Tales Of Zestiria The X

February 26, 2017

Time to go on another epic fantasy adventure. An epic adventure of good triumphing over evil. Beautiful fantasy world setting, check. Amazing and strong characters, check. Magic, check. Spirits, check. Dragons, check. Fanservice, uncheck. Hah! Just kidding. There’ll be none in here :’(. Check, check and triple check. Yup. Has everything what I’m looking for. Tales Of Zestiria The X (pronounced as ‘cross’) it is for me. While generally it may not seem unique because it is another of your good against evil trope, but as long as they make it epic, I don’t mind. Even if it doesn’t have fanservice.

Episode 0
Princess Alisha Diphda and her royal guards examine an ancient ruin and are awed to see inscriptions indicating about Shepherds from the Celestial Records. Back at Ladylake, the capital of Hyland, Clem is summoned by Alisha as Drake the astronomer has discovered mysterious but eerie mist over Guriel. Weather has wreaked havoc over the crops over the years and she wants her to check and report things. Alisha is not happy that the council has decided to conscript youths who come to the Sacred Blade Fest. They claim that some disease is breaking out in a neighbouring country and this is their best bet to recruit people to the army. Alisha and her royal guards are attacked by assassins. She manages to unmask one of them. Looks like a normal human till he turns into a Hellion before escaping. It has been 2 weeks that Clem has not returned. Alisha wants to go see what’s wrong although her teacher, Maltran insists she will be the one as Clem is her student. However Alisha wants her to oversee the Fest and not postpone it a second. Even if it is a legend, she believes the one who extracts the sword guarded by the Lady of the Lake will be the Shepherd. When Alisha and her royal guards arrive at Guriel, they ask some of the villagers. They don’t know when the mist came about. It was always there but they just recently noticed it. They heard Clem has also headed north to the vicinity of the mist but hasn’t returned since. Also, they notice the town is very much dead and lifeless. Heading up north, they see Clem doing her research at the end of a chasm. Suddenly the mist becomes violent. Alisha takes her on her horse and run. They have to leave Drake behind who is researching Earthpulse at the bottom of the chasm. It is said that the world is connected via Earthpulse and natural resources turning into it is what keeps equilibrium. Now that equilibrium is broken. Long ago, man and other creatures walked this land. However this generation is going to pay the price for forgetting that. The storm becomes more violent with the grounds breaking up and the tornado sucking up the royal guards. Amidst the craziness is some strange girl, Symmone and that Hellion fighting each other. When the storm suddenly dissipates, Alisha is saddened that Clem is gone. So is her horse. The long walk back to town is even made more painful as the town is totally decimated. She thought she is happy when sees a little girl survived but that damn storm absorbs her and a fire dragon emerges from it.

Episode 1
Alisha takes refuge in some ruins. When day breaks, she sees a mural of the Shepherd as she reads from her notes about the saviour who will exorcise vile calamities and save the world. Before she knows it, she is attacked by bugs! A cute funny little Normin creature helps her out with its barrier and kung fu fighting but it is obvious she can’t see it. Alisha slides down a waterway and into paths unknown of the ruins. It leads her to some waterfall whereby a stone with the crest of a Shepherd is seen. After touching it, it moves and opens a hidden entrance. Sorey and Mikleo are keen adventurers as they happily discover a giant ruin in the high mountains. They want to explore further but grandpa, Zenrus forbids them saying this area is sealed. Back home, they read the Chapter of the Advent that tells about the creation of life on the planet as well as the relationship between humans and Seraphs. Sorey loves this book as well as Celestial Records and the reason he believes that ruin is supposed to be the Celestial Capital. Curiosity got the better of them as they decide to go against grandpa’s advice to explore it again. They swing in there once more and are glad to see the Shepherd’s mural. Suddenly an unnatural lightning storm attacks them. Alisha thought she had found a way out but that lightning storm too attacks her. The bridge she is on collapses and she goes unconscious. Zenrus can tell someone is disturbing his territory as reported by his subordinate, Kyme. Knowing those kids are involved, he tells Kyme not to do anything. Sorey and Mikleo fall deep into an abyss. As they look around, they see unconscious Alisha. Against grandpa’s advice not to come into contact with humans, Sorey wants to go help her. When she wakes up, she thinks Sorey is a Shepherd.

Episode 2
To her dismay, Sorey is human like her. This makes her sad the Shepherd is just a legend and the world cannot be saved. As you would have noticed, Alisha cannot see or hear Mikleo. Sorey brings her back to his village, Izuchi. He is about to introduce some of the villagers but Alisha quickly assumes they are Seraphs and pleads for their help to save her world which is shrouded in darkness now. As she cannot see or hear them, they tell Sorey to relay the message to ask her to leave to avoid inviting calamity. Sorey gets an earful from grandpa about breaking this ban. But Sorey is human too so why the exception? He has lived among them and can communicate with them. There is a great difference. But to Sorey’s joy, since they don’t want to invite calamity if they shoo her away, they will let her stay till she leaves on her own. Sorey and Alisha talk about Celestial Records and how much she believed in it. So it is just sad when she realizes it is just fairytale. Next day, Sorey brings her to the ruins to show her the mural to cheer her up. There is even a clove with the Shepherd’s crest. This proves that Shepherds exist. So have faith that one will turn up if the world is coming to that state. For it is his dream to see humans and Seraphs coexist. This gives her motivation to not give up looking for the one who can pull the sword out at the Fest. Soon, Alisha leaves and thanks Sorey for everything. She apologizes for the trouble she has caused. She was a stranger yet he took her in without questioning anything. She also believes in Seraphs and even though she cannot see them, she can feel them even now. She hopes Sorey can participate in the Fest and is confident the Shepherd is someone like him. After she has left, Zenrus detects a Hellion invading his territory. Everyone goes to look for the Hellion. Sorey and Mikleo stumble into him and fight. They are no match for him. When Zenrus appears, the Hellion doesn’t think it will be fun anymore and escapes. Sorey blames himself for bringing Alisha here and it led to this. Zenrus doesn’t think so. Sure, this calamity would have been avoided but doing so would only be selfish as their peace is connected to the outside world. They must not turn a blind eye to that. Later Sorey deduces from what the Hellion said, he was hunting down Alisha. Sorey leaves Izuchi to go find her. He won’t be going alone as Mikleo will be accompanying him too. Does he know where to go? Mikleo has found Alisha’s dagger dropped in the ruins. It has the crest of Hyland royalty so they can start here. The duo descend down to the world for the first time.

Episode 3
They reach Ladylake and are impressed with the liveliness. They are waiting in line to register for the Fest but this kind merchant, Rose decides to help speed things up by giving them a special pass. But in return she wants money. What do you mean you don’t have any money?! She checks his bag and finds the royal dagger. She thinks fate must have brought them together and lets them pass. Mikleo starts feeling pain because the town is filled with malevolence. Then they spot the Hellion and give chase. Sorey questions him targeting Alisha. He assures he is not going to kill her and simply want to be near her because interesting things will happen. But he warns there are others who are out to take her life as the order on her assassination has not rescinded. Lord Bartlow is in cohorts with a couple of assassins. Because of Alisha’s stance to not go to war with their neighbouring country, he believes she is leading their kingdom to disaster and orders her assassination. Inside the hall where finalists of the Festa will be pulling out the Sacred Blade, Sorey could see a Seraph, Lailah sleeping next to it. He believes she is the Lady of the Lake and the one who will judge who is worthy to become a Shepherd. After all participants failed to pull it out, Alisha makes her speech about her belief in the legend and her stance in not going to war with Rolance unless they attack. However Lailah can feel the place flooded with malevolence due to the people’s disgust and hatred. Suddenly evil swarms the place and a dragon pops out causing havoc. After Sorey goes help Alisha, he asks Lailah to do something about the dragon. However she claims only a Shepherd can defeat it. At the same time, the assassin makes her move as Alisha defends herself. She tells Sorey to do it. Before he extracts the sword, Lailah asks his intentions. His dream is to explore all ruins and find a way for humans and Seraphs to coexist. This is what Lailah also wants to achieve as she warns him becoming a Shepherd would mean becoming her vessel and destiny. There is a price to pay for using powers and it will be a long lonely battle. That’s okay to Sorey, right? He easily pulls the sword out and transforms into his Shepherd form (a mash between Sorey and Lailah), not only easily slaying the dragon but purifying the evil in the hall! After that he collapses as everyone remains in shocked to see what has unfolded.

Episode 4
Sorey finally wakes up. After 3 days. Alisha couldn’t be happier. To show her thanks, she feeds him good food and gives him new clothes worthy for a Shepherd. Noticing he is talking to Seraphs she cannot see nor hear, Lailah gets this idea of communicating with her. Sorey has to take her hand, block out all his senses (including holding his breath) and focus. Alisha is surprised and delighted to hear the voices of Lailah and Mikleo. They give their thanks but the conversation is short since Sorey is out of breath. Once he achieves higher power, he can resort to easier methods of communication. Business calls so Alisha returns to the palace after dropping them off in town. The council has unanimously decided she will hand the Shepherd to them. She steadfastly refuses. Sorey can detect some malevolence in the air. Trying to find its source, this leads them to find an underground ruin. Sorey and Mikleo’s experience in exploring ruins has them detect a hidden sealed door. Since it bears the crest of the Hyland royalty, Sorey uses the dagger to open it. Inside a tomb, they see a dragon statue. Dragons are bad omens believed to bring disaster. They are then attacked by the malevolence which is a giant bat. After disposing of it, they trek deeper to find the real source. The guys are shocked to see human remains and bones. Lailah knows the truth about this place. Those who rebelled against those in power were thrown in here. Their regrets and hatred turned into malevolence. There is a dark secret that this kingdom wants to keep away from the public although Alisha most probably doesn’t know about this. Lailah is showing him this because eventually he has to fight and defeat the source of all malevolence, the Lord of Calamity. As we all know, Sorey is not powerful enough to take on the big boss. He has to travel the world and acquire power and knowledge. Like an RPG, right? They have to get out now seeing the malevolence has seeped into the water and is flooding the place. Once they return to the surface, the malevolence has also engulfed the kingdom in a big storm. Meanwhile Alisha and Maltran discuss about Bartlow’s goal which isn’t just to obtain the Shepherd but to remove Alisha from the monarchy. There is also the fact that the kingdom of Marlind is rife with an epidemic. Ah, worries for a princess. More to come because that dark mist is now here.

Episode 5
Velvet Crowe was thrown into the deepest dungeons after an incident. She has been in despair since that day. When Seres comes down, Velvet attacks her as she believes she is a believer of Artorius Coldbrand, the man whom she blames for everything that has happened. However Seres is here to help her escape. They fight prison guard exorcists as Velvet makes her way to collect some of her stuffs. Seres wants to tell her how things have changed since 3 years she was imprisoned but Velvet is only interested to hunt down Artorius. From their brief talk, it seems that incident was about Artorius performing a ceremony, thus changing the world forever. The spirits and exorcists stopped the flood of demons. Despite Artorius sacrificing a child for it, he is now a saviour in the eyes of the people and heads Abbey, the organization of exorcists. Seres was a believer of him. She will tell the rest after they escaped. As they hide, Rokurou Rangetsu tries to take her hostage. He realizes she too is a jailbreaker like him. He is looking for his ‘partner’ which turns out to be the sword in Velvet’s hands. She agrees to give it back to him on one condition. Knowing this is a prison island, the enemy must have taken precaution and set all boats away. The only way is to reduce their number and steal one of their boats. This is why she requires Rokurou’s help. They start off their plan by releasing demon captives from individual cells to cause havoc and keep the guards busy. After that they part ways. I’m not sure why they head up a tower when they’re supposed to go get a boat. Anyway Velvet is desperate enough to jump down and use her beast technique to break a fall. A few bruises here and there but nothing Seres can’t heal. See? Solved. From a distance, they hear the bell of a boat. It bears the crest of the Legate exorcists. This means Artorius is on that ship and has come this far. Seres narrates Velvet’s feelings for that man could either bring hope to the world or spread malevolence across the land.

Episode 6
It’s not Artorius on that ship but one of his best exorcists, Oscar Dragonia. He has been given the authority by Artorius to subdue her. Oscar is clearly superior as he duels Velvet. He reminds he is here not to kill her but send her back to her prison where she will continue her duty of killing demons (something which she has done every day for the last 3 years to survive). Oscar believes everyone has a role. Like how he brother was sacrificed and Artorius as the chosen one. But Velvet will not accept a world that was built on by sacrificing her brother. Their fight is interrupted when a dragon appears. It wipes out many of Oscar’s man and sinks a ship. Everything is already chaotic and we don’t need this joker witch, Magilou to jump into the fray complaining somebody disturbed her beauty sleep. Oh, she is another jailbreaker too. While Oscar and his men try to restrain the dragon, Velvet tries to secure the ship. Too bad they can’t hold the dragon as it turns its attention to Velvet. This is when Seres decides to intervene. As she is also bent on stopping Artorius, she is going to take a gamble with her own life to get Velvet out of here. She uses some magic blast as Magilou and Rokurou now keep the dragon company. When Velvet opens her eyes, she sees Seres stabbed and dying. She wants Velvet to devour her and acquire her powers so she can move forward. She then gives her a comb belonging to her brother, Laphicet or Laphi for short. Without hesitation, Velvet devours her. With new badass powers, she takes on the dragon. Oscar is shocked and tries to attack her to prevent her from escaping. Velvet has a message to him for Artorius: Velvet is her name and tell him that she will devour everything. Demons, spirits and exorcists. All will be devoured by her. In the aftermath, Velvet, Magilou and Rokurou have set sail. Velvet dreams back of her past with Laphi. The good times and the last time. She has decided her next destination is Loegres, the royal capital of Midgand and where Artorius is.

Episode 7
Continuing from where we left off with Sorey and co and that stormy mist, everyone spots a dragon within it. Is Sorey trying to be a hero standing in its path? Okay, so he has got no plan. Suddenly the dragon flees and the weather clears up. Despite Sorey did nothing, everyone sees him as a hero and true Shepherd. Bartlow takes advantage of this by inviting Sorey to dinner. Can’t pass that up. But Alisha isn’t ‘invited’ since she received a message from the king to meet at the palace. Sorey tells Bartlow that he is going to try to pursue the dragon and find clues to make the world a better place. After he reunites with Alisha, she tells him the king is going to officially send her to Marlind. That night, Mikleo talks to Lailah about his dilemma. Now that Sorey is a Shepherd, what is he supposed to do? He thought of returning to Izuchi but if Sorey is going to travel the world as a Shepherd, he cannot leave him alone. Funny, because next morning Mikleo left on his own. Sorey panics at first but calms down knowing he had a reason doing this. Indeed. Lailah told him last night the directions to Galahad Ruins. There is a sacred relic sleeping there and if he is able to get it, Mikleo can help Sorey with his new powers. Sorey accompanies Alisha and her troops to Marlind. That night they are attacked by a creature that is supposed to be docile. Of course Sorey can see it is being possessed and purifies it. Continuing their travel, Alisha would love to hear more about Seraphim so Sorey tells her from the Celestial Records how they keep the balance of the world. It is believed man lost their reverence for Seraphim that led to the birth of the age of calamity. It is unsure if man is the real cause but the world now is overflowing with malevolence. Sorey and Mikleo continue to make their progress separately and wonder how the other is doing. They think they beat the other.

Episode 8
Mikleo has reached the ruins. Sorey and Lailah split from Alisha as they head to the barren mountains. A little girl, Edna drops and slams into Sorey. Lailah knows her. She is being attacked by a Hellion. Although Sorey engages it, it is ultimately Zavied who takes it out. Lailah also knows him. Because of his special gun that can kill Hellions, Sorey and Zavied butt heads with their different ideals. Sorey doesn’t condone to killing while Zavied believes sometimes killing can be the only way to save something. It seems Edna too doesn’t like Zavied. Dropping in is a ferocious dragon. Not just a dragon but Edna’s older brother, Eizen. Zavied wants to kill it but Edna wouldn’t allow it. Even more heart breaking to hear is how when one turns into a dragon, there is no purification or method to return back. You’ll be a dragon forever. Sorey takes Edna away while Zavied fights the dragon. Edna learns Sorey is here as he is following the dragon from Ladylake. They know this isn’t that dragon. Edna doesn’t know how Eizen turned into one. One day he left and the next time she saw him, he was already one. He must have got involved with humans whom he is fond of. She tried researching on ways to cure him but to no avail. Edna doesn’t believe Sorey’s words that he can save Eizen. They watch as Zavied continues his fight. He is most frustrated because he and Eizen were best friends and did everything together. Now he doesn’t recognize him anymore. Sorey then combines with Lailah. You won’t know until you try. Edna could think of all the times she spent with Eizen. As she tries to use her voice to reach him, the dragon attacks her. Sorey becomes desperate to save her and unleashes some sort of power. This makes the dragon back down and fly away. Everyone realizes Eizen was himself for a while then. In the aftermath, Zavied agrees in helping find a way to turn Eizen back. Edna makes a contract with Sorey. Since he is going to find a way to save Eizen, she agrees to lend her ancient powers. Mikleo has finally gotten a bow. Once he heads out of the ruins, a bad weather is kicking up. On Alisha’s part, they are stuck because the flood has washed away the bridge.

Episode 9
Alisha and a few of her men decide to find a long detour to cross the bridge and deliver the medicine. Edna learns Sorey wants to go to Rolance, a city supposedly to have many ruins that depict dragons as god. Lailah warns during his travels he will encounter many Hellions. She fears by fighting many of them, he will be swallowed up by them. Since it is a Shepherd’s duty to purify them, she lets him test practice purifying. Of course he fails and needs more training. Mikleo hears a Normin named Atakk being attacked (pun not intended) by a tree Hellion. Mikleo helps out and wins but only because Atakk amplifies his bow power. They talk about Normins who once helped kept the balance of the relationship between humans and Seraphs. Normins are physically weak but they can help intensify the power of other Seraphs. Atakk decides to follow Mikleo on his journey. Seems Atakk also knows Lailah as he hints they have a ‘delicate man-woman relationship. Hint, hint? Suddenly Alisha reaches out of the storm. Looking back, she knows this is no ordinary storm. Some of Alisha’s men has come to send Sorey a message from her. Sorey rides to the bridge. The storm now intensifies as they spot an Ouroboros Hellion, the cause of it all. Sorey combines with Edna to attack but the dragon soon comes swooping down to fight the Ouroboros. It isn’t exactly a dragon but a drake, a young dragon. This means Sorey has a chance to purify it. However it flees as fast as it came. Damn. We Sorey has powered up because now he can make earth walls from the river’s bottom as a bridge to cross. Heading into Marlind, he sees the place filled with malevolence and is no doubt the work of the drake. Alisha is glad to see him and notices Sorey has powered up because by being near him she can now hear the Seraphs’ voices. She falls into despair because her medicine isn’t working and at this rate everyone will die. The drake is back and they notice it is heading towards the Great Tree to make its nesting there. Sorey combines with Lailah to fight it but at that speed and distance, only Mikleo’s bow can do the trick. Speaking of which, he is being attacked by a pack of Hellion wolves. Once he is done with them, he quickly heads to Sorey’s side. First, by making a contract with him, then combining with Sorey into a new form to not only purify the drake but clear the weather too!

Episode 10
Sorey and Mikleo also help purify the water source and the town regains its health. Sorey and his Seraphs speak to Rolan, the man who turned into that drake. He doesn’t remember how it all happened but thinks it could be as small as someone taking a valuable book without permission and then it spread from there. Alisha is grateful for the Seraphs’ help. As the town is undergoing reconstruction, supplies from other towns also come in. One of the merchants supplying them is Rose. She is happy to see Sorey again and reminds him about the debt. Maybe next time? Alisha gets an urgent message from one of her personal cavalry, Sirel. Bartlow has ordered troops to Glaivend, the buffer zone between Hyland and Rolance. He is aiming for an impending war and with Alisha out of the way, he thinks he can do anything he wants. Alisha will take her troops there immediately to stop the war. Sorey wants to come but Lailah strongly opposes seeing he doesn’t even know what it means to purify. They sense a Hellion nearby and track it. Sorey is shocked to see this Hellion in a form of a man. In the eyes of ordinary human, he looks like an ordinary man but Sorey as a Shepherd can see his true form. Time for his purification training. Sorey weakens after doing so. Lailah tells the truth about purification. When one is purified, the Shepherd takes on their malevolence. Only the Shepherd can do this and not the Seraphs. That is why it is a lonely journey. Sorey won’t give up yet and heads to the cemetery where the body of that man Seraph lies. Noticing his soul is not at rest, he purifies his grave. He gets to see his tragic past and conflict. Whatever it was, those loved ones around him will suffer and then fall into despair. This is the root of malevolence. Alisha has her troops quickly prepare to leave at first light. When she realizes something is odd because there are no guards around, she is quickly surrounded by assassins. The leader is not happy of her non-aggression stance in war. She will not allow people to die senselessly for her ideals. Alisha shocks her that she will become the first victim of her beliefs then. She backs down as she senses no lies in her words. Of course Alisha won’t let this go. No, she is not going to hang her. She wants her to come and see how she handles the upcoming battle. Alisha slices off her masks. Why am I not surprised she is Rose? Rose is impressed with her resolve as she and her assassin guild pledge their loyalty to her. Alisha has a wish in case she dies. She will forgive everything. She forbids vengeance and hatred must not be passed on to the children of the people. After what he has experienced, Sorey is also determined to head to the battlefield.

Episode 11
The group leaves Marlind for Glaivend. Only Atakk stays back to help with Marlind’s reconstruction. Alisha reunites with another personal cavalry, Ian. She reports that Bartlow has deployed 20,000 troops, a sign he is determined to win this. Ian is ecstatic to meet Sorey for the first time and seeks permission to touch his hand for good luck. Never going to wash her hand? I thought this happens only for super idols? Sorey reminds Alisha that he can still help her if the war has not truly begun. Otherwise he cannot side with anyone as it is a Shepherd’s duty to stop wars. They Hyland side led by General Landon is confident the circumstances favour them. However Rolance did a sneak attack by attacking from the rear. I don’t know about honour in war but isn’t there none in war? You do all it takes to win, right? With the fighting growing, Sorey can feel the malevolence getting bigger from the deaths, suffering and pain from the soldiers. Hellions are being born everywhere. It’s madness. Time to begin the biggest purification. Alisha and Rose head to the base to order Landon to pull back his troops and send a messenger to Rolance to stop the fighting. However Landon will not obey her. Bartlow has given him lots of higher authority. He orders his men to capture her. Wound her if she resists. Time for the girls to kick ass. There is only a limit to how many of them they can take. Rose cannot take it anymore and tries to aim for the big man. Luckily Alisha stops her in time. As a result, she gets stabbed in the back. Don’t worry, she still lives. She laments if this is what war is about. Fighting even between their countrymen. Meanwhile Sorey has done the impossible by purifying everyone! You bet he is damn tired by now. And then he realizes this is just one section of the battlefield. Oh God. There’s another big section where everyone is still killing each other. Oh, f*ck all this. Just kidding. He didn’t say that. Before Alisha can be disposed, a large gust of wind blows everyone away. She knows this is the work of a Seraph. Dezel at your service? Sorey senses the biggest mother of malevolence ever over the horizon. That thing? That’s the Lord of Calamity.

Episode 12
Rose is so mad that she takes Landon hostage. Do as she says or she’ll kill him. Thanks to that, a messenger is sent out to the battlefield to stop the war. Sorey can tell the Lord of Calamity is some sort of human Hellion. Sorey challenges him and he welcomes it. Of course he is no match for the big boss as he summons and gathers the malevolence to test and see if Sorey can survive them. While the Lord of Calamity is confident that malevolence will prevail as long human exists, Sorey continues to believe a world where humans and Seraphs can live together. I guess the big boss got bored in seeing Sorey struggle against the malevolence so he tells him to live and they’ll meet again another time. Become that hope so he can crush him with despair. That Hellion examines the battlefield and finds many still alive. The thick malevolence is even too much for him to handle and his worry is that if Alisha dies, the fun will be over. Alisha is still gravely reeling from her wound. Rose decides to find Sorey as Dezel guides her. In the aftermath, Alisha and Sorey are glad to see each other. Alisha plans on returning to Ladylake to continue fighting in the political arena to stop wars. Sorey suggests making a squire pact with him so he can help her. With Lailah starting the process, Sorey gives Alisha her ancient name, Melphis Amekia which means Smiling Alisha. It brings Alisha to tears when she can see the Seraphs herself. Next day as they say goodbye and part ways, they are attacked by Landon. He is turning into a Hellion. Upon learning he is the one who hurt Alisha, Sorey becomes mad. Lailah fears malevolence will consume him. But Sorey surprises everyone by handling this perfectly and purifying Landon. It’s over before you know it. Alisha will take Landon back and try him based on their kingdom’s laws. Rose reminds Sorey about the debt. She wants him to accompany her to Rolance because there is this guy who is a tough negotiator and having a Shepherd with her will help smoothen things out. Since Rolance is his next destination, he agrees. Rose isn’t too pleased when Dezel is also tagging along.

Man, The Root Of All Evil
Well, it can’t end like that, right? With everything moving along quite smoothly do you think a dozen episodes would quite cut it? That’s right. I thought they trolled us by rushing things by having Sorey fight the final boss. Last episode, last boss. Turns out it was just an ‘exhibition match’ just to let Sorey and us know where he stands. I mean, you don’t expect to be of this level and then taking on the final level boss, do you? Though, I thought it was a bit of a retro cliché when Sorey tells his party to get going. Because it felt like saying, “Our adventures begin from here onwards”. You know how old retro animes like these would end if there is no conclusive ending in sight.

If there is anything that stands out the most or the most awesome that one would easily take notice, it would be the glorious art and animation. If the high animation quality seems familiar, it is only because they are done by the same studio that produced Fate/Zero and the recent version of Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. It is like Ufotable took a break from making the Fate series and decided to take a detour and make another epic fantasy anime instead. To say that the animation and visuals are beautiful is just an understatement. It is truly a masterpiece. Something that has become a threshold and bar for all fantasy anime series to follow. Every special effect you see ranging from the magic effects to the flowing water to the smoke and fire to the particles in the air, all are gorgeously animated and breath-taking to look at. I thought the clouds and sky look to real! Is it? I don’t know. Looking at them was just awesome. Even the CGI effects are impressive and it blends in nicely and flawlessly with the 2D artwork. It really makes you want to go live and explore this world. Truly, words cannot describe the amazing visual experience and I might dedicate a few more paragraphs in praising it but that will be just me repeating myself. Good job, guys.

With so many characters and each with their interesting background and personality, it would be a shame if the anime had just ended with a dozen episodes. It would have been one of the few downsides of the series had it stopped there. Thankfully it won’t because with the second season being given the green light, we can all be rest assured the epicness will continue. It is no doubt that with such good quality and awesomeness, a sequel is in order. Besides, the Tales franchise (Zestiria being the 15th in the series) is a popular JRPG and a long running one (it debuted with Phantasia back in 1995) it only makes sense to have more. So awesome that they had to dedicate 2 episodes to promote the Tales Of Berseria game that was released during this series’ run. Not sure if they are going to do a spinoff for that series because not all the Tales series got adapted and so far only Tales Of Eternia, Tales Of Abyss and Tales Of Symphonia got their animated treatment.

The story and plot might feel like it is moving a bit slow so if you are the kind that love your plots to move at a very fast lightning pace, remember to slow down and stop to smell the roses. As said, the dozen of episodes aren’t enough to cover the rich lore and history of this world (don’t blame the twin episodes that was ‘hijacked’ by the Tales Of Berseria) and for such an epic series, it needs some time to properly flesh out its characters and plots. That’s why we have another season and hopefully it would address and show us more of these.

Sorey is your typical young hero of justice. Every epic adventure always needs this kind of hero. They might sound generally generic but the important point is to see how they flesh out the character. While Sorey still isn’t a strong or high level Shepherd yet, we see him improving as the episodes go by. So subtle that you would even being to wonder when did Sorey power up this much. One step at a time. The more important thing is not to lose faith in his beliefs and you can say Sorey from day one remains strong with his dream of peace. With Sorey seemingly completing his ‘collection’ of elemental Seraphs (I’m assuming Zavied and Dezel will join him in later instalments), their different personalities might see Sorey’s party to be a bit more interesting because it looks like Mikleo and Edna aren’t going to get along very well with the latter usually resorting to teasing and giving him shortened nicknames.

Alisha is a magnificent character as a princess. Not your typical damsel in distress, she is a strong and independent woman who kicks ass just as much any other characters you see. Her character might be typical in the sense that she has her strong sense of ideal of justice and trying her best to bring peace to her people as a royalty but it is still a tough duty and heavy responsibility to shoulder. Especially when you have your hands full of trying to stop your own corrupted and power hungry countrymen, her hands are tied in so many ways. But don’t fret. She also has many ways to get out of that tight bind. Thankfully as many enemies she has, she has more friends and allies to support her cause.

A few other supporting characters look like they don’t play any significant role as of yet like Maltran whom I felt was like accompanying Alisha throughout the entire series. The princess is self sufficient that sometimes having her teacher around feels somewhat like excess baggage. Rose came into the scene particularly late despite her early cameo appearances. It’s like she was missing for the middle parts before becoming the next character Sorey should travel with. It’s not over too for Bartlow seeing he hasn’t got what he wanted especially his hands on Sorey. I’m sure he isn’t easily giving up his ambitions of using Sorey for his own ulterior motives. You can bet malevolence will still hang around with greedy and selfish people around. It’s just sad they don’t die out and keep coming back.

Feeling a bit more side-lined are the Normin creatures. It’s like every JRPG needs to have cute little creatures to fawn over how adorable they are as well as providing some sort of support. It would have been a little more fun had the ‘liveliest’ character join in the quest. I mean, what else can this cute little thing do if it is not supporting others in battle? That’s right. We would sure love to know Atakk’s relationship with Lailah. And it may not be as dirty minded as we all think it is. Say, doesn’t Edna have one hanging upside down on her umbrella? Is that supposed to be her charm?

Personally if you ask me, dragons might be majestic and ferocious creatures and as per this series’ setting they are the antagonists (assuming that they are not misunderstood by humans that they are supposed to be so). Actually that is fine except that I can’t help feel that these dragons are being such dicks. Notice how they always show up that it might feel like as though they are forcing a plot or a fight? It’s like they’re playing God or something and decided, “Hey, let’s give those pesky humans some trouble” and then they swoop down just to attack you and all. WTF dragons? You guys are better than this. I know, it is the age of calamity and everything is man’s fault. There should be a better way to teach mankind a lesson than this.

I want to add something trivial and it is about the next episode preview. I don’t remember if there are any series prior to this and not sure if there are but I noticed that this series has got the ‘longest’ next episode preview. Like I said, I might be wrong but this show dedicates a full minute for this segment. I know a minute doesn’t sound long but when you consider how the longest and average next episode preview by most takes only about 30 seconds. Too much epic things to talk about? It is hardly about the next episode by the way. Like a Japanese dating simulation with still character poses with minimal animation and text scrolling at the bottom, all we see are the characters chatting away and sometimes breaking the fourth wall and making jokes. Like making a fool out of Mikleo. I guess it is the only place where they can let their hair down and loose.

The fight and battle scenes are also good. Because I have not play its game, I cannot say how well the action sequences are translated to the anime but watching the fights with some magic certainly makes it awesome enough to draw viewers even for people who have not played the game. Count in the awesome special effects and you’ll have a visual feast for your eyes. The battles and the visuals, they are like if you blink, you’re wasting tons of effort they put into creating this masterpiece. Yeah. I dare you. Don’t blink while watching the entire series!

Voice acting is quite good too with me only being able to recognize Satomi Arai as Seres, Satomi Satou as Magilou, Daisuke Ono as Dezel and Rie Kugimiya as Laphi. At first I thought Miyuki Sawashiro was behind Velvet’s voice but something feels a bit off. It wasn’t her but Rina Satou. The rest of the other casts are Ryohei Kimura as Sorey (Kodaka in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai), Ai Kayano as Alisha (Inori in Guilty Crown), Noriko Shitaya as Lailah (Sakura in Fate series), Ryota Ohsaka as Mikleo (Marco in Shingeki No Kyojin), Misato Fukuen as Edna (Eve in Black Cat), Kenjiro Tsuda as Zavied (Mikoto in K), Mikako Komatsu as Rose (Tsugumi in Nisekoi), Mami Koyama as Maltran (Balalaika in Black Lagoon), Yutaka Nakano as Bartlow (Ishikawa in Ghost In The Shell), Daisuke Kishio as Rokurou (Suginami in Da Capo series), Tomoaki Maeno as Oscar (Junichi in Amagami SS), Kenyuu Horiuchi as Artorius (Kinemon in One Piece) and Naomi Shindoh as Atakk (Shizuru in Mai-HiME).

The opening theme is rather okay. Kaze No Uta by Flow is your generic lively rock music to get you into the feel of the adventure but ironically it wasn’t the song that absorbed me but the artwork and visuals as I have mentioned. The slow rock ending theme is Calling by Fhana. Not sure why but hearing this song just makes me feel nostalgic. Could it be the after effects of watching how epic this series is? There are special ending themes (or listed as insert songs because there is an instrumental ending theme and credits right after that) for the Tales Of Berseria crossover. Personally my favourite one is White Light by Superfly because it reminds me to the beat of Queen’s We Will Rock You and Joan Jett’s I Love Rock n’ Roll. With her powerful vocals, it is easily one of my favourite songs. The rest of the rock based themes are Ageless Moon by Erika Masaki and Burn by Flow (which could be the opening theme for Tales of Berseria if they ever make this series). Also I want to note that the background music are also epic and majestic with all that choir voices. They enhance the epicness of the scenes especially the grandeur battles. It’s like making you feel you’re watching an epic battle in a high quality cinema.

Overall, this is a very good fantasy genre series done right and too good that this might have set the bar so high that our expectations for this genre have skyrocketed way past the moon. The downside is that future fantasy series will now have to live up to this mega sized expectations and even this series itself has to live and surpass its own expectations. I am now contemplating to go watch the other Tales series adaptation although I still remain sceptical if it would be as good as this since, well, they were produced many years ago (some in the last decade). Fantasy genres are one of my favourites when picking a series and thanks to this one, it has become even more popular in my personal books. So next time I might turn kiasu and watch all fantasy genre series? Does this mean I am willing to give up ecchi and fanservice because this series proves you can be epic without having to resort to those cheap desires of the flesh that somehow are starting to feel weary. Me giving up on ecchi and fanservice? That will be like fantasy itself.

Masou Gakuen HxH

February 25, 2017

Remember all those ecchi anime series whereby you need some sort of sexual power and virginity power to power up your partner or team so that you can fight the enemy better? I know it sounds silly, outrageous and ridiculous like as though it is targeted for horny virgin otaku guys (it is) but what the heck, right? Now you can add another of that silly ecchi entertainment to that list. Guys, I present to you Masou Gakuen HxH. Just think of Infinite Stratos mashed up with Shinmai Maou No Testament. Don’t think. Don’t use your head (at least not the right one). All you need to know is that our main protagonist has this sort of special ability that makes us virgin guys raging with jealousy because he can pleasure a woman and make them climax! All the time! Sure, this is to increase their power to fight invading aliens, blah, blah, blah. But you know what? Who cares about all that when we can get our borderline hentai material and still pass it off as anime without the danger of it falling into pure hentai category. Get ready your best fapping hand!

Episode 1
We’re starting off with a sex scene in a love hotel! Woot! Kizuna Hida is molesting Hayuru Himekawa like a pro. She claims not to like it and this is part of her job. Part of her job? You mean she is a prostitute?! Jokes aside, once he is done with her, her Heart Hybrid charges up and they are able to go back out to help Yurishia Farandole fight the enemy. Before they can fight, Aine Chidorigafuchi quickly takes Kizuna back in the room. Despite her Hybrid Count is still high, something tells me that she isn’t doing this to power up further and change the course of the battle… Just shut up and f*ck her! Time to go back in time where Kizuna arrived at the island academy of Ataraxia where they train students to fight enemy invaders. He needs to get his ass to the HQ since her whiny sister, Reiri always gets what she wants. But he gets lost and stumbles into Aine. She might look hot but her personality is crap. She thinks she is superior and spews sarcasm all over him. If Kizuna wasn’t a nice guy, he would’ve raped her! Just kidding. Suddenly the alert is sound. The enemy is here. Aine is the one stripping in front of him into her scantily clad pilot suit and she calls him a pervert for peeping?! Kizuna watches Aine kick ass with her absurd techniques. Explosions everywhere! Aine sees the flagship and thinks she can take it on herself. Too bad her Hybrid Count is low. She gets owned and crashes down. Luckily Kizuna catches her. Panic on what to do, don’t worry, Reiri will guide our virgin boy. First, fondle her boobs gently but crazily. Wait. WHAT?! Just shut up and do it! Then softly caress her body and spread open her legs. Plant your face in her crotch too. Aine is now conscious and quite embarrassed in this state. Reiri gives the cue for him to go all-out crazy and fondle her melons! There’s a brief explanation on how this Heart Hybrid works but I don’t care. All I understand is fondling boobs powers you up! To show her thanks, Aine punches him for violating her body. Thanks for nothing. But she is so powerful that she destroys all the enemy by herself! More explosions! Heck, she doesn’t even need any backup. Though, the flagship escaped. Hayuru and Yurishia praise Aine for an excellent job. But Aine and Kizuna can’t help wonder what the f*ck happened. Sex almost happened, that is.

Episode 2
Reiri narrates the aliens called Entrance first invaded 15 years ago. Naturally the military was no match. Then they left just like that. Then 6 months ago, they came back again. With many of the world’s nations destroyed, the remaining population escaped to sea with oceanic Megafloats. Of course mankind has developed Heart Hybrid gears to fight back. She introduces Ataraxia’s ace team, Amaterasu consisting of Yurishia, Hayuru, Aine and Kizuna. Then she shows Kizuna as their trump card as well as footage of his fondling over Aine! OMFG! Is this porn footage?! Why is Hayuru the one getting mad at Kizuna? I’m sure nobody is listening how Reiri explains this will power up Heart Hybrid. So if they want to join Amaterasu, be prepared to be molested by Kizuna. Kizuna tries to clear his name but when the footage of him screaming out “Eros!” as his key word during Aine’s molestation, everyone thinks he is a pervert for real. It is about to get worse when Aine is in his bed and wants to begin. She wants you to f*ck her, that’s what I understand. Hayuru comes in wanting to apologize but upon seeing this lewd scene, all hell breaks loose. At the expense of his room. So in class naturally all the girls give him that look. Especially those b*tchy fan girls of Yurishia who want to protect their American onee-sama’s chastity. Kizuna is then brought by this loli, Sylvia Silkcut to go see Reiri at her lab. Reiri also introduces Kei Shikina who talks through her computer. Reiri gives him a special student handbook that contains detailed info about the Amaterasu girls and their Hybrid Count. His job is to perform sexual acts and restore their power (obviously it is faster this way instead of relying on natural recovery) and Sylvia’s job is to keep Reiri updated. Oh, Kizuna is also the captain of Amaterasu from today. Good luck.

Amaterasu is sent to recover some resources on an island. They split into teams. Yurishia talks to Kizuna and looks disappointed he doesn’t have any combat experience. Well, she’s America’s ace so she chalked up 300 enemy kills. Suddenly Entrance makes a surprise entrance (pun intended). With both sides trapped and communications not working, Yurishia tells Kizuna to go to the rest while she takes on them alone. I guess she has the worst luck since she encounters a super high class Entrance and her Hybrid Count drops to 4%! Fortunately Kizuna turns back to save her before she gets roasted. Accidentally he fondles her boobs and she starts feeling very good. Naturally she powers up greatly that not only she blasts away the Entrance but even changes the shape of the island. So can we attribute this power success to Kizuna’s sexual prowess? Hayuru and Aine are glad they are safe but upon seeing how close Yurishia is to him and how ‘satisfied’, while Hayuru is b*tching about it, Aine starts to feel jealous. Since when is he her property? Kizuna reports back to Reiri. They realize they have miscalculated the tides since Entrance can appear if there is enough land. I am guessing this is why everyone now lives at sea. Hey. I thought they could fly? When Kizuna returns to his room, Aine is already waiting and wants to start f*cking right now. Yurishia screws all that as she barges in, ignores her and prepares to get down and dirty with him. Girls, girls. Don’t fight over a single guy. I’m sure there is enough room for all of you to be f*cked. Haha! History repeats itself as Hayuru comes in to apologize but sees this harem tussle. Time to blow her top again. There goes his room again.

Episode 3
Everyone is impressed with Amaterasu girls’ training. Well then, it’s an excuse for Yurishia to take Kizuna out on a date to show her appreciation. After that he bumps into Hayuru. He hears her dream of wanting to make the lives of her fellow students as fun as possible. Without the sex part, that is. As usual she flusters and loses her balance. When he catches her, they resonate and this replenishes her Heart Hybrid. Does this mean Hayuru is also a pervert? Nearby they see Aine training alone. This leads to Kizuna trying to find out more about her from other girls but they know nothing. Eventually Aine finds out and, uhm, has him go out with her? So to atone for his actions he must perform Heart Hybrid with her?! WTF is this logic. But who cares, right?! He is trying to be modest but she sounds desperate for him to f*ck her here right in the park. She strips herself and she’s wearing just her undies! Because Aine seems down and ranting about not letting Yurishia and Hayuru beat her, Kizuna relents and starts fondling her. However he snaps out of it because he can’t do it with her when she has that face. Disappointed? Well, a call from Reiri to meet might be most welcomed to save him from this. She brings him to an experiment room that he still clearly remembers. It is where he got his core for Heart Hybrid installed. He did it all for his mom, Nayuta despite all the pain but I guess he didn’t get mommy’s love. Kizuna asks about Aine. She was found 7 years ago with no memories. They took her in and she became an experimental subject for Nayuta. Nothing but experiments. One day Nayuta disappeared without a trace or word. She is still missing to this day. They further show him footage of Nayuta doing a dangerous experiment by pushing a pilot to her limit with her Heart Hybrid. She died but Nayuta is satisfied with the data. It is revealed that if the Hybrid Count reaches zero, the pilot will die. Nobody knows this. Including the Amaterasu girls. As their captain she thought he should know. A reason to f*ck them more often? But Kizuna blows his top for allowing something this dangerous. Although this was only recently found out, what other choice do they have to fight Entrance? Reiri will carry this sin and burden to hell with her. That is why Kizuna is their last hope. Don’t think so much. All you need to do is just f*ck them. The day ends at least on a positive note with Sylvia making a nice dinner for him.

Episode 4
A new wave of Entrance attacks. Amaterasu sorties but Aine’s Hybrid Count is falling rapidly. She is trying to be a hero thinking she can still take them on but gets directly hit. Luckily Kizuna saves her and brings her back to base. She still wants to fight at this state despite knowing she is low on power? That’s when she starts ranting her useless existence. She doesn’t remember anything and is only here as a lab experiment. She reveals Nayuta told her she had a secret weapon called Immoral Weapon. But to bring this out, she must bring her Heart Hybrid to overcapacity. She tried all she could but to no avail. Till Kizuna showed up. Aine tried to research on what guys like and even on the dirty stuffs but as we have all seen, they ended in failure, right? All this worthless trash talk makes Kizuna mad as he scolds her back for degrading herself. If you think you don’t have any special talents, all you need to do is find one! But Aine is dropping further in despair since she is still weak now. Kizuna explains he was also a lab experiment under Nayuta. But one day a better specimen came (Aine) and mom tossed him aside. He was depressed too but Reiri gave him hope by telling him a person’s value isn’t decided by their abilities but by the way they lived. They might not know what lies ahead in life for them but let’s find out together. Let’s start over. I guess Aine took this excuse to mean that it is time to f*ck her. And so it begins, Kizuna molesting her body. You know how good he is when not only she powers up but wants more! As explained by Kei, this is a side effect of Heart Hybrid. In short, it makes them horny. WTF. But it can be very powerful if used to its utmost potential: Climax Hybrid. Eh, that’s not another sexual term, isn’t it? So we’ve got a full minute of them making out! OMG! Hentai scene?! Okay, time to bust out before your sexual energy destroys the room. Aine goes out in time to save Yurishia and Hayuru. Her Immoral Weapon is activated and it blasts away the entire Entrance fleet! WOW! This is the power of sex, baby! After the party, Aine thanks Kizuna because that sex romp also helped retrieve some memories. A beautiful natural landscape, a huge city with tall buildings and a complicated clock mechanism. Is this an excuse to ask more sex from Kizuna?! Oh yeah! For the memories! On a serious note, Kei shows Reiri footage of Entrance’s fleet. They are shocked to see humans among them and wearing something similar to Heart Hybrid.

Episode 5
Kizuna is happy it is time to soak in the hotspring. You know there will always be someone there first, right? Yeah, it’s Hayuru. You can guess what happens next. They find out this ‘arrangement’ was all Reiri’s fault. She noticed they made no progress together and set this up. I mean, she is the only one who hasn’t made out with him. So how is her Hybrid Count? Later Reiri and Kei show Kizuna their technological development put into good use: A virtual simulator room called Love Room! Oh yeah! Next step of advanced VR! Since Reiri wants to test how effective it is, she wants Kizuna to test it out now. Read: Go find someone to f*ck right now! So Kizuna brings in Yurishia. At first surprised, then they get into some deep BDSM play! It turns her on. A satisfied customer. Well good news, at least the technology works. Of course it will be hard to directly ask Hayuru to just do this with her. Later Reiri tells Amaterasu that there is a mysterious radio signal detected on Guam. Friend or foe, they are to check it out. On the devastated island, they thought this chick is a survivor but with that skimpy outfit and badass attitude, I can tell she is a baddie. Aldea introduces she is from the Empire of Batlantis. Where’s that? What kind of country is that? That is what you humans call as Entrance. And no, it is not an underwater city full of Batman! She wants to take their cores but would like to have fun with them too. Kizuna is surprised to see she too has Hybrid Heart although she claims this is Batlantis’ Magitech Armour technology. No matter how much they fight, they cannot best her. When a certain triple headed dragon Entrance enters the scene, Hayuru goes crazy and tries to desperately take it out. Not working. Kizuna knows they are no match for now and orders a retreat. Aldea would like to play longer with them but her energy is running low too.

Episode 6
As they analyze the footage, Hayuru wants to go back and destroy them. Reiri disagrees since they have got a lot of data. Hayuru is disappointed with everyone. Later when Kizuna tries to find her and couldn’t, he realizes she has fled herself. Indeed she has gone back to Guam and attacks Aldea, though what she wants is that dragon. Aldea traps her in some cube that could break her bones. Luckily Amaterasu is here to save her. When Aldea learns about Aine, she is reluctant to fight them anymore and sends out that dragon to deal with them. There it is. Conveniently, Reiri uses a helicopter to drop Love Room so they can have a f*cking fighting chance. Man, this room is also portable. Too late for Hayuru to feel guilty for causing everyone problems. I guess a cue for a short flashback why she hates that Entrance. During the second attack, her mission was to escort people to evacuate on the Megafloat. That dragon attacked and everyone died. She couldn’t do a thing. She felt remorseful that after being named Japan’s best, she became arrogant. I’m sure Kizuna has nice motivating things to say to her but can we cut the chatter and not waste time? Let’s get to the f*cking!!! Don’t worry if you feel your breasts are inferior to Aine or Yurishia. Because Kizuna loves them all! If you have cat fetish, you’ll love this even more because Hayuru is transformed into a cat girl for Kizuna’s hentai molestation. Once she reaches Climax Hybrid, she is now in a scantily clad samurai armour and able to pull out this sword, Gladius to slay the dragon. The after effect of this Climax Hybrid also has Kizuna pulling out his own sword. Everyone corners Aldea but she is having fun. Then the giant Megafloat of West USA arrives for backup. You think Aldea has her own backup of Entrance fleets. But it seems her commander, Grabel is not too pleased she broke orders and is here to get her back. Come back now or else. After Entrance left, Amaterasu meet their West USA counterparts, Masters. Yurishia knows Scarlet Fairchild but the latter seems to hate her. A lot.

Episode 7
When Grabel learns about Aine and her Hybrid Heart, they hatch a plan not to tell the higher ups. Since America and Japan are going to have a joint operation, Scarlet and co are naturally transferred onboard as she introduces her other friends, Gertrude Baird and Sharon Cunningham. Scarlet is flirting with Kizuna and it looks like she is trying to spite Yurishia. Girls fighting over a guy. Normal. In a harem anime. So the only way to do this is to fight each other via video games. They are more or less even in every game. I don’t know how it turned into a swimsuit battle but they even picked the same swimsuit! Scarlet gives Yurishia the slip (in both senses) and hides in a changing room with Kizuna. She is interested in this Heart Hybrid thingy. Before you know it, her seduction has her land on top of him in an ambiguous position. Wow. She is really feeling it. Later Kizuna talks to Scarlet and knows they are friends. Because their rhythms are in sync and even have the same taste in fashion. Scarlet disagrees and points out Yurishia is a horrible person. She recalls a mission to fight a super Entrance. Scarlet’s team was out there facing it first. It was then all a ploy for them to wear it down so Yurishia could destroy it and take the credits. Kizuna doesn’t believe Yurishia is such a person but if Yurishia doesn’t confirm or deny… Suddenly we take a detour by watching some yuri sex action between Grabel and Aldea! WTF?! But we love it. Aine is pretty frustrated trying to find an identity of her past but always hit a road block. It is understandable she is agitated. Then the alarm goes off. It is not a fleet of Entrance but only Grabel. She is here to negotiate but the American side can’t wait and fires. She takes it as negotiations failed and fights back. All of them get owned. Massive destruction. When Scarlet arrives and sees her defeated pals, she too fires back in rage. What’s with these Americans of shoot first, ask later? Naturally, Kizuna has to block a powerful shot or else Scarlet would’ve been burnt to crisp. It injures Kizuna. Too late to feel guilty over your stupid move. Amaterasu fights but none come close and are wiped out. Grabel turns her attention to Aine. If she wants to know more about herself, come with her. Kizuna issues a stern warning not to touch his babe. In good timing, Grabel has run out of energy and escapes. I guess I can say why today’s battle was lost: Because nobody got f*cked! Haha!

Episode 8
A week later, Kizuna is back and everyone is so glad. The ‘goods’ aren’t damaged, right? Reiri briefs their next mission to retake Tokyo. But first they have to close an Entrance portal at Okinawa which is being guarded by Grabel. As they need a more powerful and new kind of Hybrid to defeat her, from what I understand from all that mumbo-jumbo: Orgy!!!!!!!!! OMFG!!!!!! Kizuna doesn’t hesitate to choose Yurishia and Scarlet first. Scarlet is nervous at first but she’ll get used to it. So after all that foreplay is done, it’s time to move on to the next stage. Wink, wink. After taking off their bikinis, Kizuna shows footage of times of Yurishia and Scarlet together. Kizuna knows Yurishia didn’t know that Entrance was going to show up. Yurishia admits that on the day Entrance attacked their city, she was afraid Scarlet’s misfiring will cause casualties in the city and lied about an Entrance appearing elsewhere while she took out the ones in the city. Little did she know that an Entrance actually appeared there. Although Yurishia did claim credit for it, if you think about it now, Yurishia had to fight an army of Entrance at the city and then rush to destroy that super Entrance. An amazing feat, no? Now that both of them have reconciled, can we get back to f*cking and ‘attacking’ Kizuna? Oh yeah! Orgy in the works that includes the 69 position and choosing which boobs. Screw that option because he’ll take all of them! The orgy is a success as they head off for the mission. Yurishia is able to use her Immoral Weapon and fire back. Aldea uses herself to protect Grabel from the powerful shot. It’s time for Grabel to get mad and serious over this. She takes out her ultimate weapon, Sword Gatling and makes everyone work hard. It’s all up to Kizuna now. He needs a powerful firepower to defeat and thinks up of all the guns he can to shoot back at her. What is he? Carrying an arsenal of military weapons?! It’s enough to send Grabel crashing down to defeat. She admits her loss but escapes with Aldea. The payback will be real next time. She also warns Aine she will be hers next time. With the Entrance gate at Okinawa closed, everyone celebrates their victory. Except for Aine who keeps thinking who the heck is herself.

Episode 9
A group of boys are attending Kizuna’s lecture. Wait a minute. He is giving some food schedule presentation? Are you f*cking kidding me?! That’s not why they are here. Show us the real stuffs! Kizuna relents and shows 3D models of the babes. Now this is what we’re talking about! I’m sure they don’t understand a thing he says about understanding a woman but they sure hell enjoy it. Even more so when he shows footage of him f*cking Hayuru! Too bad it has to be cut short when Hayuru blasts the entire class. Seems Ataraxia is having a cultural festival. One last fun before the final battle? The Amaterasu girls are supposed to perform a concert tonight but Aine is missing. Kizuna goes to help look for her and has Sylvia stand in as replacement while they rehearse. The funniest thing during his find is when he enters the haunted house, all the girls are the ghosts. When they see Kizuna, they realize he is the perverted monster and run away! It’s like he is the scariest thing. Meanwhile Grabel is being punished for being a traitor. Uhm, molesting is part of the torture. Oh yeah. I don’t mind. Until the painful whipping and brainwashing from Zelshione. Grabel hopes Aldea will come rescue her but unfortunately she is now a love slave. Zelshione orders everyone to attack Earth and retrieve Aine’s Heart Hybrid even if it means killing humans. The concert has just begun and Kizuna finds Aine sitting alone in a classroom. This is where you’ve been? Something is bugging her. Remember each time they do Heart Hybrid and she gets pieces of her memories back? Well it seems she tried to research them and realized these things she saw cannot be found on Earth. You know what this means, right? Thus she is afraid to do Heart Hybrid with him as she fears the more she remembers, the more she will not stay herself. Kizuna assures she will. And thus an excuse for them to f*ck! Gotta do it since her Hybrid Count is low. It was wonderful, right? Not exactly. More memories retrieved and this only brings Aine to despair. The worst sex ever? Once the concert is done, Reiri calls Amaterasu for an emergency sortie. The enemy fleet has appeared and they are to engage them. What surprises everyone isn’t the big battleship. But they see Nayuta on it! How can they spot a tiny human there?!

Episode 10
Son confronts mother. Lots of questions need to be answered. All Nayuta can say is that she is at Batlantis to continue her unfinished research (that’s why she didn’t need Kizuna anymore). He is about to bring her back home but she is just a hologram. She is here to relay him a message to come to Tokyo if he wants to see her. Kizuna and co can’t stay longer or else they’ll be attacked by a loli in a mecha, Ragres. Whatever. But Entrance too won’t attack since this is part of Nayuta’s plan just to relay them the message. Back at base, Reiri and Kei has concluded that all the mysterious data they got from Kizuna’s ability to restore Hybrid Counts are from Nayuta. Only a genius like her can make this happen. Thus this Tokyo trip is a setup. Even if this is a trap, they must go face her for better or worse. Reiri talks to Kizuna that he needs to recruit another member for Amaterasu since this mission they need all the help they can get. The first person he could think of? Sylvia! The first thing I thought? Loli sex!!!!!!! OMG! They’re really pushing it! He talks to her and reminds her about the risks. However Sylvia took this as an insult and thinks he doesn’t want her on his team. After talking to her blah, blah, blah, it’s time to do it. First he needs to install the core. Hmm… The thought of f*cking a loli must be sinking in real quick, huh? Even more so when he comments on Sylvia’s beautiful loli body. Lolicon! Too bad the sex part was cut out but Sylvia’s face tells us he was the master of pleasure. Then Kizuna goes to talk to Aine. They need to f*ck since her Hybrid Count is low. However she becomes her arrogant self and everything. She’s fine, she says. But Kizuna knows despite all that tough talk, she is just putting up a strong front. No matter how stubborn she is, Aine is still a cry-baby girl. The mission to Tokyo is about to begin but Entrance strikes first via underwater units. Scarlet and her Masters take care of them so Amaterasu (minus Sylvia) could head to land. Kizuna keeps low to avoid fighting Entrance. He takes the abandoned subway and when he comes out, he is shocked he is back in Tokyo like how it was, teeming with life and people.

Episode 11
Oh, look who’s here too. Nayuta. What’s the meaning of this? She points out this is all an illusion. Tokyo is devastated as everyone knows. The illusions are created via magic. It seems those who remained and never evacuated became fodder for their life force to be harvested and sent back to Batlantis. Thus Tokyo is a huge harvesting plant and the ultimate plan is to make the world one. Kizuna is mad at mom for looking at people’s life as experimental subjects. He demands her to tell a way to remove the girls’ Heart Hybrid. Impossible. No way. Heart Hybrid is a mysterious artefact and she just used its core. Kizuna couldn’t be madder. He snaps. Wow. We never see him get this angry and the first person he does it to is his mom? Oh yeah. She was never a good mom to begin with. He is going to attack her but finds company in Ragres. Not wanting the people of Tokyo to get caught in this, he flies to a deserted place. He also calls in his Amaterasu girls as backup. However they are no match for Ragres. But here comes another mecha to save them. Who is it? Sylvia in her Heart Hybrid! Time for the battle between 2 mad screaming lolis to hard hit each other with hard punches. Yeah, what has the world gone to? Obviously Ragres lost but instead of accepting this humiliation, she would rather kill herself and take everyone with her. This means her mecha becomes a great big giant fireball and its radius is expanding quickly! How to save everything? Leave it to Sylvia! WTF is this Chopin’s Nocturne classical piano piece playing the background?! Why does it sound like she is sacrificing herself?! Sylvia uses her Immoral Weapon, which is some giant goddess to absorb the blast. Thankfully, she still lives. Nayuta is happy with the data she collected. But more enemy reinforcements are on the way. And everyone is having low Hybrid Count. Remember the potable Love Room? Here it comes! Time to get f*cking! Start with the lowest Hybrid Count first. That’s you Hayuru. The others are to provide backup till their turn. But Aine can’t help feel jealous and not focus on her fight. All she can think of is Kizuna f*cking another woman. Meanwhile Masters have felt the ultimate pleasure from Zelshione. This woman is good too in finding their pleasure spots. It took a while for Hayuru to be done (enjoying it?) and once she is over, Aine quickly turns to Kizuna. F*ck her now! Despite her Hybrid Count is still high, she wants to bring out her Immoral Weapon to change the tide. Don’t worry. She’ll still remain who she is.

Episode 12
So let me guess. Kizuna chooses a classroom setting to make out because Aine must be quiet while he gropes her or else risk everyone noticing their unholy act? WTF?! Porn setting! Once her embarrassment level increases, Kizuna changes the location to the hall. Because Aine needs to go to the toilet as she is maximum nervous. What better way to give everyone a free show on her achieving Climax Hybrid. This sends Aine deep into the recess of her mind. She sees a light believed to be her Immoral Weapon. However those past memories still haunt her. The process fails as she returns to consciousness. Perhaps they took too long because the other Amaterasu girls have been done in by Zelshione. They are all reliving their traumas in their mind. When Aine won’t tell Zelshione about her core (not that she even knows anything about it), Zelshione sends Aine into her own mind trap. You bet Kizuna is mad (only second to snapping at his mom) as he fights Zelshione to bring Aine back. Aine follows her younger self as she takes her to the core. She learns her core wasn’t installed by Nayuta but already there when she found her. Aine also realizes Kizuna has always been protecting her. Just that she got scared and ran away. She is also warned that going in here means never getting back out.

Kizuna gets whipped by Zelshione. Before you can say it is his defeat, somehow the other girls telepathically connect with Kizuna’s mind to give him strength. This allows him to climax and increase his Hybrid Count to over maximum and unleash a new powerful Heart Hybrid. Wait a minute. He powered up without touching and physical contact? So if he did not masturbate, how the hell did he power up his perversion? According to Reiri, carnality between minds calling to one another as the ultimate form of love. In short, the mind is the dirtiest place. BS, right? But who cares?! Kizuna kicks her ass and because he pushed her this far, she mind controls Aine to kill him. Of course the real Aine is devastated her body is moving on its own. She doesn’t want this. She wants to touch Kizuna. She wants to hold him. She wants to feel him. Short of saying she wants to be f*cked by him. Though, she did say she wants to be one with him. That is why she is desperate to get that power as she opens the door to her core. You know she has a badass power up when not only her hair colour changes, but Zelshione is panicking like sh*t. Then by unleashing Code Breaker, Aine destroys everything that is Entrance and even seals their portal! Woah! And all the girls in nightmare land regain consciousness. What does Nayuta has to say after witnessing this? Good job. On to the next phase of the experiment. Just when you thought everybody will have a nice time watching the sunset together, here comes a new character! They’ve got the balls to do this in the last scene?! She calls Aine the princess of Batlantis and her big sister.

Sexual Healing
HOLY SH*T! How the f*ck does this kind of anime can get another damn season?! Oh, right. Masterpieces like this one should ALWAYS get another season! They are guaranteed to have viewers and people wanting to watch them. Because horny virgin otaku cherry boys can never have enough materials to fap to! Haha! But seriously. This is getting a sequel but not epic animes like Shingeki No Kyojin? Yeah, it proves that sex sells.

As you would have probably known way before the anime starts, the pull factor of this series is the lewd ecchi stuffs and all the male targeted fanservice. From an ecchi point of view, those delicious horny bits do not fall short of expectations. I mean, we all already know what kind of anime this is going to be, so why the hell not go all the way out? Therefore the only ‘redeeming quality’ this anime has is just its ecchi fanservice factor. Nothing else. Besides, isn’t that the only thing you’ll remember once this anime is long dusted and gone? I know the final episode tries to distract you from the fanservice with the over-the-top rushed battle but then you’ll remember why they’re actually fighting in skimpy outfits in the first place.

