she can’t hold hands like the sister (can slaves hold hands?) and when Ikki cleans some cream off Shizuku’s face, Stella wanted the same treatment but desperate enough to smear her face with it. I thought she put on shaving cream! He got her a towel instead. Curses! While the guys are in the toilet, the mall is suddenly taken hostage. Thanks to Alice’s sword, Hermit Darkness that lets him manipulate shadow, they manage to hide from the terrorists looking for hostages to round up. Then they contact Shinguji who relays information about this group led by people with Blazers. They did demand some ransom but they get their kicks in seeing terrified people via power. She has authorized them in using their magic.

Shizuku and Stella are part of the hostages as they only take women and children. When a child throws ice cream at one of them for being rough with his mom, he is going to shoot him. Luckily Stella intervenes. The big boss, Bisho arrives and is impressed with the princess and chides his subordinate for being petty. However he notes the child lacks discipline thanks to bad parenting and that the mother must pay with her life. He is going to kill her when Stella springs into action. This is a setup so when Stella unleashes her full force on him, his Judgment Ring absorbs her attacks and deflects it back with the same amount at her. Impressed with her nobility, he is willing to let people live if she takes the boy’s place by apologizing in her knees. Naked. Gosh. Is this our fanservice for this episode? I can’t be turned on seeing her in her undies in this situation. Ikki is really mad but Alice holds him back telling to trust in Shizuku who is in the midst of building a magic barrier. Once she successfully creates a water barrier, Ikki makes his move. Using his super power to analyze and evade all their bullets, he strikes Bisho by cutting off one of his arms. Stella has already taken out the rest. Then he hugs and apologizes Stella. Uhm, can you at least let her put back her clothes? It’s not over yet as one of the hostage is a terrorist and takes another woman hostage. Suddenly something strikes and kills them outright. Behold for Shizuya Kirihara. Ikki knows him. The girls hate him (they agree for once). When Ikki thanks him for saving them, he mocks him for being weak. Stella chides him off for being cocky and that he doesn’t know about Ikki’s strength. Kirihara laughs madly about Ikki’s false advertising and should tell the truth how he ran away from their match because he was too scared to face him in battle. Oh, guess what? Kirihara is the first person he will fight in 7SBF first round. Oh, did I mention he was the school’s representative last year?

Episode 4
Stella begins her first match. The spectators think she is a wuss for losing to Ikki. But for her competitor, he knows she is the real deal because before it could even start, he gives up and surrenders! WTF?! Later Stella talks to Ikki who is watching past clips of Kirihara’s match. Kirihara’s magic ability is to camouflage and hide his attacks or presence. Subsequently Alice also talks to Ikki about their bad blood last year. The school wanted a reason to expel him and so Kirihara was sent to provoke him. Ikki did not retaliate and instead took in all his beatings. In the end, it saved him from expulsion. Before Ikki goes for his match, he is met by Nene Saikyou who is known as the Demon Princess of the KOK Top League. She wants to flirt with him but seems Shinguji who is also her best friend had to bring her away and not slack her officiating duties. Now it’s the big match we’ve all been waiting for. As it begins, Kirihara uses his magic to turn the arena into a huge forest. He then attacks Ikki from all sides as he is unable to sense where it is coming from. Taking every painful blow thrown at him, Kirihara mocks his weakness and even leads the crowd to mock him as the worst one. Especially about his condition to win 7SBF to graduate. When the mocking gets out of hand, Stella has had it with it and screams out not warn everyone not to mock her favourite knight. Then she chides Ikki for giving up. I guess you need a little scolding from you girl to snap you back to your senses. He revives by using his special ability. He can now trace and detect every shot Kirihara fires at him. Not only that, he can even trace back to where Kirihara is and analyse his fighting style, etc! And when Ikki goes on the offensive, Kirihara is reduced to one big chicken sh*t, running away, begging for his life and even talking about friendship. WTF. Ikki strikes the fatal blow although he misses by a millimetre, it was enough to scare the sh*t out of Kirihara as he faints. No prizes who wins this one. Ikki collapses in the aftermath and wakes up in the infirmary with Stella by her side. I guess Shizuku would allow this once. The outrageousness begins when Stella wakes up and blames him for looking at her drooling while sleeping and for making her worried. Oh wait. She was never worried, right? Then he says he likes her. Gasp! So fast? Oh right. You don’t know when they’ll ever get a good chance like this again, right? If that isn’t crazy enough, Stella kisses him. On his cheek. And then they hug. Wow. This really escalated quickly.

Episode 5
Stella and Ikki are lovers for 2 weeks already?! Man, it did escalate quickly. She is agonizing because they didn’t do anything much ever since. Yeah, where’s the passion? Kagami brings some of her friends to train under him. At the same time, she can do her interview. Stella doesn’t look too happy… During the training, a group of jealous guys confront him and want to teach him his place. Ikki singlehandedly defeats them with his bare hands. Then the guys apologize about their envy and perhaps this was just a ploy to ask him to be their master. Ikki the great humanitarian takes them in too as his disciples. Then there’s our mandatory showdown between Stella and Shizuku to give their drink to Ikki and the latter beat her to it so the former had to chug down their share of bottled water. When Alice gives Stella a copy of an otome game, she gets hooked in playing it. I suppose it is in a game where you can be honest with your feelings. Or maybe is it the protagonist looks a bit like Ikki? Since Stella isn’t being trained under Ikki (because their fighting styles would clash), why does she have to follow him and the rest of his ‘students’ to the pool for training? Something about Ikki said about her to support him. And Shizuku thought today would be one day without that b*tch. And we have the girls showing off their swimsuits. No, not you too, Alice!

While Ikki trains the rest, Stella feels neglected by herself. She is approached by Kagami who intends to make Ikki her boyfriend. That is when Stella blurts out they are dating. Oops. It is part of Kagami’s plan to make her reveal that juicy stuff. Don’t worry, as a pride of journalist, she won’t tell others. But this doesn’t stop her from asking how far they have gone. Similarly, Shizuku is confiding with Alice about her unnatural love for Ikki. He gives her hope that is normal and she still has a chance because Stella won’t open up so easily. Well, Kagami is trying to tell Stella to be aggressive after learning they haven’t do anything much as lovers. Be quick or Ikki will run away and turn into a herbivore! So when Ikki and Stella find time to talk, she jumps the gun he wants to break up since showing her sexy side has no appeal. I guess she wasn’t listening to his worries that he too noticed they didn’t do anything much. And then they start arguing like lovers. See? You’re doing it already. They both held back because they didn’t want to be thought as a slut/pervert. Asking about the thing they want to do now, they both answer to kiss simultaneously. The first real kiss. And I think a permission to be horny with each other. Hey, they did ask if guys like horny girls and vice versa. Sure, Stella hates it but will only allow it for him. On their way back, they hold hands. But on a more serious business, they receive mail for their next 7SBF match. They’ll be facing the student council executives. Yeah, another bunch of weirdoes.

Episode 6
Ikki and Stella are facing off with their respective student council opponents. And they easily won! So much about the intimidation. So while Ikki’s girls fight over him as usual, I suppose that is the reason why they can’t sense somebody has been stalking them for a week unlike the guys. When they call out to the stalker, Ayase Ayatsuji becomes a clumsy oath in trying to run away. Once Ikki confirms she is the daughter of Kaito, the great swordsman who won many important tournaments, he is honoured to meet her since he was once taught by him. The reason he is not famous is because he is not a Blazer. He is hospitalized due to an accident. Ayase is shy in talking to boys and has been trying to figure out a way to approach Ikki to request his help in teaching her swordsmanship. Well, no need to ask. He invites her to join in. He finds her movements quite good but realizes the reason she cannot be as great as Kaito. Because she is trying to imitate his moves perfectly, due to their different gender build, it is impossible. He knows a way he can help her overcome this. Today’s fanservice will be on Ikki caressing her thighs to analyze her muscles. I’m sure it is hard for everyone to stay focus and not stray into unholy thoughts. Did Ayase get all that he has said? Fortunately she did because her improved move is now faster than before. Ayase is very grateful and praises Ikki’s good hands that remind her of her father’s. I’m having a hard time trying not to imagine dirty thoughts with this compliment. Stella is jealous but Shizuku displays her mature side that they were just merely practising swordsmanship. Even if Shizuku is not chosen but as long as Ikki is happy, she will be happy. I suppose Stella needs some sort of reassurance too so that night she wants him to hold her hands and also assures her she is the only one he loves. Nobody else.

When Ayase treats Ikki and Stella out for a meal, a group of punks from another school waltz into the place to harass Ayase. Their leader, Kuraudo Kurashiki sense great swordsmanship in Ikki and on pretence to be friends with him, smashes his head with a bottle. He wants Ikki to take out his weapon and fight. But Ikki doesn’t budge and instead smiles back. Stella is very pissed and wants to take on them but Ikki tells her not to move. Even when Kuraudo spits on him, he does nothing and continues smiling. I wonder if Stella can hold in her anger. Eventually they leave since it’s not fun bullying a weakling. Ikki explains he doesn’t want to complicate things by taking out his weapon and bring trouble to this place. He knows he will be expelled by doing so even given the circumstances. The student council duo, Utakata Misogi (vice president) and Kanata Totokubara (treasurer) commend his action because had Ikki take on them, they will have to intervene. As ‘reward’, they heal his injury like it was never there in the first place. They also mention about Kuraudo who is known as a Sword Eater and one of the top 8 at last year’s 7SBF. Though it is timely for Ayase to explain her connection with them, Ikki won’t press her if she doesn’t want to say. Worse timing, Ikki and Ayase have to face each other in the next battle. Alice sees through what is happening and talks to Ikki about Ayase trying to make a desperate move. Because if she is going to go to 7SBF, she must win all her matches without losing and she stands no chance against Ikki. Ikki has received mail from her to meet and clearly knows it is a trap. He knows she isn’t the kind of person who resorts to foul play and will not be shaken no matter what happens.

Episode 7
Ikki meets Ayase at the school’s rooftop. She asks what he will do if he meets someone unbeatable. He’ll still fight fair and square with all his might. For her, she’ll do whatever it takes to win. This means right now she jumps off the edge to kill herself. Ikki is forced to jump down to save her and use his special ability so they can land safely in the pond. This has been Ayase’s objective. Knowing his cooling period is a day if he uses it, as the match is in 10 hours, he has no chance of winning. Stella must be having nice naughty dreams of Ikki. Till she felt a bump on her body. No, it’s not Ikki going to make your dreams come true. He is not responding! He wakes up in the infirmary. Everybody has been worried. Shinguji talks to him but he will not reveal what happened and will take whatever punishment. He then asks about Ayase. About 2 years ago, Kaito fought a match with Kuraudo in a one-on-one match. He lost everything including his dojo. All that now belongs to Kuraudo. He was also severely hurt during the match and is now in coma. Hasn’t awakened since. Therefore Ayase is doing this to face Kuraudo at 7SBF to take back everything. Ikki and Ayase’s fight is here. It seems all Ayase had to do is tap her sword and Ikki will be severely cut by some whirlwind slash. Prior to the match, she used her sword, Hizume to cut up the space and placed traps all around the arena. Although this is clearly a violation and result in automatic disqualification, as long as the judges don’t notice, it is fair game, right? Ikki takes in a lot of deep cuts and when Ayase is about to finish him, he lures her into attacking him while he defence with an irregular technique. He is relieved that Ayase is still the person whom he thinks she is.

Prior to the match, Ikki went to see Yuri who will be officiating the match. He told her Ayase will be placing traps in the arena but wants her to overlook it. Ikki’s reason for doing this is because he wants to believe in Ayase. He wants to continue being friends with her and this would be his last chance to see her true intention. Now Ikki tells Ayase her mind is lost and thus cannot show her true potential as she has disregarded every teaching taught by him and her father. Ayase is desperate about proving her ideals because what is the use of believing in them if they don’t produce results. She will still do what it takes to win. In that case, Ikki will bring her pride back with his strongest move. Without using to his special ability, Ikki is able to dodge every trap while charging towards her. She unleashes whatever big move she has but Ikki does a secret sword technique that seals the match. He didn’t really cut her but something about switching his device into phantom form before doing so. His objective was to tire her out. Now that her Hizume disappears, she believes she has lost the match and her path. Ikki offers to help get back what she lost. After all she has done to betray and hurt him? He doesn’t need a reason to help a friend. Wow. So chivalrous. So much so Ayase can’t contain her emotions. She starts crying and asking for him to help her. That is what he wants to hear. I don’t know. Making a girl cry, making her begging for your help… Doesn’t that seem a little shady even if he wants to play the hero?

Episode 8
Ayase narrates about Kaito who retired from competitive matches when his heart problems cropped up. Even so, he continued to teach her the ways of the sword when she was still being immature. Kuraudo had a reputation as a dojo destroyer. Kaito fought him nobly till the end. When Kaito was about to deal his secret technique, his heart gave way and this allowed Kuraudo to deal the fatal blow. Ayase felt angry and helpless that she couldn’t do anything that day. Now she brings Kaito to her ex-dojo as that guy requests a duel with him. On behalf of Ayase, he is here to help get her dojo back. Although it is illegal to use their weapons outside school, it is an exception when the accredited martial art school and the school master give permission. Kuraudo needs to see if he is qualified to fight him so he shows proof of all his goons he has defeated while making his way here. Time to start this epic fight. After a few fast clashes, Ikki analysed Kuraudo of his special reflex ability. In short, before one can make an attack, he is already attacking 2 or 3 times. In normal matches, it would be impossible to dodge attacks like that. Kuraudo explains this reflex of his wasn’t one he trained and developed. He was born with it. He continues his multiple angle attack and the slight mistake from Ikki costs him to be injured. His luck only prevents him from meeting a fatal fate.

As the guys continue their fast pace attack, the girls notice Ikki is smiling. Stella asks Ayase if Kaito was mortified during his fight. Although she believed he was so, Stella thinks otherwise. Because like Ikki, Kaito was happy to have met his match with another strong sword fighter. Sure, Kaito has been the best of his field for years. But what is the use of that rusting away without any potential challenger? That is why when Kuraudo came to challenge him head on, he was probably more than happy to fight him. Ayase felt embarrassed she couldn’t see this despite training under him. Kuraudo’s ability isn’t god. So the downside of his reflexes is that it eats into his stamina. He is getting tired but Kaito is having so much fun he can’t end this fast. But I guess they have to and when both sides unleash their secret attack, it seems Kaito won using the Ayatsuji’s ultimate secret attack, Ten-i-muho. How does he know this move? Something about his sword that can imitate techniques. The guys call it a day and will continue the rest of it during 7SBF. Kuraudo gives them back the dojo. Ayase feels bad for making Ikki go through all this. She doesn’t feel she is good enough to carry on her family’s swordsmanship. But Ikki had her to thank because had she not memorized every move of the technique, he wouldn’t had been able to pull it off. In the aftermath, Ayase takes responsibility over her actions and admits to the committee about her foul play in Ikki’s match. She has been removed from the selection and suspended from school for 10 days. Even more good news is that Kaito has regained consciousness. And you thought it would be quality time between Ikki and Stella till Shizuku and Alice were caught spying on them. Nothing like a little Stella-Shizuku squabble after the latter has been sidelined for the entire episode, eh?

Episode 9
I suppose as reward for winning his 12th straight match, Ikki and Stella are set to go on a training camp. You thought they would be training with the student council members? Well, actually more like helping them clean the entire training camp before the next batch of trainers arrive! Bummer. Something is wrong with Stella. She has been valuing their alone time so much that when she gets the chance, she wants to continue despite feeling sick. And no, it’s not morning sickness because she’s pregnant! Conveniently the storm comes and they conveniently take shelter in a nearby cabin. Yeah… You guessed it. Time for steamy fanservice. So as not to make her feel alone, Ikki also strips himself. How considerate. Since she is too weak to take off the clothes herself, Ikki becomes a gentleman in taking them off. Slowly… Slowly… Hold still our beating hearts… And now he needs to take off her bra because it is restricting her breathing. Yeah… Amazingly he does it fast enough to even cover her so big disappointment for those who want to catch some boobs. Naturally Ikki has a boner and Stella actually is happy about that because it proves he isn’t gay. And then the ultimate question that every guy would love to hear from a girl: Would you like to have sex with me? Oh sh*t! But guess what? Ikki apologizes he cannot answer her right now! WTF?! Are you gay?! So this is his freaking reason: He wants to tell everyone proudly how he loves her and being in a sexual relation with her does not. Wait. What? I know it’s chivalrous but WTF?! Of course if you have noticed a spy stalking them ever since their journey here, now that their coordinates have been set, Mamoru Akaza is going to put forth his plan. Shizuku has gone home and sulking over how she couldn’t come to the training camp with Ikki. She is not pleased to meet her father, Itsuki and can tell he still doesn’t care about Ikki (he called her back to check her progress and is satisfied so far). Ikki felt the ground move. He goes out to check and sees a giant rock monster going to crush the cabin. Luckily he becomes The Flash to bring Stella out before the cabin gets destroyed. As he fights the monster, the more he destroys it, the more it can regenerate into clones. Luckily the student council members are here to flex their muscles. And of course we are introduced to the most powerful of them all. You mean this geeky looking girl, Touka Toudou is the student council president? I can see why she is Hagun’s best Magical Knight as her lightning slash can even fry the perpetrator remotely controlling the monster and thus stopping the regeneration. And guess what? Shizuku is Touka’s next match opponent.

Episode 10
Shizuku has always thought with her position as the family’s heir, she could have her way with anything till Ikki told her how wrong it was. Unaware of his treatment then, she decided to follow him. While Shizuku trains alone before the big fight, the rest talk about Touka’s power of lightning that could be Shizuku’s natural enemy as her power is based on water. When the match starts, none of them makes a move and it becomes like a staring competition. Seems they want to learn the other’s move if they take the first step and particularly for Shizuku, the safest bet to fight Touka is via long range and defensively because despite being in the top 4 of last year’s 7SBF, she lost to the eventual winner who bested her outside her attacking range. So when the action really starts, you can see Shizuku throwing all sorts of epic water based magic at her. However Shizuku still ends up getting slashed and wonders if it is her lapse in concentration. Ikki identifies this stealthy move as Nukiashi. Something about your brain cannot process everything all at one go and thus the lapse in that short span of memory. A trained person like Touka can use that little gap to her advantage and make it seem like she appeared out of nowhere to attack. So if Touka is already using Nukiashi, it could only mean a matter of time before Shizuku is defeated. Stella shouts out to encourage Shizuku. I’m sure she would be more appreciative if it was her onii-sama but that will do. Shizuku concentrates and brings out the maximum full extent of her powers to begin the final fight. After lambasting her with all sort of water based powers from cloning herself and hiding the arena with mist, eventually before Shizuku could go in for the kill (at least that is what she thinks), Touka saw it coming and in just one damning signature strike of hers, Shizuku is cut down in an instant. Game over. Shizuku wakes up in the infirmary. She’s fine. But she’s acting tough like it was nothing. Till Alice hugs her and tells her she has done her best while Ikki watched her till the very end. Her tough act and armour crumbles as she cries in his arms. Shizuku’s dad finds out she has lost and leaves it to Akaza for the next move.

Episode 11
Stella continues her winning streak too. It’s not too much to ask for a little romantic time between her and Ikki. Not too sure if this is their umpteenth kiss but little do they know they are being recorded. This doesn’t look good. Shinguji calls Ikki and warns him Akaza has been seen sniffing around the school grounds. Ikki and Stella meet up with the student council members to do charity work for some organization. Ikki learns more about Touka’s power regarding her super vision that can sense electric current as she is a lightning user. He realizes he can’t take his eyes off her. No, not because he is attracted to her, silly. It is the core of her strength that includes kindness and perseverance. It makes Ikki question what the source of his strength is. When they return, their friends have been frantically looking for them. The front page of the newspaper has a picture of Ikki and Stella kissing. As Stella is a princess, the scandal builds up as lots of reporters are cramming outside Hagun. Akaza then pops up before Ikki and wants him to attend a hearing by the ethics committee he is in. Stella disagrees but Ikki will fight this his way and goes with him. While being imprisoned indefinitely, in between he is interrogated. Ikki knows they are trying to corner him by forcing him to admit it was his mistake so he declares his true love for Stella and believes has done nothing wrong. As such hearing won’t to amount to disqualification of knights, Akaza has taken further measures to ensure that. This means Ikki will be fighting his matches inside the interrogation building. Although he wins, each match brings wears him down.

With all the articles filled with lies and the students badmouthing behind their backs, Stella even begins to wonder if this is all her fault. Should she break up? Shizuku beats her up and reminds her why Ikki is doing this. If she can’t even understand that, it is as good as betraying him. Stella realizes Ikki has been trying to fight and protect her all this time. Ikki continues his winning streak but is as tired as he can be. Yuri as his official judge slips him a paper. It contains a strand of Stella’s hair. This gives him the motivation that she too is fighting and their promise to face each other in the finals. Thus Ikki pleads to take this appeal directly to Itsuki. He gets the chance and wants his acknowledgement if he wins 7SBF. However Itsuki tells him he has got the idea wrong all the while. He has always acknowledged Ikki. But teaching techniques to someone without talent is futile and in fact is the worst. One can only get mediocre results with mediocre abilities. So when someone who is supposed not to do anything ends up doing anything, it gives needless hope to other useless fellows and put a strain on the organization. So please sit back and do nothing. In this heart-breaking moment, Ikki realizes that it wasn’t that Ikki hated him. He never had any hopes or feelings in the first place. Ikki was never a failure. But the bond between them was broken from the start. I guess you can’t blame him for crying how sad he realizes this silly predicament is. But the bad news is about the get worse. Akaza announces his next opponent will be Touka. This will also be his last match as the ethics committee doesn’t want to drag this out any longer. If he wins, they will stop pursuing this case. If he fails, he will forever quit being a Magical Knight.

Episode 12
Ikki looks like he is at breaking point in his cell. Touka knows this match is very much a setup by those scheming adults. Even so, she will face Ikki with all she’s got. There are 6 final matches to be played simultaneously and the winners will represent the academy at 7SBF. Of course receiving the most attention would be Ikki-Touka’s match as it is broadcasted live and in front of millions. When their match is supposed to start, Ikki is nowhere around. If a participant does not do so in 15 minutes in the allotted time, he/she will be automatically disqualified. Of course we know this is a plan by sly Akaza to run down Ikki. He claims there was miscommunication to pick him up from his cell to the stadium but when Akaza went to pick him up, he wasn’t there. So he might have gone there himself? Yup. Ikki is making his way there by foot and could collapse any time. He sees mocking visions of Ryouma and even his inner self is taunting him about being the worst one. Just when it seems he might not pull through, he is caught by Shizuku who welcomes him home. Uplifting his spirits even further is that everyone in the academy is cheering for him. The best part is that Stella and Alice already won their matches and this further motivates him.

