Fuuka

June 25, 2017

At first I was trying to figure out how Fuuka was related to a very old anime, Suzuka. It had been more than a decade ever since that latter series ended so how could they possibly continue it from there? Furthermore, wasn’t Suzuka about the track and athletic? It is a far and jarring difference with this one whose theme is music. Then I found out that this series is about the children of Suzuka. So it’s something like a sequel spinoff? I’m guessing the music theme is used as a different distraction otherwise why would we watch another romance drama about life in the fast lane when we could go back to the original series and rewatch it again.

Episode 1
Yuu Haruna is walking in the streets. The newly released hit single from Koyuki Hinashi playing on the screen got his attention. Because of that, Fuuka Akitsuki who is in a hurry collides into him. It’s a bad day for him because from his angle, he saw her panties. Worse, with his handphone in hand, it looked like he took a picture. Upset Fuuka snatches his handphone and throws it on the ground without even checking if he really took them! WTF?! Then she slaps him! WTF???!!! Is this a bad day or what? He notices she dropped a CD. More women woes for Yuu because his sisters are blaming him for being late and could be starving them to death! They also know what happened to him because apparently Yuu loves putting everything on Twitter and they love to follow him. He won’t hear the end of the teasing today. Yuu tells us he was living in the countryside with his younger sister, Chitose. His dad was posted overseas and mom followed him. Since Maya and Hibiki already are living in Tokyo, might as well be a good idea for the siblings to live together. Next day as Yuu finishes up his paperwork to transfer to his new school, he hangs around on the rooftop taking pictures of the scenery when he spots Fuuka. Oh no. The wind just blew up her skirt. She spots him. Oh sh*t. Thinking he took her pictures again, she wants to hand his handphone. He won’t and as they struggle, his handphone fell down. That’s the second handphone… He goes to look for it and surprisingly Fuuka also helps since she wants to make sure he didn’t take those photos. It would have been easier had she just call his number but the thing is she doesn’t have a handphone. Plus, she prefers to be hearing music instead to be on Twitter. Oh, she loves hearing CDs instead of downloading. This reminds Yuu to hand back her CD. Just like the overused cliché, Yuu ends up in the same class with Fuuka and they don’t like each other. For now.

Later, Yuu sees Kazuya Nachi trying to bring Fuuka somewhere against her will. He sums up his courage (although he still sounds pathetic) to tell him off. Nachi reveals he was just recruiting her for the track club since her father is a famous runner. However Fuuka doesn’t like running and will not join the club. Yuu runs away in embarrassment. Fuuka didn’t come to laugh at him but to return his handphone as repayment for returning his CD. When Yuu is contemplating of going to a love movie, Fuuka’s face brightens up. Koyuki is her favourite singer and her song is featured in the movie. He has 2 tickets, so… They wait to meet up and didn’t see each other because one is on Twitter and the other listening to music. So when they decide to look for the other, they actually miss each other! When Fuuka thinks she saw Yuu dashed by, she gets this idea to stand on higher ground and yell his name and her whereabouts! Embarrassed Yuu heard her while she thinks her voice was great. Queuing up at the movie, there are lots of couples so in order not to stand out, they awkwardly hold hands. At the end of the movie, Fuuka wants to give a matching handphone charm as part of the movie bonus. He should get the hint what this means. Especially when she tells him it was a fun date. Hint, hint. WTF.

Episode 2
Fuuka gets a call from her parents. Though they learn she rejected another invitation to join the track club (despite she is quite athletic herself), they are happy for her as long as she does what she wants to do. In school, Yuu sees Fuuka crying. He jumps to conclusion there must be some sort of love triangle with her and the class’ handsome guy, Makoto Mikasa since he is popular with other girls. Oddly, the trio are called by the teacher to clean the swimming pool since they don’t belong in any clubs. Yuu sees her getting along with Makoto fine. Then he asks her and she assures they are just friends. Because of this big ‘revelation’: Makoto is gay! What a waste of such handsome face! So why was Fuuka crying then? She was hearing a song of Koyuki and it had very powerful but sad lyrics. Apparently Yuu and Koyuki know each other and communicate regularly via Twitter. He tells how his friend cried hearing her song and this makes her happy. Yuu is surprised when Fuuka takes him out this weekend to Koyuki’s concert. She was supposed to go with her aunt but she cancelled. What to do with the extra ticket? Koyuki is motivated when she sees Yuu in the front row and starts singing. Fuuka enjoyed the concert a lot. She demonstrates her singing voice and Yuu finds it impressive. Later Yuu calls Koyuki how amazing her concert was. It brought her to tears. Fuuka brings Yuu to a shrine where her parents once made a wish. So she is here to have Yuu pray for her wish to come true and double that chance? Fuuka has finally decided what she wants to do. She wants to go into music. I suppose Yuu didn’t see this coming because Fuuka tells the teacher she decides to start a new light music club and they will be the band members. Who? Fuuka, Makoto and Yuu.

Episode 3
Fuuka thinks they need to save up money to buy instruments so their teacher, Tomomi suggests working part time at a beach house. Joining a band would be the least of Yuu’s worries. He is shy and doesn’t know how to play an instrument. So how can he be a waiter at Nobuaki Yahagi’s beach house? He messes up orders and his voice isn’t too loud and thus can’t be heard. He gets an earful from Yahagi during the break. This breaks his spirits and he thinks of quitting but with Fuuka giving words of encouragement, Yuu comes back kicking ass. Okay, maybe not so drastic change but at least he has confidence now and not screwing up. For the afternoon, they take time off at the beach. Yuu and Fuuka swim out to sea as he hears why she wanted to form a band. Well, it was Yuu who encouraged her but he thought she would have gone solo. When they realize they have swam too far out, Fuuka panics and her leg cramped up. Yuu dives to save her but passes out. I’m not sure who saved who because the next time Yuu wakes up, he is being kissed by Fuuka! CPR. She cries in his arms as she was so worried he would drown while saving her. Now Yuu becomes conscious of her each time she sees her lips. He can’t get that scene out of his mind. Making it worse is Fuuka who doesn’t seemed bothered at all. But later when they’re alone, she confides in him in hopes he won’t tell others about that ‘kiss’ because she too is embarrassed and is her first time. So Yuu is happy that he isn’t the only one? Later Yuu meets up with Koyuki at the pier since she is here for some shoot. They see each other for the first time in ages and thank the technology of handphone that kept them together. Oddly, they play sparklers in the heavy rain. But it is not as odd hearing Yuu telling Koyuki she has grown prettier. Do shy guys say honest things like that? It’s like fate wants to screw with them so the strong wind blows them close together. Koyuki right into his arms. Then Fuuka sees this scandalous scene. Oh…

Episode 4
Fuuka runs away. Yuu wanted to go after her but with Koyuki clinging on to him and those eyes that definitely signal to guys to never leave a girl alone. It is obvious that Fuuka and Yuu can’t see eye to eye. Yuu tries to explain that he is friends with Koyuki. To avoid strangers stalking her, that is why they communicate via alias in another Twitter account. He doesn’t think Fuuka knows much about Twitter since she doesn’t have a handphone but she feels insulted that he thinks of her as a stranger who would tell on them. Their fight just got worse. Apparently Nachi has nothing better to do and went all the way here with Tomomi and Hisashi to bug Fuuka to join the track club. WTF. She insists she won’t and wants to become an awesome old band like her favourite Hedgehogs. This makes Tomomi blush. And then the kids realize too late that Tomomi was part of Hedgehogs. She was the keyboardist, Hisashi the guitarist and Yahagi the drummer. Yeah, ironically they never even noticed despite being their greatest fans. Grown too old? Also revealed that the vocalist Tama went missing and Nico the bassist went in search for her, the reason why the band was in a hiatus for a long time. Nachi still won’t hear any of this and thus an ‘audition’ is held to see if she has talent. She needs to sing one of their songs as they play as backup. Yuu is given a crash course on how to play the bass. Before it begins, Makoto talks to Fuuka and Yuu and have them reconcile. Yeah, it’ll be awkward if this affects their performance. So when the gig gets going, Hedgehogs still got their groove and Fuuka’s amazing vocals blow everyone away. She’s like an angel?! In the end, she got their approval although Nachi won’t still accept her. Makoto notes that he was tapping along with the rhythm. He makes excuse his brother used to play the drums and was just going along with that. This makes Fuuka recruit Nachi as the drummer. She decides on Makoto to be the keyboardist, Yuu the bassist (did you realize he was just standing there all the time starring at Fuuka’s awesomeness?) while she herself will take on the guitar. The band is now complete. How did it turn out like that… It ends with a forced cliché because Yuu and Fuuka are sitting together. The mood is getting good when he accidentally slips and lands his hand on her boobs. Slap! When Yuu goes home, he is surprised to see Koyuki there.

Episode 5
Apparently they just discover Koyuki lives nearby. So they reminisce about the past and it dawned to Yuu that he was trying to hit on her! Koyuki feels glad this wasn’t a one-sided crush after all. So I guess Nachi has had it with the track club and decides to go with the band, huh? With 3 cute guys in the band, fujoshis all over can’t stop fantasizing about them. Especially Makoto ‘targeting’ Yuu. Hisashi is kind enough to teach them the basics, lend them some instruments till they are good enough to get their own and even rent out a studio for them to practice. Even personally teaching Yuu some bass basics. But it seems Hisashi has a little problem of his own. Looks like his younger sister, Sara Iwami is at it again. She is a good guitarist but lacks communication. Thus band members can’t stand her and quit. It’s already the third band this time. Fuuka instantly wants her to join. Yuu tries to object but trips on a cable and dives head first into her boobs! She uses the guitar to slap him! Respect the guitar! Sara agrees to join. Don’t tell me she resonated with Fuuka in beating up Yuu?! WTF. Apparently Sara is also from their school so it’s convenience to hang out together. For some reason, the rest decides to leave Yuu and Sara alone together. This causes some serious awkwardness as Yuu might be going paranoid trying to figure out what she is thinking. When he realizes that Sara is one of his ardent Twitter followers and vice versa, Sara suddenly becomes cheerful and talkative, fawning all over him! OMG! Change in character! Now she can’t stop talking! Is this scarier?! I guess it’s better for her to be nice to him than otherwise. Yuu practises hard and this shocks Chitose who never knew he would be in a band. What does he take her brother for? When the studio is fully rented, Nachi decides to bring the gang to his garage where his brother used to practice with his band. Yeah, he didn’t say a thing because he didn’t want them to think he was really into this band thingy. So they hit it off and they find they have improved a lot despite several mistakes. Everybody was cooler, they had fun and Fuuka is really looking forward to master a couple more songs so they can hold their first performance at the school’s cultural festival.

Episode 6
You can tell Koyuki’s mind is bothered when her seeing is obviously off key. It’s just hard to hear. Flashback reveals Koyuki and Yuu know each other since young and she loves hanging out with him more than going home. You’ll understand when you realize her parents are always fighting. What’s a kid got to do but cover her ears in bed every night. Then it gets worse one day. Her parents got a divorce. What stresses her out most was not her parents living apart but rather she will no longer be able to be with Yuu. So the last time she saw Yuu, she couldn’t stop crying and say a proper goodbye. She left town with her mom. So now she is ‘stalking’ outside Yuu’s house? He invites him in and she gives him a ticket to her next concert as an apology. She thought he hated her for it but it seems he too thought she hated him. Now she blows her top for making her stressed out? So who is hating who now? Anyway he tells her his band will be performing soon and hopes she can come to see. Then he did this mistake of waxing lyrical of how damn good Fuuka is. Not what another woman wants to hear, right? They renew their old promise to perform together on the same stage someday. The day gets worse for Koyuki as she leaves. A truck splashes puddle over her. But it is a blessing in disguise since Fuuka is nearby and takes her to clean up in a public bath house that she lives upstairs. Bath scene bonding with Fuuka proclaiming her as her number one fan. She is also looking for advice and inspiration to write original songs. This has Koyuki mentioning she writes her songs based on her feelings for a certain boy she likes in mind for a long time. A one-sided love. You know who you are. Fuuka isn’t sure about relationships and isn’t in one. She gives Koyuki her assurance that she will root for her love to be realized. Oh. I can see where this is going to end up. Later, somebody has snapped a picture of Koyuki and Yuu making a pinky promise. Yeah… Let’s put it online…

Episode 7
Yuu is rudely awakened next morning when his sisters show the scandal that is going about on Twitter. That picture has now over 100,000 retweets! Yuu is now ‘famous’ in class as everyone tries to ‘interrogate’ him about his relationship with Koyuki. Fuuka is starting to put the picture together of what Koyuki said. It’s obvious she is giving Yuu the cold shoulder. But it’s not the scandal that is making her mad. It’s because Yuu never told her! WTF?! Good thing she decides to put this behind since their band’s first performance is tomorrow. Koyuki is to do a live show. Everyone has this understanding not to bring up that topic. Too bad Koyuki isn’t going by that script and admits that boy in the picture is her childhood friend and dismisses they are dating or anything. Just when you thought everybody has accepted that and just about to get along with their lives, Koyuki then mentions he is the boy whom she has a one-sided crush on and the basis for all her songs. This obviously makes Yuu worried. Can he perform well tomorrow? His band mates give him some encouragement. I guess nobody cares if Nachi is made the band leader and the problem that comes with it, huh? Yuu gets his much needed support from his sisters who will come to support him even if everyone else is against him. Really? I hope they are. Because during the festival, rumours are abound that Koyuki will attend the concert. Guess what? She’s already here! Is her disguise that good that nobody recognized her? Koyuki is shocked that the hall is filled to the brim. Even more shocking are the nasty comments she hears from other boys who intend to target Yuu and teach him a lesson. Yeah, looks like they’re calling out to him now. A riot can break out any time… You sisters gonna take them all on? Think not. Too late for Koyuki to regret about her confession, eh? Oh, what can you do now? The band is at the backstage. Yuu isn’t getting cold feet. He apologizes for what has happened but is also thankful for what he has now. Cut the chatter and let’s shut those guys up with their performance.

Episode 8
When the band finally comes out, the insults start flowing. One even threw a bottle at Yuu, not only cutting his forehead but destroyed his bass! When Hibiki tries to stop them from further self-destruct, they target her because she is Yuu’s family. Despicable! Koyuki is forced to reveal herself in hopes of calming everyone down but the surround her like she is gold. Yeah, those pigs. The lights off and on again. After Yuu is patched up and given a replacement bass, they start singing. Instantly everyone is blown away by Fuuka’s voice. It’s like they’re in a trance. They realize how good all the band members too. After the song, Fuuka invites Koyuki up to stage to sing a ballad of Hedgehogs. Their unison further blows everyone away. At the end of it, Koyuki apologizes for the things she has said but to leave Yuu and his family alone as they have nothing to do with this. Everybody assures they will always support her. Wow. It’s like their devilish side just disappeared. WTF. In the aftermath as the band celebrate their great first performance, they realize they need to come up with the band’s name. They decide to name it after Fuuka. Fallen Moon. Fuuka didn’t like it because it sounds egoistical like as though she forced everyone to join this band. Didn’t she? Fallen Moon it is. Now they worry for Koyuki because after the concert, her manager quickly took her away. She is then advised not to pull off this stunt again and to not contact Yuu for a while so as not to put herself in danger. Therefore she doesn’t pick up when Yuu calls. It makes her miss calls list look like there’s a stalker. More bad news because slowly one by one her events are getting cancelled. During the rehearsal for the Christmas concert, they thought she had too much on her mind and can’t sing. But then, she really can’t sing! Her voice won’t come out! The doctor diagnosed stress and thus her manager doesn’t want her to push it. This means all her events are now cancelled. It comes to a shock when Yuu finds out on the news that Koyuki is on hiatus. He calls her and she picks up this time. She assures everything is fine. That’s all. Of course it’s not. He needs to go to her side now. But how is Yuu going to find her? I don’t know but he did! She tells him about her voice problem and then apologizes for liking him. What’s a guy got to do when a girl starts crying but to hug her. I hope nobody sees this and uploads this online. We’ve had enough sh*t for one episode.

Episode 9
Yuu almost got the shock of his life thinking he is going to get mugged. Turns out to be Koyuki behind a ski mask. Apparently they’re going out on a date?! Is this official? Is this approved? Anyway, Koyuki brings him to Kawagoe where she often has her shoots. The date isn’t anything that special. She has her apologies and thanks for all that has happened. That’s all. Her hope is that she could keep singing forever. Once done, Yuu had to rush back for band practice. They understand and forgive him because a date is more important, right? Let’s hope it won’t be frequent enough that it will cause the band to break up. Later they discuss their next course of action and Fuuka wants to write an original song herself. The rest are sceptical since she doesn’t play any instruments. I guess humming is a start. She actually manages to hum out one and the rest of course turn it into actual music. One night, Fuuka gets a call from Hisashi to meet a music producer, Akira Mogami. Based on the concert at the festival he saw, he wants Fuuka to go pro. Fuuka thought it is the band but no, he only wants her alone. I’m sure she isn’t swayed by him waxing lyrical her angelic voice. That is why she did not hesitate to decline because she wants to be with her band mates. She can call him anytime if she changes her mind but she is very certain that won’t happen. When she returns home, she sees Yuu with Koyuki outside his house. They look very close. This makes her heart feel pain and confused. And she doesn’t like it. So this is going to be the biggest drama of the series?

Episode 10
Fuuka returns to her band. Her face clearly tells something is wrong. Call it luck or not, since Yuu arrives, she is spared the explanation since it is time to rock. When Yuu tries to find out, she screams at him to leave her alone! Later back home he calls her again but nothing much was said. Subsequently Koyuki calls him so he takes the chance to ask how she writes lyrics (thinking this might be stressing out Fuuka). As Koyuki has written her songs based on the person she loves and Fuuka said she never loved anybody, she believes her advice wasn’t a good one. After lots of thinking, Fuuka realizes she is in love with Yuu. Yeah, we figured out that a long time ago. She finally finishes her lyrics and needless to say it is amazing. So we see them depart from their place to their next gig. Some get encouragement like Hisashi for Sara and Yuu’s sisters for him (albeit some teasing). Some are threatened like Makoto whose father warns him to drop his useless hobby or else he will be disowned. No f*cks were given because he decides music is the most important thing in his life. More important than his cute little sister. Hisashi is shocked when Yahagi brings Tama and Nico in. They’re back. After 6 years. And they have something important to announce. A typical cliché bad omen happens to Fuuka. She crosses the road, her strap breaks, realizing it is gone, she goes back to grab it, Japanese truck drivers are the worst because they don’t know how to slam the brakes and… SLAM! Luckily he missed. Phew. Fuuka is in one piece but the strap wasn’t so lucky. However this gives Fuuka renewed motivation as she meets up with the rest and start their performance. Everyone is there including the whole Hedgehogs band. Predictably they note their awesome performance. Fuuka finally sings her original songs and is it no surprise her lyrics sound like unrequited love? The gig was a success but at the backstage Fuuka decides to drop a shocking bombshell. She reveals she has been scouted. She is thinking of taking up that offer and going solo. Wait a minute. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???!!! WTF?????!!!!!! Sudden change in mind?! And she assured us she won’t leave her band. WTF?! Let me guess. Her love for Yuu has something to do with this decision, right? Ah well, who cares about The Fallen Moon now. Because look at this. Sara’s streak of not being able to stay in a band continues. Makoto has been disowned so where is he to go? Nachi is the maddest because he gave up his track dreams. Yuu… Nah, he’s got Koyuki to fall back on. So yeah. The Fallen Moon has fallen. Everyone’s screwed.

Episode 11
So all Yuu can say was if it is her decision, there’s nothing they can do about it. There. So everybody is gloomy trying to go on with their lives. Fallen Moon members minus Fuuka meet for one last time as Nachi suggests breaking up. He is the leader after all. Of course he explains he is going back to track as he was using music as some sort of escapism as he has always underachieved. I guess this band is done. Meanwhile Fuuka takes up Akira’s contract and he too can tell why the sudden change of heart. Then it’s bull’s eye because he suspects it has something to do with first love. That shut you up, Fuuka? All you can say is you made the right choice? Well I hope you did. We see the rest carrying on with their lives. Like Sara she has been put into another band and they really like her and want her to join. Nachi is training rigorously in his track. Makoto is packing up and deciding to go back to daddy’s side and give up his dream because daddy promised him a bright future. So yeah, I guess he has to be hypocritical to his sister about fighting dad for his dream. Now he’s just giving up. Yuu talks to Koyuki what happened. To her, she is fine with that (obviously). Reminding him about their promise, she doesn’t care what else happens as long as she can be with him. And suddenly she pushes him down onto his bed and unbuttons her shirt!!! WTF???!!! HOW DID THIS ESCALATE SO QUICKLY???!!! UNFORTUNATELY! He can’t! What?! Are you gay?! Koyuki is a smart girl. She understood. She knew about his feelings, Fuuka’s feelings. She just wished he’d be honest with himself. In tears, she says her goodbye. WTF???!!! HOW COULD YOU?! DAMN YOU, YUU!!! I get it. Koyuki is too good for the likes of you. F*ck Y(o)uu (pun intended)! Subsequently Yuu works hard to write his new song. So much so his sisters can’t even bother him. Though, they love the new determined look in his eyes. Then he goes around to ‘bug’ his other members to hear his music. And if they feel something, meet up at their usual restaurant at a certain time. He even tries to ring Fuuka’s home but she pretends she isn’t home. The guilt… So you think Yuu is going to be stood up by everyone? No way. That’s because everyone heard his new passionate song and turn up! Oh. So they decide to do another inconvenience by coming back to the band. Since Fuuka is the only one who didn’t show up, they decide to practice and prepare when she does. Yuu goes as far as to visit Fuuka’s parent’s home but mom answering the door says she would be back late when she is actually sitting depressed in her room. Is it me or does Suzuka look so freaking young like Fuuka’s sister?!

Episode 12
The Fallen Moon continues to practice without Fuuka. Sara mentions the owner of the place where they did their first live gig wants them to play again. Can they do it without Fuuka? Yuu promises to bring her back no matter what. Fuuka accidentally stumbles upon Koyuki. The girls talk with Koyuki telling her she broke up with Yuu. She also heard her song and finds the feelings in it resonating with her although Fuuka denies. Koyuki hopes she would just be honest with her feelings. Otherwise it would just put her in a spot. Oh, you don’t know… Yuu continues to visit Fuuka’s house every day but is told she isn’t around. Geez, if mom didn’t know what Fuuka wanted, she would have called the police for stalking. And then mom went ahead and watched the video of their first live gig. She talks to Fuuka and hopes she would smile like that again. So the band is waiting at the place, worried Fuuka may not actually turn up. Leave it to super Yuu to promise to bring her. But she’s not at home. So how to find her? Ah, that familiar wind that blew up her skirt gave him an idea. WTF?! She’s at the school rooftop and she is surprised to see him. He tells her to come back because the band can’t do without her. She can’t come back thinking everyone is mad at her. Yuu is finding it hard to say the right words so he screws all that and says, “I love you!”. A domino effect causing Fuuka to also screw all that and reply that she loves him too. No time to hug, run down to the place now! Just right before it starts, eh? Immediately Fuuka apologizes for her selfishness but you know how everybody is going to forgive her. So they rock the place with their 2 original songs. Yeah, even Hedgehogs gave their approval. The subsequent montage shows Yuu and Fuuka dating. Koyuki now doing some mascot gig. The Fallen Moon continues to practice together. Fuuka apologizes to Akira as he turns his offer down. But wait. He has good news. He has a proposal to have The Fallen Moon debut! Hedgehogs reunite and start playing again. Yuu makes a wish at the shrine to always be with Fuuka forever. At first she is embarrassed but her feelings are also the same.

What The Fuuka?!
Good riddance. Thank goodness it lasted for only a dozen episodes because the more the series progresses, the more WTF starts filling up my mind. I just couldn’t take it anymore. The characters and the story. The music is rather okay and although not my cup of tea but generally the characters and the plot are the ones that making me go WTF. As each passing episode, the more WTF I am starting to sigh. So good riddance. Thank goodness it is over.

There are quite a few moments in the series that makes you want to go “What the f*ck?!”. The first one as early as Fuuka quickly becoming friends with Yuu. This guy unfortunately started off as somebody who is definitely bad in her books. Wrong place, wrong time. We know that they will eventually make up but we didn’t think it was this fast! And this is already by the end of the first episode! It was bad enough Fuuka greatly assumed Yuu was a pervert taking upskirt pictures of her in public. How do you fix that all up? Return her CD, talk about the same music passion and go out for a movie together. Voila! Perversion totally forgotten! Oh yeah. They’re really rushing it here, aren’t they?

The next major WTF moment is when Fuuka forms her own band. I don’t know if in real life bands are formed this freaking fast because the most mind boggling one is when Nachi who has been constantly bugging Fuuka to join the track club suddenly finds himself as the one abandoning his dream to join Fuuka’s ‘unstable’ band. Doesn’t that scream WTF to you? If that wasn’t enough, how about Yuu who seems to be a prodigy and genius when it comes to handling the bass. This guy has no music experience before, let alone play a music instrument. The moment he picks it up and a few lessons from a few experts and now he is a talented bass player! Okay, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he has some hidden talent that was just awakened. But seriously, this guy is now playing like a pro and can even subsequently write songs. Wow. They make it sound so easy.

Another WTF moment and personal gripe of mine is when Fallen Moon played their first gig during the school’s festival. What I never liked about this idol business is how some fans are just so obsessed with a particular idol that the poor idol has to be strictly fit into their angelic image. Or else they start becoming a mob and justify it using violence. It just made me mad seeing these so called hardcore fans of Koyuki trying to hurt Yuu just because he is someone close to Koyuki. But the WTF moment isn’t really this part. It is the part where Fuuka blows away everyone with her incredible voice. It just feels so unrealistic. Only in TV shows where you can blow away and change one’s mind for the better with your awesome voice. And you know what? These mobsters were Koyuki fans! Now after hearing Fuuka’s voice, they somewhat become rationale and calm the f*ck down. WTF is this. Not so 100% Koyuki fan now, are they? Don’t give me this crap that they want to give Fuuka a chance too because I can imagine if wind gets out this Yuu dude is in a love triangle between these 2 babes, all hell will break loose, I tell you! Oh, I can already imagine it…

The final and biggest WTF moment as well as the biggest slap in the face comes when Fuuka decides to go solo. How big a WTF and knee jerk reaction could this get? At first I predicted she would go solo. But the way she told Akira with that absolute smile and confidence she believed in her band and would never ever, and I mean really never ever leave them for anything, made me believe in her. She was truly genuine staying with her band at least for a while. And then comes this freaking shocker. She wants to go solo! WTFFFFFFFFF????????!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, I could hear those cliché (nuclear) bomb explosions going off in the background right now. You lied to us, Fuuka! You lied to your bandmates! All because of this little thing called love. So to cover up this WTF moment that some fans could see coming from miles away, they make Akira voice out this truth. It is so f*cking obvious. There is your cheesy romance drama factor.

Speaking of which, yeah the romance drama is pretty cheesy and predictable. It feels like to force some melodrama just for the sake of it. Because otherwise, what the heck are you watching this series for? I know I’ve seen quite a few of such scenes in anime where it is obvious the protagonists in such first time meeting will eventually fall in love amidst the WTF situations. The only thing ‘good’ coming out from all this romance is that in the end, our main guy has the balls to choose and end up with a girl instead of leaving it status quo and hence an unresolved harem. And yes, it didn’t really surprise me that this famous idol is childhood friends with Yuu and has a crush on him. It was so painfully obvious. And it had to drag on because the vocalist of a certain band wasn’t being honest with her feelings until it is too late and caused some problems.

Which leads me to another WTF moment albeit a bit lesser. Because when Fuuka (temporarily) left the band, it seems inevitable they would break up. We see how the lives of other bandmates ‘ruined’ just because of one vocalist leaving. I have already stated how Nachi went back to track, Sara joined another group and Makoto being the worst affected is now somewhat an embarrassment because he goes back to his safe space provided by daddy. Oh yeah. It’s like Fuuka who is the one running the show. Can’t find another replacement, you say? Sometimes I believe too that there is that only person that makes a band whole so I’ll give them that. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. That is how I feel when Yuu gathers the band back again to practice. This is the WTF moment I’m talking about because again they have to abandon what they are already starting into and going back into the band again! I can only imagine Makoto’s father being displeased again. What inconsistency. At first he was going against his wishes. Then he comes back. Now he breaks off again. Make up your mind! Same with Nachi who was already making some decent progress in his track club and Sara the same in her new band. Oh yeah. Why not leave all that just for some nostalgia. I mean, it’s not too late to turn back, right?

This might be a trivial WTF but Fuuka being able to perform Yuu’s song at first go even more so her first performance after she reunited with her band is really mind blowing. Sure she might have heard the song before but without practice how could she sound this perfect? Yeah, Fuuka’s a genius, right?

The characters feel weak and even more so when the melodrama focuses on the romance insecurities between Yuu, Fuuka and Koyuki. I mean, really? For Fuuka, the guy she first met whom she suspected of taking pictures of her pantsu, she now slowly falls in love with him? In today’s world, he’d be slapped with lawsuits and jail time. If the trio are already bad enough, the other bandmates fare much worse. Nachi is like the one who has the most angst because somebody needs to be. Sara is the quiet girl whom could have remained in the background for the rest of the series and we won’t even care. Makoto is wasted because of his good looks at least he could have send yaoi shiver down our spine. His past and family situation are put together so quickly like glue that you would think something just thought of it a few minutes before they produced the series and slapped it all together. And when a family that consists of a boy and many sisters, why must the sisters be the one teasing their brother about this and that? Is it so much fun? Maybe. Girl power. Yeah, am I seeing a pattern of such family households? Like that guy in Working!!, so to speak. Hedgehogs are primarily redundant. Even if they don’t reunite it doesn’t really matter. It is just to show how a bunch of kids sang a few songs and gave them the burning passion to come back. WTF.

There is a bit of fanservice in this anime. Most likely to hide the bad story and character development so as to distract pervy fan boys from shelling out total criticism. What do you expect when you start off in your first scene and pantsu showing one? A guy like Yuu have the rest of his siblings as sisters, why must one of them be the one who likes to walk naked around the house? And they really pushed it when Koyuki became desperate for Yuu’s attention when she starts stripping herself only to be rejected. I think we’re all shaking our head and our mouths agape as wide as the Milky Way.

Voice acting isn’t anything much to shout about. Me recognizing the obvious ones like Saori Hayami as Koyuki, Daisuke Ono as Yahagi and Mikako Komatsu as Sara. Oh wait. Is that Youko Hikasa as Tomomi? Lynn (Nozomi in Keijo) is pretty okay as the titular character Fuuka as she has a fitting voice that makes her suitable to sing rock band type of music. Though, I find when she sings, she sounds a bit like a different person. The rest of the other cast are Yuusuke Kobayashi as Yuu (Subaru in Re: Zero Kara Hajimaru Isekai Seikatsu), Souma Saitou as Makoto (Kain in Kyoukai No Rinne), Kazuyuki Okitsu as Nachi (Nagare in K), Daisuke Hirakawa as Hisashi (Makoto in School Days), Kaede Hondo as Chitose (Kazane in Keijo), Mikako Takahashi as Mayu (Ayumu in Hayate No Gotoku) and Saori Oonishi as Hibiki (Miyuki in Shomin Sample).

If you like such rock band music, you’ll find the opening theme, Climber’s High (which is also the series’ highlight song) by Manami Numakura as well as the ending theme, Watashi No Sekai by Megumi Nakajima to be to your liking. It didn’t really resonate with me so I’m not particularly crazy to go hear it again. I prefer very much the special ending song for episode 6 by Koyuki, Yukihanabi. It is a slow and lovely ballad featuring only Saori Hayami’s voice and piano for accompaniment. There are a few other insert songs too but not really to my liking since it is rock based. But if you are hoping that this series would have dozens of amazing rock soundtrack, don’t get your hopes high up. Because they keep featuring Climber’s High so the other songs aren’t quite prominent. Sure, there is the original soundtrack for the series out in stores containing over 30 tracks but most of them are just BGMs which again didn’t really resonate with me.

Art and animation style is pretty standard. Standard and conventional Japanese anime style character designs, bishoujo and bishonen look for our characters to perhaps distract you from the generic plot line and WTF moments. Hey, as long as you look good, it can’t be all that bad, right? Or would it? This sequel is animated by Diomedea who did Shiryaku! Ika Musume, Mayoiga, Akuma No Riddle, Handa-kun, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu and Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei No Kyokan compared to Studio Comet who did Suzuka in the last decade. The only thing that bugs me is Fuuka’s mom who still looks so f*cking young like as though she has not aged ever since he Suzuka anime ended. Really. Not even a hint that she has grown the slightest bit old. WTF. It’s like the time skip forgot to age her.

Overall, this series need not have associated itself with the original Suzuka series despite it has nothing to do with it except being the child of that series. Unfortunately it was adapted from the manga from the same author who created Suzuka so it isn’t a sh*tty original anime adaptation. Poor cheesy romance drama, weak characters as well as too many WTF moments (noticed how many WTFs I have been using in this blog and could have been more if I did not restrain myself) made this anime forgettable but at the same time remembered for all the wrong reasons. It also gives the wrong impression that for an enthusiast in music despite being a rookie, writing songs is easy (and a hit in this case) but it is falling in love which is hard and pain in the ass. Makes me want to run away from this insanity. Now I know why Tama and Nico went missing for a few years. They should have never returned…

Urara Meirochou

June 24, 2017

Time for another series about cute girls doing cute things. We have covered a lot of themes using this simple trope so what else is left for this to explore? Why not try divination then? What a great idea. And that is how you get Urara Meirochou. A group of divination loli trainees who yearn to be the best diviner enter a school as they study and practice while they level up their bonding and friendship in a totally cute and heart-warming fuzzy way. I mean, what else could you expect from this kind of series, right?

Episode 1
Chiya makes her way into Labyrinth Town with a bunch of animals following her. However people start accusing her of using animals to steal food. Panicked, she starts apologizing by showing her belly?! The district’s captain, Saku gets embarrassed and mad seeing this indecency and chases her down. That is where Chiya bumps into Kon and Koume. All of them are holding the same paper that leads to Natsume-ya to become apprentice urara (one who guides the lost at the crossroads). Chiya tries to teach them how to apologize for real and exposes their stomach?! They are caught by Saku who then is about to banish them. However Nina hopes she would overlook this as they are her apprentices. Or else she will commit suicide to take responsibility! At Natsume-ya as Nina gets to know them, they also find out Chiya’s reason for coming here is to meet her mom whom she believed is somewhere in this town. Apparently there is a fourth apprentice, Nono. As Nina’s younger sister, she is so shy and has been hiding Nina all the while. So Chiya is going to teach her true apology too? After eating cakes, Nina has them drink tea to tell their fortune. Chiya finds it so good that she keeps drinking them all and now her tummy is bloated. The girls are given a number which indicates their rank as a licensed diviner. They start at the bottom 10 and get promoted via exams. They then discuss the divination method they want to use. Kon will use kokkuri, Nono her creepy doll, Koume her tarot cards and Chiya… Mushroom reading? Everyone thought Kon is a fox so they molest her ears (just her ribbons) while she denies being one. Kon then uses kokkuri to read for Chiya. As they ponder what “Kurou” meant, Chiya lifts up Kon’s skirt to check if she has a fox tail! WTF. As they head back to town, they are tempted to take patron a store with food divination. They see Saku’s subordinates, Ooshima and Shiozawa trying to prove their love by ordering sweets. But since she doesn’t like sweet stuffs, they try to catch her cold. Can she just eat in peace?

Episode 2
Right when Saku enters Natsume-ya, she sees Koume trying to expose Chiya’s belly to make her apologize. She beats them up for the indecency. Everyone learns Chiya has been trying to look for her mom who is believed to be in Labyrinth Town every night. However she has no clue, not even her name or how she looks like! They thought using divination from the gods would be useful but Nina says it is even difficult for the top ranking urara to do so. This feat would also be a challenge for the legendary first rank urara. The problem is, Labyrinth Town is divided into sections that only allows one to enter based on their rank and hiring a top urara can be expensive. This puts a little damper on Chiya. The rest try to find out more as Chiya explains she was living in the mountains with Setsu, her mom’s friend who promised to take care of her child from birth till 15. Setsu really took care of her so Chiya feels a bit back just wanting to go look for her mom like that. Nono disagrees since her mom died while she was young. That is why she always has this doll to look over her. And no, she doesn’t find it creepy. That night, Chiya tries to sneak into the next district illegally but Saku stops her. She is warned she will have to ban her if she crosses the line. So what can Chiya do? Become a top ranking urara. That way she can enter freely through the districts without being arrested. The quartet have their first practical lesson on divination. Nina teaches them how to use the lantern for the shooting star divination. She reminds them of a single act that is taboo that must never be committed. They must never divine about the gods of Labyrinth Town as they will have their powers taken away forever. They might not see or hear them, but they are everywhere. The divination process goes well and they feel like they are in a different dimension. Then Chiya’s hair caught fire. Divination failed. Saku thought she is being considerate to her subordinates by ordering spicy food for them. They actually hate it and just wanted to eat her spicy food. Later Kon talks to Chiya what she saw in the divination. She thought someone called out her name. She thinks she might have heard the voice of a god. They make a promise to become first rank urara.

Episode 3
Nina has the girls do an errand for her to pick up some bat bowl, a tool for divination. They arrive at Benten’s store which is the biggest supplier of divination tools in Labyrinth Town. As they are awed with the items, Benten’s appearance startles them and they accidentally break a rare crystal ball. Since they can’t pay, she will have them compensate it via the old fashion way of using their bodies. No, belly apologizing isn’t going to work. And no, not prostitution either. They’re going to work here to clear their debt. Because they are slacking, Benten confronts them that she knows they are from Natsume-ya and thus will keep the bowl till they clear their compensation. They’ll work here for a year. The girls are shocked since they can’t wait too long and such absence in training will make them lose their licence. They won’t abandon their training and hope there would be another way. Benten offers to take a gamble via dice. Simple. Whoever gets the highest wins. If they win, she’ll overlook this. Otherwise they will work here for 3 years. Chiya dares take the challenge despite rumours of Benten being a good gambler. However they won’t know for sure if they don’t try. On the first throw, Chiya wins! The girls are so ecstatic that they almost break some items. Careful now… So happy that they go home with the bowl forgetting to change back to their own clothes. Saku almost chides Chiya and Koume for being lewd. Apparently Chiya’s long hair is stuck between Koume’s buttons. When she offers to cut, Chiya goes into feral mode. Nina says that long hair is a symbol of the soul and life and thus a good divination source. She thinks it is a good time for them to form a close bond. Easier said than done because the duo are clumsy in every way. But Nina continues to have them do errands together. When Koume asks her why she won’t cut her hair, Chiya doesn’t answer. This has Koume breaking her buttons and then lecture her about them being friends and she still wants to keep secrets. Chiya feels appreciated for being called her friend. Later she reveals when she was young, there was a snake on her hair. Setsu swiftly cut their dinner and some parts of her hair went with it. It became Chiya’s trauma ever since.

Episode 4
The girls take shelter from a bad storm. Because of the creepy place, they can’t help worry about bad omens. They remember Nina teaching them about spotting good and bad omens but lesson time was up and they are left hanging about the latter. They don’t know how to deal with it. Apparently Chiya is having fun and all. Nono is scared of the lightning so Kon tries some lame divination pose. The storm just got worse. They take notice of Chiya’s positivism and realize if they start looking for bad omens, then bad omens will pop up everywhere. So they brave the lightning and watch it. They never realize it was this beautiful like as though watching the fireworks. Nono is no longer afraid of them. Soon the storm stops and the girls go home under a bight sunny sky. Nina has thought the girls about moles on body parts as divination. Apparently she is not happy that all of them failed except Kon getting full marks. She cancels today’s class and has a study session for their remedial tests. When Nina asks Nono if she would like to help with her studies, little sister rejects her and would prefer studying with her friends! Shock! Little sister is no longer the shy baby you once knew. As the girls study, the rest decides to use Kon as a sample to check for moles. Well, she did agree that she would like to help out. So they strip her and examine her moles but Chiya gets distracted with her belly. Embarrassing indeed. They spot 2 moles on her back of her neck and they think she got bitten by a vampire?! Nono relates to Chiya how she is always hiding behind Nina’s back. She is glad to have met the girls that is why today she wants to rely on herself to study for the test. Then Chiya strips her to check for moles. If got no moles? Paint one! Is this legal? Seems this is a charm from Chiya in hopes Nono will become the kind person she wants. Koume cheekily wants to use this method to become beautiful. Yeah, need a mole on the butt then. Everybody tries to strip and do that for her. Saku had the bad luck to walk in and see this indecency. If that isn’t enough, Chiya paints a moustache while she is out.

Episode 5
Nina prepares the girls for the Wedding Kimono Festival celebration in which legend has it the gods come to this town to look for brides. Chiya doesn’t like the kimono very much because it is stifling. Blame her lose girl personality… In town, Chiya drinks the ritual wine and becomes drunk. This causes her pheromones to go wild and attracts wild animals. Because Nono and Koume also drink it, they become drunk too and also attracted to Chiya. Saku has a hunch the commotion is from them but looks like Chiya got the better of her as they end up in a suggestive pose, feeding her subordinates priceless fanservice. Chiya then rests at a forest’s shrine. Still a bit drunk, that is when she sees a weird dark monster before her. When she introduces herself, she hears a weird howl before collapsing. When she opens her eyes, she is back in Natsume-ya and her friends were worried she was hurt or something. When Chiya tries to explain that monster, Koume thinks she is referring to Saku in demon mode! Disciplining in progress. Everyone finds it odd that Chiya is apologizing without stripping. She feels unenergetic and that is when they realize she is sick. Her first cold. The friends help feed porridge and although Chiya loves this bonding, she soon realizes being sick is no fun when she is left all alone as the rest head for their class. Later Kon goes to the shrine and wait. She thinks that monster Chiya saw is one of the gods of Labyrinth Town. But surprisingly Nina arrives. They talk and Nina thinks Chiya can see gods. Kon feels depressed because she is always studying and being hung up on being the best. It makes her jealous that Chiya could see a god because she too wants to see one. Nina advises that all urara see each other as friends and rivals. Nobody knows what the future holds. What you see today, you might not see tomorrow. If she is in doubt, she hopes she could come to see her for help. She is her teacher after all.

Episode 6
The girls see Nina doing a divination to find a soul mate and she is squealing at all the good signs. Koume suggests they can help look for that soul mate and will use her pendulum divination which has a spirit of some klutz girl to show the way. You wonder if the pendulum knows where it is going because it is leading them all over the district. Saku spots them and tails them in disguise thinking they are going to cause trouble. When they accidentally bump into each other, Saku fears her identity will be exposed and tries to hide herself via low voice. Koume instantly takes a liking for this shady ‘guy’. Watching the girls can be a heart attack for Saku since they show no shame being indecent in public. Saku almost gets caught by her subordinates. They almost for her but keep reminding themselves their heart only belongs to Saku. Right under their noses… When Saku bumps into the girls again, Koume thinks this is fate. But Chiya jumps on Saku and recognizes a familiar smell. Everyone is shocked to see Saku. She dismisses their stalker theory and was just looking out for them as she worries if something terrible would befall on Nina’s students. The girls realize that this could be Nina’s soul mate and invite her to dinner with Nina. Nina teaches her students kokkuri and warns about the risks of using it. Later the girls try it and Koume did the unthinkable by removing her hand off the coin during the process. This got her possessed but Kon thinks she is just fooling around. Nono gets possessed before the fox spirit settles in Kon. Chiya can smell a different scent when she is being possessed. Although the fox spirit is cocky and threatens, nothing like a little pat from Chiya to subdue it. Is it a pushover or is Chiya’s power that great? The fox spirit loves Chiya’s patting and wants to her to be its bride. But Chiya wants Kon back. So how? Reading the book on the best way to cast a spirit away… Prostrate yourself and say sorry! The fox spirit finds it amusing and agrees to return Kon. After kissing Chiya’s forehead, Kon returns back to normal but has no recollection of what happened. When they return to Natsume-ya, Nina cannot remember why she had cooked a feast. Looks like somebody just got possessed…

Episode 7
Nina wants her students to memorize all incantations as it will be on the test. Plus, to be a top urara, this is the first major obstacle they have to pass. Of course it is tough hell trying to memorize them all since they are in old language. Nina reminds them the importance of incantations because it is showing your intention to borrow the gods’ power. Nono could do slightly better since her mom and sister used to sing such songs to make her feel better. That is why she did well in the test. Of course Kon too since she typically stayed up late to study. After Nono thanks Nina for the songs, she promises to work harder. Nina can only cry and find comfort in Saku’s arms knowing that her little sister is slowly growing up. Nina teaches about western witches and this has Koume explain her experience with one. Marie Quispiroucouette was a witch from France living in her manor. Her goal is to study magic from all over the world to become the greatest witch. As she is quite the prankster herself, many times Koume fell for her tricks since she was young and gullible. Koume became close to Marie and because nobody believed Marie as a real witch, Koume thought if she could show everyone, maybe then they’ll believe her. That involves trying to fly with her broomstick. Of course she fell like a rock but Marie’s magic saved her. Marie didn’t mind people not believing her so she has Koume promise to keep a secret that she could only show her powers to people she really trusts. One day there are rumours of an epidemic spreading because of witches. Although Koume’s family are not bothered, they have to let Marie go in her best interest. Sad Koume wanted to follow her and learn magic to protect her. So Marie gave her the task of becoming the greatest witch in this country. Do that and she’ll make Koume her apprentice. Then she just left. It took years for Koume to realize it was her way to keep her from being a witch since being a top urara is hard. She doesn’t plan to give up, though. Koume is disheartened her secret of being a top urara is revealed but the rest aren’t surprised. It’s their goal too. Koume must be feeling good that she wants to test fly her broomstick with all her friends riding along! Have faith! Didn’t work. Flopped. Try again?