It is like the producers have mastered the art of being borderline hentai. All the ecchi move sets you see here can very much easily be a staple of any hentai anime. The only difference is that there is no penetration whatsoever. Well, females don’t really need to be penetrated and can climax even foreplay, right? I’m no sex expert but I feel that’s the case. Or Kizuna is just that bloody good. In view of that, you might noticed that over the course of my blog, I have been spamming the word sex and the characters being f*cked. Please not I am using the term very loosely. I’m just being overly sarcastic and exaggerating in my words since the scene itself is already tempting me to say such ;p. All you see are huge boobs, the way they get molested and groped, the way their bodies get molested and groped, and the most important part in which all men focus on during sex (at least according to porn survey) their sexually satisfied or being satisfied face and accompanied with that sexually satisfied or being satisfied moaning. Maybe you want to note down some of the positions and techniques seen here…

Aside the no penetration acts, another reason why this comes close to being hentai but not actually qualifying for one is the fact that they do not draw the vagina. Yes, that loophole. There are a handful of scenes in which the girls show us their frontal nudity. The bare tits are obviously visible for obvious reasons. But the crotch area is not drawn or shaded in some ways. No genitalia, not hentai. Enough said. Because if somebody is going to make an issue out of it, does this mean that ‘naked’ mannequins cannot be drawn in anime? So there you have it. The loophole everybody needs so that we can resort to such scenes without having the use of any cheesy censors and still get our load of ecchi fanservice. Because at the end of the day, our horny minds would automatically generate and ‘see’ the female anatomy in our minds. You don’t need to show and tell us what a vagina looks like. We all already know :-).

Having covered the delicious parts already, let’s move on to the other boring parts and make it somewhat quick. Starting off with the plot. You know that when you have a series that involves this kind of lewd healing and power up, everything else isn’t really going to make sense or matter. Not that we care anyway. We hardly know anything about the Entrance aliens or why they are invading our planet. Even if it is for that absurd reason of harvesting our life energy for power (or something this silly), it always go back to the original narrative for our main guy to pleasure his harem girls. That’s what this anime is about, right? So who cares about humans now living on giant Megafloats floating aimlessly over the seas. Who cares about Entrance invading and occupying our land. Who cares why the strangely named Batlantis are only filled with females (shouldn’t they have named it somewhere more on the lines of Amazon?). And how the f*ck can you transport and dump an entire Love Room which is filled with all the latest technology right smack in the middle of the battlefield without even damaging it the slightest? Because hell, it still works perfectly fine. Yeah, screw all that. Girls getting screwed and enjoying it seems more realistic.

Next we move on to the characters. Pretty typical and cliché everyone is. Like Kizuna, your typical male protagonist of a harem. He must be shown he is not a pervert and thus the reason he cares so much for his girls that he is willing to go the extra length to f*ck them. Oh wait. That just sounds so wrong. But it feels something like that. The only thing all we guys ever yearn to be from him is how he pleasures his women with ease. And they keep coming back for more! This might sound unrealistic but hey, it’s male fantasy after all. So I guess the reason why he snapped back at his mom because he was so disappointed finding out there is no way to cure the girls, he has a valid reason for that. Imagine having to f*ck them day and night and every time. Man, this guy is getting tired of it! They’re going to zap this guy’s energy and you’ll wonder how long more he can last. They’ll suck him dry. No wonder he wants to ‘save’ them!

Sure, I did say that every man would love to pleasure their woman like he does forever. But there is a limit to how long you can do it. The first few times are exciting and fun. Then it just gets tiring. Unless you’re a sex maniac, that’s a different story. No wonder Kizuna wants out. Imagine again if he has to f*ck the entire academy of girls! It’s nonstop madness, I tell you! I know, you’re going to say there are other guys. But they’re not as good, my guts tell me. If you’re going to be violated by the guy, the one whom everybody nicknamed the erotic demon, might as well be done in by the best. After all, even his name which means ‘bond’ could suggest why he is such a damn good sex machine. But if they overwork him, he might just change his name to Kizu which means hurt! Ouch! Haha! Therefore to say that there is romance in this anime is very misleading. Because Kizuna isn’t just doing it to date them (he claims he is saving them) and ultimately win their heart. It’s not like they’re going to end up as official couples in the near future. It’s not sex for love. It is just pure blatant sex for the sake of sex (or mission, duty, job, work, whatever you want to call it).

Then the rest of his girls in Amaterasu are also some sort of stereotypes and cliché. To sum them up generally in a short sentence: They’re all sluts! Haha! Oops… Hmm… Them asking Kizuna for sex feels like girls just wanna have fun? Like Yurishia as an American, she must be seen as being open minded to sex and dirty stuffs because Japanese stereotype of the western people. That is why Hayuru as the Japanese counterpart is seen like a tsundere and the need to have that ‘Japanese honour’. She screams and reprimands each time she sees something she believes to be lewd just to remind us she is not a sleazy slut. And when she does get down and dirty with Kizuna, she constantly reminds us (despite it is hard to hide all that embarrassment) that this is for her mission, duty, job, work, etc. Then we have Aine who tries to hide her weakness by acting tough and exaggerating that she is the best in the world. No, the universe! Unlike Yurishia, she is bolder to ask Kizuna for sex (Yurishia isn’t forceful). At first it might be for her to retrieve her memories and power up but the way she does it feels as though she is hard up for it. I guess somebody needs to remind us viewers that some girls do want to get f*cked after all. Oh wait. That doesn’t sound right… Ironically she starts to change the more she remembers. From someone arrogant to someone brooding but still stubborn nevertheless. And it reached a point where being f*cked is no longer pleasurable. Oh dear. Is Kizuna’s 100% record of pleasuring all his women in danger? Perhaps just a reminder to all men that this is what reality looks like. We think we could pleasure our woman but instead she turns out crying and traumatized. And why am I not surprised that she is supposed to be the princess of Batlantis?

Last but not least, the youngest member of Amaterasu, Sylvia. Honestly, her character doesn’t do much and could actually be done without. But since she is recruited in the final arc, it is as though her character is like staying in reserve until the need arises. So we’ve got typical hetero teen sex to orgy sex and yuri sex. Now loli sex too? Man, this is really pushing it. So when will we have incest or sisterly sex? Yikes! I don’t think Reiri is the kind of woman who will let his brother inside her pants. She’ll kick him in the nut or something. She is more of the dominating type. Kei feels more like a lab assistant there to show that Reiri isn’t just pulling all the stuffs by herself. There needs to be somebody like an intelligent scientist to make sure this series doesn’t look like every female is a slut. It’s no wonder she is not on the cover of the promotional poster. Yeah, you can’t fit in secondary supporting characters. No space. Thank goodness no BL yaoi gay sex…

My only comment for Nayuta is that she is a scientist first and everything else (mother, woman, human being, etc) second or last. She enjoys experimenting so much that she doesn’t mind seeing her own race hurtle towards doom as she switches side easily. We might not know the true story of her side. My guts tell me there is something more than meets the eye. Or maybe I am just over thinking. Zelshione, Grabel and Aldea feel like busty badass female bosses since they feel somewhat shallow. That is why when they lost, we don’t really care about them or their fate. Maybe among them is the real final boss? After all Zelshione has got lots of weird love slaves. Or maybe Nayuta could be that final boss. The one you least expected it. Aine’s princess sister? My guts tell me that she might look menacing and dangerous in those 2 seconds. However I’m speculating she might turn out to be a klutz and onee-sama-loving imouto.

Personally, somehow I feel that the action bits are a distraction to the fanservice ones. It is a reason to give why the girls need to get f*cked so in return they could power up and fight the enemy. No, not the fanservice bits are the distraction. Remember, the fanservice bits are the main dish. Sure, the mecha fighting scenes take up as much screen time as the extreme molestation/groping scenes but you don’t really see them do any sort of special moves unless they pull out their Immoral Weapon. And that itself lasts for a short while. But they really do it with a bang. Meaning, lots of big beams and explosions. There are a few terms too but I guess they’re not very heavily and so complicatedly sci-fi induced that it will make your head spin. Wait a minute. You’re telling me that HxH in the title stands for Hybrid x Heart?! You mean it is not Hentai x Hentai?! Oh, right. It is stated there in its original Japanese title.

The art and drawing are a mixed baggage. In certain areas it looks acceptable especially the fanservice bits. But of course, right? But other than that, sometimes the quality feels inconsistent. Sometimes the background looks good with details but at other times the animation might just be plain and lacking. Do I need to even start with the scantily clad body suits that the girls have to wear? Why do all girls in such genres have to wear skimpy outfits? Is there an unwritten rule somewhere? Yes, it is for fanservice. It is easier to turn us on compared to one in a full black leather catsuit. After all, as far as this anime is concerned, whatever damage they receive can be sexually healed and recovered, right?! The design of the weapons, they look sci-fi-like with some are looking majestic in an exaggerative way. After all, you can’t just have ‘big guns’ in bed, right? CGI is used for the Entrance monsters. Some look okay but the rest look like meh. Oh, did I mention their animation look stiff? But then again, we’re not here to look and be awed at the alien technology, right? Want more lewd illustrations? The end card at the end of every episode illustrated by different people should serve as desserts.

I didn’t notice the voice acting because I was engrossed laughing with the fanservice bits (really!) and furthermore, I recognized none of the seiyuus here. I mean, if you really want to commend the ‘great voice acting’, it would be mainly for those sexual moaning, right? For the record, they are Kenji Akabane as Kizuna (Arashi in Triage X), Akari Kageyama as Aine (Ebina in Himouto! Umaru-chan), Chinatsu Akasaki as Yurishia (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby), Juri Nagatsuma as Hayuru (Priscilla in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Hina Kino as Sylvia (Misato in Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi), Rika Kinugawa as Reiri (Liddy in Hundred), Iori Nomizu as Kei (Nymph in Sora No Otoshimono), Shizuka Ishigami as Scarlet (Renge in Kyoukai No Rinne), Mei Satosaki as Nayuta (debut role), Yuu Asakawa as Zelshione (Leone in Akame Ga Kill), Rumi Ookubo as Grabel (Hibachi in Mushibugyou) and Natsumi Yamada as Aldea (Lam in Yuushibu).

Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Iori Nomizu. I guess this is a reason why her character doesn’t speak with her normal voice in the anime. So that she could save it and sing the songs? Long ago, I had established that Iori Nomizu wasn’t a good singer since some of her earlier anime theme songs she sung were off key. But the last few times I heard her, she was quite acceptable. Either she has improved over the years or I might have just got used to her singing style. Anyway, the opener, Miele Paradiso is one of those rock based songs fitting the seemingly mecha action that you’ll mostly see in the opening credits animation. The ending theme, Chi is also a rock outfit but with the synthesizer effects, it makes the song sound weird. Especially when they mix in some disco ball lighting effect in the ending credits animation. I didn’t notice the background music except for this one that sounds like some sort of hardcore punk rock music. It’s weird (and somewhat fun) hearing it here in some scenes because hearing this heavy electric guitar music feels like you’re in some extreme motocross or monster truck racing derby. Seriously.

Next time you have second thoughts about having sex, even though it doesn’t give you great powers as shown in this series, but at least studies has shown you can lose some calories and weight with such great ‘workout’. Therefore in this anime, it makes no sense that when a guy wants to f*ck his girl, she cannot give an excuse that she is too tired because hell, sex gives you more energy! That is what you call sexual energy. And logically if you go by this anime, does it mean it will be more permissible to grope and f*ck a girl when aliens invade? Because no courts for sexual harassment lawsuits too…

Overall, what else can I say? You know why you’re here watching this anime. And possibly its next season. It goes to show that despite how sleazy and corrupt it is, there will always be demand for this kind of shows. Mediocre story, mediocre mecha action, mediocre characters all overshadowed by big tits and sex scenes. If you don’t want to feel guilty and resort to have to watch real porn but still need to relief yourself in some horny way, this series should do the trick till you realize you’re better off jerking off to real porn. Either way, you can always count on such immoral screenings to be there when you need them the most in your hour of ‘need’. Where else can you find horny girls, girls who just wanna have fun?

It’s finally here, the fourth season of the yearly Ilya spinoff series. After the lukewarm filler-like third season, I was casting doubts if Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya 3rei would further lose its way. I mean, what else is there for her and her friends to achieve anymore? They’ve collected all the Class Cards, save the world from a certain doom and certainly had lots of loli yuri friendship moments in between. Ilya has achieved a lot. What more could she achieve some more? Unless you’re talking about Miyu being captured and taken back to a parallel world where she came from. Okay. Time to add rescuing a best friend from the forces of evil to the list. Yeah, it’s going to be like Mario invading Bowser’s castle to rescue Princess Peach. Sort of.

Episode 1
Ilya and her friends just finished studying at Miyu’s place. As they leave, Ilya accidentally lets it slip that she is going to ‘combine’ with Miyu. Tatsuko thinks it is some robot while Mimi believes it is yuri. Ilya has no choice but to hint Mimi is somewhat right but the rest don’t really understand about it. Back in Ilya’s room, Ruby tries to inject her with some serum but luckily Sapphire stops her. I guess Ruby has been bored ever since but Ilya is glad that such peaceful days would last. You know, that always seems to be a jinx because here come Rin and Luvia barging in for an emergency. They are told that the crater and the effects of their epic battle from last season are all missing. Something weird is happening. When they reach the site, a couple of nasty powerful b*tches appear, Angelica and Beatrice Flowerchild. They know who Miyu is and want her to come back, although Miyu doesn’t really want to. After staving off the rest, they carry Miyu back into the portal. Ilya can only watch as Miyu ekes out a weak cry for help. She tries to give chase but the next thing she knows, the entire place is snowing. It’s summer now. A big crater is over her town and when she rushes back home, there is no home! Poor Ilya can only weep at this strange predicament. No people around and the town in ruins. But then she had to stumble upon the biggest idiot, Tanaka. Talking to her is like talking to a wall because she doesn’t know anything! On top of that she is annoyingly carefree! It seems Tanaka is suffering from some sort of amnesia too. Oh boy. Ilya had to meet a person worse than her. While taking refuge at a playground, Tanaka suddenly says Miyu has been captured by the Ainsworth family. She heard Miyu had jumped to a parallel world but is now back. Ilya interrogates her for more but it seems Tanaka herself doesn’t know why she is saying this. It just came to her head. She also doesn’t understand these ‘memories’ she is having. Unfortunately Beatrice has found them.

Episode 2
Beatrice uses a card to enhance her arm to attack. Before she could finish them, she gets a call to get her ass back. Upon learning that Beatrice is from Ainsworth, Tanaka remembers it is her mission to destroy them. But she doesn’t remember anything else. Then she collapses because of hunger. Thankfully the ramen owner (Kirei?) takes them in and cooks them a nice hot… Spicy mapo tofu?! Eat it all up or else!!! Ilya learns that the crater is caused by a gas explosion 5 years ago and the people now live in the outskirts of town. Oh, it always snows in summer. But there is a more pressing issue. Because the girls don’t have money to pay, the owner is going to chop them up! You mean he wasn’t treating them? Luckily a kid comes in and pays for them. Ilya is wary of him because he is Gilgamesh! Or Gil as he would like to be called. The one she fought with last season. Gil admits he lost and holds no grudge. He is still alive because Ilya blasted away his dark side. Gil knows about Ainsworth because they summoned him by the cards they created using Miyu as their Holy Grail. Since Ilya wants to save Miyu and Tanaka destroy Ainsworth, Gil leads them to Ainsworth’s base which is right in the centre of the crater. Using some stealth cloth to sneak in, once they cross over a hidden barrier, Ilya is shocked to see a different world. Blue sky. Luscious greens. Grand castle. Paradise! Entering via the back door, they end up in some waterway. There is also a prison cell nearby. Ilya thought it is Miyu but it turns out to be a male’s voice. He claims he is Miyu’s brother (Shirou?) and is in here because he failed after fighting Ainsworth and lost. At least he freed Miyu from this world but now he is sad Miyu is back here again. He is glad Miyu has friends and hopes they can save her. You bet Ilya is going to do that. Ilya wants to free him so they can rescue Miyu together but here comes Angelica attacking in Gilgamesh’s style.

Episode 3
Gil certainly could counter Angelica’s attack since he has the same abilities. Miyu’s brother tells them Miyu is being held at the top of the centre tower. Gil tells the girls to achieve their goals as he will fight Angelica whose card is his goal. The girls enter the tower but are met with Beatrice. Despite taking a point blank blast, Tanaka is still in one piece. No matter how she is stabbed or cut, there are no injuries on Tanaka. But the pain is real. This only makes Beatrice happy as she can torment her for fun. Ilya tries to intervene and fight back by pulling out some wood hidden in the rubble of wasted treasures. That wood turns out to be Ruby. Time to transform into a magical girl and kick ass. Ilya lacks firepower but has to use the risky move of using a Class Card to power up (there were some injuries the last time she pulled off that crazy stunt) and become Caster version. But she is still no match for Beatrice’s power. Ilya cannot hold on blocking her move and that is when Tanaka comes in to protect her. Meanwhile, Gil turns the tables on Angelica and he purposely wants to drag on the fight to have fun. However they are interrupted when Tanaka is send blasting through the walls. Time for a tactical retreat. Miyu felt the ground shaking. Not an earthquake so she peeks out her window. She sees Ilya. Their eyes briefly met. Tears stream down her cheeks. Don’t know why Ilya is here? To rescue you of course! Didn’t you plead for help before? As they run out of the barrier, Beatrice and Angelica continue to give chase. Beatrice powers up her lightning hammer for some serious damage. However a sniper’s shot throws her off focus. A voice then tells them to back down and return. Don’t be rude for a lady’s homecoming. This voice identifies himself as Darius and he is the head of Ainsworth. Ilya knows she is no match right now but vows to rescue Miyu. She lets off with a final word that Miyu is not their tool. The sniper turns out to be Chloe and Bazett just arriving at the perimeters of the crater.

Episode 4
Ilya hugs Chloe once she reunites with her but soon collapses. She wakes up in the infirmary and attended by Bazett. Ilya notices Tanaka as her usual airhead self but all her wounds are completely healed up. She thanks her for protecting her. Chloe then informs the rest what they know. They are definitely in a parallel world where Miyu is from. Everyone who arrived here at different points in time is due to some discrepancy. Angelica is holding an Archer card while Beatrice is Thor. You mean that Norse God of Thunder? Hey, what kind of Class Card is that?! Haven’t heard of it before. Since Tanaka’s stomach is growling, they take a break as Gil orders from that mapo guy again. Trauma for Ilya. She’ll pass. Later Chloe goes to confront Ilya weeping and complaining about the predicament she is in. This annoys her so Chloe transforms and tells Ilya to do the same because they’re going to beat the crap out of each other. Ilya uses Lancer and Rider to defend against offensive Chloe. She cannot understand what made her so mad. If it is about rescuing Miyu, her feelings haven’t changed since and vowed to do so. However Chloe says that Miyu never once complained about being overwhelmed or lonely. The anxiety Ilya is feeling now is what Miyu faced in their world. As Miyu has never revealed those feelings, as her friends they can’t complain. All they can do is wait till the day she decides to open up to them. Ilya transforms into Saber to defeat Chloe. Chloe fakes passing out so that she could steal a hot loli yuri kiss! Yikes! Time to remind us about their relationship. Deep tongue too? Wow. They’re really good at without making it look like child porn. Now that is what I call kiss and make up.

Episode 5
There seems to be discrepancies in what caused the crater because Bazett and Chloe heard a meteorite smashed into it. When Ilya goes outside, she sees a little girl, Erica trying to climb in from the school wall but got stuck. So now her butt is showing. She is trying to act tough in the name of her lady pride but after eventually Ilya helps to get her down, she starts calling Ilya her big sister in which Ilya totally loves the ring of it. However Erica needs to go to the toilet but puts up a brave front. To make matters worse, Tanaka aggravates the situation by biting her hand! WTF?! It causes Erica to wet herself although she keeps denying that in the aftermath. When they all take a bath, Ilya tries to ask Tanaka for anything if she remembers about herself. None. She remembers only as far back as meeting Ilya. Suddenly Tanaka kisses Ilya! She saw Chloe do that to her and thought it is a way for them to reconcile. Ilya you lucky… Or not. Tanaka adds she is thankful to Ilya because she has never felt lonely ever since meeting her. She will complete her mission to destroy Ainsworth no matter what happens to her. Tanaka and Erica continue to hate each other and argue. Ilya tries to mediate and tell Tanaka not to cause others pain if she herself doesn’t like it. But Tanaka doesn’t listen and now Ilya argues with her. Erica sees her father is here to pick her up. Ilya goes with her and greets him while letting him into the school gates. While he talks about his daughter, Ruby gets a transmission from Sapphire. She explains she was caught with Miyu but she somehow let her escape and is now in hiding. The reason she can contact her now is because the barrier is weakened thanks to Ainsworth’s family head stepping out. Ilya realizes to late the familiar voice of Erica’s father. Yup, Darius in the flesh.

Episode 6
When Bazett and Chloe come out to attack, Darius puts forth a giant ice dome. He just wants to talk with Ilya. While he proudly proclaims Miyu as his Holy Grail, he starts going crazy explaining all the adventures Miyu had in this world. He also thanks Ilya for collecting his cards but he isn’t going to have her return them. Ilya doesn’t think Miyu told him everything when she has never said it to her friends. Tanaka wakes up in a trance after sensing an Ainsworth. She easily destroys the dome. Bazett and Chloe attack but it’s not easy to take the head down. Even when Ilya uses Excalibur to strike, Darius can stop it with a single hand. After pinning them down with his gravitational-like powers, he is about to destroy Tanaka but when he hears her say Counterfeiter, he decides to let them all live. The girls are bitter about their defeat especially Ilya who heard Erica’s parting words about being a liar for hurting others because she tried to hurt her dad. So they ask Gil about Darius’ powers which are believed to be Noble Phantasms but he too is unsure. Very odd because all Noble Phantasms originated from Gilgamesh. Ilya knows it is no use lamenting on their loss and need to find a way to defeat Ainsworth. Darius returns and takes Miyu for ‘work’. No, not loli prostitution. She resists at first but reminds her how her brother will suffer. He uses her blood to activate some myth inscriptions. They have already 5 and need 2 more for completion. Miyu is exhausted after this and thrown back to her room. When she wakes up, Erica is by her side. She talks about Ilya and how she tried to hurt her father. Miyu understands quickly she was trying to rescue her. This causes Erica to be worried because this could mean Miyu could go away again and she doesn’t want to be lonely. Miyu then hugs her and thanks her for her kindness. Erica would prefer to have Miyu by her side and asks if she prefers Ilya. Yes. Oh, look at the time. Time for bed. When Chloe wakes up the next morning, she finds Ilya missing.

Episode 7
Ilya realizes she has been kidnapped but she is now in the body of a stuffed doll! Chloe and Bazett talk to Gil about Ilya’s kidnapping. He thinks the enemy snuck in using the stealth cloth that Ilya lost during their invasion. That’s why Bazett’s alarm didn’t go off. It seems Angelica wanted to brainwash Ilya but since she couldn’t as a section of her mind is sealed off, she transferred her entire mind into this doll. This is part of Erica’s plan because she thought Miyu would be happy to have Ilya around but since daddy won’t just let Ilya live here like that, she sought Angelica’s help for this. Now her body is inserted with a fake personality. But since she is confused which Ilya is which, Angelica suggests the vessel is more important so Erica tosses aside the doll and brings the body to Miyu. Ilya uses her utmost determination to move but unfortunately bumps into Beatrice. Oh no. She takes her back to her room. Ilya fears she won’t escape from her tortuous room but what’s this? There are lots of posters and objects of a guy named Julian?! Who the f*ck is he?! Even cringing is how Beatrice unleashes her perverted side and those pre-recordings of Julian’s oral abuse which Beatrice loves. Sick! This is definitely torture watching her like this. Suddenly Beatrice has mood swings. She is depressed and wants the world to end! But ripping off her other stuffed doll’s heads! Oh sh*t! Luckily Ilya is saved when Rin and Luvia barge into clean up trash. They’re working here as maids?! But they looked hypnotized! They clean up all the dolls as trash and even throw away the Julian ones!!! Beatrice is mad and wants to beat them up but stops short since it will return them to normal. Beatrice kicks them all out and tells them to dump the trash in Erica’s room since all the dolls belong to her in the first place. Ilya tries to hint to Rin and Luvia. Get the hint? Moving trash. Somehow Ilya manages to speak. Now you get it? Talking trash. Trash is trash and must be rid off! Run! When Erica brings Ilya’s body to her, Miyu sees her lifeless state and cries. Erica is forced to leave and doesn’t understand why. But she is sad when Rin and Luvia dumped her broken dolls from Beatrice. Ilya manages to escape to the attic. She sees a mountain of rats but beneath them is Sapphire. So she’s been hiding here? As they sense Rin and Luvia coming, Sapphire suggests transforming using her. Ilya doll version? Will this work? Can she even fight like this?

Episode 8
Sapphire explains Rin and Luvia also had their minds transplanted somewhere and these are just fake personalities. To bring them back, some sort of bodily harm must be done. Too bad Ilya’s power is too weak so the chase continues. When Ilya almost unleashes a dangerous attack, they go into hostility mode and send Ilya crashing down into Erica’s room. What’s this? Erica cutting up Ilya’s clothes and wanting to rape her?! Actually she doesn’t know how to take it off and like how rich people think, they cut the clothes. Rin and Luvia are about to continue their attack but Angelica orders them to stop. Angelica takes Ilya’s body as hostage and gives her a choice to work with them or else. Ilya chides them for viewing humans as tools but Angelica says anything that fulfils its roles are tools and humans are no exception. When Ilya attacks, Angelica cuts up the doll’s body into pieces. But even as a head, Ilya could still move and uses Sapphire’s magic to hit a mark on her body’s chest, returning her mind back. Since Erica’s room is too small to fight, they go outside but the place has spatial distortion so the outlay of the castle is different than the last time. Rin and Luvia attack using their cards and although they are weak Noble Phantasms, they have plenty of it. Due to spatial distortions, Ilya gets owned. Meanwhile Chloe wonders if a rescue operation meeting is necessary. Shouldn’t they just take action now to save Ilya? Gil doesn’t want to rush it. He explains to them Ainsworth’s goal the same way Angelica explains everything to Ilya. Ainsworth’s goal is to save the world. This world’s mana is running out and obviously you would have noticed it is now snowing instead of summer. This is due to the shift in Earth’s rotation. In a few more generations, all will die out. Therefore Ainsworth is on a mission to save the world using Miyu as the Holy Grail and Ilya’s attempts could only be seen as rebellion. Therefore they have to make a choice now whether to save the world or save Miyu. Kill the world or kill Miyu. You can’t have both.

Episode 9
Angelica even shows an out-of-this-world presentation to explain the hell lot of mumbo-jumbo. Whatever. So it seems they’re going to use Miyu’s life to change into organisms that can survive in the new world. Adaptation? Why not just ask for unlimited mana and reverse everything? Yeah, too complicated for me to understand. Angelica could have killed Ilya had she not used her Assassin version to escape. At this point Ilya is confused about her choices. Erica praises how good Ilya is to Miyu. But when she learns Angelica is going to kill Ilya as a lesson, Miyu is shocked and wonders if Erica knows what she is saying. Well yeah, she thought dying means living your life as a stuffed doll. At this point too, Darius heard about it all and wants to know more. Ilya could have died again if not for somebody coming to save her. Chloe, it’s your turn. Chloe is steadfast in her choice. She will save Miyu. No doubts about it. Between a world she doesn’t know and a girl she knows, the choice is obvious. So a girl’s life outweighs the world? Angelica chides her flawed thinking because even if they win, the world will be in ruins and they’ll all still die. Chloe knows this too. But to choose what is precious to her, the world or someone close, it is always the latter. Chloe is already shocked Rin and Luvia are fighting with Angelica. Now she has to hear Ilya doubting her choice. Darius is spanking Erica real hard! He is mad she ruined his plans. Miyu stops him and threatens if Ilya dies, she will kill herself. Darius can’t let her do that and shows her what her friends are talking about right now. Chloe talks about a person she knows who tried to sacrifice a few to save many but ended up doing the opposite despite knowing it is wrong. Because he chose to be a man instead of a hero of justice. It’s time for Ilya’s turn to save Chloe. It might look like she used her own body but Assassin’s technique allows her to use a clone double. Ilya still can’t agree with Chloe’s choice. Now, before you jump to conclusions and be disappointed, Ilya explains that all is important to her. She can’t sacrifice and choose. That’s why she is going to save both the world and Miyu! Yeah. Typical hero answer we should have all expected. So how exactly is she going to do that? Well, that’s what the Holy Grail is for, right? You should just entrust everything to the cup. Wow. So simple that I didn’t see it coming.

Episode 10
So wish upon the Holy Grail for humanity’s happiness? No wonder Darius is laughing his ass off. With Miyu now spewing crap about hope, Darius laughs even harder and finds it more amusing. He dares Ilya to steal Miyu from him. But first, Gil and Bazett sneak up to bind Angelica and then free Luvia and Rin. Back to our lovely idiots. Chloe then fires at the tower to make an open space so Ilya can reunite with Miyu and give her back Sapphire. Ilya then fights Darius and stabs him in the heart. Because he is the process of the Holy Grail ritual, his powers slowly becoming undone. Angelica desperately goes to protect her master and only now Beatrice joins in. She just finished ‘enjoying’ herself, huh? Erica must be confused. How do you explain God to a kid? Because Ilya doesn’t want to sacrifice anyone and save everybody, and if Miyu wants to leave Ainsworth, what does that make Erica? Isn’t she her friend? Miyu knows Erica has only known the world from Ainsworth’s point of view. So like telling how Santa never existed, Miyu says she is never Erica friend. That’s a bitter pill to swallow. Angelica reminds them that Miyu’s brother is still in their hands. Oops. Forgot about that, didn’t she? Don’t worry. Gil has already rescued him. Phew. It’s like a horror movie when Darius’ skin melts off! His true form materializes and there is one giant dark cube hovering over the sky. What the hell is this magic? Nobody knows. Maybe Miyu does. That isn’t Darius actually. He died a long time ago. This is someone who hid his death and clung to his ghost: Julian, Darius’ son. I see. Wait. What? Julian warns Ilya if she tries to destroy his myth, he will personally erase her like how he demonstrates he erased one of her Class Cards. Erica is sad that Miyu doesn’t see her as a friend despite treating her well. A cue for Julian to say that he is her only ally. They will realize Ainsworth’s ambition. Erica tries to act strong and just when you think it can’t get any worse, the cube pours black goo all over Erica. Coming out from the goo are Heroic Spirits. Super tough Heroic Spirits! Our ladies have a tough time handling one and will soon be overwhelmed. This is when Julian tells Miyu if she wants to stop this disaster, come with him. Thankfully Ilya saves her again before she makes the wrong choice. The Heroic Spirits all fire. They’re doomed, right? Except that somebody’s super barrier protected them all. Because here comes Miyu’s brother to the fore. It’s his turn to kick ass and repay his debt for saving his sister. Hey look, it’s Shirou!

Episode 11
Can you believe how f*cking powerful Shirou is?! I just wonder why he didn’t break himself out earlier. Angelica stands in his way to reach Julian. They’re both on equal footing till Chloe comes to aid him. They defeat her because Chloe somehow could use a mysterious power she just understood by watching Shirou. Huh? Just when Shirou is going to get Julian’s ass, this crazy lady stops and injures him. Who is this new character? Sakura?! Dominatrix version?! It seems crazy Sakura claims Shirou cannot kill or be killed. Because she will be the one to do that. Miyu’s big brother senses start tingling so she runs towards Shirou and against Sapphire’s advice, she uses the Archer card to transform. Beatrice hits Shirou away like a golf ball. Chloe and Ilya retrieve him but Beatrice cuts off their path so they have to continue fighting the unlimited Heroic Spirits while Rin heals Shirou with her weak powers. It’s going to take forever. As Miyu fights Sakura, she starts to feel her body being taken over by something else. She starts talking and acting arrogant. However Julian pulls out that card but before he can dispose of it, Gil steals it back. He finally got his other half back. Julian has a bad feeling if Gil joins the fight and orders Beatrice to kill him before he uses his powers. And before Sakura can kill Miyu, Julian impersonates as Shirou and tells her to back down. This is his sister. As you wish. Gil turns his sights on Julian after he binds Beatrice. But he hears Erica’s voice telling him that not to interfere because big brother will save the world. Gil laughs at this pitiful abomination and calls her the mud doll of calamity. Ilya’s side is having it tougher now since all the Heroic Spirits are starting to use their Noble Phantasm. Rin tells Ilya to take Shirou and run because if they keep this up, all of them will die. Remember, Ilya made her choice that she’ll save everything. She’s not going to run anymore and keep that promise as she powers up her Excalibur.

Episode 12
Tanaka finally wakes up. Good for her. Erica tells Julian that she can’t open it. This has Julian remember that Gil told him 2 Holy Grails are needed if he wants his wish realized. After that, Gil left this world seeing he accomplished what he came for. Ilya might be holding her ground well but it will be no time the Heroic Spirits will outlast her. That is when Tanaka throws her super fireball into the battlefield. It becomes a flaming sword. Erica can tell this is bad for them. Ilya picks it up and manages to cut through the goo and stopping the eternal mudflow to the Heroic Spirits. Before Julian and Erica escape, he allows Beatrice to unleash a very powerful attack. He hints to Ilya that even in the event if they can save both Miyu and the world, that’s all to it. Beatrice directs the attack to Ilya’s friends. Again Shirou plays hero by protecting them but this might cost his life. So this is Julian’s warning? Rin doesn’t have any magical powers left to heal him. Everyone is so sad and down at the inevitable when Bazett gives back Rin’s amulet that she found when she first entered this world. How convenient. Because of that Shirou is saved! Yeah, wait till the last minute till he is at death’s doorstep, will you?! The sword is actually Tanaka’s arm and it is chasing Ilya around! Creepy! Shirou takes his saviours back to his home. Wow. A giant traditional Japanese mansion! Ilya, how the f*ck is your family so poor?! Angelica also follows them since she has been abandoned. If you’re wondering why Tanaka’s arm is harassing Ilya and Chloe in the bath, it is because she is mad that they forgot all about her and left her behind at the school! But now she is here, she can stop whining and go take a warm bath. Later Ilya and Chloe see Miyu being spoiled by Shirou. Once she realizes it, she becomes very embarrassed. Chloe continues teasing her and Ilya is glad to see sides of Miyu she has never seen before. Shirou can’t be happier that his wish for Miyu to have friends has come true. Julian, Erica and Beatrice are in an alternate space. He is sure their wishes cannot exist together and it won’t be long before he will use Ilya and Miyu again.

Special 1
When Tatsuko suggests hanging out at a cool place, the girls have a bad feeling about this. Mimi believes to give her a chance. Or else she will curse you! They realize too late that they have been had because it is training under the waterfall! And Tatsuko is the first one to fail. So while the rest ‘complain’ about this usual training, Suzuka is about to chastise Mimi when she sees her sketching passionately. Shirou and Issei are also training under the waterfall. As they get out, Shirou trips and Issei grabs him. It looked like a yaoi scene! Mimi and Suzuka become fully ecstatic about this new potential and discovery. Well, I guess they levelled up. Except for Ilya who doesn’t like the idea of her brother being used for weird fantasies.

Special 2
Taking place at a time when Chloe and Bazett first arrived at this world. They waited in the mountains near to crater to see if more people would appear. As nothing happens, Bazett goes to gather food. I suppose Chloe was so focused on keeping her eye on the crater that she didn’t realize she was handed a tree root! Not once but twice! So screw food. She can do without it for a few days. But what about the power to fight? Chloe needs some magical energy and Bazett is willing to help. Chloe then pushes her down and starts giving a hot steamy lesbian kiss. Well, too bad that was just her imagination. A few days later as nothing more happened, they decide to go find a place to warm themselves up. Chloe is sceptical of the roots she is bringing. She couldn’t be more thankful they are used as fire source for a hot bath in a barrel. Refreshed, they decide to head back up and gather some food. How does sautéed tree root sound now?

Special 3
Tanaka feels she is missing wearing something albeit she won’t take off her gym clothes she is wearing to wear something else. Since she isn’t opposed to wearing clothes over it, Ruby is using this as an excuse this might restore her memories. Aside Tanaka wearing various clothes, Ilya and Chloe also have to follow. And Ruby is capturing it all on camera. So they’re back to square one when nothing happens. Bazett then returns as she has found a missing panty from the toilet. Tanaka recognizes this as hers and puts them back on. Now that she feels complete, the duo feel annoyed that this is just a missing panty issue.

Special 4
Rin and Luvia are captured by Angelica and Beatrice. Angelica believes they will serve useful and wants to brainwash them. The proud duo consider themselves as high mages and won’t be easily brainwashed. Well what do you know? They’re already under mind control. Their first order is to wear a maid outfit. Since they don’t know what it is, Angelica describes wear to get those frilly outfits. They mess up Beatrice’s room but the outfits are too small to fit them. Mad Beatrice kicks them out and this disables the hypnosis. They try to escape while maintaining they won’t fall for the same trick twice. Here they are under Angelica’s command again. This time they are to play with Erica. As they don’t know who she is, Angelica describes the little adorable girl. The dumb duo go play with Beatrice. More like abusing her! They then realize she isn’t as adorable and Beatrice becomes mad, punching them out of their hypnosis again. Are they going to learn from their lesson now that they know the trick? “Please give us any orders you want, master”. Idiots. But still a handful.

Save A Friend, Save The World
Hold on a second. The end it with a sort of ‘cliff-hanger’? I mean, Shirou is going to tell his side of the story with Miyu and he did say it is going to take a while. So does this mean we will have to wait for another season next year? No actually. Their story will be told in a form of a movie, a first in this series. A story that will tell what happened to them. Well, you know me and my ‘relationship’ with anime movies, right? But anyway for those who still want more Ilya loli (and yuri) goodness, you can rejoice and look forward to the movie. But even not taking into account the movie, there is still the possibility of another development for another season because Julian as the main antagonist is not defeated and this isn’t over by a long shot yet. After all, Ilya and co are still in this alternate parallel world and not back in their own. The fates of many other characters as well as the mysteries of this world are not properly fleshed out yet.

Surprisingly this season feels interesting as I was expecting it to not be any different thinking the producers would be spamming us with more yuri loli antics (which is what the series is supposedly about) but this wasn’t the case. Sure, we still have a few moments of Ilya x Miyu but this is overshadowed by the intriguing plot line. Mainly I think it is because Ilya is now in a parallel world and not in a world of her own. She knows nothing here and thus this adds to the mystery and intrigue of the entire series. Seeing this season is mainly turned into a big rescue mission, there isn’t time for Ilya to waste and sit and dawdle around. Not when your friend is going to be turned into Holy Grail fodder to save the world.

This is also the first time the series went beyond its 10 episode limit per season. Perhaps this is why the fourth season feels refreshing and interesting? Because a couple of more episodes means more depth to the storyline? The plot moves along fast enough and you will already reach the end of the season before you even know it. So if you think about the, the entire season is about trying to infiltrate the castle, being paid a visit by the big boss himself, infiltrating the castle again and then a long final fight with the enemy. I guess there is no time to waste and fool around as you have noticed Ilya’s classmates do not make any further appearance other than that short cameo in the first episode. No Tatsuko’s genki idiocy and no Mimi’s yuri fetish awakening.

Adding another interesting aspect is the quirky idiot, Tanaka. She is really an unknown factor but you can’t help wanting to see more of her because of her idiotic antics despite she might be an annoying prick sometimes. But it’s tolerable. We still love her. Who is she and what is she, you don’t really question it all because she is just lovable being in her silly mode. Then it’s like we almost forgot about her because from the halfway point she is greatly missing (sleeping, rather) after Darius’ personal visit. And then just to remind us that she does exist, suddenly she comes back in the final episode. Partly. There is still a great deal about her that we don’t know and thus one of the little irritating things that kept bugging me since I finished watching this season. So right from the start till the end, Tanaka is one big bag of mystery and joker.

If Tanaka isn’t already the biggest idiot this season, be glad to know that Luvia and Rin who are predominantly missing for the first half of the series to make their reappearance here under mind control and on the enemy’s side. It just tells us how weak they are if they can even get into this state. But if you think about it, they have been big idiots throughout the series considering their failure to retrieve Class Cards in previous seasons (and hence why the magical girls are needed). At least for them as decently powerful mages, this sort of level of competency is just mind blowing. They didn’t even do much even if they got back their senses but I guess it is better than interfering with our lolis.

I have a feeling that this season is the darkest of the series yet because it makes our lolis trying to decide on what is good and what is bad. They’re trying to make them choose one or the other. But of course seeing that you can’t have such controversial bad end, we take the generic hero route that they will save everyone and everything. After all that is what being a hero is all about, right? Only, hero is mispronounced as magical girl in this series ;p. So we have got the lolis seemingly making ‘unpopular’ decisions by voicing their true feelings like Chloe who would see the world go bust just to save Miyu. And she doesn’t bat an eyelid or hesitate in making that decision. Even if they will perish along with the world, it is better than living in a world without her best friend, right? I suppose you can’t argue with that logic as there are some truths in that. Who’d knew that even loli friendship can be this complicated. And Miyu tries to be mean to be kind to Erica by saying she is not her friend. I mean, liking and friending you on Facebook don’t automatically mean you are my friend, right? At least this is what I envisage when Miyu said that.

Ilya is still cute and funny as she is serious a she has always been. She might have gotten used to her magical girl ways by now but still can’t get used to Chloe’s mana-sucking-loli-kissing moments. Despite Miyu being confined to the tower for half the series, there is decent development on her since we get to know a little more about her plight and origins. It might not be much but at least we (and her friends) understand her a little better. And you can’t have a Fate series without Shirou even though he is just a supporting character in all the Ilya spinoffs. Well, Miyu’s Shirou is at least more badass and kickass than Ilya’s Shirou who feels more like a wuss and normal guy (whom Ilya secretly wants to fantasize and get in his pants sometimes). Oh, this Shirou is rich too! Yeah, Ilya. Sometimes you can only wish and dream and be envious of others…

Julian might seem like a one-dimensional villain but I have a feeling that there is a side to his story too that we have not heard of. And poor Erica turned from a cute innocent loli who just tried to act tough, suddenly grows up and becomes a badass woman. Well, that’s life for you. Crazy is Beatrice in her attack and as crazy she is for her love for Julian. Love keeps her existence burning. But baffling me is Beatrice’s card because I thought she would fall under the Berserker category but WTF is this Thor thingy? What next? Roman and Greek Gods cards? Well, I’m not very familiar in the Fate series so you can say that I am quite the ignorant fool after watching the entire Ilya spinoffs as well as all the TV series of Fate. Sakura’s appearance is short and it might unnecessary but I am thinking that it is somewhat tied to the movie in the future.

The action sequences are pretty entertaining the watch and it goes without saying that the magic effects during battle are quite good. But like I said, since I am not very well versed in the Fate universe, of course there are some terms that I am unfamiliar with and hence sometimes when the characters have their dialogue I would be lost in trying to understand what it all means. Like for example Gil and his other half card which was in Angelica’s possession. Something about all his treasures connected. Something like that which I am not very familiar with. As long as the action scenes keep me occupy instead of thinking and scratching my head, I’m fine with that. It might not be the greatest battles among the series because no big boss battles like against Berserker or Gilgamesh and despite Julian is super powerful, this guy doesn’t give off that feeling that he is the super secret final big boss. But still having said all that, the action is sufficient to keep me entertained.

As always, the previous voice acting casts have been retained with only Sapphire’s seiyuu replaced. There is a reason for this. Fans would have long known that it is with a heavy heart that Sapphire’s original seiyuu, Miyu Matsuki has passed away back in 2015. Yumi Kakazu (Dita in Vandread, Shizuka in Doraemon movies) replaces her. Because Sapphire never sounded anywhere close like Yoshinoya sensei, therefore the difference is not very obvious and perhaps one of the easiest voices (using that term loosely) to cover. New recognizable seiyuus for this season are Rie Kugimiya as Beatrice and Ryoko Shiraishi as Angelica. The rest are Natsuki Hanae as Julian (Qwenthur in Heavy Object), Katsuyuki Konishi as Darius (Oga in Beelzebub), Sumire Morohoshi as Erica (Arisa in Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai Yo Ne) and Misato Fukuen as Tanaka (Eve in Black Cat).

Choucho who sang the first season’s opening theme is now back singing the opener for this season. Personally I only like Asterism for the instruments played in the background like the flamenco guitar style at the start and the violins subsequently. The ending theme, Whimsical Wayward Wish by Technoboys Pulcraft Green-Fund featuring Yumeha Kouda sounds weird because of its techno mix. The special ending theme for episode 9 is a lovely slow ballad, Cuddle by Choucho.

Well, it has been a long journey for this series and since it still does have a decent amount of fans (spill over from the Fate series, I guess), it might not just stop here. After all, the world didn’t end, right? Now Ilya and the rest of the gang get to experience the best and the worst of both worlds. This season did restore some of my faith in the series instead of starting to go on a downward trend seeing that many series with many seasons tend to follow this trend. Hopefully this one will not fall into that pitfall if it is going to continue to make more seasons. By then I guess by this time we should all know the series for this: Come for the cute girls, stay for the yuri loli action.

At first I was going to pass Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou No Alderamin or also known as Alderamin On The Sky seeing that this is another military series, a genre ranked quite lowly on my favourite genres list. I’m not saying I totally dislike this genre (better than mecha or yaoi) but seeing I have watched mecha series when I am supposedly not interested to begin with, what are the chances of this one? The main point that attracted me was the synopsis about a main character who is lazy as f*ck. He gets drafted into the military and forced to fight a war he doesn’t want. But his lazy tactics prove to be the winning formula. Sounds familiar? That’s right. Because of my stint with the amazing Senjou No Valkyria which also has a non-military background protagonist who used his unorthodox non-military out-of-the-box thinking to win, it is simply this reason and similarity that I became interested in checking this out. Man, did I procrastinate long enough to release this blog? Talk about being lazy already…

Episode 1
Ikta Solork and Yatorishino “Yatori” Igsem are going to board a ship that will take them to their official exam. Currently the kingdoms are at war and Ikta is viewed as a pessimist for believing the defence garrison under their kingdom, Katjvarna Empire will soon fall under the hands of Kioka Republic. Also on board this ship to take the exam are Haroma “Haro” Becker (nurse wannabe whom Ikta can’t help flirt), Matthew Tetdrich (whose family has been famous in the military for generations but not many seem to know it) and Torway Remeon (handsome guy whom Ikta scorns as his rival). The ship starts sinking during a stormy weather. The quintet are then ushered to the deck whereby they are dropped into a lifeboat. In this weather? I guess it beats going down with the ship. They see a little girl slipping off the deck and into the sea. Ikta becomes a hero by diving in to save her. When she wakes up, everyone is in a cave on a remote island. Yatori can tell from her royal ring that she is Chamille Kitra Katjvanmaninik. They have met before when Chamille’s father the emperor visited her home but that was many years ago. Yatori informs that only them have survived the storm and were fortunately washed up on this shore. Ikta and Torway return from their scouting and they have spotted a garrison line. This means they are in Kioka’s territory. Ikta has 2 options: Surrender and become their prisoner of war or take a gamble and burst through it to reach back to their kingdom. Because Chamille furiously won’t become a prisoner of war, Ikta shuts her up that being angry won’t make the impossible possible. Yatori tackles him and asks Chamille to forgive his rudeness since this is the man who saved her. So while they live out their isolated life, they have time to think about their options. They spot a Kioka blimp hovering over and go into hiding. It is Kioka’s new weapon that recently caused much damage to the eastern mission. Since it is alone, it is just on a scouting mission. That night, Chamille goes into the woods to relief herself. However the enemy patrol is metres away from her. Because they tripped on some makeshift alarm, the rest instantly got up and take precautionary measures. Chamille thought she is going to be discovered but it seems the enemy caught Ikta instead.

Episode 2
Ikta acts like a scared asylum seeker and this makes the enemy let their guard down. When Ikta gives the signal, his comrades strike and kill them. One of them is barely alive so Ikta interrogates him in exchange for treatment. But he died from his wounds after Ikta gets all the necessary information. Torway is scared because it is the first time he killed and almost screwed up so Yatori had to remind him he is a valuable comrade since he can use an air gun. Chamille also feels guilty about this so she bites her finger till it bleeds. Ikta kisses it and uses his scientific explanation why her blood isn’t rotten and it should be as good as it is if it remains in her body. Chamille thought he hated her but he says he just thought what happened before was just a childish tantrum. As twisted as Ikta may be, he gives his enemies a decent burial and even offerings. Next day they discover a mini blimp that the enemy came by at the beach. Instead of picking 3 to ride it home, Ikta has this sly idea. Dressing up as a Kioka army and the rest as asylum seekers, Ikta pleads to the garrison’s chief that the blimp is being stolen (currently it is unmanned and visibly flying away in the sky). Ikta lies that the ‘thief’ demands his family to be returned to the kingdom in exchange for the blimp. The chief of course panics as he has to make a decision now and Ikta’s acting is so convincing he could win an Oscar. Thus a decision is made and Ikta and co are moving steadily across the border and back into Katjvarna. Chamille is greeted by the garrison’s head, Lieutenant General Hazaf Rikan. She introduces her saviours.

A month later, our heroes are living the luxurious life but it all comes crashing down when news reports that the eastern territory has fallen into enemy’s hands and Rikan has died in battle. Flashback shows Ikta desperately tried to persuade Rikan to withdraw because either way they are going to lose. He believes the whole war is rigged. Because the Empire failed to develop this section, they want to rid of it. To make the people think they are fighting the war seriously, that is why they placed a famous general there. Of course he cannot withdraw because he is following direct orders. Ikta becomes mad and before he could get violent, he is knocked out by Yatori. The quintet then have an audience with the emperor who bestow upon them the title of Imperial Knight. Ikta is not happy because this means they are now soldiers who cannot disobey orders. So much for his life. He blames Chamille for this political move because the people had no favourable news for the loss and the only way was to make heroes to make them feel better. Chamille has dug up some past on Ikta. His real name is Ikta Sankrei. His father was the famous General Bada Sankrei who died in prison for disobeying orders. She also knows about Ikta’s master who thought him about science, Dr Anarai Kahn who fled to Kioka last year. She also talks about his mom, Yuhka who was part of the emperor’s harem. Before she could continue, Ikta gets violent with her but luckily Yatori puts him down. While Ikta is glad that this Imperial Knight thingy may be good for Yatori, it isn’t for him. He managed to become 3 things he didn’t want to in the same day: A noble, a soldier and a hero.

Episode 3
The Imperial Knights attend Katjvarna Empire High Level Officer’s School. Chamille also enrols here to learn with them. Some bullies think they can get the better of Ikta by dropping him a live centipede. Ikta isn’t scared. Instead he kills it and eats it! How about that! Even in class he might look like he is slacking but he knows his stuff well. If his comprehensive textbook answer isn’t impressive enough, he even adds his own analytical thoughts to it! Torway runs into trouble when he meets his elder brothers, Sarihaslag and Sushuraf. It seems they hate their younger brother and badmouth him as a coward. Because their loudness ruined Ikta’s nap, he intervenes and says what he wants. Sarihaslag beats him up even when he is down but that didn’t stop Ikta from running his mouth. They stop when Yatori and Chamille pass by. Yatori tags with Ikta to judo throw some of them so Sarihaslag calls it a day and leaves. Don’t bet it would be their last time. 3 months later, the Imperial Knights are done with their studying and some of them are given their own platoon. Like Yatori commands the Fire Troop, Torway leads the Air Rifle Platoon and Ikta gets Light Platoon. In this platoon is Sergeant Major Suya Mitcalif. Who? The daughter of the woman whom Ikta slept with! Oh sh*t! Not even Yatori can save him from this. Because of that, the troops won’t listen to him and Suya won’t let him take command. Matthew relays bad news about their upcoming problem. It seems the groups have been split to have Sarihaslag and Yatori on one side against Ikta, Torway and Matthew. Obviously revenge objective but Ikta isn’t panicking yet. He goes to make a deal with Suya that if he can prove himself that he is a vital factor in this victory, he will be allowed to lead the platoon. He makes his first proof as his platoon treks to the camping grounds. Nothing special except that Ikta got his troops to the site exactly on time and having without using a map. It’s all memorized in his head! He also sets up camps all over the place that will give him advantage in battle. On the second day the mock battle is supposed to start, Sarihaslag thought Ikta’s side didn’t turn up because they got lost. Then Yatori points out this is just a meeting place and it didn’t say anything about fighting. Sarihaslag panics and advances his troops. Ikta knows this will happen and has his men already lying in wait.

Episode 4
Sarihaslag thinks he knows the grounds and conditions better than anyone and is even confident of splitting up his troops to get ahead of the enemy. He disregards Yatori’s advice just because he is the commanding officer. But then it proves fatal because Ikta has his troops cross the river to attack. Last night they used a tree and made an underwater bridge. Thanks to the rainy day before, the muddiness hid it. Sarihaslag panics and has his troops fight back. Only when Yatori returns, Ikta too has his troops retreat. Sarihaslag thinks Ikta will come chasing him and has his troops lie in wait for a pincer attack. However we know Ikta won’t be doing that. It’s just exhausting to chase somebody. Instead he cuts off the northern exits that lead to the central base. At some point they have to return there and if they can’t, it is as good as they have lost and Ikta’s team will win by default. Predictably Sarihaslag follows the enemy for a showdown. He even orders his troops to break the rules just win. Before he can charge, he is sniped in the head courtesy of Torway hiding in the trees. Sushuraf takes over command and has everyone break through to reach the base. In the aftermath it is Ikta’s win. He lectures his troops about science and laziness. Apparently he believes slacking off in a war means doing the right thing. So follow him and they can fight easy and win easy! Woah. With all the men cheering his name, it’s like Ikta is now God! Ikta then receives news that Chamille is heading towards a wrong direction and something feels wrong. He sends a Morse code signal to Yatori about this. Chamille and her royal guards are rushing through the forest when some of them are killed. It is then Chamille realizes that the report of Ikta being hurt was just a ruse to lure her out. The mastermind is no other than the royal guard captain, Ison Ho. As they make their way, some of them are ambushed by Yatori’s troops. Yatori sticks her sword at Ison’s neck. He is willing to die and orders his men to shoot her. However they don’t move. Ison then reveals they are all students of Rikan and admired him. They know his death was all part of a political ploy and their aim is to kill Chamille to avenge him. Ison overpowers Yatori and could have killed her had not Torway snipe a headshot. Yatori swiftly picks up her swords and slices the remaining guards. She is reeling in shock and blood all over her. Only Ikta’s voice calms her down. Ikta learns of Ison’s aim and understands. He tries to cheer up Chamille soaked in blood as well but I guess that tomato joke went too far and she starts crying and hitting him.

Episode 5
It still gives Yatori the chills to think she was in that state. Ikta’s touch can only bring her back. She is sure that as long he is around, she can never fully turn into a sword. Flashback shows Yatori wanted to go study under Bada and her father gave his approval. She arrives in this remote village and started learning about scientific stuffs under Bada and Anarai. She quickly learns about scientific explanations which are another approach to explain theology instead of just always claiming acts of God. Of course there was young Ikta too and she trained him sword fighting. It looked like a blissful time the duo have. Playing pranks on some villagers, ‘taking’ ingredients from old ladies and fishing a big one out of a swamp. It’s really the simple life. One day the duo go on an expedition with Ikta’s older brother. At a remote cabin, the grownups forgot some tools and head back. But why the heck leave the kids behind?! They could have had the whole day to themselves had not for a hungry pack of wolves attacking them. They are holed inside the cabin as they use whatever resources, ingenuity and traps to scare them off and show who is boss. But that won’t deter the wolves because they’re really hungry. So far so good in counter attacking the wolves’ attack and even killing a few of them. In the dead of the night, the battle resumes again. This time a wolf jumps inside from the roof. The kids were fast and hid in a makeshift crate fortress. Yatori is willing to sacrifice her life for his safe return since one dead is better than both dead. However Ikta disagrees and anything less than both of them alive is a failure. The only way is for them to become one and solve this together. They will be each other’s hands. Somehow they manage to escape outside and trap the wolves in. They set the cabin on fire and wolves that try to breakthrough get killed in their trap. Eventually they face off with the remaining 2 wolves and one of them is the pack’s leader. The suspenseful battle is heading for a standoff when a cub’s cry is heard. The wolves back down and return to the forest with their offspring. Next day, the duo just chill eating whatever leftover burnt meat from the burnt down cabin. Shortly, Bada is captured and Ikta and his mom went missing. Many years later, Ikta returned to her and claimed he is here to take her away from this land with no future.

Episode 6
Ikta reads a letter saying that Anarai’s box is about to open. It is a safe supposedly containing his intellectual properties. But when he sought asylum, Kioka had him give up some of the military applications of it. The usuals are heading to the north for an expedition and some aren’t too fond of the Sinack tribe ruling there. Commanding the northern garrison is Lt General Tamtooktsk Safida and Major Yukshiram Toakk. During the banquet, Ikta meets First Lieutenant Senpa Sazaluf who will be his supervisor throughout the duration. A burly platoon commander, Deinkun Hargunska challenges Yatori to a duel. After getting permission, they face off where they stand. Chamille didn’t like how Yatori’s sword skills are to be gawked at but Ikta begs to differ as it is meant to be gawked at. The emperor gave the Igsem family the ability to wield 2 swords which is the symbol of invincibility as long as they never lose a sword fight. The family values this order very highly and to continue carrying 2 swords, they must show everyone their superiority and protect that order. Yatori might look like she is just defending but one strike back is enough to win the match. Sazaluf leads the trainees patrolling around the mountains. It might look boring since they have been circling the same path for 3 hours. But this is to show their force and put silent pressure to keep the peace. He then realizes Ikta has gone missing. An officer is confiscating books belonging to Kanna Temari. This is when smooth operator Ikta comes in the save the day. He reveals this officer’s intention to sell the books he confiscates as they have a high value. The officer wants to teach Ikta a lesson but a spider prank has him running away. Kanna is grateful he saved her books. They discuss about this particular book that contains the Aldera religion. Ikta views her as a fellow science member. Before he could really hit off with her, Sazaluf is here to bring him back and reprimand him. Ikta is so sly that he could even trick Sazaluf and escape. However he stumbles upon a cell he shouldn’t have. Nanaku Daru thinks it is time to go to war to recover their stolen Hahashiku.

Episode 7
Ikta returns all dried up but with some liquids, he is back to normal. This guy then goes to flirt with Kanna. She thinks he is a lady killer but Ikta has the best reply: All the women in the world are conspiring to seduce him! Ikta learns from Kanna’s observations that Toakk does most of the leading around and keeps an eye on Safida. However when it comes to Sinack matters, Safida takes full charge. This is in line with what Ikta saw in the dungeon. There were many sprites locked up. He believes they were forcefully taken away from their Sinack masters and this amounts to spirit abuse. Sazaluf says they are all locked up under Safida’s orders. Kanna then explains her analysis of Aldera because the Sinack speak of the spirits without mentioning the God that everyone else prays to: Alderamin. With the difference in core tenants and commandments, she feels as though the sprites have nothing to do with being messengers of Alderamin. This sends Ikta into ecstasy because this means she escaped the bigotry that twists the truth. He likes her scientific thinking and believes if there was ever a God, the first command should be thou shall be lazy and all other Gods are fakes. Huh? Toakk and his men are supposed to fetch a Sinack representative but see him dead in his home. They are then attacked by Sinack rebels. When gunshots are heard, Yatori heads in and sees Sinack and his men killed. She instantly kills some of them but the rest escaped. Shortly, Ikta and Kanna enter the place and see the massacre. All other tenants of the house are dead. Ikta sees Alderan pilgrimage clothes in which Sinack people do not wear.

Yatori and her men chase the rebels but stop in time once she realizes an ambush is waiting for them. She seeks answers to her comrades’ murder but Nanaku as the chieftain of Sinack speaks of the discrimination and oppression over her people. She calls them monsters for stealing Hahashiku. They demand nothing and will return everything to its original state like how she should be. Erm, so isn’t declaring a holy war the same as a demand? Once Safida learns of this, he doesn’t want to report to Central yet. He will use this moment to purge all the Sinack. When some soldiers call for revenge for Toakk, surprisingly Deinkun voices his disagreement. He might always sound willing to go to war but that is only if it involves the enemy. And the enemy is no other than Kioka. Although Sinack people are considered citizens under the Empire, they aren’t treated on the same level as other races. As a fellow imperial soldier, they should be reluctant to point their sword at their own people. Ikta keeps thinking hard about the holy war declaration because that word never existed in the Sinack vocabulary. To them, war is just survival. He can’t bring himself to think it is to take back their spirits. The only reason he can come up with is someone has been giving them ready-made excuses for war. Safida mobilizes his punitive force to strike the northern mountains at dawn. With Chamille being sent away to the halfway base instead of Central, it only proves that Safida is acting on his own. What more, he managed to gather this large punitive force in such a short time. While the Imperial Knights are just on standby, the other soldiers are already starting the heavy fighting.