Ikki and Touka step into the ring. Both do not waste time powering up to the max. Everything will end in a single strike as they want to uphold the honour of a Magical Knight. All that drama comes to a climatic end when Touka is defeated! From all that explanation, what I understand is that Ikki expanded everything he had to his limit at the very last moment. Sure, it left him bloodied all over but he is still the one standing at the end. Well, barely. Akaza being the sore loser he is, is going to take care of this himself and won’t acknowledge this. Before the fatty could do anything, he is bumped away by Stella here to catch Ikki. With everything so public already, might as well go all the way. Ikki asks Stella to be part of his family. She interprets that as asking to be his wife. A yes, I guess. And yeah, they kiss live in front of everyone. Stella’s dad who is of course the emperor of his little kingdom calls Itsuki and definitely he is not happy with what the kids are doing in public. It’s causing an uproar in his kingdom. Of course they still have their shady adult plan to not let their kids involve. A ceremony is held to celebrate the 6 undefeated winners who will be going to 7SBF. They are Stella, Alice, Kanata, twins Kikyou and Botan Hagure and of course Ikki who is made the leader of the team by Touka. Ikki and Stella’s romantic time is cut short when Shizuku and Alice butt in. I guess now the girls are going to be sister-in-laws, Shizuku will be laying down her absolute rules. I don’t know about this no-kissing policy that she just made up but I think Stella also made up 30-times-a-day kissing rule. I know a certain ‘fight’ that isn’t over yet…

The Weakest Link – Tale Of The Worst Harem
And so this is how it ends typically of another anime. The kind where as usual there are so many potentials for development that if the response is good, they’ll make another season out of it. But as far as this season is concerned, I guess what has to be done is done. Like Ikki clearing his name in the eyes of the public and proving that he is not the worst one like some shady adults especially his own dad want him to be. It is still a long road ahead but like I said, at least they tie up some of the plots for this season instead of leaving you having like some series.

A reason why I said this series was suspiciously similar to animes like Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance, Seiken Tsukai No World Break and Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei No Kyoukan is because of this few elements. Noticed our lead guy starts out with a very unfavourable reputation, has some sort of dark/tragic past and hidden powers that make him awesome once he unleashes it? The typical generic hero. If that is not similar enough, take a look at all the series including this. Why do they have a red head female whose behaviour is always the one showing the most emotions or flustering? Then you have the straight dark haired female lead who is a total opposite character with her calm composure and shows lesser emotions compared to the red head. The harem team have powers based on elements whether it is elemental or attack style. Oh, there is this tournament too that has yet to begin and what we have seen are just the initial qualifying stages. No wonder somewhere in my mind I had this feeling of watching something similar before.

I never understood how I started labelling this as a harem series because if it was categorized under this genre, it would have failed big time. Probably it was the ‘misleading’ poster that sees our Ikki being surrounded by a bevy of beauties that got me thinking that this is definitely going to be another one of those generic harem animes, coupled with the fact that it sounded like those aforementioned anime titles, thus the unexpected expectations. And then it surprised me that Ikki and Stella became a couple in the early episodes! Wait a minute. The typical harem guy actually chose a girl whom he wants to be? That’s not a typical decision for a lead male in a harem genre. Then this harem thingy starts to crumble after the duo became a couple. Because ever since, Shizuku has settled down and resigned to the fact that she will be okay playing second fiddle so long Ikki is happy. Even though she was his sister, she was the closest rival to Stella in the harem wars. As I thought the first time Stella and Shizuku met and locked horns would signal the start of an eternal cat fight but aside their petty taunting from time to time, it didn’t come close.

Because the rest just don’t quite cut it. Like Kagami who started off very promising to be a harem candidate quickly falls out of a race and it could be that she is just interested in him as a fan. Ayase’s case was just being a desperate damsel in distress who needs saving and it isn’t like she has fallen in love with him a bit after he helped her out. It is more like gratitude than anything else. After her arc is done, she is mostly missing until a short cameo in the final episode seen along with others to cheer for Ikki. Yeah, you go Ikki. Lastly Touka who is the ‘last’ in the fray comes across as merely respectable above anything else. I don’t want to start with Alice despite this guy claiming to be feminine inside because it would only make fujoshi fans happy. Thank goodness it didn’t even start. Also there is Nene to ponder about since she likes flirting but I don’t think she would have any romantic-like intentions and gets her kicks by flirting with Ikki. And there you have it. Where the heck is the harem? How did I even think it could be one? Yeah, I am the worst.

Character wise, they aren’t anything new. The characters feel like they have been done to death in similar fashion if you have been watching such shows for the past few years. Because characters like Ikki, either he starts off as a wuss and becomes stronger in the end or he himself is already strong and gets to whoop ass to those who look down upon him during matches. Ikki’s case that he is labelled the worst just because certain aspects of his skills are not judged and only judged based on some strict narrow criteria, coupled in with the fact his family hates him and would do anything to put him down, reminds me a lot like that Tatsuya guy in Mahouka Koukou No Rettousei. So freaking similar in character and setting that I thought they were just clones in different universes. Then you have the strong female lead in Stella who was going to turn into a tsundere when their love was blooming in the initial stages. I guess when you have such a strong guy, it is natural to have a strong girl to match his status as they go on to be the power couple. I’m not sure if they will face their strongest battle yet when they decided to get married because it seems their daddies aren’t willing to give their approval. I have a feeling it will be a thorny international issue but that will be another story (maybe they’ll elope and form a new little kingdom of theirs?).

Other characters feel like they have much to be desired. Shizuku as the little sister trope there to support Ikki and prevent and all-out development of something illicit between Ikki and Stella. Alice is another great supporter and could have been generic and forgettable if not for his uncanny ‘ability’ to know just about everything. Not too sure if this is part of his magic ability, though. It’s like he can read you like a book. Seems like no information escapes this guy. He could be a spy or double agent or something but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Then there are the student council members that all of them look like some sort of weirdo. At least in terms of stereotypic looks. You’ve got the geeky looking president, the my fair lady vice president, the midget treasurer, the hulking behemoth buzz cut hairstyle and the athletic tomboy to complete the line-up. They look like an interesting bunch especially Kanata whom I feel her role is wasted as she gives this sense of mystery given the fact that she wears a Victorian style clothing as opposed to every other student wearing their usual school uniform. I know there is something more to her than meets the eye but the way this season is heading, looks like there isn’t enough time to divulge everything.

Then there is the rest like Yuri whose sole role to her already very limited appearance seems to be as a comical character because each time she appears, expect her to gush out blood from whatever ill conditions she is having as part of the running joke. Nene too also feels like a joke character aside being told that she is some strongest Blazer blah, blah, blah. Of all the school she had to pick for judging and commenting, it has got to be Hagun. Maybe because Shinguji is her best friend. Because she has this knack to always slip away and skip her duties by leaving behind a doll version of herself and leave her co-commentator doing all the commenting themselves. She’d rather be in the audience stand watching and commenting the match with Shinguji whose role other than watching over Hagun and Ikki seems to be stopping Nene in doing whatever mischief and dragging her away. Having most adults as the bad guys seems pretty cliché these days and that teens are always the good guys. Akaza is the embodiment of your typical low level villain. That typical scheming character and typical stereotypic villainous look that makes him look like The Laughing Salesman’s brother. And then there is Itsuki who is more discreet in his scheme but nevertheless obvious enough for him to be labelled as a baddie the way he treats Ikki.

The fight scenes are a mixed baggage to me. Those that are at least half an episode long are considerately satisfactory but there are those that only lasts a few seconds long and such short battles I feel are just, well, a mockery. I’m not sure if they want to bore us with long battles like some long running series that has a single fight being dragged out for episodes but having them end before it even started feels like they are telling me it is not worth watching them. Not worth animating them. Therefore when I thought things were going to get pretty tough an exciting when they are faced with some student council members, they cut the battle out to give our protagonists victory. So much for the build up. Maybe this is just to show how our heroes garner support from those who are defeated by them? I suppose another logic is that with the limited skill and magic sets our characters have, you certainly do not want to be bored by watching them pull off the same moves. Besides, do you remember any other full length battle that Stella fought besides her first one with Ikki? Therefore when Ikki’s final match with Touka ended prematurely, it conjured those thoughts up for me. I mean, that is the reason why in the previous episode we had almost the entire episode focused on the Shizuku and Touka fight, right? The ‘longest’ battle shown in the series. Thus with time running out in the final episode, they don’t want to bore us with the same moves we have seen them pulling off in other matches.

I’m not sure how to put this but many of the ‘villains’ that Ikki fights lack depth. I mean, we don’t really want to care about those guys, do we? I thought that terrorist organization that Bisho (still remember this monk dude?) would somewhat return at the end and screw things up, make life harder for Ikki but I suppose it never happened. Subsequently there is this Kirihara guy who acts and brags like he is freaking superior to Ikki in every way. Then you see him scream and run away when Ikki turns the tables. Whatever happened to him? Not important, right? Kuraudo also feels the same but slightly better. The only reason why it feels his character has more depth than the rest of those Ikki faced is because his story is tied to Ayase’s past which was dragged out into a mini arc by itself. It gives a reason for us to ‘like’ Kuraudo slightly better compared to Kirihara whom we would just love to cuss and hate. I know Touka isn’t a villain but since she is the last person standing in Ikki’s way, but let me just add that her fight has the shortest screen time among all those Ikki had to face (aside all those unimportant characters in other matches who were fated to lose to Ikki anyway). Because I have already said about the lengthy fight Touka had with Ikki’s sister in the previous. Why do that all over again even if they are both different characters clashing?

Fanservice is a given for this kind of series although they are minimal and as far as I remember, almost all originating from Stella herself. When you have a heroine with such humongous boobs and sexy body, it feels like an insult not to ‘take advantage’ of it despite just a handful of fanservice scenes. And why do girls like her sometimes have to be ecchi minded? At least a small part of it and at least for Ikki’s sake. And I thought guys are the only creatures that think sex = love. Drawing and art remains like your typical conventional Japanese anime with nothing really much to shout about. The magic effects in battle also seem rather okay than anything you would classify as amazing spectacle. This anime is animated by Silver Link who has brought to you other notable and nearly similar series like Strike The Blood, Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu, Cube x Cursed x Curious, Watamote, Non Non Biyori and Kokoro Connect.

This series boasts quite a handful of recognizable seiyuus although I only recognized a couple of them. Namely, Yu Kobayashi as Ayase, Sho Hayami as Itsuki and Yuka Iguchi as Nene (ah, it’s been a long time since I have heard her in her trademark bratty Index-like voice). I don’t know what gave me the impression that Kana Hanazawa as behind Touka’s voice because at first it sounded like her but subsequently something felt a bit off and my confused guts believed it wasn’t so. Turns out it was Hisako Kanemoto. That same feeling had me wondering if Youko Hikasa was behind Kanata’s voice. After all that paranoia and deciding to check it out, looks like my guts were correct. Then there is Nao Touyama as Shizuku whom I didn’t recognize because she wasn’t like Nisekoi’s Chitoge. This isn’t the first time she has voiced such emotionless character as such familiarity could be seen in Gate’s Lelei, Sabagebu’s Kayo and Mahou Sensou’s Mui. After hearing Yoshitsugu Matsuoka voicing stereotypical main hero roles from Sword Art Online’s Kirito to Trinity Seven’s Arata to the titular character in Shokugeki No Souma, it was just hard for me to believe he is voicing the villain Kirihara.

The rest of the other casts include Ryota Ohsaka as Ikki (Nice in Hamatora), Shizuka Ishigami as Stella (Ellis in Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance), Shintarou Asanuma as Alice (Tsuda in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Kuraudo (X-eins in Valvrave The Liberator), Yuka Aisaka as Kagami (Muse in Amagi Brilliant Park), Mariko Higashiuchi as Shinguji (Yugiha in Noragami Aragoto), Megumi Han as Utakata (titular character in Mushibugyou)and Toru Ohkawa as Akaza (Saazbaum in Aldnoah.Zero). Identity by Mikio Sakai as the opening theme is catchy as it has that samba festival-like tune in it. It gets you into that festive mood of the 7SBF matches. But I am not too sure if the singer’s voice to be appropriate for this song because it sounds a bit flat. The ending theme is a surprise because it has been a long time since I have heard Ali Project but yet their trademark sound is still there. The moment I hear Haramitsu Renge, I knew it was from them. But having such naughty gothic piece for this kind of show feels a bit awkward. Especially when the ending credits animation is also animated to suit this gothic style. Naked girls especially Stella with thorny rose petals in the background? Awkward indeed.

Overall, nothing really ground breaking and treading the usual ground that it just feels familiar to a handful of anime series. But yet, different enough for curious guys and harem hopeful lovers to take a peek. Either you love it or you have had too much of this kind of genre that it is starting to get stale. I mean, who wouldn’t love a story that tells of the underdog hero who overcomes all trial and tribulations. Okay, so he started out to be one powerful heck of a dude simply because everybody else underestimated him in the first place. Still, he gets the girl in the end or rather he got her even before the halfway mark of the series. Sighs. It is the case of a good for nothing getting the girl. If only an otaku like me got such a harem in real life. If the logic of useless people should stay away from doing something even if it is good to avoid any unnecessary useless hopes so that the world would be a better place would only persist in real life. Life would definitely be a bliss. Yeah, I’m the worst.

Wasshoi! Domo. Ming desu. Yeeart! Heh. First they gave us a pirate hunter who hunts pirates (looking at you Roronoa Zero). Then they have assassins hunting down other assassins (looking at you flower shop guys in Weiss Kreuz). And now we have a ninja who hunts down other ninjas in the name of revenge. Ah yes. Ninja Slayer From Animation from the looks of it sounds like some sort of mishmash of the old ninja ways mixed with the futuristic cyberpunk style about an ordinary salaryman left for dead but given a second chance to become a ninja and goes on a relentless quest to kill all ninjas in hopes of finding that very ninja responsible for his wife and child’s murder. So whether you’re an innocent ninja or not, too bad. It is collective punishment. You’re a ninja, you die. Well, initially I didn’t really want to watch this anime seeing that perhaps ninja action isn’t my personal preference. But after seeing the final words on the synopsis… “Ninja Slayer takes on the ninjas in mortal combat”… OMG… My favourite game… MORTAL KOMBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!!!! (Trying to imitate that annoying but catchy techno sound effect of that song).

Episode 1
Kenji Fujikido is left for dead. He is about to be killed by a couple of ninjas when he revives and starts beating the crap out of them! He doesn’t care if they are ninjas or what, he just kills them! YEEART!!! Because you are ninja, you die!!! Later he remembers about himself. A spectre named Naraku Ninja appears before him and mentions that he is a ninja that kills ninja. Fujikido has been given a chance to join his revenge quest as Ninja Slayer. He agrees because he remembers ninjas killed his wife and son. The Soukaiya organization with its cross katana emblem is the one responsible for his family’s death. They think they are the strongest and kill people as they wish. Now they shall pay. Fujikido then faces off with another ninja. Realizing he is from Soukaiya, he goes into killing mode. Not even the enemy can land a scratch on him! Of course when word reaches the big bad boss of Soukaiya, Laomoto Khan he wants him eliminated.

Episode 2
Arson from Soukaiya disrupts some illegal exchange with thugs to show them their place. Then he gets back into his limo which is being driven by Fujikido. When he realizes this isn’t the real driver, Fujikido drives the limo to smash it into a building. Nobody is dead yet. Now they’re both out and ready to fight. YEEART!!! Long story short, Arson gets killed. Then a blimp starts shooting missiles at him. Since Fujikido dodges them, Laomoto’s patience is getting thin so the blimp driver unleashes another ninja with jet packs and technology to deal with Fujikido. Ninja Slayer is defeated so Naraku mocks his pathetic state. Fujikido will not be down yet so Naraku possesses half of him to revive and kick ass, defeating both the hi-tech ninja and the blimp. Laomoto is certainly not pleased. Fujikido is found by this black guy on a jet ski. Perhaps he was so intimidated by this ninja, he quickly takes him to the nearest doctor as ordered and promises to change over a new leaf and even convert into Buddhism. Karma? You reap what you sew.

Episode 3
Koki Yamoto is about to get killed while her friend, Asari is about to get rapped. An apparition named Shi Ninja appears before her to give her the necessary powers. She revives and kills those thugs. At school, they notice another fellow high school student, Shougo Maguchi beating up and killing a local gang causing trouble. Although he is taken in by the cops. But he is bailed out by this guy who is willing to take the blame for his crimes. When Shougo lets his guard down, this guy transforms into his true form and beats him up. He is Sonic Boom, one of the 6 ninjas of Soukai Six Gates. He gives him a choice to join the syndicate or die here. Shougo is then visited by this spirit, Punk Ninja who wants to give him powers. But Shougo wants to die but he is not allowed to do so. Yamoto teaches cocky bullies their place as she ponders who similar Shougo is to her. Shougo manages to scrap through beating all those small fries. Sonic Boom hands him his new nickname, Suicide and also now he will be his godfather. For his first mission, his target is this female ninja, Yamoto. Seems they both tried to commit suicide. Somehow they both survived as they both possessed Ninja Soul. The funny thing is that they both became ninjas and also transferred into the same high school.

Episode 4
While Yamoto is hanging out with her friends, she notices Shougo. She knows he is looking for her. Shougo still can’t believe all that has happened especially she turned into a ninja too. He warns her about Soukaiya trying to force her to join or death. That is when Sonic Boom arrives to persuade her to join the syndicate because there is nowhere else she can go. After all, she killed her own parents. Shougo can’t take this sh*t anymore and holds back Sonic Boom to let Yamoto escape. Shougo is beaten up badly and the reason he doesn’t want Yamoto to become like him is because she is different and has friends. After Yamoto lets her friends escape, she stays back to settle things. She transforms into her ninja version. Sonic Boom notices she is the psychic type but will show her that karate types are the best ninjas. She loses when Sonic Boom and his agents overwhelm here. But have no fear, Ninja Slayer is here. He knows all about Sonic Boom as he is on his target list. Time to fight. YEEART!!! With Yamoto’s giant origami move, Sonic Boom is finally defeated. Fujikido finds out she did this all by herself although they attacked her first. Naraku then wants Fujikido to kill her because she is a ninja. Fujikido won’t do it as he is going to fulfil his own goals and not his greedy desire. He lets Yamoto escape before anything bad happens. Yamoto returns to Asari who is glad to see she is safe. But Yamoto says her goodbye as she thinks staying put will bring her more trouble but promises to protect her always.

Episode 5
A narration about some poor chap, Shigaki who lost his right arm in some company accident and replaced with a bulky and old cybernetic arm. But it costs him a lot to maintain it so when he heard some sort of a job, he wants in. Meanwhile Fujikido is fresh off killing another ninja, Bandit. Laomoto is discussing with some guy that some tofu company is refusing purchase of their clone yakuza. Because of that, Laomoto will initiate attack. Dark Ninja reports Bandit is missing but Laomoto says the mission cannot be delayed and give mission orders to Beholder instead. Beholder rallies disgruntled ex-employees of this tofu company to go against them. Shigaki is one of them. Since their drink is drugged, they become enraged and violent as they storm into the factory. Shigaki fights his way into the main office and after disposing the executives, he thinks he can retire from this violent life with this money. He will also change his cybernetic arm to the latest one as he can’t control its strength. When Beholder praises his work, Shigaki fears he is from Soukai Yakuza and begs to be let off the hook. But Beholder hypnotizes him to be his subordinate. That is when Fujikido enters the scene to attack Beholder but Shigaki protects him and is thrown away. Beholder’s ability is to freeze time but Fujikido is able to break free. This ability is circumvented when Fujikido walks backwards! Moonwalking? He beats the crap out of Beholder to make him spill details about the Soukai Six Gates. Before he can get information out of the ninja who killed his family, Dark Ninja kills him off. Fujikido goes to engage him in midair combat.

Episode 6
Laomoto is pleased the clones can defeat organisms but cannot defeat ninjas because it will be troublesome if ninjas turn against him. So he sends his Soukai Six Gates men, Huge Shuriken to join Earthquake to set fire on Dragon Dojo. While Shuriken arm twists (more like finger breaking) people for the dojo’s location, he bumps into Ninja Slayer. He barely escapes with his life and rendezvous with Earthquake. Fujikido is hot on their tail and initiates attack but is defeated by Hellkite. The Soukai Six Gates duo barge into Dragon Dojo, the last place where real ninjas exists. The leader is Dragon Gendousou and Yukano is his granddaughter. Shuriken initiates a sneak attack to kill the other ninjas. Although Yukano slashes him, she becomes Earthquake’s hostage. Ninja Slayer barges in for his revenge. He is partially possessed by Naraku. Flashback reveals Naraku mocking him for another pathetic display. His sweet words convinced Fujikido to let him take over. Although Fujikido manages to regain himself back, he cannot defeat Earthquake and resigns to his fate. Gendousou won’t give up and teaches him some ninja lesson. In lightning speed, they throw a thousand shurikens to kill him. Fujikido wonders why he saved him twice. He saw some glow in his soul which is fated to rise to the top of Kinkaku Temple. He will guide him there. However Shuriken shoots and paralyzes Gendousou with some anti-ninja virus. The place is then set on fire with a massive atomic explosion! Fujikido takes Gendousou and runs as fast as he could.

Episode 7
Detective wannabe Nancy Lee is trying to investigate somebody. She gets shocked when she sees his dead body in a room. She is then attacked and bitten by a poisonous snake belonging to Cockatrice. He knows all about her because her tipoff is in the hands of Soukaiya. Before he could question her, here comes Fujikido to fight him. Cockatrice is confident his giant snakes as his arms would constrict and end the game but Fujikido destroys them and sends him to hell. He gives Nancy an antidote and tells her to give up playing detective. Seek asylum somewhere else and do not underestimate the syndicate. He leaves without answering her question. She believes that the word ‘Tanuki’ written by the dead guy would lead her to the truth as she continues her mission. Fujikido is resting at some shrine when he is startled by the appearance of its old keeper, Tomihide Sugawarano. Fujikido hopes he would forget seeing him but Sugawarano assures he will not report him because he believes he is not a bad person. He then shows him his family photo. His wife died and his son who failed some exam left and is now working in some cosmetics company. Although he sends money back, he wishes he could spend time with him. As he didn’t want to bother him, he eventually gave up. The small talk ends as Fujikido excuses himself.