Episode 8
Nina takes her student to a spring where it is said invisible gods gather along the banks. Of course this is part of their training to purify their body and offer prayers. But we have bloopers like Chiya prefer to go commando, Nono getting her butt stuck in the float, Chiya afraid of crabs (because ‘scissors’) and pervy crabs snipping their swimsuits. Kon and Chiya try out underwater divination. After submerging for a while, Kon opens her eyes and shockingly sees various strange gods. Because they do not like her prying, they ‘curse’ her. Next thing we know, Kon is on ground and Nina trying to save her from a leg cramp. Because of that, Kon cannot stop thinking of it and she has nightmares that the gods will punish her peeping by taking away what she holds dear. Kon talks to Chiya about this and believes she has committed that taboo of divining about the gods. She now fears she will lose her place to become an urara with them. To cheer her up, Kon starts licking her?! It could have been some lesbian passion if not for the sad overtone. Chiya reminds her about their promise and vows not to let anyone take it from her (not even gods?) so don’t give up yet. The only way to test if she has lost her powers is to do her divination. Kon sets up her kokkuri and thankfully it still works. She is even assured she has not committed a taboo and can still be an urara. All that happiness is spoiled when Koume quips maybe those aren’t gods she saw but ghosts… Kon might still ponder what she saw but Chiya says it’s like they’re carrying an unopened treasure box and the excitement is that they may not find it out now but tomorrow. The friends bond by eating snacks and howling at the moon?! Huh?

Episode 9
Chiya is lost. A masked urara offers to help divine her way home but at a hefty price. If she cannot pay, maybe her eyes or hair will do! Thankfully this kimono clad urara, Tokie starts chiding all the commandments that she is breaking and scares her off. Tokie offers to bring Chiya home free but first, Chiya must dress well! Despite Chiya doesn’t like the kimono, others find her cute and offer her free food! Not bad, right? Tokie also offers free divination and is spot on about her friends at Natsume-ya. Tokie learns she is here to find her mom but has no clue. Chiya is hoping her to be her mom and might have forgotten how her child looks like. No way. Just no way. Tokie notes that she saw some ominous monster and wonders who this girl is. Once back a Natsume-ya, her friends are relieved she is okay. But Kon is surprised. What is Tokie her mom doing here?! It seems Tokie has a reason to come to Natsume-ya. She is here to warn them of a great calamity. During her daily divination she saw the calamity befall on one of them. It hints to Nono. Therefore to beat this calamity, all must work together to stave it off. Nina is so shocked that she fainted and left the responsibility in the hands of her students. So much about big sister. The quartet think of the kind of calamity that would befall as well as the ways to ward it off. They try to use their divination but Koume pulls out a death tarot card while Kon’s kokkuri points to 4. Sounds like death! Oh dear. Then they put all sorts of weird talisman over her. Don’t think this is working. Chiya remembers some barberry bush that has power against calamity as said by Setsu. They go look for it but as their efforts become futile, Nono becomes disheartened. She runs away to spare her friends of her calamity. When the dreaded hour passes and nothing happens, Tokie pops up and passes them. It seems this is a qualification exam to progress up a rank. The prophecy is fake and to see how they would handle it. Their divination may have not yielded results but they are judged on other aspects like their friendship bond which proved steadfast and strong. But they shouldn’t be celebrating yet as they will soon be facing the main exam where they will be pit against other similar ranked urara from other houses. The girls are motivated the grownups are confident they will become better urara.

Episode 10
The first promotional exam is here. Nina thought she could help calm their nerves but she remembers her own scary exam and gets nervous instead. Tokie explains about the exam format. Thankfully all houses will take this exam as a team so this means our Natsume-ya girls are relieved they don’t have to turn rivals on each other. Their mission is to get a green arrow hidden somewhere within the maze-like belly of a cursed serpent. Some of their teachers will act as demons so if they are caught, it is game over. Should they get lost and decide to forfeit, blow this whistle. Though, it is another different story if they too get lost. Chiya feels left out as her friends have divination tools. But you know the power of friendship and their bond. Yeah, all they need is each other. As the exam starts, there are traps all over the place. As though this is some twisted fun house. Could it be that Tokie is a sadist and loves watching the students being tormented? Not sure if this is even some sort of joke because there is a section where the girls have to pull a rope to see which is the real one and all of them aren’t. The catch is, all the basins fall on Kon’s head! So our Natsume-ya girls use their usual tricks like the pendulum and Kon getting possessed by kokkuri to find the way. They are even ambushed by Nina and other teachers but Nono’s singing made them go to sleep. So finally they reach a hidden room where the green arrow is. Rejoice! Tears and thanks flow. As they leave for the exit, Chiya thought she heard someone calling her name. Then creepy eyes pop out from the walls and creepy hands silencing her and dragging her into the ground! Yikes! The voice claims her as the loathsome daughter of heresy. By the time her friends look back, Chiya is nowhere to be found.

Episode 11
The friends know something is wrong when Chiya is not around. They need to find her. She is after all the one holding the arrow. So as they go find her, they get lost in the maze again and barely (and comically) avoid all the traps. Meanwhile Chiya continues to be harassed by the shadows. They keep calling her the daughter of the traitor and based on this, Chiya thinks her mom name is Yami. As she is being strangled, that dark monster saves her. It seems Chiya called out its name, Kurou based on the divination from Kon’s kokkuri board. When Kurou swallows Chiya, it is to protect her from the attacking shadows. Kurou combines with Chiya’s red eyes to chase away those shadows with their ‘death stare’. When Kurou swallowed Chiya, she saw visions through somebody familiar. Is that someone her mother? However no time for that because Tokie reminds them they have only 30 minutes left. You thought she is giving hope to remaining students to go on but actually she wants to see them struggle more! Chiya pleads to Kurou to find her friends first. With that, they barge through the wall right to where they are (Koume’s stomach stuck in some hole?). At first they freak out upon seeing Kurou but Chiya introduces this docile creature to them so everything is alright. Because right now the scariest thing is failing the exam! Chiya pleads to Kon to use her divination to point the right direction of the exit. As the clock is ticking down, they finally arrive at the door (Kurou quietly disappears). With 30 seconds left and they are still arguing who should open the door???!!! FASTER LAH!!! It should have been a no brainer because all of them should turn the key together. And they pass their exam! With 5 seconds to boot! Phew! Congratulations! Natsume-ya is only 1 of 3 teams to pass. In the aftermath, Chiya couldn’t find Kurou and thinks it has gone back. Kon has so many questions she wants to ask about Kurou but they’re feeling so blissful now. Enjoy the moment…

Episode 12
A reward for our girls for passing the exam is a hotspring! Yeah, a reward for us too for sticking with them. While the girls change, they are fascinated with Koume’s corset as they have never seen one before. Then the girls trade wearing each other’s clothes. Kon is embarrassed with the very exposed Chiya’s clothes while Chiya is very suffocated in Nono’s clothes covering every bit of her skin. Koume looks ordinary in Kon’s clothes but Nono might look like a real witch in Koume’s garb. Now that the girls are ready to soak in, Kon can’t help her mom’s ‘warning’ when she tells her to quickly get promoted to her rank. Does Tokie think of her daughter as a rival too? Nina gets drunk but this is just the tip of the iceberg of her drunken behaviour. It will get worse… But since we won’t let that happen, I guess she just dances around and everyone having fun till the heat gets to them. As the quartet go to change back, they realize their clothes and divination tools are missing. They follow the trail of Nono’s doll’s hair before following a trail of ants that leads to some waterfall. Chiya dives in to get a treasure box in which all their stuffs are in there. Later they discover it was Nina who did this. She wanted to bless their tools with the waterfall’s blessings to protect them in her place but forgot to tell them after she got drunk. Wait. What do you mean in her place? As they have been promoted, they will go to a different school. Nina is sad they will part. Yeah, but the friends are excited and looking forward to it… Of course they’re sad too. So to solve this ‘empty nest’ syndrome, Ooshima and Shiozawa would love to make Saku and Nina their dad and mom respectively. What?! Maybe Nina believes she wants to go back to school again? Chiya tells her friends about her experience with Kurou and the certain things she found out about her mom. She tried to summon Kurou again but it didn’t work. She has lots of questions to ask but for now she needs to move forward and is sure she will meet her mom someday. Koume tries to do a prophecy using Nono’s forehead (?!) as she prophesize they will have more fun times in the future. I think we can all believe in that. Chiya can’t wait to head into the next area and rushes off on her own while her friends try to keep up.

Gochuumon Wa Urara Desu Ka?
Do we have to wait for another season to see what kind of fun and obstacles they will face? I believe it will be more or less the same thing. I mean with the trope of cute girls doing cute things as the main factor, how far or tough will their tests stray? How far will their friendship be tested? Who knows? Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. But that’s just trying to predict too far into the future with lots of assumptions when the sequel isn’t even a sure thing yet. But as far as this season is concerned, personally, it isn’t anything exciting.

Before you slam me for calling this a yawn fest, I want to make it clear that despite there isn’t anything new or fascinating for me in this series, this show isn’t all that bad. It has its cute charms and perhaps that might be the saving grace. Throughout the years I have seen so many cute girls doing cute things so it has begun to show as more of such series pops up. But since I did pick it up, it shows I haven’t got the cute fatigue set in yet, right? :-).

The characters have their own charm. If you are expecting deeper development and understanding than what is shown, you better pray for another season. We sufficiently get to know the main quartet and their quest to become the best urara so basically many of the adventures and training see them doing whatever is necessary to bring out the cuteness and charm in doing so. It might look like they’re having fun and all but I guess that is the important part if you are bonding in a friendship that will last through ages.

Each of the main quartet also has their own problems and issues to deal with. Like Nono trying to overcome her shyness (it’s hard to tell if she is really a ventriloquist…), studious Kon trying to be her own urara stepping out from her mom’s shadows and Koume aiming to become a witch and see again the person whom she looks up to. So the big mystery falls on Chiya who is supposedly out to find her mom whom she has no clue whatsoever about her. It’s like trying to deliver mail without any written address on it. And her happy-go-lucky behaviour doesn’t help make it any better. Oh well, she’ll eventually find mom anyway. Yeah, that’s being positive so to speak. To make her ‘unique’, they turn her belly exposing apology into some sort of a running joke. Almost turning into an exhibitionist and alerting our fanservice censors. Because everything is done in a cute fashion, nobody gets offended. At least not by any sane casual viewers.

For the rest of the other side characters, Nina looks like a kind and caring teacher but she too is prone to nervousness and panic attacks. So don’t stress her out too much or remind her of her own examination past. Then there is Saku who is trying to keep the girls in line and order in her section of town and sometimes can come across as annoying. However not as annoying as her lackeys because whatever she does or say, they will start fawning over how amazing and cool their superior is and hence they will follow her to the ends of the world, blah, blah, blah. I know loyalty is good but this just feels like fan girls lapping up too much to their senpai. Tokie is perhaps the most fun character seeing she has a dual personality and can shift from being a nice person into a sadist. Is it thanks to her because not many urara wannabes passed the test or is it thanks to her there are better qualified urara practitioners in higher ranks?

One thing that scares me off a little is some of the eerie spirits, the one trying to kidnap Chiya. Heck, when Kurou suddenly first appeared, I was even freaked out and spooked by its ‘scariness’. I really let my guard down. I was really thinking that despite dealing with the supernatural and divination theme, I didn’t really think they would put something this ‘scary looking’. Oddly, I didn’t think Nono’s doll was scary. And when those creepy shadows accompanied with equally creepy voice abduct Chiya, I feared it would turn into a horror show. Thankfully it didn’t last long. As for who this Kurou creature is, my big bet is that it is Chiya’s mom. Or her familiar. Lots of hints pointing towards in this direction. So why Chiya’s mom is missing and what she is doing is still a piece of a bigger puzzle for another day.

Art and drawing is of course leaning towards the cute and kawaii factor. Despite the divination theme and the setting in a world with gods and the unexplained, it doesn’t really scare you. Except for those creepy evil eyes and hands trying to kidnap Chiya. Veteran horror fans may not find it scary enough but to me it threw me off my balance since I really didn’t expect it. This series is animated by veteran studio, J.C. Staff who has experience in animating similar animes with a group of cute girls like Schoolgirl Strikers: Animation Channel, Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu and the Tantei Opera Milky Holmes series to name a few.

Mamiko Noto is delightful as Tokie. Sounds like she is having fun in her role with both her cheery and sadistic form. All in a cute way. Rekindles the reason why I love her as the best seiyuu ever. Oh wait. It has always been that way ever since. I thought Ayana Taketatsu was behind Chiya’s voice but it turns out to be Sayaka Harada (Ai-chan in Getsuyoubi no Tawawa). The rest of the other casts are Kaede Hondo as Kon (Hikari in Demi-chan Wa Kataritai), Yurika Kubo as Koume (Meifon in Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid), Haruka Yoshimura as Nono (Ema in Shirobako), Ai Kayano as Nina (Inori in Guilty Crown), Ayaka Suwa as Saku (Echizen in Tanaka-kun Wa Itsumo Kedaruge), Sayuri Yahagi as Marie (Haruna in To Love-Ru series) and Yuko Kaida as Setsu (Ryoumou in Ikkitousen series).

The opening theme is Yumeji Labyrinth by the quartet apprentice of Natsume-ya. I find this song weird. Despite it tries to be cute (including its animation of the girls doing cute things and stuffs), I personally feel it is trying too hard so instead of coming off as sounding cute, it became weird instead. Especially the gibberish at the end of the song (maybe I couldn’t catch what they’re saying). I think this part was supposed to be cute but I can’t help notice my hair was standing on ends hearing this part. At least the ending theme, Go To Romance by Luce Twinkle Wink feels more tolerable. Not as weird, a little cute. Just right.

I don’t really think this series is supposed to get you really interested in the realm of the unexplained and divination. If so, feel free to explore more on your own. Otherwise, it is just a ‘tool’ and setting for some light-hearted, funny and heart-warming cute girls doing cute things trope. There are unseen things and things that are unheard of that are best left unknown. Therefore any unanswered questions or requests for another season, please refrain from prying too much for details. So if you anger the producers gods, be sure to expose your belly as a sign of sincere apology. Or in today’s world, just show your tits! Instant divine retribution!

Tired with all the usual human fanservice? Time to take a break from all that and return to Monster Musume No Iru Nichijou OVA. Yes. This time you’ll get to see bare monster tits. Literally. But don’t they look just like human tits? Whatever. It shows that tits are the same whether you are humans or monsters.

OVA 1
The monster girls are taking a physical examination. I guess some aren’t too happy that they gained weight. It could be Kimihito’s delicious cooking as well as they can’t move around outside freely. Smith suggests to hit the gym nearby. It was just recently built for them although it is still under experiment. Plus, they will get paid for participating! What?! How come no real gyms offer this great deal?! Kimihito wants those who didn’t gain weight to come along too. Because who knows what Rachnera would do to them if being left alone. They meet with Polt the kobold as she will be their instructor and trainer. As we see the girls try to use some of the equipment, apparently that there is no one size glove that fits all. Due to the different forms of some of the monster girls, some cannot use machines that requires legs, etc. Even the yoga pose is hard for some of them. And Smith is just sleeping through… It seems MON is also here for their workout. In the changing room, something gets into Manako’s eye. So Polt tries to lick it out and she makes it sound and look very ambiguous. “When it is gaping open, so wet and overflowing, it must be very easy for such a big one to get in”. Her eye… The gang hit the pool and because Kimihito praises Cerea and Mero for their swimming, Miia gets jealous and challenges them. The winner of this swimming contest gets to do anything with Kimihito. And so begins the race in which Polt and Kimihito become commentators. Everything points to Mero for an easy win as she is a mermaid. However when it begins, Miia uses her tail as springboard which covers quite a distance. Though, she belly flops. Mero catches up but when it is to swim back the other half, Miia swims backwards and stretches her tail for reach. At this rate she might actually win! But then Miia stops dead in her tracks. The water temperature drops causing her to freeze. So Mero should win, right? Well, the chlorine in the pool has paralyzed her. But since they won’t give up, it becomes a snail race to the finish. They thought Kimihito at the finish line serves as motivation but he smacks them for being reckless. He reminds them they are here for health purpose on not to hurt themselves. Plus, Cerea has already long won. Forgot about her, eh? So her reward is walking back holding Kimihito’s hand? Then all their stomachs growl. Must have worked up an appetite. Too bad with the huge servings they call, they gain back more calories intake than they burnt.

OVA 2
Rachnera wakes up from a dream of her previous host family’s torment. All the monster girls receive letters. However Rachnera throws away hers after reading it and retreats to her room. Since she didn’t dispose it properly, the rest reads it and finds her former host family is trying to take her back. They worry she might leave but Miia isn’t since less rivals! Then at the doorstep is Ren Kunanzuki. She is from the previous host family and is here to negotiate on behalf to take her back. The monster girls aren’t sure what to do since Kimihito is out. Because Papi cannot remember Ren’s name, she thinks this is some sort of trial to overcome to prove her worth. She takes on the challenge trying to make Papi remember her name. While it might look foolish, Cerea thinks this is fine because this is a good chance to test and see if the family is worth and prepared to take Rachnera back. Then she has to put up with Miia’s horrible cooking. She even ‘died’ at the smell! As she won’t give up, each bite ‘kills’ her! It’s so painful to watch that Cerea just wants her to give up. Yeah, it hurts Miia more than Ren… When she got stains on her clothes Suu tries to absorb it and this looks like some tentacle rape. She temporarily wears goth loli outfit and in Cerea’s room, the centaur berates her family for abandoning Rachnera in the first place. Ren reveals it was her fault. When Rachnera tried to fix a broken ladder, Ren tried to help but Rachnera accidentally tripped and scratched her face. The family deemed her unsafe and sold her to a free agent. As Cerea continues to scold her, Ren turns crazy thinking this must be another trial in the form of stress interview! It hurts Cerea when she comments her room smells like a barn. Ouch. When Ren goes to talk directly to Rachnera, it seems she has already packed finished. She is ready to go? She is fine living anywhere and since Ren has all the proper documents, why not? All that is left is for Kimihito to sign. Speaking of which, he just returned. It might look like he isn’t listening to her as she rants about getting Rachnera back. However he refuses. Ren is stunned. After all she passed all the trials. This is where Kimihito shoots back that she thinks Rachnera is some sort of test to overcome. This isn’t a quest to gain experience. This is just rude. He can’t hand her over. Poor Ren leaves in tears and vows to come back and overcome this trial! She didn’t learn… Happy Rachnera is now all over Kimihito, drunk over coffee and ranting how ‘bad’ the previous host family was. Before she could kiss him, she falls asleep. The rest note she may have said she could live anywhere but she seems real happy here.

Since we have some more time and perhaps to some aren’t happy with normal human fanservice in the previous segment (Ren, that is), that is why we have another part of more monster girls fanservice with Miia teaching the rest on how to put on a bra properly. WTF is this for?! Oh right. Fanservice… So we see all of them trying their hands wearing a bra. Some could easily fit in while others don’t. I mean those with monster boobs like Cerea easily break the bra. No wonder she doesn’t want to try out… However Rachnera points out they should try stockings too. Because Kimihito seems to have this fetish. And so all of them try it out. Some having trouble putting it on while others with ease. Because Rachnera is confident in herself, Miia becomes jealous and assaults her with a stocking! Kimihito comes back home to all the stocking chaos and madness.

Horny Monstrosity!
Well okay, it feels a bit strange. It was somewhat hard for me to get a boner while watching them. I mean, I’m not really into monsters so it was really weird that despite the bare tits fanservice, it feels hard to get hard on (pun intended). Sure, their boobs look like human boobs but seeing their overall form, I’m not really turned on by that. Even if some of them have this cute and kawaii anime bishoujo face, it is still difficult for me. Call me a racist (if that is the right term here) but I still prefer my fanservice and turn-ons to be in the form of humans. That is why the Ren fanservice was considered the best of the lot and much welcomed for me although too bad it was just a short one. Heh. At least they gave humans some fanservice time. I mean, humans themselves are the biggest monsters if you look at it from another perspective, right?

These couple of OVAs aren’t really much and are of course for the fanservice entertainment rather than anything else. Even if Rachnera’s issue was a bit interesting and provides a little more insight on what happened, it hardly develops anything. Because eventually Kimihito I believe has a monster fetish and decides to keep these 7 monster babes in his homestay programme despite knowing how taxing it is on his finances. And the rest of the monster babes remain the same like Miia as the big comic relief joker of the series, Suu and Papi the loli retards, Lala still with her chuunibyou (albeit much lesser as seen here), Cerea the serious and also embarrassed one, the warm Mero and the scheming Rachnera.

If Takahashi from Demi-chan Wa Kataritai could get a cameo here, I wonder if he would have a swell time interviewing these monster girls or he’ll be freaked out and earned himself a trauma. Because these monster girls are nothing compared to his docile demi girls. But I know that if there was every such homestay programme, I’ll be the first to stay very far away from it. Me not liking monsters in my house? Heck, I can’t even stand bugs in my house and swat them in an instant! But on a sadder note, can’t even get a girl in my house… :’(.

Toriko

June 18, 2017

Someone once said that you are what you eat. That some eat to live and others live to eat. I know it has been a few years since Toriko ended its anime run and although I wanted to watch it back then, its triple digits worth of episodes startled me. At that time I was already ‘handling’ multiple long running anime series such as Bleach, Fairy Tail and the still running One Piece. Phew. That’s a lot on my plate. Thank goodness I am not into Naruto… I was afraid I would bite off more than I could chew and thus I delayed it and put it on the back of my mind until I felt the hunger for it. Although I am not hungry right now, the guilty conscious of mine about procrastination reared its ugly head and thus that was I decided to take the plunge. Well, at this age I shouldn’t be too picky an eater. Who knows? I might like it or I may not. Itadakimasu!

Galala Gator Arc
* IGO (International Gourmet Organization) is a global organization responsible for all food related laws and matters.
* Komatsu who is a member of IGO as well as the head chef of Hotel Gourmet tasked to hire one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Bishokuya, Toriko to track down this Galala Gator for some important dinner.
* Though successfully capturing the crocodile, too bad Toriko’s gluttonous appetite has him eat the entire Galala Gator. Too good to resist. Save some!
* Full Course Menu: 8 ultimate dishes of high quality ingredients an individual selects. It is Toriko’s dream to complete it.

Rainbow Fruit Arc
* Toriko is tasked to get the Rainbow Fruit by IGO but that tree is heavily guarded by Troll Kongs.
* Toriko has a policy to not kill or take lives of those he does not wish to eat so the technique of knocking them unconscious, Knocking Gun is used.
* Thanks to the deliciousness of Rainbow Fruit, Toriko decides to add this to his dessert portion of his Full Course Menu.
* Tina: Reporter for Gourmet News who always seek to get the best scoop but due to circumstances she always misses out in recording the most important moments. Has a little pet pigeon named Kruppoh following her wherever she goes.

Puffer Whale Arc
* Coco: Another one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Bishokuya. He reads fortunes and has a bad feeling when Toriko and Komatsu decides to capture the Puffer Whale that only appears once in every 10 years.
* Zonge: Joker and comical character of the series who loves boasting about himself. Nobody ever gets his name right. Isn’t it, Zombie-san?
* Trekking deep into the cave, Komatsu gets separated from Toriko and Coco. He is unfortunately kidnapped while Toriko and Coco have to deal with the dangerous Devil Serpent. Thanks to its regenerative ability, Coco uses his poison abilities to create antibodies to limit its movement and allow Toriko to finish it off.
* The kidnapper flees and leaves Komatsu to fend for himself when faced with a Devil Serpent. He got what he deserved when he gets killed by other creatures. Komatsu uses some firecrackers Toriko gave him as his last resort. The shockwave blast might have stunned the Devil Serpent but it stopped Komatsu’s heart. If not for the legendary Bishokuya, Knocking Master Jirou passing by and resurrecting him, he would’ve been dead.
* After capturing a few Puffer Whales, they need to carefully prepare it as the slightest wrong move will immediately render the rest of its meat useless because of its poisonous glands. Coco is too tired to do it so he has to guide amateur Komatsu. After lots of trial and errors, Komatsu finally gets it right on the last one.
* Their happiness is short-lived when a strange creature (Spy vs Spy?) with evil aura walks pass them and has captured loads of Puffer Whales. Despite no untoward incident happened, the mere sight of this creature was still enough to give them the chills.

Regal Mammoth Arc
* Bishokukai: The main antagonist group of the series. That strange Spy vs Spy creature is a remote robot controlled by them from their base, GT Robo. Their goal is to rule the world by taking control of the world’s ingredients
* Mansam: Not handsome! One of the top chiefs of IGO invites Toriko to watch an underground battle royale between various creatures. What peaks Toriko’s interest is the Battle Wolf which was supposedly extinct a long time ago. Sorry, you’re still not handsome!
* Rin: Tomboyish girl with perfume abilities and has a major one-sided crush on Toriko.
* When the beasts go wild thanks to some wrong perfume, Toriko jumps in to fight the Battle Wolf. But the fight is interrupted when a GT Robo joins the fray to cause havoc. Although Toriko eventually defeats the GT Robo, it had already dealt a damaging blow to the Battle Wolf who was pregnant and just gave birth to an offspring. To honour the mother, Toriko adopts the offspring and names it Terry Cloth.
* Toriko and co are then requested to hunt down the Regal Mammoth because Bishokukai is also targeting it for its Jewel Meat.
* Sani: Rin’s beautiful big brother who is one of the Bishokuya’s Four Heavenly Kings. His long hair serves and extends his touch senses and just when he thought he had retrieved the Regal Mammoth, this giant elephant is just a baby. You know what it means for a parent looking for its missing child.
* While continuing to hunt the mother, they stumble into a GT Robo and were blown away. The gang are separated with Sani reluctantly ending up with Komatsu while Rin enjoying every moment with Toriko. Tina is left with Terry.
* Gourmet Cells: You know how our muscle brain heroes get to do superhuman abilities? It’s all thanks to Gourmet Cells that are able to enhance and adapt the cells and body in various ways. An excuse if they ever need to power up and do incredulous stuffs.
* Once the Regal Mammoth is found, our heroes make a dash inside it but they need to hurry because the insides of the Regal Mammoth are like a labyrinth.
* Coco takes on a giant GT Robo outside while Sani faces off with a human sized GT Robo who has an affinity to collect eyeballs?! Don’t worry, they’ll all win their fights.
* Toriko is just around the corner to discover Jewel Meat but he encounters a GT Robo piloted by Starjun, one of the high ranking commanders of Bishokukai. Rin gets ‘killed’ sends Toriko into a rage but this reckless act might get him killed. Starjun takes Komatsu’s prized knife and since Komatsu is staking his life to get it back, this gives Toriko the motivation to eat the Jewel Meat that powers him up and beat the crap out of Starjun. Bad guy is defeated and the Jewel Meat is in their hands, time for a big feast of celebration. Oh, Rin didn’t die.
* Toriko and Sani argue over adding Jewel Meat into their Full Course Menu. Sani wins after beating him in rock-scissors-paper.

BB Corn Arc
* Terry doesn’t seem to be eating well. Rather, he has no appetite to eat anything. Believing a creature of his status needs some sort of food worthy for his appetite, it could be the legendary BB Corn in Wul Jungle.
* At the same time, Komatsu is tasked to find some sauce to make a special dish because the leaders of the world are in a deadlock over passing of some bill. It must be unanimous and since one of them opposes it, the bill will not be passed. The only way is to satiate his palate. This of course takes him to Wul Jungle. Oh, did I mention there is a certain time limit so that the dish won’t lose its taste?
* After Terry proves his worth in surviving in the jungle, they emerge to a delicious field of BB Corn. They even need to perfectly cook the corn near the volcanic mountains. Just when they had their fill, they are attacked by a high commander of Bishokukai, Grinpatch. It is obvious that Grinpatch is just fooling around with his straw sucking skills. Eventually Toriko cuts his straw in half and the match is a draw.
* Komatsu returns to Hotel Gourmet just in time to finish his dish. The stubborn leader is satisfied and the bill is passed. A bill about officially putting the shoyu sauce on the sushi instead of the rice. Yeah, to think a war was about to start because of that…

Century Arc Soup
* Toriko and Komatsu meet Setsuno. This granny is one of the greatest chefs in history as she lets them taste her Century Soup. She lets them tour her secret underground kitchen and shows them the ingredients needed to make that soup.
* This inspires them as they join a mission initiated by a rich old man, Colonel Mokkoi who is also hunting for the genuine Century Soup at Ice Hell. A group of Gourmet Hunters including Match (mafiaso) and Takimaru (Gourmet Knights) take on the challenge to get the Century Soup and whoever gets it will get the reward of $10 billion!
* Traversing the hellish icy blizzard of Ice Hell, the group is split into 2 with Toriko and some of the main characters heading in as the first shift. Everyone in the second shift is eliminated because Bishokukai has already infiltrated it and you have guessed it, their goal is also the Century Soup. Led by the bug spewing Tommyrod and his other henchmen, the bone shifting Bogiyuez and the durable Barrygamon.
* Zonge who isn’t into conformity takes his own route. Is Tina desperate enough to get the scoop and follow him through routes that only bring bad luck? At least they’re still alive after encountering all those ferocious beast.
* Toriko will have his power put to the real test as he takes on Tommyrod. But before that, we have Takimaru fighting Bogiyuez and Match against Barrygamon. To cut things short, they defeat their opponents but pay a heavy price of being heavily damaged.
* Komatsu is tasked to take the Century Soup. He stumbles into this guy, Teppei who is a Saiseiya (opposite of Bishokuya who captures ingredients, Saiseiya preserves ingredients). It is learnt that Century Soup is running its last course and will be extinct. Or it could already be extinct. When Mokkoi hears of it, he abandons everyone and leaves. Too bad he didn’t have the patience to listen longer because there is a small speck of it left. But when Komatsu is about to take it, a GT Robo knocks him out and steals the remaining Century Soup for his own. Lots of crying and regret. Why does Komatsu have to make failing Toriko such a big deal?
* Meanwhile Toriko is having a tough time with Tommyrod despite the long drawn out fight has made Toriko created a few new Fork and Knife moves. Toriko is already exhausted from the thousands of bugs Tommyrod descends on him and could have been killed had not Teppei stepped in to save the day. Tommyrod ultimately uses his trump card in shedding his skin to unleash a hellish monstrous bug but it ends up fighting with another ancient mouth monster instead.
* No more Century Soup, eh? Leave it to Teppei to wring out the last of its drop after crushing the ice pillar of Gourmet Show Window. So who gets to drink its last drop? Komatsu wants to be the one as he vows to recreate it. He drinks the final Century Soup and you can tell how delicious it is when he puts on that silly monkey grin. Yeah…
* Oh, did I mention that Komatsu will be getting his own pet, Yun a baby Wall Penguin because stupid bad guys indiscriminately killed its parents and since it takes a liking for Komatsu for protecting it, why not?
* The survivors are picked up by Setsuko’s flying jellyfish. Since Toriko lost an arm during the heated battle with Tommyrod, he heads to the healing country of Life. They see Teppei’s master, Yusaku who is going to administer a cure to help grow back his arm. Yeah, it’ll take 20 years! Do we have that long to wait?! And so because of his Gourmet Cells evolve, blah, blah, blah, he is able to regenerate his arm at a highly fast rate but he need to keep eating and eating since the healing is taking nutrients from his body. Otherwise this fails and he dies. You know that isn’t possible, right?
* At the same time, Komatsu is trying to recreate Century Soup but to no avail. Even with his ability to hear the ingredients’ voice of whether they choose him to be used, it still feels like it is missing an ingredient. That one final ingredient that gives Century Soup its oomph. Want to guess what it is? I’ll spoil you. It’s that saliva of the Wall Penguin! Who would’ve guessed? And you thought it is going to take him 20 years to get it right, eh? And with his achievements, he lets everyone who helped him on his journey taste it first instead of some big shot. Friends comes first.
* With the extremely delicious taste of the Century Soup that has everyone putting that silly grin, Toriko decides to add this to his Full Course Menu.
* Toriko returns home to find his house made of food gone. Eaten by wild animals? Or did Hansel and Gretel ventured into the wrong world and ate everything? So he has this renowned architect, Smile to come fix it up again. Ironically, all the stress and business, Smile has never been smiling until he fixes up his place again. And then all the stress comes dropping in again when Toriko invites his friends over for housewarming and they eat up every single nook and corner! Start over again?

Gourmet King Battle Arc
* There is this competition set up by this rich kid to find an ingredient that his pet, a Seven-Colour Nessie will eat. Because apparently something is wrong with Nessie dear and he doesn’t want to eat anything. It’s making his master sad, it’s making itself sad and it is making everyone sad.
* So while Nessie rejects everything the other Gourmet Hunters had to bring (say goodbye to that huge chunk of reward money), Toriko, Coco and Sani end up having different ideas on what the sweet dessert it needs. Despite capturing them, Nessie rejects them all! Can it be their first failure? Then Komatsu notices Nessie has shown some interest in Rin’s parfait so he uses the Four Heavenly Kings’ captured ingredients to make a perfect parfait.
* So this is the food Nessie wants to eat? Yeah, something as it was the first food it ate with its master many years ago. It turns out Nessie is going to evolve and leave its nest. Naturally. Parting is hard. Master is sad but you know what they say that their bonds are always forever and ever no matter where you are.

Ozone Herb Arc
* Toriko meets the president of IGO, Ichiryuu. He has a request for Toriko to go get the Ozone Herb for him. This will also serve as his training as this will prepare him to enter the Gourmet World, a hazardous place where you’ll find lots of dangers and rare ingredients not found in the Human World. At this point the Bishokukai is already making their move to enter that world because it is said that the legendary ingredient, God is about to appear. No prizes for guessing that ultimate ingredient is what is needed to rule the world.
* Acacia: The legendary Bishokuya who was the only one who tasted every ingredient in the world as well as God. That was centuries ago. In his final days, Acacia took on 3 disciples who are no other than Ichiryuu, Jirou and Bishokukai’s boss, Midora. How old are these people anyway???!!!
* Toriko is also advised to find a good partner for his journey. Who better than Komatsu? What good is capturing ingredients if there is no one good enough to cook it?
* Arriving at the bottom of the Sky Plant, the duo make their way up and encounter various creatures who want to kill them as well as environmental hazards before reaching at the top of the Vegetable Garden. It’s amazing they didn’t die from all that.
* Even finding the Ozone Herb, it is not easy to eat it as it requires special preparation. One wrong move will send it shrivel into a seed. It is discovered you have to eat it in pairs. At the same exact time! After lots of trial and errors, they are able to get a taste of it.
* Toriko officially forms a partnership with Komatsu but declines to add Ozone Herb to his Full Course Menu because of how troublesome it is to eat it.
* They are startled by a GT Robo. However Toriko could sense it is not exactly a machine. Is it some sort of unknown creature that just looks like a GT Robo? It has watched them how to eat Ozone Herb and swiftly imitates their moves to eat it. But I guess it doesn’t like it and spits it out.
* Toriko returns to Ichiryuu who then gives him a long list of requests. Yes, a bid to improve and train Toriko’s body to quickly adapt to the environments.

Gourmet World Reality Arc
* Toriko thinks he is strong enough to take on the Gourmet World. Of the 3 land routes to enter (you can’t enter via sky or sea because of poison and hazards), the Waterfall Basin of Life is comparably the easiest. Comparably. But the moment he jumps down, he is relentlessly attacked by beasts and all sorts of environmental hazards that really puts his body to the limit. No chance for him to even rest and recover. Always need to be on his toes.
* Toriko could have been done for if not for cool Jirou coming to his rescue. Jirou shows the big difference in knowledge, power and abilities as he easily handles the beasts and environments. It seems Komatsu was the one who requested Jirou to come save him. When Toriko told Sani he was going to the Gourmet World, Sani told Komatsu about it and gave him contacts of Jirou. Realizing the importance of a partner, Toriko gives up his venture further into the Gourmet World and returns to Komatsu’s side. Oh Komatsu, why do you look so gay when you see Toriko back and jumping to hug him?

Melk Stardust Arc
* While happy Komatsu is cooking for Toriko to celebrate his safe return, his favourite knife breaks. He could just buy a new one but you know, this one holds so many memories. Toriko remembers on his training list the name of a craftsman who forges the strongest blades: Melk Stardust.
* No guarantees if this reclusive knife sharpener would take on Komatsu’s request but if you don’t try, you won’t know. After trekking up mountains of stairs, they finally meet the person.
* Toriko is suspicious of this Melk because lots of things doesn’t add up. An imposter? After a short bout, Melk reveals she is the second generation and the disciple of the first Melk. Her master seems to have left on a mission and hasn’t returned for years. Still keeping the faith he is still alive.
* In addition to make Komatsu’s knife (which will normally take 3 years due to the backlog of requests but we’ll skip all that because Komatsu’s such an awesome chef, right?), Toriko has another mission as per requested by Ichiryuu: To obtain Melk Stardust which is a whetstone which is said to be able to sharpen anything.
* It is believed Melk I has gone down Heavy Hole where Melk Stardust is believed to be, an area where gravity is abnormal. Toriko goes down there himself while Komatsu stays with Melk II and watches her work.
* Komatsu discovers that Melk is a woman (why am I not surprised?) and the truth about her past. She is actually the adopted daughter of Melk I. He found her abandoned in the woods. Melk II is also unconfident of her sharpening skills because her father never really entrusted her to continue his work. But leave it to Komatsu to say all the nice motivational words and cook her nice meals to get her confidence back.
* Toriko finally meets Melk II at the bottom. Aside his hulking size and body of scars, this guy’s voice is soft as hell! Some special stone amplifies his voice to let us hear what he is saying. It is revealed that he retired from his job to take on a crafting request from Ichiryuu. He is supposed to craft a knife to create Acacia’s Full Course Menu salad called Air. Knowing this will take years, this might be the last thing he will ever do with his life. Of course he entrusted everything to his daughter just that because of his small voice, the message was never delivered.
* After Melk gives the required whetstone, Toriko returns to the surface and tells everything and dispel all the years of misunderstanding. Time to make Komatsu’s knife.
* His new knife is so sharp that it can cut through water!!! OMFG!!! Better be careful with that thing.

Mellow Cola Arc
* Because it is believed this season is the tastiest for the Mellow Cola (an ingredient on Ichiryuu’s request list), Toriko needs to hurry. Since it is located in the graveyard maze desert of Gourmet Pyramid, Toriko needs the help of his fellow Four Heavenly Kings, Zebra.
* Zebra: Among the quartet, he is the most troublesome because he loves to pick fights! Oh, did I mention he has damn good hearing? So you better not talk behind his back. Or get cocky. Currently he is serving time at Honey Prison for crimes against the gourmet laws. What did he do? When you piss him off, he makes sure your species goes extinct! And he is responsible for making 26 species go extinct! No wonder he is incarcerated in the world’s toughest prison.
* Thanks to Ichiryuu’s help (as requested by Toriko), Zebra gets permission to be freed. You’ll be peeing in your pants once you see how ferocious his sound and voice power. Yeah, his legendary status is so fearful that when news leaked over his release, stocks fall, the economic goes into recession and nations prepare for war! OMFG! This guy is worse than Satan!
* It’s only natural for Komatsu to worry if bringing Zebra along was a good idea because he is so temperamental picking fights with Toriko at every chance (no wonder Sani and Coco won’t help in this mission) and perhaps what is keeping Komatsu alive is because he cooks for him when commanded.
* When they reach the desert maze, Komatsu goes missing. Zebra uses his echolocation to map out the area. Komatsu has been swallowed by the quicksand and sliding his way. With the muscle brains following his trail, it eventually leads them to Gourmet Pyramid.
* Komatsu must be real lucky evading beasts and if he isn’t, thanks to Zebra’s sound barrier protecting him from harm. Toriko and Zebra on the other hand make their way towards the bottom of the pyramid while killing and eating monsters to replenish their strength.
* Eventually they reunite and are faced with the Salamander Sphinx who harbours mellow cola inside its body. Despite all the tough and hard hitting punches, nothing much seems to happen on the Salamander Sphinx.
* All the while, Komatsu has been reading an ancient recipe book that he stumbled somewhere like as though it was put out in front of his face to collect. Uh huh. Despite having unknown words, somehow Komatsu can read it! Too convenient! It spells out that the mellow cola is in the Salamander Sphinx’s tears and there are strict special ways to get it. Uh huh. This means Komatsu guides to duo on how to specially prepare (read: systematically beating it up) with all those really silly instructions. No wonder it’s so hard to get.
* Just when they make the Salamander Sphinx cry, that mysterious GT Robo-like killer beats up all of them and drinks all the mellow cola! All the hard work! This makes Zebra and Toriko mad. Real mad. They fight the creature but it is tougher than anything they imagine. It even learnt some skills just by watching. But Zebra deals the decisive blow after he senses it has not much long to live.
* Apparently all is not lost because there is a second wave of real matured mellow cola coming that floods the hallways. With its delicious taste, Zebra wants to put it on his Full Course Menu and wants Komatsu to team up with him. It was one of many Zebra’s conditions to Komatsu if he is to help Toriko get the mellow cola. Yeah, Komatsu also has lots of conditions. Never ending. So Komatsu’s deal is till he gets to see their entire Full Course Menu, he’ll only decide to see whom he will form a combo with. For now, he puts his trust in Toriko.
* When they return and Komatsu cooks them their reward as promised, here comes Mansam (not handsome!) with a couple of guys. They are taking this mysterious creature back for more research. It is revealed they are called Nitro as discovered and researched by Acacia. Highly intelligent creatures and terrifying life force. But the biggest secret is how Bishokukai has a hand in this. As Nitro knows how the get delicious ingredients, it is believed they know how to obtain God. That’s why Midora made GT Robo to look like them as bait to get close to them. With their plan already in some sort of advancement, another Gourmet War might happen. Toriko remains confident all they have to do to avert that is to share God with everyone.

Toriko’s Break Arc
* Toriko and co head to the beach to help curry house boy, Cumins find his lost sister, Safla believed to have gone out to sea to find some legendary curry ingredient. She is fine and they tag along to hunt for the Water Tiger on a moving island. Despite all the necessary ingredients, Cumins is losing hope to recreate his late father’s curry dish. The missing ingredient turns out to be right under their noses, a fruit tree nearby that dad always brought them to.
* Toriko and Komatsu visit the legendary Gourmet Shrine believed to increase their luck in food. There is a knife in the middle of a big chopping board that acts like Excalibur. Guess who pulled it out? Komatsu! Toriko also got lucky by winning a gold nut from a tree fruit.
* They don’t call it Surprise Island for nothing because the gang is here to harvest Surprise Apples! The more you scare and surprise it, the tastier it gets and hence the flabbergasted face on those apples! WTF???!!! Just be sure not to bore it to sleep or faint it. You thought Toriko had the highest scaring score till Zonge’s fart was the one that broke all records. Lost my appetite…
* Hordes of people seemingly wants to buy land from an owner. Prior to that, he refused but all of a sudden he wants to sell it and bids it at a very high price. Toriko and Komatsu are just here to eat his Chicken Beast’s egg and this might be what the old man is looking for. Because all those greedy people just want money to sell the egg to get more money. This brings back nostalgic memories of his late wife. He gives his land to Toriko for free and the reason he does so because he has not much longer to live. Therefore he doesn’t need the money to where he is going.

Shining Gourami Arc
* As another ingredient on Ichiryuu’s list, this time Toriko seeks Sani’s help because this fish lives deep with the Death Falls, a place where a trillion litres of water drops every second! You’re going to get crushed just by coming contact with the water. So they ride on Sani’s giant Mother Snake, Quinn.
* We get to see Sani using the fruits of his training to help dispel the deadly waterfall. From his training with Goemon on Sanzu Road (one of the 3 roads to Gourmet World), he learns not to think and uses his intuition to increase his skills. Toriko learns that too from observing him as they combine their powers to destroy a mountain falling from the waterfall!
* Once they are safe inside the waterfall cave, the muscle guys are out of stamina. Now it is Komatsu’s turn to find the fish. Because the cave has no predators, it is supposed to be an easy catch. Or is it? Shining Gourami is also a dish that needs special preparation. Living in isolation with no predators and absorbing nutrients all around, the slightest thing may shock it to death! Yeah, even the sight of big muscle guys might kill them! So it is a blessing that a weak human like Komatsu is the one who manages to understand how to retrieve them without scaring them to death after a few tries (something about covering it with oil they are familiar with).
* Komatsu returns to his pals as he cooks tempura version of it and adding Melk Stardust to enhance its overall taste. Yum!

Autumn Break Arc
* Toriko and Komatsu enter a food competition because its prize is a Diamond Figcrystal, an ingredient that Melk II requested of them to find for a knife she is carving. So when it seems Toriko may have snatched the competition with nearly perfect points, he is disqualified for not using the Figcrystal ingredient. In the end, it is Melk II’s pet, Pochiko that steals the limelight with his luminance and gets the perfect score. What a better present for Melk II to receive a gift from her pet.
* Toriko and Komatsu visit the Gourmet Shrine again but are called by the priests because they ran out of Longevity Sugarcane to make Chitose Ame to be handed out to kids. Apparently this is to showcase Yun but seriously he fails a lot. Trying to help out to find the sugarcane, he gets lost in a forest and is in danger of being eaten by a bird predator. Of course he needs help from Komatsu and ultimately Toriko. They get the sugarcane, make the candy, happy kids everywhere, happy ending.
* Toriko, Komatsu, Coco and Sani along with their pets race to see who can find some pear fruit tree, Spnash. But then it partly turns into a rescue mission for Komatsu because he is taken away from some sheep-pig creatures. It turns out those beasts have their own family and competition around the area has left them malnourished. As expected, a happy ending as they find Spnash and all men and beasts get to savour its taste.