Episode 8
Casualties are mounting because the soldiers are not used to the high elevations. But Safida will not retreat and orders to keep pressing forward. The Imperial Knights are now thrown into the front lines since they have to deliver supplies. When the enemy attacks at night, Ikta suggests his platoon defend at the back. Since the front is chaotic, he doesn’t want to get caught up in it. With great tactics and strategy, Ikta and his side manage to defeat the waves of Sinack rebels without losing a single man. Kanna is part of the troops at the front. When her platoon takes over a seemingly abandoned Sinack fort, they realize too late that it is a trap since the Sinack surround them at night. Though they manage to escape to higher ground, Ikta’s troops who are supposed to deliver supplies to this fort can only see the enemy occupying it. First Lieutenant Manubans Najiru is hell bent on sending the supplies and orders Ikta and Matthew’s troop to perform force reconnaissance. Ikta knows the conditions will be unfavourable to them and requests Torway’s group as support. He even guarantees he can retake the fort in an hour. In actual fact everything can be settled in 20 minutes. To summarise the plan, Torway will snipe the enemy and the rest will barge in. But how? Can his air gun reach such distance with accuracy? Well, it did. The enemies are taken out right under their noses before they got a chance to prepare. It seems based on Anarai’s technology from his box, Torway was able to modify this air rifle to make the shot more stable and accurate. When an injured soldier from the front lines requests aid because the fort is being surrounded by the enemy, Ikta will take command of this mission and no one else will know about this. As they trek higher, suddenly Ikta wants everyone to make camp even though they can still go on and have energy. The reason being he wants everyone to adapt to the high altitude or risk having Alpine Sickness. They may be late in saving their comrades but his top priority is to keep everyone here safe. Speaking of that sickness, everyone in that fort is already starting to weaken. By the time Ikta and his troops adapt and move on, he realizes they have lost because he couldn’t see any of their comrades from the fort moving. Everyone has been slaughtered. To his dismay, among the bodies is Kanna. He had hoped so much to see her again but I guess this is goodbye.

Episode 9
Sazaluf explains to Ikta and co their next mission to fight the Sinack tribe by separating their forces and taking 3 different routes. Then he has them burn down the homes of a Sinack village and take them with them to a refugee camp. It is at least better than Safida’s haphazard plan of killing them all because at least they can be used for negotiations. Besides, Ikta is wary of the separation plan as the routes are over 100km wide and there is no way they can get help from each other. While Ikta is sorting the housing for the refugees, a little Sinack boy comes to take out his frustrations on him. Ikta ignores him but flicks his nose. He starts bleeding and crying. Then Deinkun punches Ikta. And then himself. It was his way to save Ikta from the hostility. Safida gives his speech on the upcoming battle with the Sinack where a large force of them has gathered on the other side of the canyon. So that night they rest and the guys talk about… Sex? At least it is hinted that way. Hey, you still got to make love and peace in times of war. Next day as the troops march through the canyons, Ikta and Sazaluf have a bad feeling the enemy can flank them from the opposite mountain although it may seem impossible. Better to be safe than sorry, Ikta suggests Sazaluf talk to Safida to walk instead of riding a horse since he is the highest officer around. Lucky old fat guy agrees although he isn’t happy. True enough, the Sinack rebels attack from above with arrows and from the opposite with air rifles. Haro is slow to equip herself and could have died if not for Ikta’s quick saving. But he too needs to be saved from Deinkun again. Nanaku targets Safida but Yatori stands in her way. Yatori observes her unorthodox fighting and finally learns her trick. It might look like she stabbed her back but it is some equipment powered by her sprite. As a sword warrior, Yatori find it odd that she was confident in leaving her back open and knew she had a trick up her sleeve and thus managed to avoid her hidden gun. Nanaku’s sprite self destructs to let her escape. Meanwhile an elite assassination group crops out from the bottom of the cliff to target Safida. As they race towards him, Deinkun gets slashed. However when Yatori faces them and other troops surround them, they dive back down the cliff. Yatori hears Deinkun’s last words to take care of his comrades before passing away. Nanaku returns home vowing revenge but finds her village burnt down.

Episode 10
9 years ago, Ikta was at Nanaku’s village for a festival celebration and they know each other well. Nanaku is devastated to see her grandparents killed. She mercilessly kills the guards. Although she is pinned down, they make a foolish mistake of not finishing her off because they want to rape her. Thank goodness they are such dumbasses fighting over who is supposed to f*ck her first because this gives Ikta time to beat the crap out of them and save Nanaku. Once everything is under control, Ikta explains to his comrades that the men who showed up at the end of the last battle are Kala Karm, the ghost squad of Kioka. It only makes sense that Kioka has been teaching Sinack guerrilla tactics and supplying them with air rifles. When an Aldera inspection team speaks with Safida, he mentions they were here to check on spirit abuse. But seeing how some of them are dead in the recent battle, the answer is clear now. Safida has Ikta’s team chase after him and they discover a huge army, La Saia Alderamin making their way here. They are the nation army of Aldera who invade other countries in the name of God. Ikta puts the pieces of the puzzle. From Toakk’s assassination, Kioka has been manipulating Sinack so this will spur Aldera to invade the Empire. With Safida needing suggestions on what to be done, Sazaluf suggests forming a small team to buy time for the others to escape. As this is his suggestion, he is put in charge. Part of the plan is to use Sinack’s help and manpower. This is where Ikta comes in to work his charm. First he frees Nanaku who feels this apology thingy is an insult. While Ikta doesn’t intend to apologize for the war, he will apologize for those non-combatants who were killed in the midst of it. To show his sincerity, he cuts off the tip of his pinky finger!!! Yikes!!! This is part of the Sinack tradition of apology as Nanaku once told him. It is then she recognizes who Ikta is.

He has 3 favours to ask from her. First is to accept his apology for the misdeeds. Second, the Sinack help them to repel Aldera. They are using this opportunity to wipe out both of them since both sides are exhausted from the war. Of course this is an excuse for Aldera to crush them in the name of the spirits. They are just a pawn for Kioka because once Aldera takes over here, they will destroy Sinack whom they view their religious beliefs are heretical. As apology for this favour, Ikta cuts off the rest of his pinky finger!!! OMG!!! I can’t watch this! Does Ikta know fingers don’t grow back?! His third favour is to remain calling her Nanaku. Well, since this favour is made as a friend instead of a soldier, he doesn’t need to cut any fingers. Phew? Once Ikta returns to the rest, he tells them Nanaku can supply 800 men for this operation. Thanks to Sazaluf putting them in one village, it will be easier to gather them. Sazaluf also returns promoting the quintet as per Safida’s reward. Ikta wants Matthew, Torway and Haro’s troops to be part of the evacuating squad. Because he makes it sound like it is goodbye, Matthew becomes upset that it is as though he has been a hindrance in his battles. He knows that there is a high chance his men will die, he will die. But it’s the same for Ikta too. Even so, will he be a hindrance? Ikta and Yatori retract their statement and apologize for underestimating their resolve. They hope they can lend their strength for this upcoming battle. For the next few days, the rear troops work hard to cut down and burn the forest because this is where Aldera must pass through if they want to invade. However they are quick to counter it by also using fire to fight fire by burning down the forest. Rumour has it that they have a guest officer from Kioka lending their strength as a strategist. Like as though God send somebody to counter and balance Ikta. They heard this prodigy is never seen resting and is always working nonstop. Nicknamed the Unsleeping Shining Officer, he is Major Jean Alkiniks.

Episode 11
Jean is fascinated and wants to know the tactician on the other side. Certainly it couldn’t be that incompetent Safida. Ikta’s plan now is to shift the enemy’s focus on them by fighting them head on. This is because there is a small pass through the mountains that will come out near the back of their camp that Kala Karm might use. Of course using this longer route will delay the enemy’s attack but it is not enough time to let the main group evacuate. Ikta wants to pin them down here for at least 8 days. So when there is a portion of the forest that stopped burning, opening a route, Jean knows that the enemy is trying to invite them to head that way. He has a plan so they are going to play along. Ikta and his troops wait around the newly erected fort at night. The first wave of enemy arrives and they are taken out. However they realize that this wave is to set up barricades. This is a problem as it will throw their cannon trajectory off and it is like they are trying to bring in something. Immediately Yatori and Nanaku request to fight the enemy head on. Nanaku gets too confident and has her Sinack men push further forward against Yatori’s better judgment. They are then sniped by the Kioka’s air rifle squad. Aldera then pushes in a giant trebuchet. Ikta is in a dilemma to abandon the Sinack or rescue them but risk some of his men’s lives. He can’t hesitate so he orders his men to protect the Sinack. After carrying back all the wounded to the fort, they set fire and escape. Although Jean’s side lost this battle, he is happy to have got certain information from the enemy like their battalion numbers. Even more important they didn’t lose entirely.

Back at the camp, Suya reports to Ikta the number of casualties of their men. However she is not happy as she thinks he doesn’t take their deaths seriously as they died upon his orders. These men lost their lives because Ikta ordered them to save the Sinack. Well, would you have all the Sinack die then? Suya still cannot accept this because those men looked up to Ikta and admired him. Yatori tells her she is blaming the wrong person. Yatori is partly responsible for this because she knows Ikta will take her into consideration to make such orders. It was the same assumption for Ikta too. When told soldiers are required to put aside all emotions, Suya asks if she will kill Ikta if ordered to. Without hesitation and in short, yes. Suya still can’t accept all this. After all, everyone here has always been on the winning side and thought it would be okay if they followed Ikta’s orders. But that is what war is about and the tide can swing the other way quickly. Ikta then asks Yatori how she would kill him. She’ll kill and destroy everything about herself first so that she will never come back to life. Then the last remaining Igsem will kill him. Kala Karm receives word that their allies are still delayed at the mountain’s base. This time they are going to move out.

Episode 12
Chamille is not pleased that Safida has returned safely. It is the priority to safely evacuate the commanding officer? Good too. Because he is going to stand in the military tribunal. Nanaku wants to atone her sin to Suya by allowing her to cut off her hands. But do so only after the war. But Suya can’t bring herself to do it. She has killed so many enemies. How will she forgive herself? Sazaluf tells her there is no reason she should be blamed at all. All responsibilities fall on him as he gave the orders. When it is reported the Aldera’s cavalry are giving the infantry a ride so the journey will be faster, they believe the enemy plans to split their units. Somebody needs to go intercept them but who? Sazaluf volunteers as he believes Ikta and Yatori must not leave this place. Jean flies his blimp over enemy territory to scout. This is shocking because such technology is a blasphemy to Aldera. With the forest fire dying out, Ikta rallies his troops to fight scientifically and lazily. Huh? It means replenishing the forest fire and repelling the enemy as they attack. While Matthews’ troops are putting up extra forest fire fuel, they are attacked but manage to hold their ground. The blimp is reported to be seen hovering over the eastern area again and again. Nanaku confirms there is no route there so Ikta is suspicious of the blimp’s actions. When Torway suggests deploying his troops to the rear of the fort, it was a wise move because Kala Karm is lying ready in wait to ambush. Torway’s troops ambush them first from higher ground. The remaining Kala Karm retreat but they are flanked by other troops at the end and got taken out. This is all thanks to Ikta’s foresight as he knows they will setup a rear attack. He has Torway think what he would do if he was Kala Karm’s commander and in turn what he himself will do to counter it. On the 6th day, enemy reinforcements are seen taking the long route around the east and pulling something big. They are explosion cannons and they pack a massive impact in shooting through the fire and destroying the fort. This is another technology from Kioka that is blasphemous t Aldera. Ikta then realizes they have been had. The blimp was there to record paths through the forest. The enemy setup obstacles and memorized how to break through the wall of flames as training. With the fire wall broken, Jean leads his side through.

Episode 13
Ikta has Matthew take command of this post for the next few days. He is pessimistic of his chances so Ikta reminds him he will never give orders to others like defend this place with your life. That is unscientific. Because if he dies, everything else will also collapse. So his single order is to live. Easier said than done, right? Ikta and Yatori head out to the battlefront. He needs to adjust his thinking to defeat the enemy. Then it hit him. When Jean and his army arrive, they see the traps laid out before them and also smell oil. They figure the enemy is going to burn the place. Not wanting to end up falling into their hands, Jean orders his troops to prepare fire. Suddenly he feels something amiss when the oil smell starts to subside. From underneath them, Ikta and his soldiers pop out from their hiding and pierce through and attack. This causes chaos for Jean’s side as they have to recalibrate their attack on the sudden change in distance and thus nullify their horses and air rifles advantages. Ikta then puts up a willing to negotiate flag. Not to be mistaken as want to negotiate because it means they are cornered. He is counting on Jean to do the same because he is the kind of guy who wants to be in control and they’re both sick of this battle. Jean accepts. Both masterminds meet each other for the first time. Jean calls for their full unconditional surrender and Ikta wants their troops to complete retreat. Since both sides are not backing down, Ikta uses his sprite to shine at Jean’s heart. How is this light going to kill him? He warns Torway is lying in wait to snipe him and he has been marked. Jean reminds him the war treaty regarding attacks during negotiation is disallowed. Ikta says this negotiation can fail and then he will quickly lower his flag and shoot him. Jean calls this a threat instead of a negotiation but in war times, what’s the difference? Just because it didn’t go his way, he calls it a threat. Ikta further reminds the difference now is that he has put his troops in place where they could aim directly at him but Jean has failed to do that. Jean has a feeling Ikta is 90% bluffing but he still can’t ignore the 10%. Surprisingly, Jean accepts Ikta’s terms. A good move that Jean should not be ashamed of. A good one for Ikta too because Torway isn’t there! He won the poker game.

Before they part ways, Jean asks Ikta what motivates him to work for the Empire because he wants to make Kioka’s ideals come true. Ikta tells him he doesn’t even want to protect the country in the first place. What he wants to protect are people. More advice from Ikta as he says all heroes die from overworking. Jean is an ideal example as he is slaving himself to death. A wrong way to work hard. And the rest around him are being lazy in a wrong way. Chamille is desperate to find Ikta and co once she learns the troops are back. Almost given a scare when Ikta isn’t around. He’s right here. A big hug from her but he points out important people she needs to encourage now. Chamille praises her brave men and the Sinack. In the aftermath, Safida is tried. He is demoted and will be executed for prolonging this war. We can only hear him scream for his life. When Ikta tells Chamille privately about the decaying state of the Empire, she wants him to make it to the top of the military because he has talent and knows he can do it. And then immediately lose a war to Kioka. This will lead to Kioka’s external influence of economy and political philosophy to purify the Empire’s core. Of course Ikta needs to lose just enough to maintain the Empire’s unique culture. As a person who hates soldiers, the imperial family and heroes, he is the right person for the job. I’m sure Ikta is lamenting about it as he notes his dad died of overworking and with no regard for how the people felt around him. If he follows Chamille’s plan, it won’t be long he will come into conflict with Yatori. If this country wants to die, let it die. What he wanted to protect has never been the country. That’s why he came to take her away from this and not allow her to be caught up in its collapse.

Too Lazy To Be Lazy
So what’s next for Ikta? Looks like the more he tries to get his hands out of this military business, the more deeply he gets involved. If the only way out of all that crap is through this sh*t hole, so be it. Thankfully this series lives up to expectations. As said in my opening paragraph that I didn’t like war genres but the thought of Senjou No Valkyria and its near similar setting had me raise the bar of expectations of this series. And once again I am awed and pleased with everything it offered.

The plot and story unfold and move at a decent and fast pace. From escaping enemy lines to being drafted into the military, having a mock game and even a quick royalty vengeance story thrown in. All this was just in the first half of the series. Then they spend the rest of the second half in the mountainous region battling the Sinack before making a truce with them to fight the Aldera army. Safe to say that none of these stories feel bored and by the end of it all, you feel like you want to see more. So it’s that dilemma of wanting the war to go on so we can see what interesting tactics they come up with.

Well, since this series is set in a fantasy world (not the kind with dragons and exotic floating islands), it naturally tries to set itself apart with weird names. Thus my old problem of trying to pronounce and remembering some of the tongue twisting names. Yeah, it felt like as though I am trying to learn Latin names or something. Some are easy to pronounce and remember but the rest are just like, how do you spell that again?

The concept of war is nothing new especially when war is fought on the baseless religious grounds. Well, if your religion tells you it is right to kill others, then you should rethink and relook at your religion again. What this series perhaps subtly tries to add into the mix is the factor of science. While this isn’t dominating the aspects of this series, it feels like in addition to the battle of wits, this war also boils down to a battle between religion and science. Even if you are blindly faithful to your religion, there are some scientific and technological aspects that you have to use and improvise if you want to win a war. After all, you’re not just going to sit there and pray to God, hoping He would rain boulders on your enemies, would you? God doesn’t work that way! He won’t give you that kind of victory you ask from a prayer. Because first you kill your enemies and then you ask for forgiveness! Haha! Whoops…

Ikta is likeable as the main character because he thinks differently from the rest. Complete with his suave charm and you’ll be rooting for this guy in no time. One of the biggest ironies I find about him is that despite claiming to be lazy and thinking so, he is in fact the most hardworking of them all, don’t you agree? He doesn’t sound or look like he needs to think hard to come up with solutions and tactics and the way he does so makes him sound lazy. But then again I would like to beg to differ because if Ikta didn’t really put in his effort and hard work, he wouldn’t have been where he is standing now and not be respected by many. I mean, war especially with eternal rivalry with a neighbouring country is not child’s play to say the least.

You also noticed that Ikta has to take into account so many factors when he lays out his plans to send troops to fight the enemy while minimizing casualties. That itself is already a herculean feat. Maybe he is such a smart guy that such strategies are just peanuts to him but an ordinary (dumb) viewer like me would definitely be in awe. Also, this guy is a scientific believer. How can you be a lazy bag of bones if you support science? There are lots of hard work, the amount of time and energy spent in researching and all that sh*t. So how can Ikta be lazy as he claims to be? If it is his way to motivate the morale of others, maybe. But then again how do you scientifically explain that? Hmm… Maybe this quote will: “Hard work pays off tomorrow. Laziness pays off today!”. Wow. That makes sense. Now I am motivated to be lazy too. Another reason Ikta isn’t a lazy person he claims to be is that when he takes on a job or mission, he properly sees through it till the end instead of doing it half heartedly. In a way, the perfect word to describe him is responsible. That’s why a lot of people respect him.

Complementing Ikta is Yatori and if this guy is the brain, this girl is his hands. They both make an interesting and effective pair since they have known each other from young. They think alike and know what each other is thinking. It is as though they are twins only born from different mothers. It is true that two heads are better than one that it is applied here. Because if Ikta loses his way, Yatori will be there to remind him and bring him back and vice versa. Jean proves to be a formidable foe for Ikta with his own ideas and tactics. I won’t go so far to say that he lost because Ikta is the hero but rather Ikta played his cards better. Remember, it was a battle of wits (and bluffing) and Ikta played his part more convincing and calmly than Jean in the final lap. I bet this won’t be the last time these great brains will meet as there will be more such encounters in the future seeing Ikta now has to go lose a war. Oh heck, why not just let Kioka walk through your Empire and ‘welcome’ them with open arms?

Unfortunately for the other main characters like Haro, Torway and Matthew, it is nice that they do get a little of the screen time but they are always being overshadowed Ikta and Yatori. Maybe because Ikta and Yatori have their own flashback whereas the trio are just there to make up the numbers as their close comrades. I’m not saying that they can be done without as they too play a few minor important roles throughout the series. But then again as I said, ultimately they will be eclipsed by the superiority and amazing dynamic duo. So we’ve got chubby Matthew whom you’d remember as someone who complains the most but he gets his job done. He is sometimes pessimistic but who isn’t afraid to die in a war? But it’s always the cool words of Ikta that motivates him. Sort of. Then there is Torway whom we’ll always remember as a sharp shooter with his air rifle. Sure, he has his past with his brothers but that is forgettable once that story is over since Sarihaslag is a jerk nobody wants to remember. Finally Haro is like, uhm, can somebody tell me this medical officer’s achievements here?

Other characters are pretty decent too. Like Chamille trying to do her duty as a royalty but unfortunately with the second half of the series being fought in the mountains, Chamille’s presence has been relegated to somewhere safer: Off the screen. Haha! Oops. Then suddenly she grows up and got all serious business with this devilish plan of hers to save her country by losing a war. In order to win you have to lose? Is that scientific? I know Suya is trying to be a good soldier but it is hard when you have a superior officer who once had a fling with your mom! Imagine a classmate same as your age having an affair with your mother! No wonder she can’t trust him but Ikta uses the right head to win back her trust and respect. You know, I have this feeling inside that all these girls would somehow have some sort of romantic interest in Ikta. That guy is pretty charming in his own right too, right? Some of them he tries to blatantly flirt with. Too bad this damn war couldn’t afford to turn this into a harem anime whereby we will have tropes of a childhood friend, the other childhood friend of a different race, the rich royalty, the tomboy, the shy and friendly natural beauty and the fellow bookworm. Oh right. Kanna’s dead.

One of the mind boggling if not disappointing elements of the series is the sprites. Their presence is hardly felt and it feels as though they can actually be done without. Sure, they are part of the lore and setting of this series but they hardly do anything that would warrant anything memorable. Some weapons and vehicles are powered by them and it feels funny because I thought they are just living batteries. Even funnier to see how soldiers insert sprites into their guns but I hardly noticed any sort of ‘magical’ effects while the sprites just look stoned as they are put in use. Or not. I always try to keep in mind that maybe somewhere the little sprites will play a pivotal role and a turning point in the series but it turns out we are so engrossed in the war tactics that they hardly even matter. These small little fairies are the sole and diminutive reason why the latter half of the series is dedicated to a single arc of fighting in the northern mountains in which you will hardly notice them playing any sort of important role anyway. Oh, I noticed they’re good torch lights, by the way.

Therefore it felt like nothing when we see those sprites who have names and belonged to our heroes, sometimes they talk to them and show some concern but eventually in the end they don’t really matter. I mean, do you even remember their names after their initial introduction in the early episodes? And to think that they come in a variety of elemental types based on their colours. Say what? Hence these sprites as far as this anime is concerned are only there to look cute and perhaps distract you from the atrocities of war. I suppose that they don’t have any decent screen time to focus on them so as to remind us, the next episode preview is just a still picture of them lazing around or doing whatever cute pose they are doing. WTF, right?

The action scenes compliment the war tactics and strategies well. Whether it is seeing Yatori slicing her enemies with her double sword wielding technique or seeing both sides of the divide firing their guns to outdo the other. But be warned there is quite an amount of blood spilled here. I mean, what is the use of having a war themed anime when there are no deaths and casualties. Therefore some scenes might get real bloody like as though somebody simply splashed red paint everywhere like that Ison and Chamille scene. Yeah, there was blood everywhere.

The animation is fluid and art and drawing are pretty decent but the funny thing is that the main and supporting characters look like they have more colour compared to the rest of the extra background characters who are just bland in terms of hue. Of course this is to easily identify the characters. Because how many red heads do you know and see in this anime? Who else here have green or purple hair colour? Is it me or does Matthew have that uncanny resemblance to that guy from Nameless in Senjou No Valkyria, Alfons Auclair? The designs of some of the weaponry and objects are not too bad either and perhaps quite creative as we see the guns and cannons mixed with some sort of air compressors to give it that extra oomph. Science, b*tch!

Let me bring up the sprites again but this time on your design. I know they are supposed to look cute but I can’t help feel their design is inspired from Care Bears… Don’t laugh! It’s true. They might not have those cute lovely colourful symbols on their stomach and yell out “Care Bears Stare!” but certainly when they use their power, their stomach flashes, right? Remember what I said about them being useful as torch lights? Maybe this is their Care Bears Stare. And don’t their overall body design somewhat resembles closely to Care Bears? Ugh… Anyway note that Care Bears are way much cuter than these sprites. Just saying…

I was pretty damn sure that Yoshitsugu Matsuoka was the voice behind Ikta. To my surprise after finishing watching the series, I only realized that it wasn’t him at all but Nobuhiko Okamoto (Karma in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu). It’s pretty embarrassing since I was really 1000% confident it was that guy from Shokugeki No Souma and Sword Art Online. At least I got it right for Risa Taneda’s Yatori, Takehito Koyasu’s Sarihaslag, Tomokazu Sugita’s Ison, Jun Fukuyama’s Jean and Keiji Fujiwara’s Bada. The rest of the casts are Ryousuke Kanemoto as Torway (Seiji Sagara in Happiness Charge PreCure), Junji Majima as Matthew (Kinji in Hidan No Aria), Haruka Chigusa as Haro (Tsugumi in Soul Eater NOT!), Inori Minase as Chamille (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Rie Takahashi as Nanaku (Megumin in Kono Subarashi Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo), Ayumu Akikawa as Suya (debut), Shinobu Matsumoto as Sazaluf (Galdarblog in Dakara Boku Wa H Ga Dekinai), Toshiharu Sakurai as Safida (Andou in Kaiji), Itaru Yamamoto as Deinkun (Jacques in Zero No Tsukaima F), Ikumi Hayama as Kanna (Sayaka in Strike The Blood) and Mugihito as Anarai (Wombat in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!).

The rock based opening theme is Tenkyou No Alderamin by Kishidan Kyoudan and The Akaboshi Rockets. If you find their style of music pretty similar it is because they have also sung the opening themes for Gate and Strike The Blood in which all of them strikingly sound almost the same. At first glance I can’t seem to tell the difference between the songs since they have this very similar rock beat to them. Very similar. Another rock outfit graces the ending theme, Nameless by Kano (for some reason I keep thinking the singer has some sort of relation to that Black Dragon dude in Mortal Kombat).

Overall, this series might not be Senjou No Valkyria but it manages to be more than interesting enough that you don’t remember and want to compare them. Even if you aren’t the kind of person who has any interest with war related things, at least the action bits as well as the tactics and strategies thought up by a ‘lazy’ person should be fascinating. Especially some of the decisions that Ikta makes it compel you to question what the heck he is thinking. I thought the yakuza only cut off their fingers but… Since when cutting off limbs is a true sign of sincere apology? It might be wrong to look up to Ikta’s laziness as motivation. But I’ll stop being lazy once lazy stops being awesome.

Kyoukai No Rinne S2

February 18, 2017

As per that cheeky request as seen in the final scene of the first season, thus Rinne has kept his promise and will give fans another season of Kyoukai No Rinne! After all, there are still a lot of things that needs to be properly developed and resolved. Especially the relationships and Rinne’s poverty issues. Yeah well, even if Rinne is still as poor as a church mouse, the production company still has enough budget to make another season. And possibly a third??? I’ll leave that aside for later but for now let’s see where this second season will take us and Rinne and his friends.

Episode 1
Young shinigamis are trying to catch snake spirits set loose. But Ageha won’t seeing she hates them. However a black cat boy plays a snake prank on her. Before he gets away with it, Rinne catches him. It is revealed Oboro is Ageha’s contracted black cat (like how Rokumon is to Rinne). They don’t get along well. It all started a year ago when they were supposed to catch an anaconda spirit. Oboro knowing she hates snakes played a prank on her. In retaliation she dropped a boulder on him in which he was stuck there for a year. So Oboro released the snake spirits recently to get back at her. Heck, their love-hate relationship goes back to even when they were small. Oboro’s family have been serving Ageha’s family for generations. So whenever the duo play, they always play rough and ended up fighting. Of course they can just terminate the contract but Ageha wants to make him suffer before doing that. So she makes the lamest trap to lure Oboro. He could have easily got it if not for some mongoose spirit intervening. With the contract now in its hands, they give chase as the contract change hands several times till the mongoose swallows Ageha. Oboro thinks he is free from Ageha but she manages to fire a missile at him. Rinne wants Rokumon to bring back Oboro because the penalty for a familiar leaving his master is 5,000 Yen! Oboro is surprised that the contract is in his possession and a note from Ageha that she allows him to be free. He thinks this is a trap seeing this is too easy. On his way to save Ageha, he remembers Ageha did defend him when he made a major blunder so she isn’t all that bad. Rinne enters the mongoose to find Ageha has set up an emergency shelter. Looks like she is having fun. This is part of her trap to lure Rinne in and have a good time with him. Before anything suspicious can happen, Oboro and the rest break into the shelter. The contract with Oboro is actually real. She is firing him because she wants to spend time with Rinne. Besides, doesn’t he hate her? The rest realize maybe Oboro doesn’t want to leave her and was waiting for her to stop him somewhat. The duo sheepishly reconcile but they end up in their usual argument and fighting. Part of the contract falls into Rinne’s hand as he is shocked to learn the compensation by the employer is 500,000 Yen! Oboro should keep his job… In the aftermath, Tamako reprimands Ageha and Oboro for being the source of this incident.

Episode 2
Rinne is called in to help the tennis club because the tennis balls always go missing. Rinne smokes out the spirit and it turns out to be a tennis club player who has been amassing tennis balls. His story goes that when he joined the club, he was relegated to only picking balls. A year later before he could play a decent game, an accident occurred. So he hates everyone who plays tennis as he just wants to play a decent match. Rinne has Sakura and Tsubasa join in to play doubles. But the tennis boy sucks at playing tennis and gives up. Rinne gives him a better racquet laced with some spirit to help him out. It then becomes an intense grudge match between Tsubasa and the racquet. So the guy just settles for practising swings with Sakura. Enough for him to find peace. And Tsubasa’s fight with the racquet ends with a double knockout. Were they playing tennis in the first place? Tsubasa attends a client whose son is ill ever since they opened a box of love letters in their shed. Through enough, a spirit named Yayoi is clung onto him. But after Tsubasa exorcises him, Yayoi now follows him. Her back story shows that she was in love with some guy. Eventually he married a rich girl since he was poor. Yayoi died of heartbreak later. In order to pass over, she wants to date someone even if it is pretend. So we see Tsubasa going on a strange date with Yayoi but mishaps always befall on him. Rinne deduces she is an evil romantic spirit bent on taking Tsubasa to the next world with her. Despite knowing all this, Tsubasa still continues to date her and tolerate all the misfortunes. Because he understands how it feels not to be loved back. Is he hinting something at Sakura? When Rinne notices a number at the bottom of the box, he goes back to the shed to investigate. It seems Yayoi’s crush had other women sending their love letters and he labelled them via numbers. Learning about this might have turned Yayoi into an evil spirit. When Yayoi tries to hasten Tsubasa’s death, Rinne warns her even if he manages to kill him, she will be sent to hell and Tsubasa sent for reincarnation. They will never be together. Yayoi laments she lost another love and hopes he will date her when they reborn again. After Yayoi passes on, Tsubasa is admitted into hospital where he thinks he is lucky to have been alive. Yeah, because after he has been through, he should be dead.

Episode 3
A black cat girl, Suzu is looking for Rinne. She drops him a reminder to pay up for his monthly shinigami membership fee. However Rinne clearly remembers he never missed a payment no matter how poor he is. He goes to the census to complain but serving him is Kain. There are no records Rinne paid. Could it be Sabato swiped him? He ascertained that too so nope. With Kain maintaining his stance he has not paid, Rokumon asserts that he was here at the counter to pay it. So where’s the receipt? No receipt? Well there you go. Instead of haggling with him, Rinne will investigate and set the truth straight. With Sakura, they retrace their steps on that day. It seems Rokumon detoured to several shops that offer free samples and discounts. Hard to resist, right? Rinne has him describe the person he handed the money but it seems that person was wearing a mask just like him. Wait. What? They trace the mask to be from a rice store in which they only give away to kids. So the person at the counter was a kid? Suzu is Kain’s familiar. He picked up this abandoned cat simply because of the ‘free’ word. Poor people… But look at her mask. Doesn’t that look familiar? Next day, Kain finds Rinne and Rokumon doing their investigation behind the counter. They bought a kit to take fingerprints but Suzu wipes the place clean. Rokumon remembers it was her who accepted the payment. When Suzu hands Kain the task for today, he sees the payment. He remembers he was away from the counter that day and Suzu might have come by then. Now he pretends not to receive it. This means if he passes it across the counter, it will be deemed not received. Using Suzu as distraction, he puts the envelope back to Rinne’s side. However Rinne won’t pick it up. It means acknowledging there will be late fees. So he also uses Suzu as distraction to shove it back to the counter’s side. This goes on until Rokumon accuses Suzu to remember. She doesn’t. But when Rokumon wears the mask, she instantly remembers and claims to receive the payment. Kain then waives the late payment fee. Rokumon is upset because he didn’t even apologize but Rinne doesn’t want him to waste his breath. Apology won’t earn him a penny. However Rinne has bought a very expensive recorder and has recorded Kain’s misconduct. Kain threatens him to report since it won’t earn him a penny. This isn’t about money. It is about pride. Few days later, Rinne finds coupons worth as much as the recorder. He knows it is a bribe to keep him quiet. Making it even sweet is that the recorder is just a cheap recycled junk.

Episode 4
Rumours have been surfacing that the student council president, Naomi Yuuki looks nice but mugs people. Miho as her secretary doesn’t believe all that till she gets mugged by her. Despite dressing up a bit different, Miho can tell she is Yuuki. However Sakura knows better that this girl is a ghost but why can her friends see her? Talking to Rinne about this, they catch her vandalizing the wall with graffiti. She acts like a punk and Rinne deduces her speech is old gangster talk. When Yuuki confronts her, she is shocked of their similarity but asserts she doesn’t know her. This causes delinquent girl to be mad as she thinks she is playing dumb. Rinne goes after her and learns that she is Ranko and she believes that is her twin, Rinko. They are like day and night. While Rinko is all proper, Ranko is more of the gangster type and since then everybody has shunned her. Only Rinko tried to talk to her and didn’t treat her like trash. Sakura confirms from Yuuki that Rinko had a twin and she died around this age. Sakura would like to talk to her mom but he is away on vacation in Hawaii. Tracing the truth from the umbrella Ranko always has, it seems she has a strong desire to apologize. Talking to Ranko again, they want to know why she is angry seeing Rinko was always on good terms with her and never understood why she was mad. Ranko remembers on that day she did something unimaginable and left. That was when she got into an accident. She realizes she is dead and this wasn’t Rinko’s fault as she did something horrible. They believe Yuuki’s father has something to do with this so they seek Yuuki’s permission to get an item that her father used a lot during his school days. A guitar? Further revelation reveals Ranko knows Rinko loves Yuuki’s dad. One day she wanted to tease them and left a love letter in her twin’s name and even dressed up like her to meet up. As Ranko was in coma for 3 years after the accident, it is natural her memories stopped at that point. Rinne uses a tool to replay what happened on that day. When Ranko met Yuuki’s dad, he was singing his lame song. So lame that Ranko beat him up! She declared he hated him! It was then Ranko realized he loved him too. It was enough for Ranko to apologize to Rinko (Yuuki acting on her behalf) and pass on. In the aftermath, Rinne shows Ranko how Rinko and her husband are doing. His guitar still sucks after all these years. She doesn’t even want to believe…

Episode 5
Rinne and Sakura visit Tamako’s mansion to help clean up. In return he gets to take anything for free. They discover an album in which Rinne was a bad delinquent. But isn’t that Sabato? Sabato hands the real album in which Rinne is all proper and nice. What is Sabato doing here? Trying to help clean up too? Or just stealing?! Tamako puts the brakes on his theft and then they resume cleaning. Once done, a giant black cat crashes out from a closet. He is Kuroboshi and Tamako’s familiar. Rinne has never seen him for so long so he thought he retired. Apparently when Tamako had him put something away in the closet, she forgot all about it when delivery of new furniture arrive and dumped it blocking the closet. So he has been sealed in there for all this time? Well, the place is in a mess now.

Sakura knows there is trouble when Sabato comes asking her for money! He pleads he wants to buy a gift for Rinne’s birthday. But he doesn’t even know his son’s birthday! Luckily Rinne is here to foil his plans. Apparently Sabato was trying to rob Kain’s house too and bluff Ageha that Rinne was in hospital for money. As they all try to figure why he is so desperate this time, Bijin explains that loan sharks came this morning and took away everything in his office. There was an item on his desk that he is willing to pay to get back. This shocks everyone. What is so special that this swindler is willing to buy back? They guess right he will be in the recycling shop where seized items are. They see Sabato rummaging through his seized items. Even more shocking he is ignoring the expensive items around. Is this the real Sabato? It is revealed one of the seized items is a photo of Sabato and young Rinne together. It’s his only copy. So heart-warming that Sakura agrees to lend him a thousand yen although she expects never to get it back. But a few days later, she is shocked that she got it back! What gives?! It is revealed behind the photo contains 50,000 Yen! Too good to be true as always…

Rinne and Tsubasa follow Sakura to her friend’s vacation cabin, Kana Noroi. It seems her brother, Taishi found demon tags around and has been burning them in his bid to summon a demon. Of course they warn him how demons kill the summoner or drag your soul to hell but there is only one tag left to burn. When they realize Kana’s neighbour is Masato, they get a gist he is behind this. True enough, it is his plan to make Taishi finish the summoning so he could drag his soul back to hell. But if Rinne and Tsubasa are here, this means they’ll beat the crap out of his ass and he doesn’t want that. So they make Masato stay for the BBQ instead of escaping. Accidentally Taishi completes the final ritual and Masato thinks an army of a thousand demons are going to descend and cause havoc. However there is a note saying they are on vacation. Masato’s pride is shattered to pieces. You were saying about the threat?

Episode 6
Shouma is a young shinigami in training and a brat who is under a homestay programme with Rinne. However trainees his age should be exorcising pets instead of humans or vengeful spirits but why is Shouma doing it? It seems they earn him more points compared to simpler ones and once he achieves 50 points, he can get out of this homestay. Besides, I’m sure he is just complaining living alongside Rinne’s poor life. Despite his cocky attitude and big talk, he can’t even get close in purifying one and Rinne always has to finish his job. One night when Sakura and her friends walk home from karaoke, they stumble upon the rumoured alligator faced woman ghost. It is no surprise when Shouma hears about it the next day, he is going to purify her. Worse, he stole Rinne’s scythe thinking he can do the job. Of course he fails. Sakura then meets a woman who looks exactly like the alligator woman, Onee-san. It is revealed she is the owner of her alligator pet, Chibi who has been masquerading as her in order to look for her. There is a monologue in which she explains how she bought Chibi on the streets (unknowingly it is illegal) and they become like best friends. But one day her pet escaped and went missing. It has been a year. Shouma stokes trouble by making Chibi visible. This freaks out Onee-san since she doesn’t believe her pet was this big. She runs away in fear rejecting Chibi. This is bad because Chibi won’t find peace and in time it will turn into an evil spirit. Sakura tries to talk to Onee-san that her pet has died but she refuses to believe. Rinne and Shouma chase Chibi into the portal and back to the living world. They get to hear its monologue how it escaped its cage and the weary ‘adventure’ it had trying to make it back to its owner’s place. It eventually died of exhaustion. Unfortunately Shouma fell asleep listening to its story and this pisses off Chibi. Now turned into an evil spirit, it attacks Shouma. Still can’t do anything, huh? When Onee-san is here again, she could sense familiarity in this alligator. It then returns to its small size and emotionally reunites with her before passing on. Good news for them but bad news for Shouma because since the owner was the one who calmed the alligator, Shouma didn’t get any points. And so Shouma’s poor days with Rinne continues. And so does his whining.

Episode 7
Shouma can’t stand living the poor life now. He bumps into Masato who is willing to help alleviate his ‘suffering’. Masato tricks Shouma into reaping some grumpy granny spirit. If Shouma reaps wrongly, not only Shouma will face the consequences, because he is related to Rinne’s homestay, Rinne will also be punished. That is what Masato wants. Luckily granny defends herself and even lectures Shouma about respecting your elders! Masato escapes when Rinne is here but leaves Shouma a letter. Rinne warns Shouma never to go near that demon again. But you think that stubborn kid is going to listen? Even more so when he finds a 500 Yen in the letter! That’s it. Masato is definitely cooler than stingy Rinne. Money swayed his heart. Masato gives him an evil spirit sensor. Shouma is thrilled when evil spirits gather around him. Little did he know the sensor is turning innocent spirits nearby into evil ones and Masato is collecting them to be sent to hell. Although a single evil spirit is enough for him to earn points and pass this homestay, he wants to earn thousands to brag to his friends. Sakura and Rokumon try to stop him but he gives them the slip. Once Masato has enough spirits, he reveals the truth and is going to drag Shouma to hell too. Lucky is Rinne is here to the rescue. Because heard the penalty for this is a hefty fine! Masato throws a bomb decoy at Rinne to escape into the portal. Shouma feels guilty for the wrong he has done. He struggles with Masato in a bid to free the spirits but clearly he lacks strength as a kid. Rinne manages to catch up and throws his hoop to bind Masato and free the spirits. But they’re not out of the woods yet as Masato threatens to report. But Rinne beats him up and threatens! Enough for that dumb demon to shut up. Till next time. In the aftermath, Rinne has remorseful Shouma guide a few innocent spirits to the afterlife. They will be enough to help Shouma score the required points to pass. But first he has to listen to their lecture that lasts for 3 days! Patience is a virtue…

Episode 8
Sakura and her friends visit a shrine where a cursed straw doll is rumoured to be. When they see the ghost, the friends and even the ghost run away, leaving Sakura alone to inspect the doll. She finds a picture of Suzuki in it. She talks to Rinne about this as they investigate the site again. Who would curse Suzuki since he is a popular and nice teacher? The ghost appears again when Rinne picks up the photo. Yoko Kanou explains she was a student in their school. At that time Suzuki was a trainee teacher and she became interested in him. She was happy to learn he had no girlfriend and became close to him (as in a normal teacher-student relationship). When his internship ended, she gave him her email address but he never replied. A year later, Suzuki became a full teacher and she was happy. However she became angry upon learning he had a girlfriend. So she went and followed the ritual to curse him late that night. She didn’t die from slipping down the stairs, falling into a manhole or attacked by dogs. It was the morning after when she regretted her actions did she die of food poisoning. Her regret is the fear of someone else discovering this curse. Rinne suggests asking Suzuki in person. Teacher doesn’t remember her at all. You mad now? Suspicious why Suzuki doesn’t remember her, they spy on him and surprisingly see him visit Yoko’s mom and paying his respects to her altar. Mom shows him Yoko’s diary in which she wrote she was in love with sensei. From anger to embarrassment. When Rinne and Sakura confront him about this, he is forced to tell the truth. He does remember Yoko and has a hunch she likes him (he couldn’t get denser than this since Yoko was always making lunches for him). On his last day, Yoko gave him her email address in which he shortly lost it. When he came back a year later, he wanted to apologize to her but she avoided him. He thinks he hates her. At the shrine, Yoko thinks she can pass on now but Suzuki is here and sees the doll and the picture. He thought he got rid of it. As explained, the night before Yoko’s death, he saw her coming down the shrine. Because of the darkness, he lost her. A few days later he heard from the priest about this picture in the doll. Before Yoko is overcome with guilt, Rinne makes her visible so she can talk it out with Suzuki. He assures the picture never bothered him and acted he never knew her to protect her name. Since they only know this, let this be their secret. Yoko finds peace and she moves on. Suzuki then remembers he forgot to thank her. Because shortly after he lost her email address, a woman found it back for him. That woman is his current girlfriend! Oh my. It is a good thing Yoko didn’t hear that… She will never be able to rest in peace.

Episode 9
Rinne is disheartened that the usual repair and maintenance shop for his scythe has increased in price. Then comes along this bunny girl, Raito who offers free service at her Mikazukido shop. FREE?! Of course he won’t let this offer slip. She introduces to her twin brother, Refuto. Apparently they are in this business for generations but ever since their father passed on, people refused to use their service as they believe Refuto’s inexperience won’t do. However Refuto has a penchant to badmouth others so could this be the source of their poor business? Rinne agrees to give him a chance as Refuto forges his scythe back to normal and even adds a faster purification deal. When he returns to Sakura, there is a vengeful female spirit who died after being dumped by her boyfriend. Rinne purifies her but she slaps him before passing on. As Rinne purifies other spirits, it seems they beat him up before moving on. He complains to Refuto that the after effects have the spirits taking out all their anger on him before passing on. He won’t have this and wants him to remake it again. However he is told they forge his scythe for free and the next will cost him. Could this be a scam that they reforge it in a way so that they can charge exorbitant fee to change it back? Refuto puts his pride on the teachings of Waga Hansei books. But when Rinne points out a disclaimer how this teaching was discontinued, Refuto agrees to reforge it for free. But they realize that each teaching has a disclaimer and could it be that these are just records of mistakes? Yup, it is. Raito returns Rinne’s scythe all fixed up back to normal and for free. But this time she is trying to sell her special wax. Sakura then reports about the gym being mysteriously covered with filth each time it is cleaned. They see dirty rugby uniforms doing the mess. Rinne tries to purify them but each time his scythe gets dirty and the uniforms got away. Rinne goes back to Mikazukido and finds out they are the ones behind this uniform scam. This is when they play an ‘advertising’ video. It shows the manager of a rugby team fed up of washing their uniform and chucked them in a corner of a shed. When Raito came to free them, they were happy of their freedom but felt they cannot pass on being dirty. That is when she recommends the wax so they can pass on happily. The twins try to throw in special price and freebies until Rinne accepts the deal. He easily purifies the remaining uniforms and believes he just purchased a good deal. However no more dirty spirits ever showed up so his purchases were useless. Money wasted. And the twins might be going out of business too because they lost money with many product refunds. Time to discontinue the product?

Episode 10
Rokumon asks for Rinne for a day off tomorrow as there is a gathering for black cats to celebrate Eisei Kuroida’s reincarnation. But a poor moth enters their room. It takes away their wealth. Enough said. So better catch it. However Shouma and his black cat, Kurosu are also trying to catch it. Both sides struggle and sabotage each other as Rinne and Rokumon see Kurosu swiping Shouma’s money and pretend he didn’t do it! Kurosu also doesn’t work overtime so when it is exactly 5pm, he leaves. It is then Shouma catches the moth. The black cats gather as they witness Kuroida’s rare public appearance. He is all white for a black cat. No surprise since he is very old. It must be a challenge to blow out 700 candles on the cake! Before he reincarnates he wants to leave his estate of high quality cat food. But there is a condition. Sakura and her friends are at a cat shop and see an ugly cat. It is being possessed by an envy cat spirit and it seems Rokumon needs to catch it as the condition. But Kurosu is also on the hunt as he sets up various tricks and underhanded tactics to get the spirit. But because Rinne was the one who caught it eventually, Kuroida can’t grant Rokumon his estate. Which isn’t the cat food by the way. It’s just gifts for the guests to be given out later. The real estate is inside this box which contains his life’s testament. The one who can take it from his hands claims it. This time everyone goes all out to get the box. But when Rokumon senses something wrong with it and throws it away, Kuroida senses his great integrity that he has no desire for power and money. He gives the box to Rokumon but he seemingly doesn’t want it. But as Kuroida is being forceful to pass it on to him, suddenly its contents burst out. Tons of debts! 700 years of debts! No wonder he wants to give it away! Then the loan sharks come in to claims their due and Kuroida disappears. Well, at least Rokumon can take heart he got the cat food. Rokumon remembers it was the poor scent the box had which was similar to Rinne that made him stay away. When Sakura talks about Kurosu being a poor person too because he was the only one who jostled with Rokumon for the cat food at first, the actual fact is that he just hates kids. I don’t know how he put up with Shouma.

Episode 11
Sakura’s friends talk about some dancing people spirit since the festival is near. Sakura stumbles into one but that looks like an ordinary human slapping himself making him look like he is dancing. So when she goes to tell Rinne about this, they discover the cause to be mosquitoes that are supposed to be sent to the other world but the coil was instead set in reverse and thus the mosquitoes swarming humans. Rinne tries to get the coil but fails. He thought some old method of using his own blood to seal it but he got anaemic instead. Tamako solves it but turning the dial on the coil to its correct position and just a simple incense would do. Sakura and her friends meet up at the festival. Tsubasa is there too but he has to be their sugar daddy. Isn’t that why they call him to join them? Then they see Rinne on a date with a hot chick! Now, before you succumb to jealousy, let’s hear him out. Apparently Natsumi Motoba already has a boyfriend. Each year they come to the festivals, he always needs to play the shooting gallery and target this teddy bear. He always loses and ends up crying. So in order to be freed for this curse, she hires him to be her boyfriend. I guess you can see why Rinne is eager to hop on. She’s paying for everything! So he can’t quite bail out when he sees Sakura. Natsumi threatens him he better live the end of his contract or else! At the shooting gallery, the spirit of Natsumi’s grandpa appears as he explains 10 years ago Natsumi wanted the teddy bear so grandpa tried to shoot it for her but failed. He would love to try again next year but passed away a few days later. But when Rinne tries to shoot, grandpa sabotages him! It is revealed he is behind all the sabotages as he will not allow his granddaughter to date other boys. But Rinne makes a deal with him that grandpa will pass on if he manages to shoot the prize. And grandpa will also let him date his granddaughter. But it is going to be tough since grandpa is possessing the teddy bear and making it move around. Rinne manages to shoot it and then makes grandpa visible so he could make his amends with Natsumi. He gives her the prize but it seems there was a mistake. Then, it wasn’t the teddy bear she wanted but the fashionable bag next to it. But now she wants him to get a more expensive branded bag! I guess grandpa is ready to pass on and leave his granddaughter in Rinne’s hands. Bye. Too bad Natsumi won’t get the bag. Natsumi then returns to her real boyfriend and this spares Rinne from explaining this dating business. As they have fun for the rest of the festival, Sakura notes Rinne never showed him that smile he did for Natsumi. That was his business smile. So it costs money?

Episode 12
Sakura is at the beach and so is Rinne and Ageha. It seems the lifeguards are complaining every time of this year, there would be somebody out on the boat at sea waving for help. But when they arrive, it is gone. So as they go check out the ghost boat that is happening now, they see a pretty YOLO lady as the source and being attacked by an umibouzu. After Rinne saves her, she explains she setup this prank so as to get the lifeguard she likes to come rescue her. However an old ugly fisherman is the one who tried to save her. She tried to escape but of course cannot out-swim him and drowned. The umibouzu is an imaginary monster she cooked up. Rinne gives her a doll in which she can imagine her lifeguard crush onto and then pass on. But since she cannot remember his face, Rinne’s image will do. Ageha will not accept this and ruins the doll. There goes Rinne’s investment. When another imaginary monster appears, a tanned Tsubasa comes to her rescue. She totally falls in love with him and you thought she would pass on after that. However she continues to bug him to date her in which he constantly rejects.

Sakura and her friends investigate a haunted tunnel when a staff warns them never to go through it. When they hear and see Tsubasa at the other end, once he enters, he gets beaten up and thrown out. There’s black ink all over his face. Rinne is also here to exorcise the spirit upon request from the guest house union. When it is revealed an octopus spirit is guarding the place, they try to lure it out but all the traps do not work. They remember stories about a truck transporting octopi and one went missing after passing through the tunnel. It is believed that octopus is making this tunnel as its hideout. Their motivation to get it out is to make takoyaki and octopus related dishes? I think that only makes it even madder. When Sakura finds a dried up body of an octopus, they release it back to the water after realizing its regret of being a dried up corpse. The octopus gratitude? Shooting black ink in Rinne’s face. But they can take heart that the union treat them to takoyaki and octopus related dishes after that.

When a handful of guys try to hit on Sakura and her friends, she notices they are also attracting spirits. Tsubasa exorcises them. In fact, this beach is filled with spirits. As they go look around for the source, they realize that it is this Nehanya guest house formed by Rinne and Ageha to lock in spirits of the beach. They take up this part time lifeguard job to gather the spirits and help them pass on. So there is this judo dude who can’t pass on because he died without a girlfriend while he was training. He targets Sakura but instead of going on a one on one date but she says she has a crush on somebody else. So in the end, judo guy ends up with YOLO girl and they pass on. Of course what Sakura said was just a white lie and it was a big relief to our concerned guys. Or is she?

Episode 13
Renge Shima is the new transfer student in class. Starting off as weird because she has a Marilyn Monroe spirit following her, Shuuto Saka the ace of the football club stalking her and his girlfriend, Erika Sawa jealous as f*ck! Although Renge claims she has this misfortune of making other couples break up, it soon becomes suspicious when she seems to lure Shuuto in trying to kill himself if he wants to prove his love for her is real. Luckily Rinne saves him. That night when he investigates, he finds Tsubasa’s lifeless body and a letter from Renge pleading for his help. He manages to dodge Renge’s attack. Renge reveals herself to be a Damashigami working under Sabato. Her artificial Marilyn spirit is not only to trick love struck boys and lead them into the portal but to also weed out humans who can see spirits. Rinne gets mad when he learns Sakura is in danger. Speaking of which, she just regained conscious in Renge’s hideout and besides her is Tsubasa’s soul. Conflicted to go save the boys or Sakura, Rinne then throws Renge’s pheromone spray on Tsubasa, causing the guys to go after him instead. He follows Renge back into the portal but it’s a trap. Renge returns to her hideout and throws away Tsubasa, supposedly to some soul vault. He is the 99th soul and she will send all back to the afterlife once she gets the 1ooth. Want to guess who that soul is? Speaking of Rinne, he is fighting for his life.

Suddenly Renge claims she wants to be Sakura’s friend because all girls despise her. She agrees but unknowingly this is Renge’s plan to make her become her subordinate when she drinks her tea. Luckily she won’t since Rinne crashes down. Renge forces them to hear her back story. She was a top shinigami student and did well in exams. On the day of her entrance exam, she bumped into a food thief no other than Sabato. She fell into the river and by the time she got out and reached her exam place, it was already over. No choice, the only other offer that came to her was the Damashigami school. Of course she aced and on the opening ceremony, imagine her anger when she saw Sabato as the head giving his speech. Of course she has no grudge on Rinne for that but she has a bone to pick with him for getting in her way. As they fight, Renge steals his robe and this sends Rinne and Sakura back to the real world. Without his robe, he cannot enter the portal and this means he cannot follow her to where she keeps her soul vault. Rinne returns home to request Rokumon to open the portal but he is busy trying to hush the noisy souls next door. So… This is where Renge keeps her soul vault?! In the end, all the captured souls are released. Renge returns to school the next day and acts nothing happened. But it is tough for Tsubasa because all the guys still love him! Oh sh*t!

Episode 14
After Rokumon helps Tama the granny black cat with chores, she treats him to tea. So when he serves this high quality tea to Rinne, Sakura and Tsubasa, suddenly they become paralyzed. Turns out Tama works under Renge and this tea controls one’s mind. Renge puts the effect into test but having the guys punch each other. I’m sure they love to beat the crap out of each other but Renge then has them love each other! OMG! Gay moment! Getting to serious business, Renge orders Rinne to get more souls for her and Sakura to deceive hapless guys. When her friends wonder why she is hanging out with the boys instead of being in class, Renge wants Sakura to tell them off she is no longer their friends and have Rinne take their souls. Luckily the tea effects wear out and they put a stop to Renge’s scheme. Thanks to Rokumon’s frugal behaviour, he only used very limited tea amounts, that is why the effect wore off faster. Renge now officially moves in next door to Rinne. When real charms help students fend off their sleep paralysis, this affects Rinne’s business since nobody is requesting for his help. Turns out they were made by Renge as atonement for what she did. Rinne leaves her alone since the charms are real and it does purify the school. But this means no business for Rinne and he is starving to death. No choice, Rokumon pawns some items to have some food. That is when the school is suddenly filled with spirits and trying to possess students to kill themselves. All part of the bigger plan of Renge. Despite the charms are good, they have an expiry date and once over, the evil spirit inside it will seep out. Rinne cannot purify them because his scythe is replaces with plywood! Rokumon was the one who pawned it thinking he didn’t need it for the time being. Sakura has her friends help out to spread the word the charm is cursed and gather it all as she tries to put them away at a place no one would go. However now all the spirits are attracted to her. Renge is shocked when she sees the spirits running away from Rinne’s room. Renge realizes the poor aura in his room is much scarier! She admits her lost and returns to her room. Rokumon then returns with Rinne’s scythe. Where did he get the money to buy it back? He pawned Renge’s furniture! A week later, Rinne still has no business. His poor aura must be really that bad, huh?

Episode 15
Raito and Refuto give Rinne a free sample of a recovery cream in which it can repair his scythe to good use. Rokumon has a toothache and rather than going to a dentist, he would rather do it himself (aside from being poor). The tooth comes out and touches the cream. It turns into an evil version of Rokumon. Heck, the evil one is much stronger than the original one. Raito and Refuto reveal they were trying to use Rinne as a test subject before they market their product. But they didn’t expect it to have some effect on living organisms. As it repairs blades back to normal, a tooth being from a living thing means it turned it into some biological weapon. Raito had a neutralizing solution but it was damaged. Then the rest realize the solution is just plain water. Thank goodness it starts raining and the evil Rokumon returns being a tooth. The siblings scrap the product and though they want to give them to Rinne to fix his scythe from his battle with evil Rokumon, he wants them to fix it normally for free.

There are rumours of a girl who lost funds haunting the storage room. As they investigate, it seems there is a seal on the locker and Rokumon doesn’t want Rinne to open. The supposed ghost girl pops up but she is a teacher. When they remove the seal, there is a cursed box. However it is just deception as inside contains money. They belong to Rokumon. Of course it is his hard earned money and if he was to put it in their room and it goes missing, who do you think the first suspect is? Trust issues, eh? Even best friends fight over money. So while they argue, the teacher tries to take advantage and steal it. Luckily she is roped in. When she explains her story, they realize she is a teacher of the school from the next town. Apparently she likes borrowing money to buy luxurious stuffs. So when loan sharks start appearing at school, she hid in the storeroom. When they came knocking on the door, she jumped out the window and died. This is when she realizes she is already dead and free of her debt and passes on. It is revealed Rokumon created the rumours so everyone would stay away but it backfired because it created a negative aura and attracted the teacher ghost. As Rinne and Rokumon reconcile, he is still not lending him a penny. Oh, money…

The black cats are on their annual mushroom hunting in which they can use for food or sell as medicine and other stuffs. They stumble upon the notorious Kuekuedake mushrooms who eat everything in sight. Despite they taste like crap, they fetch a cool 100,000 Yen price tag! So you bet Rinne is going to jump in for this haul. Of course the catch is their price tag wouldn’t be so high if they weren’t so hard to catch. Kuekuedake release toxic fume spores each time they attack. So when the gang are guided to a field of high quality matsutake mushrooms instead, they think these friendly creatures who never attack back is showing them this place in exchange to be spared. Touched, they take these mushrooms back. Sometimes you have to let go of money to make money. But when they are back at camp, the Kuekuedake spores over them sprout and they start eating all the mushrooms the others gathered so hard. Although Kain catches them, Rinne will get nothing since his matsudake catch is the same as the cost of all the other mushrooms. I don’t think he’d appreciate the Kuekuedake canned food either. They still taste like crap.

Episode 16
Ageha sees a fortune teller about her love woes. She in returns is given a breakup kit but is warned if she curses the wrong person, disaster will happen. Of course Ageha blatantly does the ritual right before Rinne and Sakura’s eyes and nothing happens. So as she explains herself, here comes Renge and it seems the duo know each other from shinigami elementary school. Renge hates Ageha because of her stupidity. She is only popular among other kids because she is rich. It doesn’t take long before they fight as Ageha mocks Renge’s poor status and turning into a Damashigami despite her top scores while Renge taunts Ageha’s failed sister. When Renge realizes Ageha has forgotten her kit, she hatches up a devilish plan. Renge is looking for her kit and follows the trail to Renge’s room. All in good timing, Renge has brought Rinne to her bed and make it look like they just did something. Ageha is pissed as Renge gives her back the kit knowing that if she curses the wrong person, something bad will happen (remember, Renge is not dating Rinne for real). Angry Ageha whips out a breakup sword from the kit. When she cuts the space between Rinne and Renge, a basin named ‘Disaster’ drops on Ageha’s head! So this is the disaster? Since Ageha is dumb and Renge is vengeful, she makes her use other various items in the kit to make Ageha feel the pain. Then the rest saw a disclaimer. It states initially the disaster will fall on the buyer but after the fifth time, all affected parties will experience calamity. And with the bad luck they have, it reaches the fifth time. A big sand pit tries to suck them all in. At the bottom of it is some mini god that will cut your romance/relationship ties forever! For once, Ageha takes responsibility and beats up the god. Then she and Renge fight over the god’s scissors to get back at each other. Eventually when everything fails, the duo go back to the ol’ fashion showdown of clashing scythes. Sighs, their nasty relationship could sure use some severing…

Episode 17
Rinne receives an invitation for his old shinigami school reunion. 3000 Yen to attend?! Not coming! Suddenly Masato is here slapping 3,000 Yen in his face! He explains while he was setting a trap for him, somebody came to steal his wings. He left the money and a pawn card in Rinne’s name. Of course Rinne has no obligation and would love to cash in the pawn card but instead of becoming the bad guy, he goes to help solve Masato’s predicament. Following the address on the card, it leads him to the hotel where the reunion is held. Many of Rinne’s old friends recognize him but Masato has to run when the rest chase him out as a demon. They confront the perpetrator but it seems Rinne can’t remember his name. Not only him but everyone else doesn’t remember who this guy is. An imposter? It sees this reunion was set up by him with plans to humiliate Rinne. He gives Rinne a hint by materializing a balloon demon. Rinne remembers the class was out on a practice hunt for balloon demons and teamed up with the most timid kid in class. It ended in some disaster as the balloon popped. Rinne realizes that timid kid is him, Matsugo. Matsugo has his balloon demon attack Rinne and his scythe got stolen and automatically pawned. While everyone thinks Matsugo is being a dick, Rinne can’t remember why Matsugo hates him. All he remembers is that they were good close friends. Yeah, really good friends. Like girls? Matsugo continues after that balloon demon training, he woke up and saw Rinne kicking him into the river. He was saved by the teacher but Rinne whispered to forget about this. Like a threat? Ever since that day, Matsugo studied hard and changed himself in various ways. Rinne partially remembers something. On that day itself, he ate a pill to erase part of his memories on that incident. Matsugo is bent on making him remember why he kicked him into the river and has a heavy ball drop on his head. Rinne dodges and is able to get back his scythe while saving Matsugo from the ball. But cutting it in half has more mini ones dropping on Rinne’s head. Now he remembers. He talks to Matsugo privately. After the balloon demon popped, Rinne saw Matsugo wet his pants. Fearing everyone would tease him, he pushed him into the river. As precaution he might rat it out, Rinne took the pill. Matsugo now understands but makes Rinne eat the pill again. He has new respect for Rinne and even blurts out how much he loves Rinne! Oh my. WTF?! Everyone heads home after the reunion. It’s like as though they’ve forgotten something… A week later, Masato is not pleased they forgot to get his wings back and already used up the pawned money.