Episode 8
Nancy and Fujikido team up to take down a yakuza clone factory. After disposing the yakuza clones and sneaking inside, they are shocked to see the clones inside the tubes. Nancy’s plan is to install some virus and steal some information on Tanuki. Before she can proceed, she is kidnapped by Forest who wants to make her his wife. Fujikido thinks he is from Soukaiya but he explains he was a security personnel of this plant and just quit his job. The reason why security is lax is because Forest dispatched them all. The duo still fight but before Fujikido can nail the finishing blow, Forest is collected by Frogman. He then faces off with Disturbed and Notorious. After Nancy does her bit, she returns to help fight them. Frogman collects his comrades before they could finish them off. They claims they are bio-ninja test subjects. They are sick of taking orders from those weak scientists. That is why they’ll quit their jobs to obtain true freedom. They will be called Survivor Dojo. Fujikido wants the data Nancy has as promised for the virus cure but she has to analyze it first.

Episode 9
Fujikido thinks he cannot trust Nancy as he believes she is only using him to further her own agenda. She disagrees. It’s just that she has a run of bad luck. He has no choice but to trust her as Nancy is able to dive into the virtual world to get some information to get into some building. Then there is this Daedalus who keeps infiltrating the cyber space despite Nancy always kicks him out. But multiple logins has her cornered. Even though they have been traced, Fujikido is able to kill the yakuza clones. The duo make some headway and enter the building. Forest and Notorious are also here but they noticed some other team is already here before them and have to move fast if they are to get some bio-ingot to make some infinite energy so they can fight forever without the need to resupply. Fujikido hooks Nancy up to the internet again. She manages to get some password and back out before they get crushed by some net trap.

Episode 10
Deep inside the building, Nancy hooks up to the mainframe. Forest and Notorious have arrived. Seeing Nancy lying defenceless on the ground, they are cautious this may be a trap. Forest got distracted by her defenceless boobs and that is when Fujikido kicks in. Then he fights Notorious and finally kills him. Forest fights him but realizing he is no match, he retreats. Meanwhile Nancy is facing off with Daedalus and his clones. Every time he comes back, Nancy disposes of him. It’s never ending. I don’t know what this alien dude wants but all I can think off this guy is sexually harassing her and wants to f*ck her! Just when Nancy is overwhelmed with all the clones, suddenly Fujikido appears to save the day. I don’t know what technique he used to dive into the virtual world without even hooking up but with the duo’s might, Daedalus is no match and is finally defeated. Nancy then hooks up to the final room. She has 1 minute to enter the correct password and an error means death. She thinks it is Tanuki but something inside her hesitates. When she hears her ex-informant’s voice, she calms down and realizes the hint to the password: Furinkazan. Fujikido is amazed she is able to go this far for her beliefs. She thanks him and the rest of those who helped out. This makes Fujikido question himself if revenge is all he seeks. Because right now he wants to save Nancy and Gendousou.

Episode 11
Fujikido brings the antidote to Yukano. Suddenly the place is ambushed by Dark Ninja. Seems Fujikido didn’t realize he had been tailed. Dark Ninja is here to kill him as he has become a threat too large for Soukaiya to ignore. Dark Ninja is clearly superior and whatever tricks Fujikido does, it is easily overcome. Before Fujikido gets killed, Gendousou revives to fight Dark Ninja. However from the way he says things, the old fart is going to sacrifice himself. And he did just that. And he just got cured… Fujikido is left to reminisce about his family when Dark Ninja’s familiar killing stance has him remember that he is the bugger who killed his family! Now he is mad. Naraku coaxes him to give his body and he shall have his revenge. However Gendousou tells him not to listen. He must not let the Ninja Soul master over him. He must draw out his own Ninja Soul the right way. Gendousou’s last word is to take care of Yukano for him. Fujikido revives and breaks Dark Master’s sword. And with a ridiculous amount of YEEART super punches (GWAAARGH!!!!), Fujikido is able to defeat Dark Ninja. But reinforcements arrive so Fujikido has no choice but to escape.

Episode 12
Lobster just killed off some guy who killed off another guy for doing something. Nancy has been caught and tied up in bondage style. Of course Fujikido is here to save the day and slays Lobster to save Nancy. He didn’t stay around to hear her thanks. Meanwhile Dark Ninja still lives. The moment he revives, he starts killing and burns down the ship he was recuperating in. Then he meets Master Tortoise who gives him his broken sword that he retrieved during the last fight. He was also the one who rescued him. He tells Dark Ninja to see Thunder Forge to forge his sword. No other blacksmith will do. A mad scientist picks up Lobster’s pincher and vows revenge on Ninja Slayer. Once again, Nancy is kidnapped (bondage position again?) as bait for Lobster (now a talking pincher?) to lure Fujikido. Of course he comes and fights off the yakuza clones as well. To his shock, Lobster is fused with the scientist who is hell bent on his revenge. But Fujikido kills him off. This time he feels guilty for getting involved. She warns him about a man’s revenge which could be deadlier than a ninja’s revenge.

Episode 13
A punk goes on a shooting spree. He is killed off by Silver Karasu who then takes a picture of his corpse. What about innocent witnesses? Kill her. Out of bullets? No problem. Cut her head off! He returns to his employer, Warai Jii-san who is very happy with his work. Silver Karasu is some sort of vigilante for hire killing petty criminals caught in the act. This is how he makes his living. When not donning his silver armour, he goes by the name of Tanaka Kagi. While doing his laundry, he meets Yamoto and they speak for a while before he leaves. Shortly, Nutscracker from Soukaiya comes in to kill Yamoto. Obviously she is not match for him. Kagi returns to kill the ninja. Flashback shows the doctor told him that he has not long to live because of some black spots invading his lungs. He should use his remaining days to do what he wants or settle unfinished business. Thus, Kagi left his sexy girlfriend to take Yamoto in and teach her his fighting style since her karate skills are insufficient. One night after coming back from another mission, he starts vomiting blood. Yamoto is very worried but he tells her is to mind her own business and that this wound is not from the fight. All she can do is just cry. Then Warai Jii-san contacts him with another target. A female ninja…

Episode 14
As you may have guessed, Yamoto is the target. So Kagi teaches her his sword skills and the rest she has to figure it out herself. Then when he tells her Soukaiya would still come after her, she got the idea and packs her stuff to leave. Kagi’s illness is getting worse. Soukaiya has sent Third Eye the ninja and Sword Dancer the bounty hunter to hunt down Yamoto. Sword Dancer tried to ambush Silver Karasu but gets into his trap. In the end, his 2 sword wielding style is no match for Silver Karasu’s single sword and kinetic vision. Yamoto faces off with Third Eye and uses all that she has learnt to defeat him. Then the inevitable showdown between Silver Karasu and Yamoto. It’s time to show what she has learnt. While fighting him, she cannot stop crying because she knows who he is. Eventually she cannot kill him and he is left with regrets thanks to her so he will shut up and go to hell quietly. Yamoto escapes from the yakuza clones and all she carries is Kagi’s cigarette box.

Episode 15
Omura is going to sink a city to turn it into a dam. Of course the residents protest and have turned into a resistance force and barricaded the area. But Omura sends his giant powerful mechas, Motoryab to destroy all resistance. Surrender or not, you get killed. Explosive and the Motoryab mechas invade the resistance’s main base. He faces off with Rapture the ninja. Female ninja Amnesia comes to his aid but is no match for Explosive. Till Fujikido turns up. It is revealed that Amnesia is actually Yukano. She has no memories of her past. Rapture is trapped in Explosive’s fireworks. Knowing his time is up, he sacrifices himself. Fujikido tells Amnesia to take the resistance leader to safety while he fights off Explosive. Fujikido turns the table on Explosive and lets him have a taste of his own medicine. Explosive is scared and pleads for his life. He will tell him what he wants. Unfortunately Fujikido doesn’t want to know anything from him. Goodbye. In the aftermath, Amnesia leaves a message for Fujikido that she has no recollection of her past. She was saved and taken in by a revolutionary group, Ikki Uchikowashi and will continue to pay her debt there. She was romantically involved with Rapture and thanks him for avenging his death. Now that she is a different person than before, there is nothing she can do for him.

Episode 16
Fujikido joins Ikki Uchikowashi as an agent to see for himself what kind of organization this is. This is part of his pledge to Gendousou to look out for Yukano. After talking with the boss, Answerer, Fujikido and Flickshot head to intercept a train believed to be owned by Soukaiya. The lowly comrades got burnt away by Prominence. Flickshot fights him until Fujikido makes his entrance. As Fujikido pins Prominence down, the revolutionaries ransacks the train. Despite there are innocent young children and teachers on the train, Flickshot becomes a bully because he believes these are bourgeois elites of the capitalist pigs. Fujikido cannot tolerate this and attacks Flickshot. He considers this his betrayal as the revolutionary group surrounds him. As Flickshot attacks him with his pachinko shots, the train safely escapes. Fujikido easily kills all the comrades and then lectures Flickshot about their meaningless violence as killers and human sentiments. Not even Prominence can interrupt. He died while doing so. And Flickshot got strangled to death. Answerer notes the interesting man Fujikido is but Amnesia believes he must be punished for betraying and humiliating the organization.

Episode 17
Yamoto takes refuge at a church when she meets this zombie ninja, Genocide. He is not her enemy as he buries the body of an old woman believed to be the owner of this place, passed away via natural causes. Mad scientist, Dr Lee is not amused that Genocide destroyed his lab and escaped when he awakened. He needs his zombie back or the stress is killing him. But his lovely assistant, Fubuki has taken the liberty to create another zombie ninja, Manticore to retrieve Genocide. Yamoto and Genocide become strange bedfellow friends. The place is then under attack by yakuza clones. Heh. It’s like they all come here just to get killed. Grenadier of Soukaiya fights off Genocide and Manticore joins in the fight. When Yamoto and Grenadier introduce themselves, I guess Genocide uses this chance to kill him off! The duo team up to take down Manticore. Dr Lee is so stressed that Manticore is dead but at least he collected some good data. Yamoto part ways with Genocide. It is best she leaves the place before the enemy will regroup. Genocide tells her his brain is rotting so the next time they meet, he might not remember her. She shakes his hand.

Episode 18
Naraki sees Maname before the big public demonstration starts. Walking through the sea of crowd, Naraki meets this guy, Buster Tetsuo. Naraki seems to understand what this march is about but Tetsuo asks if this will really change the world. Then he gives some zombie example that makes Naraki scared about the turn of events. His fear comes true when a student is killed supposedly by the police. But Naraki saw Maname was the one who shot her golden arrow. With the public getting restless, a police is killed (Maname again?) and this is when all hell breaks loose. Fujikido then drops down to tell everyone to scram. Don’t want to mess with a ninja, eh? So the public and police clear the streets so that Fujikido can have his fight with Jotunn of Ikki Uchikowashi. As Naraki is reeling from the chaos, he sees Maname who is no other than Amnesia (who is actually Yukano – who is Gendousou’s daughter). She tells him about the necessary sacrifice for their struggle and thus gathered people and made them fight. Fujikido then confronts Amnesia about her ways. Seems this is the path she has chosen (Tetsuo is her comrade) and clearly hates the past self whom he speaks of. Jotunn tries to interrupt but he gets killed off! Fujikido tells her to leave as Ikki Uchikowashi is his enemy. Without answering, she just left. Naraki takes over Maname’s role as he recruits other students in this vicious cycle.

Episode 19
Nancy is in trouble again. Basilisk managed to get through her traps and catch her off guard. His hypnosis paralyzes her. Trufflehog comes by and wants to keep her alive as bait for Ninja Slayer. From the way he says things, looks like some ninjas of Soukaiya are going to rebel and overthrow the current ruler and form their own organization. Meanwhile, Maria Agata is being beaten up by her abusive husband. Morita from next door comes in to beat this guy up and makes him swear never to come back. As he leaves, Maria doesn’t want him to go. It seems Morita is Fujikido in disguise. He gets a coded message from Nancy the coordinates and time of Laomoto’s whereabouts. Fujikido can now assassinate him. The next day as he sneaks into a building, he realizes too late it is a trap because this Laomoto is just a dummy. The bomb goes off and Fujikido is faced with several Soukaiya ninjas. Before Fujikido could finish his greeting, they ambush him. He wonders if Nancy has betrayed him with this false information. He doesn’t think so and this could only mean she has been captured. He gets serious and kills all the ninjas.

Episode 20
With the help of Warlock, Trufflehog snuffs out Fujikido/Morita’s hideout but he is already long gone. Nancy seems to be in the virtual world. Baba Yaga wants her to do something for her so she can’t die yet. When she wakes up, seems her kidnappers are a bit in a panic after finding out something. They run for it but Fujikido stands before them. How did he know their whereabouts? One of the dead ninjas he interrogated. Basilisk will take him on and wants Trufflehog to continue the mission. Basilisk poisons Fujikido with his shuriken and is clearly superior. But Fujikido turns the tables and uses the bike mirrors to reflect his beams. Then he steals his bike and makes haste. Meanwhile Trufflehog presents Nancy to Laomoto and claims she is the one cooperating with Ninja Slayer to take Soukaiya down. He thinks of using her against Ninja Slayer. Suddenly Trufflehog is cut into half by Dark Ninja. Similarly, Warlock is killed off by Gatekeeper. I guess Laomoto saw this coming from a mile about their trap. When Fujikido arrives, Laomoto takes Nancy as hostage. Laomoto’s giant gold name card defeats Fujikido?! After Dark Ninja toys with him a bit, Laomoto gives his farewell present to him: A missile! Ninja slayer defeated?! Maria sees Fujikido injured on the sidewalk. She takes him in but Fujikido is adamant he needs to go to the final showdown.

Episode 21
Fujikido wants Naraku to give him strength without being taken over. Since Naraku refuses, Fujikido does it by force. Maria is shocked to see him transform into Ninja Slayer before her eyes. With the news report that Laomoto is going to run for governor, Maria knows Fujikido must go and do his job. He enters Soukaiya’s building again but is surrounded by yakuza clones. Then Laomoto’s Voice greets him and wants him to join their side in which of course he refuses. Voice then mocks how Laomoto is getting his way with Nancy and orders him to be killed. But of course you know those clones are just there to get killed off just to show us his supremacy. Fujikido makes Voice spill some details before killing him. He is then ambushed by Forest. However he has no intention to fight him because he is going to retrieve Nancy and make her his bride. The duo start racing but are faced with several huge ninja exterminator robots. They cooperate to take them out. Before they can settle each other, Dark Ninja stabs Forest from the back and gets rid of him. Now it is time for the second showdown between Fujikido and Dark Ninja.

Episode 22
Fujikido gets beaten up so Naraku again bugs him to be possessed. Again Fujikido rejects because he wants to settle the score by his own hands. And so he revives to match Dark Ninja’s fight. When Dark Ninja uses his sword, Ninja Slayer got slashed but still lives. That is when Master Tortoise and Master Crane pop up to tell Dark Ninja this isn’t the way and it is time to serve a new master. Fujikido tries to get back in the fight but the duo spam him with paralyzing shurikens. Then they wonder why Dark Ninja has not forged his sword as told and his answer is that place is under the control of Zaibatsu Shadow Guild and he is still on a mission from Laomoto. On the verge of another death, Gendousou visits him once more to tell him the way of the Furinkazan. Not sure if it is the breathing technique because after doing that, Fujikido breaks out. As he wants to resume the fight, the monsters don’t want Dark Ninja to waste his time and whisk him away. Fujikido then goes to find Nancy and breaks her out from her cage. To replenish all that energy, Fujikido eats a tray of sushi! Almost done, there is this kid named Fujio telling them to get out of his room. They do so to avoid any trouble. He is one of many of Laomoto’s sons. Nancy can help Fujikido this time if she hacks into the cyber room. That is where all of Soukaiya’s evil deeds are stored and will be downloaded into her brain backup.

Episode 23
Nancy narrates Fujikido’s battle with the Soukai Six Gates. She describes the ninjas’ abilities but Fujikido easily kills them all with Nancy’s hacking help. He meets some challenge with Hellkite but again with Nancy’s assistance, Hellkite is defeated. Though, he is not dead and goes to warn Laomoto. In the final room, Fujikido faces off with Gatekeeper and meets his match. But it doesn’t take long before Fujikido finally gets the better of him. Sayonara. On the way to the next level, Fujikido experiences some trauma that his family, master and all those ninjas he have killed are blaming him for everything. His killings did nothing. Fujikido strengthens his mind, believing this is a trap from the enemy and blows them away. Now he arrives at the final floor.

Episode 24
Laomoto beats up Hellkite for his late report. Looks like he will have to settle the score with Ninja Slayer first. When Fujikido arrives, Laomoto sets his geishas upon him. No matter what hidden guns, swords or bazookas they pull, they’re not match for Fujikido as they take each other out. Now facing off with the big man himself, Laomoto warns him he is the mightiest ninja ever because he has 7 Ninja Souls. The reason he has this and even the Soukai Six Gates was to stop pests like him because every time if he has to take care of such annoyance, it would be a waste of business productivity. Time is money. Yeah, Fujikido also has no time to hear his ranting. Let’s get this sh*t done. Laomoto dons his golden samurai armour to fight. Fujikido is clearly weaker and takes a pounding. But he won’t give in and when it seems he is succumbing to use Naraku, he is just actually feeding on Naraku’s energy while maintaining his sanity. Fujikido revives and fights back. Their fight now takes to the rooftop for ‘more space’. However Hellkite sneakily helps Laomoto and this throws Fujikido off. Before he could finish him off, Dark Ninja appears and stabs Fujikido. But… they realize this body is a double. Then standing behind them is ghostly Naraku.

Episode 25
WTF?! What the hell is this best of Ninja Slayer segment?! The final review before the fight? Actually these are montages of short clips of the fights Fujikido against other ninjas that we have never seen. Because they aren’t in chronological order, we are left wondering what the hell these fights are supposed to mean other than Fujikido raking up the ninja body count. Since I won’t list every darn clip as they mainly last a few seconds each, I’ll specify the ‘memorable’ ones. Like the first one whereby Fujikido is burning some cactus ninja alive and we have the agony of hearing the poor soul scream “Aaarrghh!!!!” for 1.5 minutes!!! Gwargh indeed. Then I’m not sure who this Yakuza Tengu dude is. Is he some anti-hero? Then there is the fight between Yamoto and Sonic Boom. In the midst of it while Shougo was left for dead, he is picked up by some mysterious dude. The funniest part is when Fujikido is in a shogi battle with another ninja. After a while he just topples the board and beats the crap out of him because he realizes he isn’t here to play shogi! Another funny clip is Nancy dressing up in some mustard mascot and killing yakuza clones! And what’s this? Fujikido saving a little cow? Finally, Fujikido facing off with Dark Ninja to demand answers why he killed his family but Dark Ninja doesn’t have time for this and flies away on his jet with Fujikido not ready to let him go yet.

Episode 26
This hideous form of Naraku beats up Laomoto like there is no tomorrow while Fujikido is trapped in his own mind being forced to relive memories of his family. Of course Naraku starts to weaken since Fujikido’s body is at his limit and thus it is Laomoto’s turn to go on an offensive. This is also partly Fujikido is trying some zen meditation that deprives of the hatred that Naraku is feeding on as power source. Naraku tries to convince him to give him his body but Fujikido has achieved his ultimate zen. Instead of rejecting Naraku, now he accepts him because he was the one who summoned him after being left for dead. He accepts this dark side of his and at the same time won’t let Naraku take over his body. With both sides accepting each other, they revive and transform into a cool version of Ninja Slayer! Ermac?! Anyway, both take turns using the body as they fight Laomoto. Although Hellkite (where the hell was he all the while?) holds him back for Laomoto to unleash all his powerful missiles, Fujikido can still avoid them all and continue his attack. Too bad Hellkite died for nothing. After everything is destroyed, the duo are only left as they continue to trade punches. But Laomoto knows it is his loss and admits defeat. He will give him anything he desires. What does Fujikido desire? His life! Yeeart! A single powerful punch that finally sends Laomoto flying off the tower. Fujikido then wakes up in Maria’s care. She won’t ask what happened but knows that it is over. He has suffered so much so it’s time to take back his life. Suddenly he is zapped out from this dream state because Nancy injected some adrenaline shot to wake him up. As proof Fujikido has defeated Laomoto, there lies his broken body on the ground. But the effect of their battle is that the entire city is now in flames!

Yeeart! Yeeart!!!! YEEEAAARRRTTT!!!
Wasshoi! Yeeart! Well, I don’t know if you could call this a proper or good ending. Because it feels like everything else is incomplete but as long as the big bad boss is dead, then it is particularly over, right? Now that Laomoto is dead, what will be of Fujikido? Where will his soul go now? Will his soul rest in peace? Or will he continue to hunt other ninjas and other forms of evil? And what will the city be since thanks to the power fight, it is left destroyed. A sign that it will be built up from scratch, free from all that corruption? This and much more questions still ringing in my head after the series ends but I suppose when it ends, it just ends. You don’t need to know anything more as long as you know Fujikido has achieved his goal of revenge. Yeeart!

One thing that displeases me about this series is the disconnecting episodes. Because in almost every episode, there seems to be a gap in what happens at the end of one episode and the next. So much so you wonder how much they have skipped or what has happened in between. This makes it hard especially for viewers like me to grasp what is going on as I will be wondering what in the world did this happen to end up like this. That is why I believe they show that penultimate episode as somewhat a reminder about the gaps of the plot and story in between the episodes. But even so, that itself is not enough to do justice to the entire series. Because showing a few ‘important’ clips here and there isn’t going to make things better seeing there are so many happenings, it hardly makes sense if you try to put things together. Everything is all over the place. I know there are lots of ninjas to kill (assuming he killed every last one of them before his showdown with Laomoto) and that you can’t show them all but skipping things like this? Not good. Yeeart!