Winter Break Arc
* The top aides to the executive chef of Bishokukai, Niceny returns as he talks with the rest about Bishokukai’s plans to capture 100 top chefs to head into the Gourmet World. Because once they abandon the Human World, they’ll need highly skilled chefs to cook those godly foods.
* Komatsu sees that his old friend, Ootake has gotten into the top 100 chefs ranking. 99th to be exact. So he pays a courtesy visit only to find he has drastically changed. He is arrogant, forgot about his roots and will do anything it takes to stand atop the rankings. This includes bribing articles to write good stuffs about his food. Oh, his views is that foods that chefs cook must also bring in the money otherwise it’s useless. Komatsu blows his top when Ootake badmouths his customers as stupid. He is sad he has changed and feels pity for the ingredients. He doesn’t intend to compete with him as he plans to head to the top with Toriko in their own way. After Komatsu leaves, Ootake is kidnapped by a GT Robo.
* Toriko teams up with Coco to get an ingredient for one of Ichiryuu’s Full Course Menu. After pounding that giant treasure chest with all they’ve got, inside is only a tiny bean?! Actually it is a seed. It emitted some sort of voice that only certain people can hear. That’s you Komatsu. And so he is interested to take a look at Ichiryuu’s mysterious Full Course Menu since we all know if there is a chef who can cook them, it’s him.
* Toriko, Coco, Sani, Rin and Komatsu are called back to Honey Prison because Mansam has a request of them. It seems G7’s Patch and IGO agent, Johannes has gone missing in search for the Sweet Dew Tree during the blizzard. So when they find them alive and well, they were actually trying to find other ingredients that would make this tree even tastier. Leave it to Komatsu to turn and decorate this tree into a shining Christmas tree that even all the wild beasts stare in awe. But they can’t eat it because Mansam has somebody else in mind to do so. First the giant tree is chopped up into many small pieces so they can be delivered to underprivileged poor children all over the world. What a food blessing indeed. Merry Christmas everyone!

Meteor Garlic Arc
* Toriko, Coco and Komatsu head to the underground kingdom of Jidar. As it is not a member country affiliated with IGO, it is lawless and has lots of illegal ingredients circulating in the black market. They are making their way to Gourmet Casino to gamble because of the prize offered, the rare Meteor Garlic.
* Match and his mafia are also in Jidar because of some highly toxic narcotic ingredient circulating in their own town. They know the big culprit behind this is no other than the boss of the Underground Cooking World, Livebearer. As Match is no match to Livebearer in terms of strength (as advised by Coco), the only chance is to gamble.
* Our heroes gamble and win their way as part of their plan to attract the casino management. This means they get to access the VIP area with gambling and bets at higher stakes. When Livebearer shows his face and introduces them to an even more secret VIP area, everyone is shocked to see this place where losers lose their food memories after losing a bet. And all those memories and tastes they have experienced are then transferred into Livebearer.
* Livebearer suggests a memory matching card game. Unlike in ordinary games, in order to gain points on that matching card, they have to eat that ingredient. Failure to eat it means the opponent will get the points. The one with the most points in the end wins. There is a number of consecutive streaks one can win or lose before your turn is over to ensure everybody has a fair play.
* Komatsu is against Toriko playing against Livebearer because he fears all their past memories together will be wiped out. Toriko assures him that the past doesn’t matter. He looks forward to the future. Then he hands this responsibility to Coco. WTF?! Of course everyone has their part to play. Match is the dealer, Coco will pick the cards and Komatsu cooks the ingredients for Toriko to eat.
* Thanks to Coco’s clairvoyance, our heroes are off to a good start. However Livebearer is cheating because he can also pair the cards at first go and he gets those with high points as he has special contact lens to detect cards. But no worries. Coco strikes back with high scoring points and with Toriko’s black hole appetite, he chows them all down well before its time limit.
* However when Coco starts missing the cards, he is doing this deliberately to check the card value. He realizes this game isn’t about points but to avoid getting cards that are big misses (tough ingredients to eat but only worth small points). With this, Livebearer is able to pull away with massive points. With the dwindling cards, all ingredients left are mainly those big misses. Thus Livebearer is smart enough to purposely miss his cards too as there is no reason for him to risk his life due to his massive points difference.
* Coco’s hope now is to pick Joker cards that allow them to trade their opponent’s card. The rules still remain the same. That is, points won’t be deduct from the traded card and if both sides manage to eat the traded cards, they will obtain points from the traded card. Livebearer calculates the points of the remaining cards and thinks Coco is trying to make him retire since even if Toriko eats all the remaining ingredients, it won’t be enough to surpass him.
* With another Joker card picked, Coco gets to trade another card and has Livebearer eat a high value card. But because it is dangerous, he passes. This enables our heroes to accumulate more points and take the lead.
* All seems over when Livebearer eats the last highest value card on the table and regain the lead. The remaining cards are peanuts and despite Toriko eats all of them, they trail Livebearer by 60 points. Their loss?
* However the last card is the biggest miss card and is a Poison Potato. It is Livebearer’s turn to eat it. Coco is still confident they are going to win. Something about the order of the ingredients that Livebearer has eaten. Because some foods are not compatible, the ingredients that Livebearer has eaten makes it impossible for his digestive system to ward off the poison. Coco has seen this coming and planned it out. Not only for Livebearer but Toriko as well. The ingredients he ate also helped him recover and replenish his strength. Although Livebearer has a dirty secret technique which coats his stomach for the poison, unfortunately Coco saw through this too and notes that an earlier snack he ate negated the coating.
* Being true to his villainous self, Livebearer won’t admit defeat and sends his men to attack. Of course our heroes too won’t sit there and let their brains be taken. Eventually Livebearer and his men are easily defeated.
* Last surprise is that Komatsu has cooked the Poison Potato and despite removing the poisonous parts, it still remains very much poisonous. But as Coco calculated, the last few ingredients Toriko ate also geared and prepared him for this ingredient. When he eats it, his Gourmet Cells evolve and negate the poison! OMG! He is so buffed up!!!
* Komatsu is tasked to specially prepare the Meteor Garlic. Seeing Komatsu figuring out how to cook it reminds Livebearer of his old passion. So he helps Komatsu in peeling it. When done, Meteor Garlic shoots up and showers down like fireworks. Its edible parts are in the centre and just small bits. But enough to make everybody buffed up! OMG! Have you seen Komatsu this buffed up???!!!
* Livebearer informs Coco about the person he is looking for that may know the ingredients for Acacia’s drink, Atom. He is the personal chef to the king of Jidar, Joa. However it seems the palace has been abandoned because these guys are already in the final phase of their plan as they have information regarding Acacia’s secret notebook.
* In the aftermath, with the king abandoning his kingdom, Match’s mafia group takes over the place to rid of the ingredients and Livebearer overseeing the safety and security of the kingdom.
* Ichiryuu heads to Bishokukai’s base to talk to Midora. However that guy isn’t bent on sharing God and wants it all for himself, risking an all-out war. Talk’s over.

Ehou Maki Arc
* In order to find the next ingredient as part of Ichiryuu’s training, Toriko seeks some fortune teller-cum-sushi maker, Monchy on its location. However he needs several ingredients to make the Ehou Maki that could 100% pinpoint its location.
* First they head to some frozen pond to extract Madam Fish. Then they head to an island that is made out of 100% liquor (where all animals are drunk?) to get King Vinegar. But that apparently isn’t enough so they have to get the smelliest ingredient in the world, Bodurian Bomb. It is so freaking smelly that the funniest thing is to see Toriko and Komatsu talking in a super funny falsetto voice in a hilarious stunk up face and adding stinky at the end of every sentence. Yeah, it was pretty hilarious despite how stinky it is.
* Finally in a naturally eco place where they meet Takimaru and his Gourmet Knights (including their leader Aimaru) to obtain the Eco Nori obtained from the Solar Turtle.
* With all the ingredients collected, Monchy begins making his giant Ehou Maki. So he is pro wrestling the ingredients to tenderize its meat? Aho ka?!

Bubble Fruits Arc
* Once done, it is a giant tower that soars into the sky?! Where it lands will pinpoint the direction and location of the ingredient, Bubble Fruits. And so we have Toriko and Komatsu eating their entire way across the continent (even causing traffic jams?!) that leads them to the Lost Forest. It’s a wonder nobody else ate the Ehou Maki.
* When the trail suddenly stops, they spot somebody trying to steal it. This leads them to a hidden 10 star restaurant run by the head chef, Chiru. She teaches them food etiquette and honour as she serves food that one must be polite and gentle to eat. Too bad the duo can’t even eat anything.
* They also meet one of the legendary Bishokuya, Chin Chinchin. Despite having very good food etiquette, he mispronounces names and did he mention he was the one who ate part of the Ehou Maki? He leads them to his Shokurin Temple where Bubble Fruits is. However the duo must learn Food Honour quickly because the ingredients are not only shy and hide themselves by disappearing, those inside the temple attack them! Wow. Food etiquette and respect from the heart are really something tough to learn.
* They will be trained by the temple assistant, Shuu. First he has a fighting match with Toriko. It might seem Toriko is faster and more powerful but Shuu is able to dodge all of his attacks gracefully. Not only that, his weaker attack shaved his facial hair and clothes without Toriko even knowing! After Shuu explains the unnecessary and inefficiency of his moves that wastes energy, for the first time Toriko accepts reality and admits his defeat so he could learn Food Honour.
* Shuu also has a match with Komatsu but it is a cooking one. Shuu also defeats him in no time because of Komatsu’s many unnecessary moves.
* Toriko’s first training is picking up beans with a 5 metre long chopsticks. Other training methods include mediation, standing with correct appreciation posture and watching a flower bud grow. Even during meals, training never stops. Yeah, work hard to eat. Toriko must be frustrated and wonders if he can really master Food Honour. Before he knows it, his attacks are powerful in a blink of an eye. With more concentration, he can unleash more powerful and better attacks. This gives him motivation to continue his training. Likewise, Komatsu also powers up as his concentration enhances his experience and knowledge intuitively.
* In no time they become masters of Food Honour before they even know it. Now that they are seemingly ready, Chin takes over. Although Toriko can touch the Bubble Fruits in the temple, this one is just a fake created by Chin in preparation to get the real one.
* Speaking of that, it is located deep in the Bubble Way. The entire place is nothing but bubbles! It seems like a long walk for Toriko and he looks super dehydrated. Keep going.
* Meanwhile Shokurin Temple is under attack by a monster bird and a group of baddies led by Chiyo, Chin’s combo partner and a highly ranked chef who is believed to be missing. She is part of Bishokukai now. Oh wait. Isn’t that Ootake with her? Komatsu is so happy to see him ever since he has gone missing. Too bad the feeling isn’t mutual because Ootake stabs him! Fortunately the knife’s ability is to revitalize. Despite being illegal in the Human World, Ootake needs it to prepare food in the Gourmet World. As usual Komatsu places his importance on food appreciation but Ootake is all about being the strongest and only believes their distance has grown.
* Toriko dies of starvation! His finals words are his appreciation to all the great food he has eaten. That is when Bubble Fruits popped up. It seems the entire place they have been walking is where Bubble Fruits are. Toriko just needs to be at the pinnacle of his appreciation for them to appear. So he revives after taking a bite and devouring a heap of them. He is reborn! Look at his long glowing hair! Better than a TV shampoo commercial!
* Chiyo and her monsters run rampage and slaughter the place. Chin returns in time to fight her. Man, he turns into the Hulk?
* It is time for Toriko to return to show how much he has powered up. He has mastered Food Honour that when he sees the destruction, he doesn’t get mad. He is instead thankful for everything! Then we see him beat up the golem hybrid so fast and so relentless, sending it through the air, through the mountains before finally disintegrating! OMFG!!!
* Chiyo defeats Chin and injures him greatly. Toriko almost loses his composure but manages to keep calm and carry on fighting. With his power and speed, he defeats Chiyo.
* Starjun is here to pick them up seeing they have got what they came for. Ootake tells Komatsu that Midora is his partner and wants him to level up or there will be no value in defeating. Starjun notes Ootake was lying about the big boss being his partner. Although technically Midora considers all his chefs as his partner, currently Starjun is Ootake’s partner.
* Komatsu is sad and frustrated his best friend has turn into the dark side. All Toriko can say is that they will make him realize his wrong with their cooking and strength.
* With Chiru’s revitalizing knife, Chin is revived. He reveals Chiyo’s reason for defection. It seems she has information regarding the existence of an ingredient of Acacia’s Full Course Menu that would revive her dead son who is also Chin’s son.
* Ichiryuu calls an emergency meeting with almost all the members of the secretive 0th Biotope in the Gourmet World. It seems Bishokukai is now aware of the existence of Centre, one of Acacia’s Full Course Menu. This means somebody here has leaked information. Ichiryuu doesn’t care about that since the mission now is to gather ingredients for Acacia’s Full Course Menu and with many of them nearing completion, it will soon be an all-out war with Bishokukai.

Golden Wheat Arc
* Since the duo have obtained Food Honour, Setsuno requests them to obtain Golden Wheat so she can make the phantasmal noodles, Zenmen.
* However Toriko is faced with Yuu piloting a newly upgraded GT Robo. Despite attempts to throw Toriko off his pace, he remains calms to give some payback as revenge for hurting Komatsu and stole the Century Soup during Ice Hell. Before GT Robo malfunctions, Yuu is able to grab the Infini Bee which is believed to know where Acacia’s special menu is. It is his goal all along.
* Setsuno guides Komatsu to make Zenmei and after 3 days of intense kneading, it is done. They help sell different types of its variations via food truck. Clearly not only Toriko and Komatsu has levelled up in their Food Honour but the other Heavenly Kings as well.
* This anime filler is a prelude to a movie released shortly after. Of course I didn’t see it…

Four Beasts Arc
* Every few centuries, the Four Beasts will awake and head towards the Human World. Why? Because humans are their favourite food! It is like as though the keep the population down after every boom. The Four Heavenly Kings are tasked to defend the 4 corners of the Human World from them because if 1 of them loses, the barrier will be broken and billions of humans taking refuge in the centre will die!
* These monsters breeze through the land like it is nothing. They destroy all the lands we have seen from Wul Jungle to Ice Hell and even Gourmet Pyramid. So do you think the military’s firepower is going to even scratch them? Know where you stand puny humans!
* So the match-ups we get are Zebra facing off with a volcanic turtle, Sani being grossed out by a gorilla octopus, Coco against a poison stallion and Toriko testing the might of a demon lion.
* To ramp up the drama and tension, the Four Heavenly Kings must seemingly lose first. All the people watching the video must be so fragile in their trust that seeing this means the end of humanity. And when they revive, it is like they become confident again.
* Obviously the Four Heavenly Kings didn’t listen to the rest of Ichiryuu’s message because as Rin and Komatsu found out, there isn’t 4 of them but just 1 of them! They are just limbs of the main body and somebody is controlling it.
* The main body is a giant plant underground and the Four Beasts are actually its roots. Once the monsters are grown, it is supposed to capture humans back to the main body to be devoured. Because Ichiryuu defeated them all the last time and there were no human casualties, it changed its tactic this time. Because it could be right in the centre of the Human World. You don’t say because here it comes attacking now!!!
* By the time our heroes return, the main body has absorbed the Four Beasts and turned into a hideous giant monster. That’s not all, it has kicked up a storm called Green Rain. Any human who gets touched by it will die in an hour. Wait a minute. Didn’t everybody get wet by it already?!
* The Four Heavenly Kings are having it tough because the monster can deflect and transfer that attack waves. It also knows their attack patterns and abilities.
* Komatsu is tasked to head to Yuda’s tower to cook medicinal food for the people. But will it be possible seeing they don’t have enough time or hands. Even so, how can they cook and save all? Too many humans! Don’t worry. Setsuno and her assistant, Nono are here to help. Not enough? Here’s Chiru. Not enough either? Here’s Livebearer. Need more you say? Yeah, here comes a bunch of weird top chefs of the world.
* Even with all these hands, they can’t save everybody. Now this is where I feel it gets weird because Komatsu is hell bent in saving everyone! Every. Single. Damn. Person. No buts about it. He doesn’t like the thought of some random process to choose who gets to eat the antidote since this requires special preparation and not all chefs can easily do it. I think if they stopped b*tching about this and get to work now, maybe they could have saved a little more lives?
* Instead they can spare Komatsu only 10 minutes to find an easier way for all chefs to make this. I mean, seriously? Yes, seriously. Just in time he makes it! Not only that, he only used 5 minutes and the remaining time to figure out how to make it tasty. OMFG! Then they wire it to all the chefs around the world in a live telecast on how to make it. Don’t worry about the transport. I’m sure they’ll make it somehow. Komatsu… Somebody give him the post of the top ranking chef already.
* The Four Heavenly Kings are beaten to a pulp. As they grow weaker, they decide to combine their food energy and do a combo that they have never succeeded before. Want to bet it will succeed now? So focusing and concentrating their appetite energy into a single ball that turns into some horror Pacman to devour the main body until it becomes one giant lump of food energy.
* Even better, all the humans the main body has eaten are still alive because apparently they didn’t get digested yet. Hooray! Nobody dies! Everybody is saved! Then the world enjoys the biggest meat festival as all the chefs around the world cook that giant meat lump and turn it into various dishes.
* Teppei follows the mastermind and wants to find out more but is warned not to pry further or he’ll die where he stands. He wanted to fight but the next thing he knows, he experiences some weird hypnosis and blacks out for the next 3 days. By the time he wakes up, he is in Pukin’s lab and still reeling from fear. He would have died had not his Saiseiya network come to his rescue and the mastermind decided to flee as not to risk his identity being revealed.

Mon Planc Arc
* Because of the recent rampage of the Four Beasts destroying the Biotopes, ingredients are hard to come by for the Cooking Fest, a cooking competition held every 4 years for top chefs. Thus the Four Heavenly Kings are tasked to gather ingredients for it.
* Komatsu is surprised that a couple of guys from G7 are here. They are here to tell him he has been given an official chef ranking: 88th. This qualifies him to participate in Cooking Fest.
* So Toriko and Komatsu team up with Aimaru and Takimaru as they head to the Baron Archipelago to capture the Mon Planc. It is a plant beast from the Gourmet World but during the Four Beasts’ attack, it attached itself to those monsters like how plant seeds do to spread itself to the Human World.
* And yeah, Toriko develops a new technique while fighting it, the Nail Gun!

Cooking Fest Arc
* The Cooking Fest is here and is watched by billions. The Four Heavenly Kings are swamped with people since they have become more famous after the Four Beasts incident. Maybe except Zebra. But nobody is as famous as Komatsu the saviour!
* In the arena, we are introduced to some of the top ranking chefs. Some we are familiar with like Livebearer, Yuda and Setsuno. Others like King Zaus (currently ranked 1st and has 14 titles under his belt), Prince Anyo Jr (sweets master), Damala Sky (curry master) and Wabutora (oil master).
* Then the rest are weirdoes like this grudge ghost granny Kama, speedy bird guy Ton, sumo guy Nerimaru and old hermit Kamizaru.
* The competition begins not with cooking but via triathlon. They have to first swim to get the ingredients, transport them via bike and then run their way to the cooking stadium where they will begin cooking. The first 50 chefs to cook a delicious meal advances. So it isn’t necessary for the fastest to win but speed is essential to pick out the tastier ingredients.
* Komatsu is already having trouble since he could hardly swim.
* At this point, the 3rd ranked chef specializing in mystic food, the tengu dude Branchi wakes up from oversleeping to find the race has already started. The stadium is startled with his entrance because he has a reputation of being a delinquent. If Zebra is the bad boy of Bishokuya, Branchi is the bad boy of the chefs.
* As expected, Zebra and Branchi got into a little showdown but when Branchi hears how the Four Heavenly Kings praise Komatsu so highly, he decides to enter the race and see for himself.
* At this point Komatsu is dead last when he arrives and all the good ingredients are taken. Imagine Branchi’s disappointment to see this shrimp. Not much of a challenge, eh? But when he sees his appreciation for the leftovers and how he is talking with them, he changes his perspective. They are going to take all the remaining ingredients and cook them!
* Branchi takes Komatsu as they zoom past all the other chefs in a blink of an eye. Leading the pack with a wide lead are Setsuno, Zaus and Yuda. One of the trio will cross the finish line. Who is it? Branchi and Komatsu! They usurp and cross the goal in the last second!!! Is this even possible?!
* Komatsu is given the honours to go cook first. I mean, he has gotten through the physical test (really?) so he cooking part wouldn’t pose any problem, right? Well, if he had his Melk knife. Because somehow he is using an ordinary kitchen knife! What is the meaning of this? Because thanks to Branchi he got this far, he felt he wouldn’t have gotten his Melk knife with his own power. Branchi may not be happy because he wanted to see his full extent of his power but Komatsu wants to fight fair and square, there’s nothing else to be said.
* Komatsu cooks a simple soft crab filled with fried rice and lets the G7 guys judge. In the end, the top 50 chefs for the next round are named and as expected, Komatsu is one of them. He is so happy like as though he has won.
* For the next round, they will be cooking on a balancing scale. It is a speed contest as ingredients are being used up, your scale gets lighter and makes your opponent’s heavier. Be careful, at the bottom are flames that will make it too hot.
* Komatsu faces off with Wabutora and upon the latter’s request, he uses his Melk knife. At first Komatsu seems to be losing. But gathering all his experiences during his journey with Toriko, Komatsu makes a comeback to even the scales.
* The winner is decided via selected audience eating their dish. The one whose dish finishes first is declared the winner. Without a doubt it is Komatsu since the customers are swarming over his jumbo steak. Wabutora admits his defeat and hopes Komatsu will win the championship.
* Fast forward this round, the expected favourites advance to the next round. The remaining 25 chefs left will be whittled down to 16. The next round has them cook an entire island! Luckily they can pick a partner to help them collect the ingredients. Of course Komatsu will have Toriko but there are some weird pairings like Yuda with Sani, the unexpected like Branchi and Zebra, and the most WTF what-the-hell-was-he-thinking combo, Zaus and Zonge???!!! WTF?! Fast forward everything and you can guess who goes through, right? Yeah, Komatsu is in!
* Before the next round begins, Komatsu meets his other childhood friend, Ume. He is currently working as a personal chef for a shady gourmet billionaire, Mahmai Moi.
* The next round is direct elimination. Komatsu takes on Zaus! Woah! Can a miracle upset occur? Their match involves cooking in pure darkness. They have to use all their other senses except sight to select ingredients and cook. Be careful. Some ingredients are lethal.

Bishokukai Assault Arc
* Well, we might not be able to see how the match goes because Bishokukai led by Starjun bringing heavyweights like Tommyrod and Grinpatch are here to cause trouble. And the entire party is here! From GT Robos to monsters and bugs, they’re coming in from everywhere to kidnap all the chefs!
* Don’t worry Komatsu. Starjun won’t kidnap you because here comes Toriko to the rescue. Wow. Have you ever seen him so mad before? Toriko unleashes his devastating powers at first go, forcing Starjun to go on a defensive. Starjun himself also has powered up but Toriko’s flurry of punches, he doesn’t stand a chance.
* There are other match-ups too like Coco against Grinpatch, Branchi against the immortal Centaur Elg, Sani against Tommyrod and granny fight between Setsuno and Chiyo. And all the other chefs just fights everybody else.
* If the chaos is not bad enough, Bishokukai sends real Nitro monsters from the Gourmet World under their control to attack. Slowly one by one the chefs are defeated and captured.
* With all the power ups and new moves and forms, our heroes eventually triumph with Sani eating Tommyrod whole and Branchi forever zapping Elg’s regenerative cells till his Gourmet Cells gave up on regenerating!
* Amidst this chaos, it seems there is another third party hidden among it all. They call themselves Neo and their goal seems to be collecting ingredients for Acacia’s Full Course Menu. They include wealthy billionaires like Mokkoi, the former king of Jidar, Joa, Moi and don’t be shock with this, Zaus! They have spies infiltrated all over from IGO to Bishokukai so their intelligence network is incredible.
* The granny fight is interrupted when Zaus and fellow Neo members, Kousairou and Kuriboh dispose of Chiyo to make a date with Setsuno.
* By the time Komatsu gets to Toriko, he looks dead! Cue for him to start crying and calling out his name incessantly like a broken recorder. Just when Starjun is about to claim Komatsu for himself, Toriko revives and punches the baddie away from his partner. Who says calling out one’s name many times won’t wake you up? This allows Toriko to pull off a new technique he learnt under Aimaru. But this isn’t just to finish off Starjun. Because now they’re getting serious to fight each other. You mean all those epic flying punches weren’t them fighting seriously yet???!!! You got to be kidding me!!! So another round of epic super moves.
* However the fight is interrupted (and postponed indefinitely) with the appearance of Joa. Looks like he has brainwashed Teppei on his side. He fights head on with Setsuno and even revives Nitro defeated by Zebra even stronger than before.
* This guy is so godly with his dark techniques that Setsuno has a hard time standing her ground. Before she gets killed, here comes Jirou to the rescue. Where the heck have you been???!!!
* Jirou unmasks Joa and everyone is shocked to see Frohze. Who is she? Acacia’s assistant who looked after his disciples.
* With Joa very powerful, Jirou and Setsuno can tell the super evolution of his Gourmet Cells. This means that he has eaten Acacia’s Full Course. But they are somewhat certain this isn’t the real Frohze because she is already dead.
* Joa could have killed the old duo had not Toriko and Starjun intervene. You would have guessed the person Joa is looking for. Oh Komatsu. You’re such a wanted guy everywhere. Because Komatsu managed to find the secret recipe at the Gourmet Pyramids, Joa needs someone with incredible food luck to find God.
* Toriko and Starjun team up to fight him. If that isn’t enough, the other Heavenly Kings join the fray. And as expected, the only way to defeat a final boss is to combine all their powerful attack into one big giant ball of energy.
* Too bad that wasn’t even enough to scratch Joa. Now that Joa focuses on capturing Komatsu, how can Toriko revive? Komatsu’s voice of course! He lets his Gourmet Cells take over to turn into a full demon mode. But this is a very dangerous form because he will devour everything. So how to bring him back to his senses? You guessed it. Komatsu’s voice! So powerful this kid’s voice to want to eat with him and everybody as promised that Toriko reverts back but to an ultimate hybrid version of himself and a demon. Yeah, see him blast Joa away. Because Toriko sees human as having heart as opposed to Joa who sees food as mere tools for world domination, you can bet who is going to come out tops.
* Ichiryuu and Midora face off. We get a glimpse of their flashback. Their happy life together with Acacia and Frohze. All that changed when Acacia sensed God will be coming and set out with Frohze to capture it. However Frohze returned very wounded because she tried to cook it. Midora tried to save her with some healing potion but he put himself in danger. This made Frohze push herself to cook to heal him. Unfortunately, she lost her life. A sad day for the men but they have to go on living on her behalf. Ever since that day, Midora could not be satiated by anything. That is why he is going to devour everything including God. Ichiryuu realizes he is not hungry for food but rather love. He is still searching for it. Sadly, Midora defeats Ichiryuu.
* After Toriko summons all the food and ingredient he has eaten to give one heck of a super punch to defeat Joe, Meteor Spice keep falling from the sky all over the world as proof of Ichiryuu’s defeat. Don’t worry. It is a cue from everybody to show off their power one last time to stop it from crashing and destroying the land. Well, at least most of it.
* In the aftermath, Midora is kind enough to return Ichiryuu. They want to eat with him again but he relents because Komatsu is cooking. I guess his soup brings back nostalgic memories. Good, right? Everyone prepares to head to the Gourmet World because Neo is already there. You didn’t think Joa is dead would you?
* Toriko and Komatsu take their first step together into the Gourmet World and you can bet Komatsu’s heart attack starts now. I wonder if he can stomach the rest of the journey. We see Toriko has improved a lot because even those beasts quiet down when he opens his mouth.

Eat & Be Merry
I knew it was coming to something like that. A bit of a cliché note for our main duo to head out in high spirits. It is this series’ equivalent of running towards the sunset or sunrise while screaming the real adventure begins here. Because when you have an important tournament that pits our main protagonist into a super powerful character only to be interrupted and postponed indefinitely by the enemy for the remainder of the entire series, well it’s like saying to go read the manga if you want to more about it. I know, I know. I’m going to probably say the same thing like I always do in my previous blogs when anime series with so much potential and development ‘ended’ in this fashion. But what else is there to say? Because with the series ending with the end of the Human World arc, the next big epic showdown where all the crazier, more powerful and flashier stuff will happen in the Gourmet World. Because everybody is already there. All the pieces are set on the board. Time for them to make their move. An excuse for more outrageous and bizarre plots, fights and developments to entertain our mind (and stomach).

Despite food seemingly as the overall theme and ‘star’, I can’t help wonder if it is just some sort of a ‘side dish’ because you know, it feels that this show is about fighting aliens and the likes. Get what I mean? Food is just an excuse to just have some sort of story to compliment it. It might look like a food theme but there is one thing that sets it obviously apart from other food themed animes like Shokugeki No Souma, Chuuka Ichiban, Yakitate! Japan and even if I may consider it, Koufuku Graffiti. Despite having ‘Gourmet’ in titles like IGO, Bishokukai and Bishokuya, everything and everyone here is anything but gourmet. In fact, you can already tell that they are more of a glutton than anything. They eat everything and anything that walks under the sun. Oh heck, even those in the shadowy parts of the world can also be eaten. So gluttonous the world and characters are, that they had to feature some episodes with other famous anime gluttons like One Piece’s Luffy and Dragonball’s Goku. Don’t worry. Even big eaters like them are in no danger of eating any species to extinction.

Thus as compared to those other food themed animes like I just mentioned, Toriko would be the least appetizing on my side. I really don’t feel like chowing down some huge chunk of meat made out from some bug even if Toriko enjoys eat greatly and telling us how freaking delicious it is. Heck, everything to this guy is delicious, that’s why he is more of a glutton than a gourmet. The only exception are maybe the sweets, candies and cake types that made me drool a little. But other than that, I would rather pass up in even tasting a milligram of it. I know it is bad to waste but I’m still not touching gross cuisines ever. Heck, I’m doing my part in conversation by not eating Shark’s Fin Soup.

A big majority of food featured here (and man, they really have a lot of different mix of food averaging at least 3 new types per episode if you include the intro) are a mix of at least 2 types to create a ‘new’ kind of food. That is why at the start of every episode (yes, every damn episode) we have the narrator juicily describing to us certain types of food of this world. Thankfully our real world has lots of food variety from different cultures and eras and hence some are cleverly mixed to create this new type of food that we will never ever get to taste. But I noticed they just don’t simply pick any kind of ingredient and mostly they are puns of foods in Japanese or English. So much so sometimes it feels like the producers might have ran out of ideas so they announced for contestants to send in their own ideas and the winners get to have it featured/animated in some episodes, giving their ‘fruits of labour’ 5 seconds of fame.

One thing about this gluttonous theme that really bugged me throughout. If everybody especially big eaters like the Four Heavenly Kings are always eating a lot, do you not realize there will be poop problems?! Think about it. If they take in so much input, it should only be right there is an equal amount of output. This means the entire world would actually be stinking of great poo! Especially those devourers who gobble down huge chunks of meat, fruits, vegetables and other edibles within seconds! And yet we don’t really see them going to toilet! I can only imagine the world’s toughest job in cleaning up the toilets. It’s going to stink big time. Sure, you can tell me that Gourmet Cells evolution crap theory where all food are converted into energy. In that case, these muscle head guys shouldn’t even have to have anuses in the first place… Know what I’m saying? Don’t get me started on that black hole stomach theory that some anime characters have.

That is why one sometimes when you wonder why everything that breathes in this anime can literally be eaten, it somewhat resonates true to the basic theory of survival. It’s literally a dog eat dog world out there or in this anime’s case, a monster eat monster world. Eat or be eaten. Come to think of it, I think vegetarians will definitely not like this anime because there are lots of big meat eaters in here. Killing and eating them in the name of taking their vital life force and energy to replenish your own. That’s why you have to respect food and not waste them so to speak. And eating together makes the food tastier? Generally it’s true but I think some prefer to eat alone… With food such an overwhelming theme of this series, I thought it was pretty ironic when Toriko finally did say that humans are more than food. But he didn’t say what I expected to say because I was thinking, “Yeah, humans are about sex too”! Haha! Oops. With everybody so busy stuffing their face, I wonder what the birth rate of this world is. Yeah, and they say that eating a certain food makes you rule the world. You can’t make this sh*t up.

This should be a given because the longer a series runs, the more characters it is bound to have. And this is one of the biggest dilemmas for me when watching this kind of long running shows. Too many characters! By the time it ends, I would have already forgotten many of them. Despite the numerous episodes spanning seasons, not all of the secondary and supporting characters are given as much prominence as Toriko and Komatsu. Some only relevant for a certain arc before disappearing. Some play minor roles here and there so as to remind us they’re still around. Some too insignificant to remember or have an impact. Some you wonder what the heck his/her role is for. Well, it is a long running manga too although it ended in 2016, still you can’t help wonder about the many lively and colourful characters throughout the series. Thankfully they aren’t that boring as some of them have their quirks that make them memorable. Or is it that I can’t remember the bad ones? After all, this world is such a huge place so you are bound to meet so many characters each with their own purpose, role and fate to deal with. But as for the important ones are concerned, you’ll keep them in mind.

Toriko, what can I say about him? He is a good guy who loves to eat but one thing that made me realize about him as I watched the series. Isn’t Toriko a ‘weak’ person to begin with? You thought this guy was some super strong Superman but as we see him traversing one obstacle from another, it occurred to me that this guy may just be the weakest among the super powered characters! I mean, look at the training that Ichiryuu gave to him as pre-requisite to enter Gourmet World. Look at how tough a time he has trying to overcome and adapt to it. Sure, it is for the drama effect so that we viewers could also ‘grow’ along with him. And then you think back of it all. Doesn’t this makes Toriko and the rest of the Heavenly Kings as weak as f*ck? Other than this, despite his carefree nature and going at his own pace, he respects nature and its abundance, appreciates a good meal and good partner to Komatsu.

Komatsu is both likable and annoying. Because he lacks any martial arts knowledge, he can prove to be a liability in the battlefield where it gets real dangerous. Therefore the biggest annoyance I somewhat noticed of him is his tendency to call out to Toriko’s name. Every. Single. Time. In every episode without fail it is guaranteed that this petite kid will scream out his name be it in danger, worrying about him, looking for him or just for the heck of it. “TORIKO-SAN!!!”. See what I mean? If he isn’t screaming his name, he would be just screaming. Thankfully he’s got a strong heart and luck because the kind of dangers he went through, a normal person would have been traumatized and died of a heart attack. Other than that, he has such a low self-confidence and pessimism even before trying. I know he is trying to be modest but he hasn’t even started trying! Oh. Reminds me of myself too. Of course offsetting these negative traits are his respect for food and loyalty to his friends. He is a great chef, so unbelievably good that he managed to recreate Century Soup and find a cure for the Green Rain in mere minutes, somebody should have just given him the top spot chef ranking.

This is such a manly anime with guys like the Four Heavenly Kings have so big bulging muscles, it makes you wonder if you can realistically achieve such mass by eating instead of hitting the gym. Of course not! Remember, they have Gourmet Cells, an excuse to give them that “GAR!” look and feel. Because of that, the bromance factor feels so high especially if we’re talking about Toriko and Komatsu since they are so inseparable and their bonding throughout the series shows. Sometimes my mind can’t help wander off to think some kind of an S&M hentai bromance between Toriko and Komatsu. See where I am going with this?! Big muscle guy dominating over a small timid scrawny kid. Ugh! I think I’m losing my appetite thinking about this. I can’t even see Rin getting through his heart. Not even in my wildest imaginations. Don’t even start on the Four Heavenly Kings orgy on him!!! STOP!!!

It’s hard to say if Tina is a true reporter because despite her earnest ways in trying to get the best scoop, circumstances always have her failing to capture the moment. No wonder she loves to spam her favourite lines of either a helping heap of (if something goes her way) or not a milligram of (if bad luck triumphs). Not only she doesn’t get the scoop but somehow I keep noticing she usually ends up in Zonge’s company. It just shivers my spine to think that the possibility of them becoming an item! As the arcs slowly progress, Tina’s presence reduces since she can’t follow Toriko and Komatsu into dangerous waters.

Therefore she has her own Gourmet News segment at the end of each episode as she hosts a bunch of different variety to entertain us. Whether it is from describing details from the ingredients that Toriko capture, to test tasting ingredients and then making bad puns as cold as ice, interviewing some of the characters, displaying creative entries from contestants, blatant advertising of this anime’s products that includes movies, DVDs and other merchandises, telling your food fortune, having other characters spew food related ‘words of wisdom’ and finally because they ran out of ideas they had to make a quiz for you to guess the weird ingredient combo at the end, the reason why you don’t hear this part in the beginning of the episodes as the series enter its final stretch anymore. I failed miserably and never guessed one correctly. But of all the variety, my favourite one is finding Yun segment. Call it as this series’ version of Where’s Waldo? A still picture giving us a few seconds to find the penguin. I could have got 100% win record if not for a couple of them that they ‘cheated’. That’s right. You cheaters! Nobody could have seen that one coming!

I don’t know, I feel a bit odd for the main characters to have animal sidekicks of their own. I mean, we have Toriko getting Terry, Coco already the master of Kiss, Sani becoming Quinn’s master and even Komatsu getting a penguin and Tina a pigeon?! Why doesn’t Zebra get one then? Maybe it is because he is named after an animal so I guess that counts? Okay, so he did borrow a giant zebra in the fight against the Four Beasts. Woah. Why the need for furries to ramp up the cuteness? I thought this was a manly anime. Sure, the beasts fighting alongside the Four Heavenly Kings are justified as they play their role. But Yun and Kruppoh? Useless cute birds that do nothing around but squeal cute sounds and acting cute. Huh? I was hoping they are allowed to hang around as emergency food but I don’t think they would taste good. Besides, sometimes they try to showcase their usefulness but it’s mindboggling if it can be considered so. Because like Yun flying in to ‘help’ Komatsu during the Bishokukai’s invasion during the Cooking Fest feels so lame. Penguin needs more screen time, maybe… I’m not sure about the Gourmet Cell monsters but they do look odd if you ask me. From Toriko’s satanic demon, Coco’s Japanese ghost zombie, Sani’s hairy yeti, Starjun’s cyclops and Zebra’s… Is that a watermelon ogre?!

Another thing that popped up about some of the characters that boggled my mind are how freaking old some of the older ones are. It is clearly stated that the last God event happened centuries ago during when Acacia was still alive. And since this food master has also been dead for centuries, how f*cking old are Ichiryuu, Jirou and Midora anyway?! You can consider them living for centuries and if not forever. They’re like God trying to be God? If the food logic of this world already doesn’t make sense, hell yeah the longevity of the people also don’t make sense. Oh wait. Don’t tell me again about that Gourmet Cell evolution crap theory. Better to think that these foods have properties that enhance your body in a certain way that increases longevity. After all, you are what you eat. It isn’t rocket science to figure your body makes do of what you input.

So I’ll stop here with my ranting and ‘analysis’ of the characters because there like what I said about those in previous paragraphs, it would just be mainly pointing out the obvious. Also, I’m too lazy at this point to think about the other supporting characters and how they impacted everything. Yeah, yeah. I’m sure they had a role to play whether it is big or small. They’ll all definitely meet again and if not, they’re not as important as we think they should. Will Komatsu’s friends ever unite again as each serve different factions now? Will Acacia’s students ever eat at the same table again? Will Neo turn over a new leaf? Will God live up to its name or just a fragment of imagination of hungry people starving for too long? Yeah, I sometimes have this feeling everyone and everything you see in this world is one big delusion. Everyone is high on drugs! The food they eat contain properties that make you hallucinate! All those juicy meat and fruits they’re chomping down? They’re just rocks in reality! No wonder everybody wants God. The true food of food. See, typing this on a partially empty stomach is making me say deluded things.

Animated by a veteran anime studio, Toei Animation, you can probably see this anime’s similarity in some of their popular works like One Piece and Dragonball series. In the sense that sometimes you have got really weird looking people and creatures. Like I’ve said before, in a world where anything is possible, it is like as though this anime tests one’s creativity by mixing up at least 2 forms (usually food and creature) to come up with something new. So you’ve got your visuals ranging from weird, bizarre, funny, ugly, eerie, cute and uhm, just super plain weird. This is especially the Bishokukai members who often look like mini monsters or something. If you are into musclebound or macho men, then this anime spams lots of those characters with full-fledged bulging biceps in your face. Then you’ve got plain looking characters like Komatsu who looks so plain that he is, well, just plain. The visuals are also very colourful ranging from weird hairstyles to textures that fit the grand scale of this fantasy world. Is it me or does Starjun look like he was about to go Super Saiyan mode in his ultimate battle with Toriko? Heck, I thought he was Goku reincarnated. But he didn’t come as close as Toriko’s ultimate demon hybrid form. I thought he became Super Saiyan for good. Although the overall animation is decent, there are a few times where I noticed the dip in quality usually during the fight scenes. A lot of details will suddenly be ‘downgraded’ because it’s like they think our eyes won’t be able to keep up with the ‘slowed down’ fast paced action.

Speaking of the action parts, they are pretty exaggerative in a general sense. You have super powered moves that are unbelievable, moves that could even change the shape of the planet and geographical outline in a blink of an eye. Because of the shonen genre this anime is so typically categorized as, the fights last for many episodes! No wonder they can blow up the series to 147 episodes. Especially Toriko’s fight with Tommyrod and then his ultimate battle with Starjun which is only prolonged because they had to show other fights in between. I know. It’s to showcase the many arsenal that Toriko has developed along the way. So as not to look like he is just spamming his usual Fork and Knife moves, we see various variations as a sign of how much he has progressed. The other characters too have a few set moves of their own albeit they too look like variations of their main skill. I mean, how else is Cocoa going to fight without using poison, Sani without his hair and Zebra without his voice? Sometimes for added variety, they combine their set moves with each other for a new one. And yeah, they really take their time when they start using their moves especially new ones. They really want to show it to us like screaming out its name, the pose that they do and then the effect whether it hits or misses. Either way, you’ll be entertained with all these flashy far-fetched goodness or just be dumbfounded that they could come up with something this ‘creative’.

Oh boy. With such a long running anime with so many characters, the cast list is going to skyrocket through the roof. Read: I’m already feeling too lazy and lost motivation to list them. Of course I won’t list them all but you know… Anyway, a handful that I recognized include Nana Mizuki as Tina, Takahiro Sakurai as Coco, Shinichiro Miki as Starjun and Akira Ishida as Tommyrod. That’s all?! How disappointing. The rest of the casts Ryotaro Okiayu as Toriko (Byakuya in Bleach), Romi Paku as Komatsu (Edward in Fullmetal Alchemist), Mitsuo Iwata as Sani (Pyoro in Vandread), Asami Tano as Rin (Chiharu in Toaru Hikoushi E No Koiuta), Kenji Matsuda as Zebra, Juurouta Kosugi as Mansam (Tama in Hayate No Gotoku), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Jirou (Naraku in Inu Yasha), Sakiko Uran as Setsuno (Marumaro in Blue Dragon), Kenyuu Horiuchi as Ichiryuu (Kinemon in One Piece), Masaya Onosaka as Teppei (Nanashi in MAR), Kousuke Toriumi as Match (Kiba in Naruto), Kenn as Takimaru (Jinbei in Mushibugyou), Masaki Terasoma as Midora (Kanbei in Samurai 7), Yuji Mitsuya as Grinpatch (Tofu in Ranma 1/2), Banjou Ginga as Yosaku (Senzaemon in Shokugeki No Souma), Keiichi Nanba as Joa (Junta in DNA2) and Wataru Takagi as Zonge (Bellamy in One Piece). Phew. I’m already tired…

Of all the numerous themes, the only one that I truly love is the fourth ending theme, Sabrina by Leo Ieiri. This is like the Japanese version of Laura Branigan’s Gloria. The catchy and upbeat rock beat somehow resonates to me liking. Unfortunately for the rest… They sound too weird for my liking. Okay, to be honest some of them aren’t too bad like the very manly first opening theme, Guts Guts by Akira Kushida. This song really fits the gluttony theme of the series and sometimes I get this feeling they are trying to replicate One Piece’s popular opening such as We Are and We Go. For a long running anime, it is rare for a series to have the same opening theme for so long. Therefore I thought they were never going to change the first ending theme after running for 2 seasons. And then they changed it to Goushuko My Way also by Akira Kushida. The feel of this second opening theme is almost similar to the first one although I still prefer Guts Guts by comparison.

As for the rest of the ending themes (there are 12 of them in total and all of them lasts for only a minute), I guess other than Sabrina, the next closest song that I prefer (although still by far incomparable to my favourite Sabrina) would be the ninth ending theme, Akai Kutsu by Salley. This one is different because it is a slow and calming acoustic piece compared to the rest which are mostly weird fanfare like the sixth ending’s Samba De Toriko by Hyadain, Nana Mizuki’s only feature in Lovely Fruit as the seventh ending, the rap-like hip hop fifth ending of Love Chase by Tomohisa Yamashita and the drowsy drunken sounding tenth ending Tautology by The Dresscodes. The rest are mainly rock based like One Day by The Rootless (first ending), Satisfaction by Ftisland (second ending), Niji by Jun Sky Walker (eighth ending) Mega Raba by Rurika Yokoyama (twelfth ending) and anime pop-like such as Deli-Deli Delicious by Sea A (third ending) and Believe In Yourself by Palet (eleventh ending).