Episode 18
Rinne couldn’t understand why despite taking up many shinigami jobs, they are still poor. Sakura suggests cutting down on the shinigami tools they always buy. Too bad it’s tough for them as they barely succeed. Rokumon stumbles upon a black cat ranking test. Initially Rinne is against it as it is worth 500 Yen and he doesn’t think Rokumon is mature enough to enter. When he hears higher ranking black cats have more discounts for shinigami tools, he immediately changes his mind. So in the written exam, Oboro is bloody confident, Suzu is just bored and scratching the wall and Rokumon has studied hard enough. It is no surprise he scores highly. But Oboro scores zero! He forgot to write his name. Even Suzu who failed all questions even got marks by writing her name. For the practical exam, their shinigami owners join in. But they find it weird that their scythes are tied to the end of the obstacle course littered with a cat’s favourite stuffs as a signal for their black cat to finish the test. It seems there are bugs eating the scythe so your black cat better hurry and end the course. As expected, most black cats get distracted. Even though Oboro wasn’t (because he is bored with rich Ageha always providing him everything), he went out of bounds and argue with the examiners. Rokumon could have aced it if not for being distracted by free fish! Eventually Suzu wins because her short attention span has her move along quickly. The next test is the cooperation test where both shinigami and their black cats must make their way up. The winner will get a free scythe repair coupon. You bet Rinne is going go all out and win. At the top is only a door that black cats can enter to retrieve a key for the door their shinigami master can enter. But inside this room is Shouma studying and Kurosu accompanying him. It’s hard to get the key since Kurosu throws everyone out for being a distraction! Rokumon gets an idea to defeat him but needs everyone’s cooperation.

Episode 19
Rokumon has everyone divide into teams to raid the room. However with Kurosu throwing snacks at them, everyone is back to being selfish individuals. When Oboro takes Shouma hostage, Shouma becomes mad and accuses Kurosu for abandoning him. Rokumon uses this commotion to steal the key and open the door. It is a mad dash for the free coupon at the top and eventually Ageha and Oboro win. Because they are so rich and don’t need the coupon anyway, they tear it up! The final test is a battle royale in which the last standing black cat in the ring wins. Each black cat is given coupons to buy weapons but if those coupons are not used, they are given free to their master regardless on the outcome. So you bet Rokumon is going to win this on a tight budget despite his small size disadvantage. Oh, Suzu wasted it all on food… Rokumon is going great guns with his recycling method of attacks but of course it breaks and he has to spend more. He teams up with Oboro to take out the rest who are obviously more brains than brawns. They have been waiting for the field to narrow down before swooping in. Rokumon is smarter as he has them participate in a true or false quiz whereby the correct answer sends them out of the ring. Oboro is out when he slips on Suzu’s banana. Then she gets sleepy and bored and walks out of the ring herself. Rokumon and a handful of black cats are left. Everyone teams up against tiny Rokumon who is forced to dodge all their attacks. This is when Rinne tells Rokumon to spend the remaining coupons for weapons. Even if he fails, Rinne will sponsor his exam the next time. He’s crying blood over it… Rokumon buys a cannonball and swings everyone out of the ring. Rokumon wins and is promoted. Apparently Suzu and Oboro who won their previous tests also got promoted. Rokumon also wins MVC (Most Valuable Cat) but the trophy is just a piggy bank. Actually, maneki neko design.

Episode 20
Rinne is so poor he can’t even have a decent oden meal. So he can’t shoo away Ageha when she brings high quality ingredients for nabe. The new goddess of his life! Because Ageha kicks out Rokumon, he returns with Tsubasa and Sakura to join them. They notice there is this little samurai spirit inside the pot. Rinne tosses him away as Tsubasa starts ranting about the nabe magistrate and all that importance crap. Why, Tsubasa has also certificate as a certified nabe magistrate and is willing to take over this duty. You know what? Rinne doesn’t give a damn because he is the law! So as they enjoy this heavenly dish, Rinne notices there is only one radish left. Everyone notices the spirit eating the rest of them. This in turn makes the guys fighting over the only radish but surprisingly Ageha splits and shares it with everyone. Then Rinne notices there is only one egg left. Yup, the spirit swallows the rest. History repeats itself. The guys are fighting over it. How do you split an egg anyway? With the spirit also jostling for the egg, Renge and Tama come in to see the commotion. The egg slips off and into Tama’s mouth. While the guys sink into depression, the girls continue enjoying their nabe meal. Yeah, what’s all the fuss about anyway? Masato is sick and of course being a demon, the doctor tells him he needs to spread the virus to others. The more he spreads the faster he is cured. This means Masato is going to pick on Rinne. But that guy is also sick. This gives Masato a chance to cough all his virus and double Rinne’s pain. However Rinne has a kind of virus that temporarily sucks out your soul! Wow. This is much more dangerous. So as they try to outdo each other, Masato is then cured and heads home. However he caught Rinne’s virus so this means from time to time his soul would temporarily leave his body whenever he sneezes. In the end, both guys are cured but unfortunately Tsubasa caught their virus.

Episode 21
Rumours of the Strangler Scarf appears and strangles a guy whenever his girl presents her scarf as present. So to solve this case, Sakura is going to knit Rinne a scarf. You don’t know how happy he is. But she doesn’t know how to knit, she learns it from Haruka Igawa, the knitting club’s president. While learning, Strangler Scarf almost strangles Igawa but Rinne was there in time to stop it before it disappears again. Rinne and Sakura call out Igawa to witness their scarf giving. However Sakura still has not finished hers and lets Igawa help finish it. That is when Strangler Scarf appears again. This time Rinne manages to catch it and Igawa is surprised to see it. She knows this scarf. Apparently she knitted it for a senior she had a crush on. But she saw another girl gave him a scarf. Heartbroken, she threw it away. After Igawa apologizes for throwing it away, Strangler Scarf becomes obedient. They deduce it wants to be given away to find peace. While Rinne has plans to receive Sakura’s scarf, he is forced to act this one out just to close the case. However he got strangled. Maybe Rinne isn’t Igawa’s type. The scarf tries to escape but is caught by some plain judo guy. Since this guy is Igawa’s type, she gives it to him and Strangler Scarf is purified. While Rinne is sad he couldn’t get Sakura’s scarf, he can be happy that a few days later she managed to finish it and give it to him. All nice and warm.

There are rumours of a ghost shoving people at the skating rink. Sakura sees a little girl, Yukina furiously waiting for her friend, Shizuka Arakawara to show up. When she tells this to Rinne, he says he too got a request from Shizuka. This guy has a letter from Yukina to come to the rink where she’ll teach him how to skate. Apparently Yukina died a long time ago so he isn’t sure why this is happening. Shizuka never liked skating and his parents forced him to take up skating class. Yukina trained him and was nice to him at first but suddenly ignored him. When he received that letter, he was sick that day and couldn’t come. At the rink, Yukina couldn’t recognize a grownup Shizuka so Rinne uses a balloon device to materialize a young Shizuka. But this lad doesn’t want to train and instead says he hates her. She blames him for his fault because of that kiss. Shizuka doesn’t remember and this irks Yukina. She uses her ice attack but Rinne saves the day. It is then Shizuka remembers when Yukina was training him, he tripped and fell over her. Their lips met and everyone thought they saw them kissing. Yukina ignored him ever since. The reason she eventually wrote that letter was because she was going to move away due to her dad’s job. She might never see him again. Shizuka and Yukina skate together for one last time before the latter passes on. But now the rink staff wants them to pay compensation for destroying the rink and Rinne who was a total noob in skating suddenly quickly skates away. He learns fast when money is involved.

Episode 22
Renge is about to make an illegal underground purchase when Kain comes in to bust this join. Although she escapes, she dropped her purse. Kain traces the purse back to Rinne’s room and accuses him of trying to do something illegal. Renge comes in during the commotion as Sakura returns the purse to her. Renge is glad to have her entire fortune of 700 Yen back but is shocked when she sees Kain. Seems they know each other during school. She sympathized and admired him for wanting to take down scums of society. Read: Damashigami. If only Kain knew what Renge is now because he still thinks she is an honour student. Renge threatens Rinne and Sakura not to spill the beans or else. Sakura can tell Renge has a crush on Kain and she is willing to risk her entire fortune to keep her identity a secret. Because of that, she heads out to steal some souls to make some money. Luckily Rinne intercepts. When Kain also comes into the picture, Renge runs away thinking her identity is busted. However Kain thinks Rinne is the one who is trying to steal the souls. Renge laments as she thinks back her failed confession to Kain. On graduation day she wanted to confess to him but other girls got in the way. She never managed to. Now that he knows her true identity, she feels it is a good thing she never confessed. He must have thought she is an awful person. But seeing that Kain wants Renge to be witness over Rinne’s atrocity, Renge is more than happy for Rinne to take her blame! Die for her sake! Kain offers the 700 Yen if Rinne confesses to his crimes. He actually hesitated before disagreeing. When Kain uses a seal to make the purse return to its owner, Rinne takes Renge to escape through the portal. Rinne is willing to help her out under the circumstances but for a price.

Kain talks to Sakura that he heard about rumours that due to unfortunate incidents, Renge missed the entrance exam and never made it to the prestigious shinigami school. Unlike everyone else, he refused to believe it and was scared to find out. He still believes in Renge because she is poor like him but she is studious and gets good grades. It’s as though he is living his dreams through her. Sakura thinks Kain might also like Renge. Kain’s search dogs detect the purse as they continue the pursuit. Kain spots Renge and Rinne ahead but the search dogs surge past forward them. Rinne is actually using a doll decoy to make it look like another party is stealing the purse. All the traps and contraptions just within the 700 Yen budget. Of course the doll soon leaks (it was on cheap sale by the way) but Rinne makes it sound like the culprit got away. Shortly, Sabato appears and swipes the purse. Might as well blame him as the culprit. Although he escapes, the purse is empty. Remember, Rinne used them all up. Sakura advises Renge to give up being a Damashigami but she won’t seeing how she spent her entire fortune on this. When Sakura tells her what Kain said about her, she starts flustering. Although Kain is relieved that Renge is not a Damashigami, if she ever turns into one, he will not hesitate to throw her into prison! He adds Renge has not changed. She is still pure, true and beautiful. This gives Renge a reason to quit being a Damashigami. When she asks him out for tea, he rejects her. He has no free time or money so she shouldn’t waste her time hanging around him and should study hard to become a great shinigami government. A dream that he could never achieve. So this was his actual dream? Are you disappointed? I think so because Renge really thanks Rinne for once. It might look like she might take some time to recover from this heartbreak but the next day, she is back to normal in hunting down souls to recoup her 700 Yen.

Episode 23
Tamako sees a job to exorcise a black fox spirit that pays a good 50,000 Yen bounty. As she goes to pick up her special scythe, she sees Sabato stealing it. Luckily there is a security barrier that zaps him. However the scythe falls into Sakura’s hands and registers her as its owner. Apparently the security barrier prevents males from touching. If Sakura wants to unregister herself she has to purify 7 souls. So Sakura has to do a shinigami’s job? Rinne and Rokumon are suspicious of Tamako leaving them to train Sakura because they guess right she is going after the bounty while they are training. Tamako explains that scythe is Oihagizuki. It is able to purify any spirits possessing something without the use of accessories. You know how much this will save Rinne, right? Therefore it becomes a race to see who can catch the fox first. Rinne is eager to begin Sakura’s training and I believe there is another motive why he is happy to be with her… When Sakura is trying to purify a vengeful spirit and cannot handle it, Rinne is forced to give up chasing the fox to save her. He might be thinking quality time with Sakura is way better than having the money but then he starts imagining the amount of food he can buy with that amount… Renge is also after the fox so when Rinne clashes with her, the fox owns them. They drop their scythes and Sabato steals them. He tries to run but gets possessed by the fox. Only Sakura can save the day. Renge tries to use Oihagizuki since she is female but since she is not the owner, it becomes limp. Renge then tries to smoke the fox out and the scythe accidentally drops on Sakura’s food. Rinne is devastated over the wasted food that Sakura prepared for him for the training. Even more so when the fox starts devouring it because it is its favourite food. This allows Sakura to purify the fox and also complete her quota as Oihagizuki deregisters her. However Tamako returns with bad news that Sakura cannot claim the bounty because humans can only help purify spirits on special months. So the bounty is annulled? But Sakura is more than happy to give back Oihagizuki to Tamako. Next time, Tamako and Rinne bug Sakura to go spirit hunting with them and make money in the upcoming month but she refuses. Once is more than enough.

Episode 24
You bet Ageha is going to buy a choker believed to make her be destined with her loved one forever. When she tries to put it on Rinne, Matsugo returns and tries to take it to pawn it. He believes Rinne is not appreciative of this choker which is also some sort of stalker surveillance. Matsugo and Ageha fight each other over Rinne. Wait a minute. Is Matsugo being gay for Rinne? No matter how he puts it that he wants to repair his friendship with Rinne, we can all think this leads back to being gay. Oh, he has no other friends too. After Matsugo disposes Ageha and the choker, he gives Rinne his present. Turns out to be the same type of choker. Rinne gives it to a dog leaving Matsugo to stalk the dog. Next day Matsugo returns to give another gift of a picture of them in a bowl. Rinne is not impressed because he already got many other gifts in this similar fashion. To deepen their friendship, Matsugo invites Rinne to come to a shinigami mixer. At first he didn’t want to go but Sakura would like to come too and help end Matsugo’s unhealthy fixation on him. Besides, she is okay to pretend to be his girlfriend. Don’t want to miss this chance, right? At the orientation, Rinne tries to introduce Sakura as his girlfriend to Matsugo even if it is a lie but Matsugo won’t hear any of it. Also, there is Matsugo’s classmate, Anju who seems to be mocking Matsugo’s failed friendship. From a distance. You can guess Anju likes Matsugo although she doesn’t admit it. Because when she badmouths Rinne a few times, it is clear she wants Matsugo to end his obsession on Rinne. There are a few free charms along the way but with limited stock. Rinne hurriedly takes Sakura to get them. This has Matsugo racing to help his friend out so he could show he is the better one. This means setting up traps to separate them with his black cat familiar Kuromitsu. In turn, Anju also uses this chance to admonish Sakura for not doing enough for her boyfriend. With the girls eavesdropping, Matsugo asks Rinne why he likes Sakura (so he could find out what she is good at and be better than her). Because Sakura is kind like an angel. Aww, don’t make her blush. Because Sakura feeds him and lends him money. Oh… When it rains, they take shelter. Sakura is clearly upset when she tells Rinne to go get the free charms with Matsugo. She’s not angry, she says. Yeah, right. Rinne knows he said something bad. His luck runs out when the charm is also out of stock.

Episode 25
Sakura follows Anju who is trying to trace Matsugo. Using his hair for a gadget to pinpoint his position, it only leads them to his black cat familiar, Kuromitsu. Nearby, they see a pool containing examinees with regrets and they are turning vengeful. Meanwhile Matsugo tries to throw a lavish party with great food and facilities in hopes of cheering up Rinne. But Rinne is more concerned about Sakura misinterpreting his intentions that he prefers Matsugo because he is rich. Anju tries to purify the spirits but they put up a great fight. Rinne sees the commotion and it seems his charm is the only way to solve this. Obviously, we can see how reluctant he is to let it go but eventually has to. Despite so, this only makes Sakura more disappointed in him. When a portal opens up supposedly leading to the next shrine, Rinne quickly takes Sakura through, leaving the rest behind. Anju tries to drill it into Matsugo’s head that he has been dumped but he isn’t listening… Rinne thought he could talk to Sakura alone but she is clearly in no mood and tells him to get the charm or he’ll miss it. He is further devastated when he hears her say she knew he got close to her for her food and money. Sure, it is partly true but it isn’t either. When Sakura turns around, Rinne is gone. She was just testing him and thinks he chose the charm over her. She feels a nasty feeling in her heart. In fact, Rinne has fallen through a portal. It has him pop up near the shrine. Because other shinigamis are also racing to get the last charm, nobody could get it because random portals get in their way. Rinne sees Sakura’s backpack containing her homemade lunch. He realizes she too has fallen into the portal and must find her quickly because normal humans cannot get out on their own. Sakura bumps into Matsugo who seems very happy that their relationship is failing. Even when she says they aren’t even in a relationship, this makes him happier. Rinne finally finds Sakura but she ignores him, believing he doesn’t think of her as much as she thinks of him. He tells her he wants to eat lunch with her. It makes her happy as she has the same thoughts too. They couldn’t care less about the charm (Anju got it by the way) and ignore everything else around them as they happily enjoy lunch together.

Still A Poor Soul
If this season doesn’t feel any much refreshing or without any closure and that it feels more or less like last season, take heart and know that there is going to be a third season! Hmm… So I am guessing from my previous blog that this series is slowly trying to build itself up to greatness to go over 100 episodes like other works under Rumiko Takahashi that was adapted. Instead of airing a series straight, it is more feasible to have breaks in between especially animes that are going to be long running and have many episodes. At least in this way it tries to counter the boredom and staleness if it was aired consecutively. Of course there is the downfall that the hype may not be there because as far into 2 seasons into this series, I can see that everything seems more or less the same thing.

Because there is no real story plot to follow like Inu Yasha, Kyoukai No Rinne is more episodic with lots of random antics like how Ranma 1/2 is. This season follows this exact same pattern with nothing greatly developing or progressed. They might introduced a few new characters but you can see the overall progress between the romance of the protagonist (which is partly the main draw and attraction for viewers of the series) continues to be stagnant. So if you are hoping for some sort of great turn in events or a terrifying twist in the plot, you will be sorely disappointed.

Let me start off with the new characters making their debut this season first. It is nice to see fresh new faces like the fallen shinigami Renge whose predicament is as similar to Rinne, the friendship obsessed Matsugo, the blacksmith bunny twins who are always trying to push hard to promote their samples for any sort business (thus inadvertently scamming Rinne) and a host of black cats such as the very dumb and carefree Suzu, the arrogant Oboro, the kid hating working-from-nine-to-five Kurosu and Tamako’s long lost black cat Kuroboshi. Despite bringing in something a little new, I can’t help feel that overall it doesn’t really bring any great changes to the series. They are just like one more character to remember. Of course I am not pointing that out in a negative light. Having said the nature of this series, how do you expect them to contribute greatly to the overall plot and story?

With the second season having the same number of episodes as the first, with these new characters joining in, this means some of the older ones would have to share or sacrifice their screen time with them. Take for instance, Tsubasa. It feels like he appears lesser and plays a less prominent role even for a main supporting character. Because there are no stories that really involved him directly, there is no reason why he was to be featured prominently other than becoming the third wheel or as the comical character. Same goes to Sabato and his Damashigami Company. Last season was because Sabato is revealed to be Rinne’s father and they have all sorts of misadventures and exploits as one of the stories. Once that was somewhat done, Sabato now in this season feels even more reduced to a petty thief. Well, he actually still is. Even pettier since he doesn’t make any more appearance than as last season.

Other than that, the other characters predominantly stay the same. Very much the same. Like Rinne and Rokumon will forever eternally be in poverty, Sakura continues to help out and make some deadpan sarcasm with that deadpan face of hers, Tamako still hates being called a granny or else be ready for a noogie, Ageha continues being another dumb idiot trying to get Rinne to fall for her, Kain still despises Rinne, Masato still trying to get back at Rinne with his pettiness and Sakura’s friends still have this habit of talking about ghost/spirit rumours and when it pops up before them, they run like hell! Oh yeah. All too familiar. So it is either you will love them because they tread in familiar ground or you will be bored because they’re still the same people we know back from the first season. But at least it is good to know that no matter what kind of character they are, all of them have their silly side that makes them funny and lovable. Some just more idiotic than normal.

So going on to my next point is the love polygon. New characters do amplify the love chart but as far as we can see up till this season, it is still simple enough for anybody to follow. I mean, have you ever seen or try to map out the love chart for the characters in Ranma 1/2? Yeah. Complicating and messy as hell. So be thankful that as for now the relationships and love interests between the characters are still relatively simple since the character pool is still relatively small. For those hoping to see something moving between Rinne and Sakura would also be disappointed. Basically nothing much changes. Nothing much progresses. They’re still like that. Believe me, if they are going to drag this series out to over 100 episodes and possible reaching 200, it is going to be frustrating for us hopefuls who would love to see them come together as a couple. Because for those who watched Ranma 1/2 would understand the pain of waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for Ranma and Akane to just f*cking say those magic 3 words to each other but it never happened. At least not in the anime.

Sure, in the final couple of episodes they might have hinted something a bit more because it is like Sakura is seemingly enjoying being in the company of Rinne. There might be a few and obscure indicators throughout the season about hinting their feelings but none as this obvious. Of course the initial misunderstanding that strains their relationship for some added drama. But eventually they’ll go back to where it has always been. Then they put in lots of drama in the last episode to troll us if Sakura really likes Rinne but then it all goes back to square one. Seriously, Sakura’s face has always stayed the same from start till finish and even Anju like as though trying to break the fourth wall, points this out for us. You don’t know what she’s thinking so you can’t tell if she truly loves Rinne. But our guts says yes. Same case for Rinne if he is being nice to her just for food and money even though he says he isn’t but that is only if you consider he is thinking about his long term future. Again, our guts says it is true love. But don’t hope for any sort of confirmation whatsoever. So fans, keep your fingers crossed. But then again, don’t really have high hopes. Otherwise it will inhibit your enjoyment of the series. Ah well Rinne, looks like money can’t buy you love after all.

Sometimes I think up of the silliest and drastic thing Rinne should do to escape his poverty. You know, become like that Kaiji guy and take ultimate risks to gamble! Holy cow! After all, what has he got to lose, right? Well… I guess it is a lot. Imagine this series turning from a light hearted romantic comedy with some supernatural action into a dark psychological thriller. That would be just sick. But if it is the risk for him to break out of the poverty cycle, then why not? Hmm… I guess there are some things that aren’t worth the risk. So carry on what you always do, Rinne. So I understand a bit why Sakura was upset when she misinterpreted Rinne stuck by her because of money and free food. She did it out of the goodness of her heart and you compare her to being your banker and mother? Poor choice of words even if that is reality.

My other sentiments for this season is mostly the same of what I had for the previous so putting it down here again might be repeating what I said. Yeah, I’m that lazy. Okay, okay. I’ll just give an example. Like how Rinne and Rokumon buy or show shinigami tools they bought and as usual the narrator will inform us its use and how much it costs. But sometimes it gets a bit annoying because there are some things repeated so often that it becomes irritating. Like how the constant reminder why people cannot see Rinne because he is wearing the robe and why other shinigami characters cannot be seen or heard by ordinary folks. We get it already. For those who don’t even get this basic fact at this point of this series shouldn’t continue watching it.

Well, at least there is one slight improvement. Last season I mentioned how boring the mid-intermission illustrations were because they were all basically the same picture. This time around, they put a variety of other characters and poses so it is not all that bad. Although the end card is still the same picture in all episodes. Also, a handful of trivia to spot if your eyes are quick and sharp enough to spot characters from Rumiko Takahashi’s other works like Ranma 1/2 and Urusei Yatsura.

This season’s opening and ending themes didn’t really attract me. They still can’t beat the first season’s Ouka Ranman by a mile but at least they are not as bad as Toki No Wa. Yeah, that one was personally atrocious. The first opening theme is rock based, Melody by Pile and the second opening theme is Ainii by CreepHyp. I thought the latter, the singer’s voice sounds a bit drowsy. You know, he might have been drinking too much last night and he is struggling to hit the high notes in some of the verses. Also to note, the second opening credits animation feels a bit weird because of the kaleidoscope effect. The first ending theme is Hanashi Wo Shiyou by Glim Spanky. It is quite a nice and lovely ballad with nice guitar strumming. The second ending theme is Beautiful Life by Shiggy Jr and sounds more like a dance song with all its techno effects.

Normally I would want to skip doing a list for the seiyuus this season. But since I have to ultimately note that Mamiko Noto made a cameo appearance as Onee-san, I guess I am obliged to do the rest. With old ones retained, new recognizable ones are Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Oboro, Rie Kugimiya as Anju, Shizuka Itou as Raito, Ayako Kawasumi as Natsumi, Ami Koshimizu as Ranko, Kana Hanazawa as Chibi and Akira Ishida as Kurosu. Wow. That’s pretty a lot. For those I didn’t (sorry), they are Shizuka Ishigami as Renge (Mito in Shokugeki No Shouma), Suzuko Mimori as Suzu (Kanae in Teekyuu), Taishi Murata as Matsugo (Ibusaki in Shokugeki No Shouma), Katsuyuki Konishi as Refuto (Oga in Beelzebub), Yumi Uchiyama as Kuromitsu (Ruri in Nisekoi) and Yuko Sanpei as Shouma (Seita in Gintama).

Overall, the second season is still enjoyable especially if you very much like the comical and story style of Rumiko Takahashi. Of course it still doesn’t resolve anything so those wanting to find some sort or closure or get hyped for some sort of development would find this season to be the same boring formula as the first. Because if Rinne breaks out of his poverty and has enough money to live a comfortable life with no enemies coming after his ass, he wouldn’t be going this far in doing all this. Or would he still? Yes, Rinne. Even with your great shinigami thriftiness, you still can’t get the girl of your heart. Indeed, money can’t buy you love. But remember, without money nobody loves you! It sucks being poor…

 

Mahou Shoujo Naria Girls

February 17, 2017

At first I was sceptical of watching a magical girl show since currently this isn’t really my cup of tea. But what made me decide to watch Mahou Shoujo Naria Girls? No, there are no maid characters here. Well, it is this funny synopsis that I read. Three girls aiming to become nationally renowned characters by creating animation themselves. They choose this magical girl theme to appeal to adults and kids. So the challenge arises as they try to become popular characters in an anime that only lasts for 1 cour. Wow. That sounds interesting. It could be a parody of a parody. Magical girls trying to keep up their popularity via TV show? Well, we all know with the abundance of magical girl TV series, it’s not going to die out soon. But to stand out and be remembered for generations to come, that’s a different story…

Episode 1
Nariadia was once a lush green world but it has now become an icy one. The prince is frozen and Animaru is tasked to gather warriors to fight the Ice Queen and bring back light to the kingdom. Urara looks like your typical cliché main protagonist. Having such strange dreams and running late from school. Her friends are Hanabi who is an airhead and sometimes foul mouth and the busty Inaho who is supposedly to have things come out of her breasts?! WTF?! The trio discuss the meaning of objects seen in dreams like eggplant, hawk and Mt Fuji. So they conclude that the dream wants them to save the world? Whatever. Later they do more talking and I’m not even sure what the heck they’re doing. Are they acting out some sort of quiz or interview? That is when some beast attacks them. Animaru throws them gems and has them say certain words so they can transform into magical girls. That fast? That easy? No reservations or suspicions? Except strange cute things from a strange cute stranger, huh?

Episode 2
The beast runs away. What a bummer. Animaru explains to them how the Ice Queen has stolen the Naria of Winter that causes the kingdom to lose its power and thus her monsters appear in their world. Only the legendary warriors of spring, summer and autumn can stop her. The trio talk about becoming a magical girl especially the bad parts like getting muscle ache and the need to sacrifice and exchange something in equivalent value. Then they tell some joke and blame it on the camera because it didn’t get it. So do I. So is it my fault too? And Inaho is telling us she is just a girl with big boobs and not an airhead like the duo. I think I like her honesty. Anyway, the beast returns with a magic mirror that will make the girls fight over a cheating man although this is just an illusion. Okay… So the girls look like they are acting it out? Pretending to be a plant? Arguing about rent? Giving sexiest names for oden? Thank goodness Animaru snaps them out of this nonsense by throwing gems for them to transform. Immediately after their transformation, they blast away the beast. Sorry folks, no magical girl action. They reconcile and become friends.

Episode 3
Somehow the trio lost their powers. Then they are tasked to become idols and discuss about being one. What’s this about Urara and Inaho teasing Hanabi by changing her name to Nose Hair (Hanage)?! You bet the idol monster is going to wreak havoc. While the trio wait in the audition waiting room, the monster (disguised as a kawaii manager) is going to embarrass them in front of the audiences via this magic mirror that will have them act out as an evil talent agency head, sketchy fortune teller and a new idol. On stage, I don’t even know what the girls are doing. Maybe the magic is really in effect having them talk nonsense. Then they realize they suck and can’t get their act going like they did in practice. When the audience starts making fun of them, a group of girls from some popular high school chide them for laughing at those who are trying their best. The audience become embarrassed by their act and started cheering on them. This causes them to get their powers back as they transform and defeat the monster. Oh, they won the audition too.

Episode 4
There is a new transfer student in school. He is hot so naturally lots of girls like him. So Hanabi teases Urara about thinking about him but the girls detour talking about abbreviated terms before returning to the subject about that guy and making a promise they won’t steal him from anybody despite having a little interest. Of course the monster is going to wreak havoc by showing them an illusion and making them act out a play about a boyfriend who loves big tits and trying to ask a strange father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. I don’t know… The act and conversation are so weird I just can’t follow. Once it gets too awkward, Animaru throws them gems for them to transform and defeat the monster. They realize they almost fall for a bad guy and decide to focus on becoming better magical girls and idols.

Episode 5
The girls are chosen to star in a chocolate commercial. They will star along with a new actress, Uika Majuuzaki. Excited to be on TV, the girls talk and make jokes about dieting and its fads. Of course, Uika is a monster and is going to give the girls trouble. She calls them to come in their normal clothes and at a certain time tomorrow. But when they do, the producers get mad for turning up late and in the wrong clothes. He drops them from the shooting. While depressed, Uika uses her magic mirror to make them play out as a conman trying to pass a married woman off as a high tech maid robot to a pure boy who can’t seem to refuse because he can’t resist maid tits. WTF… The act gets lamer and lamer… Melting cheese… WTF is that… Animaru snaps them out by throwing gems for them to power up and destroy the monster. The producer apologizes for having a wrong impression on them and reinstates them back into their commercial.

Episode 6
Urara dreams of her grandma whom she has been staying with since her mom passed away. As she is sick, she wants to go to her right now although she has practice. So we have the girls talk about using special effects and green background screen to make it look like she is flying over there to visit her. Oh hell, screw all that because they learn to use their magic and fly over there. Finally, a good use for their magical girl power. Urara is sad and doesn’t want grandma to die because she will be all alone. Grandma tells her about life and death but I guess it is too complicated for her to understand. This is when the monster takes advantage of this depression and has them act out as a weird boy dating a girl and his ghostly grandma appears to give unwanted advice. WTF. Even more WTF when they make puns about boobs bouncing like watermelons. As usual, they snap out and defeat the monster. Sadly, Urara’s grandma passes away and it wasn’t the monster’s attack as she suspected. As she cleans her house, she finds a letter from grandma addressed to her. It reads that her mother is still alive but living somewhere else but is always thinking about her so please don’t hate her. Urara realizes she was abandoned.

Episode 7
To help cheer up Urara, Inaho lets them stay at her rich beach villa. Inaho also has a maid, Fuji who will serve them but she is actually a monster. And like always, she makes them play out a silly act. Of all the acts, this is the funniest and tolerable one. It’s about Hanabi returning to her villa only to find that Urara the squatter has lived here since forever. Forever is like 2 weeks. You hear all the silly reasons the squatter gives as she claims the house is hers and even sold Hanabi’s old precious manga to rid of the junk. It gets ‘complicated’ with Inaho coming into a picture as a prospective house buyer. Since when there is a 2 week trial period? They have a contest to see who should get the villa. Read: Lame villa dance and puns. Animaru snaps them out as they transform and defeat the monster before heading to the beach for fun.

Episode 8
The girls are talking about monsters when fellow classmate, Usagi Yukino overheard them. They try to deny everything but Usagi shows them she a gem and is a fellow magical girl. They ask Animaru if there is a fourth one but he is certain the Naria of Winter is in the Ice Queen’s hands. For now, they let her join their ranks to fight monsters. Of course as you have come to expect, Usagi is a monster in disguise. When monster minions come to attack, Usagi launches her illusion attack on them. Yup, another lame acting about one of them realizing she is a perverted boy in disguise that will hinder the gang from fighting the monsters effectively and will eventually break up. So we’ve got Urara acting as the pervert even to a point wanting to take out her ‘magic stick’. Ugh… And some lame international pun contests too. Like always, Animaru snaps them out as they defeat the monster. The girls are sad realizing Usagi is a monster but Urara starts questioning what are monsters.

Episode 9
Urara even questions why they need to do all this. It’s not like she wants to become a magical girl in the first place. Then she starts asking deep questions why she is alive. A guy sits next to her and admits he is a monster. Don’t worry, he won’t attack when he is alone. He talks to her about himself that he isn’t good around other people (because he is a monster?) and in turn Urara tells him what is bugging her. But when her friends arrive, the monster decides to go back to his old ways to help the Ice Queen and make the girls do a lame play of a shopkeeper catching a girl shoplifting. It gets odder when her father comes into the picture. Urara kills it as that father. She’s saying how the daughter takes after him and have ‘sticky fingers’. Get that? Oh, apparently the father also slept with the shopkeeper years ago and will forget about this if they sleep together again. Yeah it might work since dad conveniently forgot all about the shopkeeper after their first time! Same routine of being snapped out and destroying the monster. The girls get a call from their manager that they will be performing at the Nippon Dome.

Episode 10
The girls meet Nastasha Satou who is the Dome’s producer. Before their concert starts, they brainstorm for ideas for this new concert. A few weird ideas that I think went off track. I wonder if they are really serious. During the concert, Satou has them sing a different themed solo song for the audience. For example, Inaho sings about world peace but as some roly poly insect? Hanabi sings enka style about illegal parking and Urara a Christmas song that is about not touching her azuki soba. I don’t know how she messed up and heard soda instead. Anyhow, the songs they sing sound like they are about to burst into laughter anytime. Like it’s all a joke. Are they really serious? If I was the audience, I would ask for a refund! At the backstage, the girls thought they have charged up their gems but it is still empty. They should have seen this coming from a mile because Satou is a monster and tricked them in charging up when they are actually charging up the Ice Queen. Even if they defeat Satou, their power won’t return. Yeah, it’s like these dumbasses never learn.

Episode 11
Urara looks through her photo album and asks dad about mom again. As usual, he dodges the question and this makes Urara upset he continues to keep it a secret. Urara meets up with her friends as they discuss if the monsters attack now, they cannot defend themselves. Then a knight appears and has orders from the Ice Queen to take their power. But aren’t they without power? Even so, they will not give up without a fight. The knight reveals the Ice Queen is Urara’s mom and this makes her upset even more as she wonders if she enjoys making her daughter suffer like this Yeah, suffer more because the knight makes them act out a silly play about biker ladies and the boss is being bossed around by his stupid subordinates. Uh huh. Because Urara is naturally filling up with power, this lame act is to prevent it. After the lame jokes, Animaru snaps them out to transform and destroy the knight. Urara’s dad finally tells her the truth. She was stillborn. They were devastated and mom sacrificed herself to make a great wish to Naria. He wants her to know that mom loves her dearly.

Episode 12
Urara asks Animaru if her mom is really the Ice Queen. He isn’t quite sure either because if she had some big wish, Naria would have absorbed her and unable to maintain her human form. Huh? The only way left is to go face her. But there are tons of snow minions before them. Can’t waste a single magic. So how? Do a lame act! About bras! WTF?! Yeah, those minions must be perverts because they’re talking about striping and showing their bra colour. WTF???!!! But you know what? It’s not like it’s going to work anyway so Hanabi sacrifices herself to path a way for the rest to go ahead. At the front gate, it is obviously a trap. How? Thank goodness no more lame acts. But Inaho sacrifices herself to blast it open. Yeah, the slab just fell on her. Urara is before the Ice Queen. The latter attacks but Urara breaks through with her own power. The sadness of losing her friends powers her up and brings her mom back to normal. She seeks forgiveness and dies. WTF???!!! At least she died as her mom. Even sadder, Urara now makes a powerful wish because she didn’t like the idea of sacrificing someone to make wishes to come true. So she wants everything to be turned back to a world without Naria! Animaru is against it because what about his world? Screw that, right? F*ck! Does she even have enough power?! In the final scene, we see Urara has turned into a boy named Urao. Yeah, he is a f*cking pervert! At least he has a happy family with mom and dad.

The Chronicles Of Naria: The Monster, The Magical Girls And The Horrendous Animation
Wait a minute?! As I was watching a few episodes into the series, it then occurred to me how different it was from the synopsis. Because it felt nothing like it. Unless you consider that lame acting as making a series. So was there some sort of deception?! Well, there is another synopsis which goes about saying about the land of Nariadia which was once vibrant and green only to be trapped in eternal winter by the Ice Queen. Therefore to restore its balance, warriors from the human world known as Naria Girls appear to save the day. Wow. That’s totally different. Had I read this one first, no doubt that I would have passed it up. But in a way it is a ‘blessing’ too because now I get to ascertain how crappy this anime is. That’s right. This is bad. Thank goodness they are not getting another cour out of this. Because this doesn’t feel like a magical girl genre but more of a stand-up comedy.

Okay, the first thing that will strike you as the worst offender is the very badly animated scenes. If I should even call this generally. The series is divided into 2 types of animated scenes, the 3D CGI type with motion capture and the traditional 2D hand drawn type. To cut short a long story, it is horrible as f*ck!!!!! You know, it almost feels like the one who made the 3D animations did not have any programming knowledge beforehand or they had their kids practice their computing skills here. Or maybe it was just the bad acting of the motion capture. I was thinking if this horrible 3D animation is to make us laugh but it is so terrible that my laughter turned to despair. They are so bland that it makes me also wonder if they lack any budget to invest in this CGI part. Coupled in with their lame acting, the CGI animation feels like as though it might go into some glitch anytime! Serious! It looks as though the movement of the girls are on the verge of turning into a glitch. Even if that didn’t happen, it makes their overall movements still as stiff and as lame as ever. Not only zero points but negative points for this!

Although the 2D drawing fares better, however the girls look quite odd in a certain way. As if this is the art style trademark of this series. I don’t know. Just take a look at Urara. Doesn’t she look a bit weird in her 2D form? I know she is cuter than her 3D form but it still looks freaking weird. Besides, the 2D animation is not really animated. They are still pictures and some are even recycled throughout the series. Yeah, what a waste of talent. Therefore it feels like a big deception because the promotional poster of the series is by far the only and I mean the ONLY best looking art ever for the series. I’m not kidding. You thought you might at least see some sparkly special effects and maybe not put your hopes too high. But none can prepare you for this horrendous visuals. Oh, thank goodness they never got another cour.

Next in line to how bad this anime is the voice acting. I might not be very well versed in the voice acting industry but something tells me that the voice acting isn’t really up to anime standards. For example when the girls go into their lame act, the way speak feels like as though they are talking at some live variety show. There is some sort of feel that their voice acting isn’t too polished. Because of the fact that sometimes you could hear that they are about to burst into a giggle over their ‘funny’ joke but trying to hold it back. You know, like what a live show is like when a host is talking to a guest. So it is just freaking lame to hear them speak this way like as though this isn’t something serious enough. At first I thought they were going to pull off some twist like how they are just putting up an act in front of the cameras (because I noticed sometimes they are a bit shaky) as this might be one big show but nope. Just bad voice acting and bad animation. They really trolled us.

Thirdly, that horrendous ending that just leaves us screaming WTF. You know, it is like undoing everything that has happened so far and by the sound of it, I won’t even discount that this Urao ending could be a parallel world. They should have just killed everybody and destroyed the world. I think that even sounds better despite it is sad to kill off magical girls. But with everything going south like as though the producers were running out of time and needed something to end the series with a bang, they thought up of this crap. Worst of all, I don’t even understand what it all meant or why Urara’s mom turned into the Ice Queen in the first place. If there was, I wasn’t paying attention. Lame acting got me turned off. Serious. And we don’t even care what happened to Nariadia eventually. Screw that land! It never existed! Oh yeah. It makes things so much simpler. Oh Animaru, you really failed your mission.

Talking about the plot and characters, the bad animation and voice acting is already enough to eclipse this. Because if you think about it, our Naria Girls are just weak and useless as they are. I mean, in every damn episode they would fall for the monster’s stupid spell to act out a stupid act. I believe this is supposed to be the plot and feature of the series but come on. To have the girls fall into this damn trickery each time and then they have to depend on Animaru to snap them out and finish the job? There has got to be a better way than this. Maybe a few times at the start it would be alright, but all the time falling into the trap of stupid lame acting? And why the heck do monsters want to make them do this? Such humiliation would prevent them from powering up? Yeah, it might just work… By the time the series reaches halfway, the girls should have guessed or at least be cautious with all the people they deal with. But no, they continue to be trusting and hence you can’t blame anybody but them each time they fall into this silly trap. Sure, they are nice girls who would prefer to show us they trust everybody instead of letting the cynical nature of society darken their heart. But at this point I was already hoping that they would forever get stuck in this silly acting and spare us the misery. Oh wait, does this mean we are doomed to watch that when that happens? No way! And if you’re wondering why most of their lame acts sound perverted and a bit horny, yeah, maybe that is why that gender changing ending explains it. Their boy alter ego is perverted in the first place. Or maybe they are just perverted from the start. Once a pervert, always a pervert.

The main magical girls are as shallow as they are. Urara only has some depth because of her links with the Ice Queen. Her other friends aren’t as likeable because their personalities don’t really stand out. Animaru I believe is supposed to be the animal mascot but he fails since I figure his primary job is to snap the girls out of their lame hypnosis and let them finish their job. That’s all he ever does. As for the monsters, sometimes I feel they might have even more personality than the girls despite their single appearance. Because for the eye-catch, they will have a short rant about themselves or at least do some sort of promotion of movie or music release. Yeah, blatant advertising. But it makes them a little more interesting although they are as silly. Another thing I want to say about the monsters is that some of them have voices that don’t really match their looks. I mean, they don’t look scary and ferocious and look more like the monsters that would most likely appear on a children’s Sunday morning cartoon. With some very odd voices trying to go with it, I’d say that it makes them overall weird. Really. And to think that those monsters are supposed to take after Urara’s favourite things when she was young, doesn’t this mean Urara is a twisted person?

Action wise. WHAT ACTION???!!! There is no magical girl action whatsoever here!!! You will be sorely disappointed. Because once they transform, all we are shown is a single still picture of them defeating the monster. Too bad about seeing their special magical girl moves which are none. Heck, at least they have a transformation scene. Despite all the scene being the same, it is the nonsensical themes that Animaru has them spew while they transform. And then they say some random lines as their magical attack to destroy the monster. And the monster will have one final say like all villains should have before they die but it is mostly some promotional items. Damn blatant advertising.

The opening and ending themes are sung by the Naria Girls. They might not be the best anime pop song but at least it offers a little respite to all the horrendous things that this anime has to offer. The opening theme is We Are Naria Girls while the ending theme is Mezase! Kokumin-teki Chara. Note, the ending credits animation is CGI animated with the Naria Girls doing a concert. Yup, crappy sh*t animation. It makes me wonder if the audiences are just cardboard cut outs. Harsh… For the record, the main seiyuus are mostly newbies. They are Seria Fukagawa as Urara (Touko in Glasslip), Aoi Koga as Hanabi (Momoko Ogi in Beyblade Burst), Yuuki Kuwahara as Inaho (Hakua in Shomin Sample) and Koutarou Ishidate as Animaru. Interestingly, there are a handful of popular seiyuus making their cameo as the monsters. For instance Kenichi Suzumura, Mikako Komatsu and Tomokazu Sugita. It is nice to hear Kana Asumi as the Ice Queen as I haven’t been hearing much of her lately and her character only had a voice in the final episode. Funnily most of her lines are screaming roars and I instantly recognized it was her. Yeah, her trademark voice still resonated within me after all this time.

Overall, this is a horrendous production that should not have been made in the first place. It is as though a bunch of drunk guys got together and wanted to animate their silly jokes they told each other but hide it in a form of magical girls (which makes them looking uncouth when they’re acting it out). Everything feels lost here and sometimes the laughter will turn into tears and then back to laughter again because by this time if your mind and heart aren’t strong, you’ll go crazy with all the lameness and silliness that the girls go through. Which reminds me, the lame acting could have been people like me who have stage fright when go up there to put on a simple act. Yeah, not a laughing matter. I’ll never return to showbiz again. And at this rate if I was their manager or the show producer, I would have immediately drop them or cancel their show off the air, earning them a spot on the top 10 list of series that got cancelled before they even finish their run.

World Trigger

February 12, 2017

At first World Trigger might look like Bleach or comparable to it because it involves ordinary teenagers becoming extraordinary heroes, using a faux body to battle armed with almost unique weapons to fight invaders from another world. Well, if you look at it in a general sense. But if you go into its deeper aspects, you will start to see many differences and soon you’ll forget this is ever a Bleach rip-off. And oh, it almost ran forever… Thank goodness it didn’t?

Introduction Arc
* Border Defence Agency AKA Border are set up to fight invading aliens called Neighbours from another dimension.
* Yuuma Kuga is a new transfer student at Mikado City and he doesn’t seem like an ordinary human being. He has got this little alien chaperone, Replica to help guide him around town. Obviously everyone would think he is some sort of foreigner for his lack of knowledge on the local custom. And he is carrying stacks of cash around like nobody’s business! Definitely a target of crooks and punks. But don’t think this shorty is a pushover.
* Fellow classmate, Osamu Mikumo is tasked to help him around. He gets involved with class punks trying to get revenge on Yuuma because he earlier returned their favour for picking on him. He gets beaten up.
* Before it could get worse, the dimensional gate opens and a Neighbour type Bamster (I thought I heard hamster…) wreaks havoc in the Forbidden Zone. Osamu is actually a C-Rank Border agent and a trainee. Despite getting owned by the bullies, he still saves them because of his strongly held beliefs.
* This leads Yuuma to help out as he uses his Trigger to destroy the Bamster in no time. However Yuuma is not a Border agent. His Trigger belonged to his late father who told him to go to Japan in the event of his demise. Oh, his dad isn’t a Border agent but his friend is. And guess what? Yuuma is a Neighbour!
* When other Border agents arrive on the scene, they are perplexed that they cannot identify which Border agent cleaned up this threat.
* Because punks constantly harass Yuuma as he nonchalantly flash his cash, Osamu had to remind him to keep a low profile and that means not revealing his Neighbour origins because you know how Border will react when they find out. But with many friends impressed with Yuuma’s ‘kung fu’, they try to talk more with him. Technically, he isn’t lying when he says he comes from a place where war is always ongoing. Good thing they never ask more or specifically.

* Out of the blue, a dimensional gate opens up at school. This is rare because the gate opened up outside the Forbidden Zone. The students scramble to safety as a pair of Marmods begins attacking.
* As trainee Border agents cannot use their Trigger outside training, Osamu decides to break protocol and fight them because waiting for other agents will only mean casualties. Of course Osamu is not strong enough (not enough Trion power) and gets owned. He gets impaled and his limbs torn off but don’t worry, Trion suits substitutes the actual physical body.
* Yuuma comes to help out by borrowing his weapon and easily destroy the Marmods as he explains about the invisible secret gland that humans have that produce Trion values. But many other factors determine if your Trion is strong or weak.
* To Osamu’s dismay, Yuuma lets him take all the credit and all the students can help be in awe over Osamu. Well, if this is the only way to hide Yuuma’s identity, right?
* A group of A-Rank agents, the Arashiyama Squad arrives to assess the situation. While Jun Arashiyama is grateful for Osamu in saving the day since his siblings go to this school, fellow Ai Kitora is not because this b*tch believes rules are there to instil discipline and maintain order. What the f*ck is your problem? He saved the day and nobody died. And you want to talk about rules? However every reasoning she has, Yuuma counters it and she cannot answer back. Especially that Triggers belong to Neighbours in the first place.
* Osamu still needs to go to HQ to report. Surprisingly Kitora is here to escort him. She is famous enough to automatically pose for other students who want to take picture of her. WTF.
* Kitora explains that Neighbours appearing outside the Forbidden Zone are getting more frequent. But thanks to off duty agents, they were able to contain it. Oh look, here is another one appearing. So this whale creature, Ilgar is a bomber you say? Kitora goes to neutralize it while Osamu helps to citizens evacuate. She manages to figure out its pattern but and fatally damages it. Ilgar’s programme is to perform kamikaze when that happens. Yuuma provides indirect support to minimize damage and maintain casualties at zero.

* Osamu along with super elite agent, Yuuichi Jin from the Tamakoma branch meet the executives. Border HQ commander Masamune Kido (what a big scar on his face), HQ director Masafumi Shinoda (normal guy), assistant director Kyouko Sawamura (plain girl), external affairs and business director Katsumi Karasawa (what is Bleach’s Aizen doing here?), Tamakoma branch director Takumi Rindo (what is Fullmetal Alchemist’s Maes Hughes doing here?!), R&D director Motokichi Kinuta (fatty – why does he look like a bad guy?) and PR director Eizo Netsuki (why is the face of Border a sneaky villain-like rat face?). Some of them want to kick out Osamu for violating the rules but with Kitora giving Osamu his due credit, some prefer to promote Osamu to B-Rank and make use of his abilities. Kido allows him to stay and gives him one more chance. Don’t let this happen again. Jin wants the higher ups to leave Osamu in his care.
* A-Rank agent, Shuuji Miwa confronts Osamu to ascertain if he was the one who destroyed Bamster. Miwa suspects Osamu is in contact with a Neighbour because if he was the one who destroyed Bamster, his Trigger identification with the Marmods are different. Kido gives him the green light to keep a close eye on him and if there is indeed a Neighbour, exterminate it.
* Osamu is surprised that Jin knows about Yuuma. His Side Effect told him. Side Effects are extension of human abilities. Like in the case of Jin, it lets him tell the immediate future.
* They find little scorpion-like Neighbours called Rads responsible for opening abnormal gates. There are thousands of them so it is impossible to flush them all out. Well, with the right PR, info and cooperation from all agents, every last one of them is snuffed out. And Kitora got the honour of killing the last one.

* Yuuma and Chika Amatori coincidentally meet and become friends. When a Neighbour appears nearby, she heads off into the Forbidden Zone. Yuuma saves her before she becomes mincemeat and newly promoted Osamu (wow. B-Rank already, huh?) destroys it. Apparently Osamu wanted to introduce Yuuma and Chika in hopes the former can help solve the latter’s problem: She attracts Neighbours.
* Yuuma explains Neighbours invade this world to steal Trion energy from humans that will be used to fight wars in their world. But why come to this world if theirs also have people with Trion? Earth has simply lots more people. Thus the Neighbours might be attracted to Chika as she might have a high level of Trion.
* As she gets measured, Osamu explains his relation with Chika. Her brother, Rinji is a Border agent and his mentor. Before Border was set up and when Neighbours targeted her, nobody believed nor helped her. Her only one friend who took her seriously went missing shortly and she believed a Neighbour got her. Subsequently her brother too was taken by them. That is why she never sought Border’s help thinking it would only make things worse. Thus Osamu joined Border because he wants to save her. And guess what? Chika’s Trion is so freaking huge and high!!! Mystery solved.
* However they are set upon by Miwa and his squad who now confirms Osamu is in contact with a Neighbour. They are adamant in taking down Yuuma but despite the latter just making evasive moves, he is no pushover. He is not fighting back as he is trying to figure out a way to amicably neutralize his opponents. Eventually Yuuma uses his Black Trigger to copy their moves and use it upon them for their ultimate defeat. Despite Miwa’s squad members giving up as advised by Jin, Miwa still won’t forgive and forget this. Apparently he has a deep grudge on Neighbours because his sister was killed by them.

Black Trigger Capture Arc
* Osamu and Jin have to report to HQ about this Black Trigger and Yuuma being a Neighbour. Some aren’t amused that Osamu has been keeping this secret although Jin suggests getting the Neighbour on their side would be a valuable asset instead of becoming his enemy. And so this is what Kido has decided: He orders Jin to capture Yuuma’s Black Trigger and dispose the Neighbour since he too has Black Trigger. But Jin won’t do it unless it is a command from his direct superior. So when Kido tells Rindo to give the order, he does and Jin immediately accepts it. However Rindo tells him to get the Black Trigger the way he deems fit. This means he doesn’t need to kill Yuuma.
* When Osamu mentions about Yuuma’s father, some of the executives react with super surprise. Yuuma’s father, Yugo was a founding father of Border, a colleague to Rindo and a senior to Rindo and Shinoda. They aren’t sure if he is Yugo’s real kid but what is important is the need to seize his Black Trigger.
* Jin explains to Osamu that Border is currently split into 3 factions. Those who hate Neighbours and want to exterminate them gather behind Rindo. Those who want to protect the city from Neighbours rally behind Shinoda while those who think should get along with Neighbours as friends are from Tamakoma branch. That is why they are viewed as traitors. Since Kido’s party is the biggest party, getting Black Trigger would just tip the power balance. Jin has thought of many ways about other Border agents coming for Yuuma’s Black Trigger but he concludes the simplest plan is the best and that is for Yuuma to join Border.

* Jin brings them back to his Tamakoma base. If you think it is going to be another grand Border base, you’ll be in for a shock. Let’s see. They have a toddler, Yotaro riding his capybara, Raijinmaru and this bespectacled cutie, Shiori Usami. Everyone is so laid back and concern about what to cook next that it is more like a cosy home than a Border base! Yeah, shocking, right? The branch has only 10 people but most of them are A-Rank agents.
* When Rindo returns, he talks to Yuuma about the friend of Yugo he is supposed to see. Souichi Mogami is also another founding member of Border, Yugo’s rival and Jin’s mentor. He has a Black Trigger but died 5 years ago and now Jin is in possession of it. Rindo owes a lot to Yugo so he wants to return the favour and asks Yuuma to join this branch. However he declines.
* Replica explains the reason why Yuuma came to this world. Yuuma and Yugo were just joining the Neighbours’ war back in their world. Yugo and the country’s defence team leader were close friends and helped each other out. All went well till Yugo died.
* Their country is being invaded by another. Since they were sending high level assassins, Yugo told Yuuma to stay put. Apparently he didn’t because he saw how his side was having a hard time and thought he needed to help out. Well, he got killed. He should have stayed dead had not Yugo used his Black Trigger to seal his dying body inside it. As a result, Yugo turned to ashes. And all Yuuma had was his black hair turned white? Because Yuuma inherited Yugo’s Black Trigger, his Side Effect is to detect lies.
* Yuuma continued fighting for his country in Yugo’s stead. For 3 years he became stronger. When the war was over and both sides reconcile, there was nothing for Yuuma to do. Replica suggested going to Japan to find Border where he might retrieve his original body. This is the reason Yuuma looks small as his Trion body doesn’t age. But it doesn’t mean it is immortal. It is slowly dying and once it does, Yuuma will also die.
* However Yuuma had another goal in Japan: To resurrect his father. As seen that Border cannot help him and Mogami is already dead, he has lost all that purpose. Therefore he wants to go back. Replica wants Osamu to give Yuuma a reason, a purpose.
* Osamu is surprised that Chika wants to join Border to find her brother and friend. She is aware of the risks but it is better than doing nothing. And I suppose Osamu can’t dissuade her too.
* Thus Osamu goes to talk to Yuuma about all that he has learnt. As Chika is joining Border, he wants to form a team under the Tamakoma branch and work to become an A-Rank agent. Since Yuuma has nothing to do, he agrees to join under a condition that Osamu is the leader. Of course Osamu disagrees seeing Yuuma has the experience and knowledge fit to be a leader. But with Chika also wanting Osamu to be the leader, you can’t beat majority. They go report to Rindo but he already has their forms filled out. Remember, Jin can peak into the future.
* Shiori explains to the newbies about the rankings and its tournament for one to become A-Rank. Chika wants to be a combatant and after analyzing her traits, she is most suited to be a sniper.
* Meet the A-Rank agents of Tamakoma branch. Scruffy handsome guy Kyousuke Karasuma, laidback muscle guy Reiji Kizaki and another b*tch character but at least she is gullible and funny, the one and only Kirie Konami. Each is assigned a newbie to train before the official enrolment at Border. Looks like Osamu has a lot to train for as he is the weakest.

* The top A-Rank agents that include Kei Tachikawa, Isami Touma and Souya Kazama have returned from an away expedition retrieving 4 Triggers. Kido immediately gives them orders to retrieve Black Trigger and Tachikawa is confident they can do it tonight.
* Tachikawa and many of the A-Rank agents are on their way but Jin stands before them. I guess he saw this coming. There’s a lot of ‘diplomacy’ at first. Lots of points argued whether it is just a Neighbour seeking refuge at Tamakoma or an official Border agent. Eventually we know this is going to turn into a fight and if you think Jin is going to fight them all, he has Arashiyama Squad to back him up.
* Jin seems to be stalling around and not going on the offensive. Surely he is up to something. Then they catch wind of his plan. He is trying to force them to go home by making them run out of Trion. So instead of playing this useless game of tag, they should just head to Tamakoma. That is when Jin gets serious and uses his Black Trigger’s trump card, Fujin. Slowly, Jin and Arashiyama Squad send those A-Rank agents back to base and prevent the capture of Yuuma’s Black Trigger.
* The executives still won’t give up especially Kido thinking of using Tsukihiko Amo, another S-Rank agent with a Black Trigger. Too bad he has personality problems and the kind that could destroy an entire city himself!
* Jin then interrupts their meeting to negotiate. He wants Yuuma to be officially enlisted in Border and in exchange he will give his Fujin. This deal sounds too good to be true especially with Kido not even giving in and can use the excuse of him violating the rules to confiscate his Black Trigger. If so, Jin argues Tachikawa and co will also have their Triggers confiscated and either way it would be a peaceful way for Yuuma to join Border. What if Kido seizes only his Trigger? Jin dares him… Jin adds that his goal is not to fight them and he doesn’t care about the power balance. He believes his juniors can be useful to Kido’s goal in the future.
* Some are still reserved that Jin who has fought so hard for Fujin only to let it go like that, there is more than meets the eye. Furthermore, Fujin is Mogami’s keepsake. Jin is willing to let it go to move forward. Or is he? Now that Jin doesn’t have a Black Trigger, he is no longer S-Rank and an A-Rank and can participate in ranking tournaments, something Tachikawa eagerly looks forward to.

Border Enlistment Arc
* A bunch of new recruits join Border. If Osamu is already a B-Rank, what the heck is he here with Yuuma and Chika?! Does he want retraining again? Sure, it is to accompany Yuuma and his registration. Is he the only one?
* Arashiyama Squad handles the recruitment as they pass down lots of points and tips as Border agents on how to move up to the official B-Rank. Either you get lots of points from your training or via ranking tournaments.
*Kitora was a pupil under Karasuma. Obviously she has some sort of crush on him. You can tell when she wants to be his pupil and learn more. Unfortunately he has no more to teach her. Making her nightmare come true, Karasuma takes Osamu as his pupil! Well, he already did since the special training at Tamakoma but he’s just making it official.
* Border agents who want to be attackers are in a mock simulation to destroy a Neighbour within a designated time. This year’s recruits might seem boring as only a handful just managing under a minute. When it is Yuuma’s turn, he clocks in 0.6 seconds! OMG! Not believing their eyes, he is asked to do it again and he breaks his own record! 0.4 seconds!
* Chika and the rest of the snipers are trained under Arashiyama Squad’s Ken Satori. At first everybody laughs at Chika due to the ‘silly’ question she asked. Even more so a little girl trying to handle a gun that is bigger than her? But when she test fires, it blew a big hole through Border’s walls! OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
* Kazama seeks a mock fight to test out not Yuuma but Osamu. Obviously Osamu takes a beating since Kazama is on Chameleon (stealth/invisibility) mode. Despite realizing Chameleon’s weakness (other weapons cannot be used), Osamu still can’t touch him. After more than 20 rounds, I think it is time to call it quits and Kazama is disappointed and puzzled how Jin sees potential in this guy. But when Osamu learns Jin gave up his Black Trigger for Yuuma’s enlistment, he requests another match. This time Osamu reads his movements. First he spreads his Trion via slow bullets (like fluttering bubbles). Kazama can still rid them. Osamu then uses his shield to charge at him. Once Kazama is backed to the wall and trapped by his barrier, Osamu fires his bomb inside the enclosure. However Kazama was able to attack back and this tie is considered a draw. Well, after 24 losses, I guess for Osamu’s standard this isn’t entirely bad. Kazama assesses Osamu as physically weak and low on Trion power but with his creativity and wit, he finds it acceptable.
* Chika feels so guilty about blasting a hole that she is apologizing like hell that she will pay back, etc. Don’t worry. Satori will take the responsibility. Right?! Good thing he did because he gets an earful from Kinuta. But why is Kinuta treating Chika nicely after hearing the truth? Lolicon? Well, she reminds him of his daughter.