This leads me to my next point on what I dislike about the series. Some of the supporting characters. It makes you wonder what those characters are really for. And I mean characters like Yamoto, Amnesia/Yukano, Shigaki, Forest, Genocide, Dr Lee, Fubuki and even Dark Ninja himself. What I am saying is that there is no closure for these characters. The loose strings don’t seem to tie up for them. At least from my point of view. Many of these characters are shown their short whereabouts in the final montage of the last episode. Like Yamoto continuing to battle yakuza clones, Forest still surviving from his deadly fall, Dark Ninja watching over things and the rest just bumming around. It doesn’t mean much.

I mean, so what? What will be of Amnesia/Yukano now that she has firmly continued to stay with the organization? I thought Fujikido was supposed to help look after her till the end? So who is this Dark Ninja serving now? Shouldn’t this guy be Fujikido’s top hit list since this is the guy who killed his family? Who are this Master Tortoise and Master Crane anyway? Are they another true badass villains? What happened to Laomoto’s son(s)? Whatever happened to Survivor Dojo? How come Forest is the only one left? Maybe the rest got killed off in an unseen footage but shouldn’t it be better to just kill him off instead of leaving us with that cliff-hanger? What was the significance of Yamoto meeting Genocide for if that zombie isn’t going to have any major impact in the series? Who the heck is this Maria chick? Is she just a figment of his imagination? Man, I thought this would be his new love of his life to move on after everything ended. So you see, the disconnecting plot between the episodes and the very unsatisfying character development of these characters make the series less enjoyable and confusing to watch.

At first I thought I was going to be disappointed when I first saw the art and animation style of the series and thus compounding to my overall dissatisfaction of the series. Looking at the paper craft style of the animation, I thought the producers were just cutting corners in animating the scenes. Because especially during many of the action and fight scenes (and certain drama scenes too), this cheap paper craft style will come into play. So instead of spending money to animate all the cool ninja movements and attacks whatsoever, they just use a still picture of the ninja that never changes throughout the series and just move them just like as though we are watching some sort of paper puppet play. Are they taking us for suckers?! I thought you only see this kind of animation style in picture dramas that you find as bonuses on DVDs? But of course, I eventually got used to it and although I can’t say that I really like this art style, at least it gives the series its uniqueness. But still, not my kind of artwork for an anime series.

But I have to say that the designs of the ninjas can sometimes range from being unique and just silly. With so many enemy ninjas in the series, some that come and go so fast that if you blink, you might miss on how that ninja look. Therefore it feels like as though the producers threw everybody some sort of challenge to come up with different ninja designs no matter how absurd some of them look just to make up the numbers because seriously, you aren’t going to care about those dead small fries, right? While many look like steam cyberpunk ninjas that just came out of some cosplay convention, some like Dark Ninja have quite a good design. Speaking of Ninja Slayer himself, he too looks pretty cool and I thought he is actually worthy design for another ninja character in Mortal Kombat. Especially that final combined form of his. MORTAL KOMBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!!!! Yeeart! Get over here!

The general plot is simple and confusing both at the same time. Because in every episode, you can feel that it is more or less the same thing. Fujikido goes around looking for a Soukaiya ninja to kill. They meet. They always greet as a proper etiquette way of the ninja (usually Fujikido’s introduction will have superb explosion effects in the background). They fight. Yeeart! Yeeart! Yeeart!!! The sound of Fujikido or other ninjas unleashing their attack. Gwargh! Argh! Abbah! The sound of the ninjas being hit or taking a massive blow. Now read your death haiku. Sayonara! Ninja dies. Cue for life-like explosion to kill off the ninja. Move on to the next mission. This is the simple part of the series. And if there were plots in the background whatsoever, I’m sure it was hell of a confusing to me so I’m definitely not following.

It was freaking amusing and perhaps the trademark of this series for our ninjas especially Fujikido to scream the “Yeeart!” call. Initially I find it very funny while watching the first few episodes and was laughing my ass off each time the ninjas start screaming this. I guess to make up for the lack of ‘intelligent’ dialogue, they replace this with some muscle head cry. Sure, there are some pretty slick names of the moves, but I don’t really understand nor do I really want to remember what it is. After all, I’m having a good time laughing at all the “Yeeart!” and all the “Argh!” in reaction to that. If this series is going to be remembered for a long time, this trademark cry will definitely be it. Yeeart! (Note: I believe there is a post thread that keeps count the number of times “Yeeart!” is said in an episode! Can you count how many times I’ve said “Yeeart!” in this blog too?). Speaking of speeches, I believe that many of the other cheesy one-liners from this series can be turned into memes. Really. Yeeart!

So you will either be amused or disappointed, depending on your style of action and how it is being displayed here in this series. There is enough ninja action to keep you preoccupied but as said with the paper craft style, sometimes it takes away the fun as you have to be contented with the cheap style of animating action. Sure, there are some action scenes where they are properly animated but it pales in comparison with the paper craft one. With many bad ninjas dying, blood spilling and explosions, I’m sure this is your typical cliché of what is supposed to be an action genre.

When you have a series in which every episode guarantees a ninja being killed off no matter how long or short his appearance is (even lasting just a pathetic 1 second!), then you cannot expect to have great character development as I have said. I wasn’t hoping for it anyway. Fujikido’s drive for revenge is just a setting and motivation for him to go around hunting and taking down a variety of ninjas that serve to be added to his list of ‘victims’. Thus many of those Soukaiya ninjas are just pathetic brawns who has never feared nor faced death till they meet Ninja Slayer. Yeeart! Some may be funny but a big majority aren’t that memorable to begin with.

The only reason why Nancy is in this series is to provide some sexy fanservice after all that mindless violence of ninja killings. I mean, when you are already dressed in that sexy catsuit that for some reason exposes her sexy thighs and butt, can you not hold in your horniness especially when sometimes the camera starts to zoom in on those delicious areas? To make matters worse, she has this penchant of being kidnapped and being the bait for Fujikido to rescue her. Despite the temptation of wanting to cast her as a dumb blonde (especially when she starts screaming her trademark “AIIEEH!”, Nancy can also hold her ground. Well, if she is connected to the internet. What is amusing is the modem that she connects to is the one of the very old type. You know, the one in the early days where they give out that annoying beeping sound each time it tries to connect to the internet. Ah, those nostalgic memories. And funnily too when she is in this connected state, she has this vulnerable stupefied look on her face. Like as though in an after sex. No, really.

Another unique thing about this anime is that it has a different ending for each episode. Although many are hard rock based, there are some variations in some of them too. The bad thing is that with the songs only featured for a single episode, it is hard for them to stick in my mind. There are some good ones though as I have noted like the third episode’s Gekijou Shihainin No Theme by The Pinballs. Well, just have to put up with lots of screaming. Suicidal Bunny by Taffy for the eighth episode isn’t bad too. Then there is the reggae-like Ninja Prayer by Shinichi Osawa in the seventh episode and the video game-like Hide by 80KIDZ for the ninth episode. Tear Of The Pierrot by Mine for the seventeenth episode sounds like a carnival with all those drums in the background making it sound like a drum festival. The nineteenth episode’s Alone by Scam Circle is interesting because it is a xylophone instrumental. Sick Hack Ninsatsu Version by Memento Mori for the twenty second episode is weird because it sounds like a drunk guy singing this rock piece. Generally, the ending themes are really varied and some of them are interesting to hear but mainly if you are into those hard rock genres, you will find many to your liking. But the opening theme is only one and it is totally sung in English, the rock piece of Back In Black by Boom Boom Satellites.

The other unique thing about the ending credits animation is that you can tell whether a character in that episode dies or not. It is like an indicator whether a character lives or dies. Featuring all characters except Fujikido that appeared for that particular episode, as we scroll up the narrow alleyways, characters that are killed off are in monochrome colour and covered in their own red blood. Whereas characters that continue to survive will be in their full bright colour. Only the final episode lacks any of such ‘indicators’. After all that blood, gore and mess, I think leaving it blank would be the best idea.

Overall, if you just consider this ninja series as just purely from an entertaining point of view, then it passes with full colours. Because it is just so silly that it is just so awesome. I am sure at this point veteran anime viewers can name better cyberpunk animes that are worth the watch. Yes, you shouldn’t watch this anime if you really want high reasoning and logic. Because just like one of the lines in the series goes, absurdity kills reason! How true. So have you recited your death haiku? Gwargh! Sayonara. Boom! Yeeart! Yeeart! YEEEAAARRRTTT!!!

Wakaba Girl

April 8, 2016

Do we need more of this? Cute girls doing cute things? Oh yes. The way such anime series is being churned out every season shows that this genre is not likely to die anytime soon. And so is with the case of Wakaba Girl. Our titular character is a rich girl experiencing her time with her commoner friends. Ah, I guess you can guess where this is going. As you can tell, when you have a wealthy character, they are usually of a different status and class. Or even world. And when they descend down to the lands of the commoners, things can get pretty awkward as they try to fit in or rationalize what is going on. It is no different for our main girl here as she experiences her first time doing many things with her first real friends in a world and time she has never experienced before. To put it shortly, cute girls doing cute things lah…

Episode 1
Super rich girl, Wakaba Kohashi attends her first day at a normal high school. She quickly makes friends with Mao Kurokawa, Nao Mashiba AKA Shiba and Moeko Tokita. They discuss why they pick this school and they certainly thought Wakaba accidentally enrolled in the wrong school. I mean, a normal high school is so out of place for an elegant lady like her, right? Wakaba admits… She is a little dumb! After deciding what to call each other, they get ready for PE class. The friends notice Wakaba wears a long skirt. Wakaba tries out a shorter skirt and is ecstatic. Even more ridiculous, her friends find out her dream is to become a high school girl. Yeah, you can say she’s literally living her dream now. Wakaba is interested to become a gyaru. So she believes this is what she will write down in her assignment of what she wants to become in the future. She thinks Moeko is the epitome of what it means to be a gyaru. Wakaba goes home and happily tells her mom, Yuzuha and sister, Otoha that she definitely can make friends. She also writes in her future assignment that she wants to go to this school forever.

Episode 2
Wakaba is invited to join her friends to go eat ice cream after school. So happy that she is crying! It is one of her dreams to buy junk food. Oh yeah. Rich people don’t eat junk food, right? Wakaba is so eager beaver that she cannot wait till class ends. When Mao teases Shiba about her bra cup, Wakaba thinks about ice cream cup and cones. She really wants ice cream, huh? When class is over and the tired friends want to postpone the ice cream visit, Wakaba is super devastated! I guess this means they can’t put it off. So the girls are here at the ice cream store. Wakaba makes an order but she might have confused it with Shiba’s bra cup! She also takes a commemorative group photo. Moeko allows Wakaba to take a bite of her ice cream flavour but she chomps off the entire top! That counts as one bite, right? Wakaba really enjoys herself and wants to do this every day but her friends remind her that it is only fun because they do it occasionally. So they have her research on other places she wants to go. She has Yuzuha and Otoha help out. So the next day in class, she suggests all those places (complete with thick guide booklets): Hokkaido, Okinawa and even France! Does next weekend sound good?

Episode 3
When Wakaba hears Shiba and Moeko trading games, she too wants in. She plays games? Wakaba shows the new game she bought. She thought it was a galge because she heard several boys recommending it and snuck into a store in a poor disguise to buy it. Shiba whispers the true nature of this game. Shock! Shiba then rants about the otome games she needs to try. Taking down notes? It makes Wakaba believe she is a real otaku race. Moeko asks Wakaba if her mansion has butlers, maids, horses and pumpkin carriages. Sort of. Like in a fairytale? They notice her cute hair accessory so Wakaba explains it is a keepsake from her late grandma to be handed down to her generation. Such a heavy burden to shoulder… Shiba lends a game for Wakaba to try. At home, Yuzuha and Otoha watch her play but then it gets more intensive… Oh my… Next day, Wakaba returns the game to Shiba because it is too advanced for her! Turns out this wasn’t a gyaru game but more of BL.

Episode 4
The friends are supposed to meet at the park. But Wakaba isn’t here yet. Maybe she’s got the meeting place wrong. They try to call her number. Shiba realizes this is a fixed line number but Moeko remembers she has a handphone. Well… Wakaba brought her cordless phone… No signal… When they finally meet, Wakaba is overcome with emotions that this is outing wasn’t a dream!!! They then visit Moeko’s house. Wakaba thought she offended her when she says her room is small and cute like a fairy’s house. With everybody reading their own manga, Moeko thought they should have just gone to a manga café. So they decide to make cupcakes but Moeko won’t let them help out and finish baking them from scratch. Tastes good. At the end of the day, Wakaba wants to thank their hospitality by paying them!!! Sorry, girl. Your friends don’t want to be friends for hire. In class, Wakaba has baked a cupcake based on Moeko’s recipe with minor adjustments. Obviously it is black and burnt to a crisp.

Episode 5
Mao is sighing like hell. Want to tell us what is bugging you? Seems there is a cute guy she likes who commutes with the same train. She secretly likes to stand close to him and even secretly takes his photo! But one day she sees a hot girl talking casually with him. So that’s the problem? Couldn’t she be just over-thinking that she might just be his friend? Since she can’t give up, she thinks of an image change. I don’t know why she wants to have a rich girl persona (girls, guys are after your boobs! Haha!) so who could be the best rich girl she can copy? Ah yes… We have a genuine rich girl here. Mao observes Wakaba’s every move. She might be even seeing things of how rich girls do things because she sees how Wakaba is walking on air when in reality she is not! More observations has her conclude rich girls like commoner foods and animals (I think Wakaba got the wrong idea about crows being cute little birds). Now she tails her to her mansion. Stunned to see how big it is? Even more stunning is about her talk with Otoha about tomorrow’s party and she has narrowed down to 50 dresses to choose from! Feeling the goal is too high to achieve? Giving up? I suppose. Mao would prefer to be herself. The next day, the friends wonder why Mao and Wakaba are acting the same. Did Mao take after Wakaba? Actually it is the other way around. She realizes Wakaba has always been trying to copy her. This means Mao is the ultimate girl, right? Yeah. The ultimate of the ultimate.

Episode 6
A week into summer holidays and Wakaba is already bored staying at home. Miss her friends? So when Moeko calls to invite her to the pool, she is so freaking relieved, bursting into a fit of happiness. Since the last time she wore a swimsuit was during elementary, I guess Moeko would gladly lend hers of last year since it doesn’t fit anymore. The friends meet up to buy theirs. They wonder why Wakaba is taking so long changing till they realize she doesn’t know how to put it on! Since it fits her, Moeko would gladly give it to her so Wakaba fears it may be cursed! We see the girls having a swell time at the pool. At the end of the day, as they plan to go to next week’s summer festival for the fireworks, this invokes a childhood trauma in Wakaba as she got lost during that time and thus her curfew. Poor Wakaba? Are they going without her? The answer is obvious…

Episode 7
Wakaba’s friends are outside her house. No, Moeko. You can’t just break down the gate to enter. Luckily Otoha is there and invites them in. When Wakaba sees her friends, it seems they have something they need to talk to not just her but big sister as well. It is about the festival. They want Wakaba to come along. They know about the curfew and promise to bring her home safely. Sure. If they can convince mom. Looks like the negotiation succeeded since we see Wakaba in her yukata meeting up with her friends. Moeko is good with the goldfish scooping so Wakaba wonders with this bundle of cash, how many tries she can get… Shiba is good at the shooting gallery while Mao aces at the crane game. The night ends with a great display of fireworks. Next day, fun is over. Back to school. Don’t even remind Mao about her homework. You think that’s bad? Wait till you see Wakaba. She is still in vacation mode, bringing her float and candy floss with her. Someone is not over the fun yet.

Episode 8
Wakaba is happy the school cultural festival is around the corner. She has been keeping a countdown date. Since a year ago?! The class is doing a play and Mao is the super director. Then check out Shiba who is sewing clothes although she is not in the play. Seems the costume is for herself in a play known as ‘life’. Or maybe it is this Miss Clover beauty pageant she wants to win. Shiba thinks highly of herself as beautiful but her friends don’t sound so convincing in rating her highly. Think taking off her glasses will make her look prettier? Not much of a reaction from her friends too. What about putting makeup? Too much of it! She is attracting stares for all the wrong reasons. Moeko wonders why Wakaba is so eager for the cultural festival. Her past record dictates she usually transfers away or develops fever from the excitement. Could it be she is coming down with one now?! Say it isn’t so! They see Shiba pouring a bucket of cold water on herself as some sort of superstition to win the pageant. She realizes too late it just looks stupid. Back home, Wakaba is so excited for tomorrow’s cultural festival that she cannot sleep and calls Moeko. It is 3 in the morning for God’s sake!

Episode 9
Wakaba is excited for the cultural festival but when she gets lost in the sea of crowd, she is seen cowering in trauma at some corner. Too much to handle, eh? Although she is a noob with many of the festival stuffs, she has lots of stamina to go everywhere. When they realize Shiba is not around, they think it must be that bucket challenge. She got sick. But because she doesn’t want to ruin her 100% attendance record, here she is! Sick and weak. Since it is impossible for her to participate in the pageant, they need to find a replacement. Wakaba? She is already wearing a dress that makes her look like a winner. So they settle and borrow next door’s maid café’s maid uniform (now this is much better!!!!!). Shiba is the one reeking with nervousness during the competition despite she is just at the backstage. Yuzuha and Otoha arrive just in time for the pageant to announce Wakaba as the winner! See?! The maid outfit always seals it!!! For her victory speech, she dedicates this win to her late grandma! So it’s not Shiba? But later she thanks her although Shiba can’t accept the trophy because it is not her who won it. She’ll keep trying and win it on her own. If she doesn’t win, she’ll just smash the trophy! Wakaba’s win soon spreads. Now she has legions of fan girls admiring her! It only serves to make Shiba feel more regret.

Episode 10
Well, what do you know? Wakaba can actually run fast in the relay! But it is Moeko who is the slowest and as the anchor, everyone zooms past her and they end up last. Eventually as Moeko reveals she sucks at any sports. But I’m not sure about this training to make her do a loop around the bar. Maybe it’s the most basic? She is having a hard time doing so. Mao does an easy flip but I’m not sure if we could understand how she explains it. Shiba tries but cannot do it and Moeko felt assuring there is a ‘comrade’. Now it’s Wakaba’s turn. She makes it look so easy with many multiple flips! As it is getting late, Moeko remains adamant to try till she gets it. Even her hands have blisters. Wakaba will even stay and accompany her till she is successful since she is trying so hard. Finally Moeko manages to perform one. Yeah, big success. Realizing Wakaba’s curfew is close, they quickly rush back and Wakaba makes it back in time. Phew. Then all the security barriers start erecting, turning this mansion into a high security prison?! So this is what a curfew is like?

Episode 11
Winter break is here but why is Wakaba feeling sad? No school means she cannot see her friends! They suggest visiting the shrine on New Year’s Day and this brightens Wakaba’s day. So when the friends converge on New Year’s Eve at Moeko’s place, Wakaba brings a box full of gold ingots as payment! Wakaba doesn’t know what a kotatsu is and she thought it was some dangerous creature. But after experiencing its warmth, it’s not so bad, eh? And of course the feet fight beneath it and I guess some got too comfortable that they might miss the shrine visit at midnight. At the donation box, Wakaba almost tosses a stack of notes into it! They pray that they will have fun again this year. Wakaba introduces the kotatsu to her family and they love it. Otoha has already ordered a bunch of them in different designs. Now they’re addicted to it. Wakaba fears the true nature of this ‘machine’ is to make people lazy!

Episode 12
Yuzuha and Otoha are fretting whether to tell Wakaba or not. Wakaba is surprised to see… Snow! Yup. This is her first time as every time it gets cold, the family will travel south where it is warmer. Shiba prefers to stay warm but Wakaba is doing a weird ritual to make it snow more! Then there is talk about moving up a grade next year and hoping everyone will stay in the same class. Wakaba is thinking of using her money as authority to keep that!!! Out in the snow, the friends have a snow fight. Then Wakaba starts thinking back all the fun times she had with them and it even goes as far back like as though her life is flashing before her eyes! Fun is over when Wakaba catches a cold. Shiba thought she made an insensitive remark that idiots don’t catch cold because Wakaba starts crying. Actually she is happy that they are her friends. Because of her father’s work, she constantly had to change schools and resigned to the fact she will be lonely. Thanks for being her friends. When they reach her home, they see giant decorated snow figures of Yuzuha and Otoha! The friends quickly remind her that they are her friends not because of money! Wakaba overhears her mom talking on the phone about dad needing to move abroad for work again. The shock has Wakaba collapsed with her eyes open!

Episode 13
Wakaba has been missing from school for 3 days. The friends make Shiba call the residence and she is panicking after putting up that cool display. Seems she is down with fever. After school they visit her home and they are still at awed at the mansion. So much so Yuzuha had to bring them in to see Wakaba. In her room, Wakaba tells her friends about her family moving again. Don’t worry. They’ll come to see her. What if it’s abroad? They’ll buy a plane ticket to see her! What if it’s on Mars?! WTF?! They suggest Wakaba to stay behind because she is a high school girl, she can live alone. Shiba is made to go help convince the family and again she is so nervous that it sounds like she is asking for Wakaba’s hand in marriage! But they reveal that only dad is going overseas. The family is not going and can stay. What a big relief. So it’s Wakaba’s part in misunderstanding? With that over, Wakaba orders heaps of pizzas to celebrate. They think she is still far off from being a gyaru this way but Wakaba mentions she may not want to be a gyaru all this time but rather a regular girl. How touching. Next spring, even better news that the friends continue to be in the same class. Wakaba is so happy that she faints!

OVA
Best episode ever? Because Wakaba and friends are working in a maid café!!! Banzai meido! It all began when the friends discussed about wanting to go to a hotspring inn but have no money. What better way than to work their share via maid café. Although Shiba was against this part time job, I guess in a democratic society… On the first day of the job, the friends realize the head maid is no other than Otoha! OMG! Only Wakaba doesn’t recognize her?! The friends get to know this place has been running as part of Otoha’s hobby. Oh, there’s Yuzuha hiding and recording every inch of Wakaba in action. Yeah well, Wakaba is so freaking clumsy at every step. I don’t know how this happened but Shiba who is already nervous donning the maid outfit did some magical girl service to customers who ordered rice omelette. So embarrassing as it is lame. Wakaba’s klutz continues as she even tried to become a customer! When a customer thanks her for a good meal, she is overcome with so much happiness that she wants to pay her with stacks of money! At the end of the day, Otoha hands them their pay. A big stack of notes! The friends can’t possibly take this much cash and hand them back! Except for Wakaba who might be getting the wrong idea that her first day on the job pays this much. The only unhappy person is Yuzuha because she wants to film more of Wakaba in action. But what is even better than that? The next day, Otoha introduces a new maid recruit. The friends are shocked that Yuzuha is in on this. Wakaba, you can’t even recognize your own mother?!