Overall, this isn’t an anime that would truly whet your appetite and wanting more. What I mean is that you want more just because it is part of the full course meal and it is best you finish it as you are already halfway there. Other than that, overeating and being overfull from this absurdly massive filling full course meal will leave you stuffed and bloated for a long time to come. Each time you think of wanting to try it out again, you’d get that nauseated feeling of having too much and change your mind maybe not today or tomorrow. And so that’s how I feel for this series in a nutshell. Lots of decent characters, decent action, decent plot, too long a story arc/fight sometimes, funny moments, silly moments, nonsensical moments, moments that don’t make sense. Hey, it is your stomach that should be working, not the brain. Ah, kutta, kutta! Gochisousama deshita!

WWW.Working!!

June 17, 2017

How do you take a familiar series but make turn it into something fresh and new without changing the main plot and setting? Why, you replace the old characters with new ones! Some sort of retelling or reboot, you say? Well… Erm… Let’s say it is an alternate setting spin-off. Because that is what WWW.Working!! is. You take all the characters from the previous seasons you know and then you replace them with new characters that you never hear before. Same place. Same plot. Same style. Voila! New alternate setting sequel. Thus if you are not familiar with the Working!! franchise, do not worry because you do not need to go back and watch all 3 seasons of the original. Anybody can jump in and watch this without having to know anything. Good for newbies as wells as fans who want something new out of something familiar. And producers to milk more money from us. See how this is working now? Sorry, bad pun…

Episode 1
* Daisuke Higashida walks into Wagnaria to look for a part time job. Kenichirou Sakaki the manager interviews him on his reason to work. Well… He doesn’t want to work! His father’s company went bankrupt and since dad has no more allowance to give him, better find a job. How depressing. Heck, the family even made a pun about dad and bankruptcy (both pronounced as ‘toosan’). I guess his case is so pitiful that he lands a waiting job here.
* Higashida is given the ropes by Hana Miyakoshi. She seems like a nice girl at first but then gets violent easily. Yeah, Sakaki gets punched for nothing.
* Higashida’s next creepy experience is with Sayuri Muranushi. She’s greeting nobody at the door… Serving water to nobody at the table… Talking to nobody? Oh sh*t… Apparently it is believed an old grandpa ghost keeps patron Wagnaria and only wants her to server him. One day she wasn’t around, there were creepy writings and warnings all over to demand her back!
* Kisaki Kondou is your badass girl. She smokes and takes time out as she likes. Has she ever really work? But don’t take this slacker for a bimbo. She is actually pretty smart! Until she meets her match in Higashida. This guy is pretty smart too.
* What is a rich girl, Shiho Kamakura working as a waitress? She is so bungling and the only way she believes could solve everything is giving stacks of money. That’s because Yuuta Shindou’s father owes a lot of money to her father. He is working to pay off his father’s debts but that isn’t the worst part. Because he once rejected her before this debt thingy, it is like some sort of revenge as she has got him under her thumb doing every whims and fancies she wants. Queen control…
* Higashida has more problems to deal with. His family is still taking it easy since dad still hasn’t found a job. They even pay a visit to Wagnaria. He wants to kick them out but a good kick from Miyakoshi to remind him to treat all customers well. At the end, father forgot to bring his wallet and hopes his son could cover for him. Saw this coming from a mile…
* Miyakoshi wants Higashida to promise to eat the chocolates she makes. Sounds bad. Hearing Muranushi’s ‘bad review’ doesn’t make it any better.
* Shindou thought Shiho bought all these presents for him. But they are to give to other people and he has more chores to do. Any leftover money she can keep it. Sad guy…
* Higashida sums up his courage to eat Miyakoshi’s chocolates. He almost died! She feels bad and wants to throw them out but Higashida can’t risk any more victims and will take them all home. Miyakoshi is super happy and might be getting the wrong idea about this.

Episode 2
* You think Shiho is kind enough to drop stacks off money on Shindou’s hands. Money strapped on to a bowling ball… Poor guy…
* Miyakoshi forces Higashida to help her study for the test as his White Day response. Because if her grade slips, her mom won’t let her work here anymore.
* Everyone is shock to see Kisaki bringing in her own baby Hime to work. Flashback reveals Sakaki noticing a group of mothers at the table for a long time. He thought they should have brought their kids along. Kisaki took this advice literally. Oh, baby Hana is smarter than Miyakoshi!
* Kouki Saiki enters looking for a job. However he doesn’t understand Japanese despite his parents are. Blame living overseas for a long time. With Kisaki translating, apparently his friends filled up the application as a prank. He showed up and thought he could quickly go home. He should have been rejected but somehow he is hired! Oh dear. How can he even communicate… Luckily Kisaki can coach him but this means Higashida is still forced to coach Miyakoshi.
* So when Higashida tells his parents a friend is coming over, they jump with joy. They are so happy he has a friend. A friend. Is this an insult? So when Miyakoshi arrives, mom and sister really give her to big welcome.
* Higashida tries to teach her but she can’t keep her attention. Her mom is a famous cooking TV personality and she wonders why bother to study if she is going to take over her role one day. Is she sure she is going to inherit all that?
* One of the kitchen staff, Takuya Kouno decides to quit. Because wouldn’t it be cool for one of the founders to quit first? He becomes a customer so his fellow kitchen mate, Masahiro Adachi tells him how cool it would be if he was the first to come back. And with that, Kouno is back again.
* When Muranushi is serving a group of rude customers, grandpa ghost becomes mad and this scares the hell out of them when Muranushi communicates with him.
* Adachi and Kouno thought Muranushi would be more pleasant if she smiles. She notes that no one reacted well and when she does, Adachi froze. Personally, I think it wasn’t creepy but it does make her look pretty. So what’s so bad about it?
* Flashback of young Shindou stumbling into sad Shiho alone. Her mom died of an illness. Shindou sounds cool when he dispenses advice about money as the root of trouble. So when they parted, Shindou told directly to her father how lonely his daughter is and to spend more time with her. He thought as a kid his words won’t make a difference. Next day, Shiho looks for him and it seems she has given up looking for other friends and wants to be with him. This time with bodyguards watching closely everywhere. Then she tells him his father owes him a lot of debt. If he marries her, she’ll get papa to write off the debts. However he rejected her. This shocked her but now he regrets saying it. Kisaki thinks he could try to seek forgiveness by asking to marry her. Unfortunately he loses courage and instead wants her to kill him. It’s no fun if he requests it himself…
* Miyakoshi is displeased that even Higashida gives her homework at the end of the tutorial. She leaves crying and Higashida’s dad gets the wrong idea his son did something to her! Later Miyakoshi relays the good news that her mom allowed her to keep working. But she didn’t pass the test. She slept through it! Mom was so worried when she spouted American states on the day of the tests so she just let it go. Higashida’s effort went to waste…
* Saiki has learnt a bit of Japanese but it seems Kisaki has trained him to be his gopher to do chores on her behalf.

Episode 3
* A weird customer, Miri Yanagiba walks in. She is wearing a scarf in this hot summer. Maybe she is a ghost? Higashida continues to be in denial and thinks it is still summer! But she may not be a ghost after all since everybody can see and hear her. But Higashida still being a sceptic asks her straight if she is dead or alive and earns Miyakoshi’s beating.
* Higashida notices Yanagiba is from his school since she is wearing their school uniform. It gets even odder when Muranushi notes that she is the granddaughter of ghost grandpa!
* Yanagiba explains she is prone to getting sick easily and got a cold before the school’s opening ceremony. She is hospitalized but when she is discharged, she doesn’t want to risk getting bullied since it is too late to make friends now. Higashida blows his top when he learns Yanagiba is actually in the same class with him! Next day Higashida talks to his classmate, Rui Nagata and hopes he can introduce her to this girl to be friends.
* Kouno drags all the Wagnaria staffs to play kimodameshi. Also with Shiho’s help and her bodyguards dragging the rest. So they are paired up and must walk through and drop stuffs, the usual. But be warned. There might be something lurking in the woods… Much scarier than a ghost. A bear! Saiki is tasked to create the pit stop but since he can’t read, he thinks this is some human trafficking activity!
* Shindou is glad he is paired with Kisaki but with the power of money, Shiho switches with her. The nightmare continues…
* Adachi sees Muranushi’s creepy smile again (personally, it still looks decent) and freaks out. With Saiki freaking out too, they believe the bear is real because he is saying something like stealing food from the pit stop.
* Higashida is paired with Miyakoshi. Although he doesn’t find his own family amusing, Miyakoshi seems envious of his. Her father doesn’t live with them and mom always works late. Flashback reveals mom used to cook rich food for dad. So when he developed diabetes and wanted her to cut down, she took it as an insult and will never cook for him again!
* More misery for Shindou when Shiho remembers a similar event of him leaving her alone and it hurt her heart. It is already sad enough to see Shindou shed real painful tears. He sincerely pleads to start over again as friends. She agrees and will let him make up for all the pain and suffering he caused her. In the form of monetary damages. Nothing is forgiven… So when he sees Higashida coming by, he is pleading for Miyakoshi to help rid of the ‘monster’ instead of the bear!
* It is revealed the ‘bear’ is actually a raccoon. Kouno is tied up and left in the woods as everyone leaves. Payback time. Don’t be too loud. Bears are attracted to noises.
* Higashida brings Nagata to Wagnaria to talk to Yanagiba. However Yanagiba prefers to cling to Higashida and do other stuffs.
* When Nagata asks about Miyakoshi because she was in earlier but is now gone, Higashida says she went home due to a cold. Nagata misinterprets what he says next because he makes it sound like Miyakoshi is crashing at his house all the time. Every day she comes over and gets clingy with him and refuses to let go. Then there is the trouble of coming up with a name and paperwork to fill out. Birth registration? Actually Higashida is talking about Conbini. That’s the raccoon’s name. Miyakoshi adopted it as her pet but since her place doesn’t allow pets, Higashida is keeping it at his place for the time being. You don’t think Miyakoshi wants him to fatten it up to eat it, no?
* Just when Yanagiba accepts Nagata as her friend, she gives her permission to come back here again. This makes Higashida mad because she is supposed to go to school.

Episode 4
* Shiho’s harassment seems to be escalating. Miyakoshi tells Muranushi to say something to her. Shiho isn’t bullying him. Seeing his pitiful state only makes her want to tease him more! Muranushi accepts her reasoning?
* Kouno asks Adachi if he likes Muranushi. That reaction… However that pain in the heart doesn’t seem to indicate anything of a love sickness…
* Higashida seems to only be disrespecting Miyakoshi. It can be traced back to that Valentine’s chocolate… Miyakoshi disagrees and believes she will become a good cook like her mom. She might be but what about in person? Let’s say she is unrefined. Miyakoshi somewhat badmouths about mom. Don’t look back now but she is standing right behind you! Seems she is supposed to have dinner here with her husband tomorrow. She sounds like a tsundere. Like mother, like daughter? At first she thinks Higashida is making fun of her and disrespecting her. But upon learning he is the guy who ate her daughter’s chocolates, she respects him and wants Miyakoshi to marry him! Hey, you can’t be picky, right?
* So Higashida must be damn surprised to see Miyakoshi at his place as early as 5am! Mother sent her here to be looked after by him. Sorry, can’t rewrap and send her back to the returns section.
* Nagata is walking her dog and gets the wrong idea seeing Higashida and Miyakoshi out together so early. She gets the wrong idea and spies at them as they go pray at the shrine. No, it’s not to cure Miyakoshi’s stupidity but her cooking!
* Miyakoshi changes her mind to be good at cooking to wish for Higashida to eat her cooking for the rest of his life! This is what a thousand yen is worth? Higashida empties his wallet to wish for Miyakoshi’s cooking to be better. This is not him being kind. It is for his survival. If it fails, she owes him back!
* Nagata is discovered and she is so confused with everything so she makes a wish to understand their relationship better and make it simpler.
* Miyakoshi talks to the rest about making wishes that come true. Muranushi doesn’t believe in ghosts and Shiho believes in money more than God. Kouno stays positive and gives some hope for why shrines exist. This gives her motivation to make chocolates. Oh no. If somebody has to die, they blame Kouno for it.
* You can bet Higashida is gloomy. So he has to take this out by saying he hates Yanagiba? Twice?! But he hates her not enough to not make her eat those chocolates?
* Muranushi gives Adachi her chocolates. He has a bad feeling about this especially the ambiguous words she says that sounds like she likes him. But then again, half of them are lies. Which half?!
* Shindou’s torture continues because Shiho gives him canned dog food as chocolates… Poor guy…
* With Miyakoshi bugging Higashida to eat her improved chocolates, he prepares himself for death as he pops one in his mouth. He instantly ‘dies’ from the curry and bitterness! He is screaming in his ‘death’ and St Valentine cannot even save him! Why? Because Higashida prayed to the eastern gods and St Valentine can’t do anything about it from his western side. Wasted prayer…
* Nagata wanted to give her chocolates to Higashida. But seeing the state he is in, she gives it to Yanagiba. She then pops it into Higashida’s mouth and he instantly loves the real chocolate!

Episode 5
* Due to the failed wish. Higashida wants Miyakoshi to pay him back. She pleads for discount but Shiho tells him not to show mercy as a debt collector! Shindou pleads for him not to become one or else he will turn into a certain monster! She can hear you…
* One of Shiho’s bodyguards, Tasaka is desperately looking for her since it is his job to make sure she doesn’t kill Shindou! Apparently he is Sakaki’s junior from the same high school as he explains Sakaki was a real badass delinquent. But with a cat on his head! It’s hard for everyone to believe this.
* Muranushi wants Adachi to go out with her. To the art store. It’s too heavy for her to carry the items herself.
* I hope Saiki has gotten the hang of Japanese but does he remember their names? He mispronounces Muranushi’s name and in turn she mistaken Saiki to be Adachi. Not sure whether on purpose or not. Because of that, Muranushi is going to put on her sad smile but Adachi won’t let her. She thinks he only wants her to smile for him. He just checkmate himself.
* Miyakoshi is not happy none of the workers know how to properly smile. When she tries to make Kisaki smile, she wants her to pay if she is going to do that.
* Another harassment from Shiho as she shows Shindou a new sword she bought from her allowance. Saiki tries to tell her off and this pisses her off enough to want to kill him! But you can say his amateur grasp of the language is a blessing because he praises Shiho’s beauty instead, leaving her stunned. She lets him live.
* Muranushi is not pleased her mom visits her at Wagnaria. She will be out for an exorcism job and won’t be here and is here to pass the house key. Adachi is surprised that she knows his name. No, he isn’t wearing a nametag. She might also be able to read his mind! She also knows he has seen Muranushi’s smile even though she has not told her about it. She tells of an old classmate who saw her smile and began behaving suspiciously. Thankfully he is still alive today. Barely. Adachi is more worried when she gives him talismans just in case. And he won’t give it to Muranushi who offers to give it back to mom later. Just in case.
* Yanagiba wants to know the pairings in Wagnaria. The obvious are named. Kouno is pointed out as the third wheel. Yeah, everyone except him is part of a pair. Kouno argues it is more like the guys are imprisoned against their wills.
* When Miyakoshi describes badly about Higashida, Nagata tells her off she should take responsibility once she has fallen for someone. If she doesn’t like him, she shouldn’t have given him her chocolates. So she is saying if she wants to give him her chocolates, she must fall in love with him first? Miyakoshi feels bad and will take responsibility. She will feed him her cooking till he turns back to normal! She wants her to teach her cooking! This makes Nagata feel devastated and partly responsible for this outcome as well as confused because they are supposed to be love rivals and now she has to help her out.
* Higashida bumps into Muranushi’s mom. She warns him of a young woman he knows well in possession of something lethal. An exorcism will require both effort and sacrifice. Failure to do so means the end of the world! Higashida believes she is the real deal.

Episode 6
* Shiho throws losing lotteries to Shindou. Maybe one of them is a winner… Then she rants about how she gives hope to losers and it is that little glimmer that will have them check all the lotteries. Well, Shindou did win 300 Yen and is genuinely happy to have this bonus to pay back his debt. However this only pisses Shiho off.
* When Muranushi gives Adachi her chocolates, he faints! It gets even worse when Muranushi overheard Adachi talking to Higashida how he compares her chocolate like watching a horror movie. It is obvious she is mad despite her poker face. Adachi goes into damage control mode by saying her cooking is still much better than Miyakoshi (you mad, girl?) and he promises to stop acting like he has seen a ghost around her. This makes her feel better as she gives her creepy smile. I don’t know how he got the power to withstand that.
* As Nagata helped Miyakoshi to make her chocolates, she is confused who she is supposed to root for. So when Miyakoshi lets Higashida eat them, first he claims this is not Nagata’s fault at all. Then he collapses. With a smile! Back to that St Valentine dude. Even he tells Higashida to overcome Miyakoshi’s bad cooking by falling in love with her! And so he tries to make this change but Miyakoshi finds Higashida’s sudden change in kindness creepy. She also vows to feed him with all sorts of things other than chocolates from now on.
* It is obvious that Nagata worries about Higashida-Miyakoshi relationship so Yanagiba gives some motivation to hang in there. But what worries Nagata more is the fact if her love for him works out. What will she do?!
* Tasaka and Daichi Saitou are here not to watch over Shiho but to protect Shindou if anything untoward happens. It seems Saitou knows Muranushi but she doesn’t remember him. They were classmates 10 years ago and all she remembers is how he like flipping girls’ skirts and bullying her. So one day she decided to straighten him and smiled at him. He became depressed ever since. Yeah, he still is. As Saitou is getting more dismayed, Shiho beats him up and lectures him about his place. Yes, there is a ranking chart to see who ranks where in Wagnaria. At least her bodyguards are above Shindou. Shiho is surprised that Muranushi apologizes to Saitou for whatever trouble she has caused. Saitou can’t take this anymore and runs away.
* As he bums outside expecting to be fired, here comes Shiho to mock him about his unrequited love for Muranushi and thus settling for his negative attention to torment Muranushi. Also, she won’t fire him and will place him to be always be by Muranushi’s side knowing that he would be useless around her. Enjoy the happiness and suffering of being next to her!
* Higashida is glad Valentine’s Day is over and doesn’t need to eat Miyakoshi’s chocolates anymore. However she insists he needs to eat her cooking till she becomes better. But when he claims he prefers her as the failed chef, she tells him she doesn’t need him to like her. This in turn triggers Higashida to be mad as he makes a joke (?!) and will never eat her cooking again. He no longer has to live in fear of that. He shoots back that he doesn’t want her to like him either. This leaves Miyakoshi depressed and confused.

Episode 7
* It took Kisaki for a while to recognize Saitou as he was in the same high school with her. Of course she only remembers him as being bullied.
* Saitou thinks he Adachi is a ‘comrade’ because he is also another ‘victim’ of Muranushi. Because Adachi shows restraint and denies it, Saitou calls him a traitor.
* Shindou is tired of being harassed. So desperate he is that he is begging Hime for food! Instead, Kisaki gives her lottery tickets to him. A few days later, it seems the lottery tickets hit the jackpot as well as a few consolation prizes! The prize money is enough to clear his debts and set him free! Obviously Shiho heard this and isn’t too happy. She starts crying and goes away. Don’t fall for those crocodile tears! Shindou feels bad and even more so when Kisaki asks if he would really want to end it this way. This prompts him to give back the tickets but Kisaki will not accept them back.
* Shiho is really sad and crying over this. Saiki thought he could cheer her up but his mispronunciation of ‘cheer up’ as ‘pay up’ makes her mad.
* Guilt ridden Shindou decides to give away the tickets to Kouno instead. The latter is stumped because the tickets expired a year ago! Yeah, what a coincidence the same winning numbers came out this year too.
* Shindou tries to ease Shiho’s ‘suffering’ by saying he lost his tickets. She doesn’t really believe him but to show her forgiveness, he clears part of his debt. 500 Yen discount. So cheap… Hey, any amount will do for Shindou.
* Miyakoshi still wants Higashida to eat her chocolates. He won’t. So? She threatens to beat him up. Nicely. He threatens to call the cops.
* Miyakoshi becomes desperate enough to eat her own chocolates! Yup. She’s ‘dead’. For the first time she meets St Valentine. And bullies him.
* Higashida feels Miyakoshi might die for real and there is only one way to save her: Eat her chocolates! Yeah, meet up with St Valentine again. He isn’t appreciative when St Valentine spews out his repent about trying to make him fall in love with her.
* Nagata is probably halfway trying to confess to sleeping Higashida when he wakes up. After Miyakoshi comes back too, angry Nagata lectures them for 3 hours about making her worry and recklessly using their lives like that. Wow. She’s really mad. And Miyakoshi who has never been scolded by a customer before can’t help sob all the way home.
* Not too sure if Shiho and Shindou’s relationship have improved a little because she gives him a canned food for his repentance. Hey, at least it isn’t dog food.

Episode 8
* Higashida thinks the chocolates must have damaged Miyakoshi’s brain because now she wants to date him! So she feels bad about making him eat her cooking. Like that would give him a peace of mind. And she thinks of having Kisaki as their advisor? Seriously she has never had such romance and doesn’t give a damn. Anyway she gives it a shot. Escort each other to and from work and go out to nice places. Only to Miyakoshi that sounds cool.
* Poor Nagata had to hear Higashida explain why he is dating Miyakoshi. Heartbreak? He adds it isn’t for long and they’ll soon break up. He isn’t in love with her nor hates her so they’ll break up when things get cold. Nagata chides him for his planning because at this rate he will really hurt Miyakoshi. So she is sticking up for her?
* After Nagata’s lecture, I guess Higashida takes Miyakoshi out to an arcade. She sucks in the crane game so Higashida the pro shows her how it’s done.
* On another outing, Miyakoshi this time has a handbook as recommended from Muranushi on how to date. Only this time Miyakoshi is pushing for a kiss! Instantly Higashida bolts and left her with the bill. It’s even more embarrassing when she can’t pay and had to call her mom to do so. And then a big scolding after that. Next day Higashida apologizes and pays back his due. But it gets worse when Miyakoshi wants to give him her chocolates so he quickly says goodbye.
* Miyakoshi asks Muranushi for more tips on dating. Unfortunately Muranushi has never dated before so she can’t. She suggests dating Adachi. Instantly he rejects! Oops! This has Muranushi ‘advising’ Miyakoshi that not only she lacks experience but rejected even before being asked out. So please consider Hidashida’s feelings once in a while. And Miyakoshi thinks she could cheer her up by saying to not let Adachi’s rejection get to her.
* Adachi tries to reconcile but Muranushi thinks he hates her so much that they shouldn’t talk. He is desperately enough to say he loves her. For the most part. She gets mad and wants to know the percentage of how much he loves her. You’re on your own.
* An old friend of Shindou visits. She would like to bring him a present next time. Shindou immediately hopes to get rice and salt! This is how bad his life is…
* Adachi tries to look for Muranushi but she is gone and there is only Higashida. Adachi advises him to treat girls nicely or he’ll end up a scumbag like him.
* Next time when Miyakoshi gives Higashida her chocolates, he accepts. However this one she didn’t make herself and bought from the store. Apparently it isn’t enough because she wants him to eat it right now. Of course it isn’t going to taste that bad but he thinks his taste buds have gone weird.

Episode 9
* Muranushi calls in sick. Because of that mysterious hauntings start appearing in Wagnaria like the bloodied clipboard! I think I know who’s behind this.
* Adachi is made to go visit her but at her doorstep, her little brother answers. Adachi gets scared when he hears him saying how right mom was that Adachi is to blame for Muranushi’s cold! Mother doesn’t really want to let Adachi see Muranushi in fear he might get possessed. Not her cold.
* When Muranushi allows him to enter, it is to play a prank of tripping on a wire and a basin dropping on his head. He is appalled she hasn’t gone to the hospital and mom didn’t take her because she hates such places.
* Feeling the need to do something to make her come out, Adachi asks if she would like to go out with him. Suddenly she has the strength. She collapses in his arms and can’t take it anymore. She’ll go out with him. To the hospital. And so Adachi and Muranushi are now officially dating but Kouno and Kisaki wonder if he forced himself on her.
* Poor Shindou. No money so no food. Observing Kisaki feeding Hime, he wonders if she is lactating. She gets the wrong idea he wants to drink her breast milk and beats him up. What he wanted to ask if it is a good idea to feed her daughter since she is smoking.
* Shindou is desperate enough to ask Adachi since his family runs a sushi restaurant. If he and Muranushi gets married, he hopes to get leftovers. Adachi’s hesitant answer makes Muranushi mad. Because she thinks he doesn’t want to marry her.
* It’s Yanagiba’s turn to come down with a cold. However she is staying at Wagnaria! Higashida doesn’t have the heart to kick her out but since he can’t take care of her, he has Nagata do it. Miyakoshi gladly welcomes Yanagiba’s stay since she gets to test her porridge. Not so fast…
* Yanagiba and Nagata try to communicate with Saiki whose butchered Japanese is still hopeless. They think it is to help improve his Japanese. They let him read a relationship advice column and it only reminds them of their similar unrequited love with Higashida.
* Yanagiba thinks Nagata is always coming here because Higashida tells her to. It was true at first but with him dating Miyakoshi, she now views her as a friend. They’ll still be friends no matter who he is dating. This has Yanagiba jab back this only shows how much her love for him really is. Nagata is still worried about him and would like to help make him feel better. Although we know most of his anger is usually towards Yanagiba. Maybe Nagata is also stressing herself out thinking Higashida will die over Miyakoshi’s cooking.
* Now that Yanagiba has returned to normal, Nagata caught her cold. So it is only right for her to visit her this time. Yeah, she’ll go anywhere except school.

Episode 10
* Miyakoshi’s mom got really mad when she learns her daughter and Higashida are dating but do not love each other. It’s different for Higashida’s family. They’re so happy about it that they’ve already picked a name for their child.
* Shindou notes that Shiho should just marry Saitou. They will have a family, kids, nice house and everything. Then he wishes to see that all burn down and getting torn apart! Hwahaha! Then he falls into guilt to think like that.
* This makes him think back about the time he rejected Shiho. Before that happened, his friends were teasing him and his dad was shamelessly trying to borrow money from his friends! He even wanted him to marry Shiho to solve his debt problems. So when Shiho popped the question, he was thinking of how despicable dad’s behaviour was and blurted out no. Of course that affected Shiho very much and the rest was history.
* Now he regrets saying that. So he is bugging Kisaki and telling her his problems? You want a solution? She suggests calling her without honorifics. Of course that didn’t work and he got beaten up and nearly died. That was Kisaki’s way to mess with him and get him off her back.
* Because of that, Shiho is in a bad mood. Tasaka and Saitou know something is wrong and have to fix this. They talk to Shindou to ask him to talk to Shiho. He better do it or else if her father finds out, all of them will die!
* Part of the plan is for Shindou to act as his previous tough self. They use Shiho’s beat down as excuse for him to revert to his old personality. Shiho is upset as his tough talking persona and doesn’t believe a person can change personality after a mere beat down. But when Higashida relates about Miyakoshi’s chocolates, maybe this is real?
* Shindou continues to do the tough talking as she quietly listens. When he gets rough at her, he finds pleasure in this sadism. He thought this might be a trap but Shiho looks afraid and weak! For real?! Shiho starts crying that she prefers spending time with the old him when he didn’t treat her like a rich girl. Then he changed and started avoiding and hating her like everyone else. She bullied him because she wanted him to change back. But nothing changed. Shindou becomes a smooth talker and promises things will get back to normal after his debts are cleared. He is about to kiss her but Saitou beats him up for going too far. I guess this is where it ends.
* A few days later, Shindou continues to regret what he has done but is thankful he is still alive. He can’t help think that any choice he chooses will end up in his death. Even the matter of calling her name has become a life and death matter. If money can only solve it… He had to bug Kisaki again so she points out the root of this problem who is no other than his dad. But easier said than done because he disappeared a long time ago.
* Funny how fate works because on the way home he bumps into his dad! He beats him up for the trouble he has caused. Realizing he has not changed a bit (because he is still thinking about him marrying Shiho and thus everyone wins), Shindou tells him to get lost. He’s done. But come home because mom has been worried sick.

Episode 11
* Miyakoshi is such a noob in dating that she is bugging Muranushi for advice. Even when pointed out how should she feel if he is seen talking to another woman (which is right now), Miyakoshi’s reply is that it is rude for him not to seat the customer! Yup. And you wonder why they are going nowhere.
* Suddenly Miyakoshi tells Higashida that she is going to stay at his place tomorrow for a night! Guess what? His parents suddenly won a trip and his sister will be having a sleepover study session at her friend’s place. Home alone with Miyakoshi! That is what he is scared of!
* But you know what is scarier? Miyakoshi saying she is going to eat her own chocolates to go ask St Valentine for advice! Is she toying with her own life?! She instantly ‘dies’ and St Valentine isn’t too happy to see her. Yup, the same abuses. He can’t give her any advice on love. Disappointed?
* Miyakoshi gets the scare of her life when Higashida is also here. She thinks he ate the chocolates from her mouth and thus a kiss. She feels so bad that she wants to eat her own chocolates and die. Uhm, aren’t they already ‘dead’?
* When Higashida wakes up, he notices she is gone. She must have gone home herself. His sister comes in and mentions seeing Miyakoshi in tears running out of the house. This doesn’t look good…
* And so guilt ridden Miyakoshi bugs Muranushi but she slips away and leave it to Shiho. Miyakoshi asks about first kiss. Shiho flusters like hell. It gets worse for Miyakoshi since Shiho says she is keeping it for someone special.
* When Higashida comes to apologize, Miyakoshi gets the wrong idea thinking it was the kiss when it is actually the chocolates he meant. Apparently he didn’t eat the chocolate from her mouth as he kept previous leftovers. Yeah, it came in handy at times like these.
* Miyakoshi thinks about it and can’t let her mom worry since this is between her and Higashida. So she needs to settle this. Why does she look menacing like she is going to beat him up? It’s payback time? Suddenly she apologizes and gives him her savings book. Too bad she forgot her PIN (actually it is on the front cover itself). Higashida realizes the misunderstanding but won’t say anything to correct her since he loves to see her apologize sincerely. But he has to cut it short since it is getting too dangerous when she goes overboard. She finally learns the truth but still decides to compensate by treating him. Shocking, eh?
* Higashida realizes the dilemma of letting her keep the savings book since there is a high chance this idiot might lose it but it is not right for him to keep it too. So he gives it to her mom but she gets the wrong idea when Miyakoshi mentions it was supposed to be his compensation but he wouldn’t take it.

Episode 12
* Higashida wonders if Wagnaria is going to be alright. Because everyone seems to have problems. Shindou worried about his dad, Shiho talking about organs, Adachi looking depressed and only worsens when Miyakoshi with that dumb look apologizes to him because now she feels better after he let her feelings known to Higashida.
* Shiho is talking about organs because she wants to know how many organs can a man live without. Because she wants to harvest them and clear somebody’s debts! Will Saitou be kind to donate his?
* Because Adachi continues to be depressed, Muranushi invites him to her house. So what does it imply when a girl does that when her parents aren’t home? You talk about breaking up! Expecting something romantic, weren’t you? It makes sense because you can’t be talking about breaking up in public, would you?
* Adachi expresses he doesn’t want to break up with her and reveals that misunderstood situation where he saw Miyakoshi on top of Higashida. This makes Muranushi smile and laugh that he was concerned over such trivial matters. But wait. Her smile doesn’t scare him. Could it be he finds it exciting now?
* As Adachi leaves, he quickly pulls Muranushi close to him and kisses her! She quickly slams the door. Next day, he thinks she is going to kill him because she has a knife in hand!
* Guess what Saitou has brought in? Shindou’s dad! He caught him at the pachinko! This makes Shiho draw her sword at Shindou. If he knew the whereabouts of the real debtor, why did he stay silent? He can’t abandon his family even if he is useless. This makes her heart skip. Although, she thinks a little sacrifice is acceptable.
* She is further impressed with him and will abandon her own family to be with him. Saitou is worried because her father will kill him. She suggests bringing Shindou’s dad home instead. In one fell swoop, that is how she ‘killed’ those 3 guys.
* Higashida has to mediate for Shiho’s case. He asks her to go back and think about it as her dad has taken care of her all the while. Too bad she has given all her cash and credit card to Saitou and can’t receive money anymore. As she has run away from home, she is now living at Wagnaria. Shindou can’t bring her to his poor family or he’ll be killed. So he is going to live here with her?
* Saitou manages to come back alive. Shiho’s father would have wanted to kill him had not he used Shiho’s whereabouts as his insurance. He also brought Shindou’s dad to him and he got an 8 hour lecture. From the way he says his fate, Shindou thinks his dad was thrown into the sea.
* Shiho has no idea what to do. Thinking that there is nothing between them now, she confesses to him like old times. He finds her cute when she is not sadistic and hugs her. He then pushes her down but his common sense prevails. But Shiho wants him to show further proof of his love. He just pecks her forehead. They can do the rest when everything is settled. She is further awed and continues to fall for him. But he is scared of the kinder Shiho and prefers her to dominate over him?! So used to being a masochist, eh?
* Saitou brings Shindou’s dad in. He’s not dead by the way. It seems dad found his calling as a fisherman and hauled up a fortune enough to cover almost all his debts. Unfortunately he wastes it all on horse racing. He won enough to cover all that is owed. Then he blows it all in pachinko. You can’t blame Shindou for punching him. Twice. He wants to borrow Shiho’s sword to finish him off. But Shiho is so impressed that he is trying to settle this for their future that she grows flowers on her head?
* Finally Higashida finally asks what is bothering Miyakoshi. She wonders if St Valentine will be alone without them. He assures not to worry about him so she thinks she can be Higashida’s life saver if her cooking improves.

Episode 13
* Higashida dreams of St Valentine saying goodbye. Does this means he won’t appear anymore? Miyakoshi is worried this means they can’t come back from the other side. Thinking of dying again? Somehow she is motivated to cook more. She is serious and you can see the real motivation in her eyes. This makes Higashida worried since she feels responsible for making him her taste tester.
* One day she comes in lifeless. Something is wrong. When he walks her home, he finds a dark aura coming out from her house! All she did was cooking, right? I don’t even begin how to explain the filth and mess just from it. Miyakoshi is really sorry and repentant she sucks this much. She considers herself a failure as a cook and human being. Since this cooking is so much worse, it makes the chocolates seem better. She assumes this will be the last time and wants him to take a last bite so they can say goodbye to St Valentine.
* Despite the chocolates taste bad, he didn’t die. This is when St Valentine descends on them. Wait a minute. Maybe they are already dead! Just kidding. St Valentine came to their world just to tell them that their mutual thoughtfulness has brought about a miracle. Now they don’t have to put their lives in danger and cross over to this side. He gives Miyakoshi his last advice: Just stop cooking.
* 6 months later, Miyakoshi has grown her hair long since Higashida says he prefers it. Nagata on the other hand has cut hers short. It’s her way of giving up? I guess it will be less confusing the next time if she falls in love again. Yanagiba views her as such a great friend that she has decided to give up on going to school forever.
* Shindou is working at some construction job and Shiho is really treating him super nice. It’s like she is already his wife (she has since returned to her home). They could have gotten a bit romantic if not for the bodyguards firing a warning shot to remind him to get back to work. This prompts Shiho to note that money is fated to keep them apart. He counters it by saying it was money that brought them together! So cool!
* Adachi talks to Muranushi during her break time that he is going to quit and go work in his family sushi restaurant. The more he talks, the more knives she puts on the table! Before she takes it as a sign he doesn’t want to see her, he invites her to come work with him. He would love to keep continuing be with her. She goes blank for a while but notices he is nervous while saying this. And also missed her chance to blush. She hugs him agrees. Her smile doesn’t scare him anymore. Now to go tell Sakaki about quitting…
* Kisaki seems to be teaching Hime about money. Yeah, she’s flaunting it at Sakaki. Kisaki shocks him by doing her job for the first time. But she leaves Hime in his care.
* Miyakoshi has finally cooked! Instant noodles! Higashida comes in and drops the bombshell. Let’s break up. WTF?! While he puts on his usual poker face, Miyakoshi goes through a lot of emotions. She ultimately blames herself for turning him like this.
* Once that is done, Higashida drops another bombshell: Please go out with him. Apparently their first date was based on the understanding to improve her deadly cooking. Now that is done with, he wants to start anew. Is Miyakoshi happy or embarrassed that he loves looking at her depressed face? He explains he found it a waste of time about her cooking mishap but that slowly turned into amusement. He finds it funny she getting flustered and embarrassed. He might not be able to say he loves her but he doesn’t want any other guy to have her. Happy Miyakoshi gets motivated to work and bring his smile back.

Please Take Your Job Seriously
I have to admit that this spin-off sequel hardly made any impact on me. I find it hard to view it better than the original or worse off. On par then? As because this is basically a gag anime, the style of jokes and how everything plays out to the interaction of the characters have this very familiar feel. It doesn’t break any new grounds. Therefore once you get to know the characters’ personality and traits, it is more of recycling the same gag again and again. Like how people who ‘died’ eating Miyakoshi’s chocolates will go visit St Valentine. Higashida must be his frequent customer at this rate. Miyakoshi doesn’t learn and tries her cooking again another time. Hence it is hardly exciting because it feels familiar but in a different form. In this case, the characters. Because with them being so wacky with their own personal issues and drama, you hardly see them do their waiting job properly. I wonder if this is the curse of Wagnaria.

Of course the final episode tries to show us that there are changes and ‘development’ among the characters when they make a u-turn from all the running jokes that we have we spammed with to give the characters a new direction and a breath of light. No more death defying cooking from Miyakoshi, no more pitiful bully victim from Shindou, Shiho’s an angel, Saiki’s Japanese has improved a lot although some accent still remain, Adachi and Muranushi quitting and even the unexpected lazy Kisaki starts to get her ass moving and do some real job. Heck, even that grandpa ghost that patrons Wagnaria for Muranushi has even passed over peacefully. So instead of blaming the characters for being stale and being predictably the same from start to finish, I figure that is why the ‘changes’ for a somewhat feel good ending and throw us a bit off our balance. I mean, we’d be downright annoyed to see the tiring punch line of Miyakoshi poisoning Higashida with her poison cooking as the final scene to end the series, right? I guess the only one who didn’t really change is Yanagiba who still refuses to go to school. Some things never change.

Speaking of the characters, they might be new faces but if you have seen the previous seasons of Working!!, you can tell that they are just a different reincarnation of those characters. Just mix up their personality and their physical outlook and voila! You have a bunch of new characters. I am very sure veteran viewers would start to compare the old and new characters like how I did. Like Higashida is similar to Takanashi but without glasses and without all that liveliness. Instead, the broodiness of Satou is now in him. The lively idiot who was Yamada is now in Miyakoshi. She was also Wagnaria’s eternal freeloader (one who stays there) and she is replaced with Yanagiba (though she doesn’t stay, she can be viewed as one as she eternally hangs out here) and for a very short while, Shiho. The lazy Kyouko is now replaced with slacking Kisaki and Kyouko’s lack of facial expression goes to Muranushi. Though, both the managers remains useless and powerless. I can’t say Adachi and Kouno are clones of Satou and Souma as they are more toned down. Remember Yachiyo always holding a sword? It’s Shiho’s turn now. Remember Taneshima as the cute little thing? Yeah, we have Hime, St Valentine and the raccoon now. As for the physical looks, Miyakoshi looks a lot like Inami and Shindou looks like Satou’s long lost brother. I could go on with the list but I think you get the point.

Thus the new characters they may be charming and cute in their own way, they fail to somewhat resonate in me because like I have already said, they are just a new look for something familiar we know. Despite having slightly more characters than its predecessor, some characters feel like they do not really make an impact like Sakaki whose presence is so scarce that it is hard to remember this guy has ever existed. I don’t know, are managers of Wagnaria lack any iron will? Kisaki also doesn’t feel like anything impactful because she just slacks, smokes her cigarette and watches over Hime. Even the newest guy Saiki isn’t anything more as he becomes Kisaki’s gopher and is reduced to a comic relief whenever a joke needs to be done in language barriers. Because Kouno doesn’t do pranks or have an evil heart like Souma, his limited jokes makes him feel irrelevant and boring.

Then there is Yanagiba who has completely made Wagnaria as her home and Nagata’s one-sided crush to add some little drama but hardly impacted anything. Saitou also has his one-sided crush on Muranushi but that feels irrelevant too since I see his job as mainly to prevent Shiho from going berserk with her sword on Shindou. Others side family characters like the carefree family of Higashida (if only real life everybody was this happy), Muranushi’s exorcist mom, Miyakoshi’s professional chef mom and Shindou’s gambler dad add a little colour and variety but hardly memorable in the long run. But in a way it won’t be fair to compare these characters to the original since the predecessor had 3 seasons to flesh things out. Thus if Higashida’s quirky family isn’t memorable compared to Takahashi’s sisters and mom, a single season here proves that minor characters like them need more screen time to capture the viewers’ hearts. I wonder if Higashida’s dad has already found a job because otherwise why would his son continue to work at Wagnaria… Or maybe Higashida has some sort of motivation to stay this long as a part timer? I can only think of a killer cook…

So I can greatly theorize that the reasons why some characters aren’t prominent and not impactful is because the series is trying to focus on the 3 pairs of couples: Higashida-Miyakoshi, Shindou-Shiho and Adachi-Muranushi. That is way these pairs get so much screen time played out between them and sometimes the joke repeats itself and drags out so long that it gets a bit boring. At least the romance got somewhere even though it is just by a bit. Better than Takanashi being a punching bag for Inami, right? You know it will be the running joke of the series when Miyakoshi’s cooking is so bad that it kills and over the series she tries to improve on it but only makes it worse before finally giving it up completely in the end. Good riddance? Then we have Higashida who is trying to tolerate her behaviour just because he can’t be the bad guy and become a full blown jerk. It is supposed to be another running gag as he makes his comebacks against the idiot but it becomes annoying after a while to see them interact. Did all those poison cooking turned him into a masochist and fall in love with her? Ah yes, perseverance pays off. If you don’t succeed at first, try and try again. Because a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Oh Miyakoshi you sly girl…

But the character that really made me ‘feel’ the most and having the most ‘impact’ on me is Shiho. Surprised? Well actually, at first she started out looking cute and all. But slowly when she starts showing her true colours of being a sadist over Shindou. I really didn’t like her being a bully over Shindou even if it was for comedic and character development purposes. She was fast becoming the most hated character in the series in my books. Sure, she might be acting tough in hopes that guy would go back to his original roots whatsoever. But I can’t really stand the way she asserts her dominating personality over what is clearly a very pitiful guy in very dire circumstances. Reminds me of today’s feminism… Therefore I want to say that I admire Shindou for being a strong dude who has to be strong and tolerate her bullying but then again I keep thinking he might just be a masochistic idiot despite crying in our faces each time he faces Shiho’s cruelty. Even if Shiho did change for the better in the end, the damage was done. I just couldn’t see her in a new light. That flower-popping-on-her-head girl thingy feels so fake and artificial.

So the only couple that really made a big leap in terms of advancement (if I should call it that) is Adachi-Muranushi pair. Again, there is this running gag of Adachi being fearful of Muranushi because he once saw her scary smile. He tries to avoid her, she tries to understand, they meet, it usually doesn’t go well, sometimes it ends with misunderstanding, usually Adachi is left feeling with more depression or regret, repeat cycle. They are the only couple who kissed for real and officially dating (the other 2 pairs only got it going for real towards the very end). Sure, you can argue that Shindou and Shiho have that childhood promise but it wasn’t anything officially and they’ve been dragging this issue with lots of assumption for years. With Shiho always at the edge of turning into a yandere, do you think real love existed in the early parts for them? Higashida and Miyakoshi may have dated but everything about their relationship is so artificial since cooking was the main factor for them to see each other. Therefore it makes Adachi and Muranushi being the most realistic even if it by means still a long way to go.

It might be a no brainer for me to say but the artwork and animation style remains very close and similar to its predecessor since it is done by the same production company, A-1 Pictures. That is why I have said before some of the characters look similar. With everything in bright colours and looking almost cute, it might look like a show for younger audiences but I doubt it would be once you get to know Shiho’s behaviour. And Kisaki smoking on TV is bad for kids, right?

Yuuichi Nakamura fits as Higashida since I have this stereotype view on his voice playing characters who get mad like Gray in Fairy Tail and Kyousuke in OreImo. Well, he certainly didn’t blow his top as much as his other character roles but I always have this feel that he might just go into that outburst. Great emotional control? On the other hand, Haruka Tomatsu is recognizable as the lively idiot Miyakoshi because she sounds like her other similar character roles like Punch Line’s Rabura. Also recognizable was Sayaka Ohara as Muranushi’s mom. It was shocking to learn that Nana Mizuki was behind Kisaki’s voice. I would never imagine it was her. She sounded so different. I think. And Youko Hikasa was behind Muranushi?