* Yuuma aces in his training and gets perfect points. But in order to get more points in a short time, he needs to participate in Rank Wars and steal points from players with more points. And so Yuuma teaches those arrogant bullies and steal a big chunk of their points.
* Osamu is invited by Shun Midorikawa to fight a solo Rank War. He agrees but loses all 10 matches. Yuuma can tell Midorikawa’s plan to sully Osamu’s reputation because with the crowd watching and getting the wrong idea Osamu’s draw with Kazama was a fluke. So Yuuma challenges Midorikawa to a match and will stake all his points. But if Yuuma wins, he must show respect to Osamu and call him senpai. Oh, did I mention that Midorikawa is A-Rank?
* For the first couple of rounds, Midorikawa easily defeats Yuuma. But after that, Yuuma comes back and shows no mercy to win the remaining matches. Midorikawa then keeps his word and apologizes to Osamu. As he is a big fan of Jin, he was jealous when Osamu joined Tamakoma and wanted to humiliate him. The guys then patch up and become friends. Midorikawa hopes to beat Yuuma next time and transfer to Tamakoma.
* Yuuma and Osamu are ordered to see the top executives. They have foreseen a huge invasion scale attack from Neighbour. What better way than to rely on Jin’s Side Effect when we have a real Neighbour for intelligence. Thus they want Yuuma to divulge information of which Neighbour country and weapons that will be attacking them. Yuuma hands it over to Replica since he has all the experience and records of everything. But in exchange for that, Replica wants Yuuma’s safety and rights to be guaranteed as there are some who blindly hate Neighbours. Kido agrees.
* Replica begins by explaining how Neighbour nations are divided not by borders but as planets. Therefore each of these planet nations goes around in a fixed orbit and when their orbit is close to Earth, they can launch an attack. There are also nations that do not have a fixed orbit and these are called errand nations. Currently there are 4 possible Neighbour nations coming close to Earth at this point. The water world of Liberi, the cavalry nation of Leoforio, the freezing Kion and the largest military nation of Aftokrator. They also have to take into account errand nations as well. Because the map of Yugo and Yuugo’s travels 7 years ago might be outdated, there is a possibility that each nation has advanced including the number of Black Triggers each nation has.
* Shinoda is grateful for Yuuma’s intelligence and would help promote him to an official agent as soon as possible so he could help better. However Yuuma declines as he wants to do it the normal way. After all, there would be suspicions if he abused the system or something and some won’t take it well.
* Jin talks to Miwa as his Side Effect tells him Osamu would be in trouble during the large scale invasion. He wants his favour to help him as he would be the only one crossing his path. Help him out and he can he recommend Miwa as the one to wield Fujin as there are other candidates for it.
* Chika makes friends with fellow C-Rank sniper, Izuho Natsume as she hangs out with Osamu and Yuuma.

Large Scale Invasion Arc
* Oh look, the invasion is here. There are more gates opening up everywhere this time and endless amount of Trion soldiers flowing out. As C-Rank agents handle the evacuation, other B-Rank agents try to stifle the Neighbours from getting out from the Forbidden Zone. But after destroying the Bamsters, a new type of never-seen-before Neighbour pops out. This one is deadlier, faster, stronger and smarter. It is trying to capture the agents. Once Replica receives information on this type, he recognizes them as Rabit. They were prototypes created from Aftokrator and their goal seems to be capturing those with Triggers.
* Yuuma realizes Aftokrator’s smart plan to split up the agents. As Border agents cannot individually deal with a Rabit or risk being captured, they will have to attack it as a group. Due to lack of manpower, this means letting the other Trion soldiers escape out of the Forbidden Zone. If the agents concentrate on these Trion soldiers, the Rabit will take them out.
* Ilgar bombers target Border HQ and though the defence barrier is strong enough to withstand several suicide bombings, it is our number one A-Rank guy Tachikawa who easily takes a couple out.
* Osamu almost got owned by a Rabit if not for Yuuma breaking protocol and using his Black Trigger to beat it down. Yuuma is then attacked by several B-Rank agents who mistake Yuuma as the new humanoid type Neighbour. They get captured but luckily Arashiyama Squad is here to save the day. They become the first agents to take down a Rabit.
* Osamu and Yuuma want to head to where Chika is as he believes that area is unguarded. However Kido will only allow Osamu alone to go there since he believes people might be confused if they see Yuuma as a Neighbour and attack. Kitora will accompany Osamu there while Arashiyama and Mitsuru Tokieda will join Yuuma in keeping the Trio soldiers within the Forbidden Zone.
* When Kazama Squad takes down a Rabit, they do not find any agent inside but a condensed cube.
* Replica finds it odd that Aftokrator is having a large scale invasion because this means their nation is left defenceless. Even more perplexing is how they are scattering their troops instead of concentrating them. They should have known Border’s Bail Out system if they had sent their Rads to come scout for information. Plus, the attack on Border’s HQ feels like a diversion as they could have easily destroyed it soon.

* Kitora fights a different Rabit version. This one flies and even goes so far as to do random attacks. Heck, there are different coloured versions of them too. She improvises by cutting off her leg to destroy it. But then more Rabits pop up. Then she realizes the enemy’s plan to capture C-Rank agents. Unfortunately she gets captured herself.
* Chika is too scared to move. But when she remembers her reason to fight in Border, she picks up the gun and her large Trion blasts away a Rabit. The Tamakoma agents are the strongest Border agents as they are here to back up our young ones. Konami easily slices a Rabit because of her unusual Trigger. As explained, Tamakoma branch’s Triggers are personally customized to the user to fit them unlike HQ’s standard types. Because of that they are prohibited to participate in Rank Wars but at the same time their fighting is so much sharper like Neighbours.
* The Aftokrator humanoids (horned people? But those horns don’t make them horny. They’re Trion receptors) led by Hairein have been watching the battle since. Noticing Chika’s extreme Trion levels, Hairein changes his plans and sends his other generals down to either stop the other agents from interfering with the Rabits’ duties or to capture Chika.
* Kazama Squad faces off with Enedra. Thanks to Shiro Kikuchihara’s Side Effect that enables him to have enhanced hearing, they are able to avoid Enedra’s attacks from blind spots. Enedra is a Black Trigger user and they thought his ability is to turn his body into liquid that makes their attack much harder. When Kazama thought he had sliced him, Kazama himself gets damaged. Inside his body there are blades piercing through him and this has him Bail Out. This sends shockwaves to other agents over his defeat. Knowing they can’t beat Enedra, Kazama orders his teammates to retreat.
* Ranbanein is having a field day cornering the Border agents. He is superior in attack and defence. With very well planned coordination, attack, defence and distraction from Yousuke Yoneya, Kouhei Izumi and Midorikawa, they along with the other B-Rank snipers are able to corner Ranbanein and beat him at his own game.
* To let Karasuma, Osamu, Chika and the other C-Rank agents get away, Reiji takes on Hyuse and Viza to stall for time and keep them here. But old man Viza is in possession of Organon, an Aftokrator’s national treasure that allows him to slice through everything including Reiji’s thick barrier.
* Once Hyuse and Viza catch up to their targets, they have to face Jin and Yuuma.
* Hairein unleashes the remaining 7 Rabits to capture the C-Rank agents. When Osamu is pinned down, Chika lends her Trion power to him as he uses as a powerful blast to successfully destroy a Rabit. This has Hairein coming into the battlefield personally to retrieve the golden target. You know he is the powerful end boss because his Alektor may look like birds, fish and lizards flying and crawling all about but a single touch of it will turn you into a Trion cube! Even your triggers too! Osamu tries to do the same tactic with Chika lending her Trion power but this time it backfires and Chika is turned into a cube. Instead of regretting his decision, he takes the cube and makes a run to the HQ. Rabits are hot on his tail. Who is going to assist him this time? Now it’s Replica’s turn. He has even made his own Rabit version fused with Yuuma’s trigger to give it more power and speed to fight the Rabits. Since this leaves Replica more vulnerable, better get running to the base now.

* Enedra defies Hairein’s orders and infiltrates Border’s HQ to cause chaos. He faces off with Suwa Squad but since they manage to trap him in a fight simulator room, this means although they have unlimited Trion power, they cannot hurt each other. They plan to keep him here and analyze his Black Trigger.
* They thought they found his weakness he creates lots of dummies to fool them. Just when they figure out his Black Trigger’s property is also turning into liquid and gas (that is how he attacks you from inside), he breaks out of the training room. Invincibility time over.
* Don’t worry, Shinoda is here to show off his cool skills. He cuts all of the dummies as he corners Enedra. What about his gas attack? Just use the air-cond and blow it away! Just when Shinoda thought he cut the real weak point, it is another bluff and Enedra has switched sides with him. This means the wind is now blowing against Shinoda and he falls victim to his innards attack.
* Guess what? Shinoda is just a decoy. Enedra thought he saw it coming when a stealth agent comes to attack from behind. He is a decoy too. The real stealth attack comes from Kazama Squad who has been staying stealth all the while. They destroy his weakness.
* Now that Enedra has lost his power, they are going to capture him as a prisoner. However, Enedra is glad Mira is here to retrieve him. Unfortunately she is here just to take his Black Trigger. He is of no use to the team. Enedra’s aggressive and disobeying nature means his brain is consumed by the Trigger and it is only a matter of time he dies. Enedra will not accept his fate so Mira kills him off.
* Hairein thought Izumi is using the surrounding buildings to crush him. But it is just to clear the way so that Miwa Squad snipers and Touma could aim at him. Their great sniping weakens Hairein a lot as he is leaking Trion. Hairein orders Mira to warp several Rabits to keep them at bay since his firing range cannot reach that far. With the snipers at bay, Hairein replenishes his Trion using those cubes. Good as new. Unfair, right? Time for Izumi to Bail Out.

* Karasuma as told by Jin is doing his best to keep Hairein at bay. However Hairein also knows about his plan and has done enough to keep the agents separated before they go in for the big catch. After Karasuma is defeated, Hairein and Mira stand in Osamu’s way to safety. Osamu’s options do not look good. But out of the blue, who is here to save the day? True to Jin’s prediction, Miwa is here. Surprisingly he can fight on par with Hairein.
* Yuuma cannot match up to Viza’s fighting experience. So he pulls off some limb sacrificing manoeuvre to deceive him and then wipe him out in his normal body.
* Osamu gets a little reprieved when their friendly Rabit comes to assist him as he inches closer to the base. When Osamu is struck, he transforms back to his normal body and makes a mad dash (because Trio weapons only effect Trion related things). It got me wondering if he should have done that in the first place. Hairein and Mira become desperate as time is running out and so is their Trion. And then Miwa also transforms back to his normal body to fight but equips himself with Fujin. Shouldn’t he have done that too in the first place? In fact, shouldn’t all agents fighting the Aftokrator guys do this? Unless this Bail Out is only exclusive to a few agents…
* Apparently they have non-Trion weapons that hurt the real body too… With Osamu’s body pierced, as suggested by Replica in a last ditch attempt, he throws Replica through the portal that leads to the Aftokrator’s ship to command it to retreat. But this would mean it would be the last time Replica will be with them as he will be trapped there. When Hairein picks up Chika’s cube, he realizes this is a decoy. With no time left, he calls off the mission. He only picks up Viza and abandons Hyuse. Despite the failure to capture Chika, he considers the mission accomplished.
* The remaining Neighbours are finished off as Osamu is rushed to ICU. Izuho locates Chika’s cube and those who were transformed into one are soon turned back to normal. Although many of the C-Rank agents are missing and considered abducted, it could have been a lot worst according to Jin’s Side Effect. Innocent civilians could have died and A-Rank and B-Rank agents could have been kidnapped.
* The city is undergoing major repairs and Yuuma is looking for Replica. Osamu is recovering but is still unconscious. He dreams about the past especially the events that involved Rinji. After it is believed Chika’s Side Effect has her attract Neighbours and she even refused Border’s protection, Rinji decided to head to the other world to investigate. When Neighbours send their attack, they must go back somehow and he is going to sneak in that way. Against Rinji’s better advice, Osamu wanted to come along too but when that day came, Osamu was left behind and Rinji was already abducted. It was the first time Osamu saw Chika crying. He tries to join Border but he failed the enlistment exam. He didn’t want other positions in Border and even thought of sneaking into the HQ to talk to a higher up. That was when a Neighbour attacked and Jin came to his rescue then.

* Osamu has woke up and he finds not only Chika by his side but his own mother. It has been a week since Osamu has passed out. His mom tells him all of the people who came to visit him except Yuuma. Later Shiori visits to tell him he has received an award for his outstanding service. There are others named too but basically the entire case who fought in the battle.
* When Yuuma finally visits, he tells Osamu that since mini Replica is still around although inanimate, this proves that Replica is still alive and the more reason for them to promote to A-Rank faster. Osamu still blames himself for being weak but Yuuma says he ordered replica to protect Osamu and Chika and that was what he expected.
* Karasawa then brings Osamu and co to a press conference whereby they are grilling Border about the recent invasion whereby 32 trainees were abducted and a few Border staffs died. Netsuki handles the press calmly although it seems they really want somebody to blame on. When a reporter raises a tricky question that sends everybody alerting (the event that Osamu fought to stave off Neighbours from his school), it seems it was a ploy to divert the blame instead to the Border organization and to a single individual, Osamu.
* Of course Osamu isn’t going to take this quietly (at first he did but you can’t lie before Yuuma), he is going to give them his piece of mind. Despite all the questions thrown at him, Osamu answers in his honest fashion way even if it only riles the press. They still want to blame him and take responsibility so his answer to them all is that he will rescue all the abducted trainees. This is when Kido butts in to announce Border’s next big project by sending agents to other worlds and retrieve all lost citizens (despite Border has been doing this on an experimental basis, the public doesn’t know about it). This big news has the press scrambling to cover more on it.
* Osamu is relieved after the press. He did well. His mom remembered that she was very much against him joining Border. But when his comrades visited him, she noticed none told her to tell him to quit. She now understands after watching it all. Since joining Border, he has found what he needs to do so she is going to let him do what he wants with his life.

B-Rank Wars Arc
* It is time for our C-Rank Tamakoma agents to move up to B-Rank as they participate in its official ranking wars. Shiori becomes their operator and since Osamu is still injured, he has to sit out the first match. But you know they’ll be alright because Yuuma and Chika defeat their opponent in a flash and with super power! OMG! Unbelievable! Just promote them to A-Rank already!
* Tamakoma-2 (Osamu’s team name) will be up against Suwa Squad and Arafune Squad which consists entirely of snipers. As much as they do research on their opponents, the opponents also do research on them. With more simulation training, Osamu works hard to find the best strategy and location to give his team the advantage. But there are too many options and he becomes stressed out and unable to decide. Maybe a little relaxation to clear to mind?
* Round 2 is here. As the lowest ranked team, Osamu gets to pick the stage. He chooses an urban hill slope. This might seem to give Arafune Squad the advantage as there are many buildings to hide. However this gives some sort of mutual understanding with Suwa Squad too as Tamakoma-2 teams up with them to take out the snipers who are no good once the fighting range becomes close.
* As expected, Tamakoma-2 wins considering some of the tricky strategies including Yuuma using a feint move to trick his opponent and when Suwa Squad thought they could gang up and hold down Yuuma, here comes Chika with her obliterating blast! Unfortunately Chika was taken out by a snipe shot. All that is left is for Yuuma to become the bait, enough for Osamu to hit Suwa from the back and Arafune Bails Out by default seeing he has run out of Trion after his legs were slashed during the feint attack. This win propels Tamakoma-2 to the top tier of the rankings.
* The next round will have Nasu Squad and Suzunari-1 as their opponents, both of which have similar battle formations as Tamakoma-2. A difference is that Suzunari-1 has a fourth attacker, Kou Murakami and he is the reason why Arafune quit being an attacker and became a sniper.
* Murakami needs somebody to practice with and nobody is willing to till Yuuma volunteers despite the better judgment of others. In a 10 round match, Yuuma seems to be owning him easily leading 4-1. After a well 15 minutes break, Murakami quickly turns the tables and wins the remaining matches for the final score of 6-4. It is all because of his Side Effect something to do with enhanced sleep learning. He performs better after a rest as his brain preserves and organizes memories more effectively during the break.

*Naturally all sides are making their strategies and provisions on the data they have as wells as researching their opponents. We take a short detour to see why Arafune quit as an attacker. Rumour has it that they were of same age and although Arafune joined Border way before Murakami, the latter surpassed the former in 6 months under his tutelage thanks to his Side Effect. But nobody knew that Murakami was distraught with the thought that he is only good at stealing skills of others. Arafune dispelled that since his goal is to become an all-rounder and move on after achieving a certain points level.
* With Nasu Squad given the honour of choosing the stage, it is a city landscape separated by a river and it is believed they will go for middle range battles. It gets trickier since the weather is stormy.
* With everyone separated in the stage, some try to reach for the sole bridge to secure it. However Chika blasts and destroys it, leaving everyone stuck on their respective sides. This sets up for individual matches. On one side we have Nasu Squad’s Yuuko Kumagai against Murakami and Yuuma while Akane Hiura waits for an opportunity to snipe the guys. On the other side, Osamu is having a tough time fighting against Rei Nasu while Suzunari-1’s Tatsuya Kuruma and Taichi Betsuyaku wait for their chance.
* When Kumagai and Murakami target Yuuma, they manage to cut off a hand. Kumagai sends signal to Hiura to shoot. However she misses and this has her location discovered. Yuuma races there to take her out. Hiura despite Kumagai’s advice to Bail Out (so the enemy won’t score points if she is taken out), she continues to snipe at him and sets up a big bomb trap. It was all futile since Yuuma was quick enough to take her out.
* This leaves Murakami in a straight fight with Kumagai. Obviously he is better than her in many ways. Despite her desperate various attacking attempts, Murakami nails it and defeats her. He didn’t even fall for her bomb trap she placed on his weapon after her defeat.
* Now we have a rematch between Yuuma and Murakami. Both draw out their experience and wits to face each other in an intense fight. Eventually Yuuma draws Murakami into the river to break down his defence and that is when he uses this advantage to defeat him.
* Nasu constantly keeps blasting Kuruma and Betsuyaku with many tricks and feint attempts. She finally got Betsuyaku and Kuruma is hanging on a thread. Osamu has this nasty plan with Chika to flood the city with the gushing river to reduce Nasu’s mobility and make her and Kuruma take each other out. In the event if they want to avoid the water and fight at higher ground, they will be in Tamakoma-2’s line of fire.
* As Kuruma is being taken out for good, he manages to deal Nasu quite a huge damage. Osamu then uses this advantage to attack her seeing it was part of his strategy to have her run out of Trio. But being the weakling he is, he too lost. By the time Yuuma arrives to fight her, Nasu has already lost a lot of Trion and Bails Out. Tamakoma-2 wins.
* With the results of today’s match, Tamakoma-2 moves up to 6th spot and into the top tier. Their next opponents will be Ninomiya Squad (ranked no. 1), Kageura Squad (no. 2) and Azuma Squad (no. 7).
* Before the next match begins, there’s going to be lots of soul searching especially for Osamu who realizes he is still the weakest link in his team. So after bugging Kitora to help train him get stronger, she relents. He lost all his simulation matches. Since he isn’t going to give up and Kitora is already bored, Midorikawa takes over. And then followed by other Border agents. Osamu lost all of them. The greatest losing streak ever! It’s like he is some sort of masochist and everybody is like, “Hey, let’s go take turns and beat up this guy!”. Funny…
* During a routine patrol, Osamu stumbles into a boy in a restricted zone. He is an admirer of Osamu and wants to be like him. Cue for a couple of Marmods and a Bamster to attack for Osamu to show his stuffs. Too bad he lost a lot of Trion and held out as much as he could till Yuuma saved the day. Osamu is sad he can’t be like Jin but Yuuma tells him he isn’t. Osamu is Osamu.

Fugitive Arc
* We take a detour from the source material and follow an anime-only arc.
* Several gates open over Mikado City as Jin and Tachikawa successfully eliminate never-seen-before Neighbours. They noticed they were chasing down a couple of Trion soldiers that broke through earlier. A mysterious man, Giev seems to be hunting them down and don’t think these Border agents are any threat to them.
* Osamu and co are at Shizuka City for a training camp.
* Xeno seems to be hunting down humans with Trion but is disappointed that normal ones contain very little Trion.
* Osamu and co stumble upon such a victim. Xeno’s Trion soldier appears to attack them. They engage the various never-seen-before Trion soldiers that Xeno unleashes upon them. Their cooperation almost has them take out one but Xeno will not let his precious Trion soldier die and protects it. Chika wants to treat his wound but Xeno has a Trion soldier taking her hostage. All he needs to do is give an order and her head will be cut off.
* Things calm down when his partner, Lilith enters the scene. Taking refuge in a forest, she explains they are from Ergatis and running away because they betrayed their country. They will be seeking refuge in another nation that will pass by in a week’s time. But during this period, they need Trion to run away and thus Xeno’s actions. Thankfully Xeno is the kind who listens to Lilith so as long as she keeps him under her leash, he won’t do anything drastic.
* When Giev attacks the forest, they have no choice but to seek another safe place to hide. This means back at their training camp. Osamu lies to Shiori, Konami and Karasuma about their circumstances although Shiori pretty much knows what is going on because Jin told her.
* Giev sends his Trion soldiers to attack again, this time Trion soldiers that move underground. Our Border agents are of course superior in destroying them all and this frustrates Giev.

* Now they’re taking refuge back at the abandoned park near the forest. Don’t want to bother other? But staying in an abandoned haunted house attraction?
* Since Xeno is still having trust issues, Lilith explains their reason for being fugitives. Xeno is a smart and top engineering student. Thus this is the cause of jealousy from many others. Because Xeno has no friends and what sets him apart from others is his treatment of his Trion soldiers as his friends rather than tools. Trion soldier technology is important and Ergatis not wanting to sell them is also part of the problem.
* But the free info is over and if they want to know more, Xeno challenges Osamu to a duel in which if he beats him, he’ll get to know more. They haven’t even begun to warm up when Giev sends his attack. Yuuma and Osamu don’t even need to lend a hand as Xeno is self-sufficient to take Giev’s cloning Trion soldiers out. Though another lost for Giev, his chaperone, Charon finds it fun because this means they get to toy with them again.
* Probably being cooked up hiding has led to some stress so Chika thought bringing Lilith out for shopping would be great. But this would make them susceptible to attacks and put others in danger. So they bluff Lilith by making her think it is a real shopping centre when it is just a simulation room. Yeah, more depressed. So they decide to bring her to see the sunset and this was enough to make her happy again since the sunset here is similar to Ergatis. Xeno had never seen her smile like this in such a long while.
* Reports of the new Trion Soldier types have been occurring outside Mikado City. It’s time to take another detour as Miwa Squad is trapped in a building that is being taken over by such Trion soldiers. They are hard to kill since they can regenerate many times before being put out of commission. It is believed that they have taken many people hostage and they serve as Trion energy source that is transmitted to other Trion soldiers via web-like cable. To cut things short, Miwa defeats the big boss with his timely delivered Fujin to save the day.
* But HQ detects something odd during that takeover because it seems that the Trion taken from the people doesn’t add up and surpasses the amount used in battle by far. This is the doing of Giev as he now has a huge source of Trion from this easy picking.

* A nice campfire ruined thanks to Xeno’s sourpuss attitude. It won’t stay long because a huge amount of Trion is seen arriving from the sea. It is believed Giev has hijacked a ferry and is going to blast the entire city away once he gets into radius. Because Xeno and Lilith have hidden their ship somewhere, their run will be useless if they don’t have a ship to meet the other party.
* So our heroes try to stop Giev before he gets into radius. However Osamu and Xeno get trapped inside his Trion reflector box. They can’t use any Trion since it will just bounce off like rubber and they can’t use brute force to smash it because the Trion is powered by the people of the ferry.
* Xeno doesn’t know who Giev is and the latter thinks he is playing dumb and will force him to remember.
* Arashiyama Squad arrives to backup Kitora and Yuuma. Also on the team are Arafune and Murakami. Knowing that the people are being the source of Trion, Giev can’t kill them or sink the ship so they go on a rampage destroying the Trion soldiers. But Giev has limited number of them so instead he powers them up. Quality over quantity.
* I’m not sure about this tactic because Osamu has everyone cover themselves like the reflector box. I’m not sure what happened or what bounced off what. But it was enough to break Osamu and Xeno’s prison. They head into the ship to destroy the big Trion soldier supplying the Trion power.
* Giev hasn’t given up yet. He will just restart everything and detonate it in the air, which is equally as devastating.
* After Osamu saves Xeno from drowning (he can’t swim), Xeno orders the release Chika as his hostage. This allows Chika to transform and use her big Trion firepower to fire at the bomb monster. So powerful that it pushes it back out to sea where it detonates. I hope no marine life was destroyed. And so the day and city are saved. Osamu thanks Xeno for trusting him and setting Chika free although he asserts he was just doing it for Lilith. This guy can’t be honest, can he?

* Not pleased that their collection of Trion energy is wasted, Charon suggests targeting Osamu.
* Speaking of them, they’re supposed to train at the water park but I guess it is an excuse to have fun. Osamu suspects somebody is stalking them. It turns out to be a Trion soldier made out of liquid so you bet it is going to be tough trying to even cut it.
* Using the control room to lure it to the top water tank where Chika will destroy it with her powerful shot, Osamu realizes too late about this trap because when Chika fires, there are still some of those liquid in her gun and it exploded in her face.
* With almost everyone taken out, Lilith has no choice but to reveal her true form. So is she a Trion soldier? Or some sort of goddess mecha? But she packs one hell of a powerful blast. She can’t make any further rash moves because Giev has got Osamu as his hostage. They retreat for now and shortly after Lilith collapses.
* Time for flashback. Xeno was a scientist experimenting and creating Trion soldiers. One day he stumbled upon Lilith, a very life-like Trion soldier that can experience emotions. Fascinated by her, he interacts and talks with her. She was created by Lamia, Ergatis’ top scientist and despite never stepping foot out of the lab, she can have realistic dreams. So Xeno took her out to experience the real world. Yeah, like taking out your robot girl on a date?
* When it is discovered the scientists intend to keep her for battle and erase all those unnecessary memories and feelings, that is when Xeno took Lilith and flee. Lilith once transformed into her true form to protect him. Their goal is to live quietly on another planet where nobody knows their identities.
* The rest tries to search for Osamu’s whereabouts but it is like finding a needle in a haystack. Osamu tries the toilet trick in an attempt to get his Trigger from Giev but fails. When Reiji’s team start fighting Giev’s Trion soldiers outside, Giev made the stupidest careless mistake by putting down Osamu’s Trigger. And why didn’t they tie Osamu up properly either? Because this allows Osamu to activate his Trion. Although he was quickly destroyed and returned to normal, this gave out a signal to pinpoint where his whereabouts at a rock quarry.
* Giev welcomes his enemies to find him because it will mean easier for him to catch them all in one fell swoop.

* Chika and Xeno become separate from Yuuma while they traverse the maze-like quarry. Yuuma then stumbles into Giev who uses a Trion soldier to peek into his memories and materialize ordinary Trion soldiers like Bamsters and Marmods for him to fight. He thinks Giev is trying to learn his moves which means using his usual techniques will not work. It gets to a point where Replica is replicated. Yuuma is not fooled and instantly cuts him down. This greatly upsets Yuuma as he uses his Black Trigger to kick ass and break out of his predicament and confront Giev. But Giev isn’t so worried yet and confident Yuuma can’t beat him. Because he too has a Black Trigger.
* Chika and Xeno find Osamu (after he manages to break out from a Trion soldier guarding him) as they go try to find Yuuma. But first they need to retrieve Osamu’s Trigger. After doing so, they are kept company by Trion soldiers that can assimilate themselves as walls, making the maze even a harder and trickier place.
* Flashback shows Lamia told Giev that Xeno stole their top secret Trion soldier, Lilith. She told him to retrieve Lilith and kill Xeno. Because Giev has some grudge against Xeno, he accepts the mission.
* With both Black Trigger users clash, Giev unleash superior Trion soldiers that know every move Yuuma makes. Xeno takes over Yuuma’s place so that the latter can go help Osamu and Chika trapped underneath the rubble from their powerful Trion attack to exterminate the enemies.
* Although Giev is superior, Lilith then enters the fray in her true form and destroys all of Giev’s Trion soldiers. Giev is upset that Lilith continues to protect Xeno. Giev takes a lot of damage and uses all his energy in focusing to rid Lilith. Xeno is okay as he laments Lilith used up too much Trion to save him. Giev is lying somewhere and knows he won’t last long.
* But next morning, he is alright again. This is the last day and Giev becomes desperate to apprehend his targets while his hate for Xeno constantly grows. He attacks their hideout but Reiji, Karasuma and Konami provide tough resistance. Giev goes all out to even sacrifice his Trion soldiers just to win. He even tries to provoke Xeno that Trion soldiers are just soulless tools for war.

* When Giev is victorious, he realizes his targets aren’t in the hideout. They are hiding in another place. The Tamakoma trio revive to take him out. That is when Giev starts transforming into a monstrous form against his will. At the same time, reports come in that the entire Shizuka City has been taken hostage to harness their Trion. They thought it was Giev’s plan but he clearly has no idea about this. Turns out that Charon is behind this and this real plan involves gathering a large amount of Trion. Giev realizes he is just a Trion soldier.
* Giev turns into a giant Trion soldier. He wasn’t just a prototype before Lilith but somewhat a failure. However he is so powerful that he blasts a hole in the mountain! Thank goodness he stopped functioning after watching the sunset since nobody could even bring him down.
* Back at the hideout, they discuss if the sunset is a trigger for Giev. Lilith relates that Lamia once told her stories about the sunset and when Xeno took her to see the real sunset, it was beautiful. Lamia might have told sunset stories to Giev as well.
* Giev just woke up from yet another dream with Lamia. He attacks Charon for being deceived but Charon mocks his unrequited love towards Lamia and was abandoned by her. And then Charon erases those unnecessary memories.
* Our agents are then trapped in a thick barrier as Giev attacks them once more. Lilith tries to talk some sense into him and make him remember some of the memories deep inside his heart that are hard to erase. Well, all Giev understands is that he needs to do whatever it takes to make Lamia happy. So he absorbs Lilith and turns into a more powerful but hideous Trion soldier. Is this giant ET?
* Xeno’s distrust of Osamu and co grows when he thinks they are going to hand Lilith over to the higher ups once this is over. He traps them and will solve this himself.
* Charon is trying to order Giev to blow up himself along with Lilith so as long as not to leave any Ergatis technology behind.
* Lilith is trying to minimize the explosion (if it happens) but she can’t hold on very much longer and since Xeno fails to save her, he has to go back and request help from Osamu. It’s the umpteenth time Osamu promised he will not betray and you still hesitate? No time left. Just do it!
* The plan involves cutting open Giev’s outer shell enough to pull out and rescue Lilith and also cut off that cancerous bulging Trion supply to prevent the explosion. Charon thought he knew all of Yuuma’s tricks but surprisingly Giev is the one who drags Charon closer to the core. They’re going to die together.
* After Xeno rescues Lilith, she says the self-destruct mode isn’t stopped yet. If you’re wondering why Osamu and co hiding behind a few trees can save their lives when this worse-than-atomic-bomb explosion blows up, it is because the other Border agents who are just fresh from saving the entire Shizuka citizens and ridding every Trion soldiers there is, chip in their Trion to put up a barrier strong enough to contain the blast.
* Xeno and Lilith say goodbye before they miss their flight to the next planet. Not that Lilith mind staying back with her friends. For once, Xeno really thanks Osamu. Lilith also shows her thanks by kissing everyone’s cheeks. Mad Xeno takes back his thanks and couldn’t be happier to leave.

B-Rank Wars Arc (cont.)
* Osamu knows he is insufficient and relying too much on Yuuma and Chika. All he does is come up with a plan and give orders, right? So we are going to have a summarized review of all the B-Rank matches they’ve had so far. I’m not going to do this again so let’s move on.
* Osamu follows Rindo and Yuuma to see Kido at HQ. But he is surprised that Hyuse will also be going. After the large invasion, Tamakoma branch has been keeping him here.
* Naturally Hyuse is not obliged to give out any information and will not speak out. Shinoda confirms with Yuuma about how prisoners are treated in those worlds. Torturing a prisoner is useless since many would say anything to save their skin. To extract information, many are needed for consistency so torturing one would be just for amusement. But this is why Yuuma is brought here. To see if Hyuse is lying. How is he going to tell if he isn’t going to speak?
* Shinoda isn’t trying to threaten Hyuse or anything but he tells him how his team had intentions to kill Enedra and abandon him from the start. They even have audio and visual proof if he wants to check out. So after being abandoned, does he still feel the need to be loyal to his country? This angers Hyuse for a while but his lips are still sealed.
* Seeing they can’t get more out of him, Kido has Rindo take him back. But for Yuuma, he wants him to follow Kinuta for some R&D. As explained by the grumpy fatty, although he laments Osamu letting the Ergatis pair go because they could have gotten more information, Kinuta made a deal with Kido that if Yuuma agrees to help his department out, they would allow Hyuse to be under Tamakoma’s care even if it’s forfeiting their only Aftokrator information source go.
* Kinuta shows them Enedra. The real one is dead. Because Aftokrator’s horns serve like some sort of personality backup, they manage to plant them into this Rad and talk. Because he is surprisingly cooperative, Kinuta needs Yuuma to see if he is lying.
* Enedra explains the large invasion was part of a mission is to find a replacement for Aftokrator’s dying god. Each planet is made out of Triggers that often give life to them for a few centuries before dying out. So if that Trigger/god dies, the planet dies. Of course capturing small fries won’t simply replace the god as there are strict conditions. Enedra is willing to betray his countrymen and even tell a way to get to Aftokrator because his aim is to get revenge on those who betrayed and killed him. While Yuuma detects some lies in his statements, at least cooperating with them is true.

* Osamu and co are then visited by Masataka Ninomiya, one of the top squads they’ll face in the next B-Rank battle. He is gets straight to the point about Rinji. First he shows them a picture of a woman and if they know her. Nope. This woman is suspected of supplying Triggers to civilians and disappeared. It is believed she went through the gate. There were 3 others with her too but since they aren’t from Border, they must be civilians. Supplying Triggers to outsiders is a grave breach and offence. Kazama Squad was to hunt them down but they were already gone. Ninomya wants to find out about her collaborators and Rinji is one of those suspects.
* Even if Ninomiya finds out, it is too late to do anything. The executives are already keeping this under wraps as spreading word about this will have serious percussions. Only a handful knows about this. This incident also caused Ninomiya Squad to be demoted.
* The reason Ninomiya is investigating this case because this woman, Mirai Hatohara was once his squad’s sniper. As his subordinate, he knows she cannot pull off something this big and there must be some mastermind behind this. Osamu remembers from what Rinji told him, he could be the one. Surprisingly Chika also believes it could be Rinji because he is capable of pulling off something this big. But there is no supportive evidence whatsoever. Osamu also believes Hatohara wasn’t instigated into this by the mastermind but their interests aligned so they made a deal.
* Osamu wants to know the progress Ninomiya made but he won’t tell anything. At this rate they cannot become A-Rank and go for away missions. So what is the use of telling him information he will never use? If they really want to find Rinji, let Yuuma join an A-Rank. That’s the most viable way to go to other planets lawfully.
* Since Osamu wants to be a proper fighter instead of relying too much on Yuuma, Karasuma arranges for him to get training from Arashiyama and Izumi.
* Chika is also in her sniper training and meets fellow sniper, Yuzuru Ema. She learns his mentor was Hatohara. To his knowledge, Hatohara qualified for away missions but was side-lined and disqualified by the executives simply because she cannot shoot humans. She won matches by shooting and disabling her opponents’ weapons. Chika too mentions she can’t shoot humans because of fear. Ema finds it funny since he is from Kageura Squad whom her team will face next.
* Yuuma finishes another training with Murakami. He asks about Masato Kageura since he is one of the few persons Murakami has trouble is despite not ranking high. Yuuma will soon witness first-hand about his bad temperamental personality. His Side Effect may look like he can read people’s minds but it is more of some sort of negative emotions he feels from others. Depending on what negative emotions, it pricks his skin and gives him pain, thus his moody personality.
* Osamu is supposed to go train with Izumi but this cocky Takeru Yuiga stops him at all cost. He brags himself to be one of the top A-Rank agents but as Izumi puts it, he is the weakest A-Rank agent and even weaker than many B-Rank agents. Izumi has Osamu train by getting 100 wins from him. It is no easy task seeing how weak Osamu is. 2 out of 10 wins isn’t all that bad. If Yuiga can just stop the bragging…
* As Karasuma explains, Yuiga is the son of Border’s top sponsor. Because so, he insisted to join an A-Rank team but since nobody wanted this snobbish guy around, the executives eventually threw him into Tachikawa Squad.

* The next round of matches begin with the 4 teams dropping into a city landscape that is snowing.
* Kageura Squad’s Hiro Kitazoe seem like the first to draw first blood but his Meteora bombardment is haphazard and sloppy, missing everything!
* Everybody seems to be targeting Tamakoma-2 because they have the weakest defence and preventing them from rendezvousing.
* While Yuuma is forced to ‘play’ with Kageura, Osamu is being targeted by Ninomiya Squad’s Sumiharu Inukai. Azuma Squad’s Tsuneyuki Okudera and Noboru Koarai join in the battle but Inukai’s teammate, Shinnosuke Tsuji backs him up.
* It seems like Osamu is being ‘neglected’ because the duo of Azuma Squad and Ninomiya Squad are fighting each other inside a building, a tactic working well for the former since they picked the stage so that with the snow preventing mobility outside, they are able to force their enemies to come inside buildings with narrower hallways which enhances their melee combat. That is when Haruaki Azuma uses his superb sniping skills to shoot through the walls and directly hits Osamu! Instant Bail Out! First casualty. Everybody is looking so shock.
* Chika has a chance to take out the quartet inside the building in 1 shot. However she still has that disability of not shooting people and is hesitant. When she does, she missed. At least the quartet sensed it enough to get out in time.
* Chika is supposed to Bail Out but Azuma is close on her tail that the feature is disabled. Although Inukai is close on her tail, he is sniped by Ema and then finished by Kageura. Chika is then able to Bail Out safely.
* All the attackers are now here. Yuuma, Kageura, Okudera, Koarai and Tsuji duke each other out in a mad close quarter combat but Yuuma is mostly targeted as he is the most mobile.
* Ninomiya hunts down Ema and finishes him off. Azuma tries to snipe Kitazoe but is blocked by Ninomiya simply because he wants the points. Before Kitazoe gets owned, he lets out another sloppy bombardment on the attackers. During the chaotic disarray, Kageura slashed Okudera, Yuuma took out Koarai and Azuma shot down Tsuji. Now Kageura can fight Yuuma in peace.
* Too bad Ninomiya came to spoil the party and rain down all his Trion power on them. Yuuma has taken lots of damage and in his final attempt to strike, he loses all his Trion and Bails Out. Even top guys have to lose once in a while. With only 3 left, it becomes super quiet and the match ends when the time runs out. I guess no more easy targets to take out so they’re just playing the waiting game.
* Now that it is over, there is lots of soul searching for Osamu. Being given a hint from Kazama to do his duty as captain, he goes to talk to Jin and wants him to join Tamakoma-2 since he is now a free agent. Of course he can’t seeing he has important things to do. Jin doesn’t want Osamu to rush since there will always be chances in the future but Osamu is really in a hurry. As we know, Yuuma doesn’t have time left and that is why they need to become A-Rank agents and join away teams so that Yuuma and Replica can reunite.
* Jin tells Osamu it isn’t his fault that Replica is gone. It was Jin’s fault to begin with. His Side Effect already told him that Chika was already targeted. Yet he knew he could have sent her far away. But he doesn’t want other areas to be damaged and thus decided on a future that could have cost Osamu’s life and sealed Replica’s fate. Thus he is mostly responsible for what happened to Replica. Jin hints that there is someone else more suitable to join Tamakoma-2.

* Jin joins the other elites in an emergency meeting. From the information they have extracted from Enedra, there are 3 Neighbour nations that will approach Earth soon and another attack threat. Among them are Rhodokrhoun and Galopoula, both vassals of Aftokrator. As Jin has not seen another kidnapping or deaths, perhaps this invasion could be stealth and not target people but technology. For now, Kido doesn’t want this to get out to the public and they will do their operations covertly to avoid unnecessary panic since the last invasion was just recent.
* After Osamu tells Konami and Reiji about his failed recruitment plans over Jin, they think about it and think the person whom he meant might be Hyuse. No, not Yotaro. However Hyuse will refuse to cooperate any how even in the rare case if HQ allows it.
* Osamu and Yuuma go to talk to Enedra to find out more about Hyuse but learn the impending invasion. Enedra might not know much about these 2 nations but if Earth can repel Aftokrator, these are nothing. How Enedra knows about the invasion is because this is what Hairein would do to play safe.
* Yuuma feels odd that Aftokrator should be happy their Trion source would come to them instead of going on invasions. Enedra explains when they get back, there is usually a big argument to choose the next god. Because this is a very important decision for the planet’s future, everyone has their own opinions and disagreements, thus they have no time to defend invasions themselves.
* Enedra warns not to tell this to Hyuse because he has a feeling he might be trying to find an opportunity to get back to his homeland.
* Chika gets training from Ema who suggests she uses and shoot lead bullets that immobilize the targets with heavy lead instead. Of course it has lots of drawbacks but it is the only way if Chika can’t shoot people.
* Enedra further explains the Aftokrator feudal system how there are 4 feudal lords and many houses and subordinates under them. Hairein is one of the 4. If they’re not fighting other planets, they argue among themselves. With the planet’s god dying, this gives a chance for the feudal lords to increase their influence with their achievements. Hairein has a pessimistic way of thinking so he took into account his away missions to fail. If that happens (in which it did because they failed to get Chika), he will use the one with the strongest Trion under his house as replacement. That replacement is Erin house who is Hyuse’s master. Since this is an unpopular move, the reason Hyuse is abandoned but Hairein is determined to do all it takes to increase his influence. That is why even if Hyuse hasn’t concluded of this betrayal, he would still want to go back home to his master and the impending invasion is his chance.

* Yuuma is about to go train himself when Nozomi Kako, the captain of Kako Squad approaches him and invites him to join her team. Instantly he rejects and despite all the goodies her team is willing to throw in, Yuuma has his own reasons to stick with Osamu.
* As advised by Tokieda, Osamu is better off seeking training from Kitora. She again? Of course she declines seeing that with his goals and limited time, it is very unlikely it will do him any good. She is being realistic but you wouldn’t know if you don’t try, right? Eventually seeing Osamu beg must have bothered her so she agrees to teach him how to use Spider. It is just a low level trap and unpopular in Rank Wars. But Osamu can use it as his own weapon like distracting others.
* Jin senses the enemy has arrived. The squads sortie to protect the base and at the same time the B-Rank Wars will proceed. This means Tamakoma-2 and other B-Rank teams playing tonight are unaware of what is going on. If the breach is only very serious, the Rank Wars will be stopped and all agents will go on duty.
* They see the Trion soldiers to have humanoid features. They are smarter as they work in groups and can use shields. They also have gadgets that open portals to let other Trion soldiers in. Their numbers are overwhelming as the A-Rank Agents on the ground have to retreat to higher places for now. At the same time, Tamakoma-2 begins to start their next match.

They Make The Strangest Animes Ever
You know what? I thought they ran out of budget and that is why the sudden end of the series. Or maybe fans got bored after they inserted more drama after the last B-Rank Wars. Despite that arc continued after the filler, there was only actually 1 B-Rank match. And that lasted for a few episodes. Getting boring and draggy, right? Then it’s like they counted how many episodes left needed for the rest of the season. They put in the exciting stuff of another Neighbour invasion in the final scenes and leave everything as a cliff-hanger. Well, that sucks. They even had the cheek to let Jin tell us his Side Effect tells us that a possible future may have a sequel. Remember, one of the MANY possible futures. Have we lost interest yet? It’s disappointing that they have to end it like this.

Honestly, the plot and the story arcs are not too shabby and some of them are quite interesting like the Aftokrator invasion and B-Rank Wars, although they may be a little bit draggy with some drama here and there but they’re still interesting. However the worst storyline and the one that possibly tested my patience was that unnecessary Fugitive arc. Since it was an anime only story, I guess it is just a damn freaking filler. It was painful to watch because it was so filler-like that didn’t contribute much to the original plot. And you know very well that I’m going to say it is not that bad after all because luckily they casted Mamiko Noto as Lilith. Or else the entire series would just tank just because of this damn arc. Really. Some little development I’m sure we’ve forgotten by the time the anime ends. Remember the 3 factions in Border? What happened to that?

Building and trying to get viewers into this series’ world setting is a good way to cultivate interest. There are a handful of terms especially the weapons and fighting tactics that they used that one could learn as you watch. They aren’t hard to learn and remember but personally I’m just lazy (thus you see lack of my terms used in this blog). Heck, they even have this 100 Fun Facts segment at the end of the series before the next episode preview. Well, it is interesting at first as they explain more about the world, concepts, terms and characters, it starts to get old and sometimes annoying. I bet it won’t reach 100 fun facts because there are only 73 damn episodes! You cheated us! Even more so they short-changed us when some of the earlier topics they covered in earlier episodes are covered again very much later. It’s like they’ve run out of topics to cover and think a refreshing course would suffice. Although they didn’t use recycled footage for it, but it’s bad enough to think that there is nothing more to learn and you’re just waiting for the characters to do some punch line or something.

One of the biggest problems facing animes that have so many episodes is the number of characters. This one has a lot. And I mean really a lot. And these are just the Border agents themselves. While it is good to have a variety of characters aside the main ones and tell different stories that would one day all (if not some) converge, the downside is that from the perspective of this anime I don’t really feel connected to them. Some even feel forgettable that I don’t even remember them what more their names by the time the anime ends. Heck, I think they even introduced a few more as the anime heads towards its closing. Like would that even matter? For example, some like Miwa whom was featured decently enough in the beginning start to fall off the radar after the Aftokrator invasion. It’s like he doesn’t matter anymore. This is true with many of the other characters from other squads whom at this point I can’t even remember. Still remember Midorikawa? No? Me too.

So many characters involved that you will eventually noticed that every damn episode they when a minor or a supporting character pops up, his name and rank will pop up in a small box to introduce us. Again. It might be good for lesser known characters we have forgotten but not so for those we should have already know by now. I get this guy is named Jin so can you please stop spamming his name already each time he appears the first time in today’s episode? So while it is only logical and right that Osamu and the Tamakoma side get more focus than the other squads, sometimes it makes me feel that if introducing so many characters is necessary in the first place. Of course I understand that Border is a huge organization with so many agents so it is not like you’re going to meet a handful of powerful and mediocre ones. So with this bunch of Border agents, you can at least feel that this is very large and diverse organization with different people. I’m sure they are trying to let us know more some of the characters in detail because the mid-intermission puts up the bio-data of the characters although they are mostly recycled because well, we’ll all know just this bunch of them only, right? The weirdest information on this data screen is the zodiac. They aren’t your typical Aries, Cancer or Virgo constellations but something that is even more complicated to read and pronounce. Yeah, what the heck is an Aptenodytes? I don’t know what constellations they follow but I figure that if they have other planet nations from the other side of the galaxy, I’m sure the stars in the sky are also different.

Having seen so many characters and people in Border, it raises the biggest question while I was watching the series: How come that a big majority of the Border agents are high school kids or college kids? The oldest usually being young adults. Whatever happened to real adults who are supposed to be help protecting the city with them? Do they just get promoted to executives and work behind the scenes? I mean, it is true that if you are on the battlefield, you have to be fit and sharp to stay ahead of your game. So being a Border agent is like being a sportsman? Once you reach a certain age because your body has grown old, you ‘retire’ and get a desk job behind Border’s HQ. Noticed all those middle aged guys as executives? Yeah, I guess this theory of mine explains why there are so many young kids who are supposed to be in school learning something but instead out there fighting giant monsters. It’s not like the country made a compulsory draft for all teenagers who reached a certain age, right? Even if they did, these kids are still in high school for heaven’s sake. Ah, stolen childhood years. But how can you have a peaceful one when Neighbours keep invading. And yeah, why do all females become operators? Is this some sort of stereotype? Yeah, we love hearing the soothing female voice over the telecommunications, right? As far as I remember, there was only 1 male as an operator and he is a highly ranked macho man working behind the scenes.

So let me go into some of the individual characters. Over the course of the entire series, personally I think Osamu didn’t really improve much. Yes, he does improve but not in a big way that there would be any sort of major changes or impact to anything. He is still a weakling after all that training. I believe he takes a longer time to get better but at this rate he might turn into an old man and never get to go on an away mission. His brains might be his forte but that can only get him so far. The said can be said about his kindness to help everyone. I understand it is good that he sticks to his ideals but in the world he lives in, if he doesn’t adapt quickly, he’ll end up regretting and hurting others. As almost seen it can happen in certain situations. Each time he promises his team they will do better next time, is it like trolling or promise still unfulfilled yet?

It doesn’t help too that teammate Chika isn’t all that great either. The only thing worthy about her is her large amount of Trion. That’s about it. She is a good sniper but only because of the super big amount of Trion she discharges when she pulls the trigger. Even worse as we learnt that she is unable to pull the trigger when it involves living things. Wait. What? I know you’re trying to keep your good little girl image but you have got to prioritize what is important. Guess what too? She can’t even fight back? I understand she specializes in sniping and doesn’t have good martial arts but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when she had to voluntarily Bail Out in a mock battle when she is cornered. Talk about going down with a fight. Not. So if Tamakoma-2 gets screwed, the only viable option for Chika is to surrender without a fight. I don’t want to believe she is frail and weak. I know the match was to avoid enemies from taking points since she voluntarily Bailed Out but that’s not the point. She should at least try, know what I’m saying?

Because here is the biggest irony of Tamakoma-2. They want to quickly get promoted to A-Rank agents and for away missions but yet they cannot even overcome such a simple stuff like this. It made me think if the series is trying to portray a kind of hero whereby they are given 2 choices in which they can only make one choice but instead they f*ck that choice and will be going for both. It’s like they want things to go their way and that the situation should change for them instead of them adapting to the situation. Because like in Chika’s case if she cannot even shoot a people even if it is training, what are the chances of Tamakoma-2 winning the B-Rank Wars and moving up? The other teams aren’t going to be so kind and just let them have a walkover, aren’t they? So they have got to realize and open their eyes on what is important now. What do they want? So can Chika at least get over herself and shoot people? And when I say that I don’t mean to kill them. Just shoot and immobilize them. That’s it. You don’t have to kill.

Therefore the only reliable member in Tamakoma-2 is Yuuma. This guy is pretty cool and experienced so I have no complaints about him. Sometimes when I see Tamakoma-2 in action, I just feel compelled to root for Yuuma instead of the others. Quickly commenting on the other Tamakoma members, Yotaro feels redundant as he just sits around giving comments. After all, he is just a kid so what else you expect him to do? So he is relegated to playing the comic relief role. I guess they need somebody young and cute in addition to a capybara. But you know that the producers need to do something to make Yotaro’s reputation seem less like that when they even give him a filler episode of his own inside a filler arc! How f*cking badass is that?! I don’t think Jin even gets his own damn episode! Speaking of this cool guy, sometimes I feel his Side Effect is just a blatant reason and an excuse for a plot to move in a certain direction. His clairvoyance isn’t perfect but it is sure hell of a useful at convenient times. It’s like he is reading directly out from the director’s script and know what is exactly going to happen. Because have you seen this guy panicky before? Just cool all the way. The rest of the Tamakoma Squad are good mentors and good people. Reiji is the serious type so nobody messes with him and Shiori the hard working operator. Karasuma loves teasing and bluffing Konami and see her reaction. She’s so cute when she realizes she is fooled so it is no wonder Karasuma loves doing this and pulls it off magnificently with his poker face and also because Konami is just naïve. But why take it all out on Osamu? Yeah, your running joke for Tamakoma.

Let me see some of the other characters who are worth commenting. Ah, Izuho. I thought she would become Osamu’s fourth team member and I was waiting for it for a long time even before Osamu had the thought of recruiting. But that never came to be because I realized Izuho is still C-Rank! Man, how long is she going to be a trainee? So what the heck is her role for except to be Chika’s friend in training and the girl who carries a cat with dead eyes around? WTF?! Then there is this mysterious Amo guy. Due to lack of appearing and information on him, he sounds like he is the biggest trump card after Jin because short clips show him all alone by himself in a wasteland like as though he is some very dangerous person with uncontrolled powers. Well, it’s a waste of opportunity for this guy at least in this anime. Kitora is being a b*tch at first but I have a hunch and just hoping she is just being tsundere with Osamu. I hope she is. Sure, she has a crush on Karasuma but what good will that do? What the heck am I thinking of hoping for some sort of romance triangle in this series? When you have a long running series, you tend to put and mash everything inside. So sorry. No romance, no fanservice. Say what???!!!! No fanservice? But that pool episode? Sorry. Girls in their ordinary swimsuits just don’t cut it these days. But lashing out at Kitora for being harsh is just unfair. She is just being realistic. Because everyone else is mostly too kind to Osamu, he might get ‘spoilt’. In turn, he might end up getting very disappointed and soul crushed. For a guy like him, it is most likely to happen.

The action scenes are quite exciting to watch. It might not be top notched but they are still interesting in its own right when you see the characters pull off different moves and tactics to get the better of their opponents. That’s why I said the Aftokrator invasion and the B-Rank Wars were the most interesting arcs as they showcase lots of battles and different characters using a combination of different styles. But sometimes I can’t help that this fake Trion body that they use in battles makes this whole war thing fake and cheating because even if you lose a limb (you don’t even feel pain), the most is that you Bail Out and return to your real body inside the comfy safety of Border’s HQ. It’s also like a censor since in place of blood, Trion energy drips out and thus less scary for younger audiences. That way too, no major and supporting characters get killed off. Yeah.

The art and drawing seem simple and decent. Although it is not very bad but it is simplistic enough to make you think that this isn’t such a high quality anime in the looks department because they’re going to spread this out over 70 episodes so why not just make it look a bit cartoonish to appeal to kids. Yeah, that. While many of the character designs look simple and you’d probably tell them apart from their different hairstyle and colours, some also look a bit odd like Tachikawa has bug eyes! Creepy? But the oddest and most inconsistent one goes to Chika. That’s right. It seems that she can go from looking cute to looking weird in a matter of frames. That’s because with the kind of hairstyle she has, she sometimes looks like a kokeshi doll and sometimes have high bangs. Making her looking weirder is her smile that sometimes make her look like a frog. No, seriously. When characters go into chibi mode, they have butt mouths… I’m not kidding you. The designs for the Trion soldiers look a bit bland after a while. They look like they take after some animals like Rabits obviously from bunnies, Rad like scorpions and Vanders look like giant worms. Yeah. “They’re sinking cities with a giant worm!” ;p. For the Trion soldiers during the Fugitive arc, I thought those fat brown ones look like they were inspired from Doom’s Mancubus. Rock version. Speaking of the Trion soldiers’ design, their weak point is so obvious in the form of a ball right in front of their mouths. It’s like saying, “Hey, shoot here. That’s my weak point!”. Design fail. Shouldn’t they have just put it somewhere inside the body where it is less obvious?

Voice acting seems pretty decent and with so many characters, I can’t really name them all (read: lazy) but there are a handful that were instantly recognizable like Yuuki Kaiji as Osamu, Yuuichi Nakamura as Jin, Jun Fukuyama as Karasuma, Rie Kugimiya as Konami, Kana Hanazawa as Kitora, Keiji Fujiwara as Rindo, Junichi Suwabe as Ninomiya, Tomokazu Sugita as Kageura and Tetsuya Kakihara as Yuiga. Not forgetting from the useless Fugitive arc, Mamiko Noto as Lilith (all praises to her!), Daisuke Sakaguchi as Xeno (no Shinapachi voice here) and Takahiro Sakurai as Giev. Rest of the other main casts are Tomo Muranaka as Yuuma (Micie in Escha & Logy), Nao Tamura as Chika (Minori in Log Horizon), Eri Nakao as Shiori (Miki in Hayate No Gotoku), Megumi Urawa as Yotaro (Makoto Kurita in Jigoku Sensei Nube), Tomoaki Maeno as Reiji (Junichi in Amagami SS), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Arashiyama (Accelerator in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Hikaru Midorikawa as Kazama (Lancer in Fate series), Masakazu Morita as Miwa (Ichigo in Bleach), Takuya Kirimoto as Kido (Gazelle in Eureka Seven Ao), Takeshi Kusao as Shinoda (Trunks in Dragonball series), Hideyuki Tanaka as Replica (Kogure in Slam Dunk), Hiromi Konno as Izuho (Sae in Amagami SS), Nozomu Sasaki as Hairein (Ushio in Ushio & Tora), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Hyuse (Shido in Date A Live) and Sakiko Tamagawa as Charon (Natsumi in You’re Under Arrest). Phew. What long list. I think I missed out some but I don’t care anymore :p.

I think when I say the opening themes are unique will be misleading. Heck, there is only an opening theme and no ending theme. Wait. That isn’t accurate either. At first it started out as an opening theme but a few episodes into the series, they ‘changed’ and now this theme is right smack in the middle of the episode! Fancy hearing your anime music right in the middle? The only series that has only that I watched that has an opener but without an ending theme is One Piece. They’re still doing it. But that was right in the beginning. So for this series, they seemed to save cost without the need to put in additional songs. Because for a long running series, having 3 themes overall is just pathetic if you compare it to today’s standards. But what about the music? That’s more important, right? Well, the first opener, Girigiri by Sonar Pocket is personally the best one because it has this hip hop and dance feel to it and it has some synthesizer effects that make it sound cool. The second opener is a slower ballad but still not bad, Ashita No Hikari by AAA (WTF is this group name?! Running out of ideas?!). Finally the rock based Dream Trigger by Pile.

Overall, this series might be longer than your usual single or double cour seasons and doesn’t break up or take break in between seasons like what some other animes are doing. But because it doesn’t run forever and ended, it still feels a bit like a long journey. People’s attention these days are so short. As I can see there are so much more potential in the story and characters that I myself is in a dilemma that if they continue this with more seasons, I don’t know if I would be happy to watch or will dread watching it. But since I have already ‘a foot in the grave’ with this series, might as well continue and give it another chance. Too bad I don’t have Jin’s Side Effect to tell me if it is happening or not. If you like series that can work as your Sunday cartoons for teens, this one has all the typical formula that you will love. Lots of characters and pretty cool fights as well as a somewhat simple plot (“Destroy Neighbours!”, “Let’s train to power up and participate in matches to advance!”) so it is still enjoyable to that degree. Until then, it’s Trigger Off. On standby mode at least.

P/S: I wanted to insert a “Love Thy Neighbour” pun somewhere but it seems I couldn’t find the right place ;p.

Gyakuten Saiban

February 11, 2017

After several video games, a handful of spinoffs, a live action movie and countless of parodies, Gyakuten Saiban (or better known as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney in the west) finally receives its anime adaptation. Albeit the 24 episode anime series is only adapting from the first 2 games of the series. So if you ever dream of ever becoming a lawyer but couldn’t just because your understanding of the law sucks, you can draw inspiration from this series to be one. Or at least satiate your obsession of watching courtroom dramas. Or maybe we just wanted an excuse to say “Igi ari!” (“Objection!”). Yeah, that felt good, doesn’t it?

Episode 1
A man kills a woman. In order not to be suspected, he plans to pin the blame on somebody. Ryuuichi Naruhodo is a rookie defence attorney and is about to make his first court case appearance after getting his badge 3 months ago. Chihiro Ayasato is his boss and wouldn’t miss his first case which is homicidal for the world. The suspect is Masashi Yahari who is Naruhodo’s best friend. Because the media accused and painted him as a killer, this was a reason why Naruhodo became an attorney. He knows he is a good man but has the worst luck. And worst attitude. Takefumi Auchi is the prosecutor as he presents evidence of 22 year old model, Mika Takabi in her apartment. She was killed by a blunt object which is a sculpture made by Yahari given to her as a gift. Naturally his fingerprints are all over it. It doesn’t help with Yahari acting like an uncivilized idiot and making it even more suspicious is the accusation Yahari may be jealous of Mika’s current boyfriend and killed her in a fit of rage. He was after all at her apartment on the day of her death. I wonder why the defence attorney didn’t speak on his behalf and let Yahari just rant his mouth like that. Auchi calls in an eyewitness who is no doubt that real killer, Hoshio Yamano. As a newspaper subscription seller, he accounts how he saw Yahari left the apartment before he stumbled upon the body. Naruhodo cross-examines him and holes in Yamano’s story surface when the difference in time contradicts his story. He said he found the body at 2pm when the autopsy report listed it as 4pm. There was no other way to tell the time since there was a temporarily blackout. The time is told from the sculpture since Yahari created an in-build clock inside that can tell the time once you turn the head. However Naruhodo’s cross-examining comes to a halt when he cannot prove if the clock was running slow on the day of the murder. He thought he has lost when Chihiro hints to him to think from a different perspective. Naruhodo comes back with proof from Mika’s passport that she recently returned from USA. That time difference was enough to indict Yamano as the culprit and free Yahari. The real story goes as Yamano is a thief who robs from his subscribers when they are out. At that time Mika had just came back and he took the sculpture and whacked her head. Yahari is grateful to Naruhodo. He gives the sculpture to Chihiro as gift. That murder weapon? He thought Mika never loved him but on the contrary they think she did because why bother bringing something bulky all the way overseas?