Wakaba, Wakata?
And as expected… It was hardly surprising that kind of ending. I mean, after watching this kind of predictable series season in and season out, you could have actually guessed what was coming and seen it from halfway round the universe. Really. Because here I was actually predicting there was going to be some sort of twist in the penultimate episode and true enough it came out as the ‘threat’ of Wakaba going away again. And when that really does happen, I also predicted and bet 100% that it will not come true. Believe it or not, accurately I predicted that it was only her dad that was going. Oh heck. It was like I was writing the script of this series, no? Why not? For a character that does not even appear or being heard in this anime, what a better way to send him away, eh? Despite the predictable nature of the plot of this series, it still does have some laughs and fun.

With the genre of cute girls doing cute doings in the midst of being done to death over the seasons, perhaps this factor is the one clouding the character development of such characters in the genre. Although not many characters in this series, you can’t help feel that they are not that deep. I mean, let’s think about it. For this kind of genre, would you rather have one of the characters with a deep dark tragic past or one that harbours a secret identity? No, right? I won’t go so far as to say the characters are shallow or maybe even one dimensional but if you are looking for deep character development, you’re looking at the wrong anime. Sure, each of the characters has their own unique personality like the BL loving Shiba and the whimsical Mao. But that itself doesn’t differ much. The only reason why you could feel the friends bond throughout the episodes is because, well, there are no other characters!

Of course the most amusing one is Wakaba herself as she is the star of the show. It is sometimes funny to see her trying to fit in and understand what common people do. To sum her up, she is a rich girl but with poor social understanding. She is like what a country bumpkin is when arriving in the big city. Naïve but sweet. Sometimes you want to laugh and mock at her naivety of things but you have to remember her circumstances that made her so. Because at one point too, we were generally like that. Albeit for most of us it happened during elementary school when we were still exploring and be at awed at the magnificent of things. Wakaba just took a little longer. That is why thankfully she has true friends whom she can stick with for a long time to guide her through the thick and thin of this thing we call society. Be prepared to be in for more shocks, Wakaba. The road to be a normal girl seems long. As long as she got the money, it will be even longer… Get what I mean?

I thought Wakaba is such a dreamy girl and her naivety compounds it. But I also keep wondering if this runs in her family because Yuzuha and Otoha seem to project a similar atmosphere. They might have less screen time and they sure look kind and polite but at the same time also have that dreamy feel too. Sometimes it makes me wonder if the entire family is retarded. Just loaded with cash. Oh sh*t! Did I say the wrong thing?! Or is it money that dumb them down because you know, they can just get everything and anything by just dishing out a stack of cash. Which is of course some sort of a running joke because from time to time we see Wakaba trying to fight her conscious as she takes out her stack of cash in hopes of getting the desired outcome. Because when you are this rich to even have a house that transforms into some sort of creepy high security prison, everyone is going to think that those close to your are just after your money. And thankfully Wakaba’s friends, despite they cannot get over the awe of how majestic her mansion is, they have to keep reminding Wakaba that their friendship is genuine and nothing to do with money. Ah, if only more friendships in this world were like this. Yeah, they’re trying to tell us here that money can’t buy friendship. How I wish that was so true…

Art and drawing are nothing to complain about. In line with the cute girls genre thingy, our female friends are looking as cute as ever and for those hardcore, they’ll definitely make your heart go ~kyun every time they flash a smile. I know. Big cute eyes and doll-like face, you can’t go wrong with your moe here. Produced by Nexus, this relatively new anime studio so far has only produced a handful of animes like Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry and Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai Yo Ne.

The voice acting is rather okay and nothing that extraordinary as the main characters are voiced by relatively new seiyuus. They are Ari Ozawa as Wakaba (Sakura in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun), MAO as Mao (Akane in Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa), Mikako Izawa as Moeko (Satsuki in Locodol), Rie Murakawa as Shiba (Hotaru in Non Non Biyori), Juri Kimura as Yuzuha (Eruna in Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku) and Azumi Asakura as Otoha (Asia in High School DxD). The opening theme is Hajimete Girls by Ray. At first I thought it was the main quartet singing together but apparently not. Although there is an episode with a version of the quartet. Either way, hearing this song some makes my hair stand on ends! I don’t know. Maybe it is the way this cheerleading-like song that sounds too girly especially when they start singing the opening and chorus lines of “Ippo dashite, ippo dashite~”. Seriously, I just couldn’t stand it.

Overall, not the best anime of the season or will it be remembered in the long run but if you want something casual and funny or perhaps to brighten up your mornings on the weekends, this is the perfect tonic for that perfect relaxing mood for the day. Even though the morning is raining. It won’t take up lots of your time as each episode is around 8 minutes so I’m sure this could be the coffee fix for moe anime fans. It would be nice if this had another season. But too bad I suppose Wakaba didn’t flash her dollar notes at the face of the producers to make more. I mean, wouldn’t she want to continue to be animated in more adventures with her friends? Come on, Wakaba! Flash the cash for another season! Who says money can’t buy you friendship or another season now?

Overlord

April 3, 2016

Oh no. Do we really need another sort of anime whereby gamers find themselves stuck in the gaming world and can’t get out? After the great first seasons of Sword Art Online and Log Horizon but the very disappointing second season, it is that hesitant feeling inside me that put a lot of caution on Overlord. But this anime despite having this similar setting is different on a major level. Another online DMMORPG game is set to shut down and a certain nostalgic player decides to stay behind till its last moments. That is, till he finds himself still in the game world even after the shut down time has passed. Noticing that other NPCs taking a life of his own, his new goal is to take over this world while finding out what the hell happened to other players and his friends. I guess when you are some sort of powerful almighty wizard of your own game, what better way than to expand your world via domination?

Episode 1
Yggdrassil has been a popular DMMORPG for 12 years. Therefore it is with a heavy heart that Momonga, the big boss of his Tomb of Nazarick base and one of the creators of the game is sad that its servers will be shut down. He reminisces the days he has fought with his comrades and the time they took to build things up. Of course real life soon came knocking on their door and one by one they had to quit. He takes a last tour around Nazarick, meets the head butler, Sebas Tian and the team of combat maids, Pleiades. Albedo is one of the floors’ bosses and created by one of his friends. Seeing this is his last time around, he fools around with the command to make her from a b*tch personality to his lover. Momonga sits back on his throne, counting down the last few seconds of the servers shutting down. But something feels strange. He is still in the game and not logged out. Did they delay the shutting down? Even stranger, all the NPCs are coming alive and interacting with him. Momonga cannot contact the administrators of the game or his other guild members and the game continues to function as it is. To test things out, he gives orders to his subordinates in which they faithfully obey. He also finds his senses are real in this world. He tests it out by groping Albedo’s boobs! Yup, they’re real. Albedo would love to get down and dirty with him but Momonga has other concerns to attend to. He wants her to gather the other floor guardians to meet him. The first to arrive are the cross-dressing twins of Aura and Mare. He has them help him test out their magic abilities and fighting abilities. Momonga praises the twins and they feel happy over it. Their perception of him changes since they always thought he was a scary master. Sebas who has been ordered to monitor the situation outside Nazarick seems to have stumbled upon something unusual. Momonga orders him to return for his report. The rest of the floor guardians arrive. They are Shalltear Bloodfallen, Cocytus and Demiurge. Only Gargantua and Victim are absent as they were instructed to remain at their respective floors. All bow before the mighty Momonga and await his further orders.

Episode 2
Shalltear and Aura have bad blood between them, Momonga puts his foot down. Sebas reports that Nazarick’s surroundings are just plains. There are no familiar buildings within one kilometre radius. Momonga suggests concealing Nazarick via making dummy hills to blend with the surrounding and cover other open areas with illusion. Then he asks everyone’s opinion of what they think of him. Of course, only great words and admiration. Momonga praises them to continue working for him and then retires to his room. Albedo and Shalltear are going to kill each other over Momonga’s love. Demiurge suggests the ladies settle the issues themselves while the men discuss about Momonga’s heir whom they shall continue to pledge their loyalty. Albedo and Shalltear agree to set aside their difference for now and carry out Momonga’s orders. Momonga notices some of the senses he is lacking and doesn’t need like hunger or sleep. He dresses up in his armour to go out for a walk. But since Demiurge can’t allow him to be alone, Momonga agrees for just him to accompany him. Momonga flies up to the skies to take a good look at the world below. Feels like a real world. Although he has come to this world to obtain treasures, it is something he cannot hoard for himself. He might want to share it with his guild friends, Ains Ooal Gown. At this point they might not know what exists out there so he thinks conquering the world may be something interesting for now. Momonga watches Mare create barriers for Nazarick. To show his satisfaction, he gives him a ring of Ains Ooal Gown that allows him to move freely between floors. Momonga also gives a similar ring to Albedo since she is the administrator of all the guardians.

Episode 3
A group of knights are investigating a village decimated by knights of another nation. Momonga tests out his mirror for remote viewing. He sees a village under attack by knights and thinks of taking no action since it doesn’t profit them. However he remembers something similar to him. When he was about to be killed by some party, some guy named Touch saved him because it is common sense to help those in need. To repay those debts, Momonga changes his mind and will take action on that village. After all, sooner or later he will need to test his strength. He wants Albedo to join in fully armed. Momonga easily kills a couple of knights with his low tier magic before they kill the poor sisters. He turns one of the knights into an undead and orders it to kill the enemies. As the sisters are suspicious about Momonga, he gives them a potion to heal their wounds and sets up a barrier to protect them as well as horns that can call forth goblins. The knights one by one fall to the undead monster. Nothing they do could even scratch it. Even the knight chief got killed. Think he can offer that monster money? Momonga decides to let some live so that they can warn their superiors never to do this again or he shall bring death upon them. Momonga wears a funny mask and identifies himself as Ains Ooal Gown, a mage who secluded himself for research to quell suspicions. To make it sound that he isn’t doing this for free will also help reduce that. In actual fact, he doesn’t need money and wants information so he sees the village chief about the kingdoms in the area. This village, Carne and Nazarick are part of the Re-Estize Kingdom. Neighbouring it is Baharuth Empire and looks like both countries are on bad terms and often fight each other at the border near the capital city of E-Rantel. Another country to the south, Slane Theocracy, based on their crest, those rogue knights seem to come from there but the villagers believed it to be an attack from Baharuth. Could this all be staged by Slane? Momonga has the magic to revive the dead but that would only make the survivors wary so he will have to be satisfied of saving the village. This way, his legacy would spread. Although Albedo hates humans, Momonga wants her to continue putting up their kindness act. Strangely, Momonga had no remorse when he killed those knights. When the village chief informs of several knights coming, Momonga goes to see him. Gazef Stronoff is the head of the Re-Estize royal knights here to stop those rogue knights. He is grateful Momonga’s actions. Reports come in that unknown figures have surrounded the village.

Episode 4
Nigun Grid Lewin, one of the 6 scriptures has been given the task to eliminate Gazef. Gazef and Momonga notice the magic casters surrounding the village are from Slane and those earlier knights too. The only reason why they attack this village is because they are after Gazef. He would like Momonga’s help but he refuses. Nevertheless he is happy Momonga will continue to protect the village. The plan is for Gazef to distract the enemy and buy enough time for the villagers to escape. Gazef deals with the mechanical angels alone but his loyal men return to fight and die for him. Nigun and his magic casters continue to beat up Gazef but the strong man will fight till his very last strength. Just when Gazef is about to be killed, Momonga switches places with him via a magic item he gave to him earlier. Momonga tells them to quietly surrender their lives to him or face a painful death full of despair. Obviously Nigun doesn’t believe this crap and sends his angels to attack. But each attack Momonga easily defeats them all. You surprise, bro? He then decides to use his ultimate trump card and summon some super high level angel. Momonga can’t help feel disappointed that he got defensive over something this weak. The angel’s blast feels like ant bite. What a waste. Effortlessly, he uses some black hole to swallow it. That’s it. Holy sh*t! They must be wondering who this guy is. He mustn’t be human. Momonga also destroys some magic that Nigun’s higher ups were watching from afar. The only things that baffle Momonga are the items and spells they are using as they are from Yggdrassil. Now that Nigun is scared sh*t and begging for his life. Remember what Momonga said about that painful death with despair? Coming right up! Albedo wonders why he saved Gazef and that she could have gone in his place to dispose the weaklings. Although he trusts her, as long as they are unfamiliar of this world, they must move forward believing the enemy is stronger. When he returns, he announces that he has changed his name and will be known from now on as Ains Ooal Gown. Everyone hails their ruler and will spread his name throughout the land. His goal is so that his friends will recognize him if they ever come to this world.

Episode 5
Albedo reports there are still no contact of other players around Yggdrassil. There is also discussion about Slane whose ideal is that humans are to unite against other races. It is too dangerous to contact them now. Ains goes on an adventure with one of Pleiades, Narberal Gamma. Posing as low ranked adventures, their mission is to seek more information about this world while they move up the ranks and gain experience from quests. As the new kid in town, others try to bully them but Ains shows his might. Accidentally the fight causes the hard earned potion of Brita to be destroyed. As compensation, he gives her one of his potion. Brita then takes the potion to the best pharmacists in town to be appraised, Nphirea Balear and his grandma Lizzy. Because all potions turn blue after the manufacturing process, as this one is red means it holds very high healing properties. An item this rare could fetch a very high price and this means there are others who will kill her for it. How about selling it to them? Better, Lizzy has another plan. As Ains cannot read the local language, he simply picks a quest. Because this one can only be done by a high ranking adventurer, the clerk refuses him according to the rules. It is Ains’ ploy to get the best suited quest for his copper level. That is when a group of adventurers decides to let him join in their quest. Swords of Darkness (SoD) consists of leader Peter Mauk, ranger Lukrut Volve, druid Dyne Woodwonder and spell caster Ninya Beiron. Ninya is the few who is a talent holder. The more famous one around is Nphirea as his talent allows him to use all magic items. The group’s quest is to hunt monsters, which isn’t particularly a quest but it is a way of living to earn money. But somebody calls Ains for a personal mission. Speaking of the devil, it is Nphirea. Ains turns him down as he already has joined up with Peter but since a personal request is hard to turn down, Ains will decide after listening to him. Nphirea wants to head to Carne to collect herbs and needs bodyguards. Ains deduces the journey needs to help of the other group members so they agree to join in. Ains asks why he is requested since he only arrived here yesterday. Nphirea’s usual bodyguard has moved to another city. He heard his name from a bar brawl and besides, it’s cheaper to hire a cooper level. Meanwhile Clementine brings a Crown of Wisdom she stole from some Slane priestess to Khajit “Khaj” Dale Badantel. She wants him to make her compatible with it. She needs to kidnap a talent holder for this and wants Khaj to create chaos while she escapes. She will help him out with his ritual in exchange. Agreed.

Episode 6
The group now ventures into the territory of the Wise King of the Forest. It is believed a magical creature has been dwelling here for hundreds of years. Lukrut can’t stop flirting and teasing Narberal so she accidentally reveals that Ains already has Albedo. Goblins and ogres are in sight so the party get ready to engage them. While SoD has great team cooperation, Ains notes his team is still much better. Then Ains shows how powerful he is that he easily slays the monsters without exerting much strength. So much so, the remaining ones get scared and flee! As they camp for the night, Ains ask SoD how they came up with their name. It is based from the sword on one of the 13 heroes. That sword is one of the 4 swords owned by one called Black Knight. Their goal is to find that sword and till they get them, it will be their symbol. They ask a bit of Ains’ past so he tells them about being saved by friends who eventually became his best comrades. Ninya makes a careless statement that he will surely meet with them one day. Ains scoffs him off saying that day will never come. He goes to eat dinner elsewhere. The group feels guilty for saying something they shouldn’t and deduces he must have lost all of them. Nphirea changes the subject by talking about Ains’ awesome strength. He is interested to find out more details about who Ains is so when the rest wonder why, Nphirea indicates there is a person in this village whom he doesn’t want her falling in love with Ains! (Because they note he is such a strong guy, the women will easily flock to his side). So they all start bugging him for details on his love. Meanwhile Clementine starts killing people to get more information. And also she simply loves to kill. And torture. Khaj is turning the dead into zombie. It is his goal to turn E-Rantel into an undead city so he can become immortal. That is why he doesn’t want Clementine to cause him more problems or he will kill her. She assures him she won’t kidnap people anymore.

Episode 7
As they approach Carne, several goblins surround them but they don’t want to fight if they can avoid it. Seems the goblins are under the rule of Enri, the elder sister whom Ains saved on his debut on this village. Seems she has used to horn to summon them this way. And what do you know, Enri is Nphirea’s crush. The duo catch up on stuffs. He is nervous trying to ask her to marry him. When she explains about Ains’ heroic deeds that saved Carne, Nphirea then connect the dots Ains is the same person. So he confronts Ains to tell him he knows about his identity. But he also admits he has been hiding something from him. The potion he gave is made of very rare materials and he is very interested to make it. That is why he requested him and wants to know more about this person who has this potion. Either way, he is grateful Ains saved Carne. Narberal wishes to take her own life for the mistake that led Nphirea to connect Ains as the same person but he forgives her blunders as everyone makes mistakes. Before they enter the forest, Nphirea hopes Ains would just scare away the Wise King if he stumbles into it because he feels the Wise King has been protecting Carne from other monsters. On pretence to survey the area, Ains meets up with Aura. Part of the plan to spread his great name, Aura is to find and lure the Wise King out so Ains can defeat it. So once Aura provokes the Wise King out of its hiding, Ains tells SoD to leave while he takes care of it. With no witness, how is his legend going to spread? Maybe cutting off a leg will do. Ains is able to block the Wise King’s sneak attack. And when the Wise King shows itself… OMG… It’s a giant hamster!!! Yeah, can’t blame you if you were expecting some great dragon. Big hamster is even quite the friendly chap. I can’t believe this. Not even Ains. He is so disappointed that he lost his will to fight and puts a very low level despair spell on it to make it surrender. Ains shows SoD this hamster and even more surprise for him as they praise Ains for his strength and wisdom. Against this hamster? As the hamster will now follow Ains around, Nphirea fears Carne would be vulnerable and wants to join Ains to become a great magic caster. However he rejects him but will lend his help to protect Carne. Isn’t riding a hamster around feel embarrassing? As Nphirea has SoD store their stuffs in his home, Clementine is seen waiting.

Episode 8
Clementine is here to kidnap Nphirea so she can summon an army of undead. SoD comes to his aid but Clementine prepares to have fun. Wise King is now officially known as Hamusuke and after Ains registers him, he is met with Lizzy. They return to her store but find nobody around. Ains feels something strange and heads to the basement only to see all SoD guys dead. They even turn into zombies and attack but Ains slices off their head. Nphirea is missing and Ains believes he must be the enemy’s target. He also feels the enemies must be very confident in getting away since they didn’t even bother hiding the corpses. He wants Lizzy to make a request to save her grandson. The price to pay is everything she has. Very well. She’ll give him everything. Discussing with Narberal, because SoD’s valuables were not taken and only their plates, this means the enemy is a trophy hunter. He has her use some magic to detect their location via their plates. It seems to be at the cemetery and an undead army is already taking shape. Before they head there, Ains tells Lizzy to warn to town about the undead army. The guards are having a hard time trying to fend them off at the gates. As they retreat, Ains comes in. Don’t believe he can do it? Well, you are about to witness the greatest legend ever. He fights off all the hordes while Narberal is reduced to flying and keeping Hamusuke off the ground since the undead are sensitive to life. Ains finally reach Khaj and his priests in the middle of a ritual. Clementine then shows herself because Ains already deduced Khaj has an accomplice the way SoD guys were killed. Clementine shows off her armour filled with plates of those she killed. Ains wants to fight a death duel with her and has Narberal take care of Khaj. Clementine is mocking SoD but finds it boring when Ains didn’t have the reaction she wanted. He says he would probably do the same in such situation and chiding her would make him a hypocrite. But those people were tools to raise his name and for interrupting his plan, he cannot forgive her. Clementine boasts she is an undefeatable hero and names the few that could probably fight on par with her (include Gazef). That is why he is going to give her a handicap and won’t fight her seriously.

Episode 9
Khaj summons a skeletal dragon that is immune to magic attacks. No problem. Narberal will just beat it to death! Khaj will always be surprised what Narberal can pull off. He even uses all his energy to summon a second skeletal dragon but this isn’t going to put her off. Clementine continues to toy around with Ains. Then she uses her fast speed to pierce him but thanks to his very hard armour, he takes little damage. But Ains is observing Clementine’s move as he learns much of it. Seeing it is time to end this, Ains tells Narberal to show them her true power of Nazarick. Back in her maid outfit (that’s more like it), she uses her teleportation and flying skills and even stabs Khaj in the back of his shoulder just to tell him he can be easily killed. Remember about the skeletal dragons being immune to magic? Well, that is for sixth tier magic and below. No humans have wielded seventh tier magic and higher, you say? Whoever said Narberal is human? Her mighty chain lightning roasts the dragons and turns Khaj into ashes. Back to Ains’ battle, Clementine uses her speed again to stab her piercings into his face. She even uses her special flame attack. But nothing happens to Ains. She is shocked when he reveals his identity as an undead. Time to end this game. Had she been weaker, he would have killed her off with this sword. Instead, he will crush her bones. Clementine frantically tries to free herself but all that banging didn’t do any good. Just like how she kills her victims slowly, he will crush her bones slowly till she dies. After it is over, Ains has Narberal take all the equipment before the other adventurers and soldiers arrive. Ains goes inside the tomb to retrieve Nphirea. He is under some mind control and blinded. He could heal that and even wants to take him back to Nazarick but doing so would mean failing the job and sullying his team’s name. Although Ains’ rank is only raised to mythril, he is more than satisfied the soldiers are talking about his name and valour. As for Lizzy, he wants her to take Nphirea back to Carne where he will have her make potions for Nazarick. When he contacts Albedo, there is a message that Shalltear has revolted.