For the rest of the casts, they are Kensho Ono as Shindou (Hakuryuu in Magi), Sora Amamiya as Shiho (Akame in Akame Ga Kill), Kouki Uchiyama as Adachi (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Hiro Shimono as Kouno (Keima in The World God Only Knows), Momo Asakura as Yanagiba (Ayumi in Charlotte), Ari Ozawa as Nagata (Sakura in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun), Souma Saitou as Saitou (Kain in Kyoukai No Rinne), Kazuyuki Okitsu as Tasaka (Andre in Prison School), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Saiki (Rom in Show By Rock), Kousuki Toriumi as Sakaki (Cecil in Uta No Prince-sama series) and Hideyuki Umezu as St Valentine (Akadama in Uchouten Kazoku).

The opening and ending themes have that familiar ring to the themes in the previous seasons of Working!! Eyecatch! Too Much as the opener by the trio of Miyakoshi, Muranushi and Shiho has this very familiar vibe to the cute and lively openers that you have heard in this series. Like as though it is just a variant of it. But we wouldn’t mind it since we’ll be distracted with all the wackiness and catchiness. The ending theme is where the guys show their singing chops just like in previous seasons. Muchuuryoku Fever by the trio of Higashida, Adachi and Shindou have this fun carnival feel to it. The final episode is a variant with the aforementioned female trio joining in for one big group song.

This might be trivial for me to bring up at this point but when I first heard about this sequel spinoff, I was expecting the series to take place online looking from the title. You know, maybe a virtual café or something? Maybe that is why I didn’t feel any excitement since there are no online elements as the place is the same ol’ Wagnaria. Maybe WWW is actually the visual representation of the heartbeat rate of Higashida as he has to deal with Miyakoshi’s poison and the weirdoes in his workplace. Really. So far so good for him, right? He died many times and came back alive. He also had to put up with lots of workplace drama. His family is sh*t. And here he is still maintaining his sanity. And I thought only the internet can screw you over in such a short amount of time.

Overall, not really a bad anime per se but it wasn’t anything exciting to me either. Same style of jokes and setting in the form of new characters might be able to fool new anime viewers who are too lazy to go back and watch the original Working!! series. It is still entertaining and cute if you look at it as a series on its own but older viewers cannot help but keep comparing it to the original because of so many similarities. Different but it’s same yet different and similar. Yeah, it’s confusing. You don’t know whether to like it or to call it crap and be disappointed. It’s like you ordered normal fried rice but they brought out paella instead. Or maybe they just messed up your order.

New Game OVA

June 16, 2017

I guess to remind others that there is another season for the series, hence New Game OVA is released in conjunction with that. Oh heck, maybe it is to milk more money to get fans to buy and complete the collection of the series with this unaired thirteenth episode. Make that a hotspring unaired thirteenth episode. What does a group of game designing girls has got to do with hotspring anyway? Who cares? Sometimes geek girls need to show off their natural assets and let some steam lose once in a while.

My first company trip…
As reward for recently completing their recent project, the designing department gets to go on a company trip to a ski resort. However Aoba has fears of skiing because she flopped badly when she was young. So the next morning when Hajime is looking forward for the gang to ski, Aoba opted to stay back in the hotel. However Kou also wants to stay out. They notice something isn’t right with her so Rin takes Kou back. Turns out she is sick so she can’t join them. Aoba wonders if she should still go skiing and that is when Hifumi offers to teach her. Can she finish her bread first before saying that? The quartet are geared up to start skiing. But Umiko is here too. Her programming team is here doing a survival game. Care to join them? No thanks… Suddenly skiing seems to be a better option, no, Aoba? At first Aoba is panicky, worried she will fail just like in her dreams. But when she realizes she is alright, she overcomes her trauma and is happy skiing with Hifumi. She’s doing pretty alright. After all that cold outdoor activity, it’s time to hit the warm relaxing baths. Read: Fanservice. So we have them stay in the sauna. Oddly, Aoba seems to be a sadist because she made a mini snowman and then lets it melt in the sauna! Then there is the outdoor hotspring which is supposed to be the main fanservice draw. Don’t hold your breath… Anyway, we see Aoba again being a snowman killer because she ‘interrogates’ it and lets it melt in the hotspring! WHAT DOES SHE HAVE AGAINST SNOWMEN???!!! And she isn’t even drunk! Well, Hifumi is a little and wants Aoba to join her but Aoba declines since she doesn’t drink and still underage. Yeah, thank goodness. Who knows how many snowmen she’ll start killing. On the other hand, Kou has recovered and goes drinking with Rin and Umiko. Umiko shows her unruly side when she gets drunk. Yeah, threatening the oyster with her gun when it doesn’t open up? As everyone turns in for the night, Aoba feels her first company trip was a lot of fun. The gang hopes to do it again. Well, after you have completed your next project, we’ll cross the bridge when we get there. Aoba hopes Nene could come the next time. Speaking of her, she is having her own fun of soaking in her own bathtub. Who says you can’t be together and still not have fun?

Drunk Women And Snowman Killer…
Sighs… Didn’t feel like anything much. Just the gang frolicking around and having fun. Uh huh. That’s what they’re supposed to do, right? They’re not supposed to go overboard when relaxing. But then again, I shouldn’t have placed such high expectations on the OVA in the first place. What was I thinking? Even the fanservice feels like a bit of a let-down. Yeah… No bare tits. Okay. So we want to make this series clean. Showing some skin and cleavage are acceptable. So going a bit too far to see real tits might be crossing the line, going overboard and too shocking especially for the kind of series New Game is supposed to be. So the only amusing thing that broke the monotony of it all is Aoba’s shocking side of torturing poor cute little snowmen. Although it is not that bad, it is a side of her that you don’t normally expect. It goes to show behind that cute innocent face lies a much crueller sadist that is bursting to get out when given the chance. Oh, how I would love to see such twist and conspiracy theory playing out in the next season. But then again, I should keep in mind what this series is supposed to be really about. Aoba designing secret animations of NPCs dying and getting tortured… Woah. That game I would want to buy.

Oh boy. Do we all need another anime about somebody being mysteriously thrown and trapped in another world and then trying to adapt and find out what happened? Generally that is the starting premise of Re: Zero Kara Hajimaru Isekai Seikatsu. It isn’t any Sword Art Online or Log Horizon because this isn’t a game. Nothing like Overlord too because our main protagonist is powerless and useless. No super almighty cheat code from the start. This might sound a bit close to Hai To Gensou No Grimgar then but lacks all that ‘boring drama’. One big difference about this series compared to the aforementioned rest is that death is real. Yeah so? Those series also had deaths. But here is the catch: Life resets back to a certain point if he really dies. A chance to change the future or doomed to repeat history?

Episode 1
A one hour long episode to kick things off. Subaru Natsuki looks like your typical midnight gamer. On his trip to the convenience store, the moment he blinks, the next he knows he is in a different fantasy world. Obviously he thinks he has become a new hero of this world and tries to use his whatever super powers. Nothing happens. As shock as he is of his new surroundings, he tests around by trying to buy fruits from a fruit seller with his yen but his money is no good here. Besides, he gets shooed away because he has no money. And he learns a few things the hard way. So while bumming out at an alley thinking about his fate yet to come, a group of ruffians try to rob him. Then this thieving girl just zooms by him, leaving to his fate. Luckily Subaru has learnt martial arts and can fight. But there is only so much he can take before getting taken down. Then a girl with silver hair, Satella appears. She thinks they are the ones who stole something from her. No Subaru, she didn’t come to save you. Of course she can’t stand this injustice and demonstrates her magic as well as summoning her cat familiar, Puck to send them running away. She is kind enough to help heal him although she claims it is for her own benefit. Subaru can’t just accept her kindness for free and offers to return it by helping her find the thing she lost. They introduce themselves as Subaru learns a few things about this world like this country he is in is called Lugnica. Continuing their search, they help a lost girl reunite with her mother. Satella is shocked that Subaru is not surprised when he reveals she is half-elf. He doesn’t understand the connotation of it. Subaru then returns to the fruit seller for information. He’s still broke, though. But because that lost girl is his daughter, he gives some information of the thieving girl Subaru describes.

Looks like she might be living in the slums at the outskirts of the town. As night falls, Puck cannot retain his form and has to go ‘sleep’. Subaru knocks on the door of a bar belonging to Rom the giant. However nobody answers and when he enters, he sees corpses! Blood everywhere. Too bad the killer is still around and he gets cut in the gut. Satella walks in to satiate her curiosity over the commotion and instantly gets killed! Subaru is so determined to save her that before he knows it, he suddenly finds himself before the fruit seller. This is weird. Was that all a dream? Déjà vu again as the ruffians want to rob him but this time he takes them out. He heads for the slums and luckily Rom is still alive. He learns the thieving girl is Felt and will be bringing some loot to exchange. Subaru thinks he can negotiate to exchange that for his… Potato chips? Tastes good, right? Subaru waits till night fall for Felt to arrive. Because it is like he knows what she has and is going to do, she is suspicious if he is in cohorts. Rom appraises Felt’s insignia. If Subaru has something that can match its value then it’s a deal. Subaru demonstrates his ‘magical device’. Read: Handphone. It captures moments in time and stores them forever! Rom appraises this ‘metia’ to be higher than the insignia. It is worth 20 holy coins compared to the insignia’s 10 holy coins. Of course Felt will wait for the client to hear her side of the story. Oh, here she is, Elsa Granhiert. She also has 20 holy coins but as Rom values the metia higher, it is Subaru’s win. Elsa would have left quietly had not Subaru answered her question of what he is going to do with it: Return it to its owner. This makes Elsa think he is with them. Felt saves him from Elsa’s strike in the gut. Yeah, she’s the killer. Rom fights her but is no match and is killed. Angry Felt attacks to avenge the old man’s death but dies in vain. So does Subaru have the balls to stand up and fight? He thought he avoided her gut cut but too bad it cut him real deep. Dead again. When he opens his eyes, he is back before the fruit seller. What sh*t dream is this? He is so sick of this that the fruit seller helps him. When Subaru sees Satella passing by, he calls out her name. However she doesn’t know him and doesn’t appreciate calling her by that name.

Episode 2
Satella is not pleased he called her taboo nickname and leaves. As Subaru sits around in the alley, here comes those bozos again. But the ruffians killed him this time! Oh sh*t! Too fast! Back before the fruit seller again. Man, this has got to stop. Noticing his wounds are gone, he realizes his death must be resetting things. He is relieved that he has no more debts and favours in this case but realizes even so, Felt will still Satella’s insignia and Elsa will still kill them. I suppose he needs to fix this because he is the hero, right? While trying to put things together, here comes those ruffians. Oh no. This time Subaru screams like a girl for help. Well, it’s not Satella to his rescue this time but Reinhard Van Astrea. He has this status as a Sword Saint and a knight of the royal guard so you better not mess with him even though he is off duty. Subaru hopes if Reinhard sees Satella, he could help relay the message not to go near the loot house (Rom’s place). On his way to the slums, Subaru bumps into Elsa who has this déjà vu feeling that they’ll meet again. Then he has to escape from Felt trying to kill him as she thinks he is trying to steal something from her house. She is suspicious when he knows her name and even the insignia she stole. He would like to buy her insignia with his metia. Since she is not sure about the price, she would prefer to take it to Rom for evaluation. After getting its value, Felt wonders why he is in a hurry to get it because this insignia is definitely worth more than his metia and can try to get more out of it. He warns her about this dangerous thinking because her client cannot go more than 20 holy coins. It makes Subaru sound he is in cohorts although he claims he just wants to return it to its owner. Rom can tell Subaru is earnest and not lying. When somebody is at the door, Subaru fears Elsa is here. Death comes knocking again? Well thankfully it is Satella.

Episode 3
Satella somehow tracked her here. She demonstrates her magic and warns to return her insignia or else. At this time Elsa attacks but thanks to Puck’s quick reflexes, her gut is safe. I guess negotiations are closed. Puck’s magic keeps Elsa at bay. She gets stuck in his crystals but rips off her sole just to dodge a bigger attack! However time is out for Puck and he has to go sleep. Satella takes on Elsa but is wiped out. Rom joins in and clubs around. Felt thought she can help but the blade she throws, Elsa deflects it and it pierces Rom. Felt feels guilty over this. Subaru moves his feet to save her from death. Because she is the youngest, Subaru makes her run to safety while he takes on Elsa. Satella has recovered to help Subaru. But they are not enough and could have been done for had not Reinhard entered the scene. He was passing by and heard Felt’s cry for help. Reinhart knows Elsa as an infamous Bowel Hunter from the shape of her sword. Satella tries to heal Rom as Reinhart fights Elsa. However she is ‘insulted’ that he is unwilling to draw his sword to fight her because the time doesn’t call for it. He might have destroyed Elsa’s sword but she will continue to fight till her last ounce of life. Once Satella is done healing, she is able to lend some of her magic to Reinhart. Now that he is able to draw his sword, he is going to use his special magic. Man, his magic blows up the entire house! Everything seems pretty back to normal when Elsa rises up from the rubble. She dashes to slash Satella. Knowing she will aim for the guts, he uses Rom’s club to block. Reinhard warns her to stop. She pays heed and escapes. Subaru is posing like a hero after this (Saturday Night Fever pose?). All he wants as reward is to know Satella’s real name. Emilia. You didn’t think it was something dirty, did you? Subaru realizes too late there is a slash on his gut. Don’t worry, it’s not deep but it’s still a cut enough to make him bleed and faint. Emilia will take responsibility of Subaru and bring her back to her home. She learns Felt is alone and only has Rom has her family. When Felt returns the insignia, Reinhart cannot let this slip and arrests her. The gravity of this crime is grave and he cannot overlook it.

Episode 4
Subaru wakes up in a nice bedroom of a big mansion. Wounds healed. Thank goodness it isn’t a reset. He walks the long hallways and noticing it will not end, he opens the nearest door. Who is this Beatrice loli? Not fond of his intrusion, she zaps his guts (not again). Don’t worry, just taking a little mana. He wakes up back in bed again. Reset? But this time he notices 2 cute lovely maids berating him. Folks, meet sisters Ram and Rem. I’m sure nobody can resist having fantasies on maids, right?! Emilia is glad he is okay. So they talk about things and do morning exercise before the lord of the mansion calls them. So this gay clown, Roswaal L. Mathers is the lord? Believe it. With Subaru’s mysterious appearance in Lugnica, it makes it all suspicious because the king just died and the officials are in the process of selecting the next king. Noticed why Roswaal addresses Emilia as higher status than him? The insignia is a touchstone that signifies she is a candidate for the throne. Now you get it? Roswaal is connected to her as he is her sponsor. Because Subaru saved the insignia, he has a request: He wants to work in this mansion. So the maids guide him around the different rooms and it seems Subaru has a knack to find rooms where Beatrice is in. She isn’t Roswaal’s daughter but contracted to protect his library that contains forbidden magic. Roswaal is the greatest magician in the kingdom. Real hard work begins for Subaru. Didn’t know you have to do all those chores in a day, huh? Well, those cuts on the fingers prove he is working hard. At night, Roswaal has Ram report about Subaru’s potential as a spy. No matter how she sees it, the possibility is very slim. He is just so bad in everything. Could it be just an act? Subaru talks to Emilia about things and he is excited she agrees to go out on a ‘date’ with him. So excited that he can’t sleep. When he finally does and wakes up in the morning, are the maids going to do something naughty to him this early? They don’t understand what he is talking about. Then he realizes and fears the worst: The cuts on his fingers are gone. Oh sh*t. He didn’t die but the day reset?!

Episode 5
Obviously Subaru is upset because this means his promised date with Emilia is also reset. Accidentally he barges into Beatrice’s room but seeing her unchanging attitude, it makes him feel better. Making his day better is seeing Emilia who was worried when he ‘disappeared’ after waking up. Subaru decides to retrace and redo all his steps to end up in the same path as last time. However it didn’t go accordingly because instead of taking measurements for his suit, he straight away gets to work and then soaks in the bath with Roswaal. That night, Ram teaches him how to read and write their language so it will be easier to do errands. This means she and her sister will have less work to do! So the rest of the scenes we see Subaru helping the maids with Ram having lots of sarcasm. Subaru also helps out Rem with her errands and they talk about her sister. Since the maids are unavailable, Emilia helps Subaru study. I’m sure he is having trouble keeping his heart still. I suppose he can’t stand it anymore so he straight up asks her out on a date. At first she is reluctant but eventually finds it hard to decline him. Well, if it gives him motivation to work hard as reward, so be it. Naturally he is so excited that he can’t sleep. Or at least he doesn’t want to fall asleep thinking he might get reset again. But as he dozes off, he suddenly gets a rude awakening when he realizes something is poisoning or choking him. As he tries to get help, he is hit by a blast that costs his arm and bloodied the hallway. Looks like he is done for…

Episode 6
You know the drill. Rinse and repeat. But this time we see Subaru bugging Beatrice so she throws him out in annoyance, he lands on garden manure, Puck uses his whirlpool magic to wash him and Emilia laughs at the funny act Puck and Subaru did. With Roswaal home, Subaru decides to dedicate his time to find out his assailant. So he becomes a freeloader in the mansions. Oh, guest is a much more appropriate word. No such like in finding clues. He asks Beatrice about if there is any magic that weakens and kills someone like as though putting them to sleep. He learns it is a rare spell that a few can only do. Then there is the mana sucking spell which Subaru already experienced and that Beatrice has more powerful healing powers than Emilia as she can heal fatal wounds. Later Subaru talks with Ram about his world’s fairytale regarding the blue and red demon. Subaru notes the local legend regarding about a dragon and the witch. It is believed the dragon will protect the nation from far away beyond a great waterfall until its contract with the royalty is fulfilled. But didn’t the king just died? Well, nobody knows what the dragon wants. Subaru ends his stay and leaves. However he is just camping on a higher ground at a distance to keep watch on Emilia’s room. No, he is not a peeping tom. He also anticipates his assailant will target him in which came true. He almost got killed by the huge mace and had took precautions tying a rope to himself or else he would have fallen to his death. As he runs, he is cornered when he reaches a cliff and realizes he played into the assailant’s hands. Not sure if he is joking as he uses his jersey as a shield from the incoming mace! Didn’t work. But he grabbed onto the mace’s chain and calls out to the assailant. To his horror… Rem! Why must it be the cute maid?!

Episode 7
It seems Rem suspects Subaru and still distrusts him. He gets upset and tries to run only to have his leg cut off. However Rem won’t kill him easily as she wants to interrogate him. Although he declares his true love for Emilia, she thinks he is fooling around. She thinks he is from the Witch Cult. From what she is saying, it’s like she is jealous of him being with Ram and being associated with a cult that has cost Ram pain. Subaru starts crying and throwing a tantrum of how things turned out. He is about to say he loves the maids too, Rem slashes his throat. Of course he wakes up the next day with everything restarted like usual but this time he is fearful. When Emilia comes to check on him, he wants to tell her the truth about his reset but it seems some scary thing is squeezing his heart. Although in the end this is an illusion, the fear was too real so he chickens out and tells her to not have anything to do with him. For the next few days, he continues to have nightmares. Beatrice sees him and she could smell some witch stench on him. Subaru wants her to protect him till tomorrow morning. At first she is reluctant but after assuring he has no intentions of doing anything, she agrees and makes a contract. He spends his supposedly final day in her library. He leaves when the day is about to end and Emilia looks like she is worried. When she takes him along, he hears the screams of Ram. Rem is dead in her bed! He tries to touch her but Ram smacks him not to. Roswaal believes Rem died of a weakness of a curse. Because Subaru is acting like he is hiding something, Ram gets mad and threatens to kill him to spill what he knows. Beatrice comes to his protection and this doesn’t sit well with Roswaal. Master and loli face off. Worse, Subaru runs away as he could hear Ram screaming she’ll kill the hell out of him! He runs off to a cliff but being chicken, he can’t jump. He is surprised Beatrice is still here protecting him as she doesn’t recall a time duration for this protection. When Subaru remembers the maids holding his hands while he is having nightmares, that’s when he decides to use his life the way he wants. Ram has found him and is going to kill him. Subaru won’t let Beatrice protect him. He apologizes for all the grief he caused. He wants to learn more about the things he doesn’t know. He screams he loves both the maids and then jumps off the cliff. He swears he will save them.

Episode 8
Restart again. This time Subaru is happy and at least grateful to the maids although they think he is a creep. After he offers to work in the mansion, he learns from Puck the difference between magic users and those who use spiritual arts like Emilia. Puck detects Subaru to have magic potential. Guess what his attribute is? Nothing elemental. Shadow. Is that even cool? Puck demonstrates it on him and he panics when engulfed in total darkness and silence. He tries it out himself but because he cannot control his magic properly, his shadow attribute gush out like black smoke. Next he learns how curses are caused from Beatrice. It cannot be undone once activated. He also finds out about the only witch this world refers to known as the Jealous Witch: Satella. Sounds familiar? Legend says she cannot die and is sealed by a dragon, hero and sage. What if someone takes after that name? It could mean that person is just insane. Subaru deduces that by doing so, people would see this person as a mad person and wouldn’t be dragged into this royal selection mess. Subaru needs to earn the trust of the maids so he works hard. I mean, really hard. Also, in a very lively and idiotic way that it is painful to watch. At this rate he won’t last. Even he himself knows this and is tearing up inside. Emilia can’t bear to watch this and talks to him. Giving a free lap pillow service. Once he talks, he breaks down from the desperation of trying to make everything right. Sometimes it is good to just let it all out. While he feels embarrassed about bawling out before his beloved the next day, he finds out more from Beatrice how to detect curses. There is a pre-requisite rule that must be done if curses are placed. You must be in physical contact with your target. This leads Subaru to remember the time Rem died, they didn’t go to the village and the attacker targeted her. This means the one who placed the curse was from the village where he and Rem went shopping. Subaru gets back to work and isn’t desperate anymore. Must be the lap pillow that did the trick, huh? Even the maids know… At least they suspect him lesser. He hopes to go shopping with them today.

Episode 9
Subaru does radio exercise with the villagers and has everyone touch him even if it makes him look like some sort of pervert… He has also become close with the kids who let him play with their stray pet dog. When Subaru and the maids return, Roswaal has to leave for an appointment and won’t be back for the night. As this never happened before, this cements Subaru’s theory that acting as a decoy worked. Then he goes to see Beatrice to detect if there is any curse on him. Luckily he had the villagers touch on him on different body parts so he could identify who placed the curse. Hmm… Does it mean that dog is the one? Using Puck’s wellbeing as blackmail, he has Beatrice cure the curse (possible if not activated yet). Subaru wants to go back to the village to find the culprit but since Roswaal has orders for the maid to safeguard the mansion and Emilia, Ram has Rem accompany Subaru. When they arrive, they see the villagers looking for their missing children. They notice a barrier has been broken and the kids dragged into the forest by witchfiends (creatures created by the witch). Rem doesn’t see why Subaru wants to help the kids so he mentions how they told him about their dreams and promise to do radio exercise again. They find the children unconscious. As Rem heals them to alleviate their discomfort, Subaru notices one of them missing and decides to go find her. Rem is worried to lose him so he assures her she can track him down with his scent. After all, he has the scent of the witch. Rem is shocked he knows a lot so Subaru makes a promise they’ll talk a lot after this is done. Subaru finds the last girl and saves her despite an obvious trap. The hellhound pounces on him but he is able to fight and kill it. Now what do you do with hundreds of them? Thankfully Rem is here to help as she smashes them with her mace. As they run back to the village, Rem is injured and then saves him from a mudslide. Technically she didn’t die but it activated some demon in her as she goes crazy to kill all the witchfiends. To save her, Subaru pushes her away from the hellhounds and gets devoured himself. Rem returns to normal and is distraught to see him on the verge of dying.

Episode 10
Subaru wakes up in bed mostly healed. Puck explains Rem took the brunt of the damage but thanks to her demon side, she healed quickly. Emilia has stayed up all night to heal him so better let her sleep. Later Subaru returns to the village to see the villagers fine and Ram has fixed the barrier. Later Beatrice talks to Subaru and knows he will die soon. Apparently he has another curse deep inside of him due to the many attacks. The reason the witchfiends curse people is to find a source of food. Emilia is not told about this or else she would have done something unreasonable. When Subaru realizes Rem is not around, it is deduced she went back to the forest to kill every witchfiend. Ram heard this and wants to go rescue Rem. Subaru also wants to go but if he thinks Ram can fight like Rem, he is mistaking. Although twins, their power varies because Ram is a hornless demon. Before they leave for the forest, the villagers give Subaru a sword as thanks. As they trek, Subaru finds out more about hornless demons. As demons are born with 2 horns, it is split between twins. Customarily as such they are supposed to be disposed at birth but were somehow spared. The horns enhance their abilities. When Subaru wants to confess about his reset, he experiences that pain again. This is where the witchfiends attack. This is part of Subaru’s plan to become the bait. As he possesses the scent of a witch that draws witchfiends, and since Rem is hunting them, they will reunite with her. Too bad Ram was just talking big since she can’t fight and runs out of stamina. Subaru is forced to run away while carrying her. Cornered, luckily Rem enters the picture. However she has no control over demon form and attacks Subaru. Words do not reach her. Ram mentions to make a solid hit on her horn to return her to normal. Subaru has an idea and makes her promise she won’t get mad at this method. This involves throwing Ram at Rem and use this distracting to slice her horn. But he misses! With all the chaos, Subaru is sent flying in the air. He has another last chance to get this right.

Episode 11
Flashback reveals the village chief wanted to kill the twins to protect their demon clan. But when they display strong power just for a single horn, they decide to keep them alive. Ram is the one doing all the competent work while Rem is advised to follow her example. One day the village is under attack by some cult. Ram fights them off and in her bid to protect Rem, her horn was cut off. They were taken in by Roswaal as Rem vowed to work hard in Ram’s place. She views herself as her replacement. Now Rem feels guilty for being hesitant and that almost killed Subaru. He head butts her for being an idiot trying to settle things by herself. He allows himself to be bait for the witchfiends while the sisters escape. He uses his shadow element to fight the witchfiend boss and stab his sword. But that isn’t enough and could have been doomed had not Roswaal intervene. The maids apologize for all the trouble but he is impressed they have done well. He will reward Subaru for his actions. Rem becomes emotional as she hugs Subaru till he passes out. He wakes up back in his room with Rem by his side. He is told Roswaal destroyed all the witchfiends so there is no worry about his curse activating. She is still calling herself incompetent, inferior and a good for nothing. As expected, Subaru had to assure and cheer her up that she is kind, hardworking and always trying her best. Whether or not Ram was better off with a horn, he doesn’t know that kind of Ram. Rem might call herself as Ram’s replacement but there is no replacement for Rem. Subaru’s positive talk about the future has Rem giving off her most beautiful smile amidst the tears. Roswaal talks to Ram about the one controlling the witchfiends but it seems the tracks have been erased. He thinks there is another rival for the throne. He believes he must work harder now to win the throne at all cause to achieve his goal to kill the dragon. Emilia talks to Subaru that she was worried about him constantly getting hurt. She still thanks him for saving her and would like to reward him. Instantly he suggests to date him and she agrees. Everything up till now was indeed worth this moment.

Break Time

Break Time 1
Subaru argues with Emilia about how similar some of the names in this world to his. Just a slight difference in pronunciation. Like apples are called appas here. Emilia seems to dislike peppirs (green peppers) and he finds her expression cute although he himself doesn’t like a bunch of vegetables.

Break Time 2
Felt explains to Subaru how time works in this world. Each day is divided into daylight and daydark (morning and night in our world). As for telling the time, daylight is divided into wind time (green) and fire time (red) while day dark is divided into water time (blue) and earth time (yellow). Each division is worth 6 hours. Of course Subaru has to stop her explanation since this itself is already too much for him to absorb.

Break Time 3
Emilia and Puck discuss about Reinhard and his powers. One of them being the ability to separate salt and sugar? Or are you just a bad cook, Emilia? She also praises Subaru for his skill and how nice of him to ask her name as his only reward. Although they know he isn’t a bad guy, they still can’t help feel suspicious about him since his clothes are rather funny. Puck vows to protect Emilia from him if Subaru ever tries anything funny. Is getting rid of him going too far?

Break Time 4
Subaru is trying to learn the meaning behind the hand gestures the maids make. I guess that fox gesture means you’re happy. So what about this frog gesture Subaru made? That kind of reaction would tell us it could be offensive. However they were just trolling us because it means nothing. As Ram continues to call Subaru as Balse, Subaru wants to call her Ram-chan. They claim he is slowing them down in their work so he vows to work super hard. He high fives them as motivation but they sense sexual indecency from his touch.

Break Time 5
Subaru is in the bath with Roswaal. He notes his original face without all that makeup. Yeah, he is pretty good looking without it too. He tries to ask him a few questions include the bath water that is changed every time somebody dips in. This means one can expect clean and fresh water in the bath. Some perversion thoughts about drinking the bath water of a certain girl who just got out of a bath… Subaru asks more questions but Roswaal seems to be fooling around.

Break Time 6
Emilia feels she still hasn’t thank him properly and she acts like she is eager to give him what he wants… He just touches her hair. That’s it? That’s more than enough? She thinks touching her hair is the same as petting Puck’s fur. Surely head hair isn’t body hair. This has Puck mocking him for infidelity because he would rather touch somebody’s hair other than his fur. Puck revokes his petting rights and with Subaru still wanting both, the duo go on to act a silly infidelity act.

Break Time 7
Mostly Subaru talking to Beatrice and infuriating her in every way possible. From Roswaal to his forbidden library to her being a loli and giving her some cute nicknames. Regret forming a contract with him?

Break Time 8
With Subaru back to work looking more respectable, the maids tease the lap pillow did the job. Then they proceed to mock him and he goes on his knees seeking apology. But still more insults about him being a pervert. Emilia thought the maids said nice things to him so Subaru starts praising her with embarrassing words that make her run away. The maids discuss among themselves more about him as a sad individual. When he returns, more stinging comments he is back to make himself look dumb again. And this is them being nice?

Break Time 9
The maids mock Subaru for looking pathetic trying to carry heavy things. Rem easily gets the job done so Subaru complains about being bullied and the need for him being around. Ram explains wouldn’t it look bad on him if Emilia sees Rem lifting the heavy stuffs and Subaru just the light ones? Subaru couldn’t be more grateful than ever. Rem is suspicious that he is close to Ram. He is forced to apologize his ‘wrongdoing’. But Ram sarcastically jokes talking to him cures his disease that will kill him if he doesn’t talk to girls, Rem immediately notes how kind her sister is. They lead on him to do the rest of the work but ultimately mock him for not being able to do anything eventually.

Break Time 10
Subaru is having a hard time keeping up with Ram trekking in the forest. So she asks him why he came in the first place. It’s his promise to Rem that they’ll talk things out. Also, Rem also promised to cut his hair. He thought Rem hasn’t trust him yet because she is always watching him but it was rather she couldn’t stand his messy hair. Subaru feels pathetic for being the weakest compared with the maids. He thought he could be useful by finding Rem faster but trips.

Break Time 11
Emilia is talking about Subaru’s simple date reward so he tries to warn her not estimate his libido. That strange talk almost makes Emilia mad. She says she isn’t mad but her body language says otherwise. He apologizes anyway and she accepts it. Emilia couldn’t believe Puck didn’t tell her anything and he could have died. But since it is over, he thinks she should forgive him. She hopes on their date they get to take some flowers. They manage to watch the morning sunrise together.

Episode 12
An emissary, Felix “Ferris” Argyle visits Roswaal. It could be about the selection. So Subaru tries to butter up her butler, Wilhem Van Astrea for details but he is careful to what he has to say. In other words, nothing. Subaru begs Emilia to let him follow her to the capital. Sure, he wants to be there if it’s related to the royal selection but he would like to go round thanking some people too. With Rem supporting Subaru and Roswaal even arranging a healer in the capital for Subaru’s wounds, Emilia relents. But they’re holding hands not like lovers but like a mother holding on to a child’s hand instead. Because Subaru was so excited and acting like a monkey that she needs to keep her eyes on him. Embarrassing. Emilia meets Julius Euclius of the Imperial Knights. Because he kisses her hand, this sends jealous Subaru into rage. As Emilia enters the palace to attend business, Subaru sees a lady nearby being harassed by those ruffians. He goes to help but Priscilla Barielle doesn’t appreciate his help and thinks she can handle this herself. Subaru scares the ruffians away by mentioning Reinhard’s name and luckily Rom was passing by. Apparently Rom is looking for Felt and he hasn’t a clue what happened to her since. Subaru is further jealous that when Emilia returns, another man by her side?! Actually he is Pricilla’s knight, Al. Emilia was helping him finding Priscilla. Seems Emilia isn’t fond of Priscilla and when Subaru can’t answer when she asks how he met her and such, she drops the subject.

The next day, she doesn’t want Subaru to come along because she thinks he’ll do something that might endanger himself. As frustrated he is, he is forced to stay back to earn her trust. Of course that won’t last long. With Rem turning a blind eye, he makes his way to the capital. He hitchhikes but is picked up by Priscilla’s carriage. As they make their way inside the hall, Emilia is shocked to see him. Priscilla flirts with Subaru to further make her feel uneasy. The candidates take their place in the centre of the hall. Subaru stands with the other knights. He is glad to see Reinhard. He is shocked to learn Ferris is a guy!!! You ruined my image of cat girls!!! Oh, there’s Julius too. Time to make faces at him. After the old weird men committee arrives, the process begins with the leader of the Imperial Knights, Marcos initiating the proceedings. Because he is going to start off with some long history, some of the candidates cut him off about this boring subject and get straight to the point. They’re busy, you know. Anyway Marcos continues about today’s gathering of the qualified candidates. As per prophecy, out of the 5 candidates, one will be selected as priestess to enter a contract with the dragon to become the new ruler. But there are only 4 candidates. This is where Marcos calls out to Reinhard about the completion of his mission. He has found the final and fifth candidate. He ushers her into the hall. She is Felt.

Episode 13
Felt tries to beat up Reinhard. When that fails, she notices Subaru and kicks him! Reinhard shows the dragon gem as proof Felt is a chosen one but the nobles are displeased since she is from the slums. The selection begins with the candidates and their attendants stepping forward. We have Priscilla and Al, Crusch Karsten and Ferris, Anastasia Hoshin and Julius, Emilia and Roswaal, Felt and Reinhard. Because Felt doesn’t want to be part of this, the nobles make noise they have put up with this shenanigans far enough. They badmouth the slum rat and even Emilia as a half-elf. This is when Subaru angrily steps out to object to all that. Although Emilia nicely tells him to step down, Subaru continues to introduce himself as Emilia’s knight. Julius warns him about taking knightship so lightly and wonder if he has to resolve to see this through. Subaru becomes cocky and hell bent in making Emilia as the next ruler. It is obvious Subaru is only making a mockery of himself. The more he speaks, the more shameful he gets so Emilia has to throw him out of the hall. Subsequently, Rom barges in to kidnap Felt but the knights pin him down. Normally he is to be put to death and since Felt is no longer a candidate, her orders means nothing. Thus she reverses her decision and decides to become a candidate to save Rom. She makes everyone knows if she becomes ruler, she will destroy everything and bring fresh air to this kingdom. Later Julius challenges Subaru to a mock duel for mocking the knights. It becomes apparently one-sided with Julius beating the crap out of him. Was it so bad that a knight had to interrupt the selection process and tell what’s happening? This has Emilia running to stop the duel but stubborn Subaru unleashes his shadow magic only to be dealt the knockout blow. When he wakes up in bed, he is still alive and Emilia next to him. He explains himself about wanting to get back at Julius for trying to distance him with her. But Subaru is disheartened when she tells him he will continue to stay here to seek treatment while she returns to the mansion. When Subaru says he has been doing everything for her, she blows her top. He is doing it for himself. He has done nothing but break his promises. She wants to believe him but he didn’t give her a reason to. Subaru wants to tell the truth but that pain prevents him. In his desperation, he blurts out how he has saved her so many times that without him, things would have been different. She owes him a lot! Of course she doesn’t understand it and will end and repay all his debts right now. She is disappointed and had hopes for him that he wouldn’t give her any special treatment but he is like everyone else.

Episode 14
Subaru trains with Wilhem but it is obvious with what happened, he can’t concentrate. He is more bitter remembering Reinhard apologized on Julius’ behalf because that meaningless duel somewhat ruined Julius’ career too (it is believed he played the villain). His only comfort is Rem by his side but that isn’t much. In town, Subaru becomes agitated when he hears people calling it insanity when a half-elf became a candidate. He tries to tell them off not to discriminate Emilia just because the witch was one. He is told off it is because so that the people are scared. As long as the people see her that way, she is doomed to fail. Subaru is called by Crusch to talk. He learns all the candidates received numerous marriage proposals. She advises him to look positive and ahead instead of sulking. Subaru thought he would be getting back on his feet but soon Rem comes in relating some sort of trouble. She could feel some sort of troubling sense from Ram. It is believed some disturbance might have occurred back home. Subaru realizes everyone around Emilia is an enemy ever since Roswaal declared his support for her. Subaru wants to return home but Crusch warns him leaving this place would make him and Emilia her enemy as they are under contract to heal him. He must realize after the events that happened, he is powerless. Unfortunately Subaru remains very stubborn and this ‘advice’ only serves to go his own way. But the ride home will need to take a detour as a white fog is blocking its path and they could be killed entering it. Staying for the night at an inn, Subaru and Rem can’t sleep so they talk. Also, to show some Subaru x Rem and to hint that Rem has feelings for him by holding his back. Or maybe it’s just to heal him. But could it be a ploy to put him to bed? Because when morning comes, Subaru realizes Rem has ‘betrayed’ him when she leaves him behind. A note was left telling him to stay put and she will return to get him once she settles things. This only makes him madder as he thinks she also thinks he is useless. Subaru manages to get a ride back home but once they enter the vicinity, the driver Otto refuses to go further because his dragon is scared. Since he is nearby the village, Subaru makes his way via foot. He experiences several creepy cultists surrounding him before disappearing. Spooky. When he arrives at the village, he sees everyone massacred. Blood everywhere. To his dismay, there is Rem’s body.

Episode 15
Subaru is getting sick at this point. More corpses everywhere. Oh, there’s Ram’s body too. He follows the blood trail supposedly from Emilia’s flower into some frozen room. His body gets frozen and falls apart. First restart in a while, eh? Because now he is back in town. The moment he sees Rem, immediately he hugs her like as though he has never seen her in ages. But soon he falls into a vegetable state. Because of his emotional scar, not even Ferris can do anything about it. Rem takes Subaru home but when they enter the vicinity, she is attacked by the cultists. She goes berserk in attacking them while Subaru still in a vegetable state is kidnapped. He is taken to some cave whereby the Sin Archbishop of the Witch Cult, Betelgeuse Romanee Conti who is also the Archbishop of Sloth thinks Subaru is of Pride. We see this crazy guy talking and screaming about the Gospel and Ordeal, contorting in crazy ways while vegetable Subaru remains unresponsive. But Betelgeuse wonders if Subaru is just playing dumb and acting crazy because if so, it is like insult to real madness. Subaru did react although he is just crying and screaming like crazy. When Rem has found the hideout and attacks in full rage, Betelgeuse kills her off by contorting her limbs in unimaginable ways! At this point Subaru manages to eke out some reaction. Though, it is mostly screaming he’ll kill Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse blames Subaru as Rem’s killer because of his sloth ways, he let her die. Then he blames Rem’s unrequited love on sloth because she died without delivering her feelings. After the cultists have gone, Rem is barely alive as she crawls her way to Subaru to free him. She tells him to live and confesses she loves him before she dies. Subaru carries her back to the village where everyone is slaughtered. In the mansion’s garden, Ram’s body is found. A large monster emerges from the mansion and tells Subaru to sleep before decapitating him. Of course this resets back in town. This time there is more life to Subaru. Yeah, he wasted a life being a vegetable. Rem is concerned about his unpleasant scent growing stronger but he just holds her hand to ease that uneasiness. Rem is happy this looks like a date but Subaru is still teeming with anger within.

Episode 16
On their way to Crusch’s place, they see Russel Fellow, a shrewd treasurer of the kingdom just leaving. Subaru’s plan is to get Crusch to help them destroy the Witch Cult. What’s in it for them? Subaru is willing to be in her debt but is he willing to eliminate Emilia as a candidate? Apparently he is because it means nothing if she is dead. Even so, Crusch will not help him because that is a sign of desperation. This makes her question how he knows when the Witch Cult will attack. Does he has ties to them? With Subaru getting desperate and seething with anger that he will kill them all, Crusch now believes he is only using Emilia to get his revenge on the Witch Cult he hates so much. There is nothing more he can do. He leaves angrily. Just leave. Subaru and Rem discuss that they can’t go back to their mansion because he knows they can’t do anything. They’ll have to look for other help. This means Subaru going to seek Priscilla’s help. She wants him to lick her feet. He is willing to do that but she kicks him and becomes very upset. For him to throw away his pride and do this, it is neither loyalty nor devotion but just desires of a greedy pig. No help. An angry b*tch and an angrier Subaru. While walking in town, he bumps into a little cat girl, Mimi. Despite her looks, she is the second in command of Anastasia’s army! Could Anastasia be the one to help him? Talking at the bar as they talk, Subaru realizes too late that she was just using him to extract information. Of course he is pissed but there is nothing he can do. I guess a little advice about preparing beforehand for a negotiation isn’t going to help him calm down either. And that completes all the girls screwing over him. With Rem failing to evoke any action from the knight stations, they return to the mansion immediately in hopes they have time to evacuate everyone. Along the way they bump into Otto and his merchants camping. He wants to buy all their merchandise and transport (for evacuation purpose, not human trafficking). Look at the power of money because they’re going at full speed! Rem explains about the tall legendary Flugel Tree they will pass as a sign of entering Roswaal’s territory. When a merchant by his side goes missing, Otto denies anyone riding next to him. Subaru uses his handphone light to get a clearer picture. Yikes! A giant eye of a monster! Panic in 3… 2… 1…

Episode 17
They’re being chased by the White Whale. Rem’s only solution is to intercept it and let Subaru escape. Of course he won’t allow it so she knocks him out. When he comes to, he is not happy Otto abandoned her. Subaru wants to go back and rescue her but Otto is definitely not going to as he describes how terrifying it is. When Otto doesn’t remember who Rem is, this pisses Subaru off. Noticing the White Whale is only targeting them, Subaru thinks it is a witchfiend and that he is the source of why it is following him. Otto becomes selfish. To save his own ass, he pushes Subaru off. With broken bones and all, Subaru fears death but suddenly everything becomes calm. He sees Otto’s carriage but he isn’t around. He rides it to the village and to his relief sees everyone alive. He collapses and when he wakes up, he is in bed. He thought Rem was by his side and hugs her but it is Ram. She is not impressed. To make things worse, Ram doesn’t know who Rem is! Subaru is super mad as he tries to prove it. Too bad Rem’s room is empty. No such person ever lived in this mansion. Was it all a dream? Subaru refuses to believe it. He summons his courage to talk to Emilia. He wants her to leave this place but of course since he cannot explain well and what just happened, it is hard for her to believe him. Subaru is getting crazier and desperate by the second. Despite all he says, she can tell he is crying in pain. Subaru is going to reveal everything even if that pain kills him. When he does so, he feels something strange. It wasn’t so bad. However… Emilia is dead! OMG! NO!!! Beatrice comes to see him in total shock. He requests to be killed but she won’t do something so vulgar and throws him into a portal that leads to the woods. Want to die now? He’ll get his wish as the Witch Cult surrounds him. Betelgeuse is spouting his usual crazy stuff. Subaru dodges his shadowy hands. This makes Betelgeuse mad because nobody is supposed to see his Unseen Hands except himself. He attacks Subaru and is about to defile Emilia’s corps since he has been holding on to it so dearly. Luckily he is interrupted by mad Puck.

Episode 18
Puck kills all the cult members and when Betelgeuse tries to kill him with his Unseen Hands, Puck transforms into a giant monster to freeze him till his body breaks. Now Puck turns his attention to Subaru and tells him the 3 sins he has committed. 1) He broke his promise to Emilia; 2) He defied her wishes and return here; 3) He let her die. Because of that, Puck will destroy the world as per contract because she is the reason for his existence. Subaru’s body freezes up and breaks apart. Of course his life resets back in town with Rem. He takes her to run to some place and talk. Yes, this is what the rest of the entire episode is. He wants Rem to run away with him to another place. He realizes he can’t stay here because whatever he does, nothing will turn out right. It has been spelled out to him many times over about his uselessness but he refused to believe it. Rem might be confused about this but she can’t. They promised to laugh together instead of doing this sad thing. Rem has even thought ahead by suggesting he should go study first, then find a better place to live, start their own business and even family planning! But the thing that makes her not want to run away with him is because the Subaru she loves will be gone. This only serves to make Subaru mad as he blows his top. He has chosen to give up. He screams it wasn’t easy to give up after all that he has been through. He realizes he did nothing. Even before coming to this world. His rotten character is the result of what has happened. His life is a big lazy waste and a coward. He talks big, dreams big and hates himself. He can’t change anything and nothing has changed in him. With Subaru beating himself, Rem says some good things about him like how she likes his soft hands and the cute looks on his face when he sleeps. Still, Subaru is not impressed. This time Rem yells back all he talks about is his perception of himself. What about her perception of him? She likes him because he is her hero. Explaining the events of that witchfiend incident in that forest, Subaru did and said what she wanted to hear for a long time. He unfroze the time that her heart stopped and let it flow again. Oh Subaru. You’re still going on with this negative talk? Even after Rem hugs you and pecks you forehead? No one believes you? Nothing’s changed no matter how hard you try? Rem vows that this time it is her turn to make his time move again. They will start from zero. Thank goodness Subaru has gotten out of the dumps. He reveals he loves Emilia and wants to see her smile again. He needs Rem’s help for that. She agrees and he will show her the awesome man she has fallen for. His life now starts here from zero.