Episode 2
Chihiro invites Naruhodo to dinner at the office since her little sister, Mayoi will come visit her. When he comes at the appointed time, he finds the office in a mess and Chihiro’s body lying slumped against the wall. He sees Mayoi cowering in fear in a corner. Detective Keisuke Itonokogiri and his police force arrive. They see a blood written word that spells Mayoi’s name on the back of the receipt. He is convinced she is the culprit and arrests her. Next day, Naruhodo talks to her at prison. He learns she was visiting her sister because she wanted to show her the sculpture. Her odd outfit is because she is a spirit medium although just an apprentice. Her family has always been well known in the spirit arts especially the women. Of course since she is still a trainee, she can’t really contact her dead sister yet. She wants Naruhodo to contact her lawyer, Soraonsuke Hoshikage because Chihiro said to contact him if anything happens. Although Naruhodo wants to defend her, she doesn’t think he can because when she first saw how he looked at her at the murder scene, she was convinced he saw her as guilty. Naruhodo agrees to contact Hoshikage for her and that lawyer accepts the case since Chihiro was his student. Naruhodo returns to his office to find Mayoi’s dropped handphone. It has the conversation with Chihiro the other night. Itonokogiri thinks Naruhodo is Mayoi’s defence lawyer and wants him to give up. There is no chance for him to win since the prosecutor is Reiji Mitsurugi. He has never lost a case ever since becoming one at the young age of 20! After hearing the only witness, Shouchiku Umeyo is still living at the hotel opposite, Naruhodo sneaks in to find some clues and discovers a strange screwdriver, a cufflink and a wiretap. He gets a call from Hoshikage that he can’t take up the case anymore and can’t even refer to another defence lawyer. He knows he can’t give up on Mayoi because she is in the exact position as he was when he was young (kids finding him guilty without proof). Naruhodo informs Mayoi who knows she has been abandoned. But she sees how hard Naruhodo has been trying for her. His notebook contains many numbers of other lawyers. All do not want to take the case except for a couple. He is going to try contacting them. Then they just screw all that complication and hire each other. It works, right? At the court, we see the vast difference between the lawyers. Mitsurugi is swamped with reporters, arriving in a sports car and has tons of reputation behind him. Naruhodo arrives alone on his bicycle and is basically a nobody. Yeah, David versus Goliath. The duo come face to face in the courtroom and it seems they know each other not because of media coverage.

Episode 3
Mitsurugi calls Itonokogiri to the witness stand and testify how the sculpture was used as the murder weapon and it was Mayoi who did it because of her name on the receipt. DNA lab proves it was Chihiro’s blood. However Naruhodo counters that with the contradiction in his police report that states Chihiro died immediately so there is no way she was alive to write it. Mitsurugi says his report is outdated as a second report this morning amended that she was almost nearly dead. WTF?! Umeyo is called to testify. She saw the murder happen from in her hotel room. Although she testifies the time of the murder, Naruhodo has the sculpture examined that inside is empty. But how could he tell it wasn’t removed after the murder? Mayoi’s handphone has a conversation that Chihiro states she removed the clockwork on the morning of her murder. Umeyo panics and slips out she was hearing on the conversation. Naruhodo shows the wiretap and she mentions she was doing it on somebody’s orders and has nothing to do with the murder. Naruhodo takes out the cufflink to confirm if her hirer wears this. This is when Mitsurugi asks for permission for the case to be adjourned to tomorrow since there have been new evidences surfacing and need time to investigate. After Umeyo is arrested for wiretapping, Hoshikage comes to see Naruhodo personally. He feels sorry for running away and shows a picture of Masaru Konaka. The cufflinks match so could he be the man? As explained, he is the president of Bluecorp, a company that collects information but in reality digs up dirt and then blackmails you to keep it a secret. He is not arrested since he owns businessmen, politicians, the police and judiciary. Man, it’s like he owns the country! Hoshikage can’t go defy him either. Chihiro has been on his tail for many years now. Naruhodo returns to office to find files on Konaka but they are missing. So he goes to see him at his office (faking an American accent?). Konaka is trying to pain Umeyo his secretary as passing the buck to him so Naruhodo deduces he murdered Chihiro on that night and stole all the files on him. That is when Konaka decides to testify at tomorrow’s court and give juicy details. He is going to make Naruhodo as the one who killed Chihiro! Dumb Itonokogiri was called in to arrest Naruhodo. Mayoi is set free but is shocked to see Naruhodo now swapping her place in prison.

Episode 4
The court resumes as Naruhodo defends himself. Konaka takes the witness stand to testify he was in the hotel room with Umeyo and saw how Naruhodo killed Chihiro. But Naruhodo catches his contradiction when he said he heard the lamp dropped and smashed to bits during the murder. Because based from the hotel’s view, he couldn’t have seen the lamp at the corner and if he had never visited the office before, how did he know what was there? He only knows it because he murdered Chihiro and the lamp was in his sight. Konaka is cornered but Mitsurugi breathes new life by mentioning about the wiretap. Somebody must have entered the office to place it there. Konaka chances his story that he did enter to place the wiretap and thus knows where the lamp is. Of course Konaka’s actions were wrong but will be tried for this another day. As Naruhodo further cross-examines, he cannot break the deadlock and is in danger of being given the guilty verdict. Mayoi prays so hard for help that Chihiro now possesses her body to give Naruhodo a little push. She points to the receipt. Naruhodo presents this old evidence and has everyone look at the date of its purchase. It was bought a few days ago and if Konaka claims he wiretapped weeks ago, he couldn’t have because the lamp wasn’t there. Cornered, Mitsurugi wants to postpone the trial again to perform another inquiry but Chihiro scribbles something and throws at Konaka. It is the list of all the people he blackmailed. She remembers it all in her head and can read them out if he wants. He stops her. Anything but that. He’d rather admit he killed Chihiro than to have the list known. The judge declares Naruhodo and Mayoi not guilty. As Mayoi’s power is not strong, Chihiro will have to go but before that he tells Naruhodo to meet at the office. There, he finds Mayoi ready to work for him since she heard her sister’s last voice to take care of the place.

Episode 5
Mayoi is a big fan of the famous Steel Samurai series. However one morning on the news he has been arrested for murder. The one who played the main antagonist in the show was killed, Takeshi Ibukuro. How ironic. The superhero killed the super villain. Naruhodo and Mayoi go visit Saburou Niboshi (the actor who plays the hero – doesn’t he look like Wolverine?). He states on the day of the murder he had morning practice, then lunch and fell asleep. He overslept and by the time he arrived for rehearsal, the body was there. He is suspected because his samurai spear was impaled in the victim’s body. The duo visit the studio but are stopped by this grandma security personnel, Kaoru Ooba. She is a fan of Ibukuro who played the villain so it says a lot… Itonokogiri is also here investigating and believes Niboshi is really the culprit because from the map, Niboshi had to pass through this security post in which Ooba confirmed only he did as she was keeping watch all the time. As she can’t stop her nagging, a boy trespasses the area. The guys fail to catch him as he escapes but drops a scrapbook. It seems he is a big fan of the series too. After all the investigating, the court is in session with Mitsurugi as Naruhodo’s opponent again. Ooba is called to the stand but she rants about everything that we couldn’t care less to hear. She has photographic proof from the security camera that Niboshi passed the post to commit the murder. If it really shows him, Niboshi is done for. However it is somebody in Steel Samurai’s outfit and how could she tell it was him beneath that costume? During morning practice, Niboshi sprained his ankle and the picture shows him walking limp. Naruhodo notices this is the second picture taken. The first picture taken was deleted by her as suspicious. It is believed to be that trespasser kid. Seeing a kid can’t hold that spear which is quite heavy, he is ruled out from the suspect list. Niboshi is in danger of being declared guilty so Naruhodo takes up Mayoi’s advice to suspect someone else first so he suspects Ooba as the killer. Because she is watching the footage, other than Niboshi and Ibukuro, only she knows Niboshi sprained his ankle. During Niboshi’s nap, she might have donned his costume to hide her identity from the camera. This earns the case to be adjourned tomorrow as the judge tasks Mitsurugi to interrogate Ooba. Naruhodo feels bad for implicating Ooba but the old woman blows her top and will speak the truth. She was told not to mention there were other people at the studio on that day.

Episode 6
She was told her not to reveal those stuffs so obviously. Naruhodo views that in light of such, he obtains permission to adjourn the court and look for more evidence. Talking to Niboshi, he too knows there were other people but was also told to keep quiet. He also knows that boy sneaking around the set a lot since he is a Steel Samurai fan. Though, Niboshi didn’t tell him his identity to not ruin his dream. Revisiting the studio, they see a nerdy guy who turns out to the director. He brings them to the scary producer, Sakura Himegami who tells them no one here could have killed Ibukuro since everyone was trapped here on the time on his murder as the head of the studio’s mascot fell and block the path. Investigating the head holds true as there was a time stamp. As they leave, Ooba is back and berating Naruhodo for accusing her. She was quickly released because when they fit the Steel Samurai costume on her, it didn’t fit. Naruhodo calms her down by pretending he is also a fan of Ibukuro’s movies. Ooba won’t say an accident happened on studio 2 involving Ibukuro 5 years ago. But the boy, Kyuuta Ootaki sneaks in again and Naruhodo catches up to him. Mayoi returns his scrapbook as Kyuuta brags about Steel Samurai and all the photos he took at his events. This means he saw the murder but gets upset to see Steel Samurai killing the bad guy. Naruhodo realizes photos on the murder day are missing. Kyuuta deleted it. But he recounts meeting Steel Samurai and shows the pose he did for him that day. However Naruhodo can tell that is not Steel Samurai’s pose but the villain’s. It is then Naruhodo understood what happened. It is actually the bad guy defeated Steel Samurai. That’s why Kyuuta deleted the photos. Naruhodo explains it was Ibukuro who was wearing Steel Samurai’s costume that day. He knew of Nibushi’s injury and faked it. On his way, he saw Kyuuta calling out to him and accidentally gave his villain pose out of habit. Naruhodo mentions Steel Samurai’s catchphrase of justice to help Kyuuta reconcile with the fact as a fan, he cannot avert his eyes from the truth. He admits he deleted all but one photo. With this photo, Naruhodo confronts Himegami and believes she killed Ibukuro at studio 2. However she refutes him because Ibukuro was killed with a heavy spear that she is unable to carry and why would she kill her main star that brings in the money? See you in court tomorrow.

Episode 7
Himegami is called to the witness stand. Despite Ibukuro’s murder happened during the meeting time, there was a 15 minute break in between. Then they examine the spear. If Naruhodo cannot even carry it, how can Himegami? Naruhodo objects that the spear isn’t the murder weapon because it was broken and thus stabbing it through that thick costume is not possible. However Mitsurugi counters that if he cannot produce the real murder weapon, his case is as good as over. When all seems lost, Kyuuta suddenly barges into the middle of court to emotionally rant about justice. While the guards restrain him, Ooba quickly gives a photo of that accident at studio 2 five years ago to Naruhodo. Ibukuro accidentally killed a co-star and worse, a paparazzi took a photo. Himegami of course covered it up and had Ibukuro work under her with low pay. After Kyuuta is ushered out, Naruhodo resumes by presenting this new evidence. The picture shows the dead co-star being impaled by the fence’s spear, implying Ibukuro may have been killed in the same way. Ibukuro has had enough for being used so on that day he borrowed Steel Samurai’s costume to go kill Himegami. A struggle ensued and he died that same way. But how can she move the body and do everything in just 15 minutes? Especially that mascot head blocking the path? She hid the body and did it in stages. Although Himegami concedes to Naruhodo’s theory, unless he can show proof how, he still hasn’t won. That’s the rule of this court game. With no more proof, she is about to leave. Surprisingly Mitsurugi calls her back to testify again about what happened after the body was found. She called the police, she went back to her trailer and went home. She didn’t bring her script along for rehearsal because she didn’t think it was going to happen. Not after the murder. Again Mitsurugi objects and finds her claims odd because like as though she knew there was a murder. She claims Ibukuro was injured and thus a reasonable reason why she expected there was going to be no rehearsal. Naruhodo bounces back that she wasn’t there and how would she know he was injured. The director told her. Unfortunately he was at the rehearsal and knew who was injured. And that was Niboshi. Himegami gives up and admits she murdered Ibukuro. Niboshi is declared innocent. In the aftermath, Niboshi thanks Naruhodo who in turn thanks Mitsurugi for his actions. However Mitsurugi did not expect to see him again after all these years and is now saddled with unnecessary feelings of uncertainty and confusion. He hopes never to see him again.

Episode 8
Naruhodo thought he would have a big case for Christmas. Santa is going to grant his wish. It might seem normal on the news that a body by the lake was found. Till they announce the suspect is Mitsurugi! Obviously Naruhodo sees him and wants to defend him. Mitsurugi dismisses him and views him as an amateur with beginner’s luck. Well, he won all his 3 cases, right? Mitsurugi will not hire him and tells him to stay out of this case. At the lake investigating, they meet Itonokogiri and his team collecting evidence. Itonokogiri is not pleased sin the police has settled for Mitsurugi as the killer. The story has it that around midnight, 2 men rowed to the middle of the lake. A gunshot is heard. 5 minutes later the police came and since Mitsurugi was around the vicinity, he was arrested. Apparently there was a witness so that is why the police came quickly. However any more information is classified. Itonokogiri hopes Naruhodo can help Mitsurugi because no lawyer dared defend him. Also, Itonokogiri heard Mitsurugi praising Naruhodo after his handling of Steel Samurai’s case. Also nearby is Yahari setting up some bun stall. In this dead place? Yahari is shocked to hear Mitsurugi as a suspect because they were all classmates. His father was a defence lawyer but is stumped why Mitsurugi became a prosecutor instead. This lake is also famous for a monster like Nessie. They call it Hyosshi. It is no surprise there is this photographer, Natsumi Oosawagi is camping there with her hi-tech camera and equipment to snap the elusive creative. She took a couple of pictures during the night of the murder but won’t show it to them and gives excuse she needs to report it to the police. Naruhodo sees Itonokogiri to get the autopsy report. The victim died instantly with a point blank range shot. Mayoi has seen this guy before since she saw him at Hoshikage’s office before.

They go visit Hoshikage and he confirms Yukio Namakura once worked under him but left a long time ago. This might be related to the DL-6 incident 15 years ago. The victim was Mitsurugi’s father, Shin who was shot to death. He was an excellent defence lawyer who could go head to head with the greatest prosecutor of all time, Gou Karuma who never lost a case in his 40 years of service. On the night of a trial, that murder happened. Mitsurugi was also there witnessing his father’s murder. After the murder Karuma adopted Mitsurugi and became his mentor. The culprit was taken to court and Namakura was the one who defended him and proved his innocence. With no leads on the case, the case went cold and unsolved for 15 years. It may be Mitsurugi’s motive to kill him. This case alone also ruined many people’s lives. Including Mayoi’s mom, Maiko. The police was desperate and used a spirit medium to channel Shin’s spirit to find the culprit. However Namakura exposed this secret and Maiko was labelled as a fraud. She disappeared from the public eye later. Hoshikage apologizes he was the one who leaked this secret because Konaka threatened his firm. (Remember, Bluecorp collects information). This was the reason why Chihiro decided to become a lawyer and despite knowing all this, she still worked under him. She built a steady case against Konaka but was unfortunately killed. They go back to talk to Mitsurugi again. Seeing Naruhodo is this far in the case, he lets him know what happened. Namakura wanted to meet for the first time in 15 years and agreed. They set out by boat and after hearing a gunshot, he realized he was alone. He doesn’t know who did it and picked up the pistol without thinking. After Mayoi’s plea to find the truth, Mitsurugi relents and allows Naruhodo to defend him. But he must be careful because the prosecutor is no other than Karuma.

Episode 9
Court is in session. Karuma is so powerful that even the judge is afraid! Uh huh. It’s like we don’t need the judge at all because Karuma calls the shots! First he calls Itonokogiri to testify what happened. Further proof shows Mitsurugi’s right hand fingerprints on the pistol and the ballistic markings of the bullet matches the gun. Making Mitsurugi even more as the killer is that he is exercising his right to silence. Next is Natsumi as she testifies she heard a gunshot and then another one shortly. She also shows a picture as proof. Two men on a boat with one of them having a gun in hand. Karuma declares this case as over and wants the verdict handed down but Naruhodo wants to cross-examine and agrees with Karuma’s condition to ask only a question. He asks what she saw and not what the photo shows but Karuma ends his cross-examining. Mayoi objects and claims the lake was foggy that night and the photo is unclear and she refused to elaborate whether she saw the 2 men. Natsumi then asserts she clearly saw Mitsurugi because she had binoculars. This changes her testimony as Mayoi is thrown out of court for contempt. This at least gives Naruhodo a lease of life to continue cross-examining her. Because the judge overrules Karuma’s objection. Naruhodo argues that Natsumi’s equipment takes a photo if react to loud noises. So when she heard a loud bang, she was looking for Hyosshi instead of a boat. She also has an enlarged version of this photo. Although still unclear but Naruhodo can tell Mitsurugi isn’t the killer because it is seen shooting with his left hand. The judge adjourns the court for them to continue investigating. Mayoi is bailed out thanks to Mitsurugi. Back at the lake, Naruhodo sees Natsumi who realizes being on the stand wasn’t as fun as she thought it would be. When they see a tank floating up, Naruhodo has a hunch about Hyosshi. Because it belongs to Yahari’s stall (has his name on it), he believes he was using the tank to pump air into his balloon. But it pumped too much air and the whole thing became a rocket landed in the lake. Thus the mistaken photo of it being Hyosshi. Natsumi is shocked that her dream is deflated. As she packs up, she gives them the first photo she didn’t submit to court. It is all dark and nothing but the lake. She also tells them the one who called the police was the old man who lives in the boat rental.

Episode 10
They visit the old man who thinks they are his children. Because of his failing memory, he shows his parrot, Sayuri who remembers things for him by repeating words it was made to remember. The old man recounts he heard a loud bang and looked out his window to see 2 men on a boat. He couldn’t see clearly but when the boat returned, the culprit walked by his window. As he is relapsing between naps, Naruhodo can’t get a good statement out of him. It is then Sayuri keeps spamming not to forget DL-6. Naruhodo visits the police station to get the case files on DL-6 but it seems Karuma has just borrowed them. Luckily the Itonokogiri has copies. The trial resumes with the old man called to testify. But this time he remembers and sees clearly the culprit’s face who walked past and he is no other than Mitsurugi. Naruhodo argues the gun proved his innocence but Karuma argues he might have worn a glove then. With the judge already giving the guilty verdict, suddenly Yahari leaps in. The judge reverses his verdict because it is his duty to prevent an inaccurate verdict. Yahari testifies he was also out on the boat that night to find his inflatable. He returned to the dock and heard one loud bang. However he isn’t sure how gunshots he heard because he was listening to the radio. However Naruhodo realizes from Yahari repeating the radio lines, it occurred 10 minutes before midnight. Unlike Natsumi’s photo, the time showed was 10 minutes after midnight. This means there were 3 shots fired that night. Naruhodo explains the truth behind this case is to frame Mitsurugi. The one Mitsurugi was on the boat wasn’t Namakura but the real murderer. He was killed prior to that (thus the first gunshot). Then he dressed up as Namakura and pretended to meet up with Mitsurugi on the boat. The second shot was to draw other people’s attention. After the third shot is fired (which is also a fake shot), the killer pretended to be shot and dropped into the lake, therefore making it look like Mitsurugi had done it. So does this mean Naruhodo knows who the killer is? Sure, but not his name because he never told anybody. He is that old man. They want to bring him back but it seems he has already fled the court house.

Episode 11
The judge adjourns the trial to tomorrow as he cannot hand down the verdict like this. Back at the office, Naruhodo tells Mayoi why he wants to help Mitsurugi so bad. He was once accused of stealing the class’ lunch money since he was the only one sitting out of PE. Even the teacher believed he did it. Mitsurugi told them off for accusing without evidence. Yahari also supported his decision. Ever since, they became close friends. But after Shin’s death, Mitsurugi transferred away and Naruhodo at that time didn’t understand. Many years later his name popped up in the newspapers. Naruhodo tried hard to contact him because he is now a prosecutor when he clearly remembered Mitsurugi wanted to be a defence lawyer like his father. So the only way to get to know the truth is to enter the same field as him. Itonokogiri calls to say they have caught the old man at his boat rental shack. They examine his place and the only thing suspicious is his safe (thanks Sayuri for the code). They see a letter addressing to get revenge on the 2 men who ruined his life. Naruhodo is very sure there is a mastermind behind this. Short flashback shows Mitsurugi, Shin and an officer trapped in a lift. Running out of air, the police officer is panicking and threatens Shin to stop breathing his air! Mitsurugi didn’t like what he saw and picked up a gun… The trial resumes with the old man brought back. He claims he was buying food for Sayuri and didn’t mean to run. Naruhodo shows the letter but since there is no name of the sender and recipient, Naruhodo is going to link it to DL-6. He calls Hoshikage as the witness.

On that day, there was a blackout and 3 people were trapped in a life. When the power was back on, Shin’s body was found dead. The officer, Koutarou Haine was a court bailiff and accused of shooting Shin. He pleaded not guilty. When the case hit a dead end, the police resorted to Maiko. Shin’s spirit said it was Haine who shot him. Namakura defended Haine and claimed that although he fired the gun, the severe lack of oxygen in the lift made him unsound of mind and cannot be held responsible. Haine was acquitted. However he was vilified by society and a year later his fiancée committed suicide. If Haine was innocent, he must have also resent Shin for accusing him of murder. Naruhodo believes this old man is Haine but he is not saying. They can take his fingerprints but he has burnt them many years ago. That is when they bring Sayuri in. Mayoi cross-examines the parrot. Testing it could answer questions, everything goes well until the important part where it stays silent. It might be that Karuma had retrained it? But Naruhodo points out several evidences. From the records, Sayuri is the name of Haine’s fiancée and the code of the safe corresponds to the date of DL-6. As Karuma tries to overthrow and object Naruhodo’s case, that is when the old man gets up and admits he is Haine. He has already achieved what he wants to. 15 years ago when Namakura was his attorney, he refused to listen to what he said. He wanted him to plead guilty in shooting the gun despite he did not in hopes of saving his fiancée and the only way of getting him acquitted. However it did not change a thing as everyone still treated him as a murderer and Namakura washed his hands off everything, not wanting to be bugged again. Sayuri couldn’t take all the pressure and killed herself. Ever since he lived his life away from the public while dreaming he would get his revenge someday. As for why he targeted Mitsurugi, ask that man himself. With Karuma even agreeing that Mitsurugi is innocent, the judge declares him innocent. Before he adjourns the court, suddenly Mitsurugi objects. He reveals he is the true culprit of DL-6.

Episode 12
Mitsurugi explains his recurring nightmare. Dark, hard to breathe, a gunshot heard and a terrible scream. During the court’s recess, Mitsurugi tells Naruhodo why he became a prosecutor. Because of Namakura’s forced shady acquittal, he started hating criminals and defence lawyers. Karuma was the one who reached out to him and taught him that justice should be perfect, cold hearted and a merciless hammer to be used upon all. So he made up his mind to become one to make criminals atone but perhaps he was just escape the sin he committed. However Naruhodo still believes in him and not his ‘nightmare’. The court resumes as Naruhodo argues Mitsurugi was just describing his recurring dream. He was at the court on that day to observe his father taking on Karuma in a court case in which the latter won. When the blackout occurred, help didn’t arrive for hours and the air was running thin. When Haine attacked Shin, Mitsurugi picked up and threw the gun at him. A gunshot was heard and he blacked out. He doesn’t remember clearly what happened after that. If Haine said he didn’t shoot the gun, it could only mean Mitsurugi was the one who fired it. Photo evidence on that day shows 2 holes. One in Shin’s body and the other in the door. Although the report said the gun was fired twice, there was only a bullet and it was lodged in Shin’s body. Naruhodo claims the second bullet was taken away by the real murderer. It is because the bullet hit the murderer and if he was shot at the time of the crime, he would’ve been forced to take the bullet. Records might say nobody else was shot at the court that day, but what if that person was injured? That person is Karuma because Hoshikage told him he took a day off after Shin died as shock. It was the only day he took off in his entire career. But what if he was forced to take a day off like a bullet was lodged in him? But it would take more than a day to recover from a surgery to extract the bullet. So the bullet is still inside his shoulder! Wait. 15 years?! No infection?! Using a metal detector, it is confirmed there is something lodged in his shoulder. But how can he link it to DL-6? Naruhodo can compare the bullet in Shin using ballistic markings. However the evidence is gone!

That is when Mitsurugi fakes a collapse to stop the verdict. Sneaky… He knows Karuma hides disadvantageous evidence in his office so they have to sneak in to get it. Because the office door has retinal identification, he can only help Mayoi go that far as he needs to reappear in court. It isn’t enough time actually. Because Yahari is impersonating as Mitsurugi! Nobody buys this imposter stuff! Throw him out! Mitsurugi returns in time and Mayoi shortly after as she presents the bullet. With the evidence at hand, Naruhodo orders the bullet to be extracted from Karuma. He starts screaming and that is the scream Mitsurugi remembers. Karuma explains what happened that day. He was at the court’s record room which was near the elevator. A bullet was shot through the door and lodged into his shoulder (when Mitsurugi threw the gun, it went off once). When the power got back on, Karuma saw 3 people unconscious and seeing Shin was one of them, the thought of getting revenge on someone who could taint his reputation was great. He picked up the gun and shot Shin knowing that nobody would knew the killer. That’s why Shin’s spirit thought it was Haine to protect his son. Karuma laments he was pierced by the bullet a second time but Naruhodo says it was the truth that pierced him. Mitsurugi is acquitted as he thanks Naruhodo for sticking with him. He says it is to repay that lunch money incident. Then the real culprit for that is also revealed. Yahari stole it?! No wonder he was on his side… I guess Naruhodo is going to become a prosecutor and sue him! In the aftermath of this case, Mayoi decides to leave and train to become a full-fledged spirit medium.

Episode 13
A flashback to Naruhodo’s past with Mitsurugi and Yahari. Although Mitsurugi was in the same class, Naruhodo never talked with him. One day when Yahari found a stray dog, it had money in its mouth so he exchanged his snacks for it. It was the same day Naruhodo was sick, exempted from PE and saw the envelope funds that belonged to Mitsurugi on the floor. A classmate saw him and that is when they accused and started the class trial. You know the rest. With the dog following Yahari around and since none can take it in, Mitsurugi uses his detective skills to locate the owner since the box has partial address. However the owner feigns ignorance and doesn’t care a bit. Nobody is going to take a kid seriously despite citing the law. As they cannot just abandon it, Mitsurugi asks his father if he could keep the dog. Of course he can. The trio continue to become best friends and as explained, Yahari gave the money he found to the police but Japanese law states that if nobody claims it in 3 months, it is his. Thus Yahari treats his friends to play games where he won keychains of Signal Samurai. They commemorate their friendship with this. Shortly after DL-6 happened, Mitsurugi moved away with Karuma. Karuma didn’t want him to bring the ugly keychain and threw it away. Naruhodo and Yahari were too late to reach him but saw the keychain on the dustbin. Yahari took it as a sign Mitsurugi was no longer friends with them but Naruhodo continues to believe Mitsurugi wouldn’t do something like that. Yahari also wants out and throws away his keychain. The same night, Mitsurugi ran back to his old home to get his keychain. You mean Naruhodo was waiting there for him to show up?! I know he believed in him but he actually waited?! What if he never showed up? But anyway the friends reconcile (including Yahari) and they get their keychains back. In present time, Naruhodo is glad their friendship has never changed and their case has finally reached a closure. However it might be the beginning of a second goodbye because Mitsurugi leaves a note in his office that he chose death.

Episode 14
Naruhodo accompanies Dr Tetsurou Kirisaki to Kurain Village, Mayoi’s hometown. The case is about his nurse misdiagnosing his patients and causing all of them to die. However she died in a car accident and this leads the press to believe he killed to silence her. So he is going to use a spirit medium to make her confess that she did it. Wait. What?! How is that going to work? And he brought a gun just in case? At the village, they are met with Kimiko (Mayoi’s aunt) and Harumi (Kimiko’s daughter and thus Mayoi’s cousin). As they wait in the room, Natsumi is also there since she believes there is going to be a big scoop in this case. When Mayoi is ready, Kirisaki follows her into the channelling room whereby Kimiko warns nobody is to enter and disturb the ritual. While they wait in another room, they hear gunshots. Running back and breaking the locked door open, they see Kirisaki dead and what it looked like a possessed Mayoi shot him. Kimiko will handle this and wants the duo to quickly call the police. When Itonokogiri arrives, Naruhodo wants to see Mayoi but as said by Kimiko, she is unconscious after the channelling ritual ended. Gathering all the related parties, there is another guest around when the murder happened. She is Nodoka Hanaka, the one who referred Kirisaki to this place and is also the younger sister of Mimi, Kirisaki’s nurse. After the police is done with their investigation, Naruhodo and Natsumi check the crime scene. It is learnt that Kirisaki was stabbed and shot. Noticing a hole in the wall, Naruhodo wonders if a shot missed since he heard 2 gunshots. Kimiko further explains when a weak and inexperienced medium is in possession of a higher level spirit, tragedies like this can occur. Naruhodo then talks to Harumi (who pretty much believes in him because she heard so much from Mayoi and got the wrong idea he is Mayoi’s ‘special someone’). She gives him a key she found in the incinerator. It is believed this is the only key to the channelling room and Mayoi was the one in possession. Bad news when Mayoi is taken into custody by the police. Naruhodo believes she is innocent since she isn’t the kind to kill. But can the law believe that a spirit possessed her and killed the doctor? Just like the first time they met, it is déjà vu again when Mayoi seeks Naruhodo’s help to defend her. At the courthouse, Harumi was so worried that she came alone to help. How is she going to help? Itonokogiri warns Naruhodo the prosecutor is Karuma’s successor. Another prodigy who has never lost a case? Yeah, until they face off with Naruhodo, right?

Episode 15
Mei isn’t only the daughter to Karuma, she might be worse than him. How the f*ck can she bring a whip into the courtroom?! Is the judge a masochist to allow it? And what the f*ck she just whips anybody she doesn’t likes?! Anyway Mei calls Itonokogiri to give his witness testimony as he describes how the murder probably took place. The gun and knife has Mayoi’s fingerprints on it and it is confirmed Kirisaki was shot point blank as there is gun powder on his forehead. Mei gives Naruhodo a chance for his client to plead justifiable self-defence. However he rejects it since it still means Mayoi committed murder. Mei has Itonokogiri continue his testimony with a damning evidence that Kirisaki’s blood was all over Mayoi’s ceremonial robe. Naruhodo notices a bullet hole on the robe’s sleeve. It proves that Kirisaki tried to shoot Mayoi. However Mei points out since Naruhodo rejected her self-defence plea, this means this evidence bears no relevance in this case. But wait. If both were struggling at close range and a shot was fired, there should be gunpowder on the sleeve. Since there is none, it means Itonokogiri’s statement has contradictions. Natsumi is called as the next witness. She explains after hearing a gunshot, she rushed to the room and snapped a photo. It shows a different person in Mayoi’s robe and Kirisaki’s dead body. But as explained when Mayoi is acting as a medium, she will take on the form of the channelled spirit. Since Naruhodo knows how Mayoi works, he cannot lie and thus the picture is not Photoshop or whatsoever. Naruhodo points out a contradiction in the photo. Mayoi was wearing a headband but this person was not. Could it have fallen off? Harumi is certain the headband fits 100%. This means a different person committed the murder. But if that is the case, where did Mayoi vanished too considering nobody could get in or out of the room during that time. A locked room mystery. Naruhodo is in a pinch. Harumi prays hard enough for Chihiro to possess her and hint to Naruhodo about the proof that someone enter or leave. Naruhodo brings out the key he found at the incinerator. If Mayoi only had this key and if he is in possession of it, this means Mayoi might have left the room before the murder took place. If Mayoi committed the murder, there was no way she would have time to throw it away as Kimiko quickly ushered her away. With this impasse, the judge adjourns the court. As Mayoi praises Naruhodo and Harumi, Naruhodo feels that Kirisaki’s death and Mayoi’s framing has been a planned setup. You don’t say because it looks like Kimiko has got a hand in this…

Episode 16
Naruhodo accompanies Harumi back to her village as there is also something he wants to investigate. He asks her whereabouts during the murder. She is reluctant to say but eventually reveals she was playing near the hallway but accidentally broke an urn containing the village founder’s ashes. She pieced back the entire urn until the gunshot was heard. She never told anybody in fear she would be kicked out. Kimiko mentions about Maiko who went missing after that incident. She believes she will never come back and in a few more years she will written off as dead and a new head will be chosen. Naturally Mayoi is supposed to be the next head but with the murder charges… The way she says it makes it more suspicious. She warns Naruhodo not to come close to her daughter again. Naruhodo investigates the incinerator. He finds a piece of Mayoi’s cloth in it and realizes the key wasn’t intentionally thrown in there. Since Mayoi kept the key in her robe, the culprit threw the part of that robe into it. Naruhodo sees Natsumi lurking around and catches her. Why the heck is she hiding in a box? Naruhodo also notices a similar bullet hole there. Natsumi talks to him that she mainly suspects Nodoka. She learnt Nodoka was hospitalized for 6 months and was supposedly in the same car as Mimi. While Mimi was burnt to death, Nodoka managed to escape alive but was badly burnt. She underwent a major surgery to reconstruct her face and the doctors used her driving licence as reference. Naruhodo wonders if Nodoka could pull this all off alone.

He then talks to Nodoka about that night in the car with Mimi. She was asleep and when she woke up, the car was in flames and in her reflex she opened the door and jumped out. Harumi is shocked to see the police take away Kumiko. She assures she is just going with them to help them with the case. Naruhodo tells this to Mayoi who feels bad for bringing trouble to her clan. She lets him know that it is tradition for the eldest daughter of the clan to become the head. However Maiko broke this tradition. Although she is the younger sister to Kumiko, her spiritual powers were greater and thus became the next head. Naruhodo pleads to Harumi to channel Chihiro during the trial. His plan is so that she wouldn’t have to hear what happened what comes next in the courtroom. As the trial resumes, Mei changes her statement by claiming Mayoi left the room after murdering Kirisaki. She can proves this by calling Kumiko to the stand. She testifies that after having Naruhodo call the police, she tried to take Mayoi and sever the spirit’s possession but was attacked and left unconscious. She saw last Mayoi leaving the room. This proves Mayoi fled the crime scene. She never said this because she didn’t want to bring shame to the family but finally decided to bring the truth out to the light. It is believed Mayoi ran and talked to another person. Mei calls in her second witness to testify: Nodoka.

Episode 17
Nodoka testifies she was sleeping in the room when she saw her sister (remember, Mayoi was still possessed). Mimi told her she didn’t die in an accident and was murdered by Kirisaki, that’s why she came back to take revenge. After that Nodoka took her back out pass the hallway. Naruhodo cross-examines and finds holes in her story because Harumi was fixing the urn during the entire time. She could not have missed her since she was occupying the entire hallway to fix it. Naruhodo claims Nodoka was inside the channelling room all the while. She already hid there before the murder took place. There was a box behind the folding there before it was moved to the storeroom. Natsumi’s photo of Mimi with blood on her clothes is the real Nodoka and not a possessed Mayoi. This was how it went. Nodoka hid inside the box and when the ritual began, she drugged Mayoi and stabbed Kirisaki. While she is trying to move Mayoi into the box, Kirisaki with his last ounce of strength fires a shot. Since he missed, the bullet hole from the angle he shot corresponds to the folding door, sleeve and box. Panic, Nodoka used the gun and finished Kirisaki off. That is when the rest come in. Of course Nodoka couldn’t have pulled this off by herself. She had an accomplice who is no other than Kimiko. How else would she get the ritual clothing? When the murder happened, Kimiko ushered the rest to call the cops so that Nodoka could move the box to the storeroom and Kimiko throw the clothes into the incinerator. Nodoka then used the back way bypassing the hallway into the room where she pretended to sleep. Mei objects why Nodoka would go to such complicated lengths to do this. Besides, there was no proof Kirisaki set up the accident.

After Chihiro encourages Naruhodo to believe in himself, he cross-examines Nodoka again but this time during the crash. She claimed Mimi was sleepy while driving and why didn’t she drive when she too had a valid licence? Because Mimi didn’t want her too since it was her precious American car. That itself is a dead giveaway because American cars are left hand drive and since Nodoka mentioned she exited from the left, it could only mean she was in the driver’s seat. Naruhodo further claims the person here is not Nodoka but Mimi. The public believed Mimi is dead but was she? Because Mimi was badly burnt, the surgeons used Nodoka’s driving licence to reconstruct her face. As Mimi was responsible for the medical negligence, Kirisaki’s spirit channelling would have failed because Mimi wasn’t dead in the first place and thus exposed she is alive. That is why she had to go through this complicated procedure to silence him. Mimi admits her real self. She was close to discarding her old identity. The burden of medical negligence and killing her sister was too much to bear. When she first stepped into Kurain Village, she sought Kimiko’s help to fake the channelling. However Kimiko had a better idea and suggested this murder. The judge will have Mimi and Kimiko go on trial for another day but this case proves that Mayoi is not guilty. There goes your perfect record, Mei. Kimiko tells Naruhodo that she intends to have Harumi inherit the head of her clan and she is not going to give up yet. With Mayoi cleared, she returns with Naruhodo.

Episode 18
Naruhodo and Mayoi attend a circus act and are awed by the top magician’s performance, Maximilian “Max” Galactica. Next day, the morning news reports the ringmaster has been murdered and Max is arrested. Mayoi being a big fan of Max wants to go defend him. Seeing him at prison, Max explains he is probably suspected because he was the last person who saw the ringmaster. They were discussing about his salary since Max is the one drawing the crowd. The ringmaster left shortly but never returned. Naruhodo has doubts whether he should take up this case since he doesn’t fully trust him, much to Mayoi’s dismay. They investigate the site whereby the meet the ringmaster’s daughter, Mirika. She is not distraught with her father’s death because she believes he is now up there with the stars as with their beloved pet lion. Then they investigate the crime scene as Itonokogiri explains the ringmaster’s body was slumped over a heavy wooden box that is currently being investigated. However they realize that only his footprints were in the snow. If the perpetrator killed him at close range and left no footsteps, could it mean the killer can fly? And the only person who can do this is Max. They interview the other circus members and everyone seems to hate Max because of his obnoxious attitude. None side him. They are about to talk to Ben the ventriloquist but he is looking for a ring can can’t talk thanks to a pain in his head. That is when Tommy the clown reveals it was Max who smashed a bottle on Ben’s head. Tommy has been in this industry for 20 years and founded the circus with the ringmaster. He too suspects Max.

Checking the ringmaster’s office, they see a document pertaining to Max’s salary increment. Then they go back and question Max about it. The document was dated last week which means he already has an increment. This trust issue has Naruhodo unable to defend Max. But the magician becomes desperate and starts pleading not to be abandoned. He tells the truth that the ringmaster called him to discuss about his attitude and not to fight with others including his recent hurting of Ben. Max knows everyone hates him and he too looks down on others as they have no ambition and staying in their comfort zone. Max has spent 10 years perfecting his magic and won the magic championship last year. Naruhodo decides to defend him. Going back to the circus, a monkey steals his shiny badge. He chases it to a room, puts up a monkey fight till it escapes. They see the room has lots of valuables including a bust of Max and a ring. When they leave, Rilo (Ben’s puppet) requests the ring back. After giving it to him, Rilo lets them know he was at the crime scene and saw Max and only Max passing through. However Naruhodo finds contradiction in his statement. Because if he had been there at the crime scene, he should have seen another person passing by: The ringmaster. His statement proves that there is someone else went to the crime scene. His eyewitness account is not enough to declare Max guilty. But Rilo isn’t throwing in the towel as there was an eyewitness who saw something crazier who will be appearing in tomorrow’s trial.

Episode 19
The trial begins. Itonokogiri is called to give his testimony. We already know what happened but the additional info is that inside the box is just a small bottle of pepper. Tommy is next to give his statement. He recounts seeing Max flying. Max argues he was ‘flying’ only because of the thin wires. As the scene was not set up for magic tricks, the judge postpones the trial for them to get more evidence. Naruhodo talks to Max again and it seems on that night, the ringmaster offered him to wear his clothes since it was pretty cold outside. So could it be Tommy saw the ringmaster who was actually Max. Naruhodo returns to the crime site. He notices the building and room above it is where he faced off with the monkey. Talking to the person who lives in that room, Acro was once the acrobat but had an accident a few months ago and is now wheelchair-ridden. Mei then comes in to take in Acro as he will be tomorrow’s witness. Mayoi wonders why Mei is being harsh with Naruhodo. Her aim is Mitsurugi. She accuses Naruhodo of ‘killing’ him. Although he left a death note, she believes he is still alive. She is certain that if she defeats Naruhodo, Mitsurugi will come back. Naruhodo goes to talk to Tommy who on the morning of the murder saw the ringmaster very mad since there was an odd memo on the board. As the memo is now missing from the board, Naruhodo searches the office and finds it in the trash bin. There are no names but it is addressed to the murderer and called him out to meet. Showing this to Tommy again, they believe something happened here that is connected to the murder. Tommy reveals Bat, Acro’s brother and acrobat partner who was in love with Mirika. He’d do anything for her. While they were fooling around with a lion stunt, it went awry. Acro tried to save him but to no avail. The ringmaster shot the lion. Bat is in coma and Acro was hospitalized. When Mirika sees the memo, she recognizes it. Actually she found it in her pocket and is unsure how it got there and thus put it on the board thinking the owner lost it. Naruhodo now understands this tragic mystery. The trial resumes the next day and Acro appears to give his statement. He was sleeping and saw Max flying up outside his window. Naruhodo cross-examines him since there is contradiction. Because Max’s hat was found at the site, there was no way Acro could have seen it with him. Naruhodo accuses Acro as the mastermind behind this crime and murder.

Episode 20
Naruhodo with the help of the rest re-enact the murder scene. The ringmaster’s target was the box. Since it was too heavy to be lifted, he squatted to try and lift it back. But that is where the murder weapon was dropped directly on his head and killed him. The only one who can do this was Acro who was living directly in the room above the murder scene. The murder weapon is a bust of Max which he won in last year’s championship and thus the mistaken identity that Tommy saw that night. But if Acro is wheelchair ridden, how did he setup all this. It is his pet monkey who has a penchant for stealing shiny things. Mei is surprised that the circus members are now siding with Max when they were so against him. Previously Naruhodo showed them the salary negotiations letter. Max wasn’t just seeking his own increment but he wants everyone else to have a similar increment too. This shows how much he cared for the circus. Despite proving everything right, Naruhodo has yet to prove the motive for this murder. Why would Acro kill somehow whom he treated as his father? Naruhodo didn’t want to do this so he shows the memo. Bat was wearing a scarf that Mirika gave to him that contained pepper. So when Bat did the animal trick by putting his head into the lion’s mouth, the lion sneezed and that was when the tragedy happened. Therefore Acro’s real target was Mirika. As Mirika often took care of Acro and brought food to his room, that was when he slipped the note into her pocket. Since she is unaware of what that note meant, she posted it on the board. The ringmaster probably knew about it and went there in her place. Because of Acro’s condition, he couldn’t ascertain if he killed Mirika that night.

However Acro counters that he doesn’t have the proof linking him to the murder weapon. Is there proof that Acro dropped the bust on the ringmaster. Mei even argues that the police searched and catalogued every item in the circus they searched but found no bust. Naruhodo knows where he hid it. It is underneath the blanket of his wheelchair. Because the police was searching the place, all personnel was removed and because Acro and other circus members were sent away during the search, the bust has also gone along with Acro. Acro removes his blanket and there it is, the bust. He admits to the murder. He further explains Bat and Mirika were very close. Bat played a pepper trick on Mirika and she sneezed nonstop. So she too wanted to play that trick back on him that day but tragedy struck. Acro became mad when he heard Mirika unconsciously made an insensitive remark on Bat (something about becoming a star in the sky) and that’s when he hatched his murder plot. Mirika is very sorry and apologizes to him. But Tommy tells her the reason why Acro wanted to get away with murder instead of disappear is because Bat is still in coma and wants to be there when he wakes up. Mirika promises to be by Bat’s side till he wakes up. The circus gets back on its feet and everyone is surprised that Max is back with them. Since the circus is aiming to become the best and everyone has forgiven him, there is no reason to go their separate ways. Lastly, we see Mitsurugi just off from a phone call with Itonokogiri. Looks like it is time for him to come back.

Episode 21
Naruhodo, Mayoi, Harumi and Niboshi attend a hero show award at a hotel. Nickel Samurai beats Jammin’ Ninja for the coveted award. Also at this show are Yahari working as a reporter covering the event and Ooba as the security. Oh my, this old hag now doesn’t stop talking! There is supposed to be a show by Nickel Samurai after the awards but the announcer announced its cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances. After Mayoi leaves to answer a phone call at the front desk, the rest snoop around and thanks to Itonokogiri’s blunder, he reveals there has been a murder. Ironically it is not Nickel Samurai who got killed but Jammin’ Ninja or more accurately Isao Fujimino, the actor who played him. Again the hero is arrested for murder? More accurately Shingo Outorou who plays Nickel Ninja. Shortly after, Naruhodo receives a call from a person known as Koroshiya. He claims to have kidnapped Mayoi and his demand is a no guilty verdict on Outorou to guarantee Mayoi’s safety. Naruhodo speaks to Outorou to represent him but that his agency already has called some big shot lawyer. After hearing about Koroshiya, Outorou agrees to let Naruhodo represent him. He claims he and Fujimino are rivals but in a healthy way so there is no way he would kill him. When asked about the confession he was supposed to make at the show, Outorou isn’t sure what he is talking about since he left most matters to his manager, Kirio Kamiya.

Naruhodo speaks to Kirio who found Fujimino’s body. She was in his room to remind him the show is going to start soon as he was to be part of Nickel Samurai’s act. Ooba is also doing her own investigation and she believes Kirio is a vile woman who sets up scandals to make Outorou’s rivals lose face. There was a case before. In short, Ooba is a fan of Jammin’ Ninja. Examining the murder scene, a knife is stabbed in Fujimino’s chest and Outorou’s fingerprints are over it. Mei is also there but she is more concerned in whipping her whip around and blaming Naruhodo for smashing her perfect prosecution record. Just do your job, lady. Afterwards, Koroshiya calls Naruhodo that he will be giving him a ‘present’ for tomorrow’s trial. As Mei leaves the police HQ, she got sniped in the shoulder! Everyone is shocked when Itonokogiri barges into the courtroom to report this. Koroshiya calls Naruhodo again if he likes his ‘present’ and of course it is his turn to get a no guilty verdict. Naturally the judge will postpone the trial. However Mitsurugi returns! He has memorized the facts of the case and will prosecute Outorou by his own method. Naruhodo doesn’t look too happy that he is back. What about him choosing death over a year ago? He admits his past self is dead. Well, lawyers have a way with words… He went to do soul searching and asked himself questions like why he wanted to become a prosecutor, why is he standing in court. Well, duh. You’re a lawyer, right? He also points the same question for Naruhodo. The trial will resume.

Episode 22
Itonokogiri testifies that based on the autopsy, Fujimino was strangled to death. The knife was only stabbed later. Of course Outorou was arrested since his fingerprints were on it. Mitsurugi argues the murder was premeditated since the knife was from Outorou’s missing and the crime scene shows the knife in his room is missing. Mitsurugi also calls Ooba who was the witness. As she is clearly a fan of Fujimino, she believes Outorou was the one who did and saw it with her own eyes that he left the room although it is stated that Outorou was sleeping in his room wearing the costume. She even has photo evidence of it. Did she stole Yahari’s camera?! But it seems the person in the photo is dressed in Nickel Samurai. Yup, she is damn sure it is him. Naruhodo objects to it because he realizes a different person is wearing the suit thanks to the height. The pants of Nickel Samurai is sagging on the floor. He believes the only person who fits this description is Kirio. She is called to the witness stand. She testifies that there were 2 Nickel Samurai costumes prepared. The one who gave the press conference and the confession teaser was Fujimino in that suit. She didn’t tell Outorou about it so clearly he is unaware. Because Fujimino was going to reveal Outorou’s secret if he didn’t win the award, Kirio refuses to further testify since it will incriminate her. Even when Naruhodo pinpoints all evidence that she could be the one who took the knife and implanted Outorou’s fingerprints on it, she still refuses to testify. Because of that, the judge is going to put off the trial for today and Naruhodo becomes desperate. Unfortunately it gets adjourned. Luckily Koroshiya gives him a last chance to win tomorrow’s trial.

Before Naruhodo leaves, Outorou gives his keys to his house so he could feed his cat. Mitsurugi sees Kirio and wants to know a certain card she is having. She found it next to Fujimino’s body. Mitsurugi then talks to Naruhodo and wants to know what is going on because clearly he is not acting like himself. He tells what happened to Mayoi. Mitsurugi believes this card has some connection. Sazaemon Koroshiya is a top assassin that special forces have been pursuing for a long time. He leaves his card by his victim to make it known he was responsible. There is another reason he does this: His duty to his clients. He dislikes his clients being accused of murder more than anything. So this could mean that Outorou is Koroshiya’s client who killed Fujimino. Mayoi is trapped in some room and uses her ingenuity of a card to open the door. Unfortunately she is caught by the butler. Naruhodo is at Outorou’s house but his butler assures the cat is fed. He feels strange Outorou didn’t mention about this. He goes back to the crime scene where Itonokogiri becomes clumsy and trips over one of the large bear plushie present. To everyone’s surprise, there is a hidden camera in it. It might have recorded the murder. So when the source of the camera is traced, Naruhodo is in shock as he sees Outorou again. The one who sent the bear present was Outorou because of his credit card receipt. The bear is a rare imported luxury. Naruhodo then asks if Outorou knows Koroshiya because he believes it is him who contacted Koroshiya to kill Fujimino and then filmed his murder with this camera. Naruhodo hopes he is wrong but Outorou starts laughing like a maniac. It’s like he has an evil split personality.

Episode 23
Outorou confirms he hired Koroshiya to kill Fujimino. The camera was insurance so if Koroshiya betrayed him, he will release footage of him doing the killing. Naruhodo knows Outorou is equally as guilty but Outorou warns if he doesn’t get acquitted, you know what will happen to Mayoi, right? Naruhodo feels lost so he sees Mitsurugi for advice. Yeah, only he can decide. Just like how Mitsurugi left a year to seek the truth, it is his turn to decide. Still fretting over saving everybody? Mitsurugi tells him they are not superheroes but just humans. Koroshiya calls Naruhodo one last time. Naruhodo hears a cat in the background and knows where he is. By the time police swarm the place, he is already gone. So is Mayoi. Naruhodo realizes too late that butler is Koroshiya. In the room where Mayoi was held captive, they see a picture of Yurie Kamiya, Kirio’s late sister who was also Outorou’s manager. Next to the picture is a note left behind by Mayoi. It’s like she is saying goodbye and won’t forgive Naruhodo if he acquits Outorou. The trial resumes with Mitsurugi presenting facts about Koroshiya as a hired killer. Naruhodo argues that Kirio might be the one to hire Koroshiya. Mitsurugi presents a teddy bear that was found at the crime scene to be in Outorou’s house. Naruhodo objects that it might be from Kirio’s orders to frame him because why would Outorou bring back Fujimino’s stuff? Mitsurugi calls Kirio to testify on this teddy bear so the court gives 10 minutes recess to prepare. During that period, Chihiro possesses Harumi to relay news that Mayoi is being held captive at a circus. There is only a circus in town…

When Kirio is back on the stands, Mitsurugi ask about the teddy bear. It’s a souvenir Yurie bought while on holiday and gave it to Fujimino whom she was dating at that time. As previously she was Outorou’s manager, she was also in love with him. However that love is one-sided. When the media got wind about their relationship, he dumped her to prevent any scandal. Because of that she was fired but Fujimino’s agency took her in and literally saved her. They were also engaged but it was called off as Yurie killed herself. It seems Outorou told Fujimino about their relationship and he didn’t like it. She left a suicide note after taking her life. The confession Fujimino wanted to make public was this suicide note. Kirio didn’t want it to go public and searched his room but to no avail. She got an idea to frame both men as revenge for Yurie so she dressed up as Nickel Samurai, took the knife in Outorou’s room with his fingerprints on and stuck it into Fujimino’s body. The suicide note is inside the teddy bear, that’s why she couldn’t find it. Naruhodo objects Koroshiya doesn’t know about it but Mitsurugi shows the hidden footage Koroshiya does. He was watching Fujimino all the time. Creepy. Naruhodo tries to buy more time to verify if the note is really written by Yurie. With the court granting more time, Itonokogiri calls back to say Koroshiya has already fled again but this time Mayoi has left an invaluable clue and he is on to it. The court resumes and tough luck as the handwriting belongs to Yurie. Mitsurugi then seemingly helps to stall for more time as he calls a new witness to the stand: Koroshiya! WTF?! The killer going to testify himself? He called Mitsurugi a while ago to do so. So he is testifying from a phone?! Can a mere phone take the stand?!

Episode 24
The judge wonder is Koroshiya taking the stand is credible. How do we know he is the real person? Koroshiya lets Mayoi speak. It is him alright. Koroshiya admits he killed Fujimino. But before he can testify his client, he tells everyone about his code of confidentiality and how he hates traitors the most. Then he reveals his client is Kirio. This is of course a lie but how to proof? This also puts Kirio in risk of being wrongly accused and sentenced. Naruhodo cross-examines him and Koroshiya made a simple mistake when he explains how he went to meet his client. He thinks Kirio is a man. Naruhodo catches him there and this proves they never met. But this doesn’t change Naruhodo’s fate because at this rate Mayoi will be killed. Koroshiya even changes his stance that he remembers making an exception accepting Kirio’s request via email. The judge is going to announce Outorou not guilty when Mei comes in to throw a CD to Naruhodo as evidence. However the judge rejects it because the murderer is already known so this evidence is useless. Chihiro hints to Naruhodo that if the judge doesn’t need it, guess who needs it? Naruhodo then shows this disc to Koroshiya. It seems this disc was duplicated by Mayoi during her captivity so she wasn’t just being a useless hostage. The footage belongs to Outorou as it films Koroshiya killing Fujimino. It seems Koroshiya also had a same exact duplicate but was told not to watch and he kept his word. After Naruhodo reveals Outorou’s untrusting behaviour, Koroshiya decides to change his target since he feels betrayed. You better watch out, Outorou. That guy now is panicking like mad. Before the judge can hand down his verdict, Outorou screams in protest. He wants to be declared guilty seeing that if he is a free man, Koroshiya will kill him! Okay. You’re guilty. Feel better? It was between the devil and the deep blue sea anyway.

In the aftermath, Mei is not happy that despite Naruhodo lost, he looks so happy. Mitsurugi is here to explain he was once lost. As a prosecutor he thought of raking up victories till he met Naruhodo. He opened his eyes to what he really needed as the truth. When he lost for the first time to him, he lost everything. He realizes the importance of relying on each other for the truth, the reason why defence and prosecutors exist. It is also the reason why Naruhodo couldn’t forgive him when he left and felt betrayed. The reason Naruhodo wanted to become a lawyer was because of what he said and when he betrayed his own words, he put aside their symbol of friendship. Naruhodo then realizes he was wrong because Mitsurugi pushed himself to find the truth. Mei still cannot accept this because it feels like both losers licking each other’s wounds. Mayoi is reunited with everyone. The sisters reuniting brings tears to the guys’ eyes. How touching. At the airport, looks like it is Mei’s turn to run away? Mitsurugi sees her off. After all that has happened, she just cannot throw everything away. Being the daughter of Karuma is hard. She still considers Mitsurugi her rival and it got harder when Naruhodo beat him. Mitsurugi respects her decision and if this is the case, they’ll have to part ways since he intends of moving forward. Mei lets out the most emotional cry we’ll ever see as she proclaims never to walk in his shadows. Naruhodo continues practising law but he is still a big rookie having Mitsurugi and the judge telling him off to rethink his argument again. Objection!

No More Objections, I Rest My Case
I certainly have not played any of the games and although I do watch the parodies that fans and random people make just for fun, something tells me that the anime adaptation isn’t as greatly adapted. In short, a little bit poor quality. I don’t know, it just feels like that. I’m not sure if they’re trying to capture the essence of the game because there are some very familiar poses from the game like Naruhodo’s trademark objection but the overall execution just seems to not live up to a decent expectation. At least my expectations. So should we vouch for another season to adapt the rest of the games or would you object and igi ari to that?

Firstly, the plot of each of the cases. I am sure that they are following faithfully to the source material but somehow I feel that the execution of trying to make the cases interesting isn’t there. What I mean is that I could actually easily guess who the damn culprit is. Because from a small pool of characters in that certain arc, who else could it be? They can’t just throw a random character we have never seen before as surprise. That will defeat the whole purpose of this setting. So a big part of the trial seems to be trying to figure out how the culprit did it. That’s right. It isn’t so much on who did it because from the various clues and testimonials, if you use your grey matter a little harder and observe the body action of some characters, it is clear who the perpetrator is. Thus most of the deductions go into unravelling how the culprit did it via the most logical cause. And once you’ve nailed and cornered, the culprit, you’ll see how many of them will be blown away by a strong gust of wind! It’s like as though a comet flew passed by and they are caught in its turbulence. Oh yeah. Great special effects. Sure, for funny moments. It made me laugh. But hardly funny anymore when you try to compare it in real life. What the f*ck am I doing this in the first place comparing?!

Next, the art and animation seems pretty mediocre. Sure, it looks like the game itself but somehow it just doesn’t cut it for the anime. The characters look a little bland and some of the character designs feel a bit outrageous. Like Naruhodo’s hairstyle I thought his hair is made out of car engine inlets or something. No kidding! I thought for him to have a hairstyle like that, his hair needs to be made out of steel. And have you seen Kimiko’s large plume of hair? I thought she can have an ecology of birds living inside it. Even the animation itself isn’t that smooth but since this isn’t an action genre, who cares, right? Oh, did I mention that there is a bit of CGI employed? Why the f*ck do you need CGI when you only relegate them to the jury (or at least the people sitting at the sides)?! That’s right. Unless they are shown up and close, you’ll notice the jarring difference and poor CGI effect of those people on the side.

I know very well that real court cases are not like this. Of course you can say that this is a game and not reality but I can’t help feel inclined to always remind myself that such as being portrayed here isn’t so in real life. Because you must have realized how lax everything is. First of all, almost everyone is such a happy person. See in the opening credits animation of Naruhodo and his team? Everybody’s smiling! Everybody’s cheering! Hooray! Oh come on. Who the f*cks would be happy to come to court unless you know you’re going to win a billion dollar lawsuit. But even so, nobody is going to be this f*cking happy like as though all this is just a game. Oh wait. This is just a video game.

You know how unrealistic the courtroom is when you have witnesses and other people fooling around like as though they’re on some variety show. For example, Ooba keeps fawning over Mitsurugi and isn’t embarrassed to hit on him right in front of everyone! If you do the slightest foolish thing and trying to be just a little funny in court, you can even be charged with contempt of court! So do you see how lax everyone is here? Hey, if Mei can bring a whip in, does this mean I can bring my rare demon slaying sword in too? Then there is also how the lawyers argue and present their cases. Because the entire court case feels like a big show and tell presentation. Uh huh. You bring in a witness to testify, then you show the court the object in contention, then you argue your points and see who has the better contradiction. That’s it. And yeah, what the f*ck are those jury for? Assuming those people at the sides are the jury because why do you need them when it is the judge who makes the verdict? Oh, also notice how these attorneys don’t carry stacks of files? In view of all this, don’t you think the court of law is pretty much lax? So long the truth matters, right?

As for the courtroom layout, I believe it is apparent in some countries that the defence and prosecution don’t face the judge on opposite ends but face each other. I’m fine with that. But notice there are no seats for them? So you expect them to stand there the entire trial duration? Looks like it because that is what they have been doing. You don’t sit down when the other attorney is questioning or explaining. You stand there and listen. Man, don’t you get tired? And to think Harumi needs a box to step so that everyone can see her. And I believe this is the biggest offender of all if you noticed. I understand how longwinded and complex each court case is so the game and this anime might want to simplify it for fun. That’s cool. But do you not notice that the attorneys do not cite a precedent case? There is none! I’m not even a lawyer and somehow I noticed this strange thing that precedents are not quoted anyhow in cases to prove a suspect’s guilt or innocence. Man, if real life courts were this easy, I think I can even feel safe if Naruhodo is my lawyer. No, seriously.

There is a personal peeve that I didn’t like when I watched the anime. I am referring to the localization of all the character’s names. Apparently when the game is adapted to the west, I suppose white people have problem pronouncing Japanese names. So they changed everybody’s name to have a more westernized names. That is why Ryuuichi Naruhodo became Phoenix Wright, etc. If the westernized names sound funny and weird itself, it is because the names in its original Japanese are also weird and mostly revolve around puns. Many people of the western side I heard welcomed the use of localization because these are the names they are used to when they played the game so it makes sense to retain them. However for me who doesn’t play the game, it was confusing at first. Because reading the subtitles and then hearing the original Japanese language of the name complicated my already simpleton mind. It’s tough on my ears and my mind because I’m hearing one thing and then I’m seeing a different thing. And since I am so biased to my Japanese side, all the names in my blog are reverted to the original Japanese names. Hah. Take that! Yeah, I have to Google each time when they introduce a new character just to find out the original name. Heh. Hearing Naruhodo sometimes pronouncing his own name was pretty funny because it means “I see…”.