Episode 10
Sebas and Solution Epsilon of Pleiades are disguising themselves as butler and mistress in E-Rantel to gather more information. They report back to Shalltear and part of the plan was to have a human sucker as bait to bring a group of mercenaries to attack their carriage. Shalltear slaughters them all in hopes in finding at least one with martial arts capability. Information has it that the head of the mercenaries is Brain Unglaus who is on par with Gazef. After Sebas and Solution return to the capital to continue their information gathering, Shalltear heads to the cave hideout to face Brain. He is confident he can take her down with his skills but apparently Shalltear is able to stop his attack with just her fingers. She’s getting bored. He’s getting scared and tired. Because Shalltear mocks his skill, that guy starts crying and runs away!!! WTF?! So when his comrades see him in tears and running past them, something is definitely wrong. Yes. Something is f*cking wrong! Shalltear in her true hideous form kills all of them! Although Brain escapes, outside is a group of adventurers hunting down rogue mercenaries. Shalltear also kills them all. Brita is part of the party and the last one left standing. In her desperate attempt to flee, she throws the red potion at Shalltear. She becomes curious how she got this potion and captures her alive to interrogate her. When Shalltear learns that her party split into 2, Shalltear fears she will fail her mission if she lets those humans live. She sends her underlings to kill everyone in the forest but they were defeated. Shalltear rushes to kill them all herself but gets owned. So when Albedo told Ains about Shalltear’s revolt, it is actually her being mind controlled by others. Ains is baffled because Shalltear has a skill to nullify mind control. Albedo suggests sending a hunting party to get her but Ains wants to know the reason she revolted. He fears if this can happen to other NPCs, Nazarick will be finished. He must find a way to counter this first. Anyhow, they need to retrieve Shalltear.

Episode 11
Ains gets a message from Narberal that the head of E-Rantel’s adventurers’ guild, Ainzach has called upon him to discuss a vampire that has appeared near E-Rantel. Based on Ainzach and the other adventurers’ deduction, Ains can tell the vampire is Shalltear but they think she must be a product of Zuranon, a secret society using undead and this must be the aftermath of that cemetery battle. However Ains disagrees and says that vampire’s name is Honyopnyoko. Honyo what? He just made that up, didn’t he? Claiming he has been hunting her for a while, he has the necessary stuffs to defeat her. He wants to take this job alone with his team and the reward is to be at least orichalum rank. Some adventurers think he is bluffing but Ains doesn’t want anybody to drag him down. They can come but they’ll definitely die. So one stubborn adventurer did come and he is tied to a tree and Mare ordered by Ains to kill him! Don’t say he didn’t warn you. He then has Narberal take those corpses back to experiment and see if they can become a high level undead. Ains and Albedo then head to where Shalltear is. She is just standing there unresponsive. He will use a super tier magic ring that will nullify her mind control. Although it doesn’t exert any magic points, there are very high limitations like cooling periods. But upon using the ring, nothing happens. Quickly he calls Albedo for a retreat. Then he takes out his frustrating by stomping the ground! For a super tier magic item to not have affect could only mean one thing: A world item is the only class of items that it cannot defeat. He orders Nazarick to be under maximum security and recall all guardians back to it. Ains with Albedo and Yuri Alpha of Pleiades venture into the treasury room to get some world items. This room is guarded by Pandora’s Actor. At first the ladies couldn’t identify this strange creature but it turns out to be Pandora shape shifting. Because of his very embarrassing dramatise acting, it even makes Ains embarrassed! Say, wasn’t Ains the one who created him? Not looking cool now, eh? Because he continues to be super lame with the ladies, Ains has to personally warn him to drop the act! Yeah, this is more embarrassing then riding the hamster.

Ains then brings Albedo to the mausoleum where he created golem statues in honour of his old comrades. He is unsure of their fate and they could have perished. He remembers some of them retired and hand over their special items to him for him to sell but of course he couldn’t do that. When Ains plans to put a statue of himself here, Albedo gets emotional disagreeing to this. It is as though he is going to leave them. She wants him to stay here and rule over them forever. However he cannot promise her that. Albedo thinks if it is her incompetency, she will kill herself. Ains has to explain about the world items that are needed to defend themselves in this world. There is also a way to save Shalltear. As there are 20 world items, its destructive is so large that you will lose it after using once. Now that the enemy is in possession of one, he is hesitant to use it. To put it in short, he will fight Shalltear himself. Because of that, he doesn’t know if he will come back alive. Albedo offers their numbers to crush her but he gives her 3 reasons: 1) After not realizing world items exist in this world after assuming a chance of other Yggdrassil players here, he is doubting himself as an adequate ruler; 2) This might be a trap to lure him out and if the enemy sees him coming alone, they might be a little wary to attack all out; 3) He will kill Shalltear himself. Why not others? Do they have a winning chance? Based on skill alone, only Ains can beat her one on one. Ains understands Albedo’s thinking for the guardians act as far as the programming they were inputted. Therefore he will show them why he is their overlord and not lose to someone who just depends on ability alone. He promises her he will defeat Shalltear and come back to Nazarick.

Episode 12
After Mare and Aura teleport Ains to the battlefield, he wants them to scout the area for enemies and if they are too great, retreat back to Nazarick. He reminds them that some of the world items he has is worth far greater than their lives and to take extra care not to lose it. Demiurge is summoned by Albedo. He is not happy she let Ains go alone despite she was the one who vehemently protested when Ains wanted to go to E-Rantel alone. He is not satisfied with her answer that she saw his true determination and promise to come back because Ains is the only supreme being left and if he dies, who shall rule over them? He will have her take responsibility by stepping down her position if Ains dies. Ains reaches Shalltear. He detects her master not anywhere in the area. As she is still stationary, he realizes she will only move when attacked. He boosts himself by reciting all the magic stuffs. Man, I thought he recited the entire encyclopaedia of magic! Once he rains down all that powerful stuff on her, Shalltear activates and ‘thanks’ him for that ‘painful’ present. When he asks the master she is serving now, this confuses her. She doesn’t understand why she is fighting him but according to her instincts, she must fight back after being attacked. So we have both sides throw magic spells at each other, attacking and counterattacking. Shalltear knows Ains’ base as a magic caster and will try to reduce his MP as much as possible. Because Ains bolstered his defence against Shalltear’s fire magic, this leaves him vulnerable against her holy element attacks. More magic attacks until Shalltear unleashes her trump card, Einherjar. Looks like a white clone of her. Shalltear also summons her familiar subjects but kills them off to heal herself (her lance has the ability to heal herself equal to the damage she inflicts on her enemy, the reason why Ains cannot summon familiars to help out). Ains then uses some ultimate magic to end it all. Although the battlefield turns into a desert, Shalltear revives because of a resurrection item given by her supreme creator. She still has full HP while Ains has close to no MP left. But Ains is thankful she fought him seriously because had she hold back, he wouldn’t have been able to execute everything this well.

Episode 13
Ains explains about deception of info when battling with others. Therefore when Shalltear attacked him with various full force and Ains took it all in, he pretended it didn’t hurt him one bit. As a supreme being, he has memorized all the characteristics of his guardians so there is no way there is a skill that they have that is unknown to him. Ains then uses various weapons and shields from his comrades in his final fight with Shalltear. She is pushed back so much that she is forced to go on the offensive and abandon all defensive strategies. It finally ends when Ains has reduced Shalltear’s HP to a level enough to use a super tier magic on her and finish her once and for all. Back at Nazarick, Ains begins his ritual to resurrect Shalltear, though it will cost him a big chunk of his gold. He wants Albedo to keep an eye if the resurrected Shalltear will still be under mind control. Albedo and the guardians want Ains to step back and let them fight Shalltear if she remains under enemy control. For they fear if he pulls off anything reckless again, there will be no one to rule over them. Ains understands about their loneliness and agrees so. After Shalltear is resurrected, it seems she has no recollection of memories of what happened. The last she remembered was leaving Nazarick on her mission. The perpetrator who used mind control on her still remains a mystery. Shalltear realizes something is wrong with her: Her breasts are smaller! Ah, she’s back alright. Then all the guardians start to lecture her over the trouble she has brought. Ains is also told to admonish her but instead he tells her she is not guilty of what has happened. Demiurge believes Sebas has not returned from his mission yet so Ains reveals he is the bait because the enemy would most likely target him after Shalltear. Of course he has no plans to let that happen and will assemble a group to scout the area near Sebas. Ains now wants to strengthen Nazarick since it is definite an unknown enemy can harm the tomb. Albedo suggests using a village of lizardmen for his undead army. It is revealed the one who controlled Shalltear is from Slane. He is reporting the casualties from his side that caused the failure in the mission. With the lack of forces, they can only do basic surveillance for now. Ains and Narberal continue their adventure mission. Ains is so big now that he doesn’t have a mission big enough for him! He receives an important mission and will have all his guardians assemble soon.

Pure Pure Pleiades

Short specials lasting about 3 minutes of the characters in chibi form. Time for the maids to shine!

Special 1
Ains worries it could be a certain item he dropped that only works on the undead that he may have accidentally used it on himself, the reason why he is still ‘alive’ and have feelings. He is worrying so much but can’t show it to his servants. So when Albedo is worried something is happening to him, Ains has to bluff his way by changing the topic. Now that he has taken a good look at her, he finds her quite beautiful. Oops. He said that out loud and now she is squealing about it. He needs to do something to make her forget but he can’t come up with anything. Albedo continues her delusions about their wedding…

Special 2
Ains seeks an audience with Pleiades but he feels nervous about it. As the vice captain of Pleiades, Yuri greets him, Ains has a suggestion. Thinking that it is impossible for all of them to be by his side all of the time, his plan might be ruined if they continue to speak to him like their master. He wants them all to try speaking to him freely as they are. Speak in a way that they are comfortable with. So we have all the Pleiades members greeting him in their very own personality and style. Some strict, some cheeky, some shy and one is even too sleepy to put in the effort! Albedo feels she can’t lose out but Ains tells her to be quiet! That shut her up.

Special 3
Ains praises Narberal for her magic. Since he is being modest of his own, she wants him to recognize their vast difference in strength. But she continues to believe the things he does, it must be in line with whatever his plans are. I think he’ll just go with that and wants her to share this with the rest of Pleiades. Happy of this thought of convincing Pleiades, Narberal wonders what kind of gesture he is doing. He lies about being a recently developed secret magical pose to decrease magic casting time. She becomes interested and wants to try. Uhm… Okay. Then the rest of Pleiades are also interested in this and start practising this weird gesture. Since it has come to this, Ains is afraid he has no choice but to continue lying.

Special 4
Ains is praising this game’s unique and pretty maids (I agree!) and Yuri misinterprets if there is somebody stronger. He clarifies it is himself. He continues thinking the greatness of such games that you can customize your character as the girl of your dreams. Like Solution. Erm… Why is she fat?! Seems she is eating a human to hear screams. It’s her hobby. The thought of dissolving human scares Ains so he tells Solution to go back to her pretty self. After spitting out that half dissolved human, she’s back to her bishoujo form. Yeah, that’s more like it. Now, what to do with this human? Entoma eats it! That’s even scarier!

Special 5
Ains is narrating his maids’ type and function. But for Entoma Vasilissa Zeta who is an arachnid insect-mancer, due to the recent events, he needs to be extra careful around her as he would be weak against her mental type magic. He thinks he is the one most susceptible falling into panic. He notes Pleiades do not show much expression so Yuri explains they want to be calm like him. Then the rest start teasing and making her angry. Ains notes Entoma’s poker face but is explained she is just mimicking. This means she has a different real face. Ains might regret asking her to show her other faces. Yeah, she just took off her face! That’s not all, she shows him her other real body parts! Will he have nightmares?

Special 6
Lupusregina Beta has been sent on a mission to spy on Carne and maintain friendly terms with the villagers. Yuri feels she doesn’t understand the importance of this mission, Lupusregina disagrees and mentions all what she needs to do. Erm… Spying on night time activities? Ains hears Albedo’s opinion on Lupusregina. An honest child. But the other maids start giving sarcastic remarks about her being honest. Ains will trust Albedo’s judgment and hopes she will work hard. She then says something funny which makes him smile. This makes Albedo jealous and the duo end up in some useless petty argument-cum-competition. The topic went so far off tracked that Ains has no choice but to not bother or interrupt and deal with it calmly.

Special 7
Ains narrates about CZ2128 Delta who specializes in all the traps in Nazarick. However he can’t read her mind since she has this emotionless look. Thinking of knowing her more and going to talk to her, he is shocked to see she has partly turned into a robot thanks to Solution and Entoma. And CZ did not object to this. So this modification is to strengthen Nazarick? But why do the modifications feel like jokes? He thought the other maids could put them in their place but they are also awed and Yuri despite telling them it is an insult to desecrate their original form, please put everything back after playing. They look at the plan of the next modification that separates her body parts (supposedly the dream of all young girls?). Yuri objects to this because head removal is her special feature. Speechless…

Special 8
Ains feels the effect wearing off. He needs to ascertain it and just in luck, Albedo wants him to grope her boobs but he tells her off. Since he didn’t panic, I guess the effect is already worn off. Then he tells everyone to return acting like they used to on excuse that they are not used to the order he had given them. Ains then checks out the item again and since there are quite a few of them, he is going to read the instructions carefully. He is interrupted when Pleiades wants an audience with him. Unfortunately for him, the items activate thanks to the special circumstances fulfilled. That is, when different types of monsters that Ains and Pleiades happen to be are altogether in one place, the items cause everyone to go crazy. It’s getting quite chaotic with Narberal doing a silly dance, Entoma flying, Lupusregina being very nice and Yuri using her head as bowling! Total disaster! Oh, the effects wear off in an hour.

Master Of The Universe
As much as I hate how a great season ends with a cliff-hanger and leaving all that possibility for another season, I guess like as always I have to accept that it is indeed the end of the series for now. Even if I knew halfway through the series that there was going to be lots of unanswered stuffs and lots of other great developments to be unfold, a single cour seems impossible to cover most of it. Despite the theme of gamers stuck in the game world, this series still manages to be interesting in its own right and does not overlap much with the aforementioned anime series. Like me when you’re quite absorbed in watching the series, you’ll stop thinking about comparing this series with the rest and instead be more concerned on what is going on inside the series’ plot and story.

I guess one of the reasons why this series is interesting in terms of the plot and setting is because we don’t hear the main character b*tching about trying to return to his world. There is also no mention about Ains’ real life persona or anything that is related to reality. So there is no relation and we are not preoccupied about thinking if this is a glitch in the game or he has been transported to a parallel world that is similar to Yggdrassil. Even if he is talking about his ex-comrades, they are solely in reference to their avatars in the game. Yeah, I noticed their very long and ‘silly’ avatar names. So instead of trying to find a way home, Ains has already established himself to stay as the ruler of Nazarick for a long time to come. And this means establishing himself as the new ruler over this new world. It makes you forget that this was a game in the first place and everything fantasy you see here is treated and taken in as real.

As interesting this series may be and as much as I want another season for it to be made, but with the fear of the trend of the sequel failing to live up to its predecessor like some of those in the similar genre, I am quite cautious in wishing for one to happen. With lots of potential and mysteries to unlock and discover, it is natural that I would want another season to be made but like I have said, the dread that it might not be as good due to the much higher expectations and falling into disappointment has become a thorn in my side. For too long and too much animes I have seen that has fallen into this trap pattern and naturally the less I experience such letdown, the better off I am. Therefore I am in a little dilemma as to whether take a gamble to pray hard for another season while hoping the sequel doesn’t suck or leave my impressed impressions of this series as it is despite the feeling of being incomplete. That is, if they actually ever make another season of it. My little hope that the sequel might not suck is because unlike Sword Art Online and Log Horizon, this series started out only with 1 cour instead of 2 cours. Yeah, that might be the difference… Just saying…

The only downside to this series is the lack of character development for some of Ains’ Nazarick guardians and other supporting characters. The most disappointing ones that suffered from this are the Pleiades maids. I was really hoping to see them in action but alas it was not meant to be. Narberal had the most screen time while the rest just made short cameos. And I thought the short animated specials would help do them some justice but unfortunately despite each maid having their pretty decent time in the specials (to serve as introduction, I guess), it is still a far cry from what I expected. Unless you are like Ains himself, you can’t have everything.

I mean, when you have a bunch of cool and powerful guardians under your command, it is also great to see them in some sort of action or even a slight background story just to get to know more about them. At least by doing so, personally I feel it would have increased the awesomeness of these guardians. Unfortunately even if some like Albedo and Narberal did tag along with Ains for certain missions, it feels like they are being reduced to just mere accompaniment. Because Ains is such a superb magic caster himself and the problem is if he doesn’t show us his super magic casting, it won’t make us feel how great he is if he sends his guardians to do the job. Now that he is seen casting awesome magic power, his guardians are ‘sacrificed’ to just mere watching. Although Narberal did have her fair share of fighting, but that pales in comparison in what Ains have done and it was so short that it felt like you’ll miss it if you blink. I mean, come on. Narberal up against an old fart is such a mismatch. There was no fight in the first place even if she did show us what she could do.

What about the whereabouts of other characters? Gazef? Brain? Brita? Well, a short snippet at the end shows Gazef bumping into a very freaking depressed Brain in the alley. I understand how that guy feels after almost losing his life to a vampire and the only way to survive was to run away like a baby while screaming like a little girl. I know it kills his ego but at least he still has his life. Besides, everyone else is dead so nobody else knows about him being a wuss, right? There is also some potential in Gazef but the way the mini story arcs are being played out, such characters aren’t getting the deserved attention they need. At least for this season. Although Slane is building themselves to be Ains’ greatest enemy, somehow I felt that Clementine and Khaj’s characters were outplayed and killed off fast enough. I mean, here I was thinking they were going to be the antagonist at least for this season, and then here comes Ains easily killing them off like that. I know, it’s to show how great this guy is.  I believe a couple of Nazarick guardians didn’t even pop up, namely Gargantua and Victim. I wonder why Ains left them out. Are they that important being stuck guarding their floors in Nazarick? They were only mentioned in the very final scene of the last episode as what I feel is a ploy to remind us there were actually a couple of more guardians in Nazarick.

So all the glory and awesomeness is focused on Ains. Although he is not perfect and still learning and discovering new stuffs every day as he treks through the long journey to find his ex-comrades, unlike many series where the protagonists start out as weak and works his way up to become powerful, Ains is already a powerful being to begin with. Therefore it feels like a little fresh air to see a main character instead of going through all that tough sh*t training to become powerful, it was awesome as it was fun to see Ains easily defeats his enemy without breaking any sweat. You can’t help feel but cheer for him to rain down his magic spells on the enemy and then laugh on his behalf when ultimate victory is achieved. Perhaps the fact is that he has not truly explored the entire world yet and his great power is only because nobody else is near as powerful as him in this region. I guess that is why you have that Shalltear revolting as the final arc to shake things up and to make us and Ains himself rethink if he is indeed the supreme creator that he is supposed to be. But I think he is doing a good job trying to balance out his mission to find his ex-comrades, getting more information and managing his guardians. Especially when lustful Albedo can be sometimes pretty annoying.

The fight and action scenes are rather okay and it depends if you are the kind who like your action sequences in the form of casting magic. So if you are the kind who prefers sword fights, guns or even martial arts, then don’t expect to find any of them here. Because like I said, Ains as the main character is the one who is doing most of the fighting and with his wizard background, the various spells are the only way to go. As I am not very familiar with magic spells in games especially of the RPG genre, sometimes when I hear Ains start spouting the magic spells (which are all said in English), it feels like as though he pulls it out from thin air. Especially that penultimate episode when he starts spamming all the spells as he recites them. I guess he is not called an overlord for nothing. What is a great overlord if he only knows a handful of spells? Therefore it is great to see him know a wide variety of spells although many will be only used once this season but at the same time it is like he came up with those spell names on the spot. Though, sometimes it can get a bit confusing for me to understand some of the basic RPG elements since I don’t really favour playing such genres.

As a fantasy-cum-medieval setting, I guess many of the character designs are rather okay. Nothing too shabby but nothing that makes it a masterpiece. Of course, with my bias towards maids, I really love their outfit designs from those leaning towards the more traditional design like Yuri and Narberal and those that are a bit unique like Entoma and CZ. Though, it is a pity they didn’t really get more screen time. Oddly with Ains whose undead body is just made up of skeletal bones, his usual garb in robes makes him look big and grand like a big overlord. It just makes me wonder if there are many layers of clothing underneath it to make up for the hollowness of the bones. Speaking of skeletons, I don’t think I am the first to notice but I think a couple of characters remind me of that old western cartoon, He-man. Remember Skeletor? Was Ains designed with this baddie in mind despite their significant physical appearance? But ultimately what made me think of He-man was the very uncanny resemblance of Clementine! If not for that twisted crazy face she has, I think I would have easily recognized her as a rip-off as He-man! Gosh! Don’t you think the hairstyle is so freaking similar? Hello, Clementine. He-man called. He wants his hair back! Haha! Oh sh*t! I don’t know if He-man’s hair fashion is gaining back popularity in cartoons because Shingeki No Kyojin’s Armin also had this spookily similar design. Yikes. And with Ains riding Hamasuke, could it be something similar to He-man riding his Battle Cat? Only more embarrassing riding a cute hamster :-).

The most surprising and delightful of all the voice acting goes to Aoi Yuuki as Clementine. At first I thought it was Miyuki Sawashiro behind the character but soon realized it wasn’t her. Now, I have heard Aoi Yuuki in many roles especially her trademark cutie voice that is featured in many animes that I have seen. Nothing would prepare me to hear her as this crazy killer. She was just really crazy and devilishly delightful and she really brings the crazy life to her character. One minute she can sound wild and fanatical and the next she can drop to sound like a person with a croaky voice. She is particularly very impressive and kudos for a very good job well done.