Episode 19
Subaru goes to negotiate with Crusch again to form an alliance. This time he is putting up mining rights in Roswaal’s domain as well as the information of the White Whale’s appearance as his trump card. He knows when it will appear because he saw the time on his handphone. Seems he also has Anastasia and Russell in on this deal and they wouldn’t very much want to miss it. Although Crusch still has her doubts and questions but can tell he is not lying and agrees to his deal. Wilhem then thanks Subaru from the bottom of his heart. He wants revenge against the White Whale as it took his wife’s life. Subaru sees the entire army of men looking forward to this hunt. He meets a few of them including Ricardo the mercenary leader of Anastasia’s Iron Fang, Hetaro who is Mimi’s sister who gives commands on behalf of his sister when she is too rash as well as a group of old retired knights under Crusch. Crusch rallies everyone by giving a little history speech about how the White Whale tormented everyone’s lives ever since the Jealous Witch created it 400 years ago and this time they shall crush it with their own hands. Subaru also picks his own land dragon and since it takes a liking for Subaru, could it be a start of a love rivalry between it and Rem?! As they make their journey, Subaru notices Ricardo’s own team logistics with their luggage. In addition to prepare for hunting the White Whale, they have to take precaution from other enemies that might show up. Subaru realizes he didn’t make provisions for Betelgeuse and his Witch Cult. The convoy camp at Flugel Tree as Subaru learns more about Wilhem’s wife. She was the previous Sword Saint and accepted her fate as one since the sword loved her. He married her and tried to take the title away from her but to no avail. So in this battle he hopes to find answers in his own sword and perhaps visit his wife’s grave again. The appointed time is near as everyone waits for the White Whale to show up. Subaru’s handphone rings as a signal but still nothing happens. And then they see it. Right up in the sky. As it hovers close to them, Rem unleashes her attack on it. Subaru speeds ahead using his witch scent as bait while the others hunt it down.

Episode 20
The full assault on the White Whale begins. Wilhem goes on a cutting spree. Hey, it can’t be that easy to defeat it, right? They realize this is one tough mother as all their powerful magic attacks didn’t ground it. Something about its hair can repel magic attacks. More attacks and Wilhem on another carving spree till he cuts out an eyeball! That is when things go downhill because the White Whale now unleashes a giant fog to hide its presence. In the confusion, screams are heard and when the troops reconvene, some platoons have lost members. It is then Subaru realizes the fog makes people vanish from existence along with any memories of them. A high scream pitch from the White Whale sends several men crazy trying to kill themselves. It is a mind attack although Subaru doesn’t feel anything. With Ferris’ healing power, she gets to calm them down. Subaru uses his witch scent to lure the White Whale. But it is like they’re going about blindly in the fog since the White Whale can just attack out from anywhere. Moments before Wilhem gets devoured, his life flashes back to his young self how he met his wife, she saved him from certain death and his vow to take away the Sword Saint role from her. More casualties when Ricardo saves Subaru’s ass from being devoured and he himself got eaten. Don’t go into shock now because the nightmare is about to get worse. Subaru sees numerous White Whales in the sky! Holy sh*t!

Episode 21
Everyone is in despair seeing additional White Whales. But Subaru continues to fight on and Rem in her demon mode to go all-out dealing more damage. After learning that Ricardo is still alive and cutting Wilhem out of the White Whale’s belly (though unconscious), Subaru has an idea what is going on. The White Whale cloned itself as he noticed the wounds are in similar places for all of them. They don’t need to take out all 3 of them but just the real one which is hovering in the sky. The clones do the attacking and the real one avoids getting killed. Subaru has a plan but it is a huge gamble. First, Crusch heads back to her team to rally them to continue fighting instead of wallowing in despair by using Subaru as an example. The weakest among them is fighting and would it not be shameful for them? With Crusch and her team fighting the clones, Rem throws Subaru up to the real one. He then drops down to bait it to attack. In right timing, Rem attacks it to incur its wrath. The big chase is on. And at the exact moment, the other teams blast the base of Flugel Tree to pin down the White Whale. Wilhem finishes it off. Finally. Now they can celebrate. In the aftermath, Subaru is worried that the success of this operation means Crusch’s reputation has gone up and thus jeopardizing Emilia’s chances for the throne. Crusch however has no intention to take all the glory herself. She reminds him in the future if they ever come to conflict, she will always still be friendly to him. She will respect and show him favour till the end. Subaru still has another mission and needs assistance. But with the toll on the injured greater than expected, there isn’t much option. Wilhem is greatly in Subaru’s debt and wants to be of assistance to fight the Witch Cult. Crusch will send Ferris and half her uninjured troops to aid Subaru. But Rem is not pleased since she is injured and has to return to the capital. She wants to be with Subaru in his time of need. Subaru assures her it is his turn to return his debt to her after she saved him many times. He is going to take his first step to be her hero. Subaru waits along with Ricardo and Mimi for some of their troops who were blocking off path to this area while the rest fought the White Whale. They will be joining them to fight the Witch Cult. Subaru is not pleased to see Julius is in this troop.

Episode 22
They both still hate each other, though. Subaru discuss their plan to attack the Witch Cult hiding in the forest before they could read their movements. He has also arranged for Anastasia and Russell to negotiate for transportation to evacuate the villagers and a messenger of Crusch will be sending a message to Emilia to inform her of their alliance. Subaru walks into the Witch Cult’s hideout and they let him in. He sees Betelgeuse who as usual goes into his twisted ranting about love. Subaru doesn’t recognize the Gospel he is holding so Betelgeuse gets suspicious. When Subaru lies that his own Gospel was accidentally thrown away, Betelgeuse attacks with his Unseen Hands but Subaru is able to dodge it. As he has bought enough time, Subaru’s side attack the hideout and Wilhem cutting Betelgeuse in half from behind. That easy? Betelgeuse is confirmed dead and it seems the rest are quite fearful of the Gospel, not wanting to touch or even see it. Subaru keeps it in hopes of translating it to find out more about the Witch Cult’s goal. Since Subaru is still sceptical about Betelgeuse’s death, they blow up his body just in case. Reuniting with the other troops, it seems they have route many of the other cult members. Suddenly Unseen Hands attack and kill a few of them. Subaru is dragged into the forest by it. A crazy Betelgeuse disciple rants about twisted love and Subaru as Pride. He goes crazy thinking a spirit is attacking him. Wilhem cuts him down. It is believed this dude is the real Sloth and Betelgeuse might be just a replica. In fact, all the disciples could be the Archbishop of Sloth. Subaru feels guilty that had he foreseen this, some deaths would have been prevented. Wilhem advises him to fight on and become stronger. The next plan is to head to the village to evacuate the villagers before the Witch Cult notices the irregularities. Upon Ferris advice to make up with Julius, Subaru sheepishly does so but before he could start, suddenly he finds himself alone. Another dimension? Work of Ram?

Episode 23
Subaru knows he is in an illusion. He manages to snap out of it. It seems everyone else also experienced the same and only he and Julius broke free. When Julius is trying to use his spell to bring everyone back, Ram kidnaps Subaru. However she is stopped by Wilhem. Ram explains herself and thinks Subaru is being ungrateful to Roswaal. He mentions this are reinforcements and that Emilia should have received a letter. Well, she received a blank letter (a metaphor of this world that means one has no intention of speaking to the recipient and a potential declaration of war). Subaru then goes to evacuate the village but the villagers are not pleased. They don’t believe him. Then they start blaming they are only targeted because Roswaal got involved with a half-elf. With Ram commanding them under the name of Roswaal, the villagers reluctantly obey. One of the kids tell Subaru that Emilia was here earlier to warn them but fell on deaf ears. Ferris seemingly flirts with Subaru and an elderly villager didn’t like it. A trap by Ferris to paralyze him. Ferris can tell he is a spy for the Witch Cult. As she tries to interrogate him, he self-destructs. By the time Subaru opens his eyes, the village is under attack by the Witch Cult members. It is utter chaos. Seems there was a spy in one of the merchants and the rest stowed away in the carriages. Subaru and Julius go around to destroy the disciples. When Wilhem is taken down, Subaru irks one of the disciples by showing the Gospel. He lures her to the woods to be eaten by witchfiends. Subaru is safe since he has Emilia’s barrier. With 1 remaining disciple left, it is time for Emilia to return from her long absence and remind us how kickass she is when she kills off the mad guy. With true victory finally in their hands, Subaru would love to reunite with Emilia but he feels something wrong with his body and runs away deep into the woods. When Ferris and Julius catch up, they realize he has been possessed by Betelgeuse. Subaru tries to fight him off from the inside but it is only a matter of time before he succumbs. Subaru wants Julius to kill him or else they have no chance to win. Since he won’t do it, it is all up to Ferris. Reluctantly she does so and Julius is forced to finish the job.

Episode 24
Subaru returns to the point where everyone just defeated the White Whale and are discussing about fighting the Witch Cult. He first asks about if the Sin Archbishop possessing others. Julius mentions about the possibility as he uses the disciples as spare bodies. If they kill all the disciples, his original soul will have no body left to possess. Subaru then asks the question if he himself could be possessed. I guess it sounded like a silly question because everyone is so dumbfounded. Emilia is still reeling from her failed warning to the villagers. That is when Wilhem comes in to confirm about the letter. She still has her reservations and worries (because Beatrice won’t leave the library) so Puck assures her to do what she wants. The villagers now listen to her to evacuate (because Subaru previously begged on his knees and this moved them to tears). But Emilia thinks the kids hate her not to ride with her. Subaru guised in a robe refutes all that and has the kids earnestly admit they don’t hate her because they know she is with Subaru. This eases Emilia a lot. Subaru then goes to catch the villager spy off guard. He realizes he has a communicator to relay everything back to base. He will use it to throw the Witch Cult off their plans by delaying their attack, enough time for the villagers to evacuate and the rest to prepare and crush them. Ricardo’s team has just come back from ambushing the Witch Cult’s secret base to shut down their communication network. Then Subaru goes to meet Betelgeuse and proclaims he is a devout fan. He is so happy he starts punishing himself. This makes Betelgeuse reveal his plans to test Emilia as a correct vessel for the witch to be reborn in this world. When Betelgeuse wants to see his Gospel, Subaru shows the communicator. A cue for him to start the surprise attack. He leads him to a place where Julius can fight him. Julius is able to see his Unseen Hands because he instilled a spirit in Subaru to share the same senses.

Episode 25
Betelgeuse gets madder each time. When Julius strikes him, Subaru tells him to disable the senses. Because Betelgeuse now possesses Subaru. He then tries to invoke that painful feeling as he tries to mention his ability to reset. However it is Betelgeuse who finds himself before the witch. He is happy and tries to touch her but couldn’t. The witch believes he is not the one and kicks him out. Betelgeuse is back in his own body, angry that he has done everything for her. Julius kills him off. It’s not over yet because they get an emergency call from Ferris. He noticed some magic stones are missing and detected to be on board Emilia’s carriage. Those stones are enough to blow away a small village. A land dragon isn’t enough to catch up with them at this point so Otto knows a way for a price. Subaru agrees with his deal and has the ride of his life. Because Otto is taking shortcuts through the forests and cliffs and breakneck speeds! Subaru then sees Betelgeuse in monster form trying to catch him. He is still demanding for the witch’s love so Subaru throws the Gospel as distraction to punch him in the face. Then he writes in his blood in the Gospel that it is over for him to vanquish Betelgeuse once and for all. By the time they catch up to the carriages, it is under attack by Witch Cult members, though Wilhem and the other guards are cutting them down. Emilia learns from the kids that Subaru was the one who planned all this. Emilia is confused why Subaru would go this far for her after all the pain she made him go through. Subaru manages to cut ahead of the pack and once they stop dead in their tracks, he jumps on board to break open the bottom. He steals the stones, confesses to Emilia he loves her and rides as fast as he could to throw it into the carcass of the White Whale. Then he runs as far as his land dragon could take him before the big explosion occurs. Did he die? Will it reset? Thankfully it didn’t. Because he wakes up lying on Emilia’s lap. They talk. Everything seems okay. Emilia asks why he always saves her. Because he loves her. He wants to be her strength. Despite describing her status as a half-witch that others detest, he doesn’t care for all that. He really loves her and wants to hold her hand. If she has 10 things to say bad about herself, he has 2000 things to say good about her. For the first time Emilia feels happy receiving such special treatment. Subaru will not rush her for an answer though he is confident of the outcome. She can take all the time in the world to slowly fall in love with him. She thanks him for saving her.

ReLIFE: Save Point Kara Tsudzukete Epic Adventure
That kind of ending… Why do I have a feeling it feels like DLC that is so prevalent in video games these days. The most annoying kind of DLC is whereby an entire story is supposed to be part of the game but for greedy reasons, the developers decide to cut it out and sell it as a different extra content. Yup. This is what I feel when the season ended. Because don’t you see, there are so much more interesting stories to tell and develop and yet we have this final episode which is trying to rush and cram in Subaru x Emilia romance which has been eluded the whole time in the series. As though as their finally blooming romance is the reward we get as the season ender. It’s definitely not going to cut it! While I am happy with how things worked out for Subaru at least as to where the season ended, I believe we could have got more out of this. Oh right. I’m not really an Emilia fan maybe because I was hoping Subaru x Rem and Ram ending… Whatever.

There are a few interesting plots and some potential ones including flashbacks and back stories. Each arc takes its time to craft out a proper story or should I rather say a proper and correct path. Therefore having more than 2 dozen episodes doesn’t feel fulfilling because it only tells just a small fraction of the overall tale. But I figure it is better than skipping lots of stuffs and condense it into an abridged version. After all, this world has so many stories and own unique lore to tell like the Jealous Witch, how Subaru got the witchfiend scent on himself and such. An epic tale cannot be confined to just a handful of episodes. Yeah, that’s why shows like One Piece and Naruto run forever… And they better not troll us that all this was just a big dream or Subaru playing a video game. It better not!

Somehow I feel that Subaru’s resetting from a certain point feels like a reminder that this is all a game. What I meant is that in games usually of the old usually have a linear path to follow. If you stray for it or get killed by the enemy, you have to restart from the beginning or where you last saved. In games with multiple endings, there are some bad endings if you take a certain path. Therefore with Subaru getting killed and restarting again, this reinforces this belief that Subaru must only take a certain path if a desired outcome is wanted. Yeah, it sounds like a big hint and spoiler because Subaru would know this isn’t the right way but at the expense of getting killed.

Maybe there are other multiple ways for him to achieve other good outcomes but given the limited number of episodes, it doesn’t feel plausible. And yes, despite Subaru didn’t hit any save button, it is good he restarts back at certain points instead of the whole thing again because we would be screaming and pulling our hair out if we have to sit through and watch him redo everything from scratch again. Remember that Endless Eight arc from Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu? Yeah… And it also feels that with Subaru dying and restarting again is like as series given a reboot because the first ending was crap…

I want to classify this series an epic adventure but in order to achieve that, one of the main ingredients in making a series great are the characters. Especially if the setting is a fantasy world. With quirky laws and quirky surroundings, there must be quirky if not interesting characters. Therefore the character development department for this anime is of a hit and miss to me. As Subaru is the main star of this series, it is obvious that he gets the lion’s share of the limelight. But for the rest of the characters, it is like some take their turn to share the spotlight with him as well as develop alongside. That is the thing when you have too many characters. I’m not saying this show has so many characters to keep count but there are enough to make decent stories for everyone. And of course the limited number of episodes make it hard to do justice to them.

Let’s start off with Subaru as the main character. They cut the crap by suddenly teleporting him to an unknown world for some unknown reasons. Yeah, of all the unlucky gamers in the world, why him? Subaru is both a likeable and unlikeable character at the same time. As we have seen, he has come a long way since he got stuck in this world. You will love him for how he grows into somewhat a strong character who becomes cool in the eyes of others (I want to be him for making a maid naturally fall in love with him!!!). On the other hand you will loathe him for being arrogant and haughty that led to his downfall (shaming Emilia under the false pretence of trying to stand up for her). But only being in the bad personality category could Subaru learn and make up for his shameful acts. Literally this is as story of him from zero to hero. Sometimes I also pity this guy because from all that he has gone through, I worry he might have some sort of psychological trauma. Which isn’t far from the truth seeing we have seen numerous times his contorting crazy face whenever things go awry. So the price to pay for being a better person is that he is able to redo the wrongs but he can’t make it spoilers for everyone. I don’t know. Maybe he could try writing it down in a letter for others to read?

Rem has become a popular character of the series thanks to the attention the series gave her. I hope this got the maid fetish to be more popular in real life too ;p. And it only makes loser otaku guys like me really wishing I had one like her by my side… Ahem. Anyway she gets her own past revealed, we get to know her better and a prelude for Subaru to save the day to become her hero. When Emilia wasn’t around, she stayed by his side, cementing their strong bond and relationship after all they have gone through together. But too bad they feel she had too much time with Subaru and ‘tossed her aside’ in the final arc against the Witch Cult.

Some of the characters that feel like a miss include Felt. She was a good supporting character in the first arc but when that ended, she disappeared only to make her sudden appearance (plot twist?) in the middle since she is one of the candidates. Then she disappears again. This goes the same for Rom and Reinhard. Yeah, it’s like people associated with her don’t really get their deserved screen time for now. The same I feel for Roswaal, Beatrice, Puck, Elsa and the other candidates for the throne whom each have their own distinctive reason for wanting to ascend the throne. They become close to forgotten as though the final arc was a big build-up to allow Subaru to become cool again in the eyes of Emilia since she already has a long absence in the middle of the series. While Rem gets her due moment, Ram becomes side-lined. Too bad I would love to have Subaru to get both maids as his harem but I guess one is a good start.

Emilia also starts off as a strong character as she is trying to fight the prejudice against her. I thought she would be a main character who would be developed beside Subaru but after Subaru’s shame during the ceremony in the hall, she temporarily disappears too. She wants to understand Subaru and give him a chance but with circumstances surrounding them (it was really heart breaking to see the disappointment on her face when Subaru fell from grace), I feel this would be their biggest obstacle that would stand in their way of wedding bells. Oops, I mean friendship. Okay, romance. Like Subaru said, take your time to fall in love with him. If things don’t go well, then hopefully Subaru can just reset it to the last save point, am I right?

The action sequences are also decent and satisfying. I particularly like the White Whale hunting since it showcases the group going up against something that is considered as God-like status in the sense that it is deadly as well as it cannot be easily defeated. Also the fight with Elsa was exhilarating. Subaru himself might lack fighting abilities (his own martial arts background might not get him far in this world) so he relies on the magic and fighting abilities of others. Nice special effects and all make the action scenes an entertaining watch. Sometimes I feel the final long fight against the Witch Cult members is for the sake of cutting them down for the numbers. Because there are so many of them so you see Wilhem and other fighters slicing them down like as though they are enemy grunts from video games meant to be taken down by the easiest way.

Voice acting… Time to once again praise my favourite Mamiko Noto!!! OH YEAH!!! I really love her taking on a very devilish villainess as Elsa. She can cut my guts anytime! Although it is sad that her appearance is very limited and her character ‘disappeared’ never again to appear after that, at least I can take heart that they didn’t kill her off. Yeah, I was worried that silly trauma of mine would be activated again. If that ever happened, I would really prayed hard for Subaru to die and restart the whole damn thing. I can also take heart that despite a few restarts on Subaru’s side, Elsa’s character didn’t even die once although she did come close to it. Phew. Mamiko Noto banzai!!!

With a big number of characters, there are also quite a number of famous seiyuus lending their voice. A whole lot of them that I recognize are Takehito Koyasu as Roswaal, Yui Horie as Ferris, Yuuichi Nakamura as Reinhard, Yuka Iguchi as Crusch, Yukari Tamura as Priscilla, Kana Ueda as Anastasia, Keiji Fujiwara as Al, Satomi Arai as Beatrice and Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Betelgeuse (kudos to him for really making the character sound so eerily crazy). The rest of the other casts are Yuusuke Kobayashi as Subaru (Tanukichi in Shimoneta), Rie Takahashi as Emilia (Megumin in Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo), Inori Minase as Rem (Noel in Sora No Method), Rie Murakawa as Ram (Hotaru in Non Non Biyori), Takuya Eguchi as Julius (Hikigaya in Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru), Kenyuu Horiuchi as Wilhem (Kinemon in One Piece), Yumi Uchiyama as Puck (Ruri in Nisekoi), Mugihito as Rom (Wombat in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love) and Chinatsu Akasaki as Felt (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby).

Not sure if this series has a little bit more story to tell or it doesn’t really like to animate its credits animation. Because they are quite far and few in between. So instead like a majority of anime series out there that obligatory show their opening and ending credits animation (of course to showcase their songs in which some are awesome), this series start off or continue its episode as the credits pop up on screen. Sometimes they do play the songs but it is just in the background and not its dedicated animation so as not to interrupt the flow of the episode. Not that it is anything serious but I also keep wondering why I myself is b*tching about it since I don’t often watch this segment.

Maybe that is because I really love the first ending theme, Styx Helix by Myth & Roid. I instantly took a liking for this very catchy techno-like music and don’t mind hearing it over and over again despite I can’t hear a damn thing they say (yeah, despite many of the words are in English – please pronounce your words clearer!). So when I was looking forward to hear and watch the song and find that they decided to skip this time, and then again and more often in the future, this suspicion of mine was raised. Because of this piece, no other songs could match it. Be it the rock based first opening theme, Redo by Konomi Suzuki, the weird cult-like second opening theme, Paradisus-Paradoxum by Myth & Rod or the slow rock second ending theme, Stay Alive by Rie Takahashi.

Art and animation are quite satisfying. As I love fantasy world settings so I give it a lot of points to see archetype fantasy world buildings like the medieval European structures in the main town. Character designs are also good and of course Subaru standing out like a sore thumb because of his boring jersey wear. And of course Rem and Ram as maids are the main draw for me. Thanks to them the internet now is flooded with maid pictures of them whenever I try to Google for more maid pictures to be added to my collection. I know it is good but too much of Rem (especially) and Ram can be detrimental in seeking for more variety of other maids. Anyway, back to the topic. Also be warned that there are some scenes too dark to see (maybe it is intentional) and things might get gory and bloody. At this point during the action scenes I do notice a dip in quality. This series is animated by White Fox who did Akame Ga Kill, Steins; Gate, Katanagatari, Tears To Tiara and Hataraku Maou-sama.

Overall, this series is interesting and enjoyable but limitations of its own prevent it to being some sort of a masterpiece like Fate/Zero or Shingeki No Kyojin. Lots of people will still remember this series for a lot of good stuffs (including a certain blue haired maid) despite the overused cliché of normal human boy becoming a hero in another world which could have been done to death at this point. From zero to hero so to speak. It’s just more tolerable because of maids ;p. Personally if I was in Subaru’s shoes, I would probably have died a million times doing the same thing over and over again with little improvements since I’m kind of a slow learner and blur head. Or maybe I’m just insane. You know, the definition of insanity as being doing the same things hoping for a different outcome. No amount of infinite lives could lead me down the correct path and God would probably give up and left me dead for good. Yup. Really returning to zero then.

Hibike! Euphonium S2

June 10, 2017

Okay. The much anticipated second season is here, Hibike! Euphonium S2. Because K-ON! still didn’t get a third season. Haha! But seriously. After all, it would be a waste not to since our girls have ended the first season by qualifying for the Nationals. Hence, more excuse for more Gayphonium drama and the likes. Just kidding. But really, seriously. My last blog I ‘complained’ that a single cour was too short to flesh out everything and now that I have gotten my wish, I better make better conclusive reviews about the overall series.

Episode 1
I didn’t know this show can also get an hour long first episode. We start off with our Kitauji band taking a group photo after their historic achievement to the next round as Kyoto’s representative. As part of their effort to polish up their skills, Taki has rented a nearby facility for a training camp. Team Monaka gives a morale booster with their congratulatory play. Why is Haruka crying? Tears of joy? Some Kumiko x Reina moments as they walk home but nothing lesbian of yet. Although Kumiko’s mom congratulates her, there is no word from Mamiko at all. Maybe she doesn’t care anymore. When Kumiko and Reina head to the clubroom to practice, oboist Mizore Yoroizuka is already there practising. So they go practice at the rooftop. Yuuko and Kaori pass by. This prompts Reina to remember Yuuko and Mizore are close and often talked a lot with each other. While Kumiko is cleaning her euph, Nozomi Kasaki asks if Asuka is around. However Natsuki warns her not to pull this stunt again or else she’ll get in trouble. Taki introduces a friend who will help him instruct them during the training camp, the flamboyant Masahiro Hashimoto. He is already starting off as a funny guy as he is teasing Taki as being popular with girls. Because Kumiko is thinking too much about Nozomi’s case, she couldn’t concentrate and Asuka bugs her to tell what’s on her mind. Luckily Natsuki is here and wants to talk with her. She brings Nozomi who expresses she wants to join the club again. There is a flashback of the Minami Middle School getting second place in the competition. I guess it was so devastating that everybody cried. Yeah, it’s no laughing matter. Mizore, Natsuki and Nozomi were from there. Asuka tells Nozomi to get Haruka’s approval. She is the club president. However Nozomi remains stubborn and wants her approval. Asuka gets serious to tell them and leave. It is getting a bit awkward so practice ends, Asuka tells the first years to leave while the others discuss about it. Of course they eavesdrop as they wonder why Asuka isn’t giving a clear answer as Nozomi isn’t trying to join in the competition. Then they hear Asuka’s honest opinion. She doesn’t agree with Nozomi rejoining. End of story.

Kumiko hear part of the rest of the story from Haruka. Remember that incident last year where many members quit? Most of them were from Minami. Kumiko and her pals discuss about this and how perhaps the scars are still there. Next day Kumiko and Reina go to practice again but Mizore is there first again. This time Yuuko is with her. Because Kumiko’s flustering is so obvious, Yuuko whispers to Mizore about the club drama: Nozomi is trying to rejoin the club. After practice, Kumiko finds Mizore being sick. It seems she is sick of hearing the sound of a flutist nearby. The one playing it is Nozomi. Kumiko and Reina dress up in their yukata for the Agata Festival. Kumiko is not pleased her mom tied it so tight because this means she cannot eat a lot! At the festival they bump into Shuuichi. Reina teases him to come along with them. He gets embarrassed and goes away. Reina notices Kumiko didn’t even react to this. Totally friend zone? They discuss about Nozomi rejoining and Reina believes Asuka is making the right choice because personally she too doesn’t want a member who quit to come back. Quitting is like running away. Say if she rejoins and trashes around, that would affect everyone preparing for the competition. Kumiko wonders if they win the Nationals, can they be special? They don’t do that, they can’t become special. Kumiko x Reina moments of holding hands while watching the fireworks.

Episode 2
First fanservice episode? Because it is the pool episode with our favourite girls in swimsuits! Somehow most of them have this idea to be there on the same day. Kumiko spots Nozomi and they talk about the recent events. Kumiko asks about the special approval needed from Asuka. When Nozomi and her friends argued with the third years and quit en masse, Asuka was trying to persuade her to stay. Now she regrets it and hopes to rejoin and do something that would help the band. Nozomi didn’t talk to Mizore about it. Considering she is the only oboist, it would be devastating to the band if she quits. As for her reasons for rejoining, she likes concert bands and wanted to practice hard to compete against the best bands. She tried to do something but was ignored so she gave up and quit. Now this year they are in the competition but Asuka told her she wouldn’t add anything even if she rejoined. With Nozomi tearing up, Kumiko feels bad and promises her she will ask Asuka. You shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep because now Kumiko is kicking herself how the heck she is going to do that. Before the training camp begins, Taki introduces the beautiful Satomi Niiyama to help instruct them. Instantly everybody is thinking if they’re dating. You can tell from Reina’s eyes that she’s dead. Earth to Reina… Kumiko hears Natsuki’s side of the story about her involvement in last year’s incident. She is trying to ease that guilt by helping Nozomi back in the club but as you can see it’s not working. Kumiko must be really having a lot to think from putting together the pieces of everybody’s opinions. Of course she has to go talk to Mizore herself. She says she hates competitions and wishes they don’t exist. So why is she still in the band? Flashback reveals a promise made by Nozomi to get first place when they’re in high school. Kumiko finally sums up her courage to talk to Asuka.

Episode 3
Sorry Asuka, Kumiko isn’t going to talk to you for relationship advice. But Kumiko makes an appointment to talk to her seriously after dinner. Not getting cold feet now, is she? During practice, Hashimoto points out at Mizore’s boring oboe play. It’s like she is a robot. Since she says she wants to play like the crescent moon, then she should aim to play like that. Huh? How does a crescent moon sound anyway? Kumiko is already thinking about the approaching talk time with Asuka and now she has to hear Reina thinking about asking Taki directly about his relationship with Niiyama. Okay, you go girl. So the talk time is here. Asuka warns her about changing her mind now because after she hears this, it will haunt her. Already one foot in the grave so might as well… The truth is, Mizore hates Nozomi and can’t stand see her face. She has some sort of trauma. Nozomi doesn’t know about this. Therefore Asuka can’t really tell Nozomi this in her face, right? As Mizore is the only oboist, if she quits, the competition will be the least of their worries. The question now is if Kumiko is going to tell all this to Nozomi. Can’t, right? It’s already haunting her, right? Asuka suggests to tell her she didn’t say anything and pretend not to hear any of this. During the fireworks, Hashimoto talks to Kumiko and can tell Reina has a crush on Taki. He discloses more than he should when he mentions Taki’s wife passed away 5 years ago. Oops. Now Kumiko is getting more curious. When his wife died, Taki became distant from music so when he joined Kitauji, he couldn’t be happier. Now Kumiko can’t tell Reina about Taki’s past. Man, she’s already accumulating secrets. Kumiko can’t sleep that night and sees Yuuko facing off with Kaori. When that ended, Yuuko knew she was spying all along and they talk. Yuuko too considered quitting during the incident but Kaori talked her out of it. Then they talk about the need for competitions and everything is judged and ranked on. Yuuko sometimes think it shouldn’t necessary because you are not judged based on putting in effort but as being inferior. She didn’t like how they played casually last year with many third years being lazy and the first years working hard and aiming high. Because if they’re going to play in the Nationals, shouldn’t they be playing their best? And if they’re playing, shouldn’t they be aiming for gold? Kumiko returns to bed realizing she has stayed up too long. But Reina is still awake and they talk about competitions, bad players being sour grapes and in the end the only thing to do is to get good till Reina falls asleep.

Episode 4
The order of the bands playing is released. Kitauji will be the 16th out of 23 bands. A big relief? But why are they afraid of this good school Myoujou Technical just before them? All they need to do is play like they always had, right? Niiyama talks to Mizore about her stiff playing style despite her incredible talent. Kumiko can’t concentrate as she still can’t bring herself to talk to Nozomi. Speaking of the devil, here she is. She will stop coming here until after the competition. But she would like to see Mizore first. It took a while before Kumiko realizes the apocalypse it would bring. She rushes to stop her but luckily Nozomi bumped into Haruka and she changed her mind. But the inevitable soon happened. Nozomi sees Mizore practising alone and goes to say hi. Instantly Mizore becomes sick and runs away! Yuuko is upset at all this. So she has Kumiko go find Mizore because knowing her, she will have problems meeting people she isn’t used to. Kumiko finds her cowering behind a desk and asks if she hates Nozomi. On the contrary, she views her as a special friend and is just afraid to meet her. Mizore was always alone and Nozomi somewhat became her first friend and joined the club together. She was happy. However she discovered she was only one of her many friends. So? Actually Nozomi quit the club without even her knowing! She didn’t even bother to tell her. Therefore she is still playing to oboe as it is the only thing connected to Nozomi. Time for Yuuko to take over. What is Yuuko to her then? Somebody who pitied her? Well, that’s an insult. After lecturing her about their recent win and such, Yuuko just wants her to smile. Now for Nozomi to take over. She explains why she never told her about quitting. She was working so hard that she couldn’t bring her grumpy self to quit together. It just doesn’t feel right. Nozomi wants to hear her beautiful oboe again as the duo reconcile. Now that the drama is over, Asuka reveals to Kumiko she wanted to keep this after the competition. She knows Mizore is fixated on Nozomi as she was afraid of being alone. Yuuko was just the insurance. Kumiko finds it hard to tell what is going on in Asuka’s mind but takes heart that Reina is still Reina. Because if she’s going to play, it’s definitely for herself.

Episode 5
Everyone is nervous since tomorrow is the big day. Taki can only do so much to calm their nerves because the rest is up to them. Making them even more nervous is Myoujou who is doing so much better. Reina decides to play for Kumiko. But she cheekily shoots back shouldn’t she be playing for Taki? She doesn’t it to turn into some stuffy overheated ballad. Then when it is Kitauji’s turn to hit the stage, we hear the full length of their piece (it lasted almost 7 minutes!). The results are announced and Kitauji is one of the few schools that won the gold. However there is a final hurdle to overcome because only 3 schools will represent the Kansai region in the Nationals. Osaka and Myoujou have already snagged 2 of the spots. Wow. Kitauji has never been so religious praying so hard. And then their name is mentioned. Now let all those tears of joy flow. Mizore answers Kumiko’s question that she now loves competition.

Episode 6
Cultural festival at Kitauji. Kumiko’s maid café isn’t attracting any customers. So what the hell is this weird pose? Thankfully Reina becomes their first customer. Later they go around together. Mizore’s class is also doing another maid café. There’s a café with cats. Toy cats. Asuka’s class is doing some weird fortune telling thingy. They see Taki being swarmed with girls. Hashimoto talks to Kumiko and knows she hasn’t tell Reina about Taki’s case. Kumiko enters the haunted house alone and who is there? Shuuichi. They aren’t thrilled to see each other till the lights go out. Kumiko can’t separate from him since she isn’t good with darkness. Till they get spooked the daylights out from Reina playing the ghost. Yeah, her class is doing a haunted house. So this gives Reina a chance to tease her though Kumiko says it is just coincidence they were there. But there seems to be trouble in Kumiko’s home. Mamiko returns and tells her parents she wants to quit college. She doesn’t want to go anymore. Of course Kumiko has something to say because it was big sister who told her not to waste time on club activities and to go study and now she herself is going to quit? None of your business, apparently. Mamiko then goes out shopping. In this storm? Kumiko also decides to go walking to take her mind off things. In this storm? She sees Taki at a florist. They talk over things and when she sees his ring on his finger, she panics. She wants to leave but the wind blows away her umbrella. Taki sends her home as he tells her he knows Hashimoto told her about his late wife. Because he apologized to him for letting it slip. He confirms the person in the photo is his wife. She and Hashimoto were students of Kitauji and also in this club. His father was the conductor. Although they made it to the Nationals, they never won gold. When she became sick, she wanted to become a teacher to lead her alma mater to gold. Kumiko understands that is all Taki can say to her because he doesn’t want to burden his students with his personal issues. Next day as Kumiko head to school with motivation to do better, she learns that the flowers Taki bought symbolizes remembrance.

Episode 7
Kumiko hears a commotion from the teacher’s room. It seems Asuka’s mom is arguing with Taki to accept her daughter’s resignation from the club because of the exams and all. However he will not entertain any of it unless Asuka wills it. Mom argues she raises her daughter all by herself and thus she gets to decide her future. Taki will not give in and instead tells her to support her own daughter. When mom tells Asuka to tell Taki she is quitting, Asuka won’t. Mom undergoes nervous breakdown and slaps her! She thinks she is trying to get back at her. But then she realizes her own fault and starts apologizing. Asuka takes her leave from today’s club’s activities. The news spread fast and this shakes up everyone in the club. Haruka heard that Asuka’s mom went directly to the vice principal to accept the resignation and talks to Asuka about it. She doesn’t want this to turn into a ruckus and wants the club to focus on their performance. After that, Asuka never showed up for practice. Obviously the band becomes obviously sloppy and Taki tells them when asked that nothing has happened. He tells them off if they intend to play like this whenever they hear such rumours. This is when Haruka gives her speech to the rest. It isn’t that Asuka is special and reliable. They make her seem so. She is like everyone else with weaknesses but just that she doesn’t show it. Yuuko scoffs her for talking like that because she already knows well that everyone is 100% with her. The band is to do an open performance to hone some experience. They are overwhelmed by the presence of other better teams. Then Asuka pops up and everyone is happy. They get their motivation back and Haruka especially hopes she can back her up as she has accepted Taki’s suggestion to play the solo of the baritone saxophone. Needless to say, they kick ass with Haruka being such a badass with her saxophone play.

Episode 8
Real drama begins at Kumiko’s home. Mamiko is adamant she wants to quit college although she has a year left till graduation. Of all times, why does she want to become a beautician? Mamiko blames her parents she was trying to put up with them but now she can’t take it with them. Father says she should have said so before getting herself into college had she felt so strongly about it. He admits they might have put pressure on her but it is she who decided. If she is still bent on quitting, she will leave this house and find her own way to fund her tuition herself. End of discussion. Kumiko couldn’t say anything. She felt odd when Mamiko said she didn’t want to give up the trombone in the first place. Asuka did turn up to practice but Kumiko still felt uneasy so she had to ask her if she was really quitting. She won’t tell and instead invites her to her house. But after that, Asuka never showed up. And the band continues to sound gloomy during practice. More drama because Kumiko catches a cold and is told to go home to rest before she spreads it. Along the way, she bumps into Aoi who is also getting by in her exams. They talk about Asuka and Aoi thinks she is acting so because she feels one has to be an idiot to have issues with people. Kumiko doesn’t believe that one bit. Aoi is relieved because this means Asuka is human too. As Kumiko sleeps in bed, she remembers when she first joined her first band. She wanted to play the trombone like Mamiko but the teacher seeing that there are too many kids taking up the instrument, suggested her the euph. When she wakes up, Reina is by her side. She’s visiting. She brought a euph CD for her to hear. Shortly, Mamiko barges in to shut it because she hates to hear it. That is when Kumiko blows her top telling her off it is too late to say she wants to continue now. Dad and mom are paying for her tuition so she can go to school so don’t just easily say she is putting up with it. Mamiko tells her to shut up as he doesn’t understand how she feels. Reina, how do you feel witnessing Kumiko’s family drama for the first time? Mamiko makes her way out and meets Shuuichi who is just coming in to visit. He invites her to come hear them play once because they were really good at the preliminaries that they could hardly believe it themselves. But he hopes she would come to hear Kumiko play because she once said she would become good like her. Mamiko returns to ask Kumiko for the CD of her performance. Next day, Kumiko is better and returns to practice. Taki makes an announcement that if Asuka doesn’t return by the end of the week, he will have Natsuki replace her for the Nationals.

Episode 9
Natsuki talks to Kumiko about replacing Asuka and she is quite worried about it. This makes Kumiko feel equally depressed. With Asuka still not turning up for practice, Natsuki talks to Kumiko again about their next ‘operation’ to bring Asuka back. She knows Kumiko will have a study session with Asuka next week. So bring this snack to appease her mom? If this really worked… But seriously if you think about it, why did Asuka ask Kumiko of all people? Reina and Kumiko hand back the room key to Taki and see him sleeping at his desk. Reina is happy and almost losing her balance just doing this bid. While Taki advises Kumiko to guide Natsuki, Reina notices a picture of Taki and his late wife. So the study session is here. It took a while before Asuka shows her a beginner euph book written by Masakazu Shindo. He was once her dad. Let the shock sink in. We know Kumiko has lots of questions begging to be answered so Asuka starts. Her parents divorced when she was young so she hardly remembers him. Also, mom wanted to keep her away from him at all costs. She thinks her mom’s crazy character was the reason he left her. You saw what happened at the teacher’s room, right? Asuka doesn’t hate her, though. Kumiko thinks she is lying but Asuka accepts her fate being born to her and that she solely raised her. She continues that out of the blue, she received a euph present from him and started getting interested in it. Mom didn’t like it but closed an eye until lately. There was a promise that she would quit the club if her grades slipped. Asuka shows her the Nationals’ website that has Shindo’s name as one of the judges. This was why mom wanted her to quit so badly. Everything that Asuka has said and acted was based on this hope that she wanted to go to the Nationals to let her father hear her sound. Kumiko blurts out she loves the way Asuka plays her euph and wants to listen to it forever. Asuka obliges her and plays her euph. Kumiko notices her smile was different than any smile she had seen her give before.

Episode 10
Kumiko can’t get Asuka’s euph play out of her mind. So her friends want to know if Asuka will come back or not. Kumiko isn’t really sure either… One morning Kumiko finds Mamiko trying to cook miso soup but burns the pot! The sisters talk. The view the other as having better privilege and treated better. Mamiko has decided to stop whining and pretending. All her regrets and failures, she’ll own it all up and live her own life. She has decided to quit college so she is going to move out and live by herself. She’ll be a little sad, though. A little. She heard Kumiko’s play and is impressed. She’ll come hear her play at the Nationals. On her way to school, Kumiko thinks back of all the great times with her sister till she couldn’t hold in her tears anymore. Then she overhears Kaori and Haruka pleading to Asuka again to come back. The latter still being stubborn since Taki has already chose Natsuki to replace her. But Kumiko can tell she is lying because she knows she wants to play so much at the Nationals. So when she goes to seriously talk to Asuka, and no it is not about her confessing her love, Asuka still says no. She thinks this is retribution since she didn’t want Nozomi back and thus she shouldn’t be treated any different. Kumiko is very certain that at least she herself wants Asuka to play at the Nationals. However Asuka fires back that Kumiko has always only been watching like in Nozomi’s case and did nothing. Afraid of hurting others and being hurt. So do you think anyone would tell somebody like that what they really think? Asuka feels it is best for her to fade away. After the Nationals, the seniors will just retire anyway. This is when Kumiko snaps back. In her outburst, she doesn’t care about all that. All she wants is to play with Asuka in the Nationals. To hear her euph. Kumiko might be a child but what makes Asuka an adult? She is just a high schooler like the rest. Everyone is waiting for her. Wow. Have you ever seen Kumiko with an unsightly sobbing face? Asuka is also brought to tears but she won’t let her see it. Because the teacher calls her, an excuse for Asuka to end the conversation. When the next band practice is about to start, many get a shocking surprise that Asuka has returned! Because she was placed in the top 30 of the nationwide mock exams, she used it as leverage against her mom to rejoin the band. Natsuki couldn’t be happier. Kumiko couldn’t be even happier. But Reina not looking happy seeing how close they are?

Episode 11
Kumiko must have realized Reina has been avoiding her. So Midori’s brilliant plan to have them walk home together flop greatly. Maybe next time. So the next time Kumiko meets up with Reina on a night date, she wonders about Reina being distant. She didn’t say or do anything. Yup, that is precisely why. After giving out a long scream, Reina asks why Kumiko didn’t tell her about Taki’s late wife. Despite knowing it is to prevent her from being hurt, she would still want her to tell her. Man, this is confusing. This made Reina realize how weak she is. That is why she wants to talk about this right now and then forget about it since the Nationals is so close. Flashback shows Reina’s friends never really understood her. So when she talked to Taki about this and he gave some advice, the rest is history. Also, they share the same passion in music so that greatly helps. Reina can’t concentrate in practice and it is obvious. So late one night when they go return the clubroom key, Reina asks Taki directly about his wife. He describes her as energetic, laughs a lot and loves to move about. As for why he became the band’s advisory teacher, he isn’t sure but if he moped around for too long, his father would continue to scold him. Reina can tell he loved his wife very much. He became an advisor for her sake and wants to win the gold for her sake. He married her after all. After that, Reina never brought this up again. It’s like she tossed away her weak self and is now a much stronger girl than before. On another day, Reina brings Kumiko to pay their respects at Taki’s late wife’s grave. Reina got the info from Niiyama. Reina says to the deceased beloved that she wants to win gold. She wants to grant Taki’s wish.

Episode 12
The night before the competition, Kumiko couldn’t sleep and likewise Shuuichi. They’re both worried but it is rather after the competition ends. Shuuichi then gives Kumiko her birthday present. He didn’t get a chance to give it to her earlier so the wrapping is very much warped. It’s a flower hairpin. He asks if she is worried about Mamiko because they were once close and she seems depressed ever since she left. Kumiko just thanks him. On the day of the competition, Aoi and Mamiko arrive to watch. Haruka and Asuka give their motivation speech before they hit the stage. Too bad we won’t get to hear it this time so we skip to Kitauji bumming around till the results come out. Before the results are announced, the conductors are individually given awards. Kitauji forgot about this and didn’t plan for it. Because other schools are cheering their conductors when their name is mentioned. So it is an awkward silence when Taki’s name is called. But Reina suddenly gets up and confesses she loves him! She feels embarrassed soon after but Kumiko assures her nobody views it as a confession as they give the thumbs up for her good cover. And now for the results… Kitauji wins… Bronze! No wonder it’s so hard for them to smile during the group photo. Later Taki comes to thank Reina for her support. This makes her really confess that she loves him, surprising many. But he replies this makes him glad to be a teacher. Rejected? Well, hold in there. Afterwards Taki speaks to Asuka and Kumiko. He bumped into Shindo earlier on and he had a message for the euph section. He is glad they kept it all this time and sounded beautiful. Asuka couldn’t be happier. Haruka makes her retirement speech for the seniors. But since she starts sobbing, Asuka had to finish it and hopes next year they can take the gold. Kumiko spots her sister passing by and immediately takes off to catch her. She confesses she loves the euph and concert bands because of her. She loves her big sister. The feeling is mutual too.