I’ve talked about everything now let me talk about the characters. Naruhodo as the main titular character is a big fail as a defence lawyer! Like I said, this is a game and simplified court case versions of real life but the way Naruhodo handles each case it makes you wonder if he is well prepared. You see, when the prosecution counters and objects his claims or evidence and Naruhodo has no clues left to counter, you can see him struggling in vain to think. Think, damn it! I know it is to enhance the dramatic effects because it won’t be fun if Naruhodo has all the answers, right? So we see Naruhodo trying to crack his brains for a contradiction or something. Like as though he is praying to God to give him a sign. Yeah, sometimes God descends in the form of his beautiful but dead mentor. If it is not her, then even his rival Mitsurugi later on might point out and give a few hints. But even if Naruhodo manages to salvage it, this won’t be the last time because there will be many times and I mean lots more of similar cornering cases he will have to endure. That is why I am saying if this guy is really prepared for this job and has done his homework.

And sometimes it almost feels like Naruhodo has lady luck on his side but one with a whim. Sometimes when trying to find evidence to ‘get out of a corner’, he looks around and thinks back harder. Conveniently he finds the solution! It shows that he doesn’t know it in the first place! For him to come back like this many times it’s like he has absolutely good luck that is also fickle, right? Yeah well, when you consider Naruhodo who comes to office riding a bicycle (I guess to show us how poor he is) and wearing a mini backpack on his back, don’t you think he looks like an oversized elementary school kid in a suit?! Holy cow! It’s true! No wonder he will always be a rookie.

Mitsurugi feels like a better attorney and although he seems arrogant but I suppose that is why he is the top of his game. But I still don’t understand about him wanting to find the truth in the end. Isn’t that his goal the entire time? So in the end, if Naruhodo and Mitsurugi team up, you can be sure you are screwed. Which is what the final case felt like. It’s like the defence and prosecutor teaming up against you. But that’s the thing. You either do your job or you find the truth. And seeing how lots of things turn out in favour for our heroes eventually, I guess there isn’t going to be any fear of the lawyer profession being tainted. All lawyers here are righteous! Yeah. That will be the day in real life. Then there is Mei whom is more of a b*tch thanks to her constant compulsive habit to crack her whip. She either becomes a lion tamer or go into S&M porn. Haha! With so much anger and focusing on defeating Naruhodo, it’s no wonder why her record fell, right? And even the god of all prosecutors like Karuma will one day fall. To show Mei isn’t some cold hearted angry b*tch and still human underneath that exterior, they reduced her to tears in the end. Ugh. Was it necessary? The biggest irony for all these great lawyers who have never lost a case is that they lost to a rookie who has only recently got his lawyer licence. Yeah, lady luck is really with Naruhodo. Even if Naruhodo lost his first case at the end technically, it was still a big victory because his conscious is still clear.

Mayoi feels predominantly like a useless character because not only she was indicted once for murder, but twice! In almost every arc, she is in some sort of trouble like the one involving the assassin she is kidnapped instead. Man, this girl is trouble. Trouble is her middle name. If she manages to not get in trouble and stay by Naruhodo’s side, she doesn’t do anything much. Sure, Naruhodo is the lawyer and should be the one speaking most of the time. So why the f*ck does she need to be by his side for company in the first place? I know, an excuse to channel Chihiro sometimes. That is just the courtroom. What about outside during on-the-field investigation or just in office? This girl is seen having too much fun. Just because the cases they take up has her favourite character or TV show, yeah I suppose it gives her a reason to frolic around. After all, she is still a kid technically, right? They try to enhance her reputation by making her do something useful in the final case instead of being a useless hostage but if you think about all the things she did, it would be impossible. I mean, how did she know what to record and where the resources are? Come on. I thought she was locked in a single room but she was made to wander about? And the computer is such a vital piece of information you’d think the culprits would at least lock it or not have other files or important documents on it. I mean, how do you hide your porn files on your computer? Am I right?! Seriously, they left it out so openly that Mayoi could even do such an easy job and give our lawyers a clear victory? They deserve to lose then. Harumi doesn’t fare any better but she is not as bad since she is younger and at least less annoying than Mayoi. Maybe it is her cute loli factor…

You have got to agree with me that the judge feels like a joke character. He feels like Santa Claus is having a part time job when Christmas season is out. Haha… I know they want to make him partial since he is after all the judge but I can’t help that sometimes they make him look so silly. And in a way cute. You should see some of his old man facial expression when he is surprised to hear a shocking revelation. Or the pitiful tone he puts up when he hears the witness’ sad account. He does look kinda innocently cute for a bald guy when he looks dumbfounded. If that is not bad enough, seeing him being pushed around by Mei was hilarious enough. I mean, the highest ranking person in the courtroom allows this whipping happy woman get what she wants? Who is she? Does she remind him of Mrs Santa Claus?

But the one that takes the cake of how the judge is just a silly joker is when Chihiro makes her appearance by possessing Mayoi or Harumi. I guess this is the only reason why they bring Chihiro back. For fanservice. Those melons feel like they’re going to bust out any time of that small tight suit fit only for Mayoi. Thankfully Mayoi and Harumi’s clothes are made of stretchable rubber like the Hulk’s pants so it won’t be ripped and can revert back to normal when she leaves without having to outrage the modesty of the minor girls. Anyway, the silliest part is that Mayoi and Chihiro look very different in terms of height and even boobs (duh!). So when she physically takes over somebody’s body, the judge wonders who this busty babe is. Chihiro’s reply? Just your imagination. And he believes it! OMG! OMFG!!! Yeah, must be having a hard day at the court listening to arguments, huh? And yes, who aren’t anybody else bothered that Mayoi ‘transformed’ into Chihiro? Shouldn’t they be shocked and call some paranormal investigators? Oh f*ck. Who cares? Case solved is all that matters.

Another joker character is Itonokogiri. This guy easily falls into the dumb detective category as you can see how sloppy he sometimes do his job. Although he is a good cop and his intentions are always good, you can’t help wonder if he is incompetent seeing the way he does some of the police work. It is amazing he hasn’t got fired probably because he hasn’t made any major blunders. Thank goodness for him. Adding to the running joke of this character is that many people will have the tendency to mispronounce his name because of how longwinded it is. At least by Japanese standards. So they tend to mispronounce it as something else which makes his entire name sound funny and weird. Yahari can also be a joker character but his presence is so minor and forgettable, it makes you wonder why the heck he even bother to show up. I know it’s to support Naruhodo but really, he is forgettable in that sense.

And speaking about lawyers, judges and detectives, at this point when you have watched the end of the anime series, you might have wondered and even asked yourself if the town has no other lawyers, judges and detectives other than them! It’s so true! Because every court case our Santa Claus judge presides them. Because every crime scene that occurs Itonokogiri will be there. Because every other damn suspect needs to have Naruhodo to defend them (so okay, he is the star so it is only right to focus on him) and either prosecuted by Mitsurugi or Mei (or previously Karuma). Are there no other people taking up these professions in this city?! Jesus. Heck, it’s a small world after all when they even had to call the same witness for different cases (Ooba and Natsumi).

Voice acting is pretty decent with Yuuki Kaiji helming the titular character Naruhodo and sounds like any other Yuuki Kaiji character he voiced. Same goes to Aoi Yuuki as Mayoi with her typical cutie pie voice. The rest of the main casts are Masahi Tamaki as Reiji (Reiji Aoi in Kindaichi Shounen series), Saori Yumiba as Mei (Kyouka Iburi in Engage Planet Kiss Dum), Ben Hiura as the judge (Kazuya’s father in Gosick), Masamu Iwasaki as Itonokogiri (Iemitsu in Katekyoushi Hitman Reborn), Chie Nakamura as Chihiro (Sakura in Naruto), Misaki Kuno as Harumi (Serara in Log Horizon), Tooru Nara as Yahari (Nishida in Chihayafuru) and Akio Ohtsuka as Karuma (titular character of Black Jack).

The opening themes are sung by an all-male idol pop group, Johnny’s West. Personally, they sound so gay to me. Well, somehow I think the singing style is pretty much similar to one of the opening themes of Inu Yasha, Change The World. But hearing Gyakuten Winner as the first opening theme and Jinsei Wa Subarashii as the second one, I can’t help feel that they sound almost similarly the same like in the beat and pace. And still gay. At least the ending theme sounds better, Message by Rei Yasuda as the first ending theme is a pop ballad. It’s back to pop idol group for the second ending theme but an all-female one. Junai Chaos by Tokyo Performance Doll sounds energetically decent but nothing that attracts my attention.

Overall, this anime might be cheesy but it is still fun to watch. Because where else are you going to find lawyers who are as easy going as them and making evidence collecting and arguing statements in court look so cool and easy. Not even American legal dramas like Ally McBeal can match them. Not only that, they can prove your client’s innocence or send the perpetrators to prison in no more than 3 trial days! OMG! F*cking record time! So f*cking efficient. Well, that’s because it is part of the game world settings whereby the court has to reach a verdict within 3 days otherwise the backlogs. Which is what is happening in our world, right? You wait like sh*t and then you pay like sh*t. Time and money, that is. It really want to make me go out and shout out to the court systems of the world to follow this style. Objection to the current world’s court system! Matta! Igi ari! Heh. I just felt like saying that for fun.

Danganronpa 3 – Hope Arc

February 10, 2017

To bridge the twin simultaneous series of the Despair Arc and Future Arc, thus we have this special broadcast, Danganronpa 3 – Hope Arc to bring closure and end everything once and for all. Will the world finally be flooded with mindless hope because hope is still hope no matter how you put it. Unless that is like despair in disguise. Oh damn. I’m confused now…

Hope Floats
Hinata is seen by Yukizome’s body. He regrets the terrible things he has done with his power but because of it, he managed to bring everyone else back. Naegi is being cornered and pushed back by the elite force. But the luck of Komaeda has taken them out. It seems the Remnants are back and are now on the good side thanks to Hinata healing them back to normal. They are the ones who also helped dig out Togami’s side from the rubble. We see them display and use their talents fending off the elite force. Then they face Mitarai who is still bent on resetting everything even if it means everyone losing their emotions, etc. He claims he is not strong like them and blames himself that a lot of people died. Hinata doesn’t blame him for thinking that way but doing so means erasing history. Because it is as though they are acting Nanami never existed. Their role as survivors is to atone their sins and carry on living. Mitarai is unsure of what to do since he is always alone. Well, look no further. These guys will always be with him from now on. After a lot of contemplating, crying and breaking down, Mitarai finally finds the courage to stop the broadcast. Now you can let those tears run freely and have a big group hug. That’s a good boy. And everything is resolved without Naegi having to lift a single finger or say a single word.

Naegi returns to base where Togami shows a footage released from Future Foundation. Hinata and the Remnants are claiming responsibility on this since hope is boring and thus bringing to you this despair. Before you jump to conclusions that they are sheep in wolves’ clothing, take note that this is just an act to ‘deceive’ the world and make them think they are behind this so as not to tarnish the good name of Future Foundation. It’s like playing the villain. Nanami is heard talking to Hinata and narrating to us when Hinata entered the New World Programme. An AI was supposed to be created to monitor him which was supposed to be her. However there was no need for all that since there was someone all of them wanted to see again. Since Nanami is able to see all of them, she thinks miracle has won. The ex-Remnants leave the place via ship. Munakata warns Naegi that he is going to be a hero as the world needs one who fought despair. Can he shoulder it? If the ex-Remnants had the burden of carrying despair, then Naegi has the burden of carrying hope. Munakata also has his own burdens to carry then. Tsumiki shows an antidote that Seiko tried creating during the mutual killing game. It’s a medicine that would slow the spread of the wristband’s poison. So guessed who lived? That lucky person who was able to received Tsumiki’s treatment with this antidote is no other than Kirigiri. And this completes our full cycle of hope and not let it end in despair, right? A few months later, we see Naegi’s side rebuilding Hope Academy. Naegi is the headmaster and Kirigiri a teacher.

Hope To See You Again
Erm… Somehow I feel that there are a few parts missing here and there. Because you know, it just doesn’t explain how Hinata return back to his normal state from his super Kamukura form. Maybe there wasn’t much to it. Ushering back the ex-Remnants feel a bit rushed because they need to spend some time giving some drama to Mitarai and end it. So it ends like that? No wonder hope is so boring. And there’s this Nanami’s explanation that I didn’t get at all on how the virtual reality programme works but what the heck, as long as a good happy ending is in sight then everything else doesn’t matter. I was wondering the fate of some of the characters like Monaka because I suppose she is going to be stuck in space forever. What will be of Munakata? How will he pay his respects to Yukizome and Sakakura assuming he isn’t part of the new Hope Peak or whatever academy Naegi wants to call this new future school of his. And where are the ex-Remnants going now? They leave by ship but to where? Are they going to live on an island all by themselves seeing that they have become the bad guys in the eyes of the world? Most likely. Because you can’t blame anybody for trying to kill them seeing them walking in the streets after the despair they have caused.

And the most ‘outrageous’ of all is Kirigiri coming back to life. It feels unfair that only she is the dead one who has to return to life. She is the last person who died from the poison in the wristband but I am not sure how long it was since her death and the end of this entire drama. How long can a human body stay dead and then revive again without having any major damage to the body organs? Kirigiri looks fine to me. As though she woke up from a great sleep. And I believe it hasn’t even been a day since the mutual killings started so if Kirigiri can be resurrected, why not the rest who died from their forbidden actions? Unless you tell me Seiko only made a vial worth for one person. Too bad. But even if you think of it, if Kirigiri was administered the antidote right on time, the poison would have spread quickly throughout her body during that time interval and thus the antidote would be useless in slowing it down. I mean, if this was the case, the rest wouldn’t have died a fast death, right? So it makes no sense. Yeah, this story was written on hope, not logic.

Overall, I feel that this special episode felt a bit lukewarm in trying to end everything on a feel good note. Some bits I felt were not there but maybe they’ll show another special episode to bridge it. You know, like the big battle between Naegi and Enoshima that resulted in the latter’s death. I can only blame myself for expecting a lot after the tense and suspenseful arcs but then again, we’re all weak in our own ways. So from what I learn from what these guys said, we are supposed to accept our weakness and failures because it gives us hope? Well okay. I’m a loser otaku and have always been one for the longest time. Gee, that doesn’t make me feel better and instead just feeling more despair instead. Oh, right. I remember I’m not even a super high school level in anything. Despair seems to be so much more tempting…

Mob Psycho 100

February 5, 2017

The biggest question that everyone has been having on their minds since. What happens if One Punch Man’s Saitama had hair and he didn’t have a brutally strong physical punch but the most powerful psychic and esper powers ever. And now you have your answer. Voila! Behold! You get Mob Psycho 100! Haha! Just kidding. But no, really. The similarities are more than just coincidence because both series are written by the same author. The main character of this show indeed looks like Saitama with hair. But that is not the point of this show. It isn’t an alternate reality whereby Saitama is an esper. Heck, it isn’t about Saitama at all. It’s not a spinoff or alternate retelling of One Punch Man even. This is a completely different anime. A totally different series. A boy with special powers trying to do his good by exorcising dangerous and wicked spirits around.

Episode 1
Arataka Reigen is the new rising paranormal detective. He accepts to look into the case of his client, Hanako because she claims some ghost is always head butting her in her dream. However her boyfriend, Tarou is suspicious Reigen might be fake and his suspicions are close to true when Reigen points out the wrong haunted building and is more afraid of cockroaches than ghosts. When the real spirit appears, Reigen throws salt. Nothing happens. Even the ghost mocks him only purification salt will do. So Reigen calls his next trump card, Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama. This kid walks in casually and instantly exorcises the ghost! Mob is supposedly Reigen’s student but he wonders why Reigen can’t take care of such lowly spirit. Reigen claims he is training Mob to control his power that will ‘melt’ everything. Really? Mob is just an ordinary high school student otherwise. Has a crush on this pretty girl, Tsubomi, bad in studies and definitely the worst in sports. Reigen calls him for another mission. This time a haunted tunnel supposedly where a busload of people died and their vengeance is swirling around the area. Reigen lets Mob handle the small fries while he claims to find the bigger one but actually does nothing. When Reigen bumps into this wrestler guy, he is actually a real ghost and the leader of his biker gang. They all perished here when their bikes slipped on a banana. Yes, seriously. Reigen could have been done for had not Mob used his barrier to protect him and the gang leader thought this weakling had some sort of cool power. Eventually Mob reduces him into pipsqueak level. Reigen wants him to finish him off but Mob wants to hear him out. It seems there is another big evil spirit that is commanding them to do bad stuffs. Mob moves forward to take a look although pipsqueak believes he is not powerful enough to take it on. When the spirit shows up and devours Mob, Mob exorcises it from within! And he thinks it wasn’t very powerful to begin with! Oh sh*t! Mob even hands back pipsqueak’s group photo of his gang, enough to touch his heart and send him passing over with peace. Mob’s such a great guy. When Mob asks why Reigen didn’t even do anything, he manages to worm his way out with this excuse that he already told him to leave the small fries to him. Can’t argue with that.

Episode 2
Reigen’s client doesn’t believe his ghostly problem as pointed out is due to porn sites! Reigen then starts massaging his shoulders and back. Once his full chiropractic therapy is done, this guy really felt good! So it’s all over? When Mob asks the serious question about life, Reigen thinks he is on to him so he tells him not to rush it and take it easy. All he needs to do is laze around and make money for him. When a member leaves the Telepathy Club, Tome Kurata the president goes into emergency mode to find another member fast. Because here comes Tokugawa the student council vice president threatening to abolish the club and give it to another club if they don’t find a replacement member in 2 days. So with her members, Inukawa, Kijibayashi and Saruta, they go all out to recruit anybody but were all rejected. Till Mob is brought in since he doesn’t have a club. Tome is desperate enough to try and act all nicely for him to join but Mob is unsure since he has a job to do after this. He calls Reigen for advice. Hearing him out, Reigen believes Tome is only using him for her means. Tome takes over the conversation and calls Reigen a fraud but he tells her off for trying to steal his student’s time. Mob thinks of joining when he sees Tome in tears but Reigen warns those are just crocodile tears. He adds how the club does nothing and if it is going down it is because it is meant to go down. Mob is about to leave but Inukawa tells him Tome really believes in telepathy while the rest are here to only goof off. This is the only club where he can be carefree so think about it.

Mob is given the night to think about it as he goes for a job with Reigen. How are they supposed to infiltrate an all-girls’ high school? Dressed up as girls! Nobody is going to be fooled with that awful disguise! However the guards think Mob is a real girl and lets him in! Mob meets the clients, Chihiro and Mari who tell him about the poltergeist events spotted at school. As Mob walks around, the duo start wondering if he is the real deal. Then Mob detects the evil spirit and traps it at the gym where the basketball team is practising. The spirit thinks he can crush Mob but Mob is f*cking powerful! Now he is scared and going to take a hostage. But Mob finishes him off. While the girls around praise him, Mob hears the spirit’s final words. He was like Mob, a loser. When things started to go right for him, he died. So is he living life to the fullest? This has Mob start thinking hard. Next day as he is about to give his answer to Tome, here comes Tokugawa bringing a club filled with macho men in. So Mob is their new recruit, eh? Tokugawa spams him with lots of questions till one he cannot answer: Does he have anything he wants to do. Mob is finding it hard to answer as Tokugawa tells him about goofing off in this club doing nothing productive. If he wants to join on his own free will, that is fine. But please reconsider carefully if this is what he wants to do. All Mob could think about is confessing to Tsubomi. Flashback shows she used to be awed with his psychic powers till she got bored. And then she her attention shifted to stronger guys. If joining a club can change anything, he’ll do. So is he going to join the Telepathy Club? HE JOINS THE MACHO MEN BODY BUILDING CLUB!!!!! This guy needs to build some muscles, right? Glad to have you onboard!

Episode 3
Mob is seriously lagging in the body building aspect. No stamina. Thankfully these macho guys allow the Telepathy Club to share the room. Tome doesn’t believe he has psychic powers but after he demonstrates, she hopes he could help her achieve her dream of communicating with extraterrestrials. He won’t. She then tells him off being strong won’t make him popular. It is reading the minds of girls that will. So when Mob asks Reigen about this, he too can tell he wants to be popular for a girl. It’s written all over your face. On his way home, Mob encounters a strange lady who believes he has problems in love. He would have declined following her had she not assure him it will make him famous. He follows her to a secret underground base and the group is called LOL. I kid you not. Everyone is smiling and laughing. Mob along with a couple of new recruits that include a grumpy man and his classmate, Ichi Mezato are ushered onto stage to be introduced. Then the clan leader, Dimple makes his appearance. Laughing is the of course first order. He tries to get them to free their hearts and laugh but Mezato claims she doesn’t believe all that BS. She is the school’s reporter and heard about a religious cult gaining popularity in a month by brainwashing others and forcing them to join. Dimple proves his work by putting a mask on the grumpy man and now he is all smiling! Mezato still doubts but she can’t leave as Dimple wants her to smile. She can’t force herself to laugh or that will be lying to herself. After a mask is put on her, she starts laughing too. It seems her body is laughing on its own accord but deep down inside Mezato doesn’t want to. Welcome aboard.

Mob then wants to leave. The mask has no effect on him. Dimple is shocked it doesn’t work and has Mob play a game of starring with his best smilers. The first to laugh loses. His smilers all lost. Dimple then challenges him himself. He spiked Mob’s drink and almost caused him to laugh in which Mob denies he is so. When everyone restrains him and Dimple is trying to hint to him to get a clue and laugh, this makes Mob remember how the other kids told him to go home because he was the only one not laughing. Worse, Tsubomi told him to get a clue. Dimple tries his direct hypnosis but doesn’t work. He then tries to instigate Mob that he has no feelings and thus he can never be with the one he loves. It is then Dimple realizes he has similar psychic powers and is his enemy. He orders his followers to get rid of him. But then Mob bursts into full power! As narrated, Mob rarely showed his powers in public. As he realized how dangerous it was, he is unable to act or do as he pleased and this meant his emotions came to a halt. His aversion to using his powers has become a complex. His emotions locked inside his heart. But now an emotion has burst out and it is rage. Wow. Mob becomes like a Super Saiyan as he fights off Dimple. So powerful that Dimple couldn’t even touch him! If it is emotions you want, here they are. Feel the rage! In the aftermath, Mob is bummed out as he talks to Reigen who thinks he shouldn’t be too conscious since he has no social skills. Because he is the protagonist of his own life. After hearing what happened, Reigen explains that incident was just a simple mind control. That wasn’t salvation and Dimple was just having them depend on him. Since Mob was super dense, it didn’t work on him. This means that density itself has him saved many people today. The followers of LOL are broken free from the hypnosis. They barely remember what happened but think that kid has awesome powers and want to find him and worship him as their new God!

Episode 4
When Black Vinegar Middle School’s gang leader, Tsuyshi Edano is beaten up by Tenga Onigawara, the gang leader for Salt Middle School, he calls in their trump card, Teruki “Teru” Hanazawa to avenge them. This pretty boy easily beats up a gangster with no sweat? He is the real villain because he has no qualms using others for his own gain. Mob is surprised Dimple is hanging around him as a friendly ghost. He states his goal to become God and wants to team up with him to achieve greatness. But Mob isn’t buying it and wants to exorcise him. After pleading for his life, Mob will seek Reigen’s advice. However Dimple can see Reigen is a scam as he has no spiritual powers and thus cannot detect him. But you know what Reigen said? The spirit is too weak to be detected so Mob can do whatever he wants! Dimple is going to use Mob like how Reigen does so the first thing is to observe Mob. Mezato tries to talk to Ritsu, Mob’s younger brother in order to get an interview with him. He tells her off that Mob’s psychic power is not some sideshow. Despite Ritsu is good in his studies and popular, he sets Mob’s psychic power as his standards and always envies it. So when he asks Mob why he doesn’t use it often in public, Mob replies there is more to it. Instead Mob is envious of Ritsu’s popularity and brains and wishes he had other powers like reading his surroundings.

Onigawara and his co try to get the Body Building Club to help them beat up their enemies. But they get beaten up as warning since these guys do not use their muscles for violence. But after noticing Mob as a member, Onigawara hatches his plan. He puts a fake love letter in Mob’s shoe locker. It’s so bad anybody can tell it is written from a guy. Of course Mob being the ‘kind’ person who doesn’t want to break the heart of the ‘girl’ who might be waiting, takes the bait. Onigawara also has sent a challenge letter to Black Vinegar guys. So when Mob arrives, the Black Vinegar guys tie him up thinking this must be some sort of trap as they wait and use Mob as hostage. Similarly, the Body Building Club also gets a letter that Mob has been taken hostage so they rush to rescue their comrade. Black Vinegar guys are going to be in for a shock to see these macho men whom they cannot touch and just flick away with their fingers! Then here comes Teru. First he beats up Edano for being a failure and reliefs him as the gang leader. Then he easily beats up the musclemen with ease. When Onigawara joins in, he too gets taken out. It seems Teru has very powerful psychic powers too. To his surprise, he didn’t realize Mob is the only one left standing and didn’t even notice his presence. Mob warns him about using his power in public and for fighting. Shock to see another person other than yourself with power?

Episode 5
Teru becomes defensive and tries to establish the hierarchy by showing off his threatening power. Dimple tries to convince Mob to use his power but Mob clearly remembers Reigen’s advice that everyone is good at their own talent. People with psychic powers like them can be dangerous when used wrongly. Like a knife. Because Mob refuses to fight back, Teru pounds him with his powers. Dimple suggests to Teru for this to be a draw since he needs Mob too. Since Teru rejects, Dimple transforms to his true form ready to beat him up but was instantly exorcised! Mob becomes shocked that Dimple is gone (memories of Dimple being an annoying company flashes through his mind?). Teru gets mad when Mob doesn’t like the way he badmouths others. It makes Dimple look like a pretty nice guy. Teru becomes mad as he beats up Mob with full power, trying to force him to use his power. When Teru hurls knives in a bid to scare him, Mob uses his barrier and it deflects back to shave off Teru’s head! He thinks Mob did it on purpose and is even madder now. As the fight rages on and Teru continue to be cocky about himself as the main character, Mob hits it right at his nerves. He realizes Teru is just average like him. Not because they have the same powers but rather they are losers who are nothing if they do not have their psychic power. Angry Teru denies all that and still believes he is very different than him. Teru uses his brute strength to strangle Mob as he blames him for ruining his perfect world. Teru thinks Mob’s weak ‘punch’ in his face is an insult. So after all that muscle training and this is what he has got to show? It’s like he didn’t change.

Mob fears he cannot not use his power at this rate. Then he passes out. Teru thinks it is a draw as he walks away. But then Mob wakes up totally a different person! Oh sh*t! Who is this guy?! Is this power over 9000???!!! Teru thinks he is now serious to fight back with his power but is blown away. Even his clothes are blown away! Realizing Mob is in an unconscious state, Teru thinks he has awakened something he shouldn’t have. Mob is observing powers from Teru and his surroundings. Too late to be sorry now and repent. Because Mob’s telekinesis lifts Teru and the entire school block into the sky!!! Holy sh*t! It’s like Teru has gone to heaven! When Mob regains consciousness, he realizes he has failed to change. This leads him to explode into another form of emotions: Sadness. So sad that his power put back each and every block of the decimated school! OMFG! The school is like good as new! When Edano and co wake up and see Teru in this humiliated state, they run. Teru admits he has lost and just like Mob said, he is nothing without his powers. As for the macho men, they are just glad Mob is okay and they head back to do more squats. Back home, Ritsu can tell Mob is down. Mob feels sorry for that incident. The one where high school boys attacked them and Mob believed he did something to hurt Ritsu (he has no memories when his power is released in that full state). Ritsu says it was nothing. One of the punks kicked him and he got hurt. But Mob protected him. However Mob can tell something is off because he remembered it in a slightly different way. The TV news plays the supernatural phenomenon of building blocks floating into the sky and witnesses telling their dramatic sightings. Ritsu is also watching the news and he doesn’t want to believe that was Mob’s doing.

Episode 6
Reigen is in another spiritual medium scam. Yeah, this dude is trying to call his late father all because he wants to password to the safe. When he can’t get what he wants, he gets violent so Reigen punches him out in self defence. This has Mob wonder if fighting back this way would be okay. Of course his previous supernatural ‘fight back’ didn’t count. Mezato tries to get Mob to confess he was the one behind that phenomenon but he won’t say. Tome is shocked it wasn’t done by aliens! Thinking there are more espers, she suggests going on a ‘date’ to find more of them. Doesn’t Reigen count as another one? Apparently there is a difference between psychic power and spiritual power. According to Reigen, that is. Onigawara feels the need to find the guy who beat up Teru and make him their shadow leader. He thought he was the Body Building Club’s captain, Gouda Musashi but was told he wasn’t. It’s like Musashi knows who that person is but refuses to tell so as not to get him involved. Ritsu is in a student council meeting that includes that president, Shinji Kamuro. They are trying to tackle a more effective way of delinquents. Kamuro wants to hear Ritsu’s opinion so he suggests reprimanding them. On his way back, this strange guy, Kenji Mitsuura gives him his card inviting him to his Awakening Lab to help awake his psychic powers. Ritsu thinks he must have mistaken him to be Mob and leaves. Ritsu then stumbles into Tokugawa who has noticed his behaviour of trying to play a minor role and let others have the spotlight. He tells him not to act like his brother. This was enough for Ritsu to take up Mitsuura’s offer. He is introduced to other kids supposedly having such powers. In short, weak and pathetic. Not a big deal. Thinking Mitsuura bribed them or something, Mitsuura explains he is just a son of a wealthy family and his dream is just to become an esper and thus spent a lot on this research. Ritsu agrees to join since he too wants to raise his standards.

Kamuro has his own family problems. His brother is a very accomplished person and it seems he is hounded by his family to live up to that expectations. Next day in school, Ritsu is called to a class where Kamuro tells him they are going to frame Onigawara by making him look like he stole the girls’ recorders as he is the school’s worst delinquent. At firs Ritsu is against this but when Kamuro points out at Ritsu’s unwanted praises, Ritsu thinks back at how his parents always praised him and Mob too for his talents. Before you know it, there are recorder parts all over the classroom. Onigawara is running with Musashi and forming an alliance in hopes he could learn the name of the shadow leader. When he returns, there is already a commotion and Kamuro and Ritsu are searching everyone’s bag for evidence. Ritsu then finds the recorder mouthpieces inside Onigawara’s desk. Easily he is suspected and labelled as a pervert who wants to lick the girls’ recorder. As much as Onigawara wants to deny he can’t. Nobody believes him. Plus, he is finding it hard to resist fighting back since everyone is expecting him to use violence to solve things. He almost loses himself when he gets rough with Ritsu when he found more recorder parts in his bag. Onigawara is ‘defeated’ when he falls and accidentally peeps underneath a girl’s skirt. It’s the end of the road for him. The girl isn’t that pretty by the way… Ritsu feels sick having to think he was in cohorts with this and Kamuro was laughing his ass off after that. He gives up on Awakening Lab and throws away his spoon, admitting he has no such powers. But Mitsuura is left shocked when the spoon is twisted in such a hideous way. You can’t bend a spoon by throwing it like that, right? Ritsu is already in a bad mood when he stumbles upon Reigen and then he senses a spirit in front of his house. Isn’t that Dimple?!

Episode 7
With Teru’s defeat spread like wildfire, other school gangs now term this mysterious dude as White T Poison and want to take him on. Ritsu is shocked he can communicate with Dimple. But he beats him up as exorcism?! Dimple explains he manages to come back but because his spiritual power is way lesser, he can’t come back to this house where Mob has such great power. Noticing Ritsu’s power has awakened, he has Ritsu demonstrate bending spoons. At first he couldn’t but subsequently he could. Dimple tricks him into teaming up to become more powerful. Fortunately Dimple’s plan to possess Ritsu’s body didn’t come into fruition since he is too weak to do so although it does enhance Ritsu’s latent power. Kamuro and Ritsu go around cleaning up the school by ousting delinquents. They frame them for a crime they didn’t commit and then give them an option to save their own skin by blaming it on Onigawara who ordered them. While Kamuro revels in this accomplishment because it makes him look like a hero, Ritsu is rife with guilt. However he realizes this is fuel for his powers. On the streets, a few delinquents want to get back at Ritsu as they know he was the one who framed them. With Dimple’s cooperation, he beats the crap out of them. Then here comes Teru. My, a new beehive hairstyle?! He is trying to advise Ritsu from straying down the wrong path but Ritsu is stubborn and wants to test his powers, much to Dimple’s dismay. If not for the distracting wind blowing his wig, Ritsu might not have gotten the chance to get away. This makes Ritsu believe there are stronger espers out there and feels the need to get stronger.

Meanwhile Mob is tricked by a con artist to buy a vase. Since he has no money, she makes him accidentally break it. Then her gangster boss comes in to rough things up. Mob calls Reigen and of course he knows this is all a con job. When they get rough with him, Reigen claims he is hurt and demands millions in compensation! Using bad words? Another million. Your breath stinks. Another million. There, enough to cover the vase. They try to curse Reigen but he bluffs them about ghosts and possessions. The place suddenly rumbles and it scared the daylights out of them. Reigen thought it was Mob who helped out but apparently Mob thought Reigen called the spirits. Kamuro is now harassing the Body Building Club since Onigawara is hanging out there instead of going to class and that Musashi defends downtrodden Onigawara as he believes he didn’t do anything. When a rival gang comes to challenge White T Poison, Ritsu easily beats him up. Kamuro is impressed but is confronted by other rival gangs who think he is White T Poison. He is beaten up so badly that he becomes scared and shut himself in his room. Ritsu visits him and can tell he is broken. Kamuro wants out of this game but Ritsu says it is too late for them who did something unforgivable. Nobody can save them now. When other rival gangs team up to fight Ritsu, of course he goes into full mode to beat them up. Teru sees this and thinks he is pretending to be Mob. Once he is done beating them all and even giving his own advice about freedom, violence and losing one’s limits, Ritsu didn’t expect to see the person he doesn’t want to see all this: Mob.

Episode 8
Previously Teru had to break Mob’s ‘date’ with Tome to go bring him to ascertain Ritsu. Ritsu admits he did these to these punks although Mob doesn’t want to believe it. He even dares to take on Mob and this is when Dimple flees. Still, Ritsu knows his trigger for his power. After demonstrating a little of it, he reveals his inferiority complex he always had and always wanted psychic powers. The friendly brother act is over. Mob still believes half of that is true. He goes to apologize on Ritsu’s behalf. The punks get cocky as they even make him grovel, much to Ritsu’s dismay. There is this hooded guy, Koyama who have been watching this and his boss just raided Awakening Lab. His mission is to nab Mob in which of course they mistake as Ritsu. So Koyama comes down and slams Ritsu’s head into the ground. He seems to be the most powerful of the lot and beats up some of the punks. Then he also makes them grovel before him if they want to live. That is when Mob revives and attacks Koyama because he hurt his brother. Because Mob still holds high his values not to fight back, he takes an extreme beating by Koyama who could actually kill him! It is then Ritsu wants him to stop and leave his brother alone. He will go with him as intended. Unfortunately Koyama is angry so he beats up Ritsu. This enrages Mob as his feelings now burst into ultimate animosity. What follows next is an epic super power battle in which Koyama gets beat down. Even those punks are cheering for Mob! However Koyama is still strong and incapacitates Mob with some spray. He is going to kill the punks as he is not going to leave any eyewitness. When Mob stands back up, Koyama realizes he cannot best him and takes Ritsu and run. While the punks praise Mob, Dimple has come back with Teru who tells them he is unconscious while standing and it is best to get away from him as he is still dangerous.

When Mob wakes up, he is in Teru’s place. Seeing that Dimple is back, Mob at first thinks he is the one behind this. Better explain yourself. Teru knows who those people are. He was once followed by them for a few years. Of course he showed them a lesson and that’s why he lives alone now. He warns Mob to stay away from them or he could be killed. You think Mob is going to sit around knowing his brother is kidnapped? Teru further explains these people are from the organization called Claw. They want a revolution. Many organizations around the world have tried to manufactured espers but only Claw succeeded. They kidnap child espers and mature their powers as well as brainwash them. Although manufactured espers are not as good as naturals like them, they can still overwhelm you with numbers. Dimple adds that Ritsu has been going to this lab to awaken his powers. He takes them there only to see all the scientists knocked out. They interrogate Mitsuura for answers but clearly he doesn’t anything or what is going on. He is shocked when he learns who the real Mob is. He also tells them that the other esper kids have been taken as well. Speaking of them, they are being taken to a secret facility hidden in the woods.

Episode 9
When Koyama’s colleague, Sakurai learns that he fought Mob and let him go, he chastises him for doing so because it’s their job to bring in such powerful kids. If the division leader finds out about this, they’re not going to let him go. Claw’s upper echelons are known as Scar in which Koyama and Sakurai are part of. This conversation is heard by fellow Scar, Terada who is going to bring in this kid himself. However he got his ass kicked and interrogated! Claw’s meeting begins. Another group of weird looking weirdoes that include Muraki (shoulder pads), Mukai (little girl), Takeuchi (Indian?), Miyagawa (psycho), Tsuchiya (fugly) and the division leader, Ishiguro (gas mask). Ritsu thinks he can plead for them to be released but you think these baddies are going to let them go even if they have no psychic powers? Muto, another Scar interrogates them and picks Kaito Shiratori to show his power or else. To teach them a lesson, he brings Kaito to another room and kills him before bringing back his corpse for the rest to see!!! Mob and Teru force Terada to bring them to their hideout. The boys think he is no harm thinking they’ve tortured him enough and won’t attack them. Wrong. Terada attacks them with his psychic whip otherwise his reputation will be tarnished. It isn’t long before Mob defeats him. Ritsu suggests they escape but the rest thinks it is possible. But Kaito’s brother, Daichi agrees. He isn’t grieving? Because he can still sense Kaito alive (they’re telepathically talking to each other), he thinks Muto’s killing was just an illusion and the real body somewhere. Everyone agrees to Ritsu’s plan to bust out. Since he doesn’t remember their names (so do I), they reintroduce themselves again. Aside the Shiratori brothers, nice to meet you again Rei Kurosaki (clairvoyance), Takeshi Hoshino (telekinesis) and Go Asahi (pyrokinesis).

The plan begins with Asahi using his fire to mould the spoon to fit into the lock and then Hoshino using telekinesis to break it. Using so much strength for this pathetic little job? Of course the guards anticipated this and mock them. The rest fears Ritsu didn’t think far ahead and are doomed. Ritsu then coolly walks out and is not scared by their threats. He sees them as incompetent. This riles them up and as they are going to beat the crap out of him, Ritsu’s psychic power slams them into the wall. Ritsu then explains this was to let the guards let their guard down. Ritsu beat them up in the blind spot of the camera so he made it looked like the guards took them out to be disciplined for a while. They need to find Kaito first and Ritsu wants Kurosaki to use her powers. Mob and Teru beat up a few entrance guards as Dimple possesses one of them because of his weak mind. Their infiltration is of course picked up and reported to Scar. Koyama wants to pay back Mob for the humiliation. Ishiguro allows him but if he loses again, be prepared for the consequences. And here is Koyama facing off with the boys again. This time with lots of fury. Before he could begin his attack, Mob freezes him and then throws him about like a ping pong ball! OMG! He is ricocheting like hell! He definitely lost this time. With Koyama out of the picture, the rest of Scar is going to take action to show them the true terror of Claw.

Episode 10
Ritsu and co sneak in to rescue Kaito since those guards are busy talking about some experimented lab. But even when they are spotted, the old guy lets them go because lackeys like them can do nothing. All that is left is to let Claw rule the world and they will get rewarded too. Dimple stumbles into a lab filled with human size chambers. He is then faced off a Scar member, Matsuo whose ability is to send out demon familiars. Dimple knows he cannot fight him straight on so he deduces Matsuo is pretty defenceless without his demons. This causes Matsuo to panic and go on the defensive. Just when Dimple seemed like he is charging, he then trips. He actually left the possessed body to escape. Pissed Matsuo orders his demons to go after him but it was just a ploy since Dimple repossesses the body to fight Matsuo physically. Unfortunately Matsuo has more demons with him. Teru fights again pyrokinesis maniac, Miyagawa. It might seem Teru is having trouble fending off against his flames but Teru turned the tables to burn him back. However Teru is knocked out by Muraki and captured. Ritsu and co are finding the exit but stumble into a few small fries. After taking them out, they are met with this kid, Shou. Ritsu finds him weird since he doesn’t look like he is part of Scar but takes him on nevertheless so the rest could escape. Meanwhile Mob is surrounded by wooden dolls. They are controlled by Mukai as she gladly goes to play with her ‘new toy’. However she comes back crying to Tsuchiya since Mob destroyed her dolls. Tsuchiya throws her super hardened punches at Mob but he is not fighting back. Reigen told him beating up girls is only what losers do so Tsuchiya tells him that was an insult and wants to fight him fair and square. Yeah, she lost. Now it is Takeuchi’s turn to get serious but we didn’t see him do anything and he lost! When Mob gets going, he finds Ritsu collapsed on the floor. He starts feeling angry. Muto then shows Mob despair of Ritsu being killed. This only makes it worse as Mob’s feelings explode. It amplified Muto’s own illusion and reversed it on him. Like short circuit? After Mob collapses, Shou gets out from his hiding. It was his plan to put Ritsu as bait and it worked well. He then takes the brothers back to Ishiguro. Teru is shocked that Mob is defeated. Matsuo returns with Dimple trapped in his jar. Hoshino are co feel a great aura approaching. It could mean the big boss of Claw is here. Hey. Isn’t that Reigen???!!!

Episode 11
Mob is glad Ritsu is alive and instead of getting mad, he hugs him. Ritsu feels bad he didn’t have a chance to apologize. Since they are in a cell, a strange barrier power is suppressing their esper powers from getting out. It seems when Reigen arrived, the small fries thought he was an intruder. But from his confidently ambiguous talk, they start thinking he is the boss of Claw. So when they bring him in and they stumble upon Hoshino’s group, Reigen chides them for doing bad things even they are from a bad organization! When Ishiguro learns the big boss is here, everyone is surprised because he is supposed to only come next month. Reigen goes to collect Mob and everyone misinterprets Mob knows the big boss of Claw. As they leave, Ishiguro and Scar confront them. Who the f*ck is Reigen. This is not Scar’s boss. Reigen tries to cockily warn he has some martial arts belt. If not for Teru’s quick thinking, Reigen could have been killed by Ishiguro’s gravity blast. Ishiguro is even willing to sacrifice the small fries since they stupidly followed a new boss. But Reigen is kinder. He tells them to escape or else they’ll never make it big. He wants to leave too but is trapped. Can’t worm his way out now. Teru and Ritsu know these guys are tough to handle so their only chance is Mob. When Mob is caught under the gravitation powers, Reigen drops a dropkick on Ishiguro! OMFG!!! Then he warns the rest about stressing his student because Mob is not meant to use his powers to harm others. So is he going to fight in his stead? What do you mean he is going to resolve this as peacefully as he can? He tells Muraki to look at his coin for hypnosis. And then suddenly he punches him in the face!!! OMFG!!! IS THIS VIOLENCE OKAY???!!!

Reigen is almost cut by Sakurai. Reigen realizes his plan backfired. He thought of scaring them with a punch and then talk with them. Because Reigen has never lost an argument before. At least with adults. He realizes these guys aren’t adults. They are kids who never grew up because they want to take over the world! Then it begins. The biggest baddest most epic esper fight. All hell breaks loose as both sides fight each other. However Reigen tells Mob not to fight them. Don’t use his powers on them. But Teru and Ritsu tell him otherwise. He must use his power to fight or they will all die. This causes Mob to be confused and conflicted. When he starts thinking as long as his friends are alive and he doesn’t care what happens to his enemies, his emotions are fluctuating at a dangerously high level. That is when Reigen smacks him back to reality. He tells him not to do it as he will be the one who will suffer in the end. When things are going bad, it is okay to run. Flashback reveals Mob first went to see Reigen for advice thinking he had the same powers like him. At first Reigen gives him very general advice but upon seeing he has powerful esper powers, he decides to have Mob come every day to his office so he can teach him how to use his powers. However Mob’s emotions reach the pinnacle when Sakurai slashes Reigen from his back. Real sh*t is going down.

Episode 12
Surprisingly Mob keeps his cool. Because when Reigen tells it to leave it to him, it means leave it to him. More surprise! Reigen gets back up with no injuries! OMG! Sakurai tries to decapitate him but nothing happens! Reigen easily breaks his sword! OMFG! IS REIGEN GOD???!!! Everyone shock! Matsuo’s spirits? He thinks they are nice mascot costumes and easily exorcises them! Muraki’s clones? Nice 3D effect! Easily swatted away with a touch! OMFG! REIGEN IS GOD!!! Before we think so, it is narrated that Mob somehow temporarily transferred all his powers to Reigen. So all Mob has now in his emotions are 100% respect for Reigen! No! It’s going over 9000! Just kidding. Just maxed at 1000%. Ishiguro is getting desperate to take him out. After Reigen easily destroys his black orbs, Ishiguro then unleashes hard pounding techniques. Guess what? No pain at all! Reigen tries to unmask him but his immense strength has him fling Ishiguro through the walls! Super! Now what is Sakurai ranting about being an abandoned child from a broken family? His life is a curse? Lonely? That’s how his power awakened? Screw all that! Reigen too experienced loneliness. He forgot to tell his parents about his school’s sports day. WTF?! Reigen gives Sakurai and Muraki the ultimate lecture about society. The most damaging one has got to be they are all just commoners. Because if Reigen is just a commoner and they lost to him, what does this make them then? So true! Morally defeated! Ishiguro is back an unmasked. Just an old fart?! Now he rants about them with special powers as superior and thus it is normal for them to show off. When his tantrum is at its peak, he wants to destroy everything and restart again. However he is stopped and taken out by powerful Shou. He reveals he is from Claw’s main HQ and here to see if there is anyone with potential and take them back. None. He points out Mob as the most disappointing and will dissolve this division. Bye. When Matsuo thinks of unleashing his final powerful spirit, Dimple bursts out and knocks him out. He is itching to help and fight but it’s already over.

In the aftermath, Mob returns to school like a normal kid. Still has his crush on Tsubomi. Mezato still isn’t giving up on interviewing him but today is still not the day as Mob is busy with club activities and part time job. Kamuro has repented and wants to go round with Ritsu to apologize. First with Onigawara. But the delinquent doesn’t care. He knew everyone hated him but what he despised was how weak his own heart was. Mob looks like he is struggling to run and keep up with his body building guys. Ritsu believes he is okay since he is the strongest. You sure? He just collapsed there. Hoshino and co return to Awakening Lab but not because Mitsuura called them back but Teru. He offers to help develop their powers so they can fight better when Claw strikes again. Reigen now only gains the power of seeing Dimple. And they both exchange sarcasm. Mob still has problems controlling bending his spoon during dinner but don’t worry. Now Ritsu can bend it back like new. Shou reports to his father who is the big boss of Claw. He is not happy of what he hears so Shou mocks his organization that he is so proud of isn’t so great after all and tells him to quickly come back to Japan. We see Reigen taking Mob to go hunt for tsuchinoko. But he got distracted and collected lots of edible mushrooms. When a real giant tsuchinoko spirit attacks, Reigen runs but Mob exorcises it. With the great mushroom hall, they head back to grill them. What about the tsuchinoko? Oh, that? It doesn’t exist.

Flash Mob
Just wow. I can’t believe how absorbed I was watching this series especially the final infiltration arc. Before I know it, it is already over. Yeah, like Dimple’s case? I was ready and itching for more but too bad it is already over. So next season please? Seeing that there is still potential for another great esper and psychic fight assuming the big boss of Claw and all its other divisions return to Japan. Here’s hoping that will happen.

The plot moves along and builds up at a nice pace from Mob’s introduction to the inevitable clash with Claw. At least it is sufficient for this season. The funny and comedic moments may be silly because mostly I noticed that they come from the exaggerated facial expressions from the characters. You know, the flabbergasted and dumbfounded reaction they make. A hint to tell you it’s supposed to be funny? Well, I still laughed anyway. You’ve got a pretty decent character development too as this series is not always about Mob but his little brother also gets a fair share of screen time too. Other likeable and amusing characters as well as quirky villains despite some make a pathetic short appearance despite looking all that tough but I guess they’re expandable for the sake of comedy.

I personally think that Reigen is one of the most amusing and interesting characters in the series. This guy is just a bloody conman. Because of his smooth operator, charm and suave, he executes his arguments with full confidence so much so even if you are a staunch believer of your own beliefs, you are going to believe this dude. Because he is so damn persuasive. Even if what his say is all crap and BS, lying through his teeth and doesn’t know what he is talking about, it is the way he coolly relays his words in a very confident manner that makes it all very convincing. So cool that I wouldn’t even mind becoming his follower! Oh dear. What the heck am I saying?! It’s like I’ve fallen for his sweet talk. Because of this confidence, eventually I am not even sure if this guy has psychic powers. Yeah, I even doubt myself.

At the start I can tell you that he has no such powers whatsoever and is cleverly using Mob for his own means and ends. But then I start to wonder if maybe he is so powerful that he could be actually hiding a hidden power. A fearsome power that is more powerful than Mob’s. Aside this, he seems to have a good side as he really cares for Mob. But then again, I’m not sure if he is truly looking out for him and not wanting to use his powers that there is an ulterior motive to it all. Then the final episode blew me away. It again made me question if he was the f*cking master of hiding such powers. He does everything with ease and still maintains his suave charm! This guy is f*cking awesome! Although it was temporary, at least he is still cool and not let others step over him. So whether you love or loathe him, we’ll see Reigen in a different light now and with a little respect.

The other interesting character is Dimple. This guy is also as cool and has his own charm. Could be another conman second only to Reigen. Because he has got this laidback and easy going voice that makes him sound convincing too. Despite being reduced into a weak form, this guy has quite a very practical view on everything. What he says and thinks hold true if you think a moment about it. He is sly and will not hesitate to take advantage of a situation in his favour if an opportunity rises. He is also smart enough to run if it is not in his favour. After his failed cult, you bet he has learnt his lesson. Now in his little ectoplasm form, he serves more as a comic relief. In a way, it keeps his bad side in check since he knows who to side with if he doesn’t want to be wiped out entirely from the face of the earth. Yeah, he experienced 2 near death experiences at the hands of Mob and Teru. Literally.

Mob is certainly no Saitama although they share some striking similarities (or coincidences if you would like to call it) but overall they are still as different as day and night. Mob feels like a simple and normal kid but yet for his age he is quite a confused one especially when you factor in his psychic powers. He definitely wants to use his powers for good but under the (mis)guidance of Reigen whom he is unaware that he is a fake (assuming he is a real conman), he is always hesitant in dangerous times that calls for quick decisions. It was a bit surprising that he wasn’t the ‘main hero’ to save the day and defeat Claw’s division in the final episode since Reigen took over that role. But I guess Mob has already did a lot previously so it is time to sit back and let his master get some limelight. Had Reigen not been there to always remind him to never to use his powers, would Mob have gone rogue like Teru and abuse his powers for his own gain? We can’t say. In a way, it could be a blessing or a curse that Mob found Reigen. But we’re glad that Mob is on our side. He might sound and look like a retard the way he speaks as though his genes has left out his sociable skills but I think we would much prefer an emotionless Mob compared to one that will be bursting with full negative emotions like rage. When that happens, you’re screwed. Not even any Super Saiyan can save your ass then.

The relationship between Mob and Ritsu can be said to be something like the grass is greener on the other side. Each looks up to the other and admire to have what he doesn’t have himself. So it is unsurprising that Ritsu who is much more smarter in his studies, more popular and good looking, doesn’t appreciate all these natural qualities and instead looked up to his big brother as his benchmark and standards of his goal in life. I’m glad he learns what values most after he gets into trouble with Claw. They might not share the same psychic powers but they do share a blood bond that nobody can take away from them. At least a good ending for Ritsu too now that he has part of his esper powers awakened and he can put it to a little good use.

Teru feels like a character straight out from shonen genres because you know, an enemy that the main character defeats becomes his ally the next time. But it is good that Teru encountered and fought Mob. It’s like he has totally turned over a new leaf after learning that there is someone else more powerful than himself. It is a good thing he is on Mob’s side because they make a good combo team taking on baddies together. Well, if that really happens.

Some of the minor supporting characters at the start have mostly been forgotten by the time the series reaches its end especially when we are introduced to Claw. Or at least become insignificant. Because for Tome, her character role feels like a troll. She and her useless club could have been done without except for the fact that they are the sole reason why Mob decided to go with the macho guys. At least Musashi is a decent captain who looks out for Mob very much. Mob may stick out like a sore thumb and doesn’t fit in there physically but these macho men are giving him the right support so he feels like home. Even the delinquent Onigawara is hanging out there. He actually joined that club in the end. Yeah, those are true men of men.

Then there is Tokugawa who feels like there is more to him than meets the eye. I was expecting like some sort of big revelation. You know, maybe he is part of Claw? As for Kamuro, I guess he is out of the picture for good. He was a bit unrecognizable in the end but I guess it is a good thing he turned over a new leaf. Less one problem to worry about in the future and perhaps could be an ally. Mezato? I thought she would be snooping around since she wants to interview Mob so much and that she would stumble into Claw and then into trouble. Well, we don’t need another damsel in distress (the other being Ritsu when he got captured but I guess he could do fine on his own).

The action sequences especially those involving the use of esper powers are quite exciting to watch. No doubt with all the jaw dropping flashy exaggerations, it makes the entire fight enjoyable and exhilarating to a point you might find your jaws dropping with the sheer genius of it. Well ,sort of. When you have characters with abnormal powers, you’d expect things and everything else to go flying and hurled everywhere, right? It’s nice to see Mob take on a few members of Claw because fights between powerful espers are always exciting. So maybe after taking down this division, he can take on the world? Yeah, future possibilities. Maybe once he defeats the evil of the world, just maybe he could finally land Tsubomi as his girlfriend? Because he is already the world’s strongest man by then.

One of the most notable and stand out aspects you will notice is the different animation art style. It is not your conventional Japanese anime type with everything looking very cartoonish and hence looking like old school anime. This is because the characters have very simple facial drawings especially their eyes which aren’t drawn to your typical Japanese anime’s wide eye design. Even a 3 year old can draw such eyes. So simple. Therefore if you take away the hairstyles that differentiate most of the characters, many of them would look the same if they’re bald! No wonder Saitama would love to have his hair back. In addition to the characters looking simple (and funny), sometimes they can look ugly. Well, in the simple and funny sense (see Yondemasu Yo, Azazel-san for reference). What do I really mean? Even the ‘prettiest’ and most kawaii female character which personally is Tsubomi is as ugly as you can imagine. If ugly is a word too strong for you, then perhaps cartoonish would be a better substitute? Other than that, the flashy and psychic special effects look cool too although they seem like they might be drawn using colour pencils, crayons or oil based painting. But it is still vibrant and sometimes there’s an explosion of colours all around.

Voice acting is decent with recognizable talents such as Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Teru and Tokugawa, Takahiro Sakurai as Reigen, Koji Yusa as Kamuro, Shinichiro Miki as Koyama and Chiaki Omigawa as Mukai. There are lots of casts lending their voice for this series but I’m just going to stick to the main ones. They are Setsuo Ito as Mob (Ryouhei Ameyama in Pupipo), Miyu Irino as Ritsu (Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicle), Akio Ohtsuka as Dimple (Rider in Fate/Zero), Rumi Ookubo as Ishiguro (Chinatsu in YuruYuri), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Onigawara and Sakurai (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin), Toshihiko Seki as Musashi (Senketsu in Kill La Kill), Ayumi Fujiwara as Mezato (Misaki in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama) and Atsumi Tanezaki as Tome (Lilith in Monster Musume). The hard rock music themes seem fitting for this series because with lots of crazy stuffs happening, you need this kind of head banging music to get your grove going. I think. The opening theme is 99 by Mob Choir while Refrain Boy by All Off is the ending theme.

Overall, this is quite a good, fun and enjoyable series if you like super powers and a hero who is so reserved that he won’t kill a fly unless it hurts his brother. Okay, so he is not all that reserved anyway. If you are already tired of long running mainstream animes (like a certain orange ninja), this one should be refreshing. Some may not like the simplistic art style because it doesn’t look anime enough, but you’ll be awed in some of the action sequences and the decent and funny characters this series has to offer. So it goes to show that you don’t need an army of super powered humans to kick ass and save the world. One boy is enough for the job. Move aside superhumans of Concrete Revolutio and the budding superhero students of Boku No Hero Academia, Mob has got it all covered and he is just a one man show. Move aside, One Punch Man. Here comes One Psychic Punch Boy.

If you love the original animated Danganronpa series, then we have good news for you. Make that double good news. Because not only Danganronpa 3 – Future Arc was released as a sequel, it was also aired alongside with another arc (Despair Arc) in the same season and both series run concurrently side by side with each other. Double the fun, double the despair. For this one, as its name suggests it takes place in the future after Naegi and the survivors leave Hope Peak but in the aftermath of fighting the biggest despair incident to have been brought down on mankind. However history seems to repeat itself again as this group of people find themselves in another deadly game of killing for survival. Can Naegi’s hope save the day, world and mankind once again? Can hope be unlimited like despair? Hope has never been much more powerful than prayers… If you find my opening paragraph somewhat similar to my previous blog on this series, well, you’re not seeing double. After all, I watched them simultaneously or rather together.

Episode 1
As narrated, the biggest and most atrocious despair inducing incident happened in human history. These Super High School Level Despairs fought wars that destroyed the world and humanity’s last hope was Future Foundation. They fought a bloody battle and it reached a turning point when Enoshima was killed. Humanity was victorious. However Remnants of Despair continued their activities and the war continued. At a Future Foundation branch, Kazuo Tengan is the chairman and former director of Hope Peak High School. He chairs a meeting with other executives to discuss about Naegi’s betrayal. However the rest end up arguing about the safety of this place since it isn’t on any map and how the Remnants have been increasing their attacks lately. Till Kyousuke Munakata the vice chairman tells them off and to get back on track. It seems Naegi has hid Remnants. Not just ordinary Remnants but million dollar class that served under Enoshima. Some believe Naegi put on a show to kill Enoshima to let their guard down and he was an ally of Despair all along. So when Naegi is ushered in, Juzo Sakakura immediately cuffs him and beats him up. Since he is in no position to be interrogated (thanks for those injuries, Sakakura), the meeting is suspended for the moment as Chisa Yukizome treats him. She also talks to him why he shielded those Remnants. Naegi isn’t sure but he thought at one point they had hope before falling into despair. She cautious that you can’t defeat the Remnants by being nice and that’s why they need Munakata’s decisiveness. After Kirigiri bumps into Ryouta Mitarai who is supposed to meet Tengan for the meeting, something rocks the building. They believe Remnants are attacking the place as all entries and exits are sealed off. Furthermore, all security guards are found dead in the bathroom. Once everyone gathers in the meeting room, a smoke bomb is dropped in and everyone immediately passes out. When they wake up, each of them has a wristband with a timer. A familiar laughter is heard. It is Monokuma on the monitor. Is he still alive? He ‘thanks’ everyone for Remnants’ losing streak and thus this is his way of ‘thanking’ them. They are going to play a game to kill each other. Of course nobody is going to play this game as they are all allies. It is then Munakata realizes Yukizome is missing. Then they realize her dead body stuck up in the chandelier! Monokuma adds that his killing game will determine the fate of humanity as well as the conclusion to the story of Naegi and Monokuma.

Episode 2
Monokuma explains the rules. Once the timer runs out, a sleep inducing drug will put them to sleep. However one will wake up and pick somebody to kill. So if everyone manages to find and kill the killer, the next time they sleep and wake up and nobody dies, they win the game. Also, everyone has an action they cannot perform on their wristband or else a lethal poison will be released. They also cannot take off or destroy it or else the same will be done. Good luck and Godspeed. Miaya Gekkogahara tries to hack into Monokuma but got her avatar in which she speaks through hacked instead. It seems the system is perfectly guarded from outside but somebody hacked it from inside. This further proves one among them is the traitor. Sakakura believes Naegi is the one and tries to force him to admit. Asahina defends him and he too gets violent but since Mitarai advises him not be violent on girls, he got beaten up instead. That is when Daisaku Bandai suddenly dies. His weakness is that he cannot witness violence. Of course the best course is to check everyone’s weakness but many are against of letting it be known for fear of being used against them. Munakata then has everyone pinpoint the killer. Majority votes for Naegi. Munakata tells Naegi that if he hates despair, kill himself. Since he won’t, Sakakura and Munakata are going to kill him but Great Gozu won’t let this injustice happen as he fends them off. Kirigiri releases a smoke bomb to let Asahina and Naegi escape. Asahina has to carry him and run since his weakness is that he cannot run. Gozu and Gekkogahara side with Naegi and Asahina as they fight off persistent Munakata and then lose him. It is nearly nap time as everyone scatters throughout the building. Naegi and Asahina are hiding and she is scared this killing is going to happen all over again like last time. Naegi gives her hope to trust his super luckiness. They overcame this before and know each other better this time. Nap time comes and goes. When Naegi wakes up, he finds his fist bloodied and Asahina dead.