With a series boasting a big number of casts, some of them are recognizable like Satoshi Hino as Ains (whose monologue narration sounded quite like his Takagi from Bakuman), Takehito Koyasu as Nigun, Koji Yusa as Brain and Mamoru Miyano as Pandora (still having that playful boyish voice like Ouran High School Host Club’s Tamaki). Some were unrecognizable like Shigeru Chiba as Sebas (no typical old fart screaming, no recognize) and Satsuki Yukino as Brita (I guess I wasn’t paying attention to her). Some I guess I was mixed up like I thought it was Ayane Sakura as Lupusregina and Mikako Komatsu as Solution but it was the other way round instead. The rest of the casts include Yumi Hara as Albedo (Marielle in Log Horizon), Sumire Uesaka as Shalltear (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Yumi Uchida as Mare (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Emiri Katou as Aura (Kagami in Lucky Star), Manami Numakura as Narberal (Riko in Love Lab), Hiromi Igarashi as Yuri (Orion in Amnesia), Masayuki Katou as Demiurge (Crow in Deadman Wonderland), Kenta Miyake as Cocytus (Sydonay in Shakugan No Shana), Akeno Watanabe as Hamusuke (Rito in To Love-Ru), Hiroshi Shirokuma as Gazef (Woodstock in Log Horizon), Ayumu Murase as Nphirea (Haruka in Joukamachi No Dandelion), Mao as Enri (Suseri in Isuca) and Minoru Inaba as Khaj (Philionel in Slayers Revolution).

Calattanoia by OxT as the opening theme is quite a delight to hear although being a heavy rock based. There is quite a catchy tune to the grandiose of the piece especially the chorus that makes you want to sing along with it although technically I was just humming along as I don’t know the lyrics. And sometimes I caught myself shaking my head like a rock star on stage playing my air guitar too. Really. The ending theme is another pleasant surprise to hear. L.L.L. by MYTH&ROID has the sexy hip hop feel to it despite also mainly of the rock beat. Another piece that would make me get up and do a little jiggle. No hard hitting moves from me since I can’t really dance and I don’t want to injure myself.

Overall, this is quite a good anime with good and powerful main characters that you will want to route for. Although the plot is far from complete, it is still interesting enough at least for one season where it is concerned. Nice magic battles are also a plus point if you really love to see magic in your shows. It is no surprise despite this is the latest series of the stuck-in-the-gaming-world genre I have seen, it feels a lot better than Sword Art Online and Log Horizon because you already start out as great and powerful (and yes, the horrendous second season of those series that need not be mentioned any further). So if I am ever going to be stuck in a game for who knows when, I want to be stuck in this one and be the supreme overlord that rules over all my maid servants, maid guardians and maid fighters. Oh heck. Why didn’t I wish for to be stuck in an ecchi maid harem game in the first place?

Grisaia No Rakuen

April 2, 2016

It is time to end the trilogy. Well, if you can consider that single episode 50 minute special as the second season. The first season felt like a typical dating game simulation and drama with Yuuji helping out the girls sort out their problem. The second season delves deep into the origins of Yuuji and how he ended up as to where he is now. And so with Grisaia No Rakuen, the tables are turned. Yuuji is in some sort of trouble. The girls cast away their damsel in distress role and decide to repay Yuuji’s debt by mounting a big rescue operation. Can they do it? As they aren’t your typical ordinary girls, what more girls who have been saved by Yuuji, impossibility isn’t an option. I don’t think it is even in their vocabulary. The homestretch of their intertwining fates reaches a conclusion…

Episode 1
Yuuji’s past continues. After he was rescued by Asako, JB didn’t like the idea of taking him in to live with her in a little cottage in the woods. Yuuji is still unresponsive and suffering from trauma. Till a point that I suppose Yuuji rejected her tough love and would rather cower behind JB. He prefers the blonde to feed him and such. Asako then brings a puppy for him as companion. He calls it John although it is female. The 2 bond and it brightens up Yuuji’s life very much. One day, Asako shocks JB that she wants to resign from the force. Something about her worsening vision and she cannot snipe long range. She might become an instructor of a school but she’ll take Yuuji along. Asako continues to train Yuuji. One night Yuuji asks about Asako’s job. She is from the Japanese-American unified anti-terror organization called Central Intelligence and Research Second (CIRS). To put it short, they take out bad guys. She lets her try using her sniping rifle. He nails it the test and is given his own sniping kit. Yuuji now becomes her disciple to learn sniping and this is when he starts calling her his master. One snowy day when Asako is out, a bear breaks into the cabin and kills John who was trying to protect him. Yuuji panics and didn’t use his gun well. He chases after the bear and tries to fight it. Of course it might seem like a no match but Yuuji’s survival instincts kicked in. Killed or be killed. He improvises to blind the bear and then mercilessly shoots it down like a pro. Then he sees the bear’s cubs. He realized the mother only wanted to bring back food for its offspring but laments it had to be John. Yuuji considers himself useless because he couldn’t protect something precious again but Asako didn’t want him to blame himself. After burying John, Yuuji vows to become strong like her. He wants to live a life where he can be useful to someone. That way, he can die with a smile on his face. Asako mentions that despite training from her and Oslo, he is still somewhat like a killing machine. That’s why he cannot kill anything without her order. Asako will not take this ‘safety pin’ off and lets him know about the cost that is needed to raise and train a good for nothing kid like him. That’s taxpayers’ money and it’s coming out of her own paycheque. Therefore she sets a goal for him that he is only allowed to die after saving lives of 10 citizens. But since he is half a man, 5 would be enough. If he can’t pull the trigger for his own sake, that’s fine. But become a man who can pull the trigger without hesitation for the sake of others.

Episode 2
JB couldn’t believe that Asako and Yuuji have gone as far as to sleep with each other! Asako then makes JB do it too after making her drunk! Not really sure if he was a monster in bed… One morning, Yuuji picks up Asako’s phone on her behalf. There is a mission she must accept and cannot reject so Yuuji does it on her behalf. Although a success, JB isn’t happy because this feels pretty similar to what Oslo has been doing. But Yuuji states that he did it on his own will. JB brings Yuuji for a long talk. That is when Yuuji decides what to do with his life. In his first step to become part of CIRS, Asako sends him to America for training. He becomes buddies with this tall black dude, Daniel “Danny” Born who can’t seem to pronounce his Japanese name well. So Yuuji is referred to as Shorty. Yuuji gets ‘special treatment’ from her training instructor, Agnes Garrett since she is friends with Asako and owes her a lot. Yuuji shines in the sniping department so much so many think he is a splitting image of Asako. Fellow trainee, Milliela “Millie” Standfield (another American who can’t pronounce his name – calls him Genie for genius) is jealous about him (because sniping seems to be her only best field) and calls him out to fight. No, not punch her in the face but a sniping duel, silly you! She will believe his skills if he can nail a shot with a weaker weapon. It is not impossible but it is tough. Because her dad once believed to had nailed it too. However he was a drunkard and naturally nobody believed his ramblings. Yuuji calculates the wind and then nails the shot. You believe now? How does he do it? He is a genius, remember? At the end of their training, Yuuji and his comrades are sent to the battlefield.

Episode 3
Danny is dead?! And by normal accident?! We go back during their active duty on the field. Danny heard they will be getting a new partner named Robbie the Immortal. So they go check him out and wants to use the PC so they shoo away this otaku guy playing his eroge! Turns out this otaku is Robert Wallson AKA Robbie the Immortal. How in the world? He loves playing hentai imouto games… Imouto… Immortal… It got kinda stuck there… Yeah, this team is screwed… Yuuji seems to be suffering from trauma too. Even when he snipes a bird out of sport, he starts vomiting and shivering soon after. If this is only animal, what will the effects be if he kills a human? Completing their group of misfits are Edward Walker (a fellow sniper trained under Yuuji) and second lieutenant Justin Mikemeyer (I guess the scars of war has got him talking nonsense, especially about his PA, Alison who is now dead – who the hell is going to serve his coffee now?). This Bush Dog platoon encounters enemy guerrillas in the front lines. The initial plan was to return fire and evacuate after reinforcements arrive. But now they have to hold their ground. It is suggested for Yuuji to kill some of the enemies and because nobody wants to leave their partner behind, they’re staying to help Yuuji. With only 9 bullets for him, he has to make all count. Justin then makes Yuuji close his eyes as he rants about all his comrades and that his enemies are not humans. He gives him a choice to kill or watch his friends get killed. Therefore he gives him permission to kill and will shoulder all the responsibility. Yuuji calmly snipes and hits all without missing. Justin then makes Yuuji sleep and rest. When he wakes up, reinforcements have arrived the enemy retreated. At the end of their service, Yuuji prepares to depart for Japan. Millie felt sad for him leaving. Danny teases her to say her goodbye and she already did it the day before. It would be weird for a woman he rejected to follow him around. The only thing she can do is wish for God to give him luck and the world’s happiness. Yuuji returns to waiting Asako and it makes him somewhat happy to see her face (they already had sex on the first night of his return?). He wants to give his entire life to her but she doesn’t need it. Yuuji narrates his final training for his certification. And then that Vancouver terrorist incident in which he rescued Chizuru. That was the last time he saw Danny.

Episode 4
After Yuuji succeeds Asako’s position, he is posted to Colombia for a guard duty. But JB calls him to come back quick because Asako has collapsed. Something about her capillary ruptured from a past mission and drug treatment over the years only complicated it. When he returns home and finally gets a chance to see her, he starts getting emotional and crying. Never seen him in this state before. At least not as a grownup. Long story short, he doesn’t want her to leave him alone but she tells him to go find his own destiny. One evening when she asks about the stars, that was the last time she breathed. Yuuji falls into depression but Asako’s words and orders that he needed to save 5 people gave him the motivation to go on. JB can’t stand this pathetic sight and soon allowed Yuuji to move into her condo. Both relying on each other although none had any idea how to deal with it. One day, remembering Asako’s words about a trip, he decides to go on one and will let wherever the wind takes him. He thought it might be a good chance to discover what he is looking for. Borrowing Asako’s bike, he rides all over Japan until the bike died! Yeah, not even the motor can outlast Yuuji. It took a fellow biker to mention about the youth he has got (the reason for his mindless wandering) that it made Yuuji want to come home since he thinks youth is something that he is missing. After visiting Asako’s grave, he mentions about trying out a normal high school for his youth. The rest is history as we know it. Yuuji is about to leave JB’s office when Chiara comes in with a possible information leak. Yuuji’s girls have also read finished his past. They feel awkward to face him. Yumiko suggests to face him like how they normally do. Yuuji gets a call to undertake a special mission. He cannot refuse and failure is not an option (Yuuji seems to have been recommended for this job by a certain person). He is to snipe an illegal immigrant considered as a threat to the nation as he arrives at the harbour. When the target is in sight, Yuuji is paralyzed in fear that this guy is Oslo! Trauma overcomes him. And it is like Oslo knows Yuuji is watching because he lip-synch that he is back. As Yuuji has failed, there are orders to restrain him no matter how dirty the method is. Yuuji’s girls see the news of a terrorist organization lead by Oslo has attacked an embassy. What is shocking is Yuuji’s name popping up as one of the perpetrators.

Episode 5
There is footage of Yuuji shooting inside the embassy. The girls seek Chizuru for answers but she tells them what she knows. Yumiko deduces the government using Yuuji as a bargaining chip against Oslo as he might have some sort of fixation on Yuuji. Chizuru then informs them the school is closing down due to lack of funding. The girls then find a secret room in Yuuji’s room. It has writings on the wall about them. But one mentions about finding a place to die as he has successfully saved 5 people. Then a call from JB to confirm that the report of Yuuji being a terrorist is inaccurate but even so he hasn’t been cleared of this suspicion. Although he is being held in a facility, he personally requested not wanting to see them as he doesn’t want to hurt them anymore. Of course the girls won’t just sit around and do nothing. They want to save him. But why are they staring at Yumiko? I suppose this means she has to get down to work and use her resources and connections to get information. You can tell Makina and Michiru spent the entire night awake because they’re fighting over the sweet bean jelly and licking it in an erotic way. Even Sachi too. She’s making porn comments. What they have found is that Oslo has brought some weapons of mass destruction into the country. As for where Yuuji is being held, Yumiko is still working on it. She is seeing one of her informants, James Okada. Hey, isn’t this Robbie? Well, that was his old name. He is now running some soba store but his imouto fetish is still f*cking there. He confirms Yuuji is being used as a bargaining chip but even this guy isn’t worth risking for the smuggled WMD. It is a bit more complex and bigger goal. From what I understand, the government has this super intelligent AI system called Thanatos with a semi-organic computer as its core. So super intelligent that it could affect and intercept just about anything digital. Only a few people know about this system being tested and one of them is Oslo. He wants Thanatos but the government of course can’t hand it to him and thus the reason Yuuji is used as a sacrifice. Chizuru announces the final day of the school and will discuss about their future. They are prohibited to discuss this among themselves to form collective decisions. At the end of the day, all the girls minus Michiru get ready to make their move. After saying their last goodbye for the school, Michiru comes running late and blames them for trying to abandon her. They threaten to leave noisy girls behind so she panics and continues being a klutz and clumsy. Yuuji is placed in a room with a strange computer. To his shock, a hologram of Kazuki materializes before him.

Episode 6
Where will the girls be staying? In a houseboat?! That is all Yumiko can afford via the internet. Yuuji cannot believe she is Kazuki so he asks a question that makes him believe: What is her favourite food? Yuuji. Kazuki laments she wanted to save him from Oslo but had not the strength or body to do so. She explains Oslo’s objective is to destroy her as she is Thanatos with his smuggled nuclear isomer bomb. Yuuji is an important sample to Oslo as he is the only survivor of his drug experiment of child soldiers he trained. Kazuki would like to report his location and assassinate him and although this would mean sacrificing himself, he would do it. Under the guise of Thanatos, Kazuki calls the girls who are making no headway in their plan via Yuuji’s number. She tells them about Oslo’s plan as well as their plan to sacrifice Yuuji to stop him. Thus she contacted them so that they will rescue Yuuji. As there are no other better plan, they agree (just shut up and agree, Michiru). Next day as they follow steps to go get their untraceable handphones for communication, before Kazuki starts telling them the details, she asks Yumiko if she loves Yuuji. As the other girls have declared their love for him, the plan would be jeopardized due to her unclear feelings. Without hesitation, she answers a solid yes. Look at the other girls’ smile. I think she’ll be teased after everything is over.

As Yuuji only knows what Amane told him on that fateful day, Kazuki continues the story. After she let Amane escaped and was pinned down by the other girls, it seems Sakuma is still level headed and wants Kazuki to be kept alive as their chance of survival will be higher. Sakashita opposed this and when Sakuma knows that she has still been doing it, Sakashita panics and rants about the need to keep everyone alive. Then she snaps and stabs Sakuma. When Ibuki learns Sakuma is dead, she goes crazy and stab Sakashita. The only way to stop her was to hammer a rock on her head, killing her outright. As the other girls now cannot walk, only Ochi and Kazuki are the ones able to move. Ochi reveals that although he buried the girls, he secretly went to dig up their corpse and ate them. Sakashita saw this and cried in silence. He doesn’t want Kazuki to blame her for all this. Ochi then starts vomiting and Kazuki can see from his symptoms of multiple organ failures and bacterial infection. All could be traced back to the venison meat they ate. A few days later, the other girls died. The duo are only left. Ochi believes in damaging their corpse to hide evidence although DNA testing will reveal the truth. It doesn’t matter to him. So long his body is in one piece, he will gladly take the blame. After Kazuki leaves a message for Amane, she collapses. After Amane’s testimony, the investigators return to the site. Ochi has died and Kazuki had the bad luck to be sent to a hospital under CIRS. That is when they decided to use her brain tissues and everything for Thanatos’ development. With Robbie as the main researcher, Kazuki was ‘awakened’ 3 years later and slowly regained her memories. By the time she remembers she had a little brother, it was about the same time Yuuji enrolled into Mihama. He realizes it was Kazuki’s doing that got him in. Yuuji doesn’t want to hear sorry from her anymore as this Oslo case is personal and will settle it his way. Oslo wants Yuuji badly because of his rare specimen. He wants to perfectly reproduce his genetic assembly again. Oh, looks like his butler is also named Yuuji and looks very closely to him too.

Episode 7
Kazuki explains the need to fund their mission first. This means the girls will have to earn a collective sum of 100 million in a short time. No, we’re not selling Michiru! They’ll be using some snowball effect to generate funds. While Yumiko takes care of investments, Kazuki wants Makina to sell her prized limited edition slot car that will fetch a very high price in the market. Say goodbye to your toy. Amane has to rent a car and memorize some complex routes. What about Michiru? Don’t worry. The essential of the plan is for her not to understand the plan. What??? Sachi then accompanies Makina to see some old guy to get a high calibre sniping rifle. It’s pink? The grumpy old man shoos them out as soon as their business is done because the kids remind him of Asako in her younger days. Everyone does their part well. Michiru must have had a whirlwind day. She travelled the world, met all kinds of people, made all kinds of contracts, bought and sold stuffs. Before she knew it, the money was already rolling into their account. Now that the plan is going well, Kazuki informs the girls some of the details to rescue Yuuji. They will rescue him during his transfer from HQ. The only uncertain part is the route that the higher ups will choose on that day. Chizuru is by herself at the bar when she gets a call from Kazuki who offers her a site to make a new Mihama school. She’s in. JB is having lots of free time (not too sure if she is under house arrest) and is surprised she gets contacted by Kazuki. Likewise, Oslo’s plan is also proceeding well. On the day of the mission, Yumiko as the commander is given the honour to make her speech. Well, great speech. Only 1 problem: I don’t understand what it all meant! Right, Michiru? Yumiko felt embarrassed that the rest ‘bullied’ her with their comments.

Episode 8
Makina muscles her way with threats to get a hotel room. She is supposed to snipe the escort cars from here. Amane collects a custom vehicle (a mini pickup truck) while Michiru collects some package from Yuuji’s old friend. Sachi shops for ingredients to make weapons as long as it is not firearms. Yumiko is left with the decision making. She also notices that Kazuki might disappear halfway. There is possibility the main system will be suspended and in the event she falls into Oslo’s hands, she is all the more reason not worth saving. Millie tricks a pilot to steal his uniform. When Yuuji is being escorted, the plan is set in motion. Before Makina could take out the vehicles, Oslo’s men intercept and kidnap him. Yuuji is placed with some bomb bracelet. Attempts to take it off will blow up the place within 1500 metre radius. Only Oslo has the key so even if he escapes, he will still have to go back to him. Makina begins by firing a warning shot. This has Oslo’s men step on the pedal. Of course this is part of the plan to take out the vehicles. When all vehicles have their fuel leak, Sachi throws a smokescreen and then knocks out all the guys. Yuuji is shocked to see her. But no time for that. Reinforcements are arriving. Amane’s pickup truck is here and with Michiru helping to load Yuuji in. Thanks to its small size and Amane’s extensive knowledge of short cuts and places, they manage to escape and pick up Makina. Oslo learns of this but he is not panicking yet.

Their location is found out so Oslo sends a helicopter to target them. Amane must be one hell of a driver to dodge all that shooting and explosions. She can be a Hollywood stunt driver! Communications with Kazuki are cut off since the administrator detected some unauthorised commands. Now they are on their own. Thanks to Kazuki’s backup plan, this is where Millie’s piloting skills come in hand as she shoots down the enemy. The girls are contacted by Robbie as he informs them a way to save Kazuki. In computer terms, unplugging the cable to the hard drive and taking it away before the virus can infect. The problem is, somebody needs to carry the core out. Don’t worry. Kazuki prior to this has already thought about this. This is where JB comes in. Easy as pie as she ejects Kazuki from her capsule. Wow. That is Kazuki and her real entire body! Only just a mechanical hand. And you thought she’d be carrying away a brain, eh? As all the exit routes are sealed, the only way for Amane to travel is via the sewer. This will lead them out to the sea where Yumiko’s boat is waiting. So with the nitro booster on the truck, hold on for your lives! They land exactly on the boat! I can’t believe at that speed, impact and firepower, the boat didn’t sink or explode! WTF?! A submarine emerges and everyone gets to see Kazuki in the flesh for the first time. Maybe except for Amane. Hi, long time no see.

Episode 9
Amane is so happy to see Kazuki that she clings on to her like a leech. She had to promise to spend some time with her later because their work isn’t particularly over yet. Seems this submarine isn’t going to house Yuuji and his harem. There will be a few others on board too. Currently the captain of this submarine is Justin and there is also the very unsociable woman, Zoey Graham who happens to be Robbie’s wife. Zoey confronts Yuuji but he doesn’t remember her. She relates an incident whereby a journalist who was on Oslo’s tail, picked up an injured girl. But that girl was feigning it and then killed him. That journalist was her father. Yuuji was that ‘girl’ and under Oslo’s orders. Zoey wants to kill him but Yuuji promises to come back and die at her hands once he settles his score. Besides, if she kills him now, the bomb will rip apart this ship. Chizuru is picked up and she cannot believe Kazuki has made her the owner of this ship. Yes, this ship is named Mihama. The floating school? Can she do this? Yuuji talks to Kazuki who tells her their destination is a privately owned island in Micronesia that Asako bought. After her death, the rights transferred to Yuuji. He then slaps her for making him worried. I guess this is the only time. Now or never. So he cries within his sister’s arms. She gives him 2 choices. Cut off his hand and follow them to live in paradise or go back to settle things with Oslo. Of course he chooses the latter. But because Kazuki is being picky with the way he should ask her to find Oslo’s position, he got irritated and is going to teach her a lesson. I hope it is not something sexual…

When Millie gets onboard and is about to hug Yuuji in her happiness, he punches her in the face!!! In front of the other girls!!! Can he do that?! Well, she is the only girl he got physical with. Yuuji wants the girls to escape while he settles things with Oslo. The girls are worried that all their rescue effort is wasted but he assures them he will come back. Michiru, who has been the butt of all jokes throughout the series, usurps everyone by giving Yuuji a kiss on his lips as good luck charm! SHOCK! Get this b*tch! JB is not confident Yuuji can defeat Oslo because Asako failed to get him. Something about a fight between them that earned Asako that injury that she finally succumbed to. Although killing Oslo won’t bring Asako back, the relief from killing that bastard will be satisfying. Millie flies Yuuji to Oslo’s ship. The rest of the girls aren’t going to sit and wait for his return. Kazuki suggests settling things with Thanatos once and for all. Since there is an underwater cable that operates its auxiliary power via tidal generator, she wants Michiru to cut it while Sachi pilots the crane. Agnes is not happy to be called in every time there is some problem with Yuuji. Well, she is her superior despite only being so at the navy. CIRS is at a lost on what to do with Oslo’s case and that is when Kazuki calls in to speak to Agnes. But knowing these guys have no balls and direction, JB plans to leave the ship and return to HQ to take charge. At first she wanted Millie to take her back but since there is an arrest warrant for her, Zoey will go back with her. Besides, she can’t leave her husband behind. Yuuji sneaks onboard Oslo’s ship. It would hardly be any surprise because he knows Oslo is expecting him.