Episode 13
With the seniors retiring, Yuuko is nominated as the president while Natsuki becomes the vice president. Yuuko didn’t see this coming and is surprised by this. Still can’t get along? Not sure why Kumiko is worried thinking about Shuuichi would tell the whole world he gave her the hairpin. They are spotted by Asuka who starts teasing Kumiko and all. As Kumiko continue to practice, the others notice she is starting to sound more and more like Asuka. A graduation party is held for the seniors. They play their final piece (don’t really remember seeing some of those faces…) and of course the juniors also play their parting piece for them, which is that song they played during the preliminaries. An excuse to show last season clips. At the end of it, as expected Haruka cries. After the graduation ceremony, lots of goodbyes, lots of hugs, lots of tears. But Kumiko is desperately trying to find Asuka. When she does, she lets her know her true feelings. At first she hated her because she can never read what is on her mind. She wouldn’t show her true feelings and seemingly looked down on others. But now Kumiko feels lonely. She wants to hear her euph again. She wants to play like her. She loves her! I know I should be surprised but somehow I saw this coming a little while ago. Asuka gives Kumiko her manuscript as she doesn’t need it anymore. Kumiko refuses to say goodbye. Okay. Then don’t. See you then. Kumiko opens the manuscript to learn the name of the song that Asuka first played for her: Hibike! Euphonium.

Specials

More short hilarious goodness from the cast. I also dubbed this as the “What the heck is this…” specials because at the end of every special, somebody will always have to say that punch line… An indication of the weirdness level of the specials. What the heck…

Special 1
Natsuki trying to teach Riko how to kiss?! Of course Riko can’t do it and pushes her away. I thought it was an acting scene since Yuuko sounded like a director but actually this is for real. Those ‘experts’ thought they can lighten up the mood so Riko can prepare herself to kiss Gotou. Riko tries to use the opportunity of them not getting along to escape but she can’t slip away from their grasp. It seems they are only in perfect sync on the topic of making Riko kiss. They won’t let Riko go home as they start looking for Gotou. Then they see him trying to kiss a girl and punch him in the gut! Double punch combo! Actually he was only trying to take some dirt from her hair and that girl is his sister. Oops…

Special 2
Our main quartet are at the pool and in their swimsuits. It seems Midori can’t take her eyes off Reina’s boobs. Whatever excuses she makes it seems they always go back to being boobs related. Whether falsely blaming Kumiko as boob obsessed or the reason she wants to become friends with Reina is for her boobs, wow, you never hear this side of Midori before. So once they are done with the boobs talk and decide to go swimming, Asuka passes by. The perfect mother of all boobs! Midori instantly starts following her. In the end it has always got to be about boobs.

Special 3
MAID OUTFIT!!!!! Midori even loves them! However the outfit is too baggy for her although she remains positive that she will grow into a nice body like Reina. Kumiko isn’t so sure but Midori maintains her positivism. Can’t give up now, can you? Reina then comes in because she heard Kumiko was going to dress up as a maid, she had to come over. See! Even Reina loves maids! Midori begs Reina to wear it. With those puppy dog eyes, Reina relents. Yeah, her one and only wish in Midori’s life comes true. If you don’t use that wish now, when will you use it? She’s got a point? OMG! REINA IS SO STUNNING IN A MAID OUTFIT!!!!!! Ultimate compliments from Midori. About her boobs mostly. Midori then gives us permission to stare at her small boobs. Kumiko is lost for words…

Special 4
Natsuki and Yuuko are dressed in weird animal mascots during the cultural festival and are blaming each other for some dumb challenge against each other that started this crap. Looks like they’re trying to outdo and annoy the hell out of each other. The ultimate came when they take their fortune readings from Asuka to see who has the better fortune. I can see that this won’t end well… Because the duo continue to argue they will have the better fate and ignore Asuka, she got mad and gave them ‘divine punishment’. Hence that mascot suit and now doing sit-up challenges to see whose fault was it to begin with. I can see that this is going to be a lose-lose situation…

Special 5
Since permission is given to design their own costumes for the concert, Midori gets really passionate not to lose out. And so you see her come up with elaborated, exaggerated and just plain weird costumes just to stand out. Realizing that the costume would be better on a person who stands out, who else stands out more than them but Taki? So what is this Flying Taki thingy? Suddenly a great idea hits her. During concert day, she has Hazuki wear that tuba mascot suit. Hard to climb up the stairs. Tumbled down. Dead…

Special 6
Asuka, Kaori and Haruka are designing posters for the concert. Haruka shows hers but Asuka is not impressed and shoots it down, claiming it to be so plain. Haruka’s heart is so broken. It shatters even further when Asuka nit-picks about the details and her choices. It’s so demoralizing that Haruka wants to quit as president but Asuka isn’t moved. Kaori shows hers. Explosive? Asuka is as harsh but Kaori takes it lightly as a compliment, which isn’t. Time for Asuka to show if she can live up to expectations. Hmm… Looks decent. Authoritarian Asuka decides to go with hers. Haruka tries to protest how bland it is (trying to get back at her?) because it looks like the poster from last year. In fact it is! Asuka blames them for not drawing decent posters last year and the year before and hence the same poster that Asuka had drawn was always used. Is this why she is so mad? Then she just drops everything and lets them do whatever they want. So the final poster turns out to be a mix of Kaori and Haruka’s. Plainly explosive. Is this even a poster for a concert?

Special 7
During the training camp, Reina can’t sleep since she isn’t used to the pillow. So leave it to the rest to tell her ways on how to sleep. Hazuki just suddenly fall to sleep. Just like that. Midori tells her to count her favourite things. It looks more like her unfulfilled dreams with Taki. I don’t think she can sleep with all that excitement. Oh look, Midori is already fast asleep. Lastly, Kumiko remembers her grandma used to read her a picture storybook. So Reina narrates a twisted version of Momotarou (replace the folklore’s characters with them) but in the end it is Kumiko who fell asleep. Was it that boring? Must be the way she narrated… Let’s hope Reina can catch some sleep now.

The Sound Of Youth
Well… I wonder if calling this ending bittersweet would be appropriate. Sure, I did feel good at the end but it wasn’t that happy-happy feel good kind of feeling. Kitauji did their best, they didn’t win but won a respectable place, the seniors retire and the juniors now take over with some seats to fill in (read: recruitment). All in all, the second season does nicely to give the series a fitting ‘end’ but if I want to express my sentiments overall for this series, well uhm, just like last season, it isn’t that bad but I don’t find it superbly great either. Of course it is above average and mediocre and ironically despite the ‘hibike’ in its title, it didn’t really resonate inside my heart. Could it be that I am fresh from seeing too much crap animes? (Damn you butt spamming Keijo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Exclamation marks on purpose). Hey, at least it is satisfying.

So to talk about the character development, I wasn’t really hoping a much more detailed development for all the band members. Really. That would be freaking impossible if we are going to give each and every one of them their own issues and focused episode. Therefore in the end, I believe there are many band members whom I don’t even know or remember. So as far as this season is concerned, I suppose it is sufficient enough to bring out some drama with a new character like Mizore as well as recurring characters like Asuka. And yes, there is Kumiko’s big sister issue back home and the closure for the case of Taki’s mysterious wife. And somehow Kumiko is ‘involved’ in all of them.

Because of that, I feel that some of the main characters back in the first season didn’t really make an impact in the second season. Namely Hazuki and Midori. Heck, I just realized I didn’t even mention them in this blog of mine! Yeah, Midori was a little bit late. This shows how far and few their appearance, if not their relevance to this season. It is like they could have been done without and being relegated to those other unknown band members whom we will never care. Even Reina doesn’t seem to have much of an impact and thus lessening the Gayphonium expectations with Kumiko. More on this later. Even when she found out the truth about Taki’s wife, it just feels something more on the lines of ‘Oh, I see it’s like that. Okay. Time to get over it”. The end. That’s just it. I know it wouldn’t be right to see her forever mope about her one-sided love but that just brief resolve of this long standing issue of her unrequited love makes it less impactful and more of a side distraction.

Then there are other characters like Aoi who really didn’t come back and it’s like they had to show her a couple of times just to remind us she is still around although there is really no relevance and bearing whatsoever. Yeah, you may even forget who this Aoi girl is. The one who quitted the band last season to focus on her exams. Yeah. Like that mattered anymore. Then you got others like Haruka, Yuuko, Natsuki and Kaori who were supporting characters from last season to continue playing as such role this season. With the exception of Haruka, the rest had their drama last season so like Hazuki and Midori, they feel no longer ‘important’ this season as far as the plot is concerned. Oh, do you remember that Rikka school from last season in which Kumiko’s friend was part of? No? Don’t worry. Not important either. Despite some of these characters especially those in the band just making minor impacts, they might have contributed to everything in overall in small bits. As for those in focus, I think they did a reasonable job in fleshing out and resolving their case so it isn’t all that bad.

Now let’s move on to the all-important romance element. I had this faint hope that they would surprise us with Kumiko x Shuuichi but the few moments they had together were just trolling us. There is a reason why many nicknamed this series as Gayphonium because straight love isn’t exciting enough. Despite from last season we were given the impression that it could be Kumiko x Reina, however their time together feels lacking. Sure, there are some close moments together but it isn’t like they spam it to remind us that they are going to be the couple of the series. And when I started notice that there really isn’t much Kumiko x Reina and that they are starting to drift away, I started noticing halfway through the season that Kumiko is gliding more towards Asuka. It was getting a bit obvious with Kumiko starting to be more concerned with Asuka and the interaction between them or at least Kumiko’s reaction. So when the final episode confession came, I was both surprised and not because although I predicted this, I was also hoping it wasn’t true. Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I’m used to Kumiko x Reina?

So they trolled us with Kumiko x Reina and gave us the ultimate plot twist that Kumiko loves Asuka eventually? After all, like in my last blog I did say that Asuka is the best character in the series because of her energetic and playful behaviour. Is there is not a reason to like her? And just like the rest, she too has her own issues but chose to put on a cheery mask so as not to worry others. But I guess it didn’t fool Kumiko or either that too much teasing caused that girl to start ignoring Reina (who is more concerned with Taki anyway at this time) and start liking her. I mean, Kumiko and Asuka are in the same brass section as compared to Reina who is just like another world away. So this is your yuri romance of the season. Maybe this is where the true Gayphonium lies? Just kidding.

I also remember in my last blog I frequently compared this series with K-ON! Well, thank goodness I didn’t here or else I would be repeating myself. Especially the character designs. But K-ON! now feels like ages ago so at this point I can’t really remember most of the things. The art and animation also maintained their consistency so no complaints from me. Last season the mid-intermission showed members of each section. This season, they just show band members playing their instruments. Hardly anything exciting.

Last season’s True sang the lively opening theme. They also do the same this season as Soundscape has also the same exuberance and energy. It is the same case for the ending theme. Kitauji Quartet does Vivace this season but this time it feels less like a K-ON! rip-off. It is mainly like a jazzy Broadway piece and it isn’t too bad either.

Overall, this series isn’t really about concert band music but touches more about the youth aspects like friendship, struggle (respect to the band members for their pure commitment to come and practice all the time) and love as narrated from Kumiko’s point of view in an honest way that makes this reasonably enjoyable and different from other musically themed series. At this point in time. I am pretty sure that big concert bands aren’t going to be as popular as big pop idol groups (looking at you AKB48) but whether you are playing the lead role or a minor supporting role, being the centre or at the very edge, every role is important. The goal isn’t to win the gold or be the best but rather the effort put in the performance and the enjoyment it brings to others. Like as though the performance of a concert band mirroring life itself. Kitauji may not have won gold this season but this series certainly has won gold in the hearts of many viewers. Not fake gold, mind you. Well, I give them a silver at best :-).

Wait… WHAT???!!! THERE’S STILL MORE???!!! I DIDN’T SEE THIS COMING!!! Really. I never knew there was going to be a third season of Ai Mai Mi – Surgical Friends! Just when I thought I was getting over and being rehabilitated of my drug addiction, they f*cking lured me back with this f*cking surprise! You mean bastards! I was almost clean from this piece of sh*t for such a long time (actually it was only 2 years ago, the second season aired) and how dare they drag me back with this sweet, sweet goodness that I love. Mmm… Welcome home to papa. I guess this third season is the right tonic and fix ever since Teekyuu ended. Oh yeah… I was never freed from those drugs anyway…

Episode 1
The casts are reading names of seiyuus representing parodies of football teams. One of them tells her off for making viewers wait for the start of the series but she gets punched in the mouth! Mai and Mi are jealous Ai is drawing manga again. So they make her stop by giving her cake? Yeah, she is traumatized. Ai sees Mai underdressed in this cold weather. She gives her scarf but apparently she wraps the wrong way. Realizing her birthday is next week, Ai is forced to give up her allowance to maintain her friendship as she promises to buy a new coat. Mai is happy Ai got her a new one and will treasure it. Mi gets jealous seeing how close they are and didn’t know they are into that kind of relationship. She kills herself by jumping out of the train.

Episode 2
Mi sees this kid, Takahiro threatening a manga store worker to bring out some virgin. The manager tries to defend her but gets teleported into a dolphin’s stomach! Mi reports this to Mai and they think he is going to initiate Plan S where all is killed except female virgins. Mi plans to kill him and strikes first but gets caught. He licks her and is happy she is still a virgin. Mi then talk about them who respected virgins. But he strayed so much that he knows hate girls who aren’t virgins. Remember, people who aren’t virgins deserve to live too! She then sucks him into a bottle trap. However he has powered up and cannot be contained as he defiles Mai and Mi. When Ai passes by, Takahiro leers at her for being a perfect virgin. She gets mad and slaps him. Defeated!

Episode 3
Mai asks Mi if she has any other friends other than her because they are always together. Don’t say Ai because she’s a minion! Mai’s twisted idea of not wanting to see a perfect Mi without friends has her lie that she’ll bring the most awesome friend for her to see tomorrow. On the way home, Mi bumps into Ponoka who agrees to give what she wants in exchange for 5 years of her life. So Mi is kneading the ingredients to make an ideal friend? While she is asleep, the blob comes alive and scares the sh*t out of her. It wants to be her friend but obviously she can’t be friends with this monster. She runs away while it chases her. So when Mai sees she has such a dangerous friend, she can’t help respect her.

Episode 4
Mi brings her hamster to school. Mai wants to touch it so much that she turns into an elongated human?! When Mi relents, Mai abuses it to the max and turns it into some food! The hamster then turns out to be some demon, Crastofeles who has been with war with heaven for 800 years. He reveals Mai to be the angel Shakalafy. When Ai enters, Crastofeles disappears. This has Mai ponder their past. They used to be comrades until his desire for ultimate power caused him to change and resulted in that war. Mi has no idea what she is talking about so Mi gets mad because she went through all that trouble of being reincarnated. Mi is sad her hamster is gone and thinks back of all the good times (sleeping with it too?!). Luckily Mi points out its body is still okay within the food. Crastofeles returns to haunt Ai and thinks it is Shakalafy’s weakness. But Ai senses a pervert staring at her and beats it up. And that is how humanity was saved.

Episode 5
Mi is blabbing about Elon Musk’s space programme but apparently Mai isn’t giving a damn. The girls are soaking in a hotspring. Suddenly a wolf is sucking its water followed by a sheep. Mi tries to torment and disrupt Ai’s manga work by boiling her, stuck an alien on her back and zap her under a heat ray that she can’t go to toilet. However Ai still manages to finish it. Mai and Mi are about to fight over their opinions of cats and dogs. Herald Ponoka to stop them because it is more important they consider themselves as the cutest. A scary fridge is at a funeral. It won’t open unless you smile at it… Smiling madly at a funeral? Ponoka introduces a game she deciphered on some alien manuscript. So to play Zaiiga you draw a circle, everyone stands in it facing their backs to each other, close your eyes and quietly walk away…

Episode 6
What’s this?! A somewhat serious episode! When Mi reveals her true name to be Minya Meinich, Ai got mad asserting this shouldn’t change their relationship. Here, have a doughnut. This brings back memories from 10 years ago. Mi was just a number (31) and had a senior (17 – nicknamed Nana) in some shady facility that trained assassins. Nana never thought of escaping because she had no family and even so all records were destroyed. In fact, after her family died, she was brought here. Suddenly they were called to eliminate some president. They are warned if they cannot escape without leaving an evidence, they must use a bomb. However the group is ambushed by a giant monster. The group is scared over their doom. Nana was brave enough to fight it, carve a star as a target on its forehead to summon Haniwa dolls to eliminate it. But victory is hollow as the ground caved in…

Episode 7
The story continues?! When Mi wakes up, she is glad that Nana is still alive. Although the rest of the team is dead. It seems they are trapped in some underground space with no way out. Nana becomes sad on the thought she has always lived herself the ways she is prepared to die. But now the time has come, she is scared. She is adamant in letting Mi live as she cuts open a portal for her to go through. Mi is shocked that Nana won’t follow. She wants to stay behind and blow herself up to cover all evidence. Mi is sad that they can’t fulfil their promise of eating doughnuts together but Nana is happy Mi gave her this nickname. After the portal closes, Nana can only Mi would live her life no matter how pathetic it is. Mi snaps out of this flashback, mocked by her friends if she has ever seen a doughnut before. Unknown to her, Nana is watching over as a spirit and notes she has grown up well. She now has her own world.

Episode 8
Ai is enjoying her takoyaki and comments how round it is like Earth. Mai is then startled. Is Earth round?! She has her inner voices debate about this. All seem to have those stupid flat Earth theories except for one but she was shut out quickly. Thus Mai corrects Ai that the Earth and takoyaki aren’t the same. In class, Mai goes to sleep and wets herself! Then comes in a strange dog to lick her urine?! Mi tries to stop it but it bites her crotch! Seems Mai knows Masajiro who is by the way a wolf. He is supposed to be some bed wetting prevention wolf. Is it working? Mi wants to be friends with it but gets her crotch bitten again. Is she defiled? One night as Mai sleeps as normal, the next morning she finds Masajiro gone but he left a letter. It states he comes from outer space and the reason he takes her urine is for samples to find a cure for a virus. He thanks her contribution and will never forget her kindness. Mai is so touched that now her eyes are getting wet.

Episode 9
Mi throws a paper airplane at Ai as prank. However Ai is not amused and gets rough with her! OMG! Have you seen Ai this genuinely mad?! She won’t accept their apology and looks like their accumulated bullying for 2 years have really gotten to her. If Ai seems different because she is. Ponoka explains she is the other Ai, Dark Ai. A separate personality born out of hatred for humans. So where is the real Ai? She is back home but has turned into some retarded goblin. The only way is to defeat Dark Ai. Mai and Mi face off with her but Mi gets owned. Kanako tries to make her remember about her friends and this was enough to banish the dark spirit. They might have won but it promises to be back. Ai has returned to normal and has no recollection of what happened. That’s why she is shocked to see her friends hugging her in pure happiness. Yeah, treat your friend better next time.

Episode 10
Mi is troubled. She thinks of going to make some kappa dish. Seeing a couple of them playing unguarded at the river, she attacks. However they beat her up instead. A llama greets Ai under her skirt so Mi gets violent strangling it. Since Ai is fine, Mi threatens the llama to purge its family if it does this again! While riding the bus, Ponoka is here to warn them this bus will soon be hijacked. Somehow she is drooling? True enough, several dolphins hijack it. Ponoka can’t do anything to help since they are from the future. Bye. So all the passengers are forced to wear dolphin mascots and protest to save this era’s dolphins. Mi is spared because they think her short legs means she is one of them. As Mi sees how Ai is pitifully doing the dolphin’s bidding, she can’t take this anymore and drops on the ground and does crazy protest. The dolphins are impressed and know they have finally been freed. One peace! To live with harmony with dolphins!

Episode 11
Mai and Mi are on a bus with popular seiyuu, Megumin. However that same day the papers published a scandal. All her fans fall into depression by vomiting or biting off their tongues! And Megumin doesn’t even give a f*ck! Mi is sad at this ‘mass execution’ but even shocker is that Mai knows about this scandal and yet she can put on a smile. Because this means they can all die together! Mai then turns into a… Unicorn?! She is going to kill Megumin with her horn! What is this lecturing about death isn’t a sad thing but a new departure and new salvation? This coming from a unicorn? And so on a pretence to get Megumin’s autograph, the unicorn can tell she isn’t a virgin by her handwriting and blows up her car! Mi won’t let this go further and beats the unicorn up till it turns back to Mai. Mai is regrets her actions but unapologetic Megumin remains a b*tch. Don’t touch me! This is when Mi slaps Megumin and says she was the one who broke the rules first. Megumi repents and both sides are sorry. Happy ending.

Episode 12
Ponoka introduces to Mai and Mi an inter-dimensional library in which a day in here is equal to a month in reality. The duo are happy to hang out as 2 days passed. They return to Ai with that smirking smile on their face to tell her that they have make her missed the deadline. However Ai slaps them for making her worry as they’ve been gone for only 3 days! So when the duo finally has a change in heart to help work on her manuscript, suddenly they heard a singing voice… Oh, it’s Ponoka to warn them about an asteroid going to hit Earth because they’ve angered some intelligent life form another planet. Hmm… Asteroid crashing into Earth? Are they parodying this episode with Fushigi Na Somera-chan’s final episode?! Lots of tears and regrets as Ponoka tries to evacuate them all with her truck. Why is Ai sorry about forcing them to help draw her manga? Subsequently Ai is back to herself as she makes her friends draw her manga. However they aren’t too enthusiastic about it seeing they are floating in space and lamenting Earth is gone! However Ai has gone nuts. She is in her own world dreaming of becoming a manga artist. Well then. See you again too… Somewhere around town…

Botched Surgery! No Insurance!
It never fails to disappoint. It would have been so epic nor would it made any difference had everyone died in the asteroid crash but they didn’t. It shows that as long as they are still living, there is a chance for more insanity. And Ai is already the first victim. Oh wait. She has always been a victim. So serve Mai and Mi right for always trying make her miss her deadlines? In space, nobody can hear you be insane… So remember kids. Lesson learnt is that you better help finish your friend’s manga. Or be doomed to drift in space forever to draw forever for a manga that will never be released forever. Thanks for the valuable life lesson even though it doesn’t apply to me! Is it me or do I notice that in this anime a slap usually makes things work out back to normal? Oh glorious. Another life lesson to learn.

As usual, this season’s main characters remain the same insane and wacky characters as last season although I have a feeling that there are lesser random single episode characters this time around. Also, I feel that Mai and Mi are having a larger share of screen time as compared to Ai. Because those 2 are the idiotic troublemakers who is the lesser one but nevertheless still part of the 3 Stooges. Most probably with that doughnut arc featuring Mi’s past, that is one reason why she felt so prominent this season. And yes, Ponoka is still as mysterious and dangerous as ever. But no pots this time? Oh wait. Just a short cameo appearance in the final episode. Speaking of which, all the random characters in previous seasons make their cameo in the final episode’s credits. How many do you remember? Yeah, such ‘nostalgia’… Is this their way of making a roll call as they bow out?

Like in previous seasons, the nonsensical stories are so nonsensical and silly that you’re not supposed to remember them. All are supposed to be standalones. Therefore I am not really sure of this very short segment that is almost in every episode. They feature a couple of lesbians, Sachie and Kanako. Heck, they are even on the promo poster of this season (all the girls so lesbian naked?). The story itself is weird and I don’t really understand what is going on. Hair stuffed into recorder? Huh? But to have them recurring in several episodes makes it weirder. I’m too lazy to go back and watch them again because it feels like you can string them together and make one short little story despite it still doesn’t make any sense. So they somewhat ‘tie up’ Sachie to be Ai’s sister in the last episode (and Kanako to be Mi’s sister in an earlier episode – they’re supposed to be neighbours?) but you know how the nonsensical flow of the story goes. What was it again she would rather die with Kanako during the asteroid crash? Some neighbourly lesbian love story we’ve got there.

Also being introduced this season and in every episode too is some llama named Torijiro. Appearing only in the ending credits and ranting away about stuffs that I don’t understand which is supposed to be funny but I’m not really laughing since during the ending credits there are additional notes to read there. I know I can just pause and read them but the drugs have rendered me lazy… Is it me or do I notice that in this segment the producers have got something to do with Aya Uchida, the voice behind Mai. Having said all this, what I’m trying to say that the graphic weirdness that was usually in this segment other than the episode proper is much less toned down this season. Remember that vomiting girl and salamander licking sick scene in the first season? Or that limb stretching explicit scene in season 2? Don’t forget that rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling… So when the third season rolls by, no such graphic content and we just got a talking llama. Is the drug starting to lose its effect?

The opening theme still maintains the series’ trademark of animating it in retro pixelated video game style. So it is nice to see some of the retro video games they parody like Street Fighter II. The song, Zenin Shuugou Ai Mai Mi sung by the main trio too is as frenzied as its predecessors. I noticed there is an ending theme too, Lucky Chance Wo Nigasanaide by the same trio. However you’ll only hear its rock instrumental (except for the final episode which has proper singing and all) since this segment is hogged by Torijiro and I bet you wouldn’t hear a thing what the girls are singing if they added their singing voice in. Yeah, a talking llama is already bad enough. Adding the girls singing this song in the background would only add to the cacophony.

Overall, I don’t know how many brain cells have died while watching this atrocious goodness. I don’t know how many years of my life it has shaved off after watching 12 x 3.5 minutes of this season. But as long as I feel good, it all doesn’t matter. You think you can watch and forget, laugh and be happy for the moment before returning to your normal daily life. But little did you know that the drugs accumulated over the years are slowly taking its effect. We think it is okay because the current phenomenon of celebrity culture makes it acceptable. And then one day you’ll wake up and realize the rude shock and awakening, the biggest jolt you’ll ever have knowing the fact that you have gone too far to turn back the way it was. That is why Donald Trump won the recent American elections. FFFFFFUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Somebody turn into a unicorn and kill me now!!!!!!!!!!!!! Because having an asteroid slamming into Earth is so cliché that has already been done to death.

Flip Flappers

June 4, 2017

With a strange title and an equally curious poster, that is what got me into trying out Flip Flappers. Although I have never watched Kyousougiga series, somehow I got this feeling that it would be a fantasy sci-fi adventure anime. An original anime not based on any manga or game, the story might sound typical. A normal middle school girl gets involved with a weirdo as they venture into different strange worlds to find pieces of mysterious fragments that is believed to grant wishes when all are gathered together.

Episode 1
Against her superior’s orders, high spirited Papika heads out by herself to find another candidate. Meanwhile Cocona Kokomine is living a mundane and boring high school life. One day she wanders off track into a park. Near a giant cement pipe, that is where Papika finds her. She and her robot, TT-392 AKA Buu-chan are quite interested in Cocona as she is a possible candidate. With the superiors giving orders to test her, the girls are suddenly warped to another snowy world. But there is no one else around. Papika seems to be having fun in the snow while Cocona is still confused over her surroundings. But eventually she succumbs to having some fun like building snowman and surfing around with Papika. As they make camp, Cocona wonders if everyone is hiding from them so Papika assures her they will go on a treasure hunt tomorrow to find Pure Illusion. When Buu-chan starts acting up, a group of snow monsters are ploughing through. At this point Cocona realizes she has lost her precious glasses. Papika spots them on a monster and dangerously rides and goes along with it to retrieve Cocona’s belonging. It hurts Cocona as much as she can only witness Papika putting herself in danger and taking some damage while trying to get the glasses. When Papika seemingly drowned during her attempt, Cocona is overcome with so much sadness that she transforms and releases some powerful beams. This has Papika burst out from beneath the icy waters and into Cocona’s arms. Papika is impressed with her transformation and better news, she has got her glasses. Albeit it’s a bit broken. When they land, Cocona suddenly finds herself back in the park. All a dream? Then what’s that warm glowing thing in your hand? Papika hopes they can go adventuring again but Cocona passes. That’s enough adventure for a lifetime.

Episode 2
Cocona makes her way to school and is having a few muscle pains. Then here comes Papika to bug her to go look more of the fragment (that glowing thing) but Cocona is not interested. In class, Cocona realized too late that her pet rabbit, Uexkull tagged along in her bag. If that wasn’t enough, Papika becomes a transfer student in her class dressed as a magical girl!!! Seriously, Papika can’t stop bugging her! Wherever she goes, Papika follows. Her best friend, Yayaka had to help out in making her escape. But when Uexkull escapes (because it is somewhat terrified of Papika), a strange machine at a park sucks it in. I guess the only way to save it is to follow it down the rabbit hole. Or suction hole? In this strange abstract colourful world, the girls now spot rabbit ears and tail and they can’t stop nibbling things. When Papika finds a fragment, she accidentally activates some machine. Uexkull is now a manly heroic bunny?! This throws Cocona into danger. Although Uexkull tries to save her, they end up in a small cage. They have to escape fast as the cage is sinking closer into the lava! Before they meet their doom, Papika transforms into and uses her power to break them out. They make their speedy escape from all the traps before landing back in the original world. Cocona was worried she was going to die but agrees to go with Papika and her adventures once in a while. Papika then brings Cocona back to her base, Flip Flap to introduce her to everyone. There are the scientists Sayuri and Hidaka as well as the mysterious leader, Dr Salt. Hidaka explains the world they went in is called Pure Illusion and it is their mission to find fragments scattered throughout. And because there is no pay involved, Cocona doesn’t have to worry about going against school policies that students aren’t allowed to do jobs! Wait. Is this exploitation then? It seems they are collecting fragments to liberate Pure Illusion. The girls are now put in some box as they prepare to head to another world.

Episode 3
Papika almost dies of dehydration in the desert but is picked up by some alien tribe and treated like a prison. Only a little girl treats her well and explains the scarcity of water in this world. A group of ruffians invade the place and misuse the water they have been saving. Why do I have a feeling there are some elements of Mad Max here? They think they can bully Papika into submission but looks like they made a fool out of themselves. Till their boss pops up. Isn’t that Cocona in a mask? Papika feels this isn’t the real Cocona and an imposter. They fight until Papika manages to break her mask. She is Cocona and has returned to her original character. She is sad Papika is injured because of her. The perpetrator turns out to be that little girl as she turns into her true form. Nicky Minaj look-a-like? Anyway Cocona recognizes her because when she first entered this world, she found herself in a large bath area with Nicky (temporary nickname) flanked by a large group of naked bondage ladies. She was given the mask that is believed to enhance her inner feelings. Deep down she must really want to kill Papika for her to fight her. Nicky tries to coax her into joining her side and will make her into somebody to fill that emptiness. Since she declines, Nicky will only take her fragment. Luckily Papika has revived to save the day. Both girls transform to kick her ass in this flashy epic power battle that ultimately has them winning. But the one who finishes off this monster is a group of youngsters. Cocona is shocked to see Yayaka part of this group that includes twins Toto and Yuyu. They take the fragment and leave. When they return to base and report about Papika, the boss identifies her as Papikana, one half of the Direct Drive.

Episode 4
Hidaka is explaining to the girls about impedance (feelings). This is important because it allows them to transform. They were doomed to fail from the start when they landed in different places and this allowed their rivals to steal the fragment. So in order to have them bond together, they give Papika wear the same school uniform as Cocona. Oh, they’ll be living together too. It’s so crazy it might work. So the night Cocona sleeps in her bed before she stays over at Papika’s place, she has a weird dream riding a boat on a strange river and a strange girl welcoming her back. In school, Yayaka isn’t around so Cocona goes looking around and ends up in the hospitality of the art club’s Iroha Irodori. When Yayaka eventually shows up, they have lots of questions for her. Apparently she has been doing this for a long time. She invites them to join her to gather more fragments but they decline. As for why she is doing this, it is for world conquest. So this cement pipe is now where Papika lives? Hmm… Creative interior decorations? So they catch weird plants and eggs as meal and take shower in the open. Next day, they hover surf to a deserted island. To their dismay, their surfboard gets washed away by the waves. Stranded. Nobody’s coming. Cocona has a test tomorrow… As they try to find food, Cocona realizes she is empty and useless. But Papika cheers her up by mentioning her good points. Smart, walks fast and can fix scarfs right. That’s about it? Sleeping underneath the open sky, Cocona wonders what Papika would wish if she gets enough fragments. Secret. Cocona? To meet her family. She has been living with her grandma since young as her parents died in an accident. Next morning, they make a raft enough for them to go back. But then they get sucked into Pure Illusion. This time Cocona isn’t panicking. She is on the same level with Papika having fun and happy. Because Papika says she’ll never ever ever ever ever ever ever let her go?

Episode 5
Cocona and Papika have lost out to Yayaka’s team in 3 straight rows. Therefore the scientists have discovered a way to improve their impudence by letting them hold their prized possession and say “Flip Flapping”! That simple? If only Papika can pronounce it right… In the next Pure Illusion, they end up in a creepy dark school. It’s always raining. They thought they saw Yayaka but soon stumble upon a group of creepy ghost girls who can only say “Please to meet you”. Yikes! Then they bleed and collapse. Next thing they know, they are in nice bathtub and the ghost girls treat them nicely, giving them their own room. They do club activities together, study together and there’s always this creepy doll looking at them in the room. The process repeats many times till Cocona bumps into Yayaka. She reveals they are stuck in a time loop. They need to get out of here fast but Papika seems to be accustomed to this world. Even if she overcomes that, there is some sort of time limit that will restart the day. The clock only strikes 11 times at midnight. So they have to find a secret way out and quick because those ghost girls are stalking them! JUMP SCARES!!! When they manage to leave the area and find themselves in the clock tower, they fight Yayaka’s team. It gets confusing and weird here. Not that I really get it. They transform as Cocona deals the twelfth strike on the bell to end the madness. A fragment falls into their hands and this means this world is going to crumble (the fragment acts as its defence). Yayaka’s team escape and Yayaka brings the duo along. She thinks they are even and that they should hand over the fragment. But Cocona won’t since they found it themselves. Yayaka warns them to prepare themselves. Cocona vows to stop her if she tries something.

Episode 6
Cocona wants to know how many more fragments there are to mark their progress but Salt gives an unsatisfying answer until Pure Illusion is picked clean. When Cocona visits Iroha in her clubroom, Papika gets her first taste of her nail polish that she uses in her art instead on her fingers. In their next mission in Pure Illusion, the duo enter a strange ominous gate. Cocona finds herself learning and having fun with an auntie. All seems great till she goes home and enters a room. Papika is seen drawing and she desperately wants to switch. Cocona sees father and mother bickering and this causes her to run back to Papika and wants to switch. Then they are kicked out of the gate. Both claim they were living as the girl Iro. Feeling something isn’t right, they decide to go back into it. Cocona continues to live the fun days with auntie but heard nasty rumours that once auntie dies, the kid she always brings home will be in trouble. Cocona also knows that day will come since she can tell auntie is already feeling unwell. One day she visits auntie but there is nobody home. She waits outside until her parents force to bring her home. She refuses and runs away till she collapses. When she wakes up, she is in hospital. She is happy when she sees auntie. However auntie has a serious case of amnesia and cannot remember her. This makes Cocona disappointed as she runs away back to her room. She wants Papika to switch with her. It gets unbearable as both girls cry. Papika smells something smelly and it is Cocona’s nail polish. This makes Cocona remember the nail polish was a present from auntie. They made a promise that if she ever forgets herself, just say her name. It made Cocona realize she abandoned her. Both return to auntie’s side and say their name: Iroha Irodori. Auntie welcomes her back and both girls return to reality. Papika wants to confirm if that Iro girl is Iroha. So the next day they go see her, they spot her wearing nail polish.

Episode 7
Yayaka warns Cocona not to go near that gate because it’s bad. But Cocona knows she was in Iroha’s memories and this makes her feel something isn’t right. Trying to ask Hidaka about what Pure Illusion is, well, all that mumbo-jumbo means he doesn’t know anything either. Whether it can be change and revert something back is also uncertain. That is when Salt explains all worlds including Pure Illusion interact fluidly in theory but reality isn’t perfect and thus imperfect interaction defines their existence. Huh? I don’t get it either. Because of that, Cocona doesn’t want to enter Pure Illusion anymore since she is afraid it will change reality further. When she goes home, she finds grandma and Uexkull missing. Shockingly, Papika is her loving little sister! Well, time to play along. Cocona realizes she is in Pure Illusion when at school Papika is her male classmate. There are other versions of Papika like a creepy girl hiding under the desk, an oujo-sama, a delinquent, a gloomy girl and even a handsome young lad. So after all that time wasting frolicking, Cocona decides to go look for the real Papika. But where to start? Can’t find her. When the ground starts to collapse, that is when the real Papika rescues her in her weird spaceship. She has been looking for her lost Cocona. Yayaka is frustrated that she is no longer allowed information that she depends on (she wanted to know about that gate). She is further warned if she is unable to find more fragments, they will have no need for her anymore. Cocona and Papika are hanging out in the garden together. Their fragments start shining and Papika sees visions of Mimi.

Episode 8
Pool episode? Not quite. When Cocona slips into the pool, Papika tries to grab her and before they know it, they’re in Pure Illusion. In this futuristic city, they are attacked by monster pigeons. Yayaka and her team destroy the monsters but since there are no fragments, they leave. The duo are almost attacked by another monster but saved by this miniature guy whom we shall identify as Ossan. Bringing them back to his base, he explains he created every nook and corner of this world. But ever since a fragment dropped in, it turned into monsters and started tearing the place up. Cocona feels she wants to help him protect this world. A fragment is detected but it is in the form of this huge monster. No chance of taking it down the way they are now. Because Ossan will not abandon his city as there is no reason to live without it, Cocona expresses she was once afraid to go into Pure Illusion for fear of changing something. But now she wants to use her hands to protect what’s important. Ossan believes they can do it and lets them ride his revolutionary vehicles. Only, the cockpit is so damn small. As individuals they won’t do much damage but they have to combine and sync their hearts (just like Flip Flapping) to merge into this Gaiking rip-off. But it is still not powerful enough and they take serious damage. At this point Yayaka wants to fight too but she can’t answer when Ossan asks if it’s to save them. Like the tsundere she is, she claims she is entering the fray for the fragment instead of helping them. So this knockoff Transformer seems powerful at first but it still isn’t enough. So the trio know combine to its ultimate boxy towering mecha form. This time it is powerful enough to finish off the monster. But parts of the city are levelled too. Not to worry? Art is explosive? The twins are about to catch the fragment but Ossan grabs it from them and says it belongs to Cocona and Papika. Yayaka orders a retreat claiming they can steal it from them anytime but the twins aren’t convinced and will report this. Buu-chan rolls in damaged so Hidaka is forced to take time off his busy schedule to fix him. As the girls rejoice in protecting a fragment, Cocona is shocked when Papika calls her Mimi.

Episode 9
Yayaka is not pleased she is being replaced by a new kid, Nyunyu so she pleads to those cult guys for another chance. Last chance. But this time she must also steal the fragment from the enemy. Because Papika continues to confuse Cocona with someone else, this pisses of Cocona. They end up arguing and with such feelings, can they enter Pure Illusion? So far so good. This time it is an empty space. When they spot a fragment, they race to get it only to be intercepted by Yayaka and co. As they try to grab the fragment, Cocona and the twins are swallowed up by some giant hairball, leaving Yayaka and Papika to duke it outside. The twins suggest a truce till they find a way out. They couldn’t so they settle to watch the outside fight. Eventually Yayaka and Papika got tired running around. With Papika hungry and Yayaka teasing her with her chocolate bar in exchange for the fragment, soon it becomes a fight for food. Yuyu reads Papika’s lips and it seems she is talking all about food and nothing about Cocona. This leaves Cocona sad. When the hairball starts acting up, Papika wants to go save Cocona. Despite Yayaka claiming the fragment takes priority, she can’t help feel she has been a friend to Cocona more than Papika. Flashback to when they first met at the hospital when they were young and hit it off being friends. Cocona and Papika call out to each other and this has Cocona break out and reunite with her. With warning from the twins, Yayaka goes on a full assault on Cocona. She manages to take a fragment but there is one embedded in her thigh. Do it. Unfortunately she can’t. Instantly the twins attack Yayaka who uses her own body to protect Cocona. Cocona becomes devastated upon seeing motionless Yayaka while Papika fends off further attacks. In the aftermath, Cocona brings back Yayaka to the base for the scientists to resuscitate. When Papika wakes up, she is frantically calling out for Mimi. Who is Mimi? Her partner.

Episode 10
Salt wants to kick out Yayaka as she is the enemy. Cocona pleads not to as she is her friend. He only gives her till morning. The cult guys know all the fragments in Pure Illusion have been retrieved and they will press on with their plan. Cocona dreams that weird dream again. When ask who that strange girl is, she calls herself Mimi and looks exactly like her! Cocona is not pleased when Papika continues to address her as Mimi. She cannot reveal more as she doesn’t want to make her sad. Cocona then talks to Yayaka who claims collecting all the fragments will make Pure Illusion bend to one’s will. The twins were purely created to enter Pure Illusion. Yayaka receives such powers later via some facility. She was the only survivor as she was the only one compatible. Yayaka’s goal is to create a world where people didn’t have to hurt anymore. But if she chose a normal life, it meant giving that up and she thought letting others choose for her. The cult sends robots to invade the base. Although they have numbers, the scientists have tricks and traps in their home ground. The twins come to get Yayaka as they reveal inside Cocona is a fragment. Even more shocking it is the reason why Yayaka got close to her to keep an eye on her. Cocona doesn’t believe it but with Yayaka remaining silent, she realizes she has been used. Papika comes to rescue her but with her still talking about protecting Mimi’s fragments, Cocona insists on an explanation. She blames Papika for using her to get into Pure Illusions.

Time to reveal Papika’s side of the truth. Papikana as she was known then was also one of the many kids in a facility. It is her turn to be with subject 33 AKA Mimi. They instantly become friends. Papikana often sneak out of her room to be with Mimi but always end up in young Salt’s room. He is not a subject but a scientist since his father is one. He too is interested in Mimi. As Mimi is the only one who can enter Pure Illusion, they are trying to find a partner that resonates with her. One day Salt and Papikana decide to bring Mimi out of her room. It is the first time she has been outside with nature. Mimi felt great and decided to show Papikana Pure Illusion. At this point Cocona has had enough. Wait. You wanted an explanation and you’ve got it and now you’re mad? Cocona believes everyone has been using her and hates everybody. She escapes the facility while Papika tries to follow her. Once the girls are gone, Salt gives the orders to abandon base. Cocona returns home but the place is surrounded by those robots. Even more shocking is her wheelchair ridden grandma standing up. She orders Cocona’s capture. Suddenly Cocona’s body burst into bright lights. All the fragments in Papika’s possession start flying into Cocona. In the aftermath of the explosion, the house is destroyed and the robots (including grandma who is one) are trashed. Mimi assures Cocona she will protect her from now on because Mimi is her mom!

Episode 11
Cocona is taken in by the cult but she is Mimi. She will not hand over her fragment and kills them off with her plant powers. The scientists escape safely. But they are confronted by Nyunyu. A fight won’t happen since Yayaka intervenes. Salt confronts Mimi who says this is all for Cocona. She blames him for not protecting her. More flashback surrounding Salt, Mimi and Papika. They are very close to each other. One day Salt’s father has created a machine, ELPIS that allows them to enter Pure Illusion. But dad came back a mad person who lost his mind as he claimed he saw a magnificent power. Salt is sad and thus he was in no mood to hear what Mimi had to say. She even wanted to run away from this place and bring Salt along but he knows he can’t leave this place. Then one day Salt realizes what Mimi meant. He saw she had a baby named Cocona. It is then he tries to escape with the girls but to no avail. His father caught them and to prevent Mimi from doing this foolishness again, he is going to kill Cocona as a lesson. Desperate Mimi suddenly finds herself in Pure Illusion talking to her mirror self who claims she can protect Cocona if they switch places. Mimi has some tentacle monster powers as she wipes out the lab. Now she believes she only needs Cocona and nothing else. She disappears and leaves everyone else behind. Now Salt is trying to make amends as he knows the real Mimi wouldn’t want this. Although she overwhelms him, she mocks him to kill her. He couldn’t. Not after seeing her tears. Papika tries to save the day but is defeated and mocked that she can’t decide whether to have Cocona or the old Mimi back. The devastating blow is when Mimi says she hates her. Mother and daughter reunite on the boat. She tells her all she needs is her. But Cocona doesn’t seem to like her mom’s hospitality. Not even if she could make new friends for her. Eventually Cocona succumbs to the temptation of staying in this world with her. Pure Illusion is starting to merge with the world as it is snowing. Injured Salt meets Yayaka and begs her to save Papika after handing her a fragment. Yayaka then goes to mock depressed Papika if she is going to mope forever. Because Yayaka is going to rescue Cocona even if it means fighting her mom. Why? Because she is her friend. Papika goes with her as she wants to rescue Cocona because she loves her.

Episode 12
Salt leaves Hidaka to do some monitoring while he takes the rest to retrieve ELPIS. Papika is able to track Cocona based on scent. They confront Mimi again and this time Papika has her answer. She wants both Cocona and Mimi back. But Mimi thinks they are here to take Cocona away from her and sends them to Pure Illusions they have visited before. Papika and Yayaka must traverse obstacles and beat old foes. When they are lying in the face of defeat, Yayaka could only think about Cocona. She wants to apologize for deceiving her even if there is a chance she won’t be forgiven. She really wants to be friends with her again. Using this and the power of a fragment, Yayaka transforms as she kicks ass with Papika. The cult boss is still alive and orders Yuyu to treat him instead of Toto. But she disobeys and ignores him and continues what she is doing. Papika continues to tell Mimi this is all wrong as Mimi insists this is what they both wanted. Mimi has had enough of Papika being stubborn and lets her know how much she hates her. When Papika tries to tell her that Cocona already has important places to her, Mimi alters her memories about the promise she made. Papika now remembers Mimi telling her she will stay and protect Cocona forever when she is born. Meanwhile the original Mimi confronts Cocona and asks if this is what she wants. Cocona is confused because she thought everybody else should decide for her. Mimi tells her there is nothing to be afraid and thus needs to choose herself. Cocona reaches out to Papika and restores her original memories. The actual promise made from Mimi is that she wants Cocona to choose her own path, the freedom to live the life she sees fit. Papika knows about it because she has been in love with Cocona since the day she was born. Bad Mimi is mad that the stubborn girls won’t listen to her and attacks. But this allows them to transform into some bride cosplay outfit to easily defeat the enemy.