Episode 3
Well guess what? Asahina’s blood is tomato sauce and the knife in her stomach is just a toy. Phew, right? So who got killed then? GOZU!!!!!! The plan now is to talk to everyone and Naegi can do so if he goes to the broadcast room in which Gekkogahara has regained some control over the hacking. Naegi notices Gekkogahara’s odd way of travelling in her wheelchair. He realizes her weakness is that she cannot turn right. Gekkogahara fears for her life but Naegi assures he will not disclose her secret and shows his. Asahina also shows them hers: She cannot get punched or kicked. Thinking somebody is nearby, Asahina and Gekkogahara become decoys so Naegi can carry on. He informs everyone of Gozu’s death and explains why he helped Remnants. Before they were driven to despair, they were ordinary students till they met Enoshima. Thus Naegi helped them by using a virtual rehabilitation programme, New World to restore their memories before Enoshima implanted despair in them. He talks about the need to trust each other. He is going to abandon this game. By telling everyone his weakness? Well, logically if he was the killer he wouldn’t do that, right? Of course Munakata despite calling it a fine speech finds it hollow because Naegi speaks of hope but doesn’t know true despair. We take a short detour to see Seiko Kimura having some bone to pick with the couple Ruruka Andou and Sounosuke Izayoi. Both sides accuse each other of being traitors as Seiko chases the couple down. Beast mode? As expected Munakata finds Naegi to kill him despite the latter pleading he doesn’t want to fight. As allies they should talk. Munakata chides him he doesn’t know what true despair is and he won the last time because it was a game based on Enoshima’s rules. Therefore Naegi is much more dangerous as behind his words are not hope but despair. Munakata believes in power. That is why he will make many victims as it takes to destroy despair even if it means his own death. If Naegi’s words have power, stop his sword then. Alas his shallow hope cannot stop his sword.

Episode 4
Sakakura attacks Kirigiri’s group since he believes all those associated with Naegi are traitors. However he is taken out by Tengan. Not bad for an old man. Asahina and Gekkogahara reunite with Kirigiri’s group. Mitarai feels useless and guilty as he partially injured Kirigiri during the fight. They tell him he need not be like Naegi. Just be himself. Munakata then announces he has captured Naegi and will execute him. Kirigiri knows this is a trap to lure the killer because he would have killed Naegi already. True enough, this is Munakata’s plan as he explains the rest to Naegi. He is very sure Naegi is not the killer. The worst outcome for this game is not everyone being wiped out by the killer. Because the killer would have killed everyone in one go if that was the case. Imagine if Munakata dies and nobody else is killed. Normally one would think Munakata is the killer. However there is no way of ascertaining that. This would mean the killer would easily infiltrate Future Foundation, pose as a top executive and spread despair in the name of hope. They will be controlling Future Foundation from the shadows while using Naegi as a tool to achieve their means. Tengan attacks Munakata and fights him so Asahina could rescue Naegi and take him to a safe place. Meanwhile Kirigiri and Mitarai are re-examining Yukizome’s corpse. The chase between Seiko and the couple is still ongoing. Both blame each other for their expulsion from Hope Peak. Munakata and Tengan’s fight ends in a bloody draw. Well, not actually. When they fall off the level, Tengan was pierced by a metal rod. Seeing Tengan’s resolve has made Munakata to admit he was wrong and changed his mind. He wants to know what he is thinking. Sakakura is hot on the heels of Naegi. Seeing neither Naegi nor Asahina can fight properly, Gekkogahara faces off with him. However he kicks her off her wheelchair. It seems Gekkogahara is just a robot and the real person is controlling her from somewhere.

Episode 5
Flashback reveals Seiko, Ruruka and Izayoi were friends when they were young. Ruruka was impressed by her medicine talent. However Seiko cannot eat any sweets or sugar as she has some medical condition that would kill her. This insulted Ruruka in a way since the only thing good she can do is make sweets. Over the years we see Seiko becoming Ruruka’s errand girl all in the name of friendship. Meanwhile Munakata once believed Tengan used to be stronger till he became a coward. He replies about Munakata’s naivety in thinking if he wipes out all Remnants, he can rid the world of despair. War alone cannot extinguish despair. That is why Kamakura Project was initiated. Munakata thinks Tengan is part of Remnants since this means he was the attacker. Ruruka has figured out Seiko’s weakness as she has Izayoi get some weapon (in which he discovers some secret entrance). From the way Seiko acts, she knows her weakness is for someone to step on her shadow. Ruruka can help Seiko if she eats her sweet. Of course Seiko refuses citing her condition. But Ruruka still refuses to believe that. In that case, kill Munakata. She thinks if he dies, this whole mess will end. Of course Seiko can’t do that too. When she was expelled from Hope Peak, he helped her. Seiko devours more pills to become a super ferocious beast as she takes out all the lights and then hunt down Ruruka. But their chase ended up getting caught in Sakakura’s fight with Asahina and Naegi. It gets messier when Gekkogahara returns to fire her missile. Kirigiri continues her corpse investigation to find the killer’s pattern. Tengan refutes he is a Remnant. Munakata takes his answer as that he knows the killer’s identity. For suspense, we don’t get to hear what the old man says and we see Munakata’s shock reaction. Tengan reveals his weakness: Answer questions with a lie. But Munakata won’t waver and cuts him down. Not before Tengan quickly blinds his right eye with the metal rod. As nap time is around the corner, Seiko laments how things with Ruruka turned out this way. All she wanted was a friend and did her bidding because she trusted her only to realize she was being used. Unfortunately she’ll never get to know because she became the killer’s next victim.

Episode 6
Munakata remembers his past. Just after he, Yukizome and Sakakura graduate, he tells them his plans to expand Hope Peak to overseas since there are many bad rumours about Hope Peak as an organization. When he comes back, he wants Sakakura to take over security and Yukizome to forge ties and contacts as a teacher. Making the world a better place is not his dream. It is his plan. And now Munakata might feel his plan might be a little dashed so he stabbed his sword into Yukizome’s chest? Trying to make sure she is really dead? I knew it would be too good to be true when Naegi is shocked that Kirigiri became the next victim. It was just a dream. I hope it isn’t a foreboding of something. Kouichi Kizakura follows Kirigiri and Mitarai in examining the bodies. Then they stumble upon Izayoi’s body. Making it puzzling is that Seiko’s body is also found. Is the killer breaking the rules? Ruruka is saddened her boyfriend is gone. She pleads them to take her into their group as she is a useless person. Okay. But Kirigiri will have her help them out with their investigation. Gekkogahara connects to the security cameras to find the next victim. Naegi breaks down when he sees Tengan’s body. This hopeful guy just fell into despair. He thought all he did was for nothing. Ironically Gekkogahara gives him hope that everything will be fine in the end. There is also an ‘encouraging’ note left behind by Tengan supposedly for Naegi entrusting the future to him.

When Asahina notes how she hates the game and the rules they have to stick with, it then hit Naegi they don’t have to play this game. But how can they get out if all exits are sealed? Have someone from the outside make one! Gekkogahara sets up her system trying to connect outside. It is Togami who picks up the line. Apparently he doesn’t know there is this killing game going on. There is no worldwide broadcast as claimed by Monokuma. After hearing Naegi’s story, he lets him know that a spy he sent reported that Future Foundation’s peacekeeping squad is headed towards Jabberwock Island. It means Munakata had intended to kill everyone on that island regardless of the meeting’s outcome. Since the squad only answers to Munakata, there might be a connection with what is happening at the branch and on the island. Togami has also sent his forces to the island and he will personally be on his way to Naegi. After the call ends, Togami’s subordinate wonders why he didn’t tell Naegi the truth. Because the real Gekkogahara is dead and the one with them is an imposter. Togami’s reason is that because she is close to Naegi, it might put him in danger if he were to expose her. The best thing now is to let her be and strike the one behind this. He believes the only Remnants who can do this is Monaka Towa who is hiding in Towa City. Fortunately for Togami, Fukawa and Naegi’s little sister, Komaru are there.

Episode 7
We see Monaka giving her eulogy at Enoshima’s funeral. She is blaming Naegi for this. Claiming there is still hope for despair (oh, the irony), Monaka will become Enoshima’s successor and drive Future Foundation and the world to despair. Komaru and Fukawa are pushing forward fighting an army of Monokuma troops. Komaru narrates she is neither hope nor despair but just an ordinary girl who got separated from her brother during that greatest incident. She has been waiting in this town like a video game and waiting for Naegi to end the war. The duo barge into Monaka’s tower and see Monaka on a monitor as she proclaims to bring despair to Naegi. As she sends her robots to surround them, suddenly and surprisingly she surrenders! She knows too well that somehow hope always wins. She’s done with this and detonates the place! At least half the building is still standing. Komaru and Fukawa then find the real Monaka bumming around in her filthy Monokuma trailer room. They are shocked that Monaka doesn’t want to play this despair thing anymore. It’s embarrassing. She reveals she is not the one behind the killing game at Future Foundation’s branch and although she did kill Gekkogahara, it was just to see Naegi up close and personal. She was the one that did the murder prank on Asahina. When Monaka heard Naegi talk about hope and despair a while ago, it made her realize she didn’t want to end up like him and is done with despair. Although she doesn’t know who the culprit is behind this game, what she does know is that because of Naegi, one of the survivors of Enoshima’s killing game will die. She will not say who. Monaka is bored with life on Earth and decides to head off and live in space. Blasting away into the sky! At first Fukawa wanted to follow her to squeeze more info out of her but Komaru wants them to go back. She cites Togami’s name as a good reason. You want Fukawa to do things? Always cite that guy’s name. While they think Monaka doing nothing is a form of despair, Komaru believes once she is bored staying in her room, she’ll come back. Komaru manages to hack into Gekkogahara’s system to inform Naegi about Monaka’s warning. Fukawa does the same to Togami.

Episode 8
Once the transmission ends, Gekkogahara acts like a robot. Naegi and Asahina try to leave but stumble into Munakata. If not for Gekkogahara combining with her wheelchair into some mech to fight him, the duo might not have a chance to escape. Kirigiri is still looking at every inch of the room for hints. Kizakura just dismantled all the traps set by Izayoi in the room. Because Ruruka is seemingly clumsy, Kizakura vaguely hints about her trying to form her own breakaway group in Future Foundation. Sakakura enters the room hell bent on killing Kirigiri. Kizakura fights him and manages to let him step on a trap and wound him. Kizakura’s sharp observation notes that this former boxer has been attacking using everything except his fists. Could it be his forbidden action restricts him from attacking with his bare hands? In exchange, Kizakura tells his own forbidden action: He cannot open his left hand. It must remain closed/clenched. When Kirigiri resumes he investigation, Ruruka lets off a bomb that would have sent her dropping down and to her death had not Kizakura used his hands to grab and pull her up. Oh. Did he just open his left hand? Damn. And another one bites the dust. Ruruka is going to kill all of them as she makes Sakakura eat her chocolates that will control his mind. However he fights and resists against it. Watching Ruruka’s actions, Kirigiri has deduced she was the one who killed Izayoi. He died of his own forbidden actions. It was made to look like he died via the killer’s knife. However all victims had an embedded stab in their hearts. There was none on Izayoi. It is believed Ruruka used the knife from Seiko for this deception. Kirigiri even went as far as to taste Izayoi’s saliva and tasted something sweet. Who else is a master of cooking and close enough to him? She reveals a secret door behind the shelves from the way the marks the furniture was dragged. It is believed to be an exit. Thus Ruruka’s forbidden action is for anyone who leaves the game. So when Izayoi found it, Ruruka must have panicked. Sakakura tries to open the door and leave as Ruruka desperately tries to stop him. Kirigiri and Mitarai didn’t join in helping to open the door but head out of the room. Togami has arrived outside the building. Hagakure must be happy to see him seeing we’ve seen him running around like a clown and his luck managed to still keep him alive from all the attacks. After setting the explosives, they blast away the rubble. A member carelessly activates a trap that sends the building sinking.

Episode 9
Sakakura opens the door but realizes he still can’t get out because they’re underwater! Kirigiri tells Mitarai that the secret exit was fake. This might be an identical space below and not the original room they were in above ground. When they were knocked out the first time, they were moved to the identical part below. Whoever did this must sure put in a hell lot of effort to move everyone. Kirigiri knows this because she observed some of the damage marks in earlier rooms were missing when the killing game started. She suspects Munakata as the main culprit because he was the one who designed this facility and she notices the game rules favour him the most. Kirigiri and Mitarai reunite with Naegi and Asahina. Naegi sounds like he is starting to lose faith so Kirigiri gives him the much needed motivation to continue being hope. After Munakata slashes Gekkogahara into half, he reunites with Sakakura. After a short talk about their ideals and past endeavours, Munakata then stabs him! Then he blames despair for killing him… WTF. Ruruka has witnessed Sakakura’s murder. Although scared, she thinks he deserved being betrayed. Flashback shows Izayoi after discovering the secret exit, went to seal it up and set lots of traps so no one can find it as he knew Ruruka’s forbidden action. He promised he would never betray her and assured he cares more about her than himself. Naturally Ruruka is still scared so how to you really ensure Izayoi won’t betray her? Betray him first! While they were passionately kissing, she slips a sweet into his mouth knowing his forbidden action is putting food in his mouth. Izayoi didn’t hate her and continued to love her till his last breath. It is sleeping time again. Naegi and co barricade themselves but Kirigiri thinks it won’t do them any good since the culprit has full control over the playing field. But whatever happens, she tells Naegi never to lose hope. Sleeping time is over. Ruruka has become the latest victim. So this means Naegi is alive. Yay! Mitarai is alive. Hooray! Asahina is alive. Yahoo! Kirigiri… Hey, she’s not getting up. OMFG! SHE’S DEAD!!! Death by her own forbidden action?! That is, passing the fourth time limit with Naegi alive. That doesn’t sound fair. Naegi is in despair when Munakata contacts him. He should have known of Kirigiri’s forbidden action by now. He mocks this is why his hope is useless. It is time to settle whose hope is right.

Episode 10
Although Naegi puts on a brave face, he understands Kirigiri never said anything about this for she knows he will panic and run around to help her out, losing sight of his goal. The only thing he can do now is to face off with Munakata and settle this once and for all. The cat and mouse game begins as Naegi seems to be luring him into a certain room. It looked like Naegi has taken a beating and is going to be cut by his sword but he stops short. Naegi knows his forbidden action. He has observed the times he has chased him and all. Munakata cannot open doors. So if he kills him here now, he will be trapped in this room. Naegi wants to talk and cooperate but Munakata is not convinced. He will wipe out all despair even if it means sacrificing. Naegi disagrees that is not hope. All he is ever looking at is despair. Even if he gets rid of despair, that itself won’t create hope. Munakata reveals Tengan told him the truth. There is more than one killer. Everybody in Future Foundation is a killer! It made Munakata realize that Yukizome was also tainted with despair. There was a photo of kids being massacred and she was in despair who did this. When in actual fact it was her who did it. When did she first get tainted with despair? That is why he will rid of despair even if it is only a memory. Naegi disagrees again and doesn’t want him to say that he’ll rid of others like Yukizome. He gives example had Kirigiri turned into despair and betrayed everyone and had Naegi had no choice but to kill her, no matter what he would still be glad to have met her. I guess those are the winning words because Munakata’s scream of despair could only mean that, right? As the guys sit and cool themselves down, Munakata can only lament when did they go wrong. Asahina then comes in to tell them to stop killing each other because she has found out who the killer is.

Episode 11
According to Kirigiri’s notes on her observations, she believes the victims killed themselves and it has something to do with the monitors. Naegi tests this out as he is tied up and placed next to a monitor before the next sleeping session comes into effect. Naegi then wakes up first and sees a pre-recorder video of Monokuma on the monitor. He watches some weird crap sh*t on the video and the next thing he knows, he is hallucinating and sees his dead pals from the first season. All blaming him and then tempting him to come over to their side. Naegi goes crazy as he picks up a knife dropped from the monitor and tries to kill himself. Luckily he is stopped and snapped out by Sakakura. Why is he still awake? He cut of his hand! Bloody! Naegi explains that the killer is actually the victim committing suicide. When everyone is asleep, the monitor detects the one closest via the wristband and wakes him/her up to watch a brainwashing video before committing suicide. Naegi wants his help to destroy all the monitors. Is he crazy? Does he know how many there are? Sakakura is not going to do it. He tells Naegi he hated him because he defeated Enoshima who once brainwashed him. He knew she was evil but never reported to him and this is the result. In the end, he believes Munakata abandoned him for that. When the rest wake up and learn of this, Munakata believes the only one who can set all this up is Tengan. Because he is the true Remnants. It is hard to believe that old guy is the culprit as Munakata continues that his team were once investigating Enoshima and all evidence pointed to her as the evil. But Munakata heard from Sakakura and Yukizome that she isn’t evil and he believed them despite he knew better otherwise. That is when Tengan took advantage of their weakness. Sakakura is at the breaker room and turns off the power, cutting electricity to the monitors and releasing the wristbands. OMG. That simple?! Why didn’t somebody think of this in the first place?! Naegi tells Munakata to go to Sakakura. Even though he abandoned him, Sakakura still believe in him to get him out of this game. By the time he arrives, too late to apologize to a dead body. In the aftermath, Naegi asks Mitarai about the videos because it seems as a super animator only he can make this. Mitarai is fraught with guilt but insists he didn’t do it but Enoshima stole his technology. Suddenly Mitarai gets a call from Tengan!

Episode 12
Many years before, Yukizome passed a USB containing the video that brainwashed the Remnants to Tengan. She lies she has never seen its contents. He took and kept it. Now, that call from Tengan is a pre-recorded video of him admitting he is the mastermind of this! Mitarai falls into despair as he explains how all this came to. It was his brainwashing video. He ran away then but now he won’t. Now he is going to put an end to this by showing the world another brainwashing video filled with hope. Fighting fire with fire? He can do it now since his forbidden action was the use of his talent. It seems Mitarai disagrees with Naegi’s way in overcoming despair as the former believes despair as long as it exists, humans will repeat this tragedy. He makes Asahina watch his brainwashing video and orders her to stop Naegi. Mitarai stumbles into the special forces, has them watch his video, spread it to others as well as a special order to eliminate those who gets in his way. Naegi could have been done for but Munakata saves him and hears him out. It is then Naegi realizes Tengan isn’t one of the Remnants. So he setup this elaborate mutual killing to force Mitarai into doing this? Also, the killings aren’t broadcast outside. Naegi remembers Mitarai wasn’t supposed to be in the meeting. That’s why Tengan was a bit surprised. Had Mitarai know there was going to be mutual killings, he would have used the video. Also, all the hopeful things Tengan said weren’t directed towards Naegi but Mitarai. They deduce Mitarai is going to eliminate all negative emotions with his broadcast. He is making his way to the annex where he can broadcast his video to the entire world in 30 minutes. Naegi and co rush there but are obstructed by the special forces. Now we take a detour to Enoshima and Yukizome commenting on everything. It’s like a cinema for dead people? So Enoshima explains about Tengan’s actions and the main cause of Tengan and Munakata’s hostility boiled down to their interpretations of despair. The source was Yukizome because she told Munakata to eliminate despair. There are clips of Naegi trying to ‘repair’ the Remnants in his secret location via brainwashing virtual reality but he was summoned to Future Foundation before he could learn the results. Even if Mitarai is successful, Future Foundation’s image is tarnished and nobody is going to follow it. So Enoshima thinks. She is glad despair did a good job. But Yukizome still believes even though their future is over, this is the beginning of hope. Not that Enoshima cares. They’re dead, right? Cornered Naegi is saved by bumbling Hagakure. He even suggests they surrender! Till Togami comes in and has his efficient MIBs take out the squad! Seeing Naegi in a pinch, he taunts if he is really that lucky.

Hopelessly Hopeful
Oh wait a minute. You mean it ended on a cliff-hanger? Just like that Despair arc too? Oh, I see. Looks like they are going to link up the finale with that hope arc. The final episode that converges and ends everything. I guess it is not that bad then but as far as this particular season and arc goes, I would say it is rather intriguing and fascinating overall.

Following the first season’s formula of mutual killings, this season still feels interesting since they bring in a new bunch of faces and mix old ones who survived the last killing game. The fun on my part was to guess who was going to go next while trying to also predict the culprit behind it all. Of course I know certain main characters would last longer or if not survive the ordeal. But I could never be too sure of myself either because I keep thinking that they might add and throw in some twist or revelation that the real killer is somebody else hiding outside the game (or somewhere inside the building’s super secret room) or it could be just straightforward fashion that the perpetrator could be among them.

A theory of mine for saying so is because when this arc is first introduced, there is a counter in the opening credits that always keeps track of how many players are left in the field. It started off with 16 survivors. However as I started to count and trace who those 16 players are, there seems to be one there is missing. I mean, as far as I can count and name, there are only 15 of them trapped in the building playing this deadly game. So could this extra unknown person be the real perpetrator? It’s not like we viewers would actually count who is left, right? Or do we? This is true even in the penultimate episode as it gets clearer with the reduced number of survivors. There seems to be 1 extra player but who is that person? It made me think if this was even a troll because maybe that additional person could be Hagakure who has been kept out of the building since the start of the series. Or could that other person be Monaka who is controlling Gekkogahara? Even if the android personality got destroyed, it only reduced the survivor count by one. My guess is Hagakure since his mug is alongside the other Future Foundation members in many promotion posters.

Some of the theories feel like impossible and do not make sense like Kirigiri deducing that the entire playfield is actually another very similar level below the actual building. Assuming that if Tengan was the perpetrator, how the heck can this old fart move everyone in record time without breaking his back? Well, everybody here is a super at something so it is not surprise maybe he can pull off such feat. Plus, we don’t really know how long time has passed since they passed out the first time. Then the forbidden actions on the wristbands, I wonder how it sophistically detects forbidden actions because like Bandai’s case he dies if he witnesses violence by the participants. How is violence defined? Can slapping be considered violence? Some I feel can be easily bypassed like if Munakata cannot open doors, can he just use his trusty sword to cut down the wall and make his own doors? Yeah, maybe the walls are so hard that he couldn’t. Otherwise he would have cut a hole outside and escape. Oh, they can’t. Underwater.

The most ridiculous of them all is cutting off the power to somewhat end the game. To be fair, nobody knew the monitors had anything to do with the wristbands at first but when you think about it, you can’t help feel it is just silly yet simple solution. I guess when everybody is busy killing each other, they don’t really think outside the box. Of course the mind boggling one was Tengan himself being the mastermind. So he orchestrated this mutual killing just to make Mitarai use his video? It’s such a simple thing. People had to die so that somebody would use his brainwashing talents to save the world? So this old fart is playing the role of the villain? He sure trolled us by making us think so and that he might be the final last boss till the twist in the twist surfaced. I guess it is the question of if you want to save many, a few must be sacrificed. So will Mitarai be the final last boss now? I suppose it is not good just to have all positive emotions. Because that itself is not being human.

I am not sure whether to call it spoilers or knowledge beforehand because since this arc is aired side by side with the Despair arc, many of the revelations and the character backgrounds are related. Therefore if you watch this series without watching the Despair arc at the same time, you might be confused to some of the characters’ background. For instance, the ‘complicated’ relationship between Ruruka, Seiko and Izayoi. Their story might feel like a filler and distraction to the main plot of this arc since you need to know all about the character they died. It’s like a death flag or something. But if you don’t watch the Despair arc, you won’t really understand why they hate each other.

Therefore many of the other characters’ back story and relationship greatly depend on the other concurrently running arc that tells of what happened in the past that led to the situation that is of now. It goes without saying that you need to have watched the first Danganronpa series to understand what is going on too otherwise you would be lost as the series progresses. But some like Monaka’s case feels like distraction. It was just an elaborate sidetrack to show us that there was somebody else behind Gekkogahara and to give Naegi’s little sister as well as Togami’s insane admirer some screen time.

The art and animation style remains consistent among the series. But for this one, I find the character designs to be less weird than the rest. You know, very odd looking characters that make them look cartoonish. By far, the oddest looking one was Bandai whom I thought looked creepy himself. Thank goodness he got killed off early? Gozu despite wearing a metal bull mask isn’t so bad. Oh, not to mention the pink coloured blood, one of the series’ trademark. Everything is so dark and gory so why the heck not liven it up with bright pink? And when I mean dark, some of the scenes are really dark since like the hallways and some ruined sections of the building.

Seiyuus from the previous season like Megumi Ogata as Naegi, Youko Hikasa as Kirigiri and Chiwa Saito as Asahina return to reprise their roles. Among the new casts, the weirdest one I find is Rie Kugimiya as Bandai. I know this farmer guy looks weird already but it is even weirder when he sounds all so squeaky! I don’t know if it is a good thing when he got killed off early because I don’t think I can get used to hearing him in his squeaky voice throughout the season. Recognizable seiyuus new to the line-up include Junichi Suwabe as Sakakura, Keiji Fujiwara as Kizakura and Mai Nakahara as Yukizome. Aya Hirano was behind Monaka? I guess I haven’t heard her in a long time (the most recent being Fairy Tail’s recent season) so I’m starting to forget…

The rest of the new line-up include Toshiyuki Morikawa as Munakata (Naraku in Inu Yasha), Hidekatsu Shiba as Tengan (Igneel in Fairy TailKanta), Hongou as Mitarai (Sakamoto in BTOOOM), Takako Sasuga as Gekkogahara (Hata-bou in Osomatsu-kun), Kenta Miyake as Gozu (Klaus in Hayate No Gotoku), Inori Minase as Ruruka (Nagisa in Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa), Takuya Eguchi as Izayoi (Hikigaya in Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru), Saki Fujita as Seiko (Inami in Working) and Aya Uchida as Komaru (Kotori in Love Live). Both the opening and ending themes are rock based with Dead Or Lie by Maon Kurosaki featuring Trustrick as the opener and Recall The End by Trustrick as the ending theme.

Overall, this is a great and enjoyable series especially if you like survivor genres and a fan of the Danganronpa series. I read certain comments online (read: fan boys of the game) call the anime adaptation a disappointment because certain parts were rushed and how bad its execution was. Personally I didn’t play the game so I can’t compare. Therefore for me not knowing ‘everything’, this adaptation is still interesting in its own right and I am quite satisfied with the series generally (except maybe how it ended and you need to watch another arc to complete it). So look who’s fallen into despair? It makes you wonder if hope and despair are 2 sides of the same coin. The same glass is half full or half empty expression. Both need each other to exist, like light and darkness, yin and yang. So it might get a little confusing in this series when they talk about hope killing hope and despair killing despair. It’s like saying two wrongs make a right. I guess we can only hope the next instalment would be better and the greatest (if there would be any). Where is a super high school level game developer when you need one?

Another art club themed anime? How many have we had since Hidamari Sketch? Well, not many but there are a few of them. Folks, we can add Kono Bijutsu Ni Wa Mondai Ga Aru to the list of anime series having an art club as its focus. But it isn’t going to be a copycat to Hidamari Sketch or other such animes. While you can expect funny antics from art club members, I doubt it would hardly be any different from the general formula. I mean, if this is going to be a normal high school club anime without any super powers or conspiracy, how far do you think this kind of show can go? Just like every piece of art despite being closely similar, you can’t judge one and judge them all the same. There are some little variants in which you have to pay a little close attention to. After all, this isn’t some sort of law cases whereby a precedent is a precedent and it’s all the same. Despite the name of this series’ title that the art club has a problem, don’t worry, it isn’t the kind of worldly problem or one that threatens the very existence of mankind. Seriously, nothing like that. But still, everybody in the club has some sort of problem…

Episode 1A
Mizuki Usami isn’t fond that her fellow art club member, Subaru Uchimaki prefers to draw 2D waifus. 2D waifus FTW!!! She ‘murdered’ his current (and seventeenth) waifu by punching a hole in her face just because he thought she was quite bothered in his taste. Does that mean she likes him? Usami finds it hard to draw an apple so Uchimaki advises on love and anthropomorphize it. Looks creepy… Then he asks her to be his model. She has her reservations as the last time he drew a completely different person (his waifu, that is). Thinking she could be up for this pose of sitting and wrapping her hands around her knees, she agrees to it. Don’t worry if your pantsu is shown, Uchimaki has no interest in 3D girls. Too bad President got a snap shot of it! The end result of the sketching is a totally completely different person and in a different pose! The only thing he got it right was her pantsu, courtesy of President’s picture. So while Usami goes out to hammer him, Uchimaki draws a decent sketch of that Usami’s pose from the picture.

Episode 1B
Usami again has to hear Uchimaki rant another one of his completed waifus. And then he drops the bombshell. He is going to quit the club after finishing this last piece. So why is she strangling him? Can’t wait to get him out? Uchimaki thought she never liked his work, the reason he is quitting. Thus Usami has a flashback when Uchimaki first joined the club. She and President interviewed him. Hearing his weird answers like the reason of joining this club is because his anime ended and is bored as well as his ultimate goal to draw his ultimate waifu, Usami certainly wouldn’t want this weirdo in but President quickly approves! She wanted to shake his hand but he declines as he mentions he is not interested in 3D girls, giving Usami the wrong idea he thought she was trying to ask him out. And now here she is asking him if he is going to quit for real. He wonders if she would be lonely without him. She is feeling conflicted now and needs to tell him to stay when suddenly he says he was just joking. Oh dear. Real tears streaming down her eyes! And she can’t stop! Next day, she is surprised to see him in the clubroom. Did he not quit? He changed his mind. So how does strangling him make him feel welcomed back? He admits her endearing tears were the one that made him changed his mind. Wait a minute. So he is staying so he can draw girls crying? And this is going to be his next ultimate waifu? Whatever. At least he is staying.

Episode 2A
Uchimaki accidentally knocks down paint on the floor. Worse, Usami’s painting dropped smack on it. Because there is no time to clean up, President tells him to stall Usami who is coming in. Eventually she comes in and sees President lying on the ground. It’s like a murder scene! Of course she knows it is just paint but Uchimaki insists in playing detective believing she will kick his ass if this prank is found out. Then she reveals she needs her painting. She is to submit it for a contest otherwise the club will be shut down. Oh sh*t. As he distracts her to look for it on the shelf, President needs to take a leak! Hold it in. Uchimaki teases he could see her pantsu and this makes her lose her balance. Luckily he catches her like a princess. She thinks a deep kiss will follow next but apparently she is too heavy for him to continue carrying her. An insult? When they fall over President, Usami now realizes what happened to her painting. Instead of blowing her top, she suggests handing in Uchimaki’s work. His waifu is not side show material. Eventually it won second prize. Usami is shocked it won this high and Uchimaki is disappointed it didn’t get first.

Episode 2B
Usami’s friend, Kaori Ayase sleeps over and wants to know if she likes Uchimaki. So she has to start off with a story, huh? There’s this one time when he just joined and she accompanied him to buy painting tools. They stumble into a mother looking for her lost daughter, Moeka. They help find her and see her with a suspicious young girl. Ultraman mask? Moeka is reluctant to go with them as Ultraman girl paints them as bad people. When it is 5.30pm sharp, Ultraman girl leaves and goes home. Moeka is still scared to go with them and since Usami can’t do anything, she too starts crying. WTF. It is then Uchimaki uses his art to draw a picture of Moeka’s mom. She thinks they are her friends and gladly follows them. Moeka doesn’t know what an art club is so Uchimaki says it is a place where one can draw lots of beautiful (2D) girls. To put her story shortly, Uchimaki is not a bad guy. Too bad her friend is already asleep.

Episode 2C
Uchimaki receives a love letter. So why are you flustering Usami? It’s not from you, right? When President mentions how popular he is because there is more than one girl who likes him, he is about to him Usami but she slams the canvas on his head. It grinds Usami’s gears that Uchimaki is asking her about love letters. Not like she wrote one in her life, right? Anyway he plans to reject her but since he is doing it chuunibyou style, I guess Usami has got to coach him in order not to traumatize the poor girl. So here Uchimaki is rejecting her because he already has a character person he likes. But she asks if that girl goes to this school. Hiding Usami and President try to hint to him on what to say when the girl mentions that girl must be Usami. She has always seen them together so that is most possibly the person he likes. His answer? There is nothing between them. Usami couldn’t feel be more disappointed. On the way home, Usami is shocked when Uchimaki stares at a young girl and notes how beautiful she is. She remembers President telling her that his artworks are all resembling young girls. Over time, this might translate him into becoming a lolicon. Could it be his awakening already since she remembers he was nice to Moeka? Then she realizes it was the character strap on her bag he likes. Disappointed and relieved, right? That little girl is apparently the sister of the girl Uchimaki rejected. When she tells of a creepy guy staring at her, she is very sure that is the makings of a predator. Call the cops!

Episode 3A
Colette is another member of the art club and a localized foreigner. Uchimaki agrees to help her find her lost locket thinking it contains pictures of her dear parents. As they go look around at the lost-and-found section, they find Usami’s hairpin. In her gratitude, she gives them a bead bracelet that belongs to President. Colette thinks she can benefit from this when Uchimaki tells of the straw theory whereby a poor trades up till he has riches. When Colette returns the bracelet to President, she is eagerly expecting another reward but obviously she got nothing. When she puts her hands in her pocket, she starts acting strange and wants to give up on the search. The guys are suspicious and have her empty her pockets. There is her locket. Feeling stupid right now? The picture turns out to be a sticker picture of herself being hip. So this is her precious picture?

Episode 3B
When the art club girls realize it is not President sleeping in his usual couch but Uchimaki, they sing a lot of praise for President’s ‘improvement’. It seems Uchimaki is in a slump as he has run out of ideas and hairstyles in particular for his new waifu. Usami suggests a short bob but unfortunately he doesn’t even know what it looks like. You’re looking directly at one… And no, it’s not a bunch of macho guys called Shou and Bob, Colette. Next day, Usami gives him a fashion magazine that contains various haircut. But you wonder if he is going to put it to good referencing use since he realizes these girls are 3D… Now, don’t be picky…

Episode 3C
You bet Kaori wants to intervene in Usami’s ‘romance’ (because life’s much more exciting watching the romance of others) so along with Sayaka Honda and Ryouka they follow Usami to the art club with the pretence to try it out. Kaori gets bold when he casually touches Uchimaki’s hands, irking Usami. Then she suggests a drawing competition in which the loser will buy all drinks. Now for the subject of the art… Usami and Uchimaki together! Now, get even closer… Closer… Closer… But Usami puts a stop to this right before Kaori can suggest a kissing scene. Smashing the bust in her face? In the end, Kaori loses because her drawing was horrible. Was she even trying? Because Uchimaki’s requested drink is unavailable, she bought a carbonated drink instead. However Uchimaki cannot take such drinks. Kaori suggests trading. This causes alarm bells ringing for Usami because Kaori has partly drank hers. Indirect kiss, eh? Uchimaki doesn’t care and is going ahead anyway so Usami snatches it and drinks it down entirely. Guess what? Uchimaki takes her drink and chugs it down. Now they’re even. Oh well, an indirect kiss happened. At the end of the day, Usami felt thankful her friends came to hang out otherwise this indirect kiss never happened. However the next day Sayaka publishes an article for the entire school about this ‘indecency’. Time to go bonkers, Usami.

Episode 4A
Due to the reshuffling, Yumeko Tachibana will now replace Koyama as the art club’s advisor. Naturally she is nervous but that turns into confusion when she sees Colette rolling from across the hallway to the clubroom’s doorstep. When Yumeko introduces herself, Colette gets scared. She thinks she is an imposter who wants to kidnap her for ransom and runs away! Yumeko prepares for more weirdness but thankfully Usami and Uchimaki already know who she is as Koyama told them beforehand. Remembering Koyama’s advice, Yumeko observes the art club members. Because of President being lazy, she thinks he is a delinquent. Because Uchimaki introduces his life size cardboard waifu cut-out, she thinks she is a pervert. She goes out to take some fresh air so the rest device a plan to bring her back. It involves President talking to her and during that time they will sketch her. Once it is done, Yumeko sees lovely portraits of herself (hey, Uchimaki’s cat girl version of her isn’t bad either). This is their welcoming gift to her and this touched her heart.

Episode 4B
We follow Colette walking in the streets and trying to walk in the shades while avoiding direct sun. She meets Moeka and both have this sense of meeting each other before. I guess we know who that Ultraman mask girl was, right? When Colette reaches a full path with no shade, she thinks of walking behind the shadow of a taller person. That person turns out to be President.

Episode 4C
Usami is sleeping in her bed and having a nice dream of Uchimaki. Only to be caught pants down by her mom. That’s what happened when you daydream and not pay attention. It seems there is a call from Uchimaki for her and mom came to gave her the phone. I guess he heard everything too, huh? But first Usami has to shoo away her mom who is so eager to listen. Don’t mind her. Your daughter very much does. Apparently Uchimaki is now at her doorstep this late to hand the printouts (earlier in the day, Colette messed it up with her failed magic trick). Mom is puzzled Usami dresses up so nicely even if she is not going out. Aha. A boy, right? You can tell by how much she is flustering. Usami has to talk with Uchimaki a little further outside because mom cannot stop staring and eavesdropping. After passing the printouts, Usami suggests they exchange handphone numbers to avoid this inconvenience. While Usami is trying so hard just to say it, it’s like all that don’t matter to him because he just coolly agrees so. Well, he is that dense, right? Don’t be too happy soon because mom is still watching… Back in her room, Usami is super happy like she’s got a platinum achievement.

Episode 5A
Why is Colette doing a stare showdown with the bust? We know who is going to win, right? Oh, Uchimaki’s sketch of the bust turns out to be a kawaii magical girl!!! Later Colette thinks the bust looks rather sickly and decides to paint colours over it. Of course she goes overboard and feels the need to get rid of it before the rest finds out. When Yumeko enters the clubroom, she sees books from a box strewn all over the floor. When she opens the box, she is horrified to see a head inside it and faints. So when Uchimaki and Usami enter the room, they mistake something happened to Yumeko. Usami goes to get help and leaves the rest to Uchimaki. Is he going to consult a manga on what to do? Mouth to mouth resuscitation, huh? President gets the wrong idea seeing Uchimaki trying to kiss Yumeko. Wasn’t he into 2D girls? Guilt-ridden Colette returns but President takes her away. They both have the wrong idea on what the other is talking about. Colette thought it was the bust and President thought it is about Uchimaki. It gets complicated when Usami is here. So she brought Koyama as help? That old guy is really slow. Of course her perspective is of collapsed Yumeko so it gets weirder when President thought Usami supports Uchimaki’s love for sensei. But when they reconcile their thoughts, Usami realizes what is going to happen and zooms back to the clubroom. Thankfully Yumeko has already woke up and Uchimaki didn’t have to ‘kiss’ her. All the misconceptions are dispelled as they figure out what happened to the bust. Colette just grovel and apologize… No excuses.

Episode 5B
President needs to call Uchimaki for an important ritual. Because Usami has his number, President teases her about it and even goes as far as discovering she saved his number under his first name. It is very embarrassing for her but if he tells Uchimaki this, she’ll erase his existence! So the important ritual is putting on a dove headgear on Colette? Huh? WTF?! Yumeko then has everyone clean the pool. Why on Earth would an art club be doing this? Because Yumeko is having trouble fitting into her swimsuit (damn those big boobs), President has brought washable paint for them to have fun and turn the pool into their canvas. So let your creativity fly! It turns out to be a gigantic gorgeous picture of a mermaid and her dolphin. Uchimaki is sad to have it erased since they have to start cleaning the pool. And then the paint doesn’t come off… Oh sh*t… They’re so in trouble. Didn’t President make ascertain it was supposed to easily come off? Well, he’s not so sure now. Oh, so he is trying to run away now? He puts on the dove headgear and becomes the dove. WTF?!

Episode 6A
Maria Imari is the new transfer student in Uchimaki’s class. She’s cute so all the boys love her except for a certain 2D lover. However Maria is a fan of a certain manga series and they quickly click. When Usami heard about a cute transfer student in his class, she becomes worried naturally. There are bad omens like her strap broke and Kaori’s yoyo snapped. When she goes look for him in his class, his classmates saw Uchimaki with Imari. Usami tries to maintain positive that he might be showing her around. Then she sees this heart stopping scene whereby he takes her by the hand. Worried now? They’re just acting out a scene from the manga.

Episode 6B
Naturally Usami is depressed and nobody can touch her as she is hogging President’s couch. They believe her attitude must stem from something happening to Uchimaki. Speaking of him, here he comes. It gets awkward for her to face him. He tries to ask what happened but you know being a woman means she won’t say anything and you have to figure it out all by yourself. Then it descends into some pillow throwing fight. Though it breaks President’s heart to see his expensive pillow torn, he’ll forgive them if they patch up. He can buy the pillow again. With club funds. As they reconcile, Usami manages to ask him to accompany her to buy a new strap. And then they have the bad luck to bump into Imari because now Uchimaki invites her to join them. Gladly. The more the merrier. Kuuki wo yonde yo!!!!!!!!! So they end up in a manga store and observing how they interact, Usami believes they are close only because they love manga and their friendship is of that sort and nothing more. She feels a little relieved. Again the duo start arguing because Uchimaki caught her smirking at him. This has Imari thinking they are close to each other. Are they dating? Usami vehemently protests and Uchimaki coolly dismisses there is nothing going on between them. So are you relieved and frustrated at the same time? So if they’re not dating, can Imari date Uchimaki? Wait. WHAT?! Just kidding. Haha! That’s enough heart attack for today. On the way back, they see a boy crying because his balloon is stuck up a tree. It is too high for them to reach so Uchimaki suggests Usami sit on his shoulder to get it. Of course she flusters thinking about dirty thoughts. So will Imari do it then? That’s even worse! Can’t imagine him stroking her lap, eh? And so Usami will do it. After all that flustering, they still can’t reach it. Imari thinks she can jump and grab it. And she did it! She’s quite athletic just so you know. Should have done it in the first place. Imari spews cool manga lines to the kid but it is such heavy stuffs that he almost let go of the balloon. Next day, Usami wants to show off her new strap to Uchimaki but he is more distracted with Imari sharing her manga. Usami cannot understand if she can get along with her or not.

Episode 7A
Yumeko revs up the art club members since there will be an art competition soon. Of course Uchimaki isn’t so keen to enter and leaves it to Usami to join. She tries to bait him by belittling his waifu but he doesn’t care what others think. Their conversation is overhead by this jerk who claims Uchimaki’s second prize at the previous competition was a fluke. He continues to badmouth everything about it. Although Uchimaki is cool, ironically it is Usami who blows her top. It is suggested that they compete in this next competition to see who can rank higher. Thus Usami wants Uchimaki to submit his artwork. Although he is not so eager about it, I guess he doesn’t want to see her angry anymore. So to help him out with his art, as per requested Usami brought a gothic dress for him to sketch. And you know all those unholy thoughts propping through her mind that he had to remind her that she accidentally lifted her skirt too much. Did he saw her pantsu? Will he put it in?! Many days pass as Uchimaki also sketches variations of the original. On the day of the presentation, Uchimaki’s lovely art wins first place. He attributes part of his victory to Usami. Without her, he couldn’t have done it. How sweet. Then they forgot what this competition is all about in the first place. Remember that jerk? He is at the receptionist wondering why none of his work is on display. Only winners are displayed. Loser…

Episode 7B
President sees Colette writes hero of justice as what she wants to be. Then they bug Usami about hers. When she says a housewife, they start laughing. Embarrassed, Usami fires back that her hero of justice is even more ridiculous because it doesn’t exist. However Colette is hurt and runs away in tears. At the rooftop, she bumps into Imari who is acting out lines from a manga. Basically, chuunibyou. They get to know each other and Colette becomes impressed with her and wants to call her master. When she tells Imari about the recent with her friend because of the non-existence of heroes, Imari tells her to make up with her first because that is what heroes are good at. If she can do that, Imari will be her master. Motivated Colette returns to do just that and the girls are back on good terms like the fight never happened before. But now Colette is acting like her master and Uchimaki can make a guess who she is influenced from.

Episode 8A
Remember the bust Colette messed up? Usami has problems focusing on it (“Amigo!”) and since President spent the club funds on a new pillow, he remembers there was another bust in which the old members used but it is in the old storeroom next door. The door is jammed so it is quite hard to open. President accidentally closes it and teases Usami of going wild with Uchimaki in there, making her punch the door. Then when they realize they cannot open it because it must have got out of alignment, fears that they will be trapped here the entire night sink in. At least for Usami. Yeah, time for her delusions again. There are a few close moments between them but don’t worry, nothing scandalous. It’s all in your mind… Colette was outside the door but gave up thinking it is stuck. She couldn’t hear them because she was listening to her headphone. Usami really fears that it will be just the 2 of them so Uchimaki assures it is the 3 of them. His waifu figurine is here. That’s not funny! Best of all, his figurine has torchlight embedded inside and hope a patrolling teacher will pass by. Why does it have to be Yumeko? Of course she sees the light and thinks otherwise. As she goes up close and sees the figurine with flashing lights, she immediately passes out. Uchimaki teases Usami with a few ghost pranks. Any more and she’ll break his figurine! Scarier than a ghost… Looking at an old photo, they realize there is a door that connects to their classroom. Thank goodness it does and they’re back into normalcy again. Next morning, they realize why this other bust was put away because it was also doodled like mad.

Episode 8B
Usami is doing her homework in the clubroom (not at home?) and she doesn’t like how noisy Uchimaki and Imari are reading manga in the storeroom. But when they get too quiet, she even protests! What do you want?! Then an envelope slips out from the manga. It seems to be a treasure map left behind by ex-art club members. The trio decide to go on a treasure hunt by following its clues. This involves looking out from the boys’ toilet and figuring out the number of Van Gough’s sunflowers in his painting. It leads them to a loose tile on the ground. After digging the box out, they are very happy to share their hard work by opening it. What artistic treasure awaits them? Tadah! Porn magazines!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you disappointed?

Episode 9A
Imari tells Colette that they need to find an evil grimoire called Necronomicon hidden in this school. And they’re not really sure what it is about. Yumeko heard about it and would also love to help find it. Not that she knows what it is too. President and Uchimaki alone in the clubroom. President hinting the guys are alone together… Sorry, no gay time. What he meant was the porn magazines. Knowing it is too dangerous to keep it here, he wants to take it home to be disposed. Uchimaki can see through his plan because in that case he is the best person to take it home and dispose off since he isn’t into 3D girls. As they argue, Usami comes in and sees this. Why must girls be so mad when they see guys they know having a porn magazine? But they have to hide it since Yumeko is here and she is looking for Necronomicon. They think it is the porn magazine since there is a front page article called Neko Milk On!!! President manages to slip it to Uchimaki who then runs out with Usami. They bump into Colette and Imari looking for you-know-what. The bump underneath Uchimaki’s shirt is suspicious so they think it is the grimoire. Colette tries to unshirt him while Usami hints to Imari the book Uchimaki has. Before they can stop Colette, the porn magazine drops out. Colette picks it up and flips the pages like a boss. When Yumeko arrives and sees this, Colette just points to Uchimaki who is the owner of this magazine. I think this is the first time we’ve seen Yumeko so enraged. Of course poor Uchimaki is the most devastated. He isn’t even into 3D girls. Life’s so unfair. And Colette doesn’t understand what this porn magazine is about. Safe?

Episode 9B
Remember that jerk? He is back to challenge Uchimaki. Because Uchimaki doesn’t want anything to do with him, he starts begging pitifully… So suddenly it becomes a challenge who can draw Usami the best. Because Usami strikes an unnaturally cute pose, Uchimaki laughs at her. This makes her mad as she roots for the jerk to win. He is taken in because this is a first time in his life a girl is supporting him. What a loser? In the end, Uchimaki as usual draws a moe version of his waifu and the only thing he points out similar to Usami is her pantsu. She isn’t wearing that type today. So obviously the jerk is the winner, right? He didn’t draw anything!!! To star struck?! Reluctantly Usami declares Uchimaki the winner. The jerk runs away in shame and can’t help space out about Usami all day long…

Episode 9C
Moeka somehow sneaks into school and interrupts President’s slumber outside in the garden. I guess he is a good guy so he gives her a tour around the school. From buying her a drink at the vending machine to watching the girls at the gym. So as he is about to drop her off at the staff office, Moeka recognizes Koyama. He is her grandfather. However Koyama warns her about wandering off herself because mommy was looking for her and this made everyone worried. She starts crying so President shows a sketch that Moeka draw of her and grandpa. As they comment on it, Moeka starts thinking about the pecking order. President > Uchimaki. But because President bows to Koyama, grandpa is the greatest of them all!

Episode 10A
Usami and Uchimaki are commended for helping lost Moeka. Sayaka interviews them but a little problem props up for Usami after that. Her teacher, Takeda wants her to become a student council president. Usami finds it hard to decline and thus Takeda can’t stop bugging her about it. Each time, Usami gives some sort of weird reason not to answer. One day she is being called to the staff room. She knows it is Takeda and this time she will really tell him no. However to her dismay, Takeda viewed that since she was always so busy, he has already submitted her application on her behalf! What is she going to do now? That is when Uchimaki walks in. Is he going to save her? Surprisingly he scolds Usami for lagging behind her paintings. He claims the art club needs to enter competitions and the likes, thus the reason she can’t busy herself anymore by joining the student council. As he takes her away on pretence to finish her painting, Takeda asks about the student council then. Do you not get it? At least this time Usami said no to him.

Episode 10B
Uchimaki and Colette are arguing over some manga. They thought Yumeko could help mediate but she is even madder. It seems both of them scored very badly in their exams. They understand for the dumb blonde but Uchimaki has always been an average student. Why suddenly do so bad? Well, there were lots of animes to watch so he couldn’t study… Yumeko warns them to do better in the make-up test or else she’ll have to take drastic measures. It is then Usami offers to coach them at her house. But why call President too? She can’t handle it herself. But he is always sleeping… While studying, Uchimaki gets a little sleepy. Usami offers him to sleep in her bed. No funny thoughts, please. After putting him to bed, she can’t help go on top of him and… She’ll just settle drawing on his face. She goes back to coach Colette and when it is time to wake up Uchimaki, Colette would like to do the honours. Since she took too long, Usami goes to check it out. Colette is sleeping next to Uchimaki! TRIGGERED!!!!!!!!!!!! GET UP!!!!!!! In the end, the study session was well worth it because they score very high marks. Now they can sleep in.

Episode 10C
Kaori thinks Imari is going to steal Uchimaki away from Usami. She has photo proof of it. Maybe they just share the same manga interest? She also has photos showing Usami in depression. But they’re not related to that in any way… Kaori then vows to support her friend and tail Imari. Of course you can tell from her actions she looks like a suspicious person. And then she trips. Imari exaggerates her tiny wound and bandages up her entire leg. Kaori is ready to face the interrogation and vows not to reveal everything. So while Kaori sits there like a statue, Imari interacts with her nicely and even treats her nicely. From giving her food when her stomach growls and lending her umbrella when it rains. Wow. Kaori really just sat there doing nothing? Next morning, Kaori brags to her friends that Imari is a nice girl and it is bad to suspect her as a suspicious person in the first place. Wait. Weren’t you… Never mind.

Episode 11
Yumeko is collecting empty cans so that the art club can do a giant sculpture made of cans from this school for the cultural festival. But isn’t it too late? So as not to let her efforts go to waste, the art club members help out in designing what to do. No pretty waifus. No ridiculous words. Seriously, just no. It is decided to make a giant paint tube. The first order of business with the collected cans is to pull out the tabs, wash them, dry them, rinse and repeat. They did it over 30 times! So boring and tedious that no wonder President wants to go back to sleep. When Imari goes to get more cans in the storeroom, she passes by a teacher who mistakenly thinks she is throwing them away because she was speaking in chuunibyou language. Colette fools around and damages some of the cans. She thought Yumeko is mad but she is sad that all the cans she recycled have been thrown away. If they are not giving up, how are they going to collect that many cans in a short period? President has a suggestion. Buy cheap cans from a supermarket and then sell them at school at dirt cheap price. Since the students will throw them away, the cans are still considered to be from school and their theme is still valid. The great idea gets underway and it attracts many cheapskate interested students. Imari is selling well thanks to her boobs. Usami might be a little bit jealous but that nameless jerk would love to buy one from her. Till Uchimaki shows up. He challenges him right now to a drinking contest. However he spits it all out on Uchimaki’s face when he sees Yumeko in a cat mascot outfit. With Usami wiping Uchimaki’s face, the jerk becomes a sore loser. He still lost anyway. Finally they have enough cans and complete their work of art. Yay! Now to haul it to the gym to display. But wait. There is a problem. How will they get this thing out of their clubroom? Dismantle and reassemble it back again. Phew. It was worth the effort.

Episode 12
A rainy day and Imari has got no umbrella. Since Usami needs to help out after class, how about asking Colette? That girl brought a raincoat. Well, ask Uchimaki then. When Usami almost finishes her work, she receives a message from Kaori saying that she borrowed her umbrella without permission! Now she is stuck in school. To her surprise she sees Uchimaki waiting. Where’s Imari? She took off in the rain just like that. Because chuunibyou. But why didn’t he leave too? He was waiting for her. Apparently Kaori took Usami’s umbrella and left her own behind. Hint, hint. How considerate. Now her dream of walking home with him can come true. Usami is giving her silent thanks to her friend till Uchimaki opens his umbrella. Anime character print. Ugh. But still it wasn’t so bad. Next day she is chirpy and her friends know about it. They advise her to quickly do something about her feelings because before you know it, it will be over. Usami sees Uchimaki with Imari. He is telling her he has fallen in love with Usami! Am I hearing this right?! Imari supports him to tell his feelings quickly. Usami is having mixed emotions but she needs to keep calm. In the clubroom, Uchimaki drops the bombshell. He is in love with her. I guess Usami can’t keep her cool that she too blurts out she is in love with him but is quickly cut off when he shows her the anime character named Usami on the magazine’s front cover. Look familiar? That umbrella… Usami must be so frustrated… So why the need to tell 3D Usami this? Since he is so in love with 2D Usami, calling them would be confusing. He suggests calling her by a different name. Perhaps Mizuki? She is surprised and thinks maybe there is some good that came out of this. After Uchimaki left, President pops out from his hiding. He heard everything and advises to move along quickly because at this rate they are not making any progress and it’ll be over before they know it. Same ol’ story, right? That night, Usami contemplates this with her friends who are furious she didn’t agree immediately. They wonder if she dislikes being called so. After lots of thinking and the next day she meets up with him, she rejects his idea of calling her so. He shouldn’t use her name that easily. But Uchimaki is okay with it. He is over with his 2D Usami. Yesterday anime revealed she had a boyfriend and he viewed this as f*cking betrayal! But he gets over it pretty quickly since he has decided the only way to be happy is to draw his own waifus. Yeah well, at least we’re glad things still stay the same.

The Art Of Love
And so another art themed anime came and go without much ado. There are ups and downs but once you realize, everything in the end basically stayed the same as they were in the start. Your point of views might change but that art piece is still the same art piece. What do you expect when you see art club members doing other stuffs which are non-art related like going treasure hunting, group studies, hiding porn and dealing with ‘corpses’ instead of seriously focusing on their canvas? Yeah, that will be too boring.

But if you are looking for character development, don’t get your hopes too high up because shows like this one rarely does it. You know all your characters and their quirky behaviour from start till finish. Having said so, it is no denying that certainly the characters are colourful and amusing in their own right. And in this anime’s context, I suppose it means problems. Because like Uchimaki who has probably one of the greatest talents in art is only very much concerned in drawing his ultimate waifu and adding to his previous collections. I mean as an otaku, that is how you find your waifu, right? You draw them! No need to wait for Ms Right (3D) to pop up in your face. Because of that he lacks the sensibility when it comes to dealing with 3D girls who are looking to be more than just friends. But I suppose as an otaku, he can live with that. We can live with that. It’s not like 3D girls ever mattered in our lives, right? Right?! If Uchimaki ever ‘grows up’ and changes, it would then be seriously “Houston, we have a problem”. Haha!

And then you have the nameless President (at least his name at this point in time is not known) whose only sole purpose in the club (and role of his character) is to sleep as much as he wants. I suppose it is the only club where he can sleep in peace. He should form a sleeping club like a certain sleepy girl in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai. Because of his mature looks like a young adult, it makes me wonder if he failed to graduate and thus had to stay back in school. I mean, President doesn’t look like your average high school student, right?

Then you have the rich halfie foreigner Colette who is of course filling in the typical role of the cheeky troublemaker. That is how such genres expand their variety of comedy by having a mischievous character. Not that I’m complaining. She’s the Sanae (of Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai fame – heck they even share the same seiyuu) of the series but less chuunibyou mode. The only boggling thing about her is that although she officially appeared only in episode 3 (the second episode was kinda unofficial since she was behind a mask and didn’t really introduce herself), I noticed she did appear in the first episode. If you look closely through the locker’s hole in the clubroom, you’ll notice a creepy girl hiding inside who is no other than Colette. It made me wonder what the heck was she doing in there and what was the significant of it since it was never revealed. Yumeko as the advisor is meek, clumsy and knows nothing about art but you can’t help feel you need to help her out since she is trying her best.

Imari should officially join the club seeing that she hangs out and often helps out the art club. She is an interesting and amusing character seeing she has a tendency to go into chuunibyou mode and also the unknown factor that would give Usami a run for her money when it comes to getting Uchimaki’s attention. Even Usami’s pals who are not part of the art club also have their own ‘problems’. Like Kaori being another troublemaker, Sayaka who won’t pass up a chance to write stories about Usami’s unrequited love and Ryouka… Okay, I’m not sure what she has (except spectacles?) but all I can say is that the trio seem to stick around and love teasing Usami till she flusters like mad about her crush. Yeah, I think it makes their lives more exciting. It’s always more exciting to watch such drama unfolding onto others. Even that nameless jerk who keeps challenging Uchimaki and always loses is not different. He has got a problem confessing, doesn’t he?

With all that said, I suppose Usami is the one without any problems, right? Because she is the only true art club member who wants to make true art whereas the rest just don’t quite cut it as a true artist. Well, wrong! She is perhaps the one with the biggest problem all because of her tsundere and crush on Uchimaki. It is so obviously painful that the entire world knows about it except for the boy she loves. How can love be so blind in this literal sense? I guess that is the strange thing about love. She knows well about his otaku habits but yet doesn’t really like it (is it because she can’t stand other women he likes despite they are being just 2D?). She has unholy thoughts of getting closer with him but after so many times you’d think she would learn to control her daydreaming fantasy delusions in public but she ends up getting more embarrassed and redder than the red paint. Sometimes it happens so many times that you wonder if this is going to get old and stale. I mean, this is one of the series’ staple for jokes, right?

Therefore the biggest problem in the art club is you, Usami! Just confess your true feelings and it will solve everything for better or worse. Oh yeah, Uchimaki got confessed and turned down a girl… Don’t want that to personally traumatize you, do you? That is why this one-sided love will never be requited because imagine if they hook up. The end of all the challenges and funny moments Usami has been providing us. For Uchimaki’s case, it will be ultimate betrayal. 2D waifus will never betray you! So better to leave it as status quo. For them and everybody else.

I had a hunch when Uchimaki dropped the bomb when he said he is in love with Usami. I knew there was a catch. Because I’ve been watching so many shows like this, my guts instantly told me something was up. It can’t really end this way. After all, a dozen of episodes and this guy being a typical dense otaku who only loves his 2D waifus, can he change so quickly? There is a slight chance he might be trolling us with his otaku personality all the while but you know what? Otakus don’t really lie that way, right? So this love twist in the end didn’t become a surprise because I expected something like this. Oh well. I guess as long as everybody is happy in the end being status quo. We’ll cross the bridge when we get there.

Drawing and art seem pretty decent and okay. Your typical Japanese anime with typical bishoujo looks for the characters. Of course if you want to compare with all the other art themed anime series out there, visually in this sense this one is better because you know how oddly moe the characters look in Hidamari Sketch, GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class and even Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~. But if you are talking about other visuals, this series has nothing to offer. I mean you’d expect to see some sort of creative works of art but the most we get is Uchimaki’s beautifully hand drawn waifus. No, that vandalized bust that has an uncanny resemblance to Freddie Mercury doesn’t count. Uh huh. That bust looks like an Indian version of Bohemian Rhapsody hit maker. So yeah, the only major project they’ve done is the giant paint tube. And yeah, minor pantsu fanservice. Now, how to draw more without being labelled as a pervert… Animated by Feel, you might see their familiar trademark art style here in some of their other works like Jinsei, Futsuu No Joshikousei Ga [Locodol] Yattemita, KissxSis, Papa No Iukoto Wo Kikinasai, Oshiete! Galko-chan and Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru.

It is nice to hear Nana Mizuki’s voice again as she plays the character Yumeko. I believe I haven’t heard her for quite a while. At least not for the animes that I have watched (sorry, I’m not a Nanoha fan). She sounds like her super cute version like 2×2=Shinobuden’s Shinobu and Dog Days’ Ricotta. The rest of the casts are Ari Ozawa as Usami (Kirin in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Yuusuke Kobayashi as Uchimaki (Tanukichi in Shimoneta), Sumire Uesaka as Colette (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Kentarou Tone as President (Hattori in Bakuman), Nao Touyama as Imari (Chitoge in Nisekoi), Sora Tokui as Kaori (Nero in Tantei Opera Milku Holmes), Hirohiko Kakegawa as Koyama (Mihawk in One Piece) and Aimi Tanaka as Moeka (titular character in Himouto! Umaru-chan).

Naturally Nana Mizuki is still going strong as a singer so it would be a waste if she doesn’t showcase her strong vocal talents. She sings the pop rock opening theme entitled Starting Now. However I had this misconception that she also sung the ending theme, Koisuru Zukei <Cubic Futurismo>. At least I thought she used her super cute voice in singing this piece. However as I subsequently found out, it is Sumire Uesaka who is the one in the vocals. Now that I think about it, she certainly sounds more Colette than Yumeko. The final episode’s ending theme is Kokoro Palette featuring the quartet of Usami, Colette, Imari and Yumeko.

This series might be cute and has its own funny charms to make it enjoyable and fun for a few laughs but it is hardly overall not any different in a genre that is filled with shows that are somewhat similar in this format. It’s like art in different variants and versions but it hardly breaks the mould or any new grounds. So I guess this anime too has its own set of ‘problems’ and that it isn’t perfect. Nice visuals with interesting characters although they lack depth and a simple plot that would bore those seeking to challenge their minds, well at least it didn’t disappoint. So now that we consider art as subjective, can we consider porn as a form of art too? No? Alright then. Houston, we have a problem.