Episode 10
Yuuji is now onboard and kills all the soldiers and makes them look like trainees. I suppose Oslo can’t risk losing more of them so he sends his Yuuji clone to do the job. Meanwhile, Michiru has done her job but she is stuck in the suit. I have a feeling it is Sachi and Makina still have a grudge over that kiss so they’re making her suffer by letting her get stuck in there and when they remove her, they use a mini chainsaw! Yumiko communicates with Agnes about the terrorist and bomb threat being diffused. Not sure if it is fake because JB said she had to lie to the media. Then there is talk between Amane and Kazuki about Yuuji. Amane won’t hate him ever because she has vowed to share his sadness and pain many times fold. Kazuki is saying something about creating Eden for Yuuji to repay his debts but it could just be a grand foolish ambition of his little sister. Yuuji now faces off with his clone who reveals he is a test subject from the Design Soldier Project, a human replicated from his genes although his hair and eyes were taken after his sister. He wants Yuuji to use some drug booster like he always have during missions but he refuses. But after force injecting him, it begins the high stakes of fast fighting action, both injecting the drugs to boost their capabilities a few times. It ends with Yuuji scoring the victory, stabbing him in the heart. He makes his way to Oslo’s room and he clearly isn’t interested in hearing his ranting about his expensive experiments. He engages him in no time. Better kill him quick and take the key as 5 minutes is only left. Oslo uses Asako’s sword to fight him and throws him the ultimatum to come back to him. You know Yuuji’s answer, right? Just when Oslo stabs him, Yuuji refuses to die and grabs him tightly. He uses an ordinary pen to stab the back of his neck. There. Good as dead. After setting his bracelet free, Yuuji slowly makes his way out. But he weakens and is losing his sight. That is when he sees a vision of Asako, telling him to live. It becomes his motivation to get out but can he make it since the bomb goes off.

2 years later on their private island, looks like everyone is having fun. Except Michiru who still has to study under Kazuki’s guidance. Why? Because she is stupid! Chizuru relays the good news that Mihama has been rebuilt albeit smaller. And it took JB this long too to get all the appropriate licence and approval. Yeah, 2 years later they get to return to their normal school life. Do they remember where they left off? It seems Yuuji is still alive and talking to Yumiko who reveals CIRS has been dissolved due to that screw up but a new organization is being formed (headed by Chiara) and they plan to summon Yuuji back as an instructor. Will he go back? Well, he has had enough of guns and killing. He asks Yumiko if she would like to go back to Japan. There is no point going back to where there is no Yuuji. She reminds him how everyone was worried about his condition. Yuuji notes it seems he isn’t allowed to die yet because after that bomb, he was seriously injured and took him around 6 months to get him back up to normal. Yumiko tells him even if God allowed him to die, they would not. So please continue living for their sake. For Yumiko’s sake. Sorry Yuuji. You can’t die yet. Again. Everyone is about to take a commemorative group photo at Mihama. The girls start arguing who should stand next to Yuuji. Oh boy. Big headache. Lastly, the biggest shock and troll ever revealed. The mechanical hand of Kazuki is actually just a toy and she was wearing it as a joke!!!

Special 1
When Yumiko is about to go into the bath, Yuuji also comes in. She tells him to get out but the other girls are coming in. Afraid of her tarnished reputation if the girls find out, she takes him to hide in the locker. As usual, our long awaited fanservice of free tits (Amane groping Sachi’s boobs). Yumiko then realizes they are stuck in such close proximity and starts to feel embarrassed. She becomes very conscious that their bodies are touching and pressing against each other in this tiny space. I guess this becomes such a turn on for Yumiko that she cannot hold in her horniness anymore and decides to do something steamy. But that is when the other girls finish their bath and Yumiko realizes why the heck did she need to hide with him in the first place?! She could have just hid him and gone in normally with the rest!

Special 2
Now it is Millie’s turn for fanservice. She sneaks into Yuuji’s bed to seduce him. She’s not the only woman here. Somebody else is also doing it in the next bed. Actually it turns out to be Robbie playing his imouto game! It didn’t go his way so he starts screaming. That is when Agnes barges in to warn him to pipe down. This has Millie hide under Yuuji’s blanket. Then she feels something big and hard. She starts sucking on it and likes the taste. She can’t hold herself any longer and wants to do it with him. Turns out she wants to share this chocolate bar. Then she teases him if he would like to eat the bar or eat her. She shows her tits. Agnes barges in again and catches her red handed. The entire squad is reprimanded. But Millie didn’t learn her lesson because she cheekily says to Yuuji that they can do it again at dawn.

Special 3
It is summer time and I’m not sure what is Michiru’s reason about this date being in the winter so she is wearing her coat and sweating like hell. Wanting to take a commemorative photo with Yuuji, she enters a photo booth and following the orders of the machine, she takes off her coat and poses sexily, letting shots of her boobs and butt being taken. I think it’s getting pretty hot in here especially Michiru feeling somewhat horny too. When she is about to kiss Yuuji, she realizes she has been misled by the machine and they leave. It is greatly hinted Sachi is the one behind this naughty shoot as she has got her hands on the sexy photos of Michiru in her handphone.

Special 4
This one must be embarrassing enough that Yuuji had a sack over his head! It was an incident with Sachi and Makina… Yuuji woke up one day to find himself tied to the bed. Then those devilish duo popped up in their bikinis with the intention to taste his unripe fruits. At the same time, they’ll send him to paradise island. Yikes! Sure this isn’t a hell hole? So we see Sachi licking and sucking a strawberry while Makina does her bit of rubbing and stroking the banana in an ambiguous fashion. I’m not sure if they are real fruits or they are just imagery substitutions for something else… Then to duo combine their hand action on the banana till loads of cream splatter across their face! Gosh. Can a banana do that?! And they’re ‘blaming’ Yuuji for ‘producing so much’. You beast! Suddenly they hear Amane calling for them, wondering if they have seen her fruit and cream plate in the kitchen. They panic and try to put things back. When Amane enters the room, she sees Yuuji tied to the bed, the fruits on the plate over his crotch while the cream was just messy splattered everywhere (reminds you of the aftermath of something naughty, eh?) and a sack over his head. Holy… Sh*t…

Special 5
Amane is taking a hotspring bath with Kazuki and will do anything for her. Kazuki tells her to be careful of using that word but Amane says it is proof of how much she owes her. In that case, Kazuki requests for a massage. So if you are tired of Yuuji hogging all the porn-like action, maybe this girl on girl action will give a much needed variety. Uh huh. Amane is massaging Kazuki’s back, butt and boobs. She must be damn good to even make her squeal like that and close to climaxing. Then the ultimate boobs on boobs massaging that sends both into ultimate ecstasy! Then Yuuji comes in and sees the lesbian act. Quick. Think of something to get out of this sticky situation. Amane: Would you like to join us? WTF???!!! Oh Yuuji, you didn’t get any action here but you still get invited.

Seeds Of Salvation And Life
Indeed it was as interesting as the prequels although this season is mainly divided into 2 big arcs: The continuation of Yuuji’s life story and the big rescue operation the girls mounted to save the man they love. Sometimes I wonder the logic of splitting it into several seasons because I feel even they can fit everything into a 2 cour season without any breaks in between. Because the start of the third season felt like a direct spill over from the second season. Even with this, the remaining episodes of this season are the same number of fingers an ordinary person has on both hands. But I’m not going to fret over this whatever strategy they had in mind of splitting the seasons, but as far as this season and the overall series are concerned, they are still a great watch right till the very end. Well, almost.

The only complaint I had for this season is the very short fight between Yuji and his clone and even Oslo. I believe they have been building up Oslo as a very dangerous villain even at the end of the first season. They show him like a guy who will go to great lengths just to get Yuuji back. And then the final showdown that took place in the last episode lasts only around 3 minutes! Heck, even the fight with his clone lasts a bit longer. Around 4 minutes. Yeah, I actually kept count. So I was like, “What the f*ck?! It is over this fast?!”. I even believed that with Oslo as such a sly and scheming guy, he would be one hell of a tough cookie to take out. In what I call the biggest irony ever, he is killed not by guns or knives, but an ordinary pen! I know it is to show how resourceful Yuuji is and that you do not need to do dramatic kung fu fights to wear out the enemy and give him some sort of flashy death. But you know, having this perception that Oslo is supposed to be some sort of awesome final boss, this one just really felt disappointing. Oh, did I mention we are running out of air time?

If not for this very rushed final boss fight, the season finale could have been much more enjoyable. Hey, I’m not saying they should drag out the fight for 2 episodes, but at least half an episode doesn’t seem too bad. And for that kind of harem ending of Yuuji and his girls living in paradise island, I know it sounds ridiculous despite all the setup prior to this made it sound eligible. Made even f*cking better is that his sister is still alive. But I’ll let it slide because after all that killing and hard fighting, I think this kind of fantasy is forgivable. Really. This guy who lost everything at the start got almost everything back again at the end. So what is there to complain?

Besides, why would you focus on the big bad guy while you can instead focus the limelight on what Yuuji’s harem are going to do to rescue their man? After their salvation from the first season, it is great to see them repaying their debt to rescue him. Therefore, they weren’t just damsels in distress and sitting around for something to happen. They make it happen. Maybe they were damsels in distress in the first season but thanks to Yuuji, they have a second chance in life and they have matured along the way. They have indeed come a long way from the first time we get to know them and have definitely grown to very likeable characters. Though, still questionable characters.

Even so, they remain largely the same with their identifiable traits such as Makina’s foul mouth ranting to the twisted maid Sachi. Yumiko is the calmest and coolest of the lot although she is not as cold and unfriendly as before. Amane feels less sexy this time because Yuuji is not around for her to take out her flirting. Heck, that guy was separated from the girls for more than half of this season. Last but not least, Michiru has cemented her status and role as the comic relief and resident idiot. I guess in every group, there is the need to have some kind of whiney monkey that needs to be picked on. Maybe that is the only way she’ll stand out. Because compared to the other great chores and stuffs the other girls do, Michiru’s role pales very much in comparison. It’s like she is the extra. Perhaps somebody you need to make you smile when the going gets tough. Because that is what Michiru’s character is primary all about here. So I suppose to even the odds, she gets to be the first one to steal Yuuji’s kiss at the most precious of moments! Take that, the rest of you.

JB plays a crucial support to Yuuji after Asako’s death. Sometimes you wonder if all that bickering, teasing and insults against each other was the thing that made their relationship work all these years. Even when times she isn’t supposed to be supporting him, she’ll break protocol and do so anyway. Is this her love for him? What is love anyway? ~Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more~. Haha! Anyway, I don’t suppose JB can be part of Yuuji’s harem seeing they already engaged in sex before. Isn’t Yuuji the guy whom she lost her virginity to? Oh Yuuji. You have a wide trope of girls in your harem. High school girls, loli, maid, idiots, sister and even seemingly MILF type. No wonder it’s such a paradise. The other character that felt lacking is Chiara. I had this assumption that there would be more than meets the eye to this girl. Perhaps a future threat or ally or something. Turns out nothing of her. Just red herring?

I feel Yuuji’s old American pals although they play important roles in assisting the girls in his rescue, I just felt it was somewhat rushed. Maybe it is because we didn’t see what they did in the background so it feels like they only made their short cameo. Not too sure why they didn’t continue to live on Yuuji’s paradise island and continued their current job. I thought they became blacklisted ever since that incident but unless you tell me there were no records or proof or evidences of their part in it all were somewhat erased. Because I’m sure what Millie did in stealing a helicopter is a major offence in the military and yet at the end, she is seen continuing her pilot duty. But other than that, they are really a fun bunch of oddballs who can’t seem to pronounce Yuuji’s name right and giving him all sort of nicknames.

The fanservice shots are seemingly much reduced this season seeing where the plot is heading and it is like a rare find if you ever get to see one. Also maintaining from last season, the very unique wide screen resolution of the episodes. Unless you do not fancy seeing black lines on the top and bottom of your screen, this should provide a refreshing and different visual from the ubiquitous 16:9 wide screen angle.

Reprising her role in singing the opening theme in the first season, Mao Kurosaki does it again here with Setsuna No Kajitsu. A lively and upbeat piece that fits the series well just like how the last season did for its own. However hearing this song oddly reminds me of Senki Zesshou Symphogear songs. It must be the beat, tempo and style. But this season doesn’t have ending themes that tailor to the girls. Although we still have multiple ending themes and based on the arcs, they are sung by Yoshino Nanjou (who also sang the general ending theme in the first season. Tasogare No Starlight for Yuuji’s past continuation arc has lots of techno mixes that makes it good for a dance song (at least for the beginning part) while Kimi Wo Sagashi Ni for Yuuji’s rescue arc though sounds slower in comparison, is still upbeat and lively. Something a bit similar like the opening theme. But no Symphogear reminder. My favourite piece for this season is Fission which only appears for 1 episode (the fifth one). Although by Hitoshi Fujima, the entire piece is actually instrumental. Maybe that is why it sounds good.

Overall, the Grisaia series is quite a good story to follow and watch as a trilogy as a whole. Interesting characters and intriguing plots will keep you occupied on a journey that sometimes feels like a fun joyride and sometimes a bumpy drama filled ride. Unlike your typical harem and dating game routes whereby the guy goes out his way to help the girls with their own issues – the game usually has the player picking a girl’s route to end up with but the anime not wanting to stoke tensions between fans of certain pairs would go for status quo – the girls settle their dues by helping him out when their roles reversed. In a way, the best logic and answer for a harem route, don’t you think? You can finally reap the fruits of your labours you have worked your ass off so hard then.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Girls with guns. Lots of animes with that theme these days. But we are here to discuss about girls with guns in an airsoft of survival game club. Aha. If you watched them ‘recently’, you would have guessed that the most prominent ones under this category would be Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-Bu and Sabagebu! That is the only main similarity they have. Otherwise they differ from each other like day and night. It is obvious. One is already a hands down winner even before I started typing this blog. But let’s take the journey anyway, shall we?

New girl in town:
Stella Jogakuin: Yura Yamamoto.
Sabagebu: Momoka Sonokawa.

How she joined the airsoft club:
Stella Jogakuin: Feeling lonely and desperate for failing to make new friends, she decided to give this club a try.
Sabagebu: Curiosity killed the cat. The weirdo she bumped in the train happened to go to the same school. She followed, got knocked out, then forced, coerced and tricked into signing up.

Her gun model:
Stella Jogakuin: Skorpion vz 61.
Sabagebu: Beretta M92F.

Her ruthlessness:
Stella Jogakuin: Yura started out as a shy girl but as the series progresses, her obsession of becoming stronger turned her into a ruthless girl who would even sacrifice her friends just to achieve that.
Sabagebu: Momoka is already a ruthless, backstabbing and selfish person right from the start. She doesn’t hesitate to think twice about shooting allies just for her own gain. Conscience does not exist in this girl.

Survival game club president:
Noticed how they both wield Desert Eagles?
Stella Jogakuin: Sonora Kashima.
Sabagebu: Miou Ootori.

Other club members:
Stella Jogakuin: Rento Kirishima, Karila Hatsuse, Honoka Mutsu and Yachiyo Hinata.
Sabagebu: Urara Kasugano, Maya Kyoudou and Kayo Gotoukuji.

Club advisor:
Stella Jogakuin: Nil. Not known.
Sabagebu: Ena Sakura.

Animal mascot:
Stella Jogakuin: A white fox at a shrine that Yura could only see, which turns out to be a masked warrior.
Sabagebu: Kamo – A platypus. Later on, a crab.

Other survival game rivals:
Stella Jogakuin: Rin Haruna from Meisei Girls’ Academy, Aoi Seto of the Seto family and the airsoft club from Sendou Academy that has Karila’s twin brother, Aira.
Sabagebu: Rosalia Haguro, those old folks from Australia, those airsoft crazy cat aliens and those national survival game club members led by Taichou.

The biggest fan:
Stella Jogakuin: Miyagi Mochizuki who is a big fan of Sonora.
Sabagebu: A group of aristocrat airsoft girls who are freaking obsessed over Maya! Of course, not forgetting Urara for Momoka.

Well-endowed girl:
Also cue for providing the fanservice of the series.
Stella Jogakuin: Honoka.
Sabagebu: Maya.

Petite girl:
Stella Jogakuin: Yachiyo.
Sabagebu: Kayo.

Bespectacled character:
Stella Jogakuin: Honoka.
Sabagebu: Fried Chicken With Lemon.

Airhead character:
Stella Jogakuin: Rento.
Sabagebu: Maya.

The blonde:
Stella Jogakuin: Karila.
Sabagebu: Maya – At least in terms of dumb blonde…

Vivid imagination:
Stella Jogakuin: It is believed that Yura has such an active imagination that it may turn real. This often helps her out in giving her confidence in survival games and honing her gun skills.
Sabagebu: You see all the blood, gore and deaths of people being shot in the series? They are all in your imagination!

Hair cut:
Stella Jogakuin: After Yura’s first major airsoft tournament in which she ended up scared and surrendered, she deeply regretted her actions and vowed to change. Cutting her hair short is to show that new resolve she made.
Sabagebu: A mysterious person seems to be targeting the club members and Urara’s bangs got cut. Turns out to be Momoka’s mom who was just ‘looking out and being thoughtful’ for her friends.

Bully victim:
Stella Jogakuin: Yura, when she was in her old school. She was reminded of it when those old friends visited during the cultural festival.
Sabagebu: A couple of girls who are ardent fans of Miou start to pick on Momoka, thinking she is being close to her. From spreading lies and throwing her bag out of the window, the harassments stops when Miou tells those b*tches off. And then Momoka becomes the bully for some payback…

Hospitalized:
Stella Jogakuin: After Yura’s reckless attempt to catch a sniper sniping at them got Sonora injured (she had to dive and save Yura from an incoming car). She is hospitalized although she only suffered a sprained ankle and mild concussion.
Sabagebu: The student council president, Yayoi Isurugi is so stressed up by one of her backfired attempts to take down the club members, she got hospitalized! And there is another time when she accidentally got caught in a grenade explosion when the club is celebrating their grenade mascot…

Death:
Stella Jogakuin: Sonora’s American master was a soldier who was killed in action. It made Sonora stopped playing airsoft for a while and Rin changed into a whole new character, blaming her weakness for his death.
Sabagebu: This is the running joke of the series – Maya is always (at least most of the time) the first one in the team to die!!! Death always come looking for pretty models first, eh?

The allure of snacks:
Stella Jogakuin: The girls try to tempt Yura in joining by giving her snacks and cakes. Prior to joining, Yura on the other hand thought this was a snacks club where you laze around do nothing but eat snacks.
Sabagebu: Momoka turned into a fatso after eating too many bread with high calories. It doesn’t help with mama’s ‘diet’ as she continues to make more snacks and feed it to Momoka to keep her chubby.

Need the money:
Stella Jogakuin: To fund for their participation for the next airsoft tournament, the girls use whatever little funds they have left to buy stuffs for the cultural festival and make a killing there from its proceeds.
Sabagebu: Momoka is feeling tight in the purse this month and searches every inch of her house for every available fund. She remembers a treasure map she did when she was young but seems what she buried was a poem to remind her future self that the smiles of friends are the real treasures. Do you know how much a platypus is worth?

Cosplay:
Stella Jogakuin: Sonora suggests a cosplay shooting café for their school’s cultural festival.
Sabagebu: Kayo is a cosplay fanatic, the reason why she joined the club.

Cross-dressing:
Stella Jogakuin: Aira can cosplay perfectly to imitate his twin.
Sabagebu: Momoka cross-dresses as a guy and thought she has found new popularity. But she finds out the hard way the wrath of a woman’s jealousy rage!

Being tsundere:
Stella Jogakuin: Tomboyish Karila turns into one when she realizes her clothes are torn during the school’s airsoft-cum-beauty contest. And that is how she won the votes for this match of hers.
Sabagebu: Yayoi is mistaken to be one by everybody after constant and accidental backfired attempts to take down Miou. Asserting out loud she hates her only made it worse.

Bathing scenes:
Stella Jogakuin: There is only a scene where the club girls soak in the hotspring and another barrel soaking bath scene during their survival game stint on an island.
Sabagebu: It is the staple of the series. A bathing scene always happens somewhere in the episode.

Strayed then returned:
Stella Jogakuin: In her quest to become stronger and be acknowledged, Yura quit her club to join Rin’s team. But her selfishness only caused her to be kicked out of the team. Who else but her old club members could welcome her back?
Sabagebu: Miou disbands her club after she has found Zen enlightenment via some monk after being told she would look smart. However it is back to the usual life of violence once this monk is exposed to be a fake and on a con job.

Pop culture references:
Stella Jogakuin: Not many with only Rambo being the obvious one.
Sabagebu: Tons of it! From Aliens to Predators to Resident Evil and even Michael Jackson!!!

Number of episodes:
Stella Jogakuin: 13 episodes.
Sabagebu: 12 episodes + 6 specials.

Episode format:
Stella Jogakuin: Each episode is played out like a typical chronological story.
Sabagebu: Each episode is episodic and divided further into an average of 3 random skits per episode.

Studio production:
Stella Jogakuin: Gainax.
Sabagebu: Pierrot+.

Conclusion:
It is without a doubt that Sabagebu beats Stella Jogakuin thanks to the nonsensical slapstick humour to that latter’s boring I-don’t-know-where-this-is-going plot. Thanks to the nature of the former, any casual viewer can just jump in and watch and expect to laugh out loud without hurting your head. The only thing you’ll hurt is your stomach from laughing too much. With everything no-holds-barred in Sabagebu, everything comes and goes as crazy as it is so you are guaranteed to have a wild and enjoyable ride. Whereas in Stella Jogakuin, although there are more focus and airsoft matches, they do not feel exciting as it should. Then there is that supernatural crap that Yura has I believe I myself don’t even understand and lots of character drama thanks to Yura getting lost in her direction. Stella Jogakuin just doesn’t cut it if you’re looking for some mindless fun and entertainment. Too much drama that hindered to enjoyment. Therefore if you ask me which survival game club I should join, I am going with Sabagebu anytime despite I am fully aware I will be backstabbed always by Momoka. Besides, at least I know that I am the first not to die if ever some sort of ‘massacre’ is going to happen ;p.