Episode 13
I’m not sure about this scene. When Mimi disappeared into Pure Illusion, Papika grabbed baby Cocona from her. Papika then reverts into a baby. She is trapped in some cage and many years later Cocona visits her. She might not know who she is but remembers Papika’s adult version. They hang out together and to beat their loneliness, they suggest becoming friends. Now Mimi is mad of her bad girls and is going to punish them. Sending monsters to attack? The world is such a messed up place with everything everywhere. Salt is trying to programme and cover Pure Illusion with another layer before going inside ELPIS. He confronts Mimi and I’m not sure what he did because I think he separated the good Mimi from the bad one as atonement. The land starts to crumble. Yayaka is saved by Uexkull (heroic version) while Salt and good Mimi watch over Papika and Cocona fight evil Mimi who now transforms into a dark butterfly form (Accel World?). Cocona tells Papika that she never wanted to go adventuring. She prefers to keep drifting through life on a boat because she was afraid of regretting the choices she makes. Despite all that, Papika dragged her from it. Papika wanted to go adventuring because she loves her and not because it allowed her to go into Pure Illusion. It’s the same for Cocona. She decided to go on adventures because she loves her. With the power of reconciled friendship, they defeat evil Mimi who decides to go back to relive those days spent eagerly awaiting their daughter’s birth. The land further crumbles and they have to quickly get out. Cocona is reluctant to leave Mimi since she just got to see her. Mimi says Pure Illusion is infinite and therefore there are no goodbyes. She wants her to walk down her chosen path proud. Papika puts her in some bubble and pushes her away into the exit. When she wakes up, Cocona is in Sayuri’s company. She is sad to learn Papika is still trapped in Pure Illusion. Cocona makes his way to the base but only hear Hidaka angrily complaining entering Pure Illusion is now impossible as all fragments are lost. Cocona tries to seek Yayaka’s help but she too is sceptical of ever going back there. As Cocona bums around, she is shocked to see Papika. She explains she got separated from Cocona and stayed with Mimi. Eh? Wasn’t Papika the one who pushed her? So it is Cocona who disappeared? From what I understand, they are still in Pure Illusion. After Cocona got sucked in, Mimi smashed that world. Papika was late because she was eating sweets with Mimi. They both transform and go on another adventure. End montage shows everyone else doing fine. Salt, the twins, Nyunyu, Iroha, Sayuri, Hidaka (still watching?) and Yayaka now taking care of Uexkull?

Pure Adventure Time
Wait. What?! Me no understanding what happening in the ending. Just like in animes that are already confusing, the final episode didn’t make it any better because I was confused till the end. So I’m not sure if the world has merged with Pure Illusion or with the existence of many realms, the ending indicates that our girls are free to adventure from one world to another unlike before where those worlds are thought to be as fantasy. So it’s like making them all a reality, blurring the lines of what is real and what is not, or rather the fact everything is real now. And this entire anime was just to get Mimi back? Was getting all the fragments to get your wish just make believe and some sort criteria to find/get to Mimi? Despite I wanted to make a pun of the series’ name as Flop Flopping, I believe this series is not as bad as I think I painted it. It was just too confusing for my simpleton mind to comprehend, that’s all. Well, looks like this is one adventure I don’t want to be going any time soon in the near foreseeable future.

There were lots of praises for this anime and I would have whole heartedly agree with those positive reviews if I wasn’t that dumb enough trying to understand what was going on. You can say that I am as not as imaginative as what this series has offered and sometimes get confused in trying to figure out what is happening in each episode. That takes a bit of the fun from me as I try to comprehend the surroundings and workings of the world and perhaps trying to connect it all to the bigger picture. Maybe I was being too hasty in trying to understand and grasp everything. It might seem that the initial episodes are like standalone and repetitive fillers because the girls randomly go on adventures in different worlds to find fragments and face competition from another theme. So once we delved a bit deeper into the history on the characters, at least that is where the real plot begins to take place.

So one of the weakest links of the series I feel are the characters. Not to say that they are boring and some may even be cliché archetypes. Because while the girls are still jumping through dimensions, we hardly know anything about them. Like Cocona who is living a low profile middle school life till she gets reluctantly dragged away in adventures with her so called new best partner. On the other hand, Papika feels like some sort of idiot in her own world. Her idiotic positivism feels like a distraction not to question her who she is or what is her connection to Cocona. Because of all the people in the world, why Cocona? I suppose they want to show us how close they are, their bonding in the future and the past. Yes, I can see them close enough but not really enough to think some sort of yuri relationship that might arise from all this. Going adventuring is way much better than succumbing to the temptations of yuri. Yeah, the power of (girl) friendship beats everything.

Then there is Yayaka who is always having that hesitating look and angst waiting to explode. She is caught between a wall and a hard place because despite trying to do her duty, she is also torn trying to be real friends with Cocona. Well I’m glad she decided what is most important to her in the end. They try to portray Salt as a mysterious character but when his connection to Mimi and Papika are fully revealed, it somehow doesn’t seem satisfying at all. Ever since that incident he totally changed from a normal scientist to one brooding guy who looks like he is biding his time to get his revenge or atonement as he puts it.

I always keep thinking if Buu-chan was some sort of secret weapon or just waiting there would be some sort of important role waiting to surprise us and catch us off guard. Well, that part he turned into some muscular hulk with increased stats wasn’t one of it. Because this only confirms his status as some sort of comic relief character. He doesn’t do much and if you see him bumming around, you would expect to see something ‘funny’ because like as though this robot has some sort of corrupted programming inside him that makes him act ‘funny’. I mean, there are so many instances Buu-chan was really unneeded and his appearance with the girls feel like it is to ease some sort of tension the scene brings.

Hidaka and Yayaka might not play much of a significant role and do feel like extra supporting casts. But that at least beats this Nyunyu girl who not only came into the scene late, her entire character just feels redundant and could have been done without. What is her role actually except to replace failing Yayaka which actually never happened. I mean, why the need for her then? Another so called twist to throw us off guard? She is also a bit weird and perhaps that is why she gets along well with Buu-chan. What’s the deal with the twins since after Yayaka defected, it’s like they aren’t really prominent anymore. Eventually the montage at the end try to assure us about them but it raises as much questions had they not show it in the first place. Because it’s like it doesn’t matter about them. As long as Papika and Cocona continue to remain friends, that is all that matters.

I’m just confused about Mimi and her other evil alter ego. Like any other mother who wants the best for her child and protect her, it boggles my mind how it ended up like this. Because after the first time Mimi disappeared with Cocona, how come Cocona is then living a normal life? Is reality Pure Illusion as well? Couldn’t Mimi have lived life with Cocona forever together in Pure Illusion? Instead we start off with Cocona living alone with fake grandma. I get it that maybe the fragments were scattered but how were they so in the first place? And it took them this long to finally gather them? Cocona’s all grown up already, you know. Hey, at least it is better than finding those Shikon No Tama shards from Inu Yasha.

Because of the weirdness of Pure Illusion, sometimes I wonder if it is to hide the average art and animation quality. I’m not a person really well versed in arts nor am I one who really appreciates what art is constituted in cultured civilizations. So watching the very odd and peculiar abstract visuals in Pure Illusions didn’t really leave me in awe and more towards raising an eyebrow. Some worlds really felt weird like as though they mashed up whatever the producers could come up with, notching up the weirdness a few levels. And you can’t say it is really bad or anything because, well, it is art. Therefore it makes all the special effects and exaggerations in Pure Illusion feel right at home.

Many of the characters themselves look weird. Take for instance the main girls. They look in between of a Japanese anime girl and something cartoonish. Then there is Uexkull whom I was cracking my head what the f*ck this little monster blob is. At worst, I thought it was a mutated hamster. Uh huh. Uexkull looks more like an alien than a bunny. Weird. Furthermore, sometimes the colouring of certain parts make it feel like as though colour pencils were used. I guess overall the kind of abstract art fits with the sci-fi fantasy theme this anime offers us.

Voice acting feels rather okay. Mao as Papika (Renge in Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezvda) has this exuberance and silliness in her voice that matches One Piece’s Luffy. Not that I’m saying that she sounds like Luffy but when you get the idea when you have this lively character who is always in his/her own pace and world to have that kind of carefree confidence in the voice. I recognized Kenjiro Tsuda as Salt and Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Ossan and didn’t for Youko Hikasa’s Sayuri. That Nicky character… Aki Toyosaki? Not sure at first but yes it is. Even Buu-chan and Uexkull got their own voices (Kazuyuki Okitsu and Michiyo Murase respectively) and sometimes I feel it is the easiest lines ever in the series. The rest of the other casts are Minami Takahashi as Cocona (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma), Ayaka Ohashi as Yayaka (Felia in Comet Lucifer), Ai Kayano as Mimi (Inori in Guilty Crown), Jun Fukushima as Hidaka (Kazuma in Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo), Saori Oonishi as Iroha (Miyuki in Shomin Sample) and Marika Kouno as Nyunyu (Hanabi in Shakunetsu No Takkyuu Musume). The twins Yuyu and Toto are voiced by Airi Toshinou and Sayaka Inoue making their debut respectively.

The opening theme, Serendipity by ZAQ has this bursting exuberance that fits the theme of the series. But sometimes I think that the heavy use of the synthesizers overwhelm the overall tune of the song. The ending theme, Flip Flap Flip Flap by TO-MAS featuring Chima is also weird in its own way. It feels like a fairytale song and only enhanced by the ending credits animation of Papika and Cocona in their own fairytale adventure. A special ending theme for episode 11, Find The Wind by ZAQ feels more like an anime pop. There are also a few insert songs. Like in the final episode, Over The Rainbow by TO-MAS featuring Mao and Minami Takahashi isn’t a Japanese rendition of Judy Garland’s ballad. This one sounds more like a happy Christmas song.

Overall, this anime is imaginative and a visual feast in its own right. I won’t say it is more of style over substance since the story and characters are pretty decent although not a masterpiece. It is still interesting despite not having a lot of hype compared to other mainstream animes of the season. It might not break any new grounds but somehow I have a feeling that old things can still feel fresh if you show it from a different perspective. Yeah. I think that is how I view this anime. It goes to show that all of us as humans are gifted with the ability to dream and imagine. You can go experience your wildest adventures just by closing your eyes. Pure imagination. Just be careful not to get mixed up with reality and fantasy. How could we when sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

After that cliff-hanger ending from last season, it feels like a blatant excuse to setup another season. And thus that is why we have a fourth season, Uta No Prince-sama Legend Star. Though, it took more than a year for this sequel to pop up on air. I suppose this is the most popular franchise of the hot guy idols genre so better way than to milk it even more and get girls squealing in delight with more hot guys on stage. Oh, who am I kidding? Me? I’m just here to find out the conclusion to their decisive battle although I have an idea who might be the winner who will take it all.

Episode 1
It has been a month since we left off from last season, the three-way fight for the SSS crown. Therefore a short flashback of the results that night. Due to Heavens’ surprise entry, they have been disqualified. Not sitting well with fans… The winner goes to… Quartet Night! But guess what? They decide to turn this opportunity down! WTF?! They feel all of them were equals and suggested another competition to finish this. Well I’ll be damned. It’s like Brexit and the US elections having another go. The next scenes are absolute nonsense as it supposed to introduce and showcase how important these guys are as they sing and try to steal Haruka’s heart in their extravagant and elaborated set pieces. From Heaven’s cosy limo before being hijacked by Quartet Night’s makeshift pub truck and then being whisked away by the royal ballroom of Starish’s aircraft. WTF???!!! Haruka beats The Bachelorette anytime! It is finally decided that another competition among the 3 boy bands will be held. But there’s one catch. Haruka will write a song for each of them! Holy crap! Not her again?! Can she play fair? Of course she can. Finally all the heartfelt thanks and gratitude from Starish to Haruka because without her they won’t be making it this far, blah, blah, blah.

Episode 2
Saotome and Raging announce a surprise duet project. A member of Starish and Heavens will be paired to sing together. Guess what again? Haruka will write the songs! OMFG! They’re really going to work her to the bone and milk her dry! Of course this has both sides wondering if they can even work with each other seeing the intense rivalry. Before Quartet Night is blown into oblivion, the reason why we need to have this episode mainly focused of them. Since it is Reiji’s idea for his comrades to live together, of course those grumpy and moody guys hate it. With Camus and Ranmaru constantly bickering and at each other’s throats for the silliest reasons, suddenly Reiji drops the bombshell. He can’t do it anymore. He quits! OMG. It’s real. Sh*t is hitting the fan. It is no joke when he never comes back and the rest starts thinking how important Reiji was as the glue that kept them together. Then after they get a lecture from Ryuuya how they won’t capture any hearts if they continue to be divided (because they should be putting all their efforts being in a group rather than an individual), this real shake up has them call a truce. They realize they aren’t bad singing together in a group. Miraculously all of them reunite again at the beach. They seek Reiji’s explanation and honestly he really thought he couldn’t continue anymore. He forced them to live together to bond and when it backfired, he panicked. With the group whole again, Reiji suggests going on a national tour. A blatant excuse for them to showcase their music.

Episode 3
The first duet project is on and it pits Tokiya with Eiji. Tokiya is blown away after hearing him sing. Like an angel! Aside that, Eiji is a pretty nice guy. He even invites Tokiya to come practice at Heavens’ studio. Taking up his offer, he sees the high concentration and power of Heavens practising. Due to his numerous visits, the media soon picks this up and writes rumours Tokiya might be leaving Starish for Heavens! Starish is of course worried although Tokiya rubbishes it. One day, Tokiya bumps into Raging who hints he wants to recruit Tokiya into the team because of his talents. Although he declines, Raging hints his doors will always be open. This leaves Tokiya thinking. As more rumours surfaced and Starish believing Tokiya will not simply transfer to another agency, Tokiya finally snaps at his comrades that he might really go over. Because he feels that the group is not advancing and if they remain stuck, the gap between the bands will only widen. If that happens, he plans to accept Raging’s invitation. So we have all the Starish members being gloomy thinking about this break up but eventually they can’t let this get to them and the need to improve. It’s their fault they drove Tokiya to this. On the other hand, Tokiya really doesn’t want to go over and did this as a wakeup call in hopes his comrades would change. So with everyone reconciling and accepting to push to greater heights, Tokiya realizes the importance of Starish to them. He wants to continue singing with them. Tokiya and Eiji and complete their duet together as we get to hear the sultry and sexy R&B beat of Mighty Aura.

Episode 4
Next up is Sho and Yamato. However Yamato despite talented isn’t interested in going through this. When Sho identifies him as Ryuuya’s little brother, Yamato punches him in the gut! So Sho talks to Ryuuya about this and it seems the only way to settle it is via this celebrity sports variety programme, Muscle Fight. When the brothers meet, Yamato is looking for to fight Ryuuya. However he says Sho will be replacing him and this doesn’t sit well with him. Asks why Yamato wanted to become an idol, he doesn’t have the slightest bit of that. He joined Heavens to beat Ryuuya. If Yamato beats Sho, he will get to fight Ryuuya but if he loses, he must do the duet with Sho. On Muscle Fight, we skip all the other events because it is down to a boxing final match between Sho and Yamato. At first Yamato is beating the shorty up. But Sho always stands back up no matter what. The power of being an idol? Since we can’t have just a bunch of guys throwing punches at each other, we have to make them sing while doing so! Yeah. I guess this is the song Haruka wrote for them. In the end, double knockout. At the end of the day, the duo somewhat make peace and despite Yamato’s haughty behaviour, he will still do the duet with Sho.

Episode 5
Haruka and Cecil go meet up with Shion to discuss about the song details. However this guy is in his own world, ignoring them and doing his own things. Cecil is a bit dense, that’s why he is able to keep up with the cheery positivism. Unfortunately Haruka can’t understand what they’re saying. With Shion keeping up this attitude, Cecil’s enthusiasm also wanes. It becomes damning when he sees Shion smiling in Heavens. So when Cecil talks to him, that is when Shion blows his top. He says something about his oath only to sing for Heavens otherwise his soul will be defiled. Chuunibyou case? He has now had it with this and was putting up with this thinking it would help Heavens. So he runs back and locks himself up in the closet? So when Heavens can’t even bring him out, they barge into Starish’s dorm to find out. Thankfully rational heads prevail instead of starting a brawl because they know this project is to help them polish up for SSS. If both sides cannot complete this project, they cannot participate in SSS. After Cecil tells what Shion said to him, they explain Shion was the last to join Heavens and fears losing the group more than anything else. Cecil seeks Camus advice on the matter. He interjects what if he joins Starish. This surprises Cecil a lot. The point in matter is that they are intruding into Shion’s space. Eiichi talks to Shion that they can allow him to stay true to his oath although it might hurt Heavens’ reputation. Of course that won’t do for Shion. Between a rock and a hard place now. Well, at least they succeed in bringing him out of the closet but he is now running away. Coincidentally Cecil happen to be nearby and chase after him. Once caught up, Cecil explains how he too was the last to join Starish and the group feared the additional member would diminish their brilliance (or was it the competition over Haruka?). He tells Shion to sing for Heavens and he will sing for Starish. Yes, they can sing together for different things. So Shion finally turns up and sings a duet with Cecil. Shion is amazed at the different experience outside Heavens. They make peace and accept each other and everybody is happy.

Episode 6
In addition to their duet, Ren and Van will be starring in a movie together (I have a feeling it parodies Phoenix Wright). Because Van is such an outgoing and playful guy, this makes Ren seriously worried. Even more so when he expresses in dating Haruka! Time to step in. But Van tells him back that he really likes her and is just saying his feelings unlike Ren who is untrue to himself. If you lie to yourself, your music is a lie too. Then it becomes a competition to see who can get the higher praise for the movie will get Haruka. Ren notices Van’s superb acting chops like as though he is a different person. In the final climatic courtroom drama scene, both sides are equally intense till Van starts adlibbing. Ren equally responses and both sides manage to keep up with each other. Why didn’t the director stop filming? He doesn’t want to lose the intensity of this scene. In the end, both acknowledge each other as equal. But Van sneakily confesses to Haruka and wants to date her, promising he can make her happy. What is Haruka’s reply? Music is all that she can think off now! You’re rejected. He accepts and encourages her to write a great song so he can greatly sing it. Ren was too late coming in the picture but don’t worry, Haruka rejected him, right? Van insists his confession is because he is serious about her. Ren’s silence on his feelings for her also means he is serious. Narrating how she helped him find his way back to music, that is why he puts her happiness before his. Right now he is watching over her as his way of showing his love. Van admits his loss this time but won’t give up. They are motivated to sing their duet, Lovely Eyes, a jazzy and playful Broadway-like piece.

Episode 7
Nagi is being a brat during a meeting with Natsuki. But he upgrades to a dick when he questions about his past of tossing away the violin to play the viola (because he wants to play them in their duet). This leaves Natsuki in some sort of trauma. Nagi accuses him of not wanting to play as the reason for acting like this. This stopped when Satsuki comes out to put his foot down. Later Haruka learns from Satsuki the reason of his existence is to protect Natsuki. Of course Haruka tells the rest but there is nothing they can do since Natsuki wants to go ahead with this project. Nagi adds fuel to fire after researching more about Natsuki. He brings a violin for Natsuki to play at their next meeting and when he questions about him crashing into Hayato’s concert and he couldn’t remember, this makes Nagi certain that he has a split personality. He wants to tell everyone but Satsuki comes out of his own. He has had it with this and storms home to pack his bags. He is going to quit this project and being an idol! Putting his glasses back on doesn’t even change him back! This is serious. But with the rest showing their support, Satsuki decides to give this another chance. After an interview that has Natsuki thanking those around him for his sweet smiles, he decides not to run away and face this. Thus he is going to play the violin. A night talking with Haruka, Satsuki reveals why Natsuki tried to toss away this painful past of his. His beloved violin instructor whom he trusted plagiarized a song he wrote. Satsuki was created to help protect him but now seeing Natsuki is eager to change and accept his painful past, there is no longer any reason to protect him. So both alter egos make peace with each other. With that, Satsuki is gone. So it is a surprise to others when Natsuki doesn’t change when he doesn’t don his glasses. The duet goes well but is it me or do I find Grown Empathy sounding a lot similar like Lovely Eyes? Just add violins…

Episode 8
Masato and Kira find they have so much in common. Even their families have dealings with each other for generations! You bet they’re going to get along very well till Masato gets a call (after 20 miscalls!) from home. His father has collapsed. Masato cuts short his practice and postpones the duet to return to his home. Although father is stabilized, Masato didn’t expect this turn of events as father wants him to be the heir and succeed him. Masato was supposed to be in music for only a year but father quietly allowed him to prolong it. As he explains about the important SSS coming up, father argues it is why all the more important he has to leave the group now before he becomes too important to part. WTF. Masato is forced to extend his stay for another 2 days because there is an annual dinner his family hosts and since father cannot attend, he will be his proxy. Masato realizes nothing has changed. With this, Starish and everyone else get worried but believes he will pull through. Kira talks to Ren about Masato. He realizes they are different because Masato lacks resolve. There are still doubts in him. Masato is shocked to see Ren and Kira at his home. He believes there is more to them attending as their father’s proxy. Masato explains he has talked to his father but he won’t budged. They think he is running away from making his own decisions and if they go back to Tokyo now, nothing will ever change. Masato thinks Kira’s father blessed him with freedom but on the contrary he took it with his own hands because his dad too opposed him entering the music industry. Not convinced? Hear this song then. During the dinner, Masato’s dad makes his surprise appearance. All just to announce his son will be taking over. Masato quickly pops up to denounce that. He claims music is now very important to him unlike the last time where it was his only escape from reality. He might risk making lots of people suffer but he is prepared to bear those sins. So literally f*ck everybody else just for my own selfishness? As proof of his resolve, Masato and Kira perform a piano duet of Lasting Oneness, a techno and Chinese blend. Is father moved? He warns him continuing his music path risks severing ties with the family. So be it. Then walk that path knowing he will never be part of the family again. Thank you. It seems father let him go because it was the first time he looked him in the eye and told him how he felt. He believes his songs will one day support millions around the world. So money it isn’t money?

Episode 9
Eiichi is delighted that he is paired up with Otoya and is one friendly guy. Wow. This guy is so different from the snobbish dude we know. When Eiichi returns to Heavens, he notes the group moving forward well. However Raging disagrees with all that. The reason for this duet project is to show Heavens they are better than Starish. Their goal is not improving but to become the best. That is the meaning of their existence! Haruka has written a song that it motivates Otoya to write the lyrics. He pours his heart and time into it. However Eiichi is not pleased because such awesome song requires some soul shaking lyrics instead of just scratching the surface. He thinks he should look into his soul and be true to himself to be able to sing it. Of course the stress gets to Otoya. He isn’t smiling like he should and if he is, it looks fake. Starish can tell he is acting strange so Reiji advises them to talk to him. However they can’t because Eiichi has whisked him away to a training camp. Any contacts become futile. He isn’t picking up. Haruka finishes her masterpiece and sends it to Eiichi who believes Otoya might be able to do it after hearing this. However this isn’t the case. He still can’t come up with anything despite being true to himself. Maybe he needs to look deeper. Oh, the power outage is great so they can look at the darkness of his heart. At this point, I’m starting to think Eiichi is getting very creepy… Indeed. He has researched all about Otoya! He knows he is starved for love. He shows him a sunflower painting. And then burns it! Otoya has lost his parents and everything. Not wanting to lose anymore, that’s why he put on a fake smiling mask. Otoya sees how Starish becomes disappointed in him and leaves. Even Haruka. And after all that caressing from Eiichi, it’s time to open up to his true self. Wow. Creepy indeed. So gay… And so Next Door is a dark rock piece that is a personification of the dark and tragic past of Otoya. Just creepily insane.

Episode 10
Otoya calls Tokiya. He can’t smile. He can’t be part of Starish. Bye. Tokiya is super confused and tells this to the rest. Even more baffling is that Haruka has just received mail from Otoya and Eiichi’s duet recording. They hear it and are shocked to listen to the dark lyrics. Is this Otoya? Tokiya calls Eiichi to find out what happened. Eiichi tells the truth that he wanted to bring out his the darkness of soul for the ultimate music. He claims they do not know the true Otoya, a sunflower field of despair. Tokiya leaves Eiichi to his crazy delusions. So when Raging is pleased this rumour is going about in the industry, he praises his son for doing a good job. Eiichi is shocked to hear this and he really didn’t intend it to go this way. Now that Otoya is missing, Tokiya does some research on his past and tells what he has found. He never knew his father and couldn’t remember his mom. His aunt took him in but she died of an illness (she promised to bring him to the sunflower field when she got better). This made Otoya blame himself and by the time he entered the orphanage, he realized he can’t smile. They deduce by being with them, he will also start to lose them. Tokiya feels the need to find him before tomorrow’s broadcast. He isn’t prioritizing work but rather Otoya’s safety. If this gets out, he will be hurt even more. First, Starish sends out a message by singing a song with hope under the guise of Saotome’s debut anniversary. Guess who is it targeted to? Guess will it have an effect on Otoya? Sure it did. He wants to see them but he still can’t smile and must resolve this himself first. At the withered sunflower field, he remembers his aunt’s hopeful words to shine. Otoya comes to terms to do his best and make everyone smile. But he isn’t alone. Because Starish is here.

Episode 11
Some apology here and there. They give Otoya some hope about their bonds while revealing they talked to the orphanage director to get directions to this place. With Otoya’s genuine smile back, he adds that there is no such thing as eternity. He doesn’t know what the future holds or if Starish will sing forever. The important point is that what they do is limited and they have to cherish every moment of it. With that, their high level of motivation has them run and sing their way back home. Even rejuvenating the sunflower field! WTF?! With Starish back as a whole, Raging is not pleased as Starish’s reputation has increased. He is disappointed Eiichi didn’t fully crush Otoya. Eiichi says he only wanted to make the ultimate music. Raging blows his top that they are just his tools. Heavens disagrees. They want to compete fairly with Starish and Quartet Night. Raging is the only loser. Eiichi knows his history when he retired early thinking his single became the top seller. But he lost because Saotome beat him subsequently. Therefore Heavens is his tool for his ultimate revenge. Raging will not allow it and begins his underhanded scheme. Starish is shocked when they head for their individual duet projects, their Heavens counterpart has seemingly cancelled the appointment. Soon rumours are swirling that Heavens have dropped out from the industry. Of course as our protagonists discuss, they know Raging is behind it. As Heavens has defied him, he is going to make things go his way even if it means smearing the name of his own agency. This means Heavens might not make perform at the decisive concert. Heavens is reeling in despair over their fate back at their estate. They cannot do anything. Then surprise! Here comes Starish to give them a little pep talk about giving up. Don’t. Because they hand them Haruka’s song for them. Be there or be square. Heavens takes a look at Haruka’s work and finds it super good. Goooooooood!!! They can’t let it go to waste and want to sing it badly.

Episode 12
The decisive concert is here. As Quartet Night and Starish are being introduced on stage, suddenly it is announced that Heavens has dropped out and won’t be participating. Man, you can hear the uproar of Heavens’ fans. They won’t accept this! Everyone is in shock except for Raging. All as planned. Quartet Night then has something to say. They believe this is not the decisive concert they have been waiting for otherwise the re-election would have been a waste. They will wait for them no matter how long it takes. Starish also give their opinion and believe they will come back because their love for music is true and won’t give up. And what do you know? Here they are! Heavens has answered your prayers and returned! Raging is upset with this turn of events. He thinks Saotome has put them up to this although that eccentric guy says he didn’t do anything. But there is nothing they can do now once the concert begins. Just shut up, sit back and watch their performance. Quartet Night goes first as they belt out God’s Star. After their amazing performance, they thank Haruka backstage. She also meets Heavens who also thank her for her song. They are going to give their best performance yet and if they win, Eiichi wants her to become Heavens’ composer. They go out on stage to perform the energetic Immortal Inferno. Finally it is Starish’s turn to hit the stage. They’re so excited to deliver their feelings to everyone.

Episode 13
Raging is true to his name. He is mad. But that is because he realized when did his love for music die and started becoming interested in numbers. Leave it up to Saotome to show his usual trademark exaggerative effects to tell him about how love never dies! His love for music might be lost but it isn’t dead! Love is forever! Ironic because a couple of episodes ago, Starish didn’t believe in eternity. So before Starish take centre stage, their usual thanks to Haruka and this time each of them give her their personal hug! Then out onto the stage where they sing their self-titled song, We Are Starish. Damn, if those girls just stopped screaming, I could decently hear their song. You can guess their performance is so dazzling that it wins praises not only from the crowd and judges but their fellow competitors as well. What’s this? Raging is crying?! So beautiful?! This is the power of love?! He isn’t staying for the results because he needs to concoct a plan with Heavens to defeat Saotome and overcome his sales record. And finally a decision is made. The winner who will sing at the opening of SSS goes to… STARISH!!! With the ‘losers’ taking this loss gracefully and vowing to aim higher, more congratulations to Starish and since they still want to sing, all of them starts singing the ending theme. Wow. Enemies now singing like best friends together. In the aftermath, Starish meets Haruka and they have this idea to do a great concert involving Starish, Heavens and Quartet Night. Sounds wonderful till you realize who the heck is going to write the songs… I don’t know. That last scene the way they showed it at that angle I imagined Haruka wanted to scream and run away… Just kidding of course.

Let The Music Heal Your Soul & Past
Well, everything was as I expected. Starish winning this decider. Actually I was also predicting the other outcome whereby nobody could really decide which of the trio wins since everybody is so damn good and thus all of them would be singing at SSS opening! Yeah, screw your limited opening screen time because these hot guys are much more important and popular than your whatever SSS event. Look at how all the girls are going crazy over them! And poor Haruka has to again write the songs… Poor Haruka… More about her later on. And damn if the 3 groups should merge into one big group, a few more members and maybe they can give AKB48 a run for their money. Maybe they should just do that because it would be a shame to leave such handsome men behind. So therefore this season doesn’t really come with any big surprises that would shake everything up. Despite some ‘shocking’ revelation of a certain character’s background, it is overall still pretty much the same thing all over again. As if this is just an extended season 3.

I should have expected that with this kind of genre, the story and plot of each episode more or less plays out a similar formula. You get an episode focused on a particular character and because there are too many guys this time and it won’t be enough and impossible to give each one of them their own single episode, that is why they pair up Starish and Heavens. It ‘hurries’ the pace of the season and at the same time doesn’t bore you to death because if they really did focus on the individual, I mean how much can they really tell about them individually? Sure, they can do for a handful but if they want to cover all of them, there will be some that would be incomplete or just feel forced.

This season it feels like it didn’t do much to develop the characters much. At least most of them. Because if you have been following this series from the first season, you would already have known Starish well enough. It is like there isn’t anything more left to tell about them. Except for Otoya. But more about him later. So I thought with Heavens in the fray, they might have some sort of background stories to tell. Uhm… Not really either. With the exception of Shion being a chuunibyou, the rest didn’t really have much to tell. Even Shion’s case itself isn’t much but at least with his chuunibyou personality, he stands out a bit more than the rest of Heavens. Even the original trio of Heavens, Eiichi, Nagi and Kira don’t even have any back telling to tell. Instead, their episode in focus actually focuses more on their Starish counterparts instead. So if you are a Heavens’ supporter or fan and want to know more about them this season, you would be disappointed.

Back to Starish, Tokiya, Sho, Cecil and Ren’s episodes feel like nothing. Fillers and standalone that don’t really do much. It’s a reason why I really started to feel even more boring. My sentiments of last season were already bored and this kind of similar styled episodes made it even worse. Then they start to shake things up with the remaining Starish because Natsuki, Masato and especially Otoya feel like they have actually unfinished business. It looks a bit interesting but not enough to overcome that overall boredom of mine when they break the mould with Natsuki reconciling with his alter ego and Masato taking over his destiny to not follow his father’s footsteps and pursue his own dreams with his own hands.

But such personally and family matters pale in comparison if you look at Otoya’s case. That is why they took 3 freaking episodes for Otoya! Wow. Has any Starish member get so much attention and focus in a single season? You could say he has to most tragic past which is kept secret from us in previous seasons till it exploded right in his face. I know this isn’t the darkest of all traumas but considering this bright and lively musical genre, this has got to be the bleakest of the lot. And yes, it is always the power of friendship and music that brings back our lost souls back to the path of the right. They make those who oppose you vehemently at the start to eventually give in and somewhat support you in the end if you show enough determination and willpower. Ah, if the answer was only this easy in real life…

Enough about those handsome hunks because now it is time to mention about Haruka. Poor girl. I feel she is milked and worked to death in writing songs for all of them. Just like my sentiments on her in my previous blog, I feel that there are no other capable songwriters other than her because otherwise why only engage her in writing the best songs for important concerts for the most popular boy bands. Poor Haruka, poor her… I know she enjoys it but if this was reality, this is really slave driving. However this season I feel her presence are particularly less. She doesn’t really play some sort of active role and is more in the background. It is like she doesn’t want to get in the way of the bromance between the guys. At least she has better presence than other supporting characters like Tomo, Ringo and Ryuuya. They only make their appearance and comments just to remind us that they are around. Saotome who was very flamboyant in previous seasons also feels missing here. Yeah, that last episode thingy was just a reminder he still has that ‘flair’.

Raging is painted as the antagonist here but even his revenge story doesn’t feel dark enough. Remember, this isn’t the kind of anime genre you think it is. In a way, it feels pathetic that he is forming a new group of youngsters to defeat Saotome. Even in the case he defeats Saotome, so what about it? It isn’t like he can rewrite history again because history will always point out that Saotome has beaten Raging in sales records. It is his own fault for prematurely retiring. So what if he gets bragging rights? That won’t change anything either. He will always be remembered as a grumpy old man and sore loser oji-san anyway. So he just needs to get over himself. It is a good thing he did in a way although he is still out for revenge. Just trying to go at it from a different (better) way.

I am so indifferent about the music they sing now. Sure, there are some good pieces like the jazzy ones but I can’t seriously remember them by the time I ended watching the fourth season. Eventually I have this mentality that all of them are generally the same boy band-like material. The more members you have in it, the more you need each member to take turns singing a line before everyone sings together as a group. It’s like that, right? Anyway, this season’s opener is Tempest by Mamoru Miyano. Is he trying to sound very sultry or something? The ending theme is of course by Starish, Maji Love Legend Star (at this point we should have guessed that the ending themes of every season is part of the title of the series). Nothing really special. Sounds okay enough but I will state it here again and again that the first season’s ending theme, Maji Love 1000% is still by far the best song from the series.

Overall, this isn’t really an exciting season and I can feel the waning of my enthusiasm as the series is milked even drier. Sometimes I also feel that because of that, they decide to make up for the lack of quality with quantity because if you can’t get quality story, character development or even music, spam us with more hot guys for eye candy instead! Yeah, that is how I feel what this season actually is. Unless you are big hardcore fans of one or all of the big groups here, there is nothing other casual anime viewers would particularly like about this season. So I heard they announced this franchise another new anime project. Wow. That is really milking it dry but with a different look in hopes that they can deceive us, huh? Don’t tell me the trio are going to combine into one big group. I hope it goes well because it takes so long to build up their legendary status and just a while to turn destroy all that. A kind of legend that nobody wants to live with forever in history. Might as well stop and crystalize that legend while you’re at the top and ahead, don’t you think?

Teekyuu S8

June 2, 2017

I am starting to feel that Teekyuu will become the version of Gintama for short series. No, not One Piece or Naruto because those long running series are continuous. Gintama is long running too but they take breaks in between. That is what Teekyuu is like as it now enters its eight season. Although it is sad that they didn’t add more seasons to it after that and just a single lonely season by itself. Holy crap! It is already 8 seasons?! Man, where has time flown?! Did time really fly when you are having fun?! Or maybe the episodes are just too short.

Season 8

Episode 85
Kondou drafts our Teekyuu girls for a national school newspaper contest that is held 7-8 times a year. She needs them to come up with ideas. In that case, Marimo decides to cause a major scandal by pulling down Yuri’s panties! Maybe she just wants her panties… Kondou needs good ideas. I guess her standards are so high that not even the supernatural existing right before her eyes would cut it. Last time Kondou won with her scoop on Marino wrapped in panties and she won big. Time to try new ideas. So they try the library for the history of Kameido. Only 2 pages… Kondou finds an evil looking grimoire. She opens it and she gets sucked into it. A devil is before her and will grant any wish in exchange for her soul. After finding out the market price of a soul, she decides to cancel the cooling off rule. Is that a wish? Speaking of that… When she wakes up, it seems she won the grand prize. An article of turning that supernatural into sushi. Super delicious!

Episode 86
The girls eat at a ramen shop. However the chef seems to be quite peculiar. He has sloppy handwriting, uses meal tickets for orders and even as grande frappuccino on the menu! Oh, he also throws in extras like the autograph of some random old man who lives around here. Kanae orders her ramen with some long ass name like as though she is reciting a spell (this puts Harry Potter to shame). Once done, the chef eats it himself! A couple of yakuza guys enter and remind him to pay up. Of course Yuri can’t eat in this distraction but it seems the rest of her friends are pretty oblivious. Not perturbed at all! The yakuza guys threaten to shut down the shop if he can’t pay. The chef pleads not to as this shop has lots of nostalgic memories. He wants them to eat his ramen and then decide. Well, how does it taste? Oh my! It’s so shockingly… Shockingly… The shop is now up for sale…

Episode 87
We’re going to the beach! Again! But it is Tomarin’s first time. But how are they going to get there? In Annekov’s glittery hearse! But there aren’t enough seats. Don’t worry. Yuri can ride in the coffin! They eventually rent a car and since Annekov is bad at reading maps, she has Yuri as her navigator. Yeah, the GPS sucks. Annekov drives fast and recklessly. Because if they die, she can hold a memorial for them. The usual antics during the journey including Kanae getting car sick and taking the turmeric raw, Nasuno complaining she has only ride in limos and carriages and singing weird songs. They stop for a break. The chef won’t make Yuri’s soba and Tomarin is using the chopsticks wrongly. Just when it seemed like they fast forward they are satisfied having fun at the beach, Yuri retorts that they haven’t even arrive there yet. Still on the way…

Episode 88
The girls are at the beach during winter! While Kanae makes editing jokes, Annekov suggests fishing and they fish out a giant squid as it reels away Annekov and Kondou. Tomarin finds it boring and wants to destroy this planet! Before that could happen, Nasuno summons her Titanic. It crashes into an iceberg, leaving Yuri and Kanae stranded. Then Kanae gets sick and ‘dies’. Yuri is washed ashore all alone. However her friends keep her company in her heart. Too bad that was just a cheap dream. But she is still alone on an island hearing weird monologues of the whereabouts of her friends like Marimo is frozen in North Pole, Tomarin revives herself via space power, Nasuno using money to revive herself, Kondou and Annekov return to the spirit world and Kanae walked home across the ocean.

Episode 89
The girls are staying at a haunted inn. The room is empty except for a plate of salt, a cursed doll and talismans all over the wall. In fact, the girls have lots of fun taking baths, soaking in the hotspring, playing ping pong and then drinking. In the middle of the night when Yuri gets up to go to toilet, she thought Marimo is murdered but that ‘blood’ stain is she wetted herself and she is just sleep talking. The cursed doll is going to curse everyone but Nasuno in her sleep walking beats it up! I guess nothing scares Yuri anymore because seeing floating sleeping Tomarin, standing sleeping Kondou and Kanae sleeping in the toilet bowl aren’t anything surprising. An evil spirit tries to scare them but since they are so deep in sleep, I guess the joke’s on him. Next day everybody leaves feeling great. It was the best stay ever!

Episode 90
Nasuno takes her friends to an art museum she just bought. And so you could see ‘art-like’ stuffs like a painting of a who-the-heck-is-this old guy, actual stains and moulds as paintings, old handphones, old PCs (CRT monitor!) and even a recently released manga! Oh, there’s this art containing words that looks like scribbles. Maybe they are really just scribbles… Nasuno then buys a natural history museum. What looks like a mammoth’s tusk and moon rock is actually some driftwood and pebble respectively. Oh, there’s even that recent manga… Nasuno thinks of buying a botanical garden next…

Episode 91
The girls play an online RPG. Nasuno is already overpowered with all the gear she ‘extorted’ from the store. Marimo’s character is a totally nude character! She gets banned of course! She returns in a traditional Chinese kung fu suit and tries to eat grass to heal but gets stomach ache. They first fight a konjac noodles monster and beat it up so badly that they look like the bad guys. They even try to pick a fight with a villager but he owned them. They face their greatest challenge fighting a dragon. Is there no way to defeat it? Here comes the villager to kick its ass! He is more powerful than them? Then he beats them all up till they’re dead.

Episode 92
Yuri realizes she is in Marimo’s body. Hard to believe, right? It gets harder when Marimo sees her original body and thinks Yuri is also Marimo. Yeah, you can’t tell them apart when they are talking in sync. Time for your brains to explode as Nasuno ramps up the complication. Assuming both are real Yuri, where did Marimo go? It’s so darn confusing that Kanae gave up and thinks she is Yuri! So while the battle for the real Yuri rages on, Tomarin uses her antenna to reveal the real one. But some evil alien materializes as she claims she has the power to switch minds and bodies. She then switches everybody. This is getting confusing too. Some business cards and Powerpoint attack turn everyone back to normal. Don’t ask. I don’t even know what’s going on.

Episode 93
Time to go a little back in time when Kanae made her high school debut. She first met Nasuno. I’m sure she is doing it on purpose when Nasuno instead of giving her business card gives money! They think the other wants to join the tennis club. Because it is literally written all over their face. They fill up the application form and Nasuno attaches money instead of her photo on it. Kanae relates why she wanted to join the tennis club. Her father is a tennis ball. Yes, a tennis ball! One day playing catch, a dog retrieved it and he never came back. Nasuno? She thought it was a thing for rich people. After handing in their applications, they have joined the kendo club…

Episode 94
Kanae and Nasuno are excited to know a girl next class has joined the tennis club. They go look for her. This retro looking girl? No. She was splattered with salmon roe with a tennis racquet. This sushi chef girl? Well, she claims to be it. After school they go practice but they are all making sushi! There is the Nationals for sushi? Apparently she isn’t a real tennis club member. She uses the racquet to skin for salmon roe. The duo leave disappointed. That is when they bump into Marimo running away the police. She can’t help stop squeezing Nasuno’s tits. She beats her up before the police takes her in. Nasuno then bails her out since she is a tennis club member. Marimo claims she only joins the club to see panties. Such deep reason! Nasuno points out they are underskirt. Disappointed but whatever. The trio became friends and start their first practice together by making sushi.

Episode 95
The school is holding a marathon. Kanae’s legs are super muscular because she did squats while Marimo’s biceps are super bulging so she can get water from the station. As the race begins, they face all kinds of stupid obstacles like some warped wall, Nasuno getting bored and going home halfway, eating bread, drinking jelly, someone making cones for fun, gorillas throwing red bean paste and when they cross the finish line, turns out it is fake because someone was just making just for fun.

Episode 96
Yuri finds the tennis net broken. She could have used the club funds to buy a new one but the others have used it to by sandbags! Nasuno takes them to work at KFC and introduces them to the boring sounding manager. Nasuno threatens to fire him however he cites his fixed contract and the legal trouble she could get him if she fires him for nothing. Yeah, you can’t use your money power this time. The manager trains them how to use the register and make fried chicken. They fool around but he is not amused. A customer comes in and he is a giant rooster! Manager can understand what he wants?! Then a peahen enters and the manager also knows what he wants! Are you kidding me?!

Tee-hee-hee Cute!
So… Where is my ninth season???!!! Don’t tell me this season is just a naughty teaser to get you addicted and make you pine for more. And then many years later when we are old and grey, they suddenly come back with another season to make us jump with joy and then kill us off with a heart attack. But then we are revived from heaven to come back and at least watch another dozen episodes of absurdity before going back to heaven but got lost on the way and ended up in hell anyway. Oh yeah. That felt like a typical Teekyuu episode.

Basically this season like all the rest have maintained their wacky randomness. The characters and plots make no sense but we are okay with it since we are so familiar with what to expect. It doesn’t break any new ground but since we all love it this way, why fix something that isn’t broken? I mean, they’re not going to play tennis and aim for Wimbledon, right? Yeah, no real tennis played here again. Not even that flashback. Is tennis just a fancy term or excuse for doing weird stuffs? Thus there is nothing more for me to comment because it will be repeating myself. And I’m too lazy to write them again.

This time there are 2 opening themes in the same season. This time giving the animation more focus on either Tomarin or Kondou. Both Gluten Elegy by Kondou and Nihongo Wakarimasen by Tomarin maintain their wacky and bizarre nature like previous Teekyuu’s opening themes. If you’re already going crazy from watching and hearing the opening themes and animation, nothing will prepare you for the episode proper then. Or nothing actually happens because right now I am so immune to it.

Overall, I maintain my stand that Teekyuu should be the short anime version of Gintama and go on forever and forever. Maybe the series’ running time is too short for us to get bored, that is why each season we welcome it with open arms and gleeful smile. We know what we are going to get into. We know what we are going to expect. We know what we want. All hail Teekyuu! Now give us a ninth season